Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Possible war, the horrible killing in Ukraine, Covid, lock downs, business shut downs, kids being home schooled, the devastation of fires and flooding, gas and food skyrocketing are the headlines confronting us daily from every source. We go to the store and get almost nothing for $50.00 now. We just did that this yesterday. Our gas here went up again as well.  

During these times people are becoming hopeless not knowing what their future will be.  I am sure that our parents and grandparents during the depression felt this way too.  In those days there were no unemployment insurance payments, no credit and food lines were the norm. People lost their homes and everything they had during those times. My father-in-law who died at 94 lived during the depression.  They ate only because they grew a garden, bought a milk cow, a few chickens, he fished even as a young child and hunted to help keep the family fed. They lived in a house that was vacant for several years...just squatted there.  The sold watermelon and did whatever they could to survive.  My father in law to the day he died, would not eat watermelon seeds because they saved them to replant the crop.

My mom wore flour sack dresses, shoes with holes, and ate popcorn for dinner many times.  They had little to eat for years and it was rough with harsh times.

During the civil war in earlier times the south lost everything when troops came from the North taking their food, their supplies, leaving nothing behind in their path.  

There are countless elderly and families today who are homeless now because they have lost their jobs. They already know about living out of their car.  I lived in an office for 4 months at one point in 2004 when I was suddenly without a place. The girl I was paying room and board to, didn't pay the rent. I came home from a caregiving job with my stuff packed up in the living room. No warning at all.  I had a dog at the time too. It does not take much at times and circumstances are not always in your control. 

These folks will tell you that they lived through these times and that for most part, times got better and easier eventually. People in those days, just put one put in front of the others and kept on living. They did not expect things to be easy because most of them led hard lives and worked hard every day.  Their relief from those hard times may have been years down the road but they just kept taking each day, one step at a time.

How you make it through the rough times depends on your attitude, creativity, your courage and your resilience to the adverse events in your life. 

How do you react to stress?  I remember when the kids were little and I had to sell some good furniture we had to pay the rent. I loved the hutch but it went. I learned not to get attached to things....to things that in the long run mean nothing. They are not critical even though you love them and enjoy them. I learned through surviving those time periods that they do pass, sooner or later. It taught me many lessons that has kept me strong now into 2022 and the uncertain future we have as seniors. 

*The one thing You Can Control is your reaction to stress and negative people.   

No one can make you angry, unless you let them.  

No one make you give up or see yourself in a negative light unless you let them.  

No one can decide your future, you must do that.  

Nothing anyone says can hurt you, unless you let them. 

It is your choice to hold hatred or anger. It is your choice to forgive. It is your choice to look at your future with faith or to look at it and give up.  It is up to YOU despite the outward circumstances at this point and time. 

One thing I always focused on was my belief that my life would get easier. My belief in God gave me strength and courage to keep fighting. I never stopped believing that I would overcome the circumstances. I never gave in to hopelessness. I was a fighter and still am.  

 I used to have a bumper sticker which read, " I have no time for a nervous breakdown, I have to go to work and feed the kids. "

 After three used refrigerators died one after another, I developed more calm during these situations.  I learned how to deal with the uncertainty that lay before me day after day.  What does not kill you, makes you stronger.  You must learn from the events in your life and let them grow you rather than cause depression and defeat.  I say this from many experiences over 70 years. I say this after going through domestic violence in an early marriage, being a single mom, fighting to survive economically years ago.  You learn resilience. You learn to take a deep breathe and pray for strength and courage to take on the next day.

Stress will always be there in one form or another as we go through our path in life. It is how we react to the event or stress that makes the difference if you turn  to drinking and suicide or you get up and keep fighting.

 Here are some other stress survival tips:  

Turn off the news except for a few minutes every day. The nasty, negative news media is driving up people's blood pressure, creating heart disease, causing depression to worsen and think about harming themselves.  TURN off the news!    

Focus on every blessing you have and be grateful. It is hard to be depressed when you are grateful.  There was a time when I moved to Colorado in 2008 that the car I owned had no working heater.  It was a bad winter that year. It was necessary to have to stop to scrape the ice off every 20 min, for the defroster did not work. I saw the Canadian geese in the snow and felt thankful, it was not me out there. I gave thanks I had a job and a place to live.  I have been there and know how hard it is. 


Do NOT drink if you feel you need a drink...that is a recipe for becoming dependent on alcohol.  Do not take any substance that has addicting properties. If you already have a problem, seek help now not later.  If you are considering harming yourself or others get help and reach out now. Suicide in the deadly answer to a temporary situation.  Let someone know how badly you are feeling inside.  Let them into the pain of your heart and soul. Get help!

 

Instead of resorting to addicting activities, instead take a hot bath, listen to soothing music or music that makes you feel better. When I used to clean houses, there was one family who played really depressing classical music. It really did not help me work to say the least. Music can have a uplifting effect or a depressing effect...play music that lifts your mood. 

Soothing music is a so important to listen to for a calm mind or to recoup from stress during the day.

Exercise reduces stress and makes you feel good. You can exercise at home if it is not safe to go out. Most of us can walk. 


Take a walk with your kids or dogs.  Walk or run the pain out of your heart.  Exercise is important when you are stressed.  Hike in areas of beauty that will help your outlook on life.  


Watch the birds and find beauty in the landscape. Get out in nature to center yourself. Take your kids with you to get them away from their electronic gagets. Teach them the beauty of the outdoors.

 

Take  up Yoga which benefits your blood pressure, your health and attitude.  Go for a massage which will relieve the stress and pain.  Dance to videos at home. Yoga classes can be taken online as well. 

