5 Low-Key Coping Skills For When You Can’t Walk Away

Ever get stuck in a spot where your anxiety is sky-high, but you’re surrounded with no real exit strategy? Maybe you’re at a work meeting or a concert with friends and the chances of you being able to slip away are slim to none. Yeah, me too. The trapped feeling that is quick to follow only makes things worse and harder to handle. 

When it happens to me, it’s usually when I’m at work. My job can get pretty damn stressful at times and it takes all I have not to freak out. There are also times where it is calm and leaves me time to think. Sometimes when I think too much, my anxiety skyrockets but most times I still can’t walk away. 

Having a coping skill with you everywhere you go can be the best way to combat anxiety and it might be easier than you think. To have a coping skill with you doesn’t necessarily mean you have to physically have something with you and let’s not forget that not every coping skill will work for every person–everyone is different, requiring different things to calm them. 

That being said, here are five low-key coping skills to try next time you can’t step away…

Deep Breathing

This is a coping skill that is widely overlooked. Truth is, taking some deep breaths could be just what you need to keep yourself calm. Sometimes this is all I have at my disposal at work and while it definitely isn’t my first choice of coping skill, I make it work!

Deep breathing can help lower heart rate as well as relax the body’s muscles. Try following the inflating shape, syncing your breathing!

Fidget Cube

Fidget cubes are perfect for work meetings when you start getting restless but need to pay attention. They are discreet and can be used under a desk or table to keep from distracting others! I don’t currently have one of these but I really wish I did!

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is whimsical in nature due to its true variability. Different scents can trigger different responses. Carry a small spray or scent roller (or hand sanitizer in my case) of whatever scent gives you the relief you’re looking for! Some scents that promote relaxation and stress relief are lavender and eucalyptus. I, personally, carry eucalyptus spearmint hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works with me.

Neck Rolls

Built up stress and anxiety can contribute to muscle tension along with everyday activities such as driving or working on a computer. Taking a minute to stretch and roll your neck can help relieve that tension and even improve your mood once that tension is lifted a bit!

I find myself stretching out and rolling my neck a lot lately so it definitely wasn’t a surprise when I got a massage last week and the masseuse told me my neck and shoulders were extremely tense and full of knots. However, when I do stretch it feels better at least for a little bit. 

Slime/Putty

Slime may be a fun craft to do with kids, but I, a 25-year-old woman, love me some slime. In fact, I recently made some slime for myself with one of my best friends because she had bought a kit and we were bored! Now I use that slime all the time.

This is a coping skill that can help keep your hands busy and your mind focused on something other than what is around you. It can be made or bought in small batches so it has easy portability! I bought a mini one that I keep in my backpack!

Personally using four of these five coping skills, I am confident that they could work for others! All you have to do is give them a chance! The girls I work with use all of them, though they tend to tell me to shove it when I suggest they try deep breathing…

I’d love to hear what coping skills work for you, especially those for when you’re in a situation you can’t walk away from! Drop a comment below ↓ 

Until next time…

Love always,

Caitie ♥ 

All About Mental Health Stigmas

The mental health sector has faced negativity from the beginning of time and, unfortunately, that negativity probably won’t go away any time soon. What people need to realize, though, is that mental health is a much bigger issue across the world. The World Health Organization and the WorldEconomic Forum reported that mental illness is the largest economic burden of all health issues worldwide. In 2010, $2.5 trillion was spent on mental health and it is projected to reach $6 trillion spent by 2030. That’s a shit ton of money. You would think that with all of that money being spent, people (especially employers) would put more emphasis on taking care of your mental health as well as their own.

Mental health stigmas can be separated into two categories; public and self. Public stigmas can often lead to self-stigmas within mental health patients.

Public Stigmas: come from negative beliefs about people with mental illness. This usually involves a negative emotional reaction or interaction. The mindset of the public stigma is that mental illness is something to be feared and contained.

Self-Stigmas: come from a person with a mental illness having negative beliefs about themselves. This often results in people with those negative beliefs not seeking proper treatment and ultimately getting worse.

Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigmas

  • Proper self-care: find what works for you. Running, binge-watch Netflix, volunteer…the possibilities are endless.
  • Proper treatment: there is no shame in asking for help. Finding the right course of treatment can make a world of difference, so sometimes patience is necessary.
  • Self-education: do your research! But also make sure you’re getting your information from the right places.
  • Be open and honest: mental health is not something to be tabooed. Helping to show that having a mental illness does not mean you can’t function in public will only aid in decreasing public stigmas.

The best way to change these stigmas is through education and training. It is common for some people to be scared of professional punishment at their workplace due to having a mental illness and they are unsure of how their boss might view it. For example, police departments are slowly starting to realize that more training on how to interact with people with a mental illness is necessary. In turn, police departments do not always consider how mental health could affect their officers. Most departments only mandate treatment once something bad has happened.

I was extremely fortunate to be a part of a team in Massachusetts working as a foster care caseworker that put self-care and mental health at the forefront of pretty much everything. Every time I went into supervision I would be asked what I was doing for my self-care. Our program director even set up outings for us which included activities like escape rooms or ending the day early to get food and drinks as a team.

When I left that job, it was very unexpected and quick due to the situation I was in. And by quick, I mean within a matter of days. I can not express how grateful I am to how my boss and co-workers responded. All they cared about was that I was safe and making the right decisions for my well being. The job I have now as a mental health worker (direct care staff) had me fill out a self-care card on my first day of orientation and asked that I have it with me while working. 

Don’t let anyone dull what sparkle you have by labelling you based on your mental health. You are more than that and deserve more than that!


Love always,
Caitie ❤

What Should Have Been

I started this blog with a purpose and had so many goals when I published my first post. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those same goals in mind. I simply lost my way a bit these last couple of months. I let my mind wander and get focused on several other things. Some real and worth the focus and some that kept me trapped within my own mind.

What I wanted was to be posting two blogs a week, growing a following of readers who enjoy and believe in what I publish. That is still what I want and what I am striving for. I want to be able to begin my van life journey sooner rather than later but it has not exactly gone to plan.

The biggest part of my recent life that swayed me from blogging is freelancing. I’ve picked up a couple of side jobs writing blog and Instagram content. Putting so much time into writing content that would make me money set aside the writing that was supposed to be my therapeutic path back to happiness.

Since my last blog post in July, I have lingered in a strange limbo state of depression and being just okay. This is one of those things that I just can’t explain. I don’t have a clue why the depression sank over me like it did. I don’t know why I have yet to shake it off and return to my new normal. I’ve discussed it with my therapist and she confirms that there does not necessarily require a cause for depression to take over. It is a disorder that is always inside me regardless of any medication I may take. Depression can be an unpredictable beast.

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So what I had hoped to be a thriving blog has turned into a fizzling collection of articles. What I had hoped would be a fruitful road to my dream lifestyle has turned into a hazardous, disappointing journey thus far. But that’s how life is, isn’t it? A rollercoaster of unpredictability and failures before a life of success and consistency.

I have a lot of ideas and goals that I would like to make a reality. I see a lot more for myself than what I am right now. I’m still on my road to recovery and will be for some time. But as I go through day after day, I know I am meant for something more than Netflix binges and working a low-paying youth worker job. I respect my job and those who do it with me, but it is not something I plan to do for any significant amount of time. I strive for a more ideal and creative way of living and I plan for that to include my form of income.

Things very well might not work out the way I imagine them to. I definitely hope that they do and I am willing to work hard to make it happen. It would be a disservice to myself not to try. The support of my friends and family help me to believe in myself. In fact, it was my mom who questioned me about my blog’s inactivity. She bugged me about it for a couple days until I talked to her about it. It was that small conversation that kind of snapped me into writing therapeutically again.

So here is to the reboot of my therapeutic journey through this blog. Not all posts will be like this one and act as a journal. In my mind, it is a very adventurous journey so I hope you stick around to be a part of it!

Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie♥

8 Yoga Poses to Improve Your Zen

In my opinion, for all it’s worth, yoga is a fantastic way to either start or end the day. For me, I have been doing my best to do 15-20 minutes of yoga every morning after/while drinking my smoothie. I’m not a huge breakfast person but I know it’s, as they say, the most important meal of the day so I drink a nice, big green smoothie.

