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  1. So yeah, life is weird I got the MRI in my knee last Tuesday. Last Weds I found out I was exposed to covid on Tuesday during the day. MRI results now wait till Oct 27th. 2 negative covid tests, but still waiting before saying I am in the clear. . It snowed today, like legit snow. Work is crazy and boss finally admitted I am the only one he can trust to do work. With the knee issues, the cold its been hard to get walking. I know I should, but I am just tired (Okay, I am always tired) but I am just stressed out a bit. So I am doing boxes again (I know insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results). But I have to do something. Going to try getting back on the bike. It worked until the MRI put me on 1 MG of Xanax and I slept for almost 2 days. So trying to get back to doing something besides existing. Do the things, make changes maybe be better. Great plan right?
  2. It was the last days of the harvest season, when the sun was still golden on the aspens and birches, still brilliant as it flickered over the red maples and the solid brown oaks, lighting up the last sheaves of the wheat fields and cornfields that still swayed and rattled, dry and raspy, in the brisking breeze. Winter was coming, its first chilly whispers biting at the edges of dawn and dusk, but it was not here yet, and the world was still warm and inviting in spirit even as the temperatures sank and the light darkened. I smiled faintly and felt a flicker of pride in myself as I carefully arranged dark red chrysanthemums in a couple of hand-me-down baskets on my crumbling front stoop in the last of the golden evening light. The womanly arts of homemaking had never come naturally to me, and autumn was the season when I most keenly felt my fumblings with decorations, hospitality and delicious hot meals. But, no matter what the wintery whisperings of my own mind said, I wasn't failing at everything. I could still bring beauty and happiness in my own ways. I was - cursed? gifted? - with two powers, two identities, if you will, that I attempted daily to carry in balance. On the one hand, I was the Silver Archer: A Lightbearer, one who, with the power of light and words and encouragement, could heal hearts and bodies. My power came from the Silver Bow - a gift given to me by the skilled wordsmiths and encouragers who had come before me. When my blood ran golden-white with joy and warmth, I could do great works of peace, love, service, and friendship; and with the Silver Bow, I could fire those words like arrows that shot across space and time. On the other hand, I was also the Dark Elf, a title I still didn't care to confess to most people I knew. My other power was that of ice. Of fear. Fear, and anger. With this power I could wound, harm, and destroy - and, I could also protect. When my blood ran icy with fear, it was a heavy weight that was nearly impossible to hide or restrain without pulling away from the rest of the world. But it also gave me a strength to sense others' fear, to protect them from danger, to light the way through shadowy valleys that my imagination had traversed like a well-worn path through my dreams or midnight awakenings. And somehow, in between those two things, the light and the dark, the heat and the ice, the joy and the fear ... I was also just ... Sky. A small half-elf, pale and plump, wife of my beloved Eamon, the broad-shouldered blond paladin. Once a servant in the great university on the mystic Temple Island, I now worked at writing and distributing bulletins for the Chief Scientist's small office in our city. It was modest work, but I enjoyed it, liked my colleagues, and especially liked bringing home a bit of extra money to contribute to our little household. The sun dipped below the horizon and I sighed, turning to glance at the little timepiece on the wall in our cottage. So early and already almost dark. Winter was the hardest season for me - the long, cold days and nights made my small body ache, and the long hours of darkness made it harder than ever to resist the silvery whisperings of icy fear and sorrow in the back of my mind. Still, as I took one last look at the mums and went back inside to warm our dinner, I set my jaw and pushed my unruly strand of white hair back up into the rest of my blonde braid. The sun isn't the only source of light, I thought quietly, selecting some carrots and potatoes, and part of my task as a Lightbearer is to seek out and reflect that light and joy wherever I can find it. For myself, as well as for others. Winter may be coming, but there are plenty of bright and happy things to find if I'm willing to go looking in the darkness. I grinned at myself and dragged the heavy cast iron pot out to boil water. Yes, you pretentious philosopher, that counts for hearts, too. Even the Dark Elf has beauty and brightness to offer, and if you're willing to go looking in that side of yourself, you might be surprised what you can find.
  3. SKY RETURNS: THIS IS THE WAY Hello and long time no see!! My name is Sky and this is my first challenge thread of 2022 - I've been an active member on the forums since 2016, but this year I've been hibernating in the Battle Logs section of the forums, mostly treading water while I navigate a wildly busy year. In addition to enjoying my first year of marriage to my amazing husband Eamon, we've also both changed jobs, had medical procedures, traveled for work and vacations, hosted friends and family, and supported both our sets of parents and grandparents in major health problems. It's been a lot. In the midst of our lovely happy chaotic year, I have not prioritized my diet and exercise, and as a result I've gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of strength and stamina. But now is the time to change that - I've recently been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a chronic condition in which the large intestine's muscle movements don't coordinate correctly, leading to irregular bowel movements and other symptoms, like cramping, nausea, and pain. In addition to being triggered by certain foods, IBS is also often worsened by stress and anxiety; and as a lifelong anxiety sufferer, I've definitely found that my mental and physical symptoms can get into really obnoxious feedback loops. So this month, I want to finally take my health seriously and try to feel better - I want to develop an IBS-friendly meal routine, get back in the habit of moving at least a little each day, and keep caring for my mental health and stress to try to lessen their triggering power. This Is The Way I'm doing a Mandalorian-themed challenge because Eamon and I watched the whole thing together on our recent vacation, and we were obsessed. I love the idea of a creed that uses its strength and power to protect the vulnerable and take down the bad guys, and I also loved watching Mando's growth over the course of the show. I want to grow healthier and stronger so I can better care for the people in my life and be ready for whatever adventures come my way, just like Mando. The Creed: Anxiety management and mental/emotional health Frustrating as it is, changing my diet alone will not be enough to help me manage and recover from IBS. My primary trigger is anxiety and emetophobia, an extreme fear of vomiting that's linked to OCD and trauma. When I eat a food that makes me sick, that triggers anxiety and panic; and when my anxiety and panic levels are high, that almost inevitably triggers IBS symptoms. So I need to tackle this problem from multiple angles, and the foundation is my mental health. My goals for this month are: List 3 things that help me manage or breathe through anxiety symptoms and discuss how to practice those daily / as needed Make (or at least talk about) a plan with my therapist to begin EMDR or exposure therapy for my emetophobia Create and practice a mantra or group of mantras to remind myself that I am more than my fears, I am not controlled by my fears, and I am safe even when I feel afraid. Ironically, as I write these goals I'm recovering from a panic attack brought on by an unusually strong reaction to something I ate at dinner, which made me feel very nauseous and, subsequently, very panicked. I'm feeling okay now but embarrassed at being triggered and a little rattled by the unexpected food reaction, since I don't know what caused it (allergy? pre-existing anxiety from a stressful movie? hormones? problem with how I cooked it?). But on the other hand, it's a perfect opportunity to remind myself that I am safe (even if the worst were true and I were very sick, Eamon is with me and would help me, and I can get to a doctor if I need to), this will pass (I already feel better and I've made it safely through nauseous episodes many times before), and I am not controlled by my fears (after the initial panic had passed, I was able to gently move around and do some simple tasks to help ground myself while I breathed through the downswing). The Armor: Physical movement Like many of you, I'm participating in the Nerd Fitness Walking Challenge on Facebook, which is a great kickstart to help me be a little bit active every day. While I certainly eat a lot more now than I was eating before I got married, the other factor in my weight gain is that I really just ... don't move. Our apartment is tiny, it's only about ten steps to everywhere we need to go, and it's been a very hot summer and much more fun to hang inside with my new husband and play video games than to sweat and gasp up and down hills in the heat. However, I've had periods of my life where I was very active, and periods where I was very sedentary, and so I know from experience that I feel immensely better when I'm active. While I'd love to be able to just flip a switch and go easily back to the levels of activity I was at when I felt best - who wouldn't! - I know I can only get back there slowly, through patient effort. So for this challenge, my goals are: Walk 10 minutes every day. It's totally fine if that's just walking in circles around the apartment while Eamon plays a game, or two 5-minute walks up and down the apartment building stairs during the work day. But 10 minutes a day. Go to the gym once a week. No limit on what I do there, how long I stay, etc. because I want it to be for the fun of it. Do I feel like rowing? Walking? Playing with medicine balls? Whatever my little playground heart desires, I'll be moving and that's what I want. The Child: Diet and IBS symptom management And lastly, the final piece of the puzzle is diet. I'm working with a nutritionist to try the low-FODMAP diet, which is a diet that restricts certain foods and sweeteners that are shown to often irritate IBS. Typically, the process looks like cutting all foods that could possibly trigger my symptoms, then slowly re-introducing possible triggers one at a time and watching for symptoms, until I figure out the unique constellation of foods that I personally can and cannot eat. Now, I happened to have my first nutritionist appointment right at the beginning of a crazy month, so I have made almost no progress on the plan and need to ask her for more time to get in the groove. But last week, I did finally download some apps to look up FODMAPs in foods, planned some mostly-compliant meals for this week, and added tracking into my daily goals. So, progress is being made. My goals for this month are: Complete my second nutritionist appointment and modify my plan based on her feedback Track all daily meals in a food / nutrition app Track all daily IBS symptoms to collect data for patterns Try one new low-FODMAP recipe and report (and share!) It's not a fancy challenge, and progress will be small and slow, but it feels good to be back. I'm hoping for good discovery - and to get to check in with you all more often! This is the way!
