Rich made a promise to me 26 (plus) years ago that he would take me on a magic carpet ride as we danced to our first song as husband and wife on our wedding day.
Today, on International Self-Care Day we hiked a section of the Oakridges Moraine called Jefferson Climb: Magic Carpet Ride, Upper Ridge Trail.
As we were hiking the trail I began to quietly sing the lyrics to our wedding song “A Whole New World” in my head (I wouldn’t dare sing out loud as we may have become prey to some dangerous wildlife species 🐻).
As soon as we got back to our car (without getting lost this time) I played the song for Rich on my phone (there may have been some tears in the mix).
This song had a great deal of meaning to the both of us when it came time for choosing our wedding song. After all, we started dating while working together in a video store, we both loved Disney movies and Aladdin had quickly become among one of our favourites that we’d watched many times together during our courtship (and we were also first in line to see the live action version when it was released to theaters a couple of years ago; hmmm when I think about it now that may have actually been the last movie we saw in a theater!).
The song has become our anthem and as we hiked the “Magic Carpet Ride” trail today and as I quietly chanted the lyrics to myself and then replayed it for Rich on our car ride home I heard a whole new and even more meaningful version of the song this time.
It may be a bit off key now but it will always be our song.
What was your wedding song?
What did you do to celebrate International Self-Care Day today?
Forgot to post our #summerofrich adventure from yesterday.
I needed an escape from the racing thoughts in my head and a hike seemed like the perfect distraction.
There was plenty of clear blue sky and a warm springtime breeze in the air. We could hear birds chirping from the trees and ducks singing by the pond. Perfection.
But even with plenty of clear blue sky, a warm springtime breeze in the air, the birds chirping from the trees and the ducks singing by the pond, I could not totally escape the trauma that April 4th represents for me (see blog I posted yesterday if you missed it).
I’m easily triggered by the events that took place on that day seven years earlier and this year had been no exception. As midnight approached the night before last I began experiencing symptoms of my PTSD and quickly found myself trying to fight off a panic attack.
But aside from all that and the trails being nothing short of a mudslide for the better part of our nearly 2 hour hike it turned out to be just what I needed (and boy were we glad that we had decided to leave Maggie at home!).
Sorry though to have disappointed you Rich, who had been camera ready the entire time hoping to take a snapshot of me falling flat on my butt as we navigated our way through the very slippery and often dangerous mounds of mud; fyi there were several close calls 😋).
How did you incorporate self-care into your long weekend?
July was definitely a hot one (the hottest one on record actually) and having to take the heat and humidity into account many days in July along with so many Covid related closures and restrictions has made our #summerofrich adventures a lot more of a challenge this year.
I’ve had to scratch a lot of places off our #summerofrich itinerary but with the arrival of August I can see more and more closures and restrictions starting to lift including many of our beautiful Conservation Parks that have Waterfalls.
Which was exactly why we headed to Smokey Hollow Waterfall today so we could capture the beauty of this hidden gem that included many adventurous hiking trails. As you scroll through the pictures you can see joy, you can see beauty and you can see calm but hidden on the other side of the camera today was a very emotional, tearful woman.
What I didn’t capture was the overwhelm I was feeling inside today, the feeling of hopelessness and the thoughts of suicide. What you don’t see captured in these pictures was the breakdown that came next (my family did though and I’m pretty sure so did several hikers too!).
What people don’t often see captured in pictures is just how real Depression and Anxiety are.
Yesterday I went to a one hour aqua fit class in the morning followed by a 2.5 hour walk later on and finished my day off with a warm and very soothing bubble bath.
My brain is always working in overdrive and I am easily overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks while desperately trying to get through my never-ending “to-do-list”. Even thinking about all the things I need to get done or would like to achieve and then don’t, completely depletes my already less than empty “mental gas tank”.
Mental fatigue is real and the more that things seem to escalate in my life right now, the less able I am to take a pause from reality which then causes me to become totally incapable of much. The overwhelm takes my mind to a whole other place and I become paralyzed with fear and emotionally drained.
Being mentally exhausted often goes hand in hand with extreme and ongoing levels of stress in one’s life which I find I am so easily distracted by and extremely anxious about and very quickly will turn into procrastination.
