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Personal Reflections

3 Reasons I Ditched My Antidepressant & What I Use Instead

For a good-long time I was embarrassed to share with others that I took a pill for anxiety and depression. At times, I felt deficient. Like I was not enough. I wasn’t capable of being happy and normal on my own. It really wasn’t anyone’s business, but keeping it a secret made me feel ashamed. When I started looking into it more, I realized I wasn’t alone. It is estimated that one out of every six Americans take an antidepressant today.

               Despite the benefits I’ve experienced from being on an antidepressant, I decided earlier this year to ditch my medicine for a more natural mental health regime. This has been a much more challenging journey than I’d expected. Yet, lately, I’ve been feeling better than I ever imagined possible.

Anxiety and depression have become epidemics in our modern culture. The National Alliance on Mental Health states that “collectively, anxiety disorders are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.” Within the last 30 years the number of people ages 12 and older in the U.S. taking an antidepressant has dramatically increased (for a myriad of reasons). If you don’t struggle with anxiety or depression yourself, you likely know someone who does.

My Anxiety Story

I started taking a form of Zoloft about eight years ago. Having dealt with life-interfering anxiety in the past, I know how devastating it can be on an individual and their loved ones. I’ve watched depression tear people down, and I’ve felt the dark pulls of anxiety as I isolated myself in hopes of feeling less anxious.

Often my anxiety stemmed from school situations. At the start of a new semester I would scour the syllabus for each of my classes to determine how many presentations I would need to get through. My favorite classes were those that didn’t require presentations—there weren’t many. I never scored high in class participation because I was just too shy to say anything. My face would get red as I thought about the terrible things everyone must be thinking about me.

I played soccer in high school and that contributed to my anxiety as well. I would get so nervous before practice and games as I was sure I would mess up and get embarrassed. At times I would lay in bed beforehand and just cry. It was an unexplainable feeling of fear and stress over future events. And when I did mess up, I replayed the event over and over again in my head—feeling worse and worse

College was about the same. I managed the stress of presentations a bit better as I had to do them more often. However, I isolated myself as I ventured down the path of having an eating disorder. It wasn’t until I received professional counseling that I really started looking at my mental health and well-being in a different light. That light brought the healing I was needing!

All of this took place while I was taking my prescription for anxiety relief. I do think that my medication helped. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to get through all of my schooling without some form of support. But, as you can see, the medication didn’t make life easy or perfect.

3 Reasons I Ditched My Anxiety Medication

Determining I didn’t want to be on this medicine anymore was a thoughtful decision made over a period of time. It’s not the right choice for everyone. However, if you feel uncertain about being on an antidepressant, there are alternative options. For these reasons, I decided to let go of my need for a prescription.

Long-term effects of anxiety and depression medication are unknown.

Because anxiety and depression medications have only been around for 40-50 years, there isn’t much evidence to advise doctors on how long a person should remain on a medication such as Zoloft or Paxil. There hasn’t been time to experience the long-term effects of an anxiety or depression medication, and what they will do to the body over long periods of time.

I wondered what it felt like to just be me again. Without the medicine.

Over the years of being on this medicine, I’ve often pondered the idea of taking a pill for the rest of my life. I’d continuously think there was something wrong with me because I needed medicine to be happy. Since then, I learned this isn’t true. If you do need medication for anxiety and depression for long periods of time (or life), there is nothing wrong with you! You are a complete human being regardless.

But I still wondered who I was. Would I be interested in the same things if I didn’t take medicine? Would I ever experience happiness without it? Did the medicine make me a different person at my core? I would never know the answers to these questions unless I quit taking my medication to find out.

I strongly believe natural remedies and lifestyle changes can heal us more effectively than pharmaceutical drugs.

Preaching natural remedies means I want to live as closely to nature as possible. I know there are many things I could be doing to improve my mental health without the use of prescription medicine. Meditation for example, is a great way to calm the mind and improve relationships with myself and those around me. I know of many herbs, too, that can help calm the mind and body to promote a healthy life.

I wanted to give these a try. If they didn’t work for me, then I would always be able to go back to the medicine if need be. I decided I would give a wholehearted attempt at changing my habits to be more mindful of my natural mental health needs.

The Supports I Needed

First and foremost, my family has been hugely supportive. I told my family about this desire to get off the medication. They trusted I would know my limits, and return to the medicine if I found out that I really did need it to function properly. Without my family supports, I don’t think I would have attempted this journey in the first place.

Secondly, I talked with my doctor. I read many forums online of people that have stopped taking this medicine cold-turkey, and it wasn’t pretty. Even with the plan the doctor and I came up with, this has been difficult. I did become weepy, irritable, and overly sensitive at times. But, talking to your doctor and being on the same page with him or her will help you feel much better about the whole process.

Lastly, I started seeing a natural health counselor. I came to a crossroads about two months into the process. Either I would have to see someone for help, or I was going to get my prescription up and running again. I didn’t want to give up. But I didn’t know what else to do. My mom suggested I see someone at the wellness center nearby. It was the very best decision.

The wellness counselor I met with practices ‘amino acid’ therapy. She evaluated my symptoms and feelings before putting together a plan of which supplements I needed to be taking and how often. She explained to me that our bodies need these amino acids, but our modern diets don’t always nourish all of these needs. Adding these amino acids would help to fill in what I was lacking—which leads to feelings of anxiousness, depression, and other similar unpleasant feelings. Basically, she helped me to build a toolbox of ideas and supplements that would get my serotonin levels to where they needed to be for a healthy, prescription-free lifestyle.

Which is exactly what I was looking to achieve!

The Results

A fog has lifted from my mind. I can see things much more clearly, and I am envisioning myself a bit differently these days. It’s almost as if I can step back from situations now and watch myself react to them. I am seeing who I am (at my core) much more clearly. I love every minute of it!

Don’t get me wrong, times can still be rough. This past month has been rather overwhelming. Taking supplements, practicing yoga and meditation, and diligently making sure I am caring for myself does not make life easy. But it has stopped my nervous system from going into overdrive as often as it would have in the past. I’ve been able to handle the overwhelming situations with less stress and more laughter than I would have with just my prescription medicine. Plus, I think laughter is something we could all use a little more of these days.

*I share this experience to encourage others that would like to explore other options to anxiety and depression medication. I do not believe these medications are bad, and would never encourage anyone to quit them without speaking to a doctor.

References:

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/the-science-and-history-of-treating-depression.html

2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/1-in-6-americans-takes-a-psychiatric-drug/

3. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders

Liebster Award

Earlier this week I received a message from Jennifer over at the blog Oscoey. She had been nominated for the Liebster Award! (If you aren’t sure what that is, just keep reading.) In order to accept this award, she needed to nominate at least 5 other blogs to receive the award, too.

And guess what?! Jennifer picked WholeHearted Homestead as one of her nominations! I was extremely excited and eager to accept my nomination by writing this post (after I uncovered what the Liebster Award was, as I was not familiar with it.)

Thank you so much, Jennifer from Oscoey! I’ve been touched by your nomination, and I really enjoyed getting to check out your blog. Head over to Oscoey and find out more about Jennifer and her family’s adventures in strawberry picking, jam making, gardening, and much more. The pictures she posts are just gorgeous!

What is the Liebster Award?

So if you are like me, you don’t know anything about the Liebster Award. So, here is a little background…

The Liebster Award started out as a way to recognize other bloggers in 2011. Liebster means beloved, dearest or sweetheart in German and the term is used in the award to show which blogs people are fond of. It is a great way for bloggers to connect, get to know one another and to highlight new or smaller blogs.

My Favorite Blog

To accept the Liebster Award nomination, I needed to write about my favorite blog. So here it is…

My favorite blog has to be Piwakawaka Valley! And I have several superb reasons for that. I love Dana’s enthusiasm and creativity. And the best part is that she shares about many topics that are near and dear to my heart.

For example, she recently shared this great post on creating a first aid kit for rabbits. Now, I don’t envision raising rabbits for meat (although, if you are interested in that, Dana has many great resources for you.) I do want Angora rabbits for fiber some day. I am tucking that post away for when I do get some cuddly, furry rabbits around here.

Another aspect of Piwakawaka Valley that I love is that Dana encourages plastic-free living. I am pretty far from being completely plastic free, but I love Dana’s post about plastic-free gifts, and finding creative ways to gift-give without being wasteful. Even just a little here and there can make all the difference when it comes to eliminating plastics.

