Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: emotional health (page 1 of 3)

Ideas for Generating Self-Love and Why It’s Crucial

Self-care and emotional health are two subjects that readers of this blog said they’re interested in reading more about. It’s not always easy to love ourselves, but it’s important to work on it. The need to practice self-love has never been more necessary.  Today, we live in a world, where so many people suffer from low self-esteem that we’re in the middle of an emotional epidemic. This is evident by the amount of people we hear about committing suicide or suffering from depression. 

Interestingly, a lot of people struggle with this area of their lives because they feel they should naturally have high self-esteem by default, as if having high self-esteem is a human’s default state.  When, in fact it isn’t.

Self-esteem and self-love must be generated from within.  Just like how we teach our children to love, respect, and value themselves, we need to do the same for ourselves, and it’s a never-ending process.  Perhaps your parents did a great job at helping you generate self-esteem, or perhaps they were deficient in this area themselves, and couldn’t teach you what they simply didn’t know. Now that you are an adult or a parent yourself, it’s up to you to figure this out for yourself and your kids. 

Self-love as a Practice: See, self-love is a practice, just like yoga is a practice – you don’t do it once, and then you’re suddenly flexible.  You must practice. Yet, not everyone knows how to practice self-love. It’s not as tangible as doing a few yoga poses with an instructor. 

Positive thinking: Self-love, self-worth, and a high self-esteem are feelings and beliefs we must generate for ourselves… yet, have you noticed how the majority of people don’t tend to practice self-love? Instead they practice self-loathing, where they focus much more on their mistakes and faults than their achievements and qualities. When you find your inner critic being incredibly harsh on yourself, tell him or her to go away, and think of at least one positive thing about yourself–right then and there. 

Don’t Use Retail Therapy: The antidote to many of our emotional challenges can be found in this area of self-love and positive thinking. Yet often, we reach for external solutions such as a new wardrobe, furniture, or even a fancy car.  If you need these new things, then of course, there’s nothing wrong with heading somewhere like https://auto.loan/ in order to find the best way to finance your purchase.  The bit that can make purchases unhealthy are when there’s an over reliance on material objects in order to prop up your self-esteem or you can’t afford the things you are buying.

Relationship issues: The same can be said for relationships. Indeed, when it comes to being in a relationship… it’s necessary to first love yourself before you can love another person and have a healthy relationship.  A good way to view the importance of self-love is to consider how airlines will always instruct you to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping anybody else, even your children. See, we can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask if we are starving for air, and similarly, we can’t truly love and support someone if we are deficient in self-love and self-esteem, as then we can become desperate and starved for these emotional fuels.

The challenge, with relationships is that if we don’t have a healthy level of self-esteem and self-love in ourselves, then we end up giving love in order to receive love, almost out of desperation, and we operate from a depleted, somewhat needy state, where we are needing to be “filled up” like a car in need of gas.

Conclusion: We can expend a lot of energy looking to tackle our internal challenges with external solutions, like being in a co-dependent relationship or practicing retail therapy or overeating; yet this replacement approach is only temporary relief that can leave us feeling more hollow inside.

That said, if you were to shift your focus to pampering yourself because you deserve it, and nourishing your body, such as preparing healthy meals, along with a candlelit bath and your favorite bath bomb from https://lush.com  ,then you’re focused on tending to your emotional and physical needs. That is a tangible and healthy way to practice self-love. 

The solution, and the secret to self-love, is that you must take responsibility for generating a feeling of high self-esteem within yourself–positive thoughts, meditating, healthy eating, doing activities you enjoy and make you feel good about yourself–and fill yourself up, rather than expecting anyone or anything else to do it for you.

(contributed post)

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3 Ideas For Improving Your Emotional Health And Feeling Positive

(contributed post)

If you’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately, there is a decent chance you will benefit from some of the following advice. Caring for your emotional health is critical and can hugely impact your physical health if you don’t. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box to turn things around, but most people can use some of the ideas below. The goal is to work out which parts of your life are causing issues and then work on positive change. With that in mind, take a couple of minutes to read these suggestions and then work out which will work best for you.

