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10 Self Care Ideas For The Winter – Ruth

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Today, I thought I would share some self care ideas for the winter. It is very easy to forget about self care and looking after yourself during the colder season. You just want to stay in, watch TV and stay warm all the time. Yes, these are all forms of self care in itself. However, I hope this list will give you a few more ideas and motivation!

  1. Buy Something Soft And Warm

Buy yourself a nice warm and soft blanket, jacket, hat, pair of gloves, socks. Anything. You will feel so happy and cosy!

  1. Go Out For A Stroll (And Get Yourself A Hot Drink On The Way)

This is one of my favourite forms of self care. Although I understand you may be put off doing this whilst it’s cold. You don’t have to go too far. Just wrap up warm and treat yourself to a hot drink on the way!

  1. Make Yourself A Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows and Cream

I absolutely love hot chocolate so it had to be included on this list. Make sure you go all out, put in some big marshmallows, squirty cream and even chocolate sprinkles. Treat yourself once in a while and enjoy it by the fire.

  1. Do Some Baking

Spend some time baking and making some festive cupcakes, cookies or gingerbread men. There are lots of recipes online to follow. I always find baking and decorating the cake (to give it a festive theme) extremely relaxing.

  1. Make A Christmas Playlist, Listen And Relax

There are so many great tunes out there for the holiday season. You will not find it difficult to create a feel good playlist to put on in the background whenever you want to chill.

  1. Make Your Home Smell Nice And Festive

Invest in incense sticks or a candle with a festive scent. Put them all around the house and enjoy! I especially recommend a gingerbread smell.

  1. Stay Focused On Skincare

It is really important to look after your skin during the winter. Your skin can get really dried up in the temperature. Go out and invest in some lip balm and a good moisturiser. Korean skincare is definitely the best in my opinion. You will feel refreshed and amazing after using it.

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  1. Take A Warm Shower (Or Bubble Bath)

There is nothing nicer than taking a warm shower after a long day. Especially when it’s really cold in the middle of winter. The only downside is, you won’t want to get out!

  1. Stay Healthy

I know it is difficult to stay away from sugar and chocolate during the holiday season. It is the only time of year when you can get away with eating lots of it. However, you need to remember to still be healthy. Make sure you have your 5 day and you drink plenty of water.

  1. Start A Journal To Combat Seasonal Depression

Seasonal depression is very real, and affects many people! I highly recommend starting a journal if you haven’t already. There is nothing worse than keeping all your thoughts and feelings bottled up. So, get all those thoughts and feelings out on paper every single day. You will feel so much better afterwards and like a heavy weight has been lifted from your mind.

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I hope you liked some of these self care methods and it gave you some good ideas. You need to remember to look after yourself during all times of the year. Always put some time aside every single day to practise a few of these methods. You won’t regret it.

Ruth (ColourfulHope) xoxo

Ruth is a repeat guest blogger with The Unsanity who has previously written about dealing with stress and the holidays from December 18th 2019. You can find her contact info there along with other ways to find her and follow on social media.

The Late Goodbye

Picture it: you just got engaged and you’re planning who to be in the wedding with you and stand by your side just like in all aspects in life. You send out your boxes for them to say I do as well. Now, to remind you, these are the four only people over the years that have been there for you and hung out and made sacrifies to be with you and vice versa. Now picture this: only two of them show up. That’s what happened to me, and it turned my wedding planning and day itself into hell. Here is the story of a 14 year old and a 15 year old friendship that disappeared as quickly as you can say I do.

Two of my oldest friends, we’ll call them X and Y for story purposes, skipped out on the most important day of my life after being inseperable for 14 and 15 years.

One of them, we’ll call her X, just never even responded to my inquiry of my proposal box asking her if she’d be in my wedding. Mind you, I had been talking about it since I was engaged, and she knew it was coming all along, then decided to not talk to me for a few weeks, and never got an answer, so I eliminated her because I can’t count on someone when they don’t even appreciate your offer of knowing you were “best friends.” This was the easier of the two, thankfully and unfortunately. I have not spoken to her since either. No messages, no updates, nothing. It’s truly heartbreaking.

The other, she will be Y, bailed the day OF my wedding. Great, right?

The planning was a nightmare from day one. A little back story, I didn’t pick a Maid of Honor for my wedding because it was a small private ceremony with only friends and our mothers and photographers. Y was obviously annoyed I didn’t choose her, however, she was never the one to care about other people before herself, and I knew this when I met her when I was 14 years old. She was fighting on everything I wanted to pick for my wedding (note: MY wedding) even down to the little black shawl I wanted to wear over my dress at the top because my dress was strapless. I have bigger arms, and wanted them to be covered a little. “That glittery shawl doesn’t go and hangs way too low in the back and doesn’t match your hair and what you want to do.” Really? I let it slide.

