Tag Archives: business

Taking Time for Me – School and Other Things

I’ll be on a little hiatus currently.

Hi Friends! Since I am starting class for the next 2 months, I won’t be posting as much here and wanted to let you know some plans I have in the long run.

To those of you who are awaiting guest blog publishing, yes I am still going to publish your post! At this moment until I get a handle on online classes, I do’nt have any more scheduled to go out and will figure this out soon and let you know individually when I have some free time. Please do not worry! Since we rushed into Spring where I am, if you gave me a winter themed post, rest assured that I will be posting them this coming winter starting in November and will keep them on file! If you have any questions or concerns, please email me koraldawn@theunsanityblog.com and I’ll be happy to answer any questions!

Yes, I am still collecting guest posts. You may been seeing my tweets calling for guests. I am looking for spring/summer submissions, as my class is over April 26, and will be resuming guest posts then for a few months before the next class starts. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with anything you may need or any info you may want.

A bit of background – I am starting school again and attending SNHU online for a Business Administration degree. My ultimate goal? To create an online marketing platform/business where I can work from anywhere in the world and not conform to any set schedule anymore. I want to travel and I want to be able to work from a laptop on the road wherever I may be. I feel like getting to understand the fundamentals of business along with more marketing, will help me in the long run. It’s been 10 years since I’ve been in college and man it feels like ages ago. Probably because it was, but still… I’m just trying to get back into the groove of things and bang it out however long it takes.

The husband and I want to be able to enjoy our spring and summer since we really didn’t get to last year with being broke, and everything that was going on. We’re both employed now, and we now have weekends off together to do activities without needing him to request weekends anymore (we have NEVER had weekends off together except in WA when he was not employed, so this is going to be a lot of fun I hope.) The first 8 months of our marriage was bumpy, and it’s getting much better because we were both depressed with all the issues we had going on. I’m hoping our anniversary in May (wow!) goes better and his 40th birthday is this month! I can’t WAIT to give him his present for his birthday… he’s going to love it.

A little update on me as well – I started a new medication for my mental health and well-being a couple weeks ago and I think this one is helping much more than the other. So far it’s been good, and I hope it stays that way. My plan is to lose a bit of weight for summer/fall and go back to the gym with the husband (I’m making him come with me even if he says no) because I’ve hit my peak weight and I’ve been absolutely disgusted with myself. I’ve never weighed this much, and I want it to come off. It’s mostly thanks to medication and birth control from 2016 that I had… and now I’m ready for that weight to come off already. This is why (if you follow me on social media) I haven’t been posting many photos of myself and the husband recently, or much of me. I’m at the point where I just don’t think everything fits together anymore with the shape of my body, and I’m working on loving it more. I ordered a bathing suit for the first time in a few years… we’ll see how it fits now.

Blogging Goals for 2020

Catch the Sunrise

I know I’m a little late to the game with these New Year’s posts… but life has just taken up too much of my time since Christmas. I was out of work for a bit for the holiday, then my bosses were out a bit for the holidays and one of them still is (jealous!) and things have just been really hard to concentrate on. Well, I’m hoping that will change in this new year and I want to get my mojo back and stop procrastinating.

I’ve come up with a list of a few goals that I want to implement for my blog this year and a few things I really want to focus on. Most are for my blog, but there are a few things in there unrelated to the WordPress blogging platform, but still include writing or publishing.

  • Write more authentic material about my life, my mental health and how I deal with it. Afterall, this is a mental health focused site, and I would like to keep it that way.
  • Upload more photography with my posts that I have taken, or taken specifically for that post. Too many times I’ve used sites like Unsplash for photography for my personal posts, and while I do have a photography page on my blog here, I think I need to start taking specific photos for each blog I’m writing and put some more time into that aspect.
  • Publish another piece or two for Thought Catalog this year. I’ve written one before, but it’s been so long, I think it’s time I write some more in my down time… whenever I may have that.
  • Create a page on my blog for my Virtual Assistant Services that I offer to small businesses. I’ve been doing them freelance for a little bit now, and I don’t really have set documentation yet except a SOW and way to Invoice everyone. I think it’s time to focus on that a bit more.
  • Continue taking guest bloggers throughout the year. I’ve been doing this since October 2018 and would love to make this consistent on my blog for 2020 and beyond even. I can count this as an ongoing goal I think and make it happen!
  • Challenge myself to write at least 4-5 posts per month of my own content and help tips for readers.
  • Focus on Pinterest more to drive traffic to my blog and make my own Pinterest graphics to go along with each post I create. I haven’t really been focusing on Pinterest much, and from what I hear, it’s great for impressions and to find new readers.
  • Write about my experience with online schooling with SNHU and how my classes go. I am taking 2-3 classes this year and I really want to keep track on how it goes. I know alot of people do it these days and want to keep up with it.

what are your goals for 2020 for your blog?

