Positive Thinking Improves Mental Health

woman with arms out_postivethinkingimprovesmentalhealth_rockinrandommom

Over the weekend I received a message from one of my favorite blogger friends, Becky over at Cuddle Fairy and she asked me a question. How do I find positivity? I answered her question and was asked if she could quote me in her latest blog post. Of course I said yes and you can read her positivity post HERE if you like. However, I got to really thinking about it and I want to elaborate on my view of Positive thinking.

How to I view positive thinking?

It’s a great question and I’m sure is different for everyone. For me, the best way to explain it would be to use examples. Right after Christmas, we got hit with a severe cold front that brought the temperatures down to the negatives. As a result, my battery died in my car. No big deal for me because I didn’t go anywhere during the holiday break. After the New Year I had to wait a few days but I knew I was going to be okay. I had to borrow a car for awhile but it was all good. Positive thinking. This helped to keep my mental health in check. Then we replaced the battery and for a few days, the car was fine.

Friday was a long and dreary day. It had been pouring rain all day and in several spots there was a lot of fog and the traffic didn’t help. After dropping Conner off at his dad’s then picking Adam up at school from his play rehearsal, I had been on the road for a little more than two hours. I was tired. Adam and I were both looking forward to going home, getting cozy in our pj’s and eating the chicken noodle soup I had in the crock pot waiting for us. But then the car died. Not the happy ending we were expecting.

So what does this have to do with positive thinking?

Well, I’ll tell you. I was stuck at the pump and the gas station was busy. I don’t like to hold up a line but I had no choice. My ex-husband was on his way to look at the car because I couldn’t afford to have it towed. I had asked a couple of people if they could give me a jump but to no avail. People are so unwilling to help strangers these days. So this was the moment I had to make a choice. I could have gotten mad and yelled at someone over the injustice of it all. That’s what I’ve done in the past. I could have sat in my car and sulked and cussed out my car, beating the steering wheel in order to vent my frustration.

calm app quote_ positive thinking_rockinrandommom

I’ve done that in the past as well. What I learned from those past experiences is that it got me no where. It didn’t accomplish anything to get mad and frustrated. As much as I hated being stranded at the gas station, I knew help was on the way and I knew my son and I were safe. So, I decided to watch a funny YouTube video. There is this company that posts videos of teens, kids, adults, and elders reacting to different things. I find these videos endlessly entertaining and they always cheer me up.

Positive thinking took hold of my thoughts and before I knew it, my ex-husband had shown up and as it turns out, it was nothing serious. He fixed the problem and we were on our way home to enjoy that chicken soup. Which, by the way, came from Heather over at Shank You Very Much  Thank you Heather for your recipe. It was delicious and hit the spot!

And how does positive thinking affect Mental health?

Positive thinking isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes its downright difficult and we are all going to have our bad days no matter what. However, Friday could have turned into a disaster had I let my negative thoughts and feelings take over. Friday wasn’t the greatest day but thanks to my awareness to keep on a positive thought track, it wasn’t a disaster either.

Lately I have been struggling with keeping myself centered and thinking positively. Negative thoughts creep in from time to time and I tend to overthink. Overthinking leads to paranoid thoughts and with my history of depression, this isn’t a good thing. So when my good friend Becky posts her positivity challenges I take them because I know they are great exercise in keeping my depression at arm’s length.

I often challenge myself in this way because I know, first hand, that while positive thinking doesn’t keep bad days from happening, they do alleviate the stress those days can take on us. What about you? What do you think of positive thinking? How do you use it in your own life to combat those pesky negative thoughts? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

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After The Playground

2018: New Year, New Hope

womaninwintersnow_newyearnewhope_rockinrandommom

Welcome, all, to the New Year! You know what that means. A new year means new possibilities. New dreams and new hopes are bound up in our new goals. For many of us, a new year means a new chance to start over. With a fresh beginning, we can look positively into the coming year with fresh eyes and a brand new perspective. Welcome to 2018!!

But first, let’s look back at 2017:

2017 wasn’t a bad year for me. Mind you, it wasn’t the greatest. I spent several months in a depressive state and in an unhealthy relationship. However, 2017 taught me so much about myself. I learned even more about what I want and don’t want in my life. I learned more about what my strengths are but also learned to acknowledge my weaknesses.

The beginning of 2017 was stressful and some harsh lessons needed to be learned. But the end of 2017 was met with a much more positive outlook on life – and some wonderful new people who have come to mean so much to me. I finally found my tribe! I might write more about them in future posts.

