Meaningful Mommy

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What doing the opposite taught me…#givegrace

“Just do the opposite….right now, whatever you are thinking, just do the opposite…”

I was chatting with a friend who had stopped by to pick something up. It had only been a minute when the screaming from inside could be heard on the porch. Not the someone is hurt crying, which evokes a panic in any mother, but the screeching of two small people who just want what they want. They must think that their volume will determine the outcome.

I heard the noise and I felt the frustration building. Frustration fueled by the why in the world are they at it again?! The why do they do this over and over… The why is it when I have one minute of conversation time with another adult that they have to argue. Fueled by the why am I here, standing on my porch holding the door shut as my two daughters are screaming at each other while trying to pull the door open. All that. Building & growing.

I must have had that look. You know the one. When you can feel your heart break a little at the same time your eyes flash with the crazy frustration of parenthood.

My friend took a look at me and said, “Just do the opposite…”

I turned my head toward my friend, the snap of “what?!!” sitting on the tip of my tongue. What did she know. I was so tired. My girls were fighting for the hundredth time that day. I hadn’t had time to shower, I hadn’t had a single moment of peace. I was at the end of a very thin rope.

My friend gently touched my arm and said, “Do the opposite of what you are feeling right now…”.

I felt the tears well up. The opposite….I wasn’t sure I could.

I wanted to fling the front door open and yell. with as just as much volume as my 4 1/2 & 2 1/2 yr olds, for them to just stop yelling. I wanted to scream that screaming wasn’t necessary. I wanted to stomp and slam my way into the house with as much force as I could feel welling up inside me.

I looked at my friend.

She looked at me and said, “You can do it”.

In that moment I broke. I knew she was right.

She is also mom.

She knows.

She could feel my angst and as all moms know, she knew that any negative reaction I was thinking of could only end in hurt feelings and more heartache. Sometimes we forget in that moment.

She walked back to her car. I stood there a moment. I took a deep breath and I quietly opened the door. I knelt down and I opened my arms. Both of my girls fell into them.The screaming stopped.

As my tears fell I finally had my moment of peace.

Looking back, I see that in that moment my friend had offered me grace. She allowed me to feel all my feelings. She didn’t judge. She understood and she gave me grace.

I in turn opened the door and gave my children grace. And with that I found peace.

In a single moment I understood that when we do the opposite of what we are feeling when we are in the midst of fear, frustration or anger, we are in turn offering and receiving grace.

For this, I am forever grateful.

So parents, give yourself grace. Share grace with your children & others. Breathe & just do the opposite…..

❤ Megan

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A new look at the idea of Parenting

I am starting a new business offering parent education classes, community building activities and parent coaching. I am hoping to create the missing village feel for parents to be supported and have a safe place to share. It is taking up a lot of my time, which is why I haven’t been blogging much. I am busy building a website, working on curriculum, creating brochures and setting up class dates, times and locations. There is so much to do and my to-do list is long!

I am having fun though and feel like I’m in my element. I have a bachelor’s degree in education, taught in elementary schools for 6 years and teaching is my passion. My feeling is teaching doesn’t mean you know it all about a subject, it’s more that you have learned how to research, process and share information. I am really getting into the Breakthrough Parenting model which is what I recently received my parenting educator certification in.

One part of this model I connected with very strongly is the idea of perfectionism. Plato, the Greek Philosopher, explained that people think in the world of ideas. We have images of this ideal. It’s all related to what we personally think perfection is. It’s just how humans think. Unfortunately for us we are destined to feel let down because these ideals are in reality impossible to obtain with our children. The idea we have of who our child is going to be, what they will do, how they will act, will all be false.

Children will constantly surprise us as they show us their true selves. The truth is we do not know who these little beings are. Some people have an easier time letting go of their ideals, but others need a little help realizing that their child isn’t living up to their expectations because they can’t. It’s not to be hurtful, spiteful or with any sense of malice. It’s just impossible. Every child is their own person, they each have their own soul and have a destiny that no one can really understand or control.

