Life, Stuff About Me

Y’all, I may have finally over-committed myself. I always love to have a very full life, but I’m starting to feel a bit of the anxiety that always comes along with too much fullness. I’ve become fairly good at recognizing this feeling quickly, but there’s not a lot I can do to reduce my commitments over the next few weeks. A few of them will fall off in mid-June and then I’ll be ready for some fun and also for some regular writing… which is fun!

But in the meantime, yesterday I accidentally put one of my earrings in my second piercing hole which I haven’t used since 2007 and I didn’t notice that I was uneven until the end of the day.

So, I can’t change the number of commitments I have, but I can stop trying to cram in any more stuff… I can also use my limited free time to engage in a little self-care and limit the anxiety.

Ways to Deal With Being Overwhelmed

Cleaning

Stock Image belongs to an Atlanta cleaning company and was the least sexy cleaning picture I could find. Troubling.
This idea probably seems counter-intuitive – cleaning is work! Work is stressful! Aren’t we trying to reduce stress!?
Well, yes, but… I don’t know about you, but when I’m busy, cleaning is always the first thing to go. Not the daily stuff like dishes, but I develop a really bad habit of just dropping and going, and the regular maintenance stuff like vacuuming and dusting just disappears. Right now, my room looks like a tornado went through it and it is incredibly stressful every time I go into it. For me at least, if I could spend half an hour setting things right, that would crazy enhance my mental state. I’m thinking sometime on Saturday…

Meal Planning

Image of meal prep belongs to Fit Mommy via Pinterest
Nothing is worse than knowing you have an hour to dash home, eat dinner, then get back out the door again for another commitment… and you have no idea what to eat. Either you have no food at home or stuff that takes actual preparation which then leads to the added stress of wasting food/money. The amount of times I’ve either spent $20 picking up sushi like the rich person I am not (SkiptheDishes is dangerous!) or just had Mr. Noodle with peanut butter for dinner…
Right now, I’m doing Fit Girl’s Guide 28 Day Jumpstart and it is a godsend. I don’t have to think at all, they lay out the shopping and prep, and the meals are quick and tasty.
Let someone else do the hard part for you and focus your mental energy on the rest of your life.

Treat Yo’ Self

Image is obvious, isn’t it? Please!
Like, at least a little bit. Find something in your week that you can do just for you.
Love “Game of Thrones”? Carve yourself out an hour per week so you don’t fall behind on your show. (You know you’ll get spoiled if you do!)
Cherish your solo podcast time? Multi-task it… listen while you’re driving, take a walk in the sun with headphones, lock everyone out of the kitchen and listen while you cook.
Want some wine? Well… yeah, why not?

Vitamin D
Actually, regardless of if you like podcasts or not, get out to take a little walk and a little sun (or fresh air at least) daily. Even 15 minutes will do a world of good… and if I can find 15 minutes in my day to get outside, you can too.

Instant Forgiveness This is something we practice in theatre but it’s good advice when you are overwhelmed too. Sometimes you’ll do what you consider to be “screwing up”. You may pick up McDonald’s instead of following your meal plan. You may forget to leave time for a run. You may have to cancel plans because you just need a night at home. Don’t beat yourself up about any of these things. It’s not a screw up, it’s just human and so are we.

Even though I’m using a lot of “you”s in this post, this is a just a sampling of the things that work for me when I’m overwhelmed. What are your best tips for dealing with the times where you’re just a little (or just a lot) overwhelmed?

Life, Stuff About Me

British Museum

Y’all, it feels like it’s been months and months since I wrote a monthly wrap up post. There have been so many different things to happen in the month of April that I cannot believe it’s only been 30 days. Also, they are painting the offices at my work and it is making my allergies act up like whoa, so my mind isn’t exactly all here either. I’m a little worried about the day after they paint my physical office. #firstworldproblems, am I right?

Overall Month Rating

A. It has been absolutely beautiful week and today there was free pizza at work, but I swear I’m not blinded by that. This month I went to London with my baby brother, I maybe sourced a fun little way to make some extra money during the summer, I started rehearsals for an incredibly fun play… and I found a roommate for the summer. Yes, it’s only for four months, but I think it will be so much easier trying to find a roommate for September than for February and it warms my heart to help out an endearing little college student for the summer.

Highlight of the Month

Can I just say all of London? If I have to narrow it down, seeing In the Heights in the King’s Cross Theatre or our Yeoman Warder tour at The Tower of London were definitely hugely great days/moments.

Lowlight of the Month

I NPC’ed a 12+ hour long LARP event the day after returning from London. I love LARP, but that was a poor choice. In a hilarious (??) turn of events, I took two fairly lengthy naps during the event. On a couch in a room that houses some sort of childcare/child playroom/child thing. That is never a recipe for waking up and feeling good about your life and your choices.

Number of Workouts Completed

Okay, it may have been an ambitious choice to loudly state that I was going to start a Couch to 5K on a month that included a two week trip to a place full of cider, fish and chips, and museums. That definitely did not happen. There was also a two week break from barre during the trip… but I sure did complete a ton of steps daily while trying to save money on the Underground. I’ve also kept up the soothing morning yoga.

