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I Want You!

To Write a Guest Blog Post For Me

I am looking for topics such as:

  • Applying creativity to your life
  • Recipes you love
  • Nurturing friendships
  • Your fashion identity
  • Your blogging inspiration
  • How you use technology to your benefit
  • Taking care of your pets
  • Men’s issues

I am also open to new ideas-always. Mine is a lifestyle blog, so I write on a wide range of topics although I favor wellness and quality of life subjects. I need some variety and fresh perspective! Please email me at awatsonworks@gmail.com or message me on social media. I am on Twitter @AndreaWrites137 and this is the best way to contact me since I am on there a lot.

To Let Me Write a Guest Post For You

I may be asking too much, but honestly, I need the backlinks and exposure. I have writing samples to send or you could just take a look around my blog and see if I would be a good fit for you. I am capable of writing in different styles too, so don’t think the tone of my blog is the only card in my hand. I cannot pay any money for these services, but I am willing to trade post for post if you’re down for that!

I have a lot of topic ideas, such as:

  • Increasing confidence and self-efficacy
  • Book report
  • Symbols that speak to me and how I integrate them into my life
  • How meditation is helpful
  • Practicing self-love
  • Showing love to others
  • Life with autism
  • How to write better
  • Homelessness and its societal affects
  • Addiction…

…And so many more! Plus, I would be honored to write on a topic that YOU want. I can even write more than one for you if you desire. I work on building my writing carer for at least 10-12 hours per day and this is part of it so I have lots of time. I genuinely appreciate your consideration. Thank you!

Andrea xo

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I’m Not Stupid-Just Crazy

Ain’t This A Bitch!

by Andrea Watson | October 10, 2020

Hellooo again my beloved readers! In honor of World Mental Health Day, I have decided not only to post twice today but also to share my own experience will mental illness. What? Me, mentally ill? No freakin’ way, right! It’s true. I’m a bit touched in the head. And although I may make light of it at times, it has really done a lot to cripple my growth, development, social skills, and all around functioning in life, as it does for most who are affected by a pathology. I know I am not alone, and neither are you. So let’s dive right in and give it up for awareness day!

Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

Over the years I’ve sustained many different diagnoses and overly much medication trial and error. Before I go on, I need to point out that it is possible for every provider you see to diagnose you with a different disorder. After all, a diagnosis is little more than an educated guess. In fact, nearly every type of doctor I have seen since I was 14 has had their own opinion. That’s why we call it a “practice”. It all started with the diagnosis of depression when I was 14 years old. Wait! Not really. My problems were identified and treatment started late. I have been trying to hurt myself and having occasional hallucinations since I was about 8 years old as far as I remember. But after a while it was decided that I had something much more sinister and insidious going on in my head. As I transitioned into my twenties I started to hear voices and see things that were not actually there. Did you know this doesn’t automatically make you schizophrenic, as one of my prenatal doctors once assumed (seriously, if you are not educated in the field do not attempt to diagnose anyone, Ms. bitchy vagina doctor!)? It can happen when your depression is reeeeally bad , as mine has been through most of my life. Hallucinations and voices and things usually start to really manifest in a woman’s early 20s, as mine did.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

So it was not just depression. I literally could not function in reality anymore without being heavily medicated, and then, only just barely. Nearly everything was a hallucination. I had no friends, could not feed and bathe myself on a regular basis, and did things like running down the street to the library in the middle of the night with a blade to my throat (seriously). It was also said that I would often speak in actual different voices and with out of character attitudes. So my providers brought a bit of sophistication to my diagnosis. For a while it was major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe, with psychotic features. What a mouthful. I was on antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, tranquilizers, and heavy antipsychotics at that point. Lots of anti. Anyway, that diagnosis only stuck for about a year.

When she realized I was actually getting worse instead of better, my psychiatrist decided it was time to move on and dig deeper. Then a stroke of genius befell her. She came to the conclusion that I actually had DID, or Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is just a fancy, newer way of saying multiple personalities. Interesting, right? The thing about this disorder is that it is truly rare, and often characterized by losing chunks of time, mood swings, depression, sleep disorders, and suicidal tendencies; it definitely seemed to fit. But was it an accurate diagnosis? To this day I do not know. It sure made a lot of sense, if that’s what I mean. Medication was continued and switched around, increased, and stopped. I had so many different kinds of pills running through me at any given time that I lost track of what I was taking and my now ex-girlfriend stepped in to take care of it. I was a pro at refusing my meds. Of course, my voices told me that they were poison and belonged in the gutter-especially the antipsychotics. I would often compromise by stubbornly insisting that I either take 42 pills at once, or zero. This, of course, was not the right answer.

Photo by Daria Sannikova on Pexels.com

Now at the age of 40, I live in Boise, Idaho and my diagnosis is different. I skipped a lot of time there, huh? But let’s just stick to the highlights. Now I am saddled with the label of “Bipolar One Disorder With Psychotic Features”. I’m fine with it. I am more at ease and at least there is not so much speculation and experimentation going on anymore. I am still medicated and my life is still under constant disruption, but I am better able to handle it now. I still can’t hold a steady job or make friends, but whatever-I guess. They found that if I don’t receive it in injection form, I simply won’t take my antipsychotics. Which reminds me, I am about ten days late for receiving my shot. Oops. Now you may be asking yourself, “So what does this all boil down to… how has impacted your life, for real?” Well, darlings, I will tell you.

Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

Living with a mental illness is not easy, especially if it is severe, like mine. I will never be able to work consistently without winding up in a hospital. I will never be able to make friends organically. I will never be alone, as my voices and hallucinations are always right there. I will never be able to take care of my home, my son, or myself without heavy medication which means that if I lose my health insurance (likely, at some point in the future) I am screwed. I could lose it all just because of my stupid head. I will never know what it feels like to be “normal”. I will never be able to relate to others on a functional, typical level. I will always need my family around (bummer-they’re all busy dying right now). Plus, I never marry again, because it takes someone truly special to put up with and assist in symptoms like mine and I have never met anyone that special. I can’t even manage the girlfriend role properly. I will always rely on doctored-up, rigged, and most times unhealthy ways of making it through each day (this is why I write). I will never truly know if what I experience is reality or not. I will always hold skewed and misguided beliefs about the world and about myself (did you know I am not human, but rather an angel of destruction sent here to wipe out humanity?) Yeah. I truly believe this, and I know it is not normal. Now this sounds like a bunch of negative affirmations, doesn’t it? But I would challenge that thought. After 30+ years of dealing with my own bullshit, I can tell you that these are simple truths, not self-fulfilling prophecies. I have an education-I am not fooling myself or you here. I’m not stupid, just crazy.

Green awareness ribbon on a green background. World mental health day concept.

So, that’s a glimpse into my life and times with mental illness. I know it was long, but you survived, and are hopefully more aware because of it. I really do love life. I’m not going to kill myself or anything. I appreciate what I have and who I love and I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s, although I may feel that was occasionally. As long as I can keep doing what makes me happy, I will be fine. And you, my sweetlings, help to keep me fine. Feel free to comment below or email me with any questions or conversations that might pop up, I would LOVE to hear from you. Til next time. I’m out.

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Announcement!

Halloween Giveaway

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Since I am a generous witchy-poo and I wish to give back to my readers in the spirit of Halloween, I am holding a spooky giveaway for this month. I will be giving a free tarot reading to my most engaging follower this month (yes I am qualified to do this). By engaging I mean the reader with the most comments/likes/reblogs/shares. The contest will run until October 29th. I will get your reading to you by October 31st. Here are the rules: you need to be an actual follower on my WordPress site. That’s it (but I need your email)! Yes, I am good, no you will not be disappointed, and sure-let’s talk about it! If this goes well, I will be holding more giveaways in the future. Let’s make it a success, my third eye is dying to open for you! Til next time lovelies!
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10 Really Big Important Life Lessons

What I Learned From My dad In My First 40 Years

By Andrea Watson | October 1, 2020
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David Rice

Hello beauties! Thanks for coming again. This is a topic dear to my heart and I have to thank my amazing father, licensed counselor extraordinaire, wonderful human, and all around awesome dad, David Rice. He has taught me many things, but these are ten of those that stick out the most in my mind, and I’m saving the best for last. So without any more chatter I would like to present to you The List. So let’s go!

