Six tips for those low days.

I had to kill two hours in a coffee shop this morning.

My car underwent some repairs. Gypsy (that’s her name. Who doesn’t name their car?) just needed a bit of rewiring. This made me think of a topic for today — how I relate to my…car.

If you’ve been hanging out on my blog (thanks much if so!) then you know I recently left my job. Talk about rewiring my brain! There’s a fair bit of “So what now?”going on upstairs.

Today is an important one on the calendar. It’s Bell Let’s Talk day; all about awareness of mental health. Starting over has definitely caused an anxiety attack (or six) for me in the last year as I planned my possible resignation and career change.

I’ve also dealt with numerous personal losses, health scares and surgeries, trauma… which meant processing some pretty big emotions like anger and grief over the last twentyish years. Those incidents meant I had to be even more mindful of the slippery slope of depression I often fell into.

When that happens, I have to make a real concerted effort to pause, consider the triggers, and yeah…rewire my thoughts. I often try to hide my ‘stuff’ behind silly humour.

That doesn’t mean my glow doesn’t still get pretty dim, y’all.

I’ve learned a lot about dealing with my mental health diagnoses. Here are some tips that help me and I hope could help you too, if you’re working through a struggle.

1) Set a timer on your tears. Honestly, go to your alarm clock by the bed or use your phone. Five minutes or fifty, whatever ya need in that moment and then SOB your head off. Get out some big, ugly, snotty crying. But when it buzzes? That’s it! Time is up and move on to another strategy. Now didn’t that release feel great?!

2) Journal. I’ll always suggest writing down what stresses or saddens. Just don’t use one of your fave pretty books; get a spiral from the dollar store because after you’re done, you’re removing those pages and NOT reading it. Shred it up! Toss it! (Into your recycling. We’re not animals.) Or even better — set them aflame. Watching the negativity literally go up in smoke is ah-mazing.

3) See your doctor. Medications for your brain are not shameful! We don’t mock people who need meds for their thyroid or diabetes, right? Same-same. Not everyone has counseling services via the employer, so also ask your doc for a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist they trust. I have an incredible counselor I’ve seen off and on for the last 5 years. I would be lost without what she’s taught me.

4) Avoid alcohol. Adding a depressant to your depression? Tempting for sure, but not so great. My Grandma used to say “a cup of tea with lots of sugar makes everything a little easier.” I do this on the regular and find a hot mug in my hands very comforting.

5) Call someone. Don’t hermit, turning off all connections to the world. A day or two crying in bed is needed sometimes. I understand. I still do it. But on day three? Pick up your phone and tell them you need to talk — whether that be to your best pal, partner, or parent. If you’re worried they might judge you (they won’t if they truly love ya. Trust in this), then there are free Help lines you can ring up — a quick internet search will show what’s available to you based on your location.

6) Exercise! I can’t say enough about how jacking up those endorphins with a great workout helps the body AND mind. It might sound like an impossible task because you’re too tired, too puffy-eyed, too… whatever you’ll say to stay at home. But you never, ever regret a workout once it’s done! You can do it. Lace up dem sneakers.

What’s something you do to pick yourself up?

Let’s keep talking. I know I will always be a work in progress, and I talk about it freely now because it’s important. End the stigma. If you feel low or lonely, please try out one or all of these tips.

Most importantly, be patient and kind to yourself. ♥️ You’re worth it.

Xx, Stace.

DINKs. SINKs. And kids.

Allow me to define.

Let’s dispel any worry that opening this post will lead you to reading about sex toys integrated with home renovations. Although that could be a very entertaining episode on HGTV.

DINKS = Double Income No Kids. SINKS = Single Income No Kids.

You don’t need more clarification about the third –gay/straight/married/partnered/stepparents/single Moms and Dads.

I’m a SINK, but I’m also dating a single Dad of 2 small children. There is a LOT to cover on this topic but tonight’s focus is this:

Being a SINK does not designate me, or females like me, as a Crazy Cat Lady or Spinster. Who even came up with that? Dudes without kids who live alone into their 40s are ‘elusive’ and ‘sexy’. Women, on the other hand? You be cray-cray. I’ll take that with a giant side of Nope.

Before my current relationship I CHOSE to be single for the five years prior. I had seen my fair share of shite with short and long term dating. Being alone was a whole lot easier than dealing with a man-child or baby-momma-drama.

Here’s why I gave up my life being “just” single.

My current partner gets it. I am a solo creature yet still capable of seeing him and his mini-hims as fantastic additions to my life and he understands that.

Now to the scenarios I am very familiar with. *Can we please stop asking these two rather offensive questions?

When are you having kids?” and “Why aren’t you having children?

REALLY? Um, how about maybe there are fertility issues? Or potential health risks to Mom or baby? Maybe the Mom instinct doesn’t overfloweth, so you’re not going to half-ass it just to follow social or religious expectations. Or, how about it just isn’t any of your business.

Why are we not, instead, asking what we might do to help? Not necessarily regarding procreation; I’m not suggesting you tell your husband to visit the lonely neighbor. Heh. I’m just saying instead of being nosey, how about just being supportive, of whatever decision each woman makes?

I’m not the first to cover such topics and won’t be the last. I’m writing this because it is still happening and it’s not okay. I’ve had this asked of me so many times that I actually considered Ye Olde Sperm Shoppe on my 32nd birthday. Truth. Raising one (or with my genetics, multiples) by myself because society said I would be a better person if I was a Mum. Whoa.

Next: Being told that my parenting actions/opinions do not apply because I don’t have kids.

Fun Fact! We were all children once and some of us remember how we were parented, disciplined, and appreciated by the grownups as we grew. I don’t need to be labeled as “Mum” to have aptitude on the topic. Y’all who birthed or adopted babies weren’t given a training manual either.

Support each other! We’re all learning here.

I am a not a Mother. But I am a Traveller, a Writer, a Live’r, a Do-er, so I have a whole lot to share with the babes of friends and partners without raising any.

If you are a woman still being asked about having kids? I happily lend you my ammunition: Don’t answer. Instead, simply respond with “How about we discuss your ___ first?” Feel free to fill in the blank with however you see fit. “Sex life” is always a fun one to see a bit of shock and awe, seeing as they indirectly asked about yours first.

Adulting is hard.  Share your GLOW, instead of putting a damper on others.

Xx, Stace.

glow lotus

You’re darn right she was there.

You gotta read what I just finished.

I am a fairly consistent devourer of books. Don’t leave me unattended at charity fundraisers that are bookcentric. Or at used and new bookshops. Or even the random discount bins of books that are in the middle of my grocery store… what evil doer even thought of that? Jerk! *Sorry. That was my bank account talking. 

glow lotus
Sigh…I love words.

Okay! This book. It came to me recently as a gift from a friend who, I’m fairly certain, knows me better than I know myself sometimes. She and I don’t live in the same city so we text about our current and past reads. *Hi, A. I miss you!*

Britt-Marie Was Here was sweetly well-timed for what I am doing now, or rather, some of what I will no longer tolerate/have given up doing in the last year.

I won’t get too specific about the contents because spoilers are the WORST.

Why do people do that in their reviews?! Not cool, guys. Not cool.

Okay so here’s what I WILL say and why it resonated with me. Now obviously I’m not a 63-year-old, socially awkward woman who has recently separated from her husband of 40 years. What you’ll find is the fun part of how this is written; you watch her engage with new people, places, and experiences. That! That’s the stuff where I am cheering her on while gently giving myself a pat on the back for the relateable bits.

As an introvert — yes I am one and that may be spoken of in detail another day — I appreciate that she still maintains some of her obsessive tendencies while learning a lot about herself in the process.

glow lotus

This book is from the same author of the acclaimed Beartown and A Man Called Ove, so if you’ve read one or both of those, which are two on my top 100 favorite books, you know you’re getting another read you won’t want to put down until you get to the last page.

Fredrik Backman creates beautiful novels around realistic fiction. I read all three of these in public, crying and laughing out loud at different points of each. Taking me through a gamut of feels is always the sign of a good book!