Planning festivities for the night before – “I don’t want to go bowling, that’s not bachelorette party type stuff!” Okay, so don’t go, but again, repeat, it’s MY wedding and this is what I want to do for my night before and I don’t want to get drunk at all. We can enjoy wine at the hotel (which my two best friends and I did) after the restaurant we went to. “Wait, we’re going to a restaurant? Can my boyfriend come?” My reply to her was simple, stating yes but he needs to sit at the bar because this dinner is for people in the wedding party only and our mothers. No one else is bringing their significant other to this dinner, it’s just going to be us.” Her answer was what really got me: “Oh, well then better make the dinner for 9 people because I’m not letting or making him sit alone.”

Y never showed the next day. She never messaged me. She never was in the party. All because I told her the dinner was for wedding party only and this is what I wanted for my big day.

And this was the day, the day before my wedding, I finally realized that she was never my best friend all along. She was only my friend when it was convenient for her, and fit into her schedule. She had bought the dress, bought items for the night before for the little hotel party we were planning, and all the accessories. And wasted her money because she never showed.

She always put whatever boy she was with first, and never her friends who stood by her side through everything. Since I was 14 years old, we were together daily at camp, and then after camp at her house and on weekends because she lived so close. I will be 30 this year… and it took me 15 years to realize this I guess. Better late than never in my mind, but what a way to make your wedding day alternatitely the best and worst day of your life.

Now, the two girls who took the reins and planned everything with my mom, they’re who are worth fighting for. They are my rock, they are my best friends, and they are the people who are going to be there for me when I need them most – and they have been. Neither of them stopped texting or calling me while I was living across the country for a year and a half like X and Y did, they kept in touch, and wanted to. They are my support system and who I need by my side.

Sometimes it takes an act of disgust, unreliability and pure heartbreak to truly know who your best friends are, and it’s just unfortunate that this had to happen on my wedding day. I will never be sad about losing people that I now know never cared; I will be sad about all the years I wasted thinking they would never break my heart – and my family’s heart as well.

When you lose a best friend, you learn some hard lessons. Like everything and everyone else, people change. My happiness is important to me – it should be to them as well. If this what was supposed to happen, then so be it. Thanks to them, I feel I’m a better person and have a weight lifted off my shoulders I’ve had on there for way too long. I’m not bitter, and I’m not mad – and I won’t ever be for letting go of something that freed my soul.

The devil grins from ear to ear when he sees the hand he’s dealt us. Points at your flaming hair, and then we’re playing hide and seek. I can’t breathe easy here, less our trail’s gone cold behind us. Till’ in the john mirror you stare at yourself grown old and weak; And we keep driving into the night. It’s a late goodbye, such a late goodbye…

Late Goodbye, Poets of the Fall

Christmas Traditions – Lexie Wohler

Christmas Traditions

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Christmas time is a time of celebration. It is a time to get together with family and friends. It’s a time to remember how blessed you are to have had another year of life. It is also the time to start buying gifts for your family and friends. Christmas light will be starting to pop up on your street and all around your neighborhood. There will be hordes of people trying to buy just the right gifts for their loved ones.

You’ll start hearing Christmas music. Do you start listening to Christmas songs in early November or do you wait until December? I normally wait until after December first to start listening to Christmas music. What’s your favorite Christmas song? One of my favorites is “On This Very Christmas Night” by the Tran Siberian Orchestra.

What are some of the traditions that you and your family celebrate during the holiday season? Do you go caroling with a group of friends or people from your church? Do you go help care for the homeless, or bring clothes to those who are less fortunate?  My family and I often go see Christmas lights around our city and then go see Christmas lights and decorations downtown. My dad often puts up our Christmas tree and the Christmas lights over the few warmer days that we get in late November, or early December.

My mom starts decorating the house in early December. Our praise team starts singing Christmas songs at church in late November, when we start preparing for Advent.  We lead worship at the 5p.m. service on Christmas Eve. Normally, the church is filled with over 200 people on Christmas Eve.

Some of my other Christmas traditions include listening to “The Time, Life and Treasury of Christmas” and “The Child of The Promise” CDs.

We also go to my grandmas on Christmas morning to open presents. Going over to her house was and is one of my all-time favorite traditions. We normally rotate who hosts Christmas every year. Sometimes we end up hosting it at our house two to three years in a row. Who hosts Christmas every year in your family?

The most important part of Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birth. We get so busy with the rush of the holiday that we forget to focus on Him. We get so caught up in buying gifts and getting our house ready for Christmas that Jesus is often overlooked as the reason for the season.

Jesus’ birth paved the way for everyone who believes in Him to be saved and eventually go to Heaven. Unfortunately, the world thinks it’s all about the gifts and the decorations, when it’s all about focusing on how important Jesus is in all of our lives.  As much fun as it is decorating our homes and spending time with our loved ones, let us never forget the true reason for every Christmas season.

