Inspiration, mental health

Are You Burnt Out or Overwhelmed?

I have had a lot of life happening over the past three months…

  • I published my first book
  • I quit my corporate job
  • I launched my own business as a therapist
  • I launched Wellness Boxes on this website
  • I started selling at local vendor fairs
  • I launched a Podcast
  • I joined TikTok

I’m sure there were more but that’s enough to think about right now! In all of the chaos, I don’t feel like I ever properly introduced my Wellness Boxes!

What is a Wellness Box?

A wellness box is a gift box of mental wellness items, targeted at a particular demographic. This could be a gift for yourself (my favorite reason you should purchase one!) or a loved one.

I have two wellness boxes established (and more planned…)

  1. For those who are anxious. This box is sourced from USA women owned businesses and is luxury self care kit! If you like pampering yourself and need a reason to unwind, this box is for you. This box has 8 items within it, a retail value of $62, yours for $38.
  2. For those who are burnt out on life and need a little bit of fun, a reminder to smile and a box full of levity, this box of 13 items, with a retail value of $44, is yours for $30!

I would love to launch my third wellness box; however, I’d like to see a little bit more interest in the concept first! I chose to go with my own Wellness Box idea instead of subscription boxes because I don’t want to be a part of anyone being roped into a monthly fee. I have also personally subscribed to a few subscription boxes to see what was out there and I was sadly disappointed – they didn’t seem to follow any sort of pattern or theme! I want you to know that I hate wasting my money and I do not want you to waste yours!

Find yours here!

photo of woman looking at the mirror
Inspiration, mental health

Three Ways to Increase Self-Esteem

  1. Get a hobby –

Seriously, find something – anything – that you are good at or want to be good at and that you enjoy or want to enjoy. Don’t overthink this step. We live in a diverse world with diverse offerings and there is a place for you. Do you have a “weird” idea…GREAT! Do you have a “basic” idea…GREAT! Take off with it.

When you spend time doing a hobby, it starts to give you an identity. If you could see yourself being the guy that makes birdhouses, the girl that bakes or the person who knits kittens with adorable little noses, then gather your supplies and make time in your schedule to get it going.

I enjoy going to vender markets and craft fairs. It never ceases to amaze me the creative and unique things people come up with to sell! This past weekend I went to one and saw booths selling:

  • Bookmarks made from parts of old books
  • Journals made from old kids books
  • Candles poured into teacups
  • Birdhouses from repurposed wood
  • Thrift store finds being upcycled again at a “sustainable boutique”
  • Maps cut into shapes and framed

I like to follow crafters and unique hobbies on social media and some of them include:

  • mudlarking (look it up)
  • repurposing furniture
  • podcasters
  • poets
  • doodlers
  • fitness experts
  • dieticians
  • mental health advocates

I tell you this so that you have a very small set of examples available to you. You could try anything from fencing to stamp collecting! The more you engage in the hobby, the more it will give you the message that you are interesting, you have things to talk about, you are worthy of people’s time and attention and you have a purpose!

2. Treat your body with kindness –

Low self-esteem generally leads people to degrade their bodies and personalities. I hear self-deprecating jokes, no self-love and I see people engaging in harmful habits, because they just don’t care. They don’t seem to think that they are worth their own time, attention and kindness.

Harmful habits include (but are certainly not limited to) being promiscuous, smoking/vaping, avoidance of exercise, not eating in healthy ways, overspending, self-harm, making jokes at your own expense, not trying new things, and binge watching television series.

Treating your body with kindness is a skill that takes time to develop. Making choices to nurture your body instead of damaging your body will feel foreign and uncomfortable initially. Kristin Neff’s work on self-compassion is a great place to start. Just like learning any new activity, you might not feel very successful initially; however, with practice you will develop a stronger set of muscles.

Treating your body with kindness might include:

  • drinking more water or hot tea
  • meditating
  • taking a bath
  • using those face masks you have gotten as gifts
  • going for a walk on your lunch break or after dinner
  • eating vegetables
  • putting lotion on your skin
  • telling yourself positive messages
  • using affirmation cards
  • stretching
  • reading
  • creating art
  • organizing your area

Give yourself the message that you are loved and worth of your own love, time, and affection.

Change what you see

I believe that television and social media can be visual toxins. If you see people complaining and judging on social media, if you follow “The Jones” or “Suzie Sunshine” and feel you will never be enough, if you watch the evening news and/or violent and vulgar shows, then you might find your thoughts turning to darker topics more often than you’d like. It might be trendy to take in these negative viewing options and it may be topic of conversation commonly; however, these types of shows generally fuel judgmental chatter.

Judgment begets judgment. If at first you start judging others (i.e. from watching the news or social media), it’s only a matter of time before that judgment turns inward toward yourself. Judging then leads to anger (at others) and shame (at yourself). Taking in negative will make you negative.

I urge you to unfollow and/or block pages and people that make you feel badly about yourself on social media. Delete social media accounts that are only used for comparison or unhealthy habits. If you are going to be on social media, be sure to follow positive accounts that inspire, encourage or amaze you! You can follow artists, mental health advocates, friends and/or pages that educate you. If you are going to watch television or movies, be sure to watch content that is funny, heart-warming, or educational.

Try these three steps for a month and see how you feel about yourself then!

women sitting close together
mental health

Should I End My Friendship?

I think we have all faced this painful question at one time or another. As friendships take time to evolve, they can also take time before we realize they’ve imploded. Many blogs and vlogs exist on ending romantic relationships, but what about friendships? Often, our friendships are longer and in some ways more complicated. Our hope is that we have friendships that are emotionally safe, that allow us to feel supported and loved unconditionally, and promotes our growth but what happens if they aren’t?

A healthy friendship is one that:

  • allows you to make your own choices
  • respects your opinions that might be different than their own
  • don’t impede your ability to achieve your own goals
  • encourage you to prioritize self-care
  • they are proud of your success
  • they promote your growth in any/all arenas (spiritually, physically, mentally, academically, etc)

Why might you want to end an unhealthy relationship? The simplest and most clear-cut answer happens when there is a breach of trust: theft, infidelity involving the friend and someone deemed “off limits” or any sort of abuse from the friend towards yourself. The reality is that most of the time, it isn’t that clear-cut; rather, it’s a slow erosion over time that leaves you questioning how you got to this point and what can/should be done about it.

With slow erosion the friendship drifts apart, often time over years. You might find that you no longer feel invigorated when spending time together, you leave feeling badly about yourself, you feel shamed for your choices or interests, or you simply that spending time with that person just doesn’t cross your mind as much anymore. I believe a relationship turns from distant to toxic when the person actively works against the healthy attributes listed in the bulled points above. Signs of a toxic friendship are:

  • they tell you who you can and cannot spend time with
  • they make fun of your interests and/or hobbies and/or put you down
  • they refuse to have discussions about differences; rather they adopt a “my way or the highway” stance that shuts down a conversation and leaves you feeling as though you are walking on eggshells
  • they ignore your requests for self-care (such as a night in, desires to distance yourself from other toxic people, plans to reduce your alcohol consumption, etc.)
  • they tease you about goals that you set in ways that aren’t playful or loving
  • they “one up” you and cause you to dread brining up any of your successes because you have learned that they will take over the conversation and instead of being happy for you, they make it about themselves
  • they never reach out to you or initiate contact

With those factors being explained, hopefully you can see the clear difference between a friendship that builds you up and one that holds you back or actively tears you down.

But how do I do it!? You may have urges to “ghost” the person (meaning just disappear from their life); however, I urge you not to do that. Learning to speak up for yourself is a huge and necessary life task. I encourage you to let them know what has been bothering you (in factual, non-blaming ways) and let them know that you plan to distance yourself to work on your own needs. This might sound like “Rob, I’ve noticed that when we spend time together I fall into some unhealthy thinking patterns and I end up feeling really alone since we’ve grown in different directions (insert example), I’m going to take a few weeks to see if I can sort out my thoughts on the topic. I hope you can understand my need for space” or “Sara, the last few times we have hung out, I have had my feelings hurt by the comments you have made about people who want to be sober and you keep bringing wine over even though I’ve told you that I quit drinking. I need to stop having you over to my house because of this”. Try to stick to “I” statements, such as “I feel, I notice, I’ve been experiencing” etc. instead of “you” statements which tend to make the other person defensive. Now, it is true that the friend might not take this news very well; however, as you were already considering “ghosting” them, I think the skill and confidence you will gain from speaking up is worth it!