One: Education Is Important

It is-no matter what your teenager thinks. Oh, how my dad tried to pound this into the head of his wee soon-to-be high school dropout (me). Of course I didn’t listen, and dropped out of high school only to move on to bigger and better things like hanging out at the mall, getting drunk, and smoking weed. Well, those last two came before I dropped out, but you get the point. Soon I was living happily under my local bridge and not too much later I wound up on the west coast marrying basically a stranger at the age of (Ohmygodpleaseno! Go back in time… back in time I say!!) eighteen. Now, I am not saying that these things happened because I dropped out of school. But the not giving a s*#t that I had been experiencing for a few years beforehand was totally solidified by the act of giving up. In fact, I didn’t give a s@*t for a long time after that. Even when I birthed my first child at the age of nineteen, my happiness was a lie. I finally realized in my 30’s just how nowhere I was getting without an education. I then enrolled in University of Phoenix and studied my ass off, holding a solid 3.97 GPA throughout my courses.

Two: Do The Right Thing Regardless of Who’s Watching

This, my friends, could be the definition of integrity. Now, I’m a moral relativist to the core, but the “right” thing in my mind usually aligns with the majority. And to do what is right without anyone watching is something extra special. Often, us selfish humans only do this if we are being watched, or if we figure we will get something out of it. You know I subscribe to evolutionary theory. There is no such thing as altruism-fight me. But doing what’s “right” every day in one way or another keeps me feeling good about myself and gives my guilt response a reason to shut the hell up.

Three: Stand For What You Believe In

And I do. Staunchly. To wuss out and compromise my belief system is just not in my nature. Dad taught me open defiance in the face of oppression, and I am so grateful for that. I am a Taurus after all-wink! Thank you father for teaching me to have a firm foundation.That being said, what I believe is that it is perfectly okay-good, actually-to regularly evaluate our beliefs and change those that do not serve us or exhibit logic in any way. A belief system based on evidence is much preferable to me than one based on spoken word and scripture. I stand firm on that.

Four: It Doesn’t Matter …

…What anyone thinks about me other than me. Man, this one took SO long to learn. But I think this may be true for a lot of younger people. For a good chunk of my life, I really cared what other people thought about me. I let it give me anxiety and keep me from enjoying life. Blech! My dad spoke the words when I was probably about nine or ten, but it didn’t sink in until much later. Other peoples’ opinions simply don’t matter. They have no bearing on my life. Unless it’s an employer or a spouse, who cares? It’s not like that snarky teenager over there is going to determine whether or not the sun rises tomorrow. Or that judgmental coworker is going to say whether or not my kids love me. You see, it just isn’t worth it, worrying about other peoples’ thoughts and responses to moi. It takes up way too much time and energy and I’ve got way better things to do. Plus, I like myself a lot- I’m a fun girl!

Five: Honesty Is...

The smart way to go. Lying sucks! Now talk about something that takes too much time and energy! I remember the exact moment I decided to stop lying to my dad. I was seventeen, a dropout, a loser. And a smoker. I decided I would no longer try to hide anything I was doing from my father. So I sat in the driveway smoking a cigarette until he got home that night. Then the confrontation came. It was not bad, actually. As a former smoker himself, he understood how hard it was for me to quit after the last three years. We talked about it and he gave me tips on how to quit. I found that I loved not lying, it was so freeing! I decided to extend that policy to the rest of the world. Yep, I’m a straight-shooter through and through. My life is easier and my conscious is clear. I am still a smoker, but I know I don’t have to hide anything from Dad. He knows my secrets and I’m fine with that.

Six: Be True To Yourself

This one is especially important if you ever want to be happy. When you are living to please other people or fit in, you really aren’t living at all. Because you can’t do that without being who you are. It’s just not possible. This is one reason why so many people are miserable in their social roles. They do what they’re supposed to do instead of what makes them happy and that is a slippery slope, my friends. My father taught me this lesson by example. When I was younger I remember him working as a car salesman and a loan officer and I don’t know what else. He has always worked hard, but it was only in his early fifties when he started working happy. Yes, working happy is possible-I’m doing it right now! My dad decided to drop everything and go to school to be a counselor. And he’s still going even though he should be retired. Do what makes you happy. Be true to yourself.

Seven: Keep Your Word

Dad taught me to say what I mean and mean what I say. I just never could trust someone who says they’ll do something and then doesn’t do it. If it’s yes, then it’s yes. If it’s no then it’s no. This one can be hard sometimes, I know. We want to do this, or we say we’ll do that to placate somebody else, but don’t always follow through. Keeping your word is important. I have more respect for the person who promises to give me a ride and does it than the person who promises to buy me a car and disappears. It’s the action that is important rather than the words. Plus, any littles you have in your life will love and trust you for it. Anyone can talk big. It takes someone with real character to make good on their word.

Eight: Follow Your Gut

Oooh, this one is super important! I learned this the hard way. Once upon my twenties, I decided to go visit my parents in California. I was pregnant, had two little kids in tow, and a car that should’ve been scrapped long before I got my hands on it. But I was young and dumb and missed my parents. I decided to actively ignore my gut and start the drive anyway. Two hours in, what do you know, my serpentine belt flew off going 70 and I was stranded in the middle of nowhere. When help did eventually come, I was taken to worse than the middle of nowhere. A tiny town called Winnemucca, Nevada. With my two toddlers, extreme morning sickness, and shoes that didn’t cover my feet all the way I waited all night for a bus to take us home. My kids screamed, I cried, and eventually one of them barfed on the Greyhound as we were pulling into Salt Lake, the must-see destination for every Greyhound traveler. All in all I spent a day and a half and a lot of grief waiting to reverse my two hour mistake when I could have avoided it all if I had just followed my gut like my dad had taught me to.

Nine: Time Passes...

…Whether you go for it or not. What I mean is, if you want to do something, but it will take a long time, don’t be discouraged. Go for it! Look, the time is going to pass by whether you take the plunge or not. Want a master’s degree? Get one! Sure it’ll take six years but guess what? In six years you can either be a) six years older or b) six years older with a master’s degree. It’s up to you. Time should not be a factor once you have decided you want something. Looking at things this way helps to take the pressure off and assuage any doubts. You will also stop questioning yourself. Thanks, dad!

Ten: I Can Do Hard Things

I promise you, it is true. It is so true that it applies to everybody, no matter who you are. This is the biggest and most important lesson I have learned in my life time. Thank you, father. I keep it as a mantra inside my heart. I use it whenever I am feeling hopeless or lost or frustrated. My dad tells me the story of how I, as a little girl, entered a race full of only boys. I knew I couldn’t win, but I told him “I’m going to try anyway”. And so I did, and so I lost. But I was not defeated. I had tried my hardest and lost nothing for my effort, besides a couple minutes out of my life. It was a hard thing to try and beat those boys, especially since it was already established in our first-grade world that Boy A was the fastest in our class. I did not just come by this attitude on my own, though. It was my mother and father’s love and reminders that I can do hard things that really drove it into me. This has literally kept me alive at some points in my life. I battle with mental illness and occasionally this mantra is the only thing standing between me and oblivion. I promise that you can do hard things. I promise you that. I don’t go back on my word, and I don’t lie. So believe it, and live stronger.

So there they are, all lined up pretty. The 10 really big important life lessons I learned from my father over the last 40 years. I will be grateful as long as I live. Who have you learned your big important life lessons from, and what are they? I would love to hear about them in the comments section. Please take a second to tweet or otherwise share, I always appreciate it. And remember, I take requests and I love guest posts! Thank you my lovely audience. Again and again. Stay blessed remember what you are capable of.

10 really big important life lessons

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What Do You Know?

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me

By Andrea Watson | September 30, 2020
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-T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland

Hello again beautiful readers! As you probably are aware, you and I don’t know each other too well. (Surprise, Captain Obvious!) Well that’s okay. You see, today I am taking another hint from another lifestyle blogger and presenting you with ten things you didn’t know about me. I hope that when I am all done, you will tell me something I don’t know about you! That is, if I can figure out how to create a comment section, for heaven’s sake. It’s so tricky with WordPress and I don’t technology very well. Nothing to do now except jump right in. So let’s go!

