Poetry Friday: My mental states of being

The sun is shining outside

I have so much good in my life

I’m grateful for all the love I have

Grounded by peace inside

No moles infesting my mind

I’m mindful of everything I do

Then suddenly

A switch goes off inside of me

And then I feel so blue

It’s like a bad dream

Like someone turned out all the lights

And all I see are blurry hues

I start to count all of my failures

And all the things I could do more

The things I find no time for

The things I feel are like a chore

I start comparing my results

To those who I deem successful

And suddenly I feel so burnt out

And I think I’m such a failure

So I take out my metaphorical whip

The one I use to lash myself

For not having as much success

For not having enough happiness

And I start to complain

Then look for ways to numb my brain

And I look around at who’s to blame

And I resent them for everything

It’s so exhausting to be like this

One moment everything is bliss

Then suddenly I’m panicking

My heart feels so heavy

Some days I drag myself out of bed

And hate myself for being sad

Then anger takes me to the edge

Before I go back to my present state

It’s hard to tell who I am

Am I the mindful grateful human being?

Or am I the raging weeping machine?

Which one of them is the real me?

I can never tell

I can read self-help books all I want

Chant affirmations and whatnot

But unless I find the reason why

I jump so often in between

All these mental states of being

I will never truly heal

So my goal is not to chase happiness

But to find the meaning in the pain

And to stop waiting for circumstances

To change for me to change

Different types of self care

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! Today I’m going to talk about the different types of self-care. It’s not all face masks and bubble baths. Sometimes it’s a nap or a walk or a piece of cake.

Self-care is important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself as it produces positive feelings and boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

Self-neglect is a behavioral condition in which an individual neglects to attend to their basic needs, such as personal hygiene, appropriate clothing, feeding, or tending appropriately to any medical conditions they have.

Self-neglect can lead to all sorts of health problems, from anxiety and depression to insomnia and heart diseases.

Sometimes it’s hard to self-care simply because caring for yourself necessitates deconstructing bad habits and self destructive behavior.

Below are several examples of how you can nurture yourself and make self-care a part of your everyday life in the four areas of self-care: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental.

Physical self-care

  • Drink some water first thing in the morning. Water is important for your health in so many ways.
  • Make a menu for the week. Meal planning saves you a lot of time and energy, and helps you eat healthier.
  • Practice yoga. Stretching your body and focusing on your breathing is both relaxing and strengthens your body.
  • Have a mini dance party. Dancing relieves stress and burns calories.
  • Take a quick nap or go to bed early. Sleep is very important for normal function of your body.
  • Take a hot bath or shower. Hygiene is important for your health and helps boost your mood.
  • Give yourself a spa night with one of those face masks. Besides nourishing your skin, it’s also relaxing.
  • Go for a walk somewhere and connect with nature. Walking exercises the whole body, and the connection with nature is an added emotional benefit.
  • Try an at-home workout. Exercise increases your energy and improves the heart function and decreases your risk of getting several diseases.
  • Eat well. Eating healthy foods keeps your body healthy and energized.

Emotional self-care

  • Write down five things every day that didn’t totally suck
  • Take a new route to work.
  • Binge watch Netflix or silly YouTube videos (without also checking emails and social media on your phone, or working on your laptop)
  • Sit in a coffee shop and do some people watching.
  • Go to your local flower market and grab a bright bunch of flowers to make you smile.
  • Give yourself a pedicure or a manicure.
  • Sit on the front porch or balcony.
  • Create your emergency self-care box.
  • Keep in touch. Staying in touch with family and friends gives you a sense of belonging and elevates your mood.

Spiritual self-care

  • Pray.
  • Give charity.
  • Volunteer.
  • Do an act of kindness everyday.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Practice forgiveness.

Mental self-care

  • Set aside some time to read a new (or old favourite) book.
  • Take 5 minutes to decompress every day.
  • Enroll in a self-development class.
  • Try meditation.
  • Listen to your favorite podcast.
  • Respond to a therapeutic worksheet.
  • Talk about your feelings. Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
  • Do something you’re good at. Sharpening your skills not only boosts your self-confidence but also exercises your brain.
  • Take a break. When you feel tired or overwhelmed, stop, do something else like if you’re physically tired, do a mental exercise, or if you’re mentally tired, do a physical activity.
  • Ask for help. If all fails or you’re not finding the time or energy for self-care, ask someone for help.

I hope these tips helped.

What type of self care do you need now?

Wednesday Wisdom: How to identify your feelings

I’m a little bit off today, something down inside me’s different
Woke up a little off today, I can tell that something’s wrong
I’m a little thrown off today, there’s something going on inside me

A little bit off by Five Finger Death Punch

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!

This song has been stuck in my head all day today, and I think it’s because it’s how I feel.

I’ve always been really good at analyzing and expressing my feelings. However, my problem is with other people who don’t know how to analyze or express their feelings properly, leaving me to assume what they feel (I’m often wrong) and naturally I assume they feel that way because of me (even when logic tells me otherwise).

I also have a problem regulating my emotions (expressing them at the right time in the right place and in the right way) and letting go of my negative feelings (I smother them), but that’s for another post.

Today I’m going to talk about how you can identify your feelings. There are 5 basic emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust (cue Inside Out reference)

Throughout each day, we experience several emotions. Some people are more moody than others (like me) and go through more ups and downs. Some people get stuck in one emotion and don’t know how to get out (prolonged sadness becomes depression and prolonged fear becomes panic or anxiety). Some people are so used to ignoring their feelings and shoving them deep down inside them that they become numb and addicted to different forms of escapism like binge watching tv shows, or shopping all the time or just keeping busy all the time or overexercising or overeating so they don’t feel.

Let’s talk about why this happens. In all my research about psychological topics, it all comes down to childhood. If you were punished as a child for showing any negative emotions, you probably learned that you must hide any anger or sadness and only show the positive ones. Or maybe you had an angry parent who got angrier when you were too happy and wanted you to be serious all the time. Play was for losers. You had to work all the time. The way our parents treated us as children shapes who we are as adults and influences how we raise our children.

That’s why it’s important to identify your feelings, in order to process them (understand why you feel the way you feel), self regulate them (stop waiting on an apology or for recognition) and let the unnecessary ones go.

Step 1 is identifying how you feel. After years of hiding or dismissing your feelings, this may be a bit difficult. I found a chart on pinterest that may help.

Let’s do this exercise together right now:

Right now I feel very tired (there are 3 types of tired, maybe I’ll explain in another blog post). It’s partly because I didn’t sleep well last night, and partly because I’m upset about a number of things from a number of people and keeping it all inside makes me tired, and also because it’s cold and stormy and this weather naturally makes me want to hide under the covers, and partly because I’m bored but I’m too tired to do anything productive which is making me even more bored and tired, and partly because I miss interacting with people and I’m feeling very lonely and tired. Oops I skipped to the processing. See, thoughts turn into feelings, but for me, it skips the thoughts straight to the feelings. That’s why it’s difficult for me to challenge automatic negative thoughts because they feel so real.

Rewind back to the graph.

1st question: Do you feel like you have high energy or low energy?

I feel like I have low energy right now, even though I pushed myself 30 minutes ago and did a 7 minute workout, so I was physically able to do it, meaning I’m mentally tired. Anyway, sticking to the graph. Low energy.

2nd question: Is this energy you feel positive or negative?

My energy feels a bit negative. My mind is is spiraling on a self loathe level, but acknowledging that I feel low negative energy is helping me slow down my thoughts and focus on my feelings.

3rd question: which of the 2 feelings in the quarter do you feel more?

For me, on the low energy negative quarter, I feel more sad than tired, since I just exercised and had my afternoon coffee before that.

4th question: Go into more detail about how you feel exactly (you can pick 2)

I’m basically feeling bored and lonely (I picked one from tired and the other one should be in sad but it isn’t). In short, I’m feeling a bit burnt out.

Congratulations! You have identified your feelings. Repeat everytime your feelings change.

Here comes the big question!

