Friday, April 28, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I missed Friday Favourites last week as I was so busy and trying to finish this post but I am back again this week!

Mental Illness in TV - with 13 Reasons Why on Netflix there has been a lot of talk about how mental illness was portrayed in it and how it wasn't a great example of it (I have yet to personally watch it but I have read the book which I have mixed feelings about). So I turn your attention back to this post with a broad list of TV Shows all of which show mental illness well and realistically. I have also updated it to include a few more recent shows. I highly recommend you read this list if you are after something else to watch after 13 Reasons Why that shows mental illness in a different light.

Kiss and Cry Movie - I mentioned this in a prior post but I am super excited to say it will be released on Netflix on May 1! It's from the same people who did FullOut which Megan and I love to watch, so I know it will be great. Check out the trailer below:
Brooklyn Nine Nine and Riverdale inspired buttons - I saw these at Comic-Con when I was there but they only had the badge back so I was thrilled when I could order these online with a magnet back. I love these so much and have a complete set of each. They are great quality and I wouldn't hesitate to buy more for gifts. I only hope a few more different TV shows are released (thinking The Office and The IT Crowd would be great!) because they have made my door frame more fun and I would love to have some more.

Disney Descendants 2 soundtrack - I loved the first movie and soundtrack, so I thrilled to be able pre-order Disney Descendants 2 soundtrack and listening to the songs that have been released. Its a great mix of tracks and its making me look forward to the movie when it comes out mid this year.

Unicorn Candle Holder - unicorns seem to be the in thing at the moment and a few weeks ago I couldn't resist purchasing this candle holder. It's super cute and best of all it will work with most birthday candles you get. I love how it adds a fun element to ordinary birthday cakes and I have received loads of compliments on it. The price may seem a bit steep but its really well made and I know it will be used a lot, I plan on breaking it out at every birthday possible.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Anxiety Day To Day

I recently had a comment on a past post asking how I manage my anxiety day to day so here is my
response. This was a long time in the works and I am warning you that it is very long! I thought about writing a 'day in the life post' but as my day's aren't really structured being unemployed and I do try to keep myself in a routine but its hard when I never know what a day will hold.
Firstly I have been diagnosed with anxiety for 11 year and been on medication for 10 (!) so its taken me a long time to get where I am today. My anxiety does fluctuate depending on what I have on and how busy my week is as a whole, so like everyone with a mental illness I can have good weeks and bad weeks (and good days and bad days).

Diet - I have noticed that what I eat does affect my anxiety levels. I aim to eat a high protein diet which really helps, I also do NO CAFFIENE which to some people is a big deal but for me having a diet coke (I used to be addicted to it) just isn't worth it when it makes my anxiety levels spike. I do have vices mainly in terms of chocolate (MandMs are a major addiction of mine!) and ice cream (if its not too cold out so in winter I rarely eat it) but being dairy intolerant means that I can never go too crazy.
Dinners are easy in terms that I just eat less carbs and we always make sure its loaded with vegies. I struggle with lunches a lot if I am at home but when I eat out I grab sushi, a bento box (but only eat half the rice) or Chinese (but loading up on vegies and other healthy options) . Breakfast is always a hard boiled egg which sounds so boring but it keeps me full and is healthy. Snacks can vary depending on what I am doing sometimes its a handful of almonds, other times its some chocolate or handful of MandMs (if I need a sugar fix), or some sweet and salty popcorn (seriously addictive but on the healthy side of snacks). I think if it was up to me I would just snack all day and not do lunch but snacking isn't always the healthiest option so I try to have decent meals to reduce it happening. I love to bake but I try to only bake when I need to (so for bible study, people coming over for dinner, going to a friends place ...) so I won't eat it all.
In terms of drinks I tend to stick to flavoured mineral water (like deep spring) when I am out, cold water and a mix of sparkling mineral water and diet lemonade when I am at home. I keep a couple of good metal water bottles in the fridge filled with water so I can grab a drink anytime (they are also Little Miss themed which makes drinking water fun). I also try to take a water bottle with me if I know I will be out for a long period of time.
I don't take any vitamin supplements but I do take fish oil tablets as more studies are showing that it helps with mental health and I do notice a difference when I take it (though I go through stages where I regularly take it and stages where I don't).
My diet is no where is near as perfect as I want it to be and lets be honest I probably eat way too much sugar but I am slowly making changes that are helping me long term.

Exercise - I don't play sports and I never will play sports, me and sports are not friends. So everyone's clear that I will never do sports unless I am forced to when I am in a life and death situation? My exercise consists of walking, I do some casual caring work 3 times a week and that involves a 30 minute walk. I have also just started walking for 30 minutes in the morning Monday - Friday, I set my alarm for 6.30am and leave the house at around 7.00am and just walk around the neighbourhood (I am lucky enough to live near a lake so I normally walk in that direction) while listening to my ipod. I also try and do sneaky exercise which is my way of making myself walk further without realising it- at shopping centres I try to park a good distance away from them which means I walk further, I will also walk long ways to stores if I have the time and I find certain chores burn calories too (like vacuuming, gardening etc.). I do find I sleep better if I do regular exercise, its just a matter of actually making myself do it.

Sleep - I aim for 10 hours but if I get 8 hours I am happy. I find if I read before bed I sleep a lot better and my quality of sleep increases. I can actually notice a difference in terms of the quality of sleep I get. I do notice a huge difference when I've had a few bad nights and it really makes my anxiety worse, so if it comes to it I will take something just so I can get a decent night's sleep and get my life back on track.

Down time - I am nor an introvert or extrovert it all depends on my anxiety and what has been going in my life at the time. Because of this I need to be aware of when I need down time and give myself a chance to recharge. Sometimes that means hanging out with friends other times it means taking time out for myself.  I also find that while I can function ok being physically exhausted if I am mentally exhausted I need to take time to recharge and make it a greater priority. An example is that a while ago I had to do a workshop for mentoring and by the end of it I was mentally exhausted as it was a
new situation with new people which made me feel on edge and wanting to hide so I ended up saying no to games night. Whereas the weekend before I was physically exhausted but still made an effort to go to games night.
I try to schedule in down time where possible and am aware that if I have anything where my anxiety levels will be high to schedule in more down time. I also make Sunday's my quiet day where possible, its just a day where I can unwind and relax with no pressure. I get up get dressed and just go with the flow which really helps me start the week on a good note.
Down time for me really varies on how I much need. I really enjoy reading so sometimes just being able to read my book for a bit really helps recharge my levels and face what's thrown at me, other times sitting down and watching a funny tv show (The Office, Friends, Greek, Baby Daddy, Brooklyn Nine, certain Degrassi episodes or Superstore are my goto's) or intense tv show (Saving Hope, Suits, Bones, Designated Survivor, certain Degrassi episodes or Riverdale are shows I really enjoy when I want to sit down and think about what's on tv) or if I have a huge block of time watching a movie (Adam Sandler's films always make me laugh) provide good escapes for me and I can just shut out the world. I also enjoy baking and doing something with my hands (like craft or painting) I can never just watch a tv show or movie so I often craft or bake while I am watching something which keeps my hands busy. I love to find a nice cafĂ© and read for a couple of hours if I am given the chance and its a little thing that makes a huge impact on me.

Fake it till you make it - even when my anxiety is really bad I still make an effort to get dressed, do my make up and look somewhat put together. This helps me feel good on the outside which helps me face the day. It doesn't matter if I am feeling full of anxiety on the inside, if I can present to others that I am functioning despite it all then some of it eventually translates to the inside! I am not one of those people who can stay in PJs all day so even when I feel sick I will get changed into comfy clothes, it just makes me feel good about myself.
Recently I have been trying to start the week on a good note by taking a bit of extra time and effort on Monday's and it's really been helping me feel good about myself. I am big believer that sometimes a pop of colour with a lipstick or eyeliner can make your day brighter and on the days when I wear a bright shade of lipstick I do feel happier and a bit more confident.

Setting myself a to do list - ever since I can remember I have always used lists and even now I find they are a great coping tool. I use a diary and write any major events that are happening and also list any plans I have for myself. This means I have a vauge idea of my weekly schedule and I feel happy knowing I won't forget anything. I also write down lists of what I need to do during the day and I find I get a sense of achievement ticking off the jobs as I complete them.

Volunteering - I have been a Youth Ambassador with ReachOut for almost 2 years and it's been a huge confidence boost and has helped me challenge my anxiety while also having great support. Being unemployed means it can be hard to have a purpose (so much value is put on our jobs) so being able to do ReachOut has really helped me feel like I am part of a team and gives me something to focus on. I also do mentoring at the local youth centre and am involved in my church (projector, kids church, helping at events etc.).

