TEN “BOREDOM BUSTERS” FOR SURVIVING THE PANDEMIC STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

COVID 19

This is a frantic and scary time for the whole world. How crazy is this that even Disney World is closed?!  Life is being stalled by fear of the transmission of this virus.  In order to prevent the spread of this disease, we have learned to be more sanitary however at the same time we are being restricted from many of the things that make life enjoyable.  Living with a chronic illness which requires me to take an immunosuppressant drug causes me to be more susceptible to catching the virus; therefore, keeping socially distant and isolating as much as possible is paramount for me.

Many people who live with persistent sickness often spend a considerable amount of time at home due to the complications of their diseases.  Some of them must pace their activities and social involvement, and others are even bedridden.  They have to find creative activities for entertainment and ways to feel engaged in life.  During this time of self-isolation, many people generally resort to the usual sources of amusement such as TV and social media.  Here is a list of some alternative ideas to ban boredom during the stay-at-home order.

  1.  Learn something new
    • Learn a new language
    • Take a cooking class online
    • Research a topic you have always wanted to know more about.
  2. Read something
    • Read a classic novel that you have never read
    • Read in a different language
    • Study the Bible
  3. Write something
    • Surprise a friend by mailing a handwritten letter to him or her
    • Write a poem or lyrics to a song
    • Write a story or book
  4. Make something by hand
    • Make a greeting card and mail it to a friend or family member
    • Paint a picture
    • Knit, crochet or sew a blanket for someone in need
      Peacock tree
      I painted this!
  5. Get moving
    • Try a new type of exercise such as Tai-Chi
    • Learn some new dance moves
    • Volunteer at a Food Bank
  6. Use your mind
    • Put a puzzle together
    • Explore the dictionary to find some new words and start using them regularly
    • Try using your non-dominant hand for everything
  7. Explore nature
    • Plant a vegetable or butterfly garden
    • Walk to a different area in your neighborhood
    • Sit outside and bird watchgarden                       My husband’s garden!
  8. Do a 30 Day Challenge
    • Break a bad habit such as smoking
    • Create a good habit such as eating more vegetables
    • Push your limits by challenging your abilities such as doing more sit-ups each day
  9. Meditate
    • Disconnect from the news and listen to soothing music
    • Lie down, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing
    • Find a quiet place and pray
  10. Take a virtual vacation
    • Choose a place you have always wanted to visit
    • Learn about the culture, language, and museums.  Check out the virtual tour of the Louvre museum in Paris:                                        https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne
    • Find a popular recipe in the region and make it for dinner

I hope these ideas inspire you to expand your world during a time when we are isolating from the world.  Wishing you all good times and good health, stay well!

 

 

SUNDAY SUPPER – VEGAN WILD MUSHROOM STROGANOFF

VEGAN WILD MUSHROOM STROGANOFF

Ingredients
  • 8 oz. Wild mushroom mix, sliced (I used baby bella, shiitake and oyster)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 a Sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato paste
  • 5 C. Vegetable broth
  • 1/2 C. Full fat coconut milk, I used Native Forest from Edward and Son’s
  • 2 C. Wide noodles, vegan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a soup pot, heat the olive oil on medium high.  Add the sliced mushrooms, onions and garlic. Saute until the mushrooms and onions are cooked, about 3-5 minutes. The onions should be translucent. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Now add the sherry, and stir to get any bits off the bottom of the pot. Then add the tomato paste. Stir into the mushrooms and onions.

  3. Now add the veggie broth and coconut milk. Stir to combine. Taste and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.

  4. Now add the noodles, reduce the heat a bit and simmer until the noodles are cooked al dente. Check the package instructions for how long that will probably be according to the type of noodles you have,  Taste and season as needed. Serve immediately!

    ***NOTE:  I added a can of Cannellini beans, when I put in the noodles, to include some protein.

    Vegan Wild Mushroom Stroganoff Soup

 

1st QUARTER UPDATE – WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

hello spring handwritten paper

Time is going by as fast as lighting, already finished the first quarter of 2020.  Yes, 2020 vision is on the radar for this year.  Things started at a little slow but I am picking up speed.  I was having trouble managing my medications but I am working on a new plan and things are improving.

Speaking of Spring, I have been doing some Spring cleaning.  Towards the end of last year, I worked on my clothes closet giving away things I didn’t want or didn’t fit in an effort to minimize the “stuff” in my life.  This spurred me to move to other areas in the house.  In January, I sorted through the chaos in my craft closet.  I got rid of lots of paper and craft supplies I was not using.   I realized I was buying supplies not because I had a particular project in mind but just because I thought it was cute or it was on clearance.  This accumulated a lot of mess and I wasn’t even using what I bought.  Plus, everything was stuffed so much I couldn’t find anything when I needed it.   The closet is now organized better allowing me to locate all my craft tools.  Maybe this will get the creative juices flowing so I can actually work on some type of project.

