The New Stress in the Time of Social Distancing

Grocery shopping is a new stress in the time of social distancing. Especially if you are actually trying to practice social distancing. I start my social distancing in the parking lot. When I can, I park where no one is parking directly beside me. I walk into the store with a few of cleaning wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

I am using the wipes to clean the grocery cart, to open doors and pick up items. When someone is in front of me, I keep a good distance from them. If they stop, I stop or I redirect. When I see someone coming toward me that is obviously not planning to follow the Social Distancing guidelines, I try to move in a direction as to not pass each other directly. Grocery shopping would be a lot less stressful if people would be more patient and make sure to leave at least three, preferably six, feet between themselves and others.

Read: Who Knew Grocery Shopping Could Be So Stressful?

Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic

Safe Grocery Shopping Tips

If you are responsible for grocery shopping, carrying or putting away grocery, please give this a watch. We all must go the extra mile to keep ourselves and each other safe.

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Starting today, we also have t-shirts and totes with the Essential Employee design below.  So many Essential Employees, like my mother, are placing themselves in harms way because of their commitment to the health and well-beings of others.  They also continue to work because of their commitment to themselves and their families.  No Essential Employee should have to fight for a livable wage. Essential Employees should be paid for their Essential work.       

Buy the essential worker in your life this special t-shirt and we will make a donation to help other essential workers. Place your order and we will email you to see if you have a specific fundraiser/organization/person that you would like the donation to go toward!

Until next time, be safe!

Celebrate Often – Even Now

We are officially in week two of no school. Assignments for my middle schooler are piling up. I am behind on lessons with my second grade, special needs son. Even more, my middle schooler and forth grader have already had to be separate. However, I can still find ways to celebrate often – even now!

Celebrate Often - Even Now
Make sure to celebrate often, even during times of uncertainty!

Stuck at Home

Having three sons – ages 12(E), 9(S), and 8(H) – in a three bedroom home means someone is sharing. Although I am grateful for the space we have, figuring out the best rooming arrangement has been difficult. For most of the time, E had his own room; while S and H shared a room. Last year, S was done with this arrangement! Since H is Autistic, his sleep pattern can unexpectedly become unpredictable. He might be up laughing or turning on lights at midnight. He would even climb up the bunk bed steps and bounce S awake, that is if he made it to sleep.

Eventually, we decided to move S into the room with E. It has “worked” for some month, although every couple of weeks or so they are fighting about something. But after last week’s pushing and hitting, E and S are in separate rooms. H is with me for now. H doesn’t seem to care about what changes we have going on. He keeps running to “his room” every night. So we are working on a few big adjustments right now. Regardless of the challenges, we can still celebrate!

Celebrate Often: Opportunities to Learn

Although I feel like my “home-schooling” abilities are lacking, I appreciated that this crisis has forced me to be even more hands-on with my sons’ education. It has been somewhat stressful, on top of my full time job, but it is also rewarding. E has lots of homework, but at least I know that he is turning it in . . . and not losing or forgetting it! As far as S, he has been more self-sufficient, but it has been nice to have a physical book to “teach” out of versus just going over homework.

H’s teacher gave me a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) manual and H’s binder of pictures so I can work with him at home. I am very much excited to learn more in hopes to help his ability to communicate more effectively.

Furthermore, I started a free online course, The Science of Well-Being through Coursera.

Celebrate Often: Opportunities to Explore

Being stuck at home does not mean we cannot explore. Check out this list of virtual field trips, which also includes “lesson ideas, activities and book suggestions to extend the learning for each type of destination.” We have also used YouTube to explore one of my favorite aquariums, the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA), our favorite local museum, the Museum of Life and Science (Durham, NC), and our to-visit-once-we-can-travel-again, Stone Mountain State Park (Roaring Gap, NC).

Exploring does not have to be all about places. Explore your talents! Do you like to sketch, or up for a sketching challenge? Check out author/illustrator Remy Lai on Twitter (@Remy_Lai) for the #sketchwithremy theme of the day. You do not have to be a professional illustrator to participate, just have fun!

Further explore your creativity with downloadable activities from writer/illustrator Jarrett Lerner. You will find a variety of blank comic book pages, “Finish This Comic!” comics, and drawing/writing prompts. There is plenty to explore on this website!

Celebrate Often: Being Apart Brings Us Together

As we all experience this world-wide pandemic, we are able to witness people all over the world giving support in ways that may be unique to their regular lives. Authors are having online book readings to help bring comfort to us in our new reality. Neighborhoods are organizing bear and scavenger hunts to indirectly connect with and support each other.

