Monday, October 31, 2016

Finding some postitives of being unemployed

Lately I have been focusing on the negatives surrounding being unemployed (so over it!) and today I realised that maybe I should list the positives as something different. I am in no way glorifying being unemployed because at the end of the day I would do ANYTHING to get work but rather putting a different spin on it.

You can binge watch various tv shows - a great way to pass the time is to stream various tv shows and it has meant that I can watch shows I may have missed when they were on tv. I am currently watching The Office (US version) and really enjoying it. In the past I have watched Greek, Degrassi, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Scrubs, Parks and Rec, Saving Hope, The Flash, Supergirl, Suits and the list goes on and on! I tend to watch them while crafting or baking and its a great way to escape.

You can volunteer at various places and challenge yourself - hands down being a Youth Ambassador for ReachOut has been one of the best things I have done. I LOVE doing it and the opportunities it gives me to spread the word about mental illness in young adults. I am also a mentor at the local youth centre which means every other week I go and hang out with kids at the centre and do fun activities with them. I doubt I would've gotten involved in either of the above if I hadn't been unemployed (of course I continued to do ReachOut during the 6 months I had work).

You can catch up with friends - I find being unemployed means I have more time to meet friends for coffee and catch up with them, its a great way to pass the time and help continue to build those relationships.

You realise that God always provides - being unemployed means I have to rely on God more and though it may be challenging at times it's a consistent reminder that God is so much bigger than I am when it comes to looking for work. I have days (weeks even) when there are NO jobs to apply for and I really have to keep reminding myself to trust God and that he has a plan for me. I know God has the right job out there for me its just a matter of time.

You get to bake more for different events - my church is currently running a course every Tuesday night for 6 weeks and I get to bake (in exchange for attending the course) and its giving me the experience of catering on a much larger scale. Last week I baked 4 batches of my cinnamon scrolls which was crazy but fun! I have also done a few private orders for friends which has been a bit of extra cash which has been helpful. I love baking and its great to use my gift to serve people, though I have no desire to turn it into a job.

You have time for crafting and painting - I have just finished making Christmas decorations for my friends and family and have been getting back into painting. Its such a great way to pass the time and I am enjoying experimenting with different styles and methods. I bought some small pots recently (they were cute and cheap) and after staring at them for a few weeks I think I have a few ideas as to what I can do with them, though I have no idea if it will turn out as I have pictured in my head!

You learn to appreciate the little things - whether its a nice sunny day when I can sit and read in the sun or finding a cute dress on sale, I have definitely learnt to enjoy the little things and focus on the present rather than the worries of the future. I find that I take more photos because I want to capture moments and look back on the good days when life is getting overwhelming.

Being unemployed is tough and it can be hard to stay positive when so much of your energy is used looking for work, but for now I will try to enjoy this period of my life because I know God has a plan for me.

Monday, October 24, 2016

There's Life After - How you can support a year 12 student facing exams

The final exams are coming up for year 12 students, now while I never did the exam subjects (well I did English) I do know what it's like to live with a year 12 student who is going through them. My youngest sister Jocelyn is currently getting ready to sit her final exams and I know that she can't wait for them to be over! I am amazed at the amount of preasure that the kids face when it comes to these exams they are made to feel like that the results shape their whole lives, when they don't.
ReachOut is encouraging everyone to share their exam experiences and use the #thereslifeafter tag. I know I celebrated once my final exam was done as high school was finally over and I could close the door on that part of my life.
The chances are you will know someone who is getting ready to go through their exams and you are wondering how you can support them, well here are some tips:
  • Give them space! - don't expect to see them during the day unless its for food or for a quick break.
  • Don't talk about how the study is going. - yes ask them if they are surviving it but don't dwell on it, instead ask about their plans for once exams are done focus on beyond the exams.
  • Share with them the Theres Life After videos. - these are great videos that show various media personalities sharing their experiences about what they did after their exams and how they felt during the exam period. Everyone's exam experience is different but it does help to know that other people have gone through it.
  • Do little things to help them. - grab them their favourite snacks, buy them some fun stationary, send them a funny meme etc. its the little things that will help them keep going and make their day.
  • Ask how you can help when it comes to study. - maybe they need space, maybe they need someone to help quiz them on human bio or maybe they need to have a steady supply of snacks coming. Everyone retains information differently so its good ask if there is any way you can help them.
Exams suck but ReachOut is here to help and to show people that there is life after exams (and year 12).

