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Thinking Out Loud 10.9.2014 – Getting Deep Up In Here


Hey guys.

It’s, “Erin rambles on about the jumbled mess that are her thoughts,” day… Or, to put it in a better way, “Thinking Out Loud Thursday.”

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Thanks Amanda for creating this link-up and actually giving me the mental strength to sit and type a post (wow, that was melodramatic).

Workout – 45 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.

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1. Yup. As I briefly mentioned in my Monday post…. I’m still/yet again injured. I has been almost 2 weeks since my last “run” (ok, actually I ran 4 miles on Saturday because I thought I was healed, but I was wrong and am paying for it.

I strained a muscle in my lateral leg. The pain is most severe in my outer ankle area (hurts to the touch), but it pulls from my arch all the way up through my gluteal area. Not fun.

I just feel as though I am always injured, and yes, I am aware that I am to blame for this in a number of ways… But this just could not have come at a worse time.

Over the course of the last month or so, I have just been spiraling further and further down the rabbit hole of depression and self loathing. I am having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, I don’t feel up to talking to anyone (even if it is just over text messages), I don’t have the mental stamina to complete my school work. Basically, I just feel like curling up in a ball and turning the world around me off. The universe feels too big and loud and terrifying and I don’t feel strong enough to be a part of it.

During the course of this spiraling into a deep sea of depression, there was one single thing that filled me with hope and joy and a sense of meaning… Can you guess what it was?

If you said running, than you are correct.

In fact, the day that I discovered I was injured, I had a therapy appointment before I went to the doctor for my leg. We had an amazing session and we spoke about how bad I have been doing and how running has been my saving grace. She told me how important it is that I keep running, as it is the one thing that gets me out of bed in the morning and that makes taking on the world, while still almost impossible, somewhat bearable.

Of course, right after that appointment I was told that I couldn’t run again for a while.

I completely lost it.

Yup, embarrassing myself, as I frequently do, I started crying in the middle of the medical office. The worst part of not being able to control your emotions is knowing that your reaction to the given situation is inappropriate in respect to the situation. I just feel like a toddler throwing a fit over not getting a toy that they want or something. As a result, I wind up crying even harder because of how pathetic I feel. It is a vicious cycle.

On top of being in a black hole of depression already, not being able to run is a double whammy when it comes to worsening my already less-than-ideal mental state.

On one hand, running is my saving grace. It is my love. It is what I feel passionate about. It is the one thing that makes me feel like maybe I’m worth something. It makes me grateful to be alive in this wonderful, beautiful, and magical world of ours. it makes me thankful to be alive and to have a body, regardless of the size of it, that can carry me for miles and miles.

On the other hand, it is no secret that a lot of my issues stem from a deep loathing of myself, and, more specifically, my body. I was already freaking out over the fact that I feel as though I eat way too much and that I am gaining weight and getting bigger by what feels like the day. Now, I am unable to run or do intensive exercise. All I can do is the elliptical or the bike… Not exactly the top of the list calorie burning machines. I already wanted to get this extra weight off (which is almost impossible for me since I destroyed my metabolism with my eating issues…I really need to get back on track with working on that), but now it feels more impossible than ever. I feel and look puffy and larger. I don’t want to leave the room because I don’t want people to see me. I was already struggling with getting to class, now if feels almost impossible. In fact, I skipped out on two classes this week because I just physically could not get myself out the door. I just crumble… It’s bad.

I think the worst part is knowing on a logical level that a lot of it must be in my head. You don’t swell up 20 pounds over night, but to me it appears as though I do. I have trouble differentiating what is real and what is just a false projection from my disordered mind. It’s like there is this constant war going on inside my mind and I can’t make it stop.

It is exhausting… And quite honestly, I don’t know what to do about it.

Another piece of all of this is that I feel like every time I take one step in the right direction recovery wise, I wind up taking about 10 steps back. At the end of the summer, I was seeing progress, I really was. To others (mainly my mom), I know that it seemed as though therapy was doing nothing and I was in just as bad of a place as I had been for years… But I wasn’t. The thing with recovery is that it is a painfully slow process. Any change, infinitesimal as it may seem, is crucial and important. The recovering person notices them, but everyone around that person sees absolutely nothing.

