How I plan to reduce stress

Reducing stress

Stress… ahhh! One of my biggest enemies. I am a worrier. My mother used to tell me I was a worry wart. Maybe it’s in genes, it’s just who I am, my introverted self that makes me overthink everything, or I could blame it on whatever I wanted. Bottom line, it wasn’t until my anxiety was through the roof, that I decided it might be a good idea to start being proactive about my worries and stress.

 

I have been known to stress about everything under the sun. Worried what others think of me, my health, if I’m a good enough mother or wife, if I will make it to heaven, if my house is clean enough when company stops by, if I’m giving my children the best of the best education, do we have enough money, and on, and on my list goes. I don’t think it helps that I am perfectionist. Eeek! And how many times have I asked myself “What if….(insert worry here) ?”

I previously had mentioned my troubles with anxiety back in January. Here it is April and I am still recovering. I hit rock bottom and it’s taking me some time to crawl out of my hole. Some days, I feel halfway normal. Then some days, I start worrying. Then I can feel the anxiety trying to creep back in. I used to worry so much I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Maybe rock bottom low has taught me to recognize stress, worrying, and try to be active about reducing my stress/worry.

Will I always have issues with worrying/stress? I don’t know but I strongly believe there are ways to help combat the troubles of this life. Stress is inevitable, unavoidable but there are ways to help cope with stress. And sadly, when I look my oldest daughter, I see that she too is a worrier. I am hoping one day I can pass my knowledge of how to cope with it down to her.

Here’s my action my plan. My go to list for reducing stress. Does it always work? No. Some days I really struggle. Some days, I want to say screw it all. But the more I practice, the easier it is becoming. So here goes….

  • STOP WORRYINGOh man, this is a tough one. I have to tell myself, even if my biggest worry comes true, so what? So what if someone thinks my house isn’t clean enough. The world did not come crumbling down. So what if person X dislikes you, thinks you’re weird, or whatever horrible scenario you can come up with. It doesn’t mean you’re worthless if person X doesn’t like you.  Jesus spoke about worrying and I have to constantly remind myself of how the Father in heaven has got this!

Then He said to His disciples,

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things[c] shall be added to you.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:22-32)

  • Look into Adrenals- If you have hypothyroidism, I really encourage you to look into this one. Even if you’re not, it might be a good idea to test. Stop the Thyroid Madness encourages a ZRT 4 point saliva test. The best part about this test, no doc visit. It is a saliva test you can test at home. I tested mine cortisol levels back in Jan and my cortisol was sky high all day. It explained why I was waking up consistently at 2-3AM, again at 5-6AM, and anxiety was high. Once I started treating, I saw a big improvement. It dramatically helped my anxiety. Did it completely make it go away? No but like I said, big improvement.
  • Support adrenals- If you have recently been through stressful events, times, you can support your adrenals with Vitamin C, B vitamins (this can be tricky if you have the MTHFR gene like I do), magnesium, Omega 3. Some herbs that can help are adaptogens. Adaptogens help the adrenals adapt instead of raising/lowering cortisol. Ashwaganda and Rhodiola Rosea are both adaptogens. Some would say Holy Basil but I have found it to help lower cortisol when paired with a P.S. That being said, I would recommend Holy basil and P.S. unless you have confirmed you have high cortisol.
  • Epsom Salt baths- Epsom salt baths have many benefits. It helps reduce stress, detoxes the body (also good for MTHFR genes), relieves pain, and so much more. And it’s affordable and widely available. You can pick it up at Wal-Mart, Amazon, dollar stores.
  • Massages- I LOVE a good massage. And if you can afford to regularly have a massage, then I encourage it. But me, I can’t afford to visit the spa very often. My solution? This bad boy! Oh my, the Gideon massaging cushion is wonderful. I really wasn’t expecting much but wooo wee, this is nice. It’s the next best thing to a good masseuse. It’s actually beat some masseuse I’ve had. It’s a little bit of a splurge but 2-3 visits to the spa, and it would have paid for the cushion. Have you ever had an excellent massage and started experiencing sinus drainage and then immediately after leaving the spa have to go to the little girls room? Yeah, this cushion did that to me. After every good massage, this happens to me.
  • Diffusing essential oils- You know, I was a weird one who HATED the smell of Lavender. But after lots of stress, I been finding Lavender EO my go to oil. If you’re not fond of Lavender, there are some other good oils that help you relax. Some of my favorites include; Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Rose, Plant Therapy Worry Free , Plant Therapy Relax, and Rocky Mountain Oils Peace & Quiet.
  • Vitamin D- I’ve tested my Vitamin D levels and found they were low. But I have another wonderful gene called the VDR gene. Long story short, basically I need to test both of my vitamin D’s to figure out my levels before supplementing. But one thing I have been doing is sitting in the sun. Vitamin D is good for mood, lowers inflammation, lowers the risk of diseases, boosts, immunity, lowers stress and so much more. And it’s free!
  • Guided meditation- I have trouble sticking with this one but I used more at the beginning of the year.
  • Exercise- This one I can’t do much of because if I do too much, it stresses my adrenals. I’m having to let my adrenals heal but a light walk, short bike ride, or even just some light cleaning can be good.
  • Magnesium- You can get magnesium from Epsom salt or try trans-dermal magnesium.
  • Talking to others- This one, seems to be my go to! I have griped and griped to my husband. But after I vent, I feel better, less stressed.
  • Helping others- Helping others really takes the focus off of my issues.
  • Sleep and naps- Adequate amounts of sleep can do wonders. There is a reason your body sleeps a lot when your sick. It needs the down time to recover and repair. The same concept goes when your stressed, depressed, etc.
  • Earthing- This keeps coming up for me. I can’t say if this works or not yet but I will say it helps to go put my feet in the grass. If your interested in Earthing or Grounding, check out Wellness Mama’s post.
  • Unplugging- During the height of my anxiety, I found a PC, cell phone to be VERY stimulating. There is research that suggests unplugging can have many health benefits. The benefits can include better sleep, memory, mood, etc. I know I feel the benefits when we go camping. It feels like the world slows down and I’m not as edgy. Don’t get me wrong, I can be a technology junkie. I love technology but unplugging can help reduce stress. Read a book. If your too tired see if someone will read to you or listen to an audio-book. Go outside and watch the birds or star gaze. Find a good magazine to read. Knit, crochet, or do something creative
  • Watching TV- I’m never been a big TV watcher but this year, I have found watching TV can help take my mind off my troubles. I know, I know, I just said unplug but it’s all about balance, right? And I felt so fatigued, I didn’t have any energy. I just wanted to lay down.
  • Nature- I live in town but I enjoy to go outside. I have found sitting on the back porch as I watch birds to be very therapeutic.
  • Writing about things that stress me- I’ve thought about journaling but it seems as if I come to the blog to get these’s off my chest. Sometimes I publish the articles and sometimes I don’t. Either way, writing about my struggles seems to give me an out. I have also found support groups on FB to help vent about my struggles. I am a member of STTM groups so I vent in the groups about my thyroid/health issues. If it’s homeschooling struggles, I go to my homeschooling groups. Christian related struggles, I go to the Christian groups.
  • Finding something I enjoy doing- This was very hard in Jan. The anxiety had me so stressed out, I was having a tough time seeing the joy in life and felt like I was flirting with depression. This may sound silly but I had been wanting to organize/decorate my girls room. Her room was a disaster and I told her we needed to organize her room. At the moment, I didn’t have the energy to do it so I told her, look up how to organize your room on YouTube. She brought me this video of this organization box this young girl had made out of a postal box. My crafty side was a tad intrigued. We were going to make it together but after getting into the project, we would be using box cutters, hot glue guns. Long story short, I made the majority of the box for her. It took me 2 days to make because I was so flat out fatigued. I only had a slight bit of interest in the project but I found some joy in making it. As silly as that sounds, the box reminded me of my interests, passions. It showed me they had not flown away but got buried under all of the stress, duties, chores, sickness, and everyday struggles of this life. The box got the ball rolling. We later stopped in the dollar store and picked up some very snazzy tubs in pretty colors, might I add, to help organize more things in their room.
  • Find something to be thankful for each day- I have a picture hanging on the wall in my bathroom. It says, “There is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.” Sometimes I forget this. Sometimes I have to dig REAL deep and find the small things. But there is always always always something to be thankful for. 🙂
  • Scripture- There is SOOO much scripture about stress, worrying, anxiety, troubles of this life. I find inspiration and uplifted when I read the passages…. I saw a pin on Pintrest for a Child Training Bible. It looked like a cool idea so I went ahead and bought the chart set, things needed to go with it. I won’t go into tons of details but as I marked each scripture, I wanted to make sure the scripture applied to the category. That left me with reading each piece of scripture and sometimes the whole chapter. I still haven’t finished tabbing but reading the scripture was very enlightening, encouraging, and uplifting. Although this was meant to help parents teach their child how to use the bible with real world situations, I think many adults could greatly benefit from this idea.
  • Yoga- I really need to start doing yoga again. I love yoga just not sure why I don’t do it on a regular basis. I don’t think I need to go into detail on how yoga helps reduce stress. But if you didn’t know it, yoga helps reduce stress. Lol.

