Outdoor Activities I Enjoy

The book 412 Journaling Exercises and Prompts for Personal Growth by Meredith Lane contains, in addition to a wealth of assorted journaling prompts, also a number of “list of twenty” prompts. One of these is outdoor activities you enjoy. Right now, the weather outside is frightful: cloudy, windy, rainy and even a bit snowy. It’s April though and the weather has to get better someday soon. For when it does, let me share some of my favorite outdoor activities.

1. Walking. This is a no-brainer to anyone who’s read some of my blog before. I love love love walking and will even go for some walks in light rain occasionally.

2. Sunbathing. Or rather, just sitting in the sun. I don’t really sunbathe that much, but I do love to sit in the sunshine sometimes.

3. Swinging. At the day center, there is a rocking lounger outside of the door of my pre-lockdown group. I’ve also heard there are sets of swings in front of some of the other homes. At my former day centers, I loved to sit on a swing outside and swing about.

4. Listening to birdsong. I really love to hear the birds sing and chirp when I’m walking or sitting outside. I have absolutely no birdsong recognition skill whatsoever, but the mere sound of the different birds is pure bliss.

5. Meeting people from other care homes. This is mostly due to lockdown, as I used to be able to speak to other clients at the day center. Now we have to meet outside. I love talking to my acquaintances from other homes.

6. Swimming. Mostly in the outdoor pool, that is. Oh, how I wish I would be allowed into them again. I’ve heard some outdoor swimming pools have opened to a limited number of swimmers, but then still I won’t be able to go yet. I don’t really like swimming in a lake as much.

7. Barbecueing. Oh, how I love all the barbecue meat. Truly, if you ask me, salads are just a necessary evil. No, not really, but I am a true carnivore when it comes to barbecueing.

8. Enjoying a picnic. Although I struggle not to make a mess when not seated at a table. I try to think that’s not a problem though.

9. Feeling the wind blow through my hair. I don’t really like windy weather like today, but I do love to feel a slight breeze on my face and through my hair.

10. Campfires. Mostly for the marshmallows, that is. I don’t particularly care for the smoky scent and feel of a campfire, but it definitely adds to a cozy atmosphere.

Okay, I’m not going to get to twenty, but this was definitely fun to try.

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

loopyloulaura

Also linking up with #SeniSal.

My Most Recent Purchases

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts for this week is to write about some of your most recent purchases. I don’t purchase lots of things usually, but over the past month or so, I bought a few lovely things. Let me share.

1. Essential oils. Okay, I can’t stop talking about those or so it seems. I purchased four new essential oils a few weeks ago: lemongrass, white fir, ginger and lavandin. I now have 28 oils in my box and it has room for 30. That being said, I’ll likely remove my field mint essential oil from the box, as its scent is very similar to peppermint. This leaves room for three more new oils. I’ll probably purchase grapefruit, cardamom and vetiver essential oils soon. The cardamom one is usually very expensive, but I found an online store that sells a 10ml bottle for €12.95. That probably seems expensive to most people who aren’t into essential oils, but it’s really affordable. Of course, it’s probably not the highest quality EO, but as long as I only use it in my diffuser, I don’t care.

2. Bath and body product making supplies. About four weeks ago, I ordered a lot of new bath and body product making supplies. I ordered sweet almond oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, Dead Sea salt and some soaping colorants. Last week, I made my first product using the new supplies: bath salt. I also used actual essential oil in it. I normally don’t, because undiluted essential oil isn’t usually skin safe, but lavender EO is safe to use in bath products.

3. A talking scale. Two weeks ago, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a Medisana talking scale on Bol.com. I’ve been wanting a talking scale for many years. I did for a time consider buying a non-talking scale that connects to my phone, but then I’d have to look into the app’s accessibility first.

The scale I got isn’t officially calibrated and that’s noticeable, but I don’t care. I don’t really need to know my exact weight (it’d probably frustrate me to know). Rather, I want to know whether overall I’m losing or gaining weight over time.

4. Books. Most of these aren’t purchases, in that I didn’t pay for most of the books I got. One is though. Yay, I got A Life Lost by Cathy Glass as soon as it came out yesterday.

5. A YouTube Premium subscription. I finally had had it with all the advertising inbetween and sometimes in the middle of videos. I’m currently making use of my free trial month, but will likely continue with the subscription.

What have you recently purchased?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Five Favorite Cold Remedies #5Things

Today’s prompt for #5Things is favorite cold remedies. Now I must say I personally don’t believe in preventing or treating a cold with home remedies. There might be measures you can take to prevent infection, but I’m not even sure. Once you’ve got a cold though, whatever you do, you’ll just have to ride it out.

That being said, I do believe in things that can relieve the discomfort from your cold symptoms. I’m not sure these should be called “remedies”. Here they are though.

1. Green tea. Green tea is almost good for everything. I mean, people here at the facility even get it for constipation. I am not sure there are actually antiviral substances in green tea, but a hot cup definitely helps me feel better when I’m having a cold.

2. Chicken broth or soup. I remember my husband at one point telling me that he’d read that chicken soup treats colds because of its antibacterial properties. My husband’s point being, of course, that the common cold is a virus. That being said, similar to green tea, chicken soup or broth definitely helps me feel better when I’m feeling under the weather.

3. Black licorice. I know, I know, black licorice is a pretty risky type of candy, with even small amounts raising your blood pressure significantly. That being said, sucking on some licorice definitely helps me when I’m having a sore throat or cough. Plus, it’s far less yucky than other throat-comforting candies or remedies.

4. Essential oils. I don’t really believe in treating actual diseases with essential oils, but I do believe in relieving discomfort with them. There are a number of so-called immune boosting and seasonal discomfort blends out there. For a cold, I personally prefer blends with peppermint, eucalyptus and/or lemon essential oil in them.

5. Fresh orange juice. I don’t normally care for orange juice, but it does feel comforting when I have a cold. Besides, if its vitamin C won’t boost my immune system, at least it won’t harm it either.

What’s your favorite cold remedy?

My Hopes for 2021

Hi everyone and a happy new year! Last year was, well, quite eventful for most of us. I really hope this year brings some peace and quiet to all of you. Most of all though, I hope you all stay as healthy as can be.

Like I’ve done for a couple of years now, I’m going to share what I hope to achieve in the new year. I hate the word “resolution” and don’t really want to call them goals either, because that’d be pressuring myself too much. I’ve actually noticed that if I call them hopes, I somehow achieve more of the things I want to achieve. Here are my hopes for 2021.

1. Eat a somewhat healthier diet. I don’t really want to be eating just lettuce and carrots so to speak, but I do really want to make healthier food choices. Like, I want to eat 2-3 servings of fruit each day, like I did in the fall of 2020 too. I also want to choose healthir snacks and maybe I can really get into the habit of eating bread rather than cereal some days. Lastly, I really need to make sure I get in at least two liters of fluid each day. Ideally, these actions combined will lead to some weight loss. I’d like to lose about 5kg, but any weight loss is good.

2. Find other ways of exercising besides walking. COVID permitting, I’d still like to join a gym or go swimming again. I don’t need to get moving more, as I already get in my recommended 10K steps at least half of the time and I don’t think it’s realistic to want to reach the goal more often.

3. Keep up my blogging routine. I did really well over 2020 in writing regularly and really want to keep it this way for 2021.

4. Get stable mentally. In 2020, I experienced crises a lot due to a coombination of factors related to my mental health and adjusting to living in a facility. Like I said on Wednesday, the extra care hours got approved for a year. Hopefully by the end of this year, we’ll be able to conclude that they’ve helped me become significantly more stable.

5. Find more enjoyable hobbies and activities. I don’t need to be able to do them independently. Like, I’d really like to explore crafting and beauty product making more, but I know I’ll need help with those. I guess my hope is that I’ll find joy in more activities even if I can’t do them all by myself.

6. Deepen my faith. I didn’t even mention having become a Christian in 2020 when I reviewed the year on Wednesday. I however really hope to strengthen my relationship with Jesus and my faith in God.

What do you hope to achieve this year?

How I Spent My November

It’s already almost 9PM and I haven’t written anything today, but really want to. One of the end-of-November prompts I received in my mailbox from the International Association of Journal Writers (IAJW) Museletter was to make a list of all the things you spent time on in November and to reflect on what you’d like to change. Here goes.