Number of Plays Watched

Well, I’ve been pretty open about seeing three rad plays in London…

Number of Movies Watched

In theatres – 0. All my money was ear-marked for London this month!
At home/on the airplane – 8. When you are determined to kill jetlag, you can watch an awful lot of movies on an airplane. (However, it didn’t work. Maybe I’m getting old?) We also watched Hot Fuzz approximately two times (in various bits and pieces) over our time in London, caught Clueless while exhausted one night and on our second last morning of our trip, we enjoyed a bit of a lazy morning and plugged the tablet into the tv to enjoy Frozen on Netflix with a morning cider.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On

Just one! I agreed to drive Bryan and Darci to an event so they could drink and, while they were in the event, I took myself for a petite dinner and reading date. Naturally, it was awesome. (It also led to my potential opportunity for the summer.)

Best New Food Discovery

Jacket potatoes are super a thing in London, I realized. Lots of pubs had a lengthy list of different jacket potato fillings you could select from and there were even street vendors that offered ones to purchase and eat on the go. One night, while dying for a little comfort food, I enjoyed a jacket potato with tuna and mayo stuffed in it. You can guarantee that I will be whipping one of those bad boys up on a lazy winter Thursday night.

Best New Culture Discovery

Anne Perry’s Inspector Thomas Pitt series of historical mysteries. This is really more of a re-discovery, as I read and casually started collecting the series in paperback when I was in university and always needed a paperback book to stash in my bag for transit. When I was in London, though, I kept recognizing street names from the titles of her books and now I am devouring these books like crazy. Twisty and turn-y mystery plots, an accurate Victorian London landscape, awesome and complex female characters (Thomas’ eventual wife Charlotte is arguably the main character of series) and a quirky cop as the title character all come together to create a light, entertaining read that doesn’t make you feel like you have a sugar hangover.

Best Book Read

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I’m a sucker for anything zombie, but this book approaches it in such an interesting way. It’s obvious that there are zombies, but it isn’t about zombies, per say. Once I had finished reading the book, even I knew it was over, I knew the story that needed to be told had been told; I still wanted a sequel. This book is equal turns eerie, thought-provoking and heartbreaking. Please read it.

A note: I feel a little bit awkward writing this post without acknowledging the fires in Fort McMurray. At the same time, I’m not sure exactly what to say. It’s sort of similar to how I felt during the Calgary floods of 2013 – though I knew very few people directly affected by the floods (many of my friends were evacuated briefly but their homes were safe), it was ever present in everyone’s world and we were all affected. That’s sort of how the fires are flitting around the edge of my world. An absolutely lovely woman that I work with recently moved down from Fort Mac and I will be supporting her and the friends/family that are fleeing down to her. Please educate yourself on what is happening to our neighbours in the north and what you can do for them to help out the most.

Culture, Life

Happy Tuesday, blog buddies, and let me apologize for my disappearing act over the past two weeks. I swear I have a good excuse, though – I just returned from a terribly exciting, relaxing and historical trip to London with my youngest brother, Kevin. (And I promise that I would have tipped my hand and told you all ahead of time, except that apparently in my 29th year I’ve grown somewhat paranoid and decided that it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea to tell the interwebz that my house was going to be empty for two weeks…) I booked the trip on a whim after a bit of a life shakeup at the end of last year. Kevin is a writer who took a day job this year and decided to join me to take advantage of finally having a regular income. My favourite people know that I love solo travel, but this time it was so much fun to spend some time with my little brother as an adult and to have someone to laugh about shared nonsense with.

I probably won’t do a formal day-to-day recap of my trip – partially because it was just a lot of wandering around museums and streets, partially because I’m not sure that we’ve built the blog relationship where you care to hear about me sitting in nine different pubs to kill the hours between adventures. (Yes, we averaged almost one pub per day. It was pretty impressive.) I will be dropping tidbits/anecdotes here and there, though, as we return to our regularly scheduled blogging. But for today? How about a few highlights?

Tower of London

1) Did you know that people live in the Tower of London?! This has been the first thing I’ve said to absolutely everyone who has asked me about my trip because it still blows my mind. The Yeoman Warders (“Beefeaters”… yes, the uniformed men who give hourly tours – they are not “just” tour guides at all) are actually Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard formed by Henry VII and the 37 Yeoman Warders and one Chief Warder that compromise this military group actually live at the Tower of London with their families! The Chief Warder lives in the Queen’s House… literally, her house at the Tower because it is still an active Royal Palace. There is also a doctor, chaplain and the Resident Governor living on site. I had been to the Tower of London before, but somehow this fact slipped my notice before and Kevin and I just could not stop marveling over it.