  4. So here is a placeholder for the challenge. Basically, I am trying to slim down things. I am busy as all get out, I have no energy, PT has been making my knee hurt when it didn't before, and work is still crazy. So I backed the challenges down and am hoping to do just these jobs. If I can get this down, then maybe I can get better and get somewhere. So yeah, the whole challenge is do the things every day. Max number of things I need to do is 55 things, goal is to do 50 things since those HAVE TO get done. Here is to hoping I don't flake out and hide and say "Nope" when the answer should be "Do it." Oh and anything that is marked as green 1 under value HAS TO BE DONE, no excuses Nerd Fitness Challenge 9/7/2022 Day of week Day Goal Value Description Strength 1 Desk Push Ups 5 1 Raised Arm Circles 1 PT exercises 1 Calf raises 1 Backward Leg Raises Flexibility 1 Wrist Extension Stretch 7 1 Wrist Flexion Stretch 1 Meditating Groot 1 Toe Touch 1 Warrior 1 1 Cresent Moon pose 1 Ankle Circles Life and Family 1 Brush Yappy dog 1 Brush Ninja dog 1 Water Garden 8 1 Water Front beds 1 Spend time with Agents 1 One good thing 1 NF status update 1 Talk to Hubby Future Me Favors 1 Floss in morning 1 Take Morning Vitamins 1 Find one way I am not like mom 1 Read a book 1 Take Bloodpressure 12 1 Out of work by 5:30 1 Take anti-inflamatory med 1 Japanese practice 1 Check orders account 1 Nightly downtime 1 Floss before bed 1 Be in bed by 10:30 Daily Skirmishes against Chaos 1 Desk 1 Clean off file cabinet 5 1 Clean off tall dresser 1 Clean off nightstands 1 Clean off Dresser Campaigns against Chaos 1 Pick up one furtumbleweed a day 4 1 Empty out car daily 1 Pull one gross thing from fridge or cabinet 1 Purge 1 thing a day Walking 1 Walk 10000 steps 1 Walk 15 minutes a day 1 Walk 5 minutes at lunch 6 1 Walk 5 minutes in morning 1 7 hours with 250 steps 1 Walk to Mordor Fuel 1 No eating after dinner 1 Take Probiotic 1 < 4 bottles of tea 8 1 Eat something for Potassium 1 Eat dried Apricots 1 Eat Breakfast 1 Eat Lunch 1 60 oz of water Total Points Possible 55
  5. The early night of winter had settled softly but firmly over our little home on the outskirts of the city, and the daytime sounds of trade and travel outside had given way to the nighttime sounds of raucous celebrations and the smells of food being prepared. My husband Eamon and I had already eaten, cleaned up and put our simple wooden dishes away, and Eamon was settled by the fire, his healing body wrapped in a warm blanket and his mind wrapped up in a book he'd waited weeks to read. I took a deep breath of contentment and let my gaze linger on the small, bright little room we called home: The one big window, the hand-smoothed walls and low ceilings, the little bedroom with our big soft bed squashed inside, the cozy kitchen and eating area connected to the rest of the house by a narrow door. It was a little cramped, yes; but I loved all the touches that we'd added to make it uniquely ours. I settled myself across from Eamon in the wooden chair he'd carved and the padded cushions I'd sewn and stuffed myself. The weather was mild and rainy, and I pulled a light blanket over my knees as I picked up my new, blank journal. With my favorite ink pen, I carefully wrote inside the cover: Sky Elvenword Nobleheart Ranger Field Journal Even though I called it that, though, I knew this journal would be different than past journals I'd kept. There wasn't as much time for hunting and exploration as there used to be, and fewer enemies to fight. Many of the pages would be filled with mundane things like recipes, or tracking my archery practice and weekend hikes. But still, it felt good to be writing again, to be tracking my progress as I learned new things. I sketched out a few ideas for topic headings: Dragon riding. Lessons twice a week, practice twice a week. Cooking. Use veggies from cellar? New grain recipes for winter? Herbs? Creativity / fun! Movement. Hiking, archery, meditation, foraging, sightseeing in the city, etc. Silver Bow practice. Keep those skills sharp! Management. House stuff, money, wife stuff. Being an adult. I doodled a few leaves and vines in the margins before setting the pen down and yawning luxuriously. It was the festival of the new year and Eamon and I got to rest for three days before going back to work. I wanted to start planning some blankets for friends' new babies, dream about a garden, and venture out for a hike in the rain. Closing the soft leather cover, I ran my fingers affectionately over its wrinkles and leaned back to doze. I couldn't wait to see what adventures would fill this journal's pages.
  6. So I have been doing the challenge work for over a week. I started last Saturday. But I couldn’t bring myself to write the post for it. Then Friday through Monday this week I stopped because, well life is hard and I am tired, out of spoons. Just couldn’t. Last challenge took a ton out of me. I am TIRED. I had some major stress happen last challenge and well, I am not okay. Short version is work got TOXIC and Hostile. HR is involved, and while I should not have anything coming back on me as far as discipline, it has made going to work the hardest thing ever for like 3 months. Plus it is all anyone talks about now. And they want to know what happened, and they want to know if I am okay. I will admit, for the 3rd time in my life, I let someone abuse me. I fell for it. I should of known better. I have been trying to heal for over a month. I know this won’t “go away instantly” but I want to be better. Meanwhile, because the source of the issues from work is not currently working, all their work comes to me. I can’t see what they had going, or where things I need are, but I have been told “I am now the lead on coding.” I am 2 years out of college and the only programmer. Guy that isn’t there, is not organized and we have a ton of deadlines that are not miss able in JULY. Boss is at least being cool, but until I see what is going on, I will not not be anxious about this. Yes, it is a different level of stress, and a smaller one, but its still weighing on me. The Mom issue is still well, an issue. Her Texts are getting more passive aggressive. I took her a plant and a card on Moms day, more out of routine, but I didn’t visit or talk. Bio Brother asked 9 days ago if anything had been resolved with Mom, and when I responded he never even sent a 2nd text. I can deal with her, but Hubby’s family asked about her today, and I got all weird and defensive. Hubby said he was sorry about that, and he told them not to, but they don’t listen. I am tired. I have not been sleeping. Turns out I can take 1 mg Melatonin and sleep for 11+ hours, but I can’t do that on work nights. My nightmares are back, I had an anxiety moment at work that I upset boss (I went and talked to him, I didn’t, but I explained I just wasn’t sure and wanted to make sure the air was clear) but I have no confidence. I have no strength left. I am just tired and I need to heal. I need to heal from the trauma at work. It was trauma. I am still asking people to walk to me to my car. I am still walking around making sure he isn’t there. I need to heal from the Trauma of my mom ,and not let someone asking “So how is she doing” upset me so bad. I need to heal from the point before things started to get better where the dark of Depression had no light. I need to heal from being so mad at myself for never stopping any of this. I need to heal from spraining my big toe chasing Agent Ninja when she got out. So that’s what I am trying to do. Yes, I am doing my boxes and trying to do points and I am walking so much (to process and deal with anxiety), but I would love to say “Hey, this is the road to heal real fast” but that road doesn’t really exist. So I am fumbling through healing. I am hoping to be here more, I am hoping I can do boxes to prove I can do things right and that I am not lazy, stupid, old, worthless, ect. But right now, I just want each day to even slightly better than the day before. Really, I just want to be okay. Please don't expect fun gifs or stories here. I don't know what this will look like, but please be kind and supportive. That is what I am hoping for here.
  7. Hi all For those new to our story, So update for all. The last challenge was full of drama and chaos. I am still awaiting Mom’s reaction to my refusal to talk to her. Hubby fell and got hurt, we lost our Agent K9 (all in 24 hours). At the end of the challenge, Hubby got hurt a different way, I am even more out of shape than I can be and things are starting to hurt that shouldn’t and work decided to get even more stupid with 2 os I am tired, I am drained and there is no good way to put it. That being said, I am trying to find a way to get past this point so maybe I can make progress. There are 2 parts here. A) 0 Week I am on spring break so no work, and no school for Youngest Agent. Tuesday was “National Goof off day” and also a planned sloth day. The bigger part of this is that Friday through Sunday I will be going to see my chosen family. It will be a short trip, but we will see at least a couple of my sisters, my neicelings and hopefully recharge there. Seeing my family that loves me always helps. So week 0 will be mostly a “real” week, but with a few days (Tues, And the trip) where boxes do not count The second part is going to be trying to get back on a real schedule. One where there are bedtimes, and routines and not being so “What is going on?” This will help me get a solid idea of what is going on. This has started to happen last challenge, but there were too many chaos moments that we couldn’t control that affected this. Having Hubby get hurt seriously didn’t help. So big thing here will be stay on target. So yeah, this whole challenge will be about resting, recharging and getting myself where I feel I can make progress and maybe get my anxiety and depression back under control. I am still doing my boxes, I added a couple more per day, but basically it is very similar to last challenge. Now to not give up and just nope out. Goal Value Description Strength 1 Calf raises 1 Squats 17 1 Wall Sit (sec) 1 Side kicks Do 4 1 Leg lifts 4 1 Reverse sit ups 1 Sit ups 1 Knee to Elbows 1 Raised Arm Circles 1 Torso Twists 1 Bicep Extenstions 1 Table plank 1 Bicep Curls with Weights (3 lb) 1 Backward Leg Raises 1 Step ups 1 Side Lunges 1 Desk Push Ups Flexibility 1 Wrist Extension Stretch 1 Wrist Flexion Stretch 23 1 Upward dog/Child pose 1 Meditating Groot 1 Lord of the Dance Yoga (ankle above head) 1 Lower back stretch (One leg across body) 1 Chair Pose 1 Butterfly 1 Tricep Stretch 1 Wall Stand 1 Bridge 1 Calf stretch Do 6 1 Ballet 1 Toe Touch 1 Cresent Moon pose 6.00 1 Sitting Fix/Shoulder Stretch 1 Warrior 1 1 Ankle Circles 1 Warrior 3 (Eagle bird thing) 1 Shoulder Rotations 1 Quad Stretch 1 Side Stretch 1 Forward Bend Life and Family 1 Floss in morning 1 NF status update 1 NF reply one other thread 1 Take Morning Vitamins 1 Find one way I am not like mom 1 Brush Yappy dog 1 Brush Puppy 1 Check Dad's email 34 1 Check ordering account 1 Japanese Practice 1 Check Seedlings 1 Only play game on phone one time a day at home 1 Text/Talk to one Choosen family member a day 1 Relax my shoulders 1 Read a book 1 Soak up the sun 1 Plan 1 Nightly downtime 1 Be in bed by 10:30 1 Put lotion on legs 1 Spend time with Agents 1 Floss after work Do 13 1 Floss before bed 1 Talk to Hubby 1 Water 1 inside plant 1 Take Bloodpressure 1 Do one "do that already" jobs 13 1 One good thing 1 Walk garden once a day 1 Puppy Preparing/Training 1 Weed for 5 minutes 1 Use Breathing app for Anxiety 1 if headache, put on headache salve 1 Play with Cats Fight Chaos 1 Pennisula 1 Island 1 Table Clean all these daily 1 Half wall 16 1 Desk 1 Computer room ottoman 1 Bathroom up 1 Clean off file cabinet Do 6 1 Bathroom down 6 1 Clean off door to basement 1 Grandpa's table 1 Clean off Stairs and landing 1 Clean off tall dresser 1 Clean off nightstands 1 Clean off Dresser 1 Counter over dishwasher At least 5 minutes per room (at least one) 1 Garage 1 Dust one surface 1 Computer room 13 1 Basement 1 Random organizing project Do 4 1 Pick up one furtumbleweed a day 1 Empty out car daily 1 Clean our bathtub 1 Family room 1 Wash window or mirror 4 1 Clean 2 papers out of paper organizer 1 File 1 thing a day 1 Purge 1 thing a day Walking 1 Walk 10000 steps 8 1 Walk 15 minutes a day 1 Walk 5 minutes at lunch 1 Walk 5 minutes after dinner 1 Walk 5 minutes in morning do 3 1 Take Puppy for a walk 3 1 7 hours with 250 steps 1 Walk to Mordor Fuel 1 No eating after dinner 17 1 No stupid sugar 1 Track breakfast 1 Track Second breakfast do 4 1 Track Elevensies 1 Track lunch 1 Track Dinner 1 Track Supper 1 Eat A Salad 1 Take Probiotic 4 1 < 4 bottles of tea 1 Eat Dates Daily 1 Eat dried Apricots 1 Eat Breakfast 1 Eat Lunch 1 60 oz of water 1 Record sugar in G
  8. Hi all For those new to our story, So I disappeared during the holiday mini challenge due to the fact that I just had nothing left. I did do some boxes, but I just didn’t have the spoons or the time to post here. Work got more stressful when my boss tested positive for Covid after being in the office the day he tested. Very few people wear masks in the office, and while I do when out of my office, not everyone respects my space and some people will stand directly next to/over me without a mask when I am at my desk. So I asked to work from home for fear of my mom. Then there was some drama over an email and I am honestly worried about going back to work after Jan 3rd. Mom had/has 3 procedures for Dec, all with extra care pre/during and post procedure for me to do, and then you have Christmas stuff. My brother was supposed to come up, but didn’t at the last minute due to kids getting sick. Every day was something new. Oh and Agent K9 had started drooling and his breathe stank, so we took him to the vet thinking it would be a broken tooth, it was a ping-pong sized mass on his tongue. Its aggressive cancer and right now they are saying we may have 60 days since we won’t put him through chemo. Things are worse now than they were a month ago, currently on tap · Mom’s hip is being replaced on Dec 28th. They are currently saying she will come home on Dec 29th which means I will be sole caregiver. Brother isn’t coming home at all to help and Mom has no other family in the area besides my aunt who might offer to help, and no real friends that are more than just “I talk to you once a month at work” kinda thing. So I get repeat October and stay at her house. And I told her about the memory/loss of words concerns so she is doing the silent angry whispers at me, (Her excuse is she talks to cats all day so why does she need to get the words right). So I am sure this will go well when I could barely care for her in October when they cut some excess skin off. This time an entire JOINT is getting replaced. Supposedly she may be held longer if they don’t think it safe for her to come home, but I have given up on this idea. No reason to get hopes up. · Mom has been on FMLA and getting short-term disability since August. She is going to retire on Feb 2 since she’s going to get fired if she is not back in the office. She has had no interest or desire to deal with her workplace this whole time, or the retirement in general. In fact she said “I don’t deal with that. I have you to do it for me.” So I need to figure out what we need to get her retired. Oh plus this will change all of her insurance and income and yeah. · Agent K9 is terminal cancer. They said its super-fast growing, and while we may have 60 days, I am not always sure. I am upset that I may not be here if he needs me and needs to cross that bridge since Mom, but I am trying to spoil him and enjoy him, but I am not even here much for that since Mom. · The loss of Agent K9 would generally put us in a place to look for a new Puppy to help us all heal and fill the void. But with Yappy Dog who has issues here, that may be harder, PLUS can I train a puppy right now? I know it will be so much fun, but extra stress, cleanup, changes to everything here. And Agent Eldest didn’t take the loss of our first dog well and didn’t do well until we had a new puppy to fill that void, but Puppies are also difficult since Agent K9 would want to play and he wasn’t always in the mood. But our house is so weird, older animals (even a year or so) probably won’t acclimate well to 30 people in the house one day, no one home for 8 hours the next. · But I and Family will be more upset with just Yappy Dog since we care for him, he is better here, but he’s not ours. We don’t expect him to go back to Mom’s ever, but he’s another sign that she can’t take care of herself either. He’s happy here, and we enjoy him, but there are just times I want to be angry about it. · Technically I am supposed to be back at work as of Jan 3rd, but the Mom surgery thing may change that. I have a huge training on Jan 3rd I may not be there for, but don’t know until Mom’s surgery. My boss is being cool, but with everything else going on, I don’t feel as okay with taking this time off as I would like because things are so weird. · My anxiety and depression are higher than they have been in years. Anxiety over lack of control for my ENTIRE LIFE since so many things depend on the “Post Surgery” return date. Depression since I don’t see a way out, I don’t think this will change anything and no one believes me that rehab needs to be a thing. If I have to live out of her house for 2 weeks again with her moods and anger, this will not end well for me. If I talk to her about “hey, let’s try to work this out” I am told I am mean and horrible and how dare I speak back to her, so why try. With all of this going on, I have no idea what my challenge looks like yet. Right now, I have boxes built and set up, but no idea if they are valid. I live at moms, I can’t stretch or exercise since the mocking and I am making too much noise. I can’t work on cleaning my house and my chaos boxes there. I won’t even control my own food since I may have to eat what I make her since she won’t eat what I would. If she goes to rehab, this may all be pushed to later Jan. I just don’t know. So this is kind of a placeholder until Jan 28th when surgery will be a thing. Hopefully by an 29th, I might know something. I just want a plan. That would be nice. I also hope to have energy for a challenge and for people since I know I am doing the “Hide from people since no one wants to deal with my depressive self” thing. I apologize now for being a self-absorbed depressive who makes others deal person. I am trying to not be as hard on myself, but I know this challenge is going to be hard, and I am going to try and not be such a downer. Trying not to be all doom and gloom. I apologize now if I don’t do as well at trying as I would like.
