National UnFriend Day & a Guide to Evaluating Friendships

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HAPPY NATIONAL UNFRIEND DAY! I feel like I could have made this “holiday” up myself. The last few years especially, I’ve been chopping people out of my life, deleting friends on Facebook, deleting old phone numbers, removing myself from situations I don’t want to be in, and so on and so forth.

I have learned a lot these last few years on this unfriending journey. I’ve done a lot of things right, I’ve done even more things wrong, so why not compile my mistakes and things I’ve learned into a post for anyone who might be ready to go on a similar journey.

ALSO, KEEP IN MIND that everyone has the potential of being a toxic asshole. All of the people I stopped talking to are probably just as much benefited from the removal of me as I am the removal of them. This post is not “I am superior and got rid of toxic people so now I’m amazing“. A lot of personal development and self-reflection has happened, too.

If we take it back to the beginning of this journey, I was in a very unhealthy phase of my life. My mental health was in shambles, my physical health was of no concern of mine, my emotional health was lacking, I was just an overall shell of a hot mess human. The first attempts at “unfriending” people in my life, while absolutely necessary, were handled poorly. Live and learn.

I might make this into a series because I feel like I have a lot to say on the subject of cutting people out of your life, but for today we’re going to stick with how to evaluate your relationships.

I am not an expert on any subject and would hate to even claim to be. Life would be so boring if we knew everything on a subject and there was nothing left to learn. That being said, take my advice as just that, advice, and go forward with your own big, beautiful brain to make this work in your own world. My situation and yours will never be the exact same, so my words will never be exactly fitting for everyone in the world.

I started cutting people out before I was a therapy-goer, but I would recommend finding a therapist, if you’re able to, when embarking on this journey. Having an unbiased person to discuss issues with is a truly invaluable thing, in my opinion. No one in your life is unbiased. Your mom is going to choose your side, so is your best friend, your coworker, or anyone listening to you. Maybe someone doesn’t even care to be listening to your drama and they’re just saying what they think you want to hear. That’s just another reason a therapist is a great thing to look into, again, if you’re able. One day I hope therapy is more available to everyone. Mental health is so important.

1. How do you feel before, during, and after spending time with them?

Shouldn’t this be a no-brainer? You’d think if someone made you feel uncomfortable, you would just instinctively not spend time with them. For me, this was not the case.

If you have a friend who you dread spending time with, who you find yourself making excuses to cancel on or just hoping they don’t follow through with plans, RED FLAG.

If you have a friend, that during the time you’re together, you find yourself feeling anxious, drained, uncomfortable, or ANY negative feeling on a regular basis, RED FLAG.

When you leave the company of a friend, do you feel exhausted, anxious, stressed? RED FLAG.

2. What do you talk about with them?

Most of my friendships were heavy on trash talk, gossip, negativity, and just straight-up mean and rudeness.

I’m telling you right now that if you’re a trash talker, the first thing you can do to help yourself is to stop it. Stop talking about other people, stop gossiping, stop it. It is so hard to stop this, actually. Especially if your social interaction with friends is mostly based on discussing other people’s choices.

Today, the only relationships I entertain are relationships where gossiping is kept to a bare minimum, and everyone in my life knows that. Again, this is a hard toxic trait to quit, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes a little to stick, but once you move past the constant human bashing, wow…it’s literally so freeing for your brain.

My general rule is that if it doesn’t affect me directly, there is almost never a point for me to be talking about it. If I find myself discussing something that has zero influence on myself or someone close to me, then that gets filed under gossip.

I was a BIG shit talker, folks, so I’m not condemning anyone, all I’m saying is to be aware of your conversations, and maybe stop talking about other people.

If you find that a friend cannot respect a gossiping boundary even after you’ve discussed it with them, they might be a person to limit interacting with.

3. How self-aware are they?

SELF-AWARENESS IS EVERYTHING.

Do they take responsibility for their actions? Are they aware of the role they play in other people’s lives? Are they able and open to having a discussion about things that might make them uncomfortable?

These things are all so important. For the people in your life, but also for yourself.

Are you able to discuss how their actions or words may have hurt you? And then have a constructive conversation about it without it turning into an argument?

If you can have an open, unaggressive conversation about these things with someone, that is so healthy. If you find yourself dealing with the opposite, it might be a good idea to reevaluate the relationship with this person.

4. Do they respect your boundaries?

Boundaries for everyone! Respect yours, respect your friends, and life will be peachy. I am forever grateful for learning about setting boundaries and honoring myself in this way.

If you have someone in your life who gets upset when you don’t do what they expect you to, talk about this with them. Talking is great (says the self-proclaimed Queen of Ghosting) but if you find yourself having one-sided, or going nowhere conversations, consider distancing yourself from this person.

Since putting a focus on my own personal boundaries, I’ve noticed my relationships are much stronger and feel much more rewarding than when I allowed myself to put the needs and wants of others before my own.

Saying yes to something to keep someone else happy, when you really want to say NO, is disrespecting yourself.

Friendships are amazing. I would truly be lost without my friends and would never sit here and claim to be a one-woman show. They are there to pick me up when I’m down, cry with me when I’m sad, they know the interworkings of my brain more than I probably do myself. I am not saying have no friends. I am not saying cut someone out at the first slightest disagreement. But you need to make sure you’re happy, feel safe and heard, and that communication is well received, or, in my opinion, the relationship is lacking.

Don’t feel shame for evaluating and removing people according to what you want and how you feel.

If there is something to learn from me, though, is that it is good to think things through a little bit before you act. My own personal development journey has shown me where I’ve made poor decisions, BUT, I do not regret a single thing that got me to where I am today. Everyone I cut out the last half a decade, I’d do it again. Just maybe not so messily, lol.

And it’s been decided, I’m making this into a series. Maybe an email series once I get that up and running again.

Happy UnFriend Day! I hope every relationship in your life is healthy, communication is thriving, and you feel secure with all of the people in your circle! If not, it’s time to say BYEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Stephanie’s soap box on Social Media

Before I end this post on chopping out real-life people from your….real life, I want to take a moment to discuss SOCIAL MEDIA.

