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Uncategorized

In My Feelings, a la Drake

I’ve always seen self care as a bougie massage, a fancy workout class or a face mask. I never thought there would be the day where self care was a nap and a shower, but I guess this is part of transforming into a mother. Today, with my husband’s guidance, I took an hour long nap and a hot shower, and I swear I feel like a new woman.

My feelings have been all over the place lately. I have great days, shit days and okay days. Last week, I had a series of shit days that made me question if I would ever see a great or okay day again. It hit me hard. I spent a lot of time crying and wallowing. I felt fat, useless and exhausted. I felt scared and anxious about the future. I feared that I would never be Jeanette again, that I would just be mom.

Thankfully, I have an incredible husband who has been patient as hell through the last six months of pregnancy. He listened to my every cry, reminded me that my body is working it’s ass off to grow this baby, and helped me to get myself out of that slump.

I know that that was probably not my last slump, but it feels good as hell to be out of it. I would describe it as that feeling when you can breathe again after having a stuffed nose for a week. It’s heavenly.

Becoming a mom is not how it looks on TV – a perfectly round tummy, a great self esteem and boundless energy. The truth is that pregnancy is a body that changes constantly. Pregnancy is having to catch your breath after going up a flight of stair. It’s questioning whether or not you have what it takes to be the mom of your dreams. It’s looking in a mirror and missing the “old” you.

While that is depressing AF, pregnancy is also the knowledge that your body has done something absolutely incredible in growing another human being. It’s the feeling of having your hand on your tummy and feeling your baby kick. It’s knowing that you, along with the person you love and value most in this world, have created life together.

This last week I’ve been focusing on taking care of myself, whether that be a hot shower and clean hair or a fun workout class. As frustrating as pregnancy can be, I’m amazed on a daily basis by what our bodies can do. I’m so grateful for a body that is able to move, support me and my baby.

Categories
Sparking Joy

International Happiness Day: Where Do We Stand?!

The World Happiness Report came out today, on International Happiness Day, and the United States is the 19th happiest country. Last year, we were the 18th happiest country, and the year before that, we were the 14th happiest. So… what’s happening? Why are we, a developed country, failing at happiness? What even is happiness?! How can I be happier?

Happiness is the feeling of contentment and pleasure. Okay, so it makes some sense why we’re not happy. We live in a country where we’re constantly replacing things with new editions, and never content. We also are obsessed with social media – I’m always seeing friends, acquaintances and strangers living their “best life” and comparing it to my own. But what about the other countries that are on the list? They have access to the same new tech that we do, and I’m sure they’re just as Insta obsessed.

American culture doesn’t believe in “happiness” in the way that other parts of the world do. We don’t value work life balance. In fact, I often hear people bragging about how much they’ve put into work: “YO BRO – I put in 50 hours of overtime last week and I got FREE dinner every night.” I’ve heard similar things while eavesdropping over the years.

Fortunately, I work in a place that gives me great work life balance. I work from eight to three, and am usually home by four in the afternoon. I don’t even have work e-mail on my phone, and the atmosphere at work is relaxed and not stress inducing. So I don’t need to do much in that area to be a happier person. ON TO THE NEXT SUBJECT.

Countries all over the world have times of rest. Italy, Spain and the Philippines have siestas where the shops and businesses close down so people can have a break in the afternoon. The U.K. gives workers a mandatory 28 days of paid vacation annually. The average American? We get 10 paid days off per year, and even with that, most Americans don’t use them all! As a teacher, who works 208 days of the year, I could not fathom a life where I have to work 50 weeks a year. No wonder we’re not happy!

There’s also the fact that most of the happiest countries in the world are countries that are pretty mono-cultured. The four happiest are Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland – countries that have a pretty high percentage of citizens from the same culture. This probably gives them a sense of belonging that can be difficult to find the in the melting pot that is the United States. Along that note, we also have a government who is trying to make things work for people across cultures, backgrounds, education levels and economic ranges. It appears impossible to please everyone.

So what can we do?

Let’s zoom in. Focus on our own day to day happiness. It’s going to be hard to make changes that make everyone in this country happy, but it’s a whole lot easier to make changes to your day to day life.

Maybe we can start by saying no more often. I’ve started to do this, and I see my own happiness growing. Unless it’s something I want to do, or that I see as a advantageous, I typically say no. I used to say yes to everything, and would inevitably find myself crying about how overwhelmed and unhappy I was. Give it a try, guys!

Efficiency can help too. Take a look at how you’re using your time. Is the two hours a night you sit on your couch something that truly brings you joy? If it is – go for it girlfriend! If not – use that time better! Pick up a new hobby. Spend time making your home cozy. Read a damn book. DO SOMETHING THAT PLEASES YOU!

I don’t have the answers, but I’m on the constant search for them. I want to hear from you! What do you do to be happy? On a scale of 1-10, how happy would you say you typically are? How do you get yourself out of an unhappy rut?