Helpful Links, Mental Health/Wellbeing

How My Campers Brought Me To My Next Venture

My summer job consists of being a kids camp supervisor at my college. Not only do I get to influence the kids, but they’ve already taught me so many things. While a lot of people look at children as mini adults, they’re more different than we think as they are still going through developmental stages. This makes them unique and fun to observe.

This also calls for the blunt honesty and raw emotion they show the world. I’ve seen kids cry, scream, mope, panic, etc. over the most insignificant things; that is, to me and other adults as it is real in their head.

It must just be the future social psychologist in me that has been so attentive to and thus inspired by the variety of children I’ve met. This day camp has an age range of 5-15 and nearly 70 campers at times, so it’s pretty easy to imagine the entertainment I get paid to witness.

Before this summer, I had been flowing through life still trying to figure myself out mentally. Now, however, I see that I’m still not ready to meet her yet. I am still learning just like all of my campers. Of course the levels of knowledge/intuitiveness are a little different in comparison.

In referencing learning, I’m not limiting this strictly to academics. I also mean spiritually. This idea came about as I began to relate to the kids at work, see myself in them, which lead me to crave the old feelings of euphoria, confidence, and curiosity that came so naturally in childhood.

Since then, I have been watching videos on getting in touch with yourself/inner being, having an open mind, meditating, and all of this other spiritual practice/thinking. (I will link below a few of the videos I enjoyed the most) No, I am not going to try everything but what matters is that I am going to try.

Humans have the potential to control their reality as it is subjective and a result of their own actions. With this power, it’s not so hard going back to the mentality of a child (minus academic knowledge) and just letting ourselves flow with the universe. To feel deeply, ask tons of questions, and just try to have fun.

Some may say this is hippie mumbo jumbo, but I see it more as putting my potential as a human to the test and allowing myself to grow. I am sad that this summer camp is coming to an end but am just feeling very grateful for getting the opportunity to have this job in the first place. Can’t wait for next summer, just so I get to learn more from these genius weirdos we call kids.

I am going to keep you guys updated with this new spiritual journey I am embarking on and would love to hear about yours as well as any insightful moments you’ve had when conversing with children. Comment below or email me.

 

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Social Media Absence

Hello everyone, I apologize for me being MIA more recently. I am working part time and taking an online class, as well as doing some fun things for summer, and helping my mom around the house. I have missed blogging, and am excited to hopefully be back as I’ve created a schedule for myself.

On the other hand, not logging on to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even here, felt refreshing. For once, my full focus was on my own life and those closest to me instead of on complete strangers who I sometimes find myself comparing myself to. Therefore, I have decided that I will not be as active social media wise as I was before. This does not mean that I care any less about my journey or encouraging/inspiring others to start their own, but more that this is what need to better my mentality even more.

I encourage anyone who finds themselves constantly refreshing apps or social media sites out of boredom, depression, anxiety, etc. to take a break.  This doesn’t mean immediately avoid going on anything; it means to take small steps to minimizing this technology time. I started with the elimination of phone time in the middle of sleepless nights or right when I am getting up for the day. Yes, sometimes I slip up but that’s okay because this is a process.

However you specifically need to decrease the time you spend online in your life is up to you just as the reasons behind the decision to do so is. Personally, depression and anxiety lead to boredom or the shutting down of my motivation and I therefore result to social media which only makes me feel worse. I have noticed changes this week in my happiness levels and how long the highest ones last; they’ve improved as I removed social media time from parts of my days.

Remember, it’s always important to do what you need to do to feel your best. This means ignoring the social norms around you if they make your feelings feel wrong in any way. All emotions are valid. Everybody deals with things and is effected by situations in various ways. If you are going to take a social media break, I suggest you do it for yourself.

Again, I am not disappearing again. I am going to post regularly, just not as often as before. Having a busy life is okay and it is so important you effectively manage your energy and emotional levels during times like these. Get to know yourself while actually being able to enjoy the journey. 29173794aefc369a80e13833e8f9b278

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week – Book Talk

The various stigmas and stereotypes that have become attached to mental health and all of the disorders, illnesses, and disabilities are starting to be socially challenged by mental health advocates around the world.

To me, this is significant progress for us human beings. For a very long time, suppressing emotions to show strength was taught in simple, early-life socialization (especially for males, but I’ll save a talk on cave man masculinity for another time). Phrases such as “Big kids don’t cry”, or “Cry baby” were commonly used in both the schools and homes of whole generations; this method of teaching kids to “handle” their emotions does still exist in some capacities, but modernization is changing that.

As the fields of Psychology and Sociology continue to evolve, we will continue to better understand and thus be able to manage our emotions in an appropriate manner. That is why it is so important to spread awareness of all things mental health. Employers, schools, even families would all benefit from being educated on this once taboo subject.

Recently, I have been reading a book titled Emotional Intelligence by science journalist Daniel Goleman. The big picture focuses on emotional intelligence as a whole, but one specific part regarding simply acknowledging your emotions.

It’s sort of hard for me to remember that there are people out there who don’t feel as deeply as I do. But the reality is that societal norms have established that mental health issues or even recognition is a sign of weakness: which in itself is deemed humiliating. This then has direct influence over individual personality and cognitive development/control.

People who ignore their feelings and emotions can be called “repressors” as they make an effort to bury anything that is negative (Goleman 75). I have known some people like this in the past and they typically claim this sort of aloofness aided them in managing stress and staying on track with life. This is actually also common among most “reppressors” or “unflappables” (Goleman 75).

Yes, these people may feel at ease, however, “they can sometimes siege with physiological upsets they are oblivious to” (Goleman 75). The fact that these people have trained themselves to ignore the indicators of songstress and anxiety is one reason why it’s time to realize the more talk on mental health, the better as our society is currently not tackling any of these issues but is rather instigating them. The movement was started, but it must continue.

So many people out there may need help and not even know it, or are too afraid to seek it in the first place. It could be your neighbor, parent, sibling, teacher, friend, or basically anyone you know as mental heath disorders/illnesses don’t know ethnicity, sexuality, or any other socially constructed category. By making it known that mental struggles are normal and that you’re never alone in the battle, suicide rates, employment rates, and so many other important aspects of our communities could potentially decrease.

A problem, like the lack of support in the mental health world, can only be reversed when given attention. So this is me encouraging you to speak. If you have faced things like anxiety, depression, PTSD, personality disorders, crippling phobias, or any other mental health classification try to share your story when relevant because it could save someone’s life, metaphorically or physically.

We have the power in our hands to face our mental struggles and should always empower others to do so. As always, both physical and mental strength are crucial to a happy human. Don’t waste your time focusing on exactly how bad you feel, but rather on why you feel that way and where to go from there.

Happy Mental Health Awareness Week. Remember to take care of yourself, take breaks, breathe, ask for help, help others, and grow a little every day.

P.S. I recommend the referenced text to anyone who enjoys psych/soc readings! (Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman)

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Mental Health/Wellbeing

Genuine Connection Is Essential

I’m sure we’ve all had friendships where the sole basis is because we had a class with, or worked with, or lived next door to and nothing truly person. While these relations do provide benefits, you also deny yourself of establishing a true human connection.

Sure, it’s alright to have a few acquaintances from whom you benefit and vice versa, but it’s crucial to also create strong bonds with people.

Everyone knows that personalities are different and have a major role in successful relationships. It’s healthy to try to be friends with people you normally wouldn’t hangout with, but it’s even healthier when you know where to end the friendship if it’s not what you want.

There’s no point in continuing on with someone whom you don’t relate to, enjoy being around, or trust. This goes for both romantic relationships and platonic friendship.

Old friends as well as newer friends have of course taken me a while to get comfortable with, but I did it. I slowly worked on building up my own trust as well as there’s and I can honestly say I trust all of them with my whole heart.

It’s the same way with my boyfriend. I fully trust him, confide in him, and express myself to him. I’m thankful everyday I get to spend my time with him and grow with him.

As for those that are no longer in my life, I found that my personality or goals for myself no longer matched up with their’s. It’s okay to let people go in order for yourself to grow. Find people who are your sunshine.

Especially when you battle with mental health issues, finding people who can make you feel safe, relaxed, and loves is a must. You don’t have to go through whatever it is alone. There are people out there that will care about you, help you, and give you their time.

Once you have found the beautiful humans that you click with, do everything you can to maintain a healthy relationship.

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Organization Can Change Your Life

Have you ever been looking for some object you needed in that moment and thought to yourself “I wish I was more organized, then this wouldn’t be happening!”? It can be very frustrating.

Over the years, my anxiety has almost trained me, in a way, to be prepared for anything and everything to happen. Now, I am insanely organized and would never go back. Mainly, having some type of order can aid in providing a sense of security. One less thing to stress about in that moment. Who doesn’t need less stress?

This comes in handy everyday, but especially on busy or otherwise nerve-wracking days. These tips I am going to list below are not the only ways to get organized. I always fall back on Pinterest to get new, fresh ideas and 100% recommend that if you don’t find something you like here or want to add a few more ideas to this list. It’s all personal preference!

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Above is my desk. I try to keep it as clean as I can, and set up so that I know where basically everything is. You can do this by:

  • The use of containers of some sort for pencils/pens, paperclips/push pins, etc.
  • Getting a smaller lamp as it will take up less space
  • Purchase or make a file/paper holder ( I have 2: the purple stacked one, and the one holding my notebooks/folders)
  • Get rid of ANYTHING you don’t need including papers; if there is something you need to keep but it has no reason to be out currently, I suggest you make a space either in a closet or large drawer for school/work/other that is separate from your regular desk/office area to lessen overwhelm

I also try to make it a key point to make my working area visibly pleasing and relaxing. That way, when I am bombarded with school work, or my anxiety is creeping in, I can take a small break and regain focus. I did this by:

  • Adding the ‘Happiness’ quote canvas (I got it at a yard sale!)
  • Putting up photographs of my boyfriend and I because he is my rock and so inspiring (and handsome!)
  • A wall calendar with only major plans/appts/due dates (not as scary when everything you HAVE to do isn’t always right in front of you)
  • Photographs of me and my ASU buds
  • University memorabilia/awards for encouragement
  • A white board (I like putting up weekly inspiring quotes on mine)
  • Daily to-do lists (small lists of things to get done are more likely to make you do it rather than a super long list that seems impossible)

Overall, I don’t treat my desk as a dreadful place like some might do. The workload that I associate with my work space is not daunting, it’s empowering. If you can alter your mindset into seeing the positive twist on things especially like homework or work endeavors, you will feel better and thus work better. Your work should encourage you; you’re only advancing because of it, even if you don’t always see it right away.

