Coping Takes Work

I gave Ashley Smith the author of the book above a review of her book for the back cover.

I recommend you buy What’s on My Mind? Coping Takes Work. The book gives great information about coping with challenges while living in recovery.

While I do reveal details of my own life in my 3 blogs I carefully choose what I write to send out to everyone in the world.

Ashley Smith’s unvarnished honesty is the selling point of her blog and her books.

Coping Takes Work is even better than her first book that I wrote the Foreword to.

We need more peers like Ashley Smith who are willing to stand up and speak out to tell our stories

You can read her Overcoming Schizophrenia blog. I have been reading her blog since 2008 when she first starting keeping it with no photos and using an anonymous name.

For 12 years she’s been going strong as a go-to blogger on the topic of mental health and recovery.

Coping Takes Work Amazon page.

Direction of Blog

I will be taking a break from posting blog entries here until this coming Tuesday.

On Tuesday I will return with the book review of the recovery guide that a peer published to empower readers.

In the future I will be blogging on this website on Tuesdays and Fridays every week.

At this time I’m involved in an outside project.

I want to tell readers of this blog:

Yes–I care about everyone living on earth. I care about peers living in recovery.

It’s because I care that I implore readers:

Refrain from starting to smoke cigarettes.

Refrain from using any kind of street drugs even marijuana.

Recovery is often not possible when you have a mental health issue and an addiction at the same time.

In fact the continued use of street drugs could very well make it impossible for a person to recover.

I care a lot that everyone has the equal opportunity to recover.

On Tuesday of next week I will return with the book review.

Acting Resilient

This is how I see things:

I think resilience is a skill that can benefit a person in recovery.

It hinges on thinking a setback can be temporary.

On not giving up and not resigning yourself to the status quo.

I was down for the count numerous times in my life and I got back up.

This is not easy. Recovering from a setback is not always quick and easy.

I’m skeptical that a person can rebound instantly.without any perspective as to what happened to them. You need to examine the setback to see how not to repeat the mistake.

If you ask me to be able to assess what got you in the mess and quickly resolve to do things differently is the way to effect change.

The definition of resilient is:

Tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Sometimes you can’t spring yourself from a situation right away. In the interim It’s the consistent resilient habits that can be the gateway to success down the road.

As far as having a job I made the pivot to working in a public library instead of remaining in a law firm library

Opportunity is the door. You need to knock on it. Rather than waiting for a big break to come along.

Acting resilient just might be the way to get back on track. Or to shift tracks when you’ve outlived where you’re at right now.

In the next blog entry I’m going to review a peer-written book that was designed to empower readers living in recovery.

Managing Setbacks

My first personal trainer left the gym to open his own boutique fitness center.

I signed up for his e-mail newsletter. In it he wrote that setbacks are to be expected.

On some days you don’t have it in you to go at full speed. Hitting your target goal might not happen.

This is where it’s imperative to remember that a slip-up in the short-term doesn’t matter.

Think in terms of the long view. It’s how you respond to a setback that determines whether you succeed in the end. Not the slip-up itself.

Remember to be critical of the behavior and not of yourself. People who blame themselves for a setback often don’t recover. Blaming yourself is a recipe for remaining stuck.

One thing matters most: having the sense that you have control.

Not allowing yourself to be blown around by the wind like a weather vane.

My mother keeps reminding me that I lost 20 pounds when I was younger. She keeps telling me that I was round and chubby [her word] when I first started taking medication. She refers to the fact that I decided to see a nutritionist. The woman was an M.D. with a private practice in nutrition.

The moral of this story is: you don’t have to accept a setback and give up and do nothing.

Resilience is called for. The ability to bounce back from a setback. Successful New Year’s resolution setters in the Changeology book viewed a slip-up as temporary. They recommitted to changing their behavior.

They viewed the setback as an opportunity to strengthen their commitment. They saw it in a positive light forgave themselves and learned from the experience.

Step 3 Perspire lasts at least 6 weeks. I’ve ended the first 3 weeks of this Step. For 3 weeks in a row I’ve been able to carry out my goal.

In coming weeks I’ll talk about Step 4 – Persevere.

Just remember: a setback isn’t the end of what you can do.

It’s temporary. And should your original goal not work out at all that’s when choosing to do something different can make all the difference.

I like to quote the Ulta advertisement: the Possibilities are Beautiful.

There is no one right road to go down in your life.

I will talk in more detail about resilience in the future.

Step 3 – Perspire

The goal I set was to use my paycheck to buy food and basic needs.

In Step 3 Perspire of the Changeology 90-Day Action Plan you use 4 techniques to carry out your goal:

Rewarding.

You reward yourself for having achieved what you set out to.

To do this I bought myself a Revlon lipstick.

Countering

You do the healthy opposite of the negative behavior.

To do this I have cut down buying extra things.

Controlling the Environment

“Out of sight out of mind” sums up this approach.

When I wanted to stop wearing jeans to my job all the time I took the jeans and placed them in an out-of-the-way storage rack.