One: I Have A Cat
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And her name is Pantera. We got her at the Idaho Humane Society almost two tears ago. I wanted to get her so she could be a support animal for my son, Lucien. She really fills the role nicely. She loves humans and she loves love. She is always rubbing up against us, begging to be petted, She sleeps on my face at night, or on her boy’s head-either one will do. She is nine years old and has just recently discovered how awesome outside is. Now she spends half the day outside instead of how she used to spend all day inside, never hinting at going out. She is so patient and calm, too. Whether she is being hauled around by my son or getting her talons clipped, she just takes it with grace and waits until the activity is over. Then she slinks away to hide upstairs in the sunniest of rooms in our apartment.

Two: I’ve Had 7 Kids
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Yes, I know. That’s a lot. Tell me about it. Three of the seven were triplets (I don’t recommend doing this on purpose) and they were all nice big healthy babies. In fact, most of my babies were healthy at birth. Only my first and my last (being 13 years apart) were born premature and needed a little extra help to get going in life. My kids’ names are, in order: Naomi (Nemo), Lilian, Eli, Jarence, Lawrence, CJ, and Lucien. How did I do it all? Well, that’s for me to know. I have to keep some information to myself, after all.

Three: My Favorite Book
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Is called “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey. This book is gut-wrenching, bold, sickening, and fan- freakin’- tastic. It kept me up at night, devouring it. This is a “memoir” that lends a bit of creative license to the author. Not all of it is true. But a lot of it is. This book is followed up by another, called “My Best Friend Leonard”, which continues the story in a beautiful, heartbreaking manner. For an excellent read or two, get both and gobble them up!

Four: I Used To Bleach My Hair
white haired woman wearing a tank top and necklaces looking up and away from the camera

Absolutely freakin’ white! Did it look good? I think so. Did it feel good? Why yes, it did. What it a good decision? Hell no! I spent like a year and a half trying to grow back my long, lustrous, undamaged hair after my blonde/white phase. I have really experimented a lot with my hair (my favorite color is pink :D) but I have never had such consequences as I did when I was bleaching it. My hair became too thin and fragile to brush out. It fell out of my head on a whim, and left me with a thin layer of cotton white wisps that I could do almost nothing with. It made for some really great selfies, like this one on the left, but it was not worth those shots, as they didn’t even get me anywhere or anything. Not that a picture could…could it?

Five: I Majored In Psychology
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Yes, it’s true. I am a psych nerd. Originally this blog was going to be about psychology in every day life, but I gave up on that idea and handed it over to my sister, who now writes a blog called the tiny couch. She got further in school than I did anyway. She has a master’s degree and I am 3 credits away from a bachelors (dammit!). Sometimes we collaborate and a lot of the time I edit her work. She writes on really cool topics, you should check it out! And of course, we all love Freud, tongue-in-cheek. Seriously though. She takes a humanistic/existential approach and I lean more toward an evolutionary one. Go science. I studied at University of Phoenix for as long as I could-about 4 and a half years-until my wheels fell off right at the very end of my bachelors program (again, dammit!).

Six: I’m A Total Nerd
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It’s true. I love all things Star Trek, Stargate, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. These are my fandoms and I go absolutely crazy when I see my favorite actors, hear my favorite lines, or when new stuff comes out. I totally fan-girl over these things. Especially Lord of the Rings. Anything Tolkien,actually. Yes, I have read the Silmarillion. The Hobbit was my very first favorite book as a child and I still read the trilogy over and over again as an adult. Now this picture you see hear refers to a specific scene in my favorite Star Trek episode (season five, episode 2 Next Gen). It’s awesome. If you don’t ever watch another episode of Star Trek, at least watch this one.

Seven: I’m A Witch!
witch bowl full of crystals, sage, cinnamon, and lavender

And by that I mean I practice witchcraft the Wiccan way. I burn sage, light incense, collect rocks and crystals, pray to the Goddess, dance naked under the full moon, observe and celebrate the cycles of nature, and all that other stuff. Do I own a wand? Yes. A Cauldron? More like a bowl, actually. Can I fly? I wish! Some things you just shouldn’t believe. For more information on this way of life, I suggest you read “A Witches’ Bible” which you can find online or at your local witchy shop. Yes, those are a thing!

Eight: I Paint
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Okay, I never said I paint well. I just kind of slap colors onto canvas and add a few different things as medium and bam! I have a painting! I have used dirt, rocks, cigarette butts, needles, blood, ash, skin, and tin foil in some of my past works, among other things. I know it’s weird and kinda creepy. But all works of art call for their very own individual touches, and mine just call for stranger things I guess. I use brushes or fingers or rags to paint. I add charcoal or marker or chalk on top of the paint for effect. I write words on my paintings-long poems or short blips that I used in past writing projects. Check out this Rock-N-Roll-Jesus I did a couple of years back. Charming, huh?

Nine: I’m A Tattooed Freak
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How many do I have exactly? Well I don’t know. I do know that I have around 22 professionally done tattoos, and then I have a whole lot that I did myself or my best friend did for me. You see, he bought a tattoo gun and let me play with it. Bad move. If I can color, I will…on myself with a tattoo gun and tons of ink is the preferred method at this point. No, I don’t regret my crappy self-made tattoos. They have their own style and they make sense to me, if nobody else and that’s just fine. Life’s too short to not take the opportunity to illustrate yourself. These ones in the picture are ones I did myself.

Ten: I Throw Knives-Well
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To round out my tattooed, freak painting, nerdy experimenting self, I gotta add that I love throwing knives. It is my favorite hobby. I began to learn about two years ago. My friend bought my this beautiful set of throwing knives which I promptly named Sarah, Annie, and Betty. They were my ladies and Betty was my favorite. (see them in the picture to the left) I started by balancing them, then moved to dancing with them (to loosen up and get the flow of it all), and finally two months after they came to me I threw one for the fist time. I sucked. Bad. But with hours of practice every day and over time collecting more and more sets of knives, I became absolutely lethal. There was not a target I could not hit, no matter how small. As long as it was not at a long distance, I was dead on every time. Then practice time dwindled down and I lost my edge. But with renewed effort I am gaining it back. I am passionate about this hobby and my collection. I just love knives!

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So there you have it. Ten things you didn’t know about me. I’m twisted in some ways but oh, so delightful to be around! I’m sort of well-rounded and practiced in a few different things. I love what I choose to do and I love the freedom it gives me. I follow my dreams, and they take me to sometimes strange but wonderful places. Til next time!

Ten things you didn’t know about me

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What’s App Part 2!

10 more of the Best apps for 2020

By Andrea Watson | September 28, 2020
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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Yes, everybody, it’s true. I’m back again with part 2 of the best apps for 2020 and I’ve got 10 more amazing apps that you just have to try. Why? Because our lives run on apps. Plus, it was a lot of fun doing the first part, I just had to have more-and hopefully so do you. This time we have music, writing, security, and more! So strap yourself in for a wild ride through app-land and get ready to share “What’s App?” with your friends and family!

Alfred

We kick things off with this home security app called Alfred. This one truly is a gem. I have used it at work and at home for peace of mind and security. You need two devices to run Alfred properly. One is for displaying what’s going on and the other is for watching what’s going on. It’s kind of like a baby monitor, but way more sophisticated. You set up the display device in a place where you have the best view of the area you want to watch. For example, at my previous job, I used it to monitor my client’s bedroom, since she was severely disabled and needed to be watched 24/7. I could see and hear everything that went on in her bedroom all night long, even with the lights off, thanks to the night vision. On the other end (my phone) I watched and listened. I could even speak through my phone and she could hear me on her end if it was needed. You can set up the devices anywhere you want, set alerts for movement, add cameras, and review specific moments. You can even upgrade to a paid plan for more features.

Live transcribe

If you are a writer, chances are you have spent at least some time taking voice notes instead of directly writing stuff down. I have done a lot of this, and my problem has been getting my voice recordings down in writing. I recently found Live Transcribe and was immediately impressed. I can hold my phone up to my laptop, push play on the desired file, and the words pop up on my computer as the file is playing. It even works with voice clips on Facebook messenger (which is where all my audio files are). This app is a life saver. Now I don’t have to sit down and write out every word of the hundreds of minutes I have spoken. What a relief!