I love social media. Truly, fiercely and fully. But, it’s so damaging to mental health it’s insanity. I am currently on a social media hiatus and deleted my Instagram and Facebook apps off of my phone and it is PURE BLISS to not know what anyone else in the world is doing, besides the people who feel the need to make an effort to be in my life.

If you find yourself consuming a lot of social media feeds, it might be a good idea to take a little break. We were not meant to be connected to everyone 24/7. You can wake up at 1am and find a hundred new posts to read from the last time you opened an app, which sometimes is great and I love seeing what all my friends are doing, but taking social media breaks and taking a couple days, weeks or a month to just be social media-less is so refreshing.

Take photos because they make you happy, not for the sole purpose of posting on Instagram.

Spend that hour you’d be scrolling on your break to have a conversation with a human in real life. It’s wildly satisfying.

I personally notice a significant decrease in my anxiety when I set hard limits or totally stay off social media.

If you have healthy relationships in real life, maybe take some time on this National UnFriend Day to take a break from social media. I bet you won’t regret it.

I shall be back and heavily posting on my stories again in no time though. This is not a forever thing. Just a little brain break. Refreshing and necessary for happy and healthy brain function.

Do you have any relationships you feel you might need to evaluate? Are you going to take a social media break? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And stay tuned on the series that is going to manifest out of this topic…..

Gift Guide for the Anxious Friend

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“It’s time to trade in my regular anxiety, for my festive anxiety” Word.

‘Tis the season of festive events causing festive anxiety. Fa la la la laaaaaaa!

I truly love the holidays. My veins are actually colored Christmas lights and I haven’t met a Christmas song I don’t love, BUT, I do have anxiety and I do hate certain parts of the holiday season. Mainly large functions with lots of people.

I actually didn’t know I had anxiety until a couple years ago, so for my whole life, I just was out here assuming I was a crotchety bitch who hated people. Not the case. I love people, I hate overwhelming situations.

Another thing I love is making gift guides. One of my love languages is actually gifts, so it is true joy sparking for me to make these. If you don’t know your love languages, I highly suggest taking the free quiz. It’s a very beneficial tool for self-love and personal development.

When choosing these things, I was kind of thinking of things that would be beneficial when out and about, because that is personally when my anxiety is the worst. I could hole up in my own house forever, never leave, and truly be fine. But there are a couple things, like a weighted blanket, that obviously is for decompressing at home.

Essential Oils

Get your In Your Feelings Bundle HERE

Not all essential oils are created equally. If you choose to use another brand of oils, that is so fine and to each their own, but I only ever recommend and use Young Living.

I discovered essential oils in the early days of my postpartum journey, and they became a huge part of my recovery and, still to this day, are a major part of my daily routine. You can google aromatherapy and do your own research, because it tends to be a touchy subject for some people, but the bundle in the link above contains a couple of my favorite products.

Valor roll-on – liquid courage. I love to keep valor with me at all times and the roll-on is perfect for keeping in your purse, bookbag, or diaperbag.

Stress away – smells like vacation in a bottle and is amazing on your wrists. Always dilute oils when starting out.

Peace and Calming – this oil is one I’m not sure how anyone lives without. It smells so amazing and is the perfect oil to diffuse, apply to your wrists or add to Epsom salt for the bath. Again, make sure to dilute if needed.

Lavender lip balm – I chew on my lips when anxious, so I try to keep a lip balm on when out in public, especially. It (sometimes) helps to curb the habit. This balm also includes lavender which is amazing in its own sense.

Lavender bath bombs – water is so relaxing and therapeutic, in my opinion. I love taking baths and using oils or bath bombs, and these are some of my favorites to use when I feel like grabbing a book and taking a bath.

Thieves Mints – Mints or gum are something I like to keep with me when going out. It also is something that helps to keep me from chewing on my lips when anxious.

Affirmation Cards

POSITIVE SELF-TALK IS THE MOVE! Let’s all be our own hype-men forever!

I have personally struggled with negative self-talk, bullying, and poor self-image for most of my life. When I stumbled upon affirmation cards, I was immediately drawn to the idea.

Find my Affirmations Pinterest board HERE

There are so many great affirmations available on Pinterest. Write some on your bathroom mirror, print some out, and hang them throughout your home, make one your phone screensaver. Whatever way you can get these in your line of vision and into your brain, DO IT!

There are also a ton of options to buy packs of affirmation cards online, either on Etsy or Amazon. Below is my amazon pick, specifically marked for us anxious friends.

Fidget toys

Toys? For adults? YES! Toys for adults!

Okay, so if you read my post on signs of anxiety (you can find it HERE) you may remember that something I struggled with is repetitive movement. The idea of fidget toys or items is to channel that nervous energy into something other than, say, tapping your leg or chewing your lips. Two of my personal habits.

This is a textured strip to place on your phone case, which I think is amazing. I’m going to be ordering one of these when I get a new phone case.

I am a grown-ass woman who loves these pop-it things. You can strap one of these on your keys, your purse, toss one in your car, literally anywhere. And it’s a nice, mindless thing to use when you need a little stimulation.

Water bottle

This is my personal wish-list water bottle. It’s huge, which is what I want, and I also want to get the straw lid for it. It is 64oz, stainless steel and I have beautiful visions of covering it with the most amazing stickers that I can find on Etsy. Have you ever browsed stickers on Etsy? It’s amazing.

Crystals

I’m no expert, but I’m not going to link crystals from amazon for you. Google a local shop or check Etsy for some great crystals.

I got some at a shop in Salem a couple years ago, and then recently two local-to-me shops. I seem to be drawn to amethyst and rose quartz, which supposedly is on point for an anxious person, but, again, I’m no expert. Definitely try to find a local shop with a knowledgeable staff.

I love my crystals, though, and would personally be thrilled if someone gifted me a ginormous chunk of amethyst.

Weighted blanket

When I am anxious, the idea of being touched by another human is enough to send me over the edge of almost anxiety attack to anxiety attack.

The idea of hiding under blankets, though, that is like an actual dream coming true during my anxious times.

Weight blankets are amazing creations. I don’t know about you, but when I’m anxious, I feel flighty, jittery, just on edge. The gentle weight provided by a weighted blanket can be very soothing and relaxing, especially when you’re feeling a little stressed.

So there it is. A gift guide for your anxious friend, or some ideas if the anxious person you’re shopping for is yourself.