I am excited to use the tips outlined in this post at Piwakawaka Valley on woodstove cooking. I’m thankful for the details and considerations Dana outlines in this post. I made eggs on top of the wood stove last year, but maybe with these hints I can venture out a little further. I’ll also be venturing out to try a ‘no-poo’ method that works better for Dana than baking soda. I’ve tried the baking soda method and my hair tends to get too greasy. I’m eager to try this new method with a little more uumph, but that is still non-toxic. You’ll have to check out her post to find out what it is that works better than baking soda.

Lastly, I was happy to read some encouraging ideas for how to make money homesteading from the Piwakawaka Valley blog. I am always looking for new ideas and ways to make a little extra to help out around our home. These ideas are very helpful and remind me that if there is a will, there is a way. I admire Dana’s work ethic. Just looking at Piwakawaka Valley makes me want to keep on trying at this homesteading thing. I do hope you will take a minute to check out this blog that is a main source of motivation for me lately. Let me know what you think!

Now This is Where it Gets Personal…

The Liebster Award encourages bloggers to engage with their readers by sharing some random things about ourselves and answering questions posed by those that nominated us. I read this part and thought it was a really fun way to do something a little different. So here’s me!

10 Random Facts About Me
  1. I have an associate’s degree in early childhood education. I was going to be a preschool teacher before switching to social work and working in a crisis nursery.
  2. Blood and guts make me nauseas and dizzy. Shots and needles cause me great anxiety.
  3. My favorite tree is the willow tree, and my favorite flower is the peony.
  4. I once struggled with an eating disorder. You can read more about that here.
  5. I’ve never been on a plane that could carry more than 4 people.
  6. I am very sensitive and consider myself to an empath. I am learning to view this as a gift instead of a curse.
  7. I prefer to delicately place spiders I find in the house outside rather than smashing them.
  8. I have a dream to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain someday.
  9. I am a vegetarian. I don’t have the heart to kill animals. And I believe that if I’m not able to kill an animal myself, then I have no business putting meat in my body.
  10. My favorite TV show is Rick Steve’s Europe.

My Answered Questions

1. If you drink coffee, how do you like it?

I love coffee! I drink it black-no sugar or creamer. When I go to a favorite coffee shop, I order a cashew milk latte-no flavors or syrups.

2. Would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?

I would rather be able to breathe underwater and see all of the colorful, unique creatures that live there. All while not worrying about running out of air.

3. What is your favorite fruit?

Watermelon! From the farmer;s market that weigh more than a small car (just kidding about the weight part–but I do prefer the heaviest they have!)

4. What is your ideal, cheap vacation?

Visiting herb farms! I’d love to travel up the east coast camping or staying in small towns to visit the herb farms all along the way.

5. What is your favorite grocery store?

The local Farm-to-You Store. They sell everything from produce, meat, and eggs to wine, ice cream, and coffee all made in Missouri-where I live.

6. Would you rather have a flower garden or a vegetable garden?

A vegetable garden. I love growing what I eat.

7. What do you do first when you wake up?

I immediately start the coffee. Then my dog, Daisy and I go for a short walk while the coffee brews.

8. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

6…(flip flops, tennis shoes, dress flats, toms (2), and winter boots)

9. What is your favorite way to cool off in the summer?

Taking a cool shower and then lying on the bed with the fan pointed on me.

10. Are you into camping or glamping?

Tent and campfire, please! I’m a camper.

11. What is a favorite childhood memory?

As a kid, I lived near my grandparents. When cousins came over we’d always head to grandma’s and have the time of our lives playing. One time, during an intense game of cops and robbers, my brother, sister, twin cousins, and I locked ourselves in our grandpa’s workshop (the ultimate hiding spot) for upwards of three hours. The walls were made of concrete, so no one could hear our banging on the door to be released. There was nothing to eat and no bathroom.

Two hours in, one of my cousins tried to use a drywall saw to pry the door open while the other began to ration out our only sustenance…grandma’s birdseed. We didn’t know when we would be rescued. When grandma finely found us, she was less than happy. Needless to say, the lock on the door to grandpa’s workshop was switched around shortly after this escapade. When we are together, this story still makes us cry from laughter.

My Liebster Award Nominations and What to do If Nominated 

My Liebster Award Nominations…

  1. Piwakawaka Valley
  2. Unexpected Homesteader
  3. 7 Tree Farm
  4. Practical Self Reliance 
  5. Crunchy and Country 
  6. Muckboots and Munchkins 

WHAT TO DO IF NOMINATED FOR THE LIEBSTER AWARD

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you should do the follow:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.) At the bottom of this post I’ve included a whole lot of images you can use for your 2017 Liebster Award.
  3. For the 2017 Liebster Award I will be shaking things up! Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (This year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. Answer all 11 questions asked and ask 11 questions that you would like those bloggers to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link by to this post.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post or mine if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it! Post a comment in the comments below so I can view your post and check out your blog. I personally visit each and every one. I visited a few hundred last year!!

