Mental Health

Two Tricks to Help You Get Out of Bed EVERY Morning

I hate mornings. And when I say hate, I actually mean: I loathe, despise, and abhor them. Even when I am not in one of my down swings, I hate them. Sleep is my favorite drug always. And anyone who knows me can attest, that I am a happier lady if I can get 8-9 hours of sleep. But who has time to actually get that much sleep? I know I don’t. This might be because I am actually a night owl whose work starts promptly every weekday morning at 8am. I am a chronic snooze button hitter. It could be a loathing I developed at a young age. 
That being said, in order to eat and actually do my hair and makeup I have to get up at 6am. So this means that if I am to be as happy as the cutest early bird you have ever seen, I have to be asleep by 10 pm AT THE LATEST. I know this seems easy, but really, for me anyway, it has been almost insurmountable. When I get off work I usually have a project to do, sisters in my ward to visit teach, 2 book clubs to manage, eat, shower (my hair doesn’t blow dry anymore in the morning…takes way too long), Netflix to watch, and now finally, writing! That leaves little time to get to bed as early as 10. However, I finally feel I have a purpose, and I will get to that soon.
My first suggestion to combat hitting the snooze button is an easy one. Not even an unheard of proposal. It has been suggested to me my entire life, and I have even tried it: Put your alarm clock across the room. This never worked though, because I would turn it off and crawl back into my bed. It never felt like I truly had anything worth getting out of bed for. And over this last year, that is changing. 

Since cellphones have basically replaced alarm clocks, I slept with mine on the bed or nightstand…most often on my bed next to my pillow. This method was not useful in advancing progress in the desired ability to get out of bed. Even if I set multiple alarms, I would ALWAYS fall back to sleep. If I wanted to get to work on time I need to leave by 7:30am. Often, I would get out of bed at 7:15am. It was getting to the point where I wasn’t even trying to make my top knot look fancy. And “What makeup routine? Are you kidding me?” Don’t get me wrong, I love my job., but dag yo, it just wasn’t enough; isn’t enough. 

Last week,  I took some steps to make some real changes and I can already see them working in my life. The first step was simple; I started putting my phone across from my bed on the vanity. One adjustment changed things in two ways. Phone addiction is a real thing. Instant gratification is lurking behind a simple touch screen device and is so hard to resist. Especially when I am trying to sleep and I think of a person I forgot to text, or an idea for something important needing to be dictated into my notepad on my phone. It has replaced more than just my alarm clock; my calendar, jigsaw puzzles, phone calls with texting, and now that I am starting this blog social media is super important. So now, if I am trying to sleep and I think of something that needs me to touch my phone, it waits. Because by the time my book stops playing, I am tired enough that getting out of bed isn’t an option. So instead of planning and setting reminders, I sleep. Weird right? Sometimes it has even been as early as 10:30pm. Equally important, sitting up and hitting the snooze button after it starts playing Warm it up Chris, by Kriss Kross, gets my blood pumping. I start drawing myself out of my slumber. And I know in the depths of my heart that the biggest reason is because I am working on things I love.  

Last Thursday I joined a writing group. Some people and something has been pushing me, prompting me to start a blog. In the same vein, I don’t think I can count how many times I have started a novel, only to give up after one or two chapters. Part of it has been fear of what others think, but also the fear and belief that I would fail. I second guessed myself always and have been frightened of expressing myself, thus making myself vulnerable to other people’s criticism. Taking stances mostly terrifies me. But there is one thing I do know; I have so much to offer. My life has at times been tumultuous, but I feel that it has made me empathetic, compassionate, and loving. I have been gifted with a decent sense of humor ( I mean, I think I am hilarious). Blogging has helped me get up. Being challenged to write a chapter of a novel that has been brewing in my head for the last ten years by the writing group is fueling my creative passions. Best of all, I have faith in myself.
Let me repeat that. I HAVE FAITH IN MYSELF. Where did that come from? I can tell you that it has not been easy, and I am sure I will have to remind myself from time to time of my own worth. But what a wonderful thing to have. What an amazing feeling it is to actually focus on yourself and discover that you actually do love yourself. I realized, (not without encouragement from some amazing people) I am good at a lot of things. I love to paint, not exceptionally well, but I enjoy it. Whereas writing is something I have always had a knack for. My 6th grade English teacher, Mrs. Johnson told me so, but I never put much stock in it. Mrs. Murdoch, my 7th grade English teacher, encouraged me; yet I did not even begin to know how to believe her. I have faith in myself and I am following a dream. I don’t know where it will take me, but how can you not get up if you are living your life passionately and chasing your dreams?

Humor

Did You Have a Nice Trip?

The fair young maiden, whom will sometimes be called, “Mandalicious” (this name having been bestowed upon her by dear friend, Gus) never claimed to be a “neat freak”, as one might put it. In fact, she was a tiny bit of a slob, or just a plain slob. However, she preferred the term “messy”  thinking it sounded slightly less slovenly. While she knew how to clean and was capable of creating a clean living space, there were always more important things to do. Sometimes a visit to the pool and catching rays were more important, while other times one of the many projects she had going on (scrapbooking, painting, writing, netflixing, reading, snuggling with a niece or nephew, etc.) would draw her attention and putting the clothes away just didn’t seem a priority really ever. While this caused much embarrassment throughout her life, as she got older, she began to accept that being a cluttered lass was part of her existence. (Aren’t there hundreds of articles on the interwebs that state a creative person is often messy?) So  instead of being offended when people made comments, it was a tad easier to simply accept this character flaw and learn to love herself in spite of it, for creativity is what she thrived on. Acceptance of oneself is incredibly important if one is to live happily-ever-after under any circumstances, and Mandalicious was on a path of self acceptance and appreciation. It was unfamiliar territory, but it was a wondrous journey.

When describing her living quarters, she often described them as “messy, but not filthy” because no one obviously likes to walk on a floor covered in sticky crumbs or use a nasty lavatory, not even she. There came a time however, when she had to admit she could no longer let her depression and laziness rule her life. She needed to be more diligent in her self care if not for her mental health, but for her bottom. The story that changed the maiden’s perspective goes as follows:

Once upon a time the mid single maiden came home to a message from the proprietor of her lodgings. The message stated, “I need to speak with you this evening, Much obliged, Lord Fox.” -Or something in that manner.

Instead of trudging her weary self up the stairs to her quarters of the manor, she knocked hesitantly on the proprietor’s front door. “Come in! Have a seat!” he boomed. All the while, straining to keep his beautiful dog named Hazel from attacking her with all the love in the poor beast’s heart. As she sat down she greeted Lady Fox and her husband let her know he was having a pest control man come out to spray for the non existent bugs in the house (that is for a later post, because there is in fact no infestation of any kind). “You will have to move the furniture away from the walls, ahem, all the walls will need to be clear so the bug man could attend to his duties.” Mandalicious innerly cringed as she recalled that she hadn’t put clothes away in- well, not in a long while. The idea of having to clean instead of write was rather disappointing, but she thought to herself, “what an excellent catalyst of motivation.”  The three of them discussed the non existent bug situation and then the maiden took her leave.

She summoned courage and desire to clean and then sat promptly down to do a puzzle. Do not worry reader, she did not stay there all night. No, Mandalicious got up and decided to do the dishes and pull everything into the center of the rooms. Her poor back was very angry with her, but she persisted. Soon enough she moved on to her clothes, (thankfully she had cleaned the living room and kitchen on Saturday). She did not manage to get much of that done. After deciding to finish in the morning (honestly what was she thinking? For anyone who truly knew this fair maiden knew getting up early was also not one of her strengths) she cleared her vanity and put the garbage full of papers that needed to be taken out in the morning close to the door, but out of her path. (It is most important to mention she did in fact accomplish taking the trash out, but not until it was too late; which I will more fully explain at present).

To cure her inability to get out of bed in the morning she had also started putting her phone on the vanity across from her bed. In order to turn off her loathsome alarm clock, she had to sit up and actually get up to turn off the phone. On this particular night, she did her nightly routine, set audible to play exactly 8 minutes of The Order of the Phoenix, and placed the phone on the vanity and retreated to her cozy bed. She drifted to sleep as soon as Jim Dale stopped speaking.

At approximately 4am, the urge to use the ladies room aroused her from her slumber. Well, the fair young maiden wasn’t going to approach this task without knowing precisely how many more hours or minutes she had to sleep before the dreaded call of the blasted alarm would let her know it was time to wake and ready herself for another day at work. However, as she got up to reach the phone, she stepped on the garbage bag and tripped forward, caught herself and fell onto the floor. This promptly caused her leg to cramp and evidently gave her an awful knot and bruise on her bottom. But no matter, at least she knew the time now.

While she was a tad sore, she knew this was quite hilarious and proceeded giggle to herself about how utterly lamebrained she sometimes is. In any case, the fair maiden vowed to do better in this department. Alas, the clothes did not in fact get put away, but rather thrown onto her bed. Temporarily they were back on the floor, but she had high expectations of herself and the floor is almost clear in her bedroom…almost.  Tripping and falling in the middle of the night may make a great story, and while embarrassing to some extent, it really just made her more determined to better herself. She cut herself some slack and then she started a daily chore plan. So far ( it only being two nights since the fall) she has been progressing. Which is really what she perceived this life to be about, progressing. 

Mental Health

4 Things to Help Turn Negative Thoughts into Positive Ones

THE TAPES IN OUR HEAD
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I have long loved this quote! But what a difficult concept to master. I mean it makes sense; you have control over how you react or how to feel when someone bullies you or tries to make you feel less than. That’s usually just a reflection of the bully, not you. Simple right!? Not always.
We all have tapes that have recorded over time. Life experiences that have taught us how to think, react, feel. They’ve recorded what our parents and other role models have taught us regarding our worth. Well, what if those people taught and recorded on your tapes that you were worthless? How do you rewrite that tape? How can we record over something filled with vitriol, with something that uplifts, honors, and edifies us? Things that remind us of our true worth instead of what our grownups, the media, bullies and other people who influenced our childhood have recorded onto the tapes we play in our head.
We are often lucky enough to have people who see or saw all the amazing qualities within ourselves and tried to help us see it. But for whatever reason, the bad seems to be easier to remember. In my own experience with this has been difficult to overcome. I have to fight to rewrite my tapes EVERY DAY. Sometimes it is easy; other times it is like trying to dsafasdfsd
I understand what it is like to have a tape that has no business running through anyone’s head. I know what it means to have to rewrite so many things I was taught to believe about myself. It is not easy. Those tapes will start playing in my head after stretches of days where I have managed to listen to the loving tapes I’ve created in my mind. Something can still trigger the negative stuff and sometimes it can take a while to find the strength to force myself to listen to the positive ones.
So the question is, how do we rewire our brains? How do we fight the negative recordings? I don’t know all of the answers, but I can tell you what helps me eject the negative tapes and play the positive ones.
1. Find the Right Support System
· Not everyone in your life is going to understand you. There are people who can’t or don’t want to handle your crazy. We all come with baggage and it is so important to find people that don’t mind helping you either carry it, or help you rest from carrying it everywhere. And this baggage may be too much for others. ( I am not saying you should find people to completely dump your baggage one, but you need people in your life who can be patient with you). Fortunately I have some amazing people who accept me for who I am and are patient when I need them. There are those people who stick around and love you flaws and all. No one is perfect. No one can keep it together all of the time. You need individuals who stay through the good and the bad. I am lucky enough to have several people who have seen me through every stupid decision, and every dip I have ever had and I couldn’t be more grateful. Find the people who stay and forgive the ones that can’t or won’t. Because there are people who understand. There are people who will stay. Find them and keep them. Most importantly, appreciate and love them. The ones who stay are keepers. Take care to get rid of enablers, haters, and people who demean you. For obvious reasons, this is not healthy.

2. Be kind to yourself

· Taking time to actually to do something nice for yourself can take a lot of practice. But it doesn’t always have to take a lot of time or money. It can be as sumple as just saying no to something you don’t feel like doing or even spending a day at the spa. I know I don’t have a lot of money to go to the spa regularly so here is a list of inexpensive ways you can show yourself some love

  • Take a walk “endorphins make people happy,” Elle Woods.
  • Hot bath, with or sans bubbles
  • Take time to read
  • Paint or color
  • Hike
  • Say no
  • Home pedicures, facials, etc
  • Shave your legs!
  • Invest in some candles for bath time.

3. Daily Affirmations
· This feels soooo goofy! But I promise that this is the best way to rerecord your tapes. If you are not constantly working on it and telling your brain positive things you need to hear and believe. I can attest that it works! I will also admit that I need to add this into my routine. It is more difficult to let the negative in when you are filling your head with positive vibes on the reg. I promise I have always felt my best when I have chosen to put this into practice daily.
4. Self Care: and these are sometimes the hardest for me.

  • Clean your living space
  • Get up out of bed and put on something you love. Do your makeup and hair, only because it makes you feel good!
  • Wash the dishes immediately after you eat
  • Chase a dream. Schedule it. Joined the writing group, or the book club, or the Bollywood Troupe.

Honestly, I feel so much better when I apply these things to my life! When I take time to do something I love and even chase a dream, I feel worthy of something more. Playing those negative thoughts over and over is never helpful. The best we can do is be aware and acknowledge that we are struggling. Be patient with yourself and take steps every day to try and rewrite those tapes. It takes work, but it gets easier to pull yourself out the bad when you work on making this a daily positive habit.