Tag Archives: help

Money Stress and Budget – Hannah Coe

January is often the month that we’re skint and money stress is at its high. Overspent on Christmas and no money left for the New Year… December pay checks are usually paid before Christmas, which although great for the Christmas budget, isn’t as good for the bills. To top it all, January is also a longer month so it means longer to wait till payday.

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom though!

By following a few simple tips and adapting little changes in your life you change it all.

Preparation is the key to success

It’s true! Have you ever heard that saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’?

I know what you’re thinking, this sounds like hard work… It really isn’t and just stay with me.

Create your budget

You don’t have to be elaborate with this, all you need to do is write down all of your incomings and outgoings.

I normally start with my income at the top and outgoings below. I split my outgoings into fixed costs (bills etc that I have to pay) expected costs (food etc) and then unexpected costs (random spends).

When I filled this in for the first time I used my spends from the previous month to get an accurate idea of what I was spending.

Income:

Wages:-

Outgoings:

Fixed costs

Rent:-

Gas & Electric:-

Water:-

Internet & TV:-

Expected costs

Fuel:-

Food:-

Subscriptions:-

Unexpected costs

Clothing:-

Household bits:-

Days out:-

Random:-

That’s a very basic example of a few things that I will include on my budget overview sheet. There will be more things on your overview and how you categorise them is up to you.

You may be wondering how this will help to reduce stress but it puts everything into perspective. By having everything written down in front of you, you can clearly see where your money is going.

Cutting your budget down

So, you can now see where you’re spending your money and some areas may have shocked you already. My food spend for example was A LOT more than I thought it would be. Because I just put everything on my card I hadn’t realised how much it was until it was staring me in the face!

Look at all your outgoings and think if you could reduce them.

Fixed costs like rent/mortgage will be harder to change but can you swap your utility bills to a better deal? Have you actually tried?! It’s actually loads easier than you think. And trust me, I do it every year! And you can cut your bills easily year on year.

Expected costs is an easy one to cut down, do you need that subscription that you’ve not actually used in the last few months? If not then cancel it! Set yourself a goal of cutting your food bill down by £10 a month, just do it little by little. There’s no point saying you want to half your food costs in the first month because it’s probably not going to happen. Hats off if you do though!!!

Unexpected costs are those random spends and do we really need them? Things like no spend months can be fab when trying to reduce these spends.

How to reduce your spending

Now that you’ve created your budgets for each category, you need to start actually spending less. It’s no good just saying you’re going to spend less, that will just increase your stress!

I’ve already mentioned a few things like switching your utility provider and taking part in no spend months. There are also fab challenges such as the 365 day penny challenge that encourage you to start saving more.  

How can all of this reduce my money stress?

Creating a budget puts YOU in control of your money. And yes, you may think you are already in control, but are you? Do you know, without looking, how much you spend on food every month for example. Write down your estimated spends first and compare this to your actual spends. I thought I was in control but was surprised at myself!

One tip that I use is taking my budgeted money out of the bank and having it as cash instead. By spending cash instead of card it feels more real. You see the money leaving your purse and how much you’ve got left. This is known as the cash envelope system by Dave Ramsey.

Does it work?

YES. In the 6 months or so that I have been actively budgeting I have cut my expenses by about half. By ‘actively’ I mean looking at my spends at the end of each month and reducing them for next month.

All of this motivated me to spend just £500 on Christmas this year, you can click on my blog to see how I got on!

I’d love to know how you find budgeting and if you’ve got any questions feel free to send them my way!!!

Author Bio: Hi, I’m Hannah, a 27 money and lifestyle blogger from Manchester. My site is focused on how I live my life in a frugal – some may say ‘tight’ – manner. It features some amazing freebies and bargains that I’ve found over time, including a page of live freebie
links so you can get your hands on them to! I also share my money saving tips and tricks that I have discovered through my own personal journey so far, I do work in accounting but have no financial training or expertise! Everything I write is my own personal opinion.
Social Media Links: blog twitter facebook instagram

How Fashion Helped Me Work through Depression – Peter Minkoff

Societal norms and cultural expectations can often be too much too process, and they can slowly erode your self-confidence and your beliefs, simply because you do not fit some sort of a mold. I’ve lived and grown my entire life in a very loving community, a metropolis as colorful as they come. But that can often be a disguise for numerous internal forms of prejudice, masked bias, and other issues I’ve experienced over the years. I am lucky enough to live in a time when talking about mental health has become less of a taboo, enabling me to find support in many different facets of my life, fashion included.

In fact, fashion, among other things, was one of those factors that I took for granted and underestimated its potential to heal. As it turns out, life has the funniest of little epiphanies saved just for you, and mine helped me realize that my sense of style and my wardrobe can be my way out of my own black hole. Here’s a little glimpse into my journey, and I hope it will bring you comfort and some ideas as to how you can cope with your feelings and struggles, too.

Comfort, finally

For a moment, let’s go back to expectations. As a gay man, I’ve had my fair share of prejudice and criticism to face from our fellow straight people, but strangely enough, in our own community, it seems that there’s another set of expectations that many of us “fail to meet”. I often felt as if I was never “gay enough”. Do I really have to wear a rainbow every day for every occasion to prove my sexual orientation to others, to anyone? It’s that kind of an attitude that pushed me to choose overly-tight jeans, tees with quotes I didn’t like, and wear too many rings for my own liking.

We’ve all been there. Wanting to be liked and approved of is often the driving force of some of the silliest, most meaningless decisions we make, and I was no exception. So, when I completely forewent my own preferences, my self-esteem plummeted. When I finally learned to say no and started replacing my skinny jeans for comfortable chinos, I felt I could breathe again. Putting my self first may have started with chinos, but it sure as hell didn’t end there.

Self-expression to salvage the self

Steampunk is many things, but gay isn’t one of them. Or at least that’s what those limiting expectations would have you believe. Today, I can happily live this simple truth: you’re no less gay for the clothing choices you make or the accessories you love. Much like a straight man will never suddenly turn gay upon admitting that he loves pink unicorn socks. So, yes, as a way to heal my own self-perception, I started infusing my look with details that speak volumes of my personality and my diverse interests.

Suddenly, I’d gladly wear a stylish skeleton watch with a simple button-down, and I’d absolutely revel in my own reflection. Instead of piles of colorful rings, this single accessory is a timeless piece of sophistication that perfectly embodies my style preferences. It’s details like these that helped me understand that I had lost my sense of self, and that it was high time to begin rebuilding it one self-affirming choice at a time.

Elevating my mood with colors

As a minimalist at heart (with the occasional trip to crazy land of floral swimming trunks), I’ve always been a huge advocate of wearing black. Although I’m still very much in love with that look, my efforts to build a more positive personal image have led me to a slew of research studies that pointed the impact of colors on our mood and emotions. I did some homework and began adding different hues that would hopefully affect my mindset in a positive way. Lo and behold, results ensued, and I still wear my sage green shirt and my orange hoodie.

Some of the more recent fashion trends also use different colors of different saturation, which has inspired me even further to take a few steps outside of my fashion comfort zone and allow myself to play with my own style. This creative take on my look alone has given me a safe space in which I can explore my emotions, directly impact my mood, and still ensure self-affirmation.

The power of embracing compliments

Depression is a sneaky creature. It tends to affect your every action and your every thought, and it’s extremely difficult to root out once it takes hold of your mind. In my deepest states of self-denial, I would even reject compliments from people who genuinely care about me – and I would never, ever let them sink in. I was fortunate enough to have one of my friends point out this habit of mine, and it actually took me weeks of practice to start making any progress.

But, the sheer act of accepting compliments got the ball rolling. When I’d get myself to say “thank you” or “that’s very kind of you”, I’d open up a little window in my mind, allowing for the possibility that the compliment might be true. That I might actually look amazing, that my smile might be radiant, that my new boots look great on me. This little mental exercise through accepting compliments on my looks and my fashion choices helped me slowly embrace the possibility of a world in which I love myself.