 My 11 Questions for Those I Nominated

  1. What is one of your favorite quotes?
  2. If you could pick any person to mentor you, who would it be and why?
  3. What did you want to be when you were a child?
  4. If you could live anywhere besides where you do right now, where would it be and why?
  5. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
  6. What is the one post made by you that you like the most, and why?
  7. What hobby are you most passionate about doing?
  8. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
  9. Can you share a tip for other bloggers or potential blog starters?
  10. What is one of your favorite books?
  11. What is a favorite family tradition?

Thanks again to Oscoey for nominating WholeHearted Homestead! This has been a really fun and different post to write, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do it.

Keep on Writing!

Samantha

 

Staying Positive in a Negative World

Lately, I’ve been asking myself how anyone can keep a positive outlook in today’s world. I’ll admit, this off-grid, homesteading life limits my exposure to the constant stream of news updates that most people are accustomed to these days. Yet, every time I get in the car or catch a glimpse of the news on TV there seems to be another terrorist attack or domestic shooting being reported. Just writing these words feels unnatural and makes my heartache. I’ve found it challenging to be my usual “glass half-full” self.

Luckily, not all hope is lost. (It never is!) I started asking myself, “What can I do to keep all of this negativity from bringing me down?” My answers to that question are pretty basic. They don’t require any financial costs and they can easily fit into a busy schedule with a little effort. There isn’t anything revolutionary about them. They are simple, and effective when practiced consistently. Give one (or all) a try and let me know what you think.

Tips for Staying Positive in a Negative World

Carefully select what you watch, listen to, and read.

This is very important. Most of us don’t realize how much of an effect the news we hear, watch, and read about has on how we feel. Be critical of what you allow your mind to focus on. Don’t close yourself off completely because the world needs you to be knowledgeable. But, find a trusted news source and limit the amount of information you take in each day. (Read more about trusted news sources here.)

Practice Meta (Loving Kindness) meditation to cultivate compassion.

The constant stream of negative news stories makes me think, “What terrible thing will happen next?” To combat this, I practice a form of meditation that breaks my heart open to the struggles of all people. I don’t want to be numb to the sad and scary parts of life. This practice asks you to repeat phrases wishing yourself and all others peace, health, and happiness. Click here to read more about this compassion practice.

Promote what you love, rather than putting down what you dislike.

Have you ever noticed how addicting it can be to talk about things that you don’t like, or things that make you feel angry? When I find myself doing this, I don’t walk away from a conversation feeling any better. I just spent all of this precious time focusing on something that I don’t like. Not only have I brought myself down, but I probably left the others in that conversation feeling pretty down, too.

I have this one life. I can either spend it being angry about the things I dislike or I can focus my energy on the things I love and know to be important. I’m going to choose the latter. In order to do that, I need to be sharing what I’m passionate about and find to be good in the world.  Spreading positive energy can be just as contagious if we give it a wholehearted try.

Practice being grateful, and reflect on the positives.

Gratitude is our greatest ally against negativity. Gratitude humbles us. It turns what we’ve been given into more than enough to sustain us. Practice finding things to be grateful for (it’s best to write them down) every day.

Another practice is to focus on the positive events in life (or in the world). The next time something happens to you (or someone else) that makes you feel happy, commit one minute of your time to reflecting on that good thing. All too often, something happens that makes us feel good but we don’t stop to soak it in. Give yourself that time to really feel your own happiness.

Take an electronics break.

Let’s face it. You know it’s good for you, but it is so difficult. We can’t live without the technologies of the modern world. But we can take a break from them. Start small if you need it. Take a walk (without your phone) and look for something you didn’t notice before. Read a book instead of watching TV before bed just one night a week. Even a little bit is something.

Listen to OnBeing.

If you need to listen to something while working, or as a replacement for TV in the evenings, I suggest a podcast called OnBeing. It aires on public radio once a week, and it’s free to download episodes to your computer. The host, Krista Tippett, interviews writers, philosophers, activists, scientists, doctors, various religious workers, and more. The central theme of each interview is to get a better understanding of what makes us human, and how we are all connected. I’ve found so much inspiration from these interviews, and I always walk away with the desire to be a better person. Check it out, I’d love to hear which episode you find most inspiring.

