Self care day 9:Writing people

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

I remember being at Disney World as a child and I had just met a kid from England. We had run into his family in the parks all day and everyone ended up leaving at the same time. Right before we left, he and I exchanged addresses and became pen pals. It was so cool for a much younger me to receive a letter from “across the pond”.

Physical mail can be joyous.

There was a time when I was ecstatic to get mail. My mom would send me to our mailbox at the end of the driveway (1/4 mile driveway one way) and I would walk, bike, or even drive to go get the mail. Seeing a letter addressed to me was like Christmas.

Now days, I look at the mail and see bill after bill. Occasionally I will see a birthday card but most of what I receive is negative. What can we do to change that?

As someone once said, “You have to write them to get them.”

When was the last time you wrote a letter (not an email)? When was the last time you used a stamp? Letters have a physical property that digital does not. We see movies like Harry Potter and we all want a quill and an owl to send to others. Why don’t we do it more?

Is all it takes is to get a calligraphy pen or quill?

Imparting yourself on a page is freeing and scary. As someone who writes online and shares my life with many others, it can be terrifying putting yourself out there. It can be difficult. Topics and subjects can be difficult to come up with, it takes time and effort.

But the results can be astounding.

Being able to free up brain space by putting it down on a page is a release. Sharing with others your story is reaffirming. Inspiring others to do the same can make you feel ecstatic.

And if it goes great, they write back.

And then you have a positive reason to check the mail.

Sometimes helping yourself comes from helping others and sometimes you don’t even have to leave your room to do so. It can all come from a letter.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 8: Blackout

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Being able to be so connected and in touch with people in today’s life is amazing. You know what your friends grandma is doing and that your second cousin twice removed is have their teeth cleaned. You also know that one guy you met in a coffee shop once is having for dinner.

Do you ever wonder if it is too much to process?

Being able to be so in touch is fantastic. Plenty of people to talk to or socialize (or just the few close ones for us introverts). We have all of them at our fingertips on our phones. We get the notifications pouring in on the computer. Little birds tweet at us when we get re-tweeted.

Sometimes it can be too much. Sensory overload.

Take a break. Stop.

I want you to plan a time to go on a social media blackout. Let people know in advance so they don’t think something has happened and they call or text at all hours trying to see what happened. Do this for a day, or week, or even a month. Stop the overload.

Purge yourself of all the incoming information.

I did this a few months back. I deleted Facebook from my phone and deactivated my account. Seeing the notifications on my phone when I woke up in the morning was stressful. Checking statuses was painful. Hate was flying around (and still flying around) and I was in physical pain at how hurtful everyone was being.

So I stop the tide.

I gave myself a break and stopped. I cleaned out my hard drive (brain) and let it calm down. I wholeheartedly think that we do not realize that we are getting so much input that it overloads us.

Stop the input.

Work on you.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 7:Netflix and you

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

I believe we live in a fantastic day and age of technology. I have a device in my pocket that allows me to contact anyone in the world. It also lets me fact check (or spell check in my case) when I need help. I can find the latest famous “Cat picture” on the web. I can also play games, do my taxes or my personal favorite, watch just about anything I want.

It makes it easy to end up watching an entire show in one sitting even if that sitting is 22 hours long….

I personally feel like that we all have that guilt that comes after watching an entire season of Stranger Things that makes us feel like we are horribly lazy people. We only meant to sit down while folding laundry or taking a quick break after work and see an episode. Instead, it turned into a “Holy crap its 3 am and I binged watched the entire season!” Why do we do this? What drives us to not move from our spot?

We want the escape.

We want the ability to just let go for a bit and relax doing something we enjoy.

So why do we feel guilty about doing something we enjoy?

We look at ourselves and say that we should be cooking or cleaning. We have bills to pay or someone we should be helping. We feel this guilt that society has put on us to go and do and act and be busy.

This is us. Humans doing. Do do do.

