The Author

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Outcome of My Wellness Challenge

For National Recovery Month I created a personal self-care plan to enhance my recovery, I labeled it my "Optimal Wellness Challenge." My goal was to take my meds each morning at the same time, to journal, and to practice meditation and self-reflection for ten minutes for three to five days. Success would be dependent on whether I was able to create a new habit for myself. A way for me to be held accountable was to check in with a friend who was also challenging herself in different areas.

However, I did not succeed at the challenge, and I wasn't able to maintain accountability through the check in process. In the beginning we checked in every other day, and I seemed to master taking my medication on time and journaling regularly. Our communication slowly deteriorated as well as my motivation with some spurts of energy every now and then. Overall, I think I failed the challenge because I took a leap opposed to baby steps to achieve my plans.

Yet, I will try again. Next time I plan on starting my new routine two days a week and then gradually building on it. Also, I would like to reward myself for small accomplishments along the way. Therefore, I haven't given up, I will strive to create healthy new habits.

Have you created a new habit in the last six months? What did your process look like?

Do you have an idea that would help one develop a new habit?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Invisible Challenges: Self-Care


Me- On A "Good Day"
When's the last time you managed your self-care, well?- Today? Yesterday?- Or has it been that long? As a mother, employee, and volunteer, my ideal self-care activities have decreased from one extreme to another. In the past, I had pampering days that included leisure activities and visits to the nail salon, now this "me-time" has turned into tiny acts of self-reflection like maintaining my journal.

My days are filled with rigorous activities I enjoy like working with peers, sharing my recovery story to diverse groups, and caring for my son. Ironically, my job as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) is to model great self-care for the sake of my mental health. However, that is an ongoing roller coaster that I strive to shut down and to restore balance, but I am moving too fast to take back my control! 

Me- T.I.R.E.D. At the End of the Day
For example, besides my erratic sleep habits,  I frequently skip breakfast and sometimes lunch because I am focused on my work, this does not bother me until later... Dinner, which I usually have but is not the most nutritious, is my only full meal. After dinner and preparing my son for bed I lack energy to dedicate to myself in order to have some sort of stillness and peace, therefore I retire early. However, I get up in the middle of the night to meditate and focus on "me-time," that is- writing in my journal and checking my social media sites for feedback. 

Fortunately, I do take my medication regimen seriously and engage in the practice regularly. No matter how busy I get I always maintain good personal hygiene from my hair, to my body odor, and fresh scented attire. My appearance is not the issue, it's all internal like my mental health--invisible, but I know, if nobody else does, and that's my challenge.

In recognition of "National Recovery Month" (September) I created my "Optimal Wellness Challenge!" I challenged myself to take my medication at the same time each morning, to journal frequently, and to practice 10-minutes of meditation. Thus far, I am doing well with the activities in this order, my medication regimen, journal, and my biggest challenge- 10 minutes of self-reflection and meditation. 

I created this challenge after my sister and peer challenged me in different areas of my life. My sister challenged me to engage in seven days of positivity, which I almost completed except on the last day I had a setback which prevented me from completing the challenge of recording what I was grateful for on my personal facebook page. On the other hand, my peer wanted us to hold each other accountable for our mental health in the areas I challenged myself in- consistent timing of medication intake, journaling, and meditation. I accepted these challenges in hopes of adding on a new healthy habit and overcoming my self-care setbacks. I've engaged in the Optimal Wellness Challenge for most of the month, and Tuesday will be my last day.

Despite my poor self-care reality, I am hopeful I can fulfill the Optimal Wellness Challenge by giving the remaining days of September my final push for the better. Because I prefer to lead by example, I am doing the challenge for my well-being first, and also to encourage peers to do the same, whatever their ideal self-care plan looks like.

Are you managing your self-care, WELL? How so? If not, when will you make that change for YOURSELF?

Monday, September 8, 2014

The "Optimal Wellness Challenge"

Calling All Peers- Are YOU up for the OPTIMAL WELLNESS CHALLENGE?!

I am challenging US to practice a couple of coping tools consistently for National Recovery Month, that you would like to either add or maintain in your wellness routine for 5 consecutive days each week for three weeks. I've heard that if an individual maintains a practice for 21 days it will become a habit.

These practices may include:

1) Diet/nutrition & supplemental enhancement,
2) Spirituality-based,
3) Treatment/medication compliance,
4) Physical activity,
5) Effective communication,
6) Alternative therapy,
7) Creative practice, or
8) Other positive practice...

I would like you to choose two new habit-forming activities you would like to practice and report back at the end of each week by sending me a personal message about your progress.

I will start our "Optimal Wellness Challenge" by journaling more frequently, taking my medication at the same time every day, and to practice meditation for 10 minutes each day, starting tomorrow, September 9th.

I'll keep a personal journal on my progress and shortcomings, and blog about my "wellness outcomes" on my "Overcoming Schizophrenia" blog at the end of this month in recognition of National Recovery Month.

Show your support, and join me on OUR "Optimal Wellness Challenge!"