Mental Health Monday: September Series Starter

September is not just my birth month, it’s also mental health awareness month. I will be sharing some tidbits each Monday this month, a little different each week. The conversation around mental health is still very touchy and vague, and the only time we still talk about mental health is when someone famous dies.

Not even when a family member dies from mental health, or had mental health issues, but when someone who we don’t really know dies, and how sad is that? I want to help change that. I know I’m only one person, but I believe in the butterfly effect, and if I connect with one person, one time, positively, I’ve done my job.

I was thinking, the best way to get into this mini-series about mental health was to share my personal struggles with mental health. Not to boast, or sound mopey, but to share that even I, someone you may only know through a screen (whether it’s your phone, tablet, or computer), deals with mental illness.

To get started, let’s take a journey into my childhood a bit. I am a statistic, a child of divorce. I was young enough when it happened, that I don’t really recall a life with both parents in the home. I was raised by my mom, and we moved from where I was born, PA, to California, near her side of the family, a few years after the formal divorce ended. This is where I feel some of who I am started.

2,600 miles does a lot to anyone, especially a child who is forming friendships and who they are. Looking back, moving is where I noticed I was more introverted, and didn’t handle meeting new people that well. I managed like any usual kid would, but felt outcasted, and would continue that way through my education. How much I let it bug me, is what would change.

Social anxiety and depression started their way into my life from there, up until recently. Regular anxiety didn’t really happen for me until about middle school, where I started having panic attacks and had some trouble getting to sleep.

At this time in my life, my dad was more in my life, and at 16 I moved back to PA, to live with him, and the step family that he had created a few years prior. This is where the depression became more of a thing in my life.

Since my father is a psychologist, he saw the signs and wanted me to seek counseling, and even see if medication would help. The first time that I took an anti-anxiety pill, I passed out for like 10 or 11 hours. That was the first time I had slept easy in years.

I couldn’t put it into words then, but now, I can see a slight tendency to addictive personality. Grant it, you’re never supposed to self-diagnose, but hey, young and stupid makes you old and wise, right?!

From there, I noticed that the anti-depressant medication wasn’t working for me, and so I at some point stopped taking it. I didn’t want to really be the one to rely on medication, and if the anti-anxiety was working but the anti-depressant wasn’t, that was a sign.

Now, I’ve been living “on my own” for roughly 5 years, and stopped the anti-anxiety medication around the same time. There are definitely days where I wish I had it, because it does help, when you’re jittery and anxious and no self-coping mechanism is working.

I will say that taking the medication mid full blown panic attack doesn’t exactly help, since you’re already in the midst of it, but it helps on the days where you feel it, and can’t get it to calm down.

I actually had one of those days last week, for a few days. It started while folding laundry, and it took everything I had in me to breathe through it and focus on folding my laundry and getting home (our apartment doesn’t have laundry services on site). That was the worst amount of anxiety I’ve had in good while.

For me, now, other than missing the medication for days like I had last week, my mental health has gotten better for the most part. I’m still fighting with being my own worst critic and nit-picking with my own flaws, but correcting myself, and even if it’s a true flaw that needs worked on, I try to make a comment to myself of something good I’ve done lately, or something overall that is good about me.

Yes, working on your thought patterns is a do-able thing. No it will not cure you. It will help you, and help you to be less hard on yourself in the midst of a breakdown of any size.

The spoon theory is also one of my older-time favorite things to remind myself of. The theory focuses on physical health and illness, but your mental state can cripple what you can do physically. Not only do you have physical spoons each day, but you also have mental spoons. You can only pick up so much with each one, and you can only have so many, until you have to set them down and wash them, to be able to use them again.

I’ve never really had too bad of mental illness, but it’s there, for sure.So yes, even a shrink’s kid suffers from mental illness.

Do you want to know how I cope when my head tries to get in the way? Let me know in the comments, please!