Shazam

Here is a cool app. Shazam can identify the music playing around you. It’s so frustrating when you hear a song on the radio or something and you really like it but don’t know what it is. Shazam fixes that problem for you. It tells you what the song is. You can also search for lyrics, songs, and artists that you are interested in. For example, when you type in “standing in line” it pops up with Gucci Mane’s “Standing in line”. But this is not the song I was looking for. Never fear, for Shazam will display more than one result., The number two result is the song I am looking for, “By the Way” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then it plays a clip for you and gives you the option to go to Apple Music. Not only that, but it also plays other song clips from the same artist! It goes even further to play other artists’ clips in the same genre. This app is awesome.

PayPal Business

This app is essential for anyone selling services online. For example, I write web content for BizMilk on a monthly basis. How do they pay me? Through PayPal business, of course! I send them a detailed and descriptive invoice with the template the app provides. I send it via email. Then one of the guys at BizMilk pays the invoice and viola! Done. Easy. I can even add memos to the invoice that the client cannot see…stuff that only I need access to. Then my invoice is kept and filed away in order. I love this app. It costs a little bit to move your money around, but it is worth it, especially if you are getting paid larger amounts of money in one go. I find this app invaluable to me and my web-based clients.

Life 360

This app is super cool. It allows you to gather people into groups; say your best friends are in one group and you family in another. As long as everyone is running the app, you can see where they are in real time. You can see what percentage their phone is at and you can request check-ins and send out an SOS if you are in trouble. This is a great app for staying closely connected, especially if part of your circle is going on a trip, you can always know where they are and if they are okay. There is also a crash report to tell you if your friends have been in an accident. Very handy.

YouCam Perfect-Best Selfie Camera & Photo Editor

Here I go with another photo app. This one is close to my favorite. You can do so many things with this app. It will take pictures for you, unlike other apps. Then you have a wide array of editing tools, including face shaper, highlights, filters, auto correct, acne remover, and many others, Some features you can only use if you go premium, which I don’t. I find I can make a great selfie without spending extra money. This is a good one for making sure your social media pictures are the best they can be.

Microsoft Swiftkey Keyboard

I like this app a lot. I use it on my phone. The Swiftkey keyboard actually learns how you type. It uses that information to predict what you are going to type next. It is so much faster to tap on the predicted words while texting than it is to type out every single word. Give it a try-you won’t be disappointed!

YouTube Music

This is one app that I find essential. YouTube music gives you pretty much any song or artist you search for. Listen for as long as you want for free-no downloads required, but this option is available if you do want to download. The only thing is that there are ads and if you leave the app to do anything else on your phone, the music stops. But for a small monthly fee you can get rid of the ads and have your music going no matter what else you are doing on your phone. The investment is totally worth it.

Plenty Of Fish

Yes, I went there-for my readers. I find it incredible that POF is still the best dating app. It’s free, and you can message other people for no charge (unlike most other dating apps). Also, you have the option to swipe through pics or look at a user’s full profile before you swipe. You can also do an advanced search with all the filters. It is so easy to use and user friendly that this app stands out from the others. If you are looking for a partner, friend, or occasional hookup buddy, Plenty Of Fish is the way to go.

Duolingo

I saved the best for last here. I freaking LOVE this app. It teaches you another language with ten minute long lessons that are easy to grasp and work through. There are lots of languages to choose from, including Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, and so many more! The app is beautifully made and sleek. It makes learning fun, and you go at your own pace. Things you missed are presented to you later, so you don’t just miss out on material. I am currently learning Spanish and I recommended this app to everyone in my family and all of my friends. I recommend it for anyone who even has the slightest interest in learning another language.

So there you have it. Ten more amazing apps to keep your life fun, secure, and efficient. Check them out if you haven’t already. Share with friends and family, use the apps together so everyone can enjoy! What are some of your favorite apps? Comment below and let me know, I’ll give them a try! As always, I love guest posts and comments, plus I take requests! Hit me up!

What’s App Pt. 2!

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Happy Mother’s Day, Now What’s Next?

Self-care for busy moms

First of all I would like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there! What a great day for us to have some relaxation and rest while we bask in the glory of our children. If you are one of those who doesn’t get any basking, and is stuck going to the laundromat, doing dishes, cleaning up the living room, or other chores, have no fear. I know it might suck for today, but in this post we’re going to talk about some things that we can do everyday to honor our motherhood and ourselves. Now please excuse me while I preach to this choir for a minute.

Let’s face it, being a mother is hard. Not only are you dedicated to the lives and well-being of your children, but you also have obligations surrounding them. You also have domestic duties, and those are no little things. Sometimes you can spend all day grocery shopping, working on after school projects, cooking, etc and still not be done. Let me ask you this. As far as your to-do list goes, do you ever make the list? And I’m just going to throw this out there – everything is a lot harder when you’re a single mom, including going to the bathroom without an audience. Okay, for real that almost never happens.

So if you can’t even use the toilet by yourself, how are you going to put yourself on that to-do list and make time for self care? I feel obligated to say “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Don’t think you can do it? Well, start small. I need you to mentally pick up a pencil and schedule yourself 10 minutes every single day for you to have alone time. During this alone time, you need to be true to yourself, and open with what you really want. You could meditate, paint a quick picture, read for a few minutes, or just lay there on your bed relaxing. 10 minutes is not a lot of time for self care, but you can work your way up as you go as you figure out the mechanics of your alone time and fitting it into your family life.

One thing is very important-know when you are done. You have to know your limits, or you will run yourself ragged. I should know, I do it all the time. Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell you to stop for the day. My sister is really good for that. You need to learn to recognize the signals that your body is giving you, and that your mind is giving you. You need to learn when to stop. Everyday can seem like a battle, but it doesn’t have to be. Prioritize your tasks for the day one day at a time, and when you’ve reached your limit, stop. This may take some creative rearranging of tasks that need to be done. For example, if I have to write an order I’ve received one day, that I focus on that. I don’t focus on cleaning. And that’s okay, because we will get through it and the dishes will still be there tomorrow.

Another thing you need to do is make time for intimacy. The kids have to go to bed eventually, and every woman has their needs just like every man does. You need to create time to have sex with your partner, and if you don’t have a partner, then create time to help yourself out. Sure, it’s kind of a taboo subject, but we are all adults here. It’s a natural thing, a healthy thing, and doing this regularly will help your mood and your outlook on life.

One vital part of self-care is taking care of your medical needs. Pay attention to your body and what’s going on with it. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor, dentist, eye care specialists etc. I remind you of that empty cup thing. You need to keep yourself healthy in order for everything to run properly. And lumped in with this is eating healthy. I know that children get first priority of healthy foods, but that doesn’t mean you can live on junk food or occasional snacking. You need to carve yourself out of portion of every healthy thing that your family eats. Put yourself back on that list. You belong there.

Make sleep a priority. The way you do this is set a regular bedtime and a regular wake up time. I personally go to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 and wake up around 7:00 everyday. This may seem like a lot of sleep, but it’s what I need to function. I don’t waste my sleeping time doing extra chores while my kids are in bed. This is just a recipe for burnout. Remember your limits and go to bed when you are tired. Not when you’re ready to lose consciousness because you work so hard, but when you feel tired. Remember your circadian rhythm and honor it.

And now the big one – possibly the hardest one of all. You have to make time to do things that you love. If you absolutely cannot extend your 10 minutes at all, and you need to find a way to use that 10 minutes to do something that makes you truly happy. Hopefully you can expand on that time. If you do not take the time to do the things that bring you happiness, you’ll just be miserable. A life full of work and more work and more work is not healthy for anybody. If you don’t know what makes you intrinsically happy, then sit down and brainstorm a list of possible activities. You will eventually be able to find something that makes you truly happy. And this something doesn’t need to have anything to do with your kids. It’s just you and the specific activity.

I hope I have given you some ideas of how to take care of yourself as a busy mom. I’m sure there are more, but this post is running long. So, once more I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day, I wish your day is full of peace, contentment, and the love of your children. Until next time,

Andrea xo

It’s Chicken or the Phone. You Decide.

-Lucien

A beautiful child lies sleeping in my bed. I watch him quietly, controlling my breathing so I don’t wake him up. He’s perfect; an Angel. I roll slightly to my right side. His eyelashes flutter and his eyes fly wide open. “Mama. I’m bored, give me breakfast. Where’s my phone?”

