Tag Archives: computer

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.

 

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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IS SELF-CONFIDENCE A SUPER POWER?-YASMEN AHMED

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Hi! I’m Yasmen, a CBT Integrated Therapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Everyone deserves emotional wellness, inner peace and light in their spirits. My purpose is to inspire you to rekindle your light within in a world that can often feel lonely, disconnected and dim. My mission is to widen your mind with gems of knowledge, feel accepted and inspired towards embracing and becoming your best self!
These tools are easily accessible through my online platform Inspire with Yas- a heart centered space filled with inspiration, positivity, self-love and drops of magic. Join the community and be inspired daily!

You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Is self-confidence a super power?

Quite simply, no.
Self- confidence is not a super power, it is something we can all have and achieve. Over the years, self-confidence has been perceived as a ‘gift’ that only a selected SPECIAL few have. We have been split into two groups. One group of individuals who are lucky enough to be born with this natural trait and the other group are the “unlucky” ones who did not get this trait.

But how have we got this wrong?

Let me first begin by asking you to do one little thing. I want you, just for a moment to remove this pre-conceived idea that self-confidence is some sort of innate personality trait or gift that only ‘special’ people are born with.

Confidence is a SKILL, just like any other skill. Learning to walk? That’s a skill. Learning to drive or play the drums? That’s a skill. Learning to bake amazingly delicious cakes? Heck, that’s a pretty good skill.

We go through life continually learning new skills in all areas of our lives. We get good at a skill by learning to master it. But when it comes to self-confidence we fail to put it under the same umbrella. Why do we think of it as an innate superpower? Are we born with knowledge of how to drive a car or how to tie our shoe laces? Or are we taught first then told to practice it?

Self-confidence is the same thing. But instead of being told to practice this skill, in society we have instead just assumed that it is something we must already have within and can’t be learnt. Which we know is untrue.

How do we become masters at it?

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1.   PRACTICE

When we want to get good at any form of skill, what are we told to do? PRACTICE! Just like building physical strength, we need to work on building our muscles of self-confidence by exercising them daily through different tasks.

The more you exercise and strengthen your self-confidence muscles, the easier it will get.

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2.   TAKE IT STEP BY STEP

You would not throw yourself right into the deep end of a swimming pool if you never learnt to swim right?

It is the small steps that make the biggest difference and shifts in our lives. Practice exercising

your self-confidence in smaller environments first. Do you want to master self-confidence when giving talks or speeches? Start with mastering the practice of speaking to yourself in the mirror first. Then move up to practicing in front of family and friends. Then when you feel comfortable, slowly excel to bigger audiences and keep growing.

The key here is not to rush and most importantly be kind to you. Give yourself credit for each small accomplishment you complete.

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3.  REMOVE THE LABELS

We are often given labels from a young age from our parents, friends, teachers and society. We take these labels as truths and allow them to limit us towards achieving our goals, hopes and dreams.

Let’s say as a child you were labeled as the ‘quiet and shy kid’ but your brother or sister was the ‘confident and talkative kid’. Without realizing, you will live your life never believing you could be anything more because you were not “blessed” with the gift of self-confidence like your brother or sister. You will keep yourself stuck, limited and remain within the barriers of your own mind.

Do not allow words or labels given to you, define who you are. They are not real. Give yourself permission to explore and become the person you want to be instead.

Lastly

It all starts with YOU. Self-confidence can be achieved by anyone, it is not a superpower only gifted to some. Nothing is stopping you but yourself. Don’t you think it is time to start stepping into your own power?

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.

#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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Mental Health Mini Series: 4 Reasons Why You Should Start to Exercise – Stephanie Robbins

Hello Friends!

I am so happy to be back doing a guest post series for Koral! Thank you so much for this chance.

I’m Stephanie from A Red Hair Girl. In January I wrote a post for Koral that gave you some background about my mental health issues. Then I went on to explain three ways I helped myself with my mental health.

First I admitted to myself I had a problem and that I needed help. Second I told a few people that I felt comfortable telling (my husband, my mom, sisters, and my OBGYN). And third I made the scary phone call to a therapist to get up an appointment. It is worth the read. I hope it will give you courage to seek out the help you need if you are struggling.

