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 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 Family, Health, mental-health

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of being busy at work and working hard on my WIPs. But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about the importance of exercise in your self-care regime.

The reason I’m writing this post is to remind myself to exercise. It’s getting colder outside and I’m at that point where I have to transition from running outside to running on a treadmill. I don’t like running on a treadmill and I do it grudgingly because it’s important for my health. So, as you probably have already surmised it’s very easy for me to skip my run during this time.

But I shouldn’t do that because exercise is so important for our bodies and our brains. It increases blood flow which helps in the absorption of oxygen and strengthens all our muscles including our hearts.

It also helps with depression and anxiety. I must remind myself of this during the winter months when it’s easier to slip into that seasonal funk. So, I’m making a concerted effort to continue my exercise routine, but this year I’m going to try something new. I’m thinking about adding another dimension to my exercise routine. I’m going to try Pilates. I’ve heard of it and I’m going to check out a new gym that just opened near my house. I’m not stopping the running, but I think it’s time to build up strength in my core, so I don’t have back issues later in life.

Our bodies need a solid foundation just like our writing does. Did you know running is good for your bones? It is. In fact, running can reverse osteoporosis, so can walking. Any weight bearing exercise is good for your bones.

I feel exercise helps me with my writing as well. All that extra blood and oxygen going to my brain gives my creativity a boost. Since being a writer is my passion, anything that boosts my creativity is good for me.

So, why do I find it hard to exercise when it’s so good for me? Because it’s hard work. I get hot and sweaty and I have to clean up. All of that takes time and right now time is precious to me. I want to spend it with my family. I want to spend it writing. I don’t want to spend it slogging away on a treadmill even if it’s good for me. So, there you have the dilemma I face when I must choose between exercise and writing or exercise and my kids.

It doesn’t sound like a tough choice, but it is. Because exercise is so important, and I must remind myself that I will have MORE time with my kids and MORE time for my writing IF I exercise. I’m extending my life because I’m putting time in now to take care of myself.

This post is a reminder for me, but it’s also a reminder for you to keep up the good fight against disease and illness and continue your exercise regime. What is your exercise routine during the cold winter months? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, quarantine, Writing

Have you got the Pandemic Blues?

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of vacation. I needed the break. It was a great week of sun, boat rides, and swimming. There’s something about being by the water that seems to calm my restless soul.

When we go up north, it’s easy to forget about the pandemic and the restrictions and the illness. We’re in our own little world of boating, swimming, watching sunsets, and just enjoying our down time. I think everyone needs to do this. Get out of the house and go somewhere and just have some fun.

Wave

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When you work from home, you tend to never leave. You don’t need to unless it’s   to go to the store or run a few errands. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut during these times.

To keep my spirits up, I’m exercising more. That means I’m running. I’m not fast. I won’t be winning any competitions, but it helps me keep a positive attitude and it’s good for my body. Did you know running is good for your bones? If you’re worried about osteoporosis take up running. I just had a bone density scan and my doctor says he can tell I’ve been exercising. 🙂

 

Blonde Woman Running Over The Pedestrian Crossing

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I’m also writing more, which helps me focus on something other than this pandemic and all the information flying around about it. I’ve finished one story and I’ve got another one going and it’s going well. I’m liking this new one almost as much as the one I just finished. The one I just finished has a lot of my heart and soul in the story. I’m very excited about it.

 

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I’ve also started collecting recipes to make some new and exciting meals. We’ve gotten into kind of a food rut lately, and we’ve been eating out more. Which isn’t the best for our health. Cooking with your family is a great way to spend some quality time together and cook up some new healthy meals.

 

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So, the point I’m trying to make is, use this pandemic to work on some projects you haven’t had time to start. You’ll feel productive and it’ll help get your mind off your circumstances. Make it work for you.

How are you spending your time during quarantine? Have you started any new projects? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health

Getting Back to Nature

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back again after spending a rainy morning working on my WIP. It was a good weekend for working on it because it is definitely cooler outside. Although, I did get my six-mile run in. That felt awesome. When I was done that is. 😊

 

Photo on Visualhunt

          Today, I’d like to talk about getting back to nature. We have become the indoor generation. For a clearer picture of this check out this post here.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

          In my opinion, we’ve become a nation of strivers, trying to be uber-efficient so we can accomplish more each day. We’ve become unbalanced, putting work and accomplishment ahead of our health. So, we try to squeeze exercise and self-care into tiny increments. I know I’m guilty of this, but I’m not the only one.

