I’m Feeling Much Better

I’m Feeling Much Better

I’ve been waiting months to finally be able to say this: I’m feeling much better now. Last month, I wrote about my decision to manifest less in my life. It’s proven to be particularly helpful in getting my life back on track. It was like I had bitten off more than I could chew and rather than spitting it out, I just kept chewing and getting frustrated that it was more than I could take. It’s been nearly a month since I shared that decision and I’m happy to say it’s really been working. But it wasn’t the only thing I’ve been doing to try to get myself balanced.
I’m really grateful to be part of a generation that has pretty much destigmatized mental illness. I’ve not really had any shame in sharing the fact that I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety. In fact, when I get help for those things, I tend to just do better. I started using antidepressants a little over a year ago to help get me out of this funk I’ve been living in. It’s been helpful. I tried a few things for my anxiety and found a way to live with it. When it was time to get my prescription refilled for my antidepressants, I figured it was as good a time as any to go ahead and check in with a psychiatrist and make sure we were doing the right things to support my mental health.
There’s this crazy thing that happens when you let professionals do their job. They can actually help. I know. It seems so obvious but to do that, I had to get out of my own way. I had to let my doctor give me a proper evaluation and be open and honest about all of my symptoms. You know what happened? My diagnosis changed. It’s not just anxiety and depression. I actually have PTSD. I was diagnosed back in July and I’ve been working for these past few months to fight back and get my life back. Here’s some of what I’ve been doing to help myself.

Medication

I was already using an antidepressant so medication wasn’t a hard sell for me. If I were to need insulin, I’d take that. If I needed blood pressure medication, I’d take that. So if my brain doesn’t wanna make enough serotonin on its own, yeah, I’m gonna give it what it needs. The thing about medication is that you really shouldn’t just rely on that to get better.  So I’m keeping all of my doctor appointments, giving feedback on my experience and trusting her advice to make adjustments to get the right combo in place. I’m pleased to say, I think we found my magic cocktail and I’m feeling much better because of it.

Talk Therapy

Twice a month, I meet with a therapist who actually specializes in PTSD. We discuss the progress I’ve made, experiences I’m having, and areas where I’m struggling. He gives me tools to help better deal with the stresses of life and learn how to live past my trauma. I have always been kind of resistant to the idea of paying someone to listen to me talk about my problems but that’s the wrong way to approach it. I’m paying a professional for his expertise, just like people pay me for mine.

Honesty

Ugh. So simple but so complex at the same time. I don’t think of myself as a dishonest person but I do have a way of spinning circumstances to make them easier to palate. It’s like I’m my own PR rep. For me, that means I often put on rose colored glasses about things that honestly just kind of suck. That includes things about myself. Do you have any idea how tough it is to identify your toxic traits and actually work on them? Maybe you do. Maybe I’m the only one who has a hard time admitting things about myself. Maybe… but I would guess not. This side of healing can be so tricky. I saw a tweet one time that said anxiety is just conspiracy theories about yourself. Finding the balance of admitting flaws while not hyperbolizing them into more lies… it’s not easy. Healing isn’t easy. But it’s so important. No… it’s a priority.

Human Interaction

I call it “peopling.” It’s a big reason I decided to put full-time entrepreneurship on the shelf and return to employee status. I needed to people more. After my PTSD diagnosis, I started shutting people out. Between being exhausted and overwhelmed, I didn’t have anything to give to my friendships. Being in the same room as people was draining. My friends finally started calling me out about it. I let some of them know what I was dealing with but kept others in the dark. I stopped engaging in the Facebook groups I used to be highly active in. I basically couldn’t deal with socializing for more than a half hour or so without alcohol to help make it tolerable. Probably not really a healthy way to approach it all.

What’s Next?

