As 2014 comes to a close, my mind is moving into 2015 and thinking about the possibilities I have for goals for the coming year. Here’s a list of some of the things I hope to continue working on and a couple of things I hope to try for the first time.
- Kinda cliché but I plan to continue working on my weight loss goals. At the time of this post I weigh 226 pounds, and am hoping that by this time next year I can say I weigh less than 200 pounds even getting to 199.9 pounds would impress me at this point. I’ve lost 30 pounds already, but ultimately hope to get back down to 125 pounds, but that may take a couple of years.
- To continue to post things here and maybe even add a few more items that are a bit more of my own original work, I’m thinking I will aim for a minimum of 3 posts in the coming year that aren’t simply relayed articles, but are something I create based on my own experiences.
- Now that I have a fitbit Flex and can easily track how many steps I take each day I would like to work on increasing my number of steps per day to where I am able to easily reach a minimum of 8,000 steps per day my goal is to get to where I am doing over 10,000 per day on a fairly consistent basis. My best since getting my Fitbit Flex is about 6,480 steps in a single day, but I only did it once so far, so I feel like striving for 8k steps is a reasonable goal.
- I have done more knitting and been getting more looms that allow me to knit different things on them, but I hope to knit 6 scarves by Halloween so I can give them to the Hat and Mitten Ministry at my Church.
- This one is a tad odd, but one goal I have for this year is that by this time next year to have spent $200 on new clothes they can either be brand new or new to me from secondhand stores, but I really need to get new clothes, because it’s been ages since I went clothes shopping and I’m reaching a point where I have more clothes that really need to be replaced then I have stuff that is in really good shape, I think in the past 10 years I’ve bought 2 t-shirts, 3 packs each of bras, underwear and socks, and a pair of winter boots. Some of the clothes I’m wearing probably should have been re-purposed 10 years ago.
- In conjunction with my clothing purchasing goal …. I am setting a goal to re-purpose as much as I can of my old clothes, even if it means turning them into cleaning rags or to wipe my hands off when I oil the chain on my bike, my goal is to find as many non-clothing uses for the clothes I am replacing as I can so they aren’t just being tossed into the landfill. They are in bad enough shape I wouldn’t consider donating them to goodwill, so cleaning rags or maybe stuffing for craft projects might be the best I can do, but I want to use them until they can’t be used any more basically.
- Continue the work I’ve done at better addressing my health issues both in my mental and physical health. Like a lot of people I hate going to the doctor, but honestly I’m finding that if I address things when they first become a problem they are easier to treat, and I typically feel better sooner than I do if I wait. I’m pretty much sick and tired of being sick and tired, so continuing to address and manage my heath care needs is a huge priority for the coming year. I addressed a couple of things last year and learned that by simply having 2 infected toenails removed, I felt a lot better overall, not only did my toes stop hurting, but the rest of me felt better too. I also started getting treated for Asthma this past year and it too was something that made a huge impact on my quality of life. I have other stuff that I want to address, so basically I’m building on what I learned in 2014 when I had those pesky toenails surgically removed.
- I want to ride my bike at least 10 miles per week once the weather is better for riding, further would be better, but my minimal goal is 10 miles per week.
- I think my most challenging goal though is to find ways to better distribute items through a ministry I started in 2014. Collection is going great, but distribution is slow so I want to try to balance that out during the coming year so that folks who need the items will benefit from what has been collected.
- Read 2 books during 2015 (either e-book or physical bound books)
- And finally do some more work on researching the history of Warren State Hospital, that got put on the back burner for the most part in 2014, and I would like to dust off that project and see if I can make some more progress on learning about its history, because I found that while researching the history of Warren State Hospital, I was also gaining insight into the history of the mental health system and how people with mental illnesses have been treated in the past and started to better understand why things are the way they are now. So, basically learning about the past is helping me better wrap my head around the present when it comes to the topic of “Mental Health” and all the subtopics found under that heading.