Children struggle along this path and we as parent see the struggle. Sometimes we feel the struggle, we take part in it and we feel like we might be the struggle. This is where old parenting ideas get in the way. If we throw those out and view ourselves as a steward, a guide in our childs life, the struggle lessens. There are no specific expectations. We see our children in a new light. They are individuals and we are learning about them as they learn about themselves. We guide and help give information, teaching responsibility and lending support while always showing love.

Our children ultimately are the only ones who will live their lives and it will be up to them what they make of this gift. As a steward we can let go of any control we feel we need to have over our children. It will not work. Compassion, love, respect, understanding and acceptance will allow everyone to feel happy and worthy.

Ahhh….the learning continues 🙂 BusinessCardLogo

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A promise is a promise…. from Yoga to Soccer….

So a deal is a deal…a promise a promise…this one goes back 8 years when I asked my husband to try a yoga class at the YMCA with me. It took a lot of convincing, begging, finally deal making and a promise. He knows I have a hard time trying something new, combine that with being alone and I’m terrified. He loves me so he said yes. The deal made was he would try yoga with me if I would try soccer with him. My husband loves soccer and has always played. He was at the time on a co-ed team. I said I would. I convinced my husband to go to a few more yoga classes. He asked me to play soccer with him. I declined, over and over. I had never played soccer. I was again terrified to try something new, especially with my husband who might be embarrassed by me and his peers who may laugh.  He gave up asking…

Then a few weekends ago at our friends twin daughters birthday this deal came up. My husband is currently on a co-ed soccer team with our friends. They needed female subs to step in and they looked at me. “Megan, you should play…”, me shaking my head, “Oh, no….I don’t play soccer…” But then I remembered my deal with my husband (that I had never really forgotten) and I owned up. I smilingly admitted that I had told him if he went to yoga with me I would play soccer with him, but I emphasized that I had not played soccer since 7th grade P.E. Like I really, really don’t play soccer. I don’t know how many players there are, the positions or the lines on the field. Nada…They still wanted me to play. Join us, it will be fun…easy. Sure, ok…panic sets in.

The next day my husband hands me an old pair of soccer shorts informing me soccer players do not wear yoga pants. I also get a borrowed pair of knee-high socks. I’m terrified. Anxiety setting in….I won’t know what to do, they’ll laugh, it will be horrible. I put the shorts and socks into a bag with my tennis shoes hoping by showing up in my street clothes I have a greater chance to not be put on the field. We arrive, unload the kids who run off to play with the other players kids. I sit on the side trying to focus on breathing in and out. I hear our friend say, “You’re playing right?”…”Oh me, sure, let me go change…” I make it down to the field where everyone is getting into their positions and my friend yells, “Megan, you’re over here, mid-field.” I head out toward the middle(ish) area of the field where she is pointing. I admit to another player that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. She asks me if I’ve ever played soccer. I say no. She asks me if I play any sports. I mumble that I did gymnastics a loooong time ago….realizing too late she didn’t mean when I was in high school…again I’m awkward and embarrassed. She glances at me and says, “See her, with the red shirt on the other team. Stay by her. Stay between her and the ball and her and the goal.” I have no time to say anything because the whistle blows. I’m watching the action unfold on the other side of the field, it feels ok, I’m shuffling in front of the red shirt acting like I know what is going on and then suddenly she is sprinting toward the ball…oh god! I fly off after her and I keep up but it’s not pretty, I bump into her while apologizing over and over. She shrugs at me and keeps moving heading back to her designated field area. I follow her. I kept waiting for her to say, “What are you doing? Get away from me..” But she didn’t say a word. This kept happening. I kept chasing her and being in the way. My knee-high socks (minus shin guards) kept falling down. I kept tugging at them hoping no-one is paying attention. Another team-mate tells me to just keep doing what I was doing, I think they could see the panic in my eyes.  This went on FOREVER! Ok, about 30 minutes and I was exhausted, wheezing and sweaty. I mouthed to my husband, “Can I stop?”. He helped me call in a sub at the next whistle. I ran to the sideline and instantly switched to mom mode taking both my girls to use the park bathroom.