Take some time out

Sometimes, you need to remove yourself from stressful situations and take some time out. That could mean booking some time off work and arranging a vacation with the people who matter to you most. Parents might ask a family member to care for their children for a few nights, so they can remove themselves from the family home and unwind for a while. The possibilities are endless, and you are the only person who can make the right arrangements. Maybe you could visit a place, where you’ve been before that always brings happy memories?

Remove the stresses from your life

For most people, modern life’s stresses revolve around the same things. If you work a stressful job and you don’t like the work, then looking for a new job might benefit you. If you’re in an unhappy relationship or marriage, maybe contacting experts, such as a therapist or marriage counselor or like those at the Vendt Law Firm can help you figure out the next steps that are right for you. Some people benefit from selling their home and relocating to a new town or city or downsizing to a smaller home or apartment. 

Make a positive change

If none of the other suggestions on this page appeal to you; it’s possible to work out the best route forward by ensuring you do something that makes a positive change. That could mean moving to an area where house prices are low, so your wages stretch further than they do right now. Maybe you feel lonely and would like to move closer to friends and family members. You could start a business, according to writers from Entrepreneur. You might also learn to play an instrument or do anything else that you’ve been putting off: running a 5K, organizing family photos, taking a class. Take the time to work out what will make you feel better, and then put one foot in front of the other until you achieve that goal.

Now you have some ideas to improve your emotional health and feel positive this year; it is time to create your plan of action and put the right measures in place. When all’s said and done, you are the only person in the world who can identify the best moves and make things happen. 

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Round-Up: Self-Care and Emotional Health Top 5 Articles

Self-care and emotional health are two very important topics to me. I recently saw this quote on a quote calendar I own:

“You must love and care for yourself because that’s when the best comes out.” ~ Tina Turner

So true, right? And as we all know, it is not always easy when you’re a parent, especially. So here is a round-up of the top 5 articles on my blog that have to do with self-care and emotional health. I chose this round-up thanks to everyone who took my poll on what topics readers would like me to focus on next. So here we go…

Life Is All About Your Reaction and Your Tribe (This post is about surrounding yourself with people who make you better and how you can’t control others, but you can control your reaction!)

Parents: Taking Time For Yourself (This post is about a trip I took with my girlfriends and why it is important for all parents to fill their well.)

The Thing About Change and Not Giving Up (This post was inspired by a book I read about ways to NOT become unglued and making imperfect progress toward goals.)

5 Things I Learned About Living In 2016 (From “balance is key” to “parenting is hard and give yourself a break”, this post shares my personal experiences while trying to improve my emotional health.)

Make This the Year You Start Taking Care of Number One  (Three tips for taking care of yourself and why you should! )

 

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Make This the Year You Start Taking Care of Number One

(contributed article)

Most people are incredibly concerned with looking after the people in their lives. This is an amazing thing, and it really is one of the very best things about human beings. However, a lot of people end up taking this too far and spend so much of their time worrying about the other people in their lives that they don’t manage to pay close enough attention to the things that they need. It might be something that you’re not all that used to, but taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of all of the people in your life. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can make this the year that you finally start taking care of number one!

Take care of your health

The first thing that you need to start doing is paying closer attention to your health. It’s crazy just how much people tend to ignore their own health in favor of focusing on other things. People can go years without a doctor or dentist appointment, let alone anything more specific when it comes to their health. Make an appointment for a checkup with your doctor, and then do the same for your more specific health needs. Look up dentists, dermatologists, and ophthalmologists nearby. Think of your body as a car; you need to get each and every part of it checked over if you want to avoid something going wrong.

Understand your emotions

Emotions are a tricky thing at the best of times, but it’s crucial that you’re as tuned in to your emotional health as you are your physical health. There’s a lot of stigma that surrounds mental and emotional health, but it’s always a good idea to pay close attention to your emotional well-being because otherwise, you could end up in some serious trouble. Pay attention to your emotions and think carefully about why you feel the way you do about certain things. Increasing your emotional intelligence is one of the best ways to improve your entire life.

