Tag Archives: advice

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World – Zoe Thomson

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World

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Convenience is wonderful. Having everything at our disposal, all the time. Never having to worry about opening hours when we have online shopping, or missing a TV show when we have catch up and streaming. But when everything is available 24/7, it means we have to be too.

People apologise for taking social media breaks, we’re overloaded with information, and if you don’t keep up with current events you’re left behind. We’re under pressure to be plugged in all the time and it’s taking a toll on our mental health.

We’re exhausted all the time because we’re not allowed to switch off. Every waking moment has to be filled with something productive so we can make more money, work more hours, learn more skills. And then we experience burnout, and we’re even farther behind, there’s no way we can catch up. It’s hard not to feel like we were doomed from the start.

Mindfulness takes the autonomy away from our day to day lives, and helps us slow down and truly be present in the moment. Practising mindfulness sounds like an easy task, but nowadays with constant stimulation and entertainment around us, it’s a real challenge to be bored. How many times have you picked up your phone today?

We weren’t meant to live at such a fast pace. When we slow down and take in our surroundings, we appreciate so many people and things that we might have previously took for granted. It’s better for our health, and it’s better for our relationships. Practising mindfulness helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so we’re better able to manage them instead of getting overwhelmed. We’re more tuned in to our senses and surroundings and we’re less likely to do something on autopilot because our brain isn’t distracted – or it’s not desperate for a distraction anymore.

Mindfulness is easy to practice daily and doesn’t require hours of your time. You can practice mindfulness wherever you are or whatever you’re doing. If you find yourself being pulled in every direction and your thoughts are scattered all over the place, start with some mindful breathing. If you can, go somewhere quiet. Take one big, deep breath. Aim for around 5 seconds. Hold it for a second, and then exhale, releasing the tension from your brow, jaw, and shoulders. Imagine the hundreds of scattered thoughts and noise leaving with the tension, and allow yourself to start from the beginning with a clear mind.

There are loads of other great mindfulness techniques you can practice every day or just whenever you feel stressed.

Focusing on one thing, and not having your mind in six places at once, will reduce stress. The stress that used to pile up and eat away at you doesn’t have any power over you now; because you have control. You might eventually find that you don’t get as overwhelmed with the fast paced world as you used to, and you start doing things with intention, instead of just doing things for the sake of it. You might learn something about yourself, about what you need and what you don’t need. You’ll learn that it’s okay to disconnect, and go down your own path. The easiest way to win the game is to stop playing. Instant and autonomous works for robots; not people.

Zoe

Author bio: Zoe Thomson is a freelance writer living in Scotland with her boyfriend and one spoiled pug. She runs her own mental health blog, No Light Without Darkness, and has published work on The Mighty and I am 1 in 4. You can find me here: Blog, Twitter

To Whoever Needs to Read This – theboywithbpd

*caution, mature language ahead

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To whoever needs to read this,

If you are reading this letter, then I’m going to make an educated guess that you may not be having the best time right now. Perhaps for a while.

I also have not been having the best of times lately, this year has been the toughest of my life. I had a breakdown, I was diagnosed with BPD, we had our third child and I’m in a job that has me so depressed that I have suicidal thoughts on a daily basis. And to add to that list I had the bright idea it was time to sell our house and buy a new one, which in hindsight, may not be the best of timing.

It’s been a pretty busy year, most of it shit, except for the birth our third child of course. If it wasn’t for him, I dread to think how this year would have gone. I was in such a dark place at the start of the year that it almost cost me my family.

Advice, you started reading this letter in the hope for some advice, and so far, you are probably thinking I’m the last person you should listen to. Who wants advice from the guy who had a breakdown and nearly lost his family? As tough as this year has been and as bad as it got, I believe it could be the making of me.

Up until this point in my life I allowed my anxiety to dictate where my life would go, what I would do and more importantly what I wouldn’t do. My whole life has been a case of not doing the things I wanted to do because my anxiety wouldn’t allow it. It has taken 38 years and a breakdown to realise that.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer or a journalist, then when I got to my teens and discovered music, I wanted to be a musician. For as long as I can remember I have always been creative and thought my career would follow that path. Yet I ended up in an office-based job that I hate. I wouldn’t be the first person who never followed their dreams and became a living cliché. The difference being though, the reason why I never became a writer or musician is because I allowed my anxiety to convince me I would fail and be laughed at, even by those closest to me.

But now, I am finally taking back control. I am still scared and the anxiety hasn’t gone away, yet I feel like I now have a voice and my anxiety has finally started to listen. It still tries it’s best to convince me of the worst-case scenario, however I now have more confidence in my ability to over power my anxiety and do what I want to do.

