Lately, the topic of saving money has been on my mind more than usual. It’s probably because I realized the money I am spending on clothing, home decorations and other such things, could be spent on experiences that would contribute to my development as a person, as opposed to stuff that will probably end up in the garbage. Perhaps even more relevant, I could use the money I’m not spending to start saving up for the future.
Here are some of the techniques I’ve been using the past few weeks. I just love how simple, yet effective they are:
1) Create, Don’t Buy
I love decorating my home. I love getting stuff that speaks to my heart, and which makes my home…a little homier. Nevertheless, home decor can get pretty expensive, and I don’t want to leave my wallet bleeding to make my heart smile.
The solution? DIY projects.
There are two main benefits to doing this: first of all, you save money, which is what this post is all about. Second, you recycle, thus helping the environment. You can easily change up a few old objects around your home, giving them a new look and a new life. Plus, you can reduce waste by using some of the stuff you’d normally throw out. Something I’ve been doing is creating pretty containers from used cans. Another thing that I love to do is find out new ways of reusing plastic bottles.
Here are two lovely articles on re-using bottles and cans:
It’s easy to get attached to stuff, and refuse to get it out of your home, even well after you’ve stopped using it. Here’s the thing though: you could be making money off it! So, be a little heartless with your objects and real with yourself: what will you probably never use again? Take them all out, and sort them: keep what you can transform through DIY into usable things, and sell the rest. This way, instead of collecting dust, your stuff could be bringing you money.
3) Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Used Things
Yup, buying stuff doesn’t have to leave your wallet empty. If there’s something that you need, try to think if you can buy it used. Clothing and furniture are just two examples of what you don’t need to buy new.
These tips are pretty simple, but in the long run, they could really save you quite a bit of money. Plus, you won’t be hurting the environment as much, which is equally satisfying.
Do you know the feeling of taking a break from something for so long, when you return to it, it takes a while to figure out where you left off, or what it is exactly you were doing before you took that break? Say, you begin a book, step away from it (for about a million years), only to come back to a story that’s unknown to you?
While I am intimately familiar with the example I just gave, this is not what I wanted to talk about.
Blogging. That’s what I wanted to talk about.
I stepped away from it for those million years I was just talking about, and now that I’m back, I’m a little bit …confused, shall we say?
I wanted to write about a book I finished reading a while back, and I had to check whether I had already written about it. That’s…well, that’s just fantastic.
As it turns out, I have’t written about it, so I’ll get to do that now. What book is it, you may wonder? Well, for that you’re just going to have to stay tuned : )
I have started reading about five books in the past year, and I haven’t had a chance to finish them, because life got hectic. Real hectic, actually, but I’m not going to devote any more time to that part of it than I’ve already done.
So, moving on. I am currently making my way through the books I began, while studying. Yes, well, there’s always some studying that needs to happen in the background, am I right?
Currently, I am reading David Sedaris’, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, as a bedtime book. I find it perfect for that purpose, and I am considering buying more of his books for the same purpose.
Depression is very common, having been named “the cold of mental disorders”, in an attempt to explain just how often it is seen. Despite this, it’s still misunderstood by the general population, and even by those who are depressed.
However, it’s very important that more people become aware of what depression really is, in order for them to be able to either help those around them, or even themselves, get the proper treatment when they need it.
What Depression is Not
First of all, one has to understand what depression is not. In the day-to-day life, people tend to go through periods of happiness, followed by periods of unhappiness. These ups and downs are normal, and they usually correspond to events that happen in one’s life.
While people often say that they are depressed when they’re experiencing those “downs”, this is the wrong label, as it is not depression they’re experiencing.
What is Depression?
Depression is characterized by feelings of despair, and an inability to find pleasure and interest in everyday activities. Indeed, this loss of interest can be so debilitating that it might leave a person completely unable to carry out regular activities.
Here is a list of symptoms that one might experience when undergoing a depressive episode:
Experiencing depressed mood almost the entire day.
A substantial decline in interest in nearly any activity.
Lack of movement, or too much movement.
A substantial decline in energy levels.
Sleeping too much or too little.
Weight loss or gain that is unintentional.
Decreased ability to concentrate.
Thinking about death.
Thinking about suicide or attempting to commit it.
These symptoms have to last for over 2 weeks in order for it to be considered depression.
What Should You Do when Experiencing Depression?
The first step you should take is talk to a professional about it. If you don’t know where to start, even going to your family doctor is a good idea, as he or she will be able to point you in the right direction. In addition to this, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself.
Get the proper amount of sleep
You’ve probably heard about how good these things are for you that you might be tempted to ignore them, but you shouldn’t. Indeed, they can help you improve your mood, and though they might not be the quickest way to healing your mind, they are efficient.
While exercising, most people enjoy an elevated mood, and though someone who’s depressed might not experience this, after a few weeks of exercising 3 to 4 times per week, there are high chances that you will notice an improvement in the way you feel.