Know what you’re worth

One of the hardest things for people to realize, and also something that makes it incredibly easy to put others needs before their own, is that they have worth. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do for a living, or how much money you have in the bank; you have worth because you’re a person and it’s important that you remind yourself of this fact every single day. If you forget your own worth as a person, it’s going to be that much easier for other people to take advantage of you.

Self-care might seem like a fairly new phenomenon, but the reality is that it’s been around for an incredibly long time and most people simply aren’t going to be able to function properly without it. It might seem selfish, and to a degree it kind of is. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, if you can’t look after yourself, how can you look after the other people in your life?

 

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Life is All About Your Reaction and Your Tribe

Today on Facebook, I saw the quote:

Life is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent how you react to it.

Isn’t that the truth? It was the right time to see this because earlier this week, I had a minor meltdown (I call it minor because it lasted a short time while one of my friends was saying: snap out of this; you’re just going to have to deal with it).  So what happened? When I was checking the balance of my bank account, I noticed 5 charges for $20 each to iTunes, which were not mine. And it looked like they were happening right then because these amounts were still on pending charges.

My anxiety level went through the roof. Christmas is already a time when I spend more money than I normally do; AND in Missouri, we also have personal property tax due. I immediately called the bank, and I was immediately put on hold. Meltdown occurred while I was on hold. I had time to think of all the negative, end-of-the-world things that were going to happen to me because someone stole $100 out of my checking account. Was the person still charging away? Would the person at the bank help me? Would I get my money back? When would I get my money back? I had been carefully planning my budget for this month, and now it was all shot to hell! I was spiraling.

Eventually, I took a deep breath with help from my friend. I called someone local at my bank who helped me instantly. I still don’t have the money returned, but I will get it back. I didn’t have to wait for a debit card to be sent to me; I could get another one at the local bank. So everything is fine. And the meltdown just made an unpleasant situation much, much worse. Luckily, I have a good friend who waded through my BS and said the things that needed to be said at that moment.

So I think that quote above is accurate; but for me, it’s changed a little:

Life is 10 percent what happens to you, 40 percent how you react to it, and 50 percent who you choose to surround yourself with.

That’s the key! Who YOU CHOOSE to surround yourself with! It is my choice, just like my reaction is my choice. I am so lucky to have amazing friends, but I would say that it’s not all luck. I pride myself on trying to be a good friend, and I am NOW careful on who I let into my life.

Just this morning, I was messaging with some girlfriends in a group chat, and we were talking about life and attitude. I mentioned a particularly difficult situation I had coming up and how there was really nothing I could do about it. I said: “I am choosing to let it go. We will tackle what happens when it happens–nothing that happens is the end of the world.” They all agreed and supported me. So again, 10 percent is what will happen (beyond my control), 40 percent is my current reaction and how I will react, and 50 percent is this group of amazing friends I have who are really the ones who have been teaching me all about reaction.

This holiday season and in 2018, you are bound to have some challenges. We all are. My wish for you is that you can choose your reaction and the people around you, and find joy in your life.

My word of the year this past year was peace (and organization–I like to continue improving on previous words of the year). It has taken me just about all year, but I am learning to live more peacefully. (Still learning, mind you…work in progress…) More about that next time. 🙂

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Turning a Mean-Spirited Comment Into a Glass-Half Full Moment

Recently, someone said to me, “You’ve got it made. What are you complaining about?” I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of why that comment was made or what I was “complaining about”; but I’m sure just from reading that dialogue, you can understand this person was not being kind. This person was trying to say that I was selfish, self-absorbed, and ungrateful.

It’s stuck with me. I take things people say to me to heart; I’ve been accused more than once of being over-sensitive. For a while now, I looked inside myself to see if I was truly being selfish. So, with all this introspection and being a writer, I’ve been wanting to blog about this topic for some time; but I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to say about it or how I wanted to approach a blog post based on this particular mean-spirited comment.