Blogmas – Unique Gift Ideas for Anyone

BLOGMAS 2019

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With Christmas being less than 2 week away now, there’s still time to get unique gifts for everyone on your list from Amazon with two or one day delivery to most states. I’ve curated a list of a few, erm, strange yet useful gadgets and items that anyone on your list would appreciate this year. (This is in no way an ad and I do not get any compensation for featuring these item’s on my blog whatsoever. These are items I have selected from personal interest.)

910aPPf8uXL._AC_SL1500_Of course we need to start off with this shower/bathroom/anywhere wine holder for while you’re getting ready or relaxing. Made for those wine-os who just need a place to store their glass so they don’t spill it and lose their precious wine. “Finally… a little “you” time. Pull out that silky robe. Crack open a great book. Light a few candles to set the mood for the pièce de ré·sis·tance: a truly luxurious soak.” I’m just going to come out and say it: everyone on your list can use this even if they don’t put wine in it.

 

81ZP5qBBb-L._AC_SL1500_Even if you don’t like nature (which, I don’t know why you wouldn’t) this bird feeder can entertain you and anyone else in your household for hours including pets. Are you a photographer? This is the perfect gift to get some wildlife/bird portraits you normally wouldn’t be able to get. And guess what! It includes the suction cups that they guarantee are weather resistant and will not slide down on the window. Enjoy seeing wild birds up-close like never before.

 

81+gDVjidxLNeed a solid yet funny and comical planner/to do list to keep yourself organized during the day… Look no further. There’s a lot to be said for sloth philosophy, and this notepad says it all. And honestly, I added this little guy to my cart as I was writing this because maybe it will help me get my sh*t together a little… after my little naps. Get your to-do list out of the way so you can focus on what’s really important: relaxing. Take it slow and have fun without worrying that you’ve forgotten some obligation. Maybe indulge in a nap full of slothlike, stress-free dreams.”

 

 

61iz-7+DEUL._AC_SL1000_Now, you might not be into camping, but if you love the outdoors and have 2 poles or trees in your back yard, this portable hammock is definitely for someone on your list. With that price of only $25 or under, and a complete 5-star review of over 2,000 people, something tells me you can’t go wrong with this. This is a double hammock, and can hold up to (get this) 1,000 pounds! Something tells me I’m going to be adding this to my wish list today…

 

 

8130lg1zKQL._AC_SL1500_Trying to drink that water your doctor keeps telling you to drink daily to stay hydrated? Do you hate the taste of plain water though? Check out this leak-proof water bottle infuser to add your favorite fruits to. It is 100% BPA Free, comes with a carrying handle and it’s easy to clean for when you need a refill. “Water is plain, water is boring, and water is tasteless – and since we live in a sea of flavor packed alternatives (usually swimming in sugar and potential dangerous chemical additives), it’s easy to see why we skip the healthy option altogether.”

 

61r1l3Mg+WL._AC_SL1001_Picture it: you come in to your office in the morning and it’s warm because they had the heat on all night. This little fan will give you just the right amount of comfort at your desk to help cool you off for a bit. Did I mention that it plugs into your computer or laptop in order to work? How cool is that? It’s got 3 speeds, it rotates to fit your needs and is available in a few colors.

 

81LTiTxKdUL._AC_SL1500_Give the gift of cold to that beer lover in your family or friends list. “The HOPSULATOR TRíO keeps your drinks 20x colder than a standard neoprene can-cooler, so that your last sip has the same refreshing kick as the first.” Don’t have a beer lover in the family – fear not. This can also be used to keep your coffee and tea warm wherever you are with the lid attachment.

 

 

910ZdSN33oL._AC_SL1500_This cutting board is the perfect gift for the chef in your life. My husband and I actually have a cut out of Pennsylvania and we LOVE it, even if it’s just for decor half of the time. Just selcet the drop down menu and pick your state or your friends state and ta-dah! This fun, whimsical laser-engraved artwork calls out all the wonderful sights and places in the state of your choice. I mean, of course I had to choose NJ to feature, because I will always be a #JerseyGirl. Did I mention that this is bamboo? Bamboo is much gentler on knives than most cutting boards and won’t ruin them when you cut on this.

 

Lost Relationships -Amanda Robins

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Growing up in a Narcissistic Family

The mornings were the worst. My sisters would be fighting, screaming, throwing the odd hairbrush or lipstick, pulling hair or ripping fabric. Blaming one another for missing makeup or the state of the bathroom.

There was no mediation in these epic before-work duels.

Growing up in a narcissistic family wasn’t peaceful.