Not only this, but exercise can also help you relieve stress, and improve your energy, which will leave you better able to deal with everyday activities.
Eating healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruits is always a good idea, but this tends to be even more true for depressed people. By doing so, you will be feeding both your body and your brain with the nutrients it needs to work properly. As such, your brain will be on its way to recovery.
Get the Proper Amount of Sleep
Getting enough sleep is probably easier said than done. If you have insomnia, then you simply can’t get to sleep. However, there are things that you can do make falling asleep easier.
For instance, you can start by having a bedtime routine that helps you relax, which might involve reading a book, drinking a hot beverage such as tea or milk, and having a warm bath.
Then, if you find yourself unable to get to sleep, you should make sure that you don’t stay in bed, as that will only make matters worse. Rather, get up, and continue reading the book, or do something else, until you feel like you are about to fall asleep again. If this doesn’t help at all, then talk to your doctor about getting medication for sleeping.
If, on the other hand, you sleep too much , then you should make sure that you have activities that you can do throughout the day in order to avoid sleeping.
Ask for Help
Talking to a professional might feel a bit overwhelming, and if that feels like it’s too much in the beginning, you should start by asking a loved one for help.
Some people feel ashamed about having depression, but it is nothing to be ashamed about. Not only is it very common, but it’s also not your fault that you have it.
If you open up to someone who cares about you, you don’t have to worry about them thinking less of you, because they will very likely understand and try their best to help you.
Experiencing depression is difficult, but luckily, the problem can be dealt with. While getting the help of a professional is the surest way to healing, there are a few things you can do on your own, such as getting the help of a friend, taking care of how much you sleep and of what you eat, and exercising.
I’m sure you’ve heard people saying that it’s better to have done something and regretted it later than to not have done something and always wonder what would have happened if you would have had enough courage to do it. I agree with this, but I also believe that it’s not always true.
There are some things that are better left floating in the land of “what if” than being brought down into the world of reality. Why? Because some things might never turn into “oh well”. They might just turn into “why did I do that?”
Now, it’s hard to figure out which “what ifs” are better than others. Perhaps that’s why the idea of always doing something you want instead of wondering about it came to be. But what if there would be a better way than this? What if we could make sure that we go for the right “what if”, leaving the wrong one behind?
The world in which this always happens is a fictional world. We can’t always know. Sometimes we are going to mess up. Occasionally, we’re going to mess up a lot worse than other times. That’s something we need to learn to accept, because striving for perfection is a losing battle.
When trying to figure out if something is worth the risk, whatever that risk may be, you have to consider how important that thing is for you. Can you learn to be without it? Be careful here. I wrote “learn” intentionally. It is normal to feel like you can’t be without something you’ve started to “crave”, but as time passes, the craving might go away, and you will learn to be without that thing.
However, if you feel like that thing has the potential to complete your life in a meaningful way, perhaps letting go is not the best thing in the world.
Keep in mind here that whatever the conclusion you arrive at, you might still have to learn to be without that thing, eventually. You can’t always get what you want, so be prepared for that possibility too.
Think of the situation where you might feel tempted to call your ex and try to get back together. Such a decision is always loaded emotionally, and I would personally call up a friend to get their opinion, because it will be less biased than yours, but you can also try to think of whether it’s really worth it. It’s very hard, but even in these situations, where the irrational part of your brain seems to be taking over, you might still be able to hear the voice of rationality, lost between your thoughts. Listen to it.
Even here, you might end up where you started all over again, if your ex won’t want to get back together. If you choose to give it a shot, be prepared for this option. But maybe leaving things at “what if” is the better choice.
A month or so ago, one of my professors discussed the notion of the self. He began by telling us that when he was a student, he had a professor who at some point asked him and his classmates to think of when they are themselves the most: when they’re by themselves, or when they’re with other people? He then continued to say that while he did think of this question as a very interesting one, he later realized that it made little sense to ask it, since each one of us has multiple selves, not just one.
However, it is still true, or so I believe (and feel free to disagree with me), that some of these selves are …well, let’s just say, not as real as others. Sometimes we do and say things that we don’t necessarily consider to be true, and that we definitely don’t think are in line with who we really are.
Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to think that when we come home, out “masks” come off, and we finally become who we truly are, not having to hide our feelings, thoughts, and finally being able to do as we please, and speak our minds. But is this really true?
Again, I’ll come back to the idea of multiple selves: it doesn’t means that if you act differently around different people, you’re lying about who you truly are. It simply means that you’re elastic when it comes to which shades of your personality you’re going to let shine at that particular moment. For instance, if you’re with someone who you know doesn’t like a certain type of jokes, then you’re much more likely to not make them (that is, if you care about that person).