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Plan With Me: September 2018

So this is my BIRTH MONTH!!! I’m playing it super chill this year, since summer was so packed full of events, and I did a lot last year for my birthday. I was planning on some events, but they’ve fallen through, sadly. Next year though. There’s next year, and next year will be a better year (hint: I’ll be worth a US quarter! I know I’m worth so much more than that, but it’s a cute joke!).

For this month, I have more content planned for you guys, and this will be more of a month for relaxing, taking long weekends, and enjoying alone time, and time with those I care about the most. Let’s get to planning, shall we?

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I usually start with my whiteboard, even though I should start with my Artist of Life Workbook review of the previous month. Wiping it clean allows me to have a clean slate of what will be in front of me, so I can just keep the past, well, the past. I set the month up numerically, then go into the review of the previous month, for what I didn’t finish.

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On the whiteboard, I note any plans, and for this month, it’s just my birthday and a live chat that I have in my Artist of Life Mastermind group, as you can see. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, and other times, it’s more complicated like June was.From there, I can easily see what is happening, and what days are where.

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Since it’s an easy glance, I go from there, into either my notebook, like this month, or into a digital note, usually on my phone, to plan out what blog posts I want to do that month. Then from the ideas, I set the date I want them to be posted on.

For this month, since I had things written out on paper, and I wrote down some notes, I took the themes of the blog posts, and put them on a sticky to-do note pad, and on the far side I write the tentative days I wanted to post them on.

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Past this, I don’t have much plans for the month, other than tentative plans of relaxing, and birthday dinner(s), depending if I feel like doing a solo date, and one with my dad, and if my guy and I go out.

I also planned out my meals for the month, since I’m doing a cleaning out of our cupboards this month. It’ll help me with some of the food days, plus clean out the stock we have, and I don’t feel bad for wasting it, or donating it.

I know there’s people who could use the help, and I’ve been there before (ironically, there’s a few canned goods that are left over from my dad’s raid of his pantry, since he’s doing a Keto meets low sodium diet).

I used to take a big monthly wall calendar to meal plan, but I noticed that I would forget what I was meal planning for the week, when I’d be shopping, and wonder why I would need one random ingredient, or something of the like, and dumb me would just not get it.

Now that I’ve gone digital, I can look at the meal plans on the go, and if I can’t recall why I need something, or if I need to tweak something, I can see what needs it, more on the fly. I love being frugal and prepared, and it’s so much easier. Plus, with trying to be more conscious of what I use, and why (really, the Konmari mentality, of if it truly brings me joy, and adds value to my life), I feel better by using what I already have.

What do you do to plan your month? Do you meal plan for the month, or by the week, if at all? I’d love to know your answers, truly!

Talk Tuesday: Budgeting & Planning

I want to start off by doing a little gloat/self plugging. I now have a Facebook page for this blog! There, I’ll be asking what type of topics I should talk about, sharing my latest posts and of those I like of other bloggers, and brief updates that don’t need their whole post about. I would totally appreciate it if you went over there and hit that like button. Go here.

Now, grab yourself a glass of champagne or cup of coffee, open up your budget (or just a sheets document if you’re new).

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To be completely transparent, I’ve played around with how I budget, and I’m great at planning but can be lazy on the execution. I seriously need to work on my self discipline in those moments, and as I’m learning what I like to work with (and not like working with other things), I want to become better overall with budgeting.

Obviously, this isn’t just to share my perfect solution to budgeting, but it’s sharing what I’ve done and liked or not liked, and sharing my growth with ya’ll, and hopefully you can get something out of it for yourself!

So I’m going to be sharing my set up for September, since August is near over, and I’m kind of fond of September (it’s my birthday month).

My best advice to get motivated to budget towards the end of the month for the next (it’s okay if it’s the first week of the month you’re budgeting for too! I’ve done that a handful of times), is to watch budgeting videos on YouTube, or finding podcasts as well. Learning how to budget, and learning about all the ways you can budget is a great motivator for me. Since I’m still in the learning phase, I enjoy this, and taking what I like into the future, and discarding what doesn’t vibe with me.

