STRESS: Learn to “use your body to calm down your mind” and do one stress-reducing technique daily.
SEROTONIN: Start taking B vitamins and fish oil.
HORMONES: Start taking St. John’s Wort and 5HTP (if needed).
Using my body to calm down my mind: My first question here was, “Can’t I just have a drink at 5 o’clock?” Basically, this assignment was about as effective as my stress journal was last week. Not that I didn’t attempt some stress relieving activities each day, but come on, when you hear the suggestions in the book, you’ll be on my side. The stress reducing activities include: yoga, t’ai chi, massage, guided imagery, meditation, or acupuncture. It helps that we joined the YMCA today, and I can actually go somewhere and take yoga classes. But so far this week, I’m counting my time spent on the inversion table as my purposeful stress-reducing technique. (More about this, with photos, soon.)
As for “overcoming worry,” my favorite suggestion was to “create a worry time.” This is time scheduled into each day in which I am supposed to unleash all my worry for the next 24 hours. Nevermind leaving the grocery store and realizing I forgot milk, my child hanging from the top of her tree house by three and a half fingertips, the green snot still coming from Carter’s nose, the two weddings (one on the West coast) my children and I are all in this summer and must find appropriate bridal party dresses for, Wait-Law and our finances, John looking for a new office building, the possibility of cracking the screen on my iPhone, the two high school graduations I feel compelled to attend but secretly fear offending someone who I might see there, the broken heater/air conditioner part in our attic, the fact that we still haven’t found a church we love, the fact that we still haven’t sold our condo, and of course, making it through yet another summer as a stay-at-home-mom with two children under the age of 5. I’m supposed to consciously not think about any of these things until my scheduled time. He suggests between 8 and 8:30pm. I suggest at the very minute I crack open my first Corona this evening.
Truth be told, a few major worries were actually dispelled of this week. My first big point of anxiety (as I mentioned a little while ago) was the fact that pre-school is over and what the heck am I going to do all summer to maintain my sanity with two children. Solution number one comes in the form of Eliott’s teacher at school, with whom I have scheduled a mandatory weekly pool date. She has a pool and two older daughters who come with the promise that “they will LOVE your children.” And then there was mention of margaritas. Solution number two comes in the form of biting the bullet and joining the YMCA. I’ve been a little hesitant to write about the financial assistance we are receiving for this, but the bottom line is that about a week ago I told Eliott to start praying for “a gym we can afford.” She actually suggested an exact price, which I agreed, would be fine, as it was about the price we were paying for Gold’s Gym in Burlington.
But it was during that conversation (in the car) that I finally decided I didn’t really a membership at the YMCA. It seems to me, like cable, to be a luxury that we could live without. (Funny, we once justified the gym membership based on the fact that it was cheaper than cable.) So I told God, “It’s okay. If you don’t want to give us the gym. We don’t need it. I could figure out other free methods of entertainment for the girls all summer, and I could sacrifice some morning me-time and actually get down on the floor and play with my children, and in the end, I could just change my attitude about the whole thing and be fine. And, to be honest God, I’m feeling very strongly that we’re not going to get this scholarship and that you are going to take care of my sanity this summer anyway.” No lie. I had a rare moment of genuine humility. Just me and God and Eliott in the backseat praying. But as it turns out, my daughter prophetically predicted the exact price we would be approved for. We got an email that evening and she was only off by $1.40 a month. A price I can not only live with, but one that was and will continue to be celebrated. Lesson learned: if I really want something from God, I need to tell Eliott to ask Him. (*Side note: though my personal problems are being mostly answered through my 4 year old right now, I happen to be on a role with conception prayer requests. If you or anyone you know is or has been trying to get pregnant and you are about to give up hope, let me know. I’ve put two through in the last 8 weeks that have not returned void, if you know what I’m saying.)
B-Vitamins, Fish Oil, and St. John’s Wort: I’m starting with my trip to CVS to purchase all these new vitamins. Of course I came fully prepared with coupons, and as my luck would have it, Fish Oil was buy one get one free at almost every drugstore this week. Sparing you the annoying “how to coupon” details, I’m going to make a long story short by saying I had enough coupons to make two bottles of fish oil completely free, and then some leftover that actually had the potential to make me money. All I had to do was find something by NatureMade that cost $3 or less, which I found on a clearance rack, and grabbed as many as I had coupons for. I’m not generally a proponent of this kind of shopping for things I don’t need, just because they are free or a good deal. But understand here that in this case, I was going to make about $1.50 on each bottle, thereby reducing the cost of the St. John’s Wort which was not even on sale. At the end of the day I think I walked out paying $7 for over $30 worth of vitamins (none of which, by the way, was that 5HTP stuff, which is like $40 for a bottle of 30). So I was feeling pretty excited by my savvy shopping for mood enhancers and went home to Google exactly what all those bottles of money-making vitamins were good for. According to WebMD, they are used for the natural treatment and maintenance of herpes. Awesome.
As for the results of the pills so far, the effects aren’t necessarily immediate. I’ll tell you what is though: constipation and sardine burps. To solve this I increased my fiber and froze the fish oil pills. I was already taking Vitamin B with regularity and if I feel any happier or calmer this week (which I definitely do) I can’t say with certainty whether it is the new pills, the cheap gym membership, or hanging upside down for 15 minutes a day.