How to Stay Positive Amidst the Pandemic.

If you have mental health challenges like myself or are feeling intense emotions from the recent Coronavirus events, here are some ways that have helped me cope personally. Retaining a positive mindset is important for keeping a level and rational mindset as well as nurturing our mental health.

1. Take social media breaks. You don’t need to delete your Facebook (unless you want to) but I recommend taking at least an hour away to give yourself a break from all the news, the socializing, etc. You’re not obligated to be perfect online or post anything. Not reading the news is okay if it’s too overwhelming. Obviously keep informed on how you can keep yourself safe but taking a break will not hinder your ability to do this. We all require some reset time. The internet is basically a sensory overload nightmare right now. Give yourself a break.

2. Practice gratitude. This is a real challenge right now as our normal way of life is altered. For some of us, the changes are dramatic and there are reminders of this everywhere. But amidst the chaos, it’s vital to take a moment to realize there is always something to be grateful for. Even if it’s extremely simple. Example from my list this morning; I drank a glass of water with breakfast to keep hydrated. Gratitude doesn’t have to be complex. I try to list at least 3 things I am grateful for.

3. Validate your feelings. This is so so important and while it may seem contradictory to expressing gratitude, acknowledging your emotions actually better enables you to find things you’re grateful for. When your thoughts are swamped by trying to keep emotions in check or just from feeling in general, noticing positives is exceptionally hard. Your feelings are valid. Express them. You can do this via a journal, a trusted loved one, a therapist, or whatever means helps you. If you can’t see your therapist in person, inquire about phone sessions or ask if you may email them. My counselor and I exchange emails to ensure my treatment plan is going well or to discuss obstacles. If you’re feeling an emotion, it deserves your attention, no matter how silly it may seem. If it hurts, it hurts. It does not matter “who has it worse.” As I’ve mentioned before, pain is not a competition. Someone who drowns in two inches of water is just as dead as someone who drowns in six feet. Take care of yourself.

4. Find fun activities you can do indoors. Try a new hobby. This is an opportunity to get creative. Yesterday, I built my daughter a box fort. You can create art with nearly anything, even your phone. There are coloring apps. You can write thoughts on notepads on your phone. It doesn’t have to be a stereotypical artistic outlet either. You could try video games, make a game of cleaning, arm wrestle your cat (just kidding,) watch a new movie or show, do a puzzle, start a workout routine that you can do from your living room, build a blanket or box fort, etc. Whatever suits your interests and let’s you have FUN. Fun is FUNdamental for a healthy brain. You can be concerned about what’s going on and still find your joy too.

5. Be proactive in any way you can, both for yourself and for others. Take your vitamins, drink your water, keep your self sane. Look into how you can help your community as well, if you’re able. Right now this mostly entails social distancing. You can also not hoard all the freaking toilet paper the shelves have to offer. You could donate items you don’t need to those who might need them. Practice good hygiene. Stay safe as best as you can!

As always, thanks for reading!

With love,

Jessica ♡

Self Care Ideas During Quarantine!

I have been riding the struggle bus being trapped at home, not gonna lie. It’s not even that I do a whole lot normally; it’s that the option isn’t there. Here are some ideas to occupy yourself during these troubling times.

1. An obvious one is to try and indulge in a new show or some new movies. Try a genre you wouldn’t normally entertain. Watch a kids movie to feed your nostalgia. Whatever you need to do to keep your brain occupied.

2. Read a book. You can do this from your phone or other devices or, you know, an actual book is cool too. I personally prefer the feel of physically holding a book and being able to turn the pages.

3. Get artsy. Color, draw, write a poem, paint, anything that is engaging and unleashes your creative side. You do not have to be “good” at art to enjoy it. That’s the whole purpose of art. Make it your own.

4. Pamper yourself. Take a warm bath. Do a face mask. Paint your nails. Do your makeup. Something that helps you feel more put together or clean or just more confident.

5. Tackle a nagging household chore. If there was ever a good time to clean, it’s now. Being held up in a messy house is not a great feeling. Might as well use some of that restlessness to make your environment yours!

6. See how you can help your community. A friend of mine is writing cards out with her son to a nursing home to bring them joy during these restricted times. I’ve seen others donating supplies.

7. Try a new recipe. There are apps out there that let you enter in the ingredients you have on hand that will give you a recipe based on those ingredients. You’re fed and you try something new!

8. Video chat with someone. This will enable you to feel more connected with the outside world. Social isolation can be killer to deal with but knowing there are ways to see and hear our loved ones can help.

