Tag Archives: ramblings

Six Ways to Feel Your Best This Winter – Amy Jackson

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Are you a fan of winter? I personally love the chance to break out my fluffy jumpers and to enjoy a hot chocolate, but what I’m not a fan of are the darker nights, the increased amount of illnesses in the air and generally feeling a bit under the weather. So when it comes to winter wellbeing, how can we make sure we’re feeling as good as we were during those summer months? How can you keep your physical health in check while taking good care of your mental health too? Well, I’ve done a little research and put together six of the best wellbeing tips to keep you feeling great all through the winter! 

1: Maintain a healthy diet

While in the colder months, it can be tempting to reach for the comfort foods and sugary snacks, but this isn’t necessarily the best thing to do for your body. One of the easiest ways towards winter wellbeing is to make sure you enjoy a healthy diet. Plenty of fruits and veggies are an absolute must, as it will keep your immune system in check and ensure that you’re taking in those essential vitamins. Even though it’s colder, it’s still important to keep hydrated too, so ensure that you drink plenty of water and don’t have too much caffeine. 

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

2: Wash your hands

When it comes to winter wellbeing tips, hygiene is a must. Winter is a time of year when we become more susceptible to viruses, and in some cases, it can be difficult to avoid them, especially when everyone in the office is sick. You can stock up on supplements and vitamins, but ultimately, the most effective way to avoid catching these pesky illnesses is to wash your hands. Hand sanitiser is great in the short term, but you’ll find a number of them don’t actually destroy viruses, which is what the common cold is. You’re better off washing your hands with soap and water before eating, touching your face, or preparing food. Ensure that if anyone in your house is unwell that they follow the same rules too! Keep towels separate, regularly clean surfaces, and ensure that cups, plates and eating utensils are properly cleaned too. 

3: Keep moving

It can be tempting to stay curled up on the couch watching Netflix during the colder, darker nights, but it’s still important to keep moving during the winter. Regular exercise will mean that your joints are kept mobile, and it’ll help you stay warm too. Of course, you don’t have to go hard with high intensity workouts if you don’t want to – gentle exercise such as yoga is still just as effective! 

4: Sleep well

Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for winter wellbeing. We can often feel more tired in the winter, but actually, there’s no biological need for extra sleep at this time of year! It’s a no brainer that sleeping in or having naps during the day will make it difficult for you to fall asleep at bedtime, so resist the urge to stay in bed on those chilly mornings! Even though you don’t need extra sleep, making sure you still get a good nights’ rest should be high on your list of priorities. A good night’s sleep will ensure your immune system is in top condition and is also beneficial for mental wellbeing too. We all differ in terms of how much sleep we need, but the general amount is between 7 and 9 hours for adults. 

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash
Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

5: Keep your skin healthy

The colder weather can often mean that our skin is in need of a little extra TLC, so make sure you give it some! Dry skin can occur as a result of the colder temperatures and if you’re spending more time with your heating on at home, so ensure you invest in a good moisturiser to keep it feeling hydrated and soft. The same can also be said for your hands too – especially if you’re washing them more frequently. Pick up a good quality hand cream at the same time and regularly apply it throughout the day, including after you’ve washed your hands. It’ll prevent your skin from drying out, and will keep them feeling soft all through the winter!

6: Stay social

A lot of us think of holiday parties once we enter the winter months, but for some, it can actually be a pretty lonely time. No doubt the colder weather will make you want to wrap yourself up in a blanket and hibernate for a couple of months, however, staying social and keeping in touch with your friends will work wonders for your mental wellbeing. So don’t cancel those plans just because there’s a bit of a nip in the air – wrap up warm, get out there and enjoy yourself!

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About the Author: Amy Jackson is a mental health and lifestyle blogger. Her blog Sassy Cat Lady focuses on her recovery from OCD, along with general lifestyle tips and advice. She’s a lover of cats, a good gin and tonic, and Taylor Swift. 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amy_May_J

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amymayj/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sassycatladyblog

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@sassycatlady

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.

Blogging Goals for 2020

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I know I’m a little late to the game with these New Year’s posts… but life has just taken up too much of my time since Christmas. I was out of work for a bit for the holiday, then my bosses were out a bit for the holidays and one of them still is (jealous!) and things have just been really hard to concentrate on. Well, I’m hoping that will change in this new year and I want to get my mojo back and stop procrastinating.

I’ve come up with a list of a few goals that I want to implement for my blog this year and a few things I really want to focus on. Most are for my blog, but there are a few things in there unrelated to the WordPress blogging platform, but still include writing or publishing.

  • Write more authentic material about my life, my mental health and how I deal with it. Afterall, this is a mental health focused site, and I would like to keep it that way.
  • Upload more photography with my posts that I have taken, or taken specifically for that post. Too many times I’ve used sites like Unsplash for photography for my personal posts, and while I do have a photography page on my blog here, I think I need to start taking specific photos for each blog I’m writing and put some more time into that aspect.
  • Publish another piece or two for Thought Catalog this year. I’ve written one before, but it’s been so long, I think it’s time I write some more in my down time… whenever I may have that.
  • Create a page on my blog for my Virtual Assistant Services that I offer to small businesses. I’ve been doing them freelance for a little bit now, and I don’t really have set documentation yet except a SOW and way to Invoice everyone. I think it’s time to focus on that a bit more.
  • Continue taking guest bloggers throughout the year. I’ve been doing this since October 2018 and would love to make this consistent on my blog for 2020 and beyond even. I can count this as an ongoing goal I think and make it happen!
  • Challenge myself to write at least 4-5 posts per month of my own content and help tips for readers.
  • Focus on Pinterest more to drive traffic to my blog and make my own Pinterest graphics to go along with each post I create. I haven’t really been focusing on Pinterest much, and from what I hear, it’s great for impressions and to find new readers.
  • Write about my experience with online schooling with SNHU and how my classes go. I am taking 2-3 classes this year and I really want to keep track on how it goes. I know alot of people do it these days and want to keep up with it.

what are your goals for 2020 for your blog?

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.

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.

 

Finding Peace This Holiday Season – Michelle Smith

Today’s guest blogger on The Unsanity is a new friend of mine who has personally helped with my stress and anxiety at the House of Care in rural central PA at the hospital we both work at. Michelle is a very wise individual, promoting balance and reminding everyone in her life to take care of YOU. You are number one, and you need to find your inner peace this holiday season.

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When I was a child, I did not understand why adults found the holiday season to be stressful. It was great. There were parties. There were family gatherings with presents. And the food was so yummy. There were trees to decorate, cookies to make, and maybe even some snow to play in. What in the world was stressful about these things?

Now that I am an adult and “life” has happened, I totally get it. When I was in my early twenties, my father died suddenly from a massive heart attack during the Christmas season. Each year, Christmas is a yearly reminder of my father’s physical absence. And, all those things that were so magical and enchanting as a child are now tasks to conquer on my list. Looking at that list can create stress and anxiety that can be difficult to manage.

Over the past decade of cultivating a yoga practice, I have come to realize that my practice is the doorway to finding peace during the holiday season and all year long. Yoga equips me with tools that help me find my true, higher, peaceful self. Yoga is so much more than a physical practice done in a studio. Yoga equips me with a set of tools that have a positive effect on my being.

Poses or the position we put are body in has an energetic effect. Through self-awareness, it is important to recognize when we are anxious and stressed. Responding appropriately during those first moments of realization is crucial to finding internal peace quickly. The longer we are stressed and anxious, the more time it may take to return to center and peace. Face-down positions have a grounding effect and are great for balancing anxiety and stress. You can simply turn your palms face down. If practiced over time, the subtle practice of turning your palms face down may yield large returns of internal peace. Or, you can lie on the floor or your bed face down for several moments and see if you feel a subtle grounding sensation.

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The breath is central to the yoga practice because it interfaces directly with the nervous system. There are simple breathing practices that we can employ to upregulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for helping us rest and restore. We can be in a truly crazy environment and through some simple breathing practices stay relaxed. One easy thing you can do is lengthen your exhale. A basic practice for lengthening your exhale is to take a breath and count the length of your inhale and exhale. Then, for the next 5 breaths, keep your inhale the same count, but lengthen your exhale by 1 count each time. At the end of those 5 breaths, notice how you feel.  Do you feel more relaxed? You may need to repeat the practice several times to notice a positive effect.

Another wonderful tool for grounding and finding your higher self during the holidays is disciplining yourself to bring your concentration to one specific thing. This is mindfulness. Find something specific you want to bring your attention to during the holiday season. The more specific it is, the better. Maybe it is the sound of your breath? Or maybe you want it to be the sensation of air passing through the very tip of each nostril? Or maybe you want to visualize a color you associate with peace and visualize that color moving into your body as you inhale and out of your body as you exhale. Are you sitting in holiday traffic? Are you worrying about the weather forecast and how it will impact your travel plans? Or are you sitting in front of your bat-shit-crazy relative at Christmas dinner? Any of these mindfulness practices can be done inconspicuously to help you find your center, stay in control of the emotions and sensations arising, and know peace.

Knowing peace independent of what is going on around you and even inside of you is key to finding the magic and “child-like” wonder in this holiday season. Pick a tool that resonates with you and commit to practicing it. These are simple practices that can be done anywhere that, if practiced over time, will bring you the greatest gift of all: an internal fountain of joy and peace.

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About the Author: Michelle Smith is a program manager for Geisinger Health System, a rural health system in central Pennsylvania. She manages The House of Care, an outpatient home for adult cancer patients undergoing treatment, and the system’s Integrative Medicine program. Michelle uses the tools of yoga therapy, reiki, and vibrational sound therapy to help staff, patients, and family members know peace during very stressful circumstances. Additionally, Michelle teaches yoga at various studios in NE Pennsylvania. Michelle is the author of the book Always With Me: The Guide to Grieving Death through Integrative Medicine which is available on Amazon.

How I Deal With Depression During The Holidays – Ruth

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“The most wonderful time of the year” is fast approaching. Although it doesn’t always feel that way. Especially when you struggle with depression. I know first hand how it feels to be in a really dark place around this time of year and it drains you. Having to deal with your mental health and the stresses of preparing for the festivities can get too much.

That is why I thought I would share a few techniques that I use to deal with this. Seeing all the happiness around during this time of year can be intimidating. However, these following techniques help to lift my spirits an awful lot.

Do Not Avoid Friends and Family

Around this time of year, you will start being invited to gatherings with friends, families or colleagues more and more. I know how difficult this is to agree too when you have depression but you need to try. Trust me, if you don’t show up to a gathering, you will only feel worse in the long run. You will feel guilty that you didn’t go especially during the holiday season. It is a time for friends and family. Spend time with them.

Let Them Support You

Do not hide your feelings just because “it’s meant to be a happy time of year”. Be completely open and honest about your depression with the people that you love. You will not be a burden and then they may be even more understanding when you don’t seem as happy as they feel like you should be.

Don’t Forget Self Care

During this hectic time of year, I know how difficult it can be to focus on looking after yourself. You are constantly thinking about others, and what perfect gift to get them for example. As a retail worker too, it is so hard to fit in self care when it is so busy!

Spend any days when you have absolutely no commitments, focusing on you. You need to find a healthy balance between not isolating yourself and finding the time to practise self care.

Personal Winter Self Care Methods

Whenever you get some free time, do something that you genuinely enjoy doing! Or even look up “Winter Self Care Tips” on Pinterest and try some out.  I thought I would mention a few of my favourite Winter Self Care methods:

  • Make yourself a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows.
  • Turn on the fire, read a book or watch a film.

Get Thoughtful Gifts

There is one thing that is guaranteed to make me happy over the holidays. Buying gifts for others. It’s more the reaction from them that makes me happy. This is why I always put a lot of thought and plan into my presents and what I get for each person. It is definitely worth it.

If your budget is tight, you don’t even have to spend money. You can make or draw them something if you are creative in some way. You can just leave them a heartfelt note inside a card. Do this for your support system. Let them know how much you appreciate them and make THEM feel happy.

Attend Events

There are so many events going on over the holiday season. This sense of community and togetherness can really heighten your mood. Attend a Carol Service, a Christmas Market etc. Anything specifically on over the holidays that attracts your attention since I know my suggestions may not be everybody’s cup of tea. But it’s not even about joining in. For me, it’s about being in an environment filled with happy people.

Take the opportunity to absorb all of the positive energy around you. Treat yourself to as much of it as possible! You will be so focused on that and having a great time that you won’t have time to be depressed.

A Final Word

Do you have any ways  to deal with depression over the holiday season? Feel free to message me on any of my social media. I’d love to get to know you!

Ruth-GuestAbout the author: Hello! My name is Ruth, I am 22 years old and I live in the “always sunny” United Kingdom. My main goal in life is to help as many people as possible with their mental health struggles and give hope for a happier future. My hobbies include; Blogging, listening to music, spending time with my lovely cat and so much more! You can find me on other parts of the internet here: Blog  Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram

Blogmas – Unique Gift Ideas for Anyone

BLOGMAS 2019

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With Christmas being less than 2 week away now, there’s still time to get unique gifts for everyone on your list from Amazon with two or one day delivery to most states. I’ve curated a list of a few, erm, strange yet useful gadgets and items that anyone on your list would appreciate this year. (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.)

910aPPf8uXL._AC_SL1500_Of course we need to start off with this shower/bathroom/anywhere wine holder for while you’re getting ready or relaxing. Made for those wine-os who just need a place to store their glass so they don’t spill it and lose their precious wine. “Finally… a little “you” time. Pull out that silky robe. Crack open a great book. Light a few candles to set the mood for the pièce de ré·sis·tance: a truly luxurious soak.” I’m just going to come out and say it: everyone on your list can use this even if they don’t put wine in it.

 

81ZP5qBBb-L._AC_SL1500_Even if you don’t like nature (which, I don’t know why you wouldn’t) this bird feeder can entertain you and anyone else in your household for hours including pets. Are you a photographer? This is the perfect gift to get some wildlife/bird portraits you normally wouldn’t be able to get. And guess what! It includes the suction cups that they guarantee are weather resistant and will not slide down on the window. Enjoy seeing wild birds up-close like never before.

 

81+gDVjidxLNeed a solid yet funny and comical planner/to do list to keep yourself organized during the day… Look no further. There’s a lot to be said for sloth philosophy, and this notepad says it all. And honestly, I added this little guy to my cart as I was writing this because maybe it will help me get my sh*t together a little… after my little naps. Get your to-do list out of the way so you can focus on what’s really important: relaxing. Take it slow and have fun without worrying that you’ve forgotten some obligation. Maybe indulge in a nap full of slothlike, stress-free dreams.”

 

 

61iz-7+DEUL._AC_SL1000_Now, you might not be into camping, but if you love the outdoors and have 2 poles or trees in your back yard, this portable hammock is definitely for someone on your list. With that price of only $25 or under, and a complete 5-star review of over 2,000 people, something tells me you can’t go wrong with this. This is a double hammock, and can hold up to (get this) 1,000 pounds! Something tells me I’m going to be adding this to my wish list today…

 

 

8130lg1zKQL._AC_SL1500_Trying to drink that water your doctor keeps telling you to drink daily to stay hydrated? Do you hate the taste of plain water though? Check out this leak-proof water bottle infuser to add your favorite fruits to. It is 100% BPA Free, comes with a carrying handle and it’s easy to clean for when you need a refill. “Water is plain, water is boring, and water is tasteless – and since we live in a sea of flavor packed alternatives (usually swimming in sugar and potential dangerous chemical additives), it’s easy to see why we skip the healthy option altogether.”

 

61r1l3Mg+WL._AC_SL1001_Picture it: you come in to your office in the morning and it’s warm because they had the heat on all night. This little fan will give you just the right amount of comfort at your desk to help cool you off for a bit. Did I mention that it plugs into your computer or laptop in order to work? How cool is that? It’s got 3 speeds, it rotates to fit your needs and is available in a few colors.

 

81LTiTxKdUL._AC_SL1500_Give the gift of cold to that beer lover in your family or friends list. “The HOPSULATOR TRíO keeps your drinks 20x colder than a standard neoprene can-cooler, so that your last sip has the same refreshing kick as the first.” Don’t have a beer lover in the family – fear not. This can also be used to keep your coffee and tea warm wherever you are with the lid attachment.

 

 

910ZdSN33oL._AC_SL1500_This cutting board is the perfect gift for the chef in your life. My husband and I actually have a cut out of Pennsylvania and we LOVE it, even if it’s just for decor half of the time. Just selcet the drop down menu and pick your state or your friends state and ta-dah! This fun, whimsical laser-engraved artwork calls out all the wonderful sights and places in the state of your choice. I mean, of course I had to choose NJ to feature, because I will always be a #JerseyGirl. Did I mention that this is bamboo? Bamboo is much gentler on knives than most cutting boards and won’t ruin them when you cut on this.

 

Blogmas – The Ten Best Holiday Treats to Make This Season

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So, it’s Friday the 13th… in December… and it’s #Blogmas! I don’t think it could get any better than this for a sweet treat post for the holidays. I know alot of you may think Friday the 13th is meant to be bad luck, but I think it’s good luck because it’s in December near Christmas – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’ve scoured the internet for the most fun, easy and best Christmas themed treats that you can make for a holiday party or co-workers this year. Anything from mini cakes, to Oreos, to fudge – alot of these in this list I have also tried myself in the past and have great sucess with recipes like these.

Sit down, put your Christmas music on, and take a read through these simple and fun recipes you can try at home this month. 

10. CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY CHRISTMAS MINI CAKES (VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE) For those of you wanting a vegan, gluten free and nut free option that (almost) everyone can eat, this is the recipe for you! These delectible little cakes are adorable and easy to construct with the help of the online instructions. (Photo from linked post with recipe.)

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9. CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIE BITES These delicious cookie bites will look pretty in a bowl at a Christmas Cookie Exchange or on your Holiday dessert table at your family dinner table. These simple and easy to bake sugar cookie bites are an easy way to get into the holiday spirit. (Photo from linked post with recipe.)

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8. CREME DE MENTHE CREAM PUFF TREE What’s better than normal cream puffs on Christmas? How about these tasty Creme de Menthe Cream Puffs that your family will destory in a matter of mere minutes? Now THIS screams holiday party to me! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)

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7. PEPPERMINT SWIRL FUDGE 1 and a half pounds of peppermint fudge? Sign me up! This simple recipe takes roughly 15 minutes to put together and then the hard part of cooling comes into play when it’s all done. But not to worry – you can hold out just a little longer for this delicious treat! (Photo from linked post with recipe.) 

peppermint-fudge

6. CREME Brûlée SUGAR COOKIES Now for this one, you’re going to need a kitchen torch. If you don’t have one, go out and buy one right now because you’ll be wanting to make dozens of these for every holiday party you’re invited to this season. Carmelized sugar? Creme Brûlée? What could be better? Oh yeah, adding in sugar cookie to the name! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)  

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5. CHRISTMAS POPCORN This Christmas popcorn has M&Ms, bits of candy cane, white chocolate and red and green drizzle all over! It’s a great alternative for Santa for Christmas Eve instead of cookies, or as a neighbor gift during the holiday season. It’s super easy to make and goes a long way. (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

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4. EASY CHRISTMAS TREE BROWNIES With only six ingredients and lots of fun sprinkles, how can you say no to brownies that look like Christmas trees?! This cute fun recipe I found would be great for a holiday center piece of a dessert table, or for a work party (if you can make enough!) (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

Tree-Brownies

3. STRAWBERRY MOUSSE DESSERT CUPS Another easy dessert for the holiday party at work you can make to please almost everyone! This recipe only calls for 7 ingredients and takes only 25 minutes to prep. Isn’t that magical? If you decide to make these this season, please let me know how they turn out! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

Strawberry-mousse-cups

2. REINDEER TREATS You’ve probably seen these all over the place around Christmas if you have children or if you have friends that have kids. This super simple yet adorable recipe can be completed by a 5 year old and they will be damn proud of themselves! If you need a break from baking, have them help make these with you to enjoy! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

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AND FINALLY

MY PERSONAL FAVORITE & NUMBER ONE TREAT…

1. OREO TRUFFLES I picked this specific recipe because this is almost identical to what I make roughly 6 times a year for friends and family. They absolutely LOVE them and always ask for more, especially my mom! These are the best damn things to grace this earth (oreos, duh) and whoever came up with this recipe deserves a prize! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

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