Although the idea of “happy clothes” or “happy colors” definitely varies from one person to another, I’m beyond grateful for the fashion choices we have today and the people who diligently create them. They’ve meant the world to me and continue helping me through all of my ups and downs. I’ve used this creative process to find myself again, and to rebuild my appreciation for myself, and I hope that others will use it to find beauty in themselves once more.

Peter Minkoff is a lifestyle and health editor at HighStyleLife magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

NEW Color Palette Designs

Hello friends; I hope you like art posts and looking at how other people’s minds translate to visuals. First time doing this kind of thing and it’s awesome to create my own!

A little bit ago, I decided to try my hand at making my own color palettes based on some of my photography and artwork I have taken and completed. They’re not fabulous yet, and some could be better, but here is what I have so far. Once I get it down, I want to create a color palette style myself and make one for my blog and have a branding page available (or at least a document for myself to look back on!)

I’m trying to get back to my roots and focus on some sort of art, design, computer work and blogging to keep my mind occupied more on a daily basis this year. 2020 is going to be very busy for myself and my husband and I hope it helps with my depression and anxiety I’ve been dealing with for quite some time.

Blogmas – My Holiday Wish List 2019

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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I hope everyone is having a great holiday so far, even though it’s still early in the day. For this entry for Blogmas, I have decided to do my Personal Wish List.

This year was a difficult year, and is still difficult for myself and my small family. With moving back to PA from WA in the end of March, to our wedding in May, and to still not being caught up on bills from the big move… the second part of this year has been rough. Without going into too much detail, my husband and I were both sick twice with a cold already, we had snow 2 weeks before Thanksgiving (wtf?! it’s not even winter yet!), we both had a few serious episodes of depression and anxiety throughout October November and some of December, and we seem to just keep trucking on with no real reason at this point. We’re just trying to remain happy, calm and spend as much time as we can with each other to try and combat the depression we’ve been feeling. 

Because we’re still in debt from the move and catching up on payments and had sick spisodes preventing us from working a few days… I decided to share my Amazon Wish List with you and highlight a few things that we need for our apartment and home life and what’s on my Christmas List. Your Christmas List is supposed to be things that you would never splurge on for yourself, however, with the recent events of this year and being broke, it seems my list grew to be things that I or we actually need that we don’t have much money for sadly. 

  1. Rechargeable Fabric Shaver, Lint Remover  As most of my readers know, we have kitties… and this helps with removing lint, cat hair and fuzzies that may accumulate from the laundry. We also do not have a washer and dryer in the house because there’s no room and laundromats only can do so much for your clothes. This is something I’ve always wanted for our sweaters, too.
  2. Kinesiology Tape Precut My husband and I both have back problems. We love using this tape on our back for therapy and use it constantly, but it’s sometimes expensive to keep buying it for both of us to use, and have started to use it sparingly.

  3. Elevated Garden Flower Planter Bed We have a small yard, and with our back problems it’s sometimes hard to bend over for long and garden, and it’s usually me who takes care of all of it. Having raised gardens for our plants would be amazong and something my husband always wanted for each year because it’s easy to clean up, rake, harvest and saves garden space!

  4. DEWALT TSTAK Tool Box We have way too many tools. Way too many and the box we have everything in is just too heavy and we need an actual toolbox or two to fit everything. 

  5. Kitchen Island Cart We have very little counter space in our kitchen. So little, that I can’t even make cookies unless I clean off my kitchen table and take the table cloth off, and no room to put hot pots or pans that come out of the oven. We plan on re-doing some of the kitchen and making room for this.

Again, I know Christmas is supposed to be for things you really want that others splurge on for you that you would never buy for yourself mostly, but in our case, these are things that have been on my list and have wanted for awhile that we could really use. Instead of a new Urban Decay eyeshadow palette or new Apple Watch in order to upgrade, I’m chosing most of this stuff.

 

Another Dietary Plan with Antidepressant Implications? – John Caruso

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Another dietary plan with antidepressant implications?