 

Clean up the garage or the room that everyone has where you have thrown things into. Clean up your files in the office which no one usually has time for.  Cleaning is a good activity to relieve stress and anxiety.  


Help others which will make you realize how blessed you are. Look at what is going on in the Ukraine and you will realize how easy most of us have it here in the US.  Look at the homeless living in tents in places like California and you will feel wealthy in comparison.

 

Don't eat sugar and junk foods which has an effect that hurts your health and only makes you feel better while you are eating it.  Sugar adds to depression with weight gain and its effects on your blood sugar level and mood.


Find a friend or friends who lift you up and that make you feel better about your life.

 

 If you are going to a church, join a group that give you hope and supports you.  Once when the kids were young, my back went out, and we had to live with my mom. She was visiting my sister at the time.  We had no money, no resources and I had no idea when I would be able to work again. My mom belonged to the local church. While she was gone, one of the members came by.  He learned of our situation but I did not ask for help. I had too much pride.  It was Christmas and there was no money. It was cold and there was no money for coats and warm clothing.  On Christmas eve, there was a knock on the door. When I answered, a man was there with multiple presents and food including a turkey. In the presents were clothes for the kids and I.  The coats I needed were part of it too.  I was so overwhelmed with the generosity of my mother's church where I did not belong at that point, that I cried.  Churches do help those that don't belong to them.  Twice in the past years, people from a church we did not belong to helped us move. This year when we moved to Yuma, the local church who did not know us, helped us unload the U-Hall. 

 

If your friends or family depress you further, take a vacation from those who are angry and fearful.  If you know their view is set and it differs from yours, leave it alone. You are wasting time and health on those who will not listen to you. You can only save those who have an open mind. In the next 50 days before the election, avoid political conversations.  Refuse to argue with friends or family who disagree with your views. It will only drive you crazy.  Do vote and do sign any petitions that go along with your beliefs.  


Stay calm for you cannot make responsible decisions when reacting in emotion and fear.   

 

Fear will disable you from thinking clearly and coming up with decisions that might help you to survive.  Listen to what you are thinking and saying out loud. If you are telling yourself that you Cannot do it or survive what is happening, you won't. When you tell yourself negative statements, it will fulfill itself.   If you are swimming in a swamp with possible alligators, the best thing you can do it quickly but smartly take the best route out. Standing in the middle of the swamp giving up will get you killed.  

 

Life is a swamp at times, and your best path is moving through it step by step focusing on the land ahead...the way out. 

If you are calm, your children will be calmer. Be an example of strength and optimism rather than fear. 

Do not be afraid to ask for help from your family, churches, food donations, or any other sources that might be available.  If you find yourself unable to pay the rent, move in with relatives until you get back on your feet. That takes putting your family before your pride.  I know that, I was there once many years ago when I couldn't work because of severe back pain. Did I enjoy that? No but I survived and my back got better with time. 


Trim down where you can. Do you really need Netflix? Do you really need Starbucks? It is really needed to eat out as much as you do? There are no many things you have that you use only frequently, sell them on FB market place and several other aps.  Have a garage sale at your home.  

 

When my kids were small I cleaned houses and later took care of seniors. I did what I had to do to make a living.  While cleaning houses, I wore wrist braces because I had carpal tunnel and couldn't get hired. I learned to clean with the tips of my fingers and hands.  I did that for two years as a fact.  There are many ways to make a living and you may have to change yours to survive.  Don't let pride get in your way.  Be thankful for whatever work you can get at the time. 

Brain storm with others for answers. At times, our mind is so full of 'WHAT IFs,' we cannot see the answers even when they are staring at us.  When minds are open, things happen.  

 

Ask others for ideas and to spread the work you need help or work to survive.  If you ask enough people, you will get answers and find the help you need.  

 

Open you mind to other options, you might not have considered at an earlier time in your life.   

 

Focus on what you need, where you need to go, not what you don't have today. 

Where your focus goes, so does your direction and energy.  

There was a time in 2000 when I found myself without a car, credit or much money for a down payment. Taking a bus to work and walking several miles was what I had to do. Instead of complaining, I would think about the exercise I was getting walking.  I took a bus for a number of months without complaining and giving up. I left it up to God for I had no answers. I kept the focus on having a car but had no idea of how I would get one. I was working as a caregiver for a man who was rich and had a 1979 Mercedes at the time.   He adored the car and it had come over on a ship from Germany.  He was getting so dangerous with his driving that his son wanted to sell the car but the old man wouldn't budge.  In the end, I was allowed to buy the car with no money down, low payments, and a simple contract. I drove that car for years and it kept me safe.  I could never have dreamed or imagined ending up with my 1979 Mercedes. They sold it to me for $500 and it was in great shape. They did not need the money.  

When that car got stolen later and the police gave me zero chance for recovering it, I kept the faith it would be returned.  It did get recovered and with only broken wind shield wipers and out of diesel.  I never had a doubt I would find it despite being told by the local police that I was crazy. It was returned exactly two weeks later. 

If there is nothing to be done to alter your situation at this point, I direct you to the Serenity poem below and to the Psalms in the bible. 

Keep the Serenity Prayer on your wall.    This helped me through so many times in my life, I can't count them.  The second one I will leave you with is Psalms 121:1.  These two that I leave you with kept me going.

 The Serenity Prayer
(full version)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Amen 

 

Psalms 121:1

 I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills. 1 {A Song of degrees.} I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon ...

Blessings to all of you during these harsh, uncertain times.  Cathryn Freer, The Herbladyisin

 

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