I have a pretty high-stress life right meow, so I’ll try pretty much anything to help myself relax a little. So I started poking around the web, mostly on Pinterest. I had done yoga before, although that was to a class that could probably have passed as yoga for bodybuilders.

While I’m no expert, I’ve done quite a bit of research on different yoga poses to implement into my own routine to help de-stress. Here are my 8 favorites that help me improve my zen:

WARRIOR I

All of the warrior poses help to build stamina and strength and Warrior I is a great place to start. This pose helps open up the hips while working to strengthen the core and legs. The slight backbend really allows the body to open up and stretch out.

CAT/COW

This is technically two poses, but they make such a good combination that they really should just be lumped together perminately. This combination pose is great for people with back pain as it helps to stretch out the spine and hips.

DOWNWARD FACING DOG

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This pose is the pretty much like the king of yoga poses. It does it all; arms, shoulders, hips, spine, and legs. Enough said.

PLANK

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I. Hate. Planks.

However…this pose is AMAZING for helping build core strength. I do it for that reason alone because core strength is an area I need to work on. This pose also helps build strength in the wrists, arms, and shoulders.

SEATED FORWARD BEND

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If your hamstrings and calves need a good stretch, this pose should be in your yoga routine. I’ve had this in my own routine and it definitely burns the first few times. But having done it almost every morning for a little while now, I can feel a difference.

CHILD’S POSE

Again, for those with back pain, this is a good pose to practice. By extending your arms out in front of you, it allows your spine to stretch out and get some relief.

TREE POSE

This pose is great for improving balance and I definitely need help with that! A good tip is to find a spot straight ahead of you and focus only on that spot while you take deep breaths. It helps me from falling over at least!

CORPSE POSE

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It might sound silly, but sometimes it’s good to just lay down and breathe. That’s exactly what this pose does. I find it best to end my routine with corpse pose to give my body and mind a quick break before moving on with my day.


I won’t say that some days I struggle with the motivation and desire to do yoga in the mornings. Most recently, I’ve struggled to even pull myself out of bed. So if my darkness gets the better of me, I always try to get some yoga in at some point in my day, even if it’s late at night.

Basically, don’t sweat it if you’re low on motivation sometimes. It happens and it won’t last forever. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself!

I’d love to hear what your favorite yoga poses are! Leave a comment below!

Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie♥

Why You Should Make a Vision Board

Figuring out life goals and keeping them in focus can be a struggle. I know I struggle with focus and motivation regularly. That’s why everyone should have a vision board! Check it out!

Figuring out life goals and keeping them in focus can be a struggle. I know I struggle with focus and motivation regularly.

A vision board is a tool to help put chosen life goals into perspective and provide a visual representation of those goals. This week at work, one of the group therapy sessions was to create a vision board for how the kids wanted to improve their mental and physical health.

Tools Needed:

  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Paper/poster

First thing you’re going to want to do is think about what parts of your life or daily routine you think could use a visual cue to help you stay focused on your goals.

Next you go through the magazines and look for things that inspire you and fit the idea you’ve thought up in your mind. Don’t worry if some things that catch your eye don’t make sense…that’s part of the fun!

Cut those things out. Since the kids at work can’t have scissors, we ripped out the pictures. I actually like the look of the ripped paper, too!

Glue everything on in the placement you want and voila! I got a little extra and doodled in the empty white spaces that hadn’t been covered by magazine pieces.

Let’s disect my vision board. Some things I put on there simply because they make me happy; the corgi, panda, cats, and smiley balloon. The word ‘awesome’ honestly just looked cool and fit with the aesthetic of my board.

Phrases like ‘make life unexpected’ and ‘miraculous experience’ help remind me to live life to the fullest and not take it for granted. ‘Portion control’ and ‘refresh’ help me to remember to eat healthy and not stress eat. And by stress eat, I’m talking a whole pack of Oreos!

The yoga chick represents my newfound love for yoga. I’ve implemented it into my morning routine to help keep myself relaxed and balanced.

Your vision board is exactly that…yours. Make it how you want it and hang it up somewhere you know you’ll see it every day. I put mine on the mini fridge in my room.

If anyone decides to make their own vision board or already has one, I’d love to see them! Drop a comment below!

Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie

Adventures With Albus: Gettysburg College

It’s been a bit since I’ve updated the blog and what better way to get back on track than with a new Adventures with Albus! This past Sunday, my moms and I took the whole gang over to Gettysburg College for some sun and fun.

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It was VERY hot out so we were prepared with plenty of water and walking in the shade as much as possible. The pups got their fun in by chasing a couple of squirrels up trees.

20180701_110948155772524.jpgSomething fun I got to try out on this adventure was the new pet carrier backpack I ordered off Amazon! Let me tell you, this purchase was definitely worth it! I say that very prematurely as Albus has only been in it once and it didn’t go exactly as planned.

He jumped out, effectively trying to hang himself as I was a good cat mom and clipped him in. This was easily fixed since my mom was there and was able to help me get him on the leash. While Albus gets adjusted to the bag, I’m going to go on outings with my moms and the dogs as much as possible to have some extra support.

On the way back to the car, I put him back in the bag because I knew he wouldn’t walk there on his own. He had an accident and let’s just say I’m very glad I had the kitty bath wipes with me! I’m also glad I had enough sense to line the bottom of the backpack with a pee pad just in case. I think this accident was more to the fact that he had to use the bathroom but his litter box was in the car. He was definitely nervous, as he always has been with carriers, but I am confident that he will adjust.

Some good news though, Albus didn’t drool AT ALL when in the car. This is wonderful progress for him in his journey to getting more used to the car. He also didn’t hide and get all mad at me when we got home like he used to, so more progress!!

Honestly, if the backpack carrier doesn’t work out, I won’t be super heartbroken. A little sad, yea sure, since the backpack is fluffing cool! But Albus’ comfort level is more important to me. If anyone has used a carrier like this for their cat, I would love to hear what works for them! I know every cat is different and some cats just like being in carriers…but any advice is welcome!

Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie ♥

Road to Van Life: MONEY

While eventually embarking on my van life journey and documenting all I can, I also want to document and share my road to van life. One of the biggest factors to consider in wanting to travel full-time is money. I racked up quite a bit of debt through student loans. So for the foreseeable future, a hefty amount is going to be coming out of my bank account every month. [Tip: Avoid private student loans if you can.]

I’m also aware that, just because I will be traveling in a van, doesn’t mean there won’t be expenses. I’ve given a lot of thought to exactly what kind of budget I’ll need in this next stage of my life. I don’t see myself minding working on the road because I will be able to travel and set up shop to work wherever I would like. If I can find a cute spot with free wifi, GREAT! If not, I plan on having internet access somehow for when I go off-grid.

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Van Expenses: Gas is a HUGE and obvious one. I also will more than likely have a car payment, which I don’t mind. I don’t want to buy an older van and risk having to pay more money fixing the van than traveling. In addition to that will be auto insurance. Since it will be my traveling home, I’ll need more protection. Maintaining the van will require me to budget some money aside as well. Not to mention the costs for the actual van build.

Personal Expenses: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for myself means groceries and not just eating out for every meal. I plan to have a fully functional kitchen space so that I can make my own meals from wherever I am. I’m pretty simple with my regular food choices but definitely not afraid to try new or weird things. I’ll also need some kind of health insurance since I am quite accident prone. No one ever really plans to use their health insurance, but it does provide peace of mind and is pretty mandatory to have.

I also have to factor in that, even though there is a lot of free stuff to do on the road, at some points there may be something really cool that I really want to do. I want to be able to have that freedom to pick a new activity to experience every now and then. For example, I really want to road trip to Alaska. My dad has said he would go with me, so I would want to make sure I had some money set aside to make that trip special.

Traveling With a Pet: This adds a whole other set of expenses. Albus is a very healthy kitty (vet confirmed today at his annual exam) but that means giving him the best I possibly can. Albus started out his life not so healthy and once I adopted him I knew I would do whatever I could to make sure he stayed as healthy as possible. I pay more for a better quality food and pay more for a better, more protective flea and tick preventative. Just because I’m downsizing my life doesn’t mean I will downsize his. Yes he may be in a smaller space that he’s used to, but he will be cared for just the same. He even has pet insurance.


Having so much in student debt, going through bankruptcy, and taking a huge pay cut means I have very little in savings. I plan on spending the next year saving up as much money as I can. There are two main reasons for my savings; the van build and a cushion to have for emergencies.

