Mental Health Awareness Month

mental Health awareness month

We are approaching the end of the month of May, and if you knew it or not, May is officially, Mental Health Awareness Month.  There are so many things that could be address or discussed regarding this issue, however I feel that it is important to note one simple thing:  Mental Health Matters.

No matter you race, color, creed, religion or financial status, Mental Health Matters.  We all have moment of the need for mental health treatment, and the real issue is that not many of us seek that treatment when we need it.  We turn to substances, people, things or we go into avoidance mode.  Because we don’t know how to deal with things, we choose to simply not deal with them.  This serves no one.  It definitely does you no good.

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I too have had moments where I have been depressed, down, extremely sensitive and unable to adequately express my emotions.  I have been to counseling, and as a therapist and coach I have counseled others.  I know hurt pain, loss, rejection, loneliness,  sadness and grief.  I have watch loved ones die, I have seen the effect of addiction and I have had to make medical decision for my parent not knowing if he would live or die.  At some point in time we all endure some or most of these things and it takes a toll on our mental health.

As we near the end of Mental Health Awareness month, I want to let you know that you are not alone on this journey.  There are people who are here to listen to help and to just be there if that is what you need.  I have some amazing friends, those who will just hold the phone while I cry, those who take me out for ice cream, and those who know those things I may be ashamed or embarrassed to share with anyone else.  Other than going to see my therapist, who may not always be available when I need her, these people help me to survive.  They are my life line.

mental health matters

My advice would be to seek help if you need it.  If you don’t feel like yourself, if you feel loss, down, discouraged, if you lack the energy or the desire to do anything or go anywhere, you need to consider talking to someone.  You do not always have to go and find a high priced prestigious therapist.  There are lots of free resources that can get you started on your journey to healing.

The first place to start is with your health insurance.  If you have health insurance, contact you insurance provider and ask about mental health services.  For most employer provided insurances the information may be on your insurance card.  If you are uninsured or if your employer does not provide mental health services organizations such as NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Health have locations around the world that can assist you.

The second thing I would suggest is to build a support system.  Find people who will avail themselves to you, people who will listen and people who will be encouraging but not participate in a pity a party.  People who will help you move past the rut you may find yourself in.  And also be ready when you can to reciprocate when needed.

Finally, do not let stigma keep you from receiving the help and assistance you deserve.  Know that there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with mental illness or asking for help.  Millions of people suffer daily and while many do not receive the care or treatment they deserve, millions are speaking up and speaking out daily.  You are not alone on this journey.  It is absolutely ok to ask for and receive help.  Most of the time it is only a phone call away.

Be Blessed! Be Fabulous!

pink-lips

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Best Shopping Season

afterxmas saleThis is my favorite time of the year for Christmas shopping.  I know, I know, Christmas was a few days ago, but hear me out.  This is the time of year where things are so deeply discounted that you can stock up for all of your 2018 birthdays, celebrations and yes Christmas.  Most of your stores are trying to get rid of not only their Christmas inventory but their winter inventory as well.  So why not stock up now and save money on your 2018 Christmas budget.

Stores like Bath and Body Works and the Body Shop are my favorites.  The Body Shop has a seasonal scent, cranberry that is only available during this time of the year and I stock up on this scent EVERY year.  Last year I purchased several gift sets valued at $45 for $5.  They made great gifts this year.  Also at Bath and Body the holiday scented lotions are normally marked down to less than $5 so why not stock up.  Lotions last a long time and you don’t have to worry about them getting watered down or not lasting through the year.

Also stores like Walgreens and Walmart have gift sets that are drastically reduced during this time of year.  I remember hosting an event during this time of year and being able to provide all of the participants with great gifts because of the reduced rates during this time of year.  This is a great opportunity to purchase gifts for everyone on your list.  This is also a great time to shop if you have birthdays coming early in the year, buy a great gift without breaking the bank.  I know personally my dad’s birthday is in January and I can normally find great valet sets or cologne sets for a fraction of what they normally cost.

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This is also the best time of year to stock up on hats, scarves and gloves.  Most stores have these so deeply discounted that I purchase gloves in all colors and I purchase additional sets to give to local shelters or to people in need.  For those with kids, especially kids who always lose gloves, this is the perfect time to prepare for the rest of winter as well as next winter.  You can always find great sales on these items and if you live in a cold weather area like I do, hats, scarves and gloves are a necessity.

Additionally, this time of year is great for holiday decorations.  I love to switch up the color scheme on my trees each year (even though it has been awhile since I actually put up a tree).  This is the time where stores like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby discount their ornaments and other décor sometimes as much as 90%.  I have found some amazing deals on ornaments, tree skirts, baskets, wrapping paper and gift boxes.

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Another tip.  Valentines Day is around the corner.  If you make gift bags for schools or friends or send care packages, holiday candy is holiday candy.  You can always use the chocolates and other items that go on sale right after Christmas for your Valentines day goody bags.  And since red is a popular color for both Christmas and Valentines Day you are in a position to win either way.  The key is to think outside of the box and to find items that are holiday neutral.

After my after holiday shopping is complete, I simply store all of the items in a box or tote and everything is on hand once the holiday season returns.  It is really that simple.  Shop with the people that you gift in mind and you can sit back and relax next December because your holiday shopping is complete.  The only things you may have to buy is for kids because of new toys and changing sizes.

Holidays are a great time to give and show those you care that you are thinking about them.  The truth of the matter is far too often people find themselves stressed after Christmas because those Christmas bills begin to roll in.  Why not save yourself some frustration and some money by preparing (yes a year in advance)  and get use the money you save to donate to a great cause or add to your savings or vacation fund.

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I hope these tips helped you as much as they have helped me over the years.  I used to drive myself crazy attempting to shop for everyone and often ended up spending money I didn’t have.  Once I broke the habit of trying to please everyone and focused on how to get more for my money without going broke, I learned that it was quite easy to give great gives and not go broke attempting to do so.

Be Blessed!  Be Fabulous!

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