NO FOMO

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I went “social media free” for the past 5 days in order to improve my social life. Yep. Despite the term “social media,” I find that an overabundant use of social media can feel very isolating. You have “Facebook envy” – otherwise known as FOMO.

So, how did my experiment go? Amazing.

On Thursday, I had lunch with two of my besties. I didn’t need to take out my phone because there was no social media checking. I was off from work so I didn’t need to check email. My friend took a photo and asked if it was ok if she posted it, despite my social media break. I told her it was fine, but I wouldn’t see it or comment on it. She apparently posted it because a few days later, my mom said that she saw I had lunch with my two friends. She was not on a Facebook break, apparently.

After lunch, I went to Ikea to purchase a coffee table. No checking-in, no photos of the abundant candy. I drove home and relaxed, oblivious to anything superfluous from my 4,200 or so friends, followers, or contacts on social media.

On Friday, I slept and relaxed.

On Saturday, I went to the eye doctor and didn’t worry when she said she had to dilate my eyes. “No worries,” I thought. I don’t have any tweets, posts, or pokes to read anyhow.

I woke up early on Sunday – well, early for me – and headed to apple picking with my friend and her 5-year old son. We took silly pictures on her camera. I didn’t focus on photos too much, but rather, just enjoyed the moment. We went to Wegman’s and had lunch. I went home afterwards and watched some Hulu. I was pooped from a productive morning of apple picking, socializing, and not sweating the small stuff.

I hadn’t thought about what I was missing out on all weekend because all I knew was what I was involved in in my own world. It was lovely and had just enough in it to make me feel like I was productive, but also enough “veg” time too.

I spoke with my mom and she said the only thing I missed on social media was that my cousin got engaged. I told her I’d congratulate him on Monday, when I’d check my Facebook again.

I checked it today, wished my cousin a big “mazel” and decided not to review my 61 missed notifications.

It was a fun experiment which I plan to do again very soon.

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The Gifts of Imperfection

A few hours ago, about 15 miles away, author and psychologist Brene Brown took the stage at a conference and spoke, likely, about her newest book and research. Sadly, I didn’t get to experience her lecture in person, but there are plenty of her past interviews and talks to listen to online.

brownI can’t remember, but I feel like I’ve probably written about brown in the past. I first learned about her if you jobs ago when we read the book “Daring Greatly,” which focuses on vulnerability. It particularly resonated with me because she discusses that when we allow ourselves to become vulnerable, we can help eliminate the shame we feel about our imperfections.

I recently purchased Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection” to help me continue on the path to “knock down” and remove the power of my so-called perfectionism. You see, perfectionists like myself aim to be good at everything – or, at least on the surface – so that we don’t have to deal with the shame or hurt feelings as a result of making a mistake or being imperfect.

My past history with an eating disorder clearly matches up with a perfectionist personality. When I didn’t want to feel, I would attempt to numb my pain with food. Well, guess what, that didn’t work!

Through years of hard work, I’ve been able to tackle my perfectionism and exist with my feelings – good or bad. But, let me tell you, it is hard!

I listened to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast where she interviewed Brown. Listen. Trust me, it’ll be 30 minutes well spent. And there is a part two!

Brown mentioned something that has been resonating with me all day. She said that we don’t pair “joy” with “gratitude” enough. We need to take the time to relish the good things that happen every day, whether it is the wind on our face as we open our sunroof and windows on a beautiful day….or the company of a good friend over an unexpected lunch date….or a morning with little traffic on the way to work.

I can tell that I’m conquering my perfectionism. I made a silly mistake today at work – no big deal and typical for someone still learning their job after only being there for 3-weeks. I am not obsessing over it the way I would have in the past. I acknowledged it with an “oy vey!” and moved on (besides writing about it here!). In the past it would have kept me from sleeping at night – this silly little thing that means nothing in the scheme of life. But tonight, I will not let it fester. I will work hard to let it go!

I will continue to look for things in Brown’s writing and research that resonate. I look forward to discovering more of her wisdom and using it to grow as a person.

Now, go out and dare greatly!

The Importance of Good Sleep

cea1e377395511529d66103cf19c6183Every have one of those good night’s sleep where you wake up so refreshed and energized? I know. Seems to good to be true, right? I remember having one of those nights and just feeling so incredibly content the next day.

Sadly, for me, it has been a very long time.

I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in several years now. I don’t always remember waking up at night, but I can guarantee you that, every morning, no matter what time I went to sleep the night before, I wake up exhausted. For years I suppressed this and chalked it up to stress, but more recently, I’ve realized it is like due to sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea, according to WebMD, ” is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep….sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain– and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.”

Woah! You wake up 100 or more times during the night? Well, no wonder I feel exhausted when I wake up in the morning! And you stop breathing? Double woah. That’s scary. I remember when I went on a cruise and was matched with a roommate as part of a “singles” trip, she commented, “It’s so cute. You stop breathing during the night!” I responded, “That’s not cute – that’s sleep apnea!”

Imagine the crap I’ve been doing to my brain all of this time. And, other side effects include: high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, depression, and headaches. That’s some scary, serious stuff.

I’ve done an “at home” sleep study and the results came up inconclusive. What is the reason I’ve held off doing the “in hospital” study? One reason: money. It is going to cost me between $2,000-$3,000 after insurance kicks in. For those of us who have been on a fixed budget, that’s daunting. But, I’ve spoken with the sleep center and I can go on a payment plan.

I realize now that this is something I must do. I can’t go on walking around like a zombie all of the time. I seriously never feel rested. For years. It’s terrible.

I can’t wait to write about this in the near future and comment on how I don’t know what I did before I got a CPAP, which is the machine that delivers oxygen to you while you sleep.

Sweet dreams, dear readers!

 

 

 

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!