I’ve had to seek out multiple outlets for money in order to maximize my savings. My main source of income is my job as a mental health worker. It unfortunately does not pay enough for all that we do or deal with. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my job and working with the kids…not every day is stressful and some days are fun. However the stress that it does cause, in my opinion, is just not worth it for the long-term.

It doesn’t earn me much, but I pick up a few hours here and there hosting at a local restaurant. Basically I’m a fill-in for when people want some time off. This suits me just fine because that leaves room for my more important side job–freelancing. I’ve started putting myself out there now so that I can build a reputation for myself in order to have it be my full-time job on the road. I’ve been able to obtain a part-time position as a social media content developer for a small marketing company that works very well with my schedule. This has literally just started, but I can tell it is going to lead to great things!

It might sound corny, but I really do officially feel like I am on the road to van life! I can daydream and browse Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube all I want. But actually obtaining this freelancing position gets me going in the right direction towards making van life a reality. If anyone has any advice on freelancing whether it be social media content or article/blog writing, I am all ears! Well…eyes. Leave a comment and let me know!

Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie♥

 

WTF is Kombucha??

I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately, trying really hard to eat well and work out every day, even if that’s just some yoga in the morning. A health drink, that I used to turn my nose up at without even having tried it, recently became a new love in my life.

I had been seeing all these glass-bottled health drinks for a while but at the time, I had no interest in health drinks and would just stress eat and drink soda. Then a couple months ago, I passed it in the store and thought I’d give it a try. When I first saw the term ‘kombucha tea’, I just figured they were another tea brand. Little did I know, they were very different from your average Arizona tea. So when I first tried it, I was caught off guard by it’s vinegary, slightly bubbly taste and texture. It also probably didn’t help that I got the one with chia seeds in it…

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of chia seeds. I put them in my smoothies and on my avocado toast all the time. If you haven’t seen what chia seeds look like after soaking in liquid, they get surrounded by little squishy sacks. So the texture of those amid the weird, unexpected taste that followed made me cringe at first. I’ll admit I was pretty ready to just chuck the whole bottle and go get some Arizona Arnold Palmer.

However, I think about my friend Amber who is really into organic food/drinks, holistic remedies, and all that shit. I had asked her what it was one time and she said it was really good and really good for you. She had definitely said what it was, too, but it didn’t seem to have registered with me what she really meant. But what really stuck with me was that she always said not to judge stuff by the first sip. So I held my judgement and tried it again. Let’s just say I got used to the taste.

Kombucha has been around for a very long time. I’m talking ancient. It’s base is tea, then sugar and ‘SCOBY’ (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). Then all that is fermented into kombucha! At first I was skeptical since one of the main ingredients is sugar and it is claiming to be healthy. So I delved deeper into my research and found that the yeast and bacteria actually eat the sugar to release the CO2 that gives the bubbly carbonation. While it doesn’t take all of the sugar away, it takes most of it out. That’s science for you!

That being said, kombucha does have quite a few health benefits that make it worth getting used to the bizarre taste and/or texture.

Heaps of Probiotics

The probiotics are basically just bacteria. Except this bacteria is good for a healthy belly. They help with digestion and can help with weight loss.

Loads of Antioxidants

If you can fit antioxidants into your diet through food or drink, do it. It has been shown that getting antioxidants that way is more effective than supplements. This is a good way to amp up your liver!

Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

This is more-so connected with the fact that kombucha uses tea as the base. Green tea is the best, leading to better health effects. It is even shown that green tea drinkers are 31% less likely to develop heart disease.

There are a lot of suggested health effects there have yet to be proven but are in the works. For me, what is proven is enough for me. I’m not super crazy about being healthy and still eat things I want like pizza or Oreos. However I try to eat it less frequently and implement more healthy options. I do like salads, quinoa, wraps and such so it’s not hard for me to find things.

I’ve seen a lot of articles in my research about making your own kombucha. However those articles say that it could be pretty disastrous if you mess it up…so I’ll stick to buying mine! My sister likes it and has been drinking it lately as well! She’s been more dedicated to her health journey so far than I have so I use her a lot for inspiration and motivation to keep going with my health goals.