The connections between diet and physical health have long been assumed. While the science exploring this is still in relative infancy, most of us understand the concept of “you are what you eat.”

But is it possible that how we think is also affected by what we eat? Could simple dietary changes give us a boost into more vibrant mental health? Or prevent us from sliding into poor mental health in the first place?

To answer those questions, let’s not make assumptions. Let’s see what the science says.

Published in the October 2009 edition of JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry), researchers from the University of Navarra set out to determine what impact eating the Mediterranean diet might have on the incidence of depression.

Using a massive sample size of 10,094 participants, researchers measured incidents of depression after a median of 4.4 years, then compared those outcomes with the results of a 136-item food frequency questionnaire to determine any potential correlation between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and clinical depression.

Their results were not insignificant.

They found the Hazard Ratios (probability of depression incidents) to be considerably lower among those who adhered more closely to the Mediterranean diet than those who did not.

The researchers grouped participants into five groups based on their adherence to the diet and compared the risk of depression relative to the group who least closely adhered to the diet. Here is how they performed (from least close to closest adherence).

Group 1:               Least adherence to Mediterranean diet

Group 2:               26% reduction in risk

Group 3:               34% reduction in risk

Group 4:               51% reduction in risk

Group 5:               42% reduction in risk

The closer participants adhered to the diet, the greater the reduction in risk. Curiously, the group with the closest adherence bucked the trend and experienced a slight uptick compared to the group just behind them, but the reduction in risk of 42 percent is still quite significant.

So we should all just adopt the Mediterranean diet then, right?

Not so fast!

While these results are extremely encouraging, we need to take a closer look at them, as well as other studies to see what they mean to us.

First of all, the results of this study need to be replicated to find out if there is consistency. And while adherence to the diet as a whole may have shown lowered risk, risk was not eliminated entirely. Also, some foods showed increased risk when evaluated independently.

For example, while fruits and nuts showed decreased risk of between 31 percent toward the lower end of consumption and 39 percent on the upper end, meat products showed a decreased risk of 8 percent on the lower end and an increased risk of 35 percent on the upper end.

So, does that mean that some meat is beneficial while a lot of meat is detrimental? And some fruits and nuts are beneficial while a lot of fruits and nuts are very beneficial?

Perhaps. But this is why further studies are needed. Can these foods be studied in a vacuum, or do they work synergistically with one another when in proper balance?

This is precisely the reason to take these results with a nice grain of Mediterranean Sea salt.

What is our takeaway then?

When you look at the results of this study and add them to the results of others that have shown similar findings, such as this one about the DASH diet, this one about turmeric, and even this one about saffron, you can start to see a common thread begin to emerge.

We are seeing more and more evidence that some of these whole foods-based, nutrient-rich diets may offer more than just benefits to our physical health. They may offer a profound impact on our mental health as well.

Much more research is needed to confirm these findings and to discover what mechanisms within these diets may be responsible for their potential benefits. But in the meantime, they give us a great head start in chasing down some answers.

(And when you chase them down, always chase them down in consultation with your physician!)

Reference: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210386

The statements contained in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Unless otherwise specified, no writer for PursuitOfGreat.com is a licensed physician, medical doctor, trainer, nutritionist or health professional of any kind. Do not consume anything written about on this website if you are allergic to it.

The opinions expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Please consult a physician or health care professional for your specific health care or medical needs.

Please talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise or diet program, including those found in this article. The information provided in this article is not intended as a substitute for consultations with your doctor nor is it intended to provide medical advice specific to your condition.

Author Bio John Caruso is the owner and writer of www.PursuitOfGreat.com, a site specializing in health and wellness reviews, positive mindset, belief, finances, and solutions that provide an equal playing field in life for all. The goal of PursuitOfGreat.com is to find and share tools that anyone can use to achieve greatness in life, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Stop by and, if you find something that helps you, spread the word! Twitter Pinterest

Dear Anxiety – Jess Ling

People who know me may know that I am suffering from anxiety. But in fact, I don’t just suffer from anxiety, I have other psychological problems. I’ve never said to anyone else. Not because I am afraid, I just feel that there is no need to make things serious. Therefore, even if I know that I am living in anxiety, I will still choose a happy way to face it.

