I first learned about Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle on the 10 Things to Tell You podcast episode #18 about anxiety back in May of 2019. Did you know that in order to deal with stress, you need to complete the actual stress cycle? 🤯
“Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.
Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”
Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.”
June 4th, 2019
On Being Human is the best title ever, and before this book, I had never heard of Jennifer Pastiloff…but the cover totally sold me. This book is primarily a memoir of Pastiloff’s life from childhood to present. She did not have an easy road and parts of this book were incredibly difficult to read but I so appreciated her honesty and her ability to share in such a raw and open way.
I always love memoirs and think sharing our stories is SO important, even when they are not totally relatable to us at first glance. I ended up connected so much with Pastiloff and found myself nodding along as I read. She has so much insight and wisdom but in a completely approachable manner.
I felt like she was talking to me, not down to me with her writing. And while she now leads retreats all over the world, it felt like I was just talking to a friend who happened to be introspective but also totally real. Pastiloff writes about how we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories which can make us think we are not good enough.
Many people have tried to share this message before but it has never come across like this to me..maybe because they felt they have conquered it? Pastifloff it is relatable because this is something that is a lifelong struggle, no matter the hurdles you face and accomplishments you “achieve”. She has this humility about her that made this different than anything I have read before.
I especially appreciated her sections on her struggles with her mental health. While it isn’t exactly a “self-help” book I found so many thought-provoking lines that I kept underlining throughout.
“Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss.”
“ There will always be the one who doesn’t like you, the one who says, ‘No, you should not do this, Yes, you suck’. And we always always have two choices: keep going or shut down.”
Sometimes her honestly made me a bit uncomfortable, but I think that is what made this book so powerful. I can’t put my finger on it as it took me a bit to get into the book and I wasn’t sure about for it a while but now that I am finished, I can’t stop thinking about it. She has a unique ability to share in a way that made me think about my own choices and reactions in my life as well and it is one I won’t forget as a reader.
Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It surprises me every year how quickly the transition from the end of the school year to summer mode happens. Last Friday was the last day of the school year and here we are just a week later and it feels like forever ago!
It has definitely been an adjustment week as we figure out how to juggle this short but intense season of the year. Some things didn’t go that smoothly and I also think that every year we learn from the previous ones so there have been a few wins too.
We are finding out groove and I am so thankful to have something that requires us to be somewhere every morning (swim team) that both boys participate in. Just having that sense of structure even if it is only for a couple of hours is super helpful!
I have a babysitter for part of my work week and Lucas has them come to his office one afternoon a week. It isn’t perfect but it feels good to have a semi-structured plan so that work and family life don’t get too intertwined. Other than that, there is a lot of waking up early to get a few hours of work in and knowing that school will eventually start again in just a couple of months.
An escape to camp…
Last weekend was also Father’s Day and all Lucas wanted was for us to go to his family’s camp up in the North East Kingdom. He takes the boys a few times a year on my work weekends but I hadn’t been there in a while!
It is a little rustic but it sure is beautiful! The mountain off in the distance is Jay Peak. I shared a post about this on Instagram last Sunday but I thought it would be fun to share some of these photos here too…
Creemees of course!
On our way home, we obviously had to stop at a creemee stand and what better place to do it than the dairyland of Northern Vermont! We stopped at TJs Creemees in Sheldon and they were AMAZING. Buzz even had his first dog sundae ever! Vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter sauce and a dog biscuit. He was in heaven!!
Currently listening to…
During the school year, our car ride to school is short and sweet. After I drop the boys off I have a luxurious 20 minutes in the car to listen to whatever I like, which usually means I use the time to listen to a true crime podcast or my current audiobook. This time of the year we have a 25ish minute drive to the pool each day and then back home again. This doesn’t seem that long but it is long enough for drama to ensue and noise levels to rise.
Podcasts for kids!
Last summer I realized the gift of podcasts that are geared towards kids! Every morning we start a podcast on our way into town and finish it on the way home. It is a game changer! The boys love it and I find them quite entertaining myself, especially this recent Smash Boom Best debate episode…Libraries versus Museums!
I currently have no shame in my sun protection game but I wasn’t always that way…I was a teenager in the 90s so I obviously did all the things like going to a tanning bed and laying in the sun as much as possible…I was a lifeguard after all! 😉
I even tried “sun in” which if you also have dark brown hair, you know that is a BAD idea…ha!