ReachOut is encouraging everyone from the 4th of November to share a pic of themselves (like the one below) sharing what they did (on social media) after exams. It could be what you did the moment you were done with the exams of what you have done since exams have ended. Just remember to include on and use #thereslifeafter tag when you post it.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Five Friday Favourites

This week has been busy but not as busy as some, still 100% quiet on the job front though :(
Its meant to be warming up this weekend finally after what feels like an endless Winter (I know I know come Summer when we're in the middle of the heatwave I will do anything to have it be Winter again!). I also had my first breathalyser experience which was interesting, I mean I know they normally pick on P Platers but up until now I have always been ignored. Of course I had nothing to worry about as the only thing I had been drinking was Sprite Zero, so it was a rather uneventful experience and took all of 1 minute, I can now cross that off the driving bucket list!
Moving onto Five Friday Favourites (which happen fortnightly if you haven't figured that out!):

Maybe It's You by Candace Calvert - I received a copy of this book to review and I loved it. Candace knows how to write books and Maybe It's you did not disapoint. Click the link to read the full review and what it's about.

The Handmade Box - I love subscription boxes but it can be hard to stick to an annual subscription when you're unemployed and I find that while I love receiving a box every month I just don't need more stuff (or an ongoing expense). The Handmade Box while it is a subscription box at the start of each month there are a couple of boxes (each based around a theme) and a mini box and you can decide to purchase a box (or boxes) if you want with no long term committment. I love the boxes and the few I have purchased have been well worth it! I love how all the products in the box are handmade and there is always a great selection of products. The Christmas boxes have just been released and with 9 to choose from there's a great selection, I bought the Secret Santa box for myself and the Stocking Box for Jocelyn for Christmas and can't for them to arrive.

Staedtler Noris Club Triangular Colour Fibre Tip Pens 10 Pack - These were a total impulse buy one day when I was at Office Works but I am glad I bought them, I use them for colouring in and find the tips are the perfect size for the small areas that some pictures have. The colours are vibrant and they feel great to use, if you are after a decent texta to use for colouring in buy these.

Cinnamon Scrolls - This is one of my most requested things to bake and no one ever believes me when I tell them how easy they are to bake! You can easily cut down on the time by making the dough in the food processor (just gradually add in the butter until it resembles wet sand then slowly add in the milk until dough forms). I have made these so many times and its gotten to the point where I am known for them in church. When they are baking the smell of the house is seriously amazing and if I am able to I will often bake them at the place where I am serving them because nothing beats them warm. Give them a go and see how easy they are to bake :)

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water - This has quite a cult following and once you try it its easy to see why. In one step it removes make up (even the toughest eye make up!), cleanses and soothes the skin, it feels so light to use and its non irritating. I love this stuff so much and its one of those all rounder products that once you start using you will wonder how you lived without it. My skin always feels amazing after using it, I just apply some to a make up remover wipe (once I've used it to wipe my face) and it gets everything the wipe didn't get.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Book Review: Maybe It's You by Candace Calvert (advance copy)

If you know me you will know that I love reading and will read for hours. I was recently given the
chance to review Candace Calvert's latest book due to be released early next year.
I first came across Candace's books at the library but was super hesitant to start reading them as I'm not a fan of hospitals/medical procedures and the books are all set around hospitals. I watch two medical TV shows Scrubs and Saving Hope and that's because the general medical stuff happens in the background and the shows are based around the characters.
I finally decided to give her books a chance when I was in a bit of a reading slump and figured the worst that could happen is I stop the book and move onto something else well its safe to say I loved her books. Just like the TV shows the storylines are really based around the characters and the hospital stuff happens in the backgrounds and to sometimes add some drama. So as someone who is not a fan of hospitals and has almost fainted in many science class dissections (fine and watching a C-section for childcare class) these books not only kept me reading but wanting more...

Moving onto Candace's latest book Maybe It's You, the blurb reads (taken from Candace's website):

ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past—new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She’s finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn’t let people get too close. Like the hospital’s too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one “lucky” employee’s face on freeway billboards.
Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell.
Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past.
Can hope spring from crisis?

We had previously been introduced to Sloane in her last book Step By Step, so we know a bit of her background and what made her leave her last hospital. While you can read Candace's books in any order, I would recommend that you read Step By Step before you read Maybe It's You just so you have a bit more understanding about her past. Maybe It's You also includes a cat, Marty which ups the cute factor in this book (can more books includes cats please!!!).

One thing I really loved about Maybe It's You was that none of the main characters were perfect, in so many Christian books the main characters are seemingly perfect and its how they deal with their struggles - which isn't a bad thing just not that relatable in this day and age. Where as these characters are each dealing with their pasts and how that made them see themselves in the present day. Sloane has lived in fear for so many years and now she finds a place where she wants to stay and things are holding her back from opening up to people and putting down roots.
Sloane has never had it easy and we can see how that affects her judgement and how willing she is to trust people.
At the beginning of the book Sloane takes comfort in knowing that she has rescued her cat Marty and believing that she can rescue herself. Throughout the book she begins to slowly realise that she may need people (and God) to help rescue her.
I loved the storyline and how the characters just wove together with it beautifully, the love of God also shone through. I am all about the characters when it comes to books (and movies and TV shows)and they need to have good chemistry the characters were amazing and just connected so well together, I just love how even small characters were connected in with the book perfectly. I read so many books and at least half the books I read are Christian Fiction so I know this genre and these things really made the book stand out for me.
I would probably compare Candace's style to Dee Henderson's (but not as dark) with a dashes of Jenny B Jones, Rachel Hauck and Denise Hunter so if you love those authors then definitely read her books.