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Lexie Wohler is a repeat guest blogger with The Unsanity and you can find some of her previous posts here, along with her author bio and social media links.

Surprisingly Simple Ways to Help Overcome Situational Sadness & Stress – Allison Shorter

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Allison Shorter and her family live in Colorado where they enjoy hiking, healthy living, and homeschooling. They lived in China for almost 4 years where they started a non-profit to help teenaged orphan girls with jobs, life skills, and sex trafficking prevention. Since being back in the US, her mission is to educate others about an overall healthy lifestyle including CBD oil, essential oils, and general wellness. You can find her at HealthyLivingInColorado.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Stress Happens

Since I started my health and wellness journey, I have tried to find natural remedies for things that I would have just popped a pill for previously. I realize medicine is still really helpful for many people, but natural remedies are my thing.

So here I’ll share some tips with you on helping to overcome mild situational stress and sadness naturally. I’m not a doctor (please consult with yours), but here is what has worked for us.

Just recently my husband and I were both going through a hard time emotionally. We were adjusting back to the US after our years in China, we had just moved yet again from North Carolina to Colorado, and my mom had recently passed away. Things were stressful, and we were sad.

I researched a little bit and used my practical knowledge and experience to alter several things in our lives. With some time, we were feeling more like ourselves. Here’s what I did:

Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle

The first thing I did was change our diets. We usually eat more protein based food, but admittedly we had been stressed so I wasn’t cooking much. So right away I switched us to a Mediterranean Diet and spent more time in the kitchen because the Mediterranean Diet is said to improve mood and outlook.

For breakfast we mostly ate eggs and vegetables.

For meals we also ate lean meats like chicken, fish, and things like falafel with hummus. We ate more whole grains like pasta and bread than we ever do, but for a few weeks, it was fine.

The diet is also very veggie and fruit heavy, so we eat a lot of that.

For snacks we ate nuts, seeds, nut butters, and pita crackers.

The most difficult thing was probably no sugar. I don’t eat much sugar anyway, but it makes things like coffee more difficult. But sugar can make sadness worse, so I didn’t eat any.

The Mediterranean Diet is not only about the food, but also about lifestyle. Those in the Mediterranean enjoy a slow meal with loved ones, have a glass of wine, take in sunshine, exercise, and rest in the afternoon. So we tried to do more of these things on a daily basis as well.

Vitamins and Supplements

I also started a regimen of vitamins and supplements. Some of them we already used, but I might have added more than we were taking, or introduced it altogether.

    • Omega 3 vitamins: Omega vitamins are really good for your brain and can help optimize the health of your brain. This is one reason the Mediterranean Diet is recommended because it offers a lot of fish and nuts on plan that are high in Omegas.
  • Adaptogenic herbs: These can help relax the nervous system and reduce cortisol levels. Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogenic herb you may have heard of.
  • Probiotics: Gut health is so important to every system in your body! Sometimes called the “second brain,” your gut needs some extra love when there is stress going on. And probiotics can help with digestion, immunity, and other systems.

 

  • Essential oils: My favorite essential oils when I am stressed or feeling anxious are lavender, chamomile, doTERRA Balance, and doTERRA Peace. This article explains the benefits of each oil and how to use them. Best Essential Oils for Calming Anxious Feelings

Relationships

Another really important thing to make sure you have in your life is solid relationships. That was one of the difficult things for my family is that we had just moved across the country to a place where we didn’t know anyone. It takes time to meet people in a new place.

So we made sure to reach out to friends who knew us for years and who would support us in the stress and sadness of the season. Lack of relationship can make your whole life seem low. Good relationships take work to maintain. But relationships are worth it, and necessary to emotional health.

I hope you find these tips helpful on your health journey!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

IS SELF-CONFIDENCE A SUPER POWER?-YASMEN AHMED

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Hi! I’m Yasmen, a CBT Integrated Therapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Everyone deserves emotional wellness, inner peace and light in their spirits. My purpose is to inspire you to rekindle your light within in a world that can often feel lonely, disconnected and dim. My mission is to widen your mind with gems of knowledge, feel accepted and inspired towards embracing and becoming your best self!
These tools are easily accessible through my online platform Inspire with Yas- a heart centered space filled with inspiration, positivity, self-love and drops of magic. Join the community and be inspired daily!

You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Is self-confidence a super power?

Quite simply, no.
Self- confidence is not a super power, it is something we can all have and achieve. Over the years, self-confidence has been perceived as a ‘gift’ that only a selected SPECIAL few have. We have been split into two groups. One group of individuals who are lucky enough to be born with this natural trait and the other group are the “unlucky” ones who did not get this trait.

But how have we got this wrong?