As much as I am slowly taking back control of my life, I am realistic in my limitations. I am 38, I have three kids and a mortgage. So, it’s not like I can just quit my job and start all over again. Never the less, I am not just going to roll over and give up on my dreams completely because it may be a bit tougher now. I just have to approach things in a different way.

The advice? You ask. Yes, I am getting to it.

Do not let your anxiety dictate your life. If you do, your life will be determined by the things you decide NOT to do. The choices you do NOT make. The things you walk away from. Easier said than done as anxiety can be crippling, I’m a living example of that fact. Which is exactly why you should listen to me.

I never had someone give me that advice when I was in my twenties, it’s taken me 38 years to figure it out. Do not wait until you have the mortgage, the kids and the financial responsibilities to realise you were meant to do or be something else. Fuck it if people may laugh and fuck it if you may fail, but at least you would have tried. Tried doing what you actually want to do.

Life flies by, quicker than you expect, do something about it now, not tomorrow.

And fuck what everyone else or your anxiety thinks.

It’s your life, not theirs.

*theboywithbpd has guest posted with me previously, and you can find his bio and other post here.

Bi Polar Disorder and Anger – A Raging Lunatic Tells All – Jodie Sand

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BIPOLAR DISORDER & ANGER: A RAGING LUNATIC TELLS ALL

My rage is like an old-school boombox with fresh D batteries. I carry it around with me but the music isn’t a catchy melody. When it explodes from the speakers, it’s static that grates on the nerves. It makes zero sense.

Sometimes, a stranger will invoke my wrath. But more often than not, my temper is directed at the people who I love the most or spend a lot of time with. It has cost me friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, loyalties and a marriage.

Taylor Swift’s Blank Space lyrics come to mind:

Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storm
I can make all the tables turn
Rose gardens filled with thorns
Keep you second guessing like
“Oh my God, who is she?”

IT’S OK TO BE ANGRY

I’m not saying anger is inherently bad. My mom used to quote scripture about it: “Be angry and do not sin,” she advised (Ephesians 4:26). Popular psychology agrees about positive and negative methods to express your anger. I’ve been rightfully furious with disrespectful children, disloyal lovers, an ex-husband, friends and my family. But the volume and violence it feeds are shameful.

I spit eff-bombs and insults like an over-chewed piece of gum until my voice is hoarse. I’ve pushed, scratched and even thrown a series of punches at a man who gutted me with lies. Was my anger justified? Yes! Were the intensity of my anger and the cutting nature of my serrated words necessary. No!

Rage isn’t an emotion that shows up on lists of common bipolar disorder symptoms. Mood swings from suicidal depression to euphoric mania are the hallmarks of this tricky mental illness. In my case, these moods seem to be the key to the swells of emotions like stormy seas.

The hopelessness of depression makes me examine my life for toxicity and search for the root of my agony. I remember the people who I’ve loved who have gouged my broken heart. The bosses and coworkers who have sucked away my marrow. The comments from family who mean well but hack away at my façade of confidence and wellness. The friends who don’t call. The children who forget to do their chores.

This is the blame game I play. The blues don’t mellow me. They feed my festering rage until anger spews from my mouth like acidic vomit.

My episodes of mania are no kinder. The false happiness of mania euphoria waxes and wanes, sometimes all in the same day. My grandiosity and endless energy and the rapid speech and big ideas are exhausting. I’m too tired to sleep. Suddenly my tongue is forked. My patience is gone and my temper flares with righteous indignation. The blame game begins again.

PSYCHOTIC DELUSIONS

Psychosis is “a serious mental illness characterized by defective or lost contact with reality, often with hallucinations or delusions” (Merriam-Webster). In my anger, I’m psychotic. I’m paranoid at 3 a.m. when my meds fail me and rest is elusive.

I tell myself: No one cares. Everyone sees me for the fraud I am. Life is unfair. Everyone is out to step on me on their way to something better. I can’t convince myself otherwise. I’m raging. Is my life punctuated with trauma or am I the source of the drama? I wonder.

Bipolar disorder is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. “For those who have anger stemming from bipolar disorder, it can range from mild to wild,” according to MentalHealth.net (source). Mine is a wild ride.

While the bipolar community can’t seem to agree about whether or not anger is a symptom of bipolar disorder, they do agree about how to get help.

KNOW YOURSELF

Identify your anger triggers. Certain topics of conversation, events, activities and even personalities or people may initiate irritability or rage. Be mindful when you begin to get upset and then limit or control exposure to those things.

When you do find yourself in a sticky spot, politely disengage. Resist the urge to be embarrassed. Tactfully end the conversation, hang up the phone with a pre-planned excuse or graciously excuse yourself and walk away. Don’t be shy about setting boundaries. You’ll really be embarrassed if your anger dominates the situation.

The second part of knowing yourself is identifying and engaging in activities or visiting places that calm and bring serenity. Make a list of your triggers and strategies to alleviate them.

Home is my haven and oasis. An afternoon of solitude is often where I find the most peace. Harnessing your bipolar disorder is not a mind-over-matter problem to be solved. Along with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder is the most dangerous mental health problem. If you suspect that you are bipolar or a diagnosis has been confirmed, you need medication!

CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

Bipolar disorder presents a very real risk of suicide. Don’t try to convince yourself that you won’t get that bad or you’ll know when to ask for help. Trust me; you won’t! You’ll also endanger yourself, your reputation, and other people if your behavior becomes reckless or impulsive.

If you’re taking lithium for your bipolar disorder and you notice irritability or aggression, talk to your doctor. These are not common symptoms of this mood stabilizer, but patients who are prescribed lithium have reported increased irritability, according to Healthline.com (source).

No matter what you’ve been prescribed to treat your bipolar disorder, don’t change or stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Unmonitored med tweaks can trigger dangerous depressive or manic episodes.

Even when you feel like your illness is well-controlled on medication, do yourself a favor and see a mental health therapist. A counselor can employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help. CBT is “psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy with behavior therapy by identifying faulty or maladaptive patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior and substituting them with desirable patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior” (Merriam-Webster). Anger management classes may also be helpful if group therapy is your jam.

Don’t forget the French proverb: “Anger is a bad counselor” (source).

SOURCES

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychosis
https://www.mentalhelp.net/bipolar/and-anger/
https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-anger#is-anger-a-side-effect-ofmedication
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cognitive%20behavioral%20therapy
https://www.quotes.net/quote/40350

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About the Author: Jodie is a chronic illness and mental health blogger who battles fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder I, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and gastroparesis every day. Her primary focus is fibromyalgia but her mental well-being her and gastrointestinal issues influence the way she deals with her chronic illness. She created CutTheChronic.com after job loss revealed she is no longer employable in a traditional way. Jodie is a former reporter and marketing professional with a degree in journalism. Reflecting on her skills, training and passions pointed her toward blogging as her next career move. Jodie finds writing extremely therapeutic as she searches for answers and hope for herself and other chronic illness sufferers. Means to living a better life reveal themselves in the process and inform her posts. She is fleshing out her blog with a body of posts that are educational, research-focused, inspirational, instructional, honest, raw and humorous. Jodie finds joy and strength in her husband Trevor and their blended family of three children. Her three loud and goofy hound dogs and a personality-packed flock of seven ducks provide levity. She’s a documentary junkie, novel reader (when she has time), car camper, stand up paddle boarder, yoga dabbler and runner. She’s also a foodie with a passion for home cooking. She is writing a low FODMAP cookbook to help her make peace with her IBS and gastroparesis and share with her readers. You can find her at her website Cut The Chronic.

Travel Soothes My Anxiety – Connie Ferris

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Travel Soothes My Anxiety

Since I was a child I always knew that my mind worked in a more detrimental way than others. I would overthink even the smallest of situations. Forgetting my P.E. kit or not completing my homework would result in panic and on the rare occasion, tears. Not many people can understand anxiety unless they suffer from it themselves. However, when you finally understand your anxiety, certain events in your life begin to make sense. You understand why you acted that way and what may have triggered the anxiety. One good thing about educating yourself on your mental health is you begin to learn what is a trigger for your anxiety and what is good for your self care. For example, exams and judgement from people are big triggers for my anxiety, however travelling and seeing the world soothes my anxiety.

Like a lot of people who suffer from a bad mental health, I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder when I was experiencing a big life event. I was in my second year at university and balancing university, work and a relationship all became too much for myself. However, when I started to learn about my condition and when I read online about other peoples experiences, I discovered that every individual is different and everyone finds different things triggering. For me, I have never experienced anxiety at an airport, train station, hostel, hotel or in a new city. However, for some people travel can be very stressful and just because I do not find travelling stressful this does not mean that someone else with anxiety who does is abnormal.

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Freedom

My anxiety for the most part stems from what other people think about me. When I’m travelling I feel like there are no expectations of me from anyone and therefore I cannot fail at anything. I can visit whichever attractions I like and/or I can spend a day just lounging at the beach. Everything I do is down to my discretion and so if I don’t feel up to doing something one day, then I don’t have to. This may not make sense to a lot of people as my anxiety is such a personal experience. Only I know what goes through my mind, after all.

Although I feel at home when I’m travelling, I can understand why travel can bring about anxieties in other people, especially when backpacking or long-term travelling. There’s the uncertainty of money running out and things becoming too expensive. There’s also the concern of running late for flights, trains, buses etc. Although these are perfectly valid reasons to feel uneasy or anxious, they do not faze me in the slightest. I know that I will be okay because the world is not as big as people think. Having some perspective on just how big the universe is, you’ll soon realise that you’re not that far away from home.