  9. I have spent hours looking at my challenge to build. I have spent probably close to a couple of hours staring at a blank word doc. I sit here and I hate where I am, I hate feeling like I am on the wrong path. But the problem is, where I am currently at, at least mentally and emotionally, is that I this will never end and I won’t be able to get out of what I am working on. For those new here, I am in a bad place. I have a job that is high stress and atm high drama. I am a mom to 2 Agents of Chaos, and married to Hubby who is working a weird shift but does whatever he can to help. I am caregiver to my mom who in theory lives alone but she hasn't really been completely independent since my dad died 2 years ago. She is not always the nicest of people, especially to her daughter. My depression is acting up as is my anxiety of never getting out of here. Being with mom so much means she is actively pushing buttons and telling me I am not good enough, or what I am doing is wrong. Mom had surgery 9 days ago and is not recovering well. She gets a “walk” maybe once a day where she laps the house twice. The dr originally told us 5-7 days before she would be independent again. I am wondering if she will be at all or if this is my new normal until we can get her the “hip surgery” that better put her into rehab after. If not, I am going to give up entirely. The hardest part of the new challenge, is a number of things in my Life and Family stuff were either outside only or no longer apply. This section is the place where I work on my relationships and the things that are the things I want to do and who I want to be. The problem is, I can’t see anything that I can change. I don’t see any way to improve myself when I can never not be here. I am currently here like 530-6 AM to 9-10 PM. I have only been in the office 2 days, and I am not really home at all. When I get home, it’s generally eat and go to bed so I can be up at 430 to get back Mom’s on time. So how can I work on being who I want to be if I am always here? Anything I do here to better myself is met with mocking, but I see what the path she has taken lead to. I don’t want to not be able to walk at 65 and need a hip replacement, bad knees and back from being overweight, and while she has lost the weight, she lost all muscle mass so now she is weak as well So I am going to try and do things. I picked a few new Life and family goals. Being here, having this in my face all day, I keep fearing that I am walking the same path as her. Especially since I have been here, I haven’t been walking. I have snacked more since what else is there to do. I haven’t had water in days and my caffeine intake is through the roof. I find myself acting or thinking like her, and I fear it. So one thing I want to start doing is either looking for one thing a day that I am doing differently so I won’t go down that path, so I don’t sound like her, be friendless like her, or end up where she is. Another thing I am going to try and do is to start trying to think about those big long term goals I use to have, like doing a 10 K or a Spartan. Things I lost sight of a long time ago. Things I have been hearing that I am too fat, too old or I am going to be where she is so why think I could ever do that. Time to start thinking about who I want to be and if I get limitations, fine, but how do I want to handle things like arthritis in my knees. I can ignore it and let it get worse, or I can face it head on and see what if anything I can do to minimize it. I wish I could say that this will be all happy and uplifting and I got this. But I would be lying. Its going to be rough, I am going to be upset as I try to process and deal with what I have in front of me. I don’t know when I will get out of this pit. I just know, I need to wait till something that I have no control over changes. Okay, so challenge wise, I need something I can work towards. So Boxes it will be. I have a bare minimum, but really, I want to do much more than that. But for now, I am going to work on doing that bare minimum and if I ever do get out of here and back into more of my normal life, I can always do more, but for now, its about something. Goal Value Description Strength 1 Calf raises 1 Squats 17 1 Wall Sit (sec) 1 Side kicks Do 2 1 Leg lifts 2 1 Reverse sit ups 1 Sit ups 1 Knee to Elbows 1 Raised Arm Circles 1 Torso Twists 1 Bicep Extenstions 1 Table plank 1 Bicep Curls with Weights (3 lb) 1 Backward Leg Raises 1 Step ups 1 Side Lunges 1 Desk Push Ups Flexibility 1 Wrist Extension Stretch 1 Wrist Flexion Stretch 21 1 Upward dog/Child pose 1 Meditating Groot 1 Lord of the Dance Yoga (ankle above head) 1 Lower back stretch (One leg across body) 1 Chair Pose 1 Butterfly 1 Tricep Stretch 1 Wall Stand 1 Bridge 1 Calf stretch Do 2 1 Ballet Toe Touch 1 Cresent Moon pose 2.00 1 Sitting Fix/Shoulder Stretch 1 Warrior 1 1 Ankle Circles 1 Warrior 3 (Eagle bird thing) 1 Quad Stretch 1 Side Stretch 1 Forward Bend Life and Family 1 Floss in morning 1 NF status update 1 NF reply one other thread 1 Take Morning Vitamins 1 Find one way I am not like mom 1 Brush Yappy dog 1 Think of one thing that could be changed/who I want to be 1 Check Dad's email 31 1 Spend time with Agents 1 Japanese practice with Youngest Agent 1 Start thinking on Christmas 1 Only play game on phone one time a day at home 1 Text/Talk to one Choosen family member a day 1 Relax my shoulders 1 Read a book 1 Soak up the sun 1 Plan 1 Nightly downtime 1 Be in bed by 10:30 1 Put lotion on legs 1 Check ordering account 1 Floss after work Do 7 1 Floss before bed 1 Walk across beam once a day 1 Water 1 inside plant 1 Take Bloodpressure 1 Do one "Get that done already" jobs 7 1 One good thing 1 Check Yappy Dogs night water bowl 1 Give Agent K9 5 minutes playtime 1 Play with Cats Fight Chaos 1 Pennisula/Island Clean all these daily 1 Table / Half wall 14 1 Desk 1 Computer room ottoman 1 Bathroom up 1 Clean off file cabinet Do 3 1 Bathroom down 3 1 Clean off door to basement 1 Grandpa's table 1 Clean off Stairs and landing 1 Clean off tall dresser 1 Clean off nightstands 1 Clean off Dresser 1 Counter over dishwasher At least 5 minutes per room (at least one) 1 Garage 1 Dust one surface 1 Computer room 13 1 Basement 1 Random organizing project Do 2 1 Pick up one furtumbleweed a day 1 Empty out car daily 1 Clean our bathtub 1 Organize or purge one thing at Moms 1 Wash window or mirror 2 1 Clean 2 papers out of paper organizer 1 File 1 thing a day 1 Purge 1 thing a day Walking 1 Walk 10000 steps 8 1 Walk 15 minutes a day 1 Walk 10 minutes at lunch 1 Walk 5 minutes after dinner 1 Walk 5 minutes in morning do 2 1 Take Agent K9 for a walk 2 1 7 hours with 250 steps 1 Walk to Mordor Fuel 1 No eating after dinner 17 1 No stupid sugar 1 Track breakfast 1 Track Second breakfast do 3 1 Track Elevensies 1 Track lunch 1 Track Dinner 1 Track Supper 1 Eat A Salad 1 Take Probiotic 3 1 < 4 bottles of tea 1 Eat Dates Daily 1 Eat dried Apricots 1 Eat Breakfast 1 Eat Lunch 1 60 oz of water 1 Record sugar in G Total Points Possible 121 Did I complete 5 minutes in room Total points for day 21.00
  10. The bright autumn sun colored the forest a shimmering rainbow of oranges, reds and yellows, curtains of leaves floating and tumbling down around me as I walked slowly down the path toward town. And I saw none of them, because I was in the throes of the pounding panic that beset me every week on this miserable assignment. "Sky, think of all the opportunities this will open up for you," my husband had said earnestly, holding my hands as if to help me feel how strongly he felt about his words. "There's so much you can see, so many new places you can go, whenever you want. We can help more people instead of relying on them. You'll be even more independent and it'll be such a confidence boost. I really think this is something important for you to do." I didn't know how to explain to him the steel-cold shots of fear that gripped my stomach at the thought of trying this again. I knew he was right and I wanted everything he said - yet I could think of very little I would rather do less. Every weekly lesson felt like the culmination of every failed exam at the Temple, every scolding from my parents, every wound from the Elder and every bungled work assignment, all wrapped up in one miserable hour. But I was Sky Elvenword Nobleheart; and I was brave. I did not run away from hard things; I did not let fear stop me from my goals and I never said no to an adventure. So I swallowed hard and tried to hide the panicky tears in the back of my throat as I said quietly: "I'll try, Eamon." I wrapped my cloak a little tighter around my shivering body and hoped no one in town would see how pale my skin was. I had learned after the first lesson to keep the runes on my arms carefully covered with long sleeves or strips of cloth - my Dark ice powers shone like beacons out of every exposed rune the first time my terror levels shot through the roof. And considering how close I'd come to a fiery crash last week, keeping those runes covered seemed like wisdom for every lesson going forward. Much too soon, I came over the dreaded last hill and saw the stables and open field ahead of me. I was right on time; the other students were opening the pens and greeting their mounts for the day. But I was not learning to ride a horse. I was learning to ride a dragon. I'm not a Dragonrider. I'm not a Dragonrider. I tried to drown out the refrain beating like an ice storm in my brain, but it matched my footsteps toward my assigned pen. I've gotten along fine all these years without this. It's not worth it. I don't need it. I'm not good at it. I can't do it. I don't want to - A gentle huff from the pen at my elbow made me jump, and I realized I couldn't stall any longer. Slowly, I turned to face the slender white dragon who sat quietly in her cage, her ten-foot tail curled primly around her four graceful white feet, her long neck bent to bring her intelligent dark eyes down to my level. She seemed almost amused by my shaking and heavy breathing. I fleetingly wondered, not for the first time, how much these creatures could understand about us. "Hello, Tianlong," I stammered, fumbling with the latch on the gate. She waited quietly until I shook it off and pulled open the door, and I held my breath as she gracefully unfolded herself and slipped out into the grass. She was too