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Distraction in the Modern World – Taryn the Dragon

Greetings to The Unsanity readers from Taryn The Dragon in South Africa. I work full time in the Data industry, study part time and blog on the side. I’m quite new to blogging and this is my first guest post. I’m super amped to have this opportunity. Thanks so much Koral Dawn.

dragonballWhat you need to know about me

I have depression and anxiety and a host of other chronic illnesses that have had a huge effect on my life. In 2019 I entered therapy to deal with all of the stress. I’m on a journey and I have had to take a deep look at myself and the world around me. There is an underlying theme that comes up often with mental health issues is that of mindfulness: Being conscious or aware and present in the moment.

Recently I have been watching videos that could help me become more in tune with myself. Observing people like Dr Gabor Mate, Alan Watt, Dandapani, in the hopes of understanding what mindfulness truly means. I know it sounds cliché but it has been quite a revelation. You can find my musings about this journey on http://www.dragonscodex.net.

Let’s talk about the world we live in

Adulting does not come with an instruction manual. Even great parenting does not quite prepare you for living in this golden age of technology. Information at the click of a button. Friends on WhatsApp (1 billion users) or WeChat (697 million users) or Facebook (1.59 billion users). Strangers on Twitter (320 million users) or Instagram (400 million users). Family just a Skype (300 million users) call away. [1] How do we actually get anything done? What I’m saying is that we now live for the thrill of ‘Distraction’. And this is why we need to cultivate a mind-set geared towards mindfulness.

How to move beyond distraction

Have you ever looked at your device and just thought “FFS ~ now what!?”. That’s a very good indication that you need to start practicing mindfulness for your own sanity. Let’s explore a few mindfulness concepts to aid you in your daily success.

Stop making excuses

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Do what you say you are going to do. If that means going to the gym at 5am, do that without fail. You are building trust with yourself and in so doing gaining confidence in your decision making.

Control your awareness

Multi-tasking is great but it splits your focus and actually makes it harder to allot sufficient time to a specific endeavour. If you’re working on a proposal put the phone away and close your emails. The world will not fall apart if you give yourself 20 minutes to do something. Focus on this one thing. If your attention drifts bring it back to what you are doing.

Meditate

Image by CadreLuxe from Pixabay

No I don’t mean go assume the cross-legged sitting asana and chant endlessly, unless that’s your jam. I mean have some quiet time to get away from the noise. Be still, sit with your thoughts, have a nice cup of coffee. Be comfortable doing absolutely nothing and being alone.

Get clarity

Know what you want to achieve. Know how you are going to achieve it. The easiest way to do this is to make a list or keep a journal. And always note your achievements as they keep you on the path you want to travel.

Walk away from energy vampires

Ain’t nobody got time for this! To quote Dandapani: “Treat energy the same way you treat money. It’s a finite resource that needs to be wisely managed and invested.”

Uplift others

Image by Grae Dickason from Pixabay

When stuck in your own mind or even your own world where things are not quite going according to plan, do something for someone else without expecting any benefit in return. By uplifting others you uplift yourself. You’re present in a beautiful moment that will keep you going through difficult times.

Embrace change

All of these concepts require some effort on your part. It means you need come to terms with changing your life. As for me, it has helped me find this lovely Zen spot where there is less stress, more energy and more love. I’m really enjoying it this balance.

[1] Attribution for stats: https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/

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.

 

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.

daily planner

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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

lights

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

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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!

Traveling as Therapy – Denise

Hi readers! As you can probably guess, I took a week or so off blogging to gather more stories from you guys to read and love/interact with. I have quite a few more bloggers coming your way, and that’s in a nutshell! A few of my guests have expressed interest in being a repeat guest with me, so I have taken the liberty to organize a few bloggers to post once or twice per month on The Unsanity and continue telling stories or forms of therapy that can help my readers and audience. Today, however, we have Denise, who will be talking about traveling as therapy for anxiety and depression. Thank you for sharing your post, and I look forward to working with you again in the future! On top of her blog link below, you can find her on Facebook and Instagram as well!

Hello everyone!

My name is Denise and I’m the person behind http://www.pieceofdenise.com/ – my blog where I share my life experience with you. One of my favorite things to write about are my trips; for my 25 years I realized how mentally enriching and healing that can be. That’s why today I’m going to tell you about why I think that travelling can be an amazing therapy.

Traveling gives us the opportunity to disconnect from our regular life. You get to forget your problems/issues for a few weeks, it can also help you figure things out that you would not have understood without the distance traveling can give you. We all have crazy schedules, work and a family to take care of, going away alone or with some friends can give you distance and perhaps even make you realize how important these people are for you. Like the saying says: we never know what we have until we lose it.