pub

2) The system of ordering in British pubs is quite different from Canadian ones, and really wonderful. Jetlagged and starving at 9 pm on our first day there, it did take us probably far too long to figure out how things were done but once we did, we were hooked. Essentially, the system in the pubs cuts out the middleman and takes a lot of the pressure off of sitting for too long or not ordering food – you can do everything on your own time. For those who don’t know (and to save you the jet-lagged confusion that I experienced), when you enter a pub proceed directly to the bar to order and pay for your drink of choice. Bring this drink to the best possible table and enjoy it (and maybe one or two more!) with your friends and conversation. If you decide to do food with your drink (and please keep in mind that there is never any obligation to do so… you’ll probably notice that most of the tables around you aren’t eating), bounce back up to the bar to order and pay for your food. In a small bar, you’ll just indicate to the bartender what table you’re at; in a bigger one, they may give you some sort of table marker. The best part of all? When you’re done with your evening, you can just leave… no waiting for the cheque because you already paid!

airbnb

3) AirBnB is always worth it. I’ve done AirBnB before but other people have always done the actual renting and I’ve just tagged along. We rented a lovely little flat in Kennington owned by a very charming and friendly gentleman, and it could not have gone smoother! It was so nice to have a private, relaxing home base in which to kick back in the evenings and to enjoy some cereal in the mornings. I think the cereal is what saved us from getting tired of restaurants on this trip!

wicked

4) If you are really thrifty and clever, you can see two professional West End shows in one day for less than forty pounds. In our case, a Wicked matinee for 17.50 and an evening showing of The Woman in Black for 12.50. It was our second last day and was absolutely thrilling.
I think that may be enough for this Tuesday… but I have so many more rambles and pictures so I’m sure you’ll see more pop up soon…

Life, Stuff About Me

Barre Body Studio pic

My March recap is decidedly late (I know, I know, it’s already April 5…) but I swear I have a good excuse. I bought a tablet this weekend and have fallen into a bit of a black hole of setting it up. And by setting it up, I mostly mean playing with it. I feel like I did when I got my first iPhone back in 2011! My wellness benefits at work will actually reimburse me for this tablet because it will enhance my wellness and improve my efficiency, I guess? If I can ever stop testing out podcast apps when I am actually supposed to be blogging…

Overall Month Rating

B+. March was a decidedly better month than February – in a large part because of Big Taste Calgary and a couple other excellent social outings with friends. The weather improved with a couple of absolutely gorgeous days in the high teens and, with the sunshine as inspiration, I made a concentrated effort to reframe my mental state to be equally sunny. I’ve always been aggressively positive at work; I wanted to bring that into my personal life as well. However, I was not nearly as fiscally responsible this month as I meant to be and I still don’t have a roommate. B+ it is.

Highlight of the Month

Either the incredible dinner at Teatro (and a chance to catch up with an amazing friend who I do not see nearly often enough) or the fact that the auditions I had lined up for this month went exceedingly well and I’ve been cast in a super fun show that goes up this June. I am going to hold off sharing details about the show until the company formally announces the cast, but check out Theatre Thursdays for more about what it’s all about to be in a play once I can talk about it.

Lowlight of the Month

To protect the innocent, I’m going to be vague, but I had a situation mid-month where there was someone else involved and we were just not on the same page at all. At all. Which is fine, except this other person thought that the situation was so great and… it was not. Which I had to tell them. I hate having to disillusion people. (But, oh man, that misinterpretation could not stand…)

Number of Workouts Completed

March was actually pretty solid in terms of workouts. I got in a good routine with barre classes on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, sometimes with an extra one added on Thursday mornings and usually with a lunchtime yoga class on Tuesdays. Moving into April, I would like to solidly add in that fourth barre class and also start the Couch to 5K training. Everyone who runs loves running. I want to feel that too.

Number of Plays Watched

The Turn of the Screw at Vertigo Theatre, Bad Jews at Theatre Calgary (this show sparked such great conversations between myself and my mom, I definitely recommend it if you can sneak it in), Fight or Flight Response by Verb Theatre. Hopefully I can sneak in a show or two more in April as well.

Number of Movies Watched

In theatres – 1. I made the mistake of seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane which really fell apart once they started doing the “Cloverfield” stuff. John Goodman rocked, though.
At home – 5. Okay, I watched 22 Jump Street twice and after one particularly stressful weekend my mom and I unwound to The Ridiculous 6. Don’t judge me.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On

None! I went on far too many dates with other people, though. I really have to talk my friends into hanging out with me in my home.

Best New Food Discovery

These peanut butter balls. The recipe was shared with me by my lovely Irish co-worker earlier this month to add into my weekly meal prep insanity. It’s total junk masquerading as health food (come on, the recipe comes from Kraft), but I have no interest in making the recipe un-trashy. One little ball is so super filling.

Best New Culture Discovery

I watched all of Unreal in about a week once it came on shomi… keep in mind, these were hour long episodes and I was relentlessly social this month so that is a huge compliment. Apparently Unreal is strikingly accurate in terms of what goes on behind the scenes in “reality tv” (though obviously the drama is somewhat exaggerated) and I cannot wait to watch The Bachelorette with this knowledge in mind. Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby kill it by embracing the nuanced, sometimes unlikeable, sometimes so vulnerable characters that they are given.

Best Book Read

This is one of those super buzzy, probably read in a zillion book clubs book, but for good reason. I absolutely devoured The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah in about a day and a half. I started reading it while invigilating one Thursday and had finished it by the next afternoon. So compelling.

As always, if you’re in Calgary and aren’t a creep… please live in my house.

Happy April!