Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: “Okay. I’m Praying for You.”

When I was a young adult, in my 20’s, I am sure I thought I knew everything or at least enough to make my own decisions. My dad is not one to get in your business. He’s not one to insert himself into his children’s affairs often. But when he does, we listen. We may not follow the advice or heed the warnings because well, we were in our 20’s.

At times we would go back and forth about a thing and my dad would say, “Okay. I’m praying for you.” It took me until now, at age 47, to realize that at a certain point in conversation with a child that thinks they know what they are doing or refuses to heed your warning, you have said all you can say. There was never a shouting match with my dad. When he saw he wasn’t getting through or he had said all he needed to say, “Okay. I am praying for you” would end the conversation. After you’ve said all you can say, beaten a dead horse maybe, there is nothing else to say. All you can do is pray for the child.

I was having a conversation with my young adult and I felt like I was trying to drive in a point to no avail. I found myself repeating the same thing and getting frustrated. Then suddenly, I realized I had said enough and she wasn’t going to change her mind even if she was listening. I stopped and said, “Okay. I am praying for you.” At that moment I realized, I am now my dad and she is me.

~Nikki

No Stress November? Really?

Pathway in the autumn forest

This is the time of the year many of us are wrapping up our goals. The holidays are upon us. There is also the putting away of summer clothing, summer items and putting the fall and winter things where they belong. It’s the organization and preparation of your home for winter. There are events, celebrations, festivals, and family gatherings. Finances and traveling factor in as well. What can we do to make sure we don’t become overwhelmed and “wig out”?

Keep your routine of exercise and eating as healthy as possible. Don’t neglect your self-care routine either. Get a massage to help you with all of the stress or do an Epsom salt soak in the tub.

Keep to your routine of prayer, meditation, daily devotions and religious services.

Make a budget and STICK TO IT.

Remember, YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING OR EVERY ACTIVITY. You can’t make it to EVERYONE’S EVENT.

With that being said, decide what you are going to and where you are going to in advance. Also, leave room for adventure. Be flexible to change. We should know by now things don’t always go according to plan and we must be able to adapt. Oh, and adjust our attitudes in the process! Your FUNKY little attitude can affect the group and ruin everything.

Apologize.

Take off your cape and learn to say NO. Take off your control freak cape and delegate things to others. They can handle it and it doesn’t have to be exactly how you want it done.

Take a breather and some time alone. Go for a nature walk or a walk in the neighborhood. Listen to music. Read a book. Stargaze.

Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too. -Mayoclinic.com

Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events or communities. Many may have websites, online support groups, social media sites or virtual events. They can offer support and companionship. If you’re feeling stress during the holidays, it also may help to talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. Try reaching out with a text, a call or a video chat. Volunteering your time or doing something to help others is also a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. For example, consider dropping off a meal and dessert at a friend’s home during the holidays. -Mayoclinic.com

If you have any tips, chime in!

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 7

Avoid minimizing

People face all kinds of unpleasant situations in life. Some of these challenges have a much broader or far-reaching impact than others.

It’s not for anyone else to say how upset someone should (or shouldn’t) feel about any given type of distress.

Comparing a loved one’s difficulties with problems faced by other people often happens inadvertently, as an attempt at consolation.

You might intend to cheer them up by saying things like, “It could be a lot worse,” or “At least you still have a job.” This denies them their experience and often implies they shouldn’t feel bad in the first place.

No matter how trivial you think someone’s concern is, avoid brushing it off.

Sure, maybe the lecture your best friend received from her boss wouldn’t have bothered you. But you can’t fully understand her experience or emotional response, so it’s not fair to minimize her feelings.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-minimizing

My thoughts: When I was younger and I was having these mood swings or thoughts, my parents told me to “pray about it”. I really didn’t understand the whole concept of God and prayer. As time went on, not only did I not pray about it, I did nothing about it for a very long time and it was just accepted behavior or “something is wrong with that one”.

Since I have become older and I finally started to not only get the help I need but, also to understand what it was I was dealing with, my parents seem to have grown as well. They have somewhat of a better understanding and acceptance that praying is necessary but, so is self-help (meditation, reading, exercising, etc.) and therapy.

I figured out who I could talk to and who I could not by the responses of those in my circle. If I was minimized, if anxiety and depression was minimized, if they stared at me as if I had a unicorn horn in the middle of my forehead, or the pompous, “Sorry, I don’t have anxiety. So, I don’t know what to tell you”, I never opened my mouth to those people again. When they ask me what’s wrong, I say, “Nothing.”

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 6

Build them up

Times of personal difficulty, especially ones involving rejection, can bring people down and make them doubt themselves and their abilities.

If you notice someone you care for seems to be a little low, harder on themselves than usual, or going through some self-doubt, a sincere compliment or two can go a long way toward improving their outlook.

