serenity prayer

How To Stay Calm Amid Chaos

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

How To Stay Calm Amid Chaos

Am I spontaneous? Nope? Do I thrive on rituals and habits and routine? You know it. Have I learned how to stay calm admid chaos? For the most part, yes. There are times when I appear outwardly calm but my belly is roiling. I deal with that by removing myself from the chaotic person or situation and then work to calm myself.

serenity prayerHow To Stay Calm Amid Chaos

Plan ahead: Sure, you can’t plan for everything. I didn’t plan for breast cancer – who would? I was thrown for a loop and my life was chaos for a time, but I eventually got back to routines – what breast cancer survivors call “the new normal.” I despise that phrase because it reminds me of all I have lost, but there it is. I have a calendar. I write a to do list. I use time blocking so I know what is coming up and so I can plan.

Don’t multitask: If you focus on one task at a time you will be more present and you can potentially stay out of chaotic thinking. Choose a task, focus on it. When you’re done or when your time blocked section is up, move onto the next task.

Be flexible: I know. I know. It sounds like I am contradicting myself and I am… kind of, but not really. I learned that you can’t plan for everything life will throw your way. I now build flexibility into my daily and weekly schedule. I don’t plan my day down to the minute, like I did in the past. I have time each hour and at the end and beginning of each day to deal with items I hadn’t planned for. Sure, having my schedule messed with causes me a level of stress, but knowing I have built in a buffer helps alleviate that.

Look at the big picture: There is the phrase, “don’t sweat the small stuff” that I am certain you’ve heard before. I know it’s not easy to brush somethings off and what is a “small stuff” to me is a “not so small stuff” to you, right? Set your priorities. Work on those and this might help you roll with the “small stuff.”

Just breathe: There are times, in today’s political climate that I want to jump in and comment on a post I’ve seen on Facebook. I get angry when I hear something on the radio or read something in the paper. I have learned to embrace the Serenity Prayer and breathe. Pay attention to your shoulders – are they hiked up around your ears because you’re so tense? Make note of that and focus on relaxing them.

Gratitude necklaceTry to find the positive: It is so easy to look out the window and think, “Gack I hate the rain!” It is raining here in NY today BUT this time of year it is usually frigid and snowing. I can turn the weather around and think, “Better rain than snow!” It’s a little thing, but it can certainly change your attitude and your outlook. Believe me I was not always a positive person. In fact I loved to bitch and complain; it’s not something I am proud of, but it’s what I did. Now, having survived cancer (five years cancer free, yay me!) I know how shitty things can get so I always look for the positive.

What are your steps for rising above chaotic situations? I'd love to know! 

If you find yourself in a state of overwhelm, send me an email Robbi AT RobbiHess DOT COM and let me know what is overwhelming you. Schedule a thirty minute Conquer the Overwhelm session and let's see if you can move past it! 

5 ways to start your day off right

5 Ways To Start Your Day Off Right

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

You probably realize it, but the way you start your day – no matter if you are a night owl or an early bird – the way you spend the first hour of your day will impact your mental energy, your motivation and ultimately your health. There are five ways to start your day off right, pick and choose which of them — or all of them — to incorporate into your day. 

count your blessings

What I’m Thankful For

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

What I'm Thankful For

I realize that writing a "what I'm thankful for" post is nothing new on Thanksgiving. I am not being a trend setter. I am not sharing anything new or useful or even anything you might be able to relate to, but these are my thoughts, for whatever they're worth. 

My family 

breast cancer awareness

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: I’m Aware

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

breast cancer awarenessIt's the kick off of the "pinking" of October. Yes, it's Breast Cancer Awareness month. Guess what? I'm a breast cancer thriver, I am aware… every single day and will be for the rest of my life. 

When you hear the words, "You have breast cancer." Your life forever changes. You can't predict how you will react. Will you nod, rub your chin and say, "Interesting?" Will you fall to the ground screaming and wailing? Perhaps. When the call comes in when you've just arrived home and your husband is in the driveway do you feel like you're going to puke? Can you not even talk? Do the tears start immediately? Do you hand him the phone and let the doctor give him the news because you've heard the words, "Your test came back positive?" Well, that's what I did. 

