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!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Writing

Maintaining Balance

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing, work, and kids. My new WIP is going strong and I’m looking forward to the finished product. 😊

But enough about that. Today, I want to talk about keeping the balance in your life. It’s hard when you’re juggling family, work, friends, maintaining your health, and writing. I find when I’m in the zone (writing) I have a tendency to not eat as healthy as I normally would, and I have no problem skipping a run or workout to move my story forward.

But this response to my writing isn’t good for my health. I can’t skip too many runs, or I’ll start gaining weight, and we all know it’s easier to eat junk food instead of taking the time to prepare a healthy meal, and that leads to weight gain, too. When I catch myself falling into this routine, I have to force myself to take the time to run and prepare healthy meals.

Running, Maintaining Balance, Exercise, Lisa Orchard
https://allthefreestock.com/

I used to struggle with this, but I’ve been able to maintain my routine by establishing writing goals. I set a goal for one thousand words a day. So, when I reach one thousand words then I know it’s time to go for my run or start dinner. 😊

It satisfies the urge I have to write without being destructive to my health. I have time to exercise and prepare healthy meals. I must say this type of routine has been working wonders for me. I’ve been able to lose weight and keep it off. I’m excited about that. The exercise is a great mood booster and helps with my creativity as well.

So, that’s how I maintain my balance, by setting realistic goals with my writing and exercise routines. How about you? How do you maintain your balance? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

The Power of a Hug

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. This week has been a busy one of work, writing, and family. I’ve been inspired by another idea, so I’ve started a new WIP. This idea demands to be written more than the other one, so I’ve put the other one on the back burner. I have to go where the Muse takes me.

Photo credit: MacBeales on VisualHunt

I am sad to see summer’s on its way out. We had to turn the heat on a couple of mornings this week. Sniff. But that’s okay, hubby’s getting ready for winter by cutting wood for us, so we can have our toasty fires on those cold winter nights.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the power of hugs. I grew up without technology, and when I was growing up, I spent all my time outside during the summer months. We rode our bikes, went swimming, and played frisbee outdoors. This was important for our health, to get out into the fresh air and sunlight. We had a lot of face-to-face interactions.

Photo credit: PeterThoeny on VisualHunt.com

Now, my kids’ generation still get outside, but technology has changed the way they communicate. They can interact with each other via the computer, or their phones as opposed to face-to-face communication. This is good and bad. They can connect any time, but it’s not the kind of connection we need as humans.

I strongly believe we need physical touch. We need hugs and kisses to avoid depression and anxiety.  It sounds so simple, but it’s true.  In fact, studies have found that hugging, touching, or sitting close to a loved one releases Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Dopamine into our bloodstreams. These are all the “feel good” hormones.

Photo credit: Zanshin Art on VisualHunt

It has been scientifically proven that physical touch relieves depression and reduces stress. What happens to kids who don’t know how to ask for hugs or physical touch? Who have grown up with technology as their only form of social interaction? We’re seeing some of the results right now. We see it in increased mass shootings, Higher rates of suicide, and depression.

Photo credit: Elva Keaton on VisualHunt

Can hugs really lower the occurrences of these events? That’s a great question and my instincts say yes. We just have to increase the number of hugs we give out a day. I’d love to do some sort of study on this, but that would upset the drug companies, wouldn’t it? They’re busy creating drugs for depression and anxiety and making billions on the fact that we’re not getting enough hugs.

Photo credit: _casterclass on VisualHunt.com

We need to get back to basics. We need to model for our kids physical touch is important. That it’s okay to give and receive hugs. We don’t want to raise a generation of unhappy adults, right?

Do you feel physical touch is important for the Technology Generation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mental-health, Personal

The Need for Distractions

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of work, writing, and kids. The kids are back in school. It’s the end of summer and that makes me sad. I wasn’t ready for it to end and I’m hoping we can eek out a few more hot days before winter hits and I go into hibernation mode.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about the importance of distractions. I know, right? Distractions, how can they be important, but they are. Let me explain.

We as humans need to make sense about what is happening to us. We need to find a rational reason behind an experience. We want to find the lesson. What is this experience teaching me? So, we mull it over, trying to find the why. Right? I know we’ve all been there. But sometimes the answer eludes us.

The why will never be found. Either it’s because the person who we need to find the answer from isn’t available or refuses to communicate with us. That happens. That flash of understanding, that epiphany never happens.

This is the time we need to pull out our bag of distractions. To get our mind out of the groove of trying to find the answer. Otherwise, you can sink into a depression. I’ve seen this happen with myself as well as some of my friends.

So, what are good ways to avoid sinking into the pit of overthinking?

I like to escape reality and read a book. There’s nothing like sinking into a good story to forget about life for a while. When I start overthinking about a problem, and I recognize I’m doing that, I pull out a good book and forget about life for a while. It works wonders. This takes away the power of what I’m overthinking about, and when I’m done reading, the issue I’ve been thinking about is much smaller and more manageable.

Another way I distract myself when I start overthinking, is to exercise. I go for a run and that seems to jolt me out of the overthinking groove, and again when I’m done the issue doesn’t seem so big.

I also distract myself by writing. Working on my story, is the best way to get my mind out of that familiar groove of trying to understand the problem. and solve it. Some problems just can’t be solved no matter how hard we try.

