Blog

Fitness, Uncategorized

The Importance of Mentors (My Experience)

Today, as I began to prepare for my new position as an online writing mentor for online English classes at my university, I remembered an important person that inspired me and provided guidance.

My neighbor down the block used to be a a competition body builder, though she didn’t even start this fitness journey until she was in her adult years. She then began working as a rehab physical therapist until she got ready to move. During this prep time, she ended up selling me a lot of her home equipment at really good prices simply because she said she believed in me and my fitness journey.

She knew I wasn’t particularly interested in competition prep, but also that I had a passion for exercise and healthy living. Pointers were provided left and right, she corrected my form on a few different lifts, and just made me feel ready to actually go after my goals.

Mentors don’t always have to be famous, rich, family, or whatever other guidelines society has attached to the term. A mentor is someone who guides you in the right direction so you can reach the end goal yourself. They show you possibilities and instill something as simple as hope.

This may sound cheesy considering my job made me think of this short relationship, but I believe any type of influence you have on a other person is important. Whether it be an academic influence, romantic influence, etc., your actions and words do matter.

I have always fluctuated with my workout patterns. I didn’t have a lot of equipment to work with and lacked motivation to go to the gym. Being able to purchase workout equipment in good condition at affordable prices totally changed the game for me. Now I couldn’t have excuses.

My neighbor opened this door for me, and through kind words of encouragement and a few instances of helpful criticism, convinced me to go on this journey open minded. I thank her for this, even if I haven’t gotten the chance to thank her personally.

Role models can be anyone and can impact multiple areas of your life. I suggest finding one who truly inspires you, makes you feel good about yourself, and shows that goals are obtainable.

I am now taking this experience and plan to incorporate it into my semester writing mentor job. Writing isn’t for everyone so I will therefore be pushing a lot of people who were just like me when starting out with fitness, worried, lost, and doubtful.

Support is always important. Feeling valid is a need. Having your own feelings acknowledged is relieving. Form meaningful bonds and connections with those who lift you up to your aspirations rather than pull you away from.

Helpful Links, Mental Health/Wellbeing

How My Campers Brought Me To My Next Venture

My summer job consists of being a kids camp supervisor at my college. Not only do I get to influence the kids, but they’ve already taught me so many things. While a lot of people look at children as mini adults, they’re more different than we think as they are still going through developmental stages. This makes them unique and fun to observe.

This also calls for the blunt honesty and raw emotion they show the world. I’ve seen kids cry, scream, mope, panic, etc. over the most insignificant things; that is, to me and other adults as it is real in their head.

It must just be the future social psychologist in me that has been so attentive to and thus inspired by the variety of children I’ve met. This day camp has an age range of 5-15 and nearly 70 campers at times, so it’s pretty easy to imagine the entertainment I get paid to witness.

Before this summer, I had been flowing through life still trying to figure myself out mentally. Now, however, I see that I’m still not ready to meet her yet. I am still learning just like all of my campers. Of course the levels of knowledge/intuitiveness are a little different in comparison.

In referencing learning, I’m not limiting this strictly to academics. I also mean spiritually. This idea came about as I began to relate to the kids at work, see myself in them, which lead me to crave the old feelings of euphoria, confidence, and curiosity that came so naturally in childhood.

Since then, I have been watching videos on getting in touch with yourself/inner being, having an open mind, meditating, and all of this other spiritual practice/thinking. (I will link below a few of the videos I enjoyed the most) No, I am not going to try everything but what matters is that I am going to try.

Humans have the potential to control their reality as it is subjective and a result of their own actions. With this power, it’s not so hard going back to the mentality of a child (minus academic knowledge) and just letting ourselves flow with the universe. To feel deeply, ask tons of questions, and just try to have fun.

Some may say this is hippie mumbo jumbo, but I see it more as putting my potential as a human to the test and allowing myself to grow. I am sad that this summer camp is coming to an end but am just feeling very grateful for getting the opportunity to have this job in the first place. Can’t wait for next summer, just so I get to learn more from these genius weirdos we call kids.

I am going to keep you guys updated with this new spiritual journey I am embarking on and would love to hear about yours as well as any insightful moments you’ve had when conversing with children. Comment below or email me.

 

e30829903af879505b9a24effde292f8.jpg

Fitness

Sweaty Sunday Workout (Arms & Abs)

Below is the simple workout I completed today. I am uploading the video to get practice in editing content, show off my hard work, and hopefully encourage others. Any questions, comments, concerns can be left below or emailed to me. I hope you enjoy and I apologize if it is a little choppy for my first video.

ce9fd675d764f3852be106c03cbf89d8

Helpful Links, Mental Health/Wellbeing

My New Friend Art Therapy

I know I’ve still been pretty MIA, but it’s for good reasons. I’ve put a lot of effort into my job, have been getting some things at home back on track, and have also been channeling my artistic side. Mentally this has been great and I feel stable/satisfied.

As this is a rare thing for someone like me, who’s constantly battling anxiety attacks, I have made one promise to myself. The promise is that I will continue to stay in touch with my inner artist whether it be with painting, drawing, jewelry making or dance.

By expressing my inner emotions through these different outlets rather than with words, I am releasing any tension and making room for more happiness. I also have been quite proud of my most recent creations which I’ll post at the bottom of this entry.

I have always been interested in the hands-on arts, but never put anymore effort into them than occasionally creating a piece. That’s because I forgot how good it feels to create something with your own mind and hands that you can show to others and admire anytime. This has also led to me to putting more of my original work up around our bedroom and other rooms in the house.

Now I am not saying I am going to focus all of my attention on my art, but I am going to make an attempt to keep it as part of my normal distressing routines. It may be my OCD, but I am a big believer in routines or plans. In fact, I have a list of activities that I can do to relieve anxiousness.

In past blog posts, I have mentioned things like exercising, listening to music, and performing acts of self care as different anxiety tools. Lately, painting/wire wrapping has been added to my tool box and I recommend it to anyone looking for a calm way to distract yourself or emotionally express yourself.

No, you don’t necessarily have to be artistic to paint or draw; it is important, however, that you let the creative juices flow and listen to your both your heart and mind. You may be surprised at how pleased you are for the end. This time doesn’t have to be freestyle either as you can look up tutorials or even follow along with some episodes of Bob Ross!

Below I have posted the links to two videos I thought were intriguing in terms of psychology and art. With my recent revelations, I do see how creating can make you feel more empowered, relaxed, and content. Enjoy and please share your creations in the comments!

 

36455639_10215315565156087_7094250533686345728_n36474014_10215315565236089_5627761781855223808_n36487623_10215315566196113_5272492060044165120_n36517253_10215315565396093_4919121186224340992_n

Uncategorized

Social Media Absence

Hello everyone, I apologize for me being MIA more recently. I am working part time and taking an online class, as well as doing some fun things for summer, and helping my mom around the house. I have missed blogging, and am excited to hopefully be back as I’ve created a schedule for myself.

On the other hand, not logging on to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even here, felt refreshing. For once, my full focus was on my own life and those closest to me instead of on complete strangers who I sometimes find myself comparing myself to. Therefore, I have decided that I will not be as active social media wise as I was before. This does not mean that I care any less about my journey or encouraging/inspiring others to start their own, but more that this is what need to better my mentality even more.

I encourage anyone who finds themselves constantly refreshing apps or social media sites out of boredom, depression, anxiety, etc. to take a break.  This doesn’t mean immediately avoid going on anything; it means to take small steps to minimizing this technology time. I started with the elimination of phone time in the middle of sleepless nights or right when I am getting up for the day. Yes, sometimes I slip up but that’s okay because this is a process.

However you specifically need to decrease the time you spend online in your life is up to you just as the reasons behind the decision to do so is. Personally, depression and anxiety lead to boredom or the shutting down of my motivation and I therefore result to social media which only makes me feel worse. I have noticed changes this week in my happiness levels and how long the highest ones last; they’ve improved as I removed social media time from parts of my days.