In the bathroom, my daughter informs me they will hurry so I can get back to the game and play some more soccer with daddy. I smiled. I had overcome my fear, made good on my promise and I was still alive. We went back to the game where I went in one more time until I was called out again by my daughter yelling for me to help her with her “mommy only emergency”. It was just another potty trip, but secretly I was happy for the break. My husband’s team lost, but they did say I really did well for my first game and never having played. They also made me an honorary sub (which I’m going to take as a compliment).

My husband knows how hard this was for me. As we were leaving he smiled at me and said it was fun to have us all there. I decided that trying new things and I remembered that looking like an idiot at times won’t kill you, something I had forgotten from my youth. I also decided that I have a lot to learn about soccer and I think I will take a few lessons before I play again, but I will bring our kids to the field to watch their Daddy play the sport he loves. Maybe they will learn more abut the game than I do and follow in their Daddy’s footsteps. 🙂

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Gun Control versus Mental Health Education: Another school shooting

I received a school district phone call message this morning informing me about a shooting tragedy at a high school in the town next to the city I live in. About 10 miles away. My stomach fell and my heart dropped in my chest. I could feel the blood drain from my face. The beginnings of a fight or flight reaction began to swell. Then the beginning of tears and disbelief.

Every time something like this happens I feel sick to my stomach and I feel a great sadness for the lives that were tragically ended today and the lives that will never be the same because of this act. And I wonder why. Why would a highschooler think that bringing a gun to school and shooting anyone and then themselves would solve any problem? Why do kids not know that emotions are fleeting and that they change? Don’t they know that they will grow up and their lives can and usually do get better? I guess they don’t. I guess they are so wrapped up in their emotions they don’t think about the lives of others, or themselves or their families…or in the moment they just don’t care. Why?

I have heard that a few districts near me have been doing school “shooter preparedness trainings” with the students and staff. Incorporating what to do if confronted by a shooter and drills complete with swat team vehicles and staff. I can’t help but think that more emphasis should be done to educate about managing emotions and building healthy emotional coping skills would be more beneficial.

I think that all the energy put into arguments on gun control and laws and whatnot should be placed on mental health education and awareness in communities and schools. And yes, I think guns should not available to many, many people who have access to them, but they are and always will be, unfortunately because if there is a will there is a way for anyone to find a weapon of their choice. The next logical step should be instead of focusing on the guns and who has them to focus on more mental health education and putting outreach programs in place and to teach kids that guns are not to be used as an emotional coping mechanism. I know that you would assume that is obvious, but I’m not so sure. I think unfortunately many of our kids and much of society has a low emotional intelligence and many often feel extreme discomfort with their feelings because of that. This leads to an amplified reaction to their emotions and a magnified response that usually includes violence or self harm. There is something very wrong.

In this school shooting two of the young victims were taken to the hospital less than 5 minutes from my home. One was flown to Seattle and from what information which has been released there were two deaths at the school. The shooter being one of them. I am praying for all of these children’s families, friends and their community as they join together to try to heal during the sorrowful and heartbreaking days, months and years ahead. Their lives forever altered.

My hope is that in this wake of yet another horribly tragic shooting the big conversations shift from gun laws to mental health education including communication about emotions and positive coping strategies.

Sigh…Now I’m off to hug my daughters for the hundredth time today. SiSigtoday. 

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On Being Beautiful…

What do you think makes a person beautiful? Really truly beautiful…think about it for a minute. What is the first thing that comes to mind? The very first thing, you know the thing before we try to think of a more meaningful description of beauty. Is it a physical trait? Or an internal characteristic? If we had to change one thing about ourselves to make us more beautiful what would it be? For you, would it an outward change or an inner change?