Our parents were far more interested in themselves and their own problems than in their children’s ability to get along with one another or their emotional needs.

Their intense self-absorption left little room for empathy and validation or, well, parenting.

Our mother was highly anxious, obsessed with her children’s ability to reflect well on her. Any mistakes or imperfections attracted her immeadiate attention. Like a heat seeking missile, she would then become intrusive and controlling, her anxiety around appearances and social acceptance motivating intense criticism and judgement towards us.

The sibling rivalry that is a normal part of family life was exacerbated and exploited by my mother to prop up her fragile sense of self. She pitted us against one another in competition for her approval and affection, so that she could somehow feel better about herself. There was always a battle between us for the crumbs of affection she distributed sparingly.

Because of this, we never got the opportunity to repair our relationships.

We grew up in a household where there was no room for vulnerability, empathy or collaboration. Our early template for relationships was based on competition rather than caring. Even today as adults with our own lives, we are wary and distant, not able to grieve what was lost to us in childhood, or to make amends.

For myself and others who have been raised in narcissistic families, it’s an arduous pathway towards healing.

In their book on narcissistic families, Stephanie and Donald Pressman argue that children of narcissists might manage workplace relationships and setting boundaries at work, but at home it’s a different story.

According to the authors, those who have grown up in narcissistic families are often “people pleasers” trained to ignore their own boundaries so well that they don’t actually know where they are.

“Comfort in setting boundaries develops in children who have their feelings respected by their parents.”

Narcissistic parents do not respect other’s feelings, and children growing up in an atmosphere of repression, shaming and tangential communication never learn to ask for their needs to be met. In families like these, withdrawal of affection and approval will be used to control children. Parents will threaten children with rejection and anger when they don’t behave in ways that meet the parent’s needs. For young children, this is terribly destructive and teaches them to ignore their own needs.

As adults, children of narcissists are usually out of touch with their own needs.

Decision-making for those who have had their feelings invalidated as children is fraught.

Friendships and intimacy require us to make decisions about what we want to do, when and how, and this requires us to understand our feelings. Without this ability, relationships are either all-consuming (and exhausting) or cold and distant.

The Pressmans argue that children of narcissists often have an “all or nothing” approach to relationships. If survivors of narcissistic families cannot have a perfect relationship, they would rather end the relationship than negotiate or compromise. “They genuinely cannot fathom the possibility of sitting down with a spouse, friend or colleague and having a reasonable discussion to set boundaries so that those feelings and needs can be accommodated.” Having been consistently invalidated as children, they hold little hope for getting their needs met in relationships.

They often seem to expect that others will be able to read their minds. When they discover that their friend or spouse can’t do this, they are likely to become angry, disappointed or sullen, sometimes ending the relationship in disgust. And leaving their partner or friend puzzled and hurt.

The healthy give and take of normal relationships is not something that comes naturally to survivors of the narcissistic cauldron.

Attracting the right people into our lives and having healthy relationships is a challenge for those who have grown up with abusive parents.

As children of narcissists, we have been trained not to value or even acknowledge our own boundaries, because boundaries were not convenient for our narcissistic parents. We have also been trained to view relationships as mutually exploitative rather than opportunities for intimacy and connection.

Our friendships and intimate partnerships are often difficult and unfulfilling, fraught with danger and frustration.

Healing for the children of narcissists can take a long time. Self-awareness through therapy and reflection can help us change. Repairing our relationships and creating better ones is part of the journey towards growth and fulfillment.

Quotes are from The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie and Robert Pressman Jossey-Bass 1994

Amanda Robins, M.S.W, PhD.

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I am a writer and psychotherapist based in Melbourne, Australia. After a successful career as an artist and academic, I decided to retrain in order to work therapeutically with young people and studied Social Work at the University of Melbourne.

I now specialize in working with people with a history of trauma, especially those who have grown up in narcissistic families. I love writing about mental health and relationships from my own experiences and from my work with clients. I currently have a blog where I write about mental health and well-being, attachment, parenting, relationships and creativity.

My articles have been published on The Mighty, Therapy Route, PsychCentral and This Woman Can.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

https://www.amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/articles

https://twitter.com/amandarobins7

https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandartherapy/pins/

https://www.facebook.com/amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/

https://www.instagram.com/amandarobinstherapy/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-robins-a861a782/

Taking Action Against our Negative Thoughts – Auburn Roe

 

Author Bio: As a born and bred London blogger, Lois is passionate about spreading positivity, talking about mental health and empowering other millennial to push boundaries in order to live their best lives.

Social Links:

www.auburnroe.com

www.instagram.com/auburnroe

www.facebook.com/auburnroe

www.twitter.com/auburnroe

There’s so much pressure in today’s society to be happy (thanks social media!) and it’s so normal for us to compare ourselves to others, whether we’re aware we’re doing so or not. When I first started university 3 years ago, I realized I wasn’t having as good a time as all my friends seemed to be having… fast forward 2 months and I was at the lowest point I’d ever been.

