Category Archives: Financial Wellness

30 Days of You

Hello Dear Reader 🙂

This isn’t my typical type of post so please bear with me 🙂

Yes it has been awhile but I am back yet again. If you’ve been following my blog, you already know this past year has not been the greatest for me. You’ve been with me through my ups and downs. You read my posts even though they were very sparing. Some of you even sent me encouraging messages. For that, I thank you. This blog and all of you have helped me heal.

I do want to give you an update. So, I’m not on my medication anymore due to the cost. Don’t fret because I am in a much better place right now and due to my wellness toolbox, I am bouncing back much easier than before. I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve begun a new relationship, I’ve moved from my old place, I’ve graduated college, I’m practicing more self-awareness and overall I am having more peaceful moments.

Now, I won’t lie to you. It was very hard. Very Very Very hard. There were nights during the past few months where I cried my eyes out and didn’t think I was going to make it. I depended on a lot of people to support me and I became discouraged at many intervals. I’m not claiming to be magically healed nor would I insult you all by giving you a step-by-step to recovery (since it’s relative anyway).

However I will say this, I am not at a low. My lows aren’t as low as they used to be and my highs are higher than ever. I can look in the mirror at least 3x a week and smile and say “you are beautiful” and mean it. I am experiencing increased happiness and I am amble to better catch myself in negative thinking instead of ruminating.

What I want to do is to share something with you. I want to help those who have suffered like I have or who are currently suffering. Depression, although it is getting a bit more talked about, is still an illness that is underestimated. It takes lives and robs souls. What I want to do is use my time, talents, and gifts to help others.

One thing that I am doing is inviting people to my Facebook challenge “30 Days of You”. Don’t worry, it’s free. I just want to help others.

The 30 Day Challenge is 30 Days of improvement, healing, support, and growth. The idea is that each participant chooses some goal they want to accomplish and stick with it continuously throughout the 30 Days. The goal can be completely personal, so “practicing self-love techniques for 30 days” or “learning to eat healthier” or “drinking more water”.

For some of you it could even be “get out of bed” or “smile at my reflection” and that’s okay 🙂

I’ve created a page called “30 Days of Fabulous” and the idea is to utilize it as a support system for the participants. So we post pictures, comment, share our stories and support one another in our endeavors. I would invite you to join the group and to join the event.

Ideally, one day I want this to become some sort of campaign or even a movement ^_^ that would be awesome. For now though, I just want to reach as many people as I can and support them to the best of my ability.

I hope if you’re reading this Dear Reader, you will join the event or at least share it with someone else.

Here’s the link to the 30 Days of Fabulous Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/457855387690666/

Here is the link to the 30 Days of You Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/524420244368424/

Sorry for the atypical post but I just had to say that 🙂

Thank you so much Dear Reader and I hope to see some or all of you in the challenge.

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Recovery

Good Evening Dear Reader,

It has been awhile since I last posted. I am happy to say that I am recovering from the depressive episode that I had a few months ago.

If you’ve been following my journey, you already know that I started medication in November. In January, I started a Cognitive Behavioral Program and tomorrow is my last day.

During the program I’ve learned many helpful things and I feel more prepared to handle the lows. This post is a testament to my recovery,

What I’ve learned through the program:
1. I don’t have to be perfect and hold myself to such high standards.
2. I can strive for progress, not perfection.
3, Small steps are better than no steps at all.
4. I am good as I am right now, and I will appreciate all that I do.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m at 100% because I am not. I’m more at 70% but at least I am functioning. A few months ago, I was at 10%. So I did make progress and I’m proud of that.

I am learning to be more gentle with myself. Loving myself is essential to recovery and I try to do small things to be kind to myself: like watch an episode of anime, read an article etc.

I’ve also decided that as a writer, I want to use my writing as an avenue to help people who suffer from this illness as well as inform those with misconceptions about depression.

Although the perfectionist in me wants to go out and try conquering the world, I know that I need to lighten my load and take better care of myself. I mean, I do feel like I am back to the functioning range but at the same time, I think I need to be careful right now.

There are some things I want to share with you Dear Reader. Especially if you suffer from depression. There are 5 steps to recovery.

1. Hope
Always have hope that things will get better. Even on those days when you feel like everything is in turmoil, keep a little hope in your heart.

2. Connection
Connecting with others definitely has kept me from withdrawing/isolating. When I have my lows, I tend to withdraw from everyone (including my loved ones) so to help with that, I schedule social connection time. I call my mom on a daily basis (even for just 5 min), I watch anime with a friend weekly, and I try to have lunch with at least 1 friend each week. This has helped so much.

3. Empowerment
I know that I am searching for things that empower me. I feel empowered when I write (hence the blog) or draw. I try to find empowerment in the little things as well (doing the dishes or making it out of bed more).

4. Self-Responsibility
If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that I am a firm believer in doing all that I can to help heal. I was very reluctant to try medication. At the end of the day though, I asked myself “What can I personally do to help me heal?” and “Am I doing all that is necessary to help my recovery?” These questions pushed me towards the medicine, COG program, and self love. I thought I was powerless in this. I felt and believed that depression made me powerless, but that’s not true. There are many things I can do to help heal. I can be nice to myself, I can go to therapy, I can take my meds, etc. I have more power than I feel I do.

5. A Meaningful Life
To be honest, I wasn’t quite clear on this one. In my opinion, this means do things that are meaningful to you. What has meaning for me? I know that writing is very meaningful to me, so I try to do it more often. I know that music is meaningful to me, so I listen to it daily. Things like that.

Sorry for such a long post. I hope anyone finds even a piece of this useful. Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming at all to be cured of depression. Rather, I am saying I have made progress, and fighting off the episodes is a lot easier since I’ve gained skills to help me manage.

I hope you find this helpful Dear Reader and I hope you have a pleasant evening.

Productivity

Good Evening Dear Reader,

So I’m getting ready to go to a meetup for Active Lifestyle Nerds. We’re going to some live band karaoke. I don’t really know what live band karaoke is specifically, but as long as I get to sing and meet people I’m good.

Let me tell you about my day. Today I took my own financial advice. I got paid today and needed gas. I checked gasprices.com and found the cheapest place in my neighborhood. I was early to work and started looking up more jobs and internships to apply for. I went to work and afterward went to talk with my health coach Jess. I am now officially a wellness coach. I’m am super interested in learning all that I can about nutrition and helping people.

Thus far I’ve gotten three people to come in for wellness evaluations this weekend.

Then I went to pick up my medicine that I talked about in previous posts. I’m starting it tomorrow, so I’m mentally preparing for that.

I got home and did some research for what my new responsibilities will be and I’m feeling really good.

I’m not sure if you can really take anything out of this…but what I did learn today:

1. Find things you are passionate about and look for opportunities in that field. I’m passionate about health and nutrition so being a wellness coach is perfect for me.

2. Talk to people. Today while waiting in line at the pharmacy I had an awesome conversation with an older gentlemen. He told me his life story and gave me some advice. It was a little piece of sunshine today.

3. Be your own hype-man. In the car I told myself “Shannon, you can do this! You can be a wellness coach and help people! You’re awesome!” Sometimes you have to be your own cheering squad.

That’s all I have for now. For now it seems like if things aren’t going well they will improve. Even it’s not today or tomorrow. Things will get better. That’s something I learned this year. Just have hope.

Day by Day

Hello Dear Reader,

So today I went to the dentist. He didn’t say that I need to floss more and in fact said that everything looked good. That was an awesome part of the day. So, floss and brush often. I actually don’t floss everyday but going from not at all to a few times a week seemed to make a difference, so I recommend it.

After I actually went to the military base to pick up my new medicine but honestly it took an hour to get a ticket which allows me access to my real ticket. After I got my real ticket, I discovered there was a 2 hour wait so I’ve decided to just pick it up tomorrow so I won’t have to wait. At least I’m closer to crossing this off my to do list.

My friend Kim went with me and we discussed my idea to join Herbalife. I’m really hesitant because if the products do work and the business venture is successful, I will have taken a step up on the ladder of personal success. However, if one or neither of those work for me…not only have I wasted my money, but my hope for the improvement of my health will go down.

I’m really trying to stay hopeful. To say “Shannon, you’re beautiful and although you’re not where you want to be, you’re almost there.”