Do you have any other ideas for gifts for those of us with anxiety? Let me know in the comments section!

How I track my reading: App & Journal recs

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If you read a lot of books, first of all, heyyyyyy, you’re my kinda person. Tell me what you’re currently reading and if I should add it to my TBR. Second of all, and maybe it’s just me, but I like to keep track of what I read. In this post, I’m going to talk about how I keep track of the books I read. I actually use 3 apps and a physical journal. I’m also very open and considering making a digital book tracking journal for my GoodNotes app, which I love for note-taking, blog planning, monthly calendars, etc. So, we’ll see.

Kindle App

I read a lot of books on my kindle and kindle app, which get integrated right into my GoodReads app. I also read a lot of children’s books to my son on there, which I might attempt to not do in 2022 so I can solely track my own reads.

The Kindle app tracks books in its own way. It also shows you how many weeks and days you’ve read, and if you read multiple days in a row, it shows you your streak. Pictured below

I love the Kindle app so much. It is the main reason I’m able to read so much these days. It is so convenient to be able to click it open and read a chapter whenever I find myself with a free moment. I love to do this instead of scrolling social media. I also am very motivated by the daily streak, if we’re being honest. Which we are, always and forever.

GoodReads

As far as GoodReads go, it doesn’t appeal to me besides the fact that it automatically gets my kindle book stats. I like that for whatever reason, but I rarely open the app itself and browse it. I do like that it has reading challenges (the kindle app does also) and that it has a section to slot books that I’d like to read. I really do like that part a lot, actually, though I rarely look at it.

Here’s a snapshot of what the app looks like.

It has a section that collects your kindle highlights and notes, as well. Again, a nice feature.

You can add friends from Facebook, see their challenges, there’s a place to join groups which I haven’t ventured yet.

I always like a good book rec, so I do like that it offers those. Zodiac Academy is EVERYTHING. A must-read.

Overall, I’d say the app is basic but I still keep it because I like book tracking.

StoryGraph

This is a brand-new-to-me app. I am excited to use it with the promise of beautiful graphs depicting my glorious reading habits and trends. I transferred my GoodReads data to StoryGraph, it took overnight for it to upload, and I looked at the app this morning and I AM IN LOVE WITH IT.

The graphs are a beautiful genius work of art that I love to look at and see all my stats so beautifully displayed. It is a dream. Gorgeous, genius, amazing. I’m so excited to skip reading my son’s kindle books next year so I can see all my own stats on these graphs.

I can barely put into words how much I love these graphs and this app. Now, like I said, it’s still a very new-to-me app, but from looks alone, I’M A FAN!

So far, the ease of use is wonderful. I can add books, remove books, make them as DNF, etc. I really love this app so far, but I’ll be sure to make any update if that changes.

They also provided a little survey where you answer some questions and put in keywords so they can suggest books! GIMME ALL THE ENEMIES TO LOVERS TROPE.

Journal Tracker

Is this considered “old school”? A journal to track your favorite or current reads using regular ol’ pen and paper.

I actually stumbled upon the idea of low-content books and have published a handful of book journals. I love designing things on the Canva app, so I decided to make some books, and it is actually so fun. I love it and can’t wait to sit down and create some more low-content books. Read the blog post which inspired the new hobby HERE.

The following books are ones I’ve created! Four of my favorites anyway…..

I’m a little biased since I made it, but I think it’s so cute! My favorite one is definitely the little black book of fictional boyfriends, but I don’t strictly read romance, so I didn’t get that one for myself.

Here’s what the inside looks like.

The following is NOT my creation, just in case you wanted to see a different option.

There are also some options on Etsy, including physical books, printable pages, and digital journals, as well.

Do you log your reading? Do you prefer digital or physical tracking? Let me know in the comments!

I am most excited about the StoryGraph app. It is just so visually appealing to me, I cannot wait to track all of 2022’s reading in there.

Happy reading, friends! And happy book tracking!

What I’m Reading in November

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All of these books are available on KindleUnlimited except The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Also, save the Instagram graphic below to post your own TBR’s in your stories and TAG ME! You’ll see below that I am attempting a no-new book rule this month, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to pass up at least checking out everyone’s recommendations.

Save image to post to your Instagram stories!

To add book covers to this graphic, go to amazon, screenshot photo album cover, crop accordingly, add to the Instagram story. Tag the author so your friends can find new books, too!

TBR: TO BE READ

Do you know what I love about the bookstagram community so far? Minimal judgment. From what I’ve encountered so far, the reader’s community is an open-minded community of book lovin’ fools just looking for their next book rec. Especially the fantasy romance readers hahahaha LOVE THEM ALL.

97% of what is on my TBR for November is from a bookstagram reel that lead me to check if it was on KindleUnlimited. If it was, it got added to my queue and now there it sits waiting for me to read it.

NOVEMBER IS A NO-NEW BOOK MONTH. I have to read what I’ve got stacked in my kindle. I don’t even remember where I found the recs or what the plots are that made me interested, but I know I put them there for a reason, and I’ve got to read them before bumping them.

Here is a graphic for your Instagram feed and one for your stories if you’re going to attempt a no-new book month, too!

Instagram story graphic
Instagram feed graphic

I feel like over half of my Kindle queue is spicy, but they have mild covers, so I guess we’ll find out when we dig in. Do you like spicy romance novels? I feel like it’s either love or hate. I’ve yet to meet someone who’s indifferent.

I also need to finish the Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac series, which I talked about in my October Recap post yesterday. Read that post HERE. And November marks one month closer to the release of the 7th Zodiac Academy book. I AM LIVING AND BREATHING for more of that series. I hope I never make the mistake of starting an unfinished series again, because I wasn’t prepared to be totally obsessed with this, and now there’s so much waiting involved. It’s painful but definitely worth it. READ ZODIAC ACADEMY.

What are you reading in November? Do you have a ridiculous stack of books (physical or digital) that you need to read, too? If so, let’s suffer through a no-new books month together!

Find me on Instagram @stephanieashrom and let’s be friends!

What I read in October

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I only read 4 books this month. This number feels wrong to me, but I can’t find any other books in my apps or my shelf that were devoured in October. I feel like I blinked and October is gone.