Remember, it’s always important to do what you need to do to feel your best. This means ignoring the social norms around you if they make your feelings feel wrong in any way. All emotions are valid. Everybody deals with things and is effected by situations in various ways. If you are going to take a social media break, I suggest you do it for yourself.

Again, I am not disappearing again. I am going to post regularly, just not as often as before. Having a busy life is okay and it is so important you effectively manage your energy and emotional levels during times like these. Get to know yourself while actually being able to enjoy the journey. 29173794aefc369a80e13833e8f9b278

Fitness

Yesterday’s Leg Day – May 31st, 2018

I apologize for getting this up a day late, but this week was CRAZY for me! First full week of my new job as a kids summer camp supervisor and it was exhausting but so worth it. The kids are amazing, plus I’m literally getting paid to swim, do arts and crafts, play games, and go on field trips. Who could ask for a better job?!?

Anyway, before our weekly meeting yesterday evening I managed to squeeze in a lower body (glutes, quadriceps/hamstrings, and calves) workout at the University gym. It was pretty short, but I powered through it fast making sure to take the shortest rests possible between sets. Below I will list the number of sets/reps I performed, but feel free to alter to your own preferences. Enjoy!

Circuit: 3 sets (8 reps)

  • Hack Squats (70 lbs)
  • Hamstring Curls (50 lbs)
  • Quadriceps Extensions (60 lbs)
  • Seated Calf Raises (45 lbs)
  • Deadlifts w/ (45 lb) Fixed Barbell  

Again, yes it is very very short BUT I was soaked in sweat and definitely sore today! I paired it with a quick mile on the elliptical with the intensity on 9. A great duo.

I wish you luck in all your health endeavors and hope you’re feeling as confident/motivated as I am and if not right now, just know you’ll get there with the right amount of effort. That being said, I also am going to provide you with some songs that accompanied me in this workout!

Mini Playlist:

  • Come on Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • All She Wants To Do Is Dance by Don Henley
  • My Sharona by The Knack
  • All Right Now by Free
  • Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran

You can tell where my music taste was yesterday! Whatever you choose to listen to and however you work out, just do it for you and have fun with it. It’s not meant to be something miserable, but something inspiring. Get to know your strengths!

34016225_10215071279969110_7235961420544737280_o

Mental Health/Wellbeing, Product Reviews

’13 Reasons Why’ Controversy – My Side

TRIGGER WARNING AND POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT! I WILL BE ADDRESSING VARIOUS TOPICS FROM SEASONS 1-2 OF THE SHOW.

Also please remember that the following critique if you will is completely my opinion. Nothing is based off of expert statements, it’s simply how I see the television show when using my own experiences and knowledge thus far to analyze it as I have both a passion for and academic path geared towards mental health.

I understand many may have opinions that differ from mine and I am 100% okay with that. I do ask, however, to avoid leaving negative comments publicly. If you feel you really need to talk to me about this post, contact me via email or DM on Twitter/Instagram. Whether or not I respond depends on the way you approach me.

Now, without further ado, my reasons that lead me to believe the Netlifx original Drama ’13 Reasons Why’ is an accurate and appropriate portrayal of modern day mental health/bullying problems.

1.) There are both discretion warnings and clips providing potential help for those who are or know someone else who needs professional aid or some other service.

There’s no doubt that a large amount of the content within the show can be seen as uncomfortable to look at, but, just like wildlife series or possibly war documentaries, warnings are provided to the viewer at the beginning of the program so they can decide whether or not to continue watching. Not only this, but the producers mention how some scenes could act as possible triggers for those who’ve experienced similar trauma or have other mental health concerns and suggest they only continue watching safely with a trusted friend/loved one. Some may think that just doing this isn’t enough; but in the industry, warnings/labels are all CD, television show, and other media producers can do to deter potential negative outcomes for certain audience members exposed to their media.

Similarly, as the show is coming to an end, hotlines and other forms of support are once again provided for the viewer. It’s not like the producers of the series are just simply showing mental health in a negative aspect and the potential power it can hold over even a group of people. The intended overall message, I believe, is that what we do and say matters a whole lot more than we think it does. Even if it doesn’t effect our own life in some significant way, doesn’t mean it impact another.

This whole idea is better in so many ways to have circling people’s TV screens than the majority of the entertainment that is also out there. Audiences were quick to attack the intensity at which both season one and two held, but there’s tons of other media out there that lack in a meaningful and relevant messages. Horror movies for example, are still released but alongside content ratings. In reality, however, this doesn’t stop kids from watching them.

Overall, the show addresses mental health issues from a serious point of view. Providing help, portraying multiple types of mental problems that are faced more commonly than the public tends to think. The show was intended to end the stigma behind mental health care and show how real, detrimental, and fast emotional/mental stress can absorb various types of people. It’s, in my opinion, one of the few shows that is so directed at helping the viewers and showing them they’re not alone.

2.) The intense scenarios they touch upon only make people uncomfortable because they’re recognized as taboo by society. The show is making effort to highlight these events and the importance of acknowledging them instead of burying them in shame. 

While not everybody may want to talk about sexual assault, suicide, depression, or bullying the truth is: we have to. People who deal with these topics and the like are sometimes forced to go through the struggle alone out of fear of what others will think/say/do based off of past experiences. This is not humane. We owe more to each other as the human race with such great emotional intelligence.

To just let suicide or bullying in teens carry on is negligent. I’m not saying that mental health shares no part of the limelight of public interest. This is in no way true since employers, schools, and the health field have all become more open over the years to the significance of mental health; yet, this did little to change/eliminate the stigmas stuck to the concept.

Referring back, once again, to the aspect of the warnings before/after each episode it’s obvious that the cast and crew are trying to bring awareness to and educate those scared/unsure about the challenges and risks of mental health issues left unattended to. I don’t see this as encouraging, or failing to accurately capture a wide variety of mental health struggles. The Netlfix series is more of a look into a part of the everyday psychological world that has been avoided in public conversation. It’s only furthering along the acceptance of mental health as a real field to be concerned about and aware of.

3.) These situations aren’t exaggerated or irrelevant.

Especially with the amount of attention more recently placed on sexual assaults within the show biz industry, I thought that the views towards such crimes would change. So far, I haven’t seen that. There still seems to be a divide between people who seek justice for such cases and those who turn to victim blaming or other opposing tactics. This is directly demonstrated in the verdict given after character Bryce Walker is tried for rape.

The teenager only receives 3 months of probation after a failed testimony by his girlfriend and Hannah Baker’s mother. I read somewhere that the writers made this so in order to truly reflect the realness of modern day rape culture. Justice is not fairly distributed to those faced with charges of rape/sexual assault and often the attention and pressure is more centered around the victim.

This then directly leads to the low amount of assaults that are reported compared to the amount that actually happen. I found the scene in one of the last few episodes of season 2 where different women from the show come forth in a court room, describing the time(s) they were themselves assaulted. This wasn’t really a necessary part for the development of the actual plot, but an opportunity the producers took to further outline the truth behind rape.

I personally know at least eight people (not just women) that have been raped or forced into some other type of assault. Not one of them pursued justice, but rather hid with pain and guilt much like character Jessica Davis. That is why this aspect of the show is so important. We need to educate audiences on the idea of getting professional help or recognizing concerning signs within themselves or other that could escalate if ignored. Until the victims feel comfortable enough to come forward, statistics won’t reflect the true rates of such traumatizing experiences.

Rape wasn’t the only thing I saw as necessary to show. The effects of bullying, whether over or covert, are so important. Through the exchanges between characters like Hannah and Zach or Hannah and Justin, it’s so clear how much other people’s own issues such as insecurities/fear of humiliation or wanting to be cool and approaching it in the wrong way can change more than just one person’s life. Hannah, directly impacted by the words that came from places of low self worth and ego in both Justin and Zach, managed to internalize these events so much that they added immensely to her already overwhelming stress load.

