Breathe

Anxiety and depression. The darkness that these two are can be hard to explain to someone who hasn’t lived them on a daily basis.

They over take your life and your mind.

They can be…

-what it looks like to take every ounce of energy- just to get out of bed.

-your body constantly trembling from the inside, out.

-every noise and touch being over stimulating.

-negative thoughts in and out, controlling your mind. All. Day.

-holding onto the past, and fear of the future.

If you are reading this right now, and you are in that place. Like, deep, dark, in that place. I want you to know that there is hope. With help and tools, you can overcome. You can see the light again, or even for the first time.

Are you living life minute by minute? Wake up, shower, eat, go to work, eat supper, sleep. Repeat?

Many people I know have dealt with this. I have dealt with this. So, don’t give up- ok? Keep pushing through. Day by day. Do what you can, and do your best.

If you are in over your head. Like, there is no hope left. Get help. Tell a trusted friend, family member, co-worker, mentor.

Then, seek help from someone who is trained.

Because, although telling that friend is a great relief for you…the other side of that is that now they may be worried about you. And it is not their job, no matter how good of a friend they are, to make you better or to fix you. They can be a good friend, and not know how to help you. They can sit with you, and tell you how much it sucks….

But making things better- that’s up to you. You have to do that. You have to be able to choose to make steps towards feeling better. You have to find the help-again, from someone who is trained. And you can! And it does get better!! I’m here to tell you!

And in this process….

Look for ways to find life.

What do you love to do?

What brings you joy?

You might even ask: What do people do for fun? What do people do to fill themselves up? And the next thought might come: I don’t even remember what fun looks like, anymore.

Here’s what you do. Are you ready?

Find a quiet place. You can close your eyes. Or just sit in silence. Maybe you have some worship music playing ever so quietly in the background. Take some deep breaths to calm yourself. When your mind starts to calm…..and thoughts start to come back into your mind…no, not that one..that one was negative..push it away. Rebuke it.

There it is. That one. Maybe you were thinking….”it’d be nice if I could just _________ right now”. Was it take a shower? Go on a walk? Read a book?

Now. Go do that one thing. Are you at work? That’s ok. Take a break, for a min. Obviously, you don’t need to take advantage of your employer. Be respectful in how you go about taking your break. But, if you’re feeling like you need to be able to breathe. Listen to your body. It’s telling you something. It’s telling you that you need something more, or less, than what you’re putting yourself through right now.

And above all else, know that you are loved by someone that can love you like no one else can.

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

I want to be very clear- I’m not a mental health professional.

I am; however, someone who has continually worked through anxiety and depression.

Because of my journey with anxiety and depression, I’m a big believer in sharing experiences. I believe that sharing experiences can be a source of healing to the person “going through it”. In my opinion, it can help to hear stories from those who have gone before you. I know, because it’s one of the things that helped me on my journey.

One of the many sayings I’ve heard over and over was: I wish I knew, then, that other people went through x,y,z.

Thankfully, talking about Mental Health is becoming more and more accepted.

This month, I’d like to share and re-share my journey.

I’d love to share resources.

I’d love to share hope.

If you or someone you know battles with Mental Health, know that you are loved. You are not alone.

Please visit https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/ if you need resources.

The Pain You’re Feeling

11 years ago, this girl had NO IDEA that the pain she was going to walk through over the next few months and years….it would be hard. It would be dark. It would affect her relationship with her fiancé. It would affect her future pregnancies. It would take time to heal herself, and her future marriage.

If you have lost a baby- no matter how long you knew you were pregnant… your pain is real. I have no words for the hurt and pain you are feeling, because although I have been there…your story is different than mine.

If you’ve been feeling the hurt and the pain for days, weeks, months, years…yes, even after you’ve welcomed other children into the world…know that you are not alone.

I can’t promise anything to you. I can’t promise you a rainbow baby. I can’t promise the hurt will never go away. I can’t promise that around certain dates your mood won’t be affected.

But there is one who is a promise keeper. And it may not feel like it now, but He is sitting with you through your pain.

And if you allow it…the pain you are going through can allow you to grow, heal, and see that the days that were associated with deep grief and hurt…new days come and they can be associated with joy, love, and peace.

Resource: Podcast

I’ve taken more time than I wanted to start sharing resources. . .But, I’ve wanted to make sure and listen to, read, and research before sharing.

Because podcasts are sooo easy to listen to, this is where I’ve started!!

Some time ago, I asked some friends for some recommendations on resources to share for anxiety, depression, and motherhood.

And they shared some real gems.

These are the two I’ve started listening to:

Untangle:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/untangle/id1073460738?i=1000360413196

This podcast is a great resource, when it comes to mental health. The episodes in this podcast talk about the science of meditation and the benefits it has on our bodies.

Natal:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/natal/id1508013775?i=1000479392069

This podcast tells stories of black women and their experiences of pregnancy. It is super informative. I’ve learned so much.

What I love about these two podcasts, are that they share stories.

I firmly believe that sharing our stories not only brings us healing, it brings hope and healing to others who are experiencing things we have walked through.

I hope that you will enjoy these podcasts.

Self-Care: Days 10-18

Last week was super busy. In some good ways. . .and in some ways hard.

My husband and I had a lot of work and projects that overlapped. With all 5 of us being home, makes for tricky scheduling. We learned a lot about taking turns to get work done.

I was so thankful I’d already had a good week of concentrated self-care.

There was a natural transition into automatically doing self-care throughout the day.

I finished my read and finished my first fiction book. I was so proud of this, because I haven’t read fiction in such a long time. There was a sense of accomplishment. I FINISHED something.

I’ve learned that when anxiety is high, fear stops me from doing things. Most of the time, action helps me to overcome that fear. Completing a task helps me overcome that fear. Even the simplest of tasks.

Self-care I’ve been doing this past week:

* Brushing my teeth

* Taking a shower

* Reading

* Listening to podcasts

* Playing worship music

* Time with Jesus

* Joining a virtual retreat with other moms- I didn’t get to spend the amount of time I wanted to this week to dive in deep. So, I’m looking forward to the next one!!

Some important takeaways from this week:

*Some of these self-care “activities” are not always self-care. If I’m doing good, brushing my teeth and taking a shower are just every day routine. But, on days when I’m not feeling it, things like brushing my teeth, taking a shower, and putting on a little make-up makes a world of difference.

* It’s super important for my kids and my husband to have self-care as well.

* Self-care resources are important and need to be shared!!

So, going forward in this 40 day self-care challenge, I’m going to start sharing resources that have been shared with me! I hope they will be helpful to you all!!

Self-care day 8 and 9

We spent a portion of this weekend catching up on cleaning.

I don’t know about anyone else…but, this is a form of self-care for me. Having everything clean and tidied up clears my brain and allows me to relax.

When things are cluttered, I feel anxious. My thoughts can’t stop racing on all the things that need to get done…

But…when everything is clean…I feel more peaceful. I feel more calm. I feel like I can operate from a place of peace and calm. I have found that my outer environment deeply affects my inner environment. And, often times what’s going on in my outer environment can be a reflection of what’s going on, on the inside and vice verse.

I also started reading book this weekend. I’ve loved taking moments here in there to a) get lost in a story, and b) set an example for my kids.

Right now, we have a “Summer Rules” paper up on the fridge. My kids have a list of things they have to do, before they can have tablet or tv time.

Some of them are self-care. Some of them are prepping us to get into our school season. One of the rules is reading for 20 minutes. Kids, they pay attention to what we are doing, as adults. Are we holding ourselves to the same standards?! Are we making ourselves have some self-care, are we making ourselves read and write everyday? Are we spending time cleaning and taking care of our environment?

It’s a lot easier to do what we say, when our actions and our words match up.

So, I’m thankful for creating these habits of self-care, so that I can have the energy to do the things I say my kids should be doing.

Self-care Day 6

Today has had some rough parts, more than I anticipated. But, I felt like, for the most part, what the kids and I are working on I’m thankful for my workout last night! I felt like I had more energy today, and am looking forward to my workout tonight.

I’m also excited, because I got a new book that I’m excited to read! It’s my first fiction book in a suuuper long time!!

Today, self-care looked like running errands.

