Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I bring back a post I wrote exactly a year ago, sometimes 2 or 3 years ago, on this date, and reflect upon it (after fixing the mistakes using the Grammarly keyboard).
Today I’m reflecting upon a post of self-reflection. How poetic is that? Did you know that when you remember an event, you don’t remember the event, but you remember the last time you remembered the event? It’s mindblowing, right?
Reflect upon a recent victory in your life:
I need this pep talk. I do. I can’t think of a recent victory. Yes, I published a few books during March, April and May, but it’s July now, almost August. Besides, barely anyone bought my books and I can’t help but feel bitter about it.
It’s just my luck. I publish a book and the world goes into chaos a week later. A pandemic breaks out, the economy falls, etc. Chaos began in October 2019, after my 28th birthday, with the political situation and riots. Oh well, we’re supposed to be talking positively here.
Another recent victory:
I watched 4 seasons of The Vampire Diaries and 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls, but that’s hardly an accomplishment. I feel very useless and addicted to dopamine shots because of this.
I read over 30 books in the past year, but I need something recent.
I haven’t had a meltdown in public in over 2 weeks. That’s pretty impressive.
I started reading Anxiety and Depression for Dummies recently and so far it’s quizzing (if you know me, you know I love quizzes). “The negative thinking quiz” and “The distraught behavior quiz,” say I’m a bit anxious, but not too anxious that I need medical attention.” The sad, stressed sensations quiz,” says my body is feeling sad, but not entirely depressed. “The conflicted connections quiz” indicates that I’m a bit isolating myself, which I am, kind of.
What was a recent victory in your life?
I’ve had some victories and losses in the past year, but on the top of my head, I’ve published 10 books so far, between poetry, self-help and autobiographies.
I’ve also read some books and many blogs.
I’m also growing my blog and I even created a podcast.
I’m working on my marriage and my parenting, so there are some small victories there, and a lot of room for improvement as well.
With everything becoming more and more expensive in Lebanon, I’m doing a different kind of saving. I’m saving my energy, and I’m avoiding spending my time and energy on things and people that drain me or kill my vibe.
I’m also avoiding talking to people when my vibe is low so that I don’t affect anyone negatively. I’m trying not to vent or complain.
I’m working on being mindful. My diet and sleeping habits are a work in progress, and exercise is so so at the moment, but I’m trying. I’m avoiding the news, but not completely. I’m learning to listen more and talk less.
My patience still needs some calibration but using my energy on things like monopoly with my son and eating ice cream and reading and writing.
I’m not naive. I know the situation in Lebanon is really bad, and I am affected by it, but what use is it to panic or mope? The body reacts to stress in fight or flight, but it’s possible to protect your energy and not let the stress of your environment get to you as much.
How to protect your energy:
1. Cut down on social media use:
Facebook and Instagram can be addicting. You can go on for a minute and end up scrolling for hours. That’s a lot of time wasted when you could be doing something productive or spending time with your family. What’s worse is seeing other people doing things you wish you could do but can’t, like when I see other people traveling and hiking and going out without kids, I feel a pang in my chest sometimes. To protect yourself, don’t go on social media when you are feeling discontent or vulnerable.
2. Set healthy boundaries:
Our loved ones are the most people who push our boundaries. They invade our space, offer unsolicited advice, and feel entitled to control our decisions, all in the name of love. It’s tricky dealing with people who operate under “if you love me, you’ll do as I say”. It’s important to set boundaries without cutting ties with your loved ones. I can’t exactly tell you how to do that because I’m still working on it, but being assertive, kind and persistent are key. If you let a loved one cross a boundary once, they will do it all the time.
This is something I have tried but have not managed to master. For the time being, I’m not meditating, but given my elevated stress levels and my resting heart rate being 86 to 92, a meditation session may be overdue. I have recently downloaded an app that mimics nature sounds for a scheduled time to help me sleep. It helps and is one form of meditation. Other forms of meditation include but are not limited to focused breathing, body scanning, and yoga.
5. Spend time in nature:
I recently went to the beach and it is so relaxing, minus having to supervise my son and make sure he didn’t drown. There is something magical about waves and how they manage to wash my worries away. The horizon is so far away, it makes me feel like possibilities are infinite, that everything is possible and no problem is too big. Trees are another story. The rustling of leaves against the wind are music to my ears.
I tried to share the audio that I’m currently listening to but I wasn’t able to. It’s a mixture of birds chirping, leaves rustling, and a waterfall. Imagine that! How calm and serene.
