A vulnerable scattered episode on being human during stressful times, working through mental health struggles, and accepting where you are. I'm excited for the new year but I'm going to take my time as I enter this next chapter :)
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Oh, my God.What episode is this?I think it's 202of the Mindful Productivity podcast.And I'm Sarah Steckler and I'm your host.And I feel like this might be the messiest,most vulnerable,stupid episode I've ever recorded.But here I am.I'm recording on my iPhone.I'm currently laying in our new house in San Diego.We just moved on an air mattress with like a flashlight on because I don't have a lamp and this sucks.I am going through a really difficult time in my life and I'm not sharing this because I feel like I have to, but I just want to have a frank conversation about life and business because everything is so intertwined.And I keep telling myself like, oh, this is going to be the year where I dial in my business and I only talk about Mindful Productivity and I take away the personal nuances of it because no one really wants to hear that.But I don't know how to do that.I don't know how to run a business without me in it.And maybe that's flawed, maybe some people don't like it, that's fine.I don't know how to do it.I don't know how to do my life and run my business apart from just being myself and doing it.And that's what I've been doing for years.And I guess I'm just going to continue doing it.But I'm laying here and I'm kind of having a midlife crisis.I'm definitely not in a good place mentally and this move was incredibly difficult.And I've also been thinking a lot about my identity and how my identity over the past few years has really been shaped by my business.And I'm going to get into details of what I'm even talking about in a minute here,but I was having a conversation with one of my good friends this evening.We were talking about identity.She was actually talking about like, the things she does externally, like hair extensions or nails and how she loves that, but what would happen if she didn't do that and she didn't get compliments for that all the time.And I was thinking about how what I put out into the world, I do enjoy it.I do enjoy getting feedback about the things I do right, like we all do.Like if you're an artist, you want feedback about your art.Even if you're a corporate executive, you want feedback.You want to feel good.You want to feel that people see that in you.Like you want to feel proud for what you're doing.If you hear any rummaging around, it's.Because I'm adjusting myself on this hair mattress.And I was thinking about how there has definitely been part of me, and I think we all do this,there has been part of me that kind of hides behind what feels comfortable, right?I have thrown so much of myself,especially with the pandemic and all these other things into being the person that creates Planners, publishes Planners,runs a business, runs this podcast.And I think it's nice to know that there's an area of my life where I feel successful.There's an area of my life where I feel like I have a little bit more control.And so I pour myself into those things.And that sometimes takes away from where I really should be filling up my cup.And if you've been a long time listener, then you do know that sometimes I share about my mental health and how I'm continuing to work through and heal from both PTSD, cPTSD, all this other shit, anxiety, depression.And I don't share this stuff to be like, oh, I'm special, and here's why.But I share it because I sometimes feel like when I'm going through these difficult times and I'm trying to observe my thoughts in my brain,and sometimes they're pretty dark,I sometimes it makes me feel like I'm the only person going through this.And so I share it because when I hear other people talk about their struggles with this, it's like so validating and reassuring to know that I'm not losing my mind.I'm not completely alone.Other people experience these things.And long story short, getting here on our road trip, we moved from the Seattle,Washington area, and we're now down in California.It was me.It was my husband.We had Bella, our bulldog.We had Dublin, our cat.And we drove.We did it.We drove.And the animals were great.I mean, we stayed in a different hotel every night, obviously.And our cat, Dublin, was a rock star.No accidents or anything.She used the cat box in every single hotel room.No accidents in the car.Bella did great.Granted, we really have little sleep because Bella would bark if she heard anything.And it's just hard to sleep in different beds every night and blah, blah.So lack of sleep, the stress of a big military move, knowing that I'm going to have to be away from my husband after we get here because he has to go back, blah, blah, blah.And just the whole being a part again with the military, there was so much stress involved in that.And then there was a day when we were driving well, multiple days.I think we took like three days to drive down here.Multiple days.We hit very low visibility.Driving.There was like flood warnings.I mean, it was like pounding rain and driving through that white knuckled for hours on end, even when you're switching it up with someone, is so incredibly stressful.And I had multiple events when I lived overseas in Italy that caused my pretty severe PTSD,multiple back to back traumatic events,and that both felt life threatening and other things.I won't go into all of that.But one of them was an event where my husband and I were driving.And long story short, we ended up in southern Italy on this back road that this freeway led into.And we were, like, in this field, and there was, like, water, and it felt like all of a sudden we were in a lake, and it was terrifying.I thought we were going to die.We thought the water was going to come into the car.I thought we were going to get stuck in all this mud.It was just like, one more thing on top of all the things I experienced there that led me to feeling extremely hyper vigilant.So we're driving day two.I can't believe I'm publicly sharing all this, but anyway, we're driving day two on our road trip, and it starts raining like crazy.And all of a sudden we get this notification on our phone to evacuate the area, and I have, like, no idea which way we're, like, going.I just am following Apple Google Maps.Whatever.And so I don't know if, like, we're headed towards where the flooding is because basically this levee broke or if it's behind us.And so I start panicking, and I pull off the road and onto this exit, and I look around and the roads are flooded.There's these fields that are full of water.There's water coming onto the road.It looks like a giant lake is forming, like a disaster movie.And I know so many people across the country, across the world have dealt with this.And it's almost like you're desensitized when you see stuff like this on the news, because you see it all the time.And then when you find yourself in an actual situation like this, you realize how scary it really is.And so I was like, well,shit, we can't stay here.So we got back on the freeway,and it just kept pouring and pouring and pouring, and my husband figured out, okay,we're going the right way.The rain is not going to stop, but we're not going toward where the levee broke, so we're good.And about ten minutes later,I had the most intense PTSD flashback I've ever had.I've had many of these.Normally they happen, like, when I'm at home or when I'm somewhere.I know a lot of times they're like, I'll have them while I'm dreaming, like,asleep, and I'll wake up,like, hyperventilating.This was the first one I had, like, while driving, and it was also the first one I ever had in front of my husband.And so I felt incredibly vulnerable and embarrassed.But basically what happened is we were driving, and I just was completely terrified, but I was trying to suppress that and stay focused.And about ten minutes later,out of nowhere, I just felt this incredibly strong,like, build up of emotions from my stomach up to my chest, and I just started almost like, convulsing, like,shaking, hyperventilating.And I said, I can't breathe.I can't breathe.And I just kept repeating that,like, oh, my God, I can't breathe.I can't breathe.And I couldn't feel my arms.I couldn't feel my face.My whole body felt, like, cold and hot at the same time.And I was scared because, one, I thought I was back in Italy, like legit, and two,I was scared that I was going to lose control of the car and it was already flooding.Like there was already water coming up on the freeway and it was pouring.And my husband did such a good job of calming me down,getting me to pull over to the side of the road and then getting me to take an exit.And when we finally were able to get pulled over, it only got worse for about, I don't know, five minutes or so.Just was, like, shaking and completely sobbing, just like in complete fear.And I really thought I was back in Italy re experiencing many of the things that had happened there.And to go through something like this is so off putting.And it feels like it feels like someone bruised my brain.And it's really frustrating as a business owner to go through something like this again, but at a bit a bigger level because when this happens, it's like I don't have access to my brain.And it's so interesting because if I broke my leg or if something came along and came along and hit my leg and I couldn't move my leg and it was broken, I would obviously put a cast on it and I would understand that it needs to heal and that I need to stay off of it.But that in time, right?Weeks, months, whatever, it would heal and get better.But for some reason, because of stigma,because of perfectionism, whatever,I have this concept that because I've experienced trauma, it's not the same.I'd be so curious for anyone else that's willing or open to sharing their experience.It's so interesting because it's almost like your brain tries to make you feel like you're overreacting or like it's not real or you just need to snap out of it.But it's like a real injury.It really does feels like an actual brain injury.And sometimes I feel weird for saying that because I feel like there's people that go through so much worse.And then there's also a part of me that's like, why do we do that to ourselves?Like, whatever we're experiencing is valid.Why do we always feel the need to compare it to someone else or be like, well, it's not as bad as blah, blah, blah,therefore I don't need help.I just think it's very interesting.And so that's kind of where I'm at.I'm dealing with that, and I'm feeling the rush and the almost panic of it's a new year, make your plans, get to it,jump into the hustle, blah, blah.I've totally been that person in years past.And there's nothing wrong with that.Like, if you're in that head space where you're ready and gung ho to jump into something and do the hard work, that's awesome.But I'm like, man, I'm not in that head space.And seeing all these people rush ahead into the new year and be like, what are you doing?And let's start this program.I'm just like, fuck, I'm not there.And so I actually emailed or sent out a Facebook post and stuff to my students.And I was like, I need to take the rest of this week off.We're not even in a live round of anything, but I just perpetually feel like I'm behind and not doing enough.So I was like, I'm not going to be available.I can't answer questions this week, but I'll be back.And it's fine.I have to put my mental health first.But it's like, damn.And when you go through something like this too, I can only share my personal experience.But it's like I constantly feel like,damn, there's still part of me that's like, don't let people know you're struggling because if they know you're struggling, they're not going to take you seriously.They're not going to want to invest in you.They're not going to think that you're smart or think that you have stuff of value to share, which is not true at all,necessarily.I mean, maybe there's somebody out