My Top Favorite Self Care Behaviors

self care

Self care is part of self parenting. If you have C-PTSD from childhood abuse, emotional trauma, or neglect, then you were probably not taught to care for yourself.

If your emotional needs were regularly discounted then you were trained to ignore your feelings about being uncomfortable, and taught to hide those feelings. You were not able to get what you needed to make your environment feel safe and comfortable.

If your parents did not make an effort to care for your need to feel safe and comfortable, then you were programmed into discounting your own comfort needs.

Everone has the need to feel comfort, safety and pleasure. It is not selfish to have these needs. It is normal and it is part of the survival instinct.

As an adult who came from a narcissistic pareny or otherwise dysfunctional family, you have to learn how to parent yourself now. …Not in the same way you were parented as a child. But in a nurturing, compassionate way.

Learning thow to care for yourself will allow you to have more energy and patience ti share your love with other people.

Love the loving. Maintain behaviors of self love and then show compassion to people who have the capacity for love and empathy. Do not waste energy trying to change unloving people.

So here is a list of my top 10 favorite self care ideas. Please share your own favorite ideas in the comments below.

1. Wrap up in hot towels from the dryer. You don’t have to be doing wash at the time. Just toss 2 or 3 nice towels in the dryer and dry them on high, for 10 or 15 minutes. Then wrap up in them.

2. Cover yourself in soft blankets. Buy one special blanket that has your favorite texture. Running your hands over pleasing textures can calm the nervous system, similar to petting a soft furred animal.

3. Take a warm shower or bath. You don’t have to wait until you need to bathe. Hot steamy showers have a healing effect and calm the nervous system. Submersing yourself in a bath of warm water will help you be mindful of the present moment.

4. Listen to music that makes you feel empowered. Your favorite music has a direct effect on your nervous system and will generate dopamine and feel-good chemical responses.

5. Petting and playing with your favorite kind of animals. Animals are living spiritual beings. Different people are drawn to different animals for different emotional and spiritual energies that these animals have.

6. Water has healing properties. Drinking clean water…swimming in water… and being near the ocean, stream… or a beautiful sparkling lake…all have spiritually uplifting possibilities.

7. Creating your perfect sleep space. Your sleeping area needs to be a calm haven of nurturing and soothing quality. Alter your lighting with red or other colored light bulbs in a table lamp. Add soothing sounds and textureus. The colors should be ones that are important to you and have an affect on your nervous system.

8. Uplifting words. Read or watch videos by people who inspre you. Your self esteem should feel boosted after spending time with a message that energizes and validates you.

9. Learn to say NO, without feeling obligated to make them agree that your reasons are valid. Being afraid to say NO to people will cause you to be forced into situations that deplete your energy and your self esteem.

10. Create things that are inventive, artistic, authentic or unique. Draw, color, craft, write a poem, sing in your unique voice, write, create a new yoga routine, rearrange items in a unique way, decorate a box, add fringe to your lampshade with a hot glue gun, change the laces in your sneakers to colored ones, make a beaded bracelet, plant some flowers, choose your favorite material at JoAnne fabrics and lay it on your table for a table cloth, buy a bag of buttons at the craft store and sew them onto your tops and jackets, add some coloful garnishes to your dinner plate….explore….create…don’t worry about comparing your creativity to others….be yourself!

 

 

Strawberry Memories and Baby

When my daughter was less than one year old, I bought her three strawberry shortcake dolls. She loved them so much and called them “Oh baby” when she was looking for them. I spent the rest of the summer stopping the car at every yard sale I saw, searching for more. 

She ended up with about 6 of them, by the end of that summer. She always knew how many she had, even though she could not count…well, she did not know the numbers. She would always look for the last one, if she was missing one in her hand. 

I still remember when I handed her two dolls and she was upset and began searching for the third one. I was surprised that she knew how many she should have, because she was just a baby. But she certainly did know. strawberry shortcake dolls

Single Mothers, Working Mothers Depression and Anxiety Disorders

It is no wonder that single mothers and working mothers become depressed. We are doing the jobs of too many people. We usually do not have enough help. The help that is offered is often more of a burden that it is helpful. People guess at what will be helpful rather than asking us.

It is hard for other women to understand the stress on single mothers. This is also true for working mothers that do not get enough support from their husbands.  

We cannot go out and spend time doing social things that other women do. They ask us to come along with them and they are offended when we keep telling them no. It becomes a burden on the relationship and we end up losing the friendships with our female friends. We become more alienated.

Our families may try to help but they do not know what would be helpful. If their effort to help us, they often create more anxiety for us. The teachers at the school expect us to be able to all the things that other mothers do, but we cannot keep up.

