May 2020 Series Finale…Self-care: physical and brain health~

It is a good day to complete this series of May 2020. In writing about my coping skills, I have been busy practicing them as I write. I have more motivation than ever to continue to improve on my daily routine, taking care of my spiritual, physical and brain health.

This whole series has been pretty much about self-care but there are a few areas left that I have not touched on and I am sure there will be more to come but I do hope some of you have benefited to at least a small degree of shift in the right direction for you. I still get stuck sometimes but am excited about the journey.

From being passively suicidal in 2018 till now my life has shifted dramatically. Part of the pressure is from above albeit gentle, but the real driving force behind my desire to be a more productive person has come from my husband. He is very pleased this month!

The benefits of self-care~

Physical:

Healthy eating is important because without food you won’t have energy for anything.  I guess any kind of eating in moderation is good but make sure to get plenty of protein and fiber.  I find if I am hungry I cannot focus so I eat every 2-3 hours mostly with an occasional large meal followed by fasting.  That is just what works for me.

I eat pretty much the same foods every day following WW blue plan and find myself full and satisfied and have lost 30 of 70 pounds I gained because of Risperdal.  Nonfat Greek plain yogurt with stevia and vanilla extract, eggs, beans (love chili), cheese (small amounts), tomato soup, beef, chicken and fruits and veggies are my main foods. 

Find what works for you but you may find that frequent meals throughout the day might help with energy levels and brain function.

Exercise!  Move your body each day possible and every day is possible!  It often improves ones mood, is good for the brain and will help us all to be in better shape.  A short or long walk, an arm workout, yoga, gardening, dancing, playing with kids or pets, cleaning, the list is endless.  Find what you like and then set it in your schedule and cross it off when you are done if that helps. 

I wear a Fitbit which helps track my steps and sleep. Daily, I aim for 5,000 steps and 7-8 hours of sleep.  Some days I will just lay on my yoga mat with a pillow and lay there a while in corpse pose and then do some simple stretching with my arms (I use 3 pound weights), and legs; I mix yoga with stretching and if I’m tired I just lay there.  I don’t judge how much exercise I get.  I just prefer to be active. 

Water drink it!  I have large Starbucks water cup next to me throughout the day and keep refilling it with ice cold water which is just how I like it.  You can tell from the color of your pee if you are getting enough, should be a pale yellow.

Me time!  Take some throughout the day!  Do something you enjoy as a reward.  Listen to your favorite music, take a bath with candles and lavender or ??? whatever is fun for you save it till you have completed your list however small or big, or better yet, do something fun or relaxing every time you complete a task.  Call a friend, pet your dog or cat extra and spoil them just because, sip some tea, google ideas for activities you might enjoy. 

The internet is awesome for anything you may be interested in to take things to the next level, start something new or getting ideas.  I’m still waiting for my peacock paint by numbers to come in the mail and I just started learning to play guitar with my adult son.  Life should be enjoyed so do the hard things first and then relax into your entertainment. 

Brain health:

Find a psychiatrist and therapist you can trust, keep looking if you don’t already have one. This is imperative.

Write down your appointments in two places if needed.  I use my phone and day planner and also get a reminder from them.  Especially now with tele-health being the only option where I live, it’s easy to forget so make sure you have some way of reminding yourself. 

Take your meds even if you feel well; the meds are why you feel well. If you are still hearing voices and having positive symptoms, try a different medicine. CureSZ founder (cure Schizophrenia) and my personal friend- Bethany Yeiser writes about her success with Clozapine for resistant Schizophrenia. CureSZ is also a great resource for anybody with Schizophrenia. It has treatment checklists plus more and you can sign up for their newsletter. Also if anyone reading this has a success story in recovery from Schizophrenia, contact Bethany Yeiser and she may feature your story in one of CureSZ newsletters!

Lastly, check in with your psychiatrist and loved ones if you need help with taking your meds or getting back on them.  I take mine at the same time every day so that helps.  I also use a pill organizer so I can tell I have taken them.  Whatever works best for you but for me just talking about it with my psychiatrist and brainstorming together has helped me find the right medication cocktail that works for me and helped me to develop a good routine so I don’t need anyone to remind me. I highly recommend supplements, too, to support your brain health as I wrote about here.

Conclusion:

I am learning to listen to my body, to rest when I am tired, to eat when I am hungry, to drink water, to work around my home and gardens when I can and to take care of myself first and then I can take care of others. 

It’s all about balance I am finding. I am also learning to be gentle with myself if I have a hard day and to not judge anything as bad or good.  It is what it is.  If I’m busy, I’m happier (written with a sigh) and if I don’t get much done one day or more, then I needed to rest.  No judgement.  Days come and they go, and tomorrow isn’t promised, so I will do the best I can today to take care of me.  I am not afraid to ask for help but am grateful that lately I haven’t needed as much as prior to this pandemic.  God speed…

Dedication~

Today is the feast of the Visitation of Mary and May is the month of Mary.  So in proper honor and respect, with all glory to God, I dedicate this May 2020 series to Mary, Queen of Heaven!  Always ready to lovingly take our prayers to Jesus. 

Stay tuned for June 2020 series, Caregiver support!

I can be reached at my private email at: victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com for any comments or questions. Please feel free to share this series with others! To access all the topics in this series, click here- May 2020 Series.

Pax

Victoria

How do I keep busy while I await….

I am currently at 100 mg of clozapine, and despite the tiredness I feel pretty good hopeful and keeping up with everything for the most part…

I have applied for a job which I might get…

But in the meantime I keep myself busy with light tasks and fun hobbies.

I make bath diy products, soap, hand sanitizer, lotion, bath bombs and use my quite nice collection of essential oils, which I have been collecting the last few months.

Lavender is my favorite for night or when I am chilling, jasmine and yiang yiang during the day hours.  I not only have an room diffuser but I also wear a necklace made of lava rocks which diffuse the oils too that I am enjoying.

I also garden when it is nicer and enjoy my flowers throughout the areas I have been working on.  I also just bought a windchime for the front.  Not windy right now though.

I busy myself also with making DIY Christmas decorations.  This year will be a sad year because my daughter isn’t coming home but will be here in January.  It is because of this that I am doing Christmas very different this year.  I sent a few important cards but not to everyone I usually send to.  Why is it that only at Christmas we remember certain people?

I have been celebrating Christmas for weeks now giving away the bath products I made and little well meaning gifts.  I enjoy giving.  IT’s fun to bless someone that isn’t expecting it.

I have much serenity these days as I adjust to my new medication.  Prayer is at the forefront of every day, and I see answered prayer among my day quite frequently.  I have candles burning for different requests.  One for my dad and mom, one for my daughter and a dear friend for their future spouses, one for Mike my husbands friend who tried to kill himself but didn’t succeed but is left in a poor state, one for all my family and loved ones.  To God do I burn these candles and trust my prayers are being heard by heaven!

I do not have much anxiety right now which is good.  I have so much love and joy and am experiencing these wonderful emotions while I wait for what I do not know what the future will bring.

I have a certain sadness because of my dad.  Hoping he makes it another Christmas…

Pax

Victoria

Quitting smoking, finances and art oh my:)

Good morning to all my readers!

It is a special day for me, will share more about this at the end.

I have quit smoking with a plan and am on day 5 with not one puff!  I am doing a little vaping at 3mg, my CBD oil which helps me to be more creative, and nicotine lozenges.  I am doing this not only for myself but for my children namely my son Dominic….

Finances are not good, but I have a plan for that too.  Applied for a retail job last night, think it might be enjoyable to work at a department store for 20-30 hours a week and still help my mom and visit my dad.  Need the money and the low pay won’t affect my permanent disability if I get it.  It has been one month since the hearing, with one to two months to go to get the verdict.  The lawyer made a strong argument in my favor why I can’t work gainfully.  I think I will win but until I know for sure it is a little nervewracking.

But I have been keeping busy with my collages, lately of loved ones for birthday cards and made a family heart shaped collage for me to look at when I want to smoke.  It really helps.  Have been making meditation cards for an upcoming show also, have about 20 so far with a goal to make 20 more.  I do this when my husband is watching tv and I sit at the kitchen table in the shared room and collage, cut and paste these beautiful pictures of anything and everything from butterflies to a mosque.  Lots of nature pictures too and peaceful images.  Don’t know what to sell them for as they cost nearly nothing to make.  Spent 18$ on a laminator and ten bucks on the sleeves.  Oh well, not in it for the money anyway.  If anyone wants me to make them one email me and I can custom make one for just cost of shipping 1$ or so…  victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com

So I am staying busy while I await the verdict… gardening some, sparking, walking, cleaning house, sanding cabinets to paint in the kitchen, and getting rid of anything that isn’t nailed down  ha ha.  Also been shopping quite a bit on Amazon, love their lightening deals.

Anxiety is managed at the moment and delusions have lessened again thanks be to God and Mary whose special feast day is today.  Our Lady of Sorrows pray for us!

Hope everyone is doing well too!

Pax

Victoria