While thinking about things like “be nice to others”, or “treat people how you want to be treated” may bring one back to feeling like a little kid learning to socialize, they’re still important as we move through adolescents and adulthood. By just being nice to others, you are ensuring that you are not part of whatever internal turmoil they are dealing with. No, you can’t be nice to everyone all of the time, but paying more attention to your options when reacting to or initiating conversation can positively affect the outcome.

I see a perfect portrayal of this when Clay decides to go outside and coax Tyler out of entering the school dance with a weapon. Instead of freaking out, hiding, attacking Tyler, Clay chose to be his friend. Kinds words, a calm voice, and assurance managed to get Tyler to rethink his plan which ends up saving so many lives. Being nice or even just considerate to someone can really move them in a way larger than you can imagine since we can never accurately know what someone else is feeling/thinking. Always recognize everything deals with things differently, and those ‘things’ can vary in many ways.

There are so many aspects of the series that I have thoughts on about why it’s important, but I just wanted to share my general opinion. Personally, the series hits home as I experienced bullying, assault, depression, and other unpleasantness in middle-high school. I believe some who hold negative feelings towards the show may be lacking in ways to relate, but they could also be the exact opposite of the person who should watch a show like 13 Reasons Why.

No, I didn’t go and watch critique or review videos on the series. Yes, I am aware they directly ignored the advisory of a psychologist in some of their scene selection. That aside, I think it is a great series. It made me feel accepted, and I hope it did so for many others. We, as a race, have definitely made progress on the mental health track and I see this as continuing. Even if attempts to further progress such as this media depiction generate more opposing than supporting comments, it is enough that the ideas are at least being circulated. Change starts with conversation, something 13 Reasons Why depicts in the most blunt, sincere way.51kI5RoEVkL._SS500

Helpful Links, Mental Health/Wellbeing

Down Days Are Okay

Recently, I have gotten a lot of things done around the house since I’ve had more free time after the semester ended. In fact, I got so much done so fast that I found myself kind of overwhelmed with the amount of time I had so I of course decided to on literally everything.

While at the time this was a good idea, I soon found myself flat out exhausted. In the past I would have beat myself up over this feeling while trying to relax, which kind of defeats the point.

Instead of taking that negative approach, however, I told myself I deserve a rest day and am better off taking one. Some people might find this silly that I am addressing this as an important concept, but to me and others with disorders that affect their stress levels it is very crucial.

Anxieties can sometimes manifest themselves in ways that are rather productive. There is a point when this productivity can reach extremes that only add to stress and fatigue instead of the longed for feeling of release/relaxation. That is why everyone should make it a solid part of their routine to allow oneself a break or some rest.

I’m not saying that being productive and “in the zone” isn’t healthy as it does help to finish rather intimidating tasks. What I am saying is that you need to learn to listen to your body. Even if you only feel physically tired, it could mean you’re mentally wiped as well since the two are intertwined.

Recharging your batteries can do more wonders for your energy levels and thus accomplishments than pushing yourself to get an insane amount of things done. The goal of completing as much as possible as fast as possible seems of pure intention, and it can be, but it’s not worth the added stress that tiring yourself out to the extreme will bring.

Know when to stop and how to pace yourself in vigorous activities of all kinds to avoid burning out faster than usual. Get things done, but in a reasonable and healthy way. Also understand that weariness or tiredness can also come from mental stimuli, not just physical. If something has been pushing you mentally, that is another good reason for a down day.

After lounging around the house for the majority of the day, I felt 10x better. I cleaned intensely for hours yesterday and had even wanted to keep going but my back pain stopped me. I’m glad I got all of that done, but I don’t think it was worth being so tired and sore and I now see I could’ve better divided my time up.

A rocky night’s sleep added to my fatigue, which convinced me even more to stay in bed today. My favorite part is that I actually got to enjoy it since I’ve learned that even doing nothing is doing something for yourself/health and saw it as beneficial. Instead of punishing myself, I rewarded myself for knowing when to stop and listening to myself.

Relaxation is just as important as exercise, a good diet, and decent sleep. Without it, you could become a zombie who’s out of tune with yourself and the world. If you feel the need to binge watch Netflix, sleep for hours, or cuddle up with a book all day: do it.

These feelings or wants are your body telling you to pause. Take a break from the craziness of life. Enjoy the now and let your body rest in whatever way works best for you.

Just as with your workouts, make this time for you and enjoy. 6fc980c764515e73b320c67fedebe0a3

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week – Book Talk

The various stigmas and stereotypes that have become attached to mental health and all of the disorders, illnesses, and disabilities are starting to be socially challenged by mental health advocates around the world.

To me, this is significant progress for us human beings. For a very long time, suppressing emotions to show strength was taught in simple, early-life socialization (especially for males, but I’ll save a talk on cave man masculinity for another time). Phrases such as “Big kids don’t cry”, or “Cry baby” were commonly used in both the schools and homes of whole generations; this method of teaching kids to “handle” their emotions does still exist in some capacities, but modernization is changing that.

As the fields of Psychology and Sociology continue to evolve, we will continue to better understand and thus be able to manage our emotions in an appropriate manner. That is why it is so important to spread awareness of all things mental health. Employers, schools, even families would all benefit from being educated on this once taboo subject.

Recently, I have been reading a book titled Emotional Intelligence by science journalist Daniel Goleman. The big picture focuses on emotional intelligence as a whole, but one specific part regarding simply acknowledging your emotions.

It’s sort of hard for me to remember that there are people out there who don’t feel as deeply as I do. But the reality is that societal norms have established that mental health issues or even recognition is a sign of weakness: which in itself is deemed humiliating. This then has direct influence over individual personality and cognitive development/control.

People who ignore their feelings and emotions can be called “repressors” as they make an effort to bury anything that is negative (Goleman 75). I have known some people like this in the past and they typically claim this sort of aloofness aided them in managing stress and staying on track with life. This is actually also common among most “reppressors” or “unflappables” (Goleman 75).

Yes, these people may feel at ease, however, “they can sometimes siege with physiological upsets they are oblivious to” (Goleman 75). The fact that these people have trained themselves to ignore the indicators of songstress and anxiety is one reason why it’s time to realize the more talk on mental health, the better as our society is currently not tackling any of these issues but is rather instigating them. The movement was started, but it must continue.

So many people out there may need help and not even know it, or are too afraid to seek it in the first place. It could be your neighbor, parent, sibling, teacher, friend, or basically anyone you know as mental heath disorders/illnesses don’t know ethnicity, sexuality, or any other socially constructed category. By making it known that mental struggles are normal and that you’re never alone in the battle, suicide rates, employment rates, and so many other important aspects of our communities could potentially decrease.

A problem, like the lack of support in the mental health world, can only be reversed when given attention. So this is me encouraging you to speak. If you have faced things like anxiety, depression, PTSD, personality disorders, crippling phobias, or any other mental health classification try to share your story when relevant because it could save someone’s life, metaphorically or physically.

We have the power in our hands to face our mental struggles and should always empower others to do so. As always, both physical and mental strength are crucial to a happy human. Don’t waste your time focusing on exactly how bad you feel, but rather on why you feel that way and where to go from there.

Happy Mental Health Awareness Week. Remember to take care of yourself, take breaks, breathe, ask for help, help others, and grow a little every day.

P.S. I recommend the referenced text to anyone who enjoys psych/soc readings! (Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman)

2ed32a33842cce0140916a9cd0ba4ff0 c692768ab62a2003d47687723af7bdb0

Fitness, Mental Health/Wellbeing

Lower Body – May 14th, 2018

I apologize for having disappeared from the blogging world for a few days. Between vacationing in Mexico and going to three day-long trainings for my new job, I had to spend my spare time sleeping and relaxing.

Today, however, is the start of a new week and I came in hot. Got a lot done around the house, workout out, napped, and hung out with my mom; I was in the zone! I definitely realized how bad I had needed rest.