Let me first begin by asking you to do one little thing. I want you, just for a moment to remove this pre-conceived idea that self-confidence is some sort of innate personality trait or gift that only ‘special’ people are born with.

Confidence is a SKILL, just like any other skill. Learning to walk? That’s a skill. Learning to drive or play the drums? That’s a skill. Learning to bake amazingly delicious cakes? Heck, that’s a pretty good skill.

We go through life continually learning new skills in all areas of our lives. We get good at a skill by learning to master it. But when it comes to self-confidence we fail to put it under the same umbrella. Why do we think of it as an innate superpower? Are we born with knowledge of how to drive a car or how to tie our shoe laces? Or are we taught first then told to practice it?

Self-confidence is the same thing. But instead of being told to practice this skill, in society we have instead just assumed that it is something we must already have within and can’t be learnt. Which we know is untrue.

How do we become masters at it?

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1.   PRACTICE

When we want to get good at any form of skill, what are we told to do? PRACTICE! Just like building physical strength, we need to work on building our muscles of self-confidence by exercising them daily through different tasks.

The more you exercise and strengthen your self-confidence muscles, the easier it will get.

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2.   TAKE IT STEP BY STEP

You would not throw yourself right into the deep end of a swimming pool if you never learnt to swim right?

It is the small steps that make the biggest difference and shifts in our lives. Practice exercising

your self-confidence in smaller environments first. Do you want to master self-confidence when giving talks or speeches? Start with mastering the practice of speaking to yourself in the mirror first. Then move up to practicing in front of family and friends. Then when you feel comfortable, slowly excel to bigger audiences and keep growing.

The key here is not to rush and most importantly be kind to you. Give yourself credit for each small accomplishment you complete.

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3.  REMOVE THE LABELS

We are often given labels from a young age from our parents, friends, teachers and society. We take these labels as truths and allow them to limit us towards achieving our goals, hopes and dreams.

Let’s say as a child you were labeled as the ‘quiet and shy kid’ but your brother or sister was the ‘confident and talkative kid’. Without realizing, you will live your life never believing you could be anything more because you were not “blessed” with the gift of self-confidence like your brother or sister. You will keep yourself stuck, limited and remain within the barriers of your own mind.

Do not allow words or labels given to you, define who you are. They are not real. Give yourself permission to explore and become the person you want to be instead.

Lastly

It all starts with YOU. Self-confidence can be achieved by anyone, it is not a superpower only gifted to some. Nothing is stopping you but yourself. Don’t you think it is time to start stepping into your own power?

Striving Towards A Simple Life – Just a Bit Further

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Is it even possible?

Is it possible to live a simple life, given the velocity that life careens through the cosmos these days? A life that gives you room to breathe and ultimately to live life on your own terms. Not necessarily life as the result of ditching everything and living off-grid in a self-hewed cabin in the wilderness of northern Ontario, but a life regardless of where you are, that in all intense purposes is simple.”

How many of us are desperately seeking this kind of quiet change? A major hurdle to overcoming this pilgrimage of living “simple” is the concept of “living simpler”. Sadly, this is pretty much polar opposite to the world as we know it.

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This comes as no huge shock, but we live a crazy, and insanely busy time.

What defies logic is; although we bemoan and complain about how insane it all is, when we flip the coin over we find ourselves glorifying busy and all the insaneness.

We extoll with our friends and colleagues on how many hours we can work. All of which goes hand in hand with how little sleep we need to work all those hours. At the expense of friends, family and relationships in general, we glue our noses to computer screens or our smartphones, using each precious second we can find. We become addicted to the “likes” and “comments” hoping they will inject a level of validation into what can be a somewhat superficial and sad commentary of our affairs.

Like sitting around a poker table, we raise the stakes higher and higher. We take on more commitments. Our jobs demand more and more of us, to produce greater outputs, meaning longer hours and even more commitments. We are driven to do more and, yes, buy more. Many people abuse themselves with drugs and/or alcohol in an out of control attempt to get distracted from the insaneness until they are anesthetized into dreamland and stressed beyond human comprehension.

Okay, that might be a stretch for some, but it certainly is the reality for many. But, granted it is tough.

Many of us were raised in environments where achievements and the pursuit of wanting more is hard-wired into our DNA. So, there is never enough and there is always more to be had. We push more and more to get further ahead. To be better than last year, striving for a better and more prestigious title at work. And always lurking out there somewhere, like a northern pike circling the shallow water for his next meal, is the lure of more money. We believe “money” to be the answer to all our troubles and strife. Believing that more money will buy us the peace, happiness and a simpler life we have so longed for.

What might happen though, if we decided to take a bit of side-step?

To strategically work on leaving the craziness and insaneness behind, and to go for a life that was much simpler in its complexity?

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Is it even possible?

Let’s make the assumption that it is. If so, what might a less simple existence even look like?