Do something.

Obviously, if you feel the world bringing you down, you can always find ways to do something to play your part in making it better. There are lots of different things you could do, and the internet is a helpful resource in finding ways to contribute. It’s best if you find an organization or a cause that you are passionate about. I’ve used VolunteerMatch as a way to find opportunities in the past.

I often wonder why I’ve been given this life and not a different one. Why do I live where I live? Why do I not worry when my next meal will be, or if my home will be attacked while I sleep? I don’t know why. But, I’ve been given many reasons to hope. I hope that all people can find this happiness and security, and I won’t let that hope go to waste. I share it because without hope, life would be meaningless.

These little suggestions are my techniques for remaining hopeful, and not giving in to the negativity that surrounds us. They really work for me when I practice diligently. You might have different methods that work for you, and that’s great. The important thing is that we are all doing our part to engage our minds and hearts with the world in an appropriate manner. Because simply put, that’s the only way anything will ever change for the better!

A Newbie Homesteader’s Take on Why She Homesteads

In 2017 I have more choices than ever on how I’d like my life to look. I’ve been gifted a whole new set of colors with which I can paint my life’s story. Colors that weren’t available to my grandparents and great-grandparents. The irony lies in my striving to create an environment that looks more like their way of life than that of my own generation’s. That’s one of the goals of this homestead life. My ancestors worked hard and valued what they had available to them. This is what I long to create in living simply.

That doesn’t mean their lives were easy, yet, to me, it means their lives were real. They experienced important lessons living close to the land, utilizing what they could, and leaning on each other when needed. Looking at all the options I have in this life I know they would wonder why I choose to live off-grid without the comforts most people have today. I don’t know exactly why others have continued to follow this homesteading path, but I’m sure some can resonate with the desire to live a simple, sustainable, life that is filled with gratitude.

I hope my ancestors wouldn’t find offense in the idea of “simple living.” Simple living isn’t living free and easy. To me, it means getting back to the basics. It’s about relying more on my own abilities to acquire the things I need-either by using what I have or seeking local sources that can fulfill this need. Sometimes that means back-breaking labor or learning to live without. It’s about not wishing to acquire more stuff than I am in need of owning. Simple living leaves space for the important things—relationships and experiences.

Sustainable living and simplicity go hand-in-hand. I want to create a homestead that is sustainable because it helps the Earth. Asking me to engage in her healing, I’ve been given this passion to keep Mother Earth healthy, just as I wish to maintain my own health. Sustainable living challenges me to think outside the box, and encourages me to live simply. Instead of relying on people far away from me to grow my food and bring it to me, I can do it myself—saving energy and resources in the process. This sustainability practice does wonders for my body and soul and inspires me to engage with Mother Earth in new ways.

Since beginning my homesteading journey, my gratitude for this life and all it has to offer has greatly expanded as my understanding of myself and the natural world have intertwined more tightly than before. I find reasons to be grateful for the rain and the sun—both gifting me with needed resources. Homesteading engages my mind in thinking about the spiritual reasons we exist, and how to live a good life. It has increased my compassion for all creatures and demanded my respect for nature and all wild things. Simply put, homesteading is humbling.

I’m new at this way of living. I’ve only been off-grid for a year, and my chickens aren’t even two months old yet. I have a lot to learn. Sometimes it feels overwhelming when I see how little I’ve dabbled in this lifestyle so far. Then I remind myself it’s not about how far I’ve come or where I am going. It’s about where I am right now. It’s about finding hope and connection with all of those who are experienced and eager to share their knowledge—willingly passing on this lifestyle with all of its challenges and treasures.

I beg you, if you have any inkling to farm or garden or live a sustainable life, but you aren’t sure you can do it—don’t believe your doubts. Homesteading is a beautiful life that you can be a part of, if only you focus on what you can do now. Do one small thing and build on it from there.

Learning Imperfection on the Homestead

Homesteading is messy. It’s been late nights and early mornings. Its heavy lifting and deep digging. It can be inconsistent and unpredictable. Routines are difficult to keep. For someone with perfectionist tendencies (everything having a place; life running on strict schedules, doing the same things every day, etc.) homesteading may not come off as an ideal life for you. Yet, with a little conscious effort, this lifestyle will teach you how to focus on the important aspects of life, and maybe even to enjoy the imperfections.

