02 May 2019

Time for a change of mindset

I've been doing this self-care initiative recently and I have just been having epiphanies all over the place.

For example, it dawned on me yesterday that some of my unease with some friends has to do with the fact that I am changing. I am working hard on overcoming my excuses and losing any labels I cling to but some friends I have are clinging to their excuses and labels for dear life. It seems to be that is their whole identity and without them, they don't know who or what they are. It's a shocker. 

Then walking to school this morning I had another epiphany. In the past, when school ends I look at that as a time to do nothing. I will sleep in, watch TV,  play on the computer, or nap. I have things I want to do but no real plan or desire to get them done. What happens then is the weeks of summer go by and school starts with nothing accomplished over the summer. Last year I did get some things accomplished but only because I really and truly wanted to get them done. So the epiphany this morning was that I need to change how I think about summer. Instead of looking at it as a time to do nothing, I need to look at it as a time to do the things I want to do. For example, I want to run. Phoenix in summer means any running has to happen early in the morning. Early. I was thinking about this and realized that if I want to run, and I do, I will just get up and run. I get to do that because I don't have to go to school. So I need to change how I view summer. Summer is a time when I get to do the things I want to do when I want to do them. So I need to make my list of things to do during summer and then be very excited because I get to do the things I want. This is freeing. I am very excited about my new point of view.

25 April 2019

Day 8 - Why do I want to do self-care?

So I'm supposed to list out my reasons for wanting to do self-care. I'm going to go with free-writing and just see where that takes me.

I want to do self-care because I want to feel amazing. I want to have the energy to do the things I want to do like hike and work with Mavy.  I want to do self-care because I want to have the patience to work with Mavy and he needs a lot of work. I want to do things and experience things and not just sit around my house getting old. I am currently not taking any medication and I want to continue that way until I'm 70 and 80. I want to feel amazing for all the remaining years I have. I don't want to grow old gracefully, I want to take age on full force. I want to be that person that people say, I can't believe she's X years old. I want to be an example to people around me. I don't want to sit in pain like I am now. I want to be healthy and active really able to enjoy the rest of my life.  I want to not care what people think of me. I want to be me and no one else. I want to be confident in my abilities. I want to know that I'm doing the best I can for me at any given moment. I do not want to ever end up sick and on lots of medicine like some people around me. I do not ever want my life to be something that I dread living. I want to live a joyful, happy life for as long as I possibly can.

14 April 2019


Tomorrow I turn 60. In many ways, I can't believe it. Honestly! I never thought I would live to see this age. I grew up during the height of the cold war and we used to have atomic bomb drills. Hello!!! Then there were the 70's and 80's. Lots of drugs, lots of drinking, lots of partying. Live fast, die young mentality. The year 2000 was coming and everything was going to change anyway. I honestly never thought I would live to see 60. But here I am, staring it in the face.

I always wanted to be that wise old woman. I'm not. I have learned a lot in my time here, but most of what I learned can't be passed on well. Most of the things I've learned have to be learned individually. Also, you have to be open to learning these things and most people are not. So I have learned, especially in the last few days, to keep my hard earned wisdom to myself.

But here are some things I have learned:

  1. No one can make me think, feel, or do anything I don't want to
  2. I can't make anyone think, feel, or do anything they don't want to 
  3. I am in control of my thoughts and actions
  4. Anger is something I just don't have time for
  5. Looking forward or looking backward takes your eyes off this moment
  6. All we truly have is this moment
  7. Exercise is super important, especially as we age
  8. Working is actually something I truly enjoy and will do as long as possible
  9. Find pleasure in the small, quiet moments
  10. Do things that make you happy, life is too short to be unhappy
Is that everything, no. But it's a few of the things I've learned over the years that have really stuck with me. Most of these things didn't come from age but from experience. Which I guess I couldn't have if I didn't get older. 

I'm finally comfortable in my own skin and feel like I really know myself. If this is 60 I'll take it.