Procrastination comes from a Latin term which translates to “for tomorrow” and very often I find myself taking my “to-do-list” and moving it over to tomorrow in my calendar. Yesterday was no exception, but is taking a “Me” day really considered procrastination?
What is one thing you find you procrastinate most about?
I went for a walk this afternoon with Rich. When we left the house the sun was shining brightly in our faces through a few white clouds but as we kept walking further and further away from our home we stopped for a moment and looked up at the sky behind us which had suddenly become very, very dark.
We knew that it was only a matter of time before we would be heading straight into the oncoming storm as we tried making our way back home. As Rich picked up his pace in order to try and beat the storm I shouted to him (half jokingly) from up ahead, words which I have heard echoed to me many many times before throughout my journey: “We can’t look back, we can only look forward.”
When we get stuck looking back on our past we can often begin to second guess ourselves and the decisions we make, easily filling our minds with regret and dread; something that my own depressive mind continues to do on a very regular basis.
It was too late by this point in our walk to do anything but look forward anyways (and get home quick). Looking forward helps us create silver linings (and if we are lucky maybe even a rainbow) and it also encourages us to live in the moment which once again is so much of what I need to work on for myself. (Oh and in case you were wondering, we made it home just in the nick of time!)
For the better part of six years now I have found myself wondering most days “Why is life so hard?” and over time (I’m guessing just in the last four months alone) it has probably crossed your mind many times as well. We are all human beings after all and we will all fall on hard times in our lifetime after all and we all go through our own emotional rollercoasters through different stages of our life after all; it’s what makes us human after all!
At any given moment when life becomes too hard we may need a little extra support and guidance to get us through which is when it’s most important to remember that it’s okay to rely on others for help and it’s more than okay to ask. Some days/nights when I am experiencing a particularly acute and dire episode of negative emotions (crazy amount lately) I will often allow my mind to wander to my super social supports (support can come from many different kinds of people and places). Just thinking about them and knowing that they are there for me in case I need to reach out can provide me with a level of comfort to help get me through in the moment because ignoring our negative emotions or trying to avoid facing our hard times head on will not make them go away. In fact from what I have learned over time will only create further despair and mental anguish. One of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn to accept over the last six years is that it’s all part of our journey and talking through it can really help you better understand your feelings.
I have also learned over the last couple of years that making self-care a top priority is one of necessity when life is especially hard. For me that includes writing and journaling, reading a good (self-help) book, doing a puzzle, taking a warm bubble bath, texting with a friend or going for a hike or a long walk. Since the onset of Covid-19 Rich and I have tried to prioritize taking long walks every day and exploring our neighbourhood. Until recently when the temperatures weren’t so crazy hot and humid we would go for an hour or two walk during the day but have recently moved it to the evenings. I’ve even found getting caught in the rain sometimes an added bonus!
What do you do to take care of you in hard times? What do you find works best?
Yesterday I posted a picture of the 500 stairs I was about to climb up along the Bruce Trail (Canada’s oldest and longest footpath; 890 km to be exact) and part of the Niagara Escarpment. I didn’t realize when I took the picture and posted it that the graffiti on the signage next to the steps was Anti-Semitic as I was too busy at the moment trying to figure out how I was about to get to the top of the steps without collapsing or having a panic attack from the height. My beautiful cousin Susan first noticed it a short time after I posted it and let me know. Thank you❤!
First thing this morning Rich emailed the picture to a couple of organizations within the Jewish community informing them of the hate speech and within an hour of receiving his email, the Hamilton Jewish Federation (which is where this trail is) got back to Rich to let him know that the local police were already contacted and will be taking the necessary action immediately. (Read email attached)
There should absolutely never be any excuse or tolerance for hate or racism of any kind; never ever!
About a month prior to the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic I had registered my family to participate in a Walk for CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) in support of #MOBYSSinmotion; a confidential mobile Walk-in-Clinic for Youth and a wonderful resource for our young people who may be facing crisis right now.
CMHA has played an important role in my life over the last 6 years and I had donated some proceeds from my book sales last year as a thank you for the services they provide to both adults and youth in Canada which was why I wanted to participate in the event and why I didn’t want today to go unnoticed so I found a picture perfect place for us to enjoy a beautiful hike on our own in honour of the walk/run/bike event since it was of course cancelled.
Oh and I should also mention that it was 5 months ago today since I had my last cigarette!