Downstairs, I hand him a plate of Pop-Tarts. In less than a minute, he asks for cereal instead because his stomach just can’t handle the sweet little rectangles. I acquiesce. After the marshmallows in his Lucky Charms have melted mostly to mush, untouched, he looks at me and says “I need REAL food”. I know what he’s talking about, but I’m unwilling. I’m broke, and I’m not wearing a bra. But he is now at the point of demanding that we go to the corner store and get him chocolate muffins, a banana, and a large Sprite.

You see, this is HIS BREAKFAST. And I knew this from the beginning, back when I was controlling my breath to keep him asleep. I shouldn’t have even tried to feed him something else, this waste of time and food was my fault. So I wrap a sweater around myself, slip into my house shoes, and grab the car keys. He’s ready, I’m ready-ish, and we’re out the door. The lady at the corner store greets Us by name. After all, we see each other every day.

Happy of heart and chocolate of face, he sips his Sprite in the dining room until it’s time to get on the bus, phone clutched in one hand. This is my routine with my son, Lucien. I know what to expect everyday, and he has the right words to say to make me do it. Our lives are full of these little rituals and rules, combinations and values. Lucien is autistic, and never short on commands that in his mind I need to comply with.

Lucien receives Services outside of school. Particularly, he goes out into the community with Patrick and they work on behavior together. Unfortunately, his expectations for me are a lot more rigorous than those he holds for Patrick. My son follows his dopamine, and I am the sole recipient of it’s byproducts.

-Lucien

It may be strange to the outsider to look in and see what happens in the lives of a pair like us. Most people don’t understand it. This is why I have absolutely no social life. A life with Lucien always brings some excitement. And hilarity.

When you have a kid with special needs, the most important thing to remember is to roll with the punches. You will get knocked off your feet sometimes. You will be shocked occasionally, and you will definitely fall out of your chair laughing. My son has said some of the wackiest things to me, including what I’ve written in the title and The pictures in this post.

Punishment is absolutely useless on an autistic child. Spanking is the worst, threats are laughable, and bribery is poison. I certainly wouldn’t use any of these on any neurotypical child, because of the damage it would do. But when you’re talking about an autistic child, these things just slide off as if you’re shooting blanks.

So, you’ve got to get creative. You need to listen. You need to respond appropriately. You need to set clear expectations and boundaries. You need to know your child’s triggers and sensory needs inside and out. For example, I know that being around a bunch of other kids sets my son off, but letting him listen to his music calms him down.

-Lucien

When your kid comes at you sideways, saying stuff like “Maybe it’s because you suck ass” (yep, he said that to me) you have to roll with it. You can’t yell or smack them. And you definitely can’t laugh in their faces. If anything, send them to the other room, turn around, and laugh your butt off until you can compose yourself again. Then going to the other room with grace and deal with it calmly.

You have to be prepared for everything and the only way to do that is clear your mind and open it up to accept anything and everything from this kid. A lot of the time you may not like it, but it is coming from a child who does not lie. What comes out of his or her mouth is valid, even if inappropriate. So deal with things as they come. Don’t drag it out and make it last for days. Don’t bring it up later and hold it over them when you’re mad. That’s just manipulation, and they won’t really understand your intentions anyway.

Loving an autistic child has its ups and downs. But if you keep your sense of humor intact, it won’t be so bad at the low points. Don’t shrink away out of confusion or anything else. Open wide and embrace them just as they are, just as you would any other of your children. You may need to earn “kiss passes” like I do, but doing so will be well worth it and you’ll get to know your child more openly in the end.

Lucien James Phoenix Lyon

Now if you’ll excuse me, “I lock you out now” because “This house isn’t clean”. And I need to fix that. Until next time,

Andrea xo

My First Time

Thank you Caz!

Hi everyone! I have great news. I was just nominated for a bloggers recognition award and I am so excited! It is my first potential award ever and I’m just learning how to participate and I hope I’m doing it right. I want to give a huge thank you to Caz Hannah over at mentalhealth360.uk. If you haven’t had a chance to check out her blog you should really give it a try. She writes about all things mental health, from self care to living in the covid pandemic. I first met her when we did get posts for each other, and I am so grateful for her nomination.

THE BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD RULES

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you and give a link to their site
  • Do a post to show your award
  • Give a summary of how your blog started
  • Give two pieces of advice for any new bloggers
  • Select up to 15 other bloggers for this award
  • Let each nominee know you’ve nominated them and give a link to your post

GIVE A SUMMARY OF HOW YOUR BLOG STARTED

Strange story here. One day last autumn, I was wondering what a blog was. Then somehow magically as Google is inclined to do, they showed me a blog by a lady named Elna Cain. Her blog is wonderful, by the way. After reading a bunch of her posts, I decided that I wanted to become a blogger too. So I began blogging not really knowing what I was doing. At first My blog was called psychallday. This is this is because I wanted to write about mental health issues and the psychological world.

I thought after reading a few other blogs that my thing was not very relatable (remember I didn’t know what I was doing or what was what) so I gave the idea to my sister and she ran with it. I still regret that. But to be fair, she is more qualified than I am. She is absolutely amazing and she’s my first choice for nomination of this award because she is just that good. I eventually got over the lifestyle bit, and fell back into mental health and wellness blogging. I’ve been doing it ever since, and I love it.

GIVE TWO PIECES OF ADVICE FOR ANY NEW BLOGGERS

1. Find your niche.

Now, this can be way difficult, especially when you consider my story. So why do I say this? Well, it’s because consistency is important. Your niche and the topics you choose to write on are what draw your audience in. They like you for what you write about. And if it changes all the time, they may not like it so much. Part of blogging is building an online community that you can engage with. So you want to have clarity and consistency.

2. Keep Going

Riding my blog has been a struggle, first of all because of my trouble finding my niche, and second because I just didn’t believe in myself sometimes. Then I realized that even though I didn’t believe in myself, I was still getting views and likes. So I kept going because it is what I love to do. If you have a passion for writing and building an online community, then don’t give up. Keep going.

SELECT UP TO 15 OTHER BLOGGERS FOR THIS AWARD

Valerie Rice at The Tiny Couch: Wellness For All

Trina over at It’s good to be crazy sometimes

tallblondetales.com

FINAL THOUGHTS

I have always dreamed of being a writer. I know that blogging and writing are a little different, but I have found my passion in blogging and although it’s hard to believe that I could be as good as others, I have to keep going. For myself. I would like to thank Caz one more time for this lovely opportunity. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know. Thanks! Until next time,

Andrea xo

Fat is Not a Bad Word

(Mom is Fat)

I recently received some money and was so happy that I could afford to purchase some clothes. I went about my online shopping all giddy, dazzled by all the choices I found in the new plus-size women’s clothing arena. I had never seen so many options before! So I picked out a bunch in my size, paid for them and waited patiently for them to come.

When the big day came and my Dresslily clothes appeared on my doorstep, I was beside myself with excitement because they were SO CUTE on the website. I ripped open the package and was pleased to see that they were also SO CUTE in real life. I tried on the first one, and was immediately disappointed. The dress hung down below my breasts and sagged way down my back. I felt like I was trying on a circus tent. Unfortunately, I had ordered all my clothes in the same size for this order, and I had paid over $100 for it.

I didn’t even bother trying on the rest of the things. I had overestimated my size not based on the clothes I already had, but what I see in the mirror when I look. When I look, I see a huge woman who is impossibly fat, and as an afterthought, unworthy of love. But how? I blog about mental health all the time, and I thought I was totally body positive. When somebody calls somebody fat and my child notices, I always say to him, “fat is not a bad thing”. But when I think about it, I realized that in my head it is not okay for me to be fat, just everyone else.

Psychology Today says that body image is the mental representation a person creates of themselves. So we can think we know what we look like, and this representation is completely disconnected from the reality of it. And as I’m writing this, I realize that I have always thought that I was way bigger than I actually am. What’s the deal with that?

Psychology Today says that a negative body image can come from early experiences, the attitudes of our parents, emotions, moods, and other factors. Growing up in a cult, I was raised to believe that my body was bad and I should keep it hidden. This would be the attitude of my parents. I really believe that my entire childhood experience was twisted and distorted in many ways by the attitudes of my parents and the teachings of the cult. I had negative emotions all the time, and my moods were unstable to say the least. So, that’s the deal with that.