Our boss is demanding when we are at work. Being a single mother is no excuse for not living up to all the obligations of our job. We are exhausted when we get home from work, but there is no rest.

We are still working until  we drop from exhaustion.We fall into bed and have thoughts running through our heads about all the things we did not get done today and have to add onto tomorrow’s schedule, which was already overloaded.

We have little time to do anything for ourselves. We have little or no time to rest. There is no end to the endless responsibility and endless stream of chores, errands, workload, and unexpected problems.

On top of that, people are always complaining to us that we “should” be doing things in a different or “better” way.What they mean of course is that we should be doing things their way. But they have no concept of how our brains are suffering in torment.

Everyone had suggestions and criticism about how we should be doing things differently. My ex mother in law once told me that I should spend all Sunday afternoon making casseroles to freeze so that I would not have to cook during the week. “Then you just pop them out of the freezer and microwave them”, she said. She had decided that this was the answer for me because my “perfect” sister in law did that.

First of all, I tried to explain to her that my  kids and my husband (her son) hated casseroles and would never eat them. Then I tried to explain to her that I was entirely too exhausted by the weekend, from work, to stand in the kitchen and cook for five hours every Sunday. Nevertheless, the bought me the casserole book that my sister in law used and insisted that I try it.

My sister in law did not work and was maintained in a rich fashion be her husband. He ability and desire to make casseroles was completely different than mine. Come to think of it, I had no desire to eat frozen microwaved casseroles every night for dinner either!

Speaking of crying, we don’t even have time or any private space to do that. We don’t want to break down in front of the kids. We have no time for therapists or to go out with friends to vent. We cannot cry at work without  appearing incompetent. So that leaves us to cry in our car for 5 minutes when we get home from work, before we go into the house.

We worry about the kids while we are at work. We worry about work when we are home. We feel guilty about leaving the kids to go to work.If we cut back our hours to spend more time with the kids, then we feel guilty that we are not making enough money to take care of them.

No matter what we are doing or where we are, we feel like we should be doing or worrying about something else. We are happy we have children but at the same time we feel guilty that we have ended up in a position of being so overworked that we do not have enough energy for them.

The guilt leads to a lowering of our self esteem and we become depressed. The constant worrying turns into a severe anxiety condition that interferes with our ability to function as well as we used to.

We feel behind all the time. We have trouble keeping up with the kids doctor appointments and their homework. We feel more and more like we are getting sucked into a pit of quicksand.

Our own minds begin to work against us. Our brains begin to fill with obsessive thoughts that are fearful about the future and regretful about the past. Why did we end up here? How can we keep going like this? Who are we anymore?

We begin to lose touch with our own identity. We are not a whole person anymore. We are fragments of different people who wear different hats at different parts of the day.We keep changing hats from work, to mom, to nurse to the kids, to the person that has to talk to the teacher, to the bad friend who has said “NO” the last 5 times our girlfriend has asked us out for lunch.

We have little time to talk on the phone to a friend and even then we are interrupted. We crave a moment to ourselves, a moment of rest and peace. We feel guilty that we want to do something for ourselves. We want to be beautiful again and desirable to men. We want to be a woman who is allowed to have needs and desires.

But there is no time and if we make the time, we feel guilty the entire time we are out. Men have trouble understanding that we want to check in with out kids while we are on a date. They feel slighted because after all, men want our attention as much as the kids do.

We are more and more and more drug along by life and the schedule that we are not able to keep up with. We cannot continue without something having to give somewhere. We are headed for a breakdown.

We can become very depressed to the point where we have clinical depression. At this point we need help but we are still in the same boat of not having time to do anything for ourselves. We have no space during our week to schedule a therapy session or even a doctor appointment.

We put it off, We become filled with more and more anxiety and depression. We cannot continue.

This happens. It happened to me. We have to find a way to reach out and get help from someone, somewhere.We cannot just keep ignoring the feelings that our mental health is in jeopardy. Our feelings are trying to tell us something.

It does not get better without reaching out for help. Reach out to someone, whether is be a friend, a  paid service for chores and errands, a therapist for counseling, the church, or anyone who will be compassionate. You need to talk to someone who will listen.

Look through your schedule and find something that can wait, even if for a few weeks, so that you can use the time to help yourself. You have become conditioned to feel that all of those things you do for others are life and death. You might be surprised when you take a second look at your routine.   If you change your perspective, to seeing the situation as a personal mental health emergency, you might find something that can be put aside for a time.

Behavior that repeats over and over becomes imbedded in the brain. It feels like there is no other possible way to do things. Find someone else to take your kids to church for you every other week  and take a yoga class or sleep in. Have a niece help help you around the house and pay them by a barter. They may be glad just to get out of their own house for a change and spend time with you.