Beauty in our society seems to stem from outward appearances not someone’s inner spiritual, emotional or intellectual traits. Why? Why is it that how we look is what we often feel we need to base our personal beauty on? The saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” stands true for some, but for many this idea of beauty is based on societies popular idea of beauty at that time.

So much time is wasted on the achievement of this ideal of beauty. If I had spent my youth learning a new language instead of looking in the mirror wishing I had blond hair, or a thinner nose, or that I was taller I would be bilingual! If I had spent my time actually practicing a sport or musical instrument instead of looking at magazines wishing I could be like the best athletes and the top models I would have then had more self-confidence and an ability to share instead of a teenage feeling of inferiority.

And what about the money spent on beauty. Beauty products are a multi-billion dollar industry. Huge bucks spent on trying to reach some perceived ideal of beauty. Analysts at Goldman Sachs estimate that the global beauty industry consisting of skin care is worth $24 billion, make-up at $18 billion, and $38 billion worth of hair-care products. The average American woman spends upwards of $5,000 per year alone! If I had saved the money I usually spent each year on products designed to make me outwardly beautiful I could have taken a really amazing meaningful trip each year. If I had spent that same amount of money on classes for painting or music lessons I would have a feeling of accomplishment and a skill, because to tell you the truth I don’t feel much more beautiful each year even with the time and money I have spent on it.

I’m thinking that this idea of physical beauty is an illusion. It constantly changes with the seasons and the times. Fashion and beauty standards come and go, so maybe what we are reaching for isn’t really attainable. Yes, we can be healthy, we can exercise, but it does not need to be an obsession. Plumping and cutting and grafting and sucking and staving and hiding and covering has gone overboard. Believe me, I’ve thought about it. After having my two daughters the idea of a “mommy makeover” complete with plastic surgery sounded appealing. Until I really thought about it. My body grew and birthed two amazing people. It shouldn’t look like it did when I was a teenager or even in my twenties. Yes, I will do what I can to keep it in good health, but any lamenting, despising and wishing will not make it any different. It’s my attitude I’m now concentrating on giving a make-over.

Now those two amazing people…my daughters. I am so proud of who they are and extremely excited to see who they will become. I hope to nourish their inner beauty and encourage them to spend the most of their time and money on experiences, activities, and interests that will make them beautiful on the inside. Their confidence will shine through and they will glow. I hope to teach them to travel and learn about other cultures so they can see that there is truly not one definition of physical beauty anyway so to stop trying to find it. I hope to nourish their spiritual beauty by helping others with acts of service. So that they will feel beautiful by seeing the smiles in others.

We will all grow old. Our looks will become a thing of the past anyway. I think that’s why those who make it to old age seem so happy. They know what is really important. Why do we wait until we are older to understand this? We should be concerned with inner beauty, spiritual beauty, intellectual beauty while we have the time and energy to really dive into it. I am trying to change my thinking about beauty to be more meaningful and real. I hope that my daughters start with the base I’m building in them now and continue to grow their inner beauty throughout their lives. When I am old and look back I hope to have made a difference and that my inner beauty shines through my actions and my words. Someday after I’m gone I hope someone will say, “She was beautiful because….” and the answers will have nothing to do with looks.

When my daughters ask me if they are beautiful I will not hesitate to say yes. But I will add, Yes, you are beautiful because you are kind. You help others by offering a smile. You share and love with your whole heart. You care for our planet and you help make it a better place. You are beautiful because when I see you learning and growing my heart learns and grows with you. You are beautiful because you are smart and you always try your best. Your beauty radiates from the inside out. You glow. Yes, you are beautiful. ❤

“She was beautiful, but not like the girls in the magazines. She was beautiful for the way she thought.She was beautiful for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful for her ability to make someone smile even when she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.” ~Unknown ( http://www.quotesfrenzy.com/tag/beautiful/page/1?s=beautiful )

Question: Who do you know who is an example of true beauty? 🙂

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30 day fitness challenge for October!