Of course there are other ways to bring organization into your life. I won’t be getting in to detail about every way I stay organized as that would take too long, but I am going to provide a brief list in hopes to get your creative juices flowing:

  • My closet (organize by type of clothing/color/season)
  • My purse (always have important things you might need)
  • My backpack (same as purse, but w/ some school things too)
  • My routine (I set aside a few minutes each morning and night right before/after bed to clean up our room, wash my face, etc.; self care!)
  • My plans (I have 3 calendars: Google linked both on computer and phone, wall calendar big events, and school planner for everything including weekly homework schedules)(Planning ahead can help with effective time management)
  • My goals (when setting goals it’s important to have them be realistic and prepare a solid path to reaching them; this can be done in so many ways!)

If you weren’t very organized before, I do hope I encouraged you just a little bit. If you already are organized, I hope you related to this post and ask you to share your ideas. I wanted to share these hacks because I know how greatly they’ve impacted my life in a good way. Stress is a b*tch so I wanted to share a way in witch I take ‘her’ down.

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Attending Work/School With Mental Illness Can Be Less Daunting

In today’s world, money is the main motivator for the majority (whether they like to admit it or not). This has increased competition and thus pressure on all, but especially, younger generations to get their futures planned out if they simply want to survive. This may come easy to some people who find themselves as good, responsible communicators, but what about those who struggle with this aspect of life?

Having had both anxiety and depression throughout most of my life, I can tell you that some parts of socialization do get easier with practice and experience, but that doesn’t mean the struggle just disappears.

For me, going to school everyday has always been a challenge. What if I get called on? What if someone makes fun of me but I’m too scared to defend myself? What if no one talks to me? These ‘what if’ questions may seem trivial and almost humorous to some, but they’re the stressful reality for others.

Anxiety creates a feeling of impending doom and usually tries to distract the brain from any logical solutions to the current worry. This makes it extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to function in a setting that is typically seen as normal. Pair this with depression, and the symptoms worsen. Now, you’re not only overwhelmed by this feeling that something (unknown) bad is going to inevitably happen, but there’s also a sense of not wanting to do or being capable of doing anything about it. Your shakiness increases, while you also can feel yourself becoming numb. How are people who face these battles daily expected to function in a ‘normal’ way? They shouldn’t be.

No matter if you share your experiences with mental illness with those around you or not, there’s always opportunity to find some relief from them in order to lead your ideal life.

One of the best things I discovered for myself was that at my University, there’s a program in place specifically to help those with disabilities that impede on their learning. Anyone with any physical, mental, or cognitive disability can be put on record with this program and from there, they help to devise a plan that’s unique to you and your needs in order to succeed at the school. Here, you get to also communicate with teachers, telling them as much or as little about your working with the program and the accommodations you’ll be needing. I find this program very helpful and wish it would’ve been available in my earlier years of schooling.

Another key point I would like to bring up is the fact that you should always maintain contact with your managers/supervisors/professors/etc. when your mental illness could possibly conflict with their expectations of you. I know this can be scary as it took me quite a long time before I finally talked with my managers, but the results can be so rewarding. Anyone who is in a position of authority in the workforce has to have some kind of empathy and understanding when it comes to their employees. You may find that your supervisor also deals with mental battles or knows someone who does and will thus be more than happy to work with you through your hardships. However, it is possible they have little understanding in this area and may need you to further explain and possibly show proof of your struggle and need for accommodations. Either way, this is a very possible step for anyone who finds their mental gets a little to overpowering when mixed with their physical.

To put it succinctly, yes, holding a steady job or education path can be difficult for someone who lives with things such as anxiety disorders, depression, or any other type of mental illness. This does NOT  make it impossible. Here, communication is key. It’s very hard to talk down on or disregard someone when they lay out their struggles in front of you. If you are struggling day-to-day to get out of bed and go to your classes or your shift at work, consider talking with your higher-ups about things that would make it easier on the both of you.

P.S. If your school/job is worsening your mental health or stalling your progression in terms of bettering yourself, there’s no shame in changing it up. I get this may be hard as the workforce and school force are extremely competitive, but if you’re not the best you that you can be mentally, you will see the same reflect in your physical life. Mental health is one of the most important things that you can somewhat control and also affects almost all other aspects of life, so every step to improve here should be taken. blog 44