Thursday, May 28, 2020

Who has time for Self Care?

I definitely have learned a difficult lesson about self care in the last year. I've learned how truly important it is. I've heard the analogy that it's like putting on the oxygen mask on yourself first so that you are able to help those around you but I'm Super Mom, I'll help everyone first then take care of myself. But guess what? That time never seemed to come.

When I was a stay home mom, I told myself that because I didn't bring in an income, that spending money and time on myself was frivolous and unnecessary, what did I need "me" time for? I was at home all day. Plus, do you know how much time it takes to take care of the needs of 8 children and a spouse?

When I started working full time, I decided that anything I wanted to do for myself meant more time away from my house and my children and my responsibilities there. I simply didn't have time for it. I gave up my acrylic nails and my bi-monthly housecleaning because they were frivolous, unnecessary and time consuming.

When I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression several months ago, I was determined to do what I should have been doing all along - self care. That isn't to mean that I didn't go out to lunch with my friends once in a while or I didn't have a date night with my husband regularly, but it always seemed like I was in a hurry to get to the next "thing" that needed done. None of my self care was purposeful and that's the point I want to make.

Self care looks different to everyone. My sister gets a massage and eats out every week or every other week then goes home and watches television. Some get their hair done, utilize retail therapy or go to the gym. None of those things are affordable for me at this point even though once or twice a year I like to splurge on a massage from Reflexology by Fry's (ask for Tyrell).

The last year has taught me that I need daily self care, especially little things. I need quiet time to read before every night, I need to exercise daily and I need to have a 44oz. Diet Pepsi with my breakfast. I also need to fuel myself with healthy food and water. When I watch television, I need to do something with my hands, like embroidery or a block game on my phone. During the summer, I need to be on the river as much as possible. This combination works for me.

It's been a roller coaster trying to figure out what my own needs are because I have spent the last almost three decades taking care of everyone else's needs before my own. I've finally learned to put on my own oxygen mask and I'm better for it.

I've created a short list of things you can do for self care that you may or may not have thought about:
Don't get on social media or email first thing upon waking. Wait a good hour or so.
Spend 5 minutes just laying down and focus on breathing, in your nose and out your mouth.
Read from an actual book or a magazine instead of an online article.
Splurge on a favorite, guilt free treat once a week.
Give yourself permission to binge watch a favorite show but turn your phone off while doing so.
Sit outside and take your shoes off and rub your toes in the grass or the dirt. (Google "grounding")
Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers.
Have a dance party, alone or with others.
Sing along to the radio while driving in your car. "Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing." -The Carpenters

You probably know what you need. You need to give yourself permission to do it. Maybe it is 10 minutes every day. Maybe it's an hour or two once a week. You need to tell yourself that you are putting the oxygen mask on so you can take care of everyone else.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Anxiety and Depression Reared its Ugly Head

Back at the end of March, I had a feeling of nervousness that was causing me to be short of breath and to worry about the slightest things. I was getting ready to fly to Utah to see my older kids and I almost decided not to go because I thought maybe it was a whisper of the spirit not to travel but it felt different than other promptings so I chose to go. It was a great weekend visiting but the shortness of breath turned into chest heaviness then a few days after I got home, it turned into chest pain. I never felt like it was urgent enough to go to the hospital and I tried to make an appointment with my Dr. but he was only available 3 weeks from then so after a few days I chose to go to the urgent care.

Although I have family members who have suffered with
anxiety and depression I never thought it would be me. Does
this look like the face of anxiety or depression? I can't
even count the number of times I faked it until I could get
home and crawl into bed. 
At the urgent care, the Dr. ran a few tests and concluded that I had a UTI (I had no idea). She gave me some antibiotics and a prescription for what she said was an antihistamine that would also help with what she thought was anxiety, that I could take for the next three days.

Trying to use the power of positive thinking, I acted like the medicine was working and tried to go about my life as usual. That lasted all of about three days. I was exhausted both in body and spirit. I went to work each morning, coached my track team after school, then came home and laid on the couch and slept until bedtime. My sleep was fitful all night and getting up each day was difficult. I called in sick several times in April and May and my guilt about it overwhelmed me. Add to that my responsibilities at home, it was easier to do nothing and sleep away the pain. My pain and my despair became increasingly worse and certain situations caused me to sink deeper into my hole. Thank goodness for Ben being able to be home every afternoon, he became mother and father to our kids.

