Ways I’m Focusing On Mental Health in 2018

These days we are hearing a lot about mental health. It is a very important topic that should not be overlooked and is a topic near to my heart. For my 9 to 5 I work with a lot of individuals with needs in the area of mental health. For the purpose of this blog post, when I say mental health, I am not referring to mental illness but rather mental fatigue, stress, and clarity.

Way back in January, I made a commitment to focus on healthy living in 2018. Instead of making a resolution, I decided to pick a theme for the year instead. You can read that post here. Now, here we are in June and I have only gotten to my third topic. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but that’s ok. I am getting back on track with my blog and starting with an area that I should have focused more on over the last several months.

Last week I posted about life getting insanely crazy in March and my struggle to stay afloat with my blog and boutique (read about this here). I thought discussing mental health may be a good place to start given the circumstances of life for me right now. Recently, I had a challenge presented that made me really evaluate what is important to me in life which in turn made me begin to think about what I need to be doing in order to think clearly about decisions I needed to make. As you will see, for me, mental health and spiritual health go hand in hand; however, I will be focusing a post solely on spiritual health in the future. You will see components of that throughout this post though. So here they are, ways I am focusing on metal health in 2018.

1. Remembering what’s important in my life

For me this is simple, my faith and my family are number one. Period. It is easy to get distracted with schedules and finances, but when it comes right down to it, as long as these 2 things are my focus, everything else falls into place. Things are not always easy, but focusing on the important things make it easier to get through challenges of life. It also brings things into perspective. Maybe I didn’t get to everything on my to do list today, but if I have spent my quiet time with the Lord and have taken care of my family, then I have done everything that is important and I can rest easy in that. There will be time tomorrow to get everything else done.

2. Staying in God’s Word and in Prayer

When I am in God’s Word and in prayer, the trials of this life are much easier to bear. I realize that I am not walking through this life alone and when I act like I am, my mental health suffers. I become overwhelmed and stressed out. When I adjust my focus back to the Lord and give Him my burdens, I am so relieved. This doesn’t mean that everything in life becomes fixed, but it does mean I no longer feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.

3. Knowing when to say no

This is a challenge for me. I like to make people happy and I have a problem saying no when I am asked to take on more responsibility. I have learned the hard way that I can’t do it all. I am learning to go back to number one on my list when asked to do more. If what I am being asked to do will shift my focus from my top priorities or leave no time for them, I really need to consider saying no.

Sometimes this means saying no to things we consider good, like another Bible Study at church or an opportunity to make more money. Although there is nothing wrong with these things and they may even at time be beneficial, there are times when adding one more thing to an already packed schedule or working more hours and taking time away from my family will hinder rather than benefit my family.

4. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy

Boy, this is an area of my life that I have been really trying to work on and I will be discussing this topic more in depth in the future. Drinking water and eating health give my brain what it needs to think more clearly. When I am eating right, I don’t go through that mid afternoon fog and I have more energy to get everything done on my to do list. This in turn reduces my stress level as well, because things do not pile up and become overwhelming.

5. Decluttering my house

Clutter drives me crazy and my house has become way too cluttered over this last year. When I am unorganized I definitely feel more stress. Jerry and I have committed to decluttering and reorganizing this summer. We are also going to have a yard sale, which I agreed to reluctantly a few months ago. I am not a huge fan of the extra work and would rather just give stuff away. However, we are trying to pay off some bills, so Jerry and I agreed to give it a go. Now that we are getting closer, I am actually feeling really motivated and excited about it. The boys are on board too and are looking forward to selling some of their old toys, and being able to put the money they earn towards a new game they want.

6. Finding time to relax and do something I enjoy

This one is hard for me too. I have a really hard time relaxing. I used to think my parents were crazy when they would tell me this very same thing, but now I totally understand. I must have gotten the “gotta keep busy, not time to stop” gene from them. Although this is an incredible blessing most of the time, I need to make myself stop on occasion. Even when watching t.v. or a movie at home, I find myself getting up to do things around the house. We always have so much going on and I feel like I need to be working on something all the time.

I am trying to make more of a conscious effort to do a little something I relaxing each week like going for a walk in the evening, reading a book, or writing. Another thing I started doing once every couple moths is getting a facial. Originally I started getting them because I was having a lot of difficulty with acne, but I really enjoy them and look forward to that hour of doing absolutely nothing. This is good for me because I literally have to slow down for a few moments, there is no laundry to do or dinner to cook while I am getting a facial. So it’s beneficial for multiple reasons.

What are things you do to improve your own mental health?

Ways We’re focusing on the Health of Our Marriage in 2018

You may have read my blog post on my theme for 2018. If you haven’t, you can read it here! This year, I’m focusing on healthy living. This goes beyond just physical health (although there is a place for this and I will have a blog post on this topic later) and reaches into spiritual and emotional health, finances, and relationships.