Ok, get ready!! I found a wonderful Fall, for the Pacific Northwest, that means an indoor 30 day fitness challenge!!! Well, it could be done outdoors if you live somewhere with better weather, but don’t tell me, it will just make my S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) sadder….

This is a fabulous workout in about 15-20 min. a day (except rest days) 🙂

This is a perfect challenge to gear up before the holidays and to stay on track over Halloween. Repeat after me “Stealing our children’s candy is one thing, they do not need the extra energy sugar gives them…eating said stolen candy does not help us. Do not eat it!!”.

This challenge is called the 30 Day Little Black Dress Challenge but could be equally named the slim-fit tuxedo challenge. fitness is fitness and I love any plan that takes not much time in my already busy day.

The site has examples on each exercise showing the proper form.

EXERCISES IN CHALLENGE

HOW TO DO A PLANKHOW TO DO PUSH UPSHOW TO DO MOUNTAIN CLIMBERSHOW TO DO JUMPING JACKSHOW TO DO BURPEESHOW TO DO HIGH KNEESHOW TO DO SQUATSHOW TO DO LUNGESHOW TO DO BRIDGE

There is also a printable calendar as well as iphone & android apps!! AWESOME!!  I’m ready! Are you ready?! 🙂

30 Day Little Black Dress Challenge Workout Chart

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Introduction to S.A.D. (Seasonal Affected Disorder)

I feel that mental illness and any mood related disorders lose some of their power if they are talked about and ‘normalized’ like any disease, such as diabetes or heart disease. People who suffer in silence are at a greater risk for heightened feelings of isolation, anxiety and fear about what their ‘disease’ may do to them (or cause them to do to themselves). Here in the Pacific Northwest the end of summer brings a gray haze that will settle over us for the fall and winter months. For some of us (like me) this gray tends to feel heavy and begins to weigh us down. Introducing S.A.D.

seasonal affective disorder
n. Abbr. SAD
A form of depression occurring at certain seasons of the year, especially when the person has less exposure to sunlight.

(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)

Here is some information thanks to Web MD

What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

One type of depression is Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It occurs during the same season each year usually in the winter. Someone affected may have felt depressed during the last two winters but then felt much better in spring and summer.

Anyone can get SAD, but it’s more common in women, people ages 15-55, people who have a family member with the disorder, and those who live father away from the equator.

What causes SAD?

Professionals aren’t sure what causes SAD, but it may be connected to a lack of sunlight. This lack of light may
upset your “biological clock,” which controls your sleep-wake pattern and other circadian rhythms. It can also create serotonin ( a brain chemical which affects mood) problems.
What are the symptoms?

Some common symptoms of SAD are feeling sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious. You may lose interest in normal activities. You may sleep more but still feel tired and have trouble concentrating. It is also common to gain weight because of craving carbs.

Symptoms come and go at about the same time each year. Most people with SAD start to have symptoms in the fall and begin to feel better in the spring.

How is SAD diagnosed?

SAD and other types of depression share many symptoms which is why a doctors involvement in diagnosis is important. You doctor will have certain questions they ask to get a clear picture of what may be going on.
For a SAD diagnosis one of the main symptoms to note is the seasonal regularity of the symptoms and that they go away when the better weather comes back. Other symptoms such as being very hungry (especially craving carbohydrates), gaining weight, and sleeping more than usual are common with SAD. Also as with any illness if you have a close blood relative—a parent, brother, or sister—has had SAD you are more likely to have it as well.

There are also blood tests to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as low thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Mental health assessments by a trained professional counselor or doctor may also help them to get a better idea of how you feel and how well you are able to think, reason, and remember.

How is it treated?

Light therapy is the main treatment for SAD. The thought is the light therapy can re-set your biological clock. Medicines and counseling may also help.

There are two types of light therapy: a bright light therapy which is a light box you put a certain distance away from you and sit in front of it for about 30-45 min. You can read or work on your computer hile you do this so it is a very easy treatment. The other is a dawn simulation lamp which lights up dim in the morning and gently gets brighter like a sunrise.
Thanks Web MD! *(I have discussed my personal S.A.D. situation with my naturopath and we have come up with a plan of attack for me. Web MD was used for information for this post not to diagnose myself.)