Maybe I was thinking that I could fix it and think that this is a small matter. When I started to want to deal with it, things have slowly accumulated, and I realized that I have never dealt with it. When I was a child, I lived in an ordinary family. My parents are easily upset and easily get angry, and when we were children, my family had been arguing all the time and fighting.

I remember that one day I saw my parents pick up the knife. My mother was very angry and wanted to die. My father left when I was only 7 years old, I didn’t know anything happened and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I know that this had been going on for many years, but I have never forgotten it. (I also know that this reason makes me unable to believe in human beings, belief in feelings, I think only myself is the most reliable. So this is also now everyone knows why I have never been good at discussing my relationship problems.)

Jess Ling - Anxiety

Of course, due to emotional problems, my parents Sometimes we will whip us because of venting. So you asked me which time was the saddest, I think I have passed. In the process of growing up, I didn’t have a day to be happy, at home, or at school. Many times I chose to be alone, eat alone, watch movies alone, and just want to do anything by myself.

I think anxiety is hard to explain because it can be different in a minute. I can still talk happily at this second, but I don’t know what will happen in the next second. This feeling may be a bit disturbing, but in fact, if you understand anxiety. Every day I still face anxiety; life is so embarrassing, but I still have to try, and I have been working hard on this. Sometimes, the most important thing to fight against anxiety is to keep positive thoughts, because many times I will be defeated by these negative emotions.

But please tell yourself that if you fail today is not important, we will come again tomorrow. Sometimes these days are repeated. I have been reminded many times how brave I have been these past years. Now, I have learned how to put down and face these things. I know it sounds terrible, I have to face so many things myself. But I think I just learn from these things, and when others encounter the same events, I can share and encourage.

Anxiety disorders are not terrible, don’t be afraid to be repelled. I believe that many friends in the world still dare not express or face their own anxiety. Please believe me, you are not alone. Because I live like this too. Today, I will share my past, not to make you feel how pitiful I am, I just want to help more people out of the woods. The messages I see every day are anxiety, depression, and how many people are taken away. This world should not be like this, so we must help each other.

Remember no matter what mental health, the best help if you need an audience, I will always be here.

Author Bio: Hi I am Jess (From Jerserry.com) a 20 something living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A dog person and love to write about lifestyle, travel,food and more. I start my blog since May 2017, trying to be a full-time blogger and I love to write all the time, I also found out is a great place to meeting so many amazing people from all around the world through the blog. Here is a little story about me: I’m shy & weird, I don’t talk much, but I love to meet new friends. When I was in high school, I didn’t have many friends, so I always spent time alone and wrote my diary book until I got my first computer. I started to make a blog and start my blogger life (when I was 15) but if you have seen my post before about “A post about why I started blogging” you will know that I have changed few blog address before. This one will be stick with me forever and let me continue my journey! Let Be Friends!

My social media: Twitter Pinterest Instagram Blog Facebook

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.

 

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 Life Worth Living – Sheila Yale, Empty Next Lifestyle

Hey there! I’m Sheila Yale the creator, writer, editor, graphic artist, janitor, etc. of “Empty Next Lifestyle”, a lifestyle blog where I discuss family, mental illness and showcase my handmade pottery. Someone recently asked of me, “What’s something we don’t know about you?”. I’ll tell you what I told her, “Nothing, because my life is an open book”. I’m here to encourage and support anyone who visits my site. I am an empty nest thriver, wife to my high school sweetheart, “LaLa” to my 4 sweet “Lovies”, newbie blogger, and rising pottery artist. Oh, and I have Bipolar l Disorder….

The holidays have come and gone. The Christmas tree and decorations are once again at rest in the attic and life’s daily schedule sweeps the festivities aside as it dictates where I must go and what I must do.