I know a lot of people like Dave Ramsay’s method (book, workbook extended book), and if that works for you, awesome! I’ve never got into his method, but I know some of the basics, and it seems like a good, although broad, model. The basics of save a base $1,000, then get out of debt (and keeping that $1,000 in savings), then work on the emergency funds for 3-6-12 months of living, is good.

Living off of just cash though? You could do it, and get prepaid cards for internet transactions, but I don’t think that’s practical. Maybe during that time period, while you’re trying to fix your debts and save, while learning how to budget hard core. But long term, in my eyes, at least post the habit forming years, I don’t see it as a great option for the way society is heading.

To get you into the *lazy way* of learning how to budget, and what you should focus on, and what you may be doing wrong, I turn to The Financial Diet channel on YouTube. I’m not sponsored here (but….I wouldn’t mind future collabs…putting that good vibes out there).

They have shorter videos on the basics, and some kind of longer videos going more in depth on some stuff. If you have the attention span to watch people like Phillip DeFranco, you can do TFD. (For Youtube, I’m not sponsored, at least for now. I’ll let you know when I am! How could I not?!). Anyway, TFD even has a book! I should add it to my reading list.

If you want more of my favorites for budgeting, when it comes to channels, books, and digital or physical planners, let me know! I have so many things to offer and you’d be here all day trying to sort through what I’d offer. I’ll do a mini series even on it, so it’s more palatable!

So for September, this is what I have on my plate for bills:

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This month, I’m challanging myself to $75 a week on groceries. I did this earlier this year, in May, right before my trip to CA. Well, the like. It’s a take on Jordan Page’s Shelftember. Check out her Q&A on her YouTube channel. I’m going to tweak it a bit, as we don’t have the greatest stockpile in our cupboards and what room we have in our freezer and 2 small fridges.

This will help on dwindling on our stock, so that nothing expires, and I can stock up on the (hopeful) big haul in late November/early December that my store offers each year. Hopefully it’ll stay. Once that stops, I’ll have to change my strategy. I’ll easily share that process when it comes, for sure!

This will also help me in my planning for the winter months anyway, so I can plan what foods I want/what’s on sale/coupon for winter foods, for warmer hearty meals, and if the power goes out or if we’re stuck in from a winter storm.

I always leave the due date list open, until I know when things are due by. Sometimes I’ll approximate the date. Our electric water, and internet bills are due around the same time each month, so I put those approximate dates in until I get the bill due date. Things like groceries and laundry are a “at pay basis”.

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From budgeting, I make a template in a Docs page (use a Word Document too…I use Google for everything, so that first screenshot was a Google Sheets page, and this one is a Google Doc, with a table added, in a 7 across by 7 down, to cover all days of the month, plus a row to put Sunday through Saturday as a “header”).

I added in what days I was doing laundry (we don’t have laundry services on site, so I go and do laundry every other week, so sometimes I’m doing laundry three times a month. Those days I treat as a “fast food” day. We don’t eat out more than 3-4 times a month, 2-3 for laundry days, and once when we get gas in our car.

From there, I usually try to work in what we have on hand (which is usually very loosely, to be quite honest, hence this shelftember is a great challange), and see what I can come up with for meals. This month, I’m going to be diving deeper into using more of the canned goods we have, and using them up. and truly saving money as well as making what we have (since having canned goods and never using some doesn’t help any at all).

Meal planning is what I’ve played around with the most, from just making a list in my phone, to using a monthly wall calendar, to doing this style. Next year, I want to take a whiteboard and write the weekly down on it, and post it on the fridge where we have our current wall calendar.

I want to see if that’ll help any, so I don’t always have to weasel my way through my Google Drive to get to the monthly food outlook. For the record, yes I’m organized on that (folders within folders within folders type).

