Filling the Hole in Your Heart

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There are times in which the people we think love us really don’t. Instead, they break our hearts in a number of ways.

We forget to love ourselves. We forget that we are worth love and even in a world that values relationships and marriage, we forget that it’s okay to be single.

I’m not single, but I would be okay if I were. Taking time to work on yourself may require you being single. Sometimes it doesn’t.

The love that you have for yourself can make up for the love that others don’t have or show for you. It hurts. It’s not pretty to realize that people that you love may not love you back or even in the way you want them to.

This missing love can leave a bit of a hole, an emptiness in your heart. Fill it with happiness, good times and love. This will carry you through the harder times.

The Power of a Mantra

How do you get through tough moments?

What are the thoughts you have that bring you out of the deep pit of hopelessness, anxiety, anger or other emotions?

It helps to have a reserve of thoughts to remind yourself that things will be okay.

A mantra is a thought or phrase that you can repeat to yourself in tough moments. It is meant to reassure yourself, help you feel strong and capable.

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Five Simple Words

I kind of fell into my mantra. It is five simple words- “One Day at a Time”.

These words are ingrained into my blog and even tattooed on the inside of my left wrist. It reminds me that I can only move so fast. It is a short statement of how I live my life now- I refuse to make long term plans because I am terrified of them falling apart.

This is a result of the plans I had for a divorce, which fell apart, along with the rest of my life, after Jake’s death. Watching those plans shatter and trying to get through the days after was painful.

I don’t want to go through that again. I struggle to plan vacations a couple of months in advance because I’m worried something will happen to ruin it.

The phrase also helps me with sobriety. I can only stay sober one day at a time, even though I plan to never have a drink again. I am fully aware that relapses happen- I’ve worked with plenty of people that have done so and it can be a crushing experience.

Sometimes it can push a person to work even harder to stay sober, but it can also push someone the other way back into active addiction.

I can say that I won’t drink today, but I can’t say that about tomorrow. Anyone who is in recovery can understand that. This isn’t saying that I don’t believe in myself, but that I know that it’s a fact.

Lastly, it helps me be patient with myself. Anxiety is a rough beast to live with. This phrase reminds me that today might entirely suck but tomorrow has the possibility to be better, even if a little.

Insider Thoughts

If you go back a bit in time and read 5 Ways to Conquer Self-Kindness there are tips on how to be nicer to yourself. This can go a long way in developing a mantra, being kinder to yourself and improving your mental health.

The words you say to yourself, especially when you are upset, sad, stressed or angry, can make a difference between things being better or worse.

The mantra you choose can depend on what you struggle with. If your main issue is wanting to be more positive, find a quote on positivity. If you need a boost of strength, there are many quotes to be found. Pinterest and Google are full of quotes for this purpose.

Keep the mantra short so you remember it. It won’t help if you can’t remember it. I have a terrible memory, so five words are perfect for me. The shorter the mantra is, the better.

The first may not be the best. I went through a couple of mantras before I found one that fit. Otherwise, it would not have become a tattoo. Everyone has different needs and mindsets, find what you need and not what someone else thinks you need.

Pair your thoughts with deep breathing. Calm thoughts and deep breaths can be soothing in difficult moments. A helpful breathing exercise: breathe in while counting to four, hold for four breaths, then slowly let out while counting to seven. Do this while repeating your mantra.

After the Moment Has Passed

When your mind clears, think about how you felt during and after breathing and thinking with your mantra. Did you feel better? Would you try it in the future? This doesn’t always produce great feelings on the first, second or even third try. If it doesn’t, it’s okay.

Keep the progress up and you will see results. The power of a mantra is there, it’s just waiting to come out.

Do you have a mantra? Does it help?

Pics courtesy of Pinterest

5 Rules for Mental Strength

It is not always easy to be mentally strong. I struggle with this a lot. I’m still working on this one. There are days that I feel fantastic and days that I can barely get out of bed because I feel so badly about myself. I’m sure that many others feel the same.

How does this “being mentally strong” thing work? It’s a little different for everyone, but here are a few ideas:

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Being yourself. This is number one for me. I have fought very hard to be accepted for who I am by my own husband and that’s something nobody should have to do.

People change, and sometimes people can’t accept that. When you are comfortable with yourself, it’s much easier to be strong, because you have more faith in yourself. You know you can get through things. You know that you can tackle what is in front of you.

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Trust yourself. Many of us tend to underestimate ourselves, including me. I’ve made many decisions and second guessed myself, even on picking clothes, shoes and maybe even mascara. This tends to occur when you have low self-confidence.

I’ve learned to trust myself a lot more through therapy-working more to shut down that voice in my mind that says “That’s a bad idea, Wrae. Don’t do it. You can’t pull this off”. When you trust yourself more, you will believe in yourself more. You will make decisions with a lot more confidence, even about the small things.

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Build confidence. As Demi Lovato once said, “What’s wrong with being confident?” First of all, I love Demi. She has an amazing voice, has great style and she’s one of my sobriety role models.

She had a point with that lyric. What is wrong with being confident? I’m not talking about crossing the line and being all-out cocky or anything like that, but knowing what you are capable of and what your limits are.

Everyone has them, physically and emotionally. Don’t feel bad about those limits. For sheer example, I hate spiders, extreme heights, and public speaking.

I had to take public speaking in college and almost had a panic attack once. I was also hugely pregnant with Cameron. My professor wasn’t in the mood to send me into early labor, so he allowed me to give my speech from my seat and things ended a lot better than I had anticipated.

Confidence is good. This also helps with looks and body image- I’m a size 14 now and weigh in at around 170. I do not care to disclose that. I weighed 125 in 2015 before my life imploded and I was a size 4. I have been confident both sizes and weights.

Like every other woman in existence, even the awesome Tess Holliday (my favorite model), I have days where I think I look like crap, but then I remember what my body has been through and will continue to do and move on.

This took a lot of work because, at some points, I didn’t take my 60 lb weight gain well. This confidence can be hard to attain, thanks to social media and Photoshopped images of models. It’s tough to look at, so I tend to look at body-positive models.

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Daily reminders. I remind myself daily to take care of myself- this is a must do. If I don’t take care of myself, who will? I have two chronic illnesses and self-care is a must for both. I also remind myself “One day at a time” because that is how I have set my life up.

I just can’t plan far in the future anymore. Whether it is a phrase, app, or something else that helps, once you set your mind on something daily, it becomes a daily habit to take care of yourself and that leads to and supports mental strength.

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Not caring so much what others think. My mother is 62 and does not care what anyone thinks of her. She has always been like this. She’s small, very feisty, and hilarious. Clearly, these genes have passed on to me.

It took me a very long time to get to the point that I really didn’t care what others think of me, but that’s where I am sitting. It’s not healthy at all to care so much what others think of you, because it will break you down in the end. It erodes your self-esteem when you don’t meet their standards.

Your individuality will fade as you try to be more like others and less like yourself. This isn’t good for anyone.
These tips may be what you need to move forward onto becoming stronger. Take them and consider what else you may need to form more strength within yourself.

The Benefits of a Daily Routine

Routines can get a bit boring…day after day, we get up, eat, go to work, come home, hang out, go to bed…or some variation of this. Some of us stay home with kids, some travel frequently for work, etc. Either way, almost everyone has a routine.

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My Attempt at a Routine

I’m at home with the kids and we have a routine. It’s pretty stable because Julian and Lily do their best with one. I do okay with a routine, but if things get shaken up, I am okay. The kids require a bit of notice. Otherwise, one or both can get quite upset and nobody wants that.

They like knowing what will happen when they get out of school- snack, homework, dinner, shower, TV/screen time then bed, with some outside time thrown in if the weather is okay.

This changes when there are school breaks, of course, or in case of horrible flu outbreaks like the one in January. In that case, nobody moves and we watch a ton of TV when we are awake to do so.

We don’t schedule much on weekends- those are open for fun things with friends, family, and my weekly Yoga for Recovery class.

Why Is Routine Important?

Would you want to go through your days not knowing what’s happening next? This does not sound fun, in fact, it would likely create a lot of anxiety. You would become anxious at not knowing where to go, what to do, or even when to eat (besides your stomach telling you).

Routines can create a soothing effect, even if you don’t realize it. It can be comforting. You can leave work or otherwise come to the end of your day knowing that you can relax, however you choose to do so.

Having a routine is also great for kids. It decreases anxiety and creates stability. They can eventually learn to plan things around their routine, like extracurricular activities, with your help.

Routine is also helpful for major life changes and trying to adjust after them- it helps restore a sense of normalcy. It helps make you feel like you’re getting back into real life, not the event that you are coming out of- divorce, a death in the family, moving, or other changes.

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How Can I Start a Routine?

If you aren’t a routine-based person, it’s okay. Not everyone is. If you want to try starting one, it definitely requires small steps. Throwing too many changes at yourself can cause overwhelm.

Try these tips:

  • Try a small breakfast, quick meditation or other activity in the morning. It can be good to try something new while building a routine.
  • Don’t get angry at yourself if you get out of routine. It happens.
  • When coming home from work or going out for the day, try an activity to help shift to being home. Most people go through the mail, change clothes, listen to music, etc.
  • Try to stick to your routine as much as you can but stay open to change. Rigidity increases anxiety and even anger. Example: having to stop amd pick up a forgotten ingredient for dinner or pet food isn’t the worst thing that can happen in a day.

Results

Depending on why you decided to change or create a routine, your results may be a bit different than someone else’s. Everyone can benefit from a routine, from kids to the elderly.

Have you changed or created a new routine lately?