This is usually the point in the calendar where it starts to go downhill. You know what I’m talking about. The January blues is the place where my Bipolar I demon rears its ugly head and I travel down the road to depression and “hermit-ious” (the act of sitting in the dark, staring off in space). The Kleenex box holds a permanent position on my bedside table and I sleep in “Rip Van Winkle endless slumber” fashion.

But this year is different for some reason. I’m strangely stable and I’m not hearing that nagging voice bringing me down (That voice, by the way, is mine). As I ponder on this change I search for reasons that the January blues suddenly seem sunny yellow. Maybe it’s the changes that have happened over 2018.

1.  I have taken my medication daily and visited my doctor regularly.

There have been many times throughout the last 20 years when I felt “normal” enough to have this thought, “I think I’m ok now. I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and I’m sure I’ll be fine”. Six weeks and a raging case of paranoia later, I’m clamoring to get those pills in my mouth. 

This year I determined I would be faithful to my never-ending recovery and take them every day, as well as follow my psychiatrist scheduled appointments and be honest with him. It is amazing how well I navigated this holiday season. Looking back on the past few weeks I realize that the triggers I have normally encountered during the Christmas festivities were manageable and I maneuvered my way around and through them quite nicely. 

This is cool!

2. I am on a regimen of essential oil supplements. 

I often get teased by my family and friends for using essential oils. They call them my “snake oils” and roll their eyes when I mention how incredible they are. But believe me, when my husband and daughter have a stomach ache, or their sinuses are keeping them from breathing, or when their muscles are so sore they can’t move, they secretly turn to me. Heaven forbid they endure any eye-rolling from the family.

So this past year I have taken supplements every day to keep my body and mind strong. It’s working.

Sticking with the oils!

3. I have focused on my passions: pottery making, blogging and my Lovies (grandchildren).

Pottery came into my life back in college. I took one class and was hooked. Unfortunately soon after, I had a breakdown and it was years before I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder. During the past couple of years, I have found a reliable doctor who has prescribed the right “cocktail” (mix of medications) for me and keeps me in line. So creating pottery has resumed its position as a way to put my mind and body at peace. 

I started my blog back in May of 2018 and it is a daily source of inspiration. I love it! Literally, my husband has said, “Could you please stop for a moment and talk to me?”. I am able to express myself in a way I have never known. It involves creating, writing, researching, and problem-solving. It is an exciting outlet that will eventually provide a self-sustaining income. A paying job that I love – now that’s what I’m talking about!

And my grandchildren have spent a lot of time with me. We have had numerous weekend sleepovers at “LaLa Land” (my house) where we bake mounds of cookies and spend hours making play dough “food” to serve at the play dough “restaurant”. My Lovies are super important to me and bring so much joy to my life. Even when I am down, I only have to hear one of their voices or see them and I am smiling all over!

4. I found great support this year.

My family. A pottery mentor. Blogging communities.

When Paul Simon sang, “I am a rock, I am an island” he was wrong. We were made by God to be in relationships. He created “bonding”, so it is natural to surround ourselves with strong uplifting connections. I found my place this year as a “LaLa” to my “Lovies”, as a gifted potter guided and encouraged by a strong mentor, as a writer and valued friend to a group of talented bloggers I admire, and as an encourager to the people I come in contact with on a daily basis.

These people motivate me to press on. I realize that the end of the holidays normally marks the end of excitement and a move toward nothingness. 2019 is not a new beginning. It’s a continuation of the wonderful things that began in 2018. In fact, I have so many things to do in the coming year that I have actually started scheduling my days and weeks in a planner. 

Will I have some down days in 2019? Yes, but I have the tools, focus, and support I need to stay the course.

Wow! A life. A life that continues to be worth living.

Website    https://emptynextlifestyle.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/sheilayale.5

Pinterest   https://www.pinterest.com/postsemptynextlifestyle

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/emptynextlifestyle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SheilaYale7 

 

Thank you very much to Sheila for sending her inspiring story over for The Unsanity Blog to share with their readers! If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on The Unsanity, please send an email over to Koral.novak@gmail.com and we can have a chat about how I can incorporate you and your story!

