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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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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