That’s what my 5-year-old son announced to me the other day, and when I asked him why he said “because I don’t want my teeth to start falling”.
He is now six and has lost 2 teeth and was very excited to lose more but for some reason never did.
It fascinates me and freaks me out that my son is thinking a lot about his future. He wants to be a policeman (I hope he changes his mind) and he tells me to keep the clothes that are small on him for his kids. He wonders what being an adult is like, and when he asks too many questions, I tell him “just think about reaching 6 years old. Eat, sleep, and pray, and don’t think about anything else”.
He currently wants to be a zookeeper but for dinosaurs. He isn’t convinced they are extinct.
The reason why I say this is because my son worries so much about the future, I feel like he is missing out on the now. Where have the times gone when our kids could just play freely without worrying what job they’re going to have and how they’re going to get enough money to feed a family?
I’ve been worrying about the future a lot lately. The future seems bleak, especially in Lebanon. But that’s my job, to worry. My son’s job is to have fun and be carefree.
Two things come to mind when I think about this situation:
The 1st is a poem I adore “I want to be six again”.
I want to be six again. I want to go to McDonald’s and think it’s the best place in the world to eat. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make waves with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money ’cause you can eat them. I want to play kickball during recess.
My son doesn’t want to turn six because he is afraid of his teeth falling. I think this whole not going to school is taking a toll on him. He is spending a lot of time with a parent who has anxiety and another who is constantly worried and deep in thought. It’s hard to be carefree when the overall mood is as if someone died.
The mood is still the same most of the time. I tend to hide from my family to be on my phone peacefully. The difference is I think I have a better grip on my mental health than I did last year.
I feel like I lost my smile. I used to be so perky and joyful. The book I just finished reading had a father who was too carefree, bordering on carelessness. There was a mom who was always worried about what might go wrong, so uptight and busy and tired all the time. It’s sad but I saw myself in her. Then there was the grandma, who was a ray of sunshine. I saw my late grandma in her, may she rest in peace.
I’m currently reading 100 simple secrets of happiness, but it’s taking me forever because the one I have was translated into Arabic.
I played scrabble and uno yesterday, but even while playing, I noticed I’m somewhat on edge and serious. I’ll try to loosen up more, for the sake of my son. He seems to be freaking out all the time lately, worried and scared. I wish I could distance him from me and get him in contact with a happy soul. I’m not in despair, but I feel not so optimistic, and somewhat numb.
We played monopoly yesterday. My son has been occupied with arts and crafts for hours lately, but once he gets bored, he becomes very annoying. I’m trying not to get annoyed by him, but to be mindful instead.
Another thing that comes to mind is a poem I wrote a long time ago. I think I called it “Give me the heart of a child”.
So I spend my days writing to-do lists, seeing family, doing some housework, procrastinating other housework, watching The Vampire Diaries, sometimes exercising, sometimes reading. I’m practicing The art of getting by. If you didn’t watch the movie, you should. I think there’s a book too, but I haven’t read it.
Last night, my son was really worried he’d be bit by a mosquito in his sleep. He was terrified. I told him “You need to have faith that God will protect you and that nothing can harm you unless God wills it to”. Maybe I should internalize my advice. I’m good at giving advice but terrible at following my own words.
Are you worried about the future?What are you doing to cope?
A strategy I use when I’m worried about something. The 1st part is to imagine the worst-case scenario, then make a plan on what you will do if the worst were to occur. Finally, imagine the best case scenario and hope for that.
Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today is the 1st day of summer here because my son just finished school (today was supposed to be his last day but because there are protests due to the bad living conditions in Lebanon, school is out). I have been giving my son up to 1 hour of screen time a day, in total, but now that school is out, I’m worried his boredom will have him asking for more.
I plan on teaching him the rest of the curriculum so he can go to 1st grade more prepared (they gave him half the curriculum due to covid this year) and I also plan on enrolling him in karate classes, and then there are family visits in the weekend, but I’m a bit worried about how I’m going to fill his time otherwise. I have a lot of reading and writing to do, and I don’t know how I’m going to get my work done with him around. The whole time I’m blogging, he has been nagging for the phone (he sees me on the phone or laptop and suddenly he needs screen time).
Here is what I wrote about screen time for kids a year ago:
Well, I’m not an expert, and I don’t give my son the same amount of screentime every day. There are days when he gets a few minutes of screentime and days when he gets a few hours. It all depends on my mood, my energy levels, his mood, his energy levels, and whether we leave the house that day or not. However, I have picked up a few observations and a few tips and tricks to help not let my son get addicted to screen time, and I thought I’d share them with you.
