Monday, September 17, 2018

lies I tell myself when stressed (and other updates)

I have one more day left of my 7-day call stretch.  I entered with such good intentions!  However, I succumbed to call stress for at least the first half of the week.

7 days is just such a long time to have to be 'on', literally and figuratively.  It was a week heavy on nighttime calls, too -- most of which were NOT emergencies (or even close).


But, as Josh pointed out, I could choose to get angry and dwell on these things, or just take the calls and move on and be happy that it's just 7 days.

During one pump session, I tried to analyze why/how I tend to go off the rails and identified the following lies I tend to tell myself when under stress:

1) I cannot take time to work out.  ALSO: OMG I am soooo fat.
I know I'm not the only one to beat myself up over a few days of missed workouts.  Or some jeans that are tighter than ideal.  When I'm stressed out about other things, I tend to catastrophize here, even when in reality I have lived within the same ~7 lb weight range for essentially my entire life, pregnancies excluded.  Being on the upper or lower end of that is not going to make/break my quality of life.  And allowing myself little food-related treats while on call is not the worst idea ever (Starbucks scones = perfect Friday morning call treat; no regrets/apologies necessary).

On the flip side of that, I can almost always find 20 minutes to work out.

Why does my mind always go there during times of stress?  I don't know.  Blame the patriarchy, I guess.

2) I need another planner.
On the up-side, my compulsive shopping habit is much cheaper than shopping for clothes and is somewhat self-limited (at some point, even I recognize when I have far too many pages to actually fill).  That said, I almost clicked "buy" on a 2019 Hobonichi Techo Cousin at 2:30 in the morning after answering a call.  Even though I have multiple other options already (as noted previously, I'm reviewing some planners for an upcoming pod episode and was generously gifted some gorgeous items).

Hobonichis ARE special though . . .

3) OMG the injustice!  My life is so tough!
Yes, SHU.  The world is unjust, because there are billions of people without access to clean water and doing grueling physical labor just to survive.  YOUR life situation is unjust because it is much much easier than 99% of the world's population.  You get paid nicely to take call approximately 15% of the time.  Enjoy the other 85% and the fact that you don't even do your own laundry.

4) I don't want to talk to anyone; I just want to crawl in a hole and be alone.
And yet when I DO force myself out to connect with others (phone or in person), I feel a million times better.  Hmmm.

5) I do not have the mental energy to read I can only scroll because life is just TOO MUCH for me.
I do find it much more relaxing to read, but I find that when I don't really like what I'm reading, I tell myself the above.  Time to abandon ship and move on (currently: The Ensemble by Aja Gabel.  I really just don't love it.  At 90 pages in, I feel like I can say I really tried.)

6) There is no end in sight!
Except there is!  It's 7 days.  Though I do think that focusing on just getting through each day is probably the healthiest outlook for me.  I am much better off NOT looking too far ahead, especially in my patient schedule.  I need to handle what is in front of me -- on my list -- for any given day, and trust my system.  (Note:  After a rough start, I did pretty well with this during this past week and ended up being quite productive over the weekend in a fairly limited time.)

7) I have no autonomy.
Well, it's true that if I ignore pages then I would eventually lose my job.  (One might also think that patients would suffer, but honestly not a single one of the calls I answered overnight was really all that life-altering -- all I did was quell a lot of anxiety.  Which has value, I realize, but I didn't really feel like I was saving lives/making a difference).

BUT.  I still have autonomy.  Short of neglecting my children, I have agency in this (free!) world.  I can (gasp) wait 10 minutes to answer a call.  I can take 15 minutes to eat sitting down.  In the long run, I (or anyone) could even leave my job and do something else if I wanted to.  While I have no plans to do that (there are aspects of my work that I do truly love, and I work in a great place), I have to remind myself that no one is truly forcing it upon me.  I DO have autonomy and there are always options.


Other things:

Weekly workouts:
Really trying to keep it REAL around here, so here we go . . .

Monday - Barre Legs (21 day fix)

Tuesday - 2 mi run (yes 2, I was running low on time) @ 6 mph on TM

Wednesday - Total Body Cardio (8 lb weights)

REST OF WEEK - nothing.  Fell into call vortex.  There you go!



from 1st grade Back to School Night

Genevieve thinks she is big.  It is awesome.
(Taken during her 1 hour daily helmet break.  The helmet thing is going fine though - she does not mind it at all!)

Impromptu show last night.
(They are so nice to each other . . . SOMETIMES)

Erin Condren / Full Focus Combo (current planner situation, more on shubox_plans)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

the flip side

Of course, after I wrote the previous post filled with despair, we had a truly lovely weekend.  

A laundry list of good things:
1) I have been using a sticker chart for the big kids' behavior and it has been working!  Better-behaved children = much much happier household.  Let's hope we can keep the momentum going . . .

2) We had 2 big family events for Rosh Hashanah, and both were -- dare I say -- relaxing and fun.  Perhaps I am settling into his family-of-five deal?  G is just such a good baby and A&C are really getting very independent.  I will remember this feeling of peace when G hits the toddler stage (always a challenge for me!).

