Mental Health

This Week in Therapy: Staying in Routine

This week in therapy we talked about staying in routine while in quarantine. I’m a creature of habit. I wake up at 5am. I journal, meditate for 5 minutes, look over my plan for the day, go for a run, get ready and get to work. That’s how I want most days to go. Of course, I’m HUMAN. Not every day turns out that way. If I’m sick, stressed or overwhelmed in any area of my life, that routine breaks down. A good example:

I gained close to 30 pounds between 2018/2019 when I was in a really bad place, therefore, understandable. I’ve been trying to shed that weight ever since. I’m only 28 and for some reason it is 20 times harder to lose weight now than when I was even just 24. It’s wild. Anyways, it’s been a roller coaster. I’ll shed some pounds and then gain all or some back shortly after. The other day I stepped on the scale, and I REALLY thought I would have lost a pound. I’d worked really hard that week and I had a good feeling. Wrong. I GAINED a pound. I was so bummed. I immediately fell off my routine right away. I didn’t do yoga. I didn’t read for 30 minutes. I didn’t complete my work out that day. Or the next day…or the next day. Bad news, disappointment, not meeting expectations…these are my triggers. These triggers…throw off my routine.

So I babble this all to my therapist, who is a saint. I feel like she never talks, because I’m just talking at her face for the whole 50 minutes. Whatever helps though! We discuss talking to yourself the second the situation comes up. What if, right after I get this news, I trigger myself to write down how I’m feeling. Example:

“I weighed myself this morning. It didn’t go to plan. I thought I would have lost something. Gaining a pound is really confusing and upsetting to me. I think I want to give up. But I know I don’t want that. There could be a million reasons the scale hasn’t budged in the way I want it to. Maybe I did up my calories a little too much. My runs weren’t that great this week and I knew that. I don’t want this to screw up my routine. I want to carry on. I’m going to acknowledge this situation and let it go. Move forward. Because I’m going to feel way worse if I let this bring me down. Onward!”

I didn’t do this ^^^

If I did, I think I honestly do not think I would have fallen off routine. If I had addressed how I was feeling right away, instead of burying them deep down and not dealing with it…I would have saved myself a lot of grief. So, that’s what I’m working on now – noticing the triggers and dealing with them right away.

I think that relying on a routine can sometimes leave me at a disadvantage. It can make it harder to go with the flow when your life comes to a screeching halt. At the same time though, I love having a routine. It makes me feel really accomplished and helps me meet my goals. Honestly, I think it’s different for every one. Some people lean more towards type A and some people, type B. I think I’m like…..a B+ A-……? LOLZ.

The most important thing at the end of the day…at this moment in time…is to be super duper over the top nice to yourself. I mean, we should always be nice to ourselves but lets be honest…life is complicated and messy. Right now though, in times of crisis and mystery…we need to take extra care of our mental health. Check in with yourself. Talk to people. Every day when I wake up, I’ve started the day asking myself “How do I feel today?” Am I feeling depressed? Energized? Confused? Sad? What do I need at this moment? That’s been helping me a lot. Now I need to add that check in in when I’m triggered! I’ll let you know how that goes….

This week in therapy was great. I’m so thankful that I’m still able to speak to her (even though it’s virtual.) I always leave feeling replenished. Feeling like I did something really nice for myself that day. I highly recommend it.

So, I hope your routines or lack of routines are going well. I hope you’re talking to people. I hope you’re feeling well and if you’re not, I hope you’re taking the time to acknowledge that.

Till next time…be nice to yourself.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz.

Mental Health

The Unknown

This week in Therapy we discussed the fear of not knowing. I think my life has taken a complete 180 over the past year or so. It doesn’t feel like it was very gradual. It felt like it happened in an instant. I’m putting myself and my needs first, learning to slow down and working on myself which is incredible. I’ve never felt stronger in so many ways. Then why do I sometimes find myself staring out the window thinking…..”wait…what now?”

Ugh. I told my therapist that I am very VERY confused. I’m almost 30, I’m not majorly successful, married, with child or living in a nice house like I thought I would be. Yes, it did cross my mind that many people are going through the same thing, but listen – therapy is my selfish time and I need you to let me work this out for me okay? Ugh!

I told her how much I fear for 1 year from now Kelly. I said ” 1 year from now Kelly is very fragile okay? She’s vulnerable and could very well break down if she’s in the same spot and look, I’m not responsible for the actions of future Kelly, so take that as you will.” After she politely laughed, she asked me “What do you do for yourself to nurture these fears you have?”

(Silence)

That’s such a hard question to answer.

To be honest, I think I’ve nurtured myself a lot in the past 6 months. I’m journaling daily again, working out 6 times a week, going to therapy and eating well. I think I’ve shown massive improvement in my self esteem and an allegiance to putting myself first every day so that I can be a better person for the world. That being said….are these coping mechanisms that will work in the moment when anxiety rears its ugly head? Will I be able to whip out a journal or eat a piece of kale or hop on a treadmill every single time I feel a little off?

We talked about how some things I fear are completely out of my control. I have a lot of feelings about my future. Only so much of that is in my hands. The rest is out in the universe. I don’t know if I’ll be in Chicago or some place warm, working another crappy job or finally working for myself, married or not, near family or not…I don’t know. Then I think back to moving to Chicago. I swear on all that is good and pure that my thought process around moving to Chicago escapes me as quickly as Ted Bundy out of a court room window.

I have no real substantial memory of what in the hell I was thinking wanting to move to one of the most dangerous cities in America at 22. It was all a gut feeling. I just knew it was right. Then I did everything to make it happen.

I explained to my therapist that it’s been a long time since something really exciting happened in my life. I mean like….REALLY exciting; booking a part I really wanted, moving to a new city, getting engaged, landing an amazing job – all examples of huge life altering things that just…haven’t happened yet or…haven’t happened in a while. I know I crave excitement. I crave change. It’s just strange that I’m the one making a lot of the changes, but maybe I’ve always been making the changes and I just didn’t realize it when I was younger. Jury is out on that, but I’ll keep you posted.

So, how do we cope with fear of the future? Well, a mantra that has always been in my heart and mind is this: “I am never trapped in anything.” Meaning if there is something in my life that I don’t like, I always have the power to change it. I usually use this mantra when I’m in a job I don’t like…but after discussing this with my therapist I thought…hmm…that can be used for literally everything in life.

I’m going to try saying this to myself whenever I’m feeling an onset of anxiety.

Here’s the lesson: we have no control over what will happen. We do however, have control over ourselves in the here and now, and what we do for ourselves now will reflect in our future. It’s a little trippy but, it gives me so much peace of mind. I love my life, but I have big dreams for my future. Always assess what is going on in the present and what might not be working for you. Can you fix it? Are you willing to do the work? Can you take care of yourself along the way?

You are never trapped in anything.

Always work to be better.

To make your life better.

Then you can tell the future you’re ready for it’s blessings…or bullshit.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Mental Health

Changing

There is a night and day difference between me in my early 20’s and me in my late 20’s. It honestly feels like it happened over night. In my early 20’s I was out and about all the time. I was taking class after class, working jobs I hated, shifts I hated, meeting many new people, performed all the time, explored a new city, stayed out till 3 and ate/drank whatever I wanted.

Now in my late 20’s, I want to be home….pretty much all the time. I watch several movies a week, perform less, write more, mainly stick with my core group of friends, working a job I’m okay with, a shift I love, live in a routine, work out more, meet less people and go to bed at 9pm…sometimes even on weekends.

This has been a huge growing pain for me. Even though with the exception of a handful of wonderful memories, lessons learned and friends made…I was still pretty miserable in my early 20’s. I was so burnt out, I needed new words for “burnt out.” Yet, it makes me feel kind of sad that I don’t live my life this way any more. It make me wonder: Am I depressed? Have I given up in some way? Am I boring? I think these feelings are normal and must come with the territory of a quarter life crisis. However, It doesn’t make it any less difficult to work through. I heard on a podcast the other day that we often grieve the “death” of our early 20’s and we need to do that in order to find some kind of closure.

Approaching 30 doesn’t scare me. If anything, I’m very excited. However, I am finding the build up to be rather rough. I have an income, a great partner, a roof over my head, two loving pets, many friends and yet, I don’t feel as if I’m living up to my full potential. I guess we’re all always trying to be better, live better and feel better, but I don’t know where to start. Or I should say – I don’t know what’s missing. As a kid and up until about now, I’ve always known what I wanted. I wanted to perform. I have. I still do, but it’s not enough for me. I didn’t see that coming. Also when people who have known you your whole life only know you in that light, it feels even more strange to say “just kidding, i need more.”

I’ve changed. In the blink of an eye, my priorities, desires and values are completely different. I do feel that even though it feels a little unnatural right now – that I am a better person than I was 6 years ago. I think I value myself a whole lot more. I’m living for myself and not for what other people expect of me – which can be very difficult because, I really hate letting people down. Even strangers!

In a nutshell:

  • I’m happy to have less on my plate and I can add more along the way as long as I don’t feel burnt out.
  • I miss performing, but I’m much more picky about what kind of performing and I think that’s smart.
  • I love going to bed early and that doesn’t make me boring.
  • Staying up till 3 was fun, but I already have what most people who stay up that late are looking for.
  • I still want to be successful, but what that looks like has changed and I can’t see it right now, but I will.
  • It’s okay to be depressed. We’re all depressed in our own way. Acknowledging and reaching out will always help.
  • It’s hard to do things different from the way people expect you to but also, any one who doesn’t just want you to be happy, sucks.

This post was a bit of a ramble, but I think people can relate. I hope in this New Year, whether you’ve made changes or stayed the same, you’ll find that whatever brings you joy is always the way. As the spice girls once said….

“Slam it to the left
If you’re havin’ a good time
Shake it to the right
If ya know that you feel fine
Chicas to the front
Ha ha (uh uh)
Go round”

If that’s not joy, I don’t know what is.

You’re welcome.

Self Care, Self Flare

xoxo

Kelz

Mental Health

Relationship Anxiety

I think about whether or not I’m making a huge mistake being in my relationship…every week.

Have I caught your attention?

Yeah? Well, it’s true.

I have massive relationship anxiety.

I’ve told this to my partner a lot and instead of flipping out or taking it personally, he listens to me and calms me down. Then I start thinking, “oh my God why is he so great? It’s annoying. Gotta end it.”

That’s not to say our relationship is perfect. There are a lot of things, big things, that we’ve needed to work on and still are working on.

I want to talk about the thing I am convinced almost everyone feels but is afraid to talk about. What if this isn’t right?

I think people feel this way when they’re in a relationship, engaged and even when they’re married.

Being in my relationship is by far the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever done….and I’ve done a solo show before…..talk about vulnerable. Relationships though – they’re messy and uncomfortable. Someone gets to know you better than you know yourself. You don’t know if they’re going to wake up one day,  say they met someone else and bounce or if they’re going to say just kidding I don’t love you anymore, or if they’re going to take all your money or realize they’re gay or realize they’re straight or not want to have kids or oh my God I COULD KEEP GOING YA’LL.

In a nutshell – it takes so much trust that needs to accumulate over a long time. At least for me. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m dating someone I was already friends with for years, and I still didn’t trust him at first. In fact every single person I dated before him, I knew I could never trust – so I pretty much self sabotaged myself because the thought of trusting anyone was pretty terrifying.

And now here I am. 3 and 1/2 years in and I trust him completely. Which. Is. Still. TERRIFYING. UGHHHHHH PEEEOOOPPPLLLEEEEZZZZ.

This has been something I’ve been working on a lot in the past year. Him and I are at the point now where every one asks us when we’re getting married and what our future holds. I’ve asked the same thing to my friends who have been in long term relationships. Being on the other side of that, I gotta say, we have to stop asking that. It’s absolutely meant with the best of intentions. But now that I’m IN it….I take it so much more seriously than I ever thought I would. It’s the biggest decision of your life. I’ve let people asking me this question really throw my anxiety through a loop..when really…it’s a very personal question that has to do with no one but myself and my partner. Timelines mean nothing and the fact that we’re not married yet also means nothing.

There are a lot of things I want to do in my life. Run marathons. Travel to over 20 countries. Live in another city. Create big projects that are meaningful. Write a novel. Take one of those classes where you drink wine and paint sunsets…and, get married. I plan on getting around to all of these things, but don’t ask me when okay?

Here’s the thing friends. I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. I know marriage is something I want, but maybe it won’t happen. Maybe we’ll get married and it will fall apart. Maybe we’ll have a kid and not get married. Maybe we’ll move overseas. Maybe we’ll part tomorrow. Maybe we’ll be together forever. I don’t know.

Want to know what I do know? I know that he is the person I want by my side on the very worst days of my life. The day I lose my job, a parent passes, a pet is sick, a world disaster occurs, I get bad news about my health….anything. I know he will be there to hold my head up with his shoulder, make me laugh and take care of me. That I can trust wholeheartedly and not feel terrified. So, whenever I find myself in a state of doubt, I think about that and it has remained tried and true.

A good example: This morning I woke up crying in pain from the worst cramps I’ve ever had in my entire life. He woke up. Jumped right out of bed. Got me advil and held me as I was writhing on the bathroom floor. He held my hands and kept telling me to breathe in and out. He felt my head and asked me if I needed anything. He checked in with me all day and never wavered in his concern and promise to be there for whatever I needed.

Tried and true my friends. Tried and true. We might not know if in the end that’s enough but, it sure is something worth fighting for.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

 

Mental Health

Values

I’ve had three sessions now with my current therapist. I forgot how strange it feels. It’s just as awkward as your first few dates with someone. So far, it’s going well. It’s gotten more and more comfortable each time. It’s funny – I thought she’d talk more. After the first session I thought – “hmm I don’t feel like she gave me any life altering advice, I should prob never see her again.” Then I realized, oh she let me do most of the talking, you know, like a therapist is supposed to do. I’m glad I’ve stuck around.

 

 

At our last session, we talked about Values. She gave me a deck of about 75-100 cards. They each had a different value written in one to three words with a short sentence describing them. The values ranged from nurturing others to family to money to fame to justice to accomplishing great awards/achievements...She had me categorize them in three piles:

Very important to me

Important to me

Not important to me

This took up our entire session. Some were very easy to decide. I’d basically fling those out of my hands, gracefully of course. Others had me really uh, you know – over thinking. I’d end up looking at my therapist like this:

 

 

Like why are you doing this to me?? I have a child! (cat)

 

It’s fine, I’m fine.

 

Eventually, we finished. I felt very satisfied with my ability to get through them all in under an hour. Then, she took away all of the value cards I decided were not important to me and that were important to me she had me spread out all of the very important to me values out on the table. Then she said: pick 5. And I thought:

 

 

This took…pretty long.

After what felt like several hours, I finally had my 5. The values that are most important to me in my life.

In no particular order:

  • Self acceptance
  • Health
  • Creativity
  • Adventure
  • Risk  

 

Self Acceptance

This one didn’t surprise me. I don’t feel like I could live life true to any of my values if I didn’t accept myself in some way shape or form.

 

Health

This was tough only because there was one card that said fitness and strength and another that just said health. I really want to be fit and strong. I always have. I’m just now really going after that goal actually – but in the long run I want to live a long, health life. I want to feel good. So, I value health over fitness.

 

Creativity

My purpose.

 

Adventure

This one surprised me so much. I’ve always known I wanted to travel and see amazing places. I didn’t think I’d make it a top 5 value though, because I have not been on an adventure, a true adventure…in several years. It’s possible the last adventure I had was moving to Chicago. Before that it was studying abroad. Where’d that go in my life? Talk about a therapy breakthrough. I didn’t know it was so important to me until it was staring me right in the face. One might say…I owe this to myself!

 

Risk

I may not go on adventures lately, but I definitely think I take risks, even if it’s just in my own way. What I mean is, I’ve definitely said no to things out of fear. I’m not perfect after all. I do think that I’ve put myself out there and been vulnerable on many occasions. That counts for a lot in my book. Even writing this blog post feels like a risk. I’m terrified every time I hit publish or share. It can feel icky to share your feels. I have to say though, it’s been pretty rewarding.

Cheers to taking more risks, clearly I’m drawn to it.

 

I wanted to share this because it has really opened my eyes and helped me to understand myself so much better. Even though a few values were pretty simple for me to declare, a lot about this exercise surprised me. I also learned just as much about what wasn’t important to me than I did about what is. If you can find a version of this online or you also have a witchy therapist, you should try this too.

 

You might surprise yourself.

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self care, self flare

xoxo

Kelly

Mental Health

Not Enough Syndrome

A few mornings ago I woke up, turned to my partner and said “I’m having not enough syndrome today.” He asked me what I meant but I’m pretty sure he already knew and just wanted to give me the opportunity to speak on it. He’s good like that.

Not Enough Syndrome is exactly what it sounds like….feeling like you’re not enough. Earth shattering, I know. Usually when I’m suffering from it I feel really tired. I feel confused. I feel like I don’t know what I want to do. I can’t tell if I want to be around any one or if being around people will, in fact, “cure” me. What I do know, is that it means I need to slow down and take a breath.

 

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I know most artistic people experience this. We’re constantly told by friends and family “remember the little people when you’re famous!” Success to muggle’s (non artists) is only defined by fame, fortune, and being featured on E! news.

 

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But I’m not a total self pitying asshole. Everyone must feel this way from time to time. So what do we do to fix it? Here are my top 5 tips for treating your not enough syndrome:

 

  1. Talk to someone. Someone you trust. Explain how you’re feeling. Texting is ok – but if you can pick up a phone or meet in person, that’s better. It helps to talk it out and make sense of what’s happening inside.
  2. Do whatever feels right to do that day. When I had NES a few days ago it was mine and my partner’s anniversary. We had plans to go rock climbing but I knew that doing something new and having to focus or challenge myself was just not in the cards that day. We went bowling instead. Just the two of us – which was way better. It’s something we’ve done countless times before. I didn’t have to think about it much. Decide what that is for you. If you want to stay in bed all day and take a time out – go for it. If you want to go out dancing with all your buds – make it happen. Whatever is going to add calm or joy and not stress or frustration is key.
  3. Make some art out of it. I know I know. We’re not all artsy fartsies over here. Sometimes though – creating a quick drawing, journaling or writing a blog post (whatttt I’m doing one of the tips RIGHT NOW) can take the weight off your shoulders. Just tryyyy it. If you don’t like it you can stop.
  4. Treat yo self…..go buy yourself shit.  Retail therapy is real.
  5. Take a walk. Simple, but I feel so much better after a long walk. Don’t look at your phone. Take in the sights. Live a little.

 

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It’s okay to feel shitty sometimes. But know there are ways to fix it.

 

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Mental Health, Self Care

Find Joy in the Little Things

Stress is……hell. Seems pretty ridiculous for my life to be so stressful. I’m young, living in a great city, eating well, employed and have a great partner. Life should be breezy AF. In a lot of ways it is. I think everyone has that one thing (or three or eight) that really stresses them out. For me, it’s finances. Oooo shocker. I’m an actor. Like, duh. I’m lucky to make some of my income from Acting, but not nearly enough to get by. In general, I’m not making enough for the lifestyle I want and honestly…it keeps me up at night. I’m constantly focused on what I can fix and it makes me spiral out of control. I wish it were more like this:

But alas, I am not sweet Sam from “Holes.” I do, however, take the time every day to point out the joy.  The little joys. Joys you don’t normally take stock of.

My Little Joys:

  • Coming home to my partner after a long day
  • My cat purring on my lap, fast asleep
  • A dance party at my office with my awesome coworkers
  • When my brother texts me with a cat gif he just had to show me
  • Playing my guitar, just for myself
  • Improvising with 4 of my greatest friends and acting RIDICULOUS

 

The list goes on and on. Whenever one of these moments happen – I take a few seconds to notice it and take it in.

Honestly…it calms me down so fast and I believe it tells the universe to send more goodness to my life. I know, so hippy dippy, but it works.

So, the next time you feel stressed, try to stay present. Take stock of the moments that you smile. Think about what you’re grateful for. Stay golden pony boy.

Life is too short to get as stressed as we do. Find the joy.

 

Self care, self flare.

 

xoxo

Kelz

Mental Health

My Favorite Self Development Books I Read in 2018

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If you think self help books are lame – this book will completely change your mind. Jen Sincero writes in such a down to earth and relatable way that all of those pre-conceved notions will go right out the window. She guides you with personal stories but doesn’t fluff it up too much to the point where you think it’s a memoir. (Cough cough Rachel Hollis cough cough) I recommend reading this book at the beginning of every year.

 

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I mean….everyone loves Brene Brown. She’s amazing. She sings to my heart. Brene has several books including The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Dare to Lead, etc. This book in particular helped me get over some pretty big hurdles inside. It mainly  helped me forgive some people who I was truly convinced I’d never be able to reconcile with. If you want to learn to be a better and happier human, read this book.

 

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I could not put this book down. Not only is Shonda Rhimes an amazing writer in general but her story is so inspiring. Although she has one of the most successful careers in the country, she realized she said “No” to literally everything that scared her and that it was holding her back from fully living her life. In this book she discusses her full year of saying YES to anything and everything that scared her and what that did for her life. It’s so motivating and heartwarming to read. There’s a journal that goes along with it too so you can go on the same journey as her!

 

Happy reading!

 

xoxo

Self care. Self Flare.

Kelly