Again, I’m not suggesting or promoting heading off to a northern Ontario wood-lot deep in the boreal forests anywhere north of Manitouwadge and hand whacking a tiny cabin together with nothing more than an axe, grit and determination. Although, if that’s what you think it takes, more power to you!

Like I do, most of us live in the real world and we have real-world commitments. It is those commitments that require us to live in the real world. The reality we see each day when we open the front door.

How can we be in this world (the crazy and insanely hectic one), but move towards living simpler? How to get out of the “race” and to step away from the busyness, whether self-imposed or not. How can I/we slow things down, while fulfilling our purpose, doing great work and living a wonderful life?

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Breathing

Creating and living a much simpler life is all about breathing.

Establishing space through cutting or scaling back gives you space to breathe.

Doing more and having more doesn’t lead to happiness and fulfillment. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s about finding joy in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.

A few things to keep in mind though.

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We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

All of the stress, the irritations, the dissatisfaction, and disappointments; all the craziness and rushing around; we created all of it. So, whether you like it or not, we are our own worst enemy. Every one of those things we created in our own minds. We made those decisions and we created these with attachments in our heads. By letting go, we can relax and live more simply.

Clutter and Complexity

Get rid of stuff.”

When we can get rid of “stuff” and become less attached, a couple of things can happen. If you sell some of the “tangible stuff”, you’ll have a bit of cash in your hand and most significantly, getting rid of clutter can result in these benefits:

  • sense of confidence – I have only X amount of space, so I need to be bold with what goes and what stays
  • more energy – relates to the first point. Puts you in the get things done mode
  • reduces anxiety – most of us prefer order as compared to chaos. Decluttering creates order and order reduces anxiety
  • creates more time – not overwhelmed now with the time that WAS needed to clean and tidy. Creates time for other things or to do nothingWhen we can do something like getting rid of the clutter around us, our lives start to become simpler.

Social Media

Might as well blurt it out there – “social media is the scourge of today. Okay, it might not be “the scourge of today,” but it rates right up there.

There is no getting around it, we are addicted to those little electronic devices. Our phone, Ipads, computers and all that they deliver – we can never get enough. We check our FB feeds to see how many likes did that post get. We upload a picture of our dinner on Instagram and then head over and update our life on Twitter. Each time we “just check for a second,” a wee tiny blast of dopamine let’s loose in our brains and we become more and more addicted.

For too many of us, it’s insanely hard to stop.

In search of making our lives simpler, cutting back on social media time is an excellent element in our quest. In checking to see who’s doing what and who said what, we waste time and energy. Sadly, we get stuck in a trap of comparing ourselves with “influencers” and others on social media, which over time can erode our confidence and takes away the power we have within us as individuals.

Less screen time equates to more breathing time and space.

A Few Simple Things

How many feel that their lives and activities need to be complex. In that, complex equates to better. Often, that includes a cycle of “more complex and better” as time moves along. Yesterday’s complex and better doesn’t cut it today.

Striving towards a life that is simpler means looking inside of us, deep inside of us to discover those simple joys and activities in life.

For me, those include writing/blogging, reading and discovering new things; as well as the outdoors; including hiking and walking. Most importantly, spending time with Lynn, while she captures all of this with her photography skills and passion.

When we downsized our home after our daughter left for college, we gave more stuff away than I can remember. And when I say downsize I mean downsize… to a 700 square foot two bedroom home.

When our lives become focused on the simple things you love doing, life suddenly becomes simpler.

Less clutter; less stuff; less worry.

“No” Is Not A Bad Word

Most of us are not very clear about what we want. How many of us see a post on social media of something really neat or exciting and we become obsessed about doing whatever that was. Next thing you know, we find ourselves heading in a new and totally different direction.

When someone invites us out, we instantly say, yes. Why? Because we’re “yes people” or “people pleasers.” We simply cannot say no.

Because we can never say no, our lives and schedules get stretched to the breaking point. There’s never enough time left for the things that are most important to us.

No is not a bad word.

What if we worked really hard on those things in our existence that held the most and dearest value to us? Saying, “yes” to those things and “no” to the other stuff. If we knew what we wanted to create and the direction we want our lives to head in, we could say yes to these things, and no to everything else.

Saying no to more things would simplify our lives. No is not a bad word!

Do Nothing – Practice It Until You Get REAL GOOD at it.

Have you ever just sat back and did nothing for a day? Just hung loose and did NOTHING. No need to feel that the day had been wasted if something had not been accomplished.

We all need idle time. Time built in to sit and watch the clouds drift by on a warm summer’s afternoon. A time that is free to do nothing.

Many people feel the need to have every waking moment filled with activities and the need to accomplish so much, each and every day. The reality is we need that down time to rejuvenate ourselves…..to meditate; to think; to reflect.