To be fair, we’ve got a lot on our table, with kids, work, and writing, it’s hard to find the time. But find the time, we must or as the old adage says, “if you don’t make time for your health, you’ll be making time for your illness.” I know this is one hundred percent true.

So, I’ve had to set priorities for what’s important to me. I’ve been forced to pay attention to my health. So, I’m making exercise and getting back into nature a priority. I feel better when I exercise and getting out into nature is a great stress reliever that doesn’t cost any money. Win-win.

I try to run on the treadmill in the morning at least a couple of times a week. I find I have more energy throughout the work day when I run. The frequency of these morning runs will increase as soon as the snow flies, and I can’t get outside on the weekends. But enough about that. I want to talk about getting out into nature and relieving stress.  Did you know that walking through the woods is good for you? It’s true. Check out this post on the benefits of  Forest Bathing.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

                We need to reconnect with nature and be part of the circle of life again. We’ve become disconnected and believe we have risen above that need, but we haven’t. We’re destroying our planet with our quest for money and status. Why has this striving become more important than our health and our families?

That question can only be answered individually. I don’t think we were meant to compete so much that it affects our health, both mentally and physically. I know there’s only so many jobs out there and we must compete for them, but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your health. Let’s take a step back and slow down. Spend more time with your family, and less time striving. Is all that striving really getting you anywhere? Or are you a hamster on a wheel because you’ve forgotten how to take care of yourself?

 

Photo credit: Hub☺ on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

          Sorry, I digress, I got caught up in the moment. I was supposed to be talking about getting back out into nature. Back on track, folks. 😉

Walking among the trees is good for our health and it relieves stress, so does walking barefoot. Do you remember going barefoot as a kid? Remember how happy and carefree we were? I think part of that happiness was because we were receiving anti-oxidants and reducing inflammation while we were running around barefoot. The practice is called “earthing” now, and it has been scientifically proven to be good for you.

Photo credit: Gareth1953 All Right Now on VisualHunt / CC BY

          So, if you can spend more time in nature, do it. It’s good for you and try to get your family out there, too. What are your thoughts? Do you feel getting out into nature is beneficial? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health

Finding Balance

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long weekend of writing and hanging out with my family. I’m getting closer to the finish line, and I hope I can do this story justice, but enough about that. 😊

Today, I’d like to talk about how important it is to find balance in your life. I’m sure you know that balance is important for your mental health, because the mind and the body work together.

Right now, I’m struggling with balancing everything I’m trying to accomplish, and making time for is exercise. Yet, I know I need to exercise to keep up my health. In fact, my doctor recommended I exercise at least six times a week.

Now, when I exercise, I usually run, and I dedicate an hour to it. The problem is that some nights I don’t have an hour. I get home late and want to hang out with my family for a while, or I’ve had a stressful day at work and all I want to do is sit down and relax, or I’d rather work on my story. So, there are times when I’ve blown it off. I started running in the morning, and I’ve found it increases my energy level for the day, but I still can’t seem to do more than two or three times a week.

 

Photo on Visualhunt

There is one drawback to running and that is, when I have to run on the treadmill, it is incredibly boring. I have a hard time motivating myself to do it. So, I decided I’m going to look into a yoga class. I used to do yoga once a week before the kidlets arrived and I enjoyed it immensely. There’s also that mind/body connection with yoga that I miss.  Whenever I finished a yoga class, I always came away with the feeling of being totally relaxed while also being fully aware. It was an awesome feeling that’s for sure.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

I’m going to count that as exercise even though it doesn’t increase my heart rate. I hear hot yoga is good for your body and helps build muscle. Have any of you tried hot yoga? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

There are some side benefits to yoga, too. It improves your circulation, strength and flexibility as well as your spine health. Spine health is important these days when you sit in front of the computer for most of the day.

Yoga is a great alternative when you just don’t feel like pounding the pavement and it stretches the whole body, whereas running only works your legs. So, there you have it. My plan to work yoga into my already busy life, so I can create balance. Does that even make sense? LOL!

Photo on Visualhunt

How about you, what do you do to exercise your body? Any yoga practitioners out there? How do you add one more activity and create balance? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health

The Ripple Effect

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy holiday. It was a Happy Thanksgiving for the Orchards and I hope it was for you as well. Now, the Christmas season has officially begun, and I’m excited. It’s my favorite time of year because I love shopping for Christmas and finding gifts for everyone and the lights! All those awesome Christmas lights!

 

 

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But enough about that. Today I want to talk about the way women view their bodies. We’ve been conditioned by society to believe we need to fix our imperfections and the only way we can do this is by buying what “they’re” selling, whether it’s clothes, makeup, or exercise equipment.

Instead of focusing on our supposed imperfections let’s focus on how our body feels. Does it feel healthy? Does it feel strong? Can I do all the activities I want?

If we focus on how we feel instead of how we look, we’ll be happier. For example, when I run, I feel awesome afterward. I have a lot of energy and the endorphins are bursting through my body. I feel good for hours afterward and I feel healthy and strong.

 

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When I’m taking care of my body in this way, I’m not worried about how I look because I feel so good. I accomplish more, my mind’s clearer, and I feel great.

I don’t pick at my imperfections because I’m focused on what I want to accomplish and my relationships. Which is where my focus should be. Then my relationships grow stronger and I’m happier. All because I’m taking care of myself.

Taking care of myself causes a ripple effect. It affects my relationships with my hubby and my kids. Because I’m healthier, I’m less reactive. I’m more proactive and focused on my goals. I accomplish more and that makes me feel better about myself, too. It’s good for my self-esteem when I set goals and accomplish them. This all stems from the fact that I started taking care of myself.

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I should add, that another part of taking care of myself is eating a healthy diet. I don’t feel I need to go into a lot of detail about that because you all know what a healthy diet is. 😉

So, if you don’t have a self-care routine, develop one and see what kind of ripple effect it could have on your life.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are some of the ways you take care of yourself? Do you see a ripple effect happening in your life because of it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Writing

Dealing with Self-Doubt

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a long week of studying for an exam. I passed! Yay! But enough about that.

Photo credit: bridgetnikole on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-N

Unbeknownst to me, November 1st was National Author’s Day. I’m bummed that I missed it, but I was still trying to recover from studying for my exam, so I have a legitimate excuse.

Because I missed a Day that is near and dear to my heart, I thought I’d write about dealing with the self-doubt all writers deal with when they’re creating their stories. It can be crippling.

Photo on Visual hunt

So crippling that many writers don’t finish their work. They linger between rewriting and editing what they’ve already written and stopping their writing all together because they’re paralyzed with fear.

Part of this fear is that tiny negative voice in our heads that tells us we’re not worthy of our dreams and goals. It’s hard to block this voice out, but you must to continue your work.

So how do you drown out that voice that stops you in your tracks when you’re writing? That voice that makes you feel like every word you’re writing is drivel.

Well, the first thing I do is go for a walk. That’s right, I walk away from my manuscript and get out into nature. I’ve always found a hike through the forest is good for my soul as well as my body. Did you know that walking through the woods is good for your health? So, not only are you solving your plot holes, you’re also taking care of yourself.

Photo credit: Nicholas_T on Visual huntCC BY

Another way, I deal with the self-doubt that leads to writer’s block is exercise. I go for a run or do some yoga. This physical activity releases those wonderful endorphins that make every situation easier to deal with and it really does dull that incessant voice in your head.

Photo on Visualhunt

The third thing I do is get together with friends and put my writing aside because staring at a blank page or rewriting the same chapter over and over again isn’t productive.

There’s an underlying theme here and that is self-care. Taking the time to step away from your manuscript and taking care of yourself is a sure-fire way to dull that nagging voice in your head. So, do what works for you. Take a bubble bath, cook an awesome meal, or binge watch something on Netflix. Whatever, your go to activity is do it when you’re feeling low and uncreative. You’ll reawaken that creative muse and you’ll be on your way. So, how do you deal with the self-doubt that plagues us all at times? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Holiday Posts

Looking for Some Stress Relief for the Holidays?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I know I did. We had good food and it was great to see my family.

I enjoy the holidays, but they can be stressful. From trying to prepare food, shop, and get togethers, the holidays can zap the positive energy out of anyone. I’ve put together a list of stress relievers I use to get my yin and yang back on track.

 

  1. Go for a walk. Just getting out in the fresh air and walking for a little while does me a world of good. I usually go at least two miles so I can clear out all that negative mojo that’s been building up.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

  1. Read. Immerse yourself in a good book. Did you know reading for just six minutes can reduce your stress level by sixty eight percent? What a way to calm down. So next time you’re stressed pick up a good book. It’ll do you a world of good.

 

Photo on VisualHunt

 

  1. Get together with a friend. They say laughter is the best medicine, and I wholeheartedly agree. There’s nothing better than getting together with friends and sharing memories. It’s also a great way to deal with the stress of the holidays.

 

 

Photo on Visualhunt.com

 

  1. Work out. Any kind of exercise is a great way to deal with stress. I run, and when I can’t run outside, I run on a treadmill. Not as much fun, but just as effective in burning calories and giving you the runner’s high that’ll get you through the day.