 

That’s my list for now. The stress, worry, anxiety is all very unpleasant and I still very much struggle with it all. This is my list on how/plan to develop healthy coping skills. I hope you find this list useful. Please share how you reduce stress!

Web Development: #2 – What to Learn First?

One of the most popular questions most people have when they first start on their journey into web development is which language to learn first? There are many options out there and the quick Google search can be absolutely overwhelming. So let’s look at some common themes that tend to run in the beginner’s circles of web development.

Web Development #2 - What to Learn First

The Basics

HTML

In my experience (the whole whopping two months of it) is that the best language to start learning is not actually a programming language at all. I’m talking about HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). HTML is not a programming language in the fact that it doesn’t program anything. It is simply the structure layout that all web browsers look at to display information online. The heading sizes, the paragraph spacing, the navigation bar, the text at the top of your browser tab, all of this and more is contained within the HTML document. HTML is very easy to learn and can make you feel accomplished rather quickly. Let’s face it, you don’t want to dive into a complicated programming language only to be overwhelmed by the complexity of it and give up before you even really get started. HTML consists of tags such as <p> for paragraphs, and <title> for titles, etc. So jump into HTML first as you are going to need to know this basic structure before you dive into anything else.

 

CSS

CSS (cascading style sheets) is the beautification of HTML. Lets use an analogy of a really nice sports car, my favorite is the Chevrolet Corvette. If HTML is the chassis, axles, and frame of the car, then CSS is the leather seats, the stylish logo plates, sparkling chrome rims, and accented racing stripes. CSS can be a lot of fun to learn as well. Without CSS, your HTML will look like a website you barfed out of the 90’s when internet just started to take off. There are a lot of things you can do with just HTML and CSS alone! CSS consists of controlling what your tags in your HTML document look like. The color, positioning, size, font, etc. A lot of local small businesses are usually looking for just this alone. Something simple to look nice and professional to advertise their business online. If you can manipulate HTML and CSS well enough to accomplish this, you can start working relatively quickly in web development.

 

JavaScript

To continue the sports car analogy, if HTML is the structure, and CSS is the styling, JavaScript is the cruise control, the programmable radio stations on the stereo, the automatic transmission (I know you’d want a standard but work with me people), and the keyless entry. JavaScript is most likely the first actual programming language you are going to come across when first starting out. It’s the language that I am currently learning at the time of this writing. With JavaScript you can start animating things on the website. Making things “pop” if you will. You can make CSS styled HTML tags zoom in, fly of the screen, program a navigation bar to stick to the top of the screen when scrolling, and most importantly program a website to be responsive to mobile. A bit more on that here in a sec…

So with these three things in your toolbox, you can create most of the sites you find online. So if you’re looking to get started and don’t know where to go, I would recommend starting with those three things, in that order. Now, keep in mind, I am not a professional web developer yet. You can throw all of my advice out the window and go your own way, and chances are you’ll still end up on top if you stick with it. I’m simply saying that these three are the things I have found so far to get my foot in the door.

