Meal Plan #1

salad october 2017

Sunday, October 8 2017

Breakfast:

Cheerio’s with organic skim milk.

Lunch:

Amy’s Organic Minestrone soup.

Afternoon snack:

7 mini sweet peppers from CSA box.

1 container Horizon organic chocolate milk.

Dinner:

CSA salad with green leaf lettuce, hot pepper slices, shredded red cabbage, tomatoes, and carrots. Newman’s Own balsamic salad dressing.

Night snack:

Fage 0 percent fat plain yogurt.

4 squares organic chocolate 74 percent cacao.

I’m not keen to buy cans of soup that have natural flavor as an ingredient.

Natural flavor is a euphemism for chemicals whose actual names don’t have to be listed on the nutrition label.

Yet make no mistake you’re consuming chemicals.

I’ll report back here with a recipe I’m making for some kind of squash that arrived in the CSA too.  It’s a Gold Nugget personal-size Hubbard. Perfect for lunch.

More recipes to come here in the coming weeks along with some belated fitness inspiration or what’s call fitspo.

Every little bit of wellness counts:

Just walking five blocks or have a salad or whatever bits and bursts and sprints of doing that we can helps us get mentally and physically better.

Every little bit counts.

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Doing Lunch with a Coworker

I’d like to talk about doing lunch with a coworker.

It’s a social exercise that can be awkward when you’re starting out after getting your first job.

The drawback is having to be “on” even when you feel like you’re not up to conversing fluently.

Some observations might help:

Simply observing manners will buy you time.

It benefits us to take careful bites and place the fork down before taking another bite. Pausing between forkfuls or between bites of a sandwich will give you time to plan what you want to say.

Thinking through your response will help you choose your words carefully too.

It’s also a good segue because you have time to actively listen to what the other person is saying without interrupting. Waiting your turn to speak is a great social habit.

Years ago–too long ago to count–I bought the Kate Spade book Manners.

Checking out of the library a modern etiquette book could be a great strategy after you’ve been made a job offer and accepted it.

For us ladies I recommend the Michelle Phan book Makeup: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success Online and Off.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk about another way to arm yourself for success on the job.

This could most of all benefit first-time job seekers.

 

Food Spending Challenge

Years ago Gwyneth Paltrow failed in living up to a food spending challenge.

She was allotted $29 dollars per week to buy food. It’s the amount of money the average SNAP or food stamps recipient gets to buy food.

The point is not that you should have to live on twenty-nine dollars each week. The point is that people who receive food stamps should get a livable benefit that’s bumped up to the cost of living.

You don’t say? Yes, I do. Give people collecting SNAP more money.

It’s unconscionable that Americans have to go hungry and without food.

I’ve said before in here that buying food at a Greenmarket and supplanting these items from a food pantry is nothing to be ashamed of.

I want to return to talking about nutrition and how to develop a healthy eating plan.

I’ve decide to chronicle three days worth of a nutrition plan and eating routine.

$175 dollars with a $5 delivery tip as part of this total cost bought me:

Lobster salad (not cheap because it’s real lobster)

One CSA Box (community-supported agriculture)

  • Contains green leaf lettuce, mini sweet peppers, five hot peppers, mint, thyme, and sage, red potatoes, head red cabbage, one carrot, 2 non-organic Empire apples, container of cherry tomatoes, and container of heirloom tomatoes

2 beefsteak tomatoes

2 containers organic blackberries

2 organic Bartlett pears

6 containers Fage (pronounced Fa-ye) fat-free plain yogurt

1 box Barbara’s crunchy oats cereal

1/2 gallon organic skim milk

58 oz bottle Evolution organic orange juice ( my go-to when oranges aren’t available)

2 bars organic 74 percent cacao dark chocolate

1/2 pound scallops

Earthbound Farms container organic spring mix salad

4 organic bananas (they often arrive green and need to ripen)
2 Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup
2 Amy’s Organic Minestrone Soup
2 Amy’s Organic Vegetable Barley Soup

In the next blog entry I’ll record the kinds of meals you can make that I made with these groceries.

I’d love to hear the kinds of recipes readers use to make meals.

 

Disability Employment Awareness Month 2017

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Five years ago in October I was trained on job search techniques for people with disabilities.

Really a lot of the job search methods aren’t unique to those of us with a mental health challenge.

It’s often simply that we’ve not had access to career counseling of any kind.

Today it’s exponentially better for a lot of peers because career services are now part of a wraparound therapy plan.

We should expect to be given career counseling. It should go without saying that peers are given this kind of treatment as an adjunct to medication and talk therapy or other therapy.

It’s a victory that peers today have better options in this regard.

I’m going to write in here on weekdays about careers and alternate with writing about nutrition.

I’ve set myself down my own Food Spending Challenge.