Parenting in 2017 has had its ups and downs too. My first born celebrated his 16th birthday, which had me very nostalgic. Leading up to his birthday, I often found myself looking over his baby pictures and watching old videos of him as a young child. Watching him grow up has been both a challenging task and a pure pleasure.

Conner just turned 11 but he’s still my baby bear. He still lets me cuddle with him and kiss him on the cheek. For now, he still loves my company and I’m going to take advantage of that as long as I can.

meandmysonconner_newyear_rockinrandommom

I had a great break from my blog and just enjoyed spending time with my family. I got to recharge my batteries and think about all that I want to accomplish in the new year.

All in all though, the year has been a good one. So what does 2018 have in store for me?

Better financial stability:

At least that’s what I’m hoping. This is a goal for me every year and while it may not have happened in 2017, I still strive for this and I will for as long as its necessary. I think this is something we all strive for every year. It’s one of those ongoing things. I am learning so much from my internship and am hopeful that it will lead to something that I can be proud of.

I also haven’t given up on my writing either. My focus will be on scheduling time for myself to sit down and actually write my stories. Inspiration doesn’t always come to me when I’m at a computer either which makes this part a bit difficult but I will figure it out. The new year brings new hope that I will finally get my act together in this department.

A New Car!

This is a major goal for me this year as my current car is really struggling to keep it together. I know that in order to improve my financial state I need a more reliable vehicle and that is my goal this year. But first, I have to improve my credit, which is also on the agenda for the new year.

Starting up my YouTube Channel again!

I have been going back and forth with this for quite some time but it’s only been recently that I’ve been giving this serious thought, thanks to a friend of mine who has been super encouraging. Again, though, it’s a matter of time. I have to figure out a day that will actually work for me and not conflict with anything else so I can give it my full attention. Maybe the new year will bring new ideas for me.

But the biggest thing I’m looking forward to in 2018 is…

Continuing to learn and grow as a person! I am looking forward to improving my positive outlook on life and helping others move in the same direction. I don’t know what this new year has in store for me but I do know that, good or bad, I will learn from all of it and it will, in turn, make me a better person. That is my ultimate goal for 2018!

What are your goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments. I am confident that 2018 is going to be the best year yet. Happy New Year everyone!

happynewyear_2018_rockinrandommom

Thanks so much for reading!

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What Christmas Means to Me

christmas_fireplace red and white socks hot chocolate_rockinrandommom

Christmas is a wonderful time of year! Next to Halloween, it’s my favorite holiday but it isn’t just the holiday. It’s every thing the holiday represents. Good Cheer, Christmas decorations, hot chocolate, snowmen, and being with family. We celebrate several different holidays this time of year as well. We have Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, among many others.

However, for the past – oh I don’t know – five or six years, I haven’t been in the mood to celebrate. I’ve gone through the motions but I haven’t felt much in the way of the Christmas Spirit for quite some time. I even wrote a post about not being in the spirit a couple years back HERE

In the past I have suffered from depression this time of year and it played a major role in my lack of Christmas cheer. Last year was probably the worst year due to the unhealthy relationship I was in at the time. You can read more about that HERE and HERE However, I think in hindsight it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

I know what you’re thinking. How can an unhealthy relationship be the best thing? Remember when I said I was just going through the motions with every holiday? Last year I couldn’t even think straight. Last year was just different. After the break up, the blinders came off and not just with the relationship but with my life. I went down the rabbit hole of deep sadness then when it was over, I came out so much happier.

It set me up for a better year, a better Christmas!

For the first time since I was a teenager I was in the Christmas spirit in November! Thanksgiving came and I was so excited to watch the parade with my oldest and ready to watch Christmas movies right after. I couldn’t wait to decorate my home or get the tree. I don’t actually have my tree yet but I’m so excited to get it this week and play Christmas music while decorating it with my kids!

quote christmas isn't a season its a feeling_rockinrandommom

It’s like the magic came back for me. It is flowing through me and the spirit of this wonderful season is working its magic in my soul! I have been baking cookies every week since Thanksgiving and not begrudgingly. I am enjoying the baking again!

I do have to give credit to my new gamer friends!

I struggled for a while after my break up to find other gamers that I really enjoy playing with and talking to. I joined a Destiny clan and met some really great women with whom I share a lot in common. Four of us are parents and the others are just a pure joy to talk to and play with. I can enjoy gaming again but more than that, I have finally found some like minded people who have lifted me up and helped me through a tough time.

I also have to give credit to my new advocacy position at Safe Passage!

I have written about this recently. HERE is the post if you want to read it. I have met some really great people through this organization. Safe Passage is a non-profit that advocates for those who have suffered from Domestic Violence. We provide resources, shelter and legal advocacy as well as a crisis hotline and education in the community. I love working  here because of the people I work with.

