Self Worth

df12f790163687ca82751dc370d9baafSelf worth. What does that mean? It’s not self esteem, but rather, it is more about feeling worthy.

I’ll admit it. There are days that I can feel little worth. I come home from work, defeated, because I waited all day for a “thank you” or a”good job” or a smile.

And I got nothing.

According to an article on PsychAlive,  studies now show that basing one’s self-worth on external factors is actually harmful to one’s mental health.

Jennifer Crocker, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research,  did a study of 600 college students during their Freshman year. Their self esteem was pretty high, in general. Go frosh!

When students were asked about what they base their self-worth on, more than 80 percent said academic competence, 77 percent said their family’s support, 66 percent said doing better than others, and 65 percent–70 percent of which were women–said their appearance.

Yikes. Lots of external factors. The people who focused more on external praise had….more stress, anger…..alcohol and drug use, as well as more symptoms of eating disorders. Ding. Ding. Ding. Yep. Yep. That’s me.

21b04491a57abbd3937c074608303830But I’m not a college freshman. I’m a 42-year-old woman who is still working on conquering perfectionism and finding her self worthiness from external sources.

So how what to do? Dr. Lisa Firestone called it our “inner critic.” How does one quash the inner critic and just embrace ourselves as we are?

One of the things that I’ve been doing is to focus on self care and less on my people pleasing. It’s hard, especially for those people who are use to me puckering up to them all of these years. But I have to be honest. My true friends…the people that really care about me….are encouraging me to do this. They aren’t challenging me looking out for myself. They’re actually supporting it.

Baby steps.

Tony Robbins is tall and a genius.

3946634-anthony-robbins-quote.jpgI’ve never paid much attention to Tony Robbins. Before last night, I knew his name, that he is a famous motivational speaker, and that he has a raspy voice. That pretty much covers it.

I had a bad case of insomnia last night. This happens from time to time, but most often when I have a big work event coming up. This time it is our annual gala.

So, often I will listen to podcasts to help lull me to sleep. One of my favorite reporters/newscasters is Katie Couric. She’s spunky. She has a new podcast where she interviews politicians, celebs, people of notable interest, etc. I had the Tony Robbins interview in my queue for a bit because I wasn’t that interested in hearing it, but last night, I figured I would give it a whirl.

Tony Robbins is a brilliant and fascinating man! He grew up in an abusive household and despite the odds, ended up on top! He gets paid about $1 million a day, and he tries not to have more than 3-4 clients at a time. They are usually top CEOS and, you know, the President of the United States, though Trump is not a current client.

hqdefault.jpgBut what intrigued me was the quick-thinking advice that came out of Tony’s (like how we’re on a first name basis?) mouth? Just brilliant. I can’t afford his advice, but I can watch his TV specials or something on YouTube…and I can afford a book!

P.S. Uh oh. He sells a green drink on his website. Let’s pretend we didn’t see that, huh?





Bad Medicine

There’s a simple reason why my last several blog post were a bunch of Debbie Downers. I was taking a very potent medication that, apparently, my body didn’t like. Over time, unbeknownst to us that the pills were doing more harm than good, my doctor slowly increased the dose, egged on by me because it was helping me lose weight. Little did we know that once we hit 50 milligrams, my body was going to completely rebel! As a result I was having abnormal anxiety that often turned into full blown panic attacks out of the blue. 
Like, for example, I would be sitting in my office & suddenly my hands would begin to shake uncontrollably. And my mind would split into a million directions. And I would frantically feel my heart begin to race. And pound. And I’d feel hot and anxious.

I couldn’t imagine life going on like that.

I rushed to my doctor’s office and we agreed: no more bad medicine!

Looking back, I am so relieved that we figured out what was causing my terrible feelings and anxiety. I feel so much like myself again–calmer, more “even”–if there is a calm version of me to be had!

Life is good.

How to survive a gum graft and frenectomy

download.jpegWhile I was recovering from my second (gulp, yes!) gum graft and frenectomy, I did a ton of googling and didn’t find a lot of reporting from patients on what to expect. Most of the things I found online were from periodontist offices, which is helpful, but I thought I’d share some of my survival tips for future oral surgery patients.

A little background first: I had a gum graft and frenectomy about a year and a half ago. When I went to visit my dentist for my first teeth cleaning post-oral surgery, he told me that the doctor didn’t do it well and I would need it to be repeated. Sigh. Not what you want to hear after 3 months of recovery! It took me another year to schedule the re-do because I had started a new job, but this past January 4, 2017, I went under the knife again.

It’s been about 2 weeks and I’m healing very well. I went for my follow-up today and I’m on the road to recovery!  Here are my main learnings from this second experience.

  1. You’re going to miss more work than you think.  Even though this is a routine procedure, it is still surgery! Give yourself about a week at home to recover, especially if you’re taking heavy pain killers like I was. I took almost all of the Oxycodone that I was prescribed because the first few days were tough. As a result, I was in no shape to work or do much of anything. My doctor gave me a note for work and it stated that it could take up to 10 days for you to be back to work. Take the time – you may need it!
  2. Stock up on shakes! For about a week, I couldn’t chew on anything. Period. I survived on Odwalla Chocolate Protein Shakes. They are very caloric, but you’ll need them to keep up your strength. Odwalla shakes are dairy and soy, so keep that in mind if you have any allergies. And, now that the dressing has been removed from my gum graft area, I’m sticking to soft foods and shakes for another few days.
  3. Mozzarella is the perfect post-surgical soft food! Enough said.
  4. Use the mouthwash. It’s going to be painful to brush so use the prescription mouthwash twice a day. It will save you from horrible breath!
  5. Stock up on Advil and Tylenol: You’ll want to switch between the two. One for pain, one for swelling.
  6. Re-freeze those instant ice packs: Get a few of those “break and turn cold immediately” ice packs for the day of surgery. Then, pop them back into the freezer to reuse all week. Life savor, and fairly cheap.
  7. Do not talk: Trust me, I talk more than anyone else I know. You’ll recover faster if you shut up.
  8. It will hurt, but it gets better each day: It’s surgery in your mouth – it is going to hurt! But fortunately, the mouth heals fast so I promise it gets better.
  9. No crunchy food: It will get stuck in your stitches and hurt very badly. Take it from someone who learned the hard way. Stick with soft foods for a long time!
  10. Grilled or roast chicken cut up into tiny pieces will become your bestie: Best solid food besides the mozzarella. Get a roasted chicken at Costco and cut it up into small pieces. I’ve been eating it plain, and tonight I make it with brown rice and melted cheese. All soft, tasty, and filling.

Good luck with your gum graft and/or frenectomy from one oral surgery survivor to another!



My non-New Year’s Resolutions

goals.jpgMy dear friend emailed me last week and said that he found that when he shared goals for the New Year with others, he was able to achieve them because others held him accountable. So, I’m game! I sent him my 2017 – and beyond –  goals (listed below) but I am also posting them on my blog for those of you to read and hold me accountable. They are not New Year’s Resolutions. They are things I’ve been working on for a while now and will continue to pursue in 2017.
1. Be kinder to myself and focus on self care when I need it.
2. Stick with taking my weight management medication but don’t be angry with myself if I gain some weight back…it will ebb and flow.
3. Focus on my career goals and don’t let your others make you feel like you are less than you are. Work towards your goal of becoming a leader of an organization.
4. Don’t let your work dominate your life in 2017. Make time for dating, relationships, friendships, love.
5. Keep up with the journey on keeping your home clean. Remember, you’re doing it for you.
What are your goals for this year…and beyond?

Tell them you love them.

Earlier this week my dear friend from high school lost her mother. When I read this sad news on FB, my mind immediately flashed to the summers after our junior and senior years when I would bounce between my house and my friends’ houses, including this particular friend. So I saw her mom quite a bit then. She was a good mom to my friend, and my heart aches for her.

It struck a nerve, also, because it hit close to home. Needless to say, I called my mom that night when I saw the post, and told her that I wish I could put her in a “plastic bubble” and keep her at home. She said, “People can die at home too, Joanna.” That was such a typical matter-of-fact comment to come from my loving mom.

I think I’m feeling particularly clingy to my parents lately because of my burst of depression, which I’ve mentioned in my last few posts. They have become very helpful resources in helping me when I get into a dark place.

A few weeks ago I went through a pretty positive transformational experience – don’t want to get bogged down in the details right now – but once it happened, I called my parents to thank them for their support through the process, and I started crying while talking to them. We weimagesre on Facetime, so you could see my face getting red and puffy as we talked, and I cried. But I wasn’t crying out of sadness or fear. On the contrary, they were tears of gratitude, joy, and relief. I couldn’t help myself. It was an important release of pent-up emotion.

The point of all of this is….don’t wait to tell someone “thank you” or “I love you” because you get can’t the words out, or feel silly. Just do it. Move past the bullshit of everyday life and just do it.




cocooning-12.pngHave you ever heard of or used the term “cocooning?” Urban dictionary describes it as “retreating to the seclusion of your home (as for privacy or escape).”

I had no idea, but apparently I am a classic “cocooner.” I knew I like to hang out along at home, but I didn’t know it had a name. Apparently the term was coined in 1981 by marketing forecaster Faith Popcorn. Coincidentally, when I cocoon, I often consume popcorn, but I digress.

So, how exactly do I cocoon? Well, first of all, you know that feeling of joy when you finally land into bed at the end of a long day? Yes, you get it. Once I hop into bed, I’m cocooning. I will often bury myself under the covers with my iPad or laptop or a good book, often with my head also under the covers. You know, like we did when we were kids long after our lights were supposed to out and we were supposed to be sound asleep. I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing this since I was a kid – back then, I used an “itty bitty book light” to nest under the covers. (The link from Amazon is a much fancier one than I had!).

This past weekend I was staying in a hotel and feeling pretty down – residual stuff from a few weeks ago (see last few posts). I didn’t even mean to, but I began cocooning! I woke up in the middle of the night, nestled under the covers, with the hood of my hoodie pj shirt tucked around my head! Made me laugh!

Faith Popcorn is now exploring cocooning and millennials, as written in this online article. Faith describes cocooning as:

It’s about hiding out at home rather than going out, and it’s about maximizing your comfort when you are home and bringing parts of the culture inside. Think about “binge watching”—this is Cocooning in action. Rather than going out to the movies, we sit at home and endlessly stream an entire series all weekend long.

I imagine a lot of us cocoon nowadays – maybe not with your head buried under a hoodie like me – but certainly with binge watching House of Cards or the latest Netflix show. We curl up on the couch and settle in for a few hours of escape.

I enjoy cocooning. It gives me a sense of comfort that I likely used to get when I would emotionally eat during my 15-year battle with binge eating disorder. I’m glad I’ve found a benign way to find the same joy and escapism I found when overeating, but with little consequence other than a wasted afternoon.