Four Steps for Self Care

Now that I’ve gotten the business writing/sales pitch out of me, I can provide an update on my mental sanity.

Since I started seeing a therapist at the beginning of the year, I’ve learned to use several new coping techniques, most of which have helped me in the moment and slowed or stopped an anxiety attack. But they do nothing for the aftermath of the attack’s buildup or the perceived anxiety that is consistently flowing. As such, after prolonged periods of socializing, I’m beyond exhausted. I’m tired mentally, physically, and emotionally. Coping only does so much.

However, there are some small advantages to my ever-present anxiety. Sometimes I can harness it into productive anxiety and focus my energy into my crafting business. Or like today, for instance, I can use it to take care of mundane household tasks like changing sheets, catching up on shows, and making new posts. And while all of that still drains my energy, at least I have a sense of accomplishment afterwards.

With starting my own business, some of my other hobbies have taken a backseat. My  story writing was one of them, as was my reading list. I’ve been gaming here and there, mostly Zelda games that don’t require much of my time because I know them so well I don’t struggle with them anymore. Mostly when I need some self care, I find a quiet isolated corner and hide there for as long as I can until I’m ready to be around people again. That being said, here are a few things that I do to calm down and take care of myself.

1. Journaling. One of the best ways for me to calm down and manage my chaotic thoughts is simply to write them down, and my therapist would agree with me. In fact, she’s told me she wishes all her clients would take to journaling. In all fairness to her, though, not everyone enjoys writing the way I do so I understand if this isn’t right for everyone. What I find most helpful about journaling, though, is that it helps make whatever’s bothering me more tangible and thus, more manageable. Plus journaling doesn’t require any special items. Just some paper and something to write with. Even if you just jot down a repetitive thought on a Post-It note and throw it away, that can help bring your anxiety down.

2. Yoga and Meditation. As cliche as it might sound, yoga and meditation can slow the mind down. However, I believe that meditation can be done in multiple ways, not just sitting quietly and listening to your breathing. Meditation can be done during any activity you find pleasurable. It could be during a morning run, where all you focus on is putting one foot in front of the other, or what most consider traditional meditation, sitting quietly and breathing to quiet your thoughts. The reason I put yoga together with meditation is because that combination is what works for me. Whatever activity you choose to do, use that to focus only on the activity itself.

3. Take a Nap. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is rest. Find a dark quiet place, grab a cozy blanket and pillow, and lay down for 10 minutes. If you can only spare 5 minutes, then lay down for 5 minutes. You’ll feel refreshed and maybe even ready to take on one of your tasks.

4. Watch YouTube. Find some cute animal videos and watch them. Everyone loves watching puppies and kitties at play and they can calm you down. It’s a small thing, but it can make all the difference.

That’s it for now, but you can always check online for additional tips on self care. If you have your own care routine, kudos to you! I’m off to work on my own self care routine.

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Trials of Self Employment

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. As it turns out, starting and running your own business, even a small one, requires a lot of time, energy, and dedication, which has kept me beyond busy the past six months. Who knew, right?!

All joking aside, since my new work involves making plush toys, 80% of my time has been spent crocheting new dolls and fulfilling custom orders. The other 20% has been doing busy-work, like creating inventory lists, invoice trackers, expense spreadsheets, and trying to get set up on various sites like Etsy to be able to sell to more people. Which, for someone with little to no business/management experience, has been a challenge for sure. Even my sales skills could use a refresher, though after my first craft show, those skills did start to come back to me.

For those who are curious, my new little business is called Nerdvana Crafts, which can be found on Facebook here. Right now, I only have the Facebook page up and running, but with that page, future updates will be added.  Part of the reason for this is that I’ve been kept busy with custom orders for six months so I don’t have much inventory as of yet and thus didn’t have the necessary funds or products to be able to open up an Etsy shop. But now, my custom orders have taken a lull so I can focus on new inventory in order to set up shop.

If you’re interested in something, my repertoire consists of Disney princesses, Marvel superheroes, the cast of Frozen, Star Wars, and some Zelda characters, primarily Link in his different tunics and his fairy companions. I can also do custom people as well, as long as I’m given specific parameters: hair color/length, clothing styles and colors, and desired character size, to name a few. Feel free to email me at nerdvana.crafts.ls@gmail.com for a quote! I use cotton acrylic yarn, polyester fiberfill, and plastic safety eyes.

For more examples, please click here.

Looking to a Brighter Tomorrow

I apologize that it’s been so long since my last post. Chaos doesn’t even begin to describe the last couple months for me.