I’m doing a lot to get myself happy, healthy and functional. But I’m not just trying stuff just for the sake of trying stuff. I’m being very intentional in my healing. I made another decision last week that has had profound impacts on my day-to-day life. In fact, such an impact that I can’t easily cram it at the end of this post. Next time I write, I hope to share what my new secret weapon is and how it’s positively impacted my mental health journey.

Less Is More

Less Is More

First of all, if you didn’t start singing the Charmin song when you saw the title of this post, we can’t be friends. Now that that’s out of the way…. Recently, I’ve been evaluating my priorities and commitments and have come to the decision that for me, less is more. I’m manifesting less in my life. I want to really streamline my life in every way: emotionally, physically, professionally, interpersonally… all of it. For the longest time, I’ve felt really proud of all the things I’ve managed to keep on my plate. But guess what? I’m burnt out.

Last night, I was finally able to put into words what I have been feeling in my heart for quite some time: I would much rather do a few things with excellence than many mediocre things. The days of me bragging about holding down 3 jobs are over. Trying to be friends with as many people as I can make time for is done. Overcommitting myself is out. I’m done with all that. Less is more.

I keep bringing myself back to one question as I’m planning my day, my week, my month, my life:

What do I need less of?

Seriously. You ever catch yourself saying “man, I don’t need this.” Or something to that effect? Well… what is “this“?  That’s where I’m at right now. Identifying all of the “thises” that need to be cleared from my life. Here are some of the things that I’ve started to purge.

My Hair

Yeah. I cut off about a foot of my hair. It was still healthy and lovely but taking care of it everyday was such a hassle. I’m a messy sleeper and the whole thing gets tangled and knotted and just frustrated me to try to deal with it. I brought it down to a bob and I actually really dig it. Guess what else? When my hair is short, I have to wash it more often. This has lead to an improved personal hygiene routine. Not the goal but an awesome side effect!

Someday Stuff

Whether we’re talking clothes or project supplies or just random tools around the house… I have far too much stuff that’s taking up space and serving no function. I’ve started inventorying the things in this category of value and listing them online for sale. I went through and purged my dresser of clothes that don’t fit properly anymore or that I just don’t really wear. The kids have done the same and now we have 3 full garbage bags ready to be donated.

Bills

This one sounds silly, I’m sure, but I’m so serious. I went through a giant pile of mail I had on my desk and found every last old bill and invoice that I had open with someone and just turned it into an actionable list. As I went through these things, I found subscription services I had signed up for but wasn’t actively using (like this great Leggings of the Month club where I was starting to get duplicates of the leggings I already have…) price checked all the essential services I wanted to keep and even found some better values for myself out there. I left Verizon and T-Mobile and consolidated to one bill with Xfinity for home internet, cable TV and mobile phone. My cell phone bill is 1/3 of what it was with T-Mobile. My internet plan is $10 cheaper with just as good of quality and comes with a small cable package. Literally guys, less is more.

Emails

I spent the better part of 2 hours going through my personal email inbox to methodically clean it up. I started with just under 800 unread emails and cleared my inbox down to zero. I set a few guidelines in place for myself to make it work well. First, unsubscribe from newsletters. There’s an easy button on the bottom to do it with, so just unsubscribe. Copy the “from” address on the email and put it in Gmail’s search box. Select all from that sender and bulk delete. Bam. Down a handful of emails. Rinse and repeat until you’re unsubscribed from all the garbage. If something is worth keeping, it’s worth sorting. Using the label feature, I broke down the reason for why I was hanging on to a particular email. Was it an important receipt or log-in information? Something actually useful? Label it.

I’m working on getting myself back up to peak performance. But I don’t thinkI’m going to achieve that goal by keeping my plate overly full or by ignoring the pile of things that need to be tackled. What do I need less of?

Less mess. Less stress. 