Next time you’re walking through Whole Foods or the organic section of your grocery store, pick up a bottle of kombucha and try it out! It’s definitely not for everyone but if you don’t try, how will you know?!

Sorry if this post seems lackluster as, I will admit, it was rushed a bit. I’ve been busy the last couple days painting a wall for my mom! I also wrote half of it while also hosting and cleaning tables to makes some extra $$$!

Be on the look out for some guest blogs coming in the future! I’m also happy to say I’m getting my foot in the door with freelance writing and content/social media managing! Full-time travel here I come! Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie❤

Blogging Is Hard?!

Goooooood morning!!

I was thinking as I woke up (way too early) that I have been blogging for a little over a month! That, for me, is pretty crazy. I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while. Then one day I said, “Screw it!” and here I am. It also dawned on me this morning that in the first month of blogging, I haven’t been the most organized of bloggers. Through research and simply just viewing other blogs, they seem to have some sort of posting schedule. I obviously know that not every blog does this, but it seems that having a structured release schedule could help with collecting loyal followers. A main goal of mine with this blog is to create content that people actually WANT to read and WANT to come back for more every week.

With that being said…I will now be posting blogs on Tuesdays and Thursdays! As today is Thursday, this will count as today’s blog. I may let out the occasional Sunday (except not this Sunday as it is my 16-hour day at work) post as I want to provide as much content as possible.

Which leads me to my next point. I NEED YOUR HELP! I absolutely love feedback and hearing from people! I would love it if you could comment below on this post and let me know what kind of content you would like to see! I am open to pretty much anything and am always looking for new, fun ideas.

In addition to content ideas, I am very open to guest blogging. This goes both ways, meaning that I am open to having a guest blogger on Just a Girl and Her Cat and I am open to guest blogging on your site!

Something I’ve learned in my first month of blogging; it’s a lot harder than it looks! Part of the reason I want your input on the kind of content you’d like to see is that it’s hard coming up with that shit on your own!! Thinking of  topics and content on a regular basis is a bit more than I expected. I obviously have several great idea, it’s just hard sometimes to pull it all together in a cohesive post. If any of my fellow bloggers have any advice for me, I’m all ears!!! Constructive criticism is a part of life and I am no stranger to it. I take every bit of criticism in every part of my life and use it to drive me forward into a better person, blogger, cat mom, etc.

I have a HUGE passion for writing and want to reach as many people as possible! So please comment and share my blog! I have also attached a follow-by-email widget along the side. You do not need to create a WordPress account in order to follow! Simply enter your email and you will get notified when I upload a post! Easy-peasy!

I apologize for the short post but this topic, I felt, required a quick and to-the-point kind of approach!

 

Follow me on Instagram (caitiep08) and Snapchat (caitiep15)!! If you take just a peek at my Instagram, you will see that I fill it with mostly pictures of Albus! I hope to continue filling it with beautiful pictures of our adventures this summer! Check it out!

*Side Note: I revamped the look of the site! Let me know what you think in the comments!!

Until next time…

Love always,

Caitie♥

Self-Care Is Key

I have mentioned before in a couple of previous posts that I take self-care very seriously. I implement it in my every day life probably would not be a very nice person without it! My self care routine can also change. I have also mentioned before that due to recent events in my life, I no longer find music an effective self-care tool. At least not like I used to.

Losing the love of music, when music has always been a go to for me, was particularly disheartening. I love to sing (by myself) in the car to anything that fits my mood. However lately, I’ve found it significantly less helpful as a coping skill. Having left a negative and abusive relationship left me more upset after listening to music on the radio or even most of the stuff in my Spotify than relaxed or happy. At first I would cry when I was in my sister’s car because I felt like I couldn’t ask her to turn the music off when a particularly hard song to listen to came on. That has since gotten easier. However, when I’m in my own car, I still don’t listen to music. Instead, I listen to audiobooks. Honestly I truly enjoy listening to audiobooks, especially the Harry Potter series. On long road trips I would often prefer to listen to Harry Potter than music.

Self care has several levels that goes beyond finding things you enjoy to de-stress. Taking care of your body will in turn help your mind and soul. This section of self-care is easier to figure out, as it is pretty universal for everyone.

