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.

 

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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!

 

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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

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)

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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