As I sign on to wix to write this blog post, I am reminded that my last writing was the end of November. It aligns to the fact that since then, it's been a harder time. There were a lot of factors that make this winter darker, beyond the fact of Fernie's limited sunlight. Sometimes I would think about writing a post, but hold back thinking it was just too much of the same content, or there wasn't enough time, and energy was at an all time low.
Ultimately, I want to write to reflect and share, rather than dazzle and impress. That's what will be the most authentic and honest if I return my focus to that.
So Winter! After we came home from Christmas, I think I bit off more than I could chew. I added a second spin class, I started leading my 4 week Joy Cultivate Workshop, and said yes to a volunteer freelance project. All of that on top of the regular handful that is my kids, we all came down with some virus the first week of February. It was a trainwreck. Trying to stay afloat amidst the puke, fevers, coughing, messed up sleep, zero sunshine, frigid cold days was the greatest challenge I've had as a mom yet. It just felt like continuous energy output and almost zero energy input. My battery was in the red zone. I was crying at the drop of a dime. Unmotivated to do anything or get out of the house. Unenthused, depressed and guilty for feeling that way. I booked a blood test, counselling, a doctor appointment and osteo the week before going away to Mexico. Looking for answers and help everywhere. During these two months, my sleep took a nosedive down. We've been so fortunate to have amazing sleeping kids even throughout their virus's. 12 hours every night. But something shifted for me and there were a lot of nights where I would get between zero and three hours of sleep. That alone is enough to make anyone nuts, let alone with two small kids demanding energy and food throughout the day. Elliot started refusing to nurse around the middle of January. At first I thought it was a nursing streak, which I read about, but after two weeks of refusing, it was clear he was done. I was totally sad about it. I'm not sure if we will have more kids, so I really wanted to slowly wean him, and enjoy it and control when it was over. So yes, I was emotional about him quitting, but I think hormonally I was (and still am) going trough a really hard shift. It's blanketed as post-partum depression if the mom feels depressed within 12 months of giving birth, but I read on post-weaning hormone changes and depression and it resonated so much (this article was so real it felt like I write it). Similar to the article, I too felt a shift back to the somewhat lighter and normal days 6 weeks after Elliot stopped breastfeeding and a few days before we went to Mexico - like clockwork. Along with the hormonal depression feels, I get seasonal affective disorder. I got it in my first year of university when I moved to Victoria. When it's cloudy, the lows feel lower, when it's sunny, the highs feel higher; it makes my mood heavily influenced by the clouds.
Here are some of the things I tried to help my mood/sleep/energy:
- cut coffee (my anxiety worsened with it. I am trying Matcha right now, but I haven't decided where I sit with it yet.)
- meditate daily. This has been a huge help. Something I feel so grateful for, and crave everyday. I use my Calm app or my Abraham Hicks guided meditations when the kids nap.
- write my list of gratitude (as Danielle Laporte says: "Interrupt anxiety with gratitude"
- get outside for a walk
- litebook light therapy (30 minutes)
- reading before before bed
- working out (cardio especially for endorphins)
- 4000 units of Vitamin D, Reishi mushroom, B12, probiotics, and a multivitamin
- driving to Cranbook or Calgary for sun
All of these things help, but it is still hard. Penelope is learning so much so fast, but she can be so draining too. Elliot is cheery and chill, but SO heavy and not that independent yet. And outside is cloudy and wet. Life ebbs and flows. Energy ebbs and flows. Weather ebbs and flows. It's hard but it will be sweet. And even in the clouds, there are so many blessings to be grateful for.
Things I know:
- Spring is coming, and with it, SUN
- I can dial back and recharge a bit.
- Penelope and I will get some fun quality time on a mother daughter trip to Victoria in a couple weeks
- I will return to work and have fun new experiences and schedules with it too.
- The kids are growing and I will one day (probably soon) miss this phase they are in.
Things I'm grateful for:
- a truly awesome trip to mexico with mark. beaches books sun mark pina coladas. it was blisssssss
- amazing grandparents to take a full 7 day shift with the kids! Lovingly too!
- days where Penelope gets to go to dayhome
- the most beautiful sunny Tuesday
- teaching spin at Soar
- lots of fresh produce in our home after a big haul
I know I'm in the thick of it with two little kids. It's hard, but it's hilarious, heart-warming, fun and crazy. Where are you at? Do you have other helpful ways to stay 'full' in this time of early childhood rearing? Good stories? Hit me up.
Sending love from the mountains,