WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? + HOW TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION

Saturday, June 16, 2018


I get asked this question all the time! Family I haven't seen in a while and friends I have reconnected with are usually the culprits of this question. They all seem to want to know whats been going on in my life- which is great and all but the question, "WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO?" sends me into a mental panic. When I am faced with the challenge of answering this simple not so simple question I spend a lengthy few seconds drafting what the hell I am about to say. "I've been up to too much! LET ME EXPLAIN." In my case explaining everything is always a mess.

WHERE DOES ONE START? With a question with so many possible answers to chose from which response do you chose to tell? You could spill out your life story but that might put grandma* to sleep or simply say there's too much to tell and leave others wondering BUT if you are enthusiastic about what you've been doing recently you'll want to share all you can with others. However, sometimes others don't have the time or patience to listen to everything unless they really adore you! The trick to answering this question in a manner that keeps the curious engaged is what I am going to share with you today.
*that, however, might not be an awful thing, in that case, go for it.

START WITH BULLET POINTS// Fill your lungs with air before you answer the question straight off the bat. Start by answering this question in the simplest of forms without getting into details about every single item on your to share list.

Here is my example of what this sentence should sound like:
>> I've been going to school, finding time to work on my blog, working, practicing how to cook, running relays, and enjoying the other million of little hobbies I have.

SEE! What you do is start with what you find the least entertaining to talk about and end your sentence with the things you want to talk about. This is setting up the questioner to ask questions about the things you most recently said and also hooking them by not telling all the details. (It's always beneficial to make yourself a mystery)

PLUS- if you don't want to explain to AUNT SUE about everything you're doing you could just leave it at that and ask her about what she's making for dinner but it's amusing talking about yourself so I'll encourage sharing!


WAIT UNTIL THE QUESTIONER  ASKS QUESTIONS ABOUT THOSE BULLET POINTS// Que the questioner to ask questions by not talking until they do. Chances are they'll ask you to go into detail about one of the things you mentioned. Silence makes others uncomfortable and there forward triggers the other to respond. By giving out bullet points you are allowing the listener to chose what they want to hear about. They will choose something that they have a curiosity about which shall kee them and you engaged. AND TADA YOU AREN'T BABBLING.

Here are my examples of questions I MIGHT get asked:
>> What kinds of things are you learning to cook?
>> Where are you working at?
>> OOO! What other hobbies are you talking about?

EXPLAIN THE BULLET POINTS THE QUESTIONER ASKED ABOUT IN AS MUCH DETAIL AS YOU DESIRE TO SHARE// AND JUST LIKE THAT YOU HAVE MADE A BIG DIRECTIONLESS QUESTION A SPECIFIC EASY TO ANSWER QUESTION. Now, it's your turn to go into details explaining the things you have been up to recently. The big scary question is now a simple easy to answer one all thanks to bullet points and the questioner's curiosity in your life!

Go into as much detail as you feel is right when answering their questions. Tell that person how excited you have been about the things you have been spending your time doing. (or how much you need to change your habits! Hopefully, that's not the case!)

Here is what my response might be:
>> OH! Let me tell you about cooking! I have been more aware of the things I have been eating ever since I starting cooking. I try to eat foods that are clean now which means I try to avoid processed foods that come in packaging with lots of ingredients. It's really made a difference in how I feel. So, I have been cooking lots of greens and cooking things with garbanzo beans in them. A favorite food of mine to make is quinoa with veggies. I also make lots of stir-fries with coconut oil in them.

WAIT FOR APPROVAL OR MORE QUESTIONS// Either the questioner will have a question about the thing you just explained having done or comment in response to make more conversation. Or they might want you to tell them about the next thing they are curious about! Either way, you have successfully answered the question without a sweat. Complicated made simple and your life is easier now! The questioner is satisfied and everyone can move on to talking about themselves or bothering your sibling about their life journeys.

If you haven't it would mean a great deal to me if you subscribed via email to my blog! The link is in the sidebar! 

ISOLATION MAKES ME ANXIOUS

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Extended periods of isolation make me more susceptible to depression

Since freshman year of high school, I have gone in and out of phases of depression and anxiety. I have a hunch those phases, that lasted roughly three to four months, were triggered by traumatic stressful events and being too isolated. As a high school student, I was mostly timid which resulted in being less involved in social settings. I believe that for this fact I was more susceptible to depression. 