9. Try phone therapy. If available to you and if you are struggling, I recommend finding a therapist that can help you either over video chats or phone calls. There’s no shame in needing help through challenges.

10. If you are in crisis, take care of yourself immediately by contacting 911 or the suicide hotline. Let’s be real, everything going right now is scary and many of us are struggling. Please make your safety a priority.

As always, thanks for reading!

With love,

Jessica ♡

Tips for the Lowest of Lows When Depressed.

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”- Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter.

If you battle depression, you understand how even the smallest tasks become arduous challenges. These tips are for when you hit that particular low where it seems there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s how to see the light again.

1. If you’ve neglected your hygiene, use baby wipes or face wipes to clean up old makeup or smelly bits. Any effort is better than none and feeling cleaner will likely boost your mood.

2. Do some stretching, even if it’s in bed. If you’re up for it, take a short walk to get some endorphins. Productivity on any level can help.

3. Keep snacks on hand. If you’re in bed, keep some granola bars or a snack of your choice nearby. Your body needs food. Punishing yourself by starving will only exacerbate your low. It also helps to keep easy meals on hand. Ones that you can microwave or are premade. I aim for healthier choices, it helps me feel better, but eating anything is more important than not eating at all.

4. Force yourself to do one thing you don’t want to do each day. I’ll be honest, I do not want to blog today. I am dealing with some massive stressors and all I want to do is lie in bed and do nothing. I can say however that doing my writing is helping. This can be whatever you want but please aim for either a nagging chore or something that would normally bring you joy.

5. Give yourself a time limit. In this time, be as sad as you want. Just fucking cry and let it all out. But after your 15, 20, 30 minutes are up, do something to ensure you don’t remain in that place. I’ve found a lot of my depression stems from refusal to release my emotions. Bottling up pain doesn’t make it vanish; it simply makes it so that when something causes it to bubble over, its explosive. Like when you shake a soda. Releasing your emotions is healthy and should be encouraged.

6. Get out of your head. On the opposite end, sometimes we’ve already been in our head too long. Keep a journal or coloring book nearby to offer distraction. I like journals with prompts so I can still be creative but avoid writer’s block.

7. If you are in crisis, immediately seek help. This isn’t shameful, you’re not a burden, and your life matters. Call 911 or your local non emergency number. Or text hopeline at 741741. They will help you through it.

As always, thanks for reading. Like or subscribe if you wish!

With love,

Jessica ♡

What to do if Your Life Sucks.

Be honest, how happy are you in life right now? Do you often feel cheated by life? Or like it’s completely unfair? Are you stuck? Does life straight up suck? If you feel this way, here’s some things to do.

1. Be accountable. Your life is YOURS. No one else’s; yours. It is your sole responsibility to manage it and your choices that affect it. The first step toward improvement is accepting accountability.

2. Evaluate. Jot down the areas of your life that could use some TLC. Truly write down everything that needs improvement and ask yourself, what could I do about these things? While some circumstances are out of our control, our responses and perceptions are not.

3. Make plausible plans to change. Write down what you could do to better your life. Writing it down solidifies your plan in your brain and can be used as a reference tool if you fall off track.

4. Stop people pleasing immediately. Does your Mom, Dad, etc, have to live your life? Absolutely not. Not even your children have to live your life. Obviously with certain things it’s important to consider the feelings of others, but if your life decisions center around “What will my parents think?” it’s time for some change. Before making any choice, big or small, ask yourself; Am I doing this because I truly want to or because someone was adamant I had to?

5. Cut out any person that doesn’t contribute to your happiness and productivity. Energy vampires are simply not worth it. It doesn’t make them inherently bad people, they’re just not right for you. They will hinder your progress, rest assured. We only get one shot at life, do you want to dedicate yourself to meeting unrealistic expectations placed on you from others or meet your own?

6. Find your joy again. Do something each day, no matter how small, that is entirely for you. Get up early if you need to. Write again. Draw or paint again. Take a bath. Do a face mask. Explore a new hobby you’ve always wanted to give a shot. Whatever you do, do it for YOU.

7. Forgive yourself. Truly try to understand that you’re human and mistakes are an inevitable part of the process. Mistakes indicate you’re trying or at the very least serve as learning opportunities. It’s okay to have fucked up and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just be sure to take away valuable insight from these experiences.

8. Discard invaluable opinions of others. This accompanies the people pleasing mentioned earlier, but it’s vital to understand that you’re the only person who has to walk in your shoes. Let’s be real, hearing repeated criticism, well intended or not, wears a person down. It hurts. But there are so many people in our lives who want to have a say; what about what YOU want? Do you think anyone who’s been successful let the opinions of others stop them? Absolutely not, this is why they were successful. It’s much easier and more practical to appease one person (yourself) as opposed to multiple people.

9. Understand perfection isn’t real. That insanely fit girl you follow on instagram? She has problems too. That millionaire you recently heard about? Guess what? Problems too. No one is immune from stress that comes with life. No one is perfect, no matter what their social media or demeanor may imply. Be okay with being imperfect. Imperfection doesn’t equate not worthy, not beautiful, or not amazing.

10. Give yourself some damn credit. Life is not simple. You’re doing your best! That alone is something to be proud of. And if you’re reading this, that’s already indicative that you want to improve. Give yourself a pat on the back, hype up your friggin self, and keep on forward. You got this, I promise.

As always, thanks for reading and like or subscribe if you wish!

With love,

Jessica ♡

Types of People to Weed Out of Your Life.

There’s no denying some weeds that grow in our gardens are pretty; some even serve a purpose beyond aesthetics. Dandelions for example are beneficial to bees. However, this doesn’t grant them all access to our garden. We need to tend to ourself first to ensure we can grow and flourish. Life is far too short to let someone invade the way weeds do. Let’s weed our gardens!

1. The Takeover Weeds- These are the type of people who will use you up completely. They will drain you of your resources to help promote their own growth. Has someone exhausted you mentally with their problems? Is this person almost like a clingy significant other? That’s because they are exceptionally selfish. They do not care about your needs, only their own, and they will try to choke your blossoms out to get what you have. They require constant contact, endless favors, everything is about them, and they will grow all over you. Remove this weed and take your life back.

2. The Slow-Your-Growth Weeds- This is the type of person you hear is “going no where.” They have no solid goals or aspirations and they don’t want any. They also usually see no need to improve themselves in any area of their life. Hanging around this type of person can literally slow your growth. We tend to emulate who we are around most. If you’re regularly around someone who does nothing, don’t expect support or understanding when you want to do something. Remove this weed and watch your goals come to light.

3. The Sneaky Weeds- These are the people that you’re not able to put your finger on it, but something about them just isn’t right for you. Maybe they give back handed compliments. Or they seem to be rooting for you only to end up not. They are often two faced and discuss everyone’s business behind their back. Either way, these weeds are dangerous. They do not have your best interest at heart, especially if they resort to regular subtle put downs. If their discussions about others go beyond venting and are malicious or amused in nature, let this weed grow somewhere else because they’re doing the same to you.

4. The Poisonous Weed- This is the weed from Hell. They are toxic, difficult to remove, and retaliate when you try to remove them. This weed can also be abusive. They come off charming and delightful in the beginning, but listen to your gut when considering planting your seeds near them. This is the person who expects you to do everything they need without ever reciprocating. They will use you, consume your water supply, and leave you for dead. These are often the narcissistic people in our lives. The poisonous weed boasts its beauty, has the most fragile ego, and is wildly manipulative. If you tread on their ego, they will ensure you pay. Burn any paths that lead to this weed and see how quickly your roots are free to spread.

These descriptions do not apply to friends that you have yet to talk to about an issue. It’s your responsibility to speak up if someone is hurting you, as no one is a mind reader. Healthy friendships facilitate healthy communication. If you’re uncomfortable doing that with someone in particular? They’re probably a weed.

As always, thanks for reading and like or subscribe if you wish.

With love,

Jessica ♡

My Favorite Self Care Tips!

As a chronically ill person, self care is vital for me to retain my sense of self. Everyone benefits from self care however and I’d like to share my favorite tips.

1. Write about it. Journal your feelings. I find that this is low impact when my health acts up and often offers me an opportunity to gain some perspective on my stressful situations. Additionally, it allows me to vent in a safe environment- paper can’t judge you.

2. A classic, nice warm bath. This helps my sore body, helps maintain hygiene, is relaxing, and it smells great. You can add oils for aromatherapy per their instructions. I like lavender personally. I find it soothing. You can also add a bath bomb for vibrant tub water. Or, if you’re a perpetual child like myself, bubbles!

3. Light your favorite candle. Okay, I know this won’t miraculously resolve your problems but it’s the little things in life. Bath and Body Works has this candle that my friend as I described as “hot man smell,” and I loved it! Smells really can help you relax and sitting by a flickering flame is comforting. I like to accompany candle lighting with my bath.