 

Other Languages

The list is seemingly endless. PHP, Java (not to be confused with JavaScript), C, C++, C#, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Angular, NodeJS, jQuery, AJAX, yada yada, on and on… Where to go? You’re guess is as good as mine. No seriously, as bad as that sounds, I believe that’s actually a good thing. Speaking as the all-knowledgeable two-month web developer that I am, I’ve researched and looked into enough language options to know that there’s pretty much something out there for everybody willing to invest some time and energy in finding and then learning one they like and are interested in. My plan after I finish learning JavaScript is to try out PHP, a back-end server-side language that uses database information to render things into websites.

 

So as short and simple as this post is, I hope that at least gives the complete newbie (such as me) some way to point their compass. I wish I would have had a complete newbie blog to read to guide me even through these past two months, and that’s why I’m writing this one. So please continue to join me in my journey, as short-lived and newborn as it is and I look forward to hearing from you. Questions, comments, or suggestions? Leave them below and keep following me on this journey!

New Career Path! Web Development?

So if you can’t tell by the title, I’m getting into web development. Why web development? Why not continue to pursue my engineering degree further? What does it take to get started? How much does it cost to get started? All this information and more if you keep reading below.

Web Development: #1 How I got started.

Why Web Development?

So, why am I getting into web development? Well first, I’m sick of my job. No really, I’m tired of it. I have been working at a local factory for almost 13 years at the time of this writing and I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere anymore. I don’t have a college degree, I have several thousands of dollars of student debt from attempting to get a college degree, and I’m pretty much topped out at the top of the pay scale for my profession. I’m tired of watching people get promoted that don’t deserve it, and I’m tired of watching people who deserve to get promoted get placed in the same position over and over, year after year, because they’re “invaluable.” Am I talking about myself? Well if the shoe fits then wear it, right? I went halfway through an engineering degree before I was unable to complete it due to work/school/family scheduling issues. But I took most of the courses I needed to fill an engineer’s position. I had 10 years of machining experience plus college level courses to include drafting, solid modelling, business statistics, etc. However, I had to drop out before I could take the major work-related courses like Biology, and Art Appreciation 101. Both of which are applied all over the place in the engineering office at a metal production facility… So yes, I’m a little irritated. Yes, I’m a little frustrated. And yes, that’s okay.

Now, I’m not trying to get all leftist, liberal, “I deserve to get mine” on you, but seriously, what happened to the “results get promoted” concept? I mean, if you can do the job, does it really matter if you have a $40,000 piece of paper with your name on it telling others that you can do it? Call me crazy, but I have a better set of ideals and morals than that. I truly believe that results is what should matter, not how much debt you can go into for a piece of paper that literally says, “I can memorize material and regurgitate it on a final exam in a few weeks.” I’ve seen too many “engineers” come straight out of college and crash a machine because “It worked in the program.” I’ve seen machinists refuse to press the start button on a machine because they KNEW it would crash the machine, only to have the “engineer” press the button for them saying it would work, only to have, you guessed it, the machine crash. But HEY, that guy has a degree! Sure man, whatever. The only thing you are guaranteed out of a college degree is debt. You’re not promised a career in your field of study. You’re not even promised a career at all. The only thing that is promised to you after graduation, (or in my case after your first couple of semesters) is a monthly payment to something that has no real value if you don’t get a chance to use it. The risk to reward factor is largely weighed against us.

So why web development? Well first of all, you don’t HAVE to have a computer science degree. You simply have to know how to produce results. A local business looking to get a website made really doesn’t care if you have a degree. They don’t care what programming languages you know, what school you graduated from, or what fraternity/sorority you were in. Can you deliver a functional and professional website or not? This industry is really based on results, and that is what appeals to me the most. You can start out at a decent pay as an entry-level programmer/developer and the investment into it as you will see in a moment if a tiny percentage of what a degree will run you.