Tuesday was my last day at my job. I finally caved and quit. The past few days have been marvelously stress free and I have no regrets yet. I’ve been making more crocheted fairies and getting things done for the possibility of starting up my own crafting business called Nerdvana Crafts. So yes, I’ve been keeping busy, but there’s still a lot of work to be done in the next few weeks.

Job hunting is not exactly a fun task, but one that needs to be done. Having worked from home for the last five years, I’m eager to do something else from home. So far I’ve found a couple jobs that include freelance editing, writing, and data entry. I’ve also gotten a couple requests for crocheted projects, but as a starting entrepreneur, that probably won’t sustain me for very long, at least not until business starts picking up.

There is a publishing company looking for a freelance writer and editor to help authors with their works and I’m highly interested in this position because one, I’m also a writer and editor, and two, this could be my break into the publishing world and I’m eager to see where this could take me, if I get it. The only hitch is they want writing samples and links to live content and right now, this is my only blog and I would prefer to keep it private for my own sake. However, I do have another one that I abandoned a while ago that could possibly work for this. I’ll have to come up with some new posts for it and hope they’re good enough. The trouble would then arise from picking something to write about.

My family has been extremely supportive of my decision to quit my job, though my dad has expressed concern about me being without income despite my reassurances that I will manage. Having been unemployed before, I know how to manage my finances to the most essential items only until I have a new job. However, the difference between this unemployment and my previous bout was this time, I left on my terms.

So here’s to the future. May it be brighter and more fulfilling, and may this job search not take as long as my last one. Cheers!

Overwhelmed

For today’s post, I tried to come up with some clever title, some cutesy way to turn how I’m feeling into something positive sounding, or at least to make it appear as though there was something positive in all this chaos.

But to be honest, there is simply no other word for how I’m feeling. I am 100%, completely overwhelmed.

The anxiety attacks are starting to occur with more frequency, though that may also be in part to the caffeine I’m consuming, because even when I sleep well, I still wake up feeling exhausted and caffeine is the only way to make it through work. I’m not eating like I should because my stomach feels all knotted up and bloated and fluttery (like butterflies, probably from the coffee), and not eating makes me feel worse and gives me a headache. Logically I know how to make myself feel better physically, but I just can’t find the motivation to do so. I’ve been spending most of my days sleeping during breaks and trying not to curl up in a ball and cry.

With the constant fear of whether or not I’ll have a job from one day to the next, on top of trying to come up with options for a new job should the need arise (I’m looking at making an Etsy shop and selling crocheted items like gamer amigurumi), I have days where I’m not only beyond exhaustion, but dizzy from it too. Even right now, I just can’t do it. I’ve been running at 150% for too long and I’m running on empty (mentally). Since I make my own hours, I’m stopping work an hour earlier than I normally would because I just can’t focus anymore. That’s becoming a daily habit too, lacking focus, not being able to concentrate, and the most consistent one: wishing I was doing anything else.

And I’m sure there will be people out there who’ll tell me, “Find a different job if you hate it so much,” or “Do yoga, meditate, etc. It’ll calm you down,” and while I am a huge supporter of yoga and meditation for relaxation, I’m also at an awkward point in my life where I can’t help but ask, “What do I do when that doesn’t work?” Lately it seems like nothing is calming me down. My mind seems to be running a million miles a minute, telling me I’m not doing this fast enough, or I’m not doing something everyone else has done by this point in life; basically every possibility of not doing enough, not saying enough, not being enough.

My own personal writing has taken a hit because I can’t focus enough to form coherent thoughts for the story I’m working on. I can’t seem to come up with any good ideas for new stories, even though once upon a time I had at least a dozen or more, probably now stashed away in a drawer somewhere. All of my writing in recent weeks has been some form of venting, complaining about what’s wrong here, and how much I hate my job, and the ensuing panic of possibly having to find another one in the near future. It’s exhausting, and it’s becoming my pattern.

I’m just so tired…

Facing the Future Part 2

On a different, but related subject, today while dredging through my workload, my mind wandered to a variety of other tasks I would rather be doing instead of my daily grind. Things like cutting out patterns, playing video games, trying to catch up on recorded anime while crocheting, sleeping (which I actually did before noon; I took a half hour nap because I was so drained), etc.

As it was, I managed to push through my work so that I could spend the rest of my evening watching Netflix and cutting out a pattern. But these wandering snippets got me thinking on how much I dislike my work. Lately, it really does feel like work. Whereas other things like crocheting and gaming make me feel energized and alive. Even the prospect of cutting out a sewing pattern was more appealing than working.

Which got me thinking on how much better (or worse) life would be if I could actually spend my time making things for other people. I love crocheting blankets especially, but I can also make hats and I recently began making amigurumi, but as long as I have a pattern, I could make pretty much anything, because crocheting soothes my anxiety. And I might still be learning how to sew, but I think once I became skilled enough, I could probably do some cosplay stuff for other people beside myself. I think I would enjoy creating beautiful cosplay items.

This also comes on the back of someone close to me wanting to make and sell jewelry on Etsy, and this makes me want to do something similar because I have this love of creating things. I already work on my own schedule, but it would be nice to not have to be at a laptop all day since I also have problems with my eyes. Still, there’s no guarantee of success there either, especially not right now. Crocheting blankets is great and all, but blankets take time and on top of my other work, they take that much longer.

So while it was a nice thought to get me through my day, I’m not sure it’s quite right for me at this particular moment. Still, I’ll continue to make things as a hobby to soothe my anxious mind. Until next time…<3

Facing the Future

Yesterday as I was driving home from a weekend at Jerad’s (partially planned, but also started a day early due to lack of internet at home for work purposes), I started thinking down a semi-dark train of thought for me. I was worried, and still am I guess, about finding a mate/lover to spend the rest of my life with. Truth be told, I’m not in a huge rush for one. I have the two greatest friends I could possibly ask for and I’m finally starting to get comfortable with myself. I think the only reason I was so bothered by this yesterday was that I was alone with my thoughts and driving away from a place that made me feel happy and relaxed and calm.

It has gotten to the point that my “home” no longer feels like home. Yes I’m allowed to live here and use the facilities like water, heat, internet, etc. but the only room that feels like mine is my bedroom. Granted, I completely understand that living in my parents’ house means that it’s exactly that: my parents’ house. They make all the decisions regarding furniture, paint, etc. And I know what you’re going to say. Why don’t you move out, get your own place? Trust me, if I could afford my own place, I would be gone in a heartbeat. Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents, but sometimes they’re a bit stifling.

Circling back to my original point, I had ventured down this dark road of, “Oh, I need to find a mate or significant other,” and how I would even begin to do that, and after I was home I had considered looking at several dating apps. Well, that actually made me even more worked up to the point of being in tears before bed. Clearly I am not ready for such a commitment or even making myself that vulnerable to anyone and ironically, actually looking at reviews for dating apps shut the waterworks off in an instant. Looking at some of them snapped my logic on in a big pile of “Nope, nope nope, nope, nope!” Quite frankly, I’m more committed to getting a cat once I can afford it.

Given that I have been under what feels like an enormous amount of stress in dealing with an ever-growing pile of work requiring extra hours just to get caught up, family stresses, and one particularly problematic Hot Topic order, this mental breakdown is perfectly understandable. I’m having to do a lot of adulting stuff on my own, with only two friends to help me unwind and unload on. Doing yoga helps sometimes and playing video games usually helps a lot. But I’ve been so worn down that I can’t even focus enough to write. This entry here is actually coming off a relaxed weekend so I managed to focus enough to put words down in a coherent manner.

So trying to add the stress of joining a dating app and looking for “love” just out of sheer loneliness and not feeling like I fit the typical societal “norms,” on top of my current, high stress levels stemming from work and home, I was basically setting myself up for failure and decided that if I should ever find that one special person to share my life with, great. I would love to have a perfectly imperfect romance with someone and be able to have my own family,  to enjoy (and suffer through) the joyous miracle of being a mom. But for now, I’m content with letting love find me while I continue working on myself and overcoming my own obstacles and insecurities. Until next time…<3

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block…the bane of writers everywhere. That feeling of wanting to write but not being able to put words to paper (or laptop). It’s beyond frustrating.

I’ve been stuck on and off for several months, and I think the only reason I managed to finish a crucial character profile yesterday was because I sat down and forced myself to do it. Plus, with a little help from my best friend, she helped talk me through the remaining details I needed.

Currently I’m stuck mainly because there’s a five year old running around and she’s very distracting. In a good and a bad way. Good because I love her to death and I love hearing her play and getting to play with her. Bad because she likes to scream as loud as she possibly can and can also be equally loud during a tantrum. Since I’m visiting her and her mommy, my best friend, it’s a bit difficult to get some quiet time during the day except when little one is down for a nap. That, on top of six seasons of My Little Pony, two seasons of Littlest Pet Shop, and feeling stifled in general with my story, has left me in a constant state of writer’s block, and hearing only the voices of the various ponies from MLP.

However, I must admit, I’ve been having fun and this small child has been giving me prime examples of how to show someone being temperamental. She’s the definition of temperamental. Now I just have to translate it to the behavior of a teenager without them sounding angsty. Not sure how I’m going to do that…