What is the cost of ending a toxic relationship:

  • sadness and grieving
  • boredom
  • anxiety
  • vulnerability when trying to meet new people
  • hypervigilance in new relationships
  • second guessing yourself

What is gained when a toxic relationship ends:

  • independence
  • freedom to do/say/wear the things your friend made you feel shame about wanting to do/say/wear
  • time for yourself
  • a healthier sense of self

Once ending a toxic relationship of any type, it’s crucial that you take time to rebuild your sense of self and self-worth. You many have strong urges to distract yourself away from the negative feelings you are feeling; but you need to take the time to heal. This means that you take time for your hobbies and interests, you spend time with people that build you up and you spend some time with yourself – rediscovering who you are and want to be!

unrecognizable women messaging on smartphones after shopping in city
mental health

Is Tik Tok Causing a Problem with Self-Diagnoses?

If you follow me, then you know I love posting a TikTok video here and there! It’s fun and offers encouragement to those who watch them. I hear friends talk about how comforted they are from the validation they feel from the content, they love how much the learn on the app and it’s always good for a laugh when they’re having a rough day! The main concern I have with the app is the surge of self-diagnosis and over-identification with said diagnoses that I’m starting to see.

According to Google trends, searches for mental health disorders that I also see trending on Tik Tok are on the rise and in the last 12 months:

  • Searches for neurodiversity are up 250%
  • Searches for ADHD are up 80%
  • Searches for Tics are up 150%
  • Searches for anxiety are up 250%

Now…some of this is FANTASTIC news! Mental health diagnoses deserve attention, they deserve to be destigmatized and talked about, and they deserve all of the awareness! I am so glad to see such positive and normalized messages on TikTok about the above mentioned diagnoses because it can help people feel accepted and for many it can help them seek help so they don’t’ need to suffer in silence any longer! I love that people might see a set of symptoms explained and realize that they aren’t crazy…they have a chemical imbalance that can be treated!

The concern I have is more around the appropriation (the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission) of mental illness by people who think it’s fun/funny/trendy or otherwise gets them more followers/attention. There can be serious medical risks to a person who gets prescribed medication that they don’t need. More commonly though, there are mental health concerns with overly identifying with a mental health condition and making that your primary identity (whether the condition is real or generated).

A healthy identity is comprised of so much more than symptoms. A healthy identity is comprised of your values, beliefs, spirituality, interests, education, history, physical appearance, racial identity, socioeconomic status, etc. To limit your identity to only one piece of you (i.e.: I’m an anxious mess) undersells the amazing person that you/they are! I hope that we can all use social media, including TikTok as a tool and not an identity. We can learn so much about the world by being as connected as we are within social media; just make sure not to pigeonhole yourself!

woman girl animal dog
DBT, mental health

How to Meditate

Everyone has questions about meditation. How to do it, why to do it, when to do it…

Formal Zen meditation is the specific type that I practice and encourage my friends, family, clients, etc. to practice also.  Notice I said practice…yes, sitting upright and still requires PRACTICE! In fact, most people avoid meditation because they’re afraid they will do it wrong or they will be bad at it (just like any other hobby); practice is required with any new task before you can feel competent at it.

The basic components of Zen meditation are:

  • Sit upright and still on meditation cushions (zafu and zabuton) with three points of contact with the floor to stabilize you.  I often sit in the position shown below “on a stool” but using cushions instead of a stool. My three points of contact are shin, shin and butt. Any position you choose needs to be a comfortable position and should not cause straining.  For example, if you cannot get yourself into lotus position, don’t! It is encouraged that you find a position that you can hold for the duration of the meditation without discomfort or your legs falling asleep. Having your rear end elevated (by a cushion, stool or chair) is recommended to reduce any blood flow issues.  Frequent shifting is discouraged, I recommend that you experiment with different positions in your first few weeks.
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  • Clear your mind as best you can and focus on either nothing or your breathing. When you are anxious, your mind and body are detached from one another. Focusing on your in breath and outbreath can help realign them.
  • Practice non-attachment and non-judgment when you notice your mind drifting (as it will) by gently bringing your attention back to your breathing. The reality is that your mind will wander and it will wander more when you are new to meditation and/or when your stress is higher.  We can acknowledge this without judging ourselves or the practice.  It is simple, not easy! Many people complain that they feel MORE anxious when they try to quiet their mind…which may be true because they have removed all of the distractions that they normally put between their feelings and their consciousness.  Ride that wave, calmness will follow. It reminds me of snorkeling in choppy water…the water is only choppy until you put your head under the water to see the reef below! Meditation is more about strengthening your “coming back” muscle than your “staying present” muscle!
  • Length of meditation varies, the magic isn’t in the number of minutes; rather it is in the willingness to practice steps 1-3 over and over and over.  Meditation is a muscle that most of us forget we have, thus it is out of shape and needs to be worked consistently over time. I encourage you to start with ten minutes and stay with that time frame until you get comfortable, then challenge yourself to 20!

The benefits of sitting practice are innumerable.  Science finds that:

Benefits-of-Meditation

You can really meditate whenever your want, where-ever you want, with whoever you want. I recommend group meditation in the beginning (look up group meditations in your city and/or on Zoom). Think about how much you cognitively know about exercising and eating healthy vs what you actually do in your day-to-day life, I find that group meditation holds you accountable and achieves better results just as group exercise does!

Inspiration, mental health

Do You Want to Have Less Mood Swings?

I have a very tricky suggestion for you.

I have a controversial suggestion for you.

You might not like my suggestion…

…but if you really want to have stable moods…

STOP WITH ALL THE SUGAR! My office use to share a parking lot with a certain popular coffee chain. I am not going to lie, I really enjoy this coffee shop. No one will argue with you about the burst of energy, pain reduction, and general feeling of bliss that is experienced when sugar is consumed in rapid quantities, in it’s purest form! What really hurts my heart though, is when my I see people, especially teens, with blended (coffee) SUGAR drinks. I know why they get the drinks; however, I also know the crash they will experience. I know the addiction they will face. I know the mood swings and irritability they (and their loved ones) will endure. If you want to argue that you don’t get those sorts of drinks/treats, I still urge you to look at your weekly intake and average out how much sugar you’re having in a day.

Here’s the deal: A variety of reputable health organizations warn against sugar intake. This is mostly for health concerns; however, as mentioned above, it also impacts mental health. The World Health Organization currently recommends that sugar make up no more than 5% of your total energy intake. The American Heart Association finds the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added (not natural) sugar per day…that’s 350 calories from added sugar alone. Their recommendation is between 6 -9 teaspoons/day (25-37 grams). There are no bonus points for consistently getting to 25 grams…it is the red line to STAY AWAY FROM. Major problem is that most people surpass that number on a daily basis. The biggest culprits are beverages, cereal and prepackaged snacks.

What we know about consumption of added sugar in a diet (we aren’t talking about fruit here…) is that it leads to your blood sugar spiking and then crashing. The effect of this on the human body is extreme. I will spare you the details other than it leads to a (short) burst of energy followed by a significant dip in mood: increased depression, anxiety, and irritability. Challenge me on that…really…and just use your imagination on what this looks like for someone who repeats the cycle several times per day. A 2014 study by Emory recently found that teens with high fructose diets tend to have increase rates of depressive behaviors (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141118141852.htm).

A 2012 study from UCLA (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230078/full) found that high fructose corn syrup LITERALLY slows brain function, impairs memory and inhibits new learning. So when clients walk into my office high on sugar, I already know they are primed to NOT retain what we are working on. This is a problem when teens and college students are hitting up coffee chains and vending machines on their way to school!

We all know that abusing sugar can lead to diabetes; however high blood sugar has also been linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease later in life. (http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/09/high-blood-sugar-linked-to-dementia/?_r=0) It seems that if the high sugar diet doesn’t seem to cause an effect at the current moment, it certainly increases risks all throughout your life span.

