What a year. I’m quite certain this isn’t the first year I’ve looked back and shook my head a bit but, here I am. Looking back on 2018 comes with its moments of belly aching laughter and moments I’m less than proud of. Truth be told, 2018 was one of the more challenging years for me.
Let’s do a short recap. In 2018:
- Amelia turned O N E
- I went back to work full time
- I now understand why I received so many “oh wow” responses when I said I was going back full time right away – hello, emotional roller coaster
- We bought a house, rented what was our home, and moved
- A bit more detail: This was also a month into being back at work, I got food poisoning and Amelia came down with a wicked flu – perfectly timed high fever with the fact that her crib was in pieces.
- That little letter letting me know I was called to jury selection the same week we moved – thank my lucky stars it was cancelled.
- I accepted a new position
- I went back on birth control to balance my ever worsening PMS
That’s a lot of information but that’s exactly why it’s relevant in reflecting on where I’m at closing off 2018. It was a lot. A whole lot more than I could handle, and that was a huge setback for me.
Since Amelia was born, my ‘keep all the balls in the air’ way of life came to a screeching halt. All of the changes in 2018 made that abundantly clear. Gone were the days were I could run from place to place on little sleep and do so with a smile on my face. Now, I struggled. I found it harder and harder to get back on my feet. When itty bitty anxiety attacks starting popping up in my regular day, I scheduled myself a visit with my therapist. Was I actually losing my mind? Needless to say, there was way too much happening all at one. Many good things, but too much to process all in a short time frame. I want to say I learned quickly, but that’s unfortunately not true. It took until recently to recognize that I needed to make some serious changes.
This is really not to say it there weren’t many (and I mean many) great memories. There are too many to count. Countless lessons also came about. So, what did I learn from this roller coaster of a year?
It’s ok to say No!
Reason #1 that I found myself in over my head. I’m what you’d call a people pleaser and I hate having to say no so, more often than not, I say yes. I say yes even when it’ detrimental to myself.
The tricky part is that people have come to expect it from me.
I needed to be really frank with myself, even with Arthur and my family, that it wasn’t healthy anymore. It’s increasingly important for me to set appropriate boundaries and recognize that wanting down time for myself and my family isn’t selfish – it’s necessary.
Holy crap, was this an eye opener. Not setting appropriate boundaries and taking on way too much meant little, if any time, to nourish myself. I frequently found myself having not eaten much in a day, then starving, and overeating on whatever I could get my hands on. Not exactly great for your mental health or physical well being.
Do you notice how much more alert, stronger, and balanced you feel on the days you eat food that’s good for you – pretty amazing! Well, how about the mood you’re in when you eat junk? I am more and more confident that a healthy, balanced lifestyle fueled by nutritious food is the golden ticket after experiencing aggressive mood swings. I know as a new mom hormones are something else, and I can’t deny that, but I did notice a huge shift when I was putting nutrition first.
Here’s the other thing: I see now that feeding Amelia healthy foods but running around on empty myself isn’t a great lesson.
Make time to do nothing
After hitting what I can describe as a breaking point, weekends without any structure rejuvenated me. Pajama days, making pancakes, and finding time to reflect is really what shifted my perspective.
A friend recently asked me to help out with a project. Admittedly, I usually would have said yes but (lesson learned) I thought hard about what adding something else to my plate. It would mean deferring time away from writing, working after Amelia went to bed, and simply less free time. After a hellish experience downtime no longer seemed selfish. So many amazing memories came out of those slow days with Arthur and Amelia. Make time for that!
Needless to say I’m SO excited for what 2019 has in store for me and my family. The lessons from this year have changed my perspective and I think that shift will shape the way I handle the ride.