5 don’ts and dos of screentime
1. Don’t give them screentime when they 1st wake up. I do it sometimes, I admit, when I’m too tired and need a few extra minutes of sleep, or when I’ve been up since dawn and need a nap and he just woke up at 10 am (sometimes I even have to wake him up because of lazy summer mode). However, I realized when I do that, he tends to throw a tantrum when I turn it off an hour later and is usually lethargic all day when he gets screentime 1st thing in the morning. The morning is the time when creativity is at its peak. It should be used for creative work. Writing, drawing, arts and crafts. It’s hard to implement daily, but do give them screentime only after they have done something creative.
2. Don’t let them watch videos on the phone. The phone is smaller and closer to their face. If they must have screentime, do give it to them from a distance, like on tv or a laptop.
3. This advice is something I don’t implement often because my son is a picky eater and he eats more while watching a screen, but I am a strong advocate of mindful eating, and although I don’t do it myself when I eat by myself but don’t feed your child while they watch on a screen. I was successful at this while he was going to school, but half the time I give him a game to play on the phone or YouTube on the tv because I desperately need my time and I gather it every chance I get. Do try to eat together as a family and open up a conversation with your child while you eat.
4. Don’t give them unlimited time. Do let them know beforehand how much screen time they’re getting and remind them every once in a while how much is left. If you’re going to give them an hour, remind them every 15 minutes. I sometimes get busy and tell my son he gets 30 minutes and end up giving him an hour. However, after his screentime session is up, I let him know how long he had been watching. This teaches your child to have a sense of time. You’ve watched movies before. You know how time is irrelevant when you’re absorbed in a movie or binge-watching a tv show.
5. Don’t leave your child to do free pay all day. While it’s important for a child to get bored, play independently, play imaginative play, it’s also important to have structured activities as well. Do balance between free play and adult structured activities where you do the activities with them (I’m guilty of not following this advice lately as I’m binge-watching The Vampire Diaries) and keep in mind to include at least 10 minutes of 1 on 1 time with your child where you simply bond with them and express your love for them.
That’s all I have for now, as my son is getting frustrated from me being on my phone for the past 30 minutes writing this. Remember, limiting screentime is not a punishment for you or your child. I’m not saying any screentime at all, but having healthy regulations around screentime is good for your child’s mental health and physical health in the long run.
Too much screen time can impair brain structure and function; it can cause obesity, insomnia, mood swings, and even problems at school. Because children’s brains undergo so much change during their formative years, this excess screen time can be even more damaging.
I’m proud to say I don’t give him screentime until after he eats breakfast and goes to the bathroom, not during meals and not for more than 30 minutes at a time. I also no longer binge-watch tv shows (not more than 2 episodes a day) and I also spend more one-on-one time with him than I used to. I also never finished past season 4 of vampire diaries and I’ve watched so many shows since, but currently, I’m watching “Superman and Lois”.
Hello and welcome to my blog! Have you ever noticed the sound water makes when it boils? Yesterday, I taught my son how to know when the water on the stove boils just by listening. He was mind blown. It’s the little things.
We are going through tough times, at least here in Lebanon and many other countries. Some people are thriving, but everybody has problems, even the rich and famous. The trick to getting through life with optimism is to focus on little things that help you look on the bright side.
Here are 21 little things you can do to be more optimistic:
1. Start journaling. Write down something positive about every day. I haven’t done this but during the day, I slow down and register the positive things, like a nice breeze coming from the window, or my husband and son bonding, or my son playing pretend with the cardboard superheroes I drew and he colored and cut. It’s probably better to write them down, though.
2. Appreciate what you do have. Tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them. I feel so grateful to have my husband and son in my life, and I constantly tell them that. Every once in a while, I let my siblings and parents know I appreciate them too.
3. Be kind to yourself always. Remember you can do anything and that progress takes time. Don’t be so hard on yourself for losing your patience, for procrastinating, for wanting to stay in bed all day. We all have good days and bad days. On your good days, thrive. On your bad days, if all you do is survive, you did well.
4. Make a list of things that you are looking forward to. My author copies arriving. The possibility of going to the beach. Finishing reading all the 9 books I’m in the middle of reading.
5. Think of all the reasons to be cheerful. The sun is shining and so are you. It’s a very uplifting song.
6. Don’t compare yourself to others. If you’re feeling envious about something, sit back and think about why and how they’ve achieved that. You are unique in your own way and you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
7. Take time to reflect on what you’ve achieved this year. We’re always in a rush, absorbed by the daily hustle, that we forget to look back every once in a while and see how far we have come. Emotionally, I may have matured only 1%, but I’ve come a long way with my blogs and books this year. I even have a podcast now. I still have a long way to go, and sometimes it seems daunting and far fetched, but looking back gives me the courage to keep moving forward.
8. Look for the good in every single person you see. Humans are a mix of good and bad. Some people have a hard shell but are very sweet on the inside, once you break through their walls of fear, insecurity and shame. Choose to see the good in people, even those who seem unbearable at first.
9. Listen to inspiring music or a podcast. I listen to uplifting songs every once in a while. They really help when I’m feeling down. Songs like “don’t be so hard on yourself” and “fight song”. I also listen to podcasts, such as “the happy times”, “pick the brain”, ” kaylns coffee talk” and “the science of happiness” podcasts.
10. Write down your top priorities and plans for the future knowing that you will achieve everything you want. The key is to plan your future, knowing it will come true. Not as if you are making castles in the sand, knowing the waves will just come and wash them away.
11. Stay present and appreciate the beauty of the moment. (Feeling the sun in your face, details in someone’s face, the clouds, sounds, …) Especially when you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, be mindful of these tiny moments.
12. Be proud of yourself on the little wins in your day to day. So you’re not feeling very productive today?! Go small. Get up. Make your bed. Grab a cup of coffee. Today I don’t feel like getting out of bed. I’m tired and in pain and my mood is off, but I got up in order to wake my son and get him to eat breakfast, and that was my 1st win of the day. Then I ironed (a tedious task) and kick started my day. My to do list is a bit demanding today but I’m sure if I go step by step, I can turn my day around.
13. Shift your mood by doing something you enjoy. I watched a YouTube video while I was ironing. Then I had to turn my headphones off because my son was awake.
14. For an upcoming situation you’re worried about, write down the best scenario that can happen. I’m worried about the future of Lebanon. There doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m torn between living it up because I don’t know what the future can bring and living carefully and saving up in case there are worse days ahead. The best-case scenario is that things turn around for Lebanon within the next few years.
15. Focus on solutions, not problems. It’s so easy to get caught up in your problems and playing the victim and feeling helpless, but it gives hope to try to find solutions to whatever irks you.
16. Let go of the expectations of others and focus on what matters. It is so easy to get lost in the expectations of our loved ones, so much so that their voices become our inner critic, and their opinions become our convictions. It’s important to find your voice and tune out most of the noise.
17. Surround yourself with optimistic, positive, kind people. There is a saying that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. In my case, they’re 2 people, but their moods and behaviors have a great impact on me. That’s why I read a lot of positive content online, to try to make up for my lack of a social life.
18. Change ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’t…yet’. The power of yet is so strong that a book was written about it. I’m YET to read that book (see what I did there?).
19. Take care of yourself. When we feel our best, we can see things more positively. Shower, sleep early, dress up, rest, exercise, eat healthy. I get so focused on getting my son to do all this, I forget about myself most of the time.
20. If you’re not happy with something don’t complain about it. Just change it. Complaining doesn’t yield any positive results. It just sucks you into a vortex of negativity and despair. I know because I tend to complain a lot, but I’m working on changing what I can and letting the rest go.
21. Find three good reasons to be hopeful about the future. My son (I want to see him turn into a young man), my books (I want to keep writing, keep improving, and see my books being bought and hope I make a positive impact on people through my books), and friends (I’m hoping as covid dies down and the economy gets better, I get to hang out with my friends again and go places; maybe even travel).
Hello and welcome to my blog! It’s been such a day today. Monday is starting to become my most dramatic day. It’s like all the drama charged up during the week is let out on Monday. It’s exhausting and very anticlimactic after having a wonderful weekend.
Nevertheless, I’m training myself to look on the bright side of everything. Despite all the pain and drama today, I’m grateful for the 3 hours of me-time (technically I had 2 hours of alone time) and for being productive (I may have overbooked my to-do list).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, insecure, or you’re just looking for some Monday motivation, you’ve come to the right place:
Cultivate an optimistic mind, use your imagination, always consider alternatives, and dare to believe that you can make possible what others think is impossible.
Focus on the step in front of you, and not the whole staircase.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. If you enjoy what you are doing and it fills you up, that’s all that matters.
Take the risk. Don’t let the unknown stop you from progressing.
Sometimes later becomes never. Do it now.
Don’t worry so much about tomorrow that you miss today.
Enjoy the good moments, stay positive in the bad. Know that everything will be alright.