Why?

Having that time to do nothing and just “be you” helps to foster and create contentment with life.

Get In Alignment

When working towards achieving a simpler life, at some point along the way it will become clear to you which things in your life are no longer in alignment with your values.

Part of living more simply will help you identify those unnecessary aspects of your daily life. It might be less FB and social media time, or it might be areas in your life that need significant review and thought. This could be your job; friendships; where you live; belongings (getting rid of things) or anything else that just doesn’t line up with your simpler existence.

So, is it even possible?

Yes, it is possible and like much of life, it comes down to a decision. We are the only ones who can decide if we want our lives to be less hectic and more simple in existence.

It doesn’t mean packing up and living in a tiny cabin out in the hinterlands cut off from everything. It’s about making priorities; figuring out what we want our lives to look like and then acting on those things to accomplish it.

Something tells me that as time marches on, life will become more and more complex, with greater demands on our time. Perhaps now is your moment to re-evaluate where you are… where you’re headed. To start now and simplify your life to create something that gives you room to breathe and room to live!

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To quote Yvon Chouinard, an early rock climbing pioneer and founder of the outdoor equipment and clothing company Patagonia and environmental activist.

Thanks for reading and stopping by.

How To: Be Resilient Against Your Chronic Society Anxiety – Ariette Hung

About the Guest Author:  
This article is written for The Unsanity Blog by Canadian blogger, Ariette Hung. She is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling. She cares deeply about mental health literacy, promoting resilience and growth, and instilling hope in others in times of adversity such as mental health struggles. When she isn’t studying, you can find her at her blog, ariettehung.com, where she blogs about saving money, side hustle ideas, entrepreneurship, and how to run a profitable blog.
Social links: Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), the defining feature of social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.

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In today’s post, I will be outlining some clinical insight on managing, reversing, and becoming resilient to your socially anxious thoughts, behaviors, and tendencies.

Practice mindfulness meditation and practice breathing techniques.

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When you’re anxious, you might feel physical changes in your body that make you feel pain or discomfort — it can manifest in shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, feverish feelings, tension, dizziness, nausea, or in the sensation of suffocation.

Managing your anxiety through meditation and breathing techniques can be very grounding and can assist you in adjusting misaligned and irrational thoughts to positive, and rational schemas. With proper therapeutic breathing techniques and meditation, you can soothe your nervous system and calm your heart rate.

My Calm-Down-Anxiety-Breathing Technique

  1. Sit up straight and relax your shoulders.
  2. Try to release any tension in your body.
  3. Place your hand above your diaphram (belly) and your heart.
  4. Breathe in slowly for four full seconds. Exhale slowly over 6 seconds.

Slowing your breathing can help you relax and regain your sense of equillibrium.

Resources to help: Headspace, Yoga with Adriene, The Mindful Kind podcast

Try exercises that reduce your anxiety.

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Exercise is closely linked to mental health, because your mind feels better and more “awake” when your body is moving. This is because your body produces endorphins when you exercise, which gives your mood a boost, almost like a natural “high”.

Hate traditional working out or the idea of going to a gym? Try these: Swimming, dance class, yoga, rowing, hiking, going for a walk, running, spinning, biking, skiing, skating

If you incorporate physical exercise into your routine on a regular basis, you will feel much better!

Prepare accordingly for socially anxious situations.

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Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself that it’s going to be okay. If you know that large crowds overwhelm you, ask a buddy to stick by your side throughout the night.

Truth is, no one is going to pay as much attention to you as you think they will. And I know, your brain tells you otherwise and you feel panicked. Your feelings are valid.

But, your perception of reality might be warped. In order to assist you, have a friend “coach” you through socially difficult situations (whether it’s talking to your crush, talking to your professor, standing up to your parents, or asking for a raise at work), and if you see a counselor for your anxiety, I recommend working on your anxiety with him/her.

Implement self-compassion practices.

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Journal about good days. Forgive yourself for bad days.

Challenge negative thoughts with the talk-back technique. writing

The purpose of this exercise is to identify the ugly, inner critic inside your head, and challenge those negative notions with a rational and positive voice.

Write down all the negative thoughts you have about yourself. Unleash your inner critic.

Your list can look like…

  1. You can’t do anything right.
  2. You are a failure.
  3. You are never going to make it.

Now, think about it, are these facts really true? Embody the most rational voice you have (maybe impersonate the most practical, logical person you know) and talk back.

Your talk-back statements may look like…

  1. You may not have succeeded at everything you’ve tried, but you’ve at least tried and you’re improving every time that you do it. That’s still a win.
  2. You are not a failure. Failure is something that can happen to you but it is not something you are. So, you can fail, and maybe you have, but it doesn’t define you. If anything, again, it means that you tried and that deserves credit.
  3. You may not be where you want to be right now, but you will be if you continue to work at it. After all, anyone who has ever “made it” in life has hustled for it.