Now I’m not totally putting all the blame on social media – I should probably give some credit to the combination of a nasty relationship break up and moving to a completely different city 200 miles from home. I love social media (it’s part of what I do for a living so I kind of have to), but there’s no denying that it’s put a strain on how today’s younger generations view themselves and others.

After eventually realizing how something so innocent as seeing my friends having a good time on Instagram could be so damaging, I didn’t know what to do. There was no way I was just going to give it up (as addictive as it is, I wasn’t going to just throw away my way of connecting with the world), but I knew something needed to change.

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I decided to try to transform it into something slightly more positive by following people that would supposedly bring more value to my news feed. You know, the typical motivational speakers; the likes of Gary Vee etc. etc.

Eventually I found someone that changed the game for me.

Mel Robbins has a very ‘no bullsh*t’ attitude when it comes to self-development and loving yourself. She delves into the science behind why we feel the way we feel, and what we can do to counteract negative thoughts.

No ‘imagining a cheque for a million dollars’ or anything like that, just good old-fashioned FACTS.

Through Mel’s (completely free) online content, I started to understand why I was having such negative thoughts and that it was no wonder I was feeling as low as I was.

Once I’d got to the root of what Mel calls my ‘limiting beliefs’, I was able to use her golden nuggets of mental health wisdom to tackle my cynical thoughts, which included (but were by no means limited to):

  • Everyone secretly hates me
  • I’m not good enough to do the things I aspire to do
  • I’m going to look back on my life full of regret
  • I’m a selfish person

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s important to note that if you’re going through a seriously low patch to the point where you have no energy to do anything (I know I’ve been there), then all you can do is pretty much just ride it out. Wait for the storm to blow over.

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And when you notice the clouds slightly starting to dissipate, that is when you’ve got to take action on those toxic inner commentaries.

Somewhere along the timeline of our lives, we develop a DEFAULT way of thinking (usually from our childhood) and this default way of thinking takes the PHYSICAL FORM of neurons in our brain called the ‘Default Mode Network’. This forms our automatic thinking patterns, so by identifying when we think these thoughts, we can counteract them with something positive like “I am good enough”. This can help us to live and think deliberately (even if we don’t believe it at first), and eventually believe in ourselves enough to achieve our goals. Even just knowing that the only problem was what I believed, I knew that I could at least try to work to change that.

The next thing I learnt was this crazy thing I had never heard of called the RETICULAR ACTIVATING SYSTEM. Like, it even SOUNDS scientific. And that’s because it is. (Why do they not teach this sh*t in high school?!)

It’s the part of our brain that filters what you focus on.

Ever heard a song for the first time in ages and then suddenly you notice it playing on the radio every time you go to the supermarket?

Ever felt kind of low and then suddenly feel that everything in your life is an absolute disaster?

That’s because your Reticular Activating System is filtering in what you’re already thinking about. If our brain consciously registered everything we experienced, our heads would be so overloaded with information that we would probably spontaneously combust. So when we feel low, the fact that that person cut you off earlier whilst you were driving home from work can feel like the end of the world.

Taking action against our negative thoughts is the only way to achieve a calmer state of mind and in turn have a happier outlook on life in general. Yes, it takes a lot of discipline and you’ll realize how hard it is to force yourself out of your auto-pilot mode.

But if you’re serious about taking control, why not use social media as a useful resource to help you get to that place?

Since my low point 2 years ago, and even only really in the last 6 months I have:

  • started my own freelance business
  • won an award at university for my academic achievements
  • seen my goals manifest literally before my eyes

It’s crazy how far a little bit of education, self-belief and hard work can get you.

Knowledge is, for sure, power. And although platforms like Instagram and Twitter are full of toxic, useless garbage, the information that can help you change your life is out there. You’ve just got to find it.

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How Mindfulness Can Make Parenting Easier – Mother of All That is Perry

Welcome! My name is Erin! I like to think of myself as agony aunt, funny mum and wordsmith of all things parenting from icky tums and dirty bums to baby blues and the terrible two’s.

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My social links are as follows:

How Mindfulness Can Make Parenting Easier

For a lot of people, becoming a parent is one of the best things in life. It’s enriching, rewarding and above all challenging! However, if you are a parent you will also know how stressful it can actually be.

Children have copious amounts of energy and need to be on the go all day. Their little minds work much faster than ours and so with everything else us adults have going on it can be pretty hard keeping up with the kids.