For “real” meal planning, I camp out in our kitchen/dining room and see what we have, and think of meals. Sometimes I turn to Pinterest and my Trello list of different foods (I have a whole board, sorted into quick meals, longer meals, crock pot meals, winter meals, among other lists). For this month, I’m getting back into seeing what cupons I can print off or have sent to my email, that will help drive down my costs. Here’s what I came up with for this month:

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This is most of my planning. From making the monthly budget, adding due dates, and making a meal plan, I just insert into a template of what needs paid each pay period, and write a grocery list for the upcoming week, so that come Monday morning, I can shop.

This is what I’ve found to work the best for me, at least so far. Some people mark down in their calendar when things are due, but I just see when the payday is, and see what’s due, then make payments set for that day.

How do you budget? If you’re new, and haven’t found a perfect/good planning outlook, what have you tried and liked so far?

Vacation Throwback: Summer of ’18 in CA

*Cue Roaring 20’s and Old Fashioned by Panic! at the Disco in the background, on repeat* (meaning at least listen to the songs once, PLZ, then just listen to the rest of the album…yes I may be too much of a fan)

DISCLAIMER: All photos are mine, even the header.

This was the vacation I needed, and in the same note of I wanted it, I didn’t know I NEEDED so badly. I truly grew so much, learned so much, and explored so much, I can only hope to get some of it across through some of my social media posts, my pictures, and through posts like this.

I had 2 weeks, with flights, that was fairly busy, out in CA. I shared right before, my planning of it, go check it out! This is my aftermath vomit post. Yes, it took too long, sorry guys. Mind my last post on some reasoning (I know, no excuses! I hate it…I just was still recovering and couldn’t deal for some reason(s)…but here I am, getting back on the vibe).

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The first major thing I got to do, which was the reasoning for the whole vacation out to California anyway, was Yosemite. I enjoyed the time up, with, and back down, with my mom and her parents. It was 4 total days, 2 full days in the park, the last day in the middle of the park, and down the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The travel through the park, and down the Sierra Nevada’s, I’m so grateful I had the intuition and confidence to say what I would think would create some great memories and photography shots, to my grandpa (who asked me personally about how we should make our way back down to where they live).

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Yosemite couldn’t have been any more enjoyable on my end, especially as a first time visitor, with experienced visitors. When my grandma told me that my grandpa fell in love with waterfalls from their first visit at Yosemite, I can truly see why. Seeing it for myself, and seeing my grandpa, in his mid 80’s be in his element, I see it.

For some backstory: my grandpa and my dad are both photography nerds. Keep in mind, it’s my mom’s dad here, so it’s not a dad and son thing here. My late grandfather is very an “in the moment” guy, and I’ve appreciated that the more I’ve aged (which took a toll on me during this trip…the “in the moment” that Ekhart Tolle shares, especially in his book of “The Power of Now”, which has shaped me more than anything, since I read it).

I can see myself in all of them, and most so I felt that during this trip. This was my first “fun” trip since before my late grandfather passed. I had a memorable time when visiting him prior to his passing, but knowing that he was going to die is a different trip. If you’ve lost someone close, and had a weekend even with them, prior to their passing, I’m sure you know the similar feeling of what I experienced.

Since my grandfather’s passing, I’ve grown so much as a person, and even more so in the last 2 years, because I know that’s what he’d want (outside of getting over his passing). Going to Yosemite refreshed my love of nature, especially around water (lakes, waterfalls, rivers, storms), as well as photography, and being in the moment.

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Pretty much three weeks later, I’m still in shock of what I saw, and the fact that it’s now behind me. Let alone the fact that I still get mesmerized by my raw pictures that I got. I hated nearly all the pictures I was in, but the pictures I got were beyond anything.

They truly didn’t need editing. I went through about 400 pictures, and I didn’t want to edit the ones I kept. It took me forever to just “man up” and realize that I knew I didn’t have to (and didn’t want to) edit my pictures from Yosemite.

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Past Yosemite, it was some down time, a lunch with my mom, a family dinner, then to VidCon and Disneyland on my last day. This is where I grew the most. I noticed how far I had come at that point, as a person, as well as an adult. A lot can happen from 18 to 23.