As with any illness it is important to be aware of the symptoms and have a support system in place. Knowledge is powerful, knowing what to expect and banking coping strategies makes any mental/mood illness feel less ‘big’ and more manageable. There is always something to try that can help and someone to talk to. No-one is really alone and if those around you know that you suffer from a mood illness they will be more likely to notice any mood changes and offer their support when you may not be able to ask for help yourself. Do not keep your illness hidden. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, bi-polar, panic attacks, chronic low moods, or any other illness talk to a professional and let your loved ones know. Just as with diabetes or heart disease your loved ones can help you watch your illness by noting your symptoms. There is no shame in any illness. * When I use the term ‘loved ones’ I mean the people you hold dear to your heart whom you trust. These people may or may not be your immediate relatives.

This year I have decided to try to combat my S.A.D. feelings instead of just ‘making it through’. I have been taking Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D among other supplements and I ordered a SAD bright light therapy box. I plan to set it up next to where I have my morning coffee and read the news and write my posts. I’m hoping it will help. Here’s to open discussion about mental illness and mood disorders.

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A Manifesto: The Need For Emotional Intelligence

I know with the news of Robin Williams suicide running rampant over the internet and in the news that mental illness has taken a front seat and it’s about time. It’s unfortunate he is gone, he was a talent and a man who will be greatly missed. But his death has gotten people talking. For now anyway. My hope is that people will keep talking, long after the news has died down. People die from suicide everyday everywhere. Famous people, average people, old and young, rich and poor. Mental illness just like cancer has no specific requirements as to whose life it attacks. Just like cancer genetics can play a part. So can diet, life style and just bad luck of the draw. Mental health should start at an early age and be available and deemed as important as going for a yearly physical check-up or to the dentist every 6 months. Why is our brain, the control center of our body, put on the back burner only to be looked at when things go wildly awry?!

Feelings are real. We all have them and we need them, so why are we not supposed to show them or share them or sometimes even feel them? This weeks WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge is to create a Manifesto.

Here is my Emotional Intelligence Manifesto

1. Acknowledge that everyone has feelings and they are normal.
2. There are a wide range of emotions we feel and one is no less important than another.
3. All feelings have names. Anger, Sadness, Frustration, Jealousy, Pride, Anxiety, Fear, Happiness, Excitement, Confusion, Love, Pain, Resentment, Loneliness, Isolation, Hope, Guilt, Peace…(to name a few) Use them!
4. Use “I statements” and share your emotions. If you are angry say “I am angry because…” If you are sad say “I am sad because….” Talk about what you are feeling!
5. Feel comfortable talking about emotions.
6. Build a toolbox full of strategies to cope with the wide range of emotions you will undoubtedly feel at some point in your life.
7. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
8. Have a list of people or professionals who you can call to talk to if you need to. A good friend, family member, your doctor, counselor…
9. Seeking mental health help is normal. (See my post The Stigma of Mental Illness)
11. Children, adolescents and adults need to be taught about their emotions and learn skills to deal with those.
12. Emotions we feel should not be hidden, stuffed down, or let become something that control us.
13. No-one should tell you not to feel the way you do. Own your feelings.
14. Let people own their feelings.
15. Listen when people talk to you. Don’t try to fix their feelings. Let them feel them.

Your Emotional Intelligence is more important than your I.Q. It’s never to early to start building up your Emotional Intelligence …It’s also never too late!! Embrace and learn about feelings. With education and coping strategies in place they won’t seem as scary or powerful. whether they are yours or someone else’s.

For more on teaching children about feelings see my posts Kids and Feelings and Children and Depression

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The stigma of mental illness.

Robin Williams untimely death due to on going depression (and addiction) was a blow to many. Myself included. A funny man committing suicide has no humor in it at all. It’s so shocking, so saddening and then when I get thinking about it so maddening all at the same time.