Severe cases of distortion are called body dysmorphia. But who is susceptible to this type of skewed body image? Children as young as the age of three can show signs of a skewed body image, and this has a lot to do with the parent’s image of themselves. Children around the age of eight or nine can also show signs of body image distortion, but it is usually due to things like peer pressure. Body dysmorphia happens when a perceived flaw is focused on so intensely that it becomes an obsession. I am obsessed with my fatness, and maybe some other people are obsessed with things like their noses, hair, waistline, or other things.

It becomes apparent in adolescence that a person is struggling with body dysmorphia or skewed body image, and this lasts throughout adulthood. This is a problem that is widespread in American women, and to a lesser extent, men. So, how can we overcome it?

The experts of Psychology Today suggest limiting the use of social media platforms. This is because these types of platforms serve millions of people who are hyper focused on the body, it’s size, and what it looks like. If taking selfies makes you uncomfortable, then just don’t do it. It’s better to focus on your body’s utility-what it does for you. It gets you from point a to point b, and does many other amazing things.

Another idea is to thank your body for what it does for you. Write a letter of gratitude to your body, thanking the different parts. Your hands help you express yourself, your arms hold the people you love, your legs take you to many different places. Acknowledge this, and learn to be grateful for it. If you want to help somebody you know with a negative body image, talk to them. Discourage negative talk about their body and their weight. Engage in healthy activities with them, such as working out together or eating healthy meals.

How will you know if somebody you love has unhealthy body image issues? Here are some signs you can look for:

  • They focus way too much attention on a minor flaw
  • They view themselves as ugly or unattractive
  • They’re afraid that other people can see their “deformity”
  • They display perfectionism
  • They avoid social engagements
  • They constantly groom themselves or look in the mirror
  • They constantly hide the perceived flaw with makeup or clothing
  • They constantly compare their appearance with that of others
  • They pursue cosmetic changes through surgery
  • They need a lot of reassurance about their appearance
  • They are never satisfied with their appearance

Now we know that body dysmorphia or even just a skewed body image is made up of our relationship with our parents and their attitudes, media, and peer pressure. I need to learn for myself that fat is not a bad word. I need to learn to be satisfied with my appearance; even though I think I already am, maybe I am not. This is a hard problem to beat. So many of us know it. And I’m here to tell you that I acknowledge you, I see you. I accept you for who you are. Hopefully, we can all accept each other even with all our flaws whether they be perceived by us or by other people. Let’s take a break from social media, and thank our bodies for what they do. Until next time,

Andrea xo

No Pants, No Bus Ride

Have you ever had one of those days where you call your kid out from school simply because he has no clean pants? If the answer is yes, then you may be a little bit like me. I’m talking about being overwhelmed. It’s something that happens to a lot of us at some point. However, people with severe depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders often get overwhelmed more than the average bear. Everyday is a daunting disaster just waiting to happen. We forget things, like doing our dishes, washing our laundry, brushing our teeth, and grocery shopping. This leaves us with mountains and mountains of tasks to do that should have been done yesterday, the day before, the week before or even longer. And it’s hella overwhelming.

Unfortunately, this is not a post full of tips of how to get over this. This is just a post about my personal experience and hopefully it will bring to light some things you might not have known. For the purpose of this post I’m just going to focus on depression. When you are depressed, your mind is in a fog all the time. You lack energy, and motivation to do anything. Time slips by effortlessly, and you miss most of it because you just can’t focus. It’s a prison of the mind, really. Sometimes you forget to take your meds, and sometimes you remember. Did you take a shower today? Who knows? It’s hard to think back and remember what happened during the day. It’s hit and miss, like a game of Battleship.

Today, I kept my son home from school because he does not have any clean pants. So he is now sitting with me at the laundromat in dirty pants waiting for our laundry to be done. I’m still trying to come up with an excuse. I can’t just tell the school, “Oh, I accidentally neglected the laundry for the last few days and now Lucien doesn’t have any pants to wear to school, so I’m keeping him home”. But what else can I say? Sometimes I think I need an IEP just as bad as my son does. They should understand that I’m severely depressed and forgive me for my shortcomings. But that’s not realistic. I’m an adult after all, and adults are on top of these things. Right? Well the answer is no, not all adults.

You see, I was raised in a cult. Nobody ever showed me how to be an adult, nobody ever taught me how to keep track of things like daily tasks, chores, etc. Nobody ever paid attention to my medical needs or taught me how to do so either. I’ve been socially stunted and traumatized by this whole thing, I never even realized it until recently. So I’m still processing some things right now. I have been depressed as long as I can remember, even as a little girl. I never learned how to function as an adult, and I don’t see anybody coming to teach me now. I have the attention span of a chicken nugget and I live in the clouds. I’m taking eight different psych meds at the moment, but none of them seem to be doing any good. Not only is this frustrating, but I feel like it’s a waste of my time and perhaps I’ve been misdiagnosed and treated the wrong way for most of my life.

As a parent, I am okay. I mess up a lot, but I also do some things that are really good I think. The truth is, it is extremely difficult for me to live and function without another adult there to help me along. I’m not talking about a romantic relationship; not at all, rather I’m talking about somebody to kind of help me remember to do those things that I forget to do on a regular basis, like cook and clean and engage with my son in a fun, happy manner. I may be spilling too many beans here, but this is the truth and I’m all about it.

I’ve had my sisters living with me off and on for some years, and when I am with them, that’s when I do a good job. They keep me on track and help me to boost my own confidence by achieving small but important goals. They help teach me by example, I am much more successful in my own life and as a parent when I have the influence of my sisters there with me. There’s nothing like a beloved sibling. This is an important point. People with depression or other mental disorders need a security net. They need a support system full of people who know and understand them. It’s great to have friends, but sometimes friends just aren’t cutting it.

I will take my son to school tomorrow. But for right now, I’m just going to get through the ordeal of the laundromat and then go feed him breakfast, which I forgot to do before we came. At least I showered today, and that’s an accomplishment. I hope you all have a great day today, and that you all have pants to wear. Until next time,

Andrea xo

Pushing Your Creative Boundaries

By Andrea Watson April 4, 2021

Here we are at the beginning of a second year of covid. Most of us are feral by now, life is completely turned upside down. Political turmoil rules the land. There are new rules, new norms. Some of us have been so immobilized by our depression that we can no longer see any light. Others are just bored. But most of us are going stir crazy. It is important now, more than ever, for us to find and utilize new diverse creative outlets. This helps keep our wits sharp and our mental health afloat.

Being creative in any form is a great way to distract ourselves from everything that’s going on on the outside. Distraction is not a bad thing, we are not just hiding from our problems. When we produce creative content, we are expressing our emotions onto some medium that is non-judgmental, safe, and open to us. For each individual, the type of creative outlet needed varies. But that is not to say that you should define your creativity by one single outlet. For example, I paint, write, create beaded jewelry, make videos on tiktok, and sing in the shower. That is what I do for now, but it’s not all that I’m interested in.

Diversifying your creative outlets allows you to explore deeper into yourself. It is a great way to find out new things you are good at, sharpen skills you already have, and bring you happiness. When you try more than one thing at once, chances are you won’t be as bored or as depressed. Your heart will be lightened and your mind will be busy, and you won’t be bogged down with the goings on in the world while you are engaged in your creative endeavors.

So how do you go about diversifying? First, sit down and make a list of everything you would like to try. If you don’t have the supplies for any of it, identify the things that you would like to try that you could get the supplies for for fairly cheap. Hobbies can be expensive. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it. Even if it takes you awhile to build up a store of supplies for your chosen activity, it will be worth it in the end. One thing that I found is kind of less expensive than the other things is watercolor painting. All you really need is a watercolor pad, the paints themselves, and a small pack of brushes. These can be done pretty cheaply at places like Walmart.

Once you have gotten your supplies, you can start adding sessions of creative expression into your regular schedule. If you have to, start small in the beginning. You can build up to more and more time as you go. Once you’ve got going on that hobby, look through your list again and see what else you can start working towards.

One great hobby which is free is singing along to music. I do this all the time, and although I am not a great singer, it still relaxes me and helps me to get through my daily chores. Singing is great because it activates the vagal nerve, which I go over in several of my other posts. But basically, when this nerve is activated, you are able to return to a state of calm after a stressful situation much faster than you would otherwise.