It’s Time to Stop Punishing Yourself with Food – Nourish With Renata

Hello Unsanity readers, as promised, here is another guest blogger for your Friday! This one comes from a fellow blogger of mine, Renata, who specializes in healthy easy recipes!

 

Hi! I’m Renata and I am the founder of NourishwithRenata.com, a healthy recipe blog focusing on delicious, easy recipes that not only taste good but are good for you! I am a mom, wife and foodie, living in Texas with my husband, 3 kids and trusty labrador. I love helping people rediscover healthy food through the recipes on my blog and e-books, as well as my personalized cooking classes. 

It’s the beginning of a new year and lots of people are making New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions might be about making healthier lifestyle choices, like working out or eating healthy. 

But what does it mean to eat healthy? Does it mean doing juice cleanses? Does it mean only eating one meal a day? Does it mean not eating carbs???

What some people don’t realize is that these kinds of restrictive diets are not sustainable long term. Depriving and restricting your body is actually punishing your body. It is not allowing your body the fuel and nourishment that it needs to not only survive, but to thrive. And that means that your body will try to find a way to get back the calories you were depriving it. This is why so many people gain back the weight that they were trying to lose, and then some. 

This begins the cycle of purging and binging, or what I call, the diet culture. It is a completely destructive way of treating your body and it forces you to look at food in a harsh, negative light. Foods are either “bad” or “good”. And more often than not, you feel guilty for giving your body the nourishment that it needs. 

Diet culture is a slippery slope. I think that is why so many people start having eating disorders. We are programmed by social media to think that we have to look and eat like everybody else. That a “quick fix” is the only way to change, that immediate gratification is the only way to get recognition. That in order to be “liked”, we have to be the same as everyone else. 

THIS SIMPLY ISN’T TRUE. It’s time to change our mindset. It’s time to stop trying to be like everyone else, and start being our truest selves. It’s time to bring a whole new perspective to how we think about ourselves and how we think about food. 

Instead of punishing your body, start building a positive relationship with food. Food is a fuel source, a way to nourish your cells, brain and muscles with the nutrients and energy that it needs to support you during the day. By giving it the foods that provides you with maximum energy and vitality, you are ensuring that you can achieve your to-do list, you can work out without feeling drained, and best of all, you can spend time with your loved ones without feeling bloated, lethargic or a slave to food. 

So how can you stop punishing yourself with food? Here’s a few tips:

  • Pay attention to how you feel after you eat: If it helps, make a food diary, so you can record how foods are making you feel. Focus more on eating the foods that help you feel energized for longer, and less time eating the foods that make you feel tired and sluggish. Food affect people differently, so your list of energizing foods may be different from someone else’s.
  • Don’t worry about fads: There are so many diets out there from keto, paleo, whole 30, vegan… the list goes on. Your friends may be doing some of these diets, and if so, let them! You don’t have to join in. Scientific studies have shown that the best diet for weight loss is one that is sustainable. So don’t worry about fads. Fads are a one-off that may help you lose weight quickly, but are not sustainable. Stay strong against peer pressure and focus on nourishing your body with whole foods that taste good and are good for you. 
  • Building a healthy, positive relationship with food takes time: This is real life. There will be times when you will go out to lunch with friends or go to big family gatherings that have a buffet of foods that you don’t normally eat. It is ok to eat different foods! It is ok to eat richer, more indulgent foods sometimes. It may make you feel less energetic than normal, but it’s ok. Building a healthier, positive relationship with food means that you don’t ever have to feel guilty for having dessert. 

Changing your perspective on food can have incredible repercussions on other aspects of your life. Once you see the positive change from how you think about food, you will feel energized and motivated to accomplish other goals in your life. But best of all, you will gain back your self-confidence. Your relationship with food is in your control. And it’s time to make it a positive one. 

You can connect with Renata on the following platforms:

Nourish with Renata blog at www.nourishwithrenata.com 

Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/nourish_with_renata

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Nourish-with-Renata-2030856650493733/

Twitter at https://twitter.com/NourishwRenata