Connect

Even if you don’t ascribe to a specific religion, I think connecting with spirituality in some way can be energizing for the soul. Sunday is a great day to practice this kind of connection: it’s the end of the week, many people have this day off to rest, and most churches meet on this day.

I’ve decided to start a spiritual journal. In this journal, I plan to write one entry each Sunday. I intend for my entries to be meditations on Bible verses or devotions, but if you are not a student of the Bible, you could still benefit from a similar practice. Perhaps you could meditate while finding your center in a peaceful field. Or lie under the stars and think about the vastness of the universe and how each of us are so small in the grand scheme of things, and yet so important in our unique lives. Or maybe you could take a mindful walk in nature and let your mind wander. Perhaps, like me, you enjoy yoga and find that it helps you align your mind with your body.

Sunday should be a day to focus on peace. Even if you have to work for most of the day, like I do today, remember to take some time at some point in the day to be still and listen to you soul and what calls out to it from the universe. Try keeping a spiritual journal with me! It could be fun and insightful.

Rest and Rejuvenation

This blog post is for everyone, but it’s especially for those people who have a hard time allowing themselves down time. There’s always something that needs to be done. There’s always somewhere to go, someone to see. Even when not on the job, there’s work to be finished or improved, some creative project waiting in the wings. Sitting still feels lazy. 

I’m one of those people. I always have been, ever since I was a hyperactive, ambitious child. And it’s good to stay busy and active of course! Successful people of all genres are often like this. There’s nothing wrong with being a go-getter. Personally, I’m still extremely adverse to laziness. However, something I have learned over the years through all my go go go is that mindful resting is not only helpful, it is absolutely necessary to stay healthy, happy, and productive. 

What is mindful resting? I think of it as rest and relief with a goal. Your body is not made to go like the energizer bunny in a constant line of activity, but if you’re one of us–one of those I-can’t-stop-now-not-when-there’s-so-much-to-be-done types–your brain probably won’t automatically cue you to slow down when you need to. So make a conscious effort to set aside time for rest each day. Set a time goal. It doesn’t have to be a long time, especially at first. If you’re an overachiever, sitting and doing nothing for even five or ten minutes may make you want to pull all your hair out. I know that a few years ago, I was in that exact position. Take it slow, start out small. 

You do want to set a time for your resting, because if you rest for too long, you may end up missing important things on your schedule, or even feel groggier than before. Sometimes you don’t realize how exhausted you are until you sit down and start paying attention to your breathing. 

At first, it may sound silly to plan your resting breaks. But if you’re a person who has been going too hard for too long, you know it’s about time you applied your natural work ethic to your own wellness. And if you’re still stuck, done worry, I’ve created a handy dandy acronym for you. 

R.E.S.T. 

R- Recharge. Don’t spend your whole resting break thinking about everything else you “should” be doing, worrying about the stuff that’s been making you so stressed and tired, or you will stay stressed and tired no matter how long you rest. That’s easier said than done, especially for people prone to anxiety. You can’t just switch that off. What you can do is remember to breathe, try to relax your body in a comfortable position, and let your mind wander. Letting the mind wander is a skill involved in mindfulness that needs to be practiced and honed. Mindfulness allows your mind to drift from thought to thought without getting hung up on any specific one. It doesn’t always come naturally, and that’s okay, but it is a very useful skill indeed. We’ll go more in depth with how to practice mindfulness in a later blog post. 

E- Evaluate. After you have allowed your mind to recharge, drift, wander, and relax, begin to ask yourself questions that will help you improve your lifestyle and state of stress. Am I getting enough sleep? Am I waking up feeling more tired than when I went to bed? Am I stretching throughout the day to prevent lactic acid buildup in my body? Am I being too hard on myself mentally with negative self-talk? Ask yourselves these questions gently, without judgment. The point of this evaluation is not to chide yourself; it is to show yourself what areas of your life and mindset could use improvement to flourish. 

S- Slow down. After you’ve evaluated yourself in this manner, it’s time to slow it back down. Breathe deeply and evenly. If you are experiencing anxiety in this moment, try this: breathe in, hold for a slow 1-2-3, release the breath slowly. This style of breathing is proven to be effective for people suffering from anxiety disorders to prevent panic attacks from occurring. 

T- Try again. It’s important to remember that learning to practice necessary relaxation and mindfulness is a process, and you may not be able to fall into a mindful state right away. If you’re like me, you might not even be able to sit still the first time you practice mindfulness or try to rest. That’s okay. With practice will come the patience and ability to overcome a lot of your anxiety and discomfort. The most rewarding things are often difficult to achieve, but they are called rewarding for a reason. 

I hope you all have a peaceful and low stress Saturday. Remember to take breaks if you’ve got a big day or you’re feeling overworked. You may feel like you just need to power through whatever you’re dealing with physically or emotionally, but you can only do that for so long before it catches up to you. Take care of yourselves.

