MAKE TIME FOR YOU
Finding my way in a world where "sensitivity" isn't always seen as a positive trait has had its challenges. At times it has been lumped together with my depression. It's been named as the source of the blue moods I battle. I know different now. But, as a teenager I could not distinguish the difference, nor did I have the tools to cope with either taxing inner trait.
Lucky for me, I had loving parents, who were aware of their inability to deal with and help me. They did their best to lead me to professionals that could help me gain important coping tools for depression. Intime, I realized the two ARE separate, they do feed each other, but require alternate prescriptions. I do not have the luxury of letting myself go. I can't just quit the meds because my moods are regulated and I am feeling great these days. Nor, can I neglect my inner introvert, who has a sensory (sensitivity) overload at least once a day. Over the past 30 years, I have discovered that finding time for myself, alone, in the silence, is critical to properly caring for my spirit. The part of me, that makes me tick. Sensitivity is my greatest strength and most challenging weakness.
FIND A SPACE
What do I do then for the tender hearted part of me? For me it's finding some time to escape to the fresh mountain air (or the salty sea, but that for another time). I live 20 minutes from Aspen trees and ponderosa pines. For real. Mountains or outdoors are the best medicines for clearing my mind and tending to my sensitive soul. That and a hammock with a war blanket.
YOU DONT HAVE TO BE A PRO
I don't really believe that I'm a professional artist. No way do I rank up there with Monet and Van Gogh (my heroes). I heard in the past year that selling your art qualifies you as a professional. Up until that point, I just thought of my art as a way to release my tensions. They made me happy. So, the way I see it, I am no better at doodling than your average student sitting in class. It is my strong opinion that given the right tools and time for practice, we are all artists. We were all creatives, without fear of judgement, when we were toddlers. We just forget with the weight of time told responsibilities. I can Also say with a surety that one valuable thing I have learned, tools do matter.
TAKE THE RIGHT TOOLS
I wish someone would have shared their secret tool of mass creation with me when I started. I would buy the cheapest tools I could find. Cheaper is never better. Unfortunately. If you really want to get the most out of alone moments you will need 1 bag full of colored pencils from Prisma because they blend. Did you know colored pencils can blend? I didn't until about 3 years ago! No lie! You don't really need more than the basic 12 - 24. You can also find them on Amazon.
You will need art pens by Sakura called Micron pens. I prefer size 3 or 5. They do not bleed through the page and are waterproof if you choose to apply watercolor to your page. (On occasion, during me time, water just finds it way from my face to the page so these pens come in handy).
Please do not neglect the value of a dot journals from Michaels crafts either. I choose Michaels for my journals because the price is right, the size is perfect for any bag, and they have colors to choose from. (They are also perfect for decorating with your favorite vinyl stickers too.) Wow! I am not normally that kind of blogger, but I believe in sharing secrets for the benefit of others, and these are mine. There are studies that show having an attitude of gratitude and journaling are GREAT for your mental health. Don’t be afraid to try it.
TAKE THE TIME YOU NEED
If you can't get away for a couple of hours, because realistically how close are we really to the mountains or the ocean, find a time-out spot. There have been periods in my life where I needed seclusion on a daily basis. I remember as a young mother, I would hide in my walk-in closet, sit on the floor and just breath. That moment of stillness was enough to quiet my mind and the minute to minute demands of motherhood. I remember my 3 year old calling my name through the house until he knocked on the closet door and asked, "Mommy?" To which I replied, "Mommy is having a time-out." This totally made sense to his 3 year old mind.
Even now I have been known to take a minute at the end of my work day, lay on my bed and catch up with the world via social media. That 5-15 minutes helps me to sweep away the busy noises of my classroom, before I begin fulfilling my home duties.
The importance of finding ways to unplug for your mental health is crucial. It is one of the top 10 ten tools to care for yourself, according to Mental Health America. They call this taking care of your spirit. I can testify to the value of a good time-out. I am twice the woman I am and can be when I create space for me amidst all the madness. Afterall, I'm important too. I urge you, make time for you friends. You will never regret it!
I've included links today to make your search for tools, and articles for reference easier. You can fact check me so that you know I am not just making this all up. I don't have the degree. Just the experiences to share.
Every day is an adventure! Am I right?
I guess it all depends on your attitude. The last few weeks have felt like I am coasting down a hill. You know that "look mom no hands" kind of feeling.
It's fall, my favorite season. I have made a new friend. I have a grandbaby living with me for a while. My job as a school teacher brings me purpose and joy. My home is warm and inviting. My new town seems to like me so far. Everything it seems is status quo. So...Is this the adventure part?
I would venture to say, No. I feel like adventure is when the road gets bumpy. Think of it. This road trip is going smoothly and then out of nowhere the roadway changes. Immediately, we become irritated at the uneven, thumping pathway. We hold the steering wheel a little tighter. We are trying to control which way the car goes, when really we have no control at all. If we can get through this rocky bit we know we will enjoy our destination. Right? Sometimes. Often times we have no idea where this road is going to take us and what is on the other side of this mountain in front of us. It's the getting through that is the crummy part. It's also the part we learn to trust the trail. We grow and get a little tougher through the process. We find the potholes, and learn where to ride the ruts up top.
This is where I tell you that you really need to breath and remember to "Enjoy the Ride." I have been reminded of this quote by my new friend. I had all but forgotten it. We were having a discussion about not letting our anxieties (ruts) rule us. It was afteward that I remembered that I even had a piece of artwork representing this development in our pathway. For my friend and I, we are discovering new locations and special spots in our friendship. We are learning to trust the pathway. We are braving the new terrain. I am grateful for new friends, and old favorites. Friendship is really a wonderful thing. It's hard for me to open myself up and expand my circle. I am comfortable with my people. Why do I need anymore? But, I do. When I see that my higher power has brought someone new into my life worth keeping, you can be sure, I make a friend for life. People who are genuine, real, who love me despite my warts, forgive me of my struggle to keep my eyebrows plucked, support me in good days and bad, and give the best hugs in the world, those are my people. Who are your people?