I went to FitCamp again tonight (yay me!) but I felt really crappy during. That might be because I ate about an hour before I went but either way I didn’t feel as good as I did on Monday and I’m honestly feeling a bit discouraged.

I am at a crossroads. Right now it feels as if I will either teeter toward continued progress or digression. I knew this moment would come. It always does and I usually digress. I don’t know if any of you have felt this way: you’re doing something for a period of time and then you lose steam and end up going back to your old ways. Well that’s how I feel but my mind is desperately trying to hold on. I’m tired of settling for mediocrity. I’m tired of always returning to the safe-haven of my bad habits.

Here’s my game plan:

1.Give myself a pep talk in the morning and throughout the day

2. Remind myself how good I feel when I do the things I set out to do. Blogging for instance makes me incredible happy for some reason.

3. Breathe. I get so anxious that I panic and give up.

4. Take it day by day.

5. Keep it pushing and stay hopeful.

One thing I can say about myself is that I never lose hope. Even with depression, I have hope that I’ll be healed one day. I have hope that I’ll become a doctor and one day be financially responsible. I honestly don’t know where it comes from. I think that if you work hard enough you can accomplish anything.

Okay, one thing that I recommend for everyone is to take a moment and reflect on your accomplishments and what you’re grateful for.

Today I filled out applications for internships, emailed my professors, resisted a tempting bag of famous amos cookies, went to fit camp, and blogged 🙂

I am grateful for my friend Kim who kept me company today and talked with me.

I am grateful for being able to work at all.

I am grateful for having a love of writing.

I am grateful for the peace that I am experiencing at this moment.

I am grateful for FitCamp.

Well here’s what I learned today:

1. Sometimes you’re going to feel down and that’s okay

2. Try your best at whatever you do and you can’t go wrong-Good is good enough 🙂

3. Sometimes a hot shower can be your best friend

I guess just have hope because hope can be really helpful when you’re down, but it can also be dangerous. The reason that I haven’t fallen into the deeper parts of my depression is because I have hope that I won’t feel the same way the next day. On the flip side, the reason I spend so much money on weight loss and workout products is because I’m hopeful something will work. I need balance -_- that’s my biggest thing, I don’t have a good balance.

Oh, on a nerdier note, in the spirit of comic con which I unfortunately cannot go to:

I would definitely be a blue lantern

 

Budgets

Good Evening Dear Reader,

I won’t lie, I’m not the best person to ask about budgets because I’m pretty terrible at it. I don’t know how to handle my money and I often spend it on things I shouldn’t: new bed sheets, home decor, and the like. I don’t even know why I do it. It just kind of happens, especially when I’m down.

That’s going to stop. I’m going to try and manage my money a little better and see how that works out.

I’m constantly looking for help in increasing my financial wellness because as it stands, I’m sickly.

Okay, I’m not completely useless. I know some things:

1. If you’re trying to get into hobbies or fitness, there are plenty of free options: that meetup.com website is amazing for this.

2. Go to Costco for bulk items like tissue/paper towels or even fish if you eat it constantly, but go to a grocery store or farmer’s market for fruits/veggies or toothpaste.

3.If you need gas, check “gasprices.com” for your local gas prices, sometimes you can find cheaper places to get gas when you need to fill up.

4.Go to creditkarma.com once a month to see how you’re doing. It counts as a soft inquiry which doesn’t impact your credit score so don’t worry about lowering it by checking it. I’ve committed to check every month.

5. Pretend you only have $25 at all times if you are splurging.

6. Make a list of things you will buy. If you’re only going to the store for a new bathing suit, just go for that. I won’t lie I am terrible at this but it doesn’t mean it isn’t good advice.

7. Go to thrift stores and garage sales, you’d be amazed at some of the stuff you can find.

8. You can find cleaning supplies and toiletries that are both cheap and effective at Walmart and the 99cent only store. It can be helpful in a pinch.

That’s all I have for now. Now I am no where near financially stable and I’m constantly trying to get on top of my finances. It’s funny because I only do these things when I’m about to run out of money. I should probably start doing them from the get-go so I can have a little less month at the end of my money.

I’m also open for suggestions on how to manage finances better if anyone is willing to share.