Posted in pandemic, raising kids, Teen

Your Teen and Pandemic Stress

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and writing. I’ve started the dreaded treadmill season where I run on the treadmill instead of going outside. I’ve finally adjusted to this even though I still struggle with motivation.

But on a positive note, I had my blood work done and my numbers look much better than they did last year. So, I’ve accomplished my goal. I’ve improved my health. 😊

Enough about that, though. Today, I’d like to talk about helping your teen deal with the stress and anxiety brought about because of the pandemic. It’s a tough time for them. They can’t socialize like normal and their activities have become severely limited. I bring this up today because we had a fourteen-year-old boy commit suicide in our state during a zoom meeting with his classmates. No one saw this coming. None of his classmates or his parents.

Now more than ever, kids need to feel connected to their families. This is a good time to do forced family fun nights. We spend time either playing Uno or watching The Office. I know. It can get kind of raunchy, but there’s some quality stuff in the show as well. For example, when Jim and Pam went to couples counseling and illustrated how to communicate with your spouse. That was brilliant. Kids need to learn how to handle conflict and how to express their needs. I loved that about that episode.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIi8i3Pf3Ys&ab_channel=LaurenAmeruoso

The show also brings diversity to the forefront with the gay character of Oscar. I think this is important to show how to accept people who are different from us. It’s also funny. The different personalities of the characters are taken to the extreme to show how we can all get along using humor and sarcasm as a way of deflecting negativity.

Another way kids can deal with this stress is video games. I know. I know. I’ve heard all the negatives about video games, but in this time of no activities and no school there is still a way to connect with their friends. They can connect through their games. I like this because my boys can stay safe and still have a little bit of social interaction. They can do this without getting on social media. You still must take precautions. I advise them to not share any personal information with anyone online, but for the most part they play games with kids they hang out with in school, so it’s working. They can connect and stay safe at the same time.

I also encourage them to get outside for at least an hour a day. It’s harder to do now that it’s gotten cold, but they do get out and get fresh air and exercise. One of my boys has gotten into weightlifting and another has started running on the treadmill. Exercise is another healthy way to deal with stress, and it helps that both hubby and I run. We are modeling the behavior we want them to engage in. So, not only are we talking the talk, but we’re walking the walk also.

So, there you have it. Some ways to help your teens deal with the stress of isolation. How about you? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Parenting, Personal, raising kids

Are We on the Road to Social Isolation?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and had a wonderful food coma that day. It was different this year with the pandemic. We stayed home and had a turkey with our immediate family. It was nice, but I definitely missed my extended family, that’s for sure.

Because we had a stay at home holiday this year. I was able to get some writing done. I’m waiting for my Beta reader to get back to me on my story and while I wait, I’ve been working on another one. I really like this new one and I’m hoping I can do it justice.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the effect the pandemic has had on our society. We work from home. Our kids learn from home. We sit in front of our computers in our homes and do our thing. This is very isolating. I need to interact with people. It lifts my mood to just be on a WebEx meeting with my colleagues. I worry how this kind of isolation is going to affect my kids. The thing is they need their friends and the only way they can interact with them right now as we all hunker down and ride out this pandemic is through their video games.

Sure, they’ve invited friends over, but these visits are few and far between because it’s safer to stay at home right now. So, video games have become their social gathering avenue. So, I’ve been letting them play them more than normal. They need that social interaction and video games have been linked to helping combat depression. So, what’s a Mom to do?

I worry that this will be more than a band-aid, though, and it will become a way of interaction for the future. I worry that the next generation will not have strong relationships because their only interaction will be video games and social media. This pandemic is setting a dangerous precedent. We are getting more and more dependent on our computers. What with social media moguls gathering data about what we find interesting so they can plant it in our newsfeeds, and video games becoming interactive. It’s going to change the way we function in society.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope that the powers that be will make sure our communities don’t change, but that would mean our purpose would have to change, wouldn’t it? The all mighty dollar can’t be the only goal here. It’s going to have to be something bigger than ourselves and our pocketbooks.

So, what can we do until that happens? We can get our kids to take breaks from their computers and watch movies together, play board games, or cards. We can get them moving by taking family hikes and getting out into nature. Anything that would require face to face interaction. That’s how we combat this social isolation. How about you? Do you have any ideas? I’d love to read them, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Hiking. It’s Good for You

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and work. The kids are back to doing school virtually, so we’ve overcome that hurdle of change.

I had a request from one of my followers to show some of the photos of my hikes, so I thought today, I’d share some of the benefits of hiking and share some of the awesome photos I’ve taken. Not that I’m a great photographer or anything like that, it’s just our world is amazingly beautiful, so not even I can take a bad picture. 😊

So, without further ado here’s my personal list of the benefits of hiking.

  1. It clears my mind. Whenever, I have a tough decision to make or I’m having trouble with my manuscript. I get out into nature and my mind clears and problems get solved.
  • Hiking is a great stress reliever. Whenever, I’m having a hectic day, I take a quick walk through the woods and it calms me and clears my mind.
  • Hiking is also great exercise. It burns calories and strengthens your muscles including your back muscles. It’s also a great way to improve your circulation.
  • It’s a great way to focus on gratitude. When you’re out in the woods and taking in all the beauty, it’s hard to be in a negative frame of mind. It’s a great place to reset and change your attitude.

So, there you have it. Five great reasons to get out into the woods and get moving. It’s good for you both mentally and physically! Here is a photo of the beauty that’s waiting for you out there! 😊

Posted in current-events, environment, Family, Parenting, Personal, Politics, raising kids, Teen

Don’t Look Now, But Social Media is Taking Control of Virtual Reality

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a stressful week of dealing with kid issues, a pandemic, work, and writing. Because I had a lot on my plate, I didn’t get a lot of writing done, but that’s okay. I needed to take a little break and refuel.

But enough about that, today I want to talk about a trend I see happening. First, I need to give you a little background, though.  Hubby and I were shopping for a virtual reality headset for the boys for Christmas. We found one we really liked because it wouldn’t be obsolete in two years. Anyway, we were all set to buy it when we discovered that in order to activate it, my son would have to open his own Facebook account.

We dug in our heels and didn’t buy it. We don’t want our kids having social media accounts right now. Especially after watching the show “Social Dilemma.” I remember after watching that show, I made the remark to my hubby that soon this is going to be seeping into the kids’ video games, and not two months later we run into the above scenario.

This is dangerous. The reason being that it’s giving social media platforms way too much control. They are changing human behavior by creating personalized click bait for each member. Their goal is to increase engagement, so your child will spend his free time on their site. Now that they’re invading video games, they’re going after the younger crowd. They’re looking to expand their customer base and more importantly they’re going to gather the same information about your child that they’re gathering about you.

social media, likes, engagement

I don’t know how we can stop this. Facebook bought the company that created the virtual headset my hubby wanted to get for our son, so they can require this. No one is stopping them. So, what happens when your child spends more time with their computer than they do with people? Loss of social graces, loss of the ability to communicate face to face, and the loss of empathy.

All these skills are needed to navigate today’s world. What happens if you as a parent do their do diligence and try to teach these skills to your children? They’ll be the only ones with these skills and get lost in a sea of dealing with socially inept humans. It’s a sad state of affairs. I’m not sure what we can do to stop this from happening.

Do we have the government regulate social media? Who trusts the government these days? What are your thoughts? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Personal, Women

What is your Standard of Care?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after having a couple of guests for the last couple of weeks. I hope you enjoyed them, but I’m back today after a stressful week at work and trying to work on my writing at the same time.

It has been a week of trying to find balance during an incredibly stressful period. These are unprecedented times. What with the election and the pandemic, it has been hard to focus on my goals. It’s during these times that we must focus more than ever on where we’re going. We can’t let the world events deter us from our path, no matter how much anxiety they cause us. By focusing on our aspirations, we’ll alleviate our anxiety. Moving forward is one of the best ways to deal with worry.  

I forgot this concept this week. I put my self-care on the back burner. Something I do when I’m stressing out. I don’t eat right, and I don’t exercise as much as I should. However, I saw the signs quickly and pulled myself out of my funk. I did this by deciding on a standard of care for myself. You see, I want to be healthy and active in my old age. I want to be one of those women who’s still running in her sixties. So, to do that I have to exercise a standard of care today.

I’ve been running and I’ve dropped my weight. I’ve also changed my eating habits and I’m watching how many carbs I eat a day to keep the weight off. Well, that’s my goal. This week, I veered off my path and started eating some sugary sweets and not exercising because I was stressed out. Because of this, I’m thinking I need to do some yoga to help alleviate the mental stress of trying to work, raise a family, and write during a pandemic. The exercise is awesome for getting those endorphins surging, but if it’s raining or too cold out, I struggle with jumping on the treadmill. It’s not the same as running outside. So, I’m going to add a couple more activities like yoga and Pilates to my exercise regime. I’m trying to do two things by doing this, strengthening my core and improving my mental health. Yoga is a great way to calm the turbulent seas of my emotions, and by increasing my activity, I’m changing my focus from things I have no control over to things I can do something about.

So, in a nutshell, I’m taking the standard of my self-care up a notch and I recommend that you do, too. I don’t think this pandemic is going away anytime soon and there are whispers of a shut-down. You don’t have to go gym to do Pilates or Yoga, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there. Check them out. It’ll be good for your health, both mental and physical.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What is your standard of care? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author, Guest interview

Please welcome Author Lisa Fender!

Lisa Fender

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I know we’ve been friends on Facebook for quite a while, so it will be great to get to know it each other a little better since we are kindred spirits in the writing world.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always wanted to write a novel, since I was a little girl. I fell in love with books at about the age of 5 and knew it would be something I would accomplish one day. When I was laid off in 2009, along with half the population in America, I thought now would be a good time to start writing. I had tinkered with it a little bit, but once I had no excuse, I wrote my first manuscript in about 3 months.

2. How do you handle writer’s block?

I had never experienced true writer’s block until this year. Actually, I am still fighting it, but pushing myself to do it. I think it’s the combination of Covid, my husband’s ongoing health problems, and the loss of one of my critique partners at the beginning of the year. Not to death, but to her

deciding to not do it anymore. As we all know, this year has been a tough one. I have gone weeks without writing in some instances, and others, I have pounded out a chapter. It’s really weird to go through.

3. What words of wisdom can you give other writers?

Always work to better your craft. We are a work in progress. We should want to excel in our talents and work toward putting out a clean, tight, novel. Learn the creative writing skills – they are important. And remember, corrective criticism is there to help you. Oh, and always have a critique partner.

4. What inspired you to write your series?

Well, I love reading series – I never want to story to end. And my main character, Stevie, needed to get her whole story out. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy fiction, and I am fascinated with all things ‘Alien’. So I combined the two.

5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I started out as a panster and learned my lesson when I self-published my first book and found two mistakes that a reader would have caught. I had to fix them and republish. When you are writing a large series, like mine, you have a lot to remember. It is best to keep track so that you don’t write that one of your characters drives a Chevy Blazer, then suddenly a Jeep Cherokee. Little things like that can screw up a good book.

6. What is your favorite part of the publishing process?

When you see it all come together and you actually hold your book in your hands. The second, my fans. I might not have hundreds, but the ones I do have are loyal and love my books. That means the world to me.

7. What is your go-to snack when you’re writing?

I love mocha lattes! I don’t usually eat while I’m writing. The few times that I have, it’s been chocolate.

8. Do you have a favorite place to write?

I write in my living room, a paragraph at a time – and usually by hand. Then I transfer the work to my desktop in my office. My eyes don’t like looking at the computer screen for more than an hour, so it works better to do it this way.

9. What are you working on now?

I am at the very end of my 6th book. It is the first half of the last book in the Lorn Prophecy Series. All of my books have been large, so when I started writing this one, I know it would be over 1000 pages. I decided to cut it in half and have a part one and part two. I am at the end of part one.

10. What do you like to read?

I love several different genres, but read a lot of fantasy to keep my mind focused on my own genre. But I do read mystery, international espionage, and historical fiction. I really don’t like reading non-fiction too much. I get enough of that in newspapers and online articles. When I relax and want to read, I want to be taken away from life’s everyday stresses.

Thanks for being a guest Lisa! It was great to get to know you a little better. Below are Lisa’s book covers and links. Check them out if you have a young reader who likes fantasy!

Website


Writing Blog


Fable – Book 1 of The Lorn Prophecy

Fated – Book 1 of The Djenrye Chronicles