there that's like, oh, no, thank you.I don't want to work with this person.And that's fine.I told myself I would record this podcast episode in one go.So I just hit record on voice memos and we're going for it.There's no edits in this.I think it's just hard.I think that as humans, we're all going to have, you know, highs and lows.And where I want to take this podcast episode today is not just to have this giant dump that's like almost16 minutes here of here's.All my trauma and what happened and why I'm messed up right now, but more so what I'm processing and what I'm hoping to do next.And one of those things is to be totally okay not being okay in this moment.It's to just sleep for the whole month of January.I've got some business plans, and I've got some stuff I need to do.And we've got our household goods coming.I'm going to need to unpack.And then I've got a ton of shit I need to donate because I've just bought a lot of shit over the pandemic looking for any sense of happiness or whatever.And I'm realizing, like, that didn't make me happy, right?And so coming back to my identity and all of that, I really this year want to work on really taking care of myself.I think that I've made those steps every year as much as I can, every month as much as I can.And now I'm in a new chapter, right?Huge progress was made last year in acknowledging that I do have PTSD.That was huge because I went years being like, there's no way I have that, while suffering from debilitating panic attacks and flashbacks and still trying to deny it.It's like, why do we do that to ourselves?So there's a lot of progress happening.And I'm also like, where do I want to put my energy?I'm not really a big drinker.I really don't drink that much alcohol.But I've noticed that the past couple of times I have had a beer or a margarita, I didn't enjoy it.And I also just felt really cruddy the next day.I'm in my mid thirty s.I don't bounce back after a drink the way I used to.I don't want to feel hungover the next day after having, like, one drink.And I just realized that's just something I don't really want to spend my time or money on.So definitely for the whole month of January, I don't feel like drinking.I could see myself going the whole year,just being sober, and I'd be fine with that.So that's one thing that's been on my mind I'd love to hear again.I know a lot of people have been sober,curious or whatever, and just like, how it impacts your life, that's just really fascinating to me.I guess I'm kind of going into possible New Year's intentions here.But another thing is I really want to pour back into my household and routines.One thing I will tell you is, when you do a huge move, if you've ever done one, it's so unsettling, and it's even harder when your spouse isn't with you.And I've got two pets.There's people that do this with kids.I'm sure that's even more stressful,but, like, finding a new routine and a new place is so important and something I have lacked the past year, and so I really want to get into that.There's this sweet little walking path loop in our neighborhood, and I want to do a loop with Bella every morning.And then I want to really make time for listening to more podcasts and listening to more audiobooks.I have not listened to podcasts, really the past couple of months,and I miss it tremendously.I want to get back into all kinds of stuff business, self help, true crime.Although if I listen to too much true crime, then I can't sleep, so I have to find a balance, but I just want to get back into that stuff.One thing I will say is the whole week or so of traveling and moving, I really didn't spend much time on social media, so I really wasn't on TikTok.I just kind of posted on Instagram stories, but I didn't really,like, look at anything else.And I will tell you that that was so nice.I definitely want to spend less time on social media.I also really want to spend look for some ways to start engaging in my new community.So finding an organization I want to volunteer with.Also taking myself on regular dates every Tuesday.Maybe I take myself to a new coffee shop or I go to Veggie Grill or whatever.Go to a new restaurant or yard house or there's so many cool restaurants here.Do something like that.Make a plan so I have something to look forward to every week.Because I will tell you,when you're going through mental health shit, it can feel like your whole life is going to be one constant, like, pain saga.And it's hard to remember the simple joys.So I want to, like, dive into some things that will keep me kind of emotionally regulated.So, you know, the pets always help with that.Like, they've got to eat at certain times.Our cat, Dublin, is diabetic,so she's got to have her shots.And those things kind of create anchor points, and I want to create more of those.So, like daily walks, I'd love to do something where maybe I start drinking tea at 02:00 p.m. Every afternoon.I'm really realizing how I've been fighting routine a lot.And I look back at times in my life where I had very solid schedules and routines.Like when I worked at a university.My routine this is so much information.My routine was so specific.Like, I worked out at the same times every day.I ate at the same times every day.That at 09:
