Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eyebrow Waxing and S.A.D.

I'm growing out my eyebrows and it's just about killing me. (I'm a fairly vain person. The type that rarely leaves the house without makeup on.) I'm growing them out so I can have them "professionally" shaped, waxed, and tinted next week. It's just been me and my tweezers for years now (wish I had tweezed or waxed before my wedding pictures--hello, Sasquatch!), but I'm starting to think I haven't done right by my brows, so they're getting a little TLC next week. (I know. Someone reading this is thinking, "Give me a break! Professional eyebrow waxing?" and another is thinking, "She's never had her eyebrows waxed before?" Everything--EVERYTHING--in life is relative.)

Yes, little by little as my kids get older and life seems to get easier (in some ways), I find myself actually thinking about how to take care of myself. So I'm doing things like having my eyebrows waxed. Tomorrow I even have an appointment with a real, bonafide doctor of medicine. The only doctors I've seen on a routine basis in the last two decades (besides Brandon) were of the obstetric variety. Now that I'm 40, I figure it's probably time to do the much anticipated breast squashing test otherwise known as (say it with gusto) THE MAMMOGRAM! And I'm curious to know my cholesterol levels, stuff like that. I even scheduled an appointment the following week with an orthopedic doc to look at my weird shoulder "issue" that won't resolve. (Sadly, I think I tweeked it carrying too many groceries at once. Isn't that a lame way to mess up your shoulder? Why couldn't it be from playing in a tennis tournament or something cool like that?) 

Is this the beginning of the end? A lifetime of doctor appointments and my body slowly, but surely deteriorating and falling apart? I've also been noticing that things look a little blurry lately. Like I might actually need to get GLASSES. (Or LASIK! That vanity thing again . . .) 

The "power of the month" over at the website is Optimism, so I've also been thinking a lot about my mental health while writing up posts for Deseret News and acknowledging the onset of colder, shorter days. I am determined not to let SAD (seasonal affective disorder) get the best of me this winter. It really snuck up on me last year as a southern California transplant, but this year--THIS YEAR--I will be ready. Bring it on!

Here's my TOP TEN list of ways to beat the blues this winter:

1) Daily exercise. At least a half hour a day, maybe more if I can spare the time. Cardio is best for my mood. 
2) Solid sleep. I can choose to do this at this stage in motherhood, which is pretty amazing after so many years of babies and toddlers routinely waking me up. If I get less than 7 hours for more than a few nights in a row I turn all shades of gloomy and it ain't pretty. I can't afford to do that to myself or my family anymore for stupid reasons like searching real estate online or catching up on friends' blogs. It's never, NEVER worth it. Last night I stayed up until 11:30 doing the above and I've been dragging my feet all day as a result. No more! (Self-discipline is a fickle thing.) Since we are committed to get up and have our family scripture reading time in the morning with our kids at 6:30, I really do need to get in bed by 10:30 every night. (That's a whole nother story, but it's been so great in so many ways.)
3) Avoiding sugar. Brandon and I recently started another "Phat Club" challenge thingy with my sister and her husband because I recognized how emotionally even I felt while doing it the first time. I know it was the result of avoiding sugar, because as soon as the challenge ended and I started indulging in daily treats again the mood swings came back. I had no idea how much sugar affected my mood! This won't be easy through the holidays, but at least Brandon and I are on the same team this year which makes a huge difference. We've been pretty good about saving treats for weekends and special occasions.
4) Phototherapy. I've got my "happy lamp" ready to go under my bathroom sink. I'll probably break it out in December. In addition to the happy lamp, I put daylight bulbs in my kitchen where I spend the most time and have the most recessed lighting. It makes a HUGE difference. Replace all your dingy, weak yellow bulbs with bright, white daylight bulbs. Also, I plan to slather on the sun screen and go to a tanning bed for a few minutes each week. I might even just keep my clothes on. Yes, I'm totally serious. Read about light therapy here.)
5) Aromatherapy. I light up my "energy" candle in the bathroom in the morning while I'm getting ready for the day, and have lots of little home fragrance sprays I use here and there. I may even buy some essential oils from one of my doTERRA selling friends. 
6) Music therapy. A few days ago I created a "happy" playlist for my winter treadmill runs. I also listen to music in the kitchen while I'm cooking. Music goes a long way for me--it's like an old friend in the room--so I need to remember to keep it going on particularly down days.
7) Social therapy. Speaking of friends, this winter I'm going to try and be better about attending the "Girls Night Out" every month. I remember feeling like I never wanted to leave the house last year, but being a very social person by nature I really do need to get out and socialize as often as I can. Tonight I'm going to a Learning Circle organized by some of the moms in my babysitting co-op. I happened to mention The Power of Moms to one of them and she said she already knew all about it and was actually part of a Learning Circle! (I really want to start one of my own, but my brain can only wrap around so many things at once. I think after we buy a house in the spring/summer I'll be able to commit in the fall.)
8) Supplements. Vitamin D is kind of the standard treatment after phototherapy. I've already started taking it every day. Other supplements I take every day are Sam-e and fish oil. The Sam-e can be expensive, so I always buy double when it's on sale.
9) Get outside every day. I really like the simple suggestion from my Power of Moms friend, Saren--who also moved from sunny California and St. George to northern Utah last year--to get outside for a few minutes every day in the winter no matter what the weather. Now that Rachael is old enough, we're also going to try to go skiing at least once a month starting in January. Then there's ice skating, indoor swimming, the many indoor trampoline play places they have around here. I really want to keep active, and do it outside as much as possible.
10) Prayer/Meditation/Yoga/The Bhagavad Gita/Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Whatever it is you want to do for your spirit, but turning your mind to that place for a few minutes every day is essential in my opinion.  

Today was really beautiful and "warm" for November (upper 40's and sunny) so Rachael and I walked to the school to get Will and Elizabeth, staying after and playing on the playground for about an hour. One of the highlights of my day was swinging with my eyes closed, the sun warming my face. I do like the big sky here, and the kids' school ground has the most phenomenal view of the mountains, lake, and valley. (Wish I could build a house on the playground!)
So there you have it. Way, way, way more than you ever wanted to know about my eyebrows and mental health. But I know there are plenty of other people out there that struggle against the same things so I share. There.


  1. Hi! Found your blog through the power of moms and been reading for awhile. Love that you show the "real" side of life. I leave your blog feeling uplifted instead of envious or less than good about myself, as when I read so many others.
    Anyway how did you determine you had SAD? When the time change rolls around, it's like someone flips a switch in me. I'm usually okay throughout the holidays but once January rolls around, forget it. Just curious.

  2. I wondered why you hadn't updated your blog for a while. Growing out your eyebrows -- now I know.

    From my wife: "Commend Allyson for encouraging proper eyebrow waxing. If only I could go back and tell my younger self the same thing!"

    Oh, you ladies. You know, football exists so men don't have to worry about things like eyebrow waxing. Or bathing, really.

  3. Great ideas for getting through the winter with SAD. Last winter I was knocked off my feet with it, and I am determined to do better, much better this winter. The daily exercise and being social are such big helpers.

  4. I too don't like my eyebrows and for the first time ever are growing them out so I can get them professionally done. My eyebrows are massively dark and I've always hated them, so I totally relate with this post. Then the whole SAD thing, ever winter for years I was a mess and ended up sleeping as much as I could when the children went to school, then I got into exercise. For me I have to exercise to feel alive and the earlier in the morning the better. I find when I go through most of my day before exercising is when I have the hardest day. Sundays used to be a super hard emotional day for me and I finally realized it was because that was the one day I didn't start with exercise, so now I get up on Sunday at 6a.m. before everyone else and take a walk, just something to feel the fresh air and feel better. Super bad cold and stormy days are my hardest to get through. Thanks for your post.


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