By the end of the day we can be worn out with very little energy to do anything else that needs done. Some parents turn to comfort food, others turn to wine but at the end of the day nothing has really changed and tomorrow will be the same. This is where mindfulness can help.

What Is Mindfulness

What Is Mindfulness?

The formal definition of mindfulness is:

“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

In my words, mindfulness is living in the moment. You must clear your head of every other thought about the past or the future. You also have to focus solely on what is around you.

Try it now. Take a deep breath and look at what is around you. Focus on something specific, maybe a candle… What does it feel like? How does it smell? What does it sound like? That… is Mindfulness.

Comfort Food

Mindfulness In Parenting

So, how can mindfulness be used in parenting to make it less stressful?

Most people get mindfulness confused with meditation. Obviously, they both require your full attention however, mindfulness does not have to be quiet and it doesn’t have to be alone. You could even practice mindfulness at a festival. And so, practicing mindfulness while parenting is easier than you think.

The first thing you need to do in order for this to work is turn off your phone (or at least out it on silent in another room). We live in an age where having your phone in your hand 80% of the day is normal, sadly. But, you have no idea how much more you will relax just by putting that phone down for an hour.

Secondly, turn off any other electronics that are likely to cause a distraction. You want your kids to practice Mindfulness too rather than sitting watching a mind numbing program that they’ve probably seen 3 times before.

Then pick an activity that is going to use all your senses. For babies you could get a “touchy feely” book, for toddlers you could do some arts and crafts, for children you could bake and for something for the whole family: go for a walk. You might be surprised by how much there is to focus on outside. By choosing an activity with a lot of texture or dynamics you can spend more time on it.

Finally, break convention! You have to think like a child, smell the puddles, taste a twig, listen to a leaf. I know I might sound like a raving loony but take it from somebody who practices mindfulness with her kids: spending an hour, taking the time to become aware of your surroundings is going ton help you unwind and tire the kids out.

How Do Children Benefit From Mindfulness?

As I said before, practicing mindfulness takes a lot of brain power which can tire your children out and keep them from getting bored. By taking time in the activity you do, you’ll find your child learns much more than what they would at a standard pace. These are great benefits for your child but teaching our children about mindfulness will also help future generations. Hopefully our children will make a habit of practicing mindfulness and teach their children to take time away from distractions. It may not seem like a big deal but I almost guarantee that if everybody practiced mindfulness daily, the world would be a little more positive.

Minfulness In Parenting

Surprisingly Simple Ways to Help Overcome Situational Sadness & Stress – Allison Shorter

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Allison Shorter and her family live in Colorado where they enjoy hiking, healthy living, and homeschooling. They lived in China for almost 4 years where they started a non-profit to help teenaged orphan girls with jobs, life skills, and sex trafficking prevention. Since being back in the US, her mission is to educate others about an overall healthy lifestyle including CBD oil, essential oils, and general wellness. You can find her at HealthyLivingInColorado.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Stress Happens

Since I started my health and wellness journey, I have tried to find natural remedies for things that I would have just popped a pill for previously. I realize medicine is still really helpful for many people, but natural remedies are my thing.

So here I’ll share some tips with you on helping to overcome mild situational stress and sadness naturally. I’m not a doctor (please consult with yours), but here is what has worked for us.

Just recently my husband and I were both going through a hard time emotionally. We were adjusting back to the US after our years in China, we had just moved yet again from North Carolina to Colorado, and my mom had recently passed away. Things were stressful, and we were sad.

I researched a little bit and used my practical knowledge and experience to alter several things in our lives. With some time, we were feeling more like ourselves. Here’s what I did:

Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle

The first thing I did was change our diets. We usually eat more protein based food, but admittedly we had been stressed so I wasn’t cooking much. So right away I switched us to a Mediterranean Diet and spent more time in the kitchen because the Mediterranean Diet is said to improve mood and outlook.

For breakfast we mostly ate eggs and vegetables.

For meals we also ate lean meats like chicken, fish, and things like falafel with hummus. We ate more whole grains like pasta and bread than we ever do, but for a few weeks, it was fine.

The diet is also very veggie and fruit heavy, so we eat a lot of that.

For snacks we ate nuts, seeds, nut butters, and pita crackers.

The most difficult thing was probably no sugar. I don’t eat much sugar anyway, but it makes things like coffee more difficult. But sugar can make sadness worse, so I didn’t eat any.

The Mediterranean Diet is not only about the food, but also about lifestyle. Those in the Mediterranean enjoy a slow meal with loved ones, have a glass of wine, take in sunshine, exercise, and rest in the afternoon. So we tried to do more of these things on a daily basis as well.

Vitamins and Supplements

I also started a regimen of vitamins and supplements. Some of them we already used, but I might have added more than we were taking, or introduced it altogether.