So, there you have it. Distractions are important in our lives. They serve a purpose. How do you get your mind out of the groove of finding the why in a situation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal, Writing

Exercise: An excellent way to combat Writer’s Block

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work. I’m still noodling an idea for another story and sending queries. I’m also running to stay in shape, and I got to tell you there’s nothing like that runner’s high. When I run in the morning before work, I have a better mental attitude throughout the day.

Exercise is important for everyone. It keeps you in shape and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It’s especially important for writers because writing is such a sedentary activity. When I’m in the midst of creating a story, I could write all day. I have to force myself to take a break and exercise. I make sure and do it though because it also helps my writing. I’ve solved many plot holes while I’m running, and exercise keeps my creative juices flowing.

To keep me from getting bored, I also engage in Yoga and Hiking. Both provide not only physical benefits, but emotional ones as well. Yoga is a great way to focus on yourself. It brings me clarity when I’m dealing with complicated issues. I’m allowed to focus on my needs and find solutions to difficult dynamics. Sometimes we run into issues with family members, and we have to be creative to solve problems that arise.

Hiking is another terrific way to exercise. It’s also a great stress reliever, too. I’ve also found that when I’m writing, if I take time out for a hike through the woods or the beach, I solve plot holes and come up with creative stories. Noodling ideas in the woods is an excellent way to improve a great story.

So, if your stuck in a story and not sure how to move it forward. Step away from your work and go for a run or a hike. I guarantee you’ll either solve your problem while you’re exercising, or you’ll feel better about your story, and you’ll come back to it with a fresh attitude and solve it that way.

How about you? How do you deal with your writing when you’re stuck? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mass shootings, mental-health, Personal

Another School Shooting…when will they stop?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and editing. I’m editing my second manuscript and I’m excited about this one too. But enough about that. We had a sad event happen this week. There was another school shooting in Texas.

This breaks my heart. I think about those innocent children cowering in corners and how scared they must’ve been. My heart goes out to them. Then I think of the shooter and wonder how wounded he must’ve been to go to that extreme. He must’ve felt he had nothing left to live for.

I think of my own kids and wonder how I can protect them. I wonder if online school isn’t the solution, but also an exasperation of the problem at the same time. I mean keeping large groups from getting together will make them less likely to be victims, but and this is a big but, isolation and disconnection are huge factors that drive these kids to do the unthinkable.

I was chatting with my husband, and he asked the mind-boggling question, where did this eighteen-year-old get the money to buy an assault weapon? These guns are not cheap. I read a little bit of background about the shooter. He was a loner who had quit his job a week prior to the shooting.

This supports my theory that disconnection is a major factor in these events. Disconnection from family, their community, and society. We all need to be vigilant. As parents we can do our part and make sure our kids feel connected to their family. Family traditions are a big part of that.

allthefreestock.com

According to another newspaper article, the shooter made threats to girls online when they rebuffed his sexual advances and claimed he’d come to their school and shoot it up. These are signs that we need to take seriously. No one believed he would carry out his threats. They all thought he was kidding.

Now we know better. Now we must do better.

We need to take better care of our kids. Pure and simple. The teen years are the hardest years of our lives, and they’re harder now than when we were teens decades ago. When they withdraw, make sure they’re not dealing with anxiety or depression. I know this is hard. They won’t like your intrusion, but they’ll appreciate it when they’re older. And the fact that they made it to “older” will be a blessing in itself.

We need stronger gun laws for young kids. I am a believer in the second amendment, but I’m also a believer in keeping our kids alive. Both can be true. Young kids don’t need assault rifles. Period.

We need to train our police officers how to manage situations like this. It’s my understanding that they stood around the school for an hour, not knowing what to do. It was a border patrol officer who got into the school and shot the shooter.

We need to do more for through our mental health programs. Mental health issues start in the teen years. If your teen or a friend of your teen’s is showing mental health issues, try and get them help in any way you can.

Is there a way to prevent mass shootings? I believe we can. Maybe not prevent every one, but we can bring these numbers down. How about you? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Is Social Media Replacing Physical Touch?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with working and writing. I’m back to running outside. It’s finally warm enough. I’m being careful because of my back, but so far so good. I sleep better when I exercise and my mood during the day is better. I can tell a difference.

But enough about that. I’m back today to talk about our emotional needs. As I scroll through my feed on Facebook, I find many people posting about their emotional needs on social media. Need an ego boost? Post a selfie. Need prayer warriors? Make a post on social media. Don’t get me wrong I’m okay with asking for support on social media, but I’m concerned.

I’m concerned because what happens when social media becomes the only form of emotional support for people? I mean what if it replaces the hug and the touch on the arm? We as a species need physical touch. I strongly believe that. Did you know hugs and cuddling can ward off depression?

Maybe that’s why so many of our young people are depressed. Maybe they’re turning to social media and not getting the hugs they really need. It doesn’t have to be a hug. It could be a touch or just hearing the affection in the tone of your voice. You can’t get that from social media either. I’m not a therapist or a scientist, but I love to research for my stories and other things that intrigue me. So, I’m drawing a conclusion based on my research and I may be on to something here.

We need face to face interaction. There’s no way around it. We need to hear the inflection in the voices of our loved ones when we walk in the door. We need the physical touch of a stroke on our arm or a hug. Social media can’t replace that, and I feel these things are vital to our health.

We need social gatherings more than ever now and family traditions. Any type of face-to-face contact. Our kids need it so they learn social skills, and we can maintain our mental health. We need to use all five of our senses to keep our brain working properly not just our eyesight. What do you think? Am I on to something here? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!