Tag Archives: yoga

Valentine’s Day and Holiday Coping – Lexie Wohler

When holidays such as Valentines Day come about, do you find yourself getting down in the dumps? Does the thought of being around a large crowd for Valentine’s Day or any holiday frighten you, or make you anxious?  Does decorating for the holidays stress you out? How about preparing for a family reunion with a dinner? There are some things you can do to make yourself feel better.

You don’t have to always host the holidays at your house. Try to limit having people over for any holiday get together, if having a party makes you anxious.

You don’t have to decorate extravagantly for each holiday either. Only put out the decorations that you have the energy and time to put out. Be sure to pick out some of your favorites so you get to enjoy them.

You can limit the number of people that you invite if you decide to host a holiday dinner party. The less people you invite, the less stress you put on yourself.

Make the dinner menu simple instead of extravagant. If you keep it simple, and make something that you enjoy cooking, it makes it more enjoyable to prepare. If people don’t like what you’re cooking, they will just have to live with it for one day, or they can leave if they don’t like what you’ve prepared. Leave the choice up to them.

If you’re down in the dumps about any holiday, specifically Valentine’s Day, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a meal that you really enjoy.  Or make your favorite meal. Eat the meal in front of the TV or watch your favorite movie. Have a cup of your favorite wine or whatever drink that you enjoy, whether it’s non-alcoholic or alcoholic. Enjoy yourself instead of dreading the holidays. The holidays don’t have to bring you down. Remember that you are in control of the way you feel.

If you find yourself down in the dumps about not having anyone to spend Valentines Day with, don’t give yourself too hard of a time. Rather enjoy the time that you get to spend by yourself. Think of time alone as precious time with yourself. Enjoy the quiet moments that you get to have. If you learn to enjoy being alone and appreciate the time that you have, then you will learn to cherish the time that you could eventually have in a relationship. Finding love takes time, so don’t rush into anything that you’re not sure of. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t rush it. Whenever the right person comes along, you’ll know.  

Take each day as it comes. Try to enjoy the holidays. Not everything about the holidays are bad. Just adjust your thinking. Instead of thinking negatively, try thinking positively. It will help you relax more. Take time away from the stress of the holidays to find yourself. Focus on yourself instead of focusing on how stressed you are. Make sure to find things that you enjoy doing that coincide with the holidays, so they can be more enjoyable for you. Don’t put pressure on yourself, just let things happen as they happen.

Remember, it is ok to feel down in the dumps during the holidays, just don’t stay in that place for too long. Don’t let it ruin your day, or your outlook on the holidays. It is ok to feel stressed, but don’t let it take over your thinking. Try your best to enjoy your life, no matter what holiday might be coming up.

Lexie Wohler is a repeat guest blogger with The Unsanity and you can find a few of her pieces scattered throughout my website. ❤

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

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.

DSC01888

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.

DSC01894

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.

michelle-smith

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 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.

one

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.

mindful

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.

exer

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.

anx

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.

book

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

 

 

Me First – Elaine Gallagher

We are so accustomed to doing things for others without a second thought, but when it comes to ourselves we just keep putting it off.  That was me my whole life until I started to feel walls closing in and realizing I needed to make some positive changes.  I had gained weight, stopped exercising and had gotten into some unhealthy habits.

So I decided to change.  First of all, I started a new healthy eating regimen, after my doctor told me I needed to even though I was on cholesterol meds, because of my family history of heart problems, I decided to listen to his advice.  This coupled with the fact that my daughter was getting married and I wanted to look and feel beautiful that day.  So my new journey began….

First, I started cleaning my eating completely.  No more junk or processed foods.  It meant more planning of meals.  This was also going to benefit my husband, who has some health issues, to eat healthier.  Food shopping took longer but included lists of recipes and foods to include.  I looked for high-protein, low carb foods to infuse my diet with color and taste.  I scanned Pinterest daily for new recipes to cook fish, some new vegetables I discovered (butternut squash, escarole) and varieties of chicken recipes to get rid of the “Oh not chicken again” reaction to dinner.

peppers.png

Next, along with a good friend, I checked out some exercise studios near me.  I started by going to use machines but felt as if I was bored and needed something more to keep me interested. We tried a few local places that offer a free class and finally found a place we now go to about four times a week.  I started enjoying yoga, piloxing, Zumba and triple fit programs.  And before you know it, the pounds came off and my confidence grew.  I am proud to say that I lost over 20 pounds and tightened up to looking spectacular at my daughter’s wedding if I can brag just a little bit.

yoga.png

It would be the first and only brag of my life.  So now every day I push myself to remember how I felt that day and try to stick to my new plan.  Some days I do slip up (especially on vacation) but the trick is to not beat yourself up, but rather to remind yourself of your humanness and the need to work on ourselves every day.  It is a day to day journey.  Keep putting yourself first in your own life… you only get one to live so give it your all and reach for the stars.

Elaine Gallagher is an elementary educator and publishes a blog entitled HealthELiving.  Through this she has shared her journey to a healthier lifestyle. I just wanted to thank Elaine for contributing to my guest blogger showcase through February 2019. I keep getting more and more submissions in from amazing bloggers all over the world and I feel honored to share their stories. You can see the blog post I shared on Elaine’s blog here – my Classic Rock Sunday Morning Playlist.