Feel like you’re under water? Not even head above water, but under it?  Keeping track of news on all fronts and watching social media, a lot of you are right with me.  Over that past month we have been hit with curve balls dodge ball style.  The latest developments are experiencing new aspects to ghost child’s disorders and handling them.  We still have a bunch of children with ever expanding needs and change to their growth.  My husband was in a car accident that has developed increased anxiety (once managed) with migraines.  Redreignofterror pulled on my neck and pulled out a pre-existing condition that has taken over a month to be pain free and we are finally on the road to managing that. In our lifestyle readjustments we are starting to discover stable ground even among the rough days.

There is one technique we are using that is a common thread is all of this: Breathe! We are digging deep and finding those deep breaths In my early twenties I will be ever grateful to the professionals that linked me with biofeedback.  It started a path in realizing how nature can heal and modern medicine is more than pills for pain management. She was a professional who looked beyond the symptoms.  We discussed various aspect of my life to deal with the migraines and anxiety I had at the time.  The take aways for me was food as healers and the importance of breathe.  This has grown to a food relationship beyond just food and a journey to meditation.  Minus this neck deal recently, my migraines the past few years went from 25/30 days of pain to just a few a year.  It took time and trials but it was well worth the effort.  My husband is working on new habits with breathing techniques.  Our children, some more than others, are reminded to breathe.   Ghost child has taken to exploration in meditation.

Below is a basic breathing exercise with suggestions for individuality.  I am not affiliated with any company and have experimented with all options, if not use some of them daily.    Learning to control your breath and mind is an individualized journey with common threads.   Play around with it to find your niche.  It does take time and consistency.  You are learning a new habit.  In experimentation, give it a few days to see if its a good fit.   Time and commitment increase success and benefits. If you are frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed these can benefit you greatly.  It’s important to note that this is not a total sum treatment.  I take natural supplements and have sought professional help in the past.  My breathing and meditation is a continuation of management and healing.  My husband takes anxiety medication to level out chemical imbalances and has further medication for the really bad moments.  This is a growing practice to manage his anxiety plus daily medication.   If you feel like you cannot function in daily life or barely are, please seek professional help and ask about adding these to your treatments.

What does controlled breath actually do to your body? Immediately your body is taking in more oxygen which is great for concentration.  Your nervous system begins to get under control.  Regular practice increases these benefits.

The best benefit is that there is a lot ways to do this.

Techniques, Apps, & Ideas

There are lots of approaches to creating this habit.  Controlled breathing can look like guided imagery, meditation, breathing exercise/pranayama,  and more.  

These options were carefully chosen to keep it basic and simple.  

Four, Seven, Eight Breath

Breathe App

This is an app I have experimented with (not affiliated with) and liked it best among many.  It gives visuals to guide breathing and options to personalize your practice.  There are other apps and don’t be afraid to experiment.  

Headspace App and Website

Another app that offers areas of individual needs. There are a lot of apps out there but this is my favorite because of ease of use and personalization.

Insight Timer App and Website

The app is used almost daily on my phone.  If a lot of options overwhelm you then this may not be the best fit.  It’s versatility is a huge plus for me.  Most of the options are free, but there are courses on beginning meditation among many others.  I love the guided options, music options, nature sounds.  The timer was updated recently and I am hooked.  I can change sounds,  time, bells/chimes/bowls plus set intention of yoga, breathing, prayer, meditation, etc.  

 Meditation for the Distracted: How an ADHD Mom Declutters her Brain

This is a personal resource sharing how I found meditation obtainable with ADHD.  There a variety of reasons staying focused in breathing or meditation, this isn’t just for ADHD. 

Setting a breathing exercise routine or meditation habit can give relief in a stressful situation, provide clarity,  or a means to control your mind.  It’s helpful in the negative moments.  It’s better as a habit.

It starts with two simple steps: Inhale. Exhale.

Check out in the coming weeks.  Food relationship explorations have been happening and food as delicious healer ideas are to come!