Another great and cheap creative outlet is writing. You don’t have to write about anything specific, you can really just write about your thoughts or how your day is going. If you’re more ambitious, you should start a blog! It can be about anything, it could even be about you. It doesn’t matter how many people read, what matters is your experience and whether or not it brings you happiness. I started my blog not knowing what I was doing. I decided at first to have a lifestyle blog because that can really be about anything. Then I gravitated more towards Mental health and wellness. And that’s fine, I like writing about that. Occasionally, I write about some other things like goals, holidays, astrology, or other stuff. It’s just about what speaks to you.

I want to talk about one more outlet here. This one’s a little bit riskier because there are negative people on the internet. But if you have the fortitude to put yourself out there and not care about other people’s opinions, then TikTok may be just the thing for you. I joined tick tock a couple months ago and quickly learned that no, it is not just for 13 year olds. There are lots of people my age on tiktok, and although I don’t have a whole bunch of followers, I have a lot of fun making my videos and sharing them with everyone. I get to be expressive to any extent that I want to be. I can be funny, witty, serious, or uplifting. And I do all of these things.

TikTok is great because there are so many communities of every kind. It’s neat because the algorithm will take you to your own communities, the ones that will accept you and the ones that are full of people just like you. You can make friends, you can interact with people, and you will definitely get some laughing in. Now, some people can be mean. I have not experienced this yet, but I know it happens. Luckily, I’m the kind of person who is not easily offended. All the flaws that other people see in me are likely things that I’ve already identified in myself and have come to terms with. So I feel like I would respond well to the negativity if it should ever come my way.

Changing up your creative routine can be a great way to improve your outlook on life. It can help expand your skill set, sharpen the skills you already have, and introduce you to things that you may love that you never thought about before. It can bring you happiness and peace and this time of turmoil and unpredictability. Accessing your creative outlets is a great way to practice self-care, which we all need. The more we care for ourselves, the more capable we are of navigating this world. So go ahead, explore. Dive deep into yourself, and find new aspects of yourself to love and develop. Until next time,

Andrea xo

I Don’t Know

Lost in the nightmare of blah

I haven’t been working on my blog lately. I have wanted to, but I have just been unable to. This is because one day a while back, I was sunk in a deep deep depression and it came to me that I’m just not good enough to write. Oh, it has been my dream since forever to be a writer and I love blogging. But something in my brain just told me that I have no right doing so because I suck so very badly. Now just so you know, this post is not about looking for sympathy. It is simply about expression.

The day that I decided I wasn’t good enough, I spent hours crying because I basically decided to give up on my dream. That never feels good. I still feel that way, and that’s why the title of this post is “I Don’t Know”. I don’t believe it is strongly as I did for the last few weeks. I believe I was wrong, nobody owns writing, I can have some too and the greatness of whatever it is that I write is irrelevant.

I have this burning desire within me to express myself and my experience through writing whether or not anybody reads it. It’s a fire that I can’t put out no matter how depressed I am. And I think that that’s what’s really gotten me through this time. I have spent most of my recent days laying on my depression couch and sleeping the daylight away. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to work and I want to shine and I want to do productive things that make me happy and feel good inside.

I realize that this is going to take a lot of effort. Writing always does. But fighting past depression is always harder than anything else. My mental state has cleared a bit of late. I decided to write this post today mainly to get myself back into writing in an easy, low pressure way. I feel like I need to take it slow and not push myself otherwise I’ll go over the edge again. This has been a very painful time for me, and if nobody finds this post interesting I totally understand because it’s not. It’s just cathartic for me and that’s about it. But if somebody can relate to this, I’m glad.

My goal for April is to write a blog post at least two to three times a week. I want my consistency back. And I want to provide my readers with valuable information. I apologize for this post being about nothing but how I feel, instead of how you can take care of yourself or what you can do to make your life better. I’ve just been stuck on how to make myself happy again. I will see you in April, which starts tomorrow. I will be sure to have a good blog post for you in the first few days of April. Until next time,

Andrea xo

Daylight Savings: Could it Possibly Suck Any More?

By Andrea Watson March 15, 2021

Yesterday I woke up, became thoroughly confused, heard my son tell me that the clocks changed and immediately went on a hunt to find out what day it was. I learned that I had woken up on Octember 42nd, 1872 and the time was precisely Reeeeeeeeeebraplahnarumphle. I was disheartened to say the least. I hate it when the time changes. Not only is this an antiquated system put in place to save on the cost of light, but it isn’t even relevant anymore. Today, we actually spend more money participating in daylight savings time. I grumpily went about my morning still confused as to whether the clocks had moved forward or backward and what it would mean for the days ahead.

So I guess the time change could possibly suck worse, if we were meant to change the clocks 2 hours ahead or back. But that’s just some Alice in Wonderland crap. I shudder at the thought. So last night I went to bed at a reasonable hour and then I woke up at 11:45 p.m. fully believing that it was time to get up for the day. the numbers on my phone told me otherwise and I went back to bed after taking some heavy duty sleeping pills. You see, the problem here is that humans are meant to be connected to the Earth and the cycles of the sun and Moon. As a pagan, I feel particularly offended when society messes with time, because it messes with my connection and with my schedule of rituals performed throughout the year. And if you want to get all theoretical about it, time isn’t a real thing anyway.

My circadian rhythms have been all stirred up and mushed into something unrecognizable at this point. Today, I am not confused, but I go about this day begrudgingly and in a perturbed state. I was thrown off balance by waking up this morning. Now, there is something you can do to put your circadian rhythms back in place. You can go camping for a week and that is like hitting a reset button. Unfortunately, I’m not able to go camping this week, because school and stuff. The best I can do is keep my regular bedtime and my regular wake up alarm time and just hope it works out. However, the best is not what people get sometimes when they experience an hour being taken away or given.

Some of the problems that are caused by daylight savings time include increased numbers of patients with heart problems, increased numbers of people with mood disorders including seasonal affective disorder, and also a jump in the number of automobile accidents. Additionally, the effects of daylight savings time can mess up your circadian rhythm so badly that you actually start losing sleep and can go into “sleep debt”, which is the cumulative result of not getting enough sleep on a daily basis. On the morning after the time change in March, people on average get 40 minutes less sleep than they regularly do. In fact, people are more susceptible to sleep deprivation in March than any other time of the year.

I kind of wish I still lived in Arizona, because they don’t observe daylight savings time, except in the Navajo Nation. Luckies. Let’s face it, nobody likes having their sleep messed with. And unless you are on meth, there’s no reason to be sleep deprived. Of course there are sleep disorders, which are helped along by daylight savings time. But sleep disorders aside, we are risking our health and sometimes our lives to adhere to this frankly stupid and disruptive way of accounting for time.

For most people the disturbing effect of daylight savings time gradually goes away over a number of weeks. However, for some people, they persist in interrupting sleep patterns in a detrimental way. Sleep deprivation has some long-term effects that can be very serious:

  • Trouble with thinking and concentration
  • Accidents
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Risk of heart disease
  • Poor balance
  • Memory issues
  • Mood changes
  • Weakened immunity
  • Risk of diabetes
  • Low sex drive

So what can we do to start making things better for ourselves during this horrible time of the year? Well, it’s too late this year, but next year we can start going to bed a little bit earlier before the change happens. Set your clocks to daylight savings time a couple of days early and live your day like that to kind of ease into the new schedule. This will especially help children, who feel the effects of the time change more than adults do.

Be consistent. Keep your bedtime and wake time the same every day of the week. Sleeping in on weekends feels good, and it may help catch you up on some sleep for the day. But over the long term, it can actually cause problems with your sleep schedule. Not to mention, getting out of bed the same time every morning is the number one way to improve sleep and wake functioning. Also avoid naps if they’re not part of your regular routine.

Enjoy the light. Letting natural light into your home and spending time outside in the spring light can help regulate your circadian rhythms again. Also, leaving your blinds or curtains open in your bedroom so that the natural light can come in in the morning will help wake you up with fewer issues.

Exercise during the day when you can be in the natural light. Don’t make this too close to your bedtime, as that can mess up your sleep. Allow yourself at least 2 hours of cool down time between exercising and trying to sleep.

Be mindful about what and when you eat and drink. Where I live, around midsummer, it stays light outside until 11:00 at night. So we eat almost up until even 9:00 or 10:00. But what we really need to be doing is to be eating our dinner earlier and going to bed at a reasonable time regardless of the light outside. Try to avoid spicy or fatty foods for dinner and don’t drink caffeine or alcohol within a few hours of bedtime, that’s just not a good idea.

Reduce your screen time, especially around bedtime. We all know that phones and tablets and things can help us unwind after a long day, but the problem is that these screens are very stimulating to our brains and can actually cause sleeping difficulty and insomnia. Try to get off the screens at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Sometimes things in life are just plain difficult and sometimes we absolutely, genuinely hate them. Just like my hatred of daylight savings time. Being me, I need to stay balanced and I can’t really do that when the rug of time is pulled out from under me twice a year, especially since I really don’t have a very good grasp on the concept of time anyway. So if you are anything like me, then I deeply empathize with you. Fortunately, we have some things that can make it a little better. Until next time,

Andrea xo

Poverty and Mental Health

By Andrea Watson March 14, 2021

It’s time for the stimulus package to roll out and most of us are super excited. Over the last year, while covid has run rampant, most of us have seen a decrease in our income. Even those people who are used to living comfortably have been dipped into the horrible pool of need. We can all admit that living in poverty sucks. But it’s not just the struggle to pay bills that affects us. Living in poverty is also linked to mental illness. In this country, where capitalism reigns, when you don’t have the funds to engage in any normal type of consumer activity, it can be extra stressful. Putting food on the table is difficult, keeping a roof over our heads is difficult, and providing all the things for ourselves and our children that we need is difficult.

In adulthood, poverty is linked to depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and suicide. Poverty affects Mental health through both biological and social mechanisms acting at multiple levels. First we need to back up. What is poverty? It is defined differently between cultures and social and political systems. It can be seen as low socio-economic status, low levels of education, or unemployment. When you look at it from a poor person’s perspective, you can see that it is actually a multi-dimensional phenomenon.

When it comes to health and mental health, poverty is one of the most important determinants of what’s going on. It actually intersects with all other determinants of health and mental health. These intersecting factors include:

  • Community conditions
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Immigration status
  • Access to healthcare
  • The built environment

Unfortunately, poverty is a problem with no real solution. There are some community Resources that can be used, more in some states than others. But these are often just Band-Aid solutions and cannot address the full spectrum of what poverty is and what poverty does. I have used many community Resources in my lifetime, and although I am currently housed and we have enough food to eat, my family is still lacking in many things that it needs. I do work, and my son receives disability payments. But it is still not enough to live on. Because of this I’m almost always stressed and my mental health continues to spiral down day after day.

To make matters worse, poverty is passed down from generation to generation. Part of the reason for this is the fact that poverty has suppression effects on individual cognitive development, attention, and executive functioning. This is true for adults and children alike. For a child, living in a poverty stricken family and environment can affect their memory greatly. This is partly due to the fact that the parents are unable to really provide support when they are living under the constant stress of poverty. A low socioeconomic status can bring with it low levels of education, probability of mental and physical disorders, and low IQ scores. Some of the factors that are included that contribute to these things are:

  • Discrimination
  • Lack of access to healthcare
  • Low income levels
  • Exposure to crime

Often, these factors are present in the neighborhoods and parts of municipalities that we deem “poor”. Unfortunately this brings us to another contributing factor of poverty, and that is institutionalized racism. That is a topic for another day, but it would be wise just to bear it in mind while thinking about poverty.

Children who are born into poverty are born into disadvantage. We love our children, whether we are rich or poor. But bringing a child into a poverty stricken family means that this child automatically has the world working against them. It hampers the development of the brain, affecting things like cognitive development, executive functioning, memory, and attention. This automatically brings a high risk of mental and physical disorders for the child and thus adds extra expenses that we cannot afford to pay for.

It has been shown that poverty occurring in early childhood is more detrimental to a child than poverty occurring later in life. They have a much higher incidence of trouble during adulthood if the poverty they experience happens in the first five years of life. This is very disheartening, because child’s mind is so malleable, they have great potential, and to see it wasted is a real shame. No, I am not saying to skip having children if you’re poor. I’ve always been poor and I’ve had children and I love them greatly. But it is difficult to care for them in a way that I really want to.

Is a wide reaching, popular idea that the reason poor people are poor is that they just don’t try enough; that they’re lazy. Not only is this not true, but the research on cognitive neuroscience and development challenges this assumption. This notion has been challenged by science, and that is something major.

Poverty is a social construct that has been built by generations of capitalism in our society as well as other factors such as racism, gender inequality, discrimination, and many more. It is a problem that does not seem to have an immediate answer. We can help a little bit here and there, but it never seems to go away. Poverty is like a dam that has sprung a leak and is about to burst. We can put a Band-Aid over that leak, but that’s not going to fix the situation.

We need an entire restructuring of our system to eradicate this problem. Some say that even if we did that it would still never go away. But the changes I’m thinking of in my mind are radical. A complete movement away from the way our country is run and the way it stands today. A complete paradigm shift is what we need. Or, we could keep things the way they are and let most people suffer while the few grow richer and richer. I want change. I want equity. I want a chance.

Why Stress can be a Good Thing

Deconstructing the Myth

By Andrea Watson March 12, 2021

Before we begin, I have one thing to say to you. Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. Remember that.

So, what is stress? Most of us think of it as one category of horrible, bad stuff that can ruin your health and wellness. But that’s not accurate. In fact most stress experienced by humans is called Eustress, which is actually positive. So when we think of stress as the horrible, bad stuff that can ruin our health and wellness, what we’re really thinking of is distress. This is the stuff that gives us ulcers and has cortisol running rampant through our bodies all the time, causing us to become depressed and gain weight and all that other lovely stuff. But eustress is an entirely different thing. A few things that can help you experience eustress are things that you may already enjoy, such as watching a horror movie, riding a roller coaster, going scuba diving, or any other thing that raises your adrenaline and cortisol levels briefly.

What we need to know is that stress is more than a feeling. It actually involves a series of physiological changes when we have adrenaline pumping through our body. These changes are increasing heart rate, bursts of increased cortisol, maybe a little nausea, a feeling of jitteriness, and maybe a couple of other things. These physiological changes are present in both anxiety and enjoyment. It is the perception that we have of these physiological changes that really determines whether we are experiencing distress or eustress.

You see, cortisol is called “the stress hormone”. When it is released into our bodies, then the fight or flight response kicks in. So we assume automatically that it’s a big, bad thing. And that is not entirely inaccurate. The correction that needs to be made is that cortisol does not just correspond to chronic stress. It is true that when we experience chronic elevated levels of cortisol it’s a bad thing. But cortisol in short bursts as when it happens in eustress, is actually beneficial. For example, in small doses, cortisol is a signal to the brain to increase dopamine, which helps with perception and attention among other things.

A little bit of stress helps us to learn, boost memory, and can actually bring us together as people and communities. For example, people are more cooperative, open, and giving while responding to a natural disaster. Eustress most often does not cause long-term changes in cortisol or adrenaline levels, and will not affect our overall health. Moreover, people who use stress for beneficial reasons are less likely to be impacted negatively by adverse life events. In fact, learning the symptoms of stress can lead to a better stress response in the future.

So now we get to the fun part. Darmark and Jalad at Tanagra. Unless you are a fan of Star Trek the Next Generation, I’m just going to guess that you’re asking yourself, “What the hell is this gibberish??” I shall now explain. This is an expression from an alien race called the Tamarians. They speak a language made up entirely of allegory. Their language includes a tale of two Tamarians, one named Darmok and one named Jalad. These individuals one day found themselves together on an island called Tanagra where they had a common foe. Although they didn’t like each other in the beginning, it was through battling that common foe and working together that they developed cooperation, understanding, and eventually when they were on the sea, a lasting friendship.

It’s easy to see how this allegorical story relates to our relationship with stress. At first we don’t like it, but when we come to understand it, and hopefully cooperate with it, then it can actually bring us benefit. Do not shy away from stress. Remember that the most common form of stress is actually positive and can help us if we use it properly. It can improve our mood, our learning ability, our memory, and can make us stronger at the end of the day. As short as this post has been, I hope it was helpful to you. Until next time,

Darmok xo

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