Posted in Holiday Posts, Parenting, Personal, social media

Be Present This Holiday Season

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing and Christmas shopping. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and this year, I’m hosting Christmas dinner for my extended family. I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but I do enjoy these family events, and the shopping! I love picking out gifts for my loved ones. But enough about that.

Christmas, Be Present This Holiday Season, Lisa Orchard
Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff on Visualhunt

Today, I’d like to talk about being present this holiday season. I’ve noticed over the past year that many people take selfies when they’re out with loved ones and post them on social media. I know this is important when you’re building your brand, but we are so much more than our image on social media.

I challenge everyone to be present with your family and friends this holiday season. Make sure this season is about them and not building your brand. Take pictures for the memories and don’t worry about social media. You can always go back to building your brand after the holidays.

Really enjoy the moment whatever it may be. If you go to a Christmas parade, don’t just take a selfie and be done with it. Put the camera away and be present with your companions. We won’t get these moments back, and they’re so much more satisfying than getting hearts and likes on social media.

Christmas Parade, Parade, Lisa Orchard, Be Present this Holiday Season
Photo credit: jackoraptor on VisualHunt.com

This is how we get our connections back. This is how we strengthen our bonds with our families and friends. This is how we fight disconnection. We can’t afford to become more disconnected than we already are. Research has shown that increased amounts of screen time can be associated with anxiety, depression, and leads to social isolation which in turn leads to lower self-esteem.

I’m not a therapist, but aren’t these all ingredients for mental health issues? What if we increased our ability to be present and strengthen our bonds with family and friends off of social media. Maybe we’d see a decline in mass shootings and suicides.

Social Media, Be Present this Holiday Season, Lisa Orchard
Photo credit: Sean MacEntee on VisualHunt.com

So, let’s make sure we’re present this holiday season and strengthen those bonds with our loved ones. Maybe start some new family traditions or hold up some old ones. My family has started a new tradition of playing cards during our time together, and while we’re playing, we reminisce and laugh about our antics growing up. It’s a great way to foster that connection we all need.

How about you? How do you strengthen your family connections? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mass shootings, Personal

Mass Shootings: When Are We going to Address the Problem?

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you were able to enjoy your holiday with family and friends. The Holiday season has begun and I’ve already started my Christmas Shopping.

But enough about that. In the last week before Thanksgiving, we’ve had two mass shootings. One in Colorado and one in Virginia. This saddens me. What is going on in our country?

The shooting in Colorado is being investigated as a hate crime because the gunmen opened fire on a LGBTQ night club. The one in Virginia was an employee of Walmart who opened fire on fellow employees. Both incidents are under investigation, but like I’ve said before, I feel the root of all these shootings is disconnection. The shooter has lost his connection with family, friends, and community. No one wakes up one day and says, “I’m going to shoot up Walmart today.”

There are signs something’s wrong. The shooters may have a history of violence in their past. In fact, The New York Times conducted a study and found that seven out of ten mass shooters have a history of domestic violence. Either they are the abuser, or they grew up in an abusive household. This is where we need to start. Let’s take a hard look at domestic violence.

We have to stop sweeping it under the rug. Did you know that a woman is five times more likely to be murdered if her partner has a gun? So, if you combine the disconnection the shooter feels and add domestic violence to the mix, you’ve got a bomb ready to go off, and there’s no telling when it’s about to explode.

But what can we do? That’s a pertinent question. There’s no way to predict when someone’s going off the deep end. We need to educate people and where there’s a disconnect create a connection. We can do this by community outreach programs and through our schools. I hate to put any more responsibility on our schools, but it is a place where kids come together and a place of connection for them.

We need to study other countries that don’t have a mass shooting problem and emulate them, then go above and beyond to create avenues where victims of domestic violence can go and be safe. Next we have to take a hard look at domestic violence and stop tolerating it as a society. It has to be punished and not swept under the rug.

I don’t like to get political on my blog, but there is another reason the United States has so many mass shootings and that is we have an astronomical number of guns. In a study conducted by The New York Times, Americans make up 4.4 percent of the population but own 42 percent of the total number of guns. We need to change this. Kids don’t need assault weapons and neither do adults. The only people who really need this type of weapon is someone in the military. I know there are some second amendment people out there, and I agree with you. We do have the right to bear arms, but the constitution was written a long time ago, and I can guarantee you, they weren’t even thinking about assault rifles when they wrote that amendment.

So there you have my action steps to the problem.

  1. Create connection through our communities
  2. Stop tolerating Domestic Violence as a Society
  3. Limit access to guns and assault weapons
  4. Emulate other countries who don’t have a mass shooter problem

What are your thoughts on Mass Shootings? What would you do to stop them? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

For more information on Mass Shootings, check out these links:

Posted in Holiday Posts, mental-health

Dealing with a Narcissist during the Holidays

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. We’ve had a snowstorm hit our area and the kids had a snow day on Friday. The storm continued through the weekend, so now we have a winter wonderland in our yard. Hubby put out some bird seed and my family of cardinals has returned. I’m so glad to see them. Something about their consistency gives me joy, but enough about that.

Today, I’d like to talk about dealing with toxic relationships. Now, I’m not a therapist, but since the holidays are coming up many people don’t have a healthy family to celebrate with, and the holidays can bring these relationships to the forefront.

For example, what if you have a narcissist in your family. These people are extremely difficult to be around.  They manipulate unsuspecting family members by playing the victim or by piling on the praise. They also try to ostracize family members they can’t manipulate. The reason they do this is because they need to be the center of attention.

These people are hard to be around. The best way to handle them is to detach so they can’t manipulate you. If you have a narcissist in your family, try to keep your distance and get through the holiday. You might be the only one who knows they’re a narcissist. So, any kind of confrontation could end badly with other family members taking the narcissist’s side.

Trust me, if you detach from them and accept them for what they are, you’ll be better off in the long run. There are other toxic relationships in families, but the narcissistic one seems to be the most devastating. Once you let go of trying to change them or your family members, you’re a long way toward alleviating the narcissist’s negative effect on your life.

On that note, let’s be kind to everyone. We don’t know what kind of family dynamics they’re returning to, and we don’t want to make the holidays any harder for them.

How about you? How do you handle toxic family dynamics? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

The Mind and Body Connection

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work, writing, and running. I’ve broken down and joined a gym so that I can keep up with my running during the long winter months. It’s cold today, so I’m sitting in my recliner writing this post in front of a nice warm fire.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about the mind and body connection. I’m no doctor, but I feel there is a strong connection between how we take care of our bodies and how healthy we are in our minds.

I know this because when I’ve had to stop running because of an injury, my mental health droops because I’m not exercising. I also believe eating right also has a positive effect on our brains and mental health. These are two things we can control.

We must learn to listen to our bodies. They’ll tell us when we need to take a break and go for a walk. I try to get outside a couple of times a day to get some fresh air and exercise. I also run and do yoga. Both have a dramatic effect on me. If you’ve ever heard of the runner’s high. It’s true. My attitude is so much better for the whole day when I go for a run in the morning, and this usually extends into the next day.

When I do yoga, I’m so relaxed while at the same time, I’m more aware. There is scientific proof that Yoga is beneficial to not only our minds but our bodies as well. When we do Yoga, it increases the levels of GABA in our brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps relax your mind, which reduces the physical effects of anxiety on the body. For more information on this click this link:  https://www.newportacademy.com/resources/mental-health/understanding-the-mind-body-connection/#:~:text=Physical%20health%20and%20emotional%20health,our%20stress%20and%20physical%20health.

I know you’ve probably heard this before, but I believe our diet also affects the way we feel and think. We need to stay away from sugar as much as possible. We can do this by eliminating processed foods out of our diets. All processed foods seem to have added sugar in them, and I’m sure you’ve heard the fact that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine and other drugs. I don’t think we’ll be able to totally eliminate it, but we can certainly lower our intake of it. For more information about this click this link: https://bernalinstitute.com/2020/07/28/is-sugar-the-new-cocaine-does-sugar-have-the-same-effect-on-the-brain-as-cocaine/

So, there you have it. What we eat and how we take care of our bodies has a direct effect on our mental state. What do you do to maintain your mental health? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Entertainment, mental-health, social media

Ingrid Goes West: The Dark Side of Social Media

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and writing. I’ve been noodling some revisions for one of my stories and I’m thinking I’m going to start my revisions soon. I’m also making steady progress on my latest WIP.

But enough about that. Today, I want to talk about a movie I watched from Amazon Prime. It’s titled “Ingrid goes West.” Ironically, it was recommended by one of my followers on Twitter, but I digress.  It’s the story of a disturbed girl who finds someone on social media and they begin chatting.

Ingrid decides to move to the west coast after this person (her name is Taylor) suggests they get together after Ingrid comments on one of her posts about a meal she’s eating. Just like that Ingrid decides to move to the west coast.

It’s obvious Ingrid is unbalanced. She stalks this Taylor person and starts dressing like her, bleaches her hair to look more like her, and eating at the places Taylor posts on social media.

Ingrid Goes West: The Dark Side of Social Media, Lisa Orchard, Movie, Ingrid Goes West

She even kidnaps Taylor’s dog and then returns him in the guise of finding the dog for Taylor. She becomes friends with Taylor and starts hanging out with her and her friends. While at Taylor’s house she photographs her bathroom and medicine cabinet. She spins lie after lie about her life, and eventually gets caught by Taylor’s brother who tries to blackmail her.

This is a cautionary tale illustrating the dark side of social media. If you have a presence on social media, you don’t know your followers and you don’t have a lot of control over them. You can block them, but that’s only after you find out they’re dangerous, and usually by the time you find out, it’s too late.

It’s also an example of why you should always be kind. After Taylor and her friends see through all Ingrid’s lies, they reject her. Ingrid attempts suicide and posts a goodbye on social media. At the end, Ingrid wakes up after her suicide attempt and finds that one of her followers called 911 after her final post has gone viral. So, it turns out okay in the end. Of course it does, this is a movie, but in real life, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are like double-edged swords. They can be used for good and evil.

So, when on social media be careful because you don’t know who you’re really dealing with and be kind, one of your followers could be in a fragile state. Be careful who you allow to follow you, and make sure you know them. What precautions do you take on social media? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Building Resilience

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. I was also able to sneak in some gal pal time and hang with one of my closest friends. She is a sweetie.

She’s also an artist. She is incredibly talented and supportive of all other artists whether they write, paint, or sculpt. I’ve found this type of support in the writing community as well. Creatives need to hang with other creatives. That’s all there is to it. We immediately understand the passion and drive to create and perfect.

My friend is teaching me how to paint, and I must say I’m learning in spite of myself. LOL! This winter while I’m hibernating, I’m also going to be writing and painting. I’m looking forward to winter. (A little bit 😉 I’m not a big fan of the cold anymore.)

But enough about that. Today, I want to talk about building your resilience muscle. All creatives need to build resilience in the face of rejection and criticism. We need to teach our children how to be resilient, too. But first, let’s define it.

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

According to Dr. Ginsburg a child psychologist there are seven C’s to resilience. They are listed below:

  1. Competence
  2. Confidence
  3. Connection
  4. Character
  5. Contribution
  6. Coping
  7. Control

We need to teach our children self-care skills such as cooking, doing laundry, and cleaning. They need to be able to take care of themselves and their environment. Not only do they need to learn self-care skills, but skills that will help them to be independent and earn a living. By doing this they will develop confidence in themselves.

We also need to teach them that it’s okay to ask for help and to help others. That’s where the connection part of all of this comes in. It’s important to make connections with other people within our community. To know we can reach out if we’re in need. I feel a lack of connection or disconnection is the root cause of our school shootings and mass shootings, but that’s another blog post for another time.

Character is another component. We need to be strong role models for our kids, and it must be genuine. Kids can tell when someone’s being inconsistent. Our words and our actions have to match.

Another component of resilience is contribution. It’s important for our kids to contribute to the household. This is where you can teach them cleaning skills. My boys contribute by vacuuming and dusting once a week. They also have learned to cook, and they clean up after themselves when they do cook. On a side note, it’s important that we as parents don’t criticize or find fault with their efforts. Remember they’re learning. They’re not going to do it perfectly the first few times, but with practice they’ll get better.

Learning to cope with life’s ups and downs is another building block of resilience. We need to teach our kids good coping skills for when they’re in adverse situations. They need to learn how to assert themselves and speak their truth. They also need to learn how to cope with stress. We can model this behavior ourselves by dealing with our own stress in healthy ways.

The very last factor in building resilience is control. As long as we know how to control our emotions, we’ll build our resilience. This is hard to achieve, but it’s not impossible. I don’t mean we have to not feel our emotions or try to stuff them down deep. I mean we feel our emotions, but don’t act on them.  For example, let’s say your boss says something that makes you angry, but expressing that anger will hurt your career, so you choose to stay silent. That’s the kind of control that if mastered can help you build your resilience muscle.

Each of these components are a building block for resilience. We all need to be resilient in our daily lives. How do you build your resilience? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!