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Interviewing With Anxiety

When it comes to things like interviews, most people tend to get nervous as you have to answer questions about yourself in front of a stranger. Attending an interview with an anxiety disorder is these common nerves, but on the next level.

I typically find myself thinking things like “I’m going to mess up” or “I shouldn’t even do this” when I’m prepping/waiting for the meeting itself. These negative thoughts only help to increase that anxiety, which could end up resulting in self sabotage.

Recently, I’ve had three different interviews for jobs and I decided to pay attention to the things I do to help me prep. By trying to reduce my nerves at the same time as increasing my confidence, I had came out of each meeting feeling successful. I did this by:

Reviewing my cover letter, resume, application, and job listing to ensure I had my qualifications, the job requirements, and everything else fresh in my mind. It made me feel more ready to answer (and ask) questions. I also found that I become even more nervous when I over prep by practicing a bunch of questions/scenarios.

– Give yourself more than enough time to get ready and get to be interview. I just find it helpful to be relaxed, not rushed, directly before.

– Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in. This will show in your body language and facial expressions and adds to your first impression.

Smile. This also is key in initial impressions as it gives a hint of your personality. Friendliness is something desired by almost all employers.

Ask questions too. Just because you’re the future employee doesn’t mean you should be the only one answering questions. Yes, you need to be a good fit for the company, but they also need to be a good fit for you. It’s also useful to know anything that’s unclear to you so you can make an informed decision later in the process.

Remember that interviewers know how intimidating and nerve wracking answering questions about yourself is. Being nervous or showing signs of nervousness is not the end of the world, it’s only natural. True employers take this into account, and only focus on your qualities and skills in regards to desired ones.

Breathe. This is a simple one, but it’s the most useful. When you’ve done everything above (and maybe more) but you still are jittery, take slow, deep breaths. This slows your heart rate and can help you to think more logically about your stress. This can be done whenever you start thinking about the interview, all the way up to two minutes before they call you in.

Furthermore, yes you’re going to be nervous. But that doesn’t have to define your interview. Small steps, like the ones above, can help you begin to get used to interviewing and social interactions in a way that’s less daunting.

No, I don’t like talking to strangers or answering questions about my strengths or weaknesses. But that part is bearable when I think about how much I can offer as an individual.

As I’ve said before, you can’t let your anxiety control you but you can learn to better manage it. Simple calming, centering, or focusing techniques can do a world of wonders during an anxiety attack. They can also help in preventing one during, or leading up to important occasions.

Go in there and remember to be you. That’s all there is to do really. If you don’t get hired, that’s okay. It was good practice, and there are always more opportunities out there.

Interviews suck, but they’re a large part of adult life and something people have to work towards before they feel even close to comfortable.

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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

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.

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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!

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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

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Hobbies That Help Combat My Mental Illness

<Possible Mental Illness Trigger Warning>

When it comes to coping with both anxiety and depression, life can get pretty confusing. My anxiety acts almost as a motivator, ensuring I become prepared for every somewhat possible outcome of every single event that occurs in my life. The depression part of me, however, does the exact opposite and convinces me that laying in bed all day for multiple days at a time, to binge television, excessive sleeping, and loads of eating junk food are more productive than actually getting any work whatsoever accomplished. I’m sure many of you have had a similar battle. I used to allow myself to be dragged this way and that by my anxiety and depression, until I realized one super important thing: they don’t control me, I control them. With this realization came a new attitude. This is where I currently am on my fitness (mental and physical) journey.

As I have come to terms with and turned around my outlook on my mental health, I have picked up quite a bit of tools along the way that help me throughout both my ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days. These things won’t be the same of course for all people who live with these disorders, but the general goal of each can be applied to a multitude of activities, hobbies, and practices. Basically, each individual’s tool-belt will be unique and subjective; base it off of things you like and enjoy, especially the ones that have proven to have some sort of positive impact on your health and happiness.

1.) Taking Care of Plants/Animals

  • Depending on skill level as well as interests, this can be very therapeutic. I have one dog, a cat, and a snake as well as a small windowsill collection of cacti and succulents. Something about having direct responsibility over a life (or lives) other than my own gives me a small purpose and duty to maintain everyday or every couple days in regards to plants. I also love to watch the plants as well as my pets grow. The bonds formed between us humans and these two organisms are good for our own souls. If you ever get into a fit of depression where you feel overwhelmingly alone or unimportant, this small hobby can aid in slowly eradicating that feeling from your life. Without your love and care, your pets (whether they be furry friends or green ones), wouldn’t be here. You have a purpose in this hobby always, and results and companionship to show for it too!

