5th Graders, Paying It Forward and Projects

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! I so love spring and am very excited to be getting the garden together while I “grow” a number of other projects!

A couple of weeks ago I had the joy of guest-teaching about Point-of-View to a friend’s 5th-grade class. I developed a very basic workshop several years ago, to present at a monthly Liberty States Fiction Writers, a wonderful group of pay-it-forward kind of folks. Took me about an hour to put together a simple PowerPoint, and now I have another workshop-with-slide-show to add to a growing resume!

The kids were phenomenal. Most looked interested (as in, only a few yawned), and many of them asked all kinds of great questions. A few even groaned when their teacher said we had about 10 minutes left before they had to break for lunch—how cool is that?

Aside: For those of you who don’t know this, I’m putting it out there: I want to talk to big groups of people on a regular basis. I have a variety of topics.

Workshops are: writing-related; educational/occupational therapy (including assistive technology, handwriting, sensory, etc); parenting. (That’s what happens when one’s interests are all over the place, lol.) Anyone who wants further detail, y’all can contact me here or message me on Facebook.

Glad I put fingers to the keys this morning to write about jeans! (I’ll work on putting that together as next week’s post. (Working hard to keep things short and sweet here. )

Here are links to a couple of things that caught my interest:

This one is for dolphin lovers—like myself. They are SUCH incredible creatures.

This post by Tammy Dennings Maggy spoke to me big-time. (Have a feeling it will to many of you as well.) Please take a moment and welcome her back to the blogosphere!

As always, please feel free to SHARE—not just my content, but any or both of the articles above as well. As the lovely Jane Porter once said in a workshop I attended, one can never underestimate how far-reaching what one says and/or does is, or who you’ll touch. (I paraphrased. Don’t remember where the notes are to that workshop.)

Have a wonderful week, folks, and a very Happy Mother’s Day to whomever the greeting applies!






Dealing with Stress

Good day and welcome back to Positve Energy Mondays, everyone! So glad to be back! (Hiatus wasn’t fun but good is coming of it so I’m grateful.) Hope those who celebrated enjoyed a peaceful and joyful Easter and/or Passover. Loving all those bulbs bursting forth and screaming spring with their colorful blooms. Finally! Spring is in full force! Makes me happy 🙂


Diane Lang is in the house! Today she shares some thoughts on managing stress:

Every morning I follow the same routine. I wake up, drink my coffee and put on the morning news. It’s a ritual, I have grown to despise. Every morning, I feel brief moments of panic and anxiety. Just turning on the news makes my heart race; my head spin and my stomach feel sour. I get anxious and long for my daughter to wake up so I can get my daily dose of cartoons to lighten my mood for the day. I tried to make the decision that I would no longer watch the news but between the traffic, weather and just knowing how my IRA is doing I always get stuck watching the news. After talking with many other people, I have realized that most of us feel the same. It doesn’t matter where we live, what age our kids are, if we are stay at home moms or work outside the house- we all feel the pressure of “The Family Squeeze” – trying to save money, cut corners while saving for college, retirement, etc at the same time that stock prices are falling and food prices are rising. We all have the same fear within us that the economy will not turn around soon and that prices will keep rising.

The typical question I get as a Therapist is how can I handle all this fear and anxiety? What happens if I stay stressed out? I can’t change the economy but hopefully this column will help you deal with anxiety more effectively.

Coping with Stress and Anxiety:

Be honest with yourself – what is causing you stress? Confront the issues.

What type of stress do you have?

Is it Physiological – illness, pain, lack of proper nutrition, exercise, poor sleeping habits, excessive drinking, smoking, etc?

Psychological – Frustration, conflict, feeling overwhelmed, going thru transitional times, loss, etc

Is it school problems – test anxiety, stress at work, financial, and/or relationship?

Once you know where the stress is coming from- you can find solutions to deal with the stress.

Be realistic on what you can change and what you can’t. What can you take control of in your life right now? Control is a positive step to regaining your power. Once you take action, you gain control and you will start feeling better. Set realistic goals and priorities.

Learn to listen to your body to know when you’re too stressed out and hitting the “burnout Stage”. We receive these signs to let us know something is not right and that we need to make changes.

Physical signs of Stress and Anxiety: Stomach problems, headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, low immune system – catch frequent colds, flu, panic attack symptoms – chest pains, racing heart, hot and cold flashes, dizziness, nauseous, problems catching your breath, hyperventilating even fainting.

Psychological signs: Change in appetite, sleeping patterns, loneliness, loss of focus and concentration, mood swings, irritability, little or no patience and lack of desire for socializing and hobbies.

Burnout – a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.

Stop trying to be perfect – ask for help, have a support system. Find ways to simplify your life. Be proud of your accomplishments.

Be kind to yourself. Self-care. What have you done for yourself lately? Learn to relax and take breaks. Even if it’s only 10-15 minutes a day. Learn that caring for yourself is every bit as important as caring for others.

Learn to trust your instincts. You know yourself the best and you are usually right. Trust yourself.

Stop negative thoughts – monitor your self. Write down all your negative thoughts, next to your negative thoughts write down the rational,positive thoughts. Practice substituting the negative for the positive. Then praise yourself/reward yourself every time you change a negative thought for a positive thought.

If you feel your anxiety/stress is more then you can handle or you have chronic anxiety and/or panic attacks. There are the options of: Counseling and support groups.

Diane’s upcoming appearances and workshops:

Monday, April 25th – Create balance & relieve anxiety -7pm; Westfield Adult school, NJ 908-232-4050

Tuesday, April 26th – Letting go of anger -6:30pm; Mt Olive Adult school, NJ 973-691-4006 ext 7635

Friday, April 29th – How Far We’ve Come…  Learn, Laugh, Lunch – 9-3pm; Brookdale community college, NJ: We have come a long way! Celebrate the journey.
Welcome the promise of Spring Renewal with a day of inspirational speakers and energizing workshops. Fee: $65 includes morning coffee, lunch, speakers and two workshops
For more information: ncosta@brookdalecc.edu    (732) 224-2315  

Friday’s workshop sounds like fun–I’m almost sorry I scheduled my day otherwise. As per later this week, Wednesday I’ll be showcasing author Christopher Wills, whom I ‘met’ online when I came across an excellent article of his about designing characters. And drop in Friday for a special post that ties together some fun, life lessons and my wedding anniversary. Until then, all good thoughts to all of you,