5 Ways I am Managing my Stress

I’ve been reflecting and came to the realization that for the first time in a very long time (16 years to be exact) I have a very full life, balancing and juggling quite a few things. I can only describe it as ‘living again.’

Last time I was this busy, I was raising my daughter, attending college, working and caring for my mom as much as possible through her cancer journey. Not to mention attempting to save a failing relationship with my boyfriend. My mom would literally catch me spinning in circles, talking to myself trying to remember everything I needed to do, and she would calmly say, “Breathe”, I joked “how am I going to remember to breathe without you mom”. After her passing, I didn’t have the strength or ability to juggle anymore and had my mental breakdown.

Today I am juggling my herbal apprenticeship (classes, intern hours homework), with a business course through vocational rehab and preparing to launch my own business (which is way more work than I dreamed). Along with still “raising” my adult child, trying to support and encourage her in becoming independent, and developing and maintaining relationships with my family, my coven, and my friends old and new. When I have a spare moment, I am tending to my gardens and doing housework, or simply collapsed.

At first I was severely stressed and riddled with anxiety and panic attacks. I became so overwhelmed I would just sit and cry. After learning more through my herbal classes about how stress depletes our bodies and yes, kills us, I decided I need to get a grip.

I have a few unhealthy coping skills but am developing healthier habits as well. I thought I would share a few ways I am managing my stress, each of these could probably be a full post, but here are the highlights:

1) Shift my perspective, They say things are not as bad as they seem, but when you struggle with mental health, they can seem monstrous! I remember my mom being so stressed out and struggling with depression, when things went wrong, she reacted like it was the end of the world and our family doomed. I understand the reaction, and have been guilty of it myself, but I now know it isn’t necessary or even accurate. In my overwhelmed mind, it feels catastrophic, but reacting this way only adds to the stress. Still, it is challenging. There have been so many obstacles on my business journey, I take a step forward, something happens and it feels like it puts be two steps back, but I now realize this is an illusion. I only feel like it sets me back, when in reality it makes me stronger and in a position to make improvements. When downfalls happen, I immediately stress and panic, but have learned to observe my reaction and shift the way I look at it.

2) Shake it off and let it go. My mama used to say, “let it roll off you like water off a duck’s ass”, yup she was a character! She had a point though. It makes such a big difference to be able to let things go and not brood, or overthink. I can not worry about things I cannot control, and I can’t control other people’s hurtful actions or rude comments. I can’t control the long line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic. If I let these things get to me, it only makes me sick. I constantly remind myself of this. If I catch my mind in race mode, I try to calm myself and breathe. “Worrying is like a rocking chair, you can do it all day but gets you no where!” I try to not be so hard on myself on all the things I don’t get done and acknowledge and celebrate my daily accomplishments.

3) Morning routine. This is a lifesaver for me. I have mentioned before I am not very good at routine or consistency. It took me a long time to develop, tweak and maintain my morning routine but it is an immense help to begin my day in a manner that will carry me peacefully into my day. I get up early and try to make it the same time every day. I have hot lemon and ginger water, meditate to music and affirmations, do yoga and workout, and pray at my altar, giving thanks for another day, followed by my coffee, while I read or journal, or I have my coffee outside marveling at the birds and chipmunks. Then I begin my work for the day.

4) Self care. Self love and care have been a journey for me. I carried a lot of trauma and low self worth because of it. Therapy is a great way to care for yourself, and it has helped me tremendously with integration and my mental health. Other ways I practice self care is to do things that nourish my soul, like gardening, time in nature, loving my pets, time with friends and family, a nice bath, or a cup of herbal tea. Also, basic self care, like eating healthy as much as possible, taking my supplements and/or medications, exercise and time to just sit and be silent.

5) Herbs. I try to take teas, tinctures, infusions and homemade capsules everyday, made with nettles, holy basil, lemon balm, calendula, chamomile, wild lettuce, mullein, dandelion, turmeric and ginger. I use Bach’s Rescue Remedy drops and spray, and I also smoke marijuana (which helped me quit my Xanax and anti depressants years ago) because it helps me center, ground and tune into my spirit.

Of course, I am a work in progress, and have unhealthy habits too, like smoking too much marijuana sometimes, or my wine and Netflix escapes, and recently I have relapsed on smoking cigs, but I know I am doing the best I can and I am proud of where I am. Not long ago I was not able to get up out of bed, get through a day without crying or my heart racing or my mind. I couldn’t socialize or function. My old self could not even imagine that I would be here now, with this full and beautiful life.

Where ever you are in your mental health recovery, please don’t give up, keep going, it does get better and easier. Just keep showing up for your life, one baby step at a time, take a break when you need it, but don’t stay down.

Wishing you love, luck, light, peace and power!

May be an image of flower, nature and text that says 'Transformation formation in progress... @beyouthentic'
I was lucky enough to catch this picture of a Monarch butterfly pollinating my Calendula flower! Butterflies represent transformation and affirms that I am right where I need to be. My healing and metamorphosis is in progress! I AM TRANFORMING!
May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'I HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE THE LIFE I DESERVE!!! @BEYOUTHENTIC'
On the recent New Moon in Leo and the Lion’s gate portal, I thought it was a good time to set a powerful intention!! Yes, I do have the power to create the life I deserve! I AM WORTHY!