Think of anyplace that might have free counseling and also might offer assistance to you for a short time, like the church or a community organization. Be creative and barter for services, like laundry and making dinner.

Another parent from the school may be in the same boat as you are.  They may be happy to trade days driving the kids to school, so they can have a few mornings to themselves also. Or maybe to take turns one night per week, making the dinner for all of the kids.  This way each of you has one night off.

Seek out other single working mothers who might feel like they are drowning just like you are. Get ideas and help each other. Think outside the box a little and do not stay locked into your same schedule.

Every tiny difference you make, could make a difference to your mental health. Being locked into the same exact routine for too long is devastating to your mental well being. Humans are built for some variation in routine. It stimulates the creative centers of the brain and will help you to think of more ideas and to be less depressed.

The longer we go without help, the worse it gets. Make the time for yourself. Do not feel guilty. If you crash then what will happen? You are not superhuman, even though  other people may be relentless in their efforts to demand the world from you.

All the adults that are making demands of your time are only looking out for their own agenda. It is your turn to look out for yourself and your family.

Your kids will probably not mind a change in the routine, because they are probably stressed over the same day to day routine as well. Get help and be creative. The more you think outside the box, the better you will be able to make small alterations in order to preserve your sanity.

Take care of yourself.

Blessings,

Annie

Amazing Resemblance Genealogy

kayla with great grandmother

This is a picture of my great grandmother on the left. She is my father’s mother’s mother. Her name was Mary Pacholski. 

The picture on the right is my daughter. My father sent me these two pictures together to show me where my daughter gets her beauty from the Polish side of my family.

My other daughter resembles my mother’s side of the family. My younger daughter , pictured above, was so happy to  finally feel like she looked like someone in the family. My father noticed this resemblance just after I had emailed him the picture of my daughter.

Good Morning

I woke up to use the bathroom…which is what my bladder does three times during my sleep every night…and I was able to catch my older daughter before she brushed her teeth.

I told her to use the bottled water to brush he teeth because I do not know what is up with this water.

I got a lot of suggestions on the last post and hopefully the house owners will have it fixed by the time I get home from work because they use the water too.

If for some reason my ex mother in law is not disturbed by the water then it will not get looked at until my ex father in law comes home in a couple of days from New York.

Let’s hope it bothers her to use it. It is hard to say with them. She frequently uses very expired ingredients to cook food with for the kids so her germaphobia is about the opposite of mine.

The fact that I have OCD and am now washing my hands in what appears to be contaminated water is disturbing. I have been using hand sanitizer after I wash my hands.

Luckily I have a small bottle in my purse most all of the time….best invention ever! Yay!

So I was able to let the kids know to use bottled water for teeth brushing. Thank goodness I had half a case left.

I am going to try to sleep another hour and a half now. I did not fall asleep until around 5am which is a little worse than usual.

One day I might get back on a better sleep schedule. But for now I need to get another hour or so before going to my babysitting /tutoring job at 2.

See you all later on. I will let you know how things are going later. The worst part of things like this is that it puts in my face about this living situation.

I know that they will not fix something unless they want it fixed…even though I pay them 1,000 rent a month, for this badly maintained attic. It is sad really.

Talk to you later 🐇🐇❤💙🐇🐇

Annie

Love Your Inner Child

Love Your Inner Child

inner child

Love your inner child.

We all still have the inner child inside of us. Sometimes the inner child takes over and feels things as if we were that vulnerable small person again.

If you had any mental abuse or other abuse during your childhood, then your inner child will still feel the unfairness of situations and experience it as if you were back in time. Sometimes we can have a feeling of helplessness, that is the same as we felt when we were small children or teenagers, and dependent upon others for most everything.

Sometimes certain people may behave in such a way that triggers the trauma response from things we experiences as children. As an adult we are not sure where this severe emotion and feeling of helplessness is coming from.

We may react to the person out of our trauma response, rather than act out of thought. If we are sent by our brain back to that feeling of helplessness, then we may feel angry, afraid or sad.

When dealing with manipulative people, we need to be in an emotionally detached state of mind. Then we can observe what they are doing and not get caught up in the emotions of our inner child.

Keeping an emotionally detached state, when dealing with manipulative people, will help to keep you from being taken advantage of.

We do not have to feel what this person is trying to force us to feel. We can choose how much emotion this person is going to be allowed to get out of us. Maybe they are not even worthy of you getting upset to please them.

Perhaps we do not have to comply with their desires when they are unreasonable.  After all those are their desires not yours.

Love Yourself

Listen to your inner child and care for them.

They are still a part living inside of your mental makeup. Your inner child has wounds that may have not have healed. Maybe your inner child still feels helpless and as an adult you sometimes fall into a learned helplessness state.

Learned helplessness is the feeling of being helpless in a situation even when you have the power to walk away or make changes, such as controlling your response. People can push you around and manipulate you easily when you are in this state if being.

You are not helpless and you can control your responses in situations. But your inner child needs to be tended to, if you are going to able to take more control over situations where manipulative people are trying to dominate over you.

love is trending

If the inner child has things to say, then they need to be heard. They were treated unfairly in situations and perhaps they were not given the love and feeling of security that they should have been given.

You can comfort your inner child by communicating with them and telling them that you understand that they are hurt and confused. Let them know that people could have and should have treated them differently in many situations. It was unjust, unkind or abusive.

When there are times that are appropriate, you can have this communication with this part  of yourself that lives inside of you.

Time seems linear but as far as your inner child is concerned time is stuck at the point where their developmental growth was interfered with.

They are stuck in the pain of the time on your life where you were most vulnerable and your rights were violated.

Children and teenagers should be given respect and room to express their thoughts and feelings. If your was not, then they may still have thoughts and feelings that they want to let you know about.

Care for this inner child, as if they were under your guardianship, because they are. Ignoring them will cause for them to come jumping to the foreground when you are in stressful situations, especially ones that remind them of injustice they experiences.

It is okay to still carry those feelings from your childhood, but it can be damaging to you to ignore them. You would have treated the child differently, if you had been the adult caring for them. The same goes for when you were a teenager.

Let them know that you would have done things differently in the situations that are bothering them the most. You can go over the situation.

Allow your inner child to tell you what they are hurt about.  

From an adult point of view, evaluate where the caregivers did things that were thoughtless or selfish. Then tell your inner child that it should not have happened that way and you would not have done that to them.

Let them know that they deserved to be treated better. Even tell them exactly what should have happened and how a loving adult, like you, would have cared for them.

Any feelings that are being carried by your inner child, are valid and they matter. They cannot be left unattended. This will only cause for you to become disabled in situations where another person is attempting to manipulate you.

Some kinds of toxic people are very good at targeting the people that have a wounded inner child.  They can tell and they know where to push your buttons, to make you go into the learned helplessness mode.

Love yourself and your inner child.

It was unfair that you were mistreated as a child or a teenager. You need to let your inner child know that you know this and are feel for them.

Care for yourself and your inner child. Learn to identify when you are being triggered by a situation that is making you feel that vulnerability, helplessness and unworthiness. Children who grew up with people who made them feel unworthy of love and attention, carry that feeling into adulthood.

Let your inner child know that they were always worthy of love and affection.

You were worthy of your feelings and thoughts being listened to. As an adult you are also worthy of love. You are worthy to have your feelings about situations respected and considered.

Once you can know that you are just as worthy and special as anyone else, it will be easier for you to make your voice heard and let others know that their feelings are not the only feelings that matter.

Blessings,

Annie

Kindness

recite-karma

Image

Sun High Orchard Activity for the Kids

sunhigh

This weekend is Halloween weekend. I promised my daughter that we would do fun activities on that weekend. I am planning to take her to the Haunted Scare House, but I want to do a daytime activity too.

fall_hayrideslarge_pumpkins_apples_mums

Sun High Orchard is a family owned farm that is about a 15 minute drive to get to from my house. They have animals that you can feed like sheep, and goats. There are a lot of bunnies….YAY! If you have been following me for a while then you know how I love love love bunnies.

baby_bunny_matt

bunny_in_cage

There is a little store there that sells homemade bread, apple butter, and jellies. The store has some antiques as decorations, which will be interesting for my daughter to see. I think the last time I took her she was too young to appreciate the antiques.

fall_color_at_farm

There are some photos from the web site HERE

http://www.sunhigh.com/page/page/4862850.htm

Hedden Park Photography by my Daughter

park trees lake rockss

bridgeparl trees lake rocks 2

park trees lake rocks

These are pictures that my twelve year old daughter took. She is developing a love for photography. These were taken at Hedden Park which is near to my home in New Jersey.

This is a great quality time activity that costs nothing. It was relaxing to walk in the nature and enjoy the beautiful discoveries together.

My Daughter and I Took These Cloud Photos

cloudsclouds 3

clouds 5

clouds 2<

My 12 year old daughter loves to take pictures with my cell phone. Any time she sees anything that looks like it would make a good photo, we stop and take pictures. She has gotten very good at keeping an eye out for beautiful nature.  

Every now and then I have to find a place to pull the car over, especially if it is a rainbow or a sunset that is limited by time. Otherwise if we are almost to where we are going, then we get the pictures when we get to the place and park the car.

These were taken last week from a parking lot of a doctor’s office. We got them when we came out from the appointment before we got into the car to drive home. 

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