“If you are a natural brunette, the very sight of this bottle could cause you a nervous breakdown. Reason: Our dreams of becoming California girls were quickly crushed when, after sunbathing on our terraces for 30 minutes, we discovered our heads looked like cantaloupes.”
Those were the days though….We didn’t have millions of internet articles or youtube videos telling us what to do, so we just guessed (and read Seventeen magazine)…and we did learn from a lot of our mistakes…eventually…
Skin cancer runs in my family and I am thankful I learned when I was relatively young the dangers of the sun. I think it was a little after college that I realized embracing my pale skin might not only be helpful but also much safer in the long run.
So I have embraced, UV protection shirts, hats & lots and lots of sunscreens.
I apply sunscreen every morning after I put on my lotion…I have tried other kinds but I always go back to the tried and true Elta MD face sunscreen. It is not greasy and it great for acne prone and sensitive skin.
For our family, we are big fans of a lotion sunscreen for good body coverage and a face stick for a no tears application for our 6-year-old…;) We have had great success with the Babo Botanicals sport stick.
Currently loving…all the Pinterest Inspirational quotes!
Whenever I am feeling stressed, I find great comfort in self-help books and inspirational quotes.
Do you remember Chicken Soup for the Soul books? I was way into those as a teenager and I think they are way got me into this whole self-help genre.
Sometimes all you need is a little reminder to just do the best you can and know you are not alone when you are having a harder day. I love searching for motivational quotes on Pinterest and sometimes post them on my @genthebookworm Instagram feed. I do try to have some restraint because I would probably post them every day otherwise, ha!
“Ever lose it with your kid? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Parenting is stressful, children are insane, and you’re only human. Carla Naumburg, PhD, a clinical social worker, was so at a loss with her daughters that she found herself Googling “how to stop yelling at my kids” during a particularly grueling evening. That moment led to this book—a short, empathic, insight-packed, and tip-filled program for how to manage your triggers, stop the meltdowns, and become a calmer, happier parent with calmer, happier kids.
How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids not only explains why we explode at our children but also teaches us everything we need to know to decrease stress and increase patience, even in the most challenging family moments.
Based on recent research and evidence-based practices, and written in the warm, funny, instantly relatable tone of a parent who’s been there, the book guides even the most harried parents toward a new way of engaging with their children. Readers will come away feeling less ashamed and more empowered to get their sh*t together, instead of losing it.”
I remember so clearly the kind of parent I was going to be before I had kids…and then I became a parent. Our kids are kind, funny, curious, loving and they can totally make me lose my sh*t. We have two boys who are two years apart in age and parenting can feel like a total rollercoaster ride. No matter how hard you try, you are not going to be a perfect parent.
“When it comes to parenting, being awesome and screwing up are not mutually exclusive.” -Carla Naumburg
My Own Experience:
I can recall with such vivid memories how completely overwhelmed I was when our first son was a baby because the physically demanding aspects of parenting an infant who cried a lot and slept, umm, not a lot were 24/7. I was exhausted. As the years went by and we added a second child, not only did parenting feel physically hard but it became emotionally hard. This is also when we entered the stage of “losing our sh*t”.
You think it won’t happen to you, but then it does. Have you ever tried strapping a screeching toddler into a car seat while they are whacking you in the face while also making their entire body as straight and stiff as a board? Have you ever wanted to take a 3-minute shower without referring two children who are fighting over a toy neither one has previously played with in years? Have you ever been on a last minute work phone call and had to say “I am going to have to call you back” because you can’t hear anyone over the screeching of your children in the background of the car, who you previously explained to that you needed to make this important phone call? There are thousands of more examples, but this is just an example of how you may get to the “losing your sh*t” zone of parenting.
What This Book is About:
How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids is a relatable and approachable discussion and action guide relating to the stresses of modern-day parenting. Naumburg starts with defining why parents can sometimes lose it, and then goes into the different steps of how you work towards losing it less.
The Most Important Steps:
TRIGGERS: Understand your triggers…we all have them even though they may be very different.
AWARENESS. Know what pushes your buttons and own it.
REFLECT. Having some insight into the WHY can help you have a plan.