Why do I feel burnt out? (this is the processing feelings part)

Let me explain what burn out is…

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery

So basically staying at home for the past year, online learning, economic crisis in the country, not seeing family enough, not enough me time, the people around me super stressed, etc. I feel like everyone in the world feels like this nowadays. Maybe I’ll write tips how to deal with burnout, but not today. It would make the blog too long, but I was reading something today and I decided to do whatever I could from the list

From Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

It’s not realistic to feel happy all the time, but you can have a joy mindset. You can feel grateful for what you have, but also cranky because you didn’t get enough sleep. You can feel happy for your friend who just had a baby while feeling sad because you want one too. Practicing gratitude and mindfulness help neutralize your emotions, but remember that all emotions are valid, but expressing those emotions have certain rules. Like I tell my 6 year old son, you can stomp your foot when you’re angry, but you can’t slam a door or break a toy. Unfortunately, I know many adults who don’t express their anger appropriately but expect me to not even feel anger.

Focus on yourself and don’t stress too much about the people you can’t change.

By the way, since blogging makes me happy and energizes me, by the time I finished writing this post, I was feeling high positive energy, specifically enthusiastic and proud of myself.

Try the graph and tell me how you feel at this exact moment in the comments.

If you liked this blog post, click here to read all posts about emotions. Also, read the book Emotional equations (I read it 8 years ago but I lost it).

💯 Recommend

Storytime: And the lockdown continues…

COVID-19 Information

Why can’t people just wear masks and avoid crowded areas?

I’ve been wearing a mask since March 2020, and I only visut my parents once a week and my in laws once a week and I occasionally go to the supermarket.

Why is it so important for people to laze around in cafes without a mask and ignore all covid-19 restrictions?

My day was okay, and everything was fine. I didn’t get much done on my lists, but I did get a lot of things done. I was happy with myself and life seemed okay, despite the whole country being in lockdown since Thursday.

However, I got news that in 72 hours even supermarkets will close and there will be an even more strict lockdown, not the “you can walk in the street but don’t open your business” kind, but the “stay at home and don’t even open your door” kind.

I think I’m starting to panic. I started imagining people panic buying, and chaos and my stomach is doing somersaults and my migraine from this morning is back.

I’m trying not to panic. I’m not araid I’ll catch corona virus. I’m afraid of what will happen if I’m confined to my house with my husband and son, no walks, no visiting parents, no me time on Friday. I fear for my mental health.

I’m going to take it day by day. Right now I’m tired and I have to sleep. It’s 10 p.m.

Is it normal how I feel? Any advice?

Good night 😴

Stay home 🏡

Stay safe

Is your country/state/province in lockdown?

My son goes back to school tomorrow and I’m terrified 😰

It’s not what you think it is. Let me explain.

My son is 5 years old, and last year was in his 2nd year of kindergarten (there are 3 kindergarten years in Lebanon, the 1st being actually Preschool). Last year, he barely went to school. There was the Lebanese Revolution in October 2019 up until New Year’s Eve. Then there were fires and floods and school was out. Then came the pandemic. There was no online learning last year, just weekly assignments.

This year began with online learning. It took a while to adjust, but we got used to it. Yesterday they announced that he will start in person learning on Monday. So one week in person followed by one week online and so on and so forth. They split the number of students in two, and they’re taking all the precautions possible, including masks, sanitizers and not sharing personal items, so that’s not what I’m worried about.

I am worried that my son needs to adjust to wearing a mask since he hasn’t worn one since the beginning of the pandemic (I have been wearing a mask since March). My son is also very neat and clean so I’m not worried about that either.

What am I so terrified about?

Believe it or not, it’s interacting with the teachers and other parents. If you’ve been reading my blogs for long enough, you probably know I have social anxiety. I try not to let it define me and I try to overcome it, until my body reminds me of it.

My anxiety is going through the roof right now.

Not only am I worried about getting my son to cope in his new grade with new classmates (because his friends from last year are not with him this year), I also had to explain about the precautions and about how this is all temporary because if more people get infected, they’ll probably close the schools again and that they are concerned about his safety.

But you should have seen me last night, calmly explaining everything to my 5 year old as I got his books ready and making it seem like this was all so exciting (I’m such a liar 🤥) but it worked (for him at least).

He went from “I’m so scared I might catch the corona virus if I go back to school” to “I’m a little nervous but I’m also a little excited” and yes these were his literal words. I’m so proud of how fluent he is in English now my heart can’t even ♥️

I’m still terrified of how I’m going to say hi to the teachers and if my smile may seem fake because I’m not used to people anymore. On the inside I want to thank the teachers profusely and tell them what a good job they’ve done with the online teaching, but I’m probably going to get tongue-tied and all serious and they’ll probably think I don’t care and oh boy. I’m going down a rabbit hole 🕳 again.

