“And when you wake up ready to say, ‘I think I’ll make a snappy new day.’” Fred Rogers
It’s time to wish virtually everyone (including strangers on the street) a hearty “Happy New Year!” After all, we’re generally social creatures, and when folks to whom we extend that hope-filled greeting reciprocate, we get the warm and fuzzy feeling of inclusion. We now have a common purpose, at least before the fuzzy buzz of the New Year goes flat like the last few ounces of bubbly.
But the buzz hasn’t been killed, Friends. It has found new life, resuscitated by the New Year’s resolutions that 40 percent of American adults have now jotted down with shaky hands on crumpled napkins decorated with balloons. These goals, resolutions, promises, vows, call ‘em what you like, are some variation of the usual suspects in the resolution lineup.
For most of us, though, these threadbare self-improvement schemes have become all too familiar because they all too often result in varying degrees of failure.
Several years ago, a friend’s daughter lost a close high school friend to suicide. My friend asked me if I had anything to send them as a source of comfort and understanding. She knew that I have lived experience with suicide: My father took his own life in 2008, and I suffered terrifying suicidal ideation during my journey through and ultimate recovery from a major depression in 2013. Having just learned this morning of another of these unbearable tragedies, I decided to publish here an edited version of what I wrote for my friend and her daughter:
Before handheld phones got smart, they were called “cell” phones. What a wonderfully ironic name for a device that, as Apple boosts its IQ, locks so many of us into isolation. Which leads me to today’s topic: Are these ubiquitous machines, and the social media they inject into our heads, addictive?
Some self-styled Masters of the Tech Universe seem to think so; a number of them have tried to limit their own kids’ screen time to protect their vulnerable noggins from the apps other Techies cook up in their coding cauldrons.
Yet, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, many Tech Masters aggressively deny that their products can be dangerous or addictive. To unpack this conundrum, let’s look at some studies, read what the Masters themselves say about their products’ potential for teen harm and addiction, and then take an at-home addiction test.
Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill
In my December 5, 2020 post, I took a look at strategies and perspectives that are key to achieving victory in the war against our old enemy, impostor syndrome. Today, I have the syndrome’s frequent partner in crime, fear of failure, in the cross-hairs.
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.
If, Rudyard Kipling
Fred Rogers may have liked us just the way we are, but most of us don’t share his upbeat opinion. We gnash our teeth and silently scream, “I hate myself!” We’re sure that any success that might have drifted our way was just luck, not ability.
“It takes a village.” “There’s strength in numbers.” These wise cliches notwithstanding, so many of us lead lives of isolation, a physical reality and harmful state of mind that are being exacerbated day after day as COVID cases increase. Today, I will talk about combating the depression and fear that loneliness often brings.
In my cozy, book-lined blog workshop, I have been trying to write a post on meditation and its first cousin, mindfulness. Because I am a neophyte practitioner of these time-honored arts, I decided to start with a subject that I know more about: tennis. What has that time-honored sport got to do with mindfulness, you may ask? Please read on.
There are few things that you can’t do if you are willing to apply yourself.
“Go get some exercise!” Great advice! After all, the mental and physical health benefits of daily exercise are tremendous. For folks like me who practice self-care to manage depression, it has been wonderful to experience directly what studies show: Regular, modest exercise is at least as effective as antidepressants. Healthy Living.
So, why is it sometimes so bloody hard to follow this great advice? What follows are some thoughts on how to actually look forward to exercising rather than dreaming up excuses not to.
In the middle of one of my selfish woe-is-me rants about being cooped up during the pandemic, I ran across this beautiful prayer written by Cameron Wiggins Bellm, a Seattle mother of two, a Russian instructor, and a blogger with a great first name.
Having talked a bit about bike riding in my last post, Cycling For Justice, I want to share some risk mitigation tips I have learned training for and struggling through long organized rides since 1996. Note that I am not using the words “safe” or “safety.” As with anything worth doing, cycling has a number of risks. Although they can’t be eliminated (even by the most zealous helicopter parents), here are some tips for reducing them: