One Thing: Connect

Social Anxiety.

The fear of being nervous or uncomfortable in social settings” (webmd.com)

Connecting with other people is so hard for me. And, although I was “diagnosed” with social anxiety. I’ve come to the point where I’m not claiming it. I’m not going to let that define who I am, in the sense that it stops me from living the life I want to live, and it stops me from being the person I was designed to be. It’s not happening.

What is happening, is I’m using that to help me grow. I’m using that to connect with other people who have walked the same or similar path.

I’m thankful for Network Marketing. There’s one company in particular that threw me into Personal Development like no other. If it weren’t for that company, at that time, I wouldn’t have made the progress I’ve made.

I’m thankful for my mom. She helped me say “no” to solutions that were not beneficial for me, and frankly that sent me on a path of creative solutions- teaching me to be resourceful.

I’m thankful for my loving God. For the healing He provides.

Let me set the record straight. Healing comes from many different ways, and healing is different for each person. And for many, if not most, healing is a daily habit- not a once and for all.

Side note: 3 years ago, I made a vision board. One of my areas of growth, that I wanted was deeper friendship. I have a very similar picture to the one in this post pasted on my vision board. 3 years later, I’ve seen how that vision has come to pass in many different ways.

Background:

Let’s just paint the picture, real quick, and get a little vulnerable.

I was the little girl who was afraid of light switches. The kid/teenager who timed it right, on most occasions, that other girls/women didn’t see the stall I walked into in public restrooms. I waited in the public restroom for the other girls and women to finish their business, wash their hands, and walk out of the bathroom before I exited the stall. (I’m sure more people saw me than I realized, but I tried really hard to time it just right). Don’t ask me why I did these things. I have no idea. Haha. I’m sure it relates to the fear of social settings, and a need for control of that fear?

I was the teenager who had panic attacks in places like the fair and IKEA. Sweaty, itchy, swelling hands. Heart racing. Hard to catch your breath, panic attacks.

Got the picture?

It affected me in one way or another on a daily basis.

It wasn’t until I started talking about most of these things with my husband (then boyfriend), that I realized these things are not “normal” to all people. (Yikes).

Side note: Normal is a relative term. I’m thoroughly aware that most people have something they struggle with. Anxiety and social anxiety are common. When the anxiety is high, and affects your daily functional level- is not typical of people functioning in their healthy state.

To this day, I still have a hard time looking people in the eye when I am mad, frustrated, angry, or uncomfortable.

Most of the struggles that I have had due to “social anxiety”, I have overcome or at least improved upon.

I’ve gotten much better in many of these areas. I’ve grown so much, and am proud of that growth. I’ve worked hard and overcome a lot for it.

Yet, connecting with people, is still an area that I have to continually work at, process, and improve on, and it feels hard and uncomfortable most days.

So what has the process been for this?

* I don’t think that I really did much growing in my high school and early college years. I just survived the anxiety and avoided uncomfortable situations to the best of my ability.

* Taking classes in college that pushed my limits, helped.

* After I hit my “rock bottom” with anxiety and depression, I started going to therapy. This helped me a ton.

*Pray. Read my Bible. Pray. Bible study. Pray. Go to Church. Pray. Read more in my bible. Pray. Go to all on the conferences at church available, the classes too. Did I mention pray?

* Shortly and also overlapping this time, I was with a network marketing company that valued personal development. All the time spent in personal development, giving my life to Jesus, classes at church, and discipleship school….my friends and family…all contributed to me moving past the debilitating part of social anxiety- into growth and standing firm into who I was made to be.

* I went through a time where answering phone calls, text messages, and emails, immediately, was too much. So, I answered when I could…and sometimes not at all- mainly because the notifications drove me crazy, so I would open, read, and then forget to respond until days/weeks later…or I would just not remember at all.

* Eventually, I came out of all of that, began enjoying hanging out, calling and texting, again.

* Creating a weekly, and then a daily habit of building relationships with my family and friends. If I’m not careful, I could accidentally go weeks to months, before I see the people closest to me, outside of my husband and kids. I can very easily get stuck in a routine of dropping kids and hubby off at work, being at home, and daily pick ups. So, I make a habit out of connecting with other people, in some way. Making connections and building relationships has easily gone from something I dread (you know the part where you have to make yourself go be around people) to something I thoroughly enjoy.

My process most likely won’t work the same for you as it did for me. All the same, if I did exactly what you did..it won’t work for me.

We were all designed differently.

The most important part, is I took One Thing at a time. Slow steps. When I took on too much, I had set backs and started over again.

The best thing you can do is figure out what One Thing you can do.

Is there anything you can do to connect with other people right now?

Make a list of the areas within relationships that you want to grow. Start with one.

What’s the One Thing you can do? Write it down. Add it to your daily list. Check it off once a week. Once a week will become 2,3,4,5,6x…and then a daily habit. Sometimes, it’ll take months just to make that one thing a daily habit.

Seriously.

Growth doesn’t happen over night. You may not even see it until years later…

It takes a lot of work to get past any struggles related to connecting with people, but once you do….you meet some pretty amazing people.