When offering compliments, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Keep them relevant to the current situation. For example, you might remind a friend who’s upset about a mistake at work about their usual pattern of success.
  • Choose compliments that highlight specific strengths over empty compliments that might apply to anyone. Instead of simply saying “You’re so thoughtful,” pinpoint what makes them thoughtful and share your appreciation for that skill.
  • Don’t gush. A well-placed compliment can make someone feel great. Overdoing it can make people skeptical of the compliments, or even a little uncomfortable (even when you do really mean them).

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#positivity

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 5

Skip the advice

You might think you’re helping someone by telling them how to fix a problem. But, generally speaking, people don’t want advice unless they request it.

Even when you know you have the right solution, don’t offer it unless they specifically ask something like, “What do you think I should do?” or “Do you know of anything that might help?”

If they’ve moved from “venting” to “talking through the problem,” a better approach often involves using reflective questions to help them find solutions on their own.

You might, for example, say something like:

  • “Have you been in a situation like this before? What helped then?”
  • “Can you think of any specific changes that might help you feel better?”

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-advice

I know you know everything or maybe you know exactly what to do BUT, SKIP THE ADVICE UNLESS YOU ARE ASKED!

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Loved One or Friend w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 3

Validate

Think about the last time you went through something difficult. You probably wanted to talk to someone about the problem, but you may not have necessarily wanted them to fix it for you or make it go away.

Maybe you just wanted to vent your frustration or disappointment and get some soothing acknowledgment in return.

Support doesn’t require you to fully understand a problem or provide a solution. Often, it involves nothing more than validation.

When you validate someone, you’re letting them know you see and understand their perspective.

The support people often want most is recognition of their distress. So, when a loved one tells you about the challenges they’re going through, they may not need you to jump in and help. You might offer the best support simply by showing concern and offering a caring presence.

Some validating phrases you can use are:

  • “I’m sorry you’re dealing with that situation. It sounds so painful.”
  • “That sounds so upsetting. I understand why you’re feeling so stressed right now.”

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#validation

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Tearing Down Paradigms

Me: Why does this have to be so hard?

God: Because walls don’t come down easily. It takes demolition.

Me: I don’t like this.

God: I know. But, it’s for your good.

That did not make me feel much better. Knowing something is for my good but, the huge challenge of not just shifting thoughts but, tearing down fixed thoughts. Breakthroughs are BREAK-THROUGHS and they come by breaking something. This mental war to remove a fear is a battle I haven’t fought in a long time. I am not sure if I have ever been through something like this and if I have, I can’t remember. So, how do I deal with this thing? This…huge fear about a particular thing. This fixed array of thoughts?

I’m not quite ready to face it but, I know I have to. In the meantime, I am trying to understand the root of this fear and how to control my thoughts and tear down thoughts at the same time. In my research, this came about, “THOUGHTS ARE DIFFICULT TO CONTROL BUT, NOT IMPOSSIBLE”. The NOT IMPOSSIBLE part gave me hope and it’s continuing to give me the strength to keep up the “good fight”. Think about it, so many things we do or have done are difficult but we do them!

I got that from Swami Makundananda along with these things:

  • It requires EFFORT
  • It requires PRACTICE. Effort and Practice.
  • It requires DETACHMENT. Effort and Detachment

And this will lead to success.

I am trying and it is a very difficult challenge that has come at a time when I wish it had not. Yet, here I am in the middle of it. If you believe in prayer, send up some for me. If you believe in love and light send that, too. Continuously. Overcoming this paradigm is draining and I am just beginning to uproot it through understanding. Not to mention, my attitude is “I don’t like this!” and I am trying to conform to “acceptance” because I know accepting it will make it easier.

~Nikki

Strengthen What Remains Notes: Leftovers

Scarf made from leftovers, the remnants @theconfettishopbynikki on FB and @theconfettishopnikki on Insta

When Nehemiah heard about the ruined wall of Jerusalem, he wept. (pause) I just want to let that sit there. He cried. It’s okay to cry!  

Yet, he rebuilt the walls of the city by using the remnants of the wall he had left and by strengthening those who remained (Neh 1:3-4, 2:17-20).

He took what was left, the remnants, the leftovers, and by strengthening those who survived, they rebuilt the wall. I know, I know, some of us have been destroyed. Our hearts have been broken. We have taken some big hits. Things from out of nowhere. After you weep. You have got to strengthen what remains of your heart, your money, your life, the church, and rebuild.

What do you do when you’ve suffered a great loss?  When you’ve lost sight of your purpose?  When your joy or your faith isn’t what it used to be?  

You wake up from your slumber, arise to the voice of God, turn your attention to what you have left, and begin the faith process of strengthening that which remains.  

