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?

The Truth About Being a Mom of All Boys

I am a boy mom. There was a time in my life that I truly couldn’t have pictured it. I mean I love the girl thing! I loved doing my friends’ and nieces’ hair and painting their nails growing up. I’ve always loved dressing up and can’t imagine life without makeup! I love chick flicks and delving into a good Nicolas Sparks novel. In fact Lydia & Lilac began with the nudging from my husband as being a great creative outlet for me in all things beauty and fashion. The truth is, now that I’m a mom to all boys, I couldn’t imagine anything else! There are some precious truths that go along with being a mom to all boys. I’m sure some of you can relate!

My house is full of legos, bey blades, and hot wheels.

Being new to the art of blogging, I find myself on Pinterest a lot! I am constantly looking at pictures of beautiful homes where everything has a place and it all stays there! To me a house like this would be as fascinating as taking a trip to the Land of Oz! My house is lived in. If you decided to stop by, you would find traces of boys strewn throughout in the form of legos, hot wheels, bey blades, and a myriad of other boy toys. You’ll likely sit on a nerf dart. Try as we might to keep things picked up, Jerry and I are outnumbered and this can be quite a challenge at times. I’m at a point in my life now that when I look around and see the lightsaber laying on the floor next to me, I realize that time is passing by faster than I could ever imagine and there will soon be a day where I will miss seeing their toys about the house.

I know nothing about Pokémon, Star Wars, D.C., or Marvel.

But I am learning! These subjects used to be a foreign language to me. However, slowly over time I am learning and even have some of my own favorite characters and movies within these series.

I still have a guest bathroom. (Which unbeknownst to me at the very moment I was writing this was being flooded by an overflown bathtub!)

We have 2 bathrooms in our home. One is for me and Jerry and the other is for our boys and our guests. Although our boys use it, I keep it ready for our guests at all times. This means beautiful towels, a gorgeous shower curtain, and tiny little soaps that look like seashells. Although far from Pinterest worthy, it’s important for me to have a nice space for family and friends when they come to visit.

It’s so easy to get them ready!

The truth is, they don’t care what they wear. This makes it incredibly easy for them to get ready each morning. They just throw on a shirt and shorts and they are ready to go.

Getting them out the door is like pulling teeth.

Although it takes them about 5 minutes to get dressed, brush their teeth, and get their shoes on, it takes them for.ev.er. to actually get out the door. There are always a 101 little things that they need to stuff in their pockets before heading out the door (this is where we go back to the legos, bey blades, and hot wheels!), because you never know when they might get bored!

It’s fun being the only girl.

Yes, I am outnumbered when deciding which movie to watch or which game to play, but it is nice being the only one interested in buying makeup, because it saves us money. Also, when we go out I usually have the door held for me and when playing make believe when the boys were little, they always would ask me to be the princess! Plus when it is my turn to choose the movie or pick what we do, it always feels special knowing that they are going along because they love mom.

I have a ton of animals.

More than I ever imagined we would. I always thought we would have a dog. I never would have guessed we would have a hamster, a bunny, two dogs, eight chickens, and a cockatiel on the way!

We have deep talks.

I know that the thought process for me, before having children, was that moms and daughters have these wonderful moments where they talk and bond and grow close, like I have with my mom. I didn’t realize that moms of boys had this too! Now that the boys are getting older, they come to me, ask me questions, and they want to share things with me that I wasn’t sure they would. We are so close and I love that!

My heart is incredibly full.

When I look at these three incredible little boys God has blessed us with, my heart is so full it could burst. I love hearing them laugh and giggle, I love watching them run around and play outside, I love to watch them create things, I love seeing how compassionate and kind they are. Being the mom of boys is so much more than than I could have ever imagined or asked for and I could not be more thankful!

Chickens…Never Say Never!!!

CHICKENS…Never Say Never

OK, so for those of you who don’t know, our family started raising chickens in January.  This was quite an astonishing event for our household, because I had said at least a hundred times that I would never get chickens…

I’m noticing a reoccurring theme here.  I should really learn to stop saying the word “never” (read about another time I said I would never do something here)…

Anyway, getting chickens was just another item on my “I will never list”.  Then my precious 10 year old son Donovan watched a documentary on the egg industry.  Donovan is genuinely the most compassionate child you will ever meet and loves animals so very much.  He names every animals he meets and know more animal facts than anyone I have ever met.  Try walking through the zoo with this boy and you will learn the  most amazing things!  He came to me in tears about the terrible things he had watched.  It was from that moment I began buying insanely expensive eggs with the guarantee that they were raised humanely, and trust me, with 3 boys in the house we go through eggs like crazy!

One day Jerry said to me, You know, we could always get chickens”.  HAH!  He had been trying to get me to agree to chickens for quite some time at this point, but not to fear there was no way I was going to cave!

That night I decided to look at some chickens just to reinforce my opinion that getting chickens was one of the worst ideas ever. (Am I the only person to ever Google why not to get chickens?)  So here I am looking at these chickens, reading about how much people loved them, when I stumbled on a certain type called Silkies. These adorable chickens were described as the teddy bear of chickens and I was in love!  In the end, we ended up with 4  Silkies (we also have 3 Easter Eggers and 1 Lavender Orpington…which is another story for another day!). Smokey, Dash, Sugar, and Paddington are all part of the family now, and Cloudy, Dazzle, Sunny, and Cordoroy followed behind them.  We built the most gorgeous chicken coop I have ever seen and now spend our free time tending to our 8 chickens.  The crazy part is that I love them!

By the way, I’m still buying crazy expensive eggs as they have not begun laying yet and we just recently learned that Smokey (named after our favorite vacation spot) will never lay eggs, but we love him anyway…he has the cutest roo!  I am pretty sure Sugar may begin to roo soon too, and I’m not honestly sure how that’s going to work out, but we’ll take it one day at a time.

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.