1. Worrying. And acting out. Particularly early in the month, I was very much overwhelmed. I landed in crisis within the first week of November. I could’ve attributed this to it being the anniversary of my major crisis in 2007, but I know it wasn’t. Finally though, this crisis helped me realize I need more support and actually request it.

2. Walking. I broke my step record three weeks in a row this month. Today I feel almost disappointed for only having gone for short walks in the evening, because it was raining.

3. Faith. I had a true leap of faith this month, which I’m so grateful for. I’m pretty sure that, without God, I wouldn’t be where I’m now. I mean, I truly feel blessed to have come to realize I am beloved. It’s still pretty hard for some of my parts to believe, but we’re getting there.

4. Relaxing. I truly feel blessed to be able to have quiet dinners in my room for now and also to be able to relax more in my bed. Early in the month, I was so worked up that I couldn’t relax. My nights were regularly disturbed by nightmares and, though they still are, my days are calmer.

5. Writing. I’d really like to do more of that in December, but I still managed okay.

6. Talking to my staff, husband and others. I really feel this helped me open up more about my innermost struggles. I sometimes throughout this month have felt a compulsion to perseverate on the same topic over and over again. This is an autistic thing of mine that plays up particularly when I’m experiencing strong emotions, be they positive or negative. I’m glad my staff and husband are okay with it though.

7. Eating. I totally planned to go on a diet in late October, but by early November, this had more or less gone out the window. I do try not to snack too much, but I’m really not in the mood for dieting right now. Hopefully I won’t fully slip back in December.

How did you spend your November?

Life Challenges I’ve Overcome

Earlier today, I saw Emilia’s post about challenging life lessons. It was based on a prompt from Listify. I have this book too and thought it’s an interesting prompt indeed. It asks us to list the challenges we’ve overcome in life and explain what life lessons we’ve learned from them. Here goes.

1. I spent the first three months of my life in the hospital. I was born prematurely and had to be in the incubator and on a ventilator for several weeks. Then I spent the remaining time I should’ve been in the womb in hospital. Of course, I can’t remember this at all, but it might’ve caused some early attachment issues.

2. I lost my vision. Okay, I was born legally blind, but still relied on my vision quite a bit until I was around twelve. All official documents say that I lost what little vision I did have at the age of eight, because that was when my parents and doctor decided not to pursue further sight-saving treatment. In truth, though right now I consider myself totally blind, I still have light perception in one eye and had it in both eyes until at least age nineteen. At that interesting age of eight, I still had about 20/1000 vision. Yes, I was considered functionally blind. That’s how sighted people look at it. However, when I attended the rehabilitation center for the blind in 2005, I was told by someone who’d gone from fully sighted to totally blind, that losing the last bit of residual vision was harder than losing most of the sight he’d had before.

3. I endured childhood trauma. I wrote some about this before, but I don’t know whether my family reads this blog, so I won’t go into detail right now. It mostly boils down to my parents not having a clue how to raise a multiply-disabled child and as a result being pretty harsh. None of the trauma I endured was severe, but the long-term nature of it still means I have significant complex PTSD symptoms.

4. I was bullied. At the school for the blind as well as the mainstream school I attended, I was regularly bullied by my peers. It didn’t help that my teachers and parents more or less blamed me for the bullying. I was too nerdy, too socially awkward, too dependent, too much and not enough.

5. I endured some medical trauma. Well, I’m not 100% sure of this being genuinely traumatic, but I certainly endured a lot of hospital stays, surgeries, etc. Most times, the doctors and nurses were really caring. A few times, they were ignorant. For example, when I had my wisdoom teeth extracted in 2010, the medical staff almost didn’t put a sheet over my face because “she’s blind anyway”.

6. I experienced long-term psychiatric hospitalization. I’m realizing more and more how much of an impact this has on me. With my not having felt safe with my parents at least some of my life, and me having been more or less in temporary placements most of my adult life, I’ve never felt that I can be safe anywhere. As a result, I’m constantly challenging my current staff, believing they’ll kick me out of here anyway.