One Thing: Time with Jesus

Often times, we try to over complicate things. We look around at other people, where there are in life. When we do that, sometimes, we are hard on ourselves. We try to do things that they are currently doing, because if they are doing those things…they must have done those things from the beginning to get where they are. And if they are doing things, then I must need to do those things, too. Right. Right? Wrong.

We were each made uniquely. What works for one person will not work for each one of us individually.

We can get ideas from other people. We can look at what they are doing, study what they are doing, and practice what they are doing. But we can not copy what they are doing, exactly. We have to be true to who we were made to be. We can take ideas from different sources, and combine those together, and then spin them all around into what works for us.

That’s what this is intended to be.

As I share about my “one thing” that was a key to unlock the other things….know that this is just one of many resources.

If you are a person that finds yourself barely able to keep your head above the water…take what you can and practice it. Don’t try to make things happen that aren’t designed to be practiced yet. Some of the information you will find will be to hold on until later. Until you have unlocked other pieces in your life. Some of the information will not be for you, and that’s ok. Some of the information you will need to tweak and make it work for you, and that’s ok, too. Take solace in hope. I’ve been there. It’s hard, and as you keep pushing forward. You will come out the other side. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be other hard things. What it does mean is that you are stretching your perseverance muscle in this area. When you do that, you’ll be able to take what you learn and use that in other areas.

If you find yourself in a similar season, take solace in the fact that you are walking this road with someone beside you. I’m right there with you, in the trenches.

If you’ve been there and done that, gained a ton of wisdom, and this brings back fond or even painful memories. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for the wisdom you pour out into others.

Background:

Growing up…I went through this process…

1. Confusion…Who is Jesus? Who is God? I don’t really understand any of this….during this time, I tried to make myself fit into a box that I wasn’t understanding, tried to do things I hadn’t built a foundation for, and did I say I was confused?

2. Ok…I kinda get it…if you want to be good….you follow God. Is that right? I do good things, I go to heaven…right? (I would later find out that this is not quite how it works…but its where I was at.)

3. Accept Jesus as my savior. I was about 13…and I had no idea what it meant or what I was doing….again, this is where there was still confusion and more of the trying to do things I wasn’t ready for….like reading my bible on my own. I didn’t know where to go what to do, how to do it….but, I also didn’t ask for help. I didn’t let anyone know that I needed help…so, I didn’t allow for a foundation to be built the first time I gave my life to Jesus.

4. Live life. Do things my way. This went on until I was about 27. I had lived my teenage years, ventured into adulthood. Early adulthood looked like, wake up, eat, go to school, go to work, sleep repeat with life events like getting married and having kids, graduating, and starting a career. From 24-27 is when I was having a ton of anxiety and depression. This was my rock bottom. I knew that I couldn’t keep going doing things my way.

5. Give my life to Jesus. For real this time. This time, I surrendered a whole lot more…not completely..because surrender has been a process for me. Honestly, its a lifelong process. Living life, continuing to go to church, allowing seeds to be planted…I understood what was happening this time. But this was the key. This was the one thing that unlocked the other things.

Out of my Daily 5, Time with Jesus is number one, because relationship with Him means that everything else falls into place. Not perfectly, but the way it should be with room for human error.

I had tried all the things first…journaling, reading my bible, worship, going to church, going to retreats and conferences. Those are all great…but without the one thing, its like putting a square peg into a round hole.

It’s ok to practice all of those things. They build a foundation, too. They build up your perseverance in other ways. But, I needed to realize that I needed to focus my attention on one thing. The key that I was missing was having a relationship with Jesus and surrendering my life to HIm.

Once that took place. I put my attention on that. What it looks like to have a relationship with Jesus and tell him day in and day out: Jesus, I can’t do this without you. Until then, there was tension in the other areas. This journaling isn’t working. I don’t know how to read the Bible and find your voice. Feeling awkward worshipping. And not even know what worship is or how to do it.

But once I gave my life to Him, the tension in that area released, and everything started slowly (for my time table- and perfectly on God’s time table) coming together and making sense.

From there, I was able to learn how to Journal with Jesus. Read the Bible looking for God’s voice. Worship. Praying. All the things that make up spending time with Jesus.

Here’s the thing. We get overwhelmed when we need to make it simple. What it boils down to, is pinpoint the tension. If there’s more than one source of tension, pick one that gives you peace. Practice them all here and there, but put your focus on one. When the tension releases, look up. Breathe. Now, tackle that next area.

You know where you are at in your journey. Maybe you have already given your life to Jesus, but praying is your tension. Put your focus on learning how to pray. Whatever your tension is. Learn how to do that one thing. Go to the conferences, the classes at your church, meet with mentors. Sometimes, you even have to put the basics of learning how to spend time with Jesus down for a minute to learn how to deal with giving your junk (you know- anger, sadness, all the hard stuff) to Jesus. Sometimes, that’s the key to go deeper. It’s like a wall- and you have to walk through letting him break that wall down, and that’s your tension. Then, you pick back up to adding those other things into your time with Jesus.

There’s no perfect way. There’s no one right way. This has just been my process, and one resource to you. Another perspective that hopefully breaks it down a little more and makes it simple. Stop trying to do it all, if it isn’t working. Focus on one thing at a time.

“One Thing” Let’s set the background…

Let me set the background for you on the 8 topics that I chose for this “One Thing” series…..

Over the past 10 years, I’ve gone from living life with no passion, purpose, or reason to hitting what I call my “Rock Bottom” period, to coming out the other side, to beginning to thrive. In all of these areas, I have great passion. In all of these areas, I have hit a stage of tension, realizing that what I’m looking for is growth in that particular area. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I would say that I have gained some wisdom.

As I share tips and tricks, I have three groups of people in mind.

Group 1- You are in a season of “Rock Bottom”. You look around and you can barely breathe, your head is barely above water…and you don’t see a way out. Friend. I want you to know, that you are not alone. This season does not last forever. And you can slowly climb out of it, and you don’t have to do it alone. You can do it with loving people surrounding you. There are actions you will have to make. Do. Not. Give. Up. Keep going.

My prayer is that by sharing these following posts, that they can be one of many resources to you. Resources that will act like a hand reaching out and pulling you up. We can not get out of these situations alone. Use these posts as one starting place to begin climbing UP. You will likely have many starting places. View these posts as hope. Hope that this season will not be forever. You will see that other people have been where you are, and they go before you-sharing how they got to where they are now.

Group 2- You are right where I currently am sitting. You are in the season of beginning to thrive. You were in a dark place. The fog has cleared. You are beginning to see how the things you have been hoping and praying for are slowly coming together. You’ve worked through a lot of stuff. You still have a lot of growth to do (little secret…you have a lot of growth to do at every season of life), and you are likely no longer beating yourself up over every.little.thing.

My prayer is that by sharing these following posts, you will know that you are not in this season alone. You have someone walking in this current season with you.

Group 3- You are in a season of thriving, in a TON of areas in your life. It is unlikely that you will cross this page. And if you do, that moment will be incredibly humbling. You have figured out things that most of us are still trying to figure out. You have incredible wisdom, and you got there by hustling, working smart, and letting other people pour into you. Now, you are pouring into other people. You know that in reality, every stage and season of life you have to dig deep, learn, fail, and re-learn. You have a growth mindset.

My prayer is that you keep pouring. You go before us, and we are learning. As we learn, we are also pouring into others. Your platform is bringing light to those who need it. It has a greater impact than you imagine.

The 8 topics that follow are my “Daily 5” and 3 other topics I am currently working on creating healthy habits for growth.

* Time with Jesus

* Cleaning and Organization

* Health and Wellness

* Education of my interests

* Self-development

* Exercise

* Connecting

If you’d like to learn more about creating your daily 5- follow John Maxwell’s website. He has a book that addresses this concept.

**This is not an ad, I do not get compensation from sharing John Maxwell’s website. He is one of many resources I’ve had the opportunity to learn from.

The Why Behind the Writing

Hi! My name is Jessica, and I am Rooted Mama!!

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed some new faces around here. . .so, I thought I’d introduce myself.

My family and I travel full-time. We homeschool while on the road, and we work remotely. And sometimes, we work camp!!

I started writing years ago, because I needed an outlet. Writing is therapeutic for me. I internalize my thoughts over and over again. Which, cranks up my anxiety.

SO, I started writing as a way to get those thoughts out of my head. To process. To verbalize all that internal thinking.

I’ve found that I love writing about a whole host of topics: anxiety/depression/mental health, marriage, parenting, education and homeschool, health and wellness, my walk with Jesus. . .and I LOVE sharing my passion of photography.

So, welcome AND thank you for following along this journey!! I’m humbled that you choose to take the time out of your day to read and join along!

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 7

Today, has been pretty chill.

Last night…I didn’t go to sleep until 1:30 am.

So, I was anticipating today being a very hard day.

But, it wasn’t as rough as I’d expected it to be.

Self-care today was FaceTiming with a friend.

We talked for two hours, just about all different things…and it was just what I needed.

Today made me realize, before the pandemic, I was doing little things throughout the day to take care of myself.

And then, as we have progressed through this, and transitioned as a family to our new normal at home…I was taking less time for myself. Which started creating more anxiety in me, than what I’d been having the previous month.

I’m so thankful I decided to do this challenge to help me sort through why my anxiety was increasing in June. I’m thankful that it’s giving me a source to process, and a reservoir to draw from.

Self-care is sooo important, y’all. And so is community!!

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 3

I didn’t fall asleep until after 2 am this morning…so, self-care today, looked like sleeping until 10 am.

Thankfully, my hubby works completely from home, now. Otherwise, that wouldn’t have been possible.

Over the years, I’ve learned that making sure I get enough sleep is sooo important.

So, in previous seasons, I have napped when the kids were napping.

Or, when my hubby has gotten home from work.

It makes for a weird schedule, sometimes…but, I’d rather have a weird schedule, every now and then- and be able to show up for my hubby, kids, family, and friends….than be frazzled and burnt out.

Making sure I have enough sleep also helps me be able to cope with anxiety, better.

I’m learning that I need to be in tune with each day, to know what I need each day to care for myself.

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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.