 Breathe with me

Namaste 

Featured post

I want to say this sharing is because of recent events.  In honesty, these losses are indicative of a pervasive reality.  Mental illness is tucked in many corners of humanity, no one is immune.   In a little more than a week I am sharing the story behind my tattoo.  My story has much to do with my mental illness and my victory in my journey.  However, yesterday in the physical pain, fatigue, and mental frustration, I know all too well how quickly I could slip.  Therapy, chemical stability aid, inspiration, and reminders are necessary.  My tattoo is my permanent reminder.

IMG-0456

The largest part of my tattoo is a Lotus.  This flower is unlike many others, its survives in a wide range of temperatures and muddy waters.  I am a wife, mom, advocate, friend, artist, writer, sister, daughter.  Roles built over time and ones that I cherish.  With that I am a survivor of abuse and the social taboo it comes with.  I’ve been told that I shouldn’t share that part of my life because it would make others uncomfortable.  Then I became further isolated.  Anxiety and depression were the roller coasters of much of my life.  Panic attacks and withdrawn.  I felt voiceless.  I am a medical illness hurdle jumper with stumbles here and there.   I am an ADHDian.  It’s been a wide range in my life.  As a conqueror, I am not just blooming.  I am changing.  The butterfly right up on my shoulder symbolizes that crucial mindset of transformation.  I can and do choose to change how my past and current situations are used.  They do not wholly define me.  Written below all of this is 2 Corinthians 5:17.  Those are words I have held dear to for years.  Those words remind me that my Creator designed me for a great purpose and, like a lotus, my roots are deep to thrive despite the mud.  The act of creating is a process.  It takes time, effort, and there are mistakes.  Through the transformation and healing in mental illness, it is a similar process. My creation is flawed, but valuable all the same.

Here’s the thing.  There was a time the darkness was deep.  I didn’t believe in the value of my life and my silence festered the wounds.  It was baby steps, but I found that last shred of strength and sought help.  In the battle we need allies and professional ones.  If you are in that darkness, keep one foot in front of the other with hands out.  We need you.  There’s isn’t another you.  Seeking help isn’t weak, it’s boldness.  You have it in you.  To take it further, I have taken medication in the past to help me.  I found a natural path that works best for me.  It doesn’t matter the means: talking, breathing, medication, supplements, or do all of it.  Grab a hold of your life line.  My hope is that one day your story will become a tattoo, artwork, song, writing, oral story that will empower you and empower others.

Additionally, we need advocates.  Our perceptions on people with mental illness need to change. Perceptions on the illnesses themselves need to change.  The health care system needs to change.  Our interactions with each other needs change.  A simple start is giving grace, checking in with those around us, and be present.  Compassion and deeper connections are imperative.  Become aware of yourselves, others around you, and share resources for help. Be that shoulder.  Make that call.

As always, my soul honors your invaluable soul

Life Lines

National Suicide Hotline 

  • 1- 800- 273- 8255 Hotline
  • 1-800- 799- 4889 TTY Hotline
  • Suicide Prevention Website (online chat option and specific areas of help)

Crisis Text Line

  • Text Home to 741741

Domestic Violence

Sexual Assualt

Postpartum Support International

 

Health Foodie Seeking the Warm Fuzzies

I am a sensory nut. I need to see, smell, taste, and touch. Then, I birthed two sensory seeking, sensory repulsed people. When we love a taste, it’s on until we absolutely hate it. Except tacos. Never touch our blankets. Tag are out. If it’s too loud, forget it. What is that smell??!!! May I touch that? I probably should’ve asked before touching it. We are seekers of a sensory buzz.

Finding the warm fuzzies is a fairly universal desire for us human beings. Most often we do it unconsciously, being categorized as preference or like.  Some of us are more aware of sensory issues by living with exceptional needs. We are looking for the balance of avoidance versus those warm sensory fuzzies. But what if your awareness in positive sensory behavior could enhance your daily wellness? From mental acuity to de-stress plus possible weight help, social bonding, and more- our sensory endeavors have potential benefits for everyone.

Before we submerge our senses we need to precede with caution. If therapy or medical care is a part of your life or someone in your care, then these may help as “in addition too.” However, ask your professional first.