I am reading a series and also read two standalone novels, so let’s talk about them, shall we?

Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac Series

The whole series is available on KindleUnlimited Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

MMMMMMMK, so Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti are literary genius in my very honest opinion. If you read their work, let’s be friends. Are you in their Facebook group? Because you should be. It’s my favorite page on FB

Zodiac Academy is my favorite thing that I can think of that I’ve read to date. Those characters live rent-free in my head 24/7. OBSESSED. But we’re not here to talk about ZA…..

Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac is another series by these brilliant sister authors and the story is set 5 years before the ZA series, which was a motive of my read. It also contains character crossovers which I LIVE FOR and I’m getting to meet characters I’ve heard about in ZA. Love, love, love, LOVE. My heart stops every time my ZA BBF is mentioned in RB hahaha

All that being said, I am enjoying this series, but I am not as hooked as I am with ZA. RB is a reverse harem series, which I’m not a huge fan of. I mean a certain scene in book 3 might have just changed my mind there, but…..still. Also, because I read ZA first, I mildly know some things that will end up happening for some of these characters.

The characters, though, UGH! Swoon. The thing about these authors is they have a way of writing their characters that just makes you want to crawl into the pages and hug them. Or punch them. And the books are also written in multiple point-of-view (POV) and I adore that about these series. It adds a depth of understanding when there is so much going on, with so many characters, and, especially in the fantasy genre, I like all the info I can get.

Overall, I love the characters, love the world they’re in, love the magic, but not really into RH.

I’ve read Dark Fae and Savage Fae so far. Am currently 80% through Vicious Fae. Vicious Fae is my favorite of the series so far.

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

A great, standalone novel with a gaslighting theme. I really enjoyed this book and I love how Colleen Hoover (I’ve noticed fans call her COHO and I love that) writes. I’ve read Verity by her and that is a 10/10 recommended book from me.

This book, while a great read with a great topic, I feel like it might have the ability to offend someone who is a victim of severe gaslighting and/or narcissistic abuse. BUT it does portray a great message and I think it is definitely a must-read book. The characters are loveable and the story itself has a great depth that I loved watching unfold.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Okay, so no one will love every book they read. My taste will never fully match someone else’s. This book is heavily talked about online, so I know there are plenty of people out there who loved it. I was not one of those people.

It was very hard for me to get into, but sometimes I contribute that to third-person writing. Occasionally a book written that way is a struggle for me.

That being said, I think the story is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Very creepy, very dark, and definitely had a plot twist I did not see coming.

The main character is a spunky, fiery debutant, who I feel is definitely an enneagram 7 if you follow that at all, and I enjoyed reading from her POV.

Overall, it was a fine book, just not my preference. It’s like pineapple on pizza, I guess. Not for everyone.

October was a mild reading month for me. Maybe I’m in a slump. Actually, I probably am in a slump. All I want to do is complete my reread of Zodiac Academy, but I stopped at book 5 in order to read the Ruthless Boys, and then I’ll go back to ZA in anticipation of the book 7 release in December. I AM SO EXCITED AND SCARED AND EVERY OTHER POSSIBLE EMOTION IMAGINABLE.

What did you read in October? Let me know in the comments!

Stay tuned for my November TBR list and some Instagram graphics in tomorrow’s blog post! Also, if you’re not already, I’d love to be friends on Instagram! Follow me @stephanieashrom as I morph my page into a bookstagram page.

How I Find Time to Read as a Toddler Mom

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Becoming a mom is, single-handedly, the best thing that has ever happened to me. Without my son, I wouldn’t be here blogging, I wouldn’t have ever tried essential oils, I wouldn’t have quit drinking, I wouldn’t have started therapy (at least probably not anytime soon), and so many other things that all started with my son being born and ripping my crotch to shreds. He changed my life, as is the norm with anyone becoming a parent.

All of that is great. He’s amazing, the best, life-changing in the most glorious way. BUT, I also need to make time for myself, and something I love to do is read. So, if you’re looking for ways to tuck into a good book while navigating this whole parenting thing, I have some ideas that might be able to help you out.

I need to also be very clear that I am a fan of screen time, allow my child to watch television, sometimes have a tablet, and I feel no shame. I also am a major believer in doing things that make me happy and self-love, self-care, self-all-the-things, are very important to me. So, if you struggle with mom guilt when doing something for yourself, I hope that, by the end of this post, you maybe feel a little better about taking time for your own joy.

Parenting is hard. We see that all over social media, moms and dads alike are posting the raw and real details of how parenting is a challenge. I love this movement and I hope it continues, but another thing I see a lot of on social media is mom (or dad) guilt. This guilty feeling is unavoidable, for me at least, but also in order to be the best parent I can be, I need time for things that fill my cup.

In my personal development and mental health journey, reading has become my favorite hobby. You can find my list of personal development reads HERE. I love getting swept away in the pages of a fiction novel or learning something new in a self-help book.

If you’re wanting to take some time to read, here are my suggestions on how to find the time to do so.

1. Download the Kindle App on your phone

This app and reading on my phone are the main contributors to me finding so much time to read. Doctor office waiting rooms, I’m reading. Standing by the stove while I’m making dinner, probably reading. When I’m laying with my son at naptime, you guessed it, I’m reading. I do read him a few books on the app first and then switch to my own book for a chapter or two. KindleUnlimited is amazing, has a ton of books for adults and kids alike, and is cheaper than the cost of most single books. Get a free one-month trial by clicking the link below.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

The app is free, and if you don’t want to try KindleUnlimited, you can buy kindle books or there are even some books included with Prime memberships.

If the idea of reading on your phone doesn’t appeal to you, I also love my actual kindle something fierce. It is so amazing and also eliminates the distractions that come on your phone, like social media, which we’re about to talk about next.

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

2. Set Screen Time limits for Social Media

OR DELETE THE APPS OFF YOUR PHONE.

Deleting social media apps off of your phone, or if you have an iPhone, removing them from your home screen, is a gamechanger. Think about all the little moments in your day where you find yourself thumbing through random posts from others when you could be reading instead. You pick up your phone to respond to a text and the next thing you know, you’re 15 minutes into a Facebook scroll.