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Returning Home

Another reason as to why I do not feel anxious when travelling is because I always have in the back of my mind that if everything goes wrong then I can simply return home. My rule of thumb whenever I travel anywhere is that I always have emergency funds in a separate bank account that I do not touch unless I need to. The funds need to be sufficient enough to get a flight back home from wherever I may be. For example, if I were in the United States of America then I know a flight back to London will cost roughly between £500 – £1000 and so that is the amount I need to keep in my emergency fund.

It is also good to have an emergency fund in case you desperately are not ready to go home, you are running out of money but you have some work lined up, you just need a little to get you by until your first paycheck. This isn’t an ideal situation to be in as your emergency fund should only be for emergencies but as long as you remember to pay your emergency fund back then no harm no foul.

I Love to Travel

I could write about travel all day if I wanted to however the reason for writing this post was to explain why travel does not cause me anxiety. Primarily, I think the reason for this is because I love it so much. I think I would stop loving to travel if it did start to cause me anxiety simply through association. I hate anxiety and if it was connected to travelling in any way then I would also begin to dislike travelling. Fortunately for myself, I can continue to travel anxiety free for now and just enjoy every moment of my adventures.

Connie

Author Bio: Connie is a travel and lifestyle blogger over at www.earthtoconnie.com. She began her blog in 2018 and ever since she has slowly been making her way around the world. Discussing advice and tips for long term travel whilst sharing her own adventures, there is something on her blog for everyone.  You can also keep up to date with all her new content through her twitter, facebook and instagram.

It’s About to be a New Year – Lexie Wohler

 

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As 2019 draws to a close, what things do you think about? Do you look back in regret over the things that you weren’t able to accomplish? Or do you look forward to new opportunities that will dawn for you on the horizon? Do you look forward to spending more time on the things that are really important or do you dread the do to list that the new year brings? How many times does another new year stress you out instead of excite you? Think about why the thought of the new year scars you, and figure out a way to combat the anxiety and fears that you have.

A new year can be scary in all of its aspects, and its okay to be scared and uncertain about what the year may bring. But don’t let the uncertainty and doubts stop you from accomplishing what you want to do in your life. Remember, each new day of the year is a chance to get out of your comfort zone, impact the world in ways that you never thought possible, and to impact others in ways you never expected.

Don’t let anyone talk you out of following your dreams. Follow your heart and your dreams.  Do your best at anything you do. When times get tough, turn over your worries to productivity and leave them at His feet while you continue to do His work. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from finding your purpose in your life. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing what your heart wants you to do. You will give the tools needed to face each new day this year, head on. Keep moving forward in 2019 and never let anything stop you.

Some people choose to go back to school and finish their degree or change their degree in order to get a better job, to make more money in order to provide for their families. While others may be offered a raise in their profession, others may not get a raise right away. Remember as you go through the year to be patient with yourself about the choices you make. Don’t feel as though you have to take on everything and anything all at once. It’s not healthy or achievable for you. Don’t lose yourself in the things you’re trying to do. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you literally become an outer shell of yourself. That isn’t ever worth it.  Don’t rush into things that aren’t what you really want to do. Instead, take the time to figure out what your passions are and really focus on them. If it’s writing, then go all in with it and take some classes at a school or online to hone your skills. If it’s painting, then take some painting lessons through YouTube or through a painting group like Painting With A Twist. Remember, no amount of education can ever hurt you in your quest to figure out what you want to do in your life.

If you’ve constantly been taking care of other people in your life, use this new year as a time to finally rest, recharge and focus on taking care of yourself. You can only take care of others if you are healthy yourself. Don’t run yourself raged trying to carter to everyone else’s needs. Remember, some of the people won’t be pleased no matter how much you cater to your needs. If someone gets offended by you taking the time for yourself instead of focusing on them, then you can distance yourself from them or completely cut yourself off from them. There is never anything wrong with taking the time to care for yourself, physically, and mentally.

Let this new year be your best one yet. Enjoy every part of the journey as best you can.

Lexie Wohler is a repeat guest blogger and you can find her first post and bio here.

Blogmas – My Holiday Wish List 2019

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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I hope everyone is having a great holiday so far, even though it’s still early in the day. For this entry for Blogmas, I have decided to do my Personal Wish List.

This year was a difficult year, and is still difficult for myself and my small family. With moving back to PA from WA in the end of March, to our wedding in May, and to still not being caught up on bills from the big move… the second part of this year has been rough. Without going into too much detail, my husband and I were both sick twice with a cold already, we had snow 2 weeks before Thanksgiving (wtf?! it’s not even winter yet!), we both had a few serious episodes of depression and anxiety throughout October November and some of December, and we seem to just keep trucking on with no real reason at this point. We’re just trying to remain happy, calm and spend as much time as we can with each other to try and combat the depression we’ve been feeling. 

