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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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

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.

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