Every three to four months throughout the last six years, I have switched back and forth from what I call a shitty mood to a fantastic mood. A shitty mood is where I feel lost, quiet, fuzzy, unable to think, sad, and numb. When I am in a shitty mood I don't want to get together with friends, do things I enjoy, exercise, eat right, or go to public places like the store. A fantastic mood is where I feel content, motivated, inspired, friendly, upbeat, and emotional. When I am in a fantastic mood I want to do the things I love, be around people I like, go exploring, spend time dancing and exercising, studying and living. Normally, I switch back and forth between these moods every three to four months.

At the moment I am in a FANTASTIC MOOD. I've been feeling fantastic for half a year now. That's two more happy months than my average period of happy. Six months is a huge deal to me. That is one of the longest times I have been in a fantastic mood in the last six years. 

SO WHAT HAS HELPED ME EXTEND MY HAPPY PERIOD? 

Being honest about my emotions* and being social**. I believe these two things are hugely helping my mind stay in a content state.

*implies: I am more willing to talk about my mental health with people I trust and being able to tell them I don't feel emotionally well when the times come around.

** means: trying to be around people who make me feel alive. Getting involved in a community that is supportive at college. Spending time outside of classes with others and keeping in touch with long-distance friends. 


Little periods of healthy alone time are dainty until I start thinking too much of it 

Allowing myself one or two days of uninterrupted alone time in which I am actively hanging out with myself is what I consider healthy alone time. Waking up to make breakfast then writing at a coffee shop while doing some people watching and course going to workout later in the afternoon and getting cozied up in blankets later in the evening is what a typical day with myself looks like. This is my favorite way to spend time with myself. I take a couple days out of the month to do that. And every day I try to do smaller things with myself like thinking, listening to music, writing, and dancing.

However, becuase I understand alone time makes me more susceptible to depression and anxiety my mind quietly worries about alone time. Am I spending too much time alone? After spending the majority of my time around people I overthink spending more than a couple of days alone. These thoughts are what ruin time alone. After a few thoughts come to my mind I can't help but keep thinking.

Late nights and long afternoons are a devil when it comes to healthy alone time. I am the least healthy when I let my mind think too much. Here is to all the people who deal with crappy thoughts after a certain time in the day. When I start thinking about the future or start dwelling on past situations I create anxiety for myself. I find it's best to wrap up alone time when it gets darkly emotional. 

The more time I spend alone the less able I feel I will be to interact with others (I get in my head)

ISOLATION MAKES ME ANXIOUS. One of the most difficult struggles I face when I am depressed and anxious is that I find it more difficult to have simple conversations with people. It's as if my shitty mood person forgets how to interact with people becuase I spent months avoiding any and all human contact. For this reason being alone for too long makes me worry I will forget how to interact with humans which makes me think my shitty mood will come back. THIS THOUGHT CREATES ANXIETY. 

Nevertheless, as soon as I start talking to others I realize I am not "broken" and can still function normally. Health alone time will become a long period of isolation if I am not aware. I am hoping that everything with my mental health keeps running smoothly. I am, of course, keeping in mind that isolation, honesty and a little alone time is working for me.

SUNSHINE SADNESS

Monday, June 4, 2018


she is like the clouds you see overhead
grey and white
threatening to spill rain

sadness is what the sunshine brings the sky
all the clouds she settles in- gone
herself, gone as well
for if she is like the clouds on a rainy day 
when the sky is clean and pale
she is gone along with them
her soul numb to her emotions when the sky is cloudless
like the atmosphere that shows nothing when it's blue

the sunshine allows no impassioned clouds
no sparkling whites and no mute greys
she can't feel anything on a sunshine day
she's paralyzed along with the sky

her problems as invisible as the clouds
her feelings as hollow as the blue
her thoughts as superficial as the beams
the sunshine burning away the weight she once embraced and accepted
pretending she has no problems

she's less herself when the sunshine is out than 
when the clouds are overhead pouring rain
because when the clouds are out she recognizes that she is as complex as the world.
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