Is this how we are supposed to be?

Human doing instead of human being?

I say nay to all those who look down on taking time to do something you enjoy. Watching your favorite show is not a terrible thing. Some days we need to have the break. Some days we need the release of not having to do do do.

So plan a day. Pick one. Either after work or on a day off. Get some snacks, order a pizza, make a cup of hot tea or coffee. Plan nothing but to binge watch that season of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events start to finish. Kick your feet up, relax. Take a day and give your mind and body a rest. Take care of yourself. Tell everyone that you are busy and have plans. Taking care of yourself is your plan for the day.

Recommended dosage is to be taken as needed for self care.

#hugapony my friends

Self care day 6:Picnic Baskets

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

I enjoy the outdoors when bugs are not in the air or when it is not a million degrees. When that temperature is just right, outside or at the park can be just the thing to help calm down. When the breeze is just right and you can sit on a bench and never want to leave.

How can we capture that?

Picnics. (My Yogi Bear side wants to say Pic-a-nic baskets).

Like most of what I have talked about, this does require some planning. Finding a good day, when the weather is right, taking time aside from work, friends, or family (or invite them along if you want). This takes some effort but imagine that peace you feel being outside and everything in the universe feels perfect for a moment and imagine that moment lasting longer.

We look at picnics in movies or our mindscapes as date opportunities or special occasions. I look at this and say, take yourself on a date. Find some time, pack a sandwich (or bottle of wine if that is your thing) and make a date of it. There is nothing wrong with being by yourself outside and relaxing.

This is you. Outside at peace. Not a human doing, a human being.

Just be.

Be at peace.

Let the moment last long as you want because you planned for it.

Enjoy it.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 5:Cookie monster

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

I am not a big sweets eater. I have been known to only eat a small amount of desserts most of the time. I cannot stand Oreo cookies (egad the horror!). But I cannot deny the small of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies as one of the best smells in the whole world.

Whether its memories of being at grandma’s house or a certain time of year like around Thanksgiving, the smell of cookies baking is amazing. Researchers have said smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers. The Fifth Sense tells us:

The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses.  Those with full olfactory function may be able to think of smells that evoke particular memories; the scent of an orchard in blossom conjuring up recollections of a childhood picnic, for example.  This can often happen spontaneously, with a smell acting as a trigger in recalling a long-forgotten event or experience.  Marcel Proust, in his ‘Remembrance of all Things Past’, wrote that a bite of a madeleine vividly recalled childhood memories of his aunt giving him the very same cake before going to mass on a Sunday.

Now, while we know the smell of cookies very well, we also know the time, effort, and skill it requires to make that delicious cookie. I myself, while a small talented baker, sigh at the thought of making such a mess in the kitchen. So instead, find a place that delivers cookies.

My daughter watches more cooking shows than I knew existed and one of the coolest shows I saw was when they showed people who started a bakery and they delivered soft warm cookies to the doorstep. They showed how they slow bake them so when they arrive at your doorstep, the cookies are “fresh from the oven”.

I did a quick search of my local area (Dallas, Tx) and found MANY places that deliveries cookies. Think of being at work and having cookies delivered to you. I dare say that most of your coworkers will be jealous (order enough to share!).

The best thing I saw was a spot on Insomnia Cookies. They are a baking company that ships cookies around the US and the local bakeries were shown to deliver cookies until 3 AM!! The thought just made my mouth water.

Cookies can be fantastic. Valentines day is coming up. Why not “treat yourself”, aka Parks and Rec style, and get yourself some cookies. Put a smile on your own face.

And hey send me some cookies while you are at it. Regular chocolate chip. I’ll wait.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 3: Self mail

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

There is a lost art of letter writing in this day and age. With the rise of electronics and digital equipment, I feel that we have lost a part of ourselves that showed some of the most emotion. Writing is a personal passion of mine, as you might be able to tell with my blog and all, and I feel that we all could use some words of encouragement.

I say, why not write to yourself.

I know that I personally have several handwritten letters from close friends and family. People who meant or mean a great deal to me. These mementos of love and expression of care are kept in safe places were I can go and read them when I need a boost to my spirit. I am willing to bet most of you reading this have at least one physical letter that we have locked away somewhere.

And who knows how to encourage you better than you?

I find it hard to write positive things about myself. The part above about writing being a passion of mine is hard to type out because of my own personal self worth issues. However, I have forced myself to acknowledge that I do have talents and skills that make me, me. While it can be difficult, you can find ways to be positive about yourself. If needed, call a close friend or relative and talk about it. What are positives about you?

Write them down. Physically. Make it tangible. Make it real. Fill up a page about yourself and things you want to see, do, or accomplish. Take your thoughts and make them real on paper. Put it in an envelope. Put it away for a month or year until you need it. Set a calendar reminder that you have it. Put it in the mail and have it mailed back to you (it would be nice to get something other than bills!).

When the time comes to read it, make some time to consider what you wrote. Hang it by your mirror in your bathroom so you see the words you wrote about yourself every day. Put it in your car so when you get to work you can have a quick pick me up to start the day.

Make yourself talk to yourself positively.

Make it real.

Self care. Simple stuff.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 2: Candy day.

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

We have all had bad days. The work meetings or doctor visits that we know and dread that come up. The day tax returns are due or days we know we are going to have to work late. That test coming up that we have studied so long and just want to get it over with. What can we do to help ourselves through those days?

Candy.

You may stop and say that this is a ridiculous notion of stopping by the store and impulse buying a candy bar. To this I say that you don’t make it an impulse. Go out and buy a Snickers bar or Skittles or any of your favorite treat and leave it on the pillow for when you get home. Preparation is one of the keys to this. When you prepare and know that you have that waiting for you, it removes the guilt we may feel. It also is something you can tell yourself that you having waiting for you.

When all you want to do is just want to collapse and rest in your bed, what is that waiting on your pillow? A treat! Some days you may forget all about it and it is a pleasant surprise. Others, it may be the one thing that gets you through the day.

I am reminded of a story the late comedian John Pinette would tell. He spoke of when he was told by his doctor that he need to lose weight due to help with his health problems, he would go to the gym, get on the machine of his choice and start to workout. While working out, he had a chant that he would use to get him through the workout. He said he would tell himself, “John, you get through this, when you get home, you can have raviolis and a nap.” He would chant this to himself over and over “Raviolis and a nap, raviolis and a nap.” This became his mantra.

Maybe all we need is a candy bar to get us through the day. Maybe all we need to tell ourselves is “I have a candy bar waiting for me on my pillow.”

Simple things to get us through the day. Ways to make us happier or feel better in stressful times.

Isn’t that what self care is all about?

#hugapony my friend

Self care Day 1: Valet parking.

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

To kick off the month of February, the month of love, I decided to focus on self-care. I have always felt that self-care is important but have struggled to do so in my life. I am issuing a challenge to myself to do each day’s activity this year so I can experience them right along with you. I tried to make each item simple, cheap, and easy to do. I hope you enjoy them all.

My first one is 10 valet parking. I am not sure how many of you have had the opportunity to do it before but it is fantastic. My wife and I, during a cold Christmas season, were going to a large mall nearby to finish some shopping and catch a movie for a date night. Being the holidays, the parking lot was packed from the one side to the other. Cars circled the parking lot like vultures, waiting for that open spot. Several screaming matches were seen as I too circled the area. Stress was building, ruining a nice evening as a few select words threatened the evening.