Today it’s easier to achieve my current goal because I’m not shopping in stores.

Enlisting Support

You ask people to be part of your support team. They can help you stay on track with your goal.

One of my friends and my therapist I talk with every week.

I have the goal of publishing a book about personal finance. I will write in this blog and in the forthcoming book about setting a financial goal like the one I’m executing now.

Living through the pandemic is the perfect time to cut down on spending.

A lot of us are forced to conserve cash because we lost our jobs. For others we’re at the time in our lives where we’re able to shift our focus to a goal like this.

I will be reporting back in the coming weeks how I’m coming along in Step 3.

My 90-Day Goal

In coming weeks I will return to talking about careers.

For now I want to use this time to explore topics and themes that can serve as the gateway to career success.

Living through the pandemic a lot of us have had to put our big goals on hold.

I would say that to feel productive in a time like this you can engage in a garden-variety self-improvement project.

This is what I’m doing using the Changeology 90-Day Action Plan. To recap each step:

Step 1: Psych

Step; 2: Prep

Step 3: Perspire

Step 4: Persevere

Step 5: Persist.

The goal you set should be S.M.A.R.T: Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant and Time-Specific.

From my own experience I’ve seen it’s better to set goals in a stair-step progression from easier to achieve to harder to obtain.

I’m in Step 3 of my goal. Step 3 lasts at least 6 weeks according to the Changeology book.

I started to execute the new behavior on June 1, 2020 of this month. For the last two weeks I’ve been successful. I will continue with Step 3 through July 2020 of this year.

My plan of publishing the Working Assets book will take longer to come to fruition.

For now I will use this blog as the medium for giving readers information culled from my work as a career services librarian.

In this blog I will show readers what I’ve done to empower you to take action in your own life.

Take what’s helpful and change and modify what I talk about to suit your own needs.

Everything I write has been road-tested by me. There’s nothing controversial about what I’m writing.

The difference is I’m catering to a target market that no one else sees as being a target market to begin with.

I’m giving readers competitive information.

If you ask me engaging in goal-seeking behavior can give your life meaning and purpose during a time like the pandemic.

It’s a great way to feel better about yourself and to feel productive.

Just remember: a big goal might have to be put on hold.

Yet any kind of self-improvement project can benefit a person at any time in their life.

Action Plan

The Black Lives Matter Greater New York has indeed created an Action Plan for everyone to endorse.

You can view it on the Black Lives Matter Greater New York website.

Buried in the action plan that you can download is the reference to giving Americans a Universal Basic Income.

For quotes straight from those in this movement you can log onto their website.

There is also the Color of Change organization website with 1.7 Million members.

Campaign Zero is seeking an end to police brutality.

Alt 92.3 FM radio website has a list of books and resources too.

Ashley’s Pandemic Story

Ashley S. Atlanta Georgia

Living with a mental illness is challenging in itself with the stigma and managing recovery. Since the coronavirus outbreak I watched more of the news broadcast than ever before. This pandemic is nerve wrecking.

When I heard of the news for Georgia residents to shelter in place I did not know what that meant and hoped for life to return to normal. Generally, I am isolated and work from home, while my son is in school during the day.

Accordingly, I set in place another routine. We walked our neighborhood frequently and kept doctor appointments. The coronavirus disrupted our routine but also enhanced bonding time between me and my son.

We walked, played card games, and watched more movies. Sometimes this new norm felt suffocating, but the walks around the neighborhood while keeping therapy appointments helped me maintain wellness.

Kurt’s Pandemic Story

Kurt S. Bronx New York

Next week will mark for me the 3rd month of the pandemic—as far as the many changes I have had to make in my life. I have been extremely fortunate that I either did not get the virus (or if I had it a mild case which only consisted of severe vomiting) and I have been able to work from home 4 days a week.

The 2 major hardships are that I am not allowed to visit my son, who lives in a group home (even though he is only 5 minutes away) and that once a week I still must take the subway (I use a face shield which gives me a pretty good level of comfort).

My mental health has been surprisingly good during this time, I believe most likely because the pandemic has allowed me to appreciate the smaller things in life.

My Pandemic Story

Christina B. Brooklyn NY

I’m learning to be patient with myself when I fail to attend to self-care. I’ll use the exfoliating scrub only 1x per week when the directions state “use 1-2 times per week.”

Sometimes in your life and in recovery you can only do the bare minimum.

For the last 3 months I’ve been mostly staying indoors in my apartment. Going outside I risk running into a bunch of yahoos in my neighborhood that walk around with open faces not covered up.

I treat myself to Petit Pot organic chocolate pudding when I order my weekly groceries.

Every day I record on a weekly To-Do pad the lunches and dinners I’m having to track how well I’m eating.

At the start of the outbreak it was harder because it was winter and gloomy.

It’s gotten better except I have a dial for compassion that can’t be shut off. Watching the memorial service for George Floyd on TV I was heartbroken.

To cope I’ve turned to using my 3 blogs to speak out.

Artists and Authors like I am can use our emotional energy to create words and images that move people to action.