00 A.m.On the dot every day at work, I would have to poop the same time every day.And there was something really nice about literally being regular, like in every faucet of my life.And I want to get back to just having more of a routine because as a stay at home business owner, it can be so easy to just not have one.And I'm realizing I need one.I'm a better human being.I am more mentally stable when I have a solid routine.And that means not only daily, but again, what are things you do weekly?Like, is there a little thing you do every Sunday?Maybe you even just do yoga from YouTube every Sunday?I want to create little anchor points or like happiness boosters throughout my week and throughout my month, creating more rituals and routines and doing more of that.The second thing is I really want to scale my business this year.And I have some huge plans for joint venture things.But I really have to be particular in what I do because I've just noticed lately that I don't always know when my brain is going to be available to me because of trauma,because of depression, whatever.There are just times where I'll wake up and my brain is mush.Like, I just cannot seem to access the parts of my brain that allow me to do the really smart things that have helped me grow my business.And that's a new phenomenon for me and I hope that gets better.And I plan to work with a counselor and learn more about what's going on with me so that that can improve.But more and more I really am taking my brain and what's going on seriously.I'm looking at this whole experience as if I had an actual brain injury because for whatever reason, that helps me think of like, how can I actually manage it?Because if I just look at it as for whatever reason, because mental health stuff is just as debilitating and just as hard to deal with in so many different ways.But I still notice that I have my own stigma about it.So I've got to treat it like it's an actual thing I'm going through,because it is.And so those are some of my thoughts about things I want to do.I also want to do some kind of bougie things to make me happy.Like for months I've been thinking about going and buying some really nice seltzer water like topico and some Pellegrino and getting those stupid little ice cube trays so I can make cute little ice cubes like the little round ones.And I want to every day make myself a little seltzer water with really nice ice cubes and a glass straw.Like I want to start doing these nice little things for myself.There's been posts I've seen where people are talking about like, stop saving all your nice stuff for some day and just use it.Use the nice things you have.Right?I started doing that with face masks.For whatever reason, I kept buying all these really nice face masks and then I would never use them.No, I started using them.I've been taking a bath.Well, I haven't since we moved, but I would take a bath almost every night and use a face mask and use a bath bomb until I didn't have anymore and it was great.Don't say that stuff.Just use it.This episode is all over the place.It has nothing to do with this.Oh my goodness.I just feel like I wanted to have this really frank heart to heart conversation with whoever's listening.And by the way, I get messages every now and then from you guys on Instagram.Like, hey, I just listened to this episode and this really resonated with me and I always love hearing from you guys because it's just nice.Sometimes it's like I'm literally talking into a void and it's just nice to know like, this is what's going on.But in terms of business plans this year,there's all those things that I've been talking about, personal stuff.But I really want to make some huge updates to publish with purpose.There's lots of little updates that have happened inside of Kindle Direct Publishing and there's some possible other alternative publishing things that I want to add to the program and I really just want to keep fine tuning it.I truly believe it's like the best planner publishing program out there and I'm selfish, I'm biased because I created it, but I truly believe it's the best and I pour my heart and soul into it and I love supporting all the students in there and I only want to make it better.So that is like my one big goal.My second big goal in my business is to do the same thing with pretty productive life.So Notion is an evergrowing ecosystem all on its own and I really want to fine tune what I've created in it and the templates I've created in it.And I'd like to get back into providing more regular kind of planning sessions and stuff for students that are a part of that program and opening that back up for enrollment too.The curriculum is just a bit messy right now.Students have found it really helpful and it's great, but it's not up to my standard yet for rereleasing it.So there's some work that has to be done there and I'm going to take my time with it.But I'm just kind of realizing that both of these programs are kind of the bread and butter of my business and I really want to make sure that they are top tier,you know, and keeping those my main focus.And then, you know, I do see myself creating some smaller offerings in the new year, possibly creating I have another big planner idea but kind of just really making sure that I'm good because my business won't run if I'm not doing well.So those are my updates.I guess you could call this kind of like my 2023, like, messy, like mental breakdown, intention setting episode,but I hope you're doing well.I hope you're doing okay.We got to take this crazy life of ours one day at a time and realize that there are chapters and one chapter does not define you or your entire life.Whatever you're doing.If you're a business owner,if you're creative, if you're an artist,if you're just someone that likes this podcast and you don't do any of those things, I hope that you are not judging yourself as harshly as I have been judging myself the past year or so with mental health stuff.It is a journey and we can get through it.And I'm so glad you're here and I'm so glad that you're still listening to the podcast.So have a wonderful day.I hope to get this podcast more regular and routine as well,but I've just got to take care of myself and make sure that the main staples in my business are running so I can continue to support all of you and keep things afloat.But thanks so much for listening.This podcast will be back.I don't know when, but episodes will still be created, and hopefully we'll get back to that weekly schedule soon.So thanks for listening so much and I'll see you guys on Instagram.If you want to say hi,I'm at Sarah Steckler.You can find everything else.All resources at Sarah Steckler.com. All right, I'm going to watch more of the Office superfan episodes and I'm going to peace out for the night.Talk to you soon.