Reorganizing the closets made me think about how much I waste in general.  Now I am trying to be more conscious of what I am buying and why I am buying it.  Do I really need this item?  Will I use it or is it an impulse buy?  This allows me to not waste money on things I am not going to use.  I can then in turn use this money to help others.  In addition, by having less clutter I can focus better on what I want to accomplish.

The next area I am looking at is the kitchen.  How much food do I waste thinking I am going to make a certain dish then end up making something else?  To control this area, I have tried to do weekly meal planning.  This has helped some in that I don’t buy things I don’t have in the plan.  Also, I am trying to plan and pack my lunch instead of going out to pick it up.  This saves lots of money and time.  I haven’t mastered all of my planning yet but it is in the works.

I have discovered that minimizing the “chaos” in my life has helped my mind be more focused.  I have more time because I am not wondering aimlessly through stores looking for the next greatest bargain, I can find things easier and I feel better because I am eating healthier.  There are many nto simplifying one’s life.  Stay tuned!

 

SUNDAY SUPPER – SPRINGTIME VEGETARIAN MINESTRONE SOUP

Soup Sisters

Coming up on MARCH 3RD

NATIONAL SOUP IT FORWARD DAY!

Founded by:  https://soupsisters.org/

Lift someone’s spirits by dropping off a bowlful of comfort and kindness! Cook up a pot of soup and deliver it to a family or friend in need, help someone who is ill or home bound, or just an acquaintance who can use some fellowship time.

 

SPRINGTIME VEGETARIAN MINESTRONE SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cups zucchini diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can 28 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can 15 oz kidney beans, drained
  • 6 cups vegetable broth OR chicken broth for a non-vegetarian option
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 2 cups baby spinach coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, and garlic in olive oil until just barely tender. Reduce heat to medium and stir in tomato paste, tomatoes, and beans.
  2. Gradually add vegetable broth and Italian seasoning. Bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Stir in penne pasta and spinach, then let soup simmer until pasta is cooked and veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. Season minestrone with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Springtime Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

A VALENTINE FOR JESUS

heart shaped candle
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This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day.  This is a special day we sent aside to recognize the love we receive from those we cherish in our lives.  For Christians, Jesus provides unconditional love and grace.  He shines a light of hope and promises eternal life to those who believe in him.  Recently, during Christmastime, my Small Group Sunday School class at my church was talking about Jesus, the light of the world.  It is written in the Bible:

I Am the Light of the World

(John 8:12)

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

This verse radiates with me as I am reminded of a very dark time during my second hospitalization due to Major Depression.  I was in the hospital and so distraught about being there.  I was trying to convince everyone I didn’t need to be there.  I felt like I was at the bottom of well.  It was pitch dark blackness, I felt like the walls were closing in around me and there was no way out.  After being in the hospital a couple of days I realized I wasn’t going home.  I was weary and needed something to do so I was going to ask for reading material.  All of a sudden, I realized I didn’t have my bible and I had not spoken to God since I had been there.  I was so consumed by darkness, I had forgotten about God, how terrible am I?!  Instantly I saw light shinning down from the top of the well, a light of hope for survival.  I felt warm, I could breathe again, and I felt loved.  I realized God wanted me to be in the hospital.  He sent me there for a reason.  I began participating in group therapy and soon I was released with a renewed since of being.

I have been though several other rounds of Depression since then but I always have the light of Jesus with me as my guide.  This reminds me of Psalm 23:4,  4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”. 

mini red hearts wallpaper

Dear Jesus, in the darkest moments you are always with me shinning Your light to guide me out of despair.  How foolish am I not to have you on my mind all day?  I seek your wisdom and guidance and am grateful for your grace and love.  I fear though, for times when I do not follow your path but you, my Lord never abandon me.  Even in my most rebellious moments, you are next to me.  Oh how I wish all who I love here on Earth find the friendship and love I have with your divine presence!   Oh, how I love thee Lord Jesus!  My friend, my comforter, my counselor, my guide, my light.   I pray that others see your light that is within me.

(Matthew 5: 14-16)  14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Easter

2019 PHRASE FOR THE YEAR – STAY MINDFUL

Hi, I am back again!  Yeah, I missed posting anything in this blog in January so sticking to a blogging schedule has already fizzled.  Just after the new year, I had the Shingles virus, then I was scheduled for cataract surgery on both eyes, two weeks apart.  This has caused some disruption to my blogging plans as my vision has been impaired.  Anyways, here is a delayed post on my phrase for 2019.