It’s vital to remember to give yourself breaks every now and then. This goes for both mental and physical aspects. Allowing yourself to recharge becomes necessary when you live a modern life that revolves around getting things done and constantly moving.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, so I wanted to base my content accordingly. Psychological health is often not given as much attention as it should get due to negative stigmas and stereotypes found in the media. By employers, teachers, family members, and even those with the disorders themselves, mental health can be ignored or repressed out of fear or denial.

Everyday I make sure to fight this cycle as I acknowledge my emotions and energy levels along with my overall physical health. I’ve stated this so many times before, but that’s because it’s not always known that your mental well being directly influences your physical well being.

Making small efforts to better the two simultaneously through things like exercise, reading, meditation, music, or anything else that makes you genuinely happy is progress towards your overall health.

That being said, if you decide to try out my leg day workout or a routine of your own, make it a goal to implement some mental exercise/care into your day as well.

Circuit One: 2 sets (see below for reps)

  • Dead-lifts w/ 2 (15 lb) Hand Weights — 12 reps
  • Stationary Lunges w/ 2 (15 lb) Hand Weights — 10 reps (each side!)
  • Sumo Squat w (20 lb) Hand Weight — 12 reps
  • Clam Shells w (15 lb) Hand Weight — 10 reps (each side!)

Circuit Two: 2 sets (see below for reps)

  • Side Leg Lifts w/ 2 (5 lb) Ankle Weights — 15 reps (each side!)
  • Super Man Leg Lifts w/ 2 (5 lb) Ankle Weights — 8 reps (each side!)
  • Crunches w/ (4 lb) Medicine Ball — 12 reps
  • Elbow-To-Knee Crunches — 12 reps (total!)
  • Ankle Touch — 20 reps (total!)

For cardio, I did 30 minutes on my cycle. I also made sure to stretch to avoid being super sore tomorrow.

Go at your own pace, change the sets/reps/weights when needed, and just make it your own. Throwing in some stretching and meditation would be a really good way to end this little routine out; speaking from experience ;).

Happy Monday and happy first day of Mental Health Awareness Week. Come back to my page or checkout my Instagram, @ereissen19, for more facts and information about mental health.

 

31968024_10214898983821814_6359646126311735296_n (1)

Fitness, Mental Health/Wellbeing

Yoga, Meditation, and Breathing Exercises

When I am in desperate need of relaxation, it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint what exactly can help me unwind. After trying various exercises and practices, I have found three stress relieving techniques that work for me every time. As always, it may be different for you and there’s so many different ways to chill out, mentally and physically. Just find what leaves you feeling the most refreshed!

The first thing I do when I’m stressed or strung out is yoga/stretching. I choose the style of yoga I would like to do at the moment based off what I feel my body and brain needs. Sometimes it has me sweating and gasping for breath, other times I focus on flexibility and a slow heart rate.

I turn to yoga to take care of myself in a natural, fun, and challenging way. Recently, I have even started to push myself to do daily flows just to better connect with my body and to have frequent stress relief.

The second thing I do when the pressure is on is meditate. It’s a soothing way to either release or confront anxieties and fears. This practice is rather new to me, but I have been doing more research. My university is also working with a company that produced a website called Calm Circle which acts as an online meditation guru. Using this tool is what sparked my interest in the more spiritual aspect of self reflection through meditation.

There are tons of apps, videos, etc. that can lead you into an easy meditation session if you ever wanted to try it out in the comfort of your own home. I highly recommend this technique if you struggle with anxiety, PTSD, and any other disorders or circumstances that involve tension. It may feel corny at first, but the farther you get into your experimentation with meditation, the more peaceful it becomes. You may even start to look forward to that 5/10 minutes a day; I know I do!

Lastly, I also utilize breathing techniques to relieve my anxiety. I have mentioned these types of activities before, but just wanted to revisit the topic.

These exercises slow the heart rate, place your focus on the rise and fall of your chest, and may help to see a situation in a more calm light. As breathing takes no special equipment, these techniques can be performed anywhere at any time which is why it is one of my favorites.

There are numerous different ways you can control/focus on your breath that can benefit you, you just have to search the web to find some you like. If you don’t want to get too fancy with it, simple in and out breathing is just as effective. Some is always better than none!

Overall, each of these practices is related in some way. Yoga involves both stretching as well as deep and focused breathing. The cool thing is that they can also be done separately if one part of the combination isn’t your forte or it isn’t a reasonable time for all three.

Every now and then I do just clump all three together, but I also have done each individually quite a few times and know they have the same “healing” or comforting factors. I haven’t found myself as benefiting from these techniques just anxiety wise, but contentment and energy wise as well.

Stress and mental illness can really drain a person. Through yoga, meditation, breathing, or all of the above, we can take care of our bodies and minds in gentle ways. Even if it takes a while to master the different actions, they’re all worth it as are all of the other practices out there. 32202870_10214910042898284_8830381309500063744_n

Fitness

Tuesday 5/1/2018 – Arms/Back/Chest Day

Happy May! Lately, the majority of my time has been taken up by family and school, but the craziness is sooooo close to being over for a few months! To anyone and everyone out there working, going to school, or pushing yourself in some other way every day: cheers! It takes a lot of determination, self control, and logical thinking.

When I workout directly before something like a final exam, I find that I concentrate better because I got some of my nerves out. It’s like with a baby or puppy, you wear them out so they aren’t too “hyper”.

Anyways, I had my second to last final of my Spring 2018 semester at ASU tonight and squeezed the following workout and 13.5 miles on the cycle in before it. There are other tips I suggest for unwinding before an important event/task which will appear in a later post.

As usual, if you try the workout please leave feedback and do it for you. I felt I needed to push myself a little harder than usual today and was immediately refreshed. Happy sweating and goal crushing!

Circuit One: round 1 (10 lb hand weights & 8 reps each)

  • Close Body Hammer Curl
  • Front Row
  • Elbow Squeeze
  • Shoulder Press

round 2 (8 lb hand weights & 10 reps each)

round 3 (5 lb hand weights & 12 reps each)

Circuit Two: round 1 (10 lb hand weights & 8 reps each)

  • Bent Over Tricep Extension
  • Bent Over Row
  • Bent Over Side Fly
  • Bicep Curl

round 2 (8 lb hand weights & 10 reps each)

round 3 (5 lb hand weights & 12 reps each)

Take this at your own pace, modify it, add to it, whatever you want to do! Just continue on with your journey and I am continuing on mine. It’s both mental and physical, so take care of yourself in every way you can.

ccd23383d3f12d1c0ad1243f73da0c53

Fitness

Wednesday 4/25/2018 – Upper Body/Ab Day

Hello all! Today was arm/back/chest and ab day, and I am sore. Just like before, I am going to list the workout I did with my reps/sets as examples; go at your own pace. As always, if you feel pain, stop performing the exercise. You can also look online for modified versions of the move, alternatives, or explanations/demonstrations.

If you have any suggestions or feedback, all is welcome and very much appreciated. I am sharing my fitness journey in hopes of inspiring and encouraging others to pursue their own health goals.

One thing we do have influence over is our health, so why not build the best you inside and out. It’s a process, but the rewards of confidence, amazement, and knowing you do your best are way worth it.

Below is my upper body/ab workout. Enjoy!

Circuit One: 12 repetitions 2 sets

  • Side Arm Raise w/ (two 5 lb) Hand Weights
  • Front Row to Shoulder Press w/ (two 5 lb) Hand Weights
  • Bent Over Row w/ (two 5 lb) Hand Weights
  • Bent Over Side Fly w/ (two 5 lb) Hand Weights

Circuit Two: 2 sets (see below for reps)

  • Wide Hammer Curls w/ (two 5 lb) Hand Weights — 12 reps
  • Pull-Ups — 2 reps or until exhaustion
  • Chin-Ups — 2 reps or until exhaustion
  • Windmill — 12 reps (per side!)
  • Standing Weighted Twist — 24 (total!)

Personalize this workout by adjusting reps, weight, or sets or even add something new in! However you choose to burn some calories, make sure you enjoy it and listen to your body.