 

  1. Hike. If you can get out into nature and hike, I recommend it. There’s something about being out in nature that is calming. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that it’s beneficial for you. Check out my post on Forest-bathing, you’ll see there are health benefits from just walking in the woods. Forest Bathing

 Photo by EJP Photo on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

  1. Bubble baths. Nothing says stress relief like a bubble bath. Before I had kids, I’d take one after I ran. A double whammy of destressors, that’s for sure and some days I needed it.

 

  1. Get a Massage. I can’t stress this enough. Getting a massage is an excellent stress reliever. In fact, it’s one of my favorites. It’s a great way to relieve those aches and pains as well and it’s good for your body.

 

Photo on Visualhunt

  1. Binge watch a Netflix Series. This is a great way to relieve the angst the holidays can bring on. This is one of my favorite things to do especially when it’s cold and dark outside. There are many great series out there to watch. If you need a recommendation, just let me know.

 

 

  9.Go to a Movie. This is another way to get out of the house and relax. There’s             always at least one good movie playing at the theater and a great way to forget about the holidays for a couple of hours.

  1.  Coloring. I know it sounds crazy, but there’s research suggesting that coloring in those adult coloring books is an excellent way to relieve stress. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list of things to try.

 

So there you have it, ten great ways to relieve stress over the holidays. I have a few favorites that work best for me and I’m sure you do, too. What are your favorite stress relievers? Leave a comment and share, I’m always looking for new ways to relax!

 

Posted in Parenting, Personal, raising kids

Ten things you can do to Ease the Pain of your Children’s Growing Independence

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. This has been an incredibly busy week. The kids’ last day of school was Friday. My youngest has graduated fifth grade and he’s on his way to middle school. I’m proud of both my boys. They’re getting good grades, they have awesome friends, and they’re both well adjusted.

They’re just growing up too fast. Sob.

Today I thought I’d talk about what to do when you’re kids start to become independent. When they don’t need your hugs and kisses or your undivided attention like they used to. It can be a little disconcerting at first. You might be like me and try to cling to those sweet, innocent years and refuse to believe they’ve grown up, but they’ll start to squirm under this parental love and even start to fight against it. (Gasp!)

To avoid becoming one of those clingy moms and ease the pain of my boys’ abandonment…I mean their growing independence, I’ve put together a list to help snuff out that agony for us moms.

 

  1. First and foremost, I’ve increased my writing time. My writing has improved and I have some amazing stories coming down the pike.

Photo via Visual hunt

  1. I read. Now that both boys are out of diapers and don’t need as much supervision, I’ve been able to increase my reading time. This has been an awesome stress reliever for me and something I enjoy immensely.

Photo via Visualhunt

  1. Start binge-watching movies and TV series. There are some awesome shows available now and it’s kind of fun when I need some down time to relax in front of the TV. You can always add drinking wine to this one. Just an FYI. 😉 I do this more in the winter than summer. It’s one of those seasonal things.

 

  1. I’ve increased my running time. This has had such a positive effect on me. Any type of exercise is good for you and it’s especially important for writers to exercise because writing is such a sedentary thing to do. I find exercise has helped my attitude and increased my energy. I get more writing done! That’s always a good thing!

Photo via VisualHunt

  1. I’ve started painting. I get together with my friends and we have a painting party. It’s a great way to relax. You can also add wine to this activity as well. Just sayin’ 😉

Photo via VisualHunt

  1. Before I had kids, I used to do Yoga. It’s such a tremendous way to increase your flexibility and it’s good for that mind-body connection. I plan on starting this up again.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

  1. Get together with friends and play cards. Again, before kids, I used to do this about once a month. It was always a great way to get away from the pressures of life and be social. You can also add wine to this activity, too. 😉

 

  1. I’ve increased my hiking time. There’s nothing like getting out in nature. It’s so relaxing and good for you, too.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

  1. I haven’t done this one yet, but my plan for the summer is to spend more time in the kitchen and find some new meals for my family and I to enjoy. I don’t know about you but sometimes we get stuck in a food rut and we need to expand our meal repertoire.

 

Photo via Visualhunt.com

  1. I also plan on working in our yard. My plan is to plant some Hosta plants. They’re such hearty plants and they don’t need a lot of maintenance. Digging in the dirt is always a fun activity.

 

So there you have it ten things you can do to ease the heartache of your kids’ growing independence. It’s a good thing. Good for them and you. 🙂

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What do you do when your kids don’t need your undivided attention anymore? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!