As I stated in my last post, 2018 YEAR-END WRAP-UP WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS, I talked about joining the Weight Watchers (now called WW) group at my place of employment.  I have been in the program about four months.  I have lost approximately fifteen pounds and have gone down one clothing size!  I am excited!  The one thing that I believe has helped me the most is the WW App.  I am allocated 23 points of food each day.  Points are assessed by number of calories, number of carbohydrates, and amount of fat per serving.  The WW App allows me to enter the food I am eating and gives me the point value for each food.  This makes me more mindful about what is in the food I am eating therefore helps me make better choices and it is working!  Well, maybe I need to be more mindful in all aspects of my life.

Last year my word, or phrase, for the year was LIVE WITH INTENTION. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, intention means “a determination to act a certain way” whereas mindfulness means “a state of awareness“.  As I shared in my post from December, my plan of intention did not go as well as expected for 2018.  So maybe that’s where my issue lies?  In order to be determined to act a certain way I must first be aware of what I am intending to do.  Hence, my phrase for the year, “STAY MINDFUL”.

mindful

2018 YEAR-END WRAP-UP WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS

accuracy afternoon alarm clock analogue
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Happy New Year!, almost anyways.  Here we are on December 31, 2018.  I am not sure what to say about this year.  There have been some good moments but not as productive as I hoped.

It started out strong with my word for the year “Intention”.  Back in February I wrote a letter to my body making amends to it, A LOVE LETTER TO MY BROKEN BODY.  This got me motivated to change how I care for my body and started going to Yoga classes.  Then I began the 100 day project, THE 100 DAY PROJECT – BIBLE STUDY, but I was unsuccessful at completing it.  Soon after that I stopped going to Yoga, wasn’t taking medicine as I should and went into a slump.  I did read a couple of books, one gave me insight into my teenage years.  I discovered I have had an Anxiety and Depression disorder even back then!, see my post from August, “TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN” –REVISITING MY MENTAL ILLNESS.  Since then I have been trying to climb out of my slump.

In September, I joined a Weight Watchers group that’s sponsored by my employer.  It has helped me to see that I wasn’t really eating how I should be eating enough though I thought I was a healthy eater.  I have learned portion control and now eat more fruits and vegetables and less carbohydrates. This has significantly improved my blood sugar and my Diabetes is in good control.  I have also lost about 14 pounds!  I even when down one clothing size so I got to go shopping, yeah!  I have rejoined the group for another three months so we will see if I can loose more and maintain it.  Also I need to start going to Yoga again.  Ok, so things are looking better again, meh.

Last week in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, I was forgetting things and my husband pointed out that it was because I had not been taking my meds like I should.  This made me realize I can’t stop taking them.  It doesn’t matter how much I think I am okay without them, I still do not function at 100%.  I only function at about 75% at best.  Again, we are back to the main issue of my slump.  TAKE THE MEDICATION!  I know, I have started taking them again and I promise to be better in 2019.

My slump has contributed me not posting on this blog as regularly as I have in the past.  Today, I looked at my blog stats for this year.  I noticed even during times when I did not post, people were still seeing and reading my blogs.  I was unsure if people actually read my posts but my blog is looked at even when I don’t post.  Even if it is only a few people, it is worth continuing this blog.  I plan to post more regularly in the new year.  Let’s see if I can stick to a plan!

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and prosperous New Year!

blur bokeh bright burnt

 

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FIGHTING DEPRESSION WITH PHARMACEUTICAL THERAPY

addiction antibiotic capsules cure
Photo by Pietro Jeng on Pexels.com

Hi!  I know, where have I been?

I am not real sure why I have not blogged the last few months.  It started back in May, after vacation I couldn’t get back to everyday life.  Since then I did get motivated to read a couple of books but I have rebounded back to into a slump.  I can’t figure out why.  Well I know one reason is because I am not taking my Depression medication as regular as I should be.  This leads me to my continuation from my last full post, “TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN” –REVISITING MY MENTAL ILLNESS”.

In the post from August 5, 2018, I was reviewing the book, “Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green.  The protagonist named Aza was a teenager living with intrusive thoughts, a mental illness.  I identified with Aza’s character due to the fact that I experienced the same type of thoughts since adolescence.  After talking with my therapist about the book and how it reminded me of when I was younger, she told me that I had an Anxiety Disorder with Depression.  The Anxiety Disorder developed from me being ill and hospitalized during my childhood.  This caused me to have repeated negative self-talk which killed my self-confidence.

Anyways, back to what I was saying, I haven’t been taking my medication regularly.  Being diagnosed with Depression with Psychosis over 15 years ago, I have noticed this occurs sometimes after I have been stable for a long period of time.  (I haven’t had a depressive episode for over three years).  I think I just get tired of trying to be normal.  But what is normal?  In the book, Aza mentions her thoughts on taking medication, “I wasn’t convinced the circular white pill was doing anything when I did take it, and for another, I was not taking it quite as often as I was technically supposed to. Partly, I kept forgetting, but also there was something else I couldn’t quite identify, some way-down fear that taking a pill to become myself was wrong”. Wow! That is exactly my thoughts!    Why do I have to take a pill to be myself? Is that then a fake form of myself? I mean, am I really myself when I have to take a pill to be normal?

My therapist cleared this up for me.  She said, “Are you a depressed person, or is it the illness that is making you depressed?  Therefore, can it be the medication that is stabilizing you so you can be yourself?” So what is the “self”?

Self is made up of one’s personality and belief system. Anxiety disorders, Depression and Psychosis distort the perception of one’s self. People who suffer from these illnesses can display disruptive behaviors which instigates others and sometimes the own individual to view that person’s self as problematical, when actually it is the illness that is causing the behavior. In that moment I realized I was reverting back to my adolescence, having thoughts about myself that were not true. It is the illness causing a disruption to my mind!  Just like my multiple autoimmune disorders that affect the other organs in my body to malfunction, the Depression causes my brain to malfunction.  I have discovered this in the past, but I think sub-consciously I am always thinking that taking pills to alter the mental state is not right, so I stop taking my medication regularly.  This is a pattern that I have to stop in order to prevent relapses.  Now that I recognize the pattern and the thoughts that are causing it, hopefully I can return to taking my medicine and remain stable.  I believe being mindful about what is happening in the sub-conscience will allow me to adhere better to my pharmaceutical therapy.

Do you struggle with taking meds?

 

 

 

“TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN” –REVISITING MY MENTAL ILLNESS

In the book “Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green, the protagonist named Aza is a teenager living with obsessive/intrusive thoughts.  She has a mental illness.  While Aza and her best friend pursue the mystery of a missing person, the book illustrates how Aza’s obsessive thoughts intrude on her life.

Reading this book caused me to revisit my teen years.  It was like I was reading a book about myself!  I realized I had similar obsessive thoughts like Aza.    If I made a mistake I would ponder for days, why did I do that?  Why can’t I do anything right?  I am so stupid!  I also feared making any decision.  If I choose this way, what will happen?  What happens if I made the wrong choice?  What will others think of me? etc.,etc.,etc. as the downward spiral continues.  This could go on for weeks sometimes.  Eventually any comment anyone made to me would make me explode in anger.  This created a negative response from the other person and a big commotion would ensue.  This resulted in me placing more negative labels on myself.  This destroyed my self-confidence and caused me to withdraw.  I still functioned like a normal person though.  I went to school, had friends, was involved with church.  I seemed to function normal but my mind was always filled with adversity.  People would ask how I was doing and I would respond “I am fine” with a smile on my face.  When I was in a group of people I just stayed quiet and smiled at everyone’s comments.  I was afraid of saying something stupid so I didn’t say anything at all.  People assumed I was fine because I was still smiling.  I was physically in the room but my mind was in a whirlwind.  Somehow I conditioned myself to live a regular life even though my mind was in a frenzy.

It was suspected that my social issues were caused by the trauma I endured due to my childhood illness.  I was in the hospital most of the time enduring many tests and being stuck by needles.  I remember when I was very young constantly thinking “what is going to happen to me next?”.  I recently discussed my response to this book with my therapist.  She explained the trauma I went through as a child created anxiety and it manifested into an Anxiety Disorder with Depression.  Now that I think about it I was very anxious all the time and even though I was surrounded by a group of people I felt lonely.  This made total sense now!  It is quite overwhelming to realize that as far back adolescence I had an Anxiety Disorder and Depression and no one knew!  My parents suspected I had issues and even asked me if I wanted to go to counseling but I would reply “I am fine”.  I genuinely thought I was fine.  I had lived with these intrusive thoughts so long it became natural to me.  This is how my mind worked and I couldn’t change it.  I had no idea that medication and therapy could help me change my thought process.

In my thirties I was diagnosed with Major Depression with Psychosis and finally went to therapy.  Fast-forward to middle-aged adulthood, I have spent the last several years decoding the nay-saying labels I have put on myself since adolescence.  Currently my mind is clear and I live in the present moment rather than the past.  Medication and therapy does work and I have been set free!

(To be continued…)

JUST FOR FUN

Recently I cleaned out the closet in my guest room/craft room.  I discovered I had too much scrapbook paper, stamps, and blank greeting cards.  I decided I needed to use these materials instead of letting them take up space so made some cards just for fun.  Maybe if I make make enough of these I can sell them on-line!

Staying creative keeps me engaged in life which helps keeps away Depression.  This is an activity I can do anytime.  In addition to engaging my mind it also relaxes me.

Cards