I’m not getting paid to promote what I’ve read (yet. Hey there, Amazon. Let’s be friends?) I’m sharing this particular book review because while our heroine Britt-Marie may be in her 60’s, that doesn’t stop her from discovering her strengths and dreams. Maybe this sweet little character’s glow will inspire you, too.

Xx, Stace.

Here are the other two books – click each for a free preview: 


What Am I (supposed to be) Doing?

I got my first job when I was fifteen.

My grades were in solid shape. Except math. We don’t talk about the math. The A’s and B’s in school meant my parents were cool with me getting a job at a clothing store, as long as I worked no more than two weeknights and weekends and my studies didn’t suffer.

Monday morning would arrive and I’d be in another new outfit – I had no bills yet, so OBVIOUSLY my pay went right back to the shop. That 90’s denim vest and velour bodysuit got looks, y’all. And I was just helping future sales…

glow lotus
School hallway. Fashion runway. Same-same.

My job was fun, rewarding, and I was being paid to flirt?! I decided this was my calling. I was going up that retail ladder. I was making it all the way to the top.

I started working on my goal immediately. I offered to train new employees. I went in early and stayed late to show I was worthy of promotion, and I became a keyholder. When I finished high school I decided to see what other companies were like; gotta assess the future competition for when I became a retail mogul! I moved from store to store, sussing out which one was the right fit.

Enter the college years:

I tried my hand at serving in a popular restaurant after classes. “Future employers will appreciate my well-rounded past!” I was still following my retail dream, however I ended up out of clothing for awhile, sorting out what I was going to excel at. *Buying a futon or hot tub? I can help.*

I took a job in a new city where I had no friends, no home, no idea what I was getting into, really. But this was IT. It was a gorgeous city on the ocean and OMGITWASGOINGTOLEADTOALLOFMYDREAMS.

Fast forward to age 27: I had now worked at 15 different jobs in 12 years. I ended up back in my hometown. The city I said I would never live in again because my future was supposed to be in some thriving metropolis. I was newly single after a heartwrenching split, unemployed for the first time in my life, and living in my parent’s basement. I had a breakdown.I had failed at EVERYTHING.

Glow Lotus BUT HANG ON A MINUTE. Don’t be sad. 

Here’s the kicker:

Every job (as of this month the tally is at 22,) was something my heart and mind and soul and imagination and curiosity and… well, it was what my life needed me to do at that time. No regrets. Honest.

I’ve sold clothes and shoes, whale watching trips and booze from a golf cart. I was a cashier, a beauty spa coordinator, and a drug and alcohol technician. I even worked at a hotel where we checked in the ‘entertainment’ for the strip club below.

And I thought I was well-rounded with my jobs at age 18.

What I hope you take away is this — There is no golden rule to finding your calling. Or maybe your calling is not having one. Maybe some of us are meant to float around and try a bit of everything. (Spread the love!) You may be suprised when you see what you’re capable of. Glow Lotus

Every good story starts with a dream. I hope you’re writing yours.

Xx, Stace.

Even famous people are speaking out.

Do you love your job?

Hot damn! Jackpot. But this is for those of you reading this who don’t. If there are people (internally, like colleagues, or externally, like miserable clients) of your job that are taking a toll on your health… please stop and think.

Your job will not be sitting beside your hospital bed should you fall seriously ill.

Genuine humans, however – they will cheer on your decisions and encourage your personal, mental, and physical growth. They lend an ear, a hug. Anything to see you whole again.

THAT. Good people. Not the desk, the paycheque, the procedures. 

glow lotus
Energy vampires, indeed. Ugh.

Many of us already know this but are afraid to express it. But standing up for what you need is not wrong. You’re right to put yourself first! Put on your best sneakers and run with those feelings!

You’ll hear this often on my page, guys: Get glowing. Eliminate toxic people. Stop it with the toxic lifestyles, or toxic employment. Or all three is even better. Whatever it is that’s putting a hinderance to your shine.

You are you. Respect that. Listen to yourself.

Xx, Stace

Starting Over.

I quit my job on January 3rd, 2018.

Part of me is still amazed I did, so it bears repeating. Five weeks after my 41st birthday, I quit my safe Monday-to-Friday job. For a few reasons. I didn’t feel fulfilled anymore. My mental and physical health were taking a hit, and as a result I was directed by my phyisician to be on stress leave. More than once.

Let’s be clear; I didn’t hate my job. However, I didn’t want to move to another position or department. I couldn’t see myself doing the same tasks for another 20 years. I’m good at my job (great, actually *toot-tooting own horn*) but it was no longer enough.

And you know what? That’s okay.

This was not a hasty decision. Some who know me are probably rolling their eyes and picking their jaws off the ground. The reactions have been mixed, but after the initial shock wore off I was pleased to hear the majority leaned to commenting “You’re so brave! I wish I could quit my job, too.”

Note: I’m not a fool. This is not my first resignation. I have had all sorts of jobs and I stayed at this one for nine years. Nine! That is a staggering number for this gal. I even demoted myself a year ago to the previous role I had at this employer as an alternative to resigning back then. See? Not done in haste. But when the environment and tasks were still a detriment to my mental and physical wellbeing, it was time to shake things up.

Glow Lotus

We only get one shot at this life thing.

We get into this familiarity with our lives. When we aren’t at our 40+ hours per week gig, what are we doing? Usually all the necessary grownup stuff like laundry, groceries, keeping small humans alive and happy. You know what else we’re doing? When all those chores are rounded up, and before we get to start doing them all over again the next day? A whole lot of us are surfing Instagram, and Pinterest, and Facebook… whatever social-media-rabbit-hole we can fall down, looking at the lives of people who are doing real, exciting, scary, and awesome stuff. Traveling, becoming entrepreneurs, expanding horizons.

I see you there. I do it, too. The difference is I finally had my “a-ha moment”. I asked myself two questions:

  • “When did the size of my income determine I’d ‘made’ it?”
  • “I sold my house a year ago to DO more, BE more, LIVE more. Uh…when am I going to actually get busy with that?”

Heads up, people.

You can make more money. You cannot make more time.

Sure I’m well aware I’m giving up the familiar — The Safety Net. There will be no more vacation weeks, the understanding supervisors when I’m unwell, the pension years from now when I permanently leave the cubicle life.

Fear not — I’m not going to live in a tent down by the river. I know I still need a job to pay my bills. I just want a different one; ideally working face to face with people in some ‘helping’ capacity. Maybe I’ll even end up creating a job myself.

This is what I want you to consider. There  is no more January 2018 when February 2018 arrives. No more “I’ll do that in my 30’s, when my other stuff is sorted” on your 41st birthday.

Last year was full of bad news and loss and our world, let’s be real,  is a pretty sketchy place nowadays. (Like WTF, Mother Nature. Add to that the world “leaders” bullying each other in the proverbial sandbox.) 

Lots of people won’t get their Someday.

For health reasons, or family obligation, or, the most likely culprit — because of FEAR. Wanting a life of fulfillment is not greedy, silly, stupid, or radical. We each deserve to have a heart of happiness! For me, leaving the “safe” job to seek new adventures, new opportunities, and new ways to find that fulfillment felt pretty darn fabulous.

Do you follow the show This Is Us? The episode where Randall finally has a breakdown? Yeah. THATHe quits after taking stress leave. Exactly what I did! I was on yet another stress leave in December *my fourth in two years* and then I came back and worked 2 shifts. You know what went down on shift number three? I quit. HELL TO THE YES, I QUIT.

*Insert rad ‘kerplooey’ image here.* Randall becomes happier, healthier, more involved with his wife, his daughters, his other family members. He seeks out new opportunities. Randall found his GLOW, ladies and gentlemen. Sign me up for that shiz.

Sure, this might be considered brave. And hell yes, some would call it terrifying. I don’t have a live-in partner supplementing any lost wages. But here’s the thing — I’m very aware of my emotions, finally. I’m checking in with me. And if I don’t take the leap? I’ll never know what could have been. That’s much more terrifying than staying the same.

Xx, Stace.

Glow Lotus
Preach, Ayn. Spark. Glow. Let’s do this.