Organizing inspiration:

What gets you inspired to get rid of your clutter?

Friday is my cleaning day, but I hate doing it (there are apparently some people who love cleaning… I need to find me one of those people and invite them over).

I have found that if I change the way I think about it, I am able to tackle the “problem areas”.

This is challenging for me as I married a man who has a hard time throwing anything away. My sensory son who believes he can recycle any piece of rubbish into art becomes distressed when I throw things out, so I have to do it when he isn’t looking. So honestly… we have a huge mess – no joke this is my dining table right now:

mess

  • I think of it as exercise. I don’t have a chance to get to the gym – so I put my Fitbit Flex 2 on and tell myself this is my way of getting steps in my day. Don’t laugh. I have a bigger desire to get back into my old clothes (that are taking up space in my closet) that used to fit me than actual cleaning. So exercise it is.
  • Just like exercising, I set a timer. Maybe it’s 20 minutes at a time, if you need to get children involved, it could be 5 minutes at a time for them. Keep focusing on the cleaning until timer is up and give yourself a small break, maybe enough time to read a blog. Bonus: Add music!!
  • I love to read. I will read books, magazines, blogs etc. So I will find inspirational material about cleaning out all that clutter, and it keeps me motivated. Some of the most well-known books about cleaning are ones by Peter Walsh, and Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Art of Tidying Up
  • Think about the money you’ll save? DO you know how many times I have bought things over and over again because I can’t find the original that I bought. Ugh.
  • Mental Health: It is proven that clutter can cause anxiety. I will feel better having a house that I feel proud to actually invite someone over and chill with, instead of feeling embarrassed.

With actually blogging about it, I am ready to go tackle that mess right now. Happy cleaning! Please leave a message if you have any other suggestions or helpful tips!

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Strangers and friends…

Shopping

I’ve had some weird encounters over the years when it came to understanding that my son was different and there have been differences between these encounters between strangers and friends….

I remember the time reality hit me about our situation was when out of tiredness and begging. I had gotten my son a McDonalds Happy Meal (It really does make him happy) and he tripped and dropped his fries. He screamed nonstop outside of the supermarket. It didn’t matter if I promised to buy him new fries or that I threatened to take away things if he didn’t just “get himself together”. He screamed, and cried, and he wouldn’t move or be calmed down. The fries on the ground are the ones he wanted and no replacement would help.  That is when it hit me “Is this normal?”

You see, all I was going in the supermarket for, was some bread. So I was pleading with him “let me just go in and get some bread… Can you come in with me for just some bread”. My daughter who was also with me and was quite stressed, tried everything to make him feel better.

An aboriginal man came up to me and said “Can I buy the bread for you? I have  a grandchild who is autistic, so I understand”. I tried to say through my sobs “My son isn’t autistic, he just needs to get over this” but he didn’t hear me but I nodded through my own tears of frustration. He asked me what kind of bread we buy and somehow the words fumbled out. I am a fiercely independent woman so it was hard for me to accept help, but also I was mad at the word… mad that someone assumed my son was autistic when I wasn’t there yet. I hadn’t accepted any “difference” yet. I did thank him when he returned with bread and I found some money in my wallet to pay him but I vaguely remember him giving me words of encouragement to keep going.

It’s strange because strangers have seen the worst of my family, and they have been the most encouraging (a lot from men who expressed their relation to somebody with some diagnosis). Yet most of my friends have seen the best. Some of my friends don’t even know that my son has been diagnosed with anything because they see him on his best days… but even if there is just a little thing “out of the ordinary”, I have had some less-than-encouraging comments. “You know, there was a kid that couldn’t sit still when I was young, you know what fixed him? Spanking!” which is usually the general gist of a few of the comments made by people who have known me for years. I instinctively have known never to mention what my son deals with because I knew they wouldn’t understand and yet, have found understanding, kindness, and grace in strangers who have witnessed the worst meltdowns in the most public places. The kindness of strangers sometimes has brought me to my knees of crying tears of joy when all I needed was just a bit of grace through difficult times and feelings of failure.

There was a beautiful moment not long ago where my son got “fixated” on a toy in which we definitely could not afford but he had emotionally become attached to. This led to a  minimum half an hour (of a meltdown) in the store. Yup. I’m that mother!  I felt by this time, knowing he had been diagnosed with sensory issues along with other things, that I had “toughened up” and thought I could had handle this, but I had started to grow weary. This old man, who I assumed must have been judging me and had been in our “vicinity” for a while, walked up to me, looked me in the eye and said “You’re doing a good job”. I could feel myself take a breath (in which I hadn’t noticed that I was holding so much in) and I smiled at him, and he smiled back and kept walking. I knew I couldn’t say thank you because I would have just cried… cried and cried. I was very thankful for those words.

This is all I ask sometimes of a community. We don’t know what we are all going through day to day but sometimes we need someone to witness our most painful and frustrating moments and still find a way to say something encouraging.