Common Misconceptions About Cats

Cats have been worshipped by some cultures since the beginning of time. The Egyptians certainly valued them, what with their mystical reverence and statue building. But today, there are many misconceptions non-cat people have about cats. For some reason, there are actually people who hate these fantastic creatures, and in the spirit of fairness and equality, we have to allow even those fools a voice. So today, I’m going to address each of the most common myths about cats and debunk them using facts and science. And adorable photographic evidence.

Myth #1: Cats are Loners.

This is far too black and white. Most cats are actually outgoing introverts. You know those people who claim to be introverts because they “need their ‘me’ time,” but when you’re out with them in public they will talk your ear off about the latest episode of Sherlock for so long that a new episode of Sherlock will actually be released during your conversation? Yeah, cats are like these people.

I mean, sure, felines love to curl up by themselves on the couch and listen to the bird sounds outside for hours without interruptions, but they also like to be scratched on the head and served treats. You just have to pick your moments with cats. They love human interaction; they just need like twenty hours of solitude to recharge after every one hour petting session.

toocoolcat
This cat is definitely too cool for you. But that’s okay. Maybe you’re a dog person. 

Myth #2: Cats Don’t Come When They’re Called.

First of all, this misconception is most commonly used as a means of degrading cats, to make the point that they aren’t as good as dogs. But that’s pretty narrow-minded, really. How is coming when you’re called the ultimate measuring stick for an animal’s worth? I babysit full time, and trust me, most of your toddlers don’t come when they’re called either. So, if this trait is so important, maybe some of you should reconsider your choice of dependents that you keep around the house.

Also, my cat definitely comes when he’s called. He might need me to call his name twenty-seven times and jingle his favorite toy after smothering myself in delicious fish oil, but come on. He eventually gets his butt over to me. When he’s ready.

catcalling
I especially like how your voice gets higher and higher with each attempt.

Myth #3: Cats Don’t Really Love People.

Okay, humans don’t really know this. I mean, have you ever actually asked a cat if he loves you? Maybe he was just waiting for you to make the first move. Maybe he was still getting over a breakup when you first met him, and he’s just not ready to fully commit again. I don’t know. The point is, this myth is stupid, because everyone knows that rubbing your scent all over someone and licking their toes are some of the most common nonverbal signs of love. This is pretty well established knowledge, people. Let’s be a little more understanding of our cats’s boundaries and remember how difficult it can be to be vulnerable with someone else. Also, look at this.

catslovingbabies
If that’s not love, then…I give up.

Myth #4: Cats Have Poor Grammar.

This is a more recently spread misconception. Thanks to the internet and its daily web of lies, more and more people are being led to believe that cats are idiots who don’t know how to conjugate verbs or use correct possessive pronouns. And this is just simply not true. I mean, sure, there are probably some individual cats out there who don’t use proper grammar, but there are a lot of meathead humans out there who don’t know how to speak or write properly either, and you don’t get people making fun of them by plastering their faces on memes with the slogan: “Can I has cheezburger pls?” do you?

basiccats
It’s so sad when society’s social pressures make cats feel like they have to dumb themselves down in order to get a man.

A resounding theme across the board here is that people are often far too quick to judge cats based on what the media says about them. Remember, just like celebrities who live in constant resentment of what the internet says about them and how creepily invested strangers are in their love lives, cats just want to make their own way in the world without humans falling for every stereotype or prejudice that crops up online. Let’s have a little more respect for all the felines out there who have risen above this ridiculous grammar stereotype and have become world-renowned authors, like –>

lovessaves
Gwen Cooper is a cat pretending to be a human to get a book deal so she could write books from the perspective of cats.

Myth #5: Cats Have Bad Breath. 

Poor oral hygiene is a problem in every country on this planet, and among all species. Not just cats. That’s like saying “Humans Have Hair on Their Legs,” and saying it like it’s a bad thing. I mean, yes, it’s true, but it’s not innately bad. Plus, there are things you can do to remove the hair, if you so chose. It’s just a thing that’s true for everyone across the board; no need to demonize it.

Cats aren’t the only ones with bad breath. I’m sure your breath doesn’t smell so great first thing in the morning pre-toothpaste either. The point is, it’s unfair to criticize cats for a problem that is pretty much universal. They make kitty treats specifically for dental care if your cat is just…disgusting. Also, tiny toothbrushes. I have watched a youtube video of someone actually brushing their cat’s teeth with a tiny toothbrush. Time consuming and…potentially dangerous, yes, but worth it? That’s up to you.

In conclusion, all of these misconceptions about cats are pretty easy to blow right out of the water. And when compared with the adorability factor of most cats, these aren’t really deal-breakers anyway. We could all stand to be a little more tolerant of species that are different than us. I think we can learn a valuable lesson about compassion by looking at these common myths about some of God’s most irresistibly cute creations by reminding ourselves to stop being so gullible and just get out there and get to know a cat. Once you get to know one, you can see past all these silly lies and stare into their true feline soul.

I hope you all get to know a cat personally real soon. Your life will be better for it. That’s it for now, goodbye and good luck.

adorability
Adorability Factor = 1 million kilokittens