One huge way that I witnessed people come together, in terms of numbers alone, was on Instagram. This weekend, DJ dnice hosted a nine hour ‘party’ for more than 100,000 of his “closest friends”! People from all over the world came together to dance, sing, or just listen together! It was a wonderful experience within a difficult time. I can imagine the people who got dressed up to “go to Club Quarantine”!

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Times are difficult for so many people all around the world. We are Praying for everyone’s safety and well-being. You are not alone. Stay in contact with people. Check on each other. Everyone is in need of some type of support. Hopefully, this post have added a little something positive to your day. If so, leave a comment, subscribe to our newsletter and blog, or visit our shop to purchase Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise.

Kindness in a Time of Uncertainty

A few weeks ago, a stranger paid for my lunch. This random act of unexpected kindness was shocking. Had it not been for my temporary state of disbelief, I may had “paid it forward” immediately. However, this weekend, I saw the perfect opportunity for kindness in this current time of uncertainty.

Let's make a world of kindness in a time of uncertainty
At any time in this world, someone is dealing with uncertainty. Always find kindness in your words, actions, and thoughts!

I went to a store to buy a couple of items. During checkout, I noticed some bagged items had been left. I brought the bags to the attention of the cashier, hoping that no one left them accidentally. Afterwards, the cashier motioned toward the near-by customer using the phone. Then the cashier realized that the customer was attempting to use an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer/ Food Stamp) card, which the store did not accept. As I finished my transaction, I quietly asked the balance of the other customer’s purchases and paid for it before they had the chance to leave the building.

Kindness is Contagious

Kindness is contagious! Although we will witness some ‘ugly’ acts such as hoarding needed supplies, we often see very beautiful acts of kindness during our most difficult times. We could never predict the exact affect of such actions. We cannot know with certainty how many lives a seemingly small act can touch. The recipient may pay-it-forward with kind words to a friend or an unexpected call to family member. Perhaps they will be encouraged to help an elderly or physically challenged person with a difficult task. Or just maybe, they become a little less bias because of receiving kindness from someone they normally would judge as ‘bad’.

We do know, however, that we all can greatly benefit from kindness. Check out these Kindness Health Facts! And if you have never visited the Random Acts of Kindness website, please check out their wonderful resources!

Kindness in a Time of Uncertainty

Many of us are currently connected through the unprecedented times that we are currently in, but please remember that people all around the world are in crises and are suffering everyday. When new cases plateau and the threat level has receded, don’t forget to be kind to the man, woman, or child fleeing from extremely impoverished and/or war-torn countries. Do not forget to be kind to the activist fighting to improve the community of children who live in uncertainty everyday. Be kind to the homeless, even if it is just an acknowledging smile. Kindness is always needed!

Kindness in Action

I would love to hear from you! What are some acts of kindness that you have experienced?

Many of us are staying home more then usual. What are you watching, reading, or listening to in order to stay busy or entertained? What hobbies are you picking up? Which interests are you building upon?

A lot of us parents are overseeing school assignments that are usually completely at school. Teachers, what advice to you have for parents? What resources do you suggest? What special accommodations are you making for your students?

Some of us are cooking at home more. Are you trying any new meals? Do you have tips or recipes to share?

Let’s share and spread kindness!

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Tennessee Orange Youth Size XS

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#Read4MentalWellness

Communities across the U.S. have celebrated Read Across America (RAA) Day on or around March 2 for 22 years. This year, RAA Day is also the inaugural World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Since reading can have a positive effect on mental health, let us encourage our communities to use reading as a tool for mental wellness! Let’s #Read4MentalWellness!

#Read4MentalWellness today and everyday!

Read Across America

The National Education Association (NEA) launched RAA with the main focus of motivating children to read. As the nation’s largest celebration of reading, a major goal of RAA is to improve performance in school.

“The year-round program can fit reading fun into your calendar daily, weekly, or monthly and includes big celebrations of reading on March 2 and throughout National Reading Month in March.”

ReadAcrossAmerica.org

On Read Across America Day, you can expect a great number of schools, bookstores, libraries, and more to host reading events. However, one event that is especially exciting is the #FillEveryShelf matching opportunity at DonorsChoose.org! When you donate to a DonorsChoose book project during this event and your donation doubles! You can help get books to students quicker! The match will be available from 7:00 AM ET on March 2nd until 3:00 AM ET on March 7th, therefore making this an ideal time to give!

World Teen Mental Wellness Day

Retailer Hollister is declaring March 2, 2020 the first World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Hollister is wants teens to use March 2 to practice self-care and silence self-doubt!

“World Teen Mental Wellness Day aims to raise greater awareness of mental health issues among teens, as well as provide education about removing stigmas surrounding preventative mental health.”

February 12, 2020 Press Release

Up to $12,000 will be donated to the Hollister Confidence Project Fund when teens use #WorldTeenMentalWellnessDay to share how they recharge!

Positive Effect of Reading: #Read4MentalWellness

My oldest son, who will be 13 this summer, has been struggling in a couple of classes. I told him to read more! I explained that reading will help improve vocabulary and writing; therefore allowing him to communicate better and feel more confident. I also mentioned that reading would allow him to be exposed to situations and experiences that he may never experience, or not yet experienced, first hand. In other words, giving him new insight and point-of-views from which to learn. But how much does reading help mental health and wellness?

8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book

The article 8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book, from Real Simple, discusses eight reasons we should read books. Amazingly, reading literally changes the mind. Here’s how!

  • Increases intelligence
  • Boost brain power
  • Make you more empathetic
  • Flipping pages can improve understand
  • May help fight Alzheimer’s disease
  • Can help you relax
  • Reading before bed can help you sleep
  • Reading is contagious

Establishing a love for reading is easier at a younger age. However, it is never too late for that one special book to create a life long reader! So this week, provide a classroom with books and get students a step closer to mental wellness. Need help finding a classroom to support through DonorsChoose.org? Check out this Twitter thread for ideas.

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This week, Not Mad. Motivated. will help support students and teaches with daily donations to at least one DonorsChoose book project while the #FillEveryShelf match is active. We will also share projects so that other donors have the opportunity to make a difference!

We are brainstorming how to make a bigger impact within our communities and would love your support to ensure that we are able to grow! We invite you to shop at our online store, subscribe to and share our blogs, and subscribe to our newsletter. We may be small but we are eager to make our impact great!

So when you take your favorite books to share with your favorite people, have your Not Mad. Motivated. tote ready to help you carry the load. And remember to #Read4MentalWellness today and everyday!

Celebrate Often: The Heroes We Know Collection

This month’s Celebrate Often post is about Author Kira Parris-Moore and her The Heroes We Know Collection. In addition to her first book, Trey, the Chef, which was published in 2019, Kira Parris-Moore’s second book, Suzy, the Dressmaker, is available now!

Mental illness or developmental disabilities are nothing that ANYONE should be ashamed of and anyone who has these challenges and still manages to make it through their day to day should be celebrated!

Author Kira Parris-Moore

Inspiration Behind The Collection

So what is the inspiration behind the Heroes We Know Collection? The author has three very clear goals to fulfill with her collection:

  • present mental health and developmental awareness in a way children could understand
  • increase cultural diversity by having each character be a different race
  • provide inspiration by showing children that they can succeed and accomplish their goals no matter what developmental/mental health barriers they face

Meet The Heroes We Know

The main character of the first Heroes We Know book is inspired by Kira Parris-Moore’s oldest son. Trey is Autistic and in Trey, the Chef, he uses is passion for cooking to speak beyond words. Visit our previous post to read more about Trey, the Chef.

Anxiety is the focus in Suzy, the Dressmaker. Anxiety is a common issue faced by people of all ages. What is great about Suzy, the Dressmaker is that it introduces anxiety in simple way. A young child might not know the word anxiety, but the books allows them to relate to the “feeling” of anxiety. Therefore, giving children a better way to talk about what they are going through.

Similarly to Trey, the Chef, Suzy is full of passion and creativity! Although we see Suzy worry, we also see Suzy practice techniques to help her calm down. Above all, these techniques can help readers work through their worries, too!

In addition to the story, each Heroes We Know book includes an interactive activity that makes each book a touch more special!

To purchase either book or learn more about the author, visit books2inspire.com. Every person that purchases Trey, the Chef gets a 15% discount off the purchase of Avaz AAC, an augmented alternative communication app that allows nonverbal children/adults to communicate with the outside world through technology. Trey, the Chef will also be featured in the Just Like Me Box for Autism Awareness Month in April.

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Do you know a hero that should be celebrated? I do! My seven year old Autistic son! He is non-verbal and has global developmental delays. I cannot imagine his daily frustrations of wanting to communicate his needs, wants, and discomforts. There are times when his behavior reflects that he is going through something unpleasant. However, you are more likely to find him happily laughing and smile. Even when I know he is uncomfortable, he finds many beautiful smiles to share with his family and community! Leave a comment about the heroes you know!

Sometimes, we go through difficulties! Some people decide to give up amidst struggles. Some believe that their success is limited by what other people say or expect. However, at Not Mad. Motivated., we believe that our biggest barriers and obstacles can fuel our success. My Autistic son’s global developmental delays inspires me to say “I’m Not Mad. I’m Motivated.”

Let life’s obstacles inspire you and help remind others to choose motivation and not anger by supporting Not Mad. Motivated. with the purchase of a shirt and/or a tote. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog!

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