Because we’re still in debt from the move and catching up on payments and had sick spisodes preventing us from working a few days… I decided to share my Amazon Wish List with you and highlight a few things that we need for our apartment and home life and what’s on my Christmas List. Your Christmas List is supposed to be things that you would never splurge on for yourself, however, with the recent events of this year and being broke, it seems my list grew to be things that I or we actually need that we don’t have much money for sadly. 

  1. Rechargeable Fabric Shaver, Lint Remover  As most of my readers know, we have kitties… and this helps with removing lint, cat hair and fuzzies that may accumulate from the laundry. We also do not have a washer and dryer in the house because there’s no room and laundromats only can do so much for your clothes. This is something I’ve always wanted for our sweaters, too.
  2. Kinesiology Tape Precut My husband and I both have back problems. We love using this tape on our back for therapy and use it constantly, but it’s sometimes expensive to keep buying it for both of us to use, and have started to use it sparingly.

  3. Elevated Garden Flower Planter Bed We have a small yard, and with our back problems it’s sometimes hard to bend over for long and garden, and it’s usually me who takes care of all of it. Having raised gardens for our plants would be amazong and something my husband always wanted for each year because it’s easy to clean up, rake, harvest and saves garden space!

  4. DEWALT TSTAK Tool Box We have way too many tools. Way too many and the box we have everything in is just too heavy and we need an actual toolbox or two to fit everything. 

  5. Kitchen Island Cart We have very little counter space in our kitchen. So little, that I can’t even make cookies unless I clean off my kitchen table and take the table cloth off, and no room to put hot pots or pans that come out of the oven. We plan on re-doing some of the kitchen and making room for this.

Again, I know Christmas is supposed to be for things you really want that others splurge on for you that you would never buy for yourself mostly, but in our case, these are things that have been on my list and have wanted for awhile that we could really use. Instead of a new Urban Decay eyeshadow palette or new Apple Watch in order to upgrade, I’m chosing most of this stuff.

 

Be Present – Dawn Marie Beauchamp

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Be Present – It is the Greatest Gift this Holiday Season

The holiday season is full of glitz, glamor, and excitement. Around every corner are messages on how to make this holiday season bigger and better than the last. The drive to make things magical becomes exhausting and overwhelming. As a wife and mother of three, I look forward to the holidays and at the same time wait for the anxiety to take over and fill my waking moments with overwhelm and fear of disaster. Does this sound familiar? For the 2019 holiday season, let’s try a new approach. Instead of trying to be perfect this holiday season, let’s instead be present. How do we define present this holiday season?

Exchange “Perfection” for “Joy”

Do you search through Pinterest and walk down aisles at Home Depot in search of the perfect decorations? Do you once again land on Pinterest and your friendly Google search bar looking for the perfect holiday recipes? Perfection can be overwhelming. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Somewhere between perfection and disaster is real life.

Step back from the curated world of social media and decide what makes you happy. If, like me, you love to cook and searching out the perfect recipe gives you joy, then by all means do it. If the opposite is true and cooking gives you anxiety and feels like work, then find somewhere to cater your holiday meal or hand the meal planning over to another family member. Focus on what gives you joy this holiday season.

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Focus on People instead of Gifts

I love buying gifts. Spoiling my children is super simple. Walking through any store, I can fill my cart to the brim with toys, games, clothes, and gizmos that I know will bring my children joy. I noticed over the past several holiday seasons that my children start to become overwhelmed by all the gifts. The youngest ones especially are ready to play after opening one box and even become frustrated that I am stopping their play to open more gifts.

It is time for this momma to step back and focus on my sweet children instead of an overpowering list of must-have gifts. A friend of mine introduced me to the following formula:

Something they Want+Something they Need+ Something to Wear+Something to Read=Done Shopping

My goal for the 2019 holiday season is to stick to this formula and choose things that my children will love. The focus will be quality over quantity. Quality is more likely to spark joy and joy is our goal.

Be in the Moment More and Documenting Less

My cousin once told me, “If it is not posted on social media somewhere, it didn’t actually happen.” I believe it is easy to become so involved in sharing memories you are not truly making memories. Everything has its time and place and finding a balance is important. Step back from the camera for a minute and just be in the moment. See the smiles and hear the laughter through your own eyes and ears and not the screen of your cell phone.

By letting go of perfection, it is possible to find true joy. Taking time to seek out quality gifts over massive quantity will spark joy without chaos. Fully focusing on the moment with all of the senses instead of the curated lens of a camera will bring joy. Exchanging anxiety for joy allows one to be truly present in the moment. As the holiday season unfolds, your presence is a far greater gift to your family and friends than any gift, meal, or perfectly coordinated holiday display. Choose Joy, be Present, and Enjoy the holiday season with the ones you Love. Happy Holidays!