Another great benefit is the relaxation you get to do. It’s nice to live life to its fullest and enjoy a stress free time with yourself. Going on vacation lets us recharge our “batteries” by disconnecting us from our regular life. When we come back we feel invigorated and we are happy to be back in our day to day routine. It’s a very good stress remover that has a lot more to give than most people are willing to accept.

Traveling relieves the symptoms of depression. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, made in 2013, relieving tensions that we experience during travelling is partly a psychological result of the change in our environment. When we physically move from the places and activities that cause us stress, we allow our minds and bodies to recover and refresh themselves. People who travel once every two years are prone to suffer depression and stress much more than people who travel at least twice a year.

Where should I go?

If meetings and conversations with many people in a busy work environment cause the stress in your situation, then it is best to go to a peaceful place, surrounded nature – take a long walk, breathe fresh air, sleep in a hut even. Of course, you need to choose it according to your physical training and do not forget that you need an equipment in case you choose a mountain trip. If you don’t have one, try an easier route near a hut, guest house or hotel – safety’s first. If you spend a lot of time at home, you need social contact. It’s time to invite some friends and go on a journey. Day or two can recharge you completely. Visit a city you’ve never been to.

During travelling, you may experience the craziest, most exciting things, that will eventually become great stories that you can tell others. When you grow old and look back at your life and all your travel experiences, you will realize how much you have done in your life and your life was not in vain. It can provide you with happiness and satisfaction for the rest of your life.

Interested in being a guest on The Unsanity Blog? Send me an email to koral.novak@gmail.com – I would love to hear from you and collaborate!

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Procrastination and the Holidays – Nichola Dewapriya

Hello The Unsanity Friends! Here is another post for the holidays from my guest Nick! He writes about the fear and stress about dealing with tasks at hand during the holiday season. Procrastination is a major key that people somehow get lost in during the holidays and even the every day life. Follow along as he goes through his thoughts.

Hello My name is Nichola Dewapriya currently a medical student studying in Gomel, Belarus but Im natively from Sri Lanka. Im also a blogger in which I share my experiences as a medical student and most of the problems and difficulties I come across under the topics of being committed to your work, being passionate and organized, handling procrastination and also how to keep up with long distance relationships from my own perspective experiences.

My blog can be found here: http://nickded.com Please do visit, read and subscribe for the latest of content! Follow me on instagram https://www.instagram.com/nickded_evolve_blog as well as Twitter https://twitter.com/NickDeDevolve.

So without further delay let’s take off!

Today I‘m passionate to talk about anxieties that comes along with long Holiday periods and completing tasks at hand. A long holiday in my perspective is a time period that is more than 4 days consecutively, for some it may be 7 days or 10, but amount of days doesnt really matter. So with me being actually a very busy person and living a very hard daily routine, I find 4 days to be a great deal of time for me. Lets gather up the anxieties or feelings that we get once we enter the zone.” 

  1. Fear of coming up with a detailed plan to spend time productively through out the course of the Holiday.
  2. Fear of not executing the plan you have already come up with.
  3. Guilt that you feel when you are dissatisfied with your progress when you look back to the start.
  4. You have already lost it!

This is the sequence of fears and anxieties that arise from within you. So as a person who is known to be lazy but dedicated at the same time, Ill be explaining all the aspects on some general facts including what I have  experienced my self.

According to point number one, all I want to say is as higher beings among many we humans like to place ourselves on a pedestal and sometimes we overestimate what we truly are, so we plan big for ourselves while in the back of our head, we already know it isn’t going to work out. But I also would like to testify that some people are naturally or long time #gogetters, as they are used to the handling it ALL.

But as a normal human, being true to your self is quite a cringe so most of tend to go to a better zone” We accumulate so much to our list and when we see it ourselves we procrastinate on it and at the end of the day, nothing is done. Start and come up with something really small to start off and when you have time to go for another; just go for it, no stress!

Simultaneously we can intertwine the second point to the 1st as you have already made your decision, so now you are half way through the process, and making any change would either break down the whole system or make no change at all; only that we sometimes may lie to our selves to feel less insecure.

The third point is the biggest of strikes. Now that its all over and its only a few hours left until the whole so called productive time is over, some may get into the adrenaline mode and somehow finish whats supposed to be done because they know the bitterness they will have that keeps them up all night if that task is not complete.

Some of us blame ourselves or better someone else for wasting our time because they were so distracted. All the procrastinations they did, and now that they havent done anything at all; all they are going to do is curl up and sleep, then wake up not caring a thing and what do you know – they aren’t happy at all!

Better yet, some are so much used to being like this that they dont even try planning tasks in the first place, which is quite sad I would say! So that will automatically conclude the fourth point and the idea of this post of wasting time.

As a conclusion, I would like to put it out to you that it doesnt matter how small or big holidays or free time you get, all you have to do is start with something small give a little promise to yourself, make it a habit but dont try to make it the perfect; Because perfection never exists. We’re only human after all.