Now, it may well be that some of the time, you’re going to lie, thus covering your self, or that particular shade of your self, with a mask. Perhaps some circumstances make it more likely for you to do so than others. Regardless, this doesn’t mean that you’re not being your true self when you’re with your friends, simply because you’re not the same when you’re with them as when you’re alone. Those are simply two different versions of yourself.
Want to know something that really makes me furious? Making fun of overweight people who are exercising.
Making fun of people in general is not the kind of activity anyone should be engaging in, to tell you the truth, but I want to concentrate on this specific situation for now.
Let’s be clear on one thing: those “fat people” are out there, in the gym, outside, or wherever else you might see them, already feeling self conscious as all hell. They most probably not enjoying what they’re doing, as even the smallest movement can feel absolutely horrible for them. Add all of this to the fact that they are under the impression that they look odd while exercising, and what you’ve got is a worsening of the self-conscious effect. In all fairness, they might look odd, but this isn’t because of their weight, but simply because of the fact that they’re doing something that they haven’t really done before, or something they’re not used to. Even a very thin person would look strange doing an exercise that he or she has never done before.
Despite knowing all this, despite being fully aware that they look the way they look, and actually probably thinking that they look a lot worse that they actually do, they are out there, exercising. They are out there, trying to change their current situation.
If anything, that deserves respect and encouragement. Now, you might be thinking to yourself “But I am in no way obligated to encourage someone I don’t know.” That is completely true! You are not. But what you should do is keep your mouth shut at least, as that will not make the person feel even worse about themselves.
I like going on 9gag from time to time, because it’s a lot of fun. Well, what I mean to say is that it can be a lot of fun. It can also be very sad, and sometimes, even frustrating. Lots of people were complaining about the fact that many 9gag users started to post things that weren’t so funny. I personally didn’t have any particular problem with it, because I’m all about people talking about their opinion, and it doesn’t matter if it’s related to something funny or sad.
But then there are the posts that just plain frustrate me. There are many such examples, and maybe I’ll talk about others as I encounter them. The one I posted above is just one of them.
Let’s take each statement one by one, and see what’s wrong with it when said in relation to one’s self:
I hate you
You do realize that you are going to spend the rest of your life with you, right? In essence, you’ve sort of entered a marriage with yourself the moment you were born, and this is not a marriage that you can end by divorce. It’s not a marriage that you should end. So, what do people do when they don’t want a marriage to fall apart? They fix it. There are good things about you, whether you care to acknowledge them or not. They’re there. Be on the lookout, and you’re sure to find them.
Let’s make something clear here, ok? We’re all human beings. No, seriously, we are. That makes us vulnerable, which means that sometimes, yes, we are weak. All of us. Not at the same time, but we all go through phases of weakness, followed by strength. It’s normal.
If you’re feeling weak, don’t blame yourself for it. Rather, look at what made you be that way, and try to fix it. If you can’t do it on your own, then…well, look for help. Even looking for help implies some sort of strength, because it shows that you acknowledge the problem, and you’re ready to do something about it. There is strength in you. You just have to make it come out.
You deserve the pain
So you’ve taken the role of God, eh? You started to decided who deserves the pain, and who doesn’t.
Every single one of us makes mistakes, because, as I said before, we’re humans. If you’ve made a mistake, this doesn’t make you a bad person. It simply means you made a mistake. Try to fix it. If you can’t, then do your best to reduce the negative effects it has. Telling yourself that you deserve the pain won’t solve anything. It will only make you feel horrible, and there’s no point in that.
YES!!! Of course you are. We all are. This statement seems pointless to me. It’s like saying “I breathe oxygen”. Yeah, no kidding. So do I! Look at all the stuff we have in common.
But there’s more to this statement, when said in this context: it essentially says that “I breathe oxygen, and therefore I’m a bad person.” Well, then that means that we’re all really bad, because we are all the same in this regard.
It’s ok to be imperfect, really. We all are.
You’ll never be good enough
Not only are you God, but you can also see in the future. That’s quite impressive, it really is! Well, never mind! God is supposed to see in the future, so I guess I should have congratulated you on your impressiveness before this.
Anyway, this statement begs the question “Good enough for what?”. Can you answer it being specific, or do you just think that way in general terms?
It doesn’t really matter if you can be specific or not, because you’re mistaken in thinking this either way. Using words like “never”, and “always” is not a good idea, because they can easily be refuted. So hey! Maybe you weren’t good enough for something at some point, but you can do something to improve it in the future. If you think that you’re not good enough in general, then you are exaggerating. There is something in you, ready to come out and be great and wonderful, but if you keep hiding it, then…
Whatever is going in your life, you should know that it will get better. But did you see the key word in that sentence right there? It’s life. There needs to be life in order for things to get better.
These kinds of thoughts are quite commonly met in depression. Many of us might experience some of them on a daily basis, but it’s in depressed people that they happen with a lot of frequency. If you notice yourself thinking this way a lot, then you should look for help. It’s out there, and it will help you smile once again 🙂
In the meantime, here are some things you should tell yourself: