How I Felt Awake Again?

Four years is a while to feel awake again. There were some things that helped on the journey and some things that didn’t. (I suggest reading my post “Finally Awake” if you want to know the deets about what I mean by finally awake! Finally Awake)

Free Apps and Self-Care activities that helped:

  1. Walking my dog, Gibbs. Walking is a great way to release your feelings while getting in the steps you need for a healthy lifestyle. Most of the time I listen to one of my many Spotify playlists. If I had the luxury of being on a trail I would just listen to the nature around me. (The picture was after a walk.)img_3012
  2. Hiking!! I don’t do this as often as I like. Every time I do though I can say my soul feels refreshed. A couple of times a year I go with a family friend/mentor who has almost hiked all the miles in the Smokies. She always knows what she’s doing and the best trials. img_4372
  3. My Fitness Pal. I’ll admit I had a love-hate relationship with this app at first. It was a required part of one of my social work electives in grad school. Newsflash: I wasn’t eating that great in grad school. I maybe had a couple of times a week I would cook. Now, I find it helpful to know how much I am eating and what foods/nutrients I need more of.
  4. RunKeeper. Run keeper is an easy way to keep track of jogs. I’ll admit I don’t always go on a jog for exercise. That’s okay though. Runkeeper lets you add activities like kickboxing, yoga, and even hiking.  (Me 10 years ago. You’re welcome!)img_2584
  5. Spotify. I find listening to music healing. I have no musical talent whatsoever. I do find that lyrics help me express myself when I don’t have the words to do so. If you have the extra cash it is totally worth it to get Spotify premium. Link to one of my playlists: https://open.spotify.com/user/baio4/playlist/3mM7fr2dyEthxdPE3Rd66R?si=oAKDAIuyRyiWxlO_J5lqJw
  6. The YouVerision App. This is a bible app that has helped me tremendously. They have plans for depression, addiction, and gaining confidence. I spent 283 days in the app last year. It’s an easy way to keep track of all your favorite verses too.
  7. Pacifica. So when I lowered a dose of medication I tracked my mood with this app. I was so afraid that something horrid would happen and it would be too late before my health plummeted. Ends up I was fine. The app even offers guided paths meant to help improve your mental health. It has some free meditations as well.
  8. Meetup. I found this app when I lived in Nashville. I found people I could play laser tag with, go climbing with, and other fun activities.img_1279
  9. Cozi. I downloaded this app back in the fall. It has been helpful in reminding me what chores I need to complete. You can make grocery lists, add family members, and it even pairs with your phone’s calendar.
  10. Sweatcoin. If you need the motivation to get moving outside than I highly recommend getting Sweatcoin. Any walking you do outside gets rewarded with Sweatcoin. Building up Sweatcoins can get you cool prizes like a Nike Gift Card, iPhone, or wearable keyboard.

    sweatcoinapp.uk/i/bailey316270 Check out this free app 👆 It pays to walk!

What I paid for to help with my mental health:

  1. Therapy: Being taught how to reframe was one of the greatest tools ever taught to me. Seriously, I needed a whole class on that in high school. If therapy isn’t in your budget than talk with your work about the EAP program. While most EAP programs don’t offer nearly enough sessions it can get you headed in the right direction. Your therapist may even suggest books, podcast, etc. to you that can help you with the particular thing(s) you are struggling with even after you stop seeing them.
  2. Medication: I debated saying this, but I’m going to anyways. I have a great doctor who listens to me and who I trust. I have recently lowered the dose that has helped me feel like I am living on this planet again. I am working towards not needing it at all at. It has served its purpose and helped with what therapy couldn’t. img_3044
  3. NingXia Red: Is a juice that is a Young Living product. I found this because my Mom kept asking me about what I wanted for Christmas. I have a dog and live with a roommate who also has a dog in an apartment. I had smelt her essential oils in her diffuser so I decided that is what I wanted for Christmas. I knew it was safe and would make the apartment smell good. Then she told me to come to an oils class with her so I did. Essentials oils are awesome (peppermint for my headaches works better than pain relievers for me). However, Ningxia may be the tool that will help me have the strength to continue to lower my medications to the point that I no longer need them.
  4. screen shot 2019-01-12 at 9.12.12 pm

Thanks for reading! If you are interested in Young Living then Know today through January 14th at 11:59 pm there is a starter kit sale. The starter kit includes 2 NingXia Reds. My Sponsor ID: 17026054 and Enroller ID: 17026054. This video explains any questions you may have about signing up: https://vimeo.com/147354370

Here is the link to sign up:

https://www.youngliving.com/vo/?fbclid=IwAR0b9re4oQe6ebFSGABQq0S0wRM-3YbLv7GNsGH27zkM0h5If8deDn0A2Zc#/signup/new-start?sponsorid=16105875&enrollerid=16105875&isocountrycode=US&culture=en-US&type=member

Remember to click on I was referred by a member and have their ID numbers and use to ID numbers above.

 

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Finally Awake

It’s been 4 years since 2015. I feel like I am finally awake and can feel life around me. I have battled and will continue to have to work hard on my journey. Many individuals suffer in some sort of way, and I believe suffering is what makes us better as humans. At least it has made me a better person.

I feel like I have been in cruise control for the past 4 years. I was here, but not here. I was alive, my body was moving, but everything is a blur and I finally just woke up in 2019. I think part of my lack of feeling attached to the world around me is because there was so much I needed to work on as a person, a student, and an employee.

Now, here I am with time to actually just enjoy where I am at. Part of my cruise control was set with so much to achieve in little time. Emotionally, my body feels like it can now allow me to function, and not have to protect me from feeling everyday life. Some of you are probably worried thinking about the fact I am a social worker.

Yes, I am. I am not perfect, and like the SW code asks, I do my best to not let life get in the way of clients. My point is have you ever had a teacher who has never been taught before? How about a doctor that has never had some ailment before which required medical attention? Would you really want a social worker who had never had moments in their life where they needed to overcome some sort of challenge?

Your teacher probably doesn’t spend most or any of their classes talking about when they were a student. Your doctor probably doesn’t spend any time talking about their specific medications and ailments they have at the visit. Same goes for me in a session. At the same time, I want to share my story, not to my clients, but on a blog for individuals looking for some hope. I want people who are struggling to know they aren’t alone and it is possible.

Remember that song “Wake Me Up” by Avicii? That was my song at the beginning of 2015. A ton of changes happened in the first 5 months of that year. I feel like I have been living the verses of that song until the beginning of this year. So here’s the lyrics:

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
They tell me I’m too young to understand
They say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes
Well that’s fine by me
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost
I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
I hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don’t have any plans
I wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life’s a game made for everyone
And love is the prize
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know I was lost
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost

 

So I have bolded the parts I really relate to.

My mindset was “life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes and that’s fine by me.” Boy, was it fine by me? I did not open up my eyes on cruise control for 4 years of my life!  I didn’t want to face reality. Then I left it, unwillingly. Then once I worked through the pain in hibernation of 4 freaking years I can finally feel again. No, it wasn’t fast. It was worth it. I have named those years the searching, learning, and refining period. I am now in the let go of the past, reframe, and feel again period.

My prayer was to “wake me up when it’s all over”. So it must be over because I am awake, right? Yes and no. I am in a new period of life as mentioned above. However, I am on a journey like everyone else. Some people say “life ain’t easy”.  I say there are going to be challenges that need to be overcome in life. I would define life as the opportunity to be alive and happy.

How Not to Injure Yourself When Running: From an Okayish Runner Who Has a Love/Hate Relationship with it.

One of the biggest injuries a runner can have is their mindset. 😲

Negative thoughts will slow you down just as much as a physical ailment. Running is a sport of mind and body. 💪🏽💙

Performance anxiety will halt the potential you have. Ever “freaked” out before a race or practice? 😖😭

Unsupportive words to yourself will slow you down. Get out of your head. 😶

Unsupportive words and lack of encouragement from teammates (or running group) never wins. 🚫🏆

Seeing and using your strengths during practice and encouraging teammates is what makes champions. (Not all of you will have the same strengths, and that’s okay. Using different a strengths together builds a team). 🎽

While running tell yourself something you can improve at, but also two strengths. Share this with teammates who can hold you accountable and give you encouragement. Bonus: ask them to answer these questions about you. 🙇🏼💁🏼👋🏻👌🏻👂🏻

Listen to your coach and tell them your goals and thoughts ( negative and positive). 👂🏻👈🏻👨🏻

Your coach is smart. If they say easy run then complete this task. If they say race speed then give it your all. Not listening to what your coach says during training will produce injury. You don’t have to be perfect and go all out in everything you do. (Unrealistic) ✌🏻️👂🏻

Listen to your body. Once I had a friend who was cross training with yoga. “I’m fit; I can go further”. They tore a hamstring. 😖 It’s important to be realistic. Yoga is not racing. It’s to stretch and give your body a chance to recover from actual training. 🚣🏻🏊🏻🏋🏽🚴🏿

Be realistic when you are pushing yourself. Don’t go over that limit. Again, listen to your coach. Ask, “How can I increase my speed”. They may have a workout they recommend you do on your own (it may look different for different people.) You have to practice at it. Not being realistic will produce nothing lasting. It doesn’t have a foundation to stand on. 👟🙇🏼💁🏼👨🏻

Your running will suffer if you aren’t enjoying what you are doing.
It’s important to have fun while training. Some practices you won’t enjoy 👀, but remind yourself three reasons why you love the sport during these tough times. ✌🏻️👊🏽🤘🏻💙🤗

Review:
Positive mindset can not be achieved on your own. 👥 You have to communicate with other people about training and the negative thoughts you may have. 🗣 Before you can encourage others you must be encouraging yourself. ☝🏻
Remember your strengths and 2 positive things. Also, One thing you can work on. Share this with teammates. Ask them what they see in you. 👀
It is important to be physically training in the manner that your coach asks you to. 👤Everyone has different strengths, and areas they need to work on. 💪🏽Putting this together makes a successful team.
👏🏽👟🎽🏆

Recovery and Why Should I Volunteer?