This is not to say that I haven’t had some amazing friends be there for me and my son but Sometimes strangers give unique encouragement in those moments.
Keep going! Be better!

6 Ideas on how to get a child with sensory issues and anxiety to the dentist

dentist2

Today I had to bring in my sensory child to the dentist. He had anxiety and had decided not to go. So here are a few things we put in place:

1. I called and called and called the dentist beforehand to let them know of my child’s needs. I explained how he will need to be warned of any noises, feelings, or light.

2. We got him something he’d been asking for, for the last few months: Mariokart by nintendo. We told him simply that he will not receive the game unless he goes to the dentist. Maybe you call this bribery but you do whatever you can when you have a child that has anxiety and sensory challenges.

3. We brought his noise cancellation headphones. These I highly recommend if you do not have some. They are great for children who don’t have sensory issues for ball games and concerts.

4. Ankle weights. For those parents that don’t have a child with these needs, this sounds a bit weird but it truly does help my son feel “grounded” when sitting. He usually requests me to bring them whenever he has to sit for very long.

5. Something I FORGOT to bring today but certainly would have been a help is something for my son to hold. He usually likes holding a smooth stone which helps tremendously with those nerves and anxiety.

6. Lastly, I wish I had brought his pair of sunglasses. Despite having a pair at the dentist he felt the light was “still too bright” for him, and he became a bit distressed by it.

The main issue he had trouble with was the seat “going down” and moving. If I had to do this over again for the first time I would have warned him about the seat moving but that he is safe. Because he has trouble understanding where he is in relation to other objects, it is very unnerving for him to be in a chair that he does not control the movement of. He was loud enough to let us all know that he was not liking it. Thankfully though, most of the other issues was taken care of. The dentist would put a tool on his hand first (like the vacuum and blower) to help him feel it first before putting it in his mouth. This was a huge support for him and he “allowed” the dentist to do what she needed to do. Good luck out there Sensory parents!!

P.S. extra bonus points if you can find a dentist that has a TV on the ceiling. This helped keep my son concentrating on something visual despite not liking other things going on around him.

 

 

5 ideas of how to let go of anger and move on

What about Anger and Forgiveness? This could be your year to let go and shine.

beach

I have been thinking a lot about this subject mainly because I love listening to people. However, there is so much that people say or do that is the result of anger. Most people don’t or cannot pinpoint their anger very well. They get angry at something trivial, in order not to face the actual issue they are upset about.

If we all faced what we were actually angry about, and discussed it, worked through it, then we would be left with a lot more peace in this world. I know that I have personally been on the receiving end of some people who are dealing with anger, but after some reflection I understood that it really wasn’t about me. So here are a few techniques that I have used and discovered.

If you are spiritual, PRAY FOR THEM. Alright, I see you all those that don’t pray – I’ll get to that. But the whole point of the idea of praying for them is that it changes your attitude. It doesn’t mean they deserve your prayer, it doesn’t mean that what they did was okay, but it helps you remember that the person who has caused you offence has probably acted out of their own anger that had nothing to do with you. In turn, you turn your anger into pity, empathy, sympathy. After deliberate action to change your thoughts, after a few months, you no longer harbor that anger.
So if you aren’t spiritual, I highly suggest finding something, whether it be one good memory with that person or something that made you like that person to begin with, and focus on that. Every time you start getting angry, think of something nice. Your brain has so many pathways, and if you can control your thinking about a person, you can change the emotion you feel towards that person. Call it a type of meditation if you want but helps.

This next technique comes courtesy of my daughter’s teacher. I wrote her in desperation… I saw my daughter getting angry a lot and she wouldn’t speak to me as I was the one she was acting out towards. This teacher who loves to help children work through their emotions put an activity within the day that changed my daughter. The teacher didn’t tell me about it but my daughter came home so excited. She told me how at school they got a piece of paper out, wrote all the names of people that were upsetting them, and then crossed the names out and then ripped up the paper and put it in the bin. Her teacher carefully explained that once you put the paper in the bin, you let go of the anger towards those people and you start over fresh. I have never personally tried this technique but my daughter seemed to believe it helped, and she felt more in control of her emotions with the activity. It helps children (and sometimes us adults) to do something visual and physical to help our brain understand that we are done with the anger towards certain people. This is a great exercise for children to visualize letting go of those feelings.

Go to the beach!! Okay, I’m sorry if you don’t live near a beach, maybe a lake, maybe mountains, but there is science in getting out with nature. I know if I am in a cycle of emotional pain, whether it be sadness or anger, getting out of the house and being with nature is a peaceful, and healing experience.

I hate the beach only because I get burned 100% of the time, but honestly after an hour of the ocean I feel better, and healed. This is definitely one of the main places I have retreated in the last few years of a lot of trauma and difficulty. I come back feeling hopeful and refreshed. I do have to force myself, and sometimes I’m angry at the effort it takes to get to a place when I feel emotionally exhausted but ultimately I come back home with hope.

Maybe it’s just seeing the ocean and knowing that there is a bigger world out there than my problems, maybe it’s just getting out there in nature, or maybe it’s just breathing in the salty air, but at the end of the day, I feel like I have a better grasp on any issues and anger I may have and more confident to tackle what comes my way. I also feel this way in rainforests, and gardens… so It isn’t just the beach but I recommend it. It refreshes the soul.

Write! I know it’s simple but write it out. Sometimes writing helps me separate my emotions from the actual event which helps me figure out what it is I am actually dealing with. Sometimes I have too many emotions to sort through, and writing helps me separate and own what I need, and let go of what I don’t need.

Lastly, if there is someone who is truly toxic in your life, you should let them go, but do it not out of anger but of peace… with knowing you are doing what is best for them as well.

If you have have had someone cause you trauma, and yet they have been out of your life for years, you can still forgive and move on:

There is a woman that lost a child in the Sandy Hook tragedy who said it helps to remember that the shooter was a person too. I can’t even grasp the amount of forgiveness it takes for something so tragic as that, but it is possible. You don’t ever forgive people because they deserve it – but as typical as this sounds, you forgive others for you.

You deserve to not hold on to what they did to you. You deserve a free life. Remembering you deserve better than to be defined by what someone has done to you can really help you take the steps you need to look to the future and let go of that past hurt. Remembering who you are – without this pain, is a motivation to accept what has happened and to keep moving forward.

  1. Pray (Or meditate on something positive about the person).
  2. use a technique to physically/visually let go of those emotions.
  3. GET out, and GET active (ideally in nature)
  4. Write.
  5. Separate yourself from the person (or at least take a break). Remembering who you are, or who you want to be without this pain and anger.

Hoping this adds to a better you this year! Keep going!

3 ways to sleep more..

Who doesn’t want to have better quality sleep this year?

Sleep

If you are anything like our family, sleep tends to be a hot topic that varies in issues depending on who you are.
My husband who has Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) needs to have a CPAP machine which has been hard for him to get used to. We have updated machine, changed masks, changed air intensity – it’s amazing the variables that come with just getting enough oxygen at night time. At times his mask can be knocked off by the way he sleeps. I only just discovered recently that there is an actual CPAP Pillow that assists in keeping that mask on securely during the night, and I believe it might solve his mask problems.

My husband also moves and thrashes around a lot at night. My son who is seven and who has sensory issues has had this problem too, and he wakes up frequently tossing and turning. Thankfully his Occupational Therapist and Teacher both recommended a weighted blanket. This has helped tremendously. He went from waking me up 2-3 times a night, to waking me up maybe twice a month. I know there are ways to make your own weighted blanket but I couldn’t tell you as I am the least craftiest person I know (I still need work on my fine motor skills). I would highly recommend getting one. My daughter has asked for one for herself – she is next on the list to receive one.

These blankets are also called “gravity blankets” and are now proving to be a useful tool to help calm nerves for those suffering from anxiety – if this is a problem for anyone in your family, this blanket can also assist with calming the mind.

My daughter’s problem, from the moment she was born had trouble closing her eyes to sleep. She wanted to look at everything. She’s very visual and has trouble closing those peepers. The only thing that helps is an eye mask. Most people think of eye masks for travelling but if you have a child that just can’t help but look at the whole world, getting a cute or cool one to wear every night might do the trick. Also, eye masks have come a long way since we were young. There are some amazing ones out there. Take a look

Lastly, if you are anything like me, if you have addressed the rest of the family’s sleeping issues you may actually get some shut-eye yourself, and hopefully no one will wake you.

First blog post

fireworks
Fireworks at the stadium

So 2018 is a new year and time to start something that I have been thinking about for a long time. A Blog. I started one last year but it was not at all going in the direction I had hoped it would and after much thought and planning decided that I have a chance to take this into the right direction.
Since I can remember I have been a person who never understood doing things the long way if I could think of a better and faster way of doing things. I have had some challenges, especially recently that has made me research better and improved ways of making my life simpler and easier. I wanted to share my results with others… sometimes this includes pointing to a gadget, sometimes it points to ideas to corporate into my own life, and sometimes it includes a little bit of inspiration from those that have overcome challenges or achieved things when no one else believed in them. My goals are to become healthier, more active, and kinder.
I’m also looking at ways I can become a better mother to my two children. One of them has sensory issues which can prove challenging in different environments. I enjoy finding new ways to help him overcome and move forward.

I also find great fulfillment in encouraging others. So that is the direction I am moving this blog towards.

Hope 2018 finds you successful, healthier, open to finding new ways to overcome any challenge that comes your way.

Jenny