Mental illness has such a stigma that it is often brushed under the rug, not being talked about. Stories not being shared. People suffering in silence. A disease that society seems to expect people to battle alone. Often masking behind addictions that started with the hope to self medicate or behind behaviors that portray something very different from the inside horrors. Like comedy. There are many, many people battling mental illness (enter stats here) and specifically depression of some form (enter stats here). It’s a huge number! So why are there not more programs in place??

In high school (a long time ago) We learned about the dangers of drugs, sexually transmitted diseases from unprotected sex, nutrition and good personal hygiene. Nothing was ever taught about mental health. Nothing about depression. Not much about emotions or feelings really. In my opinion depression and mental illness should be at the top of the curriculum in middle and high school. In college there should be more in place than the counselor being available. Often the person in the midst of their illness doesn’t have the will or drive to seek out help.

I had a few times in my life where I was depressed. It was horrible. I can’t imagine suffering from chronic depression and trying many things to try to lift it having no success. Some people get better with medications, life style changes, diet and exercise or a combination of these…but some continue to suffer. It takes time and trial and error, which when you already are in the midst of something so debilitating it just feels like one more hurdle to cross and it can be too much. The final straw so to speak.

I’m hoping the death of Robin Williams will lead to more awareness about mental illness. His death shows that your insides can feel very different from what your outsides portray. Hopefully more discussions about and acceptance of mental illness will get the conversations started, leaving the door open for people suffering to open up. Even just a crack might be just enough to give someone hope and save a life.

Don’t stay silent!! Here are some resources of who could help.

24-hour Hotline National Suicide Prevention Help Line: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
~or~
Family doctors
Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
Religious leaders/counselors
Health maintenance organizations
Community mental health centers
Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
University- or medical school-affiliated programs
State hospital outpatient clinics
Social service agencies
Private clinics and facilities
Employee assistance programs
Local medical and/or psychiatric societies

There are many resources out there and if you know someone suffering in silence and have been waiting for them to bring it up or ask for help, they probably won’t. Ask them. Bring it up. Be persistent, they may need you to be strong for them for a while. They may be angry at you for a while. They may cry, scream or hide but they will know someone is there. You may be the light at the end of the tunnel. (*I’m not saying that someone’s depression is anyone else’s responsibility and that you should take it all on by yourself. I’m just saying that the person in the midst of their illness may need a support system to get them started. You could just be the one to get that ball rolling.)

A poem I wrote in high school:

When I look into my eyes,

I see the pain I try to hide.

So much hidden so deep inside,

I must learn to speak my mind.

Who would I talk to,

What would I say,

Who would listen anyway.

If you ever feel like the poem above or know someone who does, find help! No-one needs to feel alone in this.

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Goodbye Love Handles…

August: Fitness Challenge- Oblique’s!!!

Each month I post a 30 day fitness challenge/calendar. These are filed under the side tab mind & body health. If you enter the word challenge or fitness into the search tab they different challenges should pop up. There are calendars for Abs, Arms, Legs and for August Love Handles.

These fitness challenges are just something I like to use to give me something to do mainly while I watch T.V. at night. The exercises require no equipment and during each commercial or sometimes even during my favorite kitchen shows I will do a set of simple exercises (instead of snacking). I don’t always manage to get my days allotment of exercise in, but it’s a goal to make it though a full 30 day set!!

So this months target, Love Handles aka our oblique’s. These side muscles are a hard one to work out unless they are targeted specifically. So, here is a fitness calendar for just that!

A couple of the exercises use weights (if you don’t have any hand weights you can use cans of food or water bottles filled with water as weights) and a medicine ball or basket ball (any ball will work). You can also do these exercises without anything working your way up using weights (or items from your pantry) 😉 A yoga mat or beach towel is nice to lay out as well. These exercises are great for the commercial breaks. It’s easy to stand up and do a couple reps!

Happy Exercising!! ❤

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