    • Omega 3 vitamins: Omega vitamins are really good for your brain and can help optimize the health of your brain. This is one reason the Mediterranean Diet is recommended because it offers a lot of fish and nuts on plan that are high in Omegas.
  • Adaptogenic herbs: These can help relax the nervous system and reduce cortisol levels. Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogenic herb you may have heard of.
  • Probiotics: Gut health is so important to every system in your body! Sometimes called the “second brain,” your gut needs some extra love when there is stress going on. And probiotics can help with digestion, immunity, and other systems.

 

  • Essential oils: My favorite essential oils when I am stressed or feeling anxious are lavender, chamomile, doTERRA Balance, and doTERRA Peace. This article explains the benefits of each oil and how to use them. Best Essential Oils for Calming Anxious Feelings

Relationships

Another really important thing to make sure you have in your life is solid relationships. That was one of the difficult things for my family is that we had just moved across the country to a place where we didn’t know anyone. It takes time to meet people in a new place.

So we made sure to reach out to friends who knew us for years and who would support us in the stress and sadness of the season. Lack of relationship can make your whole life seem low. Good relationships take work to maintain. But relationships are worth it, and necessary to emotional health.

I hope you find these tips helpful on your health journey!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

Striving Towards A Simple Life – Just a Bit Further

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Is it even possible?

Is it possible to live a simple life, given the velocity that life careens through the cosmos these days? A life that gives you room to breathe and ultimately to live life on your own terms. Not necessarily life as the result of ditching everything and living off-grid in a self-hewed cabin in the wilderness of northern Ontario, but a life regardless of where you are, that in all intense purposes is simple.”

How many of us are desperately seeking this kind of quiet change? A major hurdle to overcoming this pilgrimage of living “simple” is the concept of “living simpler”. Sadly, this is pretty much polar opposite to the world as we know it.

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This comes as no huge shock, but we live a crazy, and insanely busy time.

What defies logic is; although we bemoan and complain about how insane it all is, when we flip the coin over we find ourselves glorifying busy and all the insaneness.

We extoll with our friends and colleagues on how many hours we can work. All of which goes hand in hand with how little sleep we need to work all those hours. At the expense of friends, family and relationships in general, we glue our noses to computer screens or our smartphones, using each precious second we can find. We become addicted to the “likes” and “comments” hoping they will inject a level of validation into what can be a somewhat superficial and sad commentary of our affairs.

Like sitting around a poker table, we raise the stakes higher and higher. We take on more commitments. Our jobs demand more and more of us, to produce greater outputs, meaning longer hours and even more commitments. We are driven to do more and, yes, buy more. Many people abuse themselves with drugs and/or alcohol in an out of control attempt to get distracted from the insaneness until they are anesthetized into dreamland and stressed beyond human comprehension.

Okay, that might be a stretch for some, but it certainly is the reality for many. But, granted it is tough.

Many of us were raised in environments where achievements and the pursuit of wanting more is hard-wired into our DNA. So, there is never enough and there is always more to be had. We push more and more to get further ahead. To be better than last year, striving for a better and more prestigious title at work. And always lurking out there somewhere, like a northern pike circling the shallow water for his next meal, is the lure of more money. We believe “money” to be the answer to all our troubles and strife. Believing that more money will buy us the peace, happiness and a simpler life we have so longed for.

What might happen though, if we decided to take a bit of side-step?

To strategically work on leaving the craziness and insaneness behind, and to go for a life that was much simpler in its complexity?

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Is it even possible?

Let’s make the assumption that it is. If so, what might a less simple existence even look like?

Again, I’m not suggesting or promoting heading off to a northern Ontario wood-lot deep in the boreal forests anywhere north of Manitouwadge and hand whacking a tiny cabin together with nothing more than an axe, grit and determination. Although, if that’s what you think it takes, more power to you!

Like I do, most of us live in the real world and we have real-world commitments. It is those commitments that require us to live in the real world. The reality we see each day when we open the front door.

How can we be in this world (the crazy and insanely hectic one), but move towards living simpler? How to get out of the “race” and to step away from the busyness, whether self-imposed or not. How can I/we slow things down, while fulfilling our purpose, doing great work and living a wonderful life?

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Breathing

Creating and living a much simpler life is all about breathing.

Establishing space through cutting or scaling back gives you space to breathe.

Doing more and having more doesn’t lead to happiness and fulfillment. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s about finding joy in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.

A few things to keep in mind though.

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We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

All of the stress, the irritations, the dissatisfaction, and disappointments; all the craziness and rushing around; we created all of it. So, whether you like it or not, we are our own worst enemy. Every one of those things we created in our own minds. We made those decisions and we created these with attachments in our heads. By letting go, we can relax and live more simply.

Clutter and Complexity

Get rid of stuff.”

When we can get rid of “stuff” and become less attached, a couple of things can happen. If you sell some of the “tangible stuff”, you’ll have a bit of cash in your hand and most significantly, getting rid of clutter can result in these benefits:

  • sense of confidence – I have only X amount of space, so I need to be bold with what goes and what stays
  • more energy – relates to the first point. Puts you in the get things done mode
  • reduces anxiety – most of us prefer order as compared to chaos. Decluttering creates order and order reduces anxiety
  • creates more time – not overwhelmed now with the time that WAS needed to clean and tidy. Creates time for other things or to do nothingWhen we can do something like getting rid of the clutter around us, our lives start to become simpler.

Social Media

Might as well blurt it out there – “social media is the scourge of today. Okay, it might not be “the scourge of today,” but it rates right up there.

There is no getting around it, we are addicted to those little electronic devices. Our phone, Ipads, computers and all that they deliver – we can never get enough. We check our FB feeds to see how many likes did that post get. We upload a picture of our dinner on Instagram and then head over and update our life on Twitter. Each time we “just check for a second,” a wee tiny blast of dopamine let’s loose in our brains and we become more and more addicted.

For too many of us, it’s insanely hard to stop.

In search of making our lives simpler, cutting back on social media time is an excellent element in our quest. In checking to see who’s doing what and who said what, we waste time and energy. Sadly, we get stuck in a trap of comparing ourselves with “influencers” and others on social media, which over time can erode our confidence and takes away the power we have within us as individuals.

Less screen time equates to more breathing time and space.

A Few Simple Things

How many feel that their lives and activities need to be complex. In that, complex equates to better. Often, that includes a cycle of “more complex and better” as time moves along. Yesterday’s complex and better doesn’t cut it today.

Striving towards a life that is simpler means looking inside of us, deep inside of us to discover those simple joys and activities in life.

For me, those include writing/blogging, reading and discovering new things; as well as the outdoors; including hiking and walking. Most importantly, spending time with Lynn, while she captures all of this with her photography skills and passion.

When we downsized our home after our daughter left for college, we gave more stuff away than I can remember. And when I say downsize I mean downsize… to a 700 square foot two bedroom home.

When our lives become focused on the simple things you love doing, life suddenly becomes simpler.

Less clutter; less stuff; less worry.

“No” Is Not A Bad Word

Most of us are not very clear about what we want. How many of us see a post on social media of something really neat or exciting and we become obsessed about doing whatever that was. Next thing you know, we find ourselves heading in a new and totally different direction.

When someone invites us out, we instantly say, yes. Why? Because we’re “yes people” or “people pleasers.” We simply cannot say no.

Because we can never say no, our lives and schedules get stretched to the breaking point. There’s never enough time left for the things that are most important to us.

No is not a bad word.

What if we worked really hard on those things in our existence that held the most and dearest value to us? Saying, “yes” to those things and “no” to the other stuff. If we knew what we wanted to create and the direction we want our lives to head in, we could say yes to these things, and no to everything else.

Saying no to more things would simplify our lives. No is not a bad word!

Do Nothing – Practice It Until You Get REAL GOOD at it.

Have you ever just sat back and did nothing for a day? Just hung loose and did NOTHING. No need to feel that the day had been wasted if something had not been accomplished.

We all need idle time. Time built in to sit and watch the clouds drift by on a warm summer’s afternoon. A time that is free to do nothing.

Many people feel the need to have every waking moment filled with activities and the need to accomplish so much, each and every day. The reality is we need that down time to rejuvenate ourselves…..to meditate; to think; to reflect.

Why?

Having that time to do nothing and just “be you” helps to foster and create contentment with life.

Get In Alignment

When working towards achieving a simpler life, at some point along the way it will become clear to you which things in your life are no longer in alignment with your values.

Part of living more simply will help you identify those unnecessary aspects of your daily life. It might be less FB and social media time, or it might be areas in your life that need significant review and thought. This could be your job; friendships; where you live; belongings (getting rid of things) or anything else that just doesn’t line up with your simpler existence.

So, is it even possible?

Yes, it is possible and like much of life, it comes down to a decision. We are the only ones who can decide if we want our lives to be less hectic and more simple in existence.

It doesn’t mean packing up and living in a tiny cabin out in the hinterlands cut off from everything. It’s about making priorities; figuring out what we want our lives to look like and then acting on those things to accomplish it.

Something tells me that as time marches on, life will become more and more complex, with greater demands on our time. Perhaps now is your moment to re-evaluate where you are… where you’re headed. To start now and simplify your life to create something that gives you room to breathe and room to live!

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To quote Yvon Chouinard, an early rock climbing pioneer and founder of the outdoor equipment and clothing company Patagonia and environmental activist.

Thanks for reading and stopping by.

How To: Be Resilient Against Your Chronic Society Anxiety – Ariette Hung

About the Guest Author:  
This article is written for The Unsanity Blog by Canadian blogger, Ariette Hung. She is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling. She cares deeply about mental health literacy, promoting resilience and growth, and instilling hope in others in times of adversity such as mental health struggles. When she isn’t studying, you can find her at her blog, ariettehung.com, where she blogs about saving money, side hustle ideas, entrepreneurship, and how to run a profitable blog.
Social links: Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), the defining feature of social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.

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In today’s post, I will be outlining some clinical insight on managing, reversing, and becoming resilient to your socially anxious thoughts, behaviors, and tendencies.

Practice mindfulness meditation and practice breathing techniques.

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When you’re anxious, you might feel physical changes in your body that make you feel pain or discomfort — it can manifest in shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, feverish feelings, tension, dizziness, nausea, or in the sensation of suffocation.

Managing your anxiety through meditation and breathing techniques can be very grounding and can assist you in adjusting misaligned and irrational thoughts to positive, and rational schemas. With proper therapeutic breathing techniques and meditation, you can soothe your nervous system and calm your heart rate.

My Calm-Down-Anxiety-Breathing Technique

  1. Sit up straight and relax your shoulders.
  2. Try to release any tension in your body.
  3. Place your hand above your diaphram (belly) and your heart.
  4. Breathe in slowly for four full seconds. Exhale slowly over 6 seconds.

Slowing your breathing can help you relax and regain your sense of equillibrium.

Resources to help: Headspace, Yoga with Adriene, The Mindful Kind podcast

Try exercises that reduce your anxiety.

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Exercise is closely linked to mental health, because your mind feels better and more “awake” when your body is moving. This is because your body produces endorphins when you exercise, which gives your mood a boost, almost like a natural “high”.

Hate traditional working out or the idea of going to a gym? Try these: Swimming, dance class, yoga, rowing, hiking, going for a walk, running, spinning, biking, skiing, skating

If you incorporate physical exercise into your routine on a regular basis, you will feel much better!

Prepare accordingly for socially anxious situations.

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Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself that it’s going to be okay. If you know that large crowds overwhelm you, ask a buddy to stick by your side throughout the night.

Truth is, no one is going to pay as much attention to you as you think they will. And I know, your brain tells you otherwise and you feel panicked. Your feelings are valid.

But, your perception of reality might be warped. In order to assist you, have a friend “coach” you through socially difficult situations (whether it’s talking to your crush, talking to your professor, standing up to your parents, or asking for a raise at work), and if you see a counselor for your anxiety, I recommend working on your anxiety with him/her.

Implement self-compassion practices.

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Journal about good days. Forgive yourself for bad days.

Challenge negative thoughts with the talk-back technique. writing

The purpose of this exercise is to identify the ugly, inner critic inside your head, and challenge those negative notions with a rational and positive voice.

Write down all the negative thoughts you have about yourself. Unleash your inner critic.

Your list can look like…

  1. You can’t do anything right.
  2. You are a failure.
  3. You are never going to make it.

Now, think about it, are these facts really true? Embody the most rational voice you have (maybe impersonate the most practical, logical person you know) and talk back.

Your talk-back statements may look like…

  1. You may not have succeeded at everything you’ve tried, but you’ve at least tried and you’re improving every time that you do it. That’s still a win.
  2. You are not a failure. Failure is something that can happen to you but it is not something you are. So, you can fail, and maybe you have, but it doesn’t define you. If anything, again, it means that you tried and that deserves credit.
  3. You may not be where you want to be right now, but you will be if you continue to work at it. After all, anyone who has ever “made it” in life has hustled for it.

Point is, the rational voice is right. It is not there to sugarcoat anything or baby you. But it is there to put things into proper perspective so you can see yourself and your problems with a realistic lens. Using this technique, you take control of your schemas.

To whoever is reading this article today,

I hope that this blog post and its suggestions are helpful to you.

I understand that anxiety looks different for everyone as we are all individual, unique people so please consult a professional consultant as needed. These are suggestions and practices that I have developed to aid me through my own anxiety over the years (it’s considerably managed), and have studied in school as an aspiring psychotherapist.

I may not know you and you may not know me, but know that I am rooting for you.

With love and light,

Ariette

 

 

#FreebieFriday – Planner Pages

Good morning Unsanity readers!

It’s another #FreebieFriday for you finally. I’ve been out of the loop writing here myself (currently featuring a whole BUNCH of guest bloggers instead!) and wanted to share something for your Freebie today.

Click the link below to download your 4 different color scheme daily planner pages! You can also find this here on my page if you lose this post amongst the others.

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