And then today in the shower, it hit me. (Many writers and artists can attest to the fact that great ideas come in the shower!) I can turn this comment, which was meant to be an insult, into something positive. I can look at my life and see all the ways I am lucky and all the ways that I truly do have it made. I can control my reaction to this comment and what I want other people to read about it. And so that’s what I am doing.

I do have it made because

  • I am lucky enough to have an amazing 7-year-old daughter who brings joy, love, and energy into my home every single day. My life would be boring and meaningless without her.
  • Both of my parents are still alive and involved in my daughter’s life on a daily basis.
  • I have a full-time job with benefits, using my college degree, which is paid off; and I work from home, which is a huge benefit as a single parent.
  • I am able to run 2 to 3 times a week because I am able-bodied.
  • I can shelter, feed, and clothe myself and my daughter.
  • I have enough money to do fun things, like go on small trips or go to Six Flags with Katie.
  • I am a writer–I am lucky enough to get to write and people read it. (This is a true blessing.)
  • I have friends and family who love me, care about me, want to be in my life, and invite me to do fun things.
  • I have a dog to keep me company and to keep me walking, even on days when I don’t feel like getting outside.
  • I live in a country, where I have many freedoms and opportunities.

So that’s right, I do have it made.

Yes, of course,  I have struggles. Who doesn’t? But I’m not going to allow myself to be weighed down by them or by negative comments because life is too short and too precious to not see the glass as half full.

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What’s So Hard About Being Nice? A Guest Post by Author Mary Maurice

Today, I welcome a WOW! Women on Writing blog tour author, Mary Maurice, who is celebrating the publication of her book,  Burtrum Lee.

Synopsis of the book:

Coated with a life of lies and deceit, Burtrum Lee Conner is sick to her stomach. Dozens of times throughout her life, the feeling of not being who she is has tormented her. But she kept it to herself, believing that maybe it’s just a chemical imbalance of some kind, considering she is one of the first artificially-inseminated babies of the 1960s. Now, there’s more though, something much deeper, much more maniacal than she could have ever imagined. She’s not the first test tube baby at all, but the first….

Burtrum Lee Conner, born into a world of scientific mystery, discovers that the life she’s been leading for the past forty years, is the wrong one. Her parent’s Jed and Jane Conner, stealing her as an infant, brought Lee up as their own. Even her devoted grandmother, Clair Conner, kept this secret close to her chest until they were found out. And now, Lee Conner’s biological mother, Katie Lee, wants her back, but not before the diabolical Dr. Stone has his say.

Paperback: 219 pages

Genre: Scientific Mystery

Publisher: Silver Leaf Books LLC (August 28, 2017)

Check it out on Amazon here! 

About the Author, Mary Maurice:

When I was a child growing up in the Detroit area, I thought I wanted to be a painter; and then as a teenager, the idea of being a musician intrigued me. Then as a young adult, I realized that I’m a writer.

After attending Western Michigan University for two party-filled years, I decided to leave academia and explore the real world to learn what life is truly about. For fifteen years, I traveled the country working in restaurants, writing and doing readings wherever I was welcome.

While living in Minneapolis during my twenties, I was fortunate enough to be tutored by Dr. Jonis Agee, who was at the time head of the creative writing department at St. Catherine’s College in St. Paul. Her lessons were imprinted in me for all of these years, and have influenced my writing ever since.

My adventures landed me in San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, and Oregon, finally leading me to the Land of Enchantment, where I’ve resided since 1994. Living in Santa Fe, and the beauty and isolation that surrounds me, has inspired my creative muse in ways that no other place has. While still working in the hospitality industry, my passion for the craft of writing has never been stronger. And I know with each sentence I write, and every paragraph I compose, my ultimate goal is to find the perfect word.

Find Mary Online:

Website: http://www.marymaurice.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marymauriceauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MMauriceAuthor

Now, a few words from Mary: 

What’s So Hard About Being Nice?

The other day I had the TV on and an episode of Leave it to Beaver was airing. I couldn’t see the screen, but I listened to the dialogue and found myself hearing words of politeness and kindness. I thought to myself how long gone those days are. There were no vulgar words or soft porn themes, no selfish acts, no tossing a friend under the bus, no grabbing one’s crotch, or calling a woman a bitch. It was all clean cut and tension-less.

I miss those days when our world was PG, slowly and surely turning into an R rated society, and now swaying on R/X.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m living in Pottersville from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. At what point in our existence did being nice not matter any more? When the cool thing to do is to be rude and insensitive to the troubles of others. Where did compassion go or empathy disappear to? Or just doing the right thing, not because you want to, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Is it too hard to open a door, pick an item up that somebody dropped, tell a random person a silly joke just to make them laugh, buy a donut for someone just because they’re having a hard day? What is so hard about being nice? It’s very contagious, and I believe more people should be stricken with it. To me, there’s nothing better than making somebody feel good.

Don’t forget to check out her book, Burtrum Lee! 

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A Letter to a Narcissist

A little bit of creative writing I’ve been working on…

Dear Narcissist:

I am no longer going to be a supply for you. What do I mean? I know where you get your energy. You get your energy from me, from her, from anyone who will allow you to come into their lives and wreak havoc. But today, I am putting my foot down, and the thing is, I’m not telling you.

This may seem unfair to anyone who doesn’t know a narcissist. But if I tell you, if I let you know that today, I’m done allowing you to make me feel like I don’t matter, to make me feel like I am less worthy than someone else in your life, then I won’t be able to stick to this. All I will be is your supply for the day. You will make me feel guilty. You will make me feel wrong. I could be wrong, but the thing is that doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel after dealing with you–whether it’s a conversation, an in-person meeting, or no response to my attempts at contact.

Actually, I don’t think you will notice. You’ve started to groom someone else, someone else is supplying your high.  You have someone else worried about your every need; you have someone else who will do anything for you. You found others who are supplying that emotional energy you need, when you make them feel like less than themselves. You make them feel like you’re the only one who can fix them, the only one who will have anything to do with them because of how horrible they are. You basically have to do nothing in return, except for your grooming, because now the people in your life are just waiting, hoping, yearning for your approval, time, and attention. It really is a wonderful support system you’ve created for yourself. But it’s not real, and deep down, you know it. Everything in your life is a facade. How exhausting that must be to be grasping a life, filled with beliefs that aren’t based in reality.

Here’s the other thing. I’m not upset with you–not anymore. I used to be. I used to be upset about how you always changed the rules; how you said something and then when I did it, you changed your mind and said it wasn’t enough or it was wrong; how you blamed me for everything; how you didn’t consider my feelings; how you acted like everything you gave me was a gift that I was super lucky to have because you were so busy and great, and I wasn’t; and how you made me feel like I owed you for the nice things you did for me. I’m not upset at you.

I’m upset with myself–for knowing that it would never get better; for getting away from you before and then letting you back countless times; for feeling like if I could only do this ONE thing right, you would want me again; for wasting my energy with someone who clearly doesn’t care about anyone, including himself.

I only hope I can stick to the first line in this letter.

I’m not going to be a supply for you anymore.

Love,

Someone who has a long journey ahead

If you have a narcissist in your life, the pain that you may be feeling is very real and similar to what is expressed in this post. I have found an invaluable resource in Kim Saeed’s website, if you are looking for answers and need to start healing. 

 

 

 

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It’s Time to Put You First

contributed article

Do you ever catch yourself thinking that life would be better if you could take time for yourself a little more? But it’s hard, and caregivers have the hardest time with this. Most people, both parents and adults without children just yet, need to feel needed.  It’s part of life to want to feel useful and vital to someone other than yourself. The ability to help and be compassionate to those who come into your life is one that most people treasure. The trouble with being needed all the time is that it can be extremely difficult to find time for yourself. By the time you’ve tended the needs of family, friends, children, work, and your home, there is very little time in the day that is left to have a moment to remember that you are important, too.