Each month I am focusing on one area and sharing what we are doing with you (you can read about our January topic here). Originally I was going to focus on physical health this month, but with our wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought it would be fun to cover marriage instead.

My husband is one of my most treasured gifts here on this earth. I am so thankful that I get to experience life with him and raise our precious boys with him.

I grew up in a loving home with a beautiful example of marriage. There was never a doubt in my mind growing up that I wanted to be married some day. I never dreamt that at 12 I had already met my future husband! We of course did not get married until much later, but more about our story another time.

Today we are looking at some things that can contribute to the health of marriage. We won’t be delving in very deep on this post. However, in the future I would really like to take a closer look at the topic of marriage. I am just giving a brief overview of things Jerry and I will be working on throughout the year.

Spending time in God’s Word separately…and together

Spending time in the Word of God is essential to marriage. The only way to know how to love unconditionally, is to see the example set forth for us by Christ.

Trust me on this, there have been many times that Jerry and I thought we knew what unconditional love was, but were very much loving conditionally. Unfortunately this caused heartache, it it also taught us that in order to protect our marriage and keep it healthy we have got to be in the Word. If not, we are susceptible to the lies of this world.

We have to remember to be in scripture, not just individually, but also together. This can be challenging with busy schedules and although I would love to say that we do this every day, that would not be true. Right now we plan to set aside a time to do this weekly.

In the past, we have done different studies together that are marriage centered. This has always brought us closer together and we can both say that we thoroughly enjoyed them. We just need to get better about committing to time in the Word together.

I love that I get to share what God is teaching me with my best friend and I love that we are able to encourage each other!

This quote is beautiful! Yes, a happy marriage is a wonderful thing, but if you are both focused on having a holy marriage, joy takes residence deep in your soul and everything else seems to fall into place. No matter the circumstances that surround you, seeking a godly marriage gives you joy, peace, and strength that we could never get from seeking happiness alone.

Spending time in prayer separately…and together

Just as important as being in the Word is fostering our relationship with God through prayer. Prayer brings peace, encouragement, strength, and healing. Prayer gives us direct access to our Creator and it is through prayer that we commune and fellowship with Him.

There is nothing better than coming together with your spouse in prayer. One of my absolute favorite things is praying with my husband.

When we pray together, I feel security and peace like no other. Scripture even states that God is in our midst when two or more are gathered together in prayer (Matthew 18:20). How beautiful!

Spending time doing things together

Jerry and I love to be outdoors! We love hiking, going for bike rides, spending days at the beach, and kayaking. We also love simple things like getting coffee or going to the bookstore together.

The truth is that we did a fantastic job of setting aside time to do these together in 2016, but in 2017 we were so busy that we didn’t make this the priority that we should have.

We are committing to set aside time to do these things we enjoy together in 2018.

Spending time with our boys

As I said before, we love being outdoors. We also love to take our boys along with us on our adventures! It is important to not just set aside time to do things together as husband and wife, but also as a family. You see out of this beautiful love story of ours, we were given even more to love, our 3 precious boys!

There are seasons in life and there will be a day where it is just the two of us, but right now we are in the season of parenting children. This means that although we do get a little time to ourselves on occasion, most of our time is spent together as a family unit, which is just as God intended!

It is during these moments that we teach our sons about marriage, that we model a godly marriage for them. It is during these times that our boys learn about being a husband and father. It is during the time that we spend together that the greatest life lessons are learned.

Modestly Beautiful

I have been mulling over this topic for a while now and wasn’t quite sure how I would start it off, I guess the best place to start is just by sharing what is on my heart. I, like most girls have always wanted to be beautiful. There are many times in my life that I have felt far from beautiful and then there have been times where I truly have felt beautiful. I think this is normal, as we all go through seasons in our lives. I grew up in the 90s and 00s where Jennifer Anniston’s stick figure and board straight hair were the very essence of what society called beautiful. It was difficult during that time for a girl with curves and wavy hair. However, I made it through, unscathed for the most part, with a better understanding of how to work with what I had rather than trying to achieve the impossible and all the while trying to accomplish this goal modestly.

A couple of months ago I was at youth on Friday evening (my husband leads youth at our church) when a young girl told me that she aspired to be like me. Whoa. She went on to tell me that I was beautiful and always looked put together (maybe not in these exact words, but it was what she meant). Talk about a humbling experience. Realizing that the choices you make about what you wear and how you act are being watched by these young adults. You see, I have all sons. Truly I could probably walk out of my room wearing a potato sack and they wouldn’t bat an eyelash. What I choose to put on each day is not because I have daughters at home watching what I wear. What I choose to put on each day is a representation of my walk with the Lord, wanting to honor my husband, and wanting to look appropriate for work or church.

This is the goal I hope to accomplish with Lydia & Lilac. Providing a selection of clothing that will make women feel and look beautiful and that will also honor the Lord. When you look through our collection or watch our sneak peeks on YouTube, you will see that we sometimes make suggestions on what to pair a dress with (a cami, a sweater, leggings, etc.). This is because we are sometimes provided clothing by our vendors that may be on the shorter side or low cut. However, most of the time you will find that out clothing is modest and appropriate for work, Church, etc. We desire to honor God through our clothing options, because we live in a society where this is becoming more difficult to find.

We have a responsibility as Christian women to dress in a God honoring way and set a godly example for the young girls in our churches today. When this young lady said this to me, it was a reminder that just because I don’t have daughters, doesn’t mean that there aren’t girls out there watching how I present myself and I can guarantee that they are watching you as well. The truth is they watch more than what’s on the outside, they watch our actions and they hear our words. Are we displaying the beauty of Christ through a gentle and quiet spirit (which does not mean to be a weak woman without a voice…but more on that at another time)? Are we displaying a look that is God honoring? Take some time to reflect on this today and join me in a conscious effort to set forth a godly example for these young girls with our actions, in our words, and in our dress.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1Peter 3:3-4

Your Son has Hashimoto’s

F4DAB252-987D-4F38-9E3B-788AA7569619.jpegI have wondered if I should hit the publish button on this post all week.  I know others experience things that are much more difficult beyond this.  We are thankful that we now have an explanation for the things our child has been going through and for the good treatment our son is able to receive.  It was still difficult news to hear.  I have also wondered if this post would be to personal to share on the Lydia & Lilac site, but we acknowledge that Lydia & Lilac is also an opportunity for us to share what the Lord is doing in our lives.  So without further ado, here is our post originally written October 3rd.
“Your son has Hashimoto’s”, these are the words that were spoken to Jerry and I this week.  Although we had a pretty good hunch that the diagnosis was coming, preparing yourself for the news that your child has a disease that you, as the parent, cannot take away is never something you hope for.  If you are like most people I talk to, you may be wondering what in the world Hashimoto’s is.  Simply put, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid.  In a child this manifests itself in a myriad of symptoms that include sensitivity to cold, dry hair, skin, or nails, constipation, difficulty with memory, weight gain, and lack of energy.  Hashimoto’s can also cause a stunt in growth, intellectual disabilities, and learning disabilities; which we fortunately, did not experience.
Our little boy has always been a happy and healthy kid.  In first grade he was diagnosed with ADHD.  He has a hard time sitting still, loves to chatter all day, and enjoys playing outside with his brothers.  He loves to run errands with mom and he is brilliant.  Academically, things come naturally to him and there are times I wonder if he has a photographic memory.  He has a smile that can light up a room and he is silly beyond belief.
About 3 months ago, we went to a routine appointment for ADHD.  Our little man had gained quite a bit of weight.  While talking to his doctor, we began to realize there had been quite a few changes.  He didn’t want to play outside very often, was always tired, didn’t ride his bike anymore unless his brothers absolutely begged him to, he rather stay home than go on an outing with mom, and when friends came over to play, he would play in short bursts spending most of his time on the couch.  He was having stomach problems and was cold all of the time.  We were on our way out the door of the office, when his doctor caught up with me and said she had been looking at the numbers and thought it might be a good idea to get his thyroid checked.
So off we went for blood work and we made a follow up appointment with his primary peditrician.  At this visit, his pediatrician said that he thought it was probably nothing, that no one had ever come through his office for weight gain and ended up having Hashimotos.  Then, he looked at the numbers.  Next he started to talk to us about Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism and sent us for more blood work.
Fast forward three months and here we are, a new diagnosis, one that I know very little about and am still trying to wrap my head around, I am sure in time I will come to have a better understanding of things like THS, T4, etc.  In the mean time we find ourselves here in this place of uncharted waters.  I think it finally hit me yesterday when picking up his medication.  I had a small melt down.  I realized that this is for life, I can’t take it away.  I’m thankful that it is something that we can manage with medication, but as a parent you never want your child to have any type of disease, disorder, or disability.
We know that our little guy is in the hands of God and we trust that He will take care of him.  I have been reminded again that my children are His and that He has given them to us to care for and point to Him.  Our job is to teach our son that God loves him and to take care of him.  We have been blessed with the support or family and friends.  They have been sending us information and articles and we are so thankful for any and all support as this is still very new to us.  We will face the days ahead together with compassion and a better understanding of what our son is going through.  We will face each day with prayer and will continue to let him know that he is loved beyond belief.