by Desiree Coffey
Anyone who knows me, knows my life is anything but simple, smooth, or stress-free. Everyday, I am faced with super high expectations, deadlines, rehearsals, practice, homework…the list goes on and on. Then we can add a spoon full of family illness, aging grandparents, and personal limitations. Seems like a lot? Not done just yet, now add an overflowing cup full of social and peer issues….How does my skin look? Is my outfit right? Who likes me? Who doesn’t? Most days I manage to navigate through it all without any issues or anxiety. But there are days when I find myself feeling like I could pull my hair out, breakdown in tears, and just run until I hear absolute silence. Sometimes coping with problems can be tough.
So, what do I do when I feel like I’m losing it? Well, to be honest, my first go-to emotion is anger and immediate shut-down. It’s a temporary outlet for what’s building up inside of me; it’s kind of like my pause button. Then once I think I’m alone and away from prying eyes; then come the tears and isolation. Isolation is not the best way to go (it’s basically hiding), but releasing the tears can really help reduce the anger. Then finally, my family, who are so in tune to my emotions and behaviors, rally beside me until I’m comfortable with what I’m feeling and understand why.
Now don’t get the wrong idea, the fix isn’t always easy or the problem isn’t always obvious. In fact, sometimes we spend hours or days trying to figure out the reason and try to identify triggers. Sounds like a perfect recipe for chicken noodle soup or a show on lifetime right? Well, it’s not that easy and it’s extra hard when you have to share feeling that you’re afraid or ashamed of. But in the end, the relief is so rewarding. That weight or pressure is gone and the people around you seem to have a better idea of who you are. Which is awesome because you feel like they are really seeing and understand you.
I’m sure I’m not alone. In fact, I have to admit I’m writing this article because I am concerned about the number of students I see suffering daily. It can be hard to deal with strong emotions. We are going through so many changes right now. So many that it may seem like nothing is the same anymore and we experience fear, embarrassment, loneliness, shame, guilt, sadness, and anger. Holding these feelings in or trying to ignore them can be very destructive to your emotional and physical well-being. These pinned up emotions to can lead to dangerous outlets for relief; especially self-harm, self-medicating or suicide. Instead of focusing on the details of self-harm, medicating or suicide, focus on the feelings or events that lead you to this point. This will help you understand why you self-harm and will make it easier for you to express them to someone else. Most importantly find someone to talk too. A friend, a counselor, or a parent. If you’re too nervous about talking to someone face to face, write them a note, send an email, or text. You many think everyone is too busy to deal with your issues or no one care, but the truth is you’re not alone. So please reach out for help and talk to someone. Slip a note in my locker or send me a message. I promise I will stand by you and help you decide where to get help. In the meantime, here are some coping methods that are less destructive:
If you self-harm to express pain and intense emotions
- Paint, draw, or scribble on a big piece of paper with red ink or paint
- Express your feelings in a journal
- Compose a poem or song to say what you feel
- Write down any negative feelings and then rip the paper up
- Listen to music that expresses what you’re feeling
If you self-harm to calm and soothe yourself
- Take a bath or hot shower
- Pet or cuddle with a dog or cat
- Wrap yourself in a warm blanket
- Massage your neck, hands, and feet
- Listen to calming music
If you self-harm because you feel disconnected and numb
- Call a friend (you don’t have to talk about self-harm)
- Take a cold shower
- Hold an ice cube in the crook of your arm or leg
- Chew something with a very strong taste, like chili peppers, peppermint, or a grapefruit peel
If you self-harm to release tension or vent anger
- Exercise vigorously—run, dance, jump rope, or hit a punching bag
- Punch a cushion or mattress or scream into your pillow
- Squeeze a stress ball or squish Play-Doh or clay
- Rip something up (sheets of paper, a magazine)
- Make some noise (play an instrument, bang on pots and pans)
Substitutes for the cutting sensation
- Use a red felt tip pen to mark where you might usually cut
- Rub ice across your skin where you might usually cut
- Put rubber bands on wrists, arms, or legs, and snap instead of cutting
by Desiree Coffey
2016 is Leap Year. The last Leap Day was on February 29, 2012. A common year is a standard calendar year with 365 days, 12 months and no extra day in February. On a Leaf Year the calendar year is 366 days long.
Leap Year was needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days (a tropical year) to circle around the Sun. If a day is not added on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost 6 hours every year. Six hours less of school might sound wonderful but after 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days.