Point is, the rational voice is right. It is not there to sugarcoat anything or baby you. But it is there to put things into proper perspective so you can see yourself and your problems with a realistic lens. Using this technique, you take control of your schemas.

To whoever is reading this article today,

I hope that this blog post and its suggestions are helpful to you.

I understand that anxiety looks different for everyone as we are all individual, unique people so please consult a professional consultant as needed. These are suggestions and practices that I have developed to aid me through my own anxiety over the years (it’s considerably managed), and have studied in school as an aspiring psychotherapist.

I may not know you and you may not know me, but know that I am rooting for you.

With love and light,

Ariette

 

 

#FreebieFriday – Planner Pages

Good morning Unsanity readers!

It’s another #FreebieFriday for you finally. I’ve been out of the loop writing here myself (currently featuring a whole BUNCH of guest bloggers instead!) and wanted to share something for your Freebie today.

Click the link below to download your 4 different color scheme daily planner pages! You can also find this here on my page if you lose this post amongst the others.

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Mental Health Mini Series: 4 Reasons Why You Should Start to Exercise – Stephanie Robbins

Hello Friends!

I am so happy to be back doing a guest post series for Koral! Thank you so much for this chance.

I’m Stephanie from A Red Hair Girl. In January I wrote a post for Koral that gave you some background about my mental health issues. Then I went on to explain three ways I helped myself with my mental health.

First I admitted to myself I had a problem and that I needed help. Second I told a few people that I felt comfortable telling (my husband, my mom, sisters, and my OBGYN). And third I made the scary phone call to a therapist to get up an appointment. It is worth the read. I hope it will give you courage to seek out the help you need if you are struggling.

At the end of the post I mentioned I had a post about the things I have learned in therapy that have helped me. Welp, I had good intentions but I never got around to writing it… AHHH! I’m sorry!

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I thought this mini-series would be the perfect chance for me to tell you about 4 things that I learned from my therapist. And tell you why they have helped me. I’m super excited!

So, let’s get right to it! This post is all about exercise! Here are 4 reasons why exercise is great for your mental health. I hope that by the time you are finished you are ready to get your sweat on.

Working Out Releases Our Feeling Good Endorphins

When we have our feeling good endorphins are flowing it just feels great. This is a natural way to get them going. So why wouldn’t we want to do that? My therapist always ask how my level of exercise. She doesn’t care how hard I’m going at it. She just wants me moving.

Even a walk around the block and kick start the good feeling endorphins. In fact if you exercise outside it can increase the amount of good feeling endorphins. That’s a double win! She tells me to get outside and talk a walk around the block sans kids if I’m feeling stressed, depressed or anxious. That isn’t always possible. But when I have, I come back refreshed.

Exercise Can Help Take Your Mind off Worries

When your brain has less to worry about your depression and anxiety will have less to feed it. When I’m working out it is harder for me to think about negative things. After a workout it is even hard to be negative. It’s all those good feeling endorphins. J

So if you exercise most days then you will have less time during those days to worry, which will help. Because the less you worry then the cycle of negative thoughts that help to feed your depression and anxiety will not be as present.

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Exercise Can Help You Gain Confidence

What happens when you work out consistently? So many wonderful things! Among them is you will start to feel better about yourself. When you take the time to work out and do something that is hard you gain confidence.

You may start to lose weight or gain muscle. Your clothes may start to fit differently, a good different. People may start to give you complements. Or you may catch yourself in the mirror and think, WOW! All of these help you to gain confidence.

When you have more confidence you start to have a change in your thinking. For me, I become less depressed. Both of those things (being less depressed and gaining confidence) are very important to your mental health.

Working Out Can Help You Eat Better

If you are like me (and so many other people) then when you start to exercise consistently you may start to eat healthier. You may find yourself grabbing for an apple instead of crackers. The can of soda may not look as tasty as water.

When I am able to get myself out of bed and work out first thing in the morning I tend to make better eating choices all day long. Why wouldn’t I want to start my day off in that way?

Then when you start making better eating choices and continue to work out you will see a difference in your body. This will help you gain more confidence. See how many of these are intertwined? J

Some Tips and Tricks to Help You

  • You do not need to go out and join a gym or an online membership unless you want to.
  • There are plenty of free resources online or books you can check out from the library.
  • Walking is a great way to get started, get some good shoes to protect your feet and body.
  • Workout clothes are so much fun to have. They are pricey. I mostly use t-shirts and my husband’s old shorts. I have bought some workout clothes but they don’t fit very well, thank you baby #4. Haha! I reward myself by meeting exercise goals with workout clothes. J
  • Yoga is SOOOOO good for your body and mental health. One of my favorite yoga channels on You Tube is Yoga with Adriene. I just really love her, this is not sponsored. After I started to do yoga more consistently I noticed mood improvements. Woohoo!
  • Ask a friend to be your accountability partner or workout partner.
  • Self-promoting here… J Last fall I created a 3 month free workout program. Check it out and see if it is something you’d like.