4. Grab your favorite blanket and binge a show or watch a movie. This offers a cozy way to distract yourself for a while. Sometimes we aren’t ready to face our stressors or are too drained from them. This is where distraction comes in handy. It can enable us to get a break and reset. Walmart sells affordable fuzzy blankets!

5. Express gratitude. I do this through writing as it helps me to physically review what I am grateful for. I try to list at least three things. It can be anything from “I’m still breathing,” to “My bestie is awesome.”

6. Create something! Get artistic. If you’re a perfectionist like me but suck at art, get a coloring book. Amazon has some swear word ones that I enjoy. I can just color inside the lines instead of worrying about creating an entire piece. Otherwise, say fuck it and try something you don’t feel good at. You don’t need to be an exemplary artist to create something. It’s a wonderful distraction, relieves stress, and is productive all in one. I love painting! The gentle brush strokes are easy on my hands during flares, and there’s no right or wrong way to create.

7. Unplug for a while. Social media can be a massive source of stress. We are under scrutiny at all times, things are easily misinterpreted, and it can be addicting. Try going without your phone for a half hour when you wake up. This can help restore inner peace by not feeling obligated to engage with others for a while.

Self care is extremely customizable and incredibly important for your mental health. Do things that bring you joy or comfort. It’s vital to carve out some you time in this busy world.

As always, thanks for reading. Like this or subscribe if you desire!

With love,

Jessica ♡

Confusing Parts of Being Chronically Ill.

When you learn that you have a chronic illness, navigating life can be challenging. There’s POSSIBLY things you can do to help your condition and they may or may not help. You may improve, your symptoms may get worse. There’s no real way to know, most of the time. Here are the things I personally struggle with.

1. How much to tell people. Do I let people know the full extent of how unhealthy I am? Will they think I’m seeking attention? What if they pity me? I certainly am not out to seek attention and I DEFINITELY don’t want pity. So where do I draw the line between educating and also releasing some of this burden I bear and not bothering people? This is where I find online support groups super helpful. They’re teeming with people who get the struggle!

2. How long it’s acceptable to grieve. I personally go through the stages of grief regularly. This includes occasional acceptance. It’s difficult to NOT grieve your old, able bodied life. Many of us had jobs we had to quit or give up hours at. Many other chronically ill people I’ve talked to used to be quite active. A lot of us feel like we let others down. Not to mention, we are faced with new symptoms randomly appearing or flare ups that even further reduce our abilities. I have a really rough time accepting my new found limitations. What helps me cope is understanding my worth through other means, such as my writing.

3. When to push my body or rest. If I push my body harder than usual, I will inevitably pay for it. But some occasions require me to push beyond my limits. It’s a challenge to know when to make the exception. I make exceptions for big events, like weddings. Or if someone really needs my help. I just do my best to rest in the days that follow.

4. When to see a doctor for new symptoms or just move on. I frequent my doctor’s office, unfortunately. While my doctor is amazing, I’m sure neither of us want me there as often as I am. To this day, I’m unsure when to discuss a new symptom. You’d think you would always discuss a new symptom. However, when you’re regularly sick, they appear frequently. It’s simply not feasible to call the doctor every single time something new appears.

5. Weighing the benefits and risks of a new medication. Some life saving medications have awful side effects. Some improve our functionality but have other adverse affects. Weight gain or loss are common side effects we face. If you’re wildly underweight, it could be dangerous to take a med, even if it helps, that causes you to drop pounds.

What do you find confusing about being chronically ill?

As always, thanks for reading! Subscribe or like if you desire.

With love,

Jessica ♡

Being a Friend When You’re Chronically Ill.

As chronically sick people, we often hear about how people should be friends to us or how we have lost friends due to illness. While this is important, I think it’s important to acknowledge the other side of the coin; what is it like to befriend someone who is nearly always sick?

I know for me personally, I feel a lot of guilt over plan cancellations I may need to make or for lacking energy to physically see my friends regularly. I definitely can’t hangout with people for long time slots anymore and often times, I need to do low impact things like watch movies. Here’s some things that I felt helped me be a better friend despite my illnesses. Please note, this is not to make either side feel guilty; it is meant as ways to facilitate strong friendships, practice empathy, and promote communication.

1. I check in on my friends regularly. If we haven’t exchanged messages in a day or two, I send a message asking how they’re doing. I’ll ask about their day and ensure I’m asking about THEM. I try to make sure I don’t make the subject about myself for a while so my friends feel heard and get their own time slot.

