Balancing our Feeds: We’re not meant to take in world changing information all the time

A few years ago I got rid of all political news from my feeds. I still have a lot of it blocked, because it did good things for my mental health, but I let some of it back in because I wanted to be aware of what has happening in the world. I think this was a good call. I like having some knowledge without being knocked out by it. And you do get knocked out by it.

I don’t think it’s healthy to read all the tragedies of the world 24/7. That sounds like common sense, but sometimes I worry that it’s not. Sometimes I worry that people have built being hyper aware into their personalities. And if not their personalities, into their routines.

This is one of the reasons I think it’s important to follow accounts that post art, that post family updates, cleaning tips, garden inspiration, fashion goals, and all those types of things. And when I say follow those types of accounts, I mean mostly follow those types of accounts and people. Follow way more of those accounts than news accounts. Surround yourself with the good and let in a trickle of the bad.

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Picking back up the good habits we dropped during COVID-19:

It’s been a hard year and a half for goals! It’s been a hard year and half for everything really, but, you get my point. We’ve been told to cut ourselves slack, which is true, we needed it. We needed a break during the madness so we could properly take care of ourselves during the trying times, but it’s time to break back into the real world and start getting stuff done again.

I use an app that allows me to create daily to do lists, I even paid the extra ten dollars for a lifetime of being able to set reoccurring ones have a few other features. The app is really not that important, but the fact that I’m faced with eight bullet points under the title “habits” is. They are in my face daily. This is just one of the things I’ve tried to do to force myself into good behavior. I’ve also gotten a little help with my diet/active lifestyle by the mere fact that I’m pregnant and know I’m not just doing this for myself anymore. I have to be on top of it. Other than that? A lot of prayer and reflection trying to figure out why I struggle getting certain things going. A few motivational books. And a whole lot of trying to remind myself that I have willpower.

Willpower is a funny thing, I’ve talked about the fact that you have to exercise it to make it stronger before, but it’s also strange how when we tone it down (even for survival mode) it’s very hard to start back up. You read motivational quotes about how you can’t wait for motivation you just have to act on things, and they are right, but it’s much easier said than done. Some things really are a struggle, it brings us back to the truth that we find everywhere from the Bible to psychology text books, we do things we know are bad for us (or don’t do things that are good for us) even though we know we shouldn’t (or should). It sometimes seems like our natural response. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure it is our natural response.

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On being a support person:

Being someone’s support person is a hard job, but as a human being who needs support, we also need to be able to give it back.

Mental illness and life’s hard moments both are known for knocking us down, and when we get knocked down we need someone more than ever. But honestly, just being alive requires having support, having someone to cheerlead you on. We need that positive push to get us through, we need someone to cheer us on when we win, and comfort us when we lose.

When you have a mental illness, or have gone through a really rough patch, it’s easy to take more support than you give, that’s okay, sometimes we need that, but I really want to talk about giving support back and creating those kinds of relationships.

Going out of your way to support someone is hardly ever going to backfire, especially because to start out, those relationships don’t take a lot out of you. They start small with words of encouragement and some extra time spent caring, then it turns into some of those bigger support tasks (whether it be waiting in the ER with someone or watching their children when they need help). Support is about being there. It’s about being a kind voice of reason and being excited for people. It’s taking an everyday good relationship and pouring a little more effort into it than you feel like is a hundred percent necessary.

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We need the sound of silence.

Have you ever realized how rare it is for you to sit in silence now a days? And I mean truly sit, not being sucked into your smart phone or distracted by life.

If your like me your almost always plugged into music, podcasts, or audiobooks. It’s a great way to consume and learn things you wouldn’t normally have the time for. I have been flying through books thanks to audiobooks, and I’m growing because of them. But because I’m listening so much, I don’t often walk the dogs around the block without headphones. I don’t tend to do the dishes without my phone on speaker and that’s not always a positive.

We need silence to really digest all our thoughts, we need our minds to bounce around like ping pong balls going topic to topic until we find something worth settling on. We need to listen to ourselves not just outside sources, and that is getting a lot harder to do.

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Expanding your horizons outside of the natural growth points

When your a kid you get a lot of opportunities to grow and expand your horizons, you are constantly encouraged to pick up new hobbies, new skills, and you’re in school constantly expanding your knowledge base. This continues throughout the school years, though perhaps we scale back on the number of new hobbies and start devoting ourselves to our favorite ones. Then when we go to college we expand even farther, we are making big choices that change our lives. We are pick new directions to grow and then allowing ourselves the hardship of that growth. You hit it again after school when searching for jobs and having to shape yourself for employment. We hit these stages in relationships too when we move for work or love. These are set growth points, we are forced to grow to meet these points in our life, and that’s a good thing, but sometimes we fall into a pattern of normalcy were the expanding stops.

These points are also needed, it’s hard to grow constantly and you need to take some time to enjoy what you have! There is nothing wrong with enjoying these periods, it’s just sometimes they also stick around to long. We settle in them and grow compliant and don’t push ourselves. This is when we need to force ourselves to grow. It’s not 100% necessary for living but it gives us excitement and it helps make us into a more well rounded person.

That does not mean that expanding our horizons has to be life altering moments. They can be any shape or form your willing to let them be, but here is some ideas:

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Pregnancy mood swings remind me of my bipolar mood swings. So does overcoming them.

Pregnancy reminds me of my bipolar disorder. That’s a weird statement to make, but it’s true. Your hormones are all over the place, and not unlike the chemical reactions in your brain that make you cycle from manic to depressive. It finds you in the exact same strange space were you know your emotions aren’t 100% correct or rational but you know you are feeling them fully anyway.

A lot of the mood swings make me ponder the lessons I’ve been trying to teach myself for years. Is this a rational feeling? How can I try to turn it into one without devaluing the fact that it is real?

Just because you know an emotion isn’t right doesn’t make it go away. Knowing your manic doesn’t let you switch off your manic traits like a light switch, but it is a start, and lets be real, you have to start somewhere. It lets you start trying to fight for control.

I’ve found most of my control in this disease through medication, but even those of us who have had a lot of luck with our bipolar medications can tell you that we still swing some, and I still have to take on those swings one on one. Rational brain verses the chemical brain.

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Your social bubble doesn’t always reflect real life:

I’ve talked about the danger of falling down internet rabbit holes before, about how being hit on every side by really strong opinions can rewrite your thought patterns. It’s not just online though, it’s also in real life. I don’t seem to struggle with it as much in real life as I do online, but that’s only thanks to having a very interesting and complex mix of friends. But many people don’t get that variety, they hang out with their core group and they bounce all their ideas off of that core group.

This is especially true for students, even more so for college students. You find yourself completely ingulfed in your social bubble and therefore don’t venture far from that familiar comfort. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in your social circle and finding joy with like minds, it’s just when people from outside those like minds start feeling like others. It’s when you don’t understand how anyone could have a different viewpoint or opinion on something that it seems like everyone you know holds. It’s when you can’t understand how people form other behaviors than how your group acts in social settings.

It’s when we get tunnel vision because everything outside our normal feels abnormal, even when the actual population is split 50/50 on how to approach a problem.

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