  • Get Enough Sleep…sleep is a crucial part to having a healthy body. I have been trying to ensure I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Only one night every 8 days do I get less sleep (more on that later). Now that I have been doing that for a few months, my body has adjusted to the sleep schedule and I now only set an alarm as a backup. I pretty much wake up on my own now, well ahead of my alarm. Lack of sleep can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies have even shown that sleep problems can more severely affect those with a mental health diagnosis than those without one.
  • Eat Well…this is the part I struggle with the most. I am a HUGE stress eater. This is most prominent in my love for Oreos. However, lately I have been doing my very best to implement more healthy options into my food choices. I’ve broken out my Nutri-Bullet and make myself smoothies to go with my lunch. I’ve also started drinking chai tea to help boost my system in the mornings with breakfast. Breakfast is something I hadn’t really taken seriously, but as the doctors say… it’s the most important meal of the day! I have a love for avocado toast so that makes breakfast pretty easy. I don’t really tire of it since there are so many ways to change it up. A healthy diet is another huge part of having a healthy body and mind. In fact, there have been studies about how having a healthy diet can lessen the risks of severe depression.
  • Implement Physical Activity…while I have always enjoyed working out, finding the motivation to do so has forever been a struggle of mine. I have noticed recently that I am very out of shape, getting winded going up just a couple of flights of stairs. This especially carries over into my job when there is some physical requirements at times. I have recently started yoga in the mornings to try and help with my flexibility as well as my general fitness. I have also done quite a bit of research on how yoga can help your mental health as well. It’s actually a lot more involved that I ever though, but that is what makes me more intrigued to continue with it.

I never exactly went into detail on how my work schedule works. It’s not the most conventional of schedules but it works pretty well for me. I have a rotating schedule where I work for four days then I have four days off. So basically my days off are always changing, which means that I get some weekends off. Working in the direct care field usually mans that having weekends off is a luxury. I work 40 hours; 2:30pm to 10:30pm for the first three days I work and 6:30am to 10:30pm on the fourth day. Having a 16 hour work day has definitely proved difficult at times to stay awake. So as I mentioned before, the night before my long day at work I don’t get quite as much sleep as I would like since I get home close to 11pm and have to wake up by at the very latest 5:30am the next morning. However, implementing more body-based self-care practices into my life have helped me to have more energy.

I also definitely haven’t done away with my de-stressing self-care habits either. For example, Saturday was my long day at work and it was pretty awful. Long story short, by the end of the night I had been bitten, kicked in the jaw, and a sore back. All of this made me one not very happy Caitie. But I can’t let that show around my kids at work. I have to retain my emotions and keep them in until I leave for the night. When I got home that night, I got an ice pack to try to avoid having a gross bite bruise and settled in at my

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computer to kill some orcs and protect Middle Earth. I’m taking a break from my usual favorite, Dragon Age, for my new love Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

I find it extremely de-stressing to sit at my computer and just let myself go into this other world that is so very different from my own. I typically gravitate towards games in which I can create my own character from looks to personality to abilities. However, the game play of Shadow of Mordor is so good, I couldn’t care less that I can’t create my own character. So Saturday night I spent a couple of hours immersed in Middle Earth while my dad snored away on the futon in my bedroom. He had just returned from a trip to the beach and wanted to spend the night at my place so that we could spend some time together the following day.

Yesterday was a mental health day for me meaning that I did pretty much nothing but relax. I stayed off social media for the most part, only going on to scroll through Instagram or Facebook for a little. I got breakfast with my dad at a really cute little café in town where I had salmon eggs benedict and pretty much died over how good it was. I enjoyed my time with him since I don’t see him as often as I would like. Then he went to drive home after dropping me off and I took a long nap. I felt so rejuvenated after that nap. I then made myself a chicken caesar wrap and binge watched The Crown on Netflix. This portion of my day also included a lot of cuddling with Albus. Probably the best part of my day, though, was beating my moms in a grueling game of Scrabble! My mom boasts about her superiority in the game so it’s always nice when I manage to beat her!

Waking up today, I felt much better both mentally and physically. I took my time getting up and moving this morning, which I am happy about as my mom now wants me to go out and do yard work with her! If nothing else, please take away from this blog the sense that you are worth taking some time out for. You can’t even start to truly help others if you cannot help yourself first!

Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie♥