Psychologist appointments - if you read this article you will know that a few years ago I had to see a psych (where I was diagnosed with severe anxiety attacks which while similar to anxiety are actually a separate diagnosis) and its been one of the best decisions I have made for my anxiety! I see an amazing psych every few weeks and she has been priceless for helping me deal with my anxiety and getting through any tough patches. It's great to be able to have someone to talk through various issues and since seeing her I am able to recognise unhealthy thought patterns and help manage my anxiety better. I highly recommend seeing a psychologist (even if you don't have a mental illness) as it will help you understand your mind better.

I could go and on with this post as there are so many factors that affect my anxiety but I will stop while I am a head and will aim to do a few follow up posts as circumstances change (please pray I get a job soon!).
Everyone is different so what works for me may not work for you at the end of the day its all about realising your limits and working out what you need to do to stay on top of it.
I'm not going to pretend that I don't have bad days or days where I just want to hide but by doing the

above I do feel like I have a greater control on my anxiety. There are days when nothing is going right, I obsess over every little thing and can't switch my brain off from overthinking mode, so I just need to ride them out, go to bed and realise that tomorrow is a new day and it will be better. There are other days when I feel on top of the world and that I can handle whatever is thrown at. Then there are days when I just feel ok, when things could be better by they're not so I will just focus on the moment and not worry about what comes next. I am slowly teaching myself that if I can't control it, I shouldn't worry or obsess over it, at the end of the day God has a plan for my life and he knows what he's doing even if I don't.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

 It's Friday so that means that its time for another Friday Favourites in the past 2 weeks I have seen 2 equally amazing but very different movies so I couldn't resist doing a mini review of each and adding them to this weeks post. The job front is still super quiet so I would appreciate your continued prayers in that area.
Last week my family returned from being overseas so the house is now super loud and busy! Though it's nice to have them home, so I'm sure it's only a matter of time until I get used to them again haha.
Now onto Five Friday Favourites:

Power Rangers (movie) - the other week I saw this and my mind is still blown away from it! Its a great film
and I enjoyed every minute of it. The character chemistry is great and the special effects are really well done too. I wasn't a huge Power Rangers fan when I was younger but I did grow up with it on tv and like all 90's kids played it in the playground, I found it still captured the essence of it but added to it in ways that made it seem relevant. I highly recommend you go see it and I am hoping for a sequel.

Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B Jones - so I haven't read this yet but its on my list and looks like a great read. I LOVE Jenny B Jones and I reread her books at least once a year so I am thrilled to add this one to the pile.The blurb reads:
When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.
Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.
Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.
This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.
Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.
When I Realised That My Anxiety Medication Just Wasn't Enough (story on The Mighty) - this was complete surprise on Tuesday when I went to check my emails and found out that this article of mine was published. I wrote this one afternoon and the words just flowed, it gives a deeper look into my anxiety and the moment I first say my psychologist. A lot of people fail to realise that often medication just isn't enough when it comes to treating a mental illness and often you need a combination of therapies to get on top of it.

Dance Academy: The Movie - this show was a huge obession for me during high school and still is in my all time favourite tv shows list. I loved all the characters and I spent many days after school laughing, crying and holding my breath while watching it. This movie is based 18 months after the show ended and asks the question 'What do you do when you realise that what you have always dreamed of isn't what you really wanted?'. I loved reuniting with the old characters and it flowed nicely while also taking me on a rollercoaster of feelings much like the tv show did! I can just see myself curling up and watching the whole series back to back followed by the movie in the coming future (yes I am already counting down the days until it comes to DVD!). A great review of the movie is here and all 3 seasons of the show are currently streaming on ABC iView until the 1st of May.

Pandora Piglet Charm - I was never a huge fan of Disney Princess movies growing up, sure I watched them but lets be honest certain scenes scared me, so I tended to watch a lot of Winnie The Pooh instead. I always found myself drawn to piglet as he was always worrying about something but despite that was a loyal friend and when the time needed it he would get over his fears and do whatever he could to help. I have a small stuffed Piglet that still sits on my bed which I have had for many many years, I even dressed up as Piglet to a friends Disney themed 21st!
I later read somewhere that each of the Winnie The Pooh characters represented a different mental illness and Piglet's was anxiety (I have no idea how true this is) which explained why I related so much to him. Recently Pandora has been releasing some limited edition Disney charms and I always said if they released a Piglet version I would buy it, well the other week they finally released one! It was perfect timing as for once I had the spare money and just so happened to be going to a shopping centre where a Pandora was. I love this charm so much as not only does it mean so much to me, it is super cute and the detail is amazing (photos don't do it justice!).

Bonus video TV Show Theme Song Mashup - I couldn't resist including this clip as its hilarious - how many theme songs do you know?