So what do you think about in person learning during these times? Are you adapting well to online learning? How are your kids getting their education?

And yes maybe I’m a little worried about catching COVID-19 but I’m sure if anyone starts catching the virus, they’ll stop in person learning immediately.

But judging by this 9 month isolation I’ve been in, my mental health is deteriorating and I’m willing to risk sending my son to school for a few hours so I don’t end up in a mental institution. Besides, if they weren’t taking all these precautions, I wouldn’t feel reassured to send him, but I am.

Motherhood in poems: Healing from PPD

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!

On March 2nd 2020, I published my 1st book on Amazon. My publishing journey has been a whirlwind since I decided to publish in October 2019. Once I decided to actually try to sell my poems because all my friends said “you should sell your poems”, the Lebanese revolution began a few days later and my hopes to publish in Lebanon went up in flames. A few months later, I remembered an instagram friend advised me to publish on Amazon a year before because she wrote a parenting book on Amazon for free! I said why not.

By the time I gathered my poems from 2015 and edited my manuscript twice, found a bank I could use, I finally took the leap and published.

I was then hit with another roadblock, how to market my book. I can tell you so far that all my half hearted attempts have been futile, since I’ve been stuck at home with a husband and a 5 year old boy and consistency is not my strong suit and I have developed a love for binge watching tv shows and watching tv during this pandemic and depression hit me more than once during these 10 months since the initial lockdown and the situation in Lebanon has gotten worse day by day, so here is yet another attempt. I won’t try to market all 7 books at once.

Let’s start with my 1st book

Motherhood in poems : Healing from PPD

Why did I choose this book?

Nobody gives you a course in motherhood before you get married. You watch a lot of romantic movies, dream of the perfect man who will sweep you off your feet so you’ll live happily ever after, and you see the babies in the pampers ads look so cute you get baby fever, and next thing you know, pregnancy does not make you glow and the doctor is handing you a baby and explaining about all the ways you need to nurture him physically and emotionally and you’re like “huh?” and the doctor literally says “you didn’t think you were just going to feed him and change his diapers, right?” and you go *internal screaming* and not even the doctor explains ppd to you.

It took me a year to realize I had ppd (post partum depression) because I was crying all the time, feeling overwhelmed and despite the help I got from my mom and in laws, most of the work was on me and I was expected to devote myself to my child while holding a household and adhering to society’s standards of perfection and blending with my traditional in laws and getting to know my husband while feeling so utterly alone and if I even thought of complaining about anything (not just the baby stuff) I was hit with “why can’t you just appreciate motherhood? It’s such a blessing”

It wasn’t until I read Chrissy Taegan had ppd that I looked it up and resonated with it and started to heal myself. The poems I wrote during this year were therapeutic, and they pulled me out of this depression, and I hope that they will do the same for you.

This brings me to my next question. Who is my audience?

Mothers, especially those with newborns or pregnant or even people who want to become mothers (in case you want to reconsider before it’s too late). I want to give insight on what it’s like to have ppd and about how to get over it. My target audience was worldwide, but I found out kindle isn’t available in any of the Arabian countries, especially not in the Middle East. Also the paperback version is half the time not available in Lebanon and the other half has 50$ shipment fee. Besides the fact that the dollar vs lira value has plummeted and my 12$ book now costs a fortune in Lebanese liras, not to meantion the added 50$ shipment fee. So as much as I would love to sell to my lebanese followers and friends, my target audience are Americans, Canadians, Austrialians, UK and maybe one day European countries if I even get that popular.

Let me walk you through my book. I categorized it, as you know I love to be organized, by topic.

Part 1 is about negative encounters. You know when you have a conversation with someone and you just want to punch them in the face? That kind of encounter.

Part 2 is about depression. Obviously, this is a book about healing from depression, so I must put poems that describe how I felt. Don’t worry though, it gets lighter.

Part 3 is about anxiety. My blog is basically about mothering with anxiety. I’ve had anxiety since I was 20, or at least that’s when I was able to label it as anxiety. And to become a mother while already having anxiety is no easy task.