I looked over near the entrance and saw valet parking available. I looked at my wife and commented that I should just have them deal with the car so we can enjoy our evening. She looked right back and said “Why not?” I had never used it before and I thought to myself “Hey $20-30 dollars would be worth the stress relief right now.” I pulled up to find it was not $20-30 but instead it was $8! I was overjoyed. I gave the keys to the gentleman, was given a tag, and we went onto our evening. Later that night, we came back outside to a very cold scene. People dashing to their car to escape the chill and walking seemingly miles away to the vehicles located at the end of the lot. I walked to the valet, handed my ticket to the man and soon the car was brought to us, warmed up and ready.

It was an amazing experience for the cost of a total of $13 dollars (I tipped $5). My wife and I talked about it on the way home. The relief of not having to stress out over parking was worth its weight in gold, the heated car and not having to carry bags was an added bonus! How many times have we dreaded the mall due to the hassle? How about going to a special dinner or event and finding the evening ruined due to being cut off from the space you clearly were waiting 5 minutes for and the other person clearly saw you but took the space anyways.

I am not going to lie. It felt so special to have someone bring my car to me. I felt like a movie star.

A simple thing to make life easier or to make you feel special. A simple way to show to yourself that you are special.

I hope you try it.

#hugapony my friends

 

Project 2017

I have decided to undertake a new initiative this year and, as always, push the boundaries in which I help people. With Valentines day (or month now…) coming up, I have decided to do a series of posts on loving yourself. Self care is one of the hardest things to do when you have a mental or physical disability. I have come up with a few ways you can improve your life without breaking your wallet and some are even free! I started making the list a few days ago and decided that I would do a post a day for the month of February.

28 post.

One month.

I am excited and nervous because I can see me missing a day. I hope to have all of them in a queue so that wont happen but it will be a lot of writing. I hope to see you all reading them.

#hugapony my friends

My Triggered Moment

I have taught myself not to be triggered by anger about many things in my life. I feel that we all could use a bit of compassion to those who we disagree with. However, I came across a picture that is making it way across the social sites and my jaw fell open.

OK, wow. This is a very angry person. I understand they are wanting to be the tough love type. They are sadly misinformed and are quite judgmental.

You are telling a person who has “mental issues” and possibly other disabilities to go and do things without regards to what they are facing might be. You are telling someone to take a shower or eat something more than a cracker because they need to accept the responsibility of taking care of themselves. Does this person not realize that most of us want to do this but we cannot? That we struggle to find the energy to get of bed and make it to the bathroom? That we are not sulking teenagers who are just lazy and don’t want to clean our room?

This person is telling someone with mental issues to call friends and let them know that you are OK because they must be worried sick. Let that sink in for a second. You want a person who cannot make sound, mental healthy decisions to call someone for help. Not only do you want them to reach out, but you want them to apologize to others about how “I” don’t have the capacity or mental strength to do basic things in life. You want them to call and say that “I” need my space. Oxymoron much or is this going to be “crying for attention”?

I weep when I read things like this.

I understand self-care. I understand when it takes all you have to go and clean the kitchen and your body aches for the 2 hours it takes to get through it and you spend the next 2 trying to recover, but you do it because it needs to get done. Sometimes people need cute things to help them get the energy or confidence to take care of themselves. Sometimes we just need a security blanket to help us make it to the shower. Sometimes we need people to call US to check up on us and make sure we are OK.

Just because it may not work for you, why are you condemning it? I completely agree that making mental health issues cute is a terrible idea and does nothing to help the community. How is this person helping by belittling those who cannot take care of themselves BECAUSE THEIR BRAIN IS SICK!

Now I agree that responsibility is something that the community needs. Acknowledging what you have and what you need to do to take care of yourself is a tremendous step in living with a disability. Cute self-care works for some however, why would you take that away from them? Why are you forcing someone to fight through all the pain, mental stress, and more to pick up the phone and call you to let you know they are OK?

Tough love is a fine line. I feel this person missed it. By a wide margin. If you have someone that is like this in your life, please reconsider their role in your mental health recovery. You can find better people. I know they are out there.

#hugapony my friends