Some unfortunate things happened on some plans for VidCon, and it turned into a long solo weekend. The universe knew better than I did. I broke down one night even, but I needed to experience a breakdown totally alone to become stronger.

I knew that even during the breakdown. I’m a better person from that, and because of the whole experience of the solo “weekend” if you want to call it that.

I was reminded of my strength as a person, of the fact that I’m capable of doing things on my own, and that nothing is ever as bad as what your mind tells you it is (via whatever chemical imbalances you may have, whether too much or too little of something). Something I was taught in mentor/leadership camp, I was reminded of recently: You and your body can endure so much more than you think. It’s convincing your mind of it that’s the issue.

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Vidcon was nice but isn’t worth the hype. I can’t speak for what it was (this was the first year under a new company), and although it was super interesting and neat to attend, the hype isn’t there. Which to me, makes sense. Social media and people in general hype things up so much it’s not even funny.

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VidCon made the *big* channels I tune into more personified, which is what I think is the original point of why VidCon was created. It’s sad that we need a conference to personify people that talk into a camera. But in the same way, YouTube creators are doing something the mainstream actors and news anchors aren’t: truly interacting with those who have made them who they are.

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My last big thing on this vacation was Disneyland. This was originally my only solo thing during this trip. The day there was what I needed to spark the kid in me again. I indulged in the fast pass system, and since I went alone, I only had to worry about what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and it was a great experience doing something like that alone. I talked with some pretty cool people while in the ride lines, and had a blast.

I went on about 12-15 rides, ate some dole whip to cool down, and even went up and down the Tarzan tree house, for nostalgic reasons. I had a perfect day there, and even got my first set of ears! I have them hanging on my wall now.

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This trip reminded me of who I am, and how strong I’ve become in myself, especially over the last handful of years. I am so grateful for this experience, and am so glad of the memories.

Plan With Me: 2 Week Trip to CA

So later today, I’m starting a 2 week trip to California. And it’s going to be a busy one at that as well! I know a lot of people can’t just take a 2 week trip, and until the last few years, I was in that same boat.

This trip started last fall, and I want to share how I planned this, and share how busy I’ll be! This 2 week trip will bring so much inspiration and content. It will also give me a break from the mundane life that I’ve been living the last 5 years since I’ve started working for the company that I do.

Audio Book Review: Wisdom of Sundays

I’ve never really gotten into Oprah, but I know she’s so influential, and love her vibe, for what I’ve listened, heard, and saw of her. Awhile back, Aileen from Lavendaire said that she had listened to the audio book of Oprah’s Wisdom of Sundays, taken from her series on her network.

I chose my first of two audiable credits I had, to listen to Wisdom of Sundays as well. It was no better time to listen to this, right before my trip to California. I’ll be sharing more on how I planned that on Monday! Anyway, I truly suggest, as a fan or not so much fan, to go listen to these conversations she shares in this audio book.

Truly, this book is something that was perfectly placed into my life, and made it’s way into my life, at no better of a time.

Oprah’s best life style shines through this whole book, which really isn’t a book, but filled with best life tips, tricks, and “Ah-ha!” moments we should all experience. I would love to get into watching or listening to more of the Super Soul Sunday conversations because of this book.

Oprah shares her conversations with people like Gary Zukav, my next re-read author (which I next to never re-read) Ekhart Tolle, and one of the last ones on her list, Daniel Pink. I love the idea that that conversation brought: every great person/influencer has a sentence or catch that we remember them for.

Throughout this book, every time that Oprah talks about gratitude and her gratitude journal, I keep telling myself that I need to get back into doing my daily gratitude. I was doing so well, doing 5 a day, and kind of lost track of it. This is a habit that I wanted to cultivate this year, and I’m not doing it as much as I should.

Also, while listening to this whole book, over the course of many days, I am brought back to mindfulness and self awareness. When I say I needed this book, at this exact point in my life, I mean it. The mindfulness brought to light in the conversation of John Kabat-Zin was the start of everything I needed in this book. When he says “When you’re making pasta, and stirring the sauce, JUST STIR THE SAUCE”

The next conversation that hit me was the one with Reverand Bacon (I think that’s his name…chapter 4 of the audio book…listed as chapter 5 because of the intro being a “chapter”, for reference).

Their take on vibrations, and how what you do, say, and surround yourself with, creates your vibration and energy. When you tweak or mess with one (or when one messes with you), the others are affected. It makes sense on why I have a lot of the desires that I do, wanting to branch out and move on, in terms of my work, let alone who I want to keep around me.

I’ve been on the journey of filtering out or limiting the energies that don’t vibe with mine, either as they come, or the ones that have been around too long and need to go. Frankly, most of that has been dealt with, so it’s just a “deal with it as it arises” sort of thing.

My next “Ah-ha” moment came just a little over a chapter later in the listen. Commentary on the idea of “the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, but justice”. What justice are you doing for yourself? With that

As I listened to Oprah’s conversation with Elie Wisel at the end of her book, the first minute broke my heart. Any survivor of that type of horror brings my feels out, and knowing that his heartbreak of his sister dying during the Nazi reign makes me feel the sad feels. Anything like that, sad feels doesn’t even cut it for my pain, and I didn’t even loose someone from those wars.

Wiesel had written about 50 books, and he is best noted for saying “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference”, which is remarkable. Looking through his list of books is what I HAVE to do over the next while, and add to my ever-growing list of books to read.

He passed away just under 2 years ago, and may his soul truly rest easy.

This audio book is a MUST READ/LISTEN. I grasp why those who recommend it, recommend it. When you need hope, when you need inspiration, when you need ideas, when you are in need of “Ah-Ha” moments, get this audio book. Listen to this when you are short on yourself, when you need something to pull you out of yourself, out of your mind.

This will be a listen frequently. This will be at least an annual listen, like what I’m making the Power of Now from Tolle, and Tuesdays with MorrieTuesdays with Morrie by Albom.

I’ve never been the type to re-read books. But as of late (the last 2 years really), I’ve turned into one of those. My first re-read was Tuesdays with Morrie, hence my desire of talking with “older” people, and wanting to turn it into a podcast.

The Power of Now hit me so hard last year that I couldn’t help but want and near NEED to put it on a re-read list. Listening to Wisdom of Sundays has done the same thing. 12 Rules for Life is on my re-read list as well.

 

Last Imaginary Life: An Interior/House Designer

So for the last 10 weeks, over every other Sunday, I’ve been sharing 5 imaginary or fantasy lives, from one of Aileen Xu’s videos/Artist of Life suggested journaling prompts.

This is my last one of this series. So if you haven’t checked out the other 4, go do so!

I’ve always loved decorating. I love moving things around. Ask anyone who has lived with me longer than 6 months. I’m always wanting to add things, move things, and anything in between.

Most of it, I believe stems from moving so much, growing up. Really, moving in general pretty frequently, as I’m not even 24 yet and I’ve moved 9 times! That’s on average about every 2-3 years!

No, I’m not a military brat either. I just have divorced parents.

I haven’t actually moved in 4 years now, and if all goes well, I’ll be making one big move with babe in the next 5-7 years, and I want it to be my last. Yes, I’m kind of tired of moving. Traveling? Nope. Moving? Yep.

But I do love decorating and re-styling a room. This is where I have this last imaginary life: being a home decorator.

I even have a cute little game on my phone that’s designing rooms for different houses, in different areas and imaginary peoples’ wants.

It’s very simple, and quite girly, but I’d love it! If there were actual money in it, I’d go after it. Maybe I should look more into it, like I am about some other things, including some of my other imaginary lives!

If you’ve been following along, what are 5 of your dream lives? How can you possibly implement them into reality during this life? Do you think (or even see) you could even do one as a full time life?