Part 4 is about love. It’s mainly about my relationship with my husband and how my love for him held me together, even though he didn’t really help with my depression because he didn’t understand why I was lashing out and crying, but nevertheless, he tried his best to support me as a husband should. The fact that I could stay home and didn’t have to work was a bonus, but I do wish he understood my need to go out and about more. In his defense, our son was born with a weak immunity and was very fragile for the 1st 6 months of his life.

Part 5 is about motherhood, or at least the positive aspects of it. The love, the care, what it feels like to be a mother, anxiety and depression aside. It truly is a blesding, but I guess they should write “may cause ppd and beware if you already have anxiety” in the fineprint.

Part 6 is about optimism. I had to start developing a positive mindset in order to get through my depression and function as a mother and as a human. Optimism is key but it’s not easy to reach.

Part 7 is about friendship. Wherever you are in life, you need a support system. You need friends you can vent to who will validate your feelings, give you advice and make you feel loved, and I’m glad I had friends like that by my side, even though most of them are in different countries, but they are just one text away.

Part 8 is about prayer. Without my faith, I wouldn’t have been able to make it out of that long dark tunnel I was in. I’m grateful that I was able to see the light and prayer helped me develop patience and perseverance.

I hope you enjoyed my walkthrough of this book. If you want to, you can order it as paperback for 12$ here and starting December 3rd for just 10$ as kindle ebook here (it’s currently enrolled in kdp select which means if you have kindle unlimited you can read it for free with your 10$ per month subscription and I get payed for the amount of pages you read).

If you want some snippets from this book, go to my author instagram page here and check out my latest posts.

Positive affirmations

Hello 👋 reader,

How is/was your day?

I’ve had a hectic day today, so I couldn’t write the post I intended to write today. So instead, I thought I’d share the positive affirmations I wrote for myself a few days ago in addition to some I found on Pinterest today.

I started reading an ebook my amuslimmamacomics and the 1st exercise was positive affirmations.

It was really difficult for me to come up with positive affirmations about myself, but I did it! And I encourage you to try this exercise. It’s very uplifting.

  1. I am beautiful
  2. I am smart
  3. I am strong
  4. I am good with words
  5. I am very self aware
  6. I am very enduring
  7. I am responsible
  8. I am kind hearted
  9. I am resourceful
  10. I am tender
  11. I am somewhat religious
  12. I am very neat and organized
  13. I am sometimes optimistic
  14. I am educated

I hope these affirmations help you as they helped me. I don’t really relax until my son finishes his lunch (been eating lunch since 1:30pm) and his online classes so another 30 minutes until I can breathe, but in the meantime I’ll keep saying these affirmations.

October 17th, I got all the feels

My heart is constantly heavy. I’m beyond the point of trying to be positive. There is just so much going on around me, my feelings can’t keep up.

Today was the 1st anniversary of the Lebanese revolution of October 17th 2019.

The world is on fire and I just can’t cope anymore. Everything keeps getting worse and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone around me is stressed and I need to stay put together but I can’t. I’m afraid my son will suffer emotionally from this. I can’t absorb anymore negative energy. I’m tired. I can’t sleep at night, and so I’m cranky all day. I want to be the best version of myself, not wait for these circumstances to end 1st. I can’t do this anymore, but I don’t have a choice. I don’t feel like I’m being a good mom or wife. People are still judging my parenting, causing me to take it out on my son. People still expect me and my son to be perfect. I don’t want to see anyone anymore. I can’t handle isolation, because my son will drive me crazy. I want to be left alone. Leave me with my books and movies. I want to escape reality. I don’t have the mental energy to write the posts I want to write. I’m physically tired and stressed. I’m not okay, but at the same time I’m fine. But I’m not really, and I can’t explain, because I don’t want to vent anymore. Venting doesn’t help anymore. Is there going to be war? Are we going to become poor?

Grateful for food, shelter, health, a husband and son. Grateful for God, family and friends. Grateful for words and books and movies and my blogs. Grateful for love, even though I’m too overwhelmed to feel it. Grateful for hope, even though it’s slipping away.

Time is passing slowly. This year has felt like a decade, and it’s still not over. Don’t want to be a cynic, but Lebanon is falling apart, and all I can do is watch, and hope I don’t get buried in the rubble.

Will Lebanon fall? Or will it rise like Phoenix from the ashes and become something greater than it ever was?

And what can I, a helpless citizen, do to help?