Removing Facebook off of my phone and only having it on my iPad has been really great for reducing my time spent scrolling. I do have Instagram on my phone, but I keep it off of my home screen so it’s not a constant temptation anytime I open my phone.

If you trade your time spent consuming social media content for time spent reading, you might be surprised with how much time you do have to read. Example: In the past, I’d read Facebook or scroll Instagram in the morning while drinking my coffee, now I read a chapter or two of a book on my Kindle app. I don’t miss the time spent on social media, and an added bonus is my anxiety is less triggered when I spend less time on it as well.

This also applies to after-bedtime scrolling. I see so many humorous posts about moms being tired the next day from spending hours scrolling TikTok or Instagram reels, and while I LOVE that as well, I definitely am tired the next day from being up late reading.

It’s all about just swapping your social media time for reading time. But I am also in no way, shape, or form saying to never go on social media. I love “Bookstagram” so much it hurts. There are so many good book recommendations online. It’s just a time management thing.

3. Listen to audiobooks

This is not something I personally do. I listen to music or true crime podcasts. I have not branched out into the world of audiobooks because if I’m being totally honest, I have the attention span of a baby squirrel and miss chunks of my podcasts at times from my daydreaming. I just need to state that right out of the gate, this is not a personal habit of mine.

That being said, if you are trying to up your book count, audiobooks would be an awesome way to get more literature in.

I know there are readers out there who say audiobooks aren’t the same as reading a book, but I don’t necessarily agree with that. For busy parents or busy humans in general, an audiobook would be great to listen to while cleaning your house, driving your daily commute, a great alternative to music on a road trip, or even to listen to while working out or getting your cardio in. I actually love that idea. I might try an audiobook on the treadmill next time.

I’m not going to post a link for audible since I don’t personally use it. I don’t know if I’d like it, so I don’t want to recommend it with a commissioned link. If you use and love it, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Or if you listen to your audiobooks elsewhere, let me know that as well! Maybe other readers of this post can benefit from your audiobook knowledge.

If you are ready to get some reading done, here is a list of my favorite books I’ve read so far in 2021! The Books I Loved in 2021 (So Far)

One last tip, which I didn’t want to give its own number, is to cut back on your television time. I don’t want anyone to come for me over this, which is why I’m making it a bullet point lol

As for me, I love TV, as already mentioned. I love watching Friends and Gilmore Girls over and over and over again. They are my comfort shows. I also binged The Handmaids Tale and many other popular shows, and really, truly enjoy TV, so please don’t think I’m judging anyone for choosing that as their free time activity.

That being said, watching TV really allows my brain to wonder. I can be scrolling social media, working on something on my computer, browsing Pinterest, texting my friends, literally so much can be happening while I’m “watching” a TV show. And, again, like I’ve already mentioned, my attention span is garbage.

Something I really love about reading a book is that it is one of the only times my brain is truly focused on one thing and one thing alone. There is just nothing else that brings me a level of peace and contentment as being able to get 100% lost in a book. I especially love the kind that gripes me up so hard, when I look up from the pages, I have to blink myself back into the real world. sighhhhh. My fav.

Okay, so there you have it. My little brain nuggets of how to get more page time wisdom. ALSO….my son is almost 4. I’m running out of time to call him a toddler and I’m not okay. MY BABY IS ABOUT TO BE 4. HOW?! Ugh.

What are your favorite ways to steal away and read? Even if you’re not a toddler mama, gimme your reading tips, because everyone is busy. Kids or not. Finding time to read for most adults is a very conscious choice. Adulting, amiright?

12 Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

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I know it’s October, but the Pistol Annie’s dropped a holiday album and now I’m ready to write gift guides. So cozy up, grab some coffee, turn on Hell of a Holiday on Spotify, and let’s kick off the Holiday season with a book lover’s gift guide!

Reading has been a favorite hobby of mine for as long as I can remember, besides taking a few years off to be reckless in my early 20’s. I remember reading the Olsen twin mystery series until all hours of the night, which maybe that’s where my love for suspense and mystery started LOL

Another thing I’ve always loved is making lists. I used to email my Dad so many lists he was probably tempted to block me. Add Christmas to the mix, and this post is bound to be one of my favorite I’ve written yet! Plus, it’s never too early to start Christmas shopping!

I am full-blown back into my book obsession, mostly thanks to getting my mental health in order, finding healthy coping mechanisms, and a perfectly timed KindleUnlimited free trial (get your own free trial….it’s really amazing Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans )

Read my post on A Year of Self Care Reading (Personal development book recs) HERE

1. Novel Teas

The cutest tea bag, perfect for any book lover. I am putting these on my own Christmas list this year! I want to start drinking more tea over my all-day coffee love affair, but UGHHHH do I love coffee. Like, straight up Lorelai Gilmore style love coffee.

This bag contains 25 teabags that have literary quotes on the tags, and the tea is an English Breakfast tea. I’m envisioning a rainy afternoon, a cozy blanket (coming shortly on this list, of course) a good book, and a cup of tea. The perfect day.

2. Kindle Paperwhite

I was firmly team No E-Reader EVER for a long time. You can read a little bit about how I ended up with a kindle HERE, but basically, I didn’t want to store books anymore because I hadn’t really been reading much. We can all laugh over that another day because now I have a full kindle and also stacks of books to read.

If the book lover you’re shopping for hasn’t branched out into the glorious world of e-readers yet, a kindle is an amazing gift. Not only is it beautiful to read from, but the size of it is also so convenient, there can literally be thousands of books at your fingertips anywhere you can get wifi, and it is just so amazing. I could gush over my kindle for paragraphs. Plus, it comes with a free trial of KindleUnlimited which changed my life for the better, truly and thoroughly hahaha and, actually, KindleUnlimited is how I discovered my FAVORITE book series that currently consumes my brain 24/7, so I will be forever grateful for such a fantastic service.

3. Pop socket

For the kindle…..because pop sockets are life-changing. As life-changing as kindles and KindleUnlimited subscriptions. That being said, I don’t really have much more to say on them than that. They’re pretty self-explanatory, but they seriously make holding phones and kindles more comfortable, especially when laying in bed.

4. Book Tracker

I MADE THESE, OKAY. I love them and I love creating the covers. There are so many options on Amazon and Etsy, though, so there is literally an option for anyone’s personal taste.