Blog PhotoAbout the Author: Dawn Marie Beauchamp is a wife and mother of three residing in the great state of Michigan. She and her husband own a small electrical company, where Dawn runs the office and her husband is the electrical master mind. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors and spends a lot of time enjoying the woods of Northern Michigan. Dawn also enjoys, cooking, writing, and all things DIY. She writes about her adventures at Controlled Chaos – Embrace the Adventure of the Everyday. (www.embracecontrolledchaos.com). You can also find Dawn on the following social platforms: Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest

Blogmas – Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

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Hello everyone and welcome to one of the last Unsanity #Blogmas posts for the 2019 season! I didn’t have the patience or time to write one blog per day, so I opted for 10-12 over the course of the month to give myself time to get them uploaded and scheduled.

I hope you’ve been enjoying them like I have been while writing them for you. There’s alot of good stuff in here, and it’s going to be hard not to want to duplicate some next year (yes, I plan to do it again! We’ll see how the year goes leading up to December haha.)

This post is all about Stocking Stuffers for you last minute shoppers who need small gifts for your co-workers or family/friends. All of these are under $10 USD too no less! (This is in no way an ad and I do not get any compensation for featuring these item’s on my blog whatsoever. These are items I have selected from personal interest.)

mad libs

Christmas Mad Libs to play with your family during the gathering.

sugar cookie

This caffeine free sugar cookie tea for the tea lovers to try during the cold winter months.

cherry bath bomb

Everybody loves surprises – give the gift of cherries and a surprise inside with this bath fizzer.

makers mark

Have a friend who loves Maker’s Mark? Get them this awesome sweater for their bottle you bought them for Christmas.

cake decorating

This Cake Decorating tip set from Baker’s Dozen should do the trick for the baking enthusiest in your friends group.

cremo

For the man in your life who shaves every day for work – this cream fights razor burn and nicks to keep him smooth.

salt scrub

Infused with Dead Sea Salts to give you younger smoother skin. Maybe stick with giving this to a friend vs a co-worker. They might get the wrong impression, lol.

unicorn slime

For the child on your list, or for a co-worker who needs something to occupy them on lunch.. this is the perfect fun gift to give!

Another Dietary Plan with Antidepressant Implications? – John Caruso

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Another dietary plan with antidepressant implications?

The connections between diet and physical health have long been assumed. While the science exploring this is still in relative infancy, most of us understand the concept of “you are what you eat.”

But is it possible that how we think is also affected by what we eat? Could simple dietary changes give us a boost into more vibrant mental health? Or prevent us from sliding into poor mental health in the first place?

To answer those questions, let’s not make assumptions. Let’s see what the science says.

Published in the October 2009 edition of JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry), researchers from the University of Navarra set out to determine what impact eating the Mediterranean diet might have on the incidence of depression.

Using a massive sample size of 10,094 participants, researchers measured incidents of depression after a median of 4.4 years, then compared those outcomes with the results of a 136-item food frequency questionnaire to determine any potential correlation between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and clinical depression.

Their results were not insignificant.

They found the Hazard Ratios (probability of depression incidents) to be considerably lower among those who adhered more closely to the Mediterranean diet than those who did not.

The researchers grouped participants into five groups based on their adherence to the diet and compared the risk of depression relative to the group who least closely adhered to the diet. Here is how they performed (from least close to closest adherence).

Group 1:               Least adherence to Mediterranean diet

Group 2:               26% reduction in risk

Group 3:               34% reduction in risk

Group 4:               51% reduction in risk

Group 5:               42% reduction in risk

The closer participants adhered to the diet, the greater the reduction in risk. Curiously, the group with the closest adherence bucked the trend and experienced a slight uptick compared to the group just behind them, but the reduction in risk of 42 percent is still quite significant.

So we should all just adopt the Mediterranean diet then, right?

Not so fast!

While these results are extremely encouraging, we need to take a closer look at them, as well as other studies to see what they mean to us.

First of all, the results of this study need to be replicated to find out if there is consistency. And while adherence to the diet as a whole may have shown lowered risk, risk was not eliminated entirely. Also, some foods showed increased risk when evaluated independently.

For example, while fruits and nuts showed decreased risk of between 31 percent toward the lower end of consumption and 39 percent on the upper end, meat products showed a decreased risk of 8 percent on the lower end and an increased risk of 35 percent on the upper end.

So, does that mean that some meat is beneficial while a lot of meat is detrimental? And some fruits and nuts are beneficial while a lot of fruits and nuts are very beneficial?

Perhaps. But this is why further studies are needed. Can these foods be studied in a vacuum, or do they work synergistically with one another when in proper balance?