REDUCE TRIGGERS: Work on reducing triggers. This makes you feel less out of control and enables you to be more proactive when you get into moments of frustration.
COMPASSION. Have compassion both with yourself and with your children…and really, the world around you. When you can look at something from a more empathetic viewpoint, it is easier to own the situation and then move forward. You always have another chance to have a more positive interaction.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. In a fast-paced world, parents are juggling more things than ever before. Finding ways to take care of yourself actually makes YOU a better parent. Find your village and support system and choose wisely when saying YES…the fewer overcommitments the fewer triggers you might have. Unitask when you are able…multitasking usually causes nothing to get done well and often results in massive frustration levels for all.
Approachable, Proactive & Real:
I found this book to be approachable and real, yet also great at calling out what our issues might be so we can be more proactive about them in the future. There was a great balance of reflection and action no matter what your situation or triggers. Naumburg strives for progress, not perfection which feels attainable when you are in the thick of it.
Naumburg discusses with great detail how to catch yourself when you are in or about to enter a “losing it” moment and has reachable suggestions such as “notice, pause and do literally anything else”. I loved the section on compassion, both with ourselves and with our children. When we lose it, which will still happen sometimes, no matter how many things we put in place to stop it, the most important thing we can do is own it.
Reconnecting with ourselves can help guide us to why we might have reacted that way and provide us an opportunity to think about practical things we can put in place to help it from happening again…such as scheduling self-care, reaching out to our support system, etc.
Another step in compassion is reconnecting with our children. Getting calm and apologizing is one of the most powerful parts we can do, not only to repair and respect our relationships with our kids but also to help them see how powerful talking through moments can be for both parties.
I found so many parts of this book helpful and highly recommend it to any parent who is looking for proactive and attainable advice. Thank you to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Hello! How is your week going? I always feel like the week after school break feels like a constant cycle of catch up. We are also heading into our busy season with work which means we have a lot of things coming up to plan for which is exciting and also a little nervewracking. I find the anticipation of something always much with stressful than the actual events so I just need to remember that. 🙂
We are teaching our intermediate photography class this weekend which is always so much fun and I can’t wait to see everyone again! We are also teaching another Your Life Your Memories class in April since our last one was very successful!
It also inspired me to get caught up on my photo printing and I can’t wait for my Chatbooks order to arrive in the mail!! If you haven’t taken advantage of the discount code yet you should before it expires this week! It is code BOOKWORM for $10 off your first Chatbooks order. You can find more info HERE.
Currently listening to…
On a semi-controversial note… I used my March Audible credit to get Girl, Stop Apologizing. Now, in all honesty, I struggle a lot with some of the actions Hollis has taken during the last year since her first book was released. I understand the controversy and have really had a change of heart about my initial (more positive)feelings I had when I read her first book, Girl, Wash Your Face at the beginning of 2018.
I did find Girl, Wash Your Face to have some inspiring moments (and some that made me cringe) but it was also written before she had the social media empire she has today. I loved how her book talked about not caring so much about what other people think, setting and working hard for your goals and not canceling on your own self-care.
Unfortunately, once I started following her on social media, this all felt like a total scam. The idea that we can all have the “American Dream” if we just work hard, is so unbelievably out of touch if privileges are not accounted for first…
It is absolutely unfair to say that you can have her “lifestyle” by working “hard” when so so many people juggle so much and are barely making it by. Are they just not working hard enough? No. I think you can still share advice but I think having some perspective is necessary. She also sets up this idea that nothing is ever enough, and we should always be striving for more which I think is a very dark path to follow.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting big dreams for yourself, but I also disagree with some of the ways she is getting herself there…These articles summarize some of my feelings in a much more eloquent way than I could so check them out if you are interested…
I am going to listen to this out of curiosity and also to have my own impression of her book. I try very hard to review books with an open mind but I also will be looking at this book through a different lens now. I hope to report back soon with my thoughts on this book.
So much green tea! I love having caffeine all day but I am really trying to limit my coffee drinking to just the morning time…which is a work in progress. 😉 I love drinking warm tea this time of year and it is just such a cozy routine, especially when I am working from home.
Every year I say I am not going to buy them and then they appear at our house at the end of February… I am a thin mints lover and they are even better when you eat them right from the freezer. What is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?
