Healthy Living Tip: Remember the Good

By Monica C. Voskamp

I’ve been getting lost, stuck by a mental brick wall. I’ve a project to work on yet I keep delaying for some reason. It’s like I’m frozen & can’t push to the next step. Don’t ask me why; I just feel stuck.  And I’ve become focused on my “stuckness”, which has got me retracing into my past and various regrets I have.

I got some feedback from my lifecoach today and they pointed out my focus was on defeat. I feel defeated right now and by my past mistakes. I didn’t realize I had started to narrow my vision to defeats, but I had and it’s been taking me down.

My lifecoach encouraged me: if you’re going to look that closely at the past, if you’ve honed that skill, then look at what you did do right.

Good advice. I smile. I am an expert at regret, at detail, at seeing the past and recounting it till it drives me mad. So why not take the advice, and look at what I did do right? Why not remember what moments were incredible, what memories I wouldn’t change because they were beautiful even in times the rest of my life was not? That’s what I’m sitting down to do tonight…take some time, invest it wise, recount the ways I got it right & ways others brought me smiles.

I’m flipping through the files in my brain like my life coach suggested…to find the good memories and moments worth remembering that were there.

Here’s the first memory that came:

…I’m coming home from work and taking time to sit with my roommate and enjoying a meal together….This happened often. I think one time even a glass of wine; I savoured that one. I remember my roommate telling me to get out a plate and come enjoy whatever food she was eating. Sometimes I would barely get out of my coat, my legs were too tired, I’d just plop there on the barstool chair. We’d chat, share random tidbits of our lives.  Laugh. Sometimes cry. And even though it was late, even though I had worked the day away, and was more than ready for bed, those moments and minutes of chatting with another human soul over some tasty eats, well those moments in time still bring a smile to me. My smile is paused right now here in those memories, and you know what? It feels incredibly good.  It’s funny how simple moments like that, are the ones you look back at and the ones you see are laced with love. 

It’s hopeful to me. I can look back and see there were good moments even in times I wasn’t getting it all right. Those happy moments are worth remembering & celebrating; they are key lights of hope during rough times.

How about you? If you flip back into a chapter of life that perhaps wasn’t the proudest in your life, what good was tucked in there? There has to be one memory. No matter how random it is, there has to be a memory or two of sunshine. I know there is. Because if you’re reading this, you’ve only got this far because you’ve HAD moments of hope woven in your life. Those moments, though seemingly small, are what have kept you going through the rough and regrets. Trace back to a good memory. Linger there. Let that feeling re-flood your soul.

You are reliving love and hope.

And that is a good way to end the day.   Go to sleep with that goodness in your heart. ❤

 © 2020 MONICA C. VOSKAMP
Always hope. Always believe. Always love. ❤

Healthy Living: 5 easy ways to reduce stress

By Monica C. Voskamp

Hi there. 🙂

It’s been some stressful few weeks for me with the end of school term and also just life! I wanted to share quick & easy ways I’ve found a breath of relief in the midst of stress. If they can be a help to even one person,  that makes me smile.

Here’s 5 easy ways to reduce stress and hopefully make for a better day!

1. Meditation apps–this has been a huge help before exams and dealing with anxiety. The app I’m using is called “Simple Habit.”  (It has both free & paid sessions… I’m doing all the free ones 😀 )  The first one I did was called “Simple Habit Starter” a 5 day series of 5 minutes a day.  I love that it’s doable (only 5 minutes!), very soothing (I find Cory Muscara’s voice calming 🙂 )and this series gives a great basics of meditation. For me, I’ve been listening before I go to bed–to put me in a more relaxed mood, so extra bonus, I get a better sleep (Sleep is great for combating stress!)   It literally feels like I had a mini therapy session each day.  I noticed an overall more positive outlook on life and immediate sense of relaxation. Cory has this unique vibe of making one feel supported.  Highly recommend!

See link below if interested. 🙂

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simplehabit.simplehabitapp&hl=en_CA

2. Short Walk in nature or outdoors— Again another thing that has helped with both stress and anxiety, but also motivation is a short walk. A few weeks ago, I started taking a short brisk morning walk (mostly since it gets darker fast now here in Canada so I wanted to make sure I got a least a little walk.) Not a morning person, I was surprised to find some benefits.  I found myself more energized for the day, a definite mood booster! In days I’ve woke with anxiety, I found a walk very grounding.  Again this is very doable–I only go for 10 minutes.  This is an incredible simple self-kindness! ❤

3. Cup of tea–It may be the “British wanna be” in me ha, but I’m all for a cup of tea and drink my fair share in the day (both black & herbal.. I even make myself a chai latte every once in awhile-yummy.) I find there is something soothing about heat, inhaling the steamy aromatic smells and the deep breathing that naturally happens with drinking tea (unless you are a chugger…then…well at least you’re getting hydrated. :P)

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4. Deep breathing–  Again, I find the guided meditation helpful, but during the day, I find myself consciously aware when my emotions intensify.  I catch myself and literally inhale a deep breathe and exhale. The benefit of this, your breath is always with you! You can do this anywhere, anytime and you’ll be amazed how taking a 1-3 deep breaths can refocus and calm you.  If you’re about to start a meeting, prepare for an exam, tackle a mountain task, give yourself the gift of 3 deep breaths and big exhales.  (I often think to myself this mantra: ‘Inhale peace, Exhale stress’.) It’s an easy mental reminder to invite peace into my life.