~Nikki

Mental Health: What Helps Me

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

One of the major keys to dealing with anxiety and depression is to get ahold of it before it spirals out of control. But exactly how is that done? Also, having a plan for when it does spiral out of control is necessary to expedite your recovery to mental and emotional stability. Therapy, scriptures, and affirmations are three major tools that have helped me. Also, having someone you trust when you can’t talk to your therapist and having a SOURCE, which I call God/Creator/Divine/Source when you have no one to talk to is major. For me, Source is always available but, I know there are things I can do on my own to help myself. And this is encouraged by Source.

I think you should really get to know who you are and how things affect you. The only way to do that is to be totally honest with yourself. I am sensitive as I found most creative people are. It allows us to channel our emotions into what we are creating. I have a tendency to take things more personally, overthink, and overanalyze. I have learned how to back out of those things and become an observer for the most part. I also know that it takes me time to move past things. Over the years it has become easier to move past things. I think that comes with wisdom and not age.

Here are some of the things I do to help me to get ahold of anxiety and depression:

I acknowledge what I am feeling and then I ask myself why I am feeling it. What happened? Who said it? Consider the source from which it came from and are they credible? No one is more credible than God for me. If it’s coming from a person I don’t know, a person that is negative, a person that doesn’t like me, why would I feed into their opinion? Exactly. Unless, deep down inside I feel that way about myself and I am honest if I do! If they say, “You are ugly” and lately I have been ripping myself apart I’m going to feel bad. BUT YOU have the power to change what you feel by changing what you think and speak.

I use affirmations for anxiety and depression. If I feel afraid to sleep, I say to myself over and over, I am safe in my body. I am safe in my home.

I use scripture pertaining to whatever I am feeling or scriptures to contrary. If I feel weak, I say I am strong. If I feel afraid, I say God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and love.

I pray.

I say, “Oh. I am feeling some anxiety today. I can fold my clothes. I can do some work as I work through this. I can do some exercise.”

If I have persistent thoughts or episodes, I make an appointment with my therapist (currently searching for a new one).

I talk to a friend I trust.

I cry. Crying is a release.

I pamper myself. I take hot showers. I oil and lotion up. I give myself a pedi/mani or go get one. I soak in a lavender Epsom salt and pink Himalayan salt mix. I schedule a massage session.

I go to my bathroom and read my yearly marching orders or my affirmations to reset my brain.

Now, what about when anxiety is CODE RED or depression is CODE BLUE!

My plan is to shut things down for a day or two this can include social media and putting phone calls on hold.

I call my therapist.

I rely on all the things above.

I immerse myself in Netflix, a blanket, and the couch.

I allow myself to sleep.

I lose myself in a hobby.

BUT the maximum I give myself is TWO DAYS and then I MUST come out of it. Anything longer than that can set me up for darker and deeper holes that are difficult and require help to come out of. I come out of it by pushing, forcing, and dragging myself to get back to a routine. A little at a time. And during this time, I make sure personal hygiene stays on top. If you don’t wash your face, brush your teeth, change clothes, shower, YOU WILL FEEL EVEN MORE LIKE CRAP. People tend to let themselves go in bouts of anxiety and deep dark times of depression.

During this time, I stay hydrated. I do allow myself some treats but I also make sure I eat as healthily as possible. Too much sugar or salt will make you feel worse. I add one of those packs of Vitamin C to my water. I sit on the porch. I go for a walk. I do 10 minutes of yoga if I don’t feel like doing 30. I do tai chi because it is slow movement. I may just stretch every two hours.

I hope this helps someone. Recently in Memphis, this week, we went through so many tragedies many of us are feeling things we can’t explain and some of us know exactly what we are feeling.

~Nikki

Strengthen What Remains Notes: WAKE UP

@theconfettishopbynikki on FB

I don’t know what you have been through or what you are going through. I don’t know what you are facing but, I get a sense that we are all tired. We are tired of covid, monkey pox, the economy, politics, the job and then we have our own trials and tribulations, battles, dilemmas. You get off the merry go round only to get on the sea-saw. You get off the sea-saw and now you are on the roller coaster. We are tired! We’ve gone from a shooting here and there to shootings daily and mass shooting every few months. We are tired!

All we want to do is sleep until it’s over. But we can’t sleep until life is over. We must WAKE UP.

Wake up. Be alert. Pay attention to what is going on in our lives, in the world, within us and in our homes. We must pay attention to our thoughts and our minds for the Bible says, TAKE EVERY THOUGHT INTO CAPTIVITY to obey Christ (the anointed one).

END OF NOTES.

IN OTHER WORDS, monitor your thoughts and anything that is not “right” or of “love” or “true” replace it with the proper thoughts. This can be done by meditation, affirmations, prayer or all three. This can be done by staying connected to spirituality or your religion.

~Nikki

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. NIV Revelations 3:2

Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. NLT Revelations 3:2

STRENGTHEN WHAT REMAINS