well-trained to try to escape, even though it took me three tries to get the harness on her neck and the saddle on her shoulders, my hands shook so badly. Once again, I saw her glance at me with a look in her eyes that was almost amused. "How we feelin' today, Missus?" The teenage boy teaching the lessons, Erkus, stopped by and doffed his hood respectfully. "A little nervous," I admitted. There was no point in hiding it; I let a strap slip through my fingers the moment I spoke. "'Ow, now, ye'll be just fine, you wait an' see," he said confidently, and patted Tianlong's neck affectionately. "This 'ere is the finest dragon I ever took off an Eastern trader. Almost as smart as our Western dragons, she is. Just trust 'er, trust yerself, an' ye'll get along just fine." He'd said the same thing the last few times, so I nodded politely and focused on getting her saddle strapped snugly around her muscular body. I didn't trust Tianlong, and I didn't trust myself, and we probably were not going to get along at all. "Owright, today we're takin' a short flight out to the hills an' back, same as we did two weeks ago," Erkus hollered to me and the other (much younger) riders shuffling nervously. "We'll be practicin' the turns, so remember how to use the reins an' shift yer body weight. Remember: Trust yer dragons. They know more'n ye think they do." My mouth was too dry to swallow against the nausea rising in my throat, so I just tried to focus on steadying my rapid breathing as I shakily climbed up into the saddle and settled onto Tianlong's back, strapping my own safety harness around my thighs. The dragon flicked her tail and stood up, ready to take off into the frigid, empty heights yet again. I sucked in a deep breath. I was a Ranger. I was a Lightbearer. I was a Protector. And now I was going to be a Dragonrider.
  11. The rain was coming down in sheets outside the cabin, the striking drops like a stream of pebbles crashing against the roof. I padded over to the window and gently wiped away the fog, pressing my fingertips against the cool glass and relishing the glimmer of the dense branches and leaves flickering under the heavy water weight. It might still be summer, but the first hints of autumn were showering down with the gray rain. After a few moments I realized I was twisting my wedding ring on my left hand, and I smiled at myself. I had been a wife for a little more than a week, and both the ring and the title still fit me a bit oddly. I frankly didn't know who I was as Sky Nobleheart - Eamon's wife. And while I knew the only way to get to know this new version of myself was to wait patiently for it to reveal itself over time, I was impatient to see who I was going to become. I turned away from the window and realized I was also rubbing the scrollwork of scars on my left arm. The magical rune-like scars had once resembled a constellation when they were fresh; when I joined with the Dark Elf and balanced my light and dark powers, they came to resemble the twisting curves of willow branches. But regardless of what they looked like, they still bothered me when my powers were out of balance. And they had been burning and itching more than usual lately. "Good morning! What are you looking at?" Eamon came around the corner and greeted me warmly, wrapping his arms around my waist and softly kissing my forehead. I smiled and breathed in his warm morning scent, pushing aside the rising pain in my arm. "Just the rain. It's starting to storm again." "Is it? Let's go look." He led me back to the window and held me close to his chest as we looked quietly out at the darkening sky. It was such a strange sensation to feel the warm flush of happiness and peace rising from my belly and beginning to flood my body, only to meet the prickling chill in my scars and subside, like a wave dashing against a rocky shore. It had been like this since our wedding day and I paid it little attention, only feeling dully sad that even in this happiest time of my life, I was denied the complete joy others seemed to feel. This was the curse of being the Dark Elf, I thought ruefully - no amount of light would ever drive away the dark. No amount of warmth would ever melt the ice. Eamon gently turned over my arm to look at the scars, and I knew he could see the faint bluish glow pulsing under the skin. At first he said nothing, just wrapped me a little tighter in his arms and kept looking out the window. After a few moments, however, he asked: "What would help?" I started to form my usual resigned reply: "Nothing really. It's just like this sometimes." But I paused this time to ask myself the question more deeply: What would help? I had given up trying to bring my powers back in balance so long ago - for what felt like an age now, I had simply accepted that this was how things were. That I was just destined to be secretly anxious and cold and numb inside forever because of who I was, the Dark Elf. But what if that wasn't true? What if there were a way to feel wholly warm and alive again? "Well," I said slowly, looking back out the window, "the opposite of fear is love." "It is." "These scars hurt when I am afraid - and I'm always afraid." "I know." "I'm constantly operating out of fear. I work because I'm afraid of letting my supervisors down. I do things for my loved ones because I'm afraid of being a bad wife or sister or friend. I even clean the house because I'm afraid of being a bad housekeeper. My primary motivation is always fear." "So what if you could change your primary motivation to love?" I couldn't keep a small sigh from escaping my chest. "I don't know how to do that. I've tried to will myself into it but that doesn't work." "No, it doesn't. The only way you can change your motivation from fear to love, is by believing that you're already loved, no matter what. No matter if you fail, if you work or don't work, if you clean the house or don't clean the house. When you believe that God loves you, that I love you, and that your family and friends love you no matter what you do or don't do - then you can let go of fear." I knew he was right. And I also didn't know where to begin in believing that. I knew it to be true in my head, but my heart had toppled backward into the same lies over and over again for my whole life. "Maybe that would be a good first project for me as a wife," I said quietly. "Maybe it's time to figure out how to let myself be loved." Eamon lifted my arm and kissed the aching scars. "I support this plan."
  12. Warning, this is not a fun gif challenge. There is depression, anxiety, stress, burnout and well, situations no on wants but have to deal with. Please understand that walking away from the bad is not always an option and I have considered a LARGE variety of other options. Support is ALWAYS welcome and amazingly helpful since being alone and thinking no one cares is some of the hardest parts. Honestly, all I can think is I am losing. I lost my Dad’s Mother last week very suddenly. There is almost no family left there. I am losing my empathy since I am seriously stuck in caregiver burn out. I know that some of this is hard, that there are real issues, but right now, part of me wants to just scream at them to do the things they are supposed to do and not be so damn whiny. It won’t help, and make things worse, but part of this is the “THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET” discussion. I am losing my patience since everyone comes to me and wants me to drop other things to do their things. I am losing my time to time vampires. Some are innocent and don’t know better and honestly, these I don’t mind as much. Some are dark and menacing and some refuse to think that my time is valuable. I am losing my sense of direction and motivation. I feel like I am so pulled in so many places, I barely know which way is up. When I do know which way is up, I have no idea which way to go because so many directions are needed at one time. I am losing my sense of self. I am not the person I want to be. I keep sacrificing future me for current me, or the things I want to do FOR ME, to do for others. This leads to what basically killed my dad. I will deal with me later, I need to do X for Y first. I am losing my ability to be rested. I am not sleeping well, probably from not walking and stress and a million other things. Doing the things will help me actually be tired and be able to sleep. I come home from work, and have started doing the flop on the couch after 6 pm because I have no other energy, and maybe doze, but once bedtime hits, I am awake again. I am losing my strength and flexibility. I haven’t really taken it seriously, but there are days I feel “weaker” and “stiffer” if that makes sense. Nothing like I randomly fall but more like “That wasn’t that heavy last time was it?” or “Why can’t I touch my toes anymore” (I was doing that really well not that long ago). I am losing the progress I had made. The weight that started to come off is coming back. I am eating a TON of sugar that I don’t need. I am not drinking my water because Tea is better. I need to do these things. I am losing my sanity slowly. I am so torn between being the person I need to be, covering what I need to cover, and at the same time, dealing with the negativity and issues that are a side effect. Too many days, I just find myself in the “I can’t stage” unless it’s absolutely necessary. So, after all of this, I am trying to come up with a “NOT ANYMORE” moment,a “I totally have this and I am going to do the super watch me fix it all thing. Problem is, I don’t see that working either. I am in quicksand and I can’t just turn on a dime and nope out here. I need to be small with my expectations and do what I can. So, as much as it pains me, I am going to cut the numbers on my boxes. I am going to still try to do MORE than I must, but a “Do Something” challenge is only going to make me feel more like I am losing, but lowering the total to work on might not. I will still be doing boxes, mostly the same from last challenge. Big one is that I am changing the do 1 thing for Mom to do 2 things for Mom since I am not keeping up on the workload for her and things like bills are being put off if I am at her house EVERY DAY. This is me, trying to find a way to turn around, maybe find something to pull myself out of here, get to solid footing and move forward. Anyone got something I can grab?
  13. Hi! I'm a rookie trying to build a new, exciting, & healthy life after graduation. Currently my life is fine but I feel like my health, fitness, and mindset really holds me back. Sooo, that's what I will focus on. In general, I buck against hard goals that feel too boring so I am going to do buckets of goals (sets under a category) to pick from as long as I am trying to keep to a schedule. Health: I want to consistently nudge my eating habits towards something more fueling and fulfilling. My goal is to do one of these every day: Don't eat out more than 1x per week, ideally less. Push your veggie intake Fitness: I have recently upped my daily walking from 0.25 miles a day to 1.25 miles a day just by changing my work habits. Now, I wanted to pointedly begin working on daily workouts. Each day I want to do one of the following: Hike Walk Body weight Climbing Gym Mindset: I am a tightly wound, anxious human. While none of the below replace therapy (my therapist is awesome and we're crushing anxiety), they augment what I am working on and help me build a fuller life. Each day I want to do one of the following: Meditate Actively use growth mindset Green witch meditation Challenge my comfort zone Challenge my fears Cheers to the challenge!
  14. The evening breeze curled playfully around the hillside where Eamon and I had spread out our picnic several hours before, surrounding us with the spicy damp scent of trees exhaling their warmth from the day and the soft hum of insects serenading each other in the dusk light. Night was falling, and the village vista far below had quieted, with lamps lit in windows and a softening of the sounds of bustling carts and brisk voices. Our conversation, too, had softened into a comfortable silence; and I curled into the space underneath Eamon's strong arm, resting my head on his shoulder and letting his body support my weight. It was my favorite kind of evening, where in privacy I could tell and show my partner how deeply I loved him - but as happened so often on those evenings, instead of being filled with bright warmth and loving happiness, I was hollowed out with the frosty stillness of my ice powers, as numb and lifeless as a forest clearing buried in midwinter snow. I ached with wishing I could just once feel the love and delight I knew I felt for him underneath the chill - but no matter how hard I tried to shake free, I was locked inside, all my emotions buried underneath the cold. I laughed when he joked or flirted, said all the things I knew in my head that I would say if I could feel anything - but I was sure that somehow, even in the dimming light, he had to see the deadness in my eyes and hear the hollow emptiness in my laughter. I didn't understand why it was happening and that made it even worse. As we gazed quietly down across the valley, Eamon unexpectedly reached over to take my hand - and I thought I saw him flinch the tiniest bit when his warm fingers contacted my frigid palm. Still, he didn't hesitate as he enveloped my small hand in his big one, and he said calmly as if nothing had happened, "You know, I heard from a friend a few villages over that some of the harvest festivals might take place this year. If you like, I could ask him for more information and we could try to go. It might even be after the wedding, so we could go together. What do you think?" I looked sorrowfully down at the dull blue glow of the runes on my bare wrists and arms, and two cold tears rose in my eyes. "Eamon," I whispered, "I'm sorry I'm not going to be a better wife for you." Immediately Eamon shifted to gaze down into my eyes, his heavy brows lowered over concerned blue eyes. "What are you talking about?" I spread my palms and bit back tired tears at the scars and patterns that laced across my hands and forearms, all of which were glowing a jagged, frosty blue instead of the golden light of healing and compassion that seemed so elusive these days. Words and emotions jumbled up in my thoughts, until all that would come out was, "I'm sorry I'm ... not normal. I'm ... sorry I'm ... broken." Eamon sighed heavily and pulled me close to his heart, pressing his warm hand over the cold one I rested miserably on his chest. "Sky," he said, firmly but gently, "I love you. Because you're you. I wish I could do something to help you heal and make your life easier - and if there ever is anything I can do, I will gladly do that, because I want you to be happy. But even if nothing ever changes - even if you feel this way for the rest of our lives - I'm going to love you and be here with you anyway. Not because you're perfect, not because things are simple and easy, but because you're my best friend and the woman I love and want in my life. Nothing will ever change that." "I know," I mumbled. "I just wish I were -" "- perfect," Eamon supplied. I looked up at him, startled. "What?" "You want to be perfect and flawless. But honey, that's not how anything works. I'm not perfect and neither are you. But we don't have to be." His words reminded me of one of my counselor's favorite sayings - "Breathe in, and when you breathe out, release your need for perfection and say to yourself, 'This is good enough,'", she always said. "I don't want you to suffer and I do want you to heal. But that's not for my sake. I'll love you no matter what. And part of how I'm going to love you is by supporting your healing journey any way I can." Maybe allowing love to come into your brokenness is part of being good enough, I wondered to myself. Maybe accepting that two broken people are going to have mess and pain and needs - and can still bring all the love they have to give - maybe that's good enough. Maybe it's good enough to be unwell or irritable or frustrated or half-healed or struggling, together. "Okay?" Eamon leaned back to smile into my face, and for the first time all evening, a tiny spark of hope flickered in my heart as I smiled back. "I may not be perfect, but I'm good enough," I whispered back. Eamon beamed and kissed my forehead. "Amen."
  15. This challenge cycle will mostly be spent traveling in the US. Still not sure how I feel about that, aside from being excited about consumerist shit, but I’ve cast that lot and it’s happening regardless. As such, this challenge can’t just be SSDD on coast mode. Which is probably a good thing, tbh. Here’s my plan to cope with “vacation”: Managing Anxiety I’m sure crowd, travel and people pandemic-ing wrong anxiety will be a thing, and not jumping into reflexive judgey bitch mode to cope with said anxiety is going to be a definite issue. Timelines, time zones & travel time already all have my anxiety at 11. Management: Deep yoga breaths, and reminding myself to get a grip. Not my monkeys, not my business. Also stocking up on hand sanitizer & antibac wipes if I feel I need more control over the situation. We’ve also got disposable masks for that 12+hour plane ride & will have our normal masks on us as well. My general abhorrence of feeling trapped always rears it’s head when forced into social situations I don’t want to be in. Management: Staying in Air BnBs, having a rental car at all times, planning things to do that aren’t just sitting on the couch at a relatives house staring at their damn eyeballs. Family dumbassery. Talking to some family members over the phone is exhausting; seeing them in person is going to be more so. I’m also not interested in 3 weeks of continual bitching about COVID from everygoddamnbody I see. It’s exhausting. Management: Tell said family member(s) that I don’t have the damn bandwidth for this conversation. Change the subject. Leave early if necessary. Hubby and I need to settle on a ‘get me tf out of here before I start screaming’ code. Too damn bad we don’t still smoke. Trying to fit everything and everyone in limited time - especially when everyone only wants to meet up when it’s convenient for them. Management: Not doing that, and not feeling guilty for doing so. Giving people clear guidelines of when I have available slots and when I do not. This I always do, but it’s still always a shit show. I generally don’t feel bad about it, but i inevitably still end up anxious. Those should be the biggies, but I’m sure more will pop up. Nutrition Whelp, this one is going to be a curveball. Body was on a less carb trajectory - aaaand then the stress of planning this trip hit. A few ground rules to help myself not feel quite so bloated and terrible by week 2 of travel: Don’t finish the fries. Start with the main, eat half of it, and then go in for bites of the sides. Don’t eat all sides one by one and then tackle the high dollar item. Eat slower and take stock of when you are full. You’ve already paid for the meal; you’re on vacation - wasting $ is to be expected. Remember that the clean plate club is not a thing. Don’t eat shit I know is going to kill me. If family members are drenching everything in cheese, either just eat sides or pick around the cheese. I don’t need to leave full. Remember that even though we’ll be hitting up some favorites and going in for some primo meals (on top of straight garbage), I’ve had good food before and will have good food again. I don’t need to gorge myself to enjoy the meal. Drink what you damn want but attempt to not go for 2 days in a row & limit shit that’s going to lead to a hangover. Body Care Realistically, I won’t be hitting any yoga classes in the 3 weeks we will be gone, and pressuring myself to do a hotel-style daily workout before leaving each day is not conducive to good mental health for me. I know I don’t sleep for shit while traveling, and often have to get up too early. Do what I can, when I think of it. If I’m bored and feeling trapped, suggest a walk around the neighborhood instead of trying to hide in my phone with DH. It’ll be hot and I’ll be in the ‘burbs, but it may still be doable. Pull up some simple bodyweight routines that can be done whenever - and keep them in the forefront of my mind so maybe that actually happens. And that’s it for this Cycle. Or at least most of it. I will reassess once I’m back and settled. Yoga will definitely return.
  16. Hello everyone, it's been a while. I hope you are all well. I should be well. I have a wonderful son (1,5 years old), a safe job, a nice little apartment, no financial worries. But I have no deep connection to other people, besides my little son and my mom. It's been two years since I did a therapy to learn to deal with social anxiety and I learned a lot. I notice when I come near the "the black hole". Two weeks ago I fell into it. I had the first panic attack in over a year. Because of the pandemic and the lockdown in Germany it is hard for me to get in touch with other people besides of five min talks in kindergarden. So my work is kinda the only thing where I can do something meaningful. But at the moment I am not involved in the important stuff. I sit around and wait for tasks. I went to my supervisor and told him that I want to get involved and that really something has to change. The night I had a panic attack. The next day I had one again. And the whole week I felt terrible. Then when I got trusted with some important tasks, my son got ill. And I used his illness to stay home a whole week. I don't want to feel this panic anymore. There is not even a real reason behind it. It's just my feeling of being alone and the fear to be not accepted by others. My goal for this challenge is to find activities that I enjoy. And to create a routine to answer the panic.
  17. My heart pounded and I doggedly sucked in breath as I slowly climbed the hill trail, feeling my way over lumpy roots and unexpected mudholes through the intense darkness that hung heavily over the entire landscape. The plague still raged on many months after I had initially confined myself to my cottage, and now, a silent, creeping darkness of spirit had spread softly across the land in the wake of the deaths and losses of livelihood. Despair - it hung on people's bones like old cloaks and shadowed their faces like an early nightfall. The plague showed no sign of relenting, and the traditions and gatherings that people had clung to for hope were rapidly unraveling. People needed hope. They needed a light to guide them through the dark, desperate months of winter. I paused to lean against a dead tree, holding out my right hand to grimly survey the intense blue glow of my ice powers in the sharp runes across my palm and up my arm. The fact was that I was in need of light, too - the darkness had ruthlessly pushed itself into my bones, dampening my healing powers, pushing them further and further inside me as my ice powers strengthened and threatened to take control. The cramping, freezing pain in my veins had intensified to the point that I often couldn't eat or sleep, and when I tried to work, it twisted me into near-fetal position, as flashes of ice surged through my body and left me shuddering and sick. Love, hope, light, joy - for days at a time they felt like faint memories from another time. The Voice hissed like relentless sleet against the back of my mind, spitting doubt, fear, and despair into every rune and every wound on my body; and by now, I had begun to think it was my own Voice, speaking my own real truth and inflicting the pain I truly deserved. Scars I thought had long healed creased open again and filled with ice. I was very sick, and I needed hope as much as any of the other weary souls I saw above my mask in the marketplace or at the house of worship. As I gazed quietly at the pulsing blue light in my wrist, a soft step arrived at my side; and Eamon's large hand gently closed over my palm, covering the wounds and thawing a little of the ice with his warm, strong grip. "You're shivering, Sky. Acting up again?" he asked kindly. "A little," I said through chattering teeth. "Do you need to rest? Can I carry your knapsack for a while?" I opened my mouth to say "no," but paused. Eamon's broad shoulders could easily carry my small knapsack, and that would free up my flagging strength to get to the end of this trail. "Thank you," I said sheepishly, and let him lift it from my tight, aching shoulders. He took my hand and squeezed it gently. "You know it's my pleasure to help. Lead the way, I'm here with you." A half-hour and several unexpectedly steep ravines later, we struggled to the top of the hill and stepped out into the clearing, looking down across the sprawling valley sprinkled with lights like stars in the sky. Villages lay in clusters like nebulae, the river valley a curving galaxy of houses and barns. And far off in the distance, I could see a faint arc of light along the horizon, so slender that I wasn't sure I really saw it - but I did. My heart swelled and for the first time in weeks, a bit of the pain faded in my bones. The darkness had an end. It was not infinite and it was not invincible. And no matter how heavy it lay across our land, it had not put out the little lights glowing in each home, farm and village across the valley. It could and it would be defeated. "Sky!" Eamon's voice was soft and I heard him smiling as he put his arm around my shoulders. "Look at your hands!" I looked down and was startled to see white light, not blue, glowing under my skin. For the first time in a long time, I heard the Voice's hiss in the back of my mind, but was strong enough to parry and deflect its lies. I was not the Voice and it was not my friend. And it was not going to have the final say in my heart any more than the darkness was going to put out the lights in the hearts all over the kingdom. As I turned from looking at my hands to look excitedly up into Eamon's face, my gaze was interrupted by the sprinkle of winter's first snowflakes drifting lightly into view, crystalline white and hopeful against the heavy darkness of the sky. "What's happening?" he asked, his face just barely visible in my glow, as I slipped my hands into his. "We've found the edge of hope," I replied. "And we're going to chase it until we find it."
  18. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” While this quote is widely attributed to Winston Churchill, there's some who argue it's true source. I'm off topic, please pay no heed to my ramblings. It's easy for me to lose track sometimes... Ok, ok all the time. I've been on this site for sometime. During that time I've never followed through any of my side quests to complete my end game quest. It's not entirely uncommon for me to begin anything and sprint right into the field of battle, if you will, and for some time I will excel, push through the gruel and sweat and then I'll lose that initial momentum. This is so true to the point, I really feel that at this point...it's almost damned near inevitable that is what I will do in anything I do. This isn't where I pictured myself at thirty-two years old. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, throw a pity party or be ungrateful for my many, many blessings in my life the Gods have given me. As such, there are many things in my life that I am the one responsible for the fruits they bare. I lost track again.. I think, em, maybe not? I'm thirty-two, overweight, overcome with stress, depression (But wait, there's more!) and anxiety whilst being generally unhappy with where I am in life. I adore my beautiful fiancee, our handsome wee lad and even our aggravating but sweet Shorkie, Gypsy...it's everything else in my life I'm unhappy with and these things are and have been bleeding into those wondrous blessings that is my family. Now that I've either got your attention or lost it (The latter is irrelevant, moving on ha), my name is Drew, and my nickname is Redbeard. Besides being thirty-two and overweight, I'm a gamer, an author, an oughta-be musician and last but most certainly not least a follower of the Anglo-Saxon/Nordic Heathenry and Asatru faith. I also am rather interested in many other beliefs, pantheon's, mythos and Core Shamanism as well those exclusively not separate to their parent faiths. This is my time, I'm nearly middle aged according to the general consensus, and if I don't change these negative things I dislike about myself, I may never be able to.
  19. Feels a bit abrupt to drop back into the NF forums after being away so long, like :poof: I’m baaaack! I’m hanging out with the Adventurers for awhile (my previous couple years’ worth of challenges were done as a Ranger). It has been so long since I’ve been active, and my entire life/routine/body has changed so much in the past two years, that I have no idea what type of activity/lifestyle I’m into now. So, for now, I walk, I hike, I eat a mostly healthy diet that doesn’t fit into any particular category (mostly working on dialing down my sugar consumption without reawakening my disordered eating dragon who has been kept meekly at bay for 4 years now), and I work on my mental health (a host of other dragons). I’m a bit late in posting, but I started my challenge right on time on May 28. I’m easing back into the NF challenge arena with a simple challenge based on streaks. My challenge is intentionally gentle at this early stage. I am 6 months postpartum with my first (and only!) little, and it's been quite a ride so far. I am struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety as well as new variations of old body image issues. I am also pursuing a promotion (with a big increase in responsibility) at work, so I’m stretched to the point where it’s still manageable but I know I can’t add too much more to my plate. While I do have long-term goals for my weight and health markers, I am also working on being gentle with myself at this early stage as I ease back into the mechanisms of a NF challenge in my new postpartum reality. The Streaks: @=completed, X=missed, =gold star day [Nutrition] Eat a vegetable with two meals every day. Gold Star if I manage to find a way to make vegetables palatable for breakfast. Week 1 - @@@@@@ Week 2 - @@@X@@@ Week 3 -@@@@@@X Week 4 - @@@X@@@ [Health] Drink two of my big stainless water bottles full of water every day. Gold Star if I manage three full bottles in a day. Week 1 - XX@X@@X Week 2 - @@@XX@ Week 3 -XX@X@@@ Week 4 - XX@X@@X [Fitness] Walk for 15 minutes every day. Gold Star if I walk for 30 minutes in a day (can be broken into multiple walks). Week 1 - XX@XXX Week 2 - XXXXXXX Week 3 - XXXXXXX Week 4 - XXXXXXX [Life] Write something, anything, for 15 minutes every day. Gold Star if I write for 30 minutes in a day (can be broken into multiple sessions). Week 1 - XXX@@X Week 2 - XX@@XXX Week 3 - XXXXX@X Week 4 - XX@XX@X One-off PowerUps: =complete Call new therapist and make an appointment. Go to first therapy appointment and make a decision about whether or not to continue. Set up auto-pay for my June bills BEFORE the late notifications appear (a new problem for me due to new-mom fatigue and forgetfulness). Get the new plants put into the garden before they all die of dehydration in their little pots. Go to my local Pride festival in June. (happy day! Last minute schedule change meant we could go!) Spend legit hang-out time with a friend. My challenge retrospective post will tally number and length of streaks, and number of Gold Stars and PowerUps obtained. Will update the streaks in this post, and will share progress reports in the thread below.
  20. THE SILVER ARCHER: BOOK II Chapter 5: Solo Mission The theme of this month's challenge is really about self-care. I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately and I'm more than ready to get back to butt-kicking, but as the sun rises on Week One, I will be in a van driving ten hours away from the only hometown I've ever known, preparing to spend three months working an incredibly high-stakes internship, living with two strangers (and their cats!), learning the rhythm of a metropolitan region, and basically upending every imaginable portion of my currently quiet, happy, predictable Midwestern life. Recipe for freaking out. So this month, I will be laying out goals to help myself stay centered and not withdraw into a melty puddle of panic during the move and subsequent transition. Week Zero will be move-related goals; the main challenge will help me check in with my morning and evening routines, make sure I'm eating well, and try to work in some physical activity to release stress and keep me feeling good. This will also be a fluid challenge, as I don't know yet what my daily routine at my internship is going to look like (other than the fact that it begins way earlier in the morning than the night-owl schedule I've been keeping) and what is going to be feasible and realistic. I may create small sets of goals at the beginning or end of each week instead of one big set at the beginning of the month. Tomorrow I'm going to create a plan to help me finish packing and getting all the utilities turned on properly (everything is in progress, just not getting accomplished as quickly as I'd like), and this will guide me in the second half of Week Zero. Yoga and physical therapy exercises must happen too, and eating reasonably despite stress and sharks. And lastly, Sky's narrative may or may not appear in this challenge, just to be realistic. But whether or not I find time to write it down, I am very aware of what she is doing currently, and she and all the wisdom she has gathered over the last few months are close with me while I pack and prepare for my own "solo mission", as she prepares to set out into the forests of Middle Earth and uncover the Dark Elf's latest evil scheme.
  21. Hey all! A week late but had a desire to do a challenge. Kind of went MIA when stuff wasn't quite working for this site and me. Personal issues, that ended up leading me to depression in quite a dark place. Bright side I'm working on it, but everyday stuff is still hard even though I can plan 6 months ahead of myself. I'm hoping this challenge shows some daily light to where the conflict is coming from underneath everything. Along with wrapping my head around, having a schedule doesn't make things boring it just adds a little control. Bright side- I'm still trying to continue on! I have professional supports, have things to laugh at/with daily, even with my troubles with my projects I still want to work in the field outdoors. Goals: Sunrise walking- filling a mental, physical and spiritual need to get to close to nature. I will figure out the minimum but being outside for at least 30 mins with the sun up will help. (Sunrise is around 7 at the moment... I haven't decided yet but throwing on clothes and going on a walk between 7-9 am is my goal) Some Structure- I'm needing some structure in my slightly chaotic life. My goal is to plan out my day on my google calendar by my hope to do what for many hours. From checking when my appointments are, eating, and getting myself to the library. Goals- will make at least 1 goal to follow through daily (however small or big, something to move forward with my life) Enough structure to help fend off depression and cope with my anxiety. While also observing what my daily battles are lie for my goals. Side goal- get my social connections/ support links on here. My depression has been very good on cutting myself off, but I love the atmosphere and over 2 years I'm still coming back.
  22. shy

    Shy Takes A Second

    I can't believe I'm still here!! Wow! I didn't give up, I completed my first challenge, and I'm actually proud of myself! So.. hey! I'm Dawn aka Shy.. I'm super shy. My first challenge goals were... Exercise every single day. (Week two of January and I've managed this since the 3rd. W00t.) Drink more water. Eliminate Caffeine. Work up the courage to go for a walk or go to the apartment gym. (Super scary for cowardly me!) Here are my Feb-Mar goals.... Main Goal I should say "lose all this excess weight" but I'm going to say TRY to lose 15lbs by the end of April for a start. Here's what I'm thinking for the Feb-Mar challenge... Smart Goals Exercise every single day (Again?! Yesss... because I can.) Keep track of my calories (Aiming for around 1550 or so. Might adjust later.) Stop going to bed with dishes in the sink (I HATE that I keep doing this!) Try to get any amount of dishes done before bed! (No joke, this has been my most difficult challenge.) I might add another goal later but, if I'm honest, I've got some stress on me at the moment and I think that's enough for right now. I've already started counting my calories on Cronometer. Believe it or not my most difficult goal might be number 3. I'm SO tired every single day I usually fall asleep holding my daughter on the sofa after dinner. (I'm not proud of this.) I need to make the next day less stressful for myself and do future me a favor and get the kitchen clean. (I feel more stressed when things are messy, which they usually are.) As much as I'd like to add "get under 220" or "do x number of crunches", etc. I think this is a reasonable goal set for me. Good luck on YOUR challenges!!! I can't wait to see all of you meet your goals!!
  23. Hello all, my name is Fluffy_Shark (or Fluffy for short) and this is probably my third time respawning. I am 22 years old. I struggle with depression and anxiety and currently go to school full-time while working part-time. Lately my stress has been through the roof and I've resorted to eating copious amounts of sugar, and drowning myself in the internet, all trying to escape from my stressful world. I have never liked how I look and I have always felt weak and unfit. I haven't worked out in nearly 4 months and I'm sick and tired of it. I have so many things I want to accomplish in life but I barely have the energy to get through the day. Even keeping my home clean, and general adulting tasks seem nearly impossible to complete some days. I am also extremely socially awkward, sometimes even hanging around my friends is tough. I am a negative person and get upset or jealous when others are happy around me, I really dislike this part about myself. I do this because I don't feel like I'm ever enough, I never feel like I'm doing enough. Despite everything going on in my life, I desperately want to incorporate fitness back into my routine. I was happier and had more confidence when i was doing that. I also want to make a more consistent effort to focus on my mental health. I know I need to get a counsellor and I will be booking an appointment with my school's councillor. Outside of that however I want to start reading Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy again. I also want to practice my art skills everyday to get into a competitive design program. So my goals right now are as follows: Physical Health: Complete 2 NF workouts a week for a month Eat 1 serving of veggies a day for a month Limit myself to 1 sugary treat a day (I currently eat 1-5 so this is a challenge for me) Mental Health: Read Feeling Good for 10 min-1 hour a day Art Skills: Practice drawing for 10 min-1 hour a day My actions to make it happen: Physical Health Workouts: write workout in bullet journal schedule for that specific day 1 week in advance, pack gym bag with needed materials and put it on my bed (so I will see it and think twice before just mindlessly reclining on my bed). Progress will be tracked on here, bullet journal, and StickK (There will be a $10 penalty for every workout missed OR rescheduled) Food: Write a veggie to eat that day in bullet journal schedule, make sure I buy lots of veggies on my shopping trips Treats: Keep track of treats consumed in bullet journal and here, for every extra treat, there will be a $2 penalty, always have some kind of healthy snack with me like trail mix Mental Health Place book on bed and track progress on here and in bullet journal Art Skills I have already informed my friend to keep me accountable of this but i will also record my progress in my bullet journal, StickK, and here ($5 penalty on every day missed), Placing sketchbook and medium to use that day on bed Hopefully this new system works. I tried to change too much all at once initially but I think this is manageable. My physical health, my mental health, and my art skills are my biggest priorites right now aside from work and school. Wish me luck!
  24. spooky

    spooky is a cat

    where's the lie though? actual goal of this challenge: treat myself like my cats. when my cats do something wrong or make a mistake i don't judge them. i treat them with kindness and deal with the results of whatever just happened. so...the same goes for me. also, taking things one at a time. cats aren't stressing about things that may or may not happen. they just do whatever is in front of them I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THIS CHALLENGE AS IT IS 12:40 AM. but i think the sentiment is right. measurable ways of doing this...is one of tomorrow's goals. gotta do a 2017 reflection in my last challenge and then, 2018 i'm so ready for you.
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