5. Smile–Honestly, just crack those pretty lips into a smile. 🙂 Even if you’re making yourself smile for no reason, I have a feeling the psychological connection to good times can be a boost in times of stress. Sometimes I’ll pull up either a favorite memory video or pictures of happy memories. This is often enough to make me smile & laugh. As my good friend tells me, ‘Be your own best friend!’ So be kind to yourself today.   The benefit of your smile can also make someone’s load just a little bit lighter too.  Smiling is a beautiful expression of humanity, one that you have the ability to do & give!

That’s it. I’m sure you already have your own ways to capture a sense of peace in this world of chaos.  (Feel free to comment below your own healthy stress release; it just may be helpful someone else!)

And, if you are feeling overwhelmed today…I’m reminding you: gift yourself with kindness. ❤ Inhale a deep breathe of peace and exhale all that worry and stress. You are worth every good investment!

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A smile from sunshiney days 🙂

Hoping your day feels a bit lighter!

-Monica

*Cover Photo Credit: Photo by Michelle on Unsplash

Always hope. Always believe. Always love. ❤

 

 

Poetry: I Am More

By Monica C. Voskamp

I say no.

You say, So?

I say wait,

You say, let’s go.

I change my mind,

you couldn’t care less.

 

Your mind is fixed

Regardless of my word.

Regardless of my state.

Regardless of my pain.

 

You are gaining,

I am losing,

You have power,

I lack courage.

You call the shots,

I’m scared to object.

I don’t believe in myself

Just yet.

 

One day I will.

I will push back.

I will stand my ground.

I will walk away head high

Even when you command,

And Threaten me

I’ll put on my heels

And just walk away

With Dignity.

 

I will walk away , I will.

I am worth far more

Than your worthless pushover

Whore.

 

I am more.

I am more than just some mans

Property.

I am more than a lowlife

commodity.

I am more than a pawn

Manipulated by corrupted hands.

I am so much,

More.

 

Always believe. Always hope. Always love. ❤️

* Photo Credit:https://unsplash.com/@___rob__

The Oxymoron of Humanity

By Monica C. Voskamp

Every one has a story.  Every one has a struggle.  Every one has a triumph.

It’s easy to isolate ourselves thinking we are unique to our struggles. Yes, you ARE the only one traveling the intricate path you do, but in the same breath, we still share universal concepts of grief, fear, triumph, hate and love. We each bleed human blood. It’s easy to blur the lines when strong emotions, when overwhelming circumstances come, when abuse happens. It’s easy to blur the lines thinking we are unique and utterly alone.

We are alone but not. We are unique but similar in how we all are unique. We are different but the same because we are each different.

What connects us is possessing the blood of humanity.

When we step away from the power of our emotions and look at the facts,  it can give us liberty to view our surroundings, our community, our planet earth differently.

It’s a strange oxymoron and enlightening liberation: How so different we are yet how so much we also are the same. Perhaps this is the platform on which we humans can relate with diversity.  The oxymoron of our humanity may be the launch pad to interact with universal equality.

Always believe. Always hope. Always love. ❤

*Photo Credit: Image by Engel62 from Pixabay

 

Poetry: ..Unexpected Retreat..

By Monica C. Voskamp

 

You gave me a place to retreat.

You took my broken heart,

Accepted my fragile spirit

And gave me a place to just be.

 

It was out of the blue,

Completely unexpected.

It was both worst and perfect timing,

Somehow destiny knew I needed

An encounter with you.

 

You didn’t demand of me

Instead you reminded me

To have regard for myself.

 

You placed an invisible crown of dignity

Upon my head and invited me

To see what I truly deserve,

To believe I am of worth.

 

You welcomed me into the quiet

And channeled the static buzz in my head

Into a mind of zen.

 

You took my  haphazard living

And offered a retreat for me

A beautiful paradise

A chance to finally,

Finally stop & catch my breath.

 

They say ‘people come into our lives

For a season, reason or a lesson.’

This rings true with you.

In fact, you’ve scored all three.

And I can’t help but be grateful

For each,  for you.

 

You’ve been the perfect summer retreat

An unexpected happening.

And though it’s bittersweet to see you go,

You’ve impacted me more

Than you will ever know.

 

Always believe. Always hope. Always love. ❤️ 

*Cover Photo Credit: Simon Matzinger