Thoughts on "Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Your Bullsh*t Behind and Creating a Happy Life" by Monica Sweeney
I'm so excited to share a review of our next book club book for the Pure Romance by Deedre VIP Community. If you're a woman age 18 or over and you haven't joined our community yet, you can click here to sign up for my emails and get exclusive access. We'll be starting the discussion over this book in February, so dive into this review, then join the community for a free PDF reading guide and bookmark.
Let me start by saying that this is not a book you read cover to cover ( I mean, I suppose you could, but that's not really the point). It's an interactive journal with exercises that involve both introspection and coloring. That's right, I said coloring.
Monica Sweeney is funny and irreverent while inviting the reader to really break down some serious topics. It appears that her purpose really is to help us "let that shit go". Stop taking yourself so seriously, stop overthinking, stop feeling guilty, and stop feeling overwhelmed. This journal is designed with very short to the point exercises that don't take that long to complete, but still leave you feeling a sigh of relief when you've finished. From the Swippy Swap that focuses on diversions for bad habits to Not Today, Satan! that helps blast through anxieties, this journal is chalk full of insight and naughty words.
I would recommend making Let That Sh*t Go part of your daily routine. Whether you start or end your day with it, or just squeeze it in over the lunch hour, there are enough prompts to keep you going for almost two months. And, if you need more, rest easy knowing that Sweeney has two more journals: Find Your F*cking Happy and Zen as F*uck.
Want to join the book club discussion? Join my Facebook Group Conk's Community: Women Empowering Women (for ladies 18 and over).
So, you've had a hysterectomy but you have the sinking suspicion that you weren't adequately prepared for what comes after. I'm here to tell you that you are not alone. Hysterectomies occur for extremely varied reasons and even the procedure itself differs from woman to woman, but one thing I have found almost universal among the women I've met is the inconsistency in information. This is your body and you deserve full disclosure and a safe, understanding environment to discuss your questions and concerns. If I can impart any wisdom at all, it would be this, advocate for yourself and never stop.
I've had issues with my reproductive system since puberty. Horrible cramps, excessive bleeding, nausea, bloating, and the list went on and on. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in my early twenties and poly cystic ovarian syndrome in my late twenties. I tried every prescription, herbal, and over the counter remedy you can think of and nothing helped. At 36, I developed a cyst the size of a goose egg on my right ovary and it wasn't going away. Due to massive internal scaring from multiple mostly unrelated surgeries (I was born with a birth defect of my right kidney), the doctors were concerned about performing an operation. I get it, honestly I do, but what transpired was nothing short of exasperating.
My gynecologist, now not so affectionately known as Dr. Douche Canoe, proceeded to tell me exactly how this was going to happen. I would have a total hysterectomy and I would take hormones and that would be that. Now, I had advocated for a hysterectomy for years, but I was fought every step of the way because of my age. But, I wasn't all on board for hormones. I've read conflicting research on the subject and wanted to try my luck without them first. Do you know what he said? He proceed to talk down to me like I was a petulant child and pretty much told me that my vagina would shrivel up and stop working if I didn't take them. Seriously? DO NOT take everything your doctor says at face value. If something feels wrong to you, get a second opinion.
In the end, Dr. Douche Canoe was not qualified to perform the operation due to my extensive scarring and I had to be sent to a specialist. Guess what? She DID NOT recommend hormones unless my quality of life was severely impacted because hormones can cause more harm than good in patients with endometriosis! Did you notice I said she. My family doctor is also female and she agreed that hormones were not necessarily a one size fits all prescription.
Turns out, for me, hormones were not necessary. You absolutely have to do what feels right for you. Ask the questions, weigh the answers, and speak up when something doesn't feel right. If Dr. Douche Canoe treats you like an idiot, there is absolutely nothing wrong with finding a different doctor.
In the hundreds of Google searches and subsequent rabbit holes I fell into, I found so many women who have the same story. Women who have been pushed aside, ignored, misdiagnosed, and told it was all in their head. Women who have cried, been frustrated, and fought for answers they may or may not have found. This sounds disheartening, but in the age of social media, smart phones, and the internet, women have the unprecedented opportunity to share their stories. To find support in each other. To make our voices heard.
If you have had a hysterectomy, are going to have a hysterectomy, or are facing the prospect of having a hysterectomy, I strongly suggest checking out the HysterSisters website. It's a woman to woman support group with a wealth of articles and resources for helping you make the most informed decisions, understanding the changes in your body, and connecting with other other women who understand what you are going through. Always remember, it is your right to advocate for yourself. Never let anyone take your voice.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by everything going on in your life, everything that has to be done in a day? You sit there in your unwashed stretchy pants ready to pull out all your hair because making one more decision feels impossible. There's just too much laundry, too much cleaning, too many errands, too many people who need you to figure out what comes next. It's like the cartoon character who's head explodes and all that's left is a little burned match stump.
Take a deep breath. No, really. A deep breath right now, in through your nose and out through your mouth. According to an article in Healthline "Taking deep breaths can help you voluntarily regulate your ANS, which can have many benefits - especially by lowering your heart rate, regulating blodd pressure, and helping you relax, all of which help decrease how much of the stress hormone cortisol is released in your body". Deep breaths help us to refocus our attention so we can slow down and take stock of what's really important.
Ok, now that you've taken a few deep breaths, let's take Anna's advice from Frozen II and "do the next right thing." Don't over analyze it, or get in your head, just listen to your body. Do you need to pee? Then go to the bathroom. Do you smell like a swamp yetti? Then take a shower. Are you thirsty? Then go get a drink. Don't think about what comes next, just go do the very next thing that you need to do to bring yourself a little balance.
Now, grab yourself a pen and paper and make a list. Break it into three columns - must do, should do, can wait. The "must do" column is for things that require your attention right now, that really must be done today. Feeding the dogs, feeding the kids, paying the bill that is due today, putting out the grease fire in your kitchen (you know, all the things that will unquestionably be problematic if they are not finished ASAP).
The "should do" column is for things that you should try to get done, but the house won't burn down if they're not. Finishing the laundry, meal planning, household chores etc. And the can wait column is for everything else. If you struggle with knowing what goes in the can wait column, ask yourself the following question, "What is the worst that will happen if this is not done?" If the answer doesn't involve a crisis or emergency, then it probably can wait.
Before you go to execute this list, I want you to do one more thing, and it's really, super important, ok. In your "must do" column add one task or activity that brings you joy: take a bubble bath, paint your toenails, color in a coloring book. This absolutely can't wait. I don't care how important everything else in your life is or how many people insist that they need you to do something else, this is non-negotiable. Remember that burned little match stump? The only way to truly find balance is to make your mental and emotional health a "must do" item every single day. If you can't carve 20-30 minutes out of your day to take care of you, it might be time to delegate some of your responsibilities, or to talk to friends, family, or even a professional about how to make sure your personal needs are met.
Starting every day with a few deep breaths and breaking down your must do, should do, and can wait will help you start to put things in perspective. You absolutely do not have to do it all. You do not have to be everything for everyone. All you have to do is breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth and do the next right thing.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.