2. I remind them they’re loved. Sometimes this is through a small gift, sometimes a simple message. I regularly aim to express my appreciation for my friends. They are my rocks. I like to order them small gifts online because if I’m really feeling yucky, I can have it sent straight to them. Of course, you don’t need to send your friend gifts or invest money to show them they are loved. Telling them regularly gets the point across too!

3. I tell them what I need from them. Open communication in any sort of relationship is vital. It makes sure both parties needs are met and enables growth. I also ask what they need from me. It can be hard to want to ask for things from a sick friend, I’ve been told. But I want to make sure my actions are not hurting my friends.

4. I try to NEVER make our stressors or pains a competition. All feelings are valid, period. Someone who drowns in an inch of water is just as dead as someone who drowns in six feet. I give my friends their time to talk about shitty things in their life. Because things can suck for people other than me. I sometimes get swallowed up by my pain and limitations and grow bitter but when my friends need me, I try to make it a point to be there for them too.

5. I take care of myself the best I can. This one may sound odd; how does this make me a better friend? “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” rings true here. If I’m not taken care of, I will not be as equipped to help others. And I wouldn’t want to build resentment toward my friends for stacking plates on top of mine, if mine is already too food laden. Plus, I don’t want them to feel responsible for my well being. That job is up to me. That doesn’t mean they can’t support me, but my life is ultimately my responsibility.

As always, thanks for reading! Give a like or subscribe to my blog if you desire for more content.

With love,

Jessica ♡

Why I Decided to Become More Eco Friendly.

I’ve talked about my illnesses the last few days so today I’d like to go a different direction! While I love raising awareness for health related issues, I also enjoy raising awareness for our planet! In a recent post, I explored a few products I’ve gotten to try and help reduce my plastic consumption. But why? What makes me want to make these changes? Allow me to explain!

1. People need clean water and so do animals. We, as of right now, only have this one planet to inhabit. And it’s in danger. Plastic is ending up inside our water, thus damaging ecosystems. Fish that are caught are turning up filled with plastic. So are other animals. As a result of pollution, according to a source I found (sited at the bottom of my page!) 2.4 billion people do not have access to clean water. That is disgusting and shameful that we’ve allowed this to happen. Small swaps can make a world of difference though- literally! Start helping our planet now, before it’s too late. Watch your plastic usage, use reusable bags, reusable whatever and wherever you can! I personally don’t want to live in a world where someone is going without clean water.

2. I like the idea of unifying people for an important cause. The more people working in conjunction to save the planet, the better. It’s a beautiful thing when people can put aside differences in the name of something important. I’ve recently followed a bunch of people on instagram who share my passion for this cause. I love doing something to help while connecting with others. Connect with people at your local farmer’s market to buy products locally. This helps reduce emissions needed for transport all while supporting small business!

3. I don’t want to see an end to beautiful forestry. There’s something so serene about a walk in the woods. More importantly, animals homes are there. I live in Wisconsin so I’ve been fortunate to grow up with forests far and wide. Lots of hiking potential in this state! Deforestation to keep up with our overpopulation is a problem. We keep clearing land to build more homes and produce more products. Deforestation leads to a decrease in oxygen levels and I’m sure you can gather what that means but if not, take a deep breath and thank your trees that you’re able to do that. This is why recycling and reusing as much as you can is important. The demand for new products could hurt your forests. And we all like to breathe, right?

4. There are benefits to your wallet for helping Earth. Energy saving lightbulbs reduce your electrical bill. Cutting back on water usage will, go figure, lower your water bill. A lot of earth friendly products are reusable so you only need to purchase them once. An example of this would be my reusable makeup wipes. Rather than tossing out a piece of bleached cotton everytime I wash my face, I can just use my makeup pads. They’re more effective and gentle on my face and I don’t need to purchase more chemically altered cotton pads!

5. I want to see a brighter future for our youth. Rather than giving our children a gargantuan mess to clean up, I want to give them the tools to continue doing well and preserve their home. I want to see them educated and living sustainable lifestyles. I don’t want them to be cleaning up my mistakes! I don’t want to have people reaching 18 in a panic because they’re not sure how to reverse our damage. Not if there’s something I can do to prevent that. Older generations are supposed to help guide and set up the younger generations so that they can become effective and productive adults in their own ways. Why would you NOT want to make something better for someone else when given the chance? Especially if it helps everyone?


With love,

Jessica ♡