The idea that you must sometimes put yourself first is a difficult one to wrap your head around, especially if you are not used to finding time for your own needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, though, how can you expect to be there for anyone else? People need strong, happy individuals supporting them, and those who don’t take the time to look after their own needs often succumb to stress, depression, and sometimes, addiction.

If you find yourself being trapped in that cycle, where you feel like there is a lack of control over your life, then you need to start putting yourself before others. Stress and depression can lead to other physical manifestations of illness, and taking the time to rectify this is important. Checking into places like Compass Recovery for those who find themselves in the midst of an addiction as a way out of their stress is an important first step. It is not selfish to look after yourself or put yourself before other people, especially in the cases where you have spent so long looking after other people you’ve forgotten how to be you again.

Finally realizing that you matter enough to be important in your own life can set you on a path to freedom. Often, being relied on by so many other people can leave you feeling trapped. Their need of you can be suffocating and debilitating, and the feelings of guilt that you end up left with if you don’t help out on demand are consuming. The freedom you can feel by simply saying no and allowing yourself to be the priority in your own life is immense. The weight on your shoulders of unwavering obligation can lift, and you can start to see life a little clearer and a little lighter. You can still be there for people and put yourself first.

Start small, with evenings to yourself. A cup of tea in peace and quiet and enjoying the time you spend with your own company can be a refreshing change from being wanted and tugged at all the time. Finding a balance is never easy, but it’s one you have to seek if you feel pulled in different directions. Finding you is good for your health, and your health matters.

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Build a Brighter You

contributed article

Do you ever feel like you’re losing your confidence? Perhaps you have days where nothing seems to be going right; and no matter what you try, you just can’t seem to build up your mood. Well, the good news is that everyone has days like this at one point or another. The better news is that there are lots of ways to build back up your confidence and feel better about yourself.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

If shopping for outfits or accessories builds up your confidence, this doesn’t make you superficial. It makes you completely normal. There’s something about putting on a gorgeous new dress or a stunning piece of jewelry that immediately refreshes confidence. If you’re not one for traipsing around town, diving in and out of stores on the high street, you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of places online to shop for what you’re looking for. According to sites like http://yourdiamondguru.com/reviews/james-allen/, James Allen is a great option for buying dazzling, deluxe jewelry that will make you glisten and sparkle. It just depends on the type of budget you’re working with.

You might think that to buy a beautiful outfit or a new selection of jewelry, you need to be going somewhere or attending a party, but you don’t. Dressing up on a day that you’re staying in can be just what you need to build up your confidence and self-esteem.

Night Out

Of course, that doesn’t mean that a night out on the town won’t help. It certainly could, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re married or single. If you’re single, you can head out and have fun with your friends. If it leads to something, great. If not, who cares? You’ll have a blast anyway. If you’re married, you can still head out for a night with the girls and make sure you don’t get too out of control. Even just getting a few looks across the bar from a tall, dark, handsome stranger can be enough to build up your self esteem. Or alternatively, you can head out with your partner and make sure you spend some time building up the foundations of the relationship.

Smile A Little More

Did you know that by smiling you actually make yourself just a little happier? You can learn more about that on http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/smiling-happy.htm.  If you are smiling, you let other people know you’re happy, which leads to positive interactions. Of course, it’s not always easy to grin when you’re feeling blue, but it could help you lead to a brighter day.

Take Some Time With Your Favorite Person

Of course, this is all about you, so why not take a trip, take a drive or even just sit and relax in your home by yourself? A little me time may be just what you need to build back up your confidence because it allows you to get in touch with yourself and find out what’s bothering you. Ask yourself: what’s going wrong and how can you fix it? Whether you’re climbing a mountain or heading on a spa day, you might just come home feeling refreshed and ready to be a brighter better you.

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