On Productivity

Hello, friends!

I hopped on the scale and apparently I have lost 9 pounds in about a week! That’s more than a little crazy to me, but according to everyone I have spoken to, that’s just water weight and should come off fairly easily.

I’ve had people rag on me for my weight, with some even going as far as to say that in order for me to love myself, I must lose weight. That comment makes no sense. I mean, that can help, but that’s not everything there is to it! I started on the journey towards loving myself long before I decided to lose weight AND hated myself even when I was thin. I’ve gotten a lot of conflicting messages about weight and appearance, both from media of all kinds, from the people around me, and even from myself. I used to be deathly afraid of having a double chin, and look what happened! I have one now. Do I hate myself for it? It’s kind of a nuisance, but no! It’s part of what I look like right now. Am I working to change that? Yes. This is not something to hate myself over.

My double chin.

The message I have gotten over the years (as evidenced by my fear of having a double chin) is that being fat makes me worth less than a skinny human and as such should be avoided at all costs, even if it means depriving oneself for extended periods of time. Not okay. I went through a lot of shame before realizing that there’s more to one’s worth than how much they weigh, how closely they follow time honored traditions, or how much they live up to others’ expectations. I am loved constantly and consistently.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the same ideas go for being productive, as well. If you aren’t accomplishing X amount of things during the day/week/month, you’re a failure. This pressure to constantly be doing something can lead to burnout, at least according to this awesome Buzzfeed News article. It specifically talks about millennials, but I think that anyone can suffer from burnout.

It makes some interesting points about how millennials were told from a young age that if they go to college and get a good job, they’ll have it made like the generations before them. But financial disaster struck, rendering their hard work somewhat useless. Being told to work, work, work their whole lives, they overwork themselves in this environment that is different from what they were promised in their childhood. This leads to a culture wherein many burn out and crave more than the hand they were dealt.

I’ve seen this come true with my husband more than for me. Both of us were born at the oft-reorganized tail end of the millennial generation, with him born in 1996 and me in 1997. I don’t want to be lumped in with those who eat Tide Pods, so I tend to call myself a millennial. He has worked very, VERY hard for the things he has accomplished, even going past burnout. He never went to college, and has gained a ton of wisdom and knowledge through work and life experience alone. He’s a hard worker, no matter how much he hates the job or how difficult it gets. It’s what he does. He is the most determined, productive individual I have ever met.

I, however, am just getting started on my adulthood journey and I find it difficult to stay committed to things when the going gets rough. The exception to this is my husband. I am determined to stick with him to the end, no matter how hard it gets or how much we annoy the crap out of each other. He is the biggest help on the adulting journey and he constantly pushes me to do better. One of the things he said to me yesterday was that my best is not what I am doing. I challenged that, saying that he could not determine my best since he isn’t me. He then gave examples, giving evidence that he had pushed me and I had done better than I had done before.

My clean kitchen!

At the same time, is it imperative that we are productive and improving all the time? I see posts on self care, but many of the items described involve distracting oneself, which I find does not help me. I find that the best thing I can do for my mental health when I am sad is to actually get up and do things. As described in my post Wholesome, I find that smashing my daily to-do list gives me more satisfaction than actually taking an off day. I wonder how to fill the time when it’s not structured, and rattling around in the empty time often leads to extra stress and sadness that should not have been there. But then there come the times when I just…can’t do anything.

A lot of times recently have been because of nausea and cramps (I appear to be in that time again) that make it difficult to even move and I’m not able to achieve my fitness goal for that day. Other times I’m just feeling sad and the work doesn’t help at all. Then there are the times where my mind throws such a hissy fit that it’s difficult to even move. Those are the times when I think it’s important for me to take a break – when nothing else will help and both my body and mind need a rest. It’s important to push myself and push myself hard, sometimes past the point where I feel I will break (I get past this most of the time), but it’s important to also stop and rest when I need to. If the stomach pain gets bad enough, my husband makes me draw a bath and sit in it until I feel better. And it helps. Sometimes I need someone else to get me to chill the heck out, listen, or redirect.

Today’s to do list in the process of being smashed.

I believe that my need to accomplish things comes from having far too much time on my hands rather than too little. As with the weight loss, I’ve been taking steps to fill my time and improve. Too much is too much, though. I need to be careful not to actually break myself, like I need to be careful to not undereat or hurt myself exercising. I have a tendency to get overzealous and do too much at once if I get passionate about something, never to pick it up again. Because of my struggle with moderation, I also think it’s important to remember that I am not a failure if I don’t accomplish much one day. There’s a next day so long as I’m alive. There’s never a need for shame and rarely a need for guilt so long as I – we – are improving.

With that, I leave y’all.

Love,

-Mago

Blog post and gratitude list = SMASHED

OH, QUICK, 10 THINGS I’M THANKFUL FOR:

  1. Beautiful Alaskan weather.
  2. Finally feeling motivated today.
  3. Friends who accept me.
  4. That I’m successfully losing weight.
  5. That I’m not melting in Texas right now.
  6. My wonderful husband.
  7. The way the air smells here.
  8. Remembering to do things on my list.
  9. That I’m able to get up and move around today.
  10. That ice cream exists. (what?? I’m not eating ice cream today???)

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