For me, sometimes I can let things that overwhelm me, allow me to shut down. But, I’ve learned that when I take actions steps, that helps me to overcome and draw out of that “shut down” mode.

Day 5

Yesterday, was a pretty good day.

There were some times where I could feel myself tensing up and getting anxious. But, I feel like the work I’ve been putting in for self-care is paying off.

Something I have been doing, for myself and with the kids, is when our response isn’t as caring as it could be…we do a “start over”. We talk through responses that could have been better. Decide which one we want to go with, and replay the scenario.

Without self-care… I honestly wouldn’t have the energy or capacity that it takes to put effort in this training for our family. It takes a lot of energy to coach myself and the kids through this. Especially, when starting out, they throw full on fits to have to go back and relearn how to communicate.

Sometimes, we spend better parts of the day working on this…when it is reallly needed. Sometimes, we only have to work through this once in a day or so…

Self-care, yesterday, looked like taking it easy and not pushing myself too far.

And, by the end of the day, I realized I needed a little bit more than taking it easy.

All week, I’ve been making excuses for myself for why I cannot get into an at homework out on my TV.

And last night…I decided enough was enough.

I got the app set up, and I did a 30 minute work out.

Ya’ll…this workout was already SUPER modified…and I still needed to modify on a couple of the workouts.

In the past, I would’ve beaten myself up over this.

Yesterday, I was able to acknowledge it, know that my body is weak right now, process through…and end up knowing that it’s ok! It’s ok that my body is weak right now..I haven’t been taking care of it.

And that’s part of what self-care is about. It’s about giving yourself what you need, and loving yourself in the process.

Self-Care Day 2

Today, we were mostly inside. (It still gets hot super quick in the day-and also…we are just around a lot of people, currently…so…social distancing!)

One trigger for me lately has been all of the asking “Can I watch a movie” “Can I be on my tablet?” “I don’t wanna _______.”

A lot of days, I let my obstacles get the best of me…

Well, I can’t ______, because of _____.

1. Am I really going to allow ________ to get in my way?! Really??

2. Am I really about to teach my kids to make excuses for why not to do something that is going to be helpful? Really??

So, today, while my husband and the kids were outside for a few minutes…I wrote out 3 pieces of paper that I feel like will help our house run smoother, and will give clear expectations on when the kids can have their tablet and TV time.

This is self- care for me…because, I need a flexible-structure. My kids need a flexible-structure. Also, too rigid of a schedule just doesn’t work for me. I used to be more rigid when I had one kid, but with each kid…too much structure just stresses me out…I don’t know why..it is the way it is.

So, flexible on the timing, but knowing x,y, and z will happen in a day. This is how we work best.

This structure helps with my kids knowing that when they complete x, y, and z…then, they will get to ______.

It helps them to feel like what they want, or how the day will go is not this obscure scene of events.

It lowers the amount of tantrums in a day.

And in return, lowers every one’s stress levels throughout the day.

Our flexible-structure creates self-care all around.

Has the day been perfect?! Far from it…

But, this really does create an atmosphere of peace, calm, and being able to work through problems in a healthy way throughout the day.

Self-Care Day 1

Today, we are moving from Eufaula, Oklahoma to Branson, Mo. We break up our long trips into 3-4 travel days. Driving 3-6 hours in a truck with three kids…can be hard. Today, my self care is to breathe through the hard parts.

Kids fighting and yelling?! Take a deep breath in, and let it out.

Kids loud, laughing, and having fun?! (This is hard because loud in general makes me feel anxious and tense) Take a deep breath in and out, and remind myself to enjoy their joy.

One kid whining and complaining about something that he doesn’t want to help with?! Take a deep breath, and teach him that our family unit helps each other.

Breathe in, breathe out.

I’m thankful my watch as a “relax” setting. You take two minutes to breathe in and breathe out, and it vibrates to prompt you for each inhale and exhale.

Now that I’m thinking about it, it might be helpful for my kiddos to use, too!!

This was super helpful during the day….Now, I need to extend practicing taking deep breaths at night…when my kids are still not asleep at 9 pm, asking for this, wanting that, and getting out of their bed for the 100th time…and I just.need.a.little.peace.