On a more healthy note…I recently became a subscriber of Care Of Vitamins. Yes, I have totally listened to way too many podcasts lately because their advertisements totally worked on me…and their $40 off your first order was a big incentive to try it out.
I am a huge vitamin lover but I also struggle with them always running out at different times and the number of bottles in my fridge is a little out of control! This is the perfect alternative for me and I loved that I was able to personalize the vitamins to my needs. I now have a monthly delivery that includes a multivitamin, probiotics, omegas and more. They will be perfect to travel with and although I love my AM/PM vitamin container but I won’t miss lugging it around in my carry on baggage. 😉
I will report back in a couple of months and share if I am still loving them!
I think it is very natural to wonder “how do they have time for that?” whenever you hear about someone devoting a lot of time to a specific hobby or activity. I am in my mid-thirties, which means many of my friends are in the same boat as me…we have kids, partners, busy careers and life just doesn’t have a lot of “downtime” right now.
A lot of us are also beyond the stage of baby and toddlerhood and are reclaiming some of our time and identities as our kids are getting older and more independent but that doesn’t necessarily mean life has slowed down at all. I do a lot of reading in the evenings but that free time is becoming shorter and shorter as our kids get older because their bedtime is now so close to when ours is..and I am sure in a few years, even later!
I have found that fitting more reading into my life doesn’t usually mean adding in long afternoons reading on the couch(although I did do that the other weekend and it was amazing) but more of finding smaller blocks of open time during my regular daily schedule.
It is easy to look at your calendar and not see a lot of free time but most of us have 10-15 minute blocks of times during our weekdays. I spend time waiting before my workout classes, before work meetings and appointments and in the car before I pick up the kids at school and when they are at a sports practice or afterschool activity. I have even read while waiting for a coffee or in line at the grocery store. All of this time really adds up and has been a great way to add in more reading time without having to adjust anything in a big way.
This means that I just need to be proactive and remember to put my book or Kindle in my work bag and then I am ready to read anytime there is some open space. I do have some friends that use the Libby or Kindle app and read right on their phones which is even easier because whoever forgets that. 😉
How do you fit in extra reading time? I would love to hear! <3
This past week has been a very exciting one for me in the “work world”. A lot of the things I have been working towards are actually materializing. I had some great meetings and left with some so many thoughts and inspiring plans running through my head.
I also have felt like a total mom fail this past week. The kids have been full of so much extra energy that despite playing outside, still results in them wrestling all over our house and me yelling way too much. There are piles and piles of laundry to be put away and I feel like the kids are eating us out of house and home despite visiting the grocery store multiple times a week. I am so behind in my (very minimal) attempts to be “involved” at school and I always have big plans to respond to emails once the kids are finally in bed and then fall asleep at 8:30pm. I could go on and on, but I will stop now. 😉
That’s the thing I didn’t realize, often times it feels like you doing a great job managing your workload or an awesome job prioritizing your family’s needs but it can sometimes feel completely elusive to having that feeling about both things at the same time.
I never really knew what it would feel like to be pulled in two directions, both important but in really different ways. I was a “stay at home parent” for the first four years of having children. I feel grateful it was an option for our family and it was also one of the hardest things I have ever done. I am not writing to minimize the challenges of that, they were just very different challenges.
I slowly went back to work a little at a time as our kids started preschool and things really amped up now that both of our kids are in elementary school. I think it is important to say that I can’t speak to all the challenges of being a working mother. I don’t have experience with having to pump at work with a small baby or managing the completely unrealistic expectations many mothers face of needing to go back to work right away because of the small amount of time they were “given” for paid maternity leave and I know that is a privilege in so many ways.
Staying home when my kids were younger was wonderful for many reasons but it was also very scary. I remember sitting in therapy a couple of years ago and talking about how I felt I would never be able to get those years of “not working” back and I felt completely overwhelmed about how I would get back into the workforce when it was time. While I was “at home” many of my friends were continuing the career paths they studied and worked hard for, which is one of the big reasons many parents go back to work right away, and sometimes I wondered if I had made “the right” decision.
What I have realized over time is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it, but it all has its different pros and cons. Work doesn’t fit into a tidy little 9-5 box for me anymore and it doesn’t for many other parents…I, like so many, am often at the “mercy” of the school calendar. This means there are many weekends that Lucas “takes over” so I can fit in my work and we do a lot of “switching on and off” during the summer months so we both can meet our work demands.