For your eyes seek bright or soft colors, which one depends on what you need

Most of us have a favorite color and there may be reasons as to why, it’s color psychology.   Companies use the study colors to know how to entice your consumer brain.  For the purpose here, it’s a tool that may help engage your brain and mental well being.   In the general sense, bright/warm colors stimulate your brain.  If you feel sluggish, pick one bright color you like and wear it.  If you love it, paint a room with it.  Or, less commitment option is to paint a piece of furniture.  On the other end, if your are stressed, over stimulated, etc then aim for wearing, obtaining, painting with cool/soft/pastel colors.  Even a light pink can soothe and brighten.   Work towards an array in your closet and mix them up in your living space, different days or hours call for different colors.

Seek soft, weighted, warm, or cool to touch

Feeling sore or stressed? Find warmth  in a blanket; in my case, multiple blankets. Texture is important so go with that “gut feeling.”   If you tend to heat easily then go light and soft.  Personally, it’s fleece.   Light compression can be calming.  A heavier, but not necessarily warmer blanket may be of benefit.  A quilt can have some weight or as I discovered recently in a Yin Yoga class, that a tightly woven blanket (“Mexican Blanket,” “Yoga Blanket”) has a fair amount of weight.  There are weighted blankets that can be pricey and a professional would be the one to tell you what weight ratio you need.  A quilt or woven blanket have some weight but not enough to require a consultation for most people.  Another inexpensive option to calm is simply taking a bath.  Water is therapeutic.  Hot water with the door locked and kids on the other side is life altering.  On the other end, being active in cool water can help workout those nerves and add to positive stimulation.   It’s a great option for joint problems and children with lots of energy.

When you need to hear it

If your auditory sense is seeking those chills there are a few simple options.  To calm the nerves, slower (classical, jazz, etc), sound of nature, white noise are ear massage options.  Listening to a guided meditation can be an option too.  If heavy or dull is the feeling then go upbeat.  Then add dancing or something similar too it.  Movement and music are a powerful combo.  Another way to uplift is finding or recording affirmations that are meaningful to you.  It repeats to become a memory.  You may replay that “track” later when it’s not available but needed.  

From a “pick me up” to chill out, sensory seeking can go a long way to help.  Look for part two in the near future.   Subscribe for your convenience.  We still need to address our olfactory sense and of course, food! 

Namaste in your warm fuzzy endeavors 

 

 

 

Seeking Warm Fuzzies Part Two

Certain senses will have more of an impact on your body and mind than others when in sensory seeking endeavors. For me it’s all about smell and food, naturally.

Smell it

My sense of smell is insane. When something is pleasant, it’s amazing. If it smell bad, it’s everything I have not to vomit.  Smell is powerful.  I’m ever grateful my children are potty trained.

Make use of the oil popularity.  A couple of days ago I was walking in a store and noticed a section dedicated to essential oils.  It’s not for parties anymore.  What you buy is important and needs to be a pure form.  However, the more readily available essential oils make scent seeking easier.  Rarely is an essential oil on it’s own safe.  For safety sake, mix oils and blends (more than one oil) in a carrier oil.  Grapeseed oil is my favorite choice but fractioned coconut, almond, jojoba oils all work too.  Putting these oils in a diffuser or a few drops in running water for a bath are excellent ways to disperse the scent quickly.  In a bath it will absorb in your skin for more potent results.  A few oils I blend with oil in a dark glass roller bottle.  A 10 mL bottle 80-85 % filled with carrier oil and few drops of each essential oil will do.  When needed, I roll the blend on the palms of my hands then rub hands together.  Then I cup my hands over my mouth and nose then breathe.  From hand to brain, it does the job.  Take this quick guide to a few essential oil options and make the most of your smell sense.

 

essential oils and benefitsBefore we leave the sense of smell there are a few incredibly simple ways to find the warm fuzzies.  It’s as simple as a memory.  Find your comforting scents from the fall arena to floral,  woodsy, coffee, or clean.  Whatever it is that promotes a positive moment past or now, have it on hand.

From Mouth to Brain

Food! Yay!   There is so much my mouth can do other than a sarcastic or off color comment.  From taste bud to texture to temperature, our oral senses can be an amazing way to find those fuzzies.