P.S. Sorry I had no music to share today, I finished the last season of New Girl on Netflix! My next workout post will definitely have some beats, and maybe even some photos!

d005d870f3e0fd830025b09af805132b

Fitness

Monday 4/23/18 – Leg/Glute/Ab Day

This is the very first of many of my target muscle group workouts that I will be sharing. The number of repetitions, weight used, as well as the number of sets is all about what is best for you, but I will be listing what I performed as an example. If you are unsure of how to do any specific exercise, I suggest searching for demonstrations on either Google or YouTube.

The last thing you’ll find on today’s post is a handful of songs that I did this work out to today. They have awesome beats and I found they really had me sweating. Enjoy, leave feedback and if you try it out, feeeeeel the burrrrrrn!

Circuit One:  2 sets of 12 repetitions each

  • Sumo Squats w/ (10 lb) Medicine Ball OR Hand Weight
  • Dead-lifts w/ (two 15 lb) Hand Weights
  • Donkey Kicks w/ (5 lb each) Ankle Weights

Circuit Two: 2 sets (see below for reps)

  • Jump Lunges w/ (5 lb each) Ankle Weights — 15 reps
  • Hanging Crunches w/ (5 lb each) Ankle Weights — 8 reps
  • Hanging Side Crunches w/ (5 lb each) Ankle Weights — 8 reps

Circuit Three: 2 sets

  • Clam Shells w/ (5 lb each) Ankle Weights — 15 reps (each side!)
  • Sit-Ups w/ (10 lb) Medicine Ball — 15 reps
  • Bicycle Crunches w/ (5 lb each) Ankle Weights — 20 reps (total!)

Circuit Four: 2 sets (see below for reps)

  • Ankle Touches — 20 reps (total!)
  • Elevated Legs Crunches — 12 reps

Mini Playlist:

  • Nice For What by Drake
  • Drip by Cardi B feat. Migos
  • She Bad by Cardi B & YG
  • Walk It Talk It by Migos feat. Drake
  • Stir Fry by Migos
  • Lemon by N.E.R.D & Rihanna
  • Best Friend by Sofi Tukker feat. NERVO, The Knocks & Alisa Ueno
  • Rake It Up by Yo Gotti feat. Nicki Minaj

Again, please lead any feedback or feel free to message me. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I will be implementing them into my workout posts very soon. Stay hydrated and get your sweat on! You can do it! Pace yourself, put on some good music, and have fun.

142fb9d91b0a914f0a7b1499d7ffa1e8

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Goal Setting As Motivation

When planning ahead for a trip, you may make a list or print out directions in order to ensure a good time. Not only does this get you more excited for the trip, but it helps you to get there in the smoothest way possible. This same process can be used for goal setting.

Goals can be desired end points for a plethora of things from fitness levels, to grades, to finishing a to-do list, to getting a future career. They can be big or small, hold a ton or very little importance. No matter what kind of goal you want to set, having a plan to reach that goal is vital.

Lists, charts, vision boards, Pinterest boards, art, etc. can all be ways to prepare for and pursue your specific goal(s). Some may think making goals out of small things is a waste of time, but I actually find it makes it more likely that I’ll reach that goal. Even if all I wanted to do was get a few loads of laundry done, when I actually do it I feel so successful and confident. This then of course affects other areas of my life in a positive way.

Especially with having anxiety, having goals allows me to properly manage my time and get things done with less stress. I know what I need to do, by when, and then the ‘why’ becomes so much more clear. This is true especially for things I have to get done for school or potential jobs that induce more anxiety. By letting myself see why I need to get it done, I’m actually encouraging myself.

Encouragement is one key to self success in goal setting, but so is the concept of reality. When setting a goal for yourself, you need to remember that you’ll only be let down if your desired turn out is actually impossible. Setting reasonable boundaries will allow you to create realistic and obtainable goals. As you continue to reach your different goals, your confidence will continue to grow.

Being someone who has been insecure many times, building up that initial confidence was hard. Once I got there though, it was like nobody could stop me. Achieving academic and health goals to me is like a high in itself. Knowing I put a healthy amount of pressure on myself and flourished because of it is so rewarding. The human body and brain are capable of so much there’s no sense in ignoring that. Goal setting, planning, and achieving allows you to see your strength in its entirety.

I’m a strong believer in pushing yourself while also staying in tune with your mind and body. We’re all unique individuals and finding tactics that help you get in the groove of life will aid in a more content life.

By laying everything you want to see happen out in front of you, it makes it easier for you to put together the puzzle that eventually gives you the whole picture. Dreaming, while fun, is not a way to make things happen. It’s the first step in progress, but also the most dangerous as you could easily live your whole life there if you don’t start to take charge of your own timeline bit by bitba1dc8d1235f073a71d116324d4c97e9.

P.S. I am also linking a TEDX Talk I really liked. Please take a look if you are interested in goal setting!

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Genuine Connection Is Essential

I’m sure we’ve all had friendships where the sole basis is because we had a class with, or worked with, or lived next door to and nothing truly person. While these relations do provide benefits, you also deny yourself of establishing a true human connection.

Sure, it’s alright to have a few acquaintances from whom you benefit and vice versa, but it’s crucial to also create strong bonds with people.

Everyone knows that personalities are different and have a major role in successful relationships. It’s healthy to try to be friends with people you normally wouldn’t hangout with, but it’s even healthier when you know where to end the friendship if it’s not what you want.

There’s no point in continuing on with someone whom you don’t relate to, enjoy being around, or trust. This goes for both romantic relationships and platonic friendship.

Old friends as well as newer friends have of course taken me a while to get comfortable with, but I did it. I slowly worked on building up my own trust as well as there’s and I can honestly say I trust all of them with my whole heart.

It’s the same way with my boyfriend. I fully trust him, confide in him, and express myself to him. I’m thankful everyday I get to spend my time with him and grow with him.

As for those that are no longer in my life, I found that my personality or goals for myself no longer matched up with their’s. It’s okay to let people go in order for yourself to grow. Find people who are your sunshine.

Especially when you battle with mental health issues, finding people who can make you feel safe, relaxed, and loves is a must. You don’t have to go through whatever it is alone. There are people out there that will care about you, help you, and give you their time.

Once you have found the beautiful humans that you click with, do everything you can to maintain a healthy relationship.

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Organization Can Change Your Life

Have you ever been looking for some object you needed in that moment and thought to yourself “I wish I was more organized, then this wouldn’t be happening!”? It can be very frustrating.

Over the years, my anxiety has almost trained me, in a way, to be prepared for anything and everything to happen. Now, I am insanely organized and would never go back. Mainly, having some type of order can aid in providing a sense of security. One less thing to stress about in that moment. Who doesn’t need less stress?

This comes in handy everyday, but especially on busy or otherwise nerve-wracking days. These tips I am going to list below are not the only ways to get organized. I always fall back on Pinterest to get new, fresh ideas and 100% recommend that if you don’t find something you like here or want to add a few more ideas to this list. It’s all personal preference!

30705609_10214740033128146_8698369348916739675_n

Above is my desk. I try to keep it as clean as I can, and set up so that I know where basically everything is. You can do this by:

  • The use of containers of some sort for pencils/pens, paperclips/push pins, etc.
  • Getting a smaller lamp as it will take up less space
  • Purchase or make a file/paper holder ( I have 2: the purple stacked one, and the one holding my notebooks/folders)
  • Get rid of ANYTHING you don’t need including papers; if there is something you need to keep but it has no reason to be out currently, I suggest you make a space either in a closet or large drawer for school/work/other that is separate from your regular desk/office area to lessen overwhelm

I also try to make it a key point to make my working area visibly pleasing and relaxing. That way, when I am bombarded with school work, or my anxiety is creeping in, I can take a small break and regain focus. I did this by:

  • Adding the ‘Happiness’ quote canvas (I got it at a yard sale!)
  • Putting up photographs of my boyfriend and I because he is my rock and so inspiring (and handsome!)
  • A wall calendar with only major plans/appts/due dates (not as scary when everything you HAVE to do isn’t always right in front of you)
  • Photographs of me and my ASU buds
  • University memorabilia/awards for encouragement
  • A white board (I like putting up weekly inspiring quotes on mine)
  • Daily to-do lists (small lists of things to get done are more likely to make you do it rather than a super long list that seems impossible)

Overall, I don’t treat my desk as a dreadful place like some might do. The workload that I associate with my work space is not daunting, it’s empowering. If you can alter your mindset into seeing the positive twist on things especially like homework or work endeavors, you will feel better and thus work better. Your work should encourage you; you’re only advancing because of it, even if you don’t always see it right away.

Of course there are other ways to bring organization into your life. I won’t be getting in to detail about every way I stay organized as that would take too long, but I am going to provide a brief list in hopes to get your creative juices flowing:

  • My closet (organize by type of clothing/color/season)
  • My purse (always have important things you might need)
  • My backpack (same as purse, but w/ some school things too)
  • My routine (I set aside a few minutes each morning and night right before/after bed to clean up our room, wash my face, etc.; self care!)
  • My plans (I have 3 calendars: Google linked both on computer and phone, wall calendar big events, and school planner for everything including weekly homework schedules)(Planning ahead can help with effective time management)
  • My goals (when setting goals it’s important to have them be realistic and prepare a solid path to reaching them; this can be done in so many ways!)

If you weren’t very organized before, I do hope I encouraged you just a little bit. If you already are organized, I hope you related to this post and ask you to share your ideas. I wanted to share these hacks because I know how greatly they’ve impacted my life in a good way. Stress is a b*tch so I wanted to share a way in witch I take ‘her’ down.

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Focus On What You CAN Control

Within the past few months, I have been able to directly pin point one of the main feelings that induces my anxiety: the need to be in control. This could sound odd to some, but for many others dealing with anxiety disorders, control is a very important concept.

Wanting everything to go exactly as planned for fear of what could happen if it doesn’t, or maybe attempting to control the reactions and actions of everyone around you again out of fear of the potential outcomes. These instances are of great familiarity to me. Recently, after coming to this realization, I have confronted this issue directly by turning the focus solely on things that I actually can control.

This means that instead of trying to plan every second of everyday based on tasks I need to complete, I just make a simple list ahead of time so I know what I need to get done, without the use of time restrictions; I find they only further stress rather than help to reduce it. It also means that when I have an argument or tense words with someone in my life, I don’t get upset at them feeling whatever it is they feel even when it doesn’t agree with my own emotions.

The main idea here is that there are a lot of big things we have no say in. Other people will always do whatever they want to do or say whatever they want to say regardless of whether we like it or not. We have no say in the majority of things, except our own actions and reactions. Taking on this responsibility is something I recommend for anyone feeling like they just can’t get a handle on anything anymore.

By throwing the false sense of control out the window, I provided myself with the opportunity to channel my need for control to things that would benefit my life.

I began to work on my physical fitness by incorporating healthier eating habits and exercising habits into my life. I placed more importance on my school work. After evaluating the status of all of the relationships I value, I adjusted the effort I put in accordingly. I began making more decisions on my own, unless I really felt I needed further help. Overall, in every area of my life that has an immediate impact on my happiness and stress levels, I did only what I can to better those areas.

It’s hard in a world where human connection and time are such valuable things to not put everything on yourself when things don’t go right. It’s even harder to change over from a pessimistic outlook to an optimistic one. It is, however, the best way to release the need to be in control.

It may sound cliche to say that everything happens for a reason, or that you need to just go with the flow, but from my experience, it’s true. This process I just described helped me to better understand my anxiety. And the better you understand yourself, the better you can become at enjoying your personal journey.

8ed73df16720f0459b53b52a5f7eda89

Fitness, Mental Health/Wellbeing

Easy To Follow Tips To Make Your Lifestyle A Little Healthier

Fitness isn’t for everybody, I get that. It requires a lot of commitment, patience, and drive. But it doesn’t have to be so hard! There are little things you can do to help ease you into your fitness journey and that’s what I am going to talk about today. These are just some tips I’ve noticed really helped me implement health into my busy life and as always there are a TON of more hacks you can find on Pinterest or other fitness blogs/websites so feel free to explore and only pick things that work for YOU!

1. Carry a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE. This will make it easier to remember to drink water. The recommended amount for water is 2 liters per day, but you don’t have to start out with that if you don’t drink water regularly. Ease yourself into this practice and up your water intake as needed. The more water you drink, you’ll start to feel yourself maintain good energy levels and your skin, organs, and entire body will thank you!

2. Limit, but don’t eliminate junk food. You never want to suddenly change your entire diet. This will just make it easier to quit as you’ll be miserable without some of the foods you love. Of course, don’t just eat whatever you want whenever, but instead PORTION. Moderation is key here and if you’re like me and get overpowered by junk food cravings, portioning out your guilty pleasures ahead of time will help to ensure you’re not overindulging. Your diet doesn’t need to be strictly healthy things and make you miserable, you just need to find a healthy balance. You can still eat what you want, just pay more attention to how much you eat. Moderation, moderation, moderation!

3. Substitute fruit for a healthy, sweet snack. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s easy to curb those cravings with fruit. If you really need an extra kick of sweetness, add some sugar (I always do when I eat strawberries).

4. Start yourself on an easy and doable workout system. There’s no need to jump in and start working out everyday. You’ll end up wearing yourself out way too much and will be more likely to quit. Scheduling a simple program that works with your schedule is very important. All you need to start is a dedicated 3-4 days a week for cardio and 2-3 days of strength/weight training. You can even mash some of these days together and knockout both workouts if you really want to, but remember to also give yourself rest days as your muscles will need time to heal.

5. Don’t stress if you slip up. Even if you consume a large amount of unhealthy food or miss a workout or two, don’t beat yourself up over it. You will face road blocks and failures on your fitness journey, but it shouldn’t discourage you. Of course, you can’t let these slip-ups happen all the time, but every once in a while is reasonable. Instead of punishing yourself for it, push yourself harder. Use your failures as motivations and your journey will continue on the right path.

6. Get cute workout clothes and lay them out ahead of time. If you like your outfit and feel confident in it, you’re more likely to workout and look forward to it. You don’t need to have a set for everyday of the week of course, but having 2-3 outfits of your liking can really help. Then, if you lay out your clothes ahead of time, it’s one less thing to worry about before going to the gym and you may be more likely to go and to feel a little guilty if you don’t since you already had it all planned out and ready.

7. Share your goals and plans with friends. By inviting friends to join you on your fitness journey you are not only bettering yourself, but helping them to do the same while also improving your relationship with them. It’s encouraging to have someone with the same goals and to have someone to lean on when you are faced with setbacks. It’s a win-win for both of you!

8. Take the stairs every time you can. This may sound silly, and I know everyone hates stairs, but choosing to take them rather than the escalator or elevator can add just a little bit of a physical challenge to your everyday life. You’ll feel better knowing you chose the healthier option too!

9. Walk everyday. Even if you only have time for a brisk 10 minute walk, this can hep to get your blood pumping. It’s also easy to incorporate into almost every lifestyle! You can even grab a friend or your pet to accompany you to make it that much more fun. It may not seem like a lot, but over time, walking everyday can really improve your health.

10. Positive affirmations. Now this tip is more for your mental health, but definitely has an impact on your physical health as well. By telling yourself, writing out, or even just reading daily positive affirmations, you can help to improve your confidence and to motivate yourself. Both of these things can help you in your fitness journey as they will make you look forward to your workouts and to focus more on your accomplishments and goals rather than failures. As I’ve said before, it is vital to work on improving both your mental and physical health simultaneously as they go hand in hand.

I hope these tip help or encourage you to start your fitness journey. It doesn’t have to be hard or scary, it just needs to be for you. Everyone is different, so of course your journey and the steps you take will be different and unique as well. Have some other daily practices that help you maintain a healthy lifestyle? Feel free to share!

d5e9fdde5159d9317992a5d088157314

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Songs For When You Want To Have A Good Cry

Every now and then you may feel like you just need to cry. This is completely normal and you should give in to this feeling. Crying is a form of stress relief and can work wonders when you’re feeling like you just can’t get past the initial hump of sadness.

Sometimes, when I get this urge, I put on a sad movie, read a sad book, or listen to music. Today, I am going to give you a list of songs that get my tears flowing. As I stated in my other music-related post, my music taste is all over the place and the songs that are in this list will be too. I hope you enjoy!

1. Hello by Adele

2. Lonely by Akon

3. It Ends Tonight by The All-American Rejects

4. Breezeblocks by alt-J

5. Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys

6. Let It Be by The Beatles

7. If I Were A Boy by Beyonce

8. Where Is The Love? by The Black Eyed Peas

9. Go To Hell, for Heaven’s Sake by Bring Me The Horizon

10. Sober by Childish Gambino

11. Lead Me Out Of The Dark by Crown the Empire

12. Skyscraper by Demi Lovato

13. Hold On, We’re Going Home by Drake featuring Majid Jordan

14. The A Team by Ed Sheeran

15. Ghost by Ella Henderson

16. Stan by Eminem

17. Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie

18. Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine

19. You Found Me by The Fray

20. Breakeven (Falling To Pieces) by The Script

Like I said, these may not fit your style. But luckily there are TONS of songs out there that could work for you. Music is meant to be personal, so always find what works best for you.

Remember, it’s okay to cry! It’s not a sign of weakness, but more of a symbol of strength. By releasing those tears, you are showing the world that you are in touch with your emotions, which takes a lot of bravery as well as strength. Humans were given brains built with the ability to feel things deeply, so don’t deny yourself that part of your nature. Release your emotions as necessary for you. It’s important to know yourself and allow yourself to be open. 6585e6486f3ac361ef4c5bc03d9b142a

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Eliminating Toxic People

Have you ever had a friendship or relationship where it felt like you were putting in more sincere effort than the other person? Or that this person was simply using you for their own benefit and thus sucking you dry of all the love you gave to them? I know I have, and the day I decided I would no longer engage in any relations with these characteristics ultimately changed my life.

Sure, it’s not an easy process. To just walk away from someone you love and care for takes a lot of courage and strength, which can take a while to build up. But when it does, and you find yourself closing the door on your connection with that person, you allow yourself to heal. It’s not wrong or even selfish, in any way, to leave behind someone who takes from you and doesn’t give back. It’s an act of self care.

Relationships, whether romantic or strictly platonic, are meant to be a team effort. Sometimes you may have to give a little more or take a little more, but that shouldn’t be the norm. To lean on one another during tough times is one thing, but to make every part of communication a therapy session is not okay. It’s both draining and a strain on the bond and overall unfair to both parties.

Personally, I have been on both ends of the spectrum. I have allowed myself to take and take and take from someone without giving them the same opportunity. I have also given people everything I had and received nothing in return. Neither spot is a good place to be in.

There needs to be enough respect to understand boundaries of give and take in order for any relationship to be fair. Without these set boundaries, someone will get hurt. That is why it’s so important to pay attention and reflect on the way you feel in regards to how your friends and everyone in your life treats you. Odds are, if you feel like you’re putting more effort in than the other person, you probably are.

From here, you have two choices. Voice your feelings to the other person in hopes of being met with understanding and a solution or to simply decide what is best for you and walk away.

In the end, you probably will miss that person even if they weren’t the best friend or significant other. But it’s easier to miss someone when they’re actually gone than it is to miss them when they’re sitting right next to you. Life is too short to have half-assed relationships and bonds with people. Especially when there are plenty of other people out there that would be more than willing to equally return your love and affection you give.

Like I said, it won’t be easy. You’re going to hurt. But you will heal. Toxic people only make for a toxic life, and no one deserves to feel stuck in such negativity when there are ways out. Stop jeopardizing your happiness and sanity caring for people who don’t do the same. You owe that to yourself.

37b6614959c51fd215e9caa07ba46851

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Songs That Boost My Mood

One of my favorite things for a quick mood fix is definitely listening to music. My music tastes goes all over from Pop, to Hip Hop, to Rap, to Rock, on and on. Below I’m going to list some of my top ‘uplifting’ songs. I’m not sticking to a specific genre with this list, so many of you may only find a few or maybe even no songs from here that could help you. Everybody’s music taste is different and I respect that, so please no nasty comments in regards to my picks! Take what you can, or stick to what you already like!

1. Secrets by Mary Lambert 

2. All Night by Chance the Rapper

3. Lemon by N.E.R.D and Rihanna 

4. Downtown by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

5. Stir Fry by Migos

6. Out of My League by Fitz and The Tantrums

7. Any Way You Want It by Journey

8. Gives You Hell by The All-American Rejects

9. Respect by Aretha Franklin

10. Magic by B.o.B feat. Rivers Cuomo

11. Help! by The Beatles

12. Here Comes the Lightning by Big B

13. Hey Mama by The Black Eyed Peas

14. Electric Love by BORNS

15. Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters

16. The Warrant by Foster the People

17. Budapest by George Ezra

18. Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae

19. Thunder by Imagine Dragons

20. i by Kendrick Lamar

While there are of course MANY other songs which improve my mood and get me going, I didn’t want to overwhelm my readers with a list so long they don’t even finish it. Music is a good stress reliever, way to distract yourself, and a way to express feelings that are otherwise hard to put to words. It has therapeutic qualities and I truly believe in utilizing it as a tool to combat mental illness.

Whether you need to get your mind off things or get ready for the day when you’d rather just be at home in bed, I find music a reliable source of quick happiness and highly suggest testing this out for yourself if you haven’t already. It’s always worth it to add another tool to your toolbox for whatever mental battle it is that you face!

musictherapy

Mental Health/Wellbeing

When A Wave of Depression Hits, These Things Aid In Getting Me Back To Shore

The feeling of not wanting to do anything at all, for no reason at all really. Except the fact that you’re tired, in multiple ways. That’s depression. When I get these symptoms, it comes almost in waves; it washes over me and pulls me this way and that until I’m exhausted. That’s why I took the time to think about what really helps me get out of that funk and regain energy even when I think I’m stuck. They may seem simple, but they really do boost your mood and help you ground yourself.

1. Go For A Walk. Yes it may seem silly, but it’s an easy way to get your blood pumping and some sunshine on your skin. Both of which can have relaxing and rejuvenating effects.

2. Take A Shower And Brush Your Teeth. To me, not only does the warm shower soothe me, but the feeling of cleanliness does too.

3. Take A Well Deserved Nap. Being depressed really does drain your energy. It’s 100% acceptable to take a nap when you’re tired, even if it’s just mentally. Recharging your mind can recharge your mood as well.

4. Cry It Out. Sometimes that release your brain gets from crying is completely worth it. Plus, it’s not healthy to avoid crying really. If you feel like you need to cry, do it! You’ll most likely feel 10x better.

5. Bust A Move. Throw on your favorite jams, angry or happy or just whatever you’re feeling in the moment. Then simply get up and dance your heart out. Not only is this exercise and therefore improving mood but it;s just plain fun to dance like a crazy person once in a while.

These are just a few things I find helpful in getting me through those tough periods of my depression. Of course there are different things for everybody and tons of things that weren’t on this list. I like to use Pinterest to explore different techniques every now and then also.

It’s easy to get swallowed up by the feelings that depression allows you to feel which is why it is so important to know yourself and what you need to get you through it the smoothest you can. It may take a while, but everybody’s journey is different, you just have to do what’s best for you!

11755679_10206556707270114_2637088326042585210_n

Mental Health/Wellbeing

My Anxiety Attack Hacks

Having a mental illness will without a doubt directly affect your daily life. This could be anything from not getting enough homework/work done, or not doing the simple little tasks you planned on doing that day. Either way, it’s hard and for the most part really annoying. Today I am going to give you some of the things I have learned help me when I am having an anxiety attack.