13 April 2019

Day 7: Perfectionism

Defining it as an on/off switch, list all the ways that perfectionism could potentially derail your self-care practice. In other words, in what kinds of situations could you imagine yourself saying, “I ruined something” or “I’m never going to be able to do this so I might as well quit now”? For example, how would you likely react after not walking for a few days?


This is something I've been working on for a long, long time. Losing that perfectionist attitude. I used to be a real perfectionist and it was ruining lots of things in my life. If I missed a workout, I would beat myself up. If I screwed up a craft project, I would beat myself up. If I did something wrong at work, I would beat myself up and ruminate about it for days. But I've been working on not doing that. I've been working on accepting the fact that I am not perfect and doing things to the best of my ability is good. I don't expect my students to do better than they are capable of, why would I expect it of myself? Some ways where perfectionism can still creep into my life:

Workouts - I still tend to have some all or nothing thinking about these and definitely need to lose that.

Food - though I've gotten much, much better at looking at meals as one-off events, I still have times when I say oh, I'll get back on track on Monday or the weekend or whenever.

Training Mavy - definitely need to work on that in this area. Missing training clearly doesn't bother him, but I would like to have more fun time with him.

That's about it. I really have gotten pretty good an not being a perfectionist in most areas. I even will purposefully skip a day here and there just to show things don't fall apart if I do.

Day 6: The Giver Tendency

Assignment: Write a letter to your kid telling them all the ways that you hope they will take care of themselves as adults so that they can have the most amazing life possible. Try not to leave anything out. Talk about the physical things they will need to do, the attitude they will need to have, and the perspective necessary to glide through hard times with the least amount of heartache.


To have an amazing life you must absolutely take time for yourself. You must find the things that make you happy outside of your family. We all know that seeing your kids happy makes you happy, but there have to be things outside your family that make you happy. You must be able to stand on your own, with your own people, among your own friends. You must have hobbies and interests that maybe you share with no one else. That's fine. If it fills you with joy or just makes you happy, that's okay. Do it. Go for it. Being able to stand on your own two feet is so very important in this life. You can't always rely on others, they may not be able to help you, so you need to be able to stand on your own. You need to be able to fight your own battles, whatever they may be. You need to have confidence and faith in your own abilities in order to stand tall. You need to take care of your physical body, exercise and eat right. Do things that may not be fun but will help keep your body strong and flexible. Eating right is very important. Food affects so many things in our bodies that it's important to keep putting in the good stuff. This will keep you healthy much longer than any doctor can. And you have to have an attitude of strength and resilience. You can't be a victim. You have to be strong of mind and able to speak up for yourself. I know it's not easy and I know it's easier many times to just go along. But resist. Be true to yourself, your dreams, your desires, and you will become a strong, independent person whom others find amazing.

05 April 2019

Obstacles to Self-Care

I've done this a 1,000 times in the past. Started something amazing, went really strong for a while, then stopped. Sometimes I stopped slowly, it just gradually faded away. Other times I stopped abruptly for some specific reason. Using the past as an example, what could become obstacles to my self-care practice?

Time - the first thing that always comes to mind is the time factor. I feel, in general, like I just don't have enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do. Now, that is absolutely ridiculous because I have the time to sit and watch TV, play stupid computer games, and scroll Facebook for hours on end. So there really is no basis for that at all. Saying I don't have time is just flat out not true.

Energy - the next thing, and closely related to time, is not having the energy. This is generally another flat out lie. If I do things I enjoy, I have plenty of energy for them. Also, with things like exercise, the more I do it the more energy I have. Also, when things become a habit, I have plenty of energy for them. I have the energy to give the dogs their pills every night even though there are nights when I just want to go to bed. I do it because it's good for them and I want them to be happy and healthy. So I find the energy and the time.

Desire - this is the biggee, at least I think it is. I frequently say, eh, I don't feel like it. And I think that I use this as a  disguise for "I'm not worth it"  In many ways, I have a very low opinion of myself. And I can't help but think that it all goes back to my brothers telling me I'm stupid and ugly when I was younger. In a lot of ways that seems like a cop-out, but I kinda think it's really true. In my formative years, I heard that a lot from my brothers, hell, I don't remember hearing much else until I got older, and that can wreck your self-confidence especially as a kid. I always feel like other people have a higher opinion of me than I do myself. How strange is that? Other people have more confidence in my abilities than I do myself. Weird.

So let's look at the whole, I'm not worth it thing. Why would I not be worth it? I teach children. I do something most people would not be able to handle. And I do it well. The students like me. The admin likes me. The other teachers like, or if they don't I really don't care. Am I perfect? NO!! Is anyone? No!! But I try really hard to do the best I can for those kids. There are others who literally just put in the time. So based on nothing else at all, I am worth it strictly because of what I do and the effort I put into it. Also, I'm worth it because I'm a nice human being. I don't go around treating people crappy or killing people. So that qualifies me as a generally nice person and just because of that I'm worth it.

I also feel like I'm not worth it sometimes because of my Husband. It's not that he makes me feel that way, though if I'm truly honest he does. There are times when I say I'm going to do something and he scoffs at it. I never delve into why he scoffs and basically just make assumptions that he thinks I can't/won't do it. Honestly, that makes me feel bad and then I usually don't do that thing. He is generally very supportive and loving, so I'm not exactly sure why he does that sometimes. I was just going to delve into why he might do that, but I caught myself and realized I can't possibly know his motivations or what is going on in his mind so I'm not even going to go there. I can't control what he does or says, the only thing I can control is how I respond to it. So if/when he does that again, I'm not going to let it get to me. Doing something like that probably says more about how he feels about himself then it does about how he feels about me. Wow, I have never really given that a whole lot of thought before and didn't even realize that was in there.

02 April 2019

Self-Care Initiative

Five days ago I signed up for a self-care initiative. It's done by the guy I've been following for years for fat loss. He has always said that in order to change your body, you have to change your mind. So now he offers a course on how to change your mind. I started on Saturday and, while it still seems fairly easy, I can see we are heading into some deep, deep waters.

Yesterday's assignment was to look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and view our lives in terms of the different levels.

So let's start at the bottom, physiological needs:

Overall, I'm pretty okay on this level. I have enough money to buy food and keep a roof over my head. The problems I have at this level are definitely 1st world problems. I eat junk food far more often than I should. I don't dring enough water at times. These are things that are purely self-inflicted and things that I can easily fix myself to make this level solid.

Safety needs:
Again, the issues here are definitely 1st world problems. I am not secure about money because we live paycheck to paycheck, but I am working on changing that. I worry about retirement and how that will work for me. I worry that something may happen to one of us and then what will happen to the other one. But again, these are all things I can fix myself and I am working on some of these issues.

Belongingness and love needs:

This one is where things start to get shaky.  While I feel I have a strong marriage, we are not as close or intimate as we used to be. That though is easy enough to fix and totally within my power.  Friends, now that is a different story. I have a couple of good friends and I have some acquaintances. But they are few. I have trouble making friends and keeping friends. Part of the problem is I don't need a lot of friends, that's just not who I am, but I also think I'm too honest in some ways. If people want to do something and I don't, I say no. If there is some activity that just doesn't appeal to me, I won't do it. I know that some people have the ability to go and do things whether they want to or not just to be with their friends. But then is that really fulfilling their needs or just letting people control them. Hmmm... that's a rabbit hole I'm not sure I want to go down.

Esteem needs:

Yeah, this area is a problem. I do not feel that I have the esteem or the prestige that I should have for 10 years of teaching. 10 years of teaching is a long, long time. I should be a teacher that other teachers look up to.  I should have things wired, well as wired as you can have teaching.  I should be the one that is on the leadership team. I know what I'm doing. So yeah, this area is definitely where things start to fall apart.

Self-actualization needs:

And this just continues it. I know that I am not living up to my full potential. I know that I could be an amazing teacher if I put the time and energy into it. I know that I could be an amazing leader in the field of science teaching if I just put in the time and energy. I know that I could be an amazing dog trainer and make Mavy an amazing dog, but I need to put in the time and energy. I am a smart, talented, extremely creative person who just does not live up to her potential.  There are lots of things I don't do in my life that I want to because I'm not willing to put in time and energy. I could be amazing at the things I do if I would just focus and put the time and energy into them. The thing is, I know that if I made myself do amazing things in one area, that would rub off and I would do amazing things in other areas. I don't even push myself on the things that I do. I've been taking Mavy to training for a year now and I don't practice with him near enough.  Hell, I've been teaching for 10 and I still stumble through days like I don't know what I'm doing. It's stupid.

So clearly I have some things to work on. I'm hoping that this class will help me work those things out.

30 March 2019

Letter from my future self

Self-Care:   The creation and maintenance of vitality and happiness. 

What does that mean to me? 

Vitality: The state of being strong and active; energy. 

Happiness: The state of being happy

Okay, looking just at the definitions, I guess these things mean different things to me depending on the context. So let's look at those. 

Marriage:  vitality and happiness would be to enjoy each others company, do things together that we both enjoy, have a peaceful and pleasant home life. 

Work: vitality would be the energy to do my job through the whole day and to do it well. Happiness would be enjoying what I'm doing and not just fighting to keep my head above water. I want to enjoy the lessons I do and the classes I teach and I don't want them to be a struggle or something that I 'must' do. I want to have things organized and ready so I'm not running around like a chicken with my head cut off every single day trying to get things together.

Vitality:  to me, that means the energy to do the things I want to do. I want to do agility with Maverick. I want to hike and explore places. I want to travel and see new things. I want a home that is clean and neat and pleasant to live in. 

Happiness: is intricately tied to vitality. In order to be happy I need to have the vitality to do the things that I enjoy. 

Dear past self, 

It has been 2 years of self-care and boy oh boy what a difference it has made in my life. I am in a much better place with myself. I no longer talk badly about myself in any way. I never say I am lazy, or stupid, or fat, or anything that is degrading in any way. I no longer do things because I think that I have to. I do things because I want to and because they bring some value to my life. I don't let others push me around or decide what is best for me. I have taken complete control of my life in all areas and I am really happy. 

It wasn't easy to get here. It took a lot of work, a lot of learning experiences, and a lot of looking deep into myself. I had to break some old habits and needed to look at things in a very different way. I needed to make myself a priority in my own life. I've always said that I do make myself a priority but that's not completely true. Two years ago I would put off things like working out, working with Maverick, going hiking, etc, because I thought it that I shouldn't leave my husband at home. Well, I don't do that anymore. If I want to workout, I workout. If I want to go work with Maverick, I work with Maverick. If I want to go on a weekend and watch an agility trial, I go. If my husband wants to go with me he can, if not, he can find some other way to amuse himself. I can't be in control of his happiness and it took me a long time to work that out. 

I work very hard to make decisions in the moment. I no longer think of what might or might not happen in the future. I work towards those things, but don't truly plan on them. I work to make my life easier and more like I want it to be. 

Two years is a long time to work on something, but 60 years is a long time to be miserable. In reality, I wasn't miserable in my life. Especially in the 10-12 years before I started the self-care. I had set up a life that I liked, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted. There were still some aspects that I inadequate and inferior in and that really wasn't the case. In the last 2 years, I've learned that I am more than adequate and better than most. I do things well and I do things thoroughly. And doing things my way is what makes me really and truly happy. 

Time for a change of mindset

I've been doing this self-care initiative recently and I have just been having epiphanies all over the place. For example, it dawne...