    2.) Journalism Or Keeping A Diary

  • I know this might sound so little-girlish, but I really find writing my thoughts about the day or whatever is bugging  down helps me to get a more solid perspective and view on things that are important or confusing. Plus, since the only person that’s going to see this information is you (unless you choose to share, which is completely fine! Sometimes I share mine with my therapist!), you can literally has out anything and everything you can possibly think of. Journalism doesn’t have to be strictly “Dear Diary…” either. As you can see in my photographs below this bullet point, I have three different workbooks. One is for a new list to make each week for 52 weeks. I already make TONS of lists in my everyday life, so this was a big hit with me. It really gets you thinking about positive things you may forget about during daily stress. The other two smaller books get you to focus on and really reflect on yourself, your life, and the things that surround both. All three of these books were gifts to me by my mother and they are by far some of my favorite things to do. Introspection is very crucial in the process to healing and being you and these books are easy ways for people who dislike free-writing in journals. Another thing I wanted to highlight as a practice I find very beneficial to myself  is tracking your anxiety level (1-10; 1 lowest/10 highest), exercise completion (write workout type and length), mood for the day in one word, and hours of sleep the night before everyday. These things may seem trivial and insignificant, but once I started paying more attention to these areas, I had a better idea on what easy improvements I could make for a happier me! One last journal-related activity I have tried and liked before is keeping a small pocket journal, specifically for anxiety. I carried it around in my purse/backpack everyday, and quickly jotted down any instances throughout the day where I was anxious, why, and how bad on a scale of 1-10 it was. This helps to see things that are a main source of anxiety which can then lead to finding ways to cope, overcome, and control these anxious feelings. I also left some pages designated strictly to “go to phrases” of encouragement and strength, as well as bullet points of things to do in height of an attack, and my main triggers. If you feel you need to get a more zoomed in look at the sources of and ways to better manage your anxiety, try tracking it!

     3.) Exercise/Yoga/Pole/Hiking

  • One of the things I found to be the quickest way to relieve a bout of depression or extreme anxious feelings that just won’t disappear is by getting my blood pumping. We all know, of course, that exercising release endorphins and this creates the feeling of happiness while also acting as a main stress reliever. Being someone who loves being active, I know that even in my lowest of times, just 20 minutes of any kind of workout lifts me up just enough. The exercise doesn’t have to be hard either. It can be anything from a short walk in the warm, afternoon sun to a full on aerobics class at the local gym. This activity should be completely individualized and done at the proper fitness level for you. I have found yoga, indoor cycling, hiking, pole fitness, and weight lifting to be my favorite go-to relievers. Yoga is awesome for flexibility, relaxation, strength, and can even be wrapped in with meditation. I find strength training/weight lifting useful for releasing more negative emotions and gaining confidence. Hiking makes you feel at one with nature, allowing yourself to take a small break; you also burn calories, get in the sun, and get your heart rate up! Indoor cycling is a favorite of mine because it is at my disposal, as I have a very reliable bike I bought for cheap at a yard sale; I mainly use it to get that small burn on my lazier days… something is more than nothing at all! Lastly, I didn’t stumble upon the absolute greatness of pole fitness/dancing until the summer of last year (2017), but all I can say is I’m SO  thankful I did. Not only does this hobby increase self esteem and confidence (which I have struggled/still struggle very badly with), but you get to build up crazy strength and skill too! In some later posts I’ll share some of my favorite channels/accounts for these different types of exercise practices so you could explore them as you wish. As I said before, you need to start at YOUR own fitness level, no what others are doing. There’s no need to hurt yourself as that will only further set you back from your goals! Slow and steady wins the race, for sure.

    4.) Routine Self Care and Beauty

  • One of the last things I put on my priority list every week is to keep up with necessary self care. No, this doesn’t mean I paint my nails and shave my legs all the time. What I mean when I say take care of myself, I mean: keeping nails clean and smooth, keeping eyebrows in nice shape and controlled, making sure hair stays soft with routine hair masks and the use of oil for dry/frizzy ends, weekly face masks and daily acne scrubs as well as the use of rejuvenating face lotion, flossing/rinsing once a day and brushing twice a day, and anything else you feel you need to keep up with to stay up to date on your hygiene. This area is really based on personal preference. Not everyone’s skin is in need of as much care as others; same goes for nails, hair, etc. I do what I need to do to feel good and comfortable in my own skin. It has been proven that when you take good care of your physical appearance (not over the type, just basic care), the psychological part of you can improve as well as long as you have an open mind set. Self care is beauty; beauty is not pain! P.S. Self care also comes in the form of taking time for yourself to relax, reflect, and re-energize!blog26* What ways do you find useful in managing your illness? Leave in comments below or feel free to email me directly! Share this post with friends! Thank you for your time!