Striving for perfection in daily routines, our appearance, or in what we do elicits a feeling of control. When we feel in control there is hardly any room to experience fear. This is the reason I once sought out perfection. Living by strict meal plans, arduous workout routines, and a predictable daily schedule kept my fears at bay. There wasn’t any time to be focused on them. And my routine was tried and true-no risks!

Yet, I was miserable. No matter how much planning you do, life will always have spontaneous moments. But I could not celebrate them. I despised them. I couldn’t enjoy myself when my routine was disrupted (ie. Holidays, vacations, celebrations, etc.). It took tremendous effort to adjust to any curves that life threw my way. Not to mention, that I became addicted to seeking perfection. Yesterday’s version of the perfect me was no longer good enough today. Perfection sat just outside my reach day after day. I was unhappy, and I made my loved ones concerned and unhappy, too.

Since beginning this off-grid, homesteading life I’ve realized how much time has been wasted on these modern day perfectionist goals. I cannot maintain routines as easily because my days are shaped largely by the gifts and demands of Mother Nature. I now practice a cyclical, seasonal living-dependent on the sun for power, rain to be able to do dishes and laundry, and to water the food growing in the garden. My plans change frequently based on the weather or what must be done with the daylight available to prepare for upcoming seasons.

Of course, frustrations and disappointments still exist. They will for any lifestyle one chooses. A stretch of cloudy, rainy days makes it difficult to find joy when I’m stuck inside. The rain barrels are overflowing, but the lights are dim. A month of sweltering heat can make me and the plants wither. These things happen, as they would in different ways off the homestead. There is no way of hiding from these difficulties here-they must be faced.

But in doing so, I’ve learned to be grateful for even the smallest of gifts. There is a joyfulness in experiencing the light and the dark. There is a great feeling of awareness for myself and the resources I’m using when I’m living conservatively. It can be greatly uncomfortable at times, but I’ve found discomfort to be one of the best teachers. A sunny day means so much more than it did for me before I lived this close to the land. There is a perfection in experiencing the light and dark, comfort and discomfort that I could never find when my days were centered on myself and my routines. It is a perfection of giving and receiving what is being offered in the moment, because you know and accept that nothing is constant and soon circumstance will again change.

Old habits are easy to fall back into. I still have days where those perfectionist tendencies are hard to suppress. When that happens I have a few tricks that help me get back on track. Help yourself-whether you are a homesteader or a city dweller or somewhere in between!

Ask yourself, “What can I be thankful for in this moment?” Is it that you have healthy food available to you? Is it that you are not feeling any pain today? Is it that you aren’t alone today? Or is it that you are getting some time to take care of yourself today? Be creative with you answers, and write them down. Focus on them rather than on the thing that is bringing you down, and making you feel like you are not enough. Put them in any easily accessible, clearly visible place. I keep mine in a mason jar on a table right next to the front door. I keep them throughout the year in that jar, and it makes me happy to see it overflowing at the end of the year.

Take time to do a meditation. It may only be five minutes, but it is surely worth it. Break out of the running around feeling like you will never complete your to-do list. You won’t with that attitude, so why not try to change it. There are many great resources out there, but one of my very favorites is the Honest Guys. Visit their YouTube page for some great guided meditations focused on a variety of topics.

Drink some tea. Often the process of making tea can be as soothing as enjoying a glass or mug full. Take a break from what you are doing, and sip something that will nourish you from the inside out. I buy many delightful herbal and green teas from my favorite herb website mountainroseherbs.com. Maybe drink some tea while writing down something you can be grateful for in that moment.

Sit in the sun, or take a walk. These are the things that nourish our spirits. But we rarely put them on our to-do lists. If you look back, do you want to see your life as a rush of things that need to be done, or a slow and steady hike to a favorite spot?
White Pink Petaled Flowers and Green GrassesOur lives are made up of the small day-to-day things that we do. I’ve found that I enjoy most looking back on the times where I stepped outside of myself to find some peace of mind. In those moments, I’m sure to beat the perfectionism that lives inside of me. And the more I practice this, the easier it becomes to live each day with more gratitude.

Be sure to add these small gifts into your days, and I’m sure you will notice how the disappointments aren’t so big and terrible as they used to be. And feel free to share ways in which you practice shifting from perfectionist thinking to finding reasons to be thankful for what is around you now.