7. I survived two medication overdoses. Both happened in 2017 and I wasn’t really suicidal at the time, but I wasn’t coping either. I never actually realized how things could’ve gone until my mother-in-law told me after my second overdose that the medical staff had asked me whether I wanted to be resuscitated should it come to that. I can’t remember the question or what I said. Both of these made me realize that I needed more help than I was getting at the time. At the time, unfortunately, I had a rather unsupportive psychiatric treatment team, who were very much focused on my independence. As a result, it took me a year from my second overdose to be truly honest that I needed long-term care.

Things I Want to Buy Someday #Blogtober20

Hi all on this late Thursday evening! I’m very late to write my blog post for today, but better late than never. Today’s prompt for #Blogtober20 is “All That She Wants”. For this topic, I’m going to list some products I’ve been oohing and aahing at but haven’t bought (yet).

1. An Apple Watch. Okay, I just ordered a Fitbit Inspire 2, so I cannot say I need the Apple Watch for the fitness tracking capabilities anymore. However, before I finally decided to order the Fitbit, I had been gazing at the Apple Watch. What kept me from buying it, is the fact that it’s incredibly expensive. I also was held back by the fact that the watch’s wristband contains a small amount of nickel. In fact, that’s what kept me from buying any fitness tracker until now. I know, the Fitbit wristbands contain nickel too, but I’ve decided to just take the risk and maybe nail polish the wristband clasp. The Fitbit costs €99,95, whereas the Apple Watch is over €400.

2. Airpods Pro. Yeah, I’m an Apple product fan. I already have bluetooth headphones with noise canceling, but mine don’t work with Siri and I can never be sure whether I have noise canceling on or off. Airpods, being in-ear, are also much easier to wear while lying down. I may purchase those next month or maybe I’ll wait till I’ve saved some money at the end of the year.

3. The advent calendar from The Body Shop. This is a less expensive product – the ultimate one costs €130 and the regular one is €50. However, I still think it’s a bit of an unnecessary purchase, so I’d rather just look without buying.

4. A writing course. I did at one point look at Writer’s Digest and Writers Write. Both have pretty cool courses, but they’re priced at like €300 each. Similarly, I’ve always looked with delight at the International Association of Journal Writers (IAJW) coaching programs, but even if you’re a member (which I was for a while), they’re still pretty expensive.

What things are on your wishlist for when you have more money to spend?

#Blogtober20

Things I Do Just for Fun #Blogtober20

Yesterday I didn’t write a post for #Blogtober20. Though I wrote a blog post, I didn’t post it to the linky or Facebook group. Today I’m hopping back onto the bandwagon and writing on today’s prompt, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. I’m going to share the things I do just for the fun of them.

1. Read chicklit. I am normally mostly into memoirs or young adult fiction about serious topics. When I just want to have fun, however, I read a romcom or other lighthearted women’s fiction. Most recently, I’ve been reading The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth.

2. Find jokes. I am subscribed to a funny E-mail list where the owner sends out daily jokes and comics. I cannot enjoy the comics, of course, but I love the jokes.

I also love to listen to my husband crack jokes. He and I both are a fan of wordplay.

I also love the kind of lists that describe what it’s like to live in a certain state or city. There at one point was one about Nijmegen, the city I went to university in. I related a lot to the things mentioned.

3. Dance. Well, walk in place to the beat of music. I love some playlists on Spotify of fast-paced dance and pop music. I cannot dance at all, but I love to move my body in the rhythm (or out of the rhythm, for that matter, as my sense of rhythm is poor) of the music.

4. Write and read funny blog posts. I particularly love memes and tags. I still need to participate in a couple of tags that I saw on other blogs and liked.

What do you do just for fun?

#Blogtober20

Self-Care Strategies for Coping with Mental Health Issues #Blogtober20

Today’s prompt in #Blogtober20 is “She Drives Me Crazy”. Many bloggers are using the prompt to inspire posts on organization, decluttering and mental health. So am I.

I’m not feeling too well today. Yesterday, my inner voices started back up with a vengeance. This led to a mini-crisis in the middle of the night. Today I’m feeling a bit low. It may be to blame on my lack of proper sleep last night, or it might just be a bit of the seasonal blues. I hope not, of course.

Anyway, here are some things I do to cope with mental health issues. Some of these are specific to a certain problem, such as depression or anxiety. Others are more general wellbeing tips.

1. Proper sleep and rest. I’ve noticed that, when I don’t sleep well, my mental health goes downhill rapidly. For this reason, I’m trying to get into a better night-time routine. I still use my computer or phone before bed, which I probably shouldn’t do, but I don’t know what else to do in the evening.

I currently am in the process of trying out a weighted blanket, which really helps with relaxation. I mean, even if I don’t sleep, I do rest more when using this. I also use an app called MyNoise, which allows users to customize various mixes of nature sounds or other sensory-friendly sounds. You can set the individual volume for each sound within the mix and there are about 150 mixes to choose from if you have the paid version (which is a one-time purchase of I believe €10,99). Last night, I ultimately fell asleep listening to a soundscape called Patagonia.

I do usually take one hour-long nap during the day. Most days, if I stick to just that after-lunch nap, I sleep pretty well during the night and still feel refreshed the rest of the day.

2. Sensory-friendly activities. I already mentioned the weighted blanket and the MyNoise soundscapes. In addition, I often diffuse essential oil blends into my diffuser. Just today, some new oils arrived, so I’m excited to try them out soon.

3. Staying active. Today is a bad day weather-wise, as it’s been raining most of the day. Still, I managed to squeeze in a walk in the afternoon. I also made sure to stay active and do something in the morning. I made a soap. This is not physically exerting myself, but it definitely gives me joy.

It helps me to stick to a routine as much as possible. Like, I drink coffee in the morning and afternoon, eat my meals at regular times, and do an activity in the morning and afternoon too. I also usually go for a walk in the evening, but today it was raining and the staff were too busy.

4. Mindfulness. I haven’t practised that today, but I find it can help me stay grounded in the moment. I sometimes try a body scan meditation. I also for one love guided visualizations.

How do you take good care of yourself?

For those who are interested, last April, I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with the topic of self-care. If you click on the #AtoZChallenge tag in my tag cloud, you’ll find a lot of information.

#Blogtober20

My Fall 2020 Bucket List #Blogtober20

Today’s prompt for #Blogtober20 is “Into the Groove”. I don’t really know what to do with that prompt, so instead I’m going to share my fall bucket list. September is usually mild here, but by October, fall weather is truly here. That is, two years ago, we had a day in mid-October when the temperature rose to 27°C. That seems unlikely this year. It’s windy and rainy right now. Fall is here! Let me share my fall bucket list.

1. Play in a pile of fallen leaves. I would really like to do that this year. I used to love the colors of fallen leaves. Now, I can no longer see them, but I can still smell and feel the leaves and hear them rustle.

2. Do a fall-related craft. I have been looking at lots of projects to try. For example, someone in a craft-related Facebook group did a needle-felted pumpkin. I’ve never tried needle felting, but I immediately wondered whether it’d be doable for me. I’ve also seen lots of other fall-related crafts and want to try at least one of them.

3. Prepare some fall-related food. I’d love to try something with pumpkin spice, as I just recently learned what it is and that it doesn’t involve actual pumpkin. I think it’s delicious!

4. Make a fall-themed soap. I think one of my favorite soaping suppliers has a photo contest in November – at least they did in previous years. I never participated, as I won’t win anyway, but I want to try this year. In any case, in previous years, all contestants would get a coupon just for participating. I don’t have fall-themed molds, but of course I could experiment with fall-related ingredients too. Otherwise, I could just participate with a different themed soap, as there is no set theme.

5. Read a thriller or other spooky book. I’ve seen a lot of them on people’s fall TBRs. I’m not a big fan of fantasy, but I do like the occasional thriller.

6. Create a fall-based tablescape. Or do some other fall-themed decorating in my room. I’ve not done tablescapes at all before. I mean, I don’t have a table that isn’t used. However, now I do have the small table that I can use until someone else needs it. It has just my essential oil diffuser on it. I would really like to create some fall-related decor on that table.

What’s on your fall bucket list?

#Blogtober20