In those two months, I saw the cardiologist, my family doctor and the urgent care more than once. My tests included blood work and x-rays and a physical exam. My family care provider finally prescribed me Xanax. The Dr. told me to take two pills (I don't remember the dosage) each day and after five days, if that wasn't improving my pain, to increase by one pill. After another five days, increase it by another pill, etc. Unfortunately, neither he nor I thought that through very well. I ran out of pills well before the month was over. I finally was feeling some relief but in addition to the pain and excessive sleeping, I cried all the time but mostly in the shower, in my classroom and after everyone was in bed. I called my Dr. to make an appointment and was told I couldn't get in for three more weeks. I cried and cried because I wondered if I'd ever get relief.

I wish this was just a special treat for Mother's Day but
it was a typical day. I rarely even made it through all of
church for about two months
There was a new family practice next door to my cardiologist and I called them to see about becoming a new patient. After explaining my predicament (I may have cried on the phone too), I was able to get an appointment in four days. I decided I could survive four more days.

That's when I met Dr. Crawford at Cornerstone Family Medicine. After showing  him my blood work from my previous appointments, he concluded that everything looked about the way it should for a woman my age (ha ha). He explained to me that the  medication prescribed was only a short term fix for a long term problem. When the brain is in a constant state of go-go-go or worry or stress (even good stress), the body's ability to produce the chemical that calms you down is depleted. Basically, we concluded that I had little to none left. (Refer to my post about what's been going on since the last time I wrote on this blog.)

He prescribed me another medication that is supposed to help raise that level of seratonin that my body has depleted. He said it would help me with the excessive sleeping, the crying and eventually the chest pain. This process would not be an overnight fix, but a slow and steady "adventure" to get me back to normal. He gave me an additional prescription for the Xanax as a way to stop the chest pain caused by anxiety but combining it with the other medicine, I should be able to decrease my need for it gradually. I've gone from five pills a day to one or two.

Additionally, I've tried to be open about it when someone asks. I am finally able to talk about it without crying but I still find myself apologizing for my anxiety attacks. They happen in the weirdest of places but I have more energy, more joy and a lot less sleeping.

While I know medicine might not be the answer for some, it is working for me. I'm grateful for people who have created medicine and doctors who have studied the diseases of our time. But, I also know that I do not like taking medicine. I've researched ways to ease anxiety with exercise, different relaxation techniques and self care (I have a whole post about that later). I've made some goals for the summer that I've started working on. I figure I'll put them here so that I have some accountability. I figure I have about 8 weeks of summer so my goal is to read 8 books, go to the temple 8 times, go tubing 8 times and exercise 6 days a week even if it is just taking my dog for a walk.

I went to the Dr. yesterday for a checkup and prescription refill. We made some adjustments based on my side effects and my goals. He told me he was proud of the changes I was making and the progress I had made. I didn't cry once through the entire appointment! I'd say things are looking up. Thank you for all the texts to check on me, the friends who have asked me how I'm doing and listened to me go on and on. Thanks to everyone who has sacrificed family time to float the river with me too, gotta keep those goals up and that one requires a friend or two that can drive:) My next appointment with my Dr. is in December, my goal is to create some better balance in my life by then so we can hopefully wean off the daily medicine.

If you have read this to the end, thanks for listening.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

National Poetry Month

My friend Stephanie at is my favorite poet:) She describes a new poem each day during the month of April so we can all celebrate National Poetry Month together. Being a mother, a teacher and a coach leaves me very little time to write so I look forward to this month when I can whip out a poem or two in a few minutes in my "free time." Here are a few I've written in the last month.

Pensee Food Poem

Kinda Slimy
Chopsticks make it authentic
comfort food to end my long day.
Easy dinner, not cheap.

Grammar Poem

Intent and hard working,
typing on their keyboards feverishly
like their lives depended on it.
If only they really understood that it does.

Synonym Poem

Fatigued, empty, faint, drained, spent
I wonder when I will again begin feeling content?

Credo Poem

I believe in the importance of working hard,
the courage it takes to pick yourself up,
the skill it takes to move forward,
the honesty it takes to know when enough is enough,
the hope it gives when someone understands, someone relates, someone listens, someone cares.

But, I'm not sure a person ever feels good about asking for help.

I believe in facing adversity head on,
I believe in understanding that I can't be everything to everyone,
I believe in hugs, faith, self-care and even medication.

And I believe in my Savior, who will heal all my wounds through the power of his atoning sacrifice.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Where has the time gone?

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted. I wish I had more free time to write. I think of things all the time that I want to get out and yet I am swamped with life. What has happened in the last four years you ask?
Let me sum it up:
Drew left on his mission to Alaska-October of 2015.
My dad passed away-January 2016.
Skylar went on a trip to Spain with a group from school-March 2016.
Ben and I went to New York for our 25th anniversary-May 2016.
I took a sisters/daughters trip with my mom, Allison, Brittany and Marly to North Dakota to see Candice's oldest got baptized-June 2016.
Anny was baptized-July 2016.
I had hernia surgery, eyelid surgery and ablation done-July 2016.
Katy got her driver's license-January 2017.
Vance got engaged to Katelynn Wilson-February 2017.
Sky had ankle surgery-April 2017.
Marly graduated from Utah Valley University and Institute-May 2017.
Marly gets engaged to Hayden Thieme-May 2017.
Ben retires from 20 years at Honeywell-May 2017.
Skylar graduated from high school-May 2017.
Vance gets married to Katelynn in Salt Lake City Temple-May 2017.
We redecorated the downstairs (new wood floors, new baseboards, new paint, etc.)-June 2017.
I took the trip of my lifetime to Spain with my best friend Jana-June 2017.
We held an open house at our home for Vance and Katelynn-July 2017.
Marly and Hayden got married in Gilbert, AZ temple-September 2017.
Drew got home from his mission-October 2017.
Drew got engaged to Kaycee Hixson-December 2017.
I became head track coach at Combs High School where I teach-January 2018.
Derek got baptized-January 2018.
Drew got married to Kaycee-March 2018.
I graduated with my Master of Secondary Education-April 2018.
Tawny performs in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown-May 2018.
Petey the boxer dog joined our family-May 2018.
I became a cross country coach at Combs High School-May 2018.
We were promoted to GRANDPARENTS-July 2018.
Tawny performed in Up the Down Staircase-October 2018.
Vance finishes his last class at Utah Valley University-December 2018.
My Grams, Norma Simmons passed away-January 2019.
Tawny got her permit-February 2019.

How was that for brief? In between all of those events, we went on trips to Utah, played with the grand baby, tubed the river, played in the ocean, partied with family, spent holidays together, laughed, cried, enjoyed life and tried to get enough sleep to keep on going.

I have so much more to say but this will suffice until another day.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

CHS Class of 2015

When my daughter Marly (class of 2013) was a freshman, we told her it would be so great to be a part of the beginning of a new high school. She would be part of the group that created a culture, started traditions, and got the sports and clubs off to a good start.

I told her there would be sacrifices to be made to be a part of the first wave of students from the school. There certainly were frustrations and many tears but she loved her experience as a whole. She was and still is a proud Coyote alumni, but this isn't about her.

Drew and me at his 8th grade promotion May 2011
Those early classes paved the way for your class, the class of 2015, the group of kids who would be on our campus for five whole years because of the 8th grade academy. You have seen the very beginnings, the good as well as the bad and are now part of the greatest class in our school's history. That doesn't take anything away from the previous classes because that's the goal, right? To get better every year and take what the previous class did and build up on it, improve it and make it better. Stronger.

And build it you did. And I want you to know that I knew it from the beginning. When Drew was a freshman, I told him to get ready for big things from your class. It was obvious that you would make a difference.

You decided to bring sunshine through the rain clouds of doubt and uncertainty to a school that desperately needed you. You planted seeds of positivity and success in your sports teams and clubs. You promoted school spirit and goodness with your diligence to academics and activities both during school and otherwise. You took the prank it forward and built upon its goodness by supporting one of your own. You tweeted, Facebooked and Instagrammed your support to Mason as he has dealt with his illness. You volunteered, you served, you were excited.

Senior Pictures
And now you are reaping the harvest of all your hard work. You can look back at your senior year and see the fruits of your labors. You had lots of teams who made it to state playoffs as well as individual champions like Rico (2X wrestling champion), Bourgeous (wrestling), Dunker (Discus), Rosales (FBLA), and Aby as Player of the Year (Basketball division 3). Your basketball team was the state runner ups! Your music groups continued to excel and win awards and you cheered on our Unified basketball team exactly the way you should by filling the bleachers.

You have been blessed with excellent teachers and coaches. It doesn't matter if you like them or not, they were there to see you succeed. You can't imagine the extra hours they put in on your behalf without getting paid. They know this isn't about money or fame for them, this is about helping you put your best foot forward. Your success is their success. Acknowledge them for what they've done with a handwritten note, a handshake, or whatever you can to let them know you appreciate them.

Let's not forget your parents who supported you with rides, money for activities and all the times they sat in the hard bleachers or drove long distances to watch you. If you think they didn't support you, think again. Maybe they worked two jobs so they could have the money for you to participate knowing they wouldn't be able to attend anything. And if you still don't think they supported you, there were lots of parents cheering you on silently. You have been worried about, prayed for and loved on during your high school career. Thank your parents and your friend's parents too.
CHS Homecoming parade 2013?

But it really isn't the end, is it?  

Now you have to take everything that you learned and put it to work. Some of you will become teachers and administrators, business men and women, artists and authors, you might be professional athletes too. You will attend colleges or trade schools, join the military, serve missions, get married and have families and some of you will work at McDonalds. No matter where the road ahead takes you, be the best you can be.

Work hard. Set goals. Serve others. Be kind. Do good.

Remember all that you did individually and collectively as a class and go out in the world and conquer it. You are the future and I feel confident my future is in good hands. You will be the teachers of my grandchildren so set a good example. You will be the creative souls who will make our world beautiful, please work from your heart.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Last Day of National Poetry Month

Day 25 - Weather poem inspired by another poem (I chose Shel Silverstein's Sick.

"I cannot go and hang with you."
Said my sweet boy whose name is Drew.
"I have a cough, sore throat and a rash,
my head hurts, I just want to crash.
My tummy hurts, my toe might be broke,
the way I feel is not a joke.
See the thing right next to my eye?
I think I'm coming down with a stye.
My fingers are numb,
I must sit on my bum.
What's that you say?
Free golf today?
All of a sudden I'm feeling better.
It must because of the wonderful weather."

Day 26 - Monorhyme Poem

Club Wrestling for kids
These tiny little wrestlers are cute.
It's hard not to sit here and root.
I write my poems and try to stay mute.
Until one of them lets a big toot.
And the big guy that thinks he's a brute.
Goes after the kid in hot pursuit.
Until his pants fall, his poor sweat suit.
The entire display is such a hoot.

Day 27 - Rictameter

Work is struggle
What reward do you want?
Put in the work to match the desire.
Reap the satisfaction of a job well done.
Laziness is a detriment.
Don't get too distracted.
It is worth it.

Day 28 - Pensee Poetry (I have two)

Grown up yet not.
Driving everyone crazy.
Circle K makes everything fine.
They say this too shall pass.

Mature but young.
Preparing for the future
Waits by the mailbox for the call.
It's hard to say goodbye.

Day 29 - Pyramid Poem

Moist Cookies.
Moist Cookies Wait.
Moist Cookies Wait Patiently.
Moist Cookies Wait Patiently in the cupboard.

Day 30 - Credo Poem (This might have been my favorite one to try)

I believe in teenagers.
     The ones who are poor,
     The ones with no parental support.
     The ones who pretend like they don't care what I say.
     The rich, lonely, popular and the beautiful.

But I don't think they always get a fair shake.

I believe in positive encouragement.
I believe in second chances.
I believe in pats on the back, polar pop love, listening well and the good that can come from social media.

And I believe in their power to do something good in this world, make something of and for themselves while I sit back and remind them, "I always believed in you."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

National Poetry Month...AGAIN!!!

I love April. I love it for its weather, track season and end of school activities but most of all I love it for poetry month. I always look forward to my friend Stephanie as she challenges us with a new type of poetry every day. You can find her blog and links to her poetry challenges by clicking here. You won't be disappointed.

But, as this month always seems to do, I get busy and run out of time to write something every day on social media. I carry around my notebook and jot down my lines as they come to me. This month I traveled with my oldest daughter and had no access to the computer to share my poems so I'll share a bunch of them here for all five of you who read me. Explanations can be found back on Stephanie's blog on how to create your own poetry.

Day 12 - A poem about your favorite book (Mrs .Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freeman)

Katherine Mike, a woman of strength
Moved to a land unfamiliar.
Found purpose, overcame danger and enjoyed true love
In the wilderness of Canada
As a young woman
early in the 20th century.

I like to think I'm like her,
My wilderness unknown.
Intentionally parenting  in a dangerous world with my true love.
In the desert of Arizona
a young woman in an older body
early in the 21st century.

Day 14 All About Me poem (and one about Marly since we were driving together when I was working on this)

Dedicated, energetic, passionate, intuitive 
Sibling of Allison, Melissa, Donny, Candice and Brittany. 
Lover of Ben and Diet Pepsi 
Who fears losing control. 
Who needs Time to write 
Who gives as much as she can. 
Who would like to see the castles of Spain. 
Resident of San Tan Valley 

Devoted, go-getter, stubborn, independent 
Sibling of Vance, Drew, Skylar, Katy, Tawny, Anny and Derek 
Lover of cheerleading and coaching 
Who fears drowning. 
Who needs good music 
Who gives sound advice 
Who would like to see her dreams come true. 
Resident of Mesa 

Day 15 Grammar Poem (My FAVORITE so there are several)

The Yukon
Brown and Reliable
Transports us comfortably
Like a Kangaroo carries its babies
If only it got better gas mileage.

Wedding Ring
Brilliant and sentimental
Symbolizing reverently
As a quiet reminder of promises made
If only everyone treated it as such.

Running Shoes
Grey and yellow
Waiting patiently
like a snake waits for its meal
If only I wore them more often.

Confident and able
Shining quietly
Like a lioness leads a pride
If only she knew her potential.

Reverent and uplifting
enriching us spiritually
Like a horse being led to water
If only more would choose to drink.

Powerful and reverent.
Inviting the spirit vocally.
Like the crash of a giant wave
If only you knew how to swim.

Day 16 Spring Senses Poetry (not gonna lie, not my favorite)

Looks like a fresh cut field of grass
Sounds like the bang of a starting gun.
Feels like warm sun on the skin.
Smells like sweaty uniforms.
Tastes like a cool glass of water.

Day 17 - Book Spine poems (So Much Fun!!)

What Love is
Any Given Day.
A Walk in the Woods,
A Thorny Path,
Running Into the Wind.
Confessions of a Slacker Mom
On Wings of Faith.
Stolen Identity,
Always Looking Up,
No Apology.
Finding Paradise
Following Christ.
Wake up to a Happier Life.

Hop on Pop,
Are you my Mother?
A Time for Everything,
Falling Up,
Great Expectations,
Elephant Games,
A Flea in the Ear,
Bear Wants More.
The Greatest Adventures of All Time
Giggle, Giggle, Quack.
My Dad is Awesome,
My Mom is Excellent.
Believe it Or Not!

Day 18 - I remember or Memory poems

I remember...

The anticipation of that first kiss under the dim light of Smitty's parking lot after we got off of work when you pulled me toward you as you leaned against your old yellow Mazda car.

The love I knew I had as I sat parked in my red pickup truck in your parents driveway when you told me you loved me for the very first time.

The satisfaction of knowing I would be your wife for eternity as we knelt across the altar in that sacred building in St. George all dressed in white.

Day 19 Cinquain

Sacredly One
Working hard everyday
Making sure the other feels loved.