Overall, an anxiety attack for me can be from something as small as obsessively playing with my hair or shaking my leg, to a full-blown melt down where I cry and can’t catch my breath. With the help of my therapist, I have developed a small list of things that aid in re-grounding and focusing myself.

  • The first is something you may have already heard of and has to do with the senses. First, find something that you can see. It can be literally anything that’s currently in front of you. Next, find something you can touch. If my boyfriend is near, I will hold his hand for this, or sometimes I even just feel the pattern on my jeans. Then, listen to whatever noises are with you right now. Next, take a deep breath in and identify any smells you can (if you have enough time, you can even light a candle, incense or use an oil diffuser for extra calming effect). Finally, tune in with your taste-buds (here you can make a tea or other type of drink for yourself, or simply focus on the taste of your own mouth as odd as that sounds). This technique will help you calm down as well as get you focused on the here and now. I find myself doing this at least once a day and I really believe in it’s calming effects.
  • Another thing I have taken the time to practice is breathing exercises. This one in particular really helps to focus your mind as well as slow down your heart rate. First, take a 4 count worth of deep breath in through your nose. Make sure to inflate your tummy first, and then your chest. Then, on the exhale, again do it for 4 counts, making sure to empty again your tummy first and then your chest. Do this for as long as you feel you need and really focus on isolating the tummy and chest.
  • The next thing that really helps me is simply talking to a friend. Sometimes I don’t even talk about what is bothering me. Just the feeling of knowing you’re not alone or that someone cares enough to talk to you can have a calming effect. If I do talk about my anxiety, I only talk on it to the extent with which I feel comfortable but I am also completely honest as then the person can help me to the best of their ability. Whether you need advice or just comforting, having someone to chat with could relieves the sense of doom the attack can bring with it.
  • The last thing I like to do during this time of panic is to write the reason I was triggered down. This helps to see your anxiety, rather than just feel it. From here, you can think about whether or not it was a logical and reasonable attack and any possible solutions or alleviation. Writing it down also can help to remind you that you have more power over the anxiety than it does over you. If it helps, once you’re down, crumple up the paper you wrote it down on and throw it away!

Now, not all of these will work for everyone and of course there are tons of other techniques out there. I strongly recommend experimenting with a few different things before deciding which ones are for you. Explore social media like Pinterest or different groups on Twitter and Facebook to find out more hacks, or have a talk with your therapist! Having an anxiety attack doesn’t need to be painful, time consuming, or the end of your productivity. Having ways that you know you can calm down and ground yourself can make facing these attacks much easier. As I said before, you have power over your anxiety, not the other way around. 11228021_10206556691349716_2052309754840917387_n

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Physical Ailments Alongside Mental Ones

As you all know by now, I battle both depression and anxiety on a day-to-day basis. One thing you may not know is that I also have both severe asthma and allergies and have for my entire life. Some may think that physical illness/health has nothing or very little do with mental health, but that’s not true.

When my allergies bog me down physically, it heightens my mental illness. I’m more anxious and sluggish than normal because I’m worried about missing school or work due to feeling bad, or just simply not being able to do normal things. This is when I’m most likely to procrastinate and sleep or isolate myself; this in turn only worsens the anxiety later on.

Not being able to breath very well because of asthma induces anxiety attacks and other symptoms of the sort. It also brings out more intense depression manifestations as I reflect on my poor health.

If you have both physical and cognitive issues that influence your daily activities, it is wise to educate yourself on whether or not the two could be related and feeding off of each other. This may not always be the case, but if it is, this realization could open tons of doors for tackling two problems at once. For example, my asthma of course causes difficulty breathing, which then produces anxiety. I’ve learned that both meditation and simple breathing exercises can effectively help me reduce both of these matters.

Another thing to think about here is any medications you take and their potential side effects. While it is common knowledge that not everyone who takes a specific prescription will experience all, or even any, possible side effects, it is still worth the research.

Recently, I discovered that the numerous prescriptions I take to combat my asthma and allergies all have the ability to INCREASE both anxiety disorders and depression. Therefore, I am currently working with a pharmacist to go through the actual probability that this is happening to me, or if my mental illness is completely separate from my medications. I will give more information on this at a later date.

Side effects are listed for a medication when ANY of the subjects in the medicine’s trial period experience them, even if it’s only one person. Don’t just assume your medication is the sole reason for your symptom(s), talk to a doctor or pharmacist instead as they’ll be more likely to be able to help pin point the real source.

Your mental and physical health always go hand in hand. Just like exercise can cause euphoria, ensuring your mental well being can have tremendous results on your body. The two are a team here and it is important to focus on improving both, not just one.

“Physical strength will get you to the start line, but mental strength will get you to the finish line.” 29386140_10214480747966179_4511950568588864687_n

Mental Health/Wellbeing

Attending Work/School With Mental Illness Can Be Less Daunting

In today’s world, money is the main motivator for the majority (whether they like to admit it or not). This has increased competition and thus pressure on all, but especially, younger generations to get their futures planned out if they simply want to survive. This may come easy to some people who find themselves as good, responsible communicators, but what about those who struggle with this aspect of life?

Having had both anxiety and depression throughout most of my life, I can tell you that some parts of socialization do get easier with practice and experience, but that doesn’t mean the struggle just disappears.

For me, going to school everyday has always been a challenge. What if I get called on? What if someone makes fun of me but I’m too scared to defend myself? What if no one talks to me? These ‘what if’ questions may seem trivial and almost humorous to some, but they’re the stressful reality for others.

Anxiety creates a feeling of impending doom and usually tries to distract the brain from any logical solutions to the current worry. This makes it extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to function in a setting that is typically seen as normal. Pair this with depression, and the symptoms worsen. Now, you’re not only overwhelmed by this feeling that something (unknown) bad is going to inevitably happen, but there’s also a sense of not wanting to do or being capable of doing anything about it. Your shakiness increases, while you also can feel yourself becoming numb. How are people who face these battles daily expected to function in a ‘normal’ way? They shouldn’t be.

No matter if you share your experiences with mental illness with those around you or not, there’s always opportunity to find some relief from them in order to lead your ideal life.

One of the best things I discovered for myself was that at my University, there’s a program in place specifically to help those with disabilities that impede on their learning. Anyone with any physical, mental, or cognitive disability can be put on record with this program and from there, they help to devise a plan that’s unique to you and your needs in order to succeed at the school. Here, you get to also communicate with teachers, telling them as much or as little about your working with the program and the accommodations you’ll be needing. I find this program very helpful and wish it would’ve been available in my earlier years of schooling.

Another key point I would like to bring up is the fact that you should always maintain contact with your managers/supervisors/professors/etc. when your mental illness could possibly conflict with their expectations of you. I know this can be scary as it took me quite a long time before I finally talked with my managers, but the results can be so rewarding. Anyone who is in a position of authority in the workforce has to have some kind of empathy and understanding when it comes to their employees. You may find that your supervisor also deals with mental battles or knows someone who does and will thus be more than happy to work with you through your hardships. However, it is possible they have little understanding in this area and may need you to further explain and possibly show proof of your struggle and need for accommodations. Either way, this is a very possible step for anyone who finds their mental gets a little to overpowering when mixed with their physical.

To put it succinctly, yes, holding a steady job or education path can be difficult for someone who lives with things such as anxiety disorders, depression, or any other type of mental illness. This does NOT  make it impossible. Here, communication is key. It’s very hard to talk down on or disregard someone when they lay out their struggles in front of you. If you are struggling day-to-day to get out of bed and go to your classes or your shift at work, consider talking with your higher-ups about things that would make it easier on the both of you.

P.S. If your school/job is worsening your mental health or stalling your progression in terms of bettering yourself, there’s no shame in changing it up. I get this may be hard as the workforce and school force are extremely competitive, but if you’re not the best you that you can be mentally, you will see the same reflect in your physical life. Mental health is one of the most important things that you can somewhat control and also affects almost all other aspects of life, so every step to improve here should be taken. blog 44