We really do need friends to travel with in this life. They make the road trip sweeter, and worthy of joy. They are true North. When your road gets rough, ponder on the people who love you. The people who need you. The people who want you around for-ev-er, and keep in mind even bumpy roads get worn down after a while. When you travel again, to this soon-to-be new favorite destination, the drive will be much nicer. The memory of the trip before and the people you were with will be pleasant. Friends, it's time. Sit back, and do your best to enjoy the ride!
Love and hugs to my people! Thank you for your constant support and love. You're my favorite.
It's funny. Today is National Mental Health Awareness, and I almost typed that in my title. Then, without batting an eye, changed the title to "Self-Care Means Self-Aware" at the last minute. Why? I think because growing up in my 80's kind of world the word "MENTAL" anything carried with it completely and totally negative nuances. I realize daily that I still carry some of that with me now. Being "mental" meant you were crazy, and boy did I feel that way at times. Believe it or not, I have even been called "mental" by mean individuals in my life. I can promise you that it was not meant in a funny- ha-ha kind of way, rather it was intended in a you're-flat-out-nuts connotation.
Growing up with depression in a time when we still weren't giving "real talk" in society, was actually really difficult. I know for myself, I battled every day from the age of 17 to just to take my daily medications. I remember being diagnosed as Bipolar at one point, and being hospitalized. I felt insane, abnormal, completely crackers. I remember being angry a lot of the time because I couldn't be "normal." What in the Helen Keller is normal any way? And who gets to decide what normal is anyway? Is there a committee? Where do they meet? I have a few things to say to them!
But, really friends, I am constantly in awe of the awareness of the world now. Today. 2019. It's like we have our eyes wide open. All those mean things we called each other as kids, that were actually really traumatizing, they are officially not okay to say anymore. I like that. Now I know some may say we are turning our children into pansies in this generation. Being to soft and such. And I can see the prior generations point of view. I get putting on your boots and going to work, even if you don't feel like it. I do. To some extent I completely agree with it to. Nothing that you can't "work" out, right? If we are being "real" though, there truly are things you can't just "work" through or out. Sometimes you have to go through it, the storm, the battle, the best way you know how. The best way you know how isn't always the same for everyone.
When it's darkest in my mind, battling looks like me in my pajamas, for the second day in a row, with the lights off in my room, barely breathing. Darkness of the mind is like a black hole with no end in sight! It's sucks the joy, light and life right out of you. By the way, did you know it's genetic! (More to come on that topic later). It can't and doesn't always go away with "work." Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we should all just give up normality and sit around eating dark chocolate and ice cream in our pj's with the lights out everyday. What I am suggesting is that when you can't fight, when it's just to heavy, and you need to focus on just breathing in or out, do that. Just that. You have my permission.
Being Self-Aware is Self-Care. Do what you need to do. Tell them I said so.
Now, I am going to go change my title back to Mental Awareness. Or should I? What do you think? Let's all end the stigma.
In commemoration of the solidarity of this day, I am attaching a free coloring page. All you need to do is download the file. P.S. Only love not viruses included.
Be you. Be amazing.
Blessings abound in my life. I am paying attention. I am awake. I have a strong sence of gratitude in my hear. These blessings have morphed into a creation of me. I believe I have been evolving into this creation of myself, I guess you could say, all my life. However, it has been crystalizing a bit more rapidly here in the last 2-3 years. It really is incredible how time passing, wisdom gained through a myriad of new trails, and the professionals you are lead to, all join together to create an authentic self. My true person, the real me.
My sister is one of my strongest, silent supporters. She has always encouraged me to believe in myself and my dreams. Her quiet example of blazing your own trail to becoming has always inspired me. A few years back, she had me create this graphic for her. Authentic. I used watercolor as my medium and made it into a digital image. I also created vinyl stickers, which she promptly purchased. I didn't really value this power word at the time. It didn't really hold meaning for me. It did for her, and I loved how it turned out. (It is interesting how your art is always better when you have purpose or meaning behind it. I love my sister, and that love shows out in this original artwork.) For me, the meaning of this word has only touched my frontal lobe in the last 24 hours.
Today as I sit here, creating my very first blog post and splaying myself out for the whole world to see, it occurs to me how important it is to hold true to my real person. To be my authentic self. As I reflect on this, I am reminded of a new friend I have made in the past few weeks. She is teaching me that it okay to say it how I mean it. I am learning to be more open and honest with my good days and my bad. These lessons couldn't have come at a more prolific time in my life. I am grateful each day for the gift that my higher powers hand is in my life. I know I have been lead to these remembrances, and people for this purpose, at this time. Maybe, these lessons aren't just for me. Perhaps they are meant for you too.
Oh, I know all the things I am "supposed" to say and do to be popular out in the realm of cyberness. I see what the world expects outside my door. But, I know me. I know I am not great at these things. Mostly because they are fake. Being a true introvert makes me awkward and nerdy, and I think that is okay. I guess you could say, I am still evolving. You are too. So, instead of another blog that tells you what you want to hear, see, do, be and then expects you to respond appropriately, I am giving you permission to just be yourself. Be free. Be authentic. Let's all just be real. In the words of my favorite poet, Robert Frost - "Yet, I, I chose the road less traveled by." And I, Jodilyn, I think it really will make all the difference.