It’s a modified version of the one Gwyneth Paltrow tried to live on to mimic the budget of a person collecting food stamps.

Stay tuned.

Alternative Careers

librarian book cover

I recommend getting a library job as an alternative career to working in retail or working in a cubicle in an office.

Those of us without a library degree can get a job as a clerk in a library.

Or better yet those of us with great computer skills can get a tech position in a library.

This is because a lot of libraries aren’t hiring clerks anymore. Libraries today are creating tech support positions.

As the book cover attests, libraries attract a diverse crowd.

I started my new career when I was 35. It’s not ever too late to change gears.

This is a good thing to do when you’re having a hard time in your first career.

Mid life gives us the opportunity to change our lives for the better.

Like I’ve always championed:

It’s a kind of mental health treatment to have a job you love.

The book is interesting. You can check it out of the library if you can’t afford to buy it.

Commuting To and From Work

The idea of having to commute to and from your job is something to consider when choosing where to work.

Tales from my Career Crypt:

At my first job as an administrative assistant I had a 2 1/2 hour commute each way.

I took the bus from the starting point across the street from the public housing complex to the end point at the Staten Island Ferry. Then I took the ferry to Manhattan. From there I took a train to midtown.

That’s 22 1/2 hours every week traveling to and from an office job.

To top it off, the insurance firm’s management decided all employees had to work an extra half hour every day. So I had to be at the office from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This involved leaving my apartment at six o’clock in the morning.

I don’t recommend this for mental health peers. This would give you barely any free time at night to enjoy yourself when you come home from work in the evening.

What I recommend: trying to find a job with a half hour commute. Or if you need to have a longer commute try to find a job where you’re only in transit an hour each way.

In the 1990s when I worked in insurance offices you were also supposed to work overtime nearly every single day of the week.

Along with finding a job with a shorter commute I recommend finding a job where overtime is rare and not required.

In the next blog entry I will talk further about my early office jobs.

Then I’ll seguein to what I think can be a better option than taking a corporate job.

My stance is: I would still work in a corporate job only if I had the kind of stone cold temperament required to be all business, all the time in how I interacted with clients and coworkers.

My Administrative Assistant Job

In 1990 I obtained my first full-time job as an administrative assistant to the director of an insurance firm. It was the first job I held after I got out of the hospital in October 1987. I was 25 years old then.

Today most professionals type their own correspondence so a secretary job is on its way out as a viable long-term career.

I want to devote a number of blog entries to this first job I held to segue into information about the second nonfiction book I hope to publish within two years.

My experience at that first job is illustrative of what not to do when you’re a mental health peer first starting out.

I don’t recommend telling your supervisor that you have a diagnosis of SZ or BP or whatever you have that you’ve been given.

My first job was in a corporate office. I would say in retrospect from my own office jobs: consider a corporate position only if you have the temperament to handle the pressure.

I told my first boss what my diagnosis was. I might have been in tears when I told her.

Listen–I’m a woman and this is my blog–so I’m going to reveal something that no one else will have the guts to tell you:

Getting your period and having SZ at the same time is a recipe for ongoing hell.

I’m 52 now and boy am I glad all that is over. Getting your period can worsen your SZ symptoms. So if you’re caught in a crying jag and otherwise experiencing the worst at that time of the month:

I urge you to weigh carefully taking any traditional job where you’re entitled to only 3 sick days per year. That’s the scenario in most office jobs.

At my first job in the office, I would have to go home sick as soon as this monthly shit hit the fan. I’m telling you this as a female mental health peer because you’re not alone in what happens.

I have one purpose in telling readers this: because of this type of scenario I urge you NOT to disclose your diagnosis to your supervisor or coworkers.

In the 1990s, I found out that I could take BuSpar–a non-addictive mild anti-anxiety pill–thought to help with the PMS. Ask your female doctor if this could help you. I can’t diagnosis any condition or prescribe or recommend any drug.

Yet I write about my experience in the early 1990s as an administrative assistant to make the case for not disclosing your diagnosis at any kind of office job.

In my memoir Left of the Dial I employed a sense of humor in detailing the functions of my administrative assistant job.

It was hell, hell, hell, and then some more hell.

I took the job so that I could kiss the SSI checks goodbye and afford to live in my own apartment apart from “the system.”

With so much of the moods a young person could have and the severity of symptoms at that stage of recovery I understand how hard it can be to just exist in recovery doing the best you can at that age.

In my second nonfiction book I’ll talk about this in more detail.

I’ll end here and in the coming blog entries give you a preview of the information contained in the second book.

No one else is going to tell you these things yet someone has to.

Up next I’ll talk about one of the most awful words in the dictionary: commute.

The commute you have to and from work can also be hell when you’re just starting out.

I have ideas about how to manage that too.