How to Make Stress Balls and Reduce Stress at the Same Time!

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Did you catch that? We’re making stress balls, AND we are reducing stress. All at once. At the same time. Whoa.

So we’ve been doing this anxiety challenge with the Facebook support group we run. Yesterday was day 16, and day 16 was “Make a stress ball.” None of us have ever made a stress ball, but the instructions seemed simple enough.

Sadly, yesterday ended up being too busy to actually follow through on making a stress ball. (Read this as “we let other things get in the way and let emotions creep up and destroy our plans and did stupid stuff instead that in no way helped us at all”. Yes, Mom, you were right.)

Back to the project. We spent about $3 at Walmart on split peas and balloons. Mom already had baking soda she was willing to sacrifice. Some people use flour. Mom was NOT willing to let us use perfectly good flour to play with haha. You can use any kind of rice, dried beans, or just flour, cornstarch, or baking soda.

I chose to use a little baking soda and some split peas. I blew up the balloons and let the air out a few times each to stretch them out a little. Then I grabbed the biggest funnel we had (thanks again to Mom who told me to grab the big one when I went for the small one… what would I do without her??)

I filled the first balloon with some split peas and a scoop of baking soda. This is really a preference thing, I discovered. You have to play around with consistency and see what feels best to you. It takes some time and some manipulating to get everything down to the bottom of the balloon but I found that blowing some air into the balloon gently helps it all settle.

Once it’s a good size for your hand, tie it off tight. I put two knots in mine.

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At this point, I cut the tip off of the balloon. It was knotted well and I was pretty sure it was staying put.

Then I grabbed another color balloon and cut the stem piece off completely (picture below).

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I stretched it out and wrapped it around the filled balloon and voila!  I have an adorable purple stress ball!

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I now also have ones in pink, green, and blue. That $3 went a long way!  The stress balls are cute and fun and they stretch out and settle as you use them.

Most importantly, making them was fun. I found it to be a fun way to de-stress just making them. It was such a simple project and very cheap to make. I probably could have done it just as cheap, if not cheaper by going to the Dollar Tree but I was already at Walmart.

And that is how I made our stress balls for the anxiety challenge!

 

Julie

 

 

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How to Write When Writing Seems Impossible

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How to Write When Writing Seems Impossible

I had a big post planned for today. It involves split peas, baking soda, balloons, and other crafty type things. Only I never got there. And so far, none of us are getting there. Today is a struggle.

It didn’t start out that way. It started out with an appointment that made me very nervous. Mom talked me through the nerves and I felt better… until we got there. The lady wasn’t very pleasant. I made it through, but the discussion brought up some big emotions and I seriously couldn’t get out of that building fast enough.

Brother number 2 hit his head at school which landed us in urgent care. He’s fine, a mild concussion, but he’s okay. The story of how it happened was actually a bit comical and one I’m sure he’ll love to tell later on in life.

We got home and I didn’t want to write. We made a commitment though. We have committed to our writing. So I wrote one article for a website and its under review. And then I came here. I’m writing here even though I feel sad, tired, and overwhelmed. I made a commitment to write and this blog isn’t just about the silly things we come up with. It’s also about the emotions. The pain. The hurt. And how we can get through it. So like yesterday’s post…. sometimes you just have to sit down and write.

 

Rachel

How to Journal Through Depression

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How to Journal Through Depression

  • Get a journal of some type (online, offline, notebook, bound book, app, etc)
  • Write

There. Simple.

Actually, it’s not so simple. If it were that simple, we’d all feel much better already. Am I right?

So the question becomes how do we journal through our depression? It’s a question I hear often and one that doesn’t have an easy answer because it’s a highly personal question.

So what are some options?

If it’s so personal, how do I even know where to start?

Good question! You start by simply writing. Sometimes just getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper is the beginning. Once you start the writing, it often breaks off into a direction of its own. Then you can see where your thoughts are distorted and how you can change your thinking.

You can also explore other forms of journaling. Journaling is a form of expression. Rachel and Cadie really enjoy photo journaling, which is a lot like collage making. Some of their work is waiting to be hung up in our bedroom.

Some friends of ours enjoy bullet journaling. I don’t know much about it, but it works for them.

The point here is that there’s no wrong way to journal. The right way to journal through your hard times is to start journaling. Start somewhere and see where it takes you. Get involved with your thoughts, write them out or collage them so you can see them and challenge them. Interact with them. Let them out so they can’t control you.

 

Always,

Julie

Ring Around the Crock Pot

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I didn’t get a before picture. I think most of us have seen it though. That dreaded ugly white ring that forms on the inside of the black crock pots. Now, if any of you have read this blog for any length of time then you already know we aren’t schooled in cleaning. We do dishes daily and we do laundry once a week but cleaning isn’t our forte and we are constantly scared of screwing something up.

That being said, that white ring needed to go. I tried an SOS pad, a scrubby sponge, and various types of soap and still had no luck. I googled the white ring and discovered its supposedly (according to The Kitchnn blog) a harmless mineral deposit. The Kitchnn blog also gave 3 suggestions on how to clean your crock pot. I opted for number 3 and grabbed our vinegar since our problem was the white ring and not stuck on food.

Got the Vinegar… Now What?

The directions said to fill up the Crock Pot with water and add one cup of white vinegar. Once you do that you are supposed to leave it for a few hours or overnight and then wash it like normal and the white ring should be gone. Well, forgive me for being skeptical but that sounded way too easy. However, I had a white ringed Crock Pot, white vinegar, and plenty of time.

So I filled up the Crock Pot, added the cup of white vinegar, and informed the family that I was performing an experiment on the Crock Pot so please don’t move it. They were confused but obliged. Most likely they were confused because Mama already knew the white ring was harmless and none of us are known for taking action like this. They obliged because they like to see us try new things.

I wanted to give it a fair shot so I left it for a full 24 hours. This morning I emptied it out and washed it up and the ring was gone! No scrubbing involved!  For real you guys!

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So there you go. I have shown you how to clean out that annoying white ring. You’re welcome. I even did it first and proved it worked. You’re welcome for that too.

Love,

Rachel

Sundays At The Park

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For the last couple of weeks, our family has been taking Sunday trips around the Puget Sound. Being new arrivals to Washington, we really don’t know the area and it has been hard being active and doing things when we don’t have any idea where anything fun is. Add to that Dad working nights and it seems like our family is hardly ever together in one spot. It has been a source of near constant tension and stress.

Tension and stress in the family added to DID and anxiety is a recipe for failure. Other members of the family struggle with depression and bipolar, which are also exacerbated by tension and stress. Our weekly trips around the Sound are a breath of fresh air and a time to relax, all together, as a family.

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Howard comes too. He’s not the only one either. Mom’s puppy, Francis, also comes out on our exploration days. The puppies get to be a part of the family adventures and this means a lot to all of us. It also helps the puppies’ anxiety and allows them to build confidence and social skills. They learn behavior skills and are able to learn to face new things with grace and confidence.

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The water is calming. Watching the waves come in over the rocks while the whole family looks at shells and watches for seals is a big deal to us. More than one of us usually makes an appearance on Sundays, because even the middles want to see the beaches and the shells.

How do you find your calm?

Productive Days Keeps Anxiety At Bay?

Productive Days Keeps Anxiety At Bay?

Maybe. I mean, I think so. I’m no expert on what works for anxiety reduction in the long term. Some days I can barely manage my own anxiety in the moment, and that doesn’t include the rest of my system’s anxiety. We can be a real hot mess at times.

However, I can absolutely say without a doubt that staying busy and focused does help keep anxiety settled. And not just for me. Our emotional support dog, Howard, has anxiety issues too. When his anxiety ramps up he tends to lose confidence, become insecure, and really skittish. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve found something that helps.

What helps? (I hear you asking)

Productive days. Howard goes out with us for a 3+ mile walk 5 days a week. We’re only on week 2, but let me tell you the difference has been incredible for both him and us. Either we’re all too tired to be as anxious, or the anxious energy has an outlet. I’m not really sure which but it may not matter. What matters is that our emotional support dog is happier, healthier, and far less…well… emotional. He has more confidence and is more playful and secue.

Aside from the walking, we’ve been doing more writing. We’re also doing more scrapbooking, and paying closer attention to our planner and journaling. Part of that is developing a routine and schedule, and staying on it as much as possible. We’re trying new things and taking risks by putting ourselves out there and being more open to new opportunities.

You’re doin what?? That sounds scary!

Kind of a conundrum. Being more open to new things and applying for things is really anxiety producing. We get into the cycle of overthinking a lot when it comes to this. Which ends up leading to us needing more activity or crafty things to settle down the anxiety. Know what else it leads to? Pride. Pride and confidence. We become proud of ourselves for trying and more confident to keep trying.

Does being more productive lead to less anxiety? For us, I believe it does.