Leaps Day has been a day of traditions, folklore and superstitions ever since Leap Years were first introduced by Julius Ceasar over 2000 years ago.
- Women propose to men: According to Irish legend – This is believed to balance the roles of women and men as Leap Days balance the calendar.
- 12 pair of gloves: If a man refuses a proposal on a leaf day, he has to buy her 12 pair of gloves (one pair for each of the 12 months). This is to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.
- In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on a Leap Day. While Greeks considered it unlucky for couples to marry during a Leap Year, and especially on Leap Day.
Happy Birthday to all those born on a Leap Day – Do you know any of these Leap Day babies:
- Pope Paul III was born on Leap Day in 1468.
- Gioacchino Rossini (Italian Composer) was born on Leap Day in 1896.
- Al Rosen (American Baseball Player) was born on Leap Day in 1924.
- Lyndon Byers (Canadian Hockey Player) was born on Leap Day in 1964.
- Antonio Sabato Jr. (Actor) was born on Leap Day in 1972.
- Ja Rule (real name Jeffrey Atkins – Rapper and Actor) was born on Leap Day in 1976.
- Chris Conley (Musician and Songwriter/Composer) was born on Leap Day in 1980.
Are you a Leap Day Baby? Let us know!
by Desiree Coffey
ARIES – Purple Hair
TAURUS – Dark Brown
GEMINI – Chestnut
CANCER – Highlighted Brown
LEO – Blonde
VIRGO – Ash Brown
LIBRA – Honey Blonde
SCORPIO – Black
SAGITTARIUS – Redhead
CAPRICORN – Rich Chocolate
AQUARIUS – Dyed Hair (any color)
PISCES – Light Blonde
What do you think? Any truth to this? I can say this – my grandparents have been married 50 years and my grandpa doesn’t have honey blonde hair (that would be funny) but my grandma does have black hair (well before the gray). I believe the heart loves who it loves and hair color should not be the deciding factor, respect, kindness, and loyalty are qualities I’m looking for!
by Desiree Coffey
Valentines day is coming up, and you know what that means, cards, candy, flowers, and gifts. here are 15 facts about the day of love.
- In Victorian times, it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine’s Day card.
- Based on retail statistics, about 3 percent of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gift to their pets.
- About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year.
- If you’re single don’t despair, you can celebrate Singles Awareness Day (SAD) instead.
- Instead of having Valentine’s Day, you can pop over to Finland where Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä, which translates to ‘Friends Day’. It’s more about remembering your friends then your loved ones.
- Physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their sorrow for lost love.
- More then 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day every year.
- 73 percent of people who buy flowers for Valentine’s Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
- 15 percent of U.S women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.
- Over 1 billion dollars worth of chocolate are purchased for Valentine’s Day in the U.S
- Over 50% of all Valentine’s Day cards are purchased six days prior, making Valentine’s Day a procrastinators delight.
- The rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love
- Red roses are considered the flower of love because the color red stands for strong romantic feelings.
- Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all Valentine’s Day gifts
- 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day each year.
by Desiree Coffey
Valentine’s Day is approaching and many are daydreaming about their secret crush. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be an all out declaration of love, a source of major hair pulling anxiety, sweat dripping, tongue tied, sick to my stomach feeling or just another failed daydream.
It can simply be an opportunity to let another person know you’ve noticed them. Maybe an opportunity to express that you like their smile, laugh, or eyes. It’s an opportunity to go beyond hallway stalking (you know you’ve done this) and maybe an opportunity to introduce yourself from a safe distance. Maybe building up to a passing head-nod or a smile. Or you could let a friend know you like them just a little more then you’ve let on. Not taking anything away from super romantic person that goes all out (we love those too).
Whatever you’re situation, don’t let fear or rejection hold you back. I say go for it!!!!! And if your crush doesn’t crush back, that’s okay. At least you know and you can start looking around and maybe notice the one (you’ve overlooked) who’s crushing on you!!! Oh, don’t worry, their out there!
Friend valentines are welcome too! “Feeling the Love” is what this day is all about. So, remember to wish your friends Happy Valentine’s Day too. They will be there with you when your crush isn’t anymore.
Friendly reminder! If you’re on the receiving end of that heart-felt valentine, please be kind and remember that person thought you we’re special enough to put their fears aside. A smile and a thank you goes a long way.