Commitment&Consistency

Amazon.com: If you can't fly, then run, if you can't run, then walk, if you  can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving...  Martin Luther King Jr.

If you follow this blog, you already know that I lack in the latter of this post title. Consistency has definitely not been my strong suit. Then again, being a blog of someone who struggles with mental health, I suppose it isn’t a surprise. Consistency is an important element for mental and emotional well being, yet it can be challenging as all hell! To add to the dilemma I never had a firm routine growing up, being a daughter of a single mom. Therefore, it is yet another tool I have to learn or relearn as an adult.

I have been working with a success coach through Vocational Rehab for a little over a year now, her name is Dr. Deborah Osgood and I think I would have given up a long time ago if it weren’t for the support and encouragement from her and my VR caseworker, Lisa Beck, and of course, my therapist and family/friends. The goal is to start my own herbal business; but it is not a simple journey for someone with so many triggers.

The first trouble I had was responding to a “See, Hear, Experience, exercise called Challenging Reality. The worksheet asked you to visit your early life experiences, with questions like, 1) What did you hear about money and rich people early on in your life? 2)What did you see about money and rich people early on in your life? 3)What did you experience with money and rich people early on in your life? I might write a separate post about my answers; but, if you ever read my Being poor post, then you can imagine the feelings these questions brought to the surface. I held a deeply ingrained belief that I would always be poor and unworthy.

FinerMinds - Timeline Photos | Be gentle with yourself, Self talk, Words

It took almost a year to work on rebuilding my lack of abundance&worth mindset. Talk therapy and daily affirmations helped me slowly become more aware of how my thoughts and beliefs affected my reality. Believing you are always going to be poor and unworthy will keep you poor and unworthy. I had to retrain my brain and introduce new thoughts and ideas around money and self worth. Fortunately, the second step of the aforementioned exercise helped challenge those old beliefs and create current views.

I have been working diligently on reforming my routine and trying to ‘do it all’ I am still in herbal school and it is a lot, especially for somebody who has physical limitations and still in mental health recovery. I am learning to juggle, schoolwork, Voc rehab, building a business, health appointments, housework and self management. I have come a long way from my post on My daily battles which were basically just to get up, get moving, get outside and get to sleep!

I get discouraged that I am not further along; but I remind myself that I am doing things every day toward my goals. I often feel I should be doing more, but I know that I am honestly doing my best and mustn’t beat myself up.

Here are some pearls of wisdom and encouragement from Dr. Deb in our email correspondences;

“Congratulations on realizing that you “are and have been” productively working on multiple things all along that are contributing to defining and growing your business.”

“As you shared, homework and intern work definitely counts <smile>. While personal appointments, errands, and housework will also always be part of everyday life, this new perspective and practice simply ensures that your business goals remain a priority as well. 
…and not just a priority, but something to definitely celebrate as you also touched upon – excellent!!!

And I love this last one when I expressed to her that I was worried I wasn’t being consistent enough.

“As for your comment about “having to stay consistent,” I’d like to introduce a different perspective. 
I think I get what you mean in terms of you “have to stay committed to your goal…”, correct?
Even then, I invite you to be true to who you are. You do not enjoy mundane details and routine work. 
You are a loyal and devoted individual to people and causes you believe in. You also thrive on continued growth and are creative and inspirational. (this info is based on the Meyer Briggs personality test that I took on my first appointment with her, I am an INFP) By continuing to create and operate a business model that allows you to leverage these inherent strengths, you will be happy and you will not “have” to force anything.”

This really resonated with me. I realized that while I am still working on improving my ability to be consistent, I can celebrate the fact that I am committed, to my recovery, my health, my family, my goals, my blogs, my business, my education and so on. I can be gentle with myself and allow the flow of life.

Thanks for bearing with me readers, your support means everything! If you have been following long enough then you know that I do always come back. I am committed to this blog and my visions for it. I will be slowly tweaking this blog while building my Beyouthentic blog. Hoping to post at least monthly on both.

If there is anything in particular that you would like to know more about, please let me know.

I hope you are all well during these challenging times!💜

Be gentle with yourself

Bark Reflection

I started my Intermediate Sacred Gaiian Herbalism Apprenticeship a few weeks ago with Blackbirds Daughter Botanicals via Zoom. One of the things we studied was the bark of a tree and how it compares to our own skin.

The purpose of bark on a tree is to protect that tree’s essential living system from temperature extremes, storms, diseases, animals and insects. The bark also conserves water and transports food and water throughout the tree. The five layers (heartwood, sapwood, cambium, phloem/inner bark& rhytidome/outer bark) continuously work together to not only survive but live in a state of renewal and harmony. A tree also sheds it’s bark much like we shed our skin.

Part of our homework assignment was to write a reflection of how our own bark serves us. The following words came flying out of me.

bark2 (2)