Maybe It's You gets released on the 7th of February and its well worth the wait! You can pre-order it on Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, and where all Christian books are sold.

*For those wondering how accurate the medical side of things is while I am unable to personally comment on it, Candace was an ER nurse for many years and has used her own experiences during that time in her books. So for me coming from a non medical I felt that it was accurate from what I have heard and seen, but if you do have a medical background its up to you to decide.

**I was provided with a temporary EPUB copy of Maybe It's You in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are 100% mine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mental Health Week

This week is Mental Health Week and its a week when people are made more aware of mental health and illness. 1 in 4 young adults will go through a mental health issue (or illness) at some stage and so many people are shocked that it's so high, as no one really talks about it. I still get people looking at me shocked that I am so open about my anxiety struggle, when at the end of the day in order for them to get to know and understand me they must know that I struggle with anxiety.
In order not to let my anxiety effect my life I have to be so aware of my mental health, some days I am fine and other days I really have to take it one thing at a time.

I have done many posts over the years to do with mental health so below are some posts that really stand out for me:

How You Can Help Someone Who is Going Through a Mental Illness - If you know someone going through a hard time, I've written a list of dos and don'ts on how you can help them.

My Anxiety. My Mental Health. My Story. - This was such a big thing for me to write about but I have received so much positive feedback surrounding the post. It will give you an overview of just how a mental illness can affect someone and the types of treatment they may seek during their diagnosis.

Mental Illness in TV Shows -  This was meant to be a part of a 3 part series but only 2 parts got written. Once I started writing this post I was amazed with how many TV shows cover mental illness, which go unnoticed.

Mental Illness in Movies - The second part of the above series. It just covers some films that show mental illness, though I was annoyed when I could only think of two recent films. Hopefully there will be more films in the future where one of the characters suffers a mental illness.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health - A few easy ways that you can take care of your mental health. I notice a huge difference

Mental Vs Physical -The differences in how mental illnesses get treated compared to physical illnesses, and should we really be ashamed to speak up when we are struggling due to a mental illness.

Limiting My Anxiety - How I limit my anxiety in my day to day life, this covers things such as diet, sleep and down time. Its a good read if you or someone else has anxiety and is looking at ways to limit it as much as possible.

This week is all about raising awarness of mental health, so be sure to talk about it and bring it up in conversation. The more people talk about mental health and illness the less stigma there will be surrounding it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Five Friday Favourites

I can't believe another week is over! I have started to see Christmas stuff in store and its hard to believe that soon the year will almost be over. I have been enjoying having a quiet week and just relaxing as next week is looking to be really busy. Saturday I have the mentor workshop, then next Wednesday I have a stall at a mental health expo, Thursday I am picking up Jocelyn from an exam (followed by lunch) in the morning/afternoon followed by the mentor program launch at night (in the middle of that I have Megan's friend to walk), and Friday I am preparing for Jocelyn's birthday high tea on Saturday. The job front is really quiet and I haven't heard anything back from the jobs I have applied for so if you could please pray that I hear some good news that would be great, I just feel so stuck in that area!
Moving on to Friday Favourites:

Designated Survivor - I am not normally in to political shows but this one has me wanting more! The concept is super interesting and the characters are great. If you like Suits the chances are you will like this, but the storyline (so far) isn't as intense. Its actually filmed on the same set lot as Suits and has just been given a full season order. Netflix is actually releasing weekly episodes, so we get it just after the US which is a bonus :)

Stitchers Season 3 - in the best tv show news this week, Stitchers has finally been renewed! I am super stoked for a 3rd season of this great show and if you haven't watched it now's the perfect time to check it out.

Mental Health Week - next week is mental health week, which is a great week to talk about mental health and mental illness. There are heaps of events running around and the aim is to raise awareness and get people talking about their mental health. With suicide one of the leading causes of death in young adults we really need to be made aware of mental health and what we can do to prevent more deaths.

Havaianas Freedom sandals - I am slowly beginning to think about Summer despite it feeling like it will stay in this winter like state forever and I have just ordered these sandals to put me in a Summer mood. Unlike the other sandals Havaianas offer these have an adjustable strap so there isn't any chance of them slipping off your feet. I pretty much live in sandals in summer and find a rubber base is best for my feet and these last really well (I got the Flash style last year and wore them non stop and they still look new!).

There's Life After - continuing with the mental health theme, every year ReachOut launches a 'There's Life After Year 12' campaign (is that what's it called?) to let Year 12's that there is a life after the major exams they take. I never took these exams but I currently live in a house where my younger sister is preparing to take them and I really appreciate what this campaign is saying. It seems like year 12s face so much pressure with these exams and its ok to be stressed and unsure what the future holds. Its well worth checking out if you or someone you know is facing the ATAR exams.