Tag Archives: social media

Spring Self Care Ideas

Hello friends!

I made something for you – with spring coming up soon and everyone in a panic over this COVID-19 virus spreading – here are a few things you can do for self care. I hope you enjoy!

Self Care Ideas

Freebie Friday, Instagram Story

You guys – It’s Friday again, can you believe it? I am so happy!

I have a special freebie for you today for all of those who have Instagram and use stories alot. It’s called Mindfulness Bingo. If you use it, please tag me in your stories!

Mindfulness Bingo Freebie 2/7/2020

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

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zoe

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

Be Present – Dawn Marie Beauchamp

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Be Present – It is the Greatest Gift this Holiday Season

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

Exchange “Perfection” for “Joy”

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

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

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Focus on People instead of Gifts

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

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

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

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

Be in the Moment More and Documenting Less

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

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

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

Blogmas – Christmas Giveaway from Koral Dawn!

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Hello my Unsanity readers and friends. This year has had MANY ups down lefts and rights for myself and my loved ones. How did I cope? Through you guys and blogging mostly! Even if it was just networking and working with all of you to get your stories shared and published, you made it all happen. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and for attempting to keep me sane through the rough last half of this year. 2019 is definitely a year I won’t forget, that’s for sure. So let’s go out with a bang!

That being said, The Unsanity and Koral Dawn are doing it’s first ever giveaway for the holiday season!

***YOU MUST ENTER AT THE FOLLOWING LINK: CONTEST***

RULES & GUIDELINES:

  • The Unsanity contest starts December 12th and ends December 20th.
  • You MUST enter at the link above for your entries to count!
  • You must be following me on Twitter – this is a Twitter and blog post contest/giveaway.
  • Comment on this blog post with your favorite coping mechanism for your mental health – Yoga, Reading, Baking, a bath etc. I want to know what helps you!
  • This giveaway is open to the blogging community worldwide. 
  • Winner will receive the following: 1.) a Mindfulness Journal; 2.) Fineliner Pens for Journaling/Coloring; 3.) Let That Sh*t Go Activity Book.
  • Approx value of giveaway is $45, which includes shipping worldwide.
  • Winner will be announced and notified the morning after the contest has ended.
  • Return of items not accepted from winner.
  • Should winner chosen not be following, not have commented or tweeted the content, another winner will be selected at random.
  • Items will be sent out by Monday, December 23rd 2019.

The Five Most Effective Ways to Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder – Ralph Macey

KD-2Humans are social animals. They can’t live without socializing with other humans. History says, humans are dependent on other humans since past for food, clothing, shelter and many more things. Even today also, we need to socialize with others for many different reasons, some of them related to financial issues, some of them related to mental health.

If a person isn’t comfortable to socialize with others, that person might be experiencing Social anxiety. People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) may encounter chronic fear of social or performance-related situations. As a result they might become embarrassed, rejected, or scrutinized in front of general people.

Social anxiety might have a huge impact on introverts more than you others. In these situations, people with SAD almost always experience physical symptoms of anxiety. They might think that it is a predetermined characteristic that they have to carry lifelong. But that isn’t entirely true. With proper therapy social anxiety disorder can be cured with time.

But first, you must identify the symptoms of social anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder typically fall within three different areas.

Physical Symptoms

Cognitive Symptoms

Behavioral Symptoms

●       Sweating

●       Chest tightness

●       Muscle tension

●       Blushing

●       Chills

●       Blurred vision

●       Shaking

●       Chest pain

●       Dizziness

●       Shortness of breath

●       Lump in the throat

●       Trembling voice

●       Ringing in the ears

●       Dry mouth

●       Diarrhea

●       Nausea

●       Headaches

●       Paresthesias (tingling)

●       Heart racing (tachycardia)

●       Heart pounding (palpitations)

●       Feelings of unreality (derealization)

or Feelings of detachment from oneself (depersonalization)

●       Negative bias

●       Negative thoughts

●       Negative beliefs

●       Avoidance

●       Escape

●       Safety behaviors

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How does a person feel when his/her Introversion gets combined with anxiety?

Introvert people normally don’t want to join the party life. They are not social butterflies or the late night partiers. They always like a job that involves sitting quietly all day long, rather than communicating with clients, hosting a presentation, or supervising others. They like getting separated from life’s deep problems and wanted to live with loneliness.

At the same time, their natural desire to spend time alone makes it very difficult to expose themselves to the situations that cause anxiety.

Now the question is, how does an introvert with high functioning anxiety disorder overcome this situation?

Here are a few steps that can be taken out to start the journey.

1. Educate yourself about the causes of social anxiety

Being an introvert person If you feel that you are having symptoms of social anxiety, you must learn about it as much as possible and get benefited. You should know why you can’t seem to open up in front of everyone and be as you are to others.

As a reference, you may check out the Social Anxiety episode of comedian Paul Gilmartin’s podcast, The Mental Illness Happy Hour with psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendrickson. There, Dr. Hendrickson discusses the physiological causes of social anxiety in easy language.

One best thing that she pointed out there is, “it’s all about being mindful of your ability to control your thoughts and reactions.” That means with regular practice, and a stone-cold determination to control it, you may positively manage your social anxiety.

2. Have a fresh start with your new life

You don’t need to buy a new house in a different state or city and start a new life.  In order to get a fresh beginning, you may join a new club or boost your career with a new job. Remember, by heart you are an introvert person, so you must reach out to new people and interact with them regularly.

Keep telling yourself that everything is going to be ok, and you’re going to be the person who you want to be.

These new people do not treat you as someone awkward, because they don’t know you well. So, do not let them make any dull impression about you, present yourself as a social butterfly or as a cheerful person that you always want to be.

This process might not work for every person you meet. But to become successful with this method you need to overcome your shyness and fear. The more a person knows himself and has that much knowledge about his social anxiety, it will get much easier for him to overcome his weakness.  Hendriksen says – “You become less anxious by living your life.”

I felt the same way when I was entering college. Moving away from home kept me scared. I was shy throughout grade school.  But when I moved to college and made new friends, communicated with them openly without judging them like I used to do at my school,  I felt it was so cool.

It actually kind of worked! Gradually, I socialize with all my friends, and their friends, and their friends, and…said goodbye to my loneliness.

3. Avoid social anxiety lies

Hendriksen says “Social anxiety makes us think the worst-case scenario is definitely going to happen,” But that’s definitely a wrong perception. Practically, worst-case scenarios don’t often happen.

Being an Introvert with social anxiety, you can avoid this situation easily. First, you have to imagine the worst-case scenario about any situation, and then think deeper till you figure out exactly what you’re afraid of. That means you should seek the outcome that you fear, and then argue with that fear. Hendriksen added, “It’s harder to argue with the foggy mirage of fear.”

By seeking and facing the exact threat, you may figure out how likely it really is.

4. Define your life goals

Basically, the best way to win over your shyness and social anxiety is to take a gradual approach. Have you ever thought about talking to the first hot girl or guy you meet in your college? Have you ever asked for a dance to a junior girl or boy whom you like, in your college prom party?

See, doing such small things can help you a lot to fight against your social anxiety.  Ending up a conversation isn’t exactly a cool option to overcome your fear. Instead, you may set small achievable goals that may help you to become more sociable.

For example:

  • Say good morning to 10 people whom you see first in the morning
  • Ask 10 people how they are doing
  • Ask five people for the time
  • Share candies with your schoolmates, colleagues
  • Make eye contact with someone you feel attractive
  • Read the newspaper loudly to your friends or neighbors
  • Say hi to your neighbors while passing by
  • Say goodnight to each of them whom you meet while going back home

These small gestures may trigger self-confidence in you, which may help you to reduce social anxiety and shyness.

5. Consult a therapist or psychiatrist

Unfortunately, for some introvert with high functioning anxiety, the situation gets too serious to deal with alone. If some person has an anxiety disorder or depression that can’t be cured with self-motivation, then the patient might require clinical help with proper professional care.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is quite helpful to guide a patient through such a situation. Psychiatrists Dr. Joseph Burwell, can prescribe anxiety medication to help the patient in serious conditions. There’s no shame in getting the help you need from a therapist or a Psychiatrist. They are here to help these people who suffer from severe social anxiety disorder.

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Few important words…

A person who suffers from social anxiety, can’t maintain his/her personal and professional life properly. But it’s important to keep fighting with this issue as long as possible. Be patient and remember that you are not alone. There are many people who still love you. Work hard, do your exercises, it’ll help you to lower your stress and improve your mood so that you become the best version of you!

Ralph

Author Bio

Ralph Macey is associated with the SavantCare which is a mental health clinic, where his job is to look after those people who are suffering from chronic mental disorders. His motto is to focus on the integrated interventions to improve mental health conditions and the other alternative approaches to healing.

Procrastination and the Holidays – Nichola Dewapriya

Hello The Unsanity Friends! Here is another post for the holidays from my guest Nick! He writes about the fear and stress about dealing with tasks at hand during the holiday season. Procrastination is a major key that people somehow get lost in during the holidays and even the every day life. Follow along as he goes through his thoughts.

Hello My name is Nichola Dewapriya currently a medical student studying in Gomel, Belarus but Im natively from Sri Lanka. Im also a blogger in which I share my experiences as a medical student and most of the problems and difficulties I come across under the topics of being committed to your work, being passionate and organized, handling procrastination and also how to keep up with long distance relationships from my own perspective experiences.

My blog can be found here: http://nickded.com Please do visit, read and subscribe for the latest of content! Follow me on instagram https://www.instagram.com/nickded_evolve_blog as well as Twitter https://twitter.com/NickDeDevolve.

So without further delay let’s take off!

Today I‘m passionate to talk about anxieties that comes along with long Holiday periods and completing tasks at hand. A long holiday in my perspective is a time period that is more than 4 days consecutively, for some it may be 7 days or 10, but amount of days doesnt really matter. So with me being actually a very busy person and living a very hard daily routine, I find 4 days to be a great deal of time for me. Lets gather up the anxieties or feelings that we get once we enter the zone.” 

  1. Fear of coming up with a detailed plan to spend time productively through out the course of the Holiday.
  2. Fear of not executing the plan you have already come up with.
  3. Guilt that you feel when you are dissatisfied with your progress when you look back to the start.
  4. You have already lost it!

This is the sequence of fears and anxieties that arise from within you. So as a person who is known to be lazy but dedicated at the same time, Ill be explaining all the aspects on some general facts including what I have  experienced my self.

According to point number one, all I want to say is as higher beings among many we humans like to place ourselves on a pedestal and sometimes we overestimate what we truly are, so we plan big for ourselves while in the back of our head, we already know it isn’t going to work out. But I also would like to testify that some people are naturally or long time #gogetters, as they are used to the handling it ALL.

But as a normal human, being true to your self is quite a cringe so most of tend to go to a better zone” We accumulate so much to our list and when we see it ourselves we procrastinate on it and at the end of the day, nothing is done. Start and come up with something really small to start off and when you have time to go for another; just go for it, no stress!

Simultaneously we can intertwine the second point to the 1st as you have already made your decision, so now you are half way through the process, and making any change would either break down the whole system or make no change at all; only that we sometimes may lie to our selves to feel less insecure.

The third point is the biggest of strikes. Now that its all over and its only a few hours left until the whole so called productive time is over, some may get into the adrenaline mode and somehow finish whats supposed to be done because they know the bitterness they will have that keeps them up all night if that task is not complete.

Some of us blame ourselves or better someone else for wasting our time because they were so distracted. All the procrastinations they did, and now that they havent done anything at all; all they are going to do is curl up and sleep, then wake up not caring a thing and what do you know – they aren’t happy at all!

Better yet, some are so much used to being like this that they dont even try planning tasks in the first place, which is quite sad I would say! So that will automatically conclude the fourth point and the idea of this post of wasting time.

As a conclusion, I would like to put it out to you that it doesnt matter how small or big holidays or free time you get, all you have to do is start with something small give a little promise to yourself, make it a habit but dont try to make it the perfect; Because perfection never exists. We’re only human after all.

Eight Ways to Manage Holiday Stress – Erin Misenar

Hello Friends.  Let me introduce myself. My name is Erin Misenar.  I am a life coach, a former educator, and a single mom of four kids.  I enjoy watching my kids compete in sports and a nice scented candle.  I love to share easier ways to get through life.  I blog over at www.erinmisenar.com and my instagram handle is @4monkeysss.  Here’s to a great new season ahead!

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Stress

The holidays have a large amount of stress.  Whether it is worry, overeating, being tired, not sleeping, or mood swings – everyone has some amount of stress.  We need to manage this stress in a way that we can control.  So, here are some great ideas in order to make this the best holiday season yet!

Realistic Expectations Our culture makes the holiday season into a joyous occasion.  However, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.  The holidays shows (and I admit I am a Hallmark movie junkie) portray an illusion that is not real life.  Go into the season with an expectation that it will fulfill.  If you think this is a bad year because of loss of love, or sadness, don’t think this will be the best year you have.  Be kind to yourself and the idea of what the holiday brings.  It is ok if you just survive this time of year.

Do not do more than you can handle You do not have to be the one in charge.  You do not have to be the one who cooks 3 dozen cookies.  You don’t have to give gifts to everyone you have ever met.  If you can’t bring yourself to decorate over the top – do not do it!  Don’t volunteer for everything this season.  Take care to only do what you think is appropriate.  Saying no is really saying yes to yourself and your sanity.  I like to answer, “No thanks. I’m sure someone else would love the opportunity.”  You do not have to give an explanation to anyone about your choices.  You control you.

Make a List of What is Important If you take the time to make a list of what you want to accomplish this holiday season – do that and stick to the list.  This list should not be one that overwhelms you. If it contains only a few items of what you need to do – stick to that.

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Don’t Compare It is so difficult to compare your life to those around you – especially with all the social media.  Do not compare your life to someone else’s.  You never know what they are experiencing on a daily basis.  Don’t feel bad because the photos seem perfect – the fact is that is not how life is. Life is messy.

Spread some cheer If you have the time, it is a great time to volunteer. Or mail a letter to a friend who helped you.  Drop off a small gift to a surprise house.  Donate a toy to the children’s hospital. Drop off cat food at your local shelter.  Do what is easy but it will make you feel better.  I love anonymous donations.  Or pay for the car behind you in a drive thru.  Or just smile at those around you. Smiling will already make you feel better. Spread love all around you.

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Support If you need support, get it.  There is no shame in talking to someone – whether it is a counselor or life coach or friend.  Talk to someone and get the understanding and compassion for what you need.  Take care of yourself.

Make Time for Yourself You know I mentioned Hallmark movies earlier? I love them and usually watch them in my alone time for the holidays.  Take a bath or take a walk on your own.  Do what makes you happy and plan for that time.  Being divorced, I have more alone time than I usually want – but I fill that in on things that I enjoy.  Get a manicure if it makes you feel better.

Create New Memories If it is a new season in your life – maybe you want to create a different memories. Some old memories are sad.  So, start a new one.  Start a hot chocolate and talk event.  Go caroling.  Go out and see Christmas lights and vote on which you like best – we like to leave a gift of a chocolate bar and a note – you are the winner of the lights! – for fun.  Go enjoy something new.

Here’s to the Best Holiday Season Yet!!!

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Big thank you to Erin for sending over this blog for me to feature about holiday stress! It’s always great working with new people and helping each other out, especially around this time of year. Look for my blog featured on hers as well about your Sunday Morning Classic Rock Playlist. If interested in guest blogging in the future with me, please email me on my contact me page, or visit my Instagram and send me a DM. Thanks!

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Eight Ways to Cope With Anxiety and Depression – Jeanne Marie

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Hello Everyone. My name is Jeanne Marie. I am from the beautiful country known as Trinidad and Tobago which is in close proximity to Venezuela. I always knew I worried quite a bit but I didn’t exactly know the extent of my issue till I started studying Psychology myself as well as when I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder at age 25. I know for most people that is quite a late diagnosis but my symptoms only started to manifest itself when I left TT to study in England where I also was treated for depression. 
As a psychology graduate it has been tough sharing my story because 1) I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. 2) it is more challenging because I studied psychology therefore, it is harder for people to accept that I need assistance just like everyone else so I used to deal with my issues on my own or seek out others in the field.
For more of me check out my website: jeannemarieth.blogspot.com

8 Ways to Cope With Anxiety and Depression

  1. Take time to indulge in activities that you really enjoy. For example, I love dancing as such I spend at least two hours a day dancing around my house in my underwear and I don’t care if my neighbors  see me. I feel so free and relaxed. The world doesn’t exist.
  2. Get in touch with a higher being. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a prayer to God (though that is my personal choice), it can be mediating or self reflecting.
  3. Remove negativity out of your life. I know that seems easier said than done especially when these negative forces in your life are family or co-workers. In those circumstances, create as much distance as possible from these people. Light banter if you will but don’t get involved in their bickering and do not engage in their behavior if directed towards you.
  4. Write a list of positive attributes about yourself. I focus on creating a list of 10 positive affirmations each day but I know for some this may be a challenge. Therefore, you can start slowly. One positive affirmation a day and grow from there.
  5. When you feel anxious, go to a safe space by yourself and cry. Let all the emotions that you feel out. I don’t know about anyone else but I tend to bottle up my emotions until it becomes overwhelming and I have a mental breakdown. You want to avoid that as much as possible. Therefore, if you need to cry, I say cry. If you need to scream or talk to yourself, be my guest. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  6. Confide in genuine people. I am blessed with two best friends that I can share my life challenges with. They don’t judge or ever criticize which helps. Find the right people. Some can be very dismissive of your emotions. You do not want someone like that as a confidant.
  7. Of course the obvious choice is seeking counseling. Counseling can be expensive if sought out privately but there is always free counseling sessions available at churches, non-governmental organizations or depending on where you live the government may provides such avenues. Support groups are quite helpful as they make you feel less alone.
  8. You may need to be prescribed medication if your symptoms are severe. You must consult a psychiatrist before taking any pills. Let them recommend any medication they believe may be of assistance.

Thank you for reading. I hope you can apply some of the points to your own situations in the future.

Additionally, I would like to thank Ms. Koral Dawn for the opportunity of guest blogging on her website!

Links to my websites are provided down below.

Blog: jeannemarieth.blogspot.com

Instagram: @jeannemarieth
A big thank you to Jeanne for posting on anxiety and depression! All of my guests have given their own perspective on how to deal with these stresses and I’m so happy to see they all have a bit of a different view on the situations at hand! While many post recently have had similar titles, each one is unique in their own way.
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Mental Health Awareness – Indierella

Kat is the creator of Indierella: a blog about music and living life as creatively as possible. She is a wearer of large headphones, teller of stories, and a listener of good music that nobody knows. You can find her on her blog (www.indierella.com) as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

*Note from Koral: This blog is back from May and Mental Health Awareness month, and thought it would fit in perfectly with the guest posts on my site here as well as the timing!

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Mental Health Awareness Month means something different to me since I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

Last fall, several things happened. I wasn’t taking care of my body, I was taking a heavy workload of classes, I was back on campus after spending a year abroad, and I wasn’t being honest with myself or with the people around me. A stupid conflict led to a panic attack that lasted several days where I barely ate or left my room, and at my lowest point I called the National Suicide Hotline because I needed to talk to someone, anyone, because I felt so alone, isolated, and helpless. I was taken to the ER and given a diagnosis.

My mom drove down to my school and I got to stay with her for the weekend as I ended relationships with friends, forced myself to eat, and spent a lot of time in counseling. It wasn’t pretty or romantic or graceful, and I sure didn’t deal with it in the most martyred or selfless ways. In short: I screwed up with people. But I refuse to let go of the fact that I crawled my way out of a darkness and fought my way back.

And in the months that followed, I have been blessed by so much. I was able to learn coping techniques and how to take my medication when I have a panic attack, I became closer to God, I made new friends, I fell in love with a wonderful man who makes me feel loved and beautiful and special, I got a 3.82 GPA that semester, finished my senior thesis, started this blog, and realized I have to respect and take care of myself instead of hoping that someone else would.

For years I ignored my panic attacks and fears because they “weren’t that bad.” I put other people’s expectations before my own. I didn’t seek help because I didn’t want to put pressure or be a burden on anyone else. But, at the end of the day, I don’t really regret anything. I learned that I was harboring so much guilt about hurting people that I wasn’t letting myself heal. I learned all the ways that my physical health affects my mental health. I learned to love myself. And I’m still learning how to take care of myself whenever things aren’t perfect.

Writing this post wasn’t easy. Living day-to-day isn’t always easy when I let doubt and fear creep into my mind. But at the end of the day, I’m the first person that needs to fight for my well-being. I have to be my own champion.

So for Mental Health Awareness Month, remind yourself to be your own hero. Fight for your happiness, fight your demons and fight to recognize your own mental health. I’ll be fighting with you.

But before you go, here is one last thing I have to share with you. I made this playlist when I was suffering and lonely, when walking across campus or eating in the cafeteria was hardest. At first I only had about five songs on it. Five songs that could calm me down in my state of panic. Five songs that I could listen to and not feel like I was spiraling out of control. Then, as things got better, I added more songs, and each one has a special meaning to me. Together, this playlist doesn’t remind me of the hard times, but it reminds me that things got better and they will keep getting better.

Big thank you to Kat for letting me share this post of hers on my site. We kind of did a playlist swap and I gave her my Sunday Morning Classic Rock playlist to share on here with a bit of my back story. Check out her blog and see when it’s posted!

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