 

Recovery and Why Should I Volunteer?
Every month I have decided to go to the Veterans Affairs Community Living Center to Volunteer (VA-CLC). Last semester I was there almost every week for the service hours I had to complete for my Social Work Practice I class. Currently I am in my last semester as an undergrad at ETSU, so I am in my Field Placement every day of the week. This makes it difficult to go to the VA-CLC every week. However, I planned “miss you” Sunday.

One weekend each month I plan to visit on Sunday when I don’t go home to Morristown. Basically, I don’t go to church on this Sunday and instead I dedicate the same amount of time I would be in worship to volunteering at the CLC.

After winter break I was depressed to find that most of the men I had spent a lot of time with had passed away. They all lived long happy lives. I just hate that I didn’t get to tell them goodbye. With that being said, it was hard for me to go this weekend. I was dreading it because I didn’t want to find out that anyone else had passed away.

The previous “miss you” Sunday was on February 14th. I made valentines and had a small treat to give five men with whom I had formed relationships. It turns out that I only gave two of those out. The rest I left as freebies for whomever didn’t get a valentine. One man was sleeping and the other was across the street in the hospital. Sadly, the others had passed away.

The man who was in the hospital was in a pretty bad condition. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to see him after Valentine’s Day. This Sunday as I was roaming the halls, M.G. had a new room in the CLC. I was glad to see some small steps of improvement. Even though he isn’t in the hospital, he still isn’t (and probably never will be) in the condition he was when I first met him.

He isn’t social like he used to be, and he is still pretty sick. In fact, sadly, he was hard to recognize due to his illness. He smiled at me to the best of his ability when he recognized me. He grabbed my hand. I said, “I’m so glad to see you! Are you feeling better?” To this question I received no answer. “Are you still feeling pretty awful?” To this he responded with a nonverbal yes.

I told him that my plan was to come monthly and that I was happy to see him. I told him I saw him on Valentine’s Day in the hospital, but he probably didn’t remember that. He still had hold of my hand with his eyes closed. I pulled up a chair and sat beside him for 40 minutes like that. As I looked around the room, I was happy to see that his daughter and granddaughter had been there. They live out of state, so he doesn’t often see them. This time he had pictures of them. This was new and thrilled my soul.

The rest of the time I spent with L.V. He talks a lot. He also says would marry me if he were younger and not so old. We both had a Coca-Cola and watched CNN. He was sleeping last time I visited. He said that he often wondered where I had been and what I had been up to. We talked for about 30 minutes, and I told him I would see him next month.

WHY SHOULD I VOLUNTEER?

Volunteering gives you something to write/journal about.
-It will test the way you think.
-It will be a learning experience.
-It puts faith into action.
-It will increase faith and hope.
-It will increase your ability to love.
-It can help in your recovery journey. (i.e. Substance abuse, mental health)
-It gives you something to do/practice.
-It helps you with learning how to work with others.
-It shows you care about your community.
-It enhances your social skills.
-It looks good on a resume.

How Do I Volunteer?

So maybe you aren’t in a club, church, or organization/major that gives you (and helps you) with the opportunity of volunteering. So how do you do it?

Research!!!
-Ask yourself what you want to do: Do I want to work with animals, children, or elderly populations?
-How far do I want to go (ex. no more than 30 miles) On what days do I want to go? What time do I want to go?
-Google places with the certain population and the radius you have chosen.
-Write down the results, key phrases from each result, and the volunteer contact for each result.
Planning
-Pick your top five results
-Pick a day to contact your top five results
– Contact your top five results on the day you picked
-Wait to hear back (Be patient but contact again if you don’t hear back)
-You will want to hear back in about a week and a half
-By 2 and 1/2 weeks you will want to be at your first day on site even if it’s just training and orientation for volunteering
-Write down the info they tell you to do in order to volunteer
Doing

-After you hear back choose the one you want to do
How will I know what to pick?
What do you want out of your volunteer experience?
Challenge? A job? Bettering yourself? Passion? Love? Giving back?
-Go do what your contact person has instructed you to do in order to volunteer.
My first day at the VA consisted of training and a TB test. The next week was finally            when I got to be with the patients in the VA-CLC.
-Once you go through volunteering follow through on the days you have planned to volunteer
-Reap the Benefits and enjoy the Adventure

Having trouble?

If you need a resource other than Google or don’t have anything in mind, a valuable resource is the website Volunteer Match.

http://www.volunteermatch.org/?creative=59149192097&keyword=volunteer%20match&matchtype=e&network=g&device=c&gclid=CNnX8pKy0MsCFdgKgQodGuYMjg