At the end of the post I mentioned I had a post about the things I have learned in therapy that have helped me. Welp, I had good intentions but I never got around to writing it… AHHH! I’m sorry!

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I thought this mini-series would be the perfect chance for me to tell you about 4 things that I learned from my therapist. And tell you why they have helped me. I’m super excited!

So, let’s get right to it! This post is all about exercise! Here are 4 reasons why exercise is great for your mental health. I hope that by the time you are finished you are ready to get your sweat on.

Working Out Releases Our Feeling Good Endorphins

When we have our feeling good endorphins are flowing it just feels great. This is a natural way to get them going. So why wouldn’t we want to do that? My therapist always ask how my level of exercise. She doesn’t care how hard I’m going at it. She just wants me moving.

Even a walk around the block and kick start the good feeling endorphins. In fact if you exercise outside it can increase the amount of good feeling endorphins. That’s a double win! She tells me to get outside and talk a walk around the block sans kids if I’m feeling stressed, depressed or anxious. That isn’t always possible. But when I have, I come back refreshed.

Exercise Can Help Take Your Mind off Worries

When your brain has less to worry about your depression and anxiety will have less to feed it. When I’m working out it is harder for me to think about negative things. After a workout it is even hard to be negative. It’s all those good feeling endorphins. J

So if you exercise most days then you will have less time during those days to worry, which will help. Because the less you worry then the cycle of negative thoughts that help to feed your depression and anxiety will not be as present.

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Exercise Can Help You Gain Confidence

What happens when you work out consistently? So many wonderful things! Among them is you will start to feel better about yourself. When you take the time to work out and do something that is hard you gain confidence.

You may start to lose weight or gain muscle. Your clothes may start to fit differently, a good different. People may start to give you complements. Or you may catch yourself in the mirror and think, WOW! All of these help you to gain confidence.

When you have more confidence you start to have a change in your thinking. For me, I become less depressed. Both of those things (being less depressed and gaining confidence) are very important to your mental health.

Working Out Can Help You Eat Better

If you are like me (and so many other people) then when you start to exercise consistently you may start to eat healthier. You may find yourself grabbing for an apple instead of crackers. The can of soda may not look as tasty as water.

When I am able to get myself out of bed and work out first thing in the morning I tend to make better eating choices all day long. Why wouldn’t I want to start my day off in that way?

Then when you start making better eating choices and continue to work out you will see a difference in your body. This will help you gain more confidence. See how many of these are intertwined? J

Some Tips and Tricks to Help You

  • You do not need to go out and join a gym or an online membership unless you want to.
  • There are plenty of free resources online or books you can check out from the library.
  • Walking is a great way to get started, get some good shoes to protect your feet and body.
  • Workout clothes are so much fun to have. They are pricey. I mostly use t-shirts and my husband’s old shorts. I have bought some workout clothes but they don’t fit very well, thank you baby #4. Haha! I reward myself by meeting exercise goals with workout clothes. J
  • Yoga is SOOOOO good for your body and mental health. One of my favorite yoga channels on You Tube is Yoga with Adriene. I just really love her, this is not sponsored. After I started to do yoga more consistently I noticed mood improvements. Woohoo!
  • Ask a friend to be your accountability partner or workout partner.
  • Self-promoting here… J Last fall I created a 3 month free workout program. Check it out and see if it is something you’d like.

Good luck my friends with exercising! It has helped me so much with my mental health and confidence. I know it can help you as well!

Happy working out!

Xoxo, Steph

You Can’t Stress – Sarah D’Anne

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I’m Sarah D’Anne, a writer of books and blog posts. When I’m not working in the deli at my local convenient store, I’m at home with my six cats and my mother. Besides writing, I like to doodle, do photography, and daydream.
Blog: www.unexploredboundaries.wordpress.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/sarahdanne
IG: www.instagram.com/highlyfaveured
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/aceyroch

“You can’t stress.” These were the words my mother said to me after her encounter with bowel blockage, shingles, and a seizure. They came after her mother passed away. My mother carried a lot on herself, including anger and resentment.

The word “can’t” in this sentence doesn’t imply “not allowed.” It implies that I am “not able to.”

So, what is someone who is not able to stress, doing writing a post about mental health? Well, that’s the question of the day, isn’t it?

I’m here to tell you what it feels like to not be able to stress.