This is precisely the reason to take these results with a nice grain of Mediterranean Sea salt.

What is our takeaway then?

When you look at the results of this study and add them to the results of others that have shown similar findings, such as this one about the DASH diet, this one about turmeric, and even this one about saffron, you can start to see a common thread begin to emerge.

We are seeing more and more evidence that some of these whole foods-based, nutrient-rich diets may offer more than just benefits to our physical health. They may offer a profound impact on our mental health as well.

Much more research is needed to confirm these findings and to discover what mechanisms within these diets may be responsible for their potential benefits. But in the meantime, they give us a great head start in chasing down some answers.

(And when you chase them down, always chase them down in consultation with your physician!)

Reference: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210386

The statements contained in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Unless otherwise specified, no writer for PursuitOfGreat.com is a licensed physician, medical doctor, trainer, nutritionist or health professional of any kind. Do not consume anything written about on this website if you are allergic to it.

The opinions expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Please consult a physician or health care professional for your specific health care or medical needs.

Please talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise or diet program, including those found in this article. The information provided in this article is not intended as a substitute for consultations with your doctor nor is it intended to provide medical advice specific to your condition.

Author Bio John Caruso is the owner and writer of www.PursuitOfGreat.com, a site specializing in health and wellness reviews, positive mindset, belief, finances, and solutions that provide an equal playing field in life for all. The goal of PursuitOfGreat.com is to find and share tools that anyone can use to achieve greatness in life, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Stop by and, if you find something that helps you, spread the word! Twitter Pinterest

I Am A Warrior – Dannii

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I’m a warrior against anxiety and depression. This is my story.

I was twenty-six when I had my daughter Mia. I lived with my boyfriend at the time in a one-bed house and we’d only been together about a year. We hadn’t necessarily planned to have a baby. I was scared but believed everything would be ok. My pregnancy was good with no problems and very easy. I had to be induced because I was twelve days overdue but I had a fairly straightforward labour. I fell in love with Mia the second I saw her. She was perfect. But I was terrified.  All of a sudden I was a mother. I was responsible for every decision, every choice for my little girl. Everything I did would shape and mould who she’d become. Very quickly I learnt how scary, beautiful, frightening, wonderful, terrifying, emotional, nerve racking, blissful, stressful, rewarding and amazing motherhood was. You go on this emotional, mental and physical, rollercoaster ride and it blows you away. Some days are tough; other days are tougher. Some days are testing, emotional and stressful. Other days are perfect and you feel more joy, love, contentment and happiness than you’d ever known was possible.

I didn’t know until much later that I had post-natal depression and anxiety. I’d previously suffered with depression as a teenager and young adult but had counselling for that and I never associated it with this. I felt different. So I didn’t believe I had post-natal depression until later. I had terrifying thoughts, dreams, and my mind played tricks on me all the time. Most days I’d cry for no reason and couldn’t understand what was wrong. My boyfriend asked all the time if I was okay, and I’d just say there was nothing wrong and that I was fine. I’d get angry with him asking me all the time because I thought I was fine but secretly knew something had to be wrong—I just couldn’t explain it or pinpoint it.  Also, I just didn’t want to admit that I was struggling in case he thought I was a useless mother. I wanted to control everything and do everything myself, even though deep down I did want help with things, but I wanted things done a certain way. I just wanted to be able to manage everything on my own because other mothers seemed to do fine and my boyfriend worked so hard; I just wanted to cope with it all. I dreaded going out and leaving the house but at the same time, I was desperate to get out, although I was just too scared. Breastfeeding didn’t come easily to me and after six or seven weeks I admitted defeat, switched to bottle feeding and felt like I’d failed. Mia wasn’t a great sleeper and I was exhausted. Her dad worked long hours on his feet all day so I wanted to do as much of the night feeds as possible, but sometimes I just needed rest. It really took its toll. I turned into someone else; I’d lost who I was. I had no self-esteem, I hated how I looked and how I felt, I lost my self-worth and self-belief and doubted everything, doubted myself. I was a nervous wreck but did everything to hide it. In hindsight, I should have got help but I didn’t because I was terrified that people would think I was an unfit mother and take my daughter away from me. I hid my feelings; I never spoke to anyone about anything that I thought or felt. I was trapped in the madness of my own mind.Inside it was eating me up and I was screaming from within.

On top of all of this, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy when Mia was still a baby,. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, my Gran and Grandad (Dad’s parents) both passed away within months. Although Dad made an amazing recovery from the cancer, it had all been too much and he turned to excessive alcohol consumption. Sadly he began to deteriorate drastically so I had to deal with that and trying to help keep his business going whilst he was so unwell and unfit to cope. I’d get calls at all times of the day and night from the staff or people who knew my dad at the pub, telling me he had fallen down the cellar or down the stairs. Times when they couldn’t wake him—the list goes on. I had time off work to keep rushing over to check on him. Eventually he ended up in hospital and I was backwards and forwards visiting him. I was at breaking point and I just crumbled. I couldn’t cope. I remember several times just getting in my car and driving somewhere, parking up and just sitting there and crying. I cried so much my eyes burned with the tears, my heart pounded so hard in my chest, I felt like I literally couldn’t breathe quick enough. I felt so sick and so empty.  I used to think what if I just disappeared, what if I could just fly away from it all, like a bird. How could I possibly be a good mother to Mia like this? I’d failed her. I felt useless. I used to imagine just floating, drifting away, almost like imagining an out-of-body experience. Sometimes I’d lie down in a field or on the bonnet of my car and just look up at the sky, the clouds, the stars and just wish to be up there. It sounds ridiculous now, but I felt so defeated.  I did this on several occasions, just sat there by myself.

Nobody knew.

The emotional pain and torment I was facing and tried so hard to hide just completely overpowered me. It was unbearable. My relationship broke down and I knew we couldn’t carry on for Mia’s sake. I didn’t want to risk our friendship and I knew we both deserved more than what our situation had become.

To this day, even writing this, I cannot begin to explain all the emotions and feelings that were searing though me for all that time. I was angry, desperate, frustrated, frightened, lonely, scared, deflated and just totally drained with everything.  Above all, I was so bitterly sad and upset. Something had to change. I couldn’t live like this. I still had to be a mummy. I had to rise above it all and get my inner strength back. I had to find myself again. I had to get ME back. I just wished I had addressed my anxiety and depression sooner. I was so tormented by my inner demons for so long. I want to stress that if anyone reading this feels the same or has been in a similar situation that you are not alone.

It shouldn’t be something to be ashamed about or be hidden or brushed under the carpet. For years I’ve had it and didn’t realise. I thought I was going mad and thought there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t love myself, let alone anyone else. Anxiety can strike at any time. You’re never really free of it but it’s about how you re-wire your mind and your way of thinking. Mind-set is key. It’s about keeping active but also taking time for you, to relax and rest when you need it. Although my anxiety has been so much better lately, I’ll always feel like ‘it’s in the mail’—on its way to me. Anyone who has anxiety and/or depression will know exactly what I mean by that. Anyone who has this, or thinks they do, are not alone. You don’t need to suffer in silence or feel alone.

Every day I try to be the best I can be, always worry and always just want to be all I can for Mia and my family. But sometimes I can’t be super-woman; sometimes I do feel weak. Sometimes I do question everything. It’s the not wanting to face the day or let anyone see, to just want to hide away, but then it’s the million-and-one things that my mind does going through all the consequences if I didn’t. It’s the constant over-thinking and over-analysing everything. It’s the stupid thoughts that you don’t want that frighten you but you can’t stop them in your head. It’s a constant battle. It’s the wanting to still go out and have fun to see friends but not wanting to leave the house. It’s the wanting to be alone but not wanting to be on my own. It’s the not being able to explain it or make anyone understand. It’s sometimes not being able to say a word but wanting to say so much. It’s feeling so utterly alone even though you’re surrounded by loving, supporting people. It’s about just needing a hug. No words.

Sometimes I do break down and it does take over me. But it won’t beat me. I know I’m stronger, now more than ever. I know a bad day is just one bad day in amongst a million good ones. I know my strength is within me and I’m a fighter. There are so many people in my life who inspire me in so many ways and help me with positivity and motivation every day. The key for me is having a routine, staying focused on the good things, doing things you love, keeping your mind filled with positivity and mind-set activities. Eat healthy, exercise and try to get out as much as you can to just breathe, take in your surroundings—even if it’s just for ten minutes, even if it’s the last thing you want to do sometimes—it really does help.

I know I’m probably not easy to live with or be around sometimes, but I still like to think I’m outgoing and fun a lot of the time. Again, just the many issues of having an active personality but an anxious mind. The people I love—Gary, my husband, my amazing family and friends, but most importantly my gorgeous little girl whom everything I do is for—are more precious than I could ever say. I wouldn’t be anything without them; they are my medicine and they fix me when I feel broken. But there are so many people and organisations like Mind who can help.

The fight continues. It’s okay not to be okay.

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About the Author: I’m Dannii, I’m a full time working mum to my daughter Mia, wife to Gary and we live in Bucks with our little sausage dog Ralph. I’m on a mission to use my passion for writing to reach out, help and support other mums, women, parents and anyone in general really, who reads my blogs and can get something valuable from it. My life and motherhood experiences in their real, open and honest form. This is me, the good, the bad, the ugly, but more importantly keeping it real and from the heart. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram.