The Bright Side

Is there a bright side? The world is in a state like no other. What’s worse is the amount of people not taking it seriously. Despite the madness that has ensued over these past weeks I have managed to find some positives.

I had to step outside of my pessimisim and look around with new eyes. For some this mess has resulted in more time with family. Others have taken advantage of all the new offerings online. Services you may have never considered are being offered online at no cost.

And let’s not forget about the environment. In areas where people are actually staying in, the earth is healing itself. Wildlife is returning. Smog is clearing. A few weeks without humans and we have cleaner water and air. 

On the other hand, there is a need for advocacy.  No one should be bored right now.  There’s too much to be done.  Be on the look out for areas where you can help a neighbor.  Think of those that are most vulnerable. Think of those that are forced to quarantine in a home with an abuser.  Think of those that are alone and disabled.  This is an opportunity to be a voice for the voiceless. 

I applaud all of the people who have started new services to assist the needy.  In the past weeks I have seen an influx of petitions being created to evoke change.  During this time I encourage everyone to continue to think beyond themselves.  Some people are fortunate to be minimally affected by current events but they’re not complacent.  They are donating, creating, and advocating all for the benefit of others.  So you tell me, is there a bright side?

Things To Do Besides Panic

COVID-19 is everywhere. With it comes panic, anxiety, and uncertainty. I am not exempt from any of these feelings.  With that being said, I need a break.  With no clear end in sight I searched out some ways to make good use of quarantine.

– Learn a new skill.

Take a free online course.  There are plenty to choose from. https://www.classcentral.com/collection/ivy-league-moocs

– Hone your art.

Use this time to write, draw, paint, rehearse.

– Go on virtual tours.

The Louvre is one of many museums offering virtual tours.  https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne

– Work on that home project you have been putting off.

This is the perfect time to clean out closets and drawers.  It may not be fun but it will be satisfying once done.

– Journal

Write your thoughts and move on.  Journaling is always therapeutic but especially at times like these.

I certainly don’t recommend taking this pandemic lightly.  At the same time, there is only so much individuals can do.  Follow the instructions of healthcare professionals and obey temporary mandates put in place to halt the spread.

I Let Light in and I Feel Much Better

I live with anxiety and depression all year long; however, it hits the hardest December through February. It could be the cold climate or the fact that the sun goes down by 5:30.  Either way it makes basic tasks near impossible to complete.  After a few near nervous breakdowns yesterday, I sat and thought about the triggers.  For me; cold, darkness, and clutter top my list.  Since I am the only one in my household with this condition.  It is important to communicate what I am feeling.  It is not always well received initially but is still necessary.

When you tell your family that clutter contributes to your depression it could sound like an attack.  Choose your words carefully so your loved ones are less likely to go on the defense and more likely to consider small ways they can help.  Sharing my feelings and experiences was my first step.  Even if you live alone, telling your loved ones can help.  It may help them understand why you may seem distant.

I discovered that I was causing part of the problem.  I had room darkening window treatments in my bedroom.  I took them down and even though the sun was not shining, the change let in light.  I felt my mood changing almost immediately.  Now all my window treatments are white or semi sheer.  It’s only day two but I can say getting out of the bed was not daunting as it was the day before.  I opened my eyes and smiled at my surroundings this morning.

I don’t have control over the weather.  However, making my home as comfortable as possible equips me to go out and face it more positively.  Even if the only thing getting me through the day is knowing my comfort zone is waiting for me to return, that is a start.  I am taking it one day at a time.  Today I feel great.

Cooking is Therapy

This morning was a tough one. I was not in control when I woke up. Anxiety was ruling me. I don’t know why. I usually can identify my triggers but not today. I woke up anxious. The thought of getting out of bed and leaving the house had me panicked. Fighting against it had me exhausted.

After maybe a half hour of trying to reason with myself, I concluded I just wasn’t ready. Fortunately today was not a day when I had to force it. I had some leeway.  I took it. I went back to sleep.  I just took a brief nap, less than an hour.  Then I started my day.  It would be a day of routine errands, nothing too heavy.

While I was out I felt that cloud of anxiety creeping over me again.  First at the bank.  Then at a few more of my stops.  When I arrived back home I was discombobulated.  I found myself walking from room to room for no reason.  I eventually sat myself down.  I went over my to do list and saw that I was done.  I sat and ate quietly.  Then I went into the kitchen for therapy.

I made baked glazed donuts for the first time.  The task took me roughly ninety minutes.  It was a quiet and calming ninety minutes.  As I prepped, measured, and mixed I felt at peace.  This is all I need; quiet and my kitchen.

How do you cope with anxiety?

Wanna Get Away?

I’m one of those people that benefit greatly from an occasional change of scenery. My problem is when I need it the most it seems to be out of reach. I go through periods when I have no days off. It leaves me exhausted and longing for a vacation. Where could I possibly go if I only have one day off a month?

In my experience being self employed in my line of work is so much more stressful than working in corporate. However, when I weigh everything the rewards make it worth those stressful periods. If given a choice I would not go back.  I’ll take several contracts with no days off to offset the times where no offers are on the table. It seems logical that I would use that time period to recharge and take a vacation. Sometimes I do. Other times I don’t in fear that I’ll get an offer while I’m gone.

So now there are two issues. I either barely have a day off which doesn’t allow time for a vacation or I have weeks off and am afraid to leave town. I have found staycations to be the solution. I can spend just one night away from home. I don’t miss any opportunities. I get the much needed change of scenery and usually I return home refreshed.

You may be thinking there’s nowhere to go in your home town. Look closer. Check out your towns tourism guide. You may discover a new place to stay or rediscover a place you have forgotten. I just came back from a night just over my state line. The drive was under 60 miles. I got to experience the shopping, dining, and hotel hospitality. It was just one night but it was enough. I’m in a good head space to return to work. I’m already looking forward  to my next escape.

More to Come

It has been a while since my last post.  I have been keeping quite busy but still wanted to check in.  I am fine and well. Many things  are in the works for what I hope will be an exciting new year.  I prefer not to share what is coming.  Instead I will share some of what has been keeping me away.

I have been fortunate to be quite busy with my brand ambassador and promo work.  I have also gotten plenty of audition opportunities lately for which I am so grateful.  I have even expanded my online selling to some degree.  The last few weeks have been literally no days off.  I am exhausted but mostly I am grateful.

I am grateful for friends and strangers that have offered their support.  I am overjoyed to be surrounded by people, women mostly, that are genuinely happy for me.  There is no competition, no jealousy.  It is all love and support.  I am grateful for all that take the time to visit my page and leave comments; private or public.

It is my hope to be able to reveal all that has been in the works by January 2020.  In the meanwhile I just want to say, thank you.  I appreciate you.  Your support continues to motivate me.

Always grateful

 

 

I Was Wrong

“I was wrong.”  For some those are the hardest three words to say, but why? I strongly believe admitting when you are wrong is essential to personal growth.  It is also a marker of ones self awareness.   No one person is always right.  That is human; and it is okay.  The problem only arises when we realize the wrong and cling tight to it despite knowing.  We have all said the wrong thing or made the wrong decision be it intentional or not.

Pride can be a double edged sword.  Remembering that helps.  I admit that I continue to be a work in progress.  I believe I have made improvements.  The people closest to me though may say different.  I am trying to take the time to step out of situations and see them from different angles.  I know I push self care and perseverance.  At the same time self care should not push consideration for others out the door.  There is a balance.

It is a process as is everything.  Changes generally are not made overnight.  It doesn’t happen that quickly; however the decision to improve can be made in an instant.  It is not a straight path.  At times you will fall short.  I have.  What is most important is admitting it and moving forward.  I was wrong.  I will likely be wrong again.  When I am, I will acknowledge my wrong, acknowledge people that may have been affected, and move forward in growth.  This may require examining the entire situation.  In other instances it may be necessary to leave the whole incident in the past.  Knowing the difference is another topic entirely.