Inside is a spot to write the title, author, genre, add a rating, favorite character, and more. It has 100 pages and is a 6×9 paperback journal. It’s wonderful and I love it, but maybe I’m biased.

5. Bookish Candle

Option 1 / Option 2 / Option 3 / Option 4

I’m not a candle girl, personally. I prefer a diffuser and oils, which you can grab HERE, but with so many book-related candles, I couldn’t skip them on this list. I do really want that beeswax candle, though…..

Etsy has so many amazing bookish candle options, with amazing scent combos, and you’re also supporting a small shop for the holidays! I love Etsy so much.

6. Magnetic Poetry Kit – Book Lover

This has gag gift vibes but is actually pretty amazing. It has over 200-word magnets to create your own fridge novels. So fun. The shop also has a bunch of other options if you’re shopping for a non-book lover who might like some fridge word fun.

7. Book-Themed Mug

Option 1 / Option 2

I LOVE MUGS. I love mugs so much, I can’t even explain how much joy a fresh mug sparks. When I lived with my Dad, every time I bought a new cup or mug, I had to remove TWO from the cabinet. He hated my cup/mug obsession. Now that I own my own home, I kind of understand why. I don’t buy mugs anymore, which pains me, but I just don’t have the room for a new one every time I leave the house.

These book mugs, though, I want every one of them. I have a beautiful book-themed mug from when I visited Nora Roberts bed and breakfast, Inn Boonsboro. I’m going to go dig it out of the box in the garage after I finish this blog post and drink my coffee out of it tomorrow morning. I got two mugs on that trip. It was amazing.

This would also be great paired with option 1 or a festive bag of coffee.

8. Bookmark

This little T-Rex bookmark is hysterical! I love him, I need him, he’s the perfect Christmas gift for the book lover in your life.

I don’t know about you, or the book reader you’re shopping for, but I am always scrounging for a bookmark. I’ve used (clean) napkins, candy wrappers, a piece of junk mail, you get the picture.

If this perfect little dino isn’t your jam, Amazon and Etsy are full of great options! Etsy has a bookmark that doubles as a book tracker AND THEN you plant it. How amazing is that? Find it HERE.

9. A Sit-Up Pillow

This might just be me who wants one of these, I can’t be sure. I think this would be amazing for reading in bed (or writing blog posts…) and this specific one is so beautiful in its delightful gray color and it looks so plush and comfy, I just love it.

10. A Comfy

We’re at the part where I’m talking about cozy, cuddly things to make the reading experience even more delicious. Let’s set the scene again.

A crisp Sunday morning, a hot cup of coffee with your favorite creamer, snuggled back into bed with your sit-up bed pillow, wrapped in your comfy (wearable, hooded blanket) BLISSFUL, friends. BLISSFUL. This is a comfort-loving, book reader’s dream gift. (or maybe just mine)

11. A blanket

If you don’t think a hooded, wearable blanket is what your friend wants, a regular blanket will do just fine. Or maybe a comfy AND a cozy blanket is what they’re after! Is there such thing as too many blankets? I’d say no. A comfy blanket

12. Invisible Floating Bookshelves

At this point, I realize I just created my own Christmas list for the internet, but here we are.

The thing about books, unless you’re strictly a kindle reader, is that you have to put them somewhere. These shelves are AMAZING. They can easily be put into a bedroom, added to living room decor, or would be a great addition to a home office or game room. I personally want them for my bedroom, which is where I keep most of my books.

What a list! I loved writing this gift guide so much, mainly because I want every item on it. If you have any suggestions to add to this book lovers gift guide, let me know in the comments! I’d love to add more items to my own Christmas list (LOL)

Spooky (Adult) books to read this week

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HAPPY MONDAY BEFORE HALLOWEEEEEEEN!

Spooky movies, spooky costumes, and spooky books. I’m here for it! I have rounded up a couple of spooky book recommendations for you to dive into this week.

I will personally be reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and/or The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. Both of these books have been showing up on my social media feeds a lot, so I have high hopes!

A Discovery of Witches / The Last House on Needless Street / The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires / Haunting Adeline / Mexican Gothic / The Book of Accidents / The Final Girl Support Group / The Only Good Indians / If It Bleeds / The Chestnut Man / The Shadows

First of all, the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is so awful, because I am definitely swayed by a great cover. Actually, all the books I’m about to write about have intriguing covers. I have not yet read ANY of these (yet) but based off a search on my kindle app, these looking very promising. I also have never read any of Stephen King’s work (GASP) but it is on my must-do list. My brother is actually a big fan, so even if just to have a book convo with him, I’ll be reading a King book, soon. If you have a favorite of his, let me know in the comments!

The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Not available on KindleUnlimited

19,645 reviews, 4.5 stars

The description of this books sounds wonderful. It is described as “a wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight.” (People)

That sounds like it is right up my alley, honestly. I love both of those mentioned series, and, since I’m considered an adult these days, I will be grabbing this book next time I see it in a store. It doesn’t seem to be necessarily “spooky”, though. Even though it did come up in my “horror book” search on my kindle app.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Not available on KindleUnlimited

1, 668 reviews, 4 stars

Book description: “In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the end of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three. A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time. A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory. And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible. An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.”

WHAT’S BURIED OUT AMONG THE BIRCH TREES? WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME THE GIRL WENT OUTSIDE? Is it the mom/wife? Or how does that cat read the Bible? I have so many questions that need to be answered, and the only way to get them is to read this book.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Not available on KindleUnlimited

8, 656 reviews, 4.5 stars

This is one of the books I’m going to read this week and I’m pretty excited about it. First of all, the cover is stunning. I love the vampire bite on the peach. Does that mean this book is set in Georgia? I don’t know, I didn’t get that far yet.

The inside cover states “Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do-list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Chareleston women united by their love of true crime. Then James Harris walks into her life during the summer of 1993. He makes her feel things she hasn’t felt in years, but when children on the other side of town go missing, Patricia wonders if he’s connected. Is he Brad Pitt, a Bundy, or something much worse?”

It then goes on to list a slew of titles it’s won, which are pretty impressive, including Goodreads top horror novel of 2020 and Barnes & Noble Best Fiction of 2020.