I bet you’re thinking, “It would be so wonderful to not be able to stress. I can actually go on with my life, not caring about anything. I can let things slide right off of me, and let things happen the way that they are supposed to.”

You know what? You’re right. That’s exactly how I feel.

Do you know how hard that is, though? Watching people struggle, stress, be anxious and depressed? It’s not easy.

“It’s so hard to make ends meet. I’m broke before I even get paid,” a coworker might say to me. I stand there, motionless, trying not to blurt out the thoughts that run through my head. “Well, stop spending fifty dollars a week to get your nails done,” I think. But I slowly nod, speak a soft, “Hm,” and walk away.

Does this mean that I can’t relate to people? No. I can, actually. Growing up with a mother who deals with depression and stress, has allowed me to understand what goes through peoples’ minds when they are in these mental states. My mother is very open about how she feels and what she’s thinking. She always has been, even now. So when those that are around me, express these thoughts and feelings, I am able to understand that they feel a certain way, but I am not able to relate with the feeling itself. Which may make me seem cold and unsympathetic. I can come off like that, of course. In fact, I hardly ever have sympathy for anyone. Empathy, sure, but rarely sympathy.

So, what’s my secret for a no stress life? Do I meditate? Exercise? Stay away from any and all stressful situations? The answer is simply, no. Instead of meditating, I close my eyes and take a deep breath and let it out in a long, loud, forceful sigh, so that everyone around me knows exactly how I feel. I do listen to music, but it’s not soft. At all. In fact, it’s mostly heavy rock. I also don’t exercise. I do quite a bit of physical labor at my job, but on my off days, my butt is in my chair.

Do I lack the stress gene 5HTR2C? Are my chemical levels constantly balanced? Do I have the long long genotype called 5-HTTLPR?

Let’s face it, no one really knows what genes they have, do they?  In fact, stress can actually change your genes.

To be honest, I don’t know why I can’t stress. Maybe because I grew up watching a mother stress over everything, every day of my life. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to. Maybe it’s because I walk into every situation I am faced with, with this in mind: if I stress, I am of no help. I won’t have a clear mind to make the right decisions, or say the right things. If I stress, I can’t help. If I can’t help, what good am I?

At the end of the day, all I know is I don’t have a worry bone in my body. Do I get sad? Yes, at least I still get sad. Do I wonder about the future? Of course, who doesn’t? But I don’t necessarily worry about anything.

The beautiful part about this is, people still confide in me. People still tell me about their worries and fears and struggles. Even though I have a difficult time relating to the physical feelings, and the thoughts, I still listen and learn. I am self aware to the point that I am able to put aside my cold, unsympathetic aura, and replace it with an empathetic one.

For those of you who are prone to stress, depression, anxiety, and others, please be patient with us non-worrying types. If we could worry about how we come off to people, we would. And please don’t think that if someone doesn’t worry, that they don’t understand. Because I do.

My mother almost died because of stress. She had a seizure because of stress. Every time she feels under the weather, she gets depressed. She was very angry when I was little and would cry to me almost every night and tell me how she was feeling. They say that one out of three people will get shingles in their lifetime. Mom has had it more than once. Mom had to have open heart surgery because, when she got so sick from stress that she weighed ninety pounds, her heart grew weak and she developed a prolapsed heart valve.

To those of you who endure the pain, I see you. I feel you. I will cry with you. I don’t care if I don’t understand what you’re feeling, but what you feel is real. That’s what I understand, and to me, that’s all that matters.

Your feelings matter.

YOU MATTER.

A Red Hair Girl Blogger

My Depression Story & 3 Steps I Took to Get Help – A Red Hair Girl

My first guest for the new year! A special thanks for this very detailed blog from a new friend, Stephanie! You can find her at the following links: Facebook Instagram and Twitter. I’m just going to let her take it away and share her story!

Hello! I’m Stephanie Robbins. I’m a new blogger over at A Red Hair Girl. I am a mental health, family, travel, and education lifestyle blogger. I have 4 kiddos. Mr. E is 7, Miss L is almost 5, Miss S is 3, and Miss N is 1. I am a stay at home mom. I taught first grade for nine years before I stayed home. I have worked full time, part time, and stayed at home with kiddos. It’s all hard.

A Red Hair Girl Blogger

Photo Credit: Whitney Beth Photography

I wanted to start a blog for a long time before I got the courage and strength to go for it. I found some great resources by way of another blogger couple that was very helpful in getting things set up. I have learned so much but have a LONG way to go.

One of the main reasons I started blogging was to help my depression and anxiety. I kept a closed lid for so long, it was tiring. The more I started to open up about some of my mental health illnesses I realized so many others were also going through the same or similar things.

For a long time I tried to deal with it on my own. I was teaching part time in a less than ideal situation. It should have been ideal but I was struggling. I was not a good mom. I was not a good teacher. I was not a good wife. That’s what I thought and certainly felt.

I was being pulled in too many directions. It was overwhelming and I was not happy. I had to work for a few years to help provide for our family while my husband (Eddy) was in school full time. Having to work took out some of the fun. Eddy was in pharmacy school, it was not cheap. So we choose to have me work part time (making the big bucks teaching part time… haha!) to not have to take out as many living loans.

We decided that the last year Eddy was in school I would take an unpaid leave of absence from teaching. I was pregnant with our third, we had to purchase a van to get to fit three car seats in, and we moved out of our tiny basement apartment into the house we bought. It was a lot of change at one time. Good change though.

The first year I wasn’t working after having kids was great. It was super weird to not go back to work when school started. But it was also amazing! I loved being home with my kids. It was great to be able to get to know other families in the neighborhood and get to play with them.

A Red Hair Girl Photo 1

Miss S

I had depression after each of my babies. Looking back before having kids and being married I had depression. It was different from after having kids. I just felt lonely or down at times. With each baby my depression became worse. After I had Miss S (baby number 3) it was a game changer.

She was born in November 2015. I wasn’t just depressed, I was angry. I would be fine and then would snap. It was the sheer number of kids. I was totally outnumbered and out handed. Miss S was our best baby so far so I was confused.

angry face

It took me until about May before I decided to go get help. Eddy was super supportive. That was huge and very helpful. I called my OBGYN to get some names of therapists. I was so scared. I was terrified to admit that I needed help. I thought I was a failure. Why couldn’t I control what was happening to my body?!

Guess what? My negative thoughts were SO backwards! I was not a failure. I was a hero for myself to realize I needed help and that I was taking the first step to get help. I made some phone calls and found someone close to me that insurance would cover.

I called and left a message. I thought I was going to throw up or explode with nervousness. She soon called back and I had an appointment. There were a lot of mixed emotions going on. Again, when the day came for my appointment I was nervous.

It was June or July of 2016 and I was finally doing one of the best things that I could have done to help save myself. Save myself from a life of misery. Save my children from having a sad mom all the time. Save my husband from feeling helpless.

It wasn’t overnight that things started to get better. It wasn’t easy. But little by little I started to have better moments, better days, and then weeks. Am I 100% depression free? Oh heck no! I doubt I’ll ever be. However, now I have more tools to help me. I have a better support team. I now see my therapist about every 2 months. I have to be realistic that depression will always be a part of my life with highs and lows.

 The follow are some steps I took to help myself.

numberone

Admit You Need Help

This was the hardest thing for me to do. I like to think I can take care of myself. But in reality I’m better when I let people help me. I may have an issue with control. So not being able to control myself was scary. Ok, I have an issue with control. 😉 I’m willing to bet that this might be the hardest step for you too. I’m here to say you CAN do it! You are not weak or silly or crazy. Well, you may be a little crazy… haha! I sure was! My point is that once you can say you need help you might have a huge weight lifted off of you. I did.

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My challenge for you is to go look in the mirror and say out loud, “I am not happy. I need help. I am not weak, but strong. I am WORTH it!” Now you may not need to say those exact words. Whatever you are struggling with I want you to say it out loud. You may cry, you may laugh, or you may get pumped up. I hope you feel some relief. Then you will be ready for step number two.

numbertwo

Talk To Others About Your Struggles

It can also be hard to admit to others you don’t have all your stuff together. But let me tell you a little secret (or maybe you already know this…J). No one has their stuff together! If they say they do, I’m calling their BS! Haha!

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Eddy, My Biggest Support

You just might find yourself connecting and becoming closer to those you talk about your struggles with. Or you might find out that they also struggle. What a great way to build a deeper relationship. This new knowledge might be so helpful in the future when you need a lifeline and they can give you one.

Since I have been more open about my depression I have had great conversations with some friends where I find out some of the things they struggle with. Just the other day I ran into a friend that I haven’t seen for a while. We chatted and had a great time. She must have seen my blog or social media posts where I have been more open about my mental health. She was very open and forthcoming about some of the things she has been struggling with. I felt our relationship get stronger and my love for her grew.

Why wouldn’t we want that? Why would I want to keep my mental health a secret when it can be shared and then strength can come from it?

family

Family is a great place to start opening up

I challenge you to think of at least one person you can share your mental health struggles with. Think of someone that you feel will love and support you. The goal is to not have this person feel like they need to fix you, because they won’t be able to. Maybe that needs to be said to them. This should be the beginning of a more open relationship.

numberthree

Get A Therapist

At this point I had admitted to myself I needed help. My husband, some of my family, and a few friends knew. I mentioned it was super scary to call the therapist and leave that message. To have to admit to a total stranger was hard. I’m glad it wasn’t in person.

I want you to think if talk therapy might be helpful for you. Let me give you a hint, it probably will. I suggest you just try it for a little while and see what happens. Let me answer a big question for you… Yes, it’s pricey. But can you and should you put a price on your happiness? No way! You are so important that you need to do what you need to help yourself. So go pick up your phone and make that phone call! Call your insurance to see who is covered and close to you. Then start calling therapists to see who is taking new clients. You may need to make a few phone calls and shop around for a therapist that you feel comfortable with AND trust. Again this can get pricey. I’m still going to answer the same, JUST DO IT ANYWAYS!

I was blessed that the first one I met with I instantly felt calm and comfortable with. Years ago, before I was married, my mom suggested I go talk to someone because she felt I wasn’t as happy as I normally was. (I told her about this a couple days ago and she has no memory, haha!)

The first therapist I went to I didn’t feel that connection. So I went to another one. She was better and I met with her for a little while. I tried to find her when I decided I needed help back in 2016. I couldn’t find her and I’m glad. I really like my therapist that I have now. We have a better connection then I had with the other therapist.

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So now that I have rambled on for what seems like forever I am going to challenge you to find a therapist (or counselor, social worker, any health or medical professional). Give it a good try to see how you like talk therapy. You just might find a winning connection.

I still have a ways to go. I always say I take a baby step forward and some big steps back. Haha! At least I’m getting those baby steps forward. Those small victories are the ones we need to celebrate and grow from.

You also need to celebrate the small victories. Don’t be hard on yourself. You can do this one baby step at a time.

I have a post where I talk about some of the steps I’ve taken while in therapy that have helped me. Head over to my blog to find it.

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A Simple Piece of Gratitude – Steph’s Life

Even though it’s after Christmas, this might be a good present to start now for next year! Now, I know what you’re thinking, “A year long gift?!” But trust me, it’s going to be something so satisfying and give so much gratitude to your friends and family you won’t even think about it after the first day. Thanks Stephanie for sending over a simple, mindful blog post with a present ides for next holiday season!

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Hello new friends! I’m Stephanie Conroy – I write for the Travelling Peach, as well as my own blog, Stephslife.net  I am a mom of 4, 2 are special needs.  I am @stephie_lark on Instagram and Twitter, and my FB Page.

It  is that time of year again, the time we think of gifts and family, but it is also still time to practice gratitude. The thing about gratitude is when you are practicing it and really in that moment, no negative thoughts or emotions can come into this state of mind. The key is learning to practice it regularly, to make it a habit.

A great way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal. This can be something you start or end your day with, but it can also be something you do when you feel stressed. It can be like meditation, and take you out of that negative state of mind.

A gratitude journal also does not have to be something you do for just yourself. A few years ago, I bought journals for the people in my life and every day I wrote what about them made me feel so grateful. This is a gift that only really costs time. and love.

Gratitude and mindfulness both really can do so much to improve our lives, and sharing that can help improve the lives of others. It can help keep you grounded and happy with yourself, as well as the people in your life, and take the focus off of material objects. If you have a tendency to feel stressed during the holiday season, it can also assist you in that area of your life.

The best part of the idea is there is always something to be grateful for, so, in that abundance, there is also the ability to find an abundance in happiness as well.

mindfulness