3) G had her 9 month visit - she is 21 lb (86%) and 28.25 inches (75%).  It is 5:32 AM and SHE SLEPT ALL NIGHT LAST NIGHT!  THERE IS HOPE!!!  (Note, this was an anomaly, but I'll take what I can get!!!!).  She's pulling to stand nonstop and is not minding her helmet one bit.  Whew.  

4) I have several planners being sent to me for review (for the podcast, but I am going to do a series here!) and this makes me irrationally excited.  Below you can see some shots of an older version of the Full Focus Planner, which I am currently using to time track and add a little (needed) structure to my days.   Want more pix?  I am reviving (again) shubox_plans on instagram.  Enjoy :)

5) Josh and I saw Crazy Rich Asians last night - our first movie in the theater since G was born.  And I absolutely LOVED it.  (As many of you know I am a huge fan of the book series - pure candy.  I hope Kevin Kwan writes more!).  

I am entering a call week today (first in a while) and I am filled with less dread than usual.  Probably because I had some extra time yesterday to do a proper weekly review (crucial) and feel relatively organized for the first time in a long while.  


Annabel came to G's ped appointment and to Rosh Hashanah services armed with Field Notes.
Love her phonetic spelling . . .

G @ the pediatrician 
(flu shot #1 + hep B #3 - check)

pulling to stand on EVERYTHING

Full Focus Planner shot


unicorn butt.  LOVE.

Out of commission!??  AGHGHGH

No training wheels!  He and A seem to have learned at the same time.
(that's C in the distance)

G is channeling baby A in one of her old dresses

(last week)
((to keep it real!!))

M - total body cardio (Beachbody), 8 lb weights

T - 3 mi run 10:30/mi 81F

W, Thurs, Fri, Sat - NOTHING (oops)

Sun - 3 mi run 10:20/mi 83F

Well, better than nothing :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2018


Dawn commented on my last post, and the end of her comment read:

"I am wondering how you handle overload/overwhelm. I tend to shut down and then nothing gets done. Do you have ways to climb out of that?"

Oh Dawn.

Good timing.

Because I am definitely in that zone, right here, right now.  I honestly was hyperventilating at work today, staring at my inboxes (yes plural; there's the electronic medical record where we get results and patient/staff questions, and there's my outlook work email, and admittedly I had my gmail open at some points too) and gazing at the multitude of meetings ahead in my outlook calendar.  Every day seems to have some sort of logistical challenge built into it -- like - I have a meeting at 3:30, but it's in another building I have to drive to, and a 12:30 meeting but an 11:30 patient who is allowed to come up to 30 minutes late and be seen . . . etc, etc, etc.  Add in the pumping, which I am basically obsessive/compulsive about because I seem to produce just enough and only with great effort . . . 

Also, add in:
- chronic work stress from clinical duties (unfortunately, certain things do not seem to be getting less stressful with time)
- residency responsibilities (which seem to be exponentially increasing - and I DO have time blocked off for them, but it's hard to really keep things compartmentalized and I feel like I am just getting more behind every day)
- the teaching (and coordination of med students), which I do not have the time to prepare for the way I would like
- the fact that I have to coordinate childcare coverage for some days our nanny will be out soon (I have multiple options, but none will be stress-free)
- workouts (because honestly without them I feel even more on edge)
- the podcast (though thankfully we've had a bit of a break due to some strategically pre-recorded episodes!)
- this blog 
- new school year for A&C
- multiple pages of worksheets and @$*@#! BOOK REPORTS every week in first grade 
- G's extra appointments for her blasted helmet
- the pumping (yes, I know I already mentioned it)
- anxiety ABOUT the pumping
- SLEEP DEPRIVATION because G is still not sleeping through the night (typically wakes 1-2x, I feed her, she goes back to sleep -- which I know is perfectly normal at her age and could be worse)

(PLEASE NOTE, after rereading this post I recognize this is all really very . . . low-level.  I have no real problems.  I have amazing help (from family, our nanny, my colleagues), healthy children, and no real stressors.  So, that's really important to note.  But I will say that I still am struggling a little.)

I had an attending during my training who had multiple children and at some point -- when they were young -- it seemed like she just sort of gave up.  It was infuriating to be her trainee at that point, to be honest.  I DO NOT WANT TO BE THIS ATTENDING. 

But I do feel like I am currently in a bit of a low point.   I recognize the pumping is temporary (down to less than 3 months!), and without it I will be less stressed.  But I stubbornly DO NOT want to give it up now; I honestly feel anger and a sense of oppression when I think about my 'right' to breastfeed G being taken away from me before I am ready (and having gone this long, I'd like to make it to my Dec 1 goal).  

I don't know what I am trying to say with this post.  In part, I guess I want everyone to know that I do NOT always have it all together, in case that was unclear.  I wanted to write out what feels difficult, so I can see that some of it is temporary.  And -- back to Dawn, and her question.  How can I -- we -- climb out?

My answer to her was that I often like to take some time to just slack, as much as possible, only to return stronger at a later date (this was sort of my mindset as I took most of August off of working out, for example).  The idea of "Low Power Mode" on the Happier Podcast resonated with me.  I also am trying to just focus on ONE thing at a time and not look too far ahead (unless I'm looking ahead to fun things next year, which is pleasant!).  Yet I am struggling to figure out what that could really look like right now.  

If you have ideas for me (or Dawn), please share.