They are such a supportive and compassionate group of people. I look forward to my work every day because of the supportive environment they provide. Through this work I have gotten my confidence back. My last work experience was pretty bad and I lost my confidence in my skills but now its back. I feel better than ever!

So what does this have to do with the Christmas Spirit?

Everything! When you have good, positive people in your life, it’s contagious. Next thing you know, you’re positive and you’re happy. When you have a great group of supportive people who are willing to listen to you and offer you positive feedback, that affects your outlook on life.

I have great people in my life and I have gotten rid of the negativity that has surrounded me for the past few years. Because of this I am now feeling the same way I used to feel as a kid. Christmas was always my favorite time of year. I lost that for awhile. I’m so fortunate to have found my way back to it again!

So Merry Christmas to all of you! I wish you much happiness with whatever holiday you celebrate this season and best wishes for all of your holiday dreams!

I am leaving you with one of my favorite Christmas songs by one of my Favorite all time actresses: The late great Judy Garland!

 

christmas_editor's note_rockinrandommom

 

Thanks so much for reading!

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My Son Found His Inner Artist

child drawing with red pencil_artist_rockinrandommom

My son is an artist! This past week, Conner has made some serious strides in his drawings. I’m not sure what drove him to seek out more learning in the world of art but that’s what he did. He watched a YouTube video on how to draw Goku, his favorite Dragon Ball Z character.

Finding His Specialness

Conner has felt on and off over the years that he wasn’t special. He sometimes compares himself to his big brother, who has been writing comedy skits and scripts, and he has felt less than special. Of course his dad and I have always encouraged him to be himself. That isn’t always enough for the younger children when they see their older sibling as larger than life.

Art has always been a part of Conner though. I still have the crayon on my walls to prove it, hahaha! Even back then, I saw the budding artist he was becoming and I tried to encourage it as much as possible. He has loved drawing since he could pick up a crayon. I have a two totes full of his creations from way back when.

paint and crayon buckets on a shelf_everychildisanartist_pablopicasso_rockinrandommom

But it wasn’t until recently that Conner really started to feel that he would never be as special as his brother. Some of that has to do with Adam’s Autism but most of it has to do with how smart and creative Adam is.

I have told Conner that while Adam is great in the field of performing arts, he too, has his own set of gifts. Conner is super smart when it comes to Science and Math. He teaches me new stuff every day.

Conner also has a great empathy and compassion for animals. He loves animals. Spiders and bugs not so much but the rest of the animal kingdom he adores.

However, it’s art that has helped my baby bear find his spark.

The Budding Artist Within

As I said, Conner has been drawing since he could hold a crayon. I have watched his drawings improve every year. With each new drawing, I witnessed the artist emerge and I did my best to encourage him to keep at it, even when he believed he wasn’t good enough.

The last few weeks have been crazy busy. We celebrated his big brother’s sixteenth birthday and we had our first Thanksgiving in his Nana’s new apartment. Which was great for me because I didn’t have to do much cooking. There has been a big change in routine with me now interning and fifth grade has been up and down for Conner.

He made some really great friends this year but also lost a few, which really hurt him. Art has become his outlet for dealing with the stress. This has been a year of a lot of change for my son but his creativity has not wavered. In fact, it has only gotten better.

The Evolution of the Young Artist

This past week alone, Conner has drastically improved his drawings. He said he wanted to add more detail to his characters but didn’t know how to go about it. So, he did what he always does: Looks it up on YouTube! Sure enough, he found what he was looking for and as he worked on his first detailed drawing of Goku, he sent me the pictures.

my son drew each step of goku from Dragon Ball Z_mysontheartist_rockinrandommom

Each step was better than the last. And he did this with just a pen and a pencil. He didn’t have his colored pencils or crayons at his dad’s place but with just two tools, he made an amazing drawing! He said it took him two hours to complete it but that’s a wonderful thing because:

Art Helps Him Focus

Having ADHD isn’t easy for any child. Conner is lucky in the fact that his isn’t as severe as some but it still keeps him from focusing. It also doesn’t help him sleep as he has a really hard time calming his brain down. Sleeping and Focusing is tough for him. Sometimes though, when he is really interested in something, he can be super focused and Art does that for him.

Conner was able to sit at his dad’s desk for two whole hours because he was concentrating on getting every detail right. Many, many creatives out there have ADHD and it is known that the arts plays a major role in helping the ADHD brain focus.

He was so focused and so determined that by the next day, he drew another Goku.

another drawing of goku_mysontheartist_rockinrandommom

Keep Encouraging Your Child

Conner’s dad and I have already discussed getting him some real art supplies for Christmas. We both have artist friends who have made some recommendations that we will follow because we believe in encouraging our young artist in every way that we can.

Every child deserves to be encouraged in whatever their passions and talents are. As parents, we want the best for them and we want them to be happy. That means doing what they love. Whatever their hopes and dreams are, its up to us to help them achieve their goals and see their dreams come true. How do you help your child?

Let me know in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

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After The Playground

My First Born Has Reached the Big 16!

16 year old boy in polaroid frame with autumn leaves background_my son_rockinrandommom

It’s official…. My first born, Adam, has turned 16 years old! Two days before Thanksgiving, my wonderful son has reached another major milestone in his life. We celebrated with cake and gaming at an 80’s style arcade/bar/restaurant called Quarters. For real, the games actually cost a quarter just like they did when I was a kid playing at the local arcade with my siblings.

Adam loves the “retro gaming” as he calls it. Super Mario Brothers was the first game he got into and has been into it ever since. Since then he has added Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Tetris to his list of favorites. Of course he plays modern games like the Lego series (Batman is his favorite) and Skylanders but it’s old games that sparked this birthday party theme.

Starting 10th Grade, trials and triumphs:

Adam’s second year in high school hasn’t been met with rainbows and kittens. As we all know, high school is tough. It can be tougher on those who don’t exactly fit in. We are talking about kids who may be dealing with more then they need to at home or kids who have a learning or neurological disadvantage within the school system. Most kids feel abnormal in their teens. Their bodies and brains are changing and add hormones on top of everything else – yeah, high school is tough.

my son eating_first born 16_rockinrandommom

The first semester has been tough but Adam is doing a great job of staying on task, getting good grades, and following the rules. Adam, himself, has even come up with a game plan to help him navigate better when to take a breather and how to deal with difficult situations at school.

Make Way for the Gamer!

Because Adam really wanted the old Nintendo controller to be the center of his theme for his party, I had to come up with a design that was unique to him. First, I searched Etsy for retro gaming designs. Most of them were Xbox related but I did finally find the NES controller. So, the candy bar became the goodie bag.

Next, was to design Adam’s party invitation. Again, I went to Etsy but I found nothing that suited Adam. So I did what I usually do when I can’t find something unique – I made it myself, with Adam’s input. I used PicMonkey to help me design the perfect invitation for my boy.

Finally, there was the cake. I only found one cake design on Etsy and it was again, related to Xbox. While Adam likes the Xbox, he’s more of a Wii U and Switch kinda guy. So PicMonkey came to the rescue once again!

firstborn16_invitation cake design candybar wrappers_nintendo_rockinrandommom

When Only One Kid Shows Up:

So after all the planning and every kid responds with a yes, it’s finally party time. One problem though – only one kid shows up. This is a tough blow but it was tougher on me and Adam’s dad than it was on Adam. The kid that showed up was Adam’s closest friend. Therefore, Adam was totally okay with the other kids not coming.

Of course he had his brother and two of his cousins there. All Adam really cared about was getting to play all the games with his friend, eat great food, and finish it off with cake and gifts.

At the end of the afternoon, Adam was really happy and it didn’t matter how many kids showed up. He got to have his fun and celebrate with the ones he cares about. Later that night I did get a call from a mom of two of the kids. The one teen had a soccer game and she got distracted by that. Totally understandable.

By Monday, four other kids were distraught that they forgot and was really sorry to have missed it. Since Tuesday was Adam’s actual 16th birthday, I figured I’d bring in what was left of the cake and surprise him and his classmates with an impromptu party.

collage of birthday party pictures_firstborn16_rockinrandommom

Reflecting on Parenting this Amazing Kid:

Every year my first born gets older, I reflect back to his baby days. Now, as he has turned 16, I reflect on every year that has passed. I am reminded of what an amazing gift he has been to me. My first born didn’t talk until he was 3 1/2 years old. He could read by age 3 but conversations were limited to echolalia. Since then, I have watched this amazing kid go from barely talking to making us all laugh with his comedy skits.

I have watched this astounding human being go from only socializing with adults to making a few really good friends with his peers. I have seen him go from many meltdowns, to communicating his needs daily.

He has developed into a compassionate and intelligent young man who is full of life – and full of love. He walks into a room and it immediately lights up. Everyone who knows him, loves him. As a mother, I couldn’t ask for more than that. He amazes me every day!

So here is a little semi-poem I have written for my first born on his 16th birthday…

a poem for my first born_16_rockinrandommom

Happy Birthday, Honey Bear!

Thanks so much for reading!

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I am linking with:

 

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After The Playground

 

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