To learn about how sugar becomes addicting like a drug, check out this TED Talk: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-sugar-affects-the-brain-nicole-avena

Here are some common sugar contents (things I see in my office often):

Starbucks Grande Vanilla Bean Frappachino 57 grams of sugar
Dunkin Donuts Medium Caramel Iced Coffee 37 grams of sugar
20 oz Coca Cola 65 grams of sugar
20 oz Mountain Dew 77 grams of sugar
Arizona Iced Tea 72 grams of sugar
One package of Skittles 47 grams of sugar
2 Pop Tarts 34 grams of sugar

In conclusion:

This is not a soap box that I stand on. This is not be being a health nut. This is a national crisis in which I see people being more willing to take prescription medications (which carry very real risks of side effects) rather than even TRY to reduce their sugar intake to under 25 grams per day. Parents have an obligation to be mindful of what they are buying and providing for their children. Teens are old enough to learn about the effects of sugar and yet lack the impulse control to moderate their behavior 100% of the time without support. Adults can learn to manage their urges and make healthier choices which will lead to improved mental and physical health, reduced healthcare costs, and improved finances! Please take an honest look at your sugar consumption and it’s possible effect(s) on your moods. The results might, quite literally, be sobering.

DBT, Inspiration, mental health

The Right Kind of Fun

Are you having any fun? Are you having the right kind of fun?

In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), we talk about “accumulating positives” as a skill to reduce vulnerabilities. What the heck does that even mean?? A vulnerability is something that happens in life that makes you more susceptible to falling into emotion mind (being overly emotional/impulsive). This factors are often things from that day: poor sleep, hunger, physical pain, argument with someone, traffic, etc. but they can involve historical events/traumas/memories. I think of these as the “straws” that build up and ultimately “break the camels back”.

Accumulating positives can help you to build up a coat of armor against the vulnerabilities that will inevitably happen throughout our days and weeks. Have you even noticed how much more emotional you are when you are physically ill or in pain? The same irritability starts to creep up when we go longer periods of time without socializing, engaging in hobbies and/or having fun!

Accumulating positives is split into two portions: short-term and long-term. Below we will look ast each idea!

Short-term:

First you must evaluate what things you enjoy in life! What is clearly fun to one person in life does equate to fun for another. You can find a list of pleasant/fun events here which could be a useful guide. For short-term accumulating positives, it’s important that the choices are realistic (climate, time of year, your financial situation, etc) and could be available without much delay. It is also very important that you throw yourself into actually enjoying the activity! We are very good at worrying… about whether we deserve it, what else we should be doing with our time, whether we can afford it, if we look silly and are being judged, etc. In order to reap the benefits, we need to give our brains a break and really allow ourselves to mindfully enjoy the experience!

A few of my personal favorite ways to accumulate positives are:

  • hiking
  • reading
  • laying in the hammock
  • taking a bath
  • creating art
  • writing

If we don’t make time (yes, schedule it), it’s unlikely to happen, which results in our moods dipping slowly and steadily over time. Depression and irritability will slowly creep up on you and before you know it, you’re not a very fun person to be around!

Long-Term

Accumulating long-term positives takes a little more effort to plan. First and foremost, you need to identify some of your core values! Luckily, values lists are fairly easy to find online…you can check out this one, this one or this one! It can be tempting to choose 20-30 values because they all sound so good; however, I encourage you to pick no more than five core values. My family has chosen our five core values and we posted them up in our dining room, when making major (and minor) choices, I try to be sure the decision aligns with one of our values.

After you identify your core values, DBT has a great format for walking you through the steps of breaking ONE identified value down into goals, steps and baby steps! After all, we don’t get anywhere overnight!

  • Step One: Pick one of the values to work on first (this does not mean the others are not important)
  • Step Two: Identify some goals associated with the value
  • Step Three: Pick one of the goals (this does not mean the others are not important)
  • Step Four: Identify some steps needed to work toward that goal
  • Step Five: Pick one step to work on now (this does not mean the others are not important)
  • Step Six: Identify any baby steps that might be needed to work toward that first step
  • Step Seven: Pick ONE action to take THIS WEEK!

When you start taking steps toward larger goals that are aligned with your own values, it’s called values-based living and it is a huge leap away from depression, low self-worth and lack of identity. Values-based living will also help you feel insulated and protected from negative events because your confidence, self-worth and self-esteem will be intact!

mental health

Coping as a Sensory-Overstimulated Parent

Are you overwhelmed when there are several things competing for you attention?

  • the television in another room
  • tablet sounds
  • neighbor doing yard work
  • your fingers tapping on the keyboard
  • chewing sounds
  • the microwave is running
  • the washing machine just buzzed
  • kids squabbling
  • the dog is whining
  • the mail truck driving by
  • the list really does go on and on and on…

Do you find yourself getting irritable and snapping during these times? Are you wondering why it seems easier for other parents to cope with the chaos of having a household of child(ren) noises?

Furthermore are your other senses also easily overwhelmed?

  • you don’t love kids clinging to you
  • you are bothered by ill fitting or unexpected clothing sensations
  • you don’t like sticky things
  • you find certain types of food textures to be creepy
  • strong smells are nauseating
  • you are visually overwhelmed by clutter
  • When your child is asking repetitive questions
  • Wild play (flailing limbs, jumping or running)

If you are answering yes to many of those questions, you may be a highly sensitive person to sensory experiences. This does not mean that you have a sensory processing disorder; this isn’t meant for self-diagnosis. If you feel that you have intense reactions to the above stimuli, you may want to speak to an occupational therapist or your primary care provider. Being sensory sensitive, means that you are more sensitive than the average person to sensory stimuli. Specifically, it is known as sensory defensiveness. Sensory defensiveness is defined as having an anxious reaction to non-noxious sensory stimuli. In other words, a person is sensory defensive if he/she has a negative reaction to sensory input that is typically considered either positive or at least neutral.

Symptoms of being sensory overwhelmed

  • Loosing temper
  • You get “touched out”
  • You need alone time
  • You feel as if you’re going to “explode” from pressure
  • You feel like you need to “hide” from your kids

If you are finding that your reactions are met with statements like “why does that bother you”, “that really shouldn’t bother you”, or “I barely even notice it, how is it such a big deal to you“, then you might be experiencing sensory defensiveness. The good news is that there is hope! Here are some suggestions that might help you:

  1. Desensitization – work on relaxation techniques while exposing yourself to some of the upsetting stimuli as referenced above. This could include playing with sensory fidgets if tactile issues are primary, walking barefoot outdoors, letting your hands be dirty for a few minutes before washing them, using relaxation breathing while noticing multiple sounds.
  2. Coping – wear noise dampening earbuds to block out some of the less intense noises. (I personally like Loop noise dampening earbuds). It’s especially helpful to use them in the later hours of the day as whining increases and your nerves are more frayed. With noise dampening earbuds you will be able to hear them if they need you while still having your bubble.
  3. Speak up! You can teach your children about your boundaries and what sorts of things you would prefer them to do in other rooms. You can teach them to turn the volume down or turn off noise producing devices when they are finished so there are not several going at once. You can inform your family and friends not to purchase noisy toys for you kids as well! You can also speak to your family members/spouse about your needs and asking them to understand if you need a break (including a break from them).
  4. Prioritize your down/alone time. Be sure that someone relieves you and you go for a walk to clear your mind, you can lock the doors during a shower, you can enforce quiet time for all members of your home to be in their rooms once or twice per day (be consistent about this as it will take time for everyone to adjust).
  5. Figure out your triggers. Instead of trying to tell yourself to “suck it up” or that you must be “crazy”, be kinder with your self talk and remember that you aren’t the only person who experiences sensory overwhelm! Honor your needs enough to figure out your triggers and work to solve them.
  6. Get outside (yes, even with the kids) and mindfully turn your attention toward any nature you can see (a rock, a blade of grass, the sky, a bird, etc).
  7. Decrease the caffeine, seriously, it only adds to the anxiety.
  8. Consult with professionals: occupational therapy, speech therapy, mindfulness based therapies and cognitive behavioral therapy can all be useful tools for sensory issues. If the symptoms are interfering greatly with your quality of life, you may want to investigate the help of a pro!

Inspiration, mental health

My Personal Goals

I thought I’d share with you all my goals. I am partially sharing this to hold myself accountable and partially sharing to inspire you! It honestly never crossed my mind to share things about my personal goals more often; however, I am currently reading the book “A Year of Less” by Cait Flandres and she shared monthly how she was doing related to financial goals, sobriety, and motivation. I love this!

Here goes:

  1. Workout 4-5 times per week – right now this includes Orange Theory Fitness, Planet Fitness, home workouts via Beach Body and family hikes!
  2. Overpay on my mortgage each month. I do have a stretch goal in mind which would have me pay off my house in approximately 5 years, my realistic goal is 10.
  3. Drink water, drink water, drink water. My goal is 70 ounces per day. The reason is that it helps me feel less physical pain, I have a clearer mind, I have drink less sugary drinks if I am drinking water and drinking water is the catalyst for me eating healthier also!
  4. Read bible study/devotional, journal and pray.  I lump these all in together because I find it’s difficult to do all three each day and yet, as they support one another. 
  5. Work on one random healthy habit. I change this each month and so far, they have included: washing my face before bed, flossing and using mouthwash, Kegels, meditation.
  6. No alcohol – this is a given. While I have no problem with alcohol overconsumption, I strive to drink very little. 
  7. Write or blog each day – well duh! Even though this is something I LOVE to do, I am as likely as the next person to avoid doing productive tasks in lieu of scrolling Tik Tok or watching something on Netflix!

I’ll make more of an effort to post my results each month!

Inspiration, Journaling, mental health

5 Daily Routines to Ease the Creep of Anxiety

Anxiety has a way of creeping up on you, increasing it’s grasp and intensity as the day goes on. As a mom of three and a human with anxiety issues, I have devised a set of daily rituals that help slow (and sometimes stop) the creep!

Keep a hand written to-do list.

Anxiety tries to convince you to ignore. Ignore tasks, ignore lists, ignore expectations, ignore feelings, etc. The inverse of that concept is to approach. We need to learn to approach that which we are afraid of in order to conquer our day! Anxiety will try to convince you that if you write everything down, you will not be able to handle it; however, I am telling you that writing it down will EASE your stress because it will allow you to see the tasks and forge a path forward!

Create a morning routine that maximizes productivity.

Here’s the deal, you are unlikely to have more motivation and energy later in the day (as we try to convince ourselves will happen). I have found, after many trials and errors, that front loading my chores into the first 90 minutes of the day makes for much smoother sailing. Here’s my morning routine:

7am wake up, be sure their floors are picked up (their responsibility the night before) and put food in front of kids. While they are eating, go start the Roomba upstairs (where the bedrooms are) and get dressed. The Roomba will run for 90 minutes while everything else is happening. Check to see who needs a load of laundry started…seriously, someone will! Start the load of laundry. Pack the lunches and bags for all the humans. While the kids are doing their things (brushing teeth, going potty, running around like crazy people) unload the dishwasher (also enlist their help, even little can put some things away) and reload. Bring Roomba back to it’s base to charge. Set it to run in a different part of the house when I’m gone.

Drink a lot of water.

Pop culture would have you believe that this line should say “drink a lot of coffee”. That is not the case! Drinking things that give you false energy (such as coffee/sugary drinks) will only leave you feeling jittery and cause a crash about 90 minutes after drinking. I generally limit myself to one coffee or caffeinated tea each morning and then switch to water. Water will give you energy and motivation to continue with other healthier habits for the rest of the day. It will also make you have to pee a lot which will force you to get up and move around (which also gives you more energy!)

Eat produce.

Similar to the above tip. We have a tendency to reach for carbs and sugar when our energy is dipping; however, this is sure to increase our sluggishness, fatigue and mood swings throughout the day. Carbs and sugar aren’t banned; however, increasing them isn’t going to help you. When your energy is dipping, try to eat things that are more natural and from the produce section of the grocery store! Fruits and veggies contain so much natural sugar, antioxidants, etc. which is what you need to have sustained energy throughout the day.

Early to Bed.

As I mentioned in the first bullet point, your energy isn’t going to magically increase throughout the day. I strongly suggest you bump your bedtime up! I generally try to get to bed close to 9pm, with 10pm as a deadline. I have learned that going to bed after 10pm is a sure fire way to sabotage my next day.