No matter how independent you may be it is important to not rely solely upon your own understanding.  Seek out a reliable “mirror.”  I use mirror to describe any reflection of myself or in this case yourself.  You may see yourself from another point of view by using your “mirror.”  This could be a close friend, a relative, a spiritual guide, etc.  For me it is typically my partner or prayers answered in other forms.  Just be willing to see yourself as others see you.  Be willing to see when it is necessary to say those three words.  Try not to say them begrudgingly but out of a place of sincerity and grow.

August Already?!?

Where did the year go? Wasn’t it just January yesterday? That’s how I feel.  I’ll wake up tomorrow and everyone around me will be playing Christmas songs.  Slow down! Did your year move fast too? Since we’re already into the last half of 2019, I thought I would take a moment to look back on what I have accomplished this year.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like much being that January was just yesterday.  Still let me take a look back.  In January I was able to shoot two commercials before eloping, honeymooning, and then heading to Superbowl Live for a ten day gig.  That was a busy month.

February moved in slow motion.  It’s the shortest month of the year but it felt like the longest.  March through July were basically one month.  Though during that time I was able to add a few more clients to my promo resume and meet some wonderful people at tradeshows.  I ran into some of my favorite artists/actors while working background and going to auditions.  I was even able to sneak two more getaways in.

Now that I’m looking back I see I have actually made some moves this year and I am adding to my calendar every day.  I woke up feeling somewhat defeated by time but that was the wrong attitude.  That’s something else I have been working on this year, perspective.  Someone told me I should approach tasks with the perspective of “I get to” instead of “I have to.” It’s a way to find positives in things I otherwise wouldn’t.  I could easily focus on things that went awry but that does not benefit me.  In fact, it harms me. Instead I choose to shift my focus elsewhere.

That’s how I plan to spend the rest of the year, focusing on the positive.  Whether the rest of this year flies by or drags on I will make it my goal to find good in each day.  Some days may be a challenge but I happily accept that challenge.  I am so looking forward to what is ahead waiting for me.  May you spend the rest of the year getting to do things that you love.

Tips for Travel Planning

Travel is rewarding but the planning can sometimes be a headache; especially if you are planning for a group. I have a few vacation planning tips that make my travel planning experience a pleasant one.

  1. If you know where you want to go, start planning early.  You don’t have to book early but start comparing pricing.  You’ll notice patterns.  Historically, I have found the best airline pricing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  If you don’t have a destination in mind and just want to get away, you can save big on last minute bundles.  Nearly every travel site has last minute deals.
  2. If you’re not yet ready to book, do your searching in an incognito tab.  When sites collect cookies they also adjust prices on what you’re searching.  Using the incognito tab will help you avoid price hikes.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for extras, free extras.  I have gotten my hotel upgraded from a King to a Suite just by asking.  If you are checking in and there are upgraded rooms available, the hotel isn’t losing anything.  I have done the same with late checkout requests. Just ask.  While you’re at it ask for car rental upgrades and flight upgrades as well.  The worst that can happen is they’ll say “no.”
  4. Make a packing list.  While most hotels will have anything you forget, it’s best to just have it in the first place.
  5. Take pictures of your passport and any other important documents and email them to yourself.  If these items are lost or stolen, having those photos could save you.

 

Lastly, once you book relax and start your countdown.

 

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It’s June Ya’ll!

June has arrived and my smile could not be bigger.  This is the best time of the year to be in the Mid Atlantic.  With the sunny days, relief can be found from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  The sun is my serotonin.  I am filled with excitement at the thought of all the outdoor festivals ahead.  I can already smell the aroma of food trucks in the air and hear the live music.  Just the thought of it brings me joy.  Of course, it’s not all good.  Warm weather comes with some negatives as well.  I choose to focus on the good.

For now, my focus is on all the positives.  I’m looking forward to long walks, beautiful landscaping, staycations, vacations, and flip flops.  Let the festivities begin!