I have worked on developing and enhancing my list of items I use as personal medicine. For those who aren’t familiar with the term “personal medicine” let me explain it a bit. Pat Deegan describes personal medicine as things we do that make us feel better, and reminds us that medication prescribed by our doctor is not the same as personal medicine. Medication or pills are something you take. personal medicine is something you do.
Here’s a list of some of my personal medicine items and how I benefit from doing them.
- Riding my bike helps me manage my anxiety by giving me an outlet for some of the anxious energy
- Blogging helps me feel connected to the world around me and at the same time gives me a sense of purpose
- Playing video games
- When I play video games, I am able to take a step back from things that may be overwhelming me, and I get an opportunity to regroup before trying to face whatever is overwhelming me again. I also use gaming as a way to practice social skill in an environment that is less threatening to me then face to face encounters with other people tend to feel.
- Knitting helps me in a few ways
- gives me a creative outlet
- helps me quiet my mind by doing something that doesn’t need lots of thinking, and I can sort of meditate a bit
- allows me to do something nice for other people and when I see people smile when I give them something I have knit, I get a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of warmth that helps take the sting out of the rough patches I may be experiencing in my life.
- Researching or learning more about whatever I happen to have as a pressing question on my mind, helps to quiet my mind, and satisfy my hunger for information. I will often have a question or idea on my mind that seems to almost take over my brain and make it tough to think about anything else, and I found that simply taking a little time to do a little research into the question or idea helps me settle my mind by giving me information to satisfy the thoughts. It’s kind of like if you have a baby that is hungry who is crying and fussy because of being hungry. Once you feed the baby and satisfy the baby’s hunger, the baby will generally settle down and be more content overall. In many ways that’s what my mind is like but instead of being hungry for food, my brain gets hungry for information, and the questions or ideas are like the fussy baby. I feed my mind information and the fussiness dissipates. So while I do realize that most people don’t do research for fun, it is something that I not only enjoy, but am able to use to quiet my often noisy brain.
- Journaling helps me sort and organize thoughts, feelings or ideas, and gives me a second option for handling the questions and such that often become overwhelming to me if left unchecked. If I don’t have time to do research right then, sometimes just the act of writing down the question, topic, idea or whatever it is that seems to be taking over my mind, it allows me to in a sense say ok, I recognize that this is on my mind and needs to be further considered, but I’m going to table it and deal with it later when I have more time. In short, it’s like I’m emptying my brain a little so I can focus on the thing I need to be focused on at that moment.
- Walking, like bicycling helps me manage my anxiety, my weight, and helps me kind of clear my mind by getting out and enjoying nature a bit
- Interacting with my Service Dog
- Interacting can be playing, training, working, or simply cuddling, but the thing all these forms of interaction do for me, is divert my attention off myself and help keep me from dwelling on things. I also get to explore the world around me much easier than I could on my own. The world is a very scary place for me, but using my service dog helps me manage the fears and anxiety I have about the world around me that pretty much paralyzes me if I’m left to handle things on my own without my Service Dog’s help. I get a sense of joy, accomplishment, and am more likely to interact with people around me then I would on my own. My service dog bridges the gap between my world and the world around me in a way that in some ways is almost magical, as well as being very difficult to put into words. She has the ability to make me laugh or smile at times when no human has been able to succeed, she gives me comfort, bolsters my braveness, and even though she is the one being trained, our training sessions give me a sense of accomplishment and pride when I see her begin to master a skill I’ve tried to teach her. She’s learning to help me, and I’m learning to reach beyond myself.
All the things I listed above are things that help me in many ways, but they all are able to have a positive impact on my mental health and even my physical health and by doing things that impact both my mental and physical health, I feel more like a complete or whole person who is better equipped to face the world around me and everything it has to offer.
I’m Blogging for World Mental Health Day on October 10
English: Windsor, Colorado, May 24, 2008 — Red Cross Disaster Relief truck helps feed Volunteers; old Windsor High Schools friends who took the day off to help clean up the Tornado damage. Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This June 23, 2013 article on the Central PA, Patriot News powered PennLive website talks about the benefits of volunteering, not just the benefit to the people you are volunteering to help, but also the benefits to you as you volunteer.