I work for many reasons, and one of them is to have an identity outside of motherhood. I also work to contribute financially to the growing needs (and grocery bill) of our family. I am still struggling to figure it all out and I think I probably always will be. I am grateful to have a supportive partner who understands how important and helpful this is to not only me but also our family.
This was more long-winded than I had planned but my point of this whole post was to write about balance and self-care. So in summary, I don’t really think there is a true feeling of having a perfect work-life balance. I think it is totally normal to feel like one sometimes overshadows the other and in the long run it all balances out but it might not feel like it on a daily or weekly basis.
And of course, there is that trendy idea of “self-care” that you are probably hearing all over the place right now. The other day we were ice skating on our backyard pond after school. It was all fine and dandy until it was time to take everyone’s ice skates off. I was floundering around on the ice while still wearing my skates, and at the same time trying to take three kids ice skates off while also trying to avoid being sliced in the face with six sharp metal blades…it wasn’t going very well.
I then said, “hold on, let me take my skates off first and then it will be easier to help you guys”. And it was! It took 30 seconds to take my own skates off and then not only was I much less stressed but it was much easier to help them unhitch and untie their skates that were covered in ice and snow. This is kind of like what self-care does to you as a parent. Taking a little time to care for yourself helps you be able to be a better parent, partner, and person. It doesn’t sound that hard in theory but self-care isn’t always something that is easy to prioritize when the daily tasks of work and having a family are never-ending.
Self-care materializes in many different forms for people but therapy and exercise are mine and I am unapologetic about these two things. I schedule them into my calendar and they are set in stone. My family, friends, and co-workers know this and I know it. Besides a sick child or snow day, if I scheduled it, I am going.
This often means I am waking up a couple of hours before the kids do to get work done so I have the space to fit in my barre class during the workday or dropping off the kids at my husband’s office so I can go to a therapy session in the summer. I cannot tell you what a better person and parent I am because I do these things for myself. It doesn’t mean that I am a perfect parent or partner but when I am filling my bucket too it is much easier to meet the needs of everyone around me.
“The societies we live in are increasingly making our minds ill, making it feel as though the way we live is engineered to make us unhappy. When Matt Haig developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression as an adult, it took him a long time to work out the ways the external world could impact his mental health in both positive and negative ways. Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial and technological “advancements” that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.”
“I sometimes feel like my head is a computer with too many windows open. Too much clutter on the desktop. There is a metaphorical spinning rainbow wheel inside me. Disabling me. And if only I could find a way to switch off some of the frames, if only I could drag some of the clutter into the trash, then I would be fine. But which frame would I choose, when they all seem so essential? How can I stop my mind from being overloaded when the world is overloaded? We can think about anything. And so it makes sense that we end up thinking about everything. We might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.” ― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet
This book was my first by Matt Haig and I found it very engaging. I love how he normalizes mental health issues but also asks such thought-provoking questions within his writing. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and devoured the short chapters which led to very interesting conversations with my friend who also was reading the book at the same time.
The chapters are short and quick and so it is a book that is easy to take in a little at a time. I love the importance he places on true connection with each other. Some of it was a little “out there” but I do agree that technology has changed the ways we interact and connect with one another and he had some powerful reminders and perspective about this.
“This book is open, and it’s all about you! It’s a retreat and a safe haven from the stresses of everyday life, a place to work through your problems and confide your worries, fears, and secrets. It offers you a chance to focus on life’s positive aspects and find the things that make you happy.
Each page of this daily journal is filled with new ideas, creative prompts, and words of wisdom that will help you write a little joy into every day of the year. The ideal place to express what’s happening in your life — bitter, sweet, and everything in between — this book promises to be your faithful friend and assist you in finding and unlocking your inner happiness.”
What a little gem! I love the idea of journaling but I struggle with knowing where to start. Happy: The Journal is a guided daily journal with thoughtful prompts to get you writing, reflecting and planning.
I immediately ordered a hard copy of this journal so I could get started. It starts in January and leads you through the year with timely journaling prompts that have a great balance between gratitude, reflection and goal setting. There is an adequate amount of space to write without it feeling overwhelming. This is a great guided journal for someone who wants to get started with daily journaling and I highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley and Dover Publishing for this copy, all opinions are my own.