An Environmentally-Friendly Holiday Season

Each Holiday Season, the US produces one million tons of extra garbage a week.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we use enough ribbon to wrap the whole planet. Endless paper, plastic wrap, and cardboard are used simply shipping items from manufacturer to sellers, to buyers. Now add in possible shipping from buyer to gift recipient plus the gift wrapping: the bows, ribbon, envelopes, cards, tape… etc.

Read the ideas below for ways to create less trash and give everyone the gift of an environmentally-friendly Holiday Season:

Go Paperless.

Help save the environment and wish loved ones Happy Holidays with an Amazon eGiftCard.

Tissue Paper.

A gift is easily placed in a gift bag and then the bag is overflowingly stuffed with tissue paper creating so much unnecessary trash!

The point of wrapping is to allow the gift to be a surprise and only a few pieces of tissue paper is needed for this.

Choice 1: Use a single piece of tissue paper to wrap around each item (or a small group of items) placed in the gift bag. This allows the items to be concealed if there is some pre-Xmas “peaking”.

Choice 2: Place item(s) in the gift bag and place 1-2 pieces of tissue paper over the top and tucked into the sides of the item(s) to cover them.

Choice 3: Use drawstring gift bags, no tissue paper needed!

Reusable Bags.

If you must wrap, wrap using bags! Wrapping paper cannot be reused but gift bags can.

Make the bag a gift as well. Christmas themed drawstring gift bags and reusable grocery bags are perfect for wrapping.

Santa’s Sack.

If you have little children, you can have all of “Santa’s Gifts” in a large Santa Sack. All the gifts can be inside, unwrapped, with small gift tags on them. This way, the gifts are still a pleasant surprise and Santa gets to be eco-friendly.

Or Better Yet… Don’t Wrap Gifts, Period.

I am an adult child and I can tell you that no child cares what a gift is wrapped in! Wrap it in toilet paper and they will still be overjoyed that you got them the latest gadget. And hopefully, no reasonable adult would turn their nose up at an unwrapped gift.

Knowing that someone took the time to think about you and that they spent their time and energy in getting you something, is a gift in itself. Fuck the wrapping.

This Holiday Season, take the time to notice what you waste. If you can find alternatives, use an eco-friendly or recycled product to replace it, or better yet, cut out trash where you can. Please pass this message along to others and let’s try our best to be environmentally friendly when gift-giving!

Season Blessings,

Nikki Page

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Book Reviews of October 2018

Book Reviews of October 2018

Attached:  The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find -And Keep- Love by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller41jqaseWDkL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

51nyS4ictWL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Ignite Me: Shatter Me Book 3 by Tahereh Mafi

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Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb, PhD with Christine Musello, PsyD

 

Restore Me: Shatter Me Book 4 by Tahereh Mafi41qA7M5LzGL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

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First They Killed My Father: a daughter of Cambodia remembers by Loung Ung

 

51jbDr01MyL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_The Darkest Torment: Lords of the Underworld Book 12 by Gena Showalter

Curing Mental Illness

Star Bubbles 1.2I spent days thinking about this…

One of my followers emailed me after reading my post “Living with Mental Illness.” He asked 2 questions. I will attempt to answer one of these tonight.

Fred Kat: “Do you think the condition (mental illness) is reversible?”

As someone who is diagnosed with mental illness, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and works full-time in the mental health field, this question is seriously loaded and not easy to answer.

My answer: No.

Mental disorders a lot of the time make actual physical, chemical, and anatomical changes to the nervous system. Also, all our brains are continuously changing. Our neurons are making new connections. Repairing others. Destroying useless ones. A never-ending affair.

Likewise, we are continuously changing moment to moment. We are the sum of all our experiences. Good or bad.

So I would never use the word “reversible.” I don’t think anything is truly reversible.

Even if you don’t consciously remember something, you do somewhere. Somewhere in you physically, mentally, and/or emotionally remembers. You cannot “reverse” it.

But Nikki, what about curing mental illness? Do you believe that is possible?

Again, no.

But there is hope…

Just as nothing is reversible in this universe, nothing is permanent either. Change is the only constant.

Is there hope that things will get better? Yes.

Is there hope that you won’t always feel this low or this high or this out of control? Of course.

Can you learn tools, skills, and techniques to help yourself and keep yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally well? Absolutely!

Is that a cure? No.

But is it enough? Is it worth it to keep fighting? Is hope for the future worth the heartache, disappointment, and stress we experience each and every day?

YES!

I have seen true powerful transformations in my life.

I have seen people who have hit rock bottom. Go from owning a home to homelessness. Have nothing but change in the bank and own only whatever they carry. I have known people who could not figure out what was real or not, their perception of reality being that skewed.

And I’ve witnessed these same people turn their lives around. Some of these people are now holding jobs, are housed. Have had their children returned to them. Many of them are now supporting others on their road to recovery.

So yes, there is hope because the possibilities for our wellness and recovery are endless.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Living with Mental Illness

Red Gerbera Schism 1.1

I was once asked, “What’s it like having a mental illness?” This question was asked by a very good friend of mine. This friend never experienced mental illness. He asked with sincere curiosity. He had never known anyone with mental illness (that he knew of besides me). The question was asked because he didn’t understand. He didn’t understand why I sometimes struggled. Why I struggled with what he thought was nothing to struggle about. Like getting out of bed.

There are days that I really have to push myself to get out of bed. I have to give myself a pep-talk, think about good things that could happen that day, and really convince myself that staying in bed forever is not going to help my shit mood that I’m in. Some days, getting out of bed is my biggest accomplishment.

Then there are the other days. Days where my mind is racing. I feel like I can take on the world. Sleep is not something I need anymore, I have tons of energy and I’m excited to do… EVERYTHING!!! Those days, I really have to question every decision I make simply to try to avoid possibly doing something I would end up regretting once I was more clear-headed.

And then there is the random thoughts of worthlessness and suicide that just pop into my head. I literally can have nothing, nothing bad happen. Nothing that made me upset, triggered, anxious, or even excited, elated, or happy. Just an average non-eventful day where I feel contentment. And then driving down the freeway on my way home from work, randomly I think: “I should drive my car off the side of the road and kill myself.” No particular reason why. It’s like somewhere inside me is a part that wants to die. Insidious thoughts of suicide have haunted me for as long as I can remember, even as a child.

But how could I explain this to someone who has never experienced this? How could I communicate the difficulties I face simply from being me? That I’m in constant war with myself. That I want to live but I’m also so exhausted from being hyper-vigilant of my moods and thoughts. Continuously reminding myself that no, I don’t actually want to die, I’m very happy with my life, I just have suicidal ideation.

I thought long and hard on how best to explain what it is like living with a mental illness and this is the analogy I came up with:

Every person in the world is in their own small boat. We are all sailing across the sea of life. There is no visible end or destination, we just sail along until death claims us. As we are sailing, there are storms on this sea, waves that crash into our boat, and all we have is a small bucket to use to toss the water out. These waves and water filling the boat are the struggles, challenges, and perhaps even trauma that we all experience in life, storms are situations that affect multiple people at once. And our small little bucket that we are using to try to keep our boat afloat represents our wellness tools, supports, and coping skills in life. The quality of the boat represents are resources. If you grew up in poverty, your boat may be made from rotten wood, while an upper class white male may have a boat made from lightweight carbon fiber.

So everyone is on their small single man boat, doing their best to sail in the ocean of life, with waves crashing down on us as life throws trials and tribulations our way. For those with mental illness, our boats have holes. It may be several tiny holes, one giant crack in the hull, or one small hole that doesn’t seem all that bad but it is a hole nonetheless. So while everyone else is scrambling to toss the water out of their boats from the waves, those with mental illness are trying to fix our boat while still dealing with the crashing waves. We may be lucky and be able to patch up all the holes and/or get a bigger bucket by getting help through therapy, medication, peer support, etc. Or society may fail us and our holes could get bigger, causing our boat to sink leaving us to swim until we get the help we need. Once we are swimming, we need the help of others. We need support to bring us out of the water, rest our exhausted body and mind, and build another boat for ourselves.

Keep in mind that the waves and storms could cause anyone to develop holes in their boats. Mental illness knows no boundaries. Mental illness can affect anyone! Any social class, race, religion, age, gender, culture, financial status, or sexual orientation. Sure some of us may have better boats, better resources, bigger buckets but it is possible for anyone of us to develop mental illness. And if we do, we are dealing not just with the constant crashing waves of life but also a boat with holes.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Did the analogy make sense? Did I totally miss the mark and you don’t agree? How would you describe having mental illness if you were asked?

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Moo Moo Moods

Watercolor Petal Painting Trail 4Uh, I’m in just one of those moods. Have to laugh at myself cause I was just complaining about a book character the other today because he was always, “Whhhhaaa me! My life is sooo hard! (complaint, complaint, etc.)” And now I happen to be in “one of those moods”. Lame.

It’s annoying too because it’s also hard for me to identify why I’m in a shit mood. Of course there is the usual, everyone has bad days and good days, but having bipolar disorder I always question if it’s my mental illness. I question a lot of things because of my mental illness…

Example, when I decided that I was going to paint and try to make a career out of it, the first thing I asked myself: “Omg, I’m a manic right now?” No, my thinking at that moment wasn’t about what inspired me, what led me to want to paint. No, my first thought was questioning my sanity.

So when I’m in a mood like this I have to ask myself, “Did something occur today that would cause my foul mood? Am I just experiencing a case of the blahs that everyone experiences from time to time? Or am I having a mood swing?” which then leads to into more questions. “Did I not get enough sleep last night? Have I changed anything in my routine that may have cause a full-blown swing? I took my pills yesterday, right? Am I over thinking this? What can I do to get back to my normal content self?” And on and on. Totally exhausting to be perfectly honest!

Regardless, it’s the last question that is most important: “What can I do for myself to make myself feel better?” It ultimately doesn’t really matter what is causing the shit mood, it is how I deal with it and I know that. So I’m going to go use one of my wellness tools and either paint or read to bring my mood back up a bit.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.