Hobbies for Everyone

The past few months have somewhat forced us to find more things to do with our spare time.Netflix and Hulu can take up some time, but it’s not healthy to stare at a screen all day.  I’ve started making crafts again, mainly for the kids, plus one that will be a wedding present in early October. I’m even working on my cooking skills and my smoke detector is getting a break.

I Got A Little…A LOT Bored

Unlike most people, my work doesn’t close. I work part time at a sober living facility in Indiana (about 30 minutes from home) as a behavioral health technician. I work 4 days a week, so I still have time to do other things. In the beginning of the pandemic, I watched a TON of Netflix. “Breaking Bad” took less than a week to finish. I even did Netflix Review: “Tiger King” . It’s complete trash to watch but so hilarious. I also read a few books, cleaned my house and played with the cats. I wanted to do something at least somewhat productive. The kids were in school online and I felt the need to create things.

Clearly, these were made for Lily. The pink box is for earrings and other small things. It was supposed to be a pencil box, but I ordered the wrong size. The letters sit on top of her cube set. I also bought a piece of art from a friend and it hangs on her wall. Lily went to some art classes and her work hangs in her room. 

We will not discuss how much I spent shopping online.

Hobbies are important, they give us an outlet to express ourselves and have fun while doing it.

Besides crafting, coloring and writing, I have also started small doodles. I like to draw but don’t always know what I want to draw, so I went on Pinterest to get ideas. I have a section on my “Creative Things” board of ideas. I already have a sketchbook. Matthew got me a drawing set for our 15th wedding anniversary on 9/10/20. My sketches aren’t always the best, but I enjoy it.

I still do yoga most days, even if it’s only 10 minutes. It helps with stiffness and it’s good for you. The yoga studio that I went to Yoga for Recovery for has reopened, but I don’t think they are bringing that class back. I’m not sure yet whether I want to try another class there or try a different studio.

Need Some Ideas?

I highly suggest Pinterest as a good place to start. It’s full of ideas that can get you started on a new hobby.

Some hobbies include:

  • puzzles (this requires a lot of patience and time, neither of which I possess)
  • painting (walls, pictures, whatever sounds good)
  • baking/cooking (I can get the minimum done cooking wise, but baking? Nope.)
  • clothing construction (fancy wording for making clothes for yourself and/or other people) or tailoring (hems, buttons, zippers, etc)
  • exercise (this has no real limit, try something new or get more into something you currently enjoy)
  • writing (writing in a journal, poetry, short novels, blogging..)
  • mental wellness (meditation, self-care, therapy)
  • playing cards/games (online or in person with a select few people)
  • online watch parties or just watching movies/TV on your own
  • reading (old faves, new books you are excited about, a whole different genre/author)
  • making a pandemic time capsule (newspapers, pics, small items, etc)
  • finally finishing that baby book (I may get to this one at some point, but not today) or other projects
  • home improvement (repairs, painting, new sheets/towels, etc)
  • try something new (podcasts, clothes, food, etc)
  • helping others however you can (I can’t do the AFSP walk this year, but I will do the virtual version)

Most of these activities are free or cheap. I would check with stores, organizations, and libraries for your specific needs. Some libraries are starting to open up, slowly. The library system in Louisville offers curbside services for pickup after you reserve books online, for example. I’m a huge fan. There are inexpensive ways to do almost everything on this list.

We are all in this together, no matter where we are. Stay safe and try to have fun.

5 Unhealthy Triggers

Many of us have certain things that just don’t work for us.

What can we do to fix the triggers that can worsen our mental health issues?

The Triggers

  1. Toxic people. I am not a fan of toxic people. My Facebook settings and block list reflect this in a very big way. In my last therapy session, Rachel said that she was very proud of how I have been able to kick a ton of people out of my life and leave them there. What do I mean by toxic people? People who are consistently negative (nobody is full of sunshine every day, but I’m talking people that are always unhappy and/or never happy for you, put you down, even if sneakily, etc.), spread rumors about you, aren’t there for you when you need them, and so on. If you look hard enough, there are most likely toxic people lurking somewhere in your life. Everyone has a person or two. When you find them- cut them out. It may not be easy, but it is sometimes necessary for your mental stability.
  2. Lack of support. This is a big one. When you don’t have supportive people in your life, you’re more likely to fall into a bad spot and/or stay there. This can mean a therapist, a friend or family member. It’s a lonely feeling to not have support because it is easy to feel that no one cares about you when that is far from the truth. This issue can be changed by reaching out for support when you are not in a bad situation- looking for a therapist, talking to a friend or someone else you trust about a plan for the next time you realize (or they do) that you may be having a problem.
  3. Lack of self-care. I can’t express enough how important it is to take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually, if that is something you are into. If you don’t take care of yourself physically, it will show emotionally and the same the other way around. Taking care of yourself makes you feel better. When you feel good physically, you feel good on the inside. I like to walk outside when I can and even though it tires me out, I still feel good because my body needs it. When we stop taking care of ourselves, we can see the change in the mirror and feel it inside. Changes in self-care can be small at first, but well worth it.
    4. Drugs and/or alcohol. Either of these can really change how you think- in small or large doses. Alcohol certainly changed the way I thought, but that’s what I was seeking. I wanted to forget what I was thinking about. I wanted to be able to forget my pain. I had forgotten that the pain wouldn’t go away forever and that when the hangover went away, everything I was trying to get out of my mind would come back. It always did. Facing the pain of losing Jake and having to live the rest of my life without him was awful but it is something I was going to have to deal with. As of this post, I am 16 months sober. I have faced that pain, and am dealing much better with it. I will always have days in which I miss him terribly but that is something I have learned to accept and deal with. Excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol can lead to a lot of other things that a lot of people don’t want- jail, hospitalization, rehab, or a combo of all of these. These can also, in some cases, trigger episodes of psychiatric issues, or make them worse. Some substances can be stopped without professional assistance, like marijuana, but if you are heavily abusing substances like alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines, please go to a facility. Trying to detox yourself can be dangerous- you can die from the complications.

5. Lack of outlets for creativity or fun. Adulting is rough. Bills, work and kids can take up your time. Being creative or finding something to do with your spare time can be a way to tune the world out when you need a break. For example, Matthew and his brother have begun to flip houses- buying houses, fixing them up and reselling them. They get to do something they know how to do (they get help when needed) and get to hang out in the process. The money isn’t bad either. Weirdly, Matthew says it’s relaxing for him because he really likes doing it. When you don’t have anything to do that you enjoy, life can get really boring fast. That can drag you down. I think this is why adult kickball leagues have become so popular. It’s fun and brings back memories from childhood.

Not everyone has these triggers and others may have different ones. These are just a few that I’ve noticed.

What are the things that trigger your mental health issues? How do you change the path?

Pics are from Unsplash

Run Jump Scrap


Should You Emphasize Grades or Mental Health?

Teenagers have interesting lives- fun times with friends, jobs (sometimes, depending on their age and other factors), babysitting, learning life skills, applying for college and let’s not forget a big thing: school.

School is a big factor in a teen’s life. They spend most of their days there, 6 hours minimum. Most teens enjoy at least part of the day but… some kids find school stressful from beginning to end.

The Anxiety Builds

I’m not talking about bullies or learning disabilities in this post. Those have been discussed. Some teens have severe anxiety about their grades. This can be from internal factors- the drive to succeed because they want to reach certain goals, like getting into a certain college or get a scholarship. Some pressure, however, comes from outside sources- as in parents, coaches, etc. When a teen feels that need to please others and doesn’t do as well as expected, it can lead to negative feelings of shame, sadness, and anger, among other feelings. The anxiety also builds.

Depending on the teen’s personality, they may give up on themselves or they may push themselves harder. Each child is different. Either option can lead to painful consequences if not carefully watched. These can include angry outbursts, depression, drug/substance abuse, eating disorders, and other issues.

Which is More Important?

Both are equally important. It is important for teens to get good grades, of course. This helps in many ways, one of the biggest being college admissions.

Is it worth sacrificing a teen’s happiness? No. Teens need the time to just be a kid. They need the time to sit around, watch movies, play with makeup, video games and all those other typical things. Those things create memories for them to look back on. It’s possible to be the valedictorian and still have a life, but it’s sometimes at a cost.

How can I help if I notice my child is struggling?

– Encourage your teen to find positive ways to blow off stress. Walking, jogging or other sports can help, but be careful to not over schedule. That can create other problems.

– Encourage creativity. Maybe your child is into an instrument or pottery? This can be fun and possibly something you can do together.

-If your teen is into the idea, try meditation or yoga. It may sound “weird” at first (my sons were not receptive at all) but it’s worth a try. Both are equally relaxing.

-Remind your teen that you love them and they don’t have to have straight As for that love to be there. Not every teen is a straight A student. The rule at my house is that they have to try their hardest. Failing, however, is not acceptable.

Lily has severe anxiety and I refuse to put extreme pressure on her to make perfect grades. That would just compound the anxiety. Update on the testing mentioned in Special Needs Round Two :she is not on the spectrum.

The boys work hard and make good grades. That’s all I ask for. I’d rather have them be happy with okay grades than super great grades and super unhappy. I’d feel like a horrible mom.

What are your thoughts?


Rebel Circus

The Hearty Soul

All pics from Unsplash

Song Lyric Saturday with Paramore

I’m a fan of Paramore’s older music as opposed to the newer music. For some reason, the newer albums just don’t sound as good. Maybe I grew out of their music? Hmm. Possible.

I’m sure my cousin Bethani is disowning me as I type.

This lyric comes from “Last Hope”. It’s one of my favorite songs from them. Sometimes all we need is a small spark in life to keep us going when we want to give up on something.

It can be an interview for a job when the one we have is awful, a change in a person that we think never will, an apology for something that we didn’t think we’d ever get. The song also talks about letting go of the need to control of everything around you (something that I struggle with daily) because that can lead to bigger problems.

What has been your spark?