I cannot wait to read this story and find out if we love James Harris or not. I do love a good vampire, though. Even more if he’s morally gray and broody, but this isn’t romance hahaha

Look for my thoughts on this book in my October reading recap.

Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton

Available on KindleUnlimited Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans Click to get a free, one-month trial of KindleUnlimited!

484 reviews, 4.5 stars

Ooooookay, so this one has me a little skeptical after glancing at a couple reviews. I typically avoid reviews until after I read a good, because people love to throw spoilers in the reviews, and nothing makes me want to rage more than a spoiler. I hate them. #teamnospoilersever But this book seems like it might be a bit intense on a dark sexual level, but maybe I’m wrong. This is a vibe I got from a review and then I stopped reading it.

Oh, and there’s a novella it’s recommended to read first. Satan’s affair. AND there is also a warning that this book ends on a cliffhanger and the next book isn’t out until January, so be warned of the cliffy if you decide to try this book out. It’s on KindleUnlimited, so I’ll probably give it a shot. Keep an eye on my End of Month Book Recap posts to see when it makes its appearance.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Not available on KindleUnlimited

16,598 reviews, 4 stars

I’ve seen so much about this book online, I’m surprised it has 4 stars. 4 stars is really great, but I just assumed because it was so talked about it would be a 4.5-er.

This is my second book for this week and I’m so excited! It’s so beautiful in real life. The cover is great, the inside has a gorgeous comic book type page. It’s just wonderful to look at and I hope it’s equally as wonderful to read.

The back cover says “After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Noemi is an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamourous debutante, more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and not afraid: not of her cousin’s new English husband, a stranger who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems fascinated by Noemi; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Noemi’s only ally in this inhospitable place is the family’s youngest son. But he too may be hiding a dark secret. As Noemi begins to unearth stories of violence and madness, she is slowly drawn into a terrifying yet seductive world-a world that may be impossible to escape.”

In the words of Spongebob, a true king, “I’m READYYYYY!” I cannot wait to read this book. It’s smaller than The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, so maybe I’ll start with it. We’ll see.

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Not available on KindleUnlimited

803 reviews, 4.5 stars

“Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father- and he has never told his family what happened there. Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have- and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures. Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania. Now, Nate and Maddie’s graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver. And now what happened long ago is happening again…and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic. This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family – and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.”

I wanted to make a helpful blog post for anyone looking for a great, Halloween read, but all I’m doing is making my own TBR list longer than it already is. I am definitely going to be reading this book. It does chill me a little bit, and might be too much for me. I struggle with child abuse and such, it is just too heavy for me, personally. But I want to know what happens in this book so I will probably still give it a go. It’s another 4.5 star read, so it has to be good.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Not available on KindleUnlimited

2,422 reviews, 4 stars

This is by the author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, so if I like that book, I’ll be reading this book as well. Okay, I just read the description and will 100% be reading this book.

“Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized – someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece. But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.”

I’m mad at myself for making this post the further I get down this list. THIS BOOK SOUNDS GRIPPING. I want to read it NOW instead of my other two…but I cannot do that. When I complete the first two, then we’ll consider this. I’ve got a massive TBR…making book content might not be a great idea for me hahaha

The Only Good Indians by Stephan Graham Jones

Not available on KindleUnlimited

3,529 reviews, 4 stars

The Kindle page has a very long book exert, which I’m not going to retype, but the reviews it has listed are so very promising. They speak of humor and horror, which what better combo than laughs and screams for the week of Halloween? There is no better combo….besides chocolate and peanut butter.

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Not available on KindleUnlimited

20,635 reviews, 4.5 stars

Like I mentioned, I haven’t ventured into the world of Stephen King, yet. I have a real serious fear of clowns, and I hold a mild grudge with Mr. King over creating Pennywise. I’ve seen bits of the movie, I see him on my Instagram feed, I saw him when I went to Salem, MA. He’s awful. My brother likes IT, though. Sometimes I’m not sure how I’m related to that guy.

Anyway, about this book…..this is apparently a shorter work of his, a novella, but according to the praise given in the reviews, it is still a masterpiece work by Stephan King. I think I’ll read one of his books soon, regardless of whether it’s this one or not. Just reading his bio, he’s pretty impressive. How cool is it he’s written more than 50 books and they are all worldwide bestsellers? So cool.

If it bleeds seems to contain 4 novellas, but the kindle page doesn’t contain descriptions for me further than reviews, but I’m intrigued. I will be grabbing this next time I see it.

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

Not available on KindleUnlimited

2,951 reviews, 4.5 stars

This is now a Netflix original series, so if I get around to this book, maybe I’ll have a new show to try out afterward. I’ve been more into reading than watching tv, lately. Though I do have plans to binge the series You at some point.

“A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen. His calling card is a “chestnut man” – a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts – which he leaves at each bloody crime scene. Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery – a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago. A tragic coincidence – or something more twisted? To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues. Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over. And no one is safe.”

This one doesn’t grab my attention quite as firmly as the others, but I am most likely going to read it because if it’s so good they made it into a show, I want to read the book first.

The Shadows by Alex North

Not available on KindleUnlimited

2,559 reviews, 4.5 stars

I got chills reading the description of this book. Like, cool air rushing down your arm, scattering goosebumps in its wake, chill. This book sounds like it has just the right amount of suspense, thrill, mystery, and the perfect gripping storyline to keep me burning through the pages. So, welcome to the TBR, little buddy. I can’ wait to read you.

This is another small-town mystery with a side of murder. So if that sounds like something you like reading, I would definitely add this to your must-read list. We can read it together….I really need to join a book club.

So, now that we’ve all added 11 new books to our To Be Read piles, tell me what you’re reading this week! I’d love to add more to my never-ending list of books. Also, if you’ve read or plan to read any of the books I wrote about, comment and let me know! If you’ve already read them, I’d love to hear your spoiler-free thoughts!

I hope you have a great Monday, read a page-turner of a book, and have the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had in your whole life.

5 Fall Candle Diffuser Blend Dupes

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Don’t have oils? Grab a Fall Candle Dupes Bundle HERE or browse starter kits HERE

Fall is THE season for candles. Or was, until I discovered essential oils and a diffuser with a candle flicker setting.

Let’s set the scene, shall we? The coziest blanket, a festive (maybe spooky?) book, tucked into a chair made straight out of the clouds, a warm beverage, and your diffuser set to candle flicker mode and pumping out your favorite fall scent dupe. BLISS

Pumpkin Spice

  • 3 drops cinnamon bark
  • 3 drops thieves
  • 3 drops bergamot
  • 1 drop nutmeg

Crunchy Leaves

  • 4 drops orange
  • 2 drops clove
  • 2 drops ginger

Pumpkin Vanilla Latte

  • 3 drops stress away
  • 2 drops cinnamon bark
  • 2 drops nutmeg
  • 1 drop ginger
  • 1 drop orange

Cozy Fall Afternoon

  • 4 drops thieves
  • 3 drops orange
  • 2 drops peppermint

Apple Pie

  • 2 drops cinnamon bark
  • 3 drops lemon
  • 2 drops clove

Pinterest is full of amazing diffuser blends. You can find my Essential Oils Pinterest board HERE

5 Things I did that I didn’t realize were signs of anxiety

Anxiety! Everyone feels anxious sometimes. Important meetings, first dates, big events, all can lead to people feeling anxious, excited, jittery, etc.

For a long time, I didn’t realize my anxious feelings were different than what anyone else was experiencing. I knew when it came to social situations, I had what I called “Social Anxiety”, and also separation anxiety, but other than that, I didn’t realize I was just out here living with untreated mental conditions.

I lived with the fact that I could function, go to work, have relationships with people, and I was totally fine. It wasn’t until I had my son, and had postpartum depression, that unearthed the realization of the years of living with anxiety and depression without personally even realizing that it was an issue.

Here are some habits that I have had, for as long as I can remember, that I didn’t realize were tell-tale signs that I had anxiety.

If anything I say in this post speaks to you in any way, I urge you to talk to your doctor or someone you trust about what you’re experiencing. The help is there and it is truly wonderful. Brain meds saved my life, I am still in therapy, and I am still a work in progress, but it all started with a doctors appointment and taking that first step. People often discourage me from speaking out about my mental health conditions, but I will not ever stop, because if I can help a single person feel like they are not alone, sharing my experience is worth it.

On that note, I am NOT a doctor of any sort. I am NOT a mental health professional. I am a mom with the internet, anxiety, a PPD survivor, and mental health advocate, sharing my personal experience and hoping to help others find the courage to seek help and/or treatment. Nothing I say is meant to treat or diagnose, it is me sharing my personal experience and research. Please always talk to a professional with any concerns you’re having.

Biting my lips and the inside of my cheeks

I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. I remember getting scolded for it as a child like I could help it. I am 29 years old and still cannot get myself to stop this habit, even with being aware of it and consciously wanting to stop it.

If you also find yourself frequently chewing on the inside of your mouth or biting your lips, here are some tips from www.healthline.com on Lip Biting.

  • cognitave behavioral therapy
  • counseling
  • relaxation techniques
  • hypnosis
  • acupuncture
  • prescription sedatives
  • mouth guard
  • replacement behavior (chewing gum)

This is a hard habit to quit, at least for me. I have been actively aware of my anxiety for almost 4 years, consistently working with a therapist for 2 years, and I still struggle with lip biting. As the article from healthline states, the first step is awareness, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t stop it overnight.

Repetative Actions

There are a few types of Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB) which you can read about HERE. As a nail-biter all my life, I didn’t realize that was a sign of anxiety since it was something I had always done. (Just like the lip biting)

Besides that, I would poke my thigh with my 4 fingers, excluding my thumb, where my arm hung down to my leg. I would, unknowingly, hit my leg over and over again, not even realizing I was doing it unless it would draw another person’s attention or it would become uncomfortable. This is something I would only do in a public setting, always when I would be overwhelmed and standing. When sitting, I would bounce my leg, repeatedly.

I noticed this a lot when I worked in a particularly stressful job that was very detrimental to my mental health. I have not had a consistent issue with hitting my leg since that job.

Excessive sweating

Another link to a Healthline article. SWEATING.

Did you know sweating and anxiety have a love affair? I mean, because what is better than being anxious than also sweaty freakin pits?

So, truly, I am a hot person. I wear flip flops all year long, even in the snow, rain, I don’t care. Flip flops are fine footware. I cannot wear sweatshirts indoors, especially at functions because hello anxiety, but you get the point. I am not solely blaming anxiety for sweating, but the healthline article is very enlightening if you are also someone who maybe experiences social anxiety and excessive sweating.

Again, I don’t remember not worrying about this, as far as preteen/teenage years and sweating go. The ongoing theme of these under-the-radar anxiety signs is that I don’t remember a time where these weren’t happening or weren’t a concern.

Yawning and feeling like the yawn was “stuck”

I saw this on a reel on Instagram! (Another way social media and the internet aren’t all bad. You can learn some good things from it, too) I yawn all the time. It drives my dad crazy, actually. He hates when I talk while yawning, which is probably very rude, but I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I’ve yawned 4 times just writing these last 3 sentences, I guess just from thinking about it (LOL)

Sometimes I feel like I have to keep yawning over and over again because it feels like I cannot get enough air or a deep enough breath. It’s actually always stressed me out pretty bad, as I am very anxious about health-related things, so I was always concerned it was a hint at an underlying illness or issues. Plot twist! It was! ANXIETY!

Here is an article on yawning and anxiety HERE

Brain Fog

Brain fog! Knowing this about myself would have saved my self-esteem from taking many hits throughout my life. I’ve had people saying numbers right to my face and I would turn around to act on the task and everything I was just told would be gone from my brain. In turn, causing MORE anxiety and stress for me, and even caused conflict in some situations where I was blanking. (Example: my job, with my boss, where time was of the essence and me screwing up was a big issue)

This is a really great healthline article (theme of this post is citing healthline) with a lot of great tips for your anxious brain.

These signs of anxiety have been present factors in my life for so long, I didn’t realize they were symptoms of anxiety. I often wonder what life would have looked like for me if I would have sought treatment for my anxiety in my early 20’s, which is my driving force behind sharing my journey.

If you have any similar tendencies, please chat with your doctor or a trusted friend. It’s the first step to dealing with anxiety.

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