I explained it, both to my mom and to my therapist, like this – For years now, I have hated my body. I obsess about what I look like, what people are seeing and thinking of my size, and how food is the enemy 100% of the time. At the end of the summer, these thoughts consumed my mind about 98.5% of the time. This 1.5% change of mentality may seem laughable in size… But to me is was huge. 

And now I’m back at 100% of the time for these bad thoughts… And I hate it.

I also feel like I am wasting my mom’s money on therapy and I am wasting my therapist’s time. I feel selfish for even going… I am just at a stand still.

2. SOMETHING MORE POSITIVE!!!!

There is actually one thing that fills me with as much joy as running does.

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(from my Instagram)

It sounds stupid, but if I could be absolutely anything in the world, I would be a musician. Now, I’m not talking like a Taylor-Swift-status-billionaire-superstar status musician… I would just want to be in a band with a moderate fan base that I could love. Music is the most powerful form of expression in my opinion. I have wanted to be a lot of different things career-wise in my lifetime, and none of the career paths that I have aspired to really had anything in common. The only common factor among my passions in life is this overwhelming need to make people feel something. I think this is why writing has always been a reoccurring theme in my goals in life. When you read a good book, watch a powerful movie, or listen to beautiful music, it elicits some sort of emotion within in you. Words have the power to be your best friend, your biggest motivator. Words can make you feel less alone… And that is what I love so much about music.

I listen to music by bands who weave words with melody in ways that make my heart cry out. I listen to music that can bring a real smile to my face whilst also brining me to tears… And listening to live music? There is nothing better.

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Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember absolutely killing it. 

It sounds like a cliche from a bad teenage movie… But music really has saved my life in more ways than one. I have been listening to my favorite band, Silverstein, since 7th grade. 7th grade also happened to be the time where my depression really manifested into something truly nasty. I have continued listening to that band through the years. I know that every time I am having a really hard time, their music has been there for me, and it will continue to be there for me as long as I have hearing.

There is also something truly beautiful, at least to me, about being surrounded by hundreds of people who all have the same deep connection to a certain song or band that you do. We are all pressed together like sardines in a can, we are jumping, we are struggling to keep up with keeping the crowd surfers from falling to the floor. My hair is being pulled and I am being absolutely demolished by the people around me (don’t even ask how many bruises I have on my body right now)… And for some reason, being accidentally punched and kicked, being knocked over while trying to hold up a dude about twice the size of me, and being drenched in sweat that isn’t even my own… It’s beautiful.

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So in conclusion, I have been doing really really awful lately… But I had one really great day on Saturday, so I am choosing to focus on that instead.

This too shall pass.

…Right?

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healthy living, life, recovery

The First Real Day


Hey all! 

Workout: Treadmill interval workout from FitSugar.

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I changed the workout up slightly by increasing the speed by .5-1 throughout, running at 6-6.5mph during the walking bits, and running at a .5 incline when it said to run at .00 incline.

Also, I showed you guys that I got new running shoes the other day right?

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I decided to try out Brooks PureFlow 2s, and I have to say that I am absolutely loving them. I have only run in them twice (long run on Sunday and my intervals today), so I can’t exactly give a full review yet. So far they are nice and light, yet they still keep my ankles stable (important for me) and they fit nicely which is rare since I have really bizarrely shaped feet.

However, I have THE most gnarly blisters on the back of my heels. I seriously wanted to cry at certain points during this mornings workout… For the most part I was super happy during my workout though!

 

 

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Incline running is no joke. 

Also, what is it about school gyms and not having the air conditioners on? I thought I was suffocating throughout my workout!

 

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Nothing that a little iced coffee can’t fix though ;).

So today marks my first official day of classes (actually it was Thursday… but I told you a little about that whole fiasco), and my first full day of being “away” at school. I put away in quotes because I’m like…a half an hour train ride from home so I don’t know if it really counts.

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I tried to be a girl. All the lights fell off the wall. Command hooks, you have betrayed me.

So I set out to make today a good one. I got up at 6 (set my alarm for 6:30, but oh well), worked out, had a nutritious breakfast, took a nice shower. All was well and good. I walked the 2 miles to school, which would normally be super nice because New York is the greatest place ever, but between the heat and humidity and the blisters on my feet…I probably should have taken the subway. 

I finally arrived (very sweaty and disheveled I might add… Here’s to making good first impressions) to find a note posted on my classroom door that the class had been changed. I followed what I (correctly) assumed to be others who were in the same class over to the building and room that the class was now apparently supposed to be in, and… Get this.

The teacher never showed up.

We sat there for 40 minutes before giving up. 

So now I am 0 for 2 in this whole “getting to class” thing.

I have to leave in around 15 minutes for my next class (which also happens to be the one that I couldn’t find on Thursday), so here’s hoping the third time is the charm!

I will say though, minus the whole classroom-changing-teacher-never-showing-up debacle… Today has been ok! My roommate hasn’t been here yet, so I have just been on my own,and I kind of like that. Yes, I really want and need to make friends, but at the same time, I am enjoying having time alone with myself. The city is such a wonderful and inspiring place. When I am walking through the streets from my housing to my school, I can’t shake the feeling that this, this city, is where I need to be. Where I am supposed to be. I don’t know.

Also, I have to say that people watching in the city is such an amazing way to find inspiration for characters in the stories that I write. I have always dreamed of being a novelist, and I have a few novels in the works currently. It just seems that I can never bring myself to make the time (which is absurd because I definitely have the time) to sit down and just write. This being alone with myself while still being surrounded by thousands of people in a big city is filling me with inspiration and drive to really get back into writing. I’m thinking of bringing my laptop over to Central Park on Thursday since I don’t have class until 4:10 that day and just writing. 

I don’t know how to describe how I am feeling right now. I still feel down and numb and really anxious and not ok… But I feel something else as well.

I think it’s hope.

And now I am off to go pick up some bandaids for my blisters to make the commute to school a little less painful.

Until tomorrow my friends!

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recovery

Fat Is Not A Feeling


Hey all!

Workout –  I had originally planned on swimming this morning since I haven’t in a long time… But quite honestly, I just wasn’t feeling it.

Instead, I went for Insanity Asylum’s Game Day. Definitely my favorite workout from the Asylum vol. 1 version of Insanity.

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No Shaun T… It most certainly does not.

Breakfast – Breakfast was kind of sort of super exciting today. Actually, it’s always exciting… I just really love smoothie bowls guys.

But what made today’s meal extra special was this little guy.

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Dragon fruit!

You guys may have seen that I went to the asian grocery store near my home yesterday and came home with one (way too expensive) fun new fruit to try! 

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I really wasn’t expecting dragon fruit to be as mild as it is! I thought it would be sweeter, but it actually doesn’t have all that much flavor (or at least mine didn’t). Very nice and refreshing and I loved the crunch of all the little seeds in my smoothie. 

Plus, it’s just a really cool fruit to look at!

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So what I want to address today is something that I have (obviously) been struggling with for quite some time.

Feeling fat.

We have all, at one point or another, thought or uttered something along the lines of, “I feel fat today.” I mean, I know that I personally am guilty of saying that exact sentence (often accompanied by an “ugh”) at least once a day, often more.

But here’s the funny thing, fat is not a feeling.

Look at any list of the spectrum of emotions and I will guarantee you that never once will you find the word fat there. Happy? Yes. Angry? Yes. Disgruntled? Indeed. Fat? Nope.

You know what fat actually is? A macronutrient. 

Yes, fat can also be used as an adjective in describing a creature with an excessive amount of, well, fat. Fat is a substance. Fat is not a state of being.

Recently, I have been finding that I have been having “fat days” more often than not. And what is a “fat day” you ask? Well dear reader, a “fat day” is defined (by me) as one of those days where you wake up and the first thing that comes to mind upon getting up and moving your body is, “Ugh, I feel/am so fat today.”

Now here’s the thing, while some of those “fat days” that people have sometimes have a reasoning, whether it be a PMS symptom, a result of eating too much salt the night before, etc.. More often than not, the person having the “fat day” will, in fact, look and weight the same as he/she did the day before. They just can’t see it.

It’s all about perspective. 

The funny thing about feeling fat is how completely normal it seems in todays society, when, in fact, it is one of the most nonsensical idea/statement there is. How can you “feel” something that is not an emotion. I don’t wake up and say, “I feel protein today.” It’s basically the same thing.

I found this little cartoon online that I believe sums up the topic of fat as a feeling absolutely perfectly.

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So there you have it. Next time you find yourself “feeling fat,” I need you to promise me that you will remind yourself that you can’t feel fat. It’s not a state of being. 

Also, you are not fat. You are a person, a wonderful shining human being with hopes and dreams and ambitions and what is, I bet, a kick-butt personality to boot.

You are not fat, you have fat. You also have bones and organs and muscles. You are not any of those things either. 

I just need you to know that you are you and that in itself is something to cherish and be proud of. 

I hope you all have a wonderful night and I will talk to you tomorrow Good night =)

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life, recovery

A Commitment to Change


Hey!

Workout: 4 miles at 8:42 min/mile average pace + Turbo Fire HIIT 20.

I was pressed for time this morning, as I had to make a train into the city for my housing orientation. Although the commute into the city is only about a half an hour, between walking to the train station, the train ride, walking from the station to the subway, and taking the subway to my building… It takes a long time.

I was honestly really freaking out about orientation today. The prospect of meeting new people in itself is enough to throw me into a state of panic, throw that on top of being in a new environment with knowing absolutely no one, and being sicker than I have been in a  long long time (I was coughing up a lung the entire orientation, girl know how to make a first impression =P)… It was just a mess.

It did wind up being a lot better than I thought it would be though! We played icebreaker games (my least favorite thing to do) and I met a couple of really sweet girls that live on my floor. Already I can tell that the bulk of people at my new school (at least those living on my floor) radiate a much better energy than those at my old school did. I didn’t get that snobby “I’m so much better than you,” and, “All I want to do is drink and party,” vibe from anyone, so I’m happy about that =).

Also, can we just discuss the epic-ness that was last night’s VMAs?!?!

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Like… How? I’m not fully convinced that Beyonce is not actually a robot. One person can not be this talented and flawless while also being a good person.

And what about Miley’s charity? I loved it.

I just live for award shows though. They are one of my (many) guilty pleasures.

Now onto a more serious topic.

I’m sure that you all are sick of hearing me complaining about the fact that I have gained weight. I’m getting sick of listening to myself complain about it as well. Thing is, I just cry and complain and self-destruct instead of actually doing anything productive to not only stop this process, but to move towards health.

I just let myself remain stuck.

And I’m sick of it.

I don’t know if it is because I have a fever and that is making me overly emotional or what, but I am filled with such a drive to change what I am doing with my diet because I know for a fact that it is not working.

Typically, before I fell into this diet rut, I was eating a predominantly plant-based diet. I was by no means vegan, but was eating vegetarian about 90% of the time, and about 80% of that was vegan. I would have meat in the form of either seafood or chicken maybe once a week, if even that, and the only dairy I was intaking was my lactose free cottage cheese (I really love that stuff) and my occasional froyo (I will never give it up.. I’m sorry). I was eating a higher carb diet with a lower fat and protein count. I was not intentionally trying to limit my fats or my protein, I just happen to enjoy fruits and veggies and starches over most fat and protein sources.. So that was what I ate.

And I was actually feeling good.

One lasting ailment that my eating disorder left me with is a plethora of digestive issues. There is barely a day that goes by without me having a stomach issue of some sort, whether it be extreme pain, bloating, or something else. When I was eating a higher carb and lower fat and protein diet, my digestive issues lessened significantly.

Recently, I can barely stand up, let alone leave the house, due to the amount of pain that my stomach is in. Yesterday, I had to cut my long run short by a mile, and almost wound up cutting my already short run even shorter today due to my stomach feeling so horrible.

So what do I do?

I know that I need to make a change… The only thing is, I don’t even know where to begin. Part of me feels like I should just do the whole raw food thing that seems to basically have become a type of cult recently. But I don’t want to do that. I could also go fully vegan. I don’t want to do that either.

I don’t want to cut out any more foods from my already limited diet. I can’t. Even if it is better for my body, even if I do want to eventually go vegan (although I am not sure if that will ever really happen), I know that I am not mentally in the place to do so. I know that a drastic change to my diet would send me spinning back down the rabbit hole into the arms of my dark passenger. I know that I would get obsessive and unhealthy and that it would just lead to my issues with food manifesting in a whole new way.

However, I do know that I need to go back to really limiting the amount of animal products that I ingest, as well as cut down a little on the amount of fats that I am ingesting. I have been eating way too many nuts and way too much nut butter lately, and I find that it is after eating a large (for me) amount of these things that my stomach starts feeling funny. The symptoms are especially prevalent if I eat high fat foods right before running.

As far as protein goes, I am in no position, nor do I have any desire, to limit my intake of it. However, I am not going to constantly freak out about needing to get a ton of protein with each meal. I would rather my meals be based around vegetables with my protein as a small compliment to the meal than it being the other way around.

I also need to stop with my constant snacking.. I honestly think that I may take in more calories through my snacking all day than I do from my actual meals. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Some other goals I have for myself include finishing Dr. Cambell’s (the author of The China Study) book Whole.

Whole Front Cover

 It is a really great read and I was truly enjoying it. I just haven’t been making the time to sit and read it. I believe that I will be able to get a lot out of this book, and hope to read The China Study as well. I am also contemplating reading one of Dr. McDougall’s books. I am not quite sure which one I should go for, or it will even be beneficial to me. For all I know, it could just be another cult favorite book geared towards the members of a certain movement. I have just heard great things about McDougall’s program, but I will need to do a bit more research on him, his work, and those that follow his lifestyle before purchasing anything from him.

With going away to school and having to be very careful about what groceries I buy, live on a strict budget, and cook my meals in my dorm room with nothing but a microwave and a Magic Bullet, I feel that now is as good a time s ever to really revamp the way that I am eating.

I am so sick and tired of being upset over my appearance and actually being embarrassed by the way I eat and my eating habit.

It is time to make a change. Let’s see what happens.

Question(s): What is the best diet/lifestyle book that you have ever read?

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Mental Health Monday

Mental Health Monday – Romanticizing Mental Illness and Introvert vs. Social Phobia


Hey! Welcome to another Mental Health Monday.

What is Mental Health Monday? Other posts in this series can be found here, here, and here.

Today I want to address something that hits close to home for me.

Social anxiety.

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Via The Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 

As stated, social anxiety is all too often mistaken as extreme shyness, or even an excuse for it. The thing is…

It’s not.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people, a majority of them being my age, casually throwing around the term, “social anxiety,” in casual conversation as a synonym for nervousness.

“Oh my gosh, I hate doing speeches in from of the class. I get like… Social anxiety from it.”

Nervousness when public speaking is normal. Doesn’t mean you have a social phobia.

“Ugh I hate people. I get like, social anxiety.”

Yes I have actually heard someone say this before. I was at a theme park and there was a big crowd and a girl was complaining about how many people there were.

Now, these are but a couple of examples of the misuse of the term, “social anxiety,” that I have experienced recently. I am not saying that these girls definitely don’t have some sort of social phobia. That is not my judgment to make and there is no way that I, as an outsider, would know the mental state of these strangers. I am just analyzing what I hear and the context in which the term is used.

Another issue that I have noticed, and am deeply disturbed by, is this strange infatuation that people (mostly those around my age) with mental illness.

Anxiety.

Depression.

OCD.

Social phobias.

For some odd reason, suddenly people seem to believe that these are “traits” to be desired. They are seen as quirky and endearing.

What the…?

I find this fixation on mental health, or the lack thereof, to be most common among those from my generation.

I largely blame the internet for this.

I am a lover of the website Tumblr. If you have never heard of Tumblr, it is a site for blog hosting, but it is one that is far more informal than your standard blogging sites. Though there are some more “professional” type blogs on Tumblr, a majority of them are photos that have been re-blogged (basically Tumblr’s version of re-tweeting), videos, and text posts that can be as short as a couple of sentences. Some are even as short as a single word.

Tumblr is a very strange place… Very strange indeed. But that’s not what this post is about.

Websites like Tumblr are a breeding ground for the romanticizing of mental disorders. The fixation on thigh gaps and thinspo? A large amount of this came from Tumblr (although thinspo was around long before that… It just exploded when a community for it  formed on Tumblr).

I’m getting a bit off topic… What I’m getting at is that it seems like all of a sudden, certain mental disorders have become synonyms for emotions or actions that they are not.

“Oh, I’m like… Super OCD about XX.” Being super tidy or anal about certain things doesn’t mean you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

“Hahaha! I’m so awkward around people. Anxiety, ya know?” No. Just no.

“Oh, I had an eating disorder for like a month once. But then I was over it.” Eating disorders are chronic. A crash diet that you do for a month and then, “get over,” is not an eating disorder. An eating disorder is also not a diet… It’s a mental condition.

And with social anxiety in particular, there are all too many times that I hear people saying that they are introverts, but then saying that being an introvert is the same as having social anxiety. This concept that being an introvert and having a social phobia are one in the same is what I really want to address.

I already gave you the clinical analysis of what a social phobia is. But what about an introverted personality type?

 

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Via GiftedKids.About.Com (not the most legitimate source, but I find the information stated to be pretty spot on.)

So, in comparing these two definitions, I think that it is safe to say that being an introvert does not automatically mean that you have social anxiety and visa-versa.

That being said, a social phobia can definitely be amplified if the sufferer already has an introverted personality type. If one already loves and values alone time and is already drained by (lengthy) social situations, they already tend to be more withdrawn from the world than the average person. Throw in a severe fear of being around people and the person can go from being slightly withdrawn to almost cutting themselves off from the world entirely.

It is definitely a balancing act.

At the same time, understand that an extroverted person can also suffer from social anxiety. I am definitely not an extrovert, so I can not speak from experience. However, I do know a couple of people, both personally and online, that struggle with anxiety while also being very outgoing and social people.

All in all, what I really want to do is reinforce the idea that mental disorders are real and serious issues. They do not makes you quirky or unique. They are not endearing. Honestly, I am mortified when I think about some the things that I have done when my anxiety has gotten really bad. I have thrown child like tantrums in public, I have cried in restaurants… In fact, I had a panic attack at work last week and started crying and had to leave early and quick. It’s shameful and childish and embarrassing.

So think before you speak.

Being neat does not equal OCD.

Skipping a meal does not equal an eating disorder (nor does being skinny. Stop using “anorexic” as a synonym for skinny).

Getting nervous in high pressure situations does not equal anxiety.

Being awkward in social situations sometimes does not equal social anxiety.

 

I apologize for how this post lacks any fluidity whatsoever and that it is more of a rant and less of the informative and professional(ish) post that I intended it to be… I guess that these are just some issues that I have been noticing lately and really felt the need to address.

Have a nice day and thank you so much for reading!

 

 

 

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Mental Health Monday, recovery, Uncategorized

Mental Health Mondays – Types of Outlets and Finding Yours


Happy Monday to you all!

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(Source)

Workout: 

Today was supposed to be a swim day… But after the long and late night that I had last night (there was a baptism at the restaurant I work in last night and let’s just say that it was the craziest and busiest night I have ever had), I decided that it would be best to silence my 6am alarm in favor of another hour or so of sleep.

So Insanity it was!

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My legs and arms are absolutely dead. The great thing about Insanity is that it is all plyometrics, which happens to be my favorite form of cross training! This workout in particular really works the arms, shoulders, and legs (hence the power and resistance in the name =P)… So I am counting it towards my goal to incorporate more strength training in my weekly workouts!

Speaking of those goals…

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You all know that I love my smoothie bowls, and the last couple of days I have incorporated greek yogurt into them to get some quality protein into my system!

I have to say, by adding the greek yogurt I have really been feeling fuller for longer. Plus it makes the consistency of the smoothie bowl a lot creamier! What I have been doing is sticking the greek yogurt into the freezer before my workout in the morning so that by the time I am ready to make my breakfast, it is slightly frosty but not frozen solid.

I also threw some blueberries into this bowl! Look at me changing things up! 😉

So it’s been a couple of weeks since my last Mental Health Monday post. Like I said in my first HMH post, it’s not meant to be a weekly series. I don’t want to put up posts on a topic that is so important to me just for the sake of getting one up each week. I both want and need to be able to put my heart and soul into these posts and I want them to be helpful.

That being said, today I want to talk about different types of positive outlets and how to find the one that is best for you!

So what is a positive outlet?

A positive outlet is, by my definition, an activity that is used as a way of coping with bad thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The point of having and utilizing these activities is to find healthy and productive ways of dealing with what would usually be a destructive and sometimes dangerous thought patterns.

An outlet can be anything from art to meditation to physical activity.

So where should I start?

I have found, from experience with multiple therapists and doctors, that when one is told to find an outlet… He or she is normally told what to do instead of being given different options.

“Listen to this motivational CD each night while you fall asleep.”

“Meditate.”

“Write it down.”

And trust me, I have tried it all.

And guess what?

None of it worked.

And why?

Because none of those things are enjoyable to me.

So now what?

You find what’s best for you.

Trust me on this, if you hate mediation, then you are doing yourself absolutely no favors by forcing yourself to mediate simply because it’s “the way” to cope with bad thoughts.

Honestly, by forcing yourself to partake in certain conventional coping mechanisms that you hate you will, more likely than not, just create more anxiety within yourself.

And how is that productive?

It’s not.

Now, obviously I don’t know what positive outlet is best for you, nor do I know every single type of outlet on the planet. In fact, no one does. The possibilities are endless! For a positive outlet to be successful in helping you cope, it needs to be individualized for you and your interests and needs!

That being said, I want to share some of my favorite outlets with you to give you somewhere to start. I also want to give examples of different outlets that may cater to different types of people.

So here we go.

For The Creative Type:

1. Write out your feelings… Buy yourself a nice notebooks (I find that having a cute notebook makes me happy and more likely to actually write things down) and write down your thoughts and feelings. This is the most basic form of an outlet. You get to get your feelings out without actually having to tell your deep dark secrets and less-than-cheerful thoughts to an actual person.

2. Write a blog. Now, it’s not normally ideal to spill all of your dark thoughts out on the internet. I mean, that’s as public as it gets. That being said, I know from personal experience that venting on a blog makes me feel  better than just writing in a notebook would because I feel like people  are actually listening even if they’re not. 

A good option as far as what I’ve decided to call diary-blogging goes is to create a blog (Tumblr is great for casual venting) and keep it anonymous. Just write your thoughts and feelings, but leave out any personal feelings. This way, there’s no worrying about someone you know seeing all of your deep dark thoughts.

3. Self help books. Find ones that interest you. My mom loves Wayne Dyer, I can’t get through a page of his books. I like more casually written, almost conversational types of self help books while others may prefer a more scholarly type. It’s all about finding what would be best for you.

4. Self help workbooks. I love these. Basically, they are activity books that cater to your specific needs whether your struggles are with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. I own this one and I absolutely love it because it focuses on healing through creativity. I have always been an artistic person, and I feel as though my struggles with my mental health have created a road block in my motivation to be creative. So this is a perfect way to get back into things while also bettering my mind! I truly do find it helpful and it’s fun for me so it’s a great outlet!

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For The Mental-Emotional Type:

While I know that the creative type and the mental-emotional type are normally lumped together as being one-in-the-same… But this is not always the case. 

1. Meditation. I know what you’re thinking, “How much more basic can you get?” But it’s important to remember that there is not just one way to meditate. You don’t need to just sit in a quiet room and reflect. Meditation comes in all different shapes and sizes and the only way that it will be helpful is if you find the type that you actually enjoy doing.

So some types…

– Guided meditation – there are all types of guided mediation. Some include visualization, while some focus mainly on times breathing. There is a huge selection of different types of guided mediation sessions on Youtube. There are also CDs that you can buy, but I would recommend the free alternatives until you find the type that is best for you.

– Personal meditation. This is just you, a quiet space, and your thoughts. This is where you attempt to calm your own mind, set intentions for the day, and focus your thoughts on positive ideas.

– Prayer. Basically the spiritual side of personal mediation. I know that prayer has gotten certain members of my family through some really really horrible times. It’s a great option if you are religious.

For The Physical Type:

Personally, exercise has always been my main outlet. I would seriously lose my mind without it. The goal when you using exercise as an outlet is to focus on light to moderate exercise in lieu of more intensive anaerobic or HIIT style workouts. It is no secret that it has been scientifically proven that exercise helps alleviate stress. However, this only applies when the exercise is light to moderate. While you may feel good after high intensity exercise, it actually acts as a stressor… So be wary! I’m not saying to never do high intensity exercise, but if you are trying to exercise away anxiety, it may not be your best option.

Some ideas/examples:

1. Running at an easy to moderate pace for a set period of time.

2. Swimming laps at an easy to moderate pace.

3. Horseback riding… This may sounds a bit odd, but I swear, the combination of the physical activity, your mind being challenged to maintain proper form on the horse (IMPORTANT!), and being around animals (though, if you’re not an animal fan I would assume that this wouldn’t be the best idea) makes equestrian one of the most peaceful and calming activities that I have ever participated in.

4. Dancing it out! … This is good for the body and the soul. How can you not smile while dancing around like a fool to your favorite music? Want to step it up a notch? Grab a wooden spoon or a hairbrush and pretend it’s a microphone while you are dancing and singing. I dare you to not smile while doing this =).

 

In Conclusion…

Obviously, I haven’t even covered a quarter of the possibilities for positive outlets… These are just a few tried and true methods to hopefully get yourself up and on the path to a healthier mind and a happier you.

Just remember that it is crucial that you find what is best for you. Hate running? Don’t do it! Do you have a passion for puppetry? Heck, go for it girl/dude!

This is your journey to happiness, and only you know what is best for you!

I hope you found this helpful, and I will talk to you all tomorrow =).

 

Question(s):

Do you have a positive outlet for when times get tough? What is it?

 

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fitness, healthy living, life, recovery

SMART Goal Setting + My Goals For The Week


Hello there people! How is your Sunday going?

Workout: Insanity Pure Cardio + Abs

Today has been a day full of a whole lot of nothing. I’m not feeling well whatsoever, so I’m just trying to rest up as much as possible in anticipation of a long night at work tonight.

I don’t know about you guys, but with rest often comes a ton of thinking… And I have certainly been thinking about a lot today.

I have a lot to work on in my life. In fact, this blog has become a means of chronicling my own journey in doing just that. I have a lot of healing to do, both mentally and physically. I have a lot of growing to do. I have a lot of self-discovery to do.

I have been in a truly horrible place for so long and I have only just recently began thawing. It’s been a slow process, and unfortunately it seems that for every step forward I take in healing, I take 5 steps backwards.

So it’s time to accept the fact that what I have been doing, or not doing, hasn’t been working… And it’s time to move forward.

I think that something I do, and that a lot of us do, is set huge long term goals and leave it at that.

I am going to get healthy.

I am going to lose xx pounds.

I am going to get a good job.

I am going to get a 4.o in school.

The problem with these type of goals is that that they are so broad that they often leave the goal setter feeling less inspired and more overwhelmed.

In my exercise science class, we learned about a type of goal setting called the SMART model.

Goals should be:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time oriented

Now, we were learning about this specific way of goal setting in regards to fitness and weight loss, but it can easily be applied to any and every goal that one sets for themselves.

And this SMART model of goal setting is definitely, dare I say, smart.

Here’s an example of how this model would be used (this isn’t a goal of mine… just one that I made up).

Broad goal – To lose weight.

Specific – I want to lose 20 pounds

Measurable – Weigh ins and measurements taken weekly

Achievable – Losing 20 pounds at a steady pace of 1-2 pounds per week. (What you wouldn’t want is to set a goal of losing 20 pounds in a month…)

Realistic – Pretty much the same as Achievable

Time Based – Lose 20 pounds in the next 4-5 months.

Braking up a huge goal into smