Saturday, June 18, 2011

Taking care of me, or how being selfish can really be selfless

I'm a mess.

I'm okay, I'm feeling pretty well, I'm in a good mood. But I am a mess.

I don't take care of myself--emotionally or physically. I hear that women do this a lot; they take on the problems of everyone else, but forget to deal with their own stuff, and then they fall apart.

I have been doing this and if I don't knock it off, I'm going to fall apart.

I am stressed and feel overwhelmed at work. There is a lot to be done and there isn't always a lot of time. My department depends on other departments, and when they don't complete assignments or tasks, we can't complete our work. Pressure! There's also the issue of having to work more hours, with less staff. I'm finding that is common all over now, thankyouverymuch economy that's still in the crapper, but it doesn't make me, nor anyone else, feel better.

The added pressure of DH being out of work doesn't help. I never thought I'd feel this way, but I am responsible for the well-being of my family. We're nowhere near destitute, but if I lost my job, we'd lose our health insurance. THAT would be bad. So I feel pressure to do well at work, yet I can only do so much, and then I get worried when things aren't getting done, even though the problem is bigger than me. I haven't been spoken to, or warned, or anything else that might make me be on edge, but I don't like seeing my to-do list grow, or tasks getting shifted from day to day, then week to week, never getting crossed off. I don't think anyone likes this. So I worry.

I have gained weight over the past few months, when I should have been working on losing. Fortunately, I haven't had to buy any new clothes in bigger sizes. Where I'm gaining it is in "right" areas for now. That needs to stop. I am seriously overweight, yet I've been doing nothing about it. And I mean NOTHING. I come home, eat dinner, tend the gardens, come in, sit on my butt and watch TV/surf the web....and then eat again. NOT GOOD.

I have the "luxury" of having a husband home most of the day, which means that certain chores are no longer my duty. I used to arrive home first, and was responsible for dinner. I don't do that anymore. While cooking, I'd throw in a load of laundry--I don't do that anymore either. So there's really no excuse for me not to be picking up on other things around the house and with myself.

I need to take advantage of this time I have and do something about myself. It's time to be selfish. To tell Turtle, "I'm gonna skip out on [insert show here] tonight, I need to go to bed early so I can head in before everyone else." Or to force myself out of bed on a Saturday morning to jump on the treadmill.

If I am selfISH, perhaps eventually I will be in a better mind to be selfLESS.

Think about it this way. If I'm coming home, tired and stressed, how is that a benefit to my husband and my marriage? I have turned into a bitch because of my inability to work on what's bugging me.

Also, if I end up with MORE health issues, most of which COULD BE AVOIDED, I will have trouble giving any part of myself to others. I won't feel well, or can't do that because of [whatever]. How is that fair? What if my parents need my help when they get older? Or Turtle? I'll be needing people to take care of ME. I don't want to be an invalid, or die prematurely.

It started today.

I got up, went on the treadmill for 37 minutes. Ironically, Dr. Oz was on TV, doing a heart transplant. I am 31 and on high blood pressure meds. DO I WANT THAT TO BE ME SOMEDAY?


I also joined Weight Watchers online. My coworker just signed up yesterday, and I'd thought about doing it for awhile, but kept putting it off. I've always done well with tracking food and portioning out...WHEN I REMEMBER TO DO IT.

My first goal is to lose 15 pounds. (They made it for me.) I think that's pretty reasonable.

As for work...the other day I did email my direct supervisor and department head a long list of everything I had to get done, along with an estimate of how long it would take to complete. This came out of our department needing to assist another department in testing some new website files. I thought, "I can't even get my own work done, how can I help them?" and my boss didn't really seem to understand where I was coming from. Hence, the email. He looked at it and suggested some areas to cut out. Doesn't mean I'm excused from them.

I'm feeling slightly better about that, but not 100%. Especially not when things took longer than expected (my estimates for creating an email in HTML from scratch were WAY off). I said 2-3 hours. Try over 5. And it's still not done. Ha!

I know what the problem is, in this case. It's the fact that my boss, while absolutely crazy and weird, doesn't manage. At. all. He's so hand's off, he has no clue what's going on, and takes on more work, on the department's behalf. Meaning: my coworker and I end up doing it. I want to grab him by the collar, and yell "YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE HAVE GOING ON!!! STOP THE MADNESS!!!!"

But he'd probably give us his tight-lipped smile and nod, saying "okay!"

I'm not sure what to do going forward. We have weekly department meetings where we are supposed to go over the week ahead, what's pressing, what needs to be handled, but they are a joke, since all he does is gab away and show off his skills with social media metrics. That's not all we do! He's been with our company for 4 months and I don't think he knows what my coworker or I do. God help him if something happened to us or we left.

I need to do something, but I'm not sure what will be most effective.

What works best for me:
  • Getting in early, before most of my coworkers. I need to be more consistent with this. It really helps me. There's less distraction, less chance of things going wrong. I can get my day off to a good start and get organized. (And then I can leave early, haha!) The benefit of flex time...and having a key to the building!
  • Making a to-do list every afternoon before I leave. I have been doing this for awhile and it's helpful. I keep it in Word, so that I can quickly add things, but also, I can use the strike-out function to literally cross off completed tasks! At the end of each day, I can cut & paste the things that didn't get done to the next day's list.

  • Plot out each week. I've also been doing this for awhile, as part of my to-do list. That way, if I know I have a consumer sales email to go out on Wednesday morning, I probably don't want to wait until Tuesday afternoon to start it.

  • Being more upfront about what I've got going on. Not all of my work comes to me via my supervisor or department head. Some of my duties I've been doing for years, so it's as automatic as breathing. But they might not know/remember about those things...
I might need to have another chat with my my supervisor and/or department head, as much as I'm loathe to do so. The last one we had didn't go over so well, and I don't know if it was me not explaining myself clearly (I tend to clam up when around the "big" people) or them just not getting it. Sometimes I'm just floating in the ocean, by myself, so to speak, and I have to scramble to figure out how to get things done.

I really hope that I can be consistent with ALL of this. Food, exercise, work, sleep, fun stuff.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.


  1. It sounds like you have a good approach of taking small steps in each of these areas to move toward what you want. I believe you can do it!

    Since you asked for suggestions, here are two things that have worked for me:
    -For my happiness project, I took a blank calendar (from here: and added in what I wanted to do each day (e.g., Wii Fit, pray with Mike). Every night I go over that day's list and check off the things I accomplished. Even when I don't do everything, having that daily check-in time helps keep my goals forefront in my mind.
    -Electronic calendar reminders at work are a lifesaver for me. When I used to manage the VP's calendar I was also supposed to check her e-mail every afternoon to delete out all the junk mail and take care of meeting requests. Since it was near the end of the day I would constantly forget to do it, so I finally set up a repeating-daily 15-minute event on my calendar and attached a reminder alert to it, so it would literally pop up on my computer and I'd make myself stop what I was doing and check her e-mail. One of my biggest struggles is simply admitting to myself that I don't remember to do things and then taking the necessary steps to remind myself :)

    I hope this is helpful... good luck!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions and the vote of confidence! Outlook is amazing, I really need to be better about setting more timers, alerts, etc. The Microsoft people put them in there for a reason...

    Where I often fail (in most things) is with not being consistent or not remembering to do something and then not bothering anymore.

    My alarm is set for 5 am tomorrow--need to do at least 30 mins on the treadmill before getting ready for my day. I'll probably be in by 7:30 which will be at least an hour before most people, including my entire dept. We'll see what happens!

  3. ooooo- I'm at a different computer, so I can comment (curse you- internet explorer)

    Anyway- thanks for reminding us that we need to put on our oxygen masks before we can help others


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