Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wind Down Wednesday - Give yourself a neck massage!

This tip comes from Especially if you work somewhere that involves a lot of time on a computer, a 5 minute neck massage can do wonders for your stress level.

Step 1: Loosen up your neck before you give yourself a neck massage, slowly stretching it forward, backward and side-to-side.

Step 2: Pour some massage oil into your hands and rub the oil between them to warm it (though you can give yourself a neck massage without it).

Step 3: Flatten your right hand and mold it to the back of your neck. Your fingers should be facing toward your left side and wrapped around that side of your neck. Gently but firmly pull your hand to the right, down toward your chest, using your palm and fingers to apply pressure to the neck as you go. Then do the same with your left hand. Alternate each hand repeatedly in the same sweeping motion several times.

Step 4: Make fists and use the fleshy side of them to gently but firmly pummel your neck. Start at the bottom where your neck meets your shoulders and work your way up toward the base of your head. Retrace your steps back down your neck. Repeat several times.

Step 5: Place the tips of your right index, middle and ring fingers on the right side of your neck, at its base where it meets the shoulders. Use your fingertips to make small circular motions, working your way up the neck as you go. Retrace your steps back down. Repeat three times. Then do the same with your left fingers on the left side of your neck.

Step 6: Place both your right and left index, middle and ring fingers on your neck, at its base where it meets your shoulders. In one slow sweeping motion, slide your fingertips up the length of your neck and back down again. Repeat several times.

Step 7: Repeat Step Three, using your palms and fingers to make sweeping motions across your neck.
Step 8: Repeat Step One, giving your neck a gentle stretch to end the massage.

It also helps to close your eyes and imagine a calm, serene place. Works wonders for me! Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, January 18, 2010

New year, new outlook?

"Happiness is a form of courage." ~ Holbrook Jackson

I know that I am a very strong person. Anyone that's ever met me can agree wholeheartedly. When you go through as much as I have in my relatively short life-span, you'd know there are only two ways to be; strong, or weak. I guess it's really that way in every situation.
- When your parents arguing all the time and you are the oldest sibling, you have to be strong for them. When the arguing got really bad, I'd make sure my sister and I would have plenty of things to do in our room so we didn't have to be around our parents.
- When they finally got divorced, I had to be strong for my mom and my sister, because most days my mother couldn't get out of bed. I'd help my 7 year old sister get ready for school, and do my best to make sure we had food to eat.
- When I jumped from school to school because we never stayed in one place, I had to be strong in the face of ridicule for being the new kid.
- When people made fun of me because I was close to my teachers, I had to be strong. It was hard for a young kid to bounce from school to school, and sometimes even miss big chunks of it, and still have friends. I gravitated towards my teachers because they weren't making fun of me.
- When my grandparents told me I wasn't allowed to talk to my dad anymore because we were Jehovah's Witnesses and he wasn't, I had to be strong and tell them to shove it. I didn't have a great relationship with my dad then, but I wasn't going to screw it up because my grandparents told me so. If they didn't want to talk to their son, whatever. But that was not my decision.
- When my dad kicked me out of his house on my 12th birthday, I had to be strong, because I didn't get to finish that school year. I had to fight for the ability to move on to the next grade because they wanted to hold me back for not finishing.
I'll be the first to admit that there were times that I just felt I couldn't be strong anymore. It was at this point where suicide was a daily contemplation, and sometimes even attempted. One person that helped me in particular was Lizz. When I switched from pills to blades (because the pills weren't working), she was the one that got the tearful phone call from me saying I needed help. She was waiting for me when I got off the bus that morning, and I don't think I'll ever forget that moment. She didn't say anything; she just let me cry. When my dad found out, he told me, "if you do it again, I'm putting you in therapy." I guess the worst part of hearing that was in order to get what I felt I needed (therapy), I'd have to cut myself again. When we finally went to therapy, we went once. The therapist talked about herself the whole time, and my step-mother decided that therapy was unnecessary.

I went on to finish high school early, even though I had missed so much. I never went to kindergarten or 1st grade. I only went to the second half of 4th, and the last 8 weeks of 6th. I never finished 7th grade. I was late to school almost every day in 10th grade and spent most of my Saturdays at school making up the missed time. I still finished school and graduated 6 months earlier than everyone else. Not that it did me much good.

I moved to PA to go to college, and I foolheartedly decided to get married instead. He turned out to be an abusive husband, and it took a year and a half to finally get up the courage to kick him out. I wasn't as strong as I wanted to be for a long time. During this marriage, I finally got a chance to go to a psyciatrist, and I was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. The medications I was prescribed worked wonders. They gave me the strength I needed to fix what was going wrong in my life. After I kicked my husband out, a lot of people kept telling me we needed to work it out. "There will always be rough patches, you just have to work through them." Then an amazing thing happened. I was happy again. I didn't have to take my medication anymore. I wasn't depressed anymore. Those same people that told me I needed to work it out started saying they'd never seen me happier, and that maybe splitting up was the right thing to do. Woohoo, glad to finally get everyone else's approval.

For a while now, though, I haven't been very happy. I've only been content to hope for better things. The friends I met and had so much fun with in college I now only get to see about once a month, sometimes even less. Although I still talk to friends from high school via Facebook, I don't actually hang out with any of them anymore. Hubs and I used to go to the movies, out to dinner, to the comedy club, or wherever we could so we could get out and have fun. I know that since we were not working for a few months that made it difficult, but now all we do is play on the computer or watch tv. The highlight of this past weekend was getting to play Scrabble with him. Don't get me wrong, playing on the computer can be fun. We used to play WoW together. I know it's cheesy, but something about watching Hubs advertise that he gets to play games like that with his wife is cute :) I just want to be happy. I don't know if we just got too dependent on money to have fun, or we just got boring, but it sucks.

I guess the point of all this rambling is that although I may be happy after I have shown courage, most of the time I'm not. I have been strong and courageous, and still very unhappy. Everything I have done in my life has been for other people or because I'm good at it. Most of the time it hasn't been what does Lynne want to do, but rather, what does Lynne have to do?
- I want to study frogs in the Amazon. Instead, I'm a computer programmer. I'm good at it, and when I succeed in writing some bad-ass code, I am temporarily happy. But that happiness subsides when I realize that no one cares how cool it was, they just want it done. I guess I don't get the appreciation I would like/need.
- I want to be a mom. Doctors told me that wasn't going to happen. Now all I can do is pretend that it doesn't hurt me to see people who don't want/aren't ready for a kid have one. I pretend to be happy for everyone else that has children, when it breaks my heart that I can't have the one thing in life that I really wanted without out spending tens of thousands of dollars to adopt. I have to change channels when there's a baby on tv.

And now, here it is. A new year, a new decade. A chance to determine whether I'm ready to sink or swim. I have a new job, a new husband, and some good friends. This is the chance to prove to myself that I am still strong and that I can be happy. My goal - to be happy with what I have instead of unhappy about not having what I want.