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

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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)

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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