For all of the tests I had gone through during the two weeks prior, you would have thought I would have nodded sagely and said, "I see." Apparently not. "Thinking" you probably have breast cancer is a whole hell of a lot different than KNOWING you have breast cancer. You can't prepare. You can't know how you will react. True, I am known for crying, but this was different. This was not movie star tears running slowly down my cheeks, this was mascara running, nose-dripping, gulping sobs. It was not pretty. 

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Believe Me, I'm Aware

My "sentence" if you will involved losing my breasts — breasts of which I was extremely proud. My closet full of v-neck shirts and push up bras attest to that. I didn't have boobs until I had kids, so yep, I worked those babies. I had tumors in my right breast. I could have kept my left. It was not an easy decision to make — keep one or none. When I was sobbing in my plastic surgeon's office and unable to make a choice, he asked, "How would you feel if you were back here a year from now?" My first thought was, "I'll jump in front of a moving train before I go through this again." That sealed the deal. I'd be saying good-bye to both my breasts. If one was trying to kill me I certainly wasn't going to give the other a chance to finish the job. 

how to make a list

How To Make A Great List

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

There is nothing I love better than a list — well unless it is a list of my lists. I have been a list maker for as long as I can remember. I am not certain when it started, but I know it started when I made lists of the books that I owned. I then made lists of the stuffed animals I owned, when I got them, from whom I got them and whether it was on a holiday and which holiday. 

Back to school lists were a favorite, both when I went to school and then when my children were going to school. I would wait in anticipation of the back to school shopping list and off I'd go to round up their supplies and pack them into their chosen bookbags or backpacks. 

As an employee I made lists of job responsibilities and my proficiency in completing them. I listed my performance review scores and tried to best the one I'd received prior. 

selfie

Selfies While Driving?

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

Selfies while driving?

Okay, to harken back to an earlier post… FFS!?

New York is eighth in the nation for people taking selfies while driving? Really? What exactly is it that you're doing while behind the wheel that is photo-worthy? Honestly, what are you doing that is photo-worthy enough to ever take a selfie? Sure if you're with someone and it's only the two of you and you need to get a photo together, I say selfie away. 

If you're just sitting home and think, "Damn, I look good I need to get a picture of this hot mamma!" I say, "Really?" You'll never look good again and therefore you need to snap that pic and share it with the world? 

selfie

Robbi office selfie

It's a rare occasion that I enjoy being in photos, it is, well NEVER, that I need to take a selfie (well other than for this column to show its ridiculousness. 

As for those drivers who feel the need to snap a selfie I say, "Get over yourself." No one needs to see you driving down and road and if they do, guess what? I'll bet they'd rather see you arrive at your destination alive rather than seeing you and your duck lips on their Facebook feed. 

Yep, I am in "mom" mode. Don't text and drive. Don't selfie and drive. How about you just, well, drive and that's it? Novel concept, right? 

How about asking yourself these questions: 

  1. Is a photo at this time truly necessary?
  2. Is there anyone who could take the photo of me?
  3. Am I in a place that is safe enough to take a photo? In other words, don't do a selife in while driving or while standing on a cliff

These same questions stand for when you're texting as well. Be safe. Pull over if you truly need to take a photo. 

why is my life out of control

Why Is My Life Out Of Control?

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

why is my life out of controlWhy is my life out of control?

I'm a solopreneur, sister, mother, wife, dog and cat and reptile pet parent, homeowner of two houses and all around world class worrier. I have a lot on my plate, right? I don't sleep well at night, but I am falling asleep while watching television by 9 pm. I am ready to get up and start my day at 5 am. It's a seeming never-ending cycle of "stuff" to do, things to worry about and people and pets to care for. Whew! No wonder I sometimes ask why is my life out of control? Right? 

What do I do on those days when everything seems to be spinning out of control? I take a step back and try to remember to breathe. Believe me this is not always easy and I have to remind myself to do this every single time. I have yet to reach that Zen level in which I am so aware of my emotional and physical state that I just say, "wow, gotta slow down and breathe!" That never happens. It's more like, "WTF is going on? Where's the ice cream, damn it?!" 

Here are a few ways I have found to combat that spinning out of control feeling. 

why do i swear

Oh FFS: On Minding, Or Not, My Language

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

This is post 9 of 12 in a Blogging Badass Challenge.

Okay, raise your hand if you swear? I'm not talking a "hell" or a "damn" or an "ass." I am talking full on swear. I mean a "for fuck's sake" when it's warranted. I have both my hands in the air — yes it's true — I am using Google voice to "type" this at least for the moment because I wanted to raise my hands in the air. 

Why do I swear?

When I was younger I swore for the shock value. My mother didn't swear. My father! Well, let's just say when he was working outside on one of the cars, we were told to not go near the garage. Did we listen? Nope! My dad was nothing if not colorful in his language when working on a vehicle and listening to those words, which were obviously taboo, sent a thrill through me. My dad was pretty mild-mannered for the most part so hearing him swear must have meant something was truly heinous, right? I'm not so sure. why do i swear

When I became a mom I realized that I must have sworn without even thinking about it because one of Nicholas's first swears was, "Pass the asshole, Mom." We were in the car and I must have been cursing out a slow driver on the road. Whoops! Alexa, I remember was playing with toys and she said, "I can't believe this shit." Gulp! My tiny kids tossing out swear words like nobody's business. 

At this point in my life I think I may have heard Nicholas swear once — he has tremendous restraint. Either that or he was raised right and doesn't swear in front of his mother. Alexa and I … well, let's just say I would be mortifiied if anyone saw our texts. It's gotten to the poitn now that my Android doesn't even correct the word "fuck" like it used to. The technology has been bent to my will. 

squirrel alexandria bay

Alexandria Bay Welcoming Committee?

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Pet Lifestyle

(This is post 2 of 12 for the Blogging Badass Challenge)

Have you seen the movie, “UP”? If so, you may remember Doug, the dog, who was forever distracted by, and would always holler, “Squirrel!” I admit to being easily sidetracked, but never before by squirrels… until recently.

Henrietta, the diva poodle, and I were minding our own beeswax, sitting in the living room. I was crocheting, she was snuggled in my lap. I kept hearing this odd sound and assumed it was a neighbor outside puttering around in the rain. Boy was I wrong. And for the record, Henrietta, who barks at the wind blowing, seemed wholly unimpressed by the noise at first. Go figure.squirrel alexandria bay

I finished the row I was crocheting, got up and peered out the window — yep I am one of those neighbors! I came face-to-face with the squirrel in the photo here. When I say I peered, I mean I opened the curtain and stuck my face to the window and there was the squirrel. I dropped the curtain and screamed — possibly more than once.

I gathered my meager courage and opened the curtain again. It was still there. This time it started crawling up the screen and that set me to more screaming and Henrietta to more frenzied barking. So what did I do? Snapped a pic, sent it to Tim and the kids and said, all in capital letters, “I’m freaking out. What do I do?” I am not certain what I expected them to do from four hours away, but they were my lifeline.

Banging on the window didn’t disturb it. Through my tears, yep I cry when I am scared, I grabbed the broom and slipped out the front door and “swept” it off the screen then chased it off the porch. I am certain if a neighbor was peering out their window they likely deemed me insane by this point, but it gets better!

Shaking, I went back in the house and calm Hen down. I grabbed a cup of tea, settled back into my crochet and less than ten minutes later the squirrel was back. What?! This time I was still terrified but I was getting tweaked. I mean, how dare that squirrel try to get into the house!? Right? I knew thumping on the window wouldn’t help so I grabbed the broom and out to the porch I went. The second time must have been the charm because it didn’t come back.

I’d planned an early bedtime, but the adrenaline was flowing and I still had to take Henrietta for her pre-bedtime Mother Nature visit. Gulp! I took her outside, armed with the broom, because I had convinced myself that only a rabid squirrel would do all of that screen climbing and would not be afraid of a crazy broom-wielding lady, right?  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am NOT an outdoorsperson. I love looking at nature, but only from the safety of a screened in area. This, the “great squirrel episode of 2016” has cemented my belief that nature is crazy!

A friend said that perhaps the squirrel was the neighborhood welcoming committee. If that was the case, next time he should bring a muffin basket.