Like your sense of smell, your taste buds have memories too.  Feeling down or any similar emotion, comfort foods are not called comfort foods for nothing.  It’s okay to indulge in indulging every once and awhile.  Bring those memories to the plate, bowl, or cup to trigger happy moments.  I would encourage you to create new moments and invited friends and family in those culinary endeavors.  Your taste buds will associate with that gathering time for a powerful multi-sensory punch you can draw upon later.  Don’t let those comfort foods sabotage you.  If your comfort food involves high fats, over processed, too much sodium, and not enough nutrition- eating it more than a day within a week or two  it will back fire.  They impact your brain and emotions along with nervous system in dreadful ways.  Then your comfort food becomes your enemy.

When feeling heavy emotionally go for lighter meals.  Less or barely cooked.  Reduce your fats.  Your fats should primarily focus on monosaturated fat, polysaturated fat, and omega 3 fatty acids on a daily basis.  In food forms this is coconut oil, avocados, eggs, fish, nuts, nut butters to name a few.  These fats help you but take in just what you need.  Cool foods and drinks help wake up the brain.  So does caffeine, but too much can over work the nerves.  Careful, please.  Bitter and spicy tastes aid in uplifting and stimulating your nervous system and brain as well as crunchy foods.  An nut has great brain fats, crunchy plus with a spicy seasoning, it will be an alarm system to your senses.  A warm fuzzy of the jolting variety.

When finding it difficult to calm, anxiety, or an unsettling condition go the opposite direction.  Padded in a couple extra servings of the good fats.  Avocado, egg, and a high protein cheese is my breakfast.  I have difficulty waking up but quickly switch to jitter mode.  I need my nourishment to help out.  Warm foods and drinks soothe and give literal warm fuzzies.  Sweet in its appropriate forms lend a hand too.

Days and moments are varied and when finding those warm fuzzies use all your senses.  Thank you for waiting on part two and Namaste in your sensory seeking endeavors.

Please take a moment to subscribe to this blog, I greatly appreciate your engagement as we journey in the exceptional life.  Next week health foodie adds another tale to the relationship.

 

 

Check It Out

On the side bar is a Facebook icon.  This links to my facebook page.  Same name. Same me.  A bit more informal me.   Today I posted a quick meal idea.  Sometimes there are short notes.  A meme or two.  It’s our snap shot version.  Check it out and like to follow!

 

Namaste

chili lot

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

It’s about as Mexican as in you’re driving down the road hungry craving “Mexican” and you stop at some taco place. As much as I love cooking, there are times when I want something quick that stops just short of drive through. This is less sketchy and healthier- A “not a drive through- that satisfies my need for spiciness plus throw it in a pan” creation.

 

What you need

Pre cooked chicken diced

* cook it your self (1 lbs)  or buy rotisserie, packaged. No judgement zone

Brown Rice 1 dry cup cooked

* get the “it takes 5 minutes kind”

Diced Tomatoes   1 14.5 oz can

* no salt added, machinery may be involved

Corn 1 14.5 oz can, no salt added

Onions  1/2 cup diced

Cilantro 1 Tbsp

Garlic  2 Tbsp or 2 cloves diced

Cumin 2 Tbsp

Cayenne 2  Tbsp

Shredded Cheddar Cheese 4 oz, reduced fat

* separate into half – 2 oz and 2 oz

Reduced Fat Cream Cheese 8 oz

Turn oven on to 350 to preheat

Making it

Step one- get it prepped and together.  If your chicken isn’t cooked, cook it.  If your chicken needs to come off the bone, do it.  Cook your rice. Open your cans. Open your packages. Measure your stuff.

Step two- dump it all but 2 oz of cheese.  Then stir it together.

Step three- Sprinkle the remaining 2 oz of cheese on top

Step four- shove the dish in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 mins.

This can be vegetarian converted- replace chicken with two 14.5 oz cans of kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or a combo.

Namaste your hunger quickly

The Other Ghost Children When You Have a Ghost Child

We have been in a steady uphill push for the last few weeks.  The winter break is out temporary finish line and it’s a mad dash.  So much is poured into a child with special needs- from testing to doctor visits to therapies to extra work at home to extra work from us. Each experience is unique but “extra” is the common thread.  The “extra” is bearing down on us.

The past two Thursday mornings we have had the pleasure of company in the waiting room.  My fellow waiting room veteran mom and I are ecstatic to let our three year old boys impromptu play-date while getting to converse with an adult.  Yay! Today we dealt with the common thread of  the “others.”  We have at least three other children plus some transient bonuses.  Each week therapy is two hours by the time we travel and complete a session.   Two hours is a significant amount of time and we integrate/build in extra time during the week.  That’s just therapy.  There is time to teach, deal with melt downs, hugs, tackle problems, victory dances.  Not all time consumed is a challenge.  Our Ghost child can over shadow and make other ghost children.  How do we find a balance of one who needs more and all of our children’s needs?

One simple solution I found in the waiting room.  This was our time- Red and I.  That hour he had my attention and we read book after book after book.  It’s easy to check out because I am way over stretched.  There has been many times I have dropped whatever to listen to a cheer practice, listen about football, read a book, discuss legos.  Being mindful of opportunities that pop up then taking advantage of it helps them see their value while making the most of my precious energy.  Very precious, minute energy.

Opportunities may not pop up. In that case be intentional and it doesn’t have to be costly. Extra time in presence goes a long way for siblings- from reading, talking, playground, etc.  Simple is best and less taxing on everyone.  Build in whole family events too.  This is a great time of year for most towns and cities to have a variety of family bonding activities.

One thing I love about the center we are at is when a client celebrates a victory, the WHOLE family does too.  Including prizes and affirmations.  We all sacrifice and that needs to be recognized with attitude “we are in it together.”  When a ghost child celebrates, everyone has a stake in that victory.  Celebrate together.

Just as a growing family needs to communicate about a newborn, so does a family with a ghost child.  I have lost track of the talks with our older two about why there are different expectations and handling of things with ghost child.  Plus why it’s fair to be different. There is communication on how they can help their sibling ghost too. Like allowing extra swing time because it helps calm her.  They help with speech goals and using self regulation tools.   I have amazing kids. They are understanding most days and take to heart in helping her.  There are times it’s understandably much and they need grace in that too.  Age appropriate talks with siblings of a ghost child is imperative.  You must do this.

Hug and love on all your little loves and bonus loves.  You have a lot to give; please remember your pact as a caregiver to care for yourself.

Balance is possible most days and grace is necessary all days.

Namaste

Health Foodie: Taking A.M. Lightly

I have food infatuations. There are several items that are my staples, several in rotation, and an obsession of the moment. Egg plants and sweet potatoes have been it. At some point our relationship will cool a little and they will become part of the fridge stock.

Except salsa. We are always hot for each other. I love the substance of the sweet potato and avocado to fuel with the lightness of egg white and salsa.  It comes with a variety of nutrition which goes beyond the fuel. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals are a few things that fight disease, enhance bodily functions, and reduce aging. It is gluten free with “make it gluten options.”  An incredible balance to get us going.

A. M. Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes cooked and peeled
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  1. Mash sweet potatoes and flour together- start boiling water20180223_1019541067962792.jpg
  2. Spread out on a flour surface and shape a square
  3. Cut into 1 inch squares
  4. Place a few squares in boiled water- wait for it to float then let it ride the waves for about a min
  5. Pull out and let cool
  6. Continue for the rest of the squares

In picture it is topped with egg white, avocado, and pico.  Walnuts and raw honey would be a great option for a sweet tooth and omega brain boost.  Some whole fruit with yogurt or kefir is great. Tomatoes, oregano, chopped garlic, and chopped spinach are an amazing combo too.

Simple Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • One medium onion
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 table spoon of cilantro
  • Sea salt
  • 1 jalapeño dice
  1. Dice tomato and onion and jalapeño  then mix
  2. Squeeze in lemon or lime on mixture
  3. Stir in cilantro with add salt to taste

This is food satisfaction from the start that doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  The gnocchi recipe can be halved for a smaller amount or the full recipe offers leftovers for the next day.

Namaste and Start Your Day

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