How did I get into Web Development?

So how did I get into web development? At the time of this writing I’m only two months into it. I’ve successfully created a mock website for a fictional company, and it’s really amazing what you can create after just a couple of weeks of learning to code. I started by trying to learn PHP first. This may have been a mistake on my part, as you need to know at least basic HTML and CSS before diving into an actual programming language such as PHP or JavaScript. So what is my monetary investment into it so far? Here’s what it took me to get started.

Hardware Investment:

I’ve spent roughly $300 getting into it. Now before you get all, “I can’t afford that!” on me, please realize that, you don’t HAVE to. Here’s what my investment into web development looks like:

  1. Refurbished computer – $140
  2. Refurbished dual monitors – $140
  3. New keyboard – $15
  4. Computer Desk – $10

Computer:

You see? Chances are you don’t need a new computer. If you already have a desktop or laptop, you can use it. The software and files you are going to be working with are extremely simple and take up very little HD space. You don’t need a super high end graphics card or a 3TB hard drive with 16Gb of RAM. a simple computer will suffice. The desktop I bought is pretty minimal, and you can find it here.

Monitors:

I bought dual monitors as a luxury. It is not required. Most of the tutorials you are going to find online are created using a single screen. However, it’s much better to be able to have a tutorial video going on one screen and follow along on the other. Or, if I’m not doing online tutorials, it’s really nice to have a coding program on one screen and have the browser I’m working in on the other. This way it is possible to see exactly what is going on at a glance. You can change colors, sizes, shapes, fonts, etc as you code without having to minimize or switch between programs. Here’s a screenshot of what I’m usually looking at:

dual desktop monitors showing code editor on one screen and live browser in second screen

Other Stuff:

As far as the keyboard and desk, I bought them because the keyboard that came with my refurbished PC was really bad. I mean, the kind that has the huge buttons that clack very loudly and the backspace button was tiny. I make a lot of mistakes when I’m typing and it was really frustrating when I went to erase something and got a string of equal signs instead. The desk I bought at Good Will. I’m not ashamed to shop there. You can find some really good stuff, and when you’re trying to get into something like this, every dollar saved helps.

Online Investment:

I get my learning courses at Udemy. I am enrolled in the following courses and I would recommend taking them in this order:

  1. The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 by Rob Percival* (See my footnote)
  2. Build Responsive Real World Websites with HTML5 and CSS3 by Jonas Schmedtmann
  3. The Complete JavaScript Course: Build a Real-World Project by Jonas Schmedtmann
  4. PHP for Beginners -Become a PHP Master – Project Included by Edwin Diaz

*footnote: I recommend using Rob’s course first because he hooks you up with free web hosting for a year so you can mess with a real server and get your projects live on the internet for free! So take Rob’s course just long enough to get the hosting, then take numbers 2-3 and then decide if you want to take PHP or dive into the complete web development course.

I recommend these courses in this order because I started with program 4 (PHP) first. Then I realized you need to know some basic HTML and CSS before PHP. So I signed up for program 1, and it was a shotgun blast of so much information it had my head spinning. So I took program 2, which made me confident with HTML and CSS. So sign up for program 1 first to get your year of hosting, then take program 2, and so on.

A bit about pricing. You may have already clicked on these links and seen the whopping $200 price tag on most of them. You can get coupons! I haven’t paid more than $19 for any of these courses. Most of the coupons I got from listening to The John Morris Show podcast (which I highly recommend) and Udemy usually has promotional deals going on so check around. I’ve gotten roughly $1000 worth of Udemy courses for only $60!

One more thing, if you’d like to see the website I’ve created by following along with a tutorial, you can check it out here.


Well, that’s all I have for now. Keep following me to see how my journey proceeds and join me if you want to. What do you think? Do you have comments, suggestions, or questions? Just comment below!