Retailer Review: DressLily

Retailer Review: DressLily

This post contains affiliate links to DressLily.com. This means if you click a link, especially if you make a purchase of some kind, I may receive a commission, product, service or bounty for your engagement. This does not add any extra cost onto your purchase but it does help to keep my blog running. Thanks for your support! 
Let me start by saying I love my job. I do. I love the work I do. I love the products I promote. I love the challenges I get to tackle. I love the people I work with, even when we don’t see eye to eye. One such area is the dress code. My employer is a little old-school and is of the belief that tattoos are unprofessional and the dress code reflects this belief.

When I first reentered the workforce, I had to figure out what my professional aesthetic was going to be. I discovered the most flattering look for my figure was consistently dresses. For over a year, I basically never wore pants. Pants are prisons! I found that mixing dresses, cardigans and leggings in whatever combination was most weather-appropriate let me have a consistent wardrobe year-round. Dresses FTW.

For the past year or so, I’ve been slowly but steadily dropping some weight. With the change to season around the corner and my wardrobe becoming increasingly difficult to make compliant with the dress code at work while still making me feel like a person. And I don’t know about you, but I like feeling like a person.

I’m a creative, funky, low-key eccentric kind of person. Aquarius problems, amirite? Facebook ads know all about these Aquarius problems. About a week ago, I was fed an ad for a dress that looked uncannily like it came straight from Ms. Frizzle’s closet  and had had just enough whiskey to know I had to have it. If you’re anything like me, you can’t just buy one thing online. You gotta go window shop. And you tell yourself, maybe just one more thing…. then you add 50 items to your cart, see it has an entire retirement fund worth of merchandise and do either one of two things:

Close the page in horror to keep yourself from temptation.

or

Delete items until you get your cart to a justifiable total.

On this night, I chose the latter. I trimmed away at items that weren’t my top picks and narrowed it down to four dresses. Each selection looked like it could have been found in a trunk in the back of the Magic School Bus. To be fair, these clothes could be described as arguably silly. But they met all of my needs.

They meet my dress code requirements and effectively cover my tattoos.
They are modest with low enough hemlines and high enough necklines to make me feel comfortable in the workplace.
They let my personality shine in a small way.

What Made The Cut

On this night, I chose the latter. I trimmed away at items that weren’t my top picks and narrowed it down to four dresses. Each selection looked like it could have been found in a trunk in the back of the Magic School Bus. To be fair, these clothes could be described as arguably silly. But they met all of my needs.

  • They meet my dress code requirements and effectively cover my tattoos.
  • They are modest with low enough hemlines and high enough necklines to make me feel comfortable in the workplace.
  • They let my personality shine in a small way.

Honest Opinions

Shipping

Shipping happened MUCH faster than I expected. Considering these were coming from China, I expected a 3 week wait. I selected (free) 3-Day shipping and to be honest, they weren’t far off by comparison. It took a few days to process my order but when they did, on August 11, it took 4 days to get to my house.

The packaging was easy to open and everything came in its own ziploc bag which seems to have kept the clothing smelling fresh on it’s journey across the globe.

Product Quality

There is no hiding the fact that allllllllllll of these items were made with synthetic fibers. However, it seems to be the type that isn’t going to wrinkle up on me, has really rich colors and feels very nice on the skin. I’m concerned about breathability and will revise this to elaborate after I’ve had a few wears with each dress.

One dress arrived that made me feel like an idiot, to be honest. When I took it from the bag, I noticed that the collar was completely detached from the dress, however, it was definitely done by design. I went back and looked at the product pictures and realized that the dress was, in fact, identical to the picture on DressLily. I had simply failed to realize the style choice as the piece connecting the collar to the dress was black against a black top of the dress, making the design far less apparent.

I’ve read so many horror stories about clothes shipped from China being poorly made, not like product pictures and often not delivered at all. I definitely had my trepidations but DressLily delivered exactly what they said they would and at a damn good price.

Returns

I really wasn’t happy with the weird collar dress, so I went to the website to see what I could do about it. Requesting a return was easy; just fill out a form explaining why you wanted to return it. I told them I didn’t realize how the dress was designed and wasn’t happy with it and within half an hour, I had a reply for my ticket. As is customary, they asked for pictures, order number, etc. I replied and again, received a prompt response. DressLily was happy to let me keep the dress as a courtesy and refunded me in store credit. Because I was so happy about the other dresses and certain I wanted to order from them again, a store credit worked perfectly. They even gave me some extra rewards points for the inconvenience.

Closing Thoughts

DressLily is awesome. Their customer service is on point. The products match what the look like online. Sizing seems to be pretty standard. I’d highly recommend giving it a try. They have an awesome selection of styles to choose from so you’re bound to find something you love. If you start your browsing using any links in this post, you’ll help keep The Drowsy Mama running by earning me a small commission.

Bucket List: Eat a Philly Cheesesteak in Philadelphia

Bucket List: Eat a Philly Cheesesteak in Philadelphia

Is it May already? It’s like December was just yesterday and then I looked up and whoah life is different. My daughter is wrapping up Kindergarten and my son is about to take her place in that elementary classroom. As for me? Well… I guess, never say never? It’s kind of a funny story and I’ll tell you sometime, but long story short, I’m back at work and absolutely loving it. I have projects that engage me, new skills to learn and a really excellent work life balance. One of the best parts of that work/life balance is having more time and resources to travel!

My most recent mini-adventure was to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here’s the rundown.

Concourse

Geeno's

I have no idea why there was a banana on this taxi but it was in the lane beside us for a while and never fell.

First of all, let’s just say that Philly was a delightfully weird city. Parking is a nightmare but if you can find somewhere to safely leave your car, it’s a pretty easy city to get around. I took Lyft Line to get a few places for just $3-4 within fifteen minutes or so. That said, I arrived in Philadelphia at about midnight, a mere hour or two late for a birthday party thing we were doing with friends.

I’m not exactly the club type but somehow found myself waiting in line to enter one. We stayed for an hour or two, enjoyed a couple of drinks and the massive space in which to explore. To one side were lights, dancing and the traditional cluby stuff. It wasn’t too hard to get a drink considering the multiple bars inside. Pricing was about what you’d expect, I suppose. $15 for 2 whiskey gingers sound about right?

But guys– there’s more. And by more, I mean a ball pit! I know what you’re going to ask next and I’m sad to report I did not have the patience to wait in line to play in it. Next time… Next time…

Enough about clubs. Let’s talk about the important stuff. Bucket list stuff. Food stuff.

I got to eat a Philly Cheese Steak in Philadelphia!

I went to the most touristy place imaginable, Geeno’s. It was a perfect experience. (By the way, make sure to bring cash if you go. They don’t accept cards.) Everything my Lyft driver hyped me up for. I got to dine outside with some great people, the air smelled of steak, and I was starving so I was able to take down that massive “cheese wit” in about 2.5 minutes.

 

 

Now we have to have a serious talk about this. Philadelphia. Get your life. Cheese Wiz on a cheesesteak? I expected so much better. We’re going to do real rib eye steak but cheese from a can???? Come on…. Get. Your. Life. I like cheese. I like steak. I like cheesesteak. But I think I don’t actually care for a Philly Cheese Steak. I want some tomatoes, grilled peppers, onions and PROVOLONE cheese. But hey, I’m glad to have done it and knocked it off my bucket list.

 

Laundry Schedule Free Printable

Laundry Schedule Free Printable

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? It’s no surprise that I’ve been busy; that’s just who I am as a person. Now that I’m getting good and settled into my new job, I’m making it a priority to get my home back the way I like it. Since my babies aren’t really babies anymore, I’m trying to find more ways to enlist their help. One big way I’m doing that is asking my kids to start taking personal accountability for their own laundry.

I am pretty sure someone else can benefit from having an easy-to-edit printable laundry schedule, so if you vibe with what I put together, feel free to download a copy!