Good luck my friends with exercising! It has helped me so much with my mental health and confidence. I know it can help you as well!

Happy working out!

Xoxo, Steph

You Can’t Stress – Sarah D’Anne

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I’m Sarah D’Anne, a writer of books and blog posts. When I’m not working in the deli at my local convenient store, I’m at home with my six cats and my mother. Besides writing, I like to doodle, do photography, and daydream.
Blog: www.unexploredboundaries.wordpress.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/sarahdanne
IG: www.instagram.com/highlyfaveured
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/aceyroch

“You can’t stress.” These were the words my mother said to me after her encounter with bowel blockage, shingles, and a seizure. They came after her mother passed away. My mother carried a lot on herself, including anger and resentment.

The word “can’t” in this sentence doesn’t imply “not allowed.” It implies that I am “not able to.”

So, what is someone who is not able to stress, doing writing a post about mental health? Well, that’s the question of the day, isn’t it?

I’m here to tell you what it feels like to not be able to stress.

I bet you’re thinking, “It would be so wonderful to not be able to stress. I can actually go on with my life, not caring about anything. I can let things slide right off of me, and let things happen the way that they are supposed to.”

You know what? You’re right. That’s exactly how I feel.

Do you know how hard that is, though? Watching people struggle, stress, be anxious and depressed? It’s not easy.

“It’s so hard to make ends meet. I’m broke before I even get paid,” a coworker might say to me. I stand there, motionless, trying not to blurt out the thoughts that run through my head. “Well, stop spending fifty dollars a week to get your nails done,” I think. But I slowly nod, speak a soft, “Hm,” and walk away.

Does this mean that I can’t relate to people? No. I can, actually. Growing up with a mother who deals with depression and stress, has allowed me to understand what goes through peoples’ minds when they are in these mental states. My mother is very open about how she feels and what she’s thinking. She always has been, even now. So when those that are around me, express these thoughts and feelings, I am able to understand that they feel a certain way, but I am not able to relate with the feeling itself. Which may make me seem cold and unsympathetic. I can come off like that, of course. In fact, I hardly ever have sympathy for anyone. Empathy, sure, but rarely sympathy.

So, what’s my secret for a no stress life? Do I meditate? Exercise? Stay away from any and all stressful situations? The answer is simply, no. Instead of meditating, I close my eyes and take a deep breath and let it out in a long, loud, forceful sigh, so that everyone around me knows exactly how I feel. I do listen to music, but it’s not soft. At all. In fact, it’s mostly heavy rock. I also don’t exercise. I do quite a bit of physical labor at my job, but on my off days, my butt is in my chair.

Do I lack the stress gene 5HTR2C? Are my chemical levels constantly balanced? Do I have the long long genotype called 5-HTTLPR?

Let’s face it, no one really knows what genes they have, do they?  In fact, stress can actually change your genes.

To be honest, I don’t know why I can’t stress. Maybe because I grew up watching a mother stress over everything, every day of my life. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to. Maybe it’s because I walk into every situation I am faced with, with this in mind: if I stress, I am of no help. I won’t have a clear mind to make the right decisions, or say the right things. If I stress, I can’t help. If I can’t help, what good am I?

At the end of the day, all I know is I don’t have a worry bone in my body. Do I get sad? Yes, at least I still get sad. Do I wonder about the future? Of course, who doesn’t? But I don’t necessarily worry about anything.

The beautiful part about this is, people still confide in me. People still tell me about their worries and fears and struggles. Even though I have a difficult time relating to the physical feelings, and the thoughts, I still listen and learn. I am self aware to the point that I am able to put aside my cold, unsympathetic aura, and replace it with an empathetic one.

For those of you who are prone to stress, depression, anxiety, and others, please be patient with us non-worrying types. If we could worry about how we come off to people, we would. And please don’t think that if someone doesn’t worry, that they don’t understand. Because I do.

My mother almost died because of stress. She had a seizure because of stress. Every time she feels under the weather, she gets depressed. She was very angry when I was little and would cry to me almost every night and tell me how she was feeling. They say that one out of three people will get shingles in their lifetime. Mom has had it more than once. Mom had to have open heart surgery because, when she got so sick from stress that she weighed ninety pounds, her heart grew weak and she developed a prolapsed heart valve.

To those of you who endure the pain, I see you. I feel you. I will cry with you. I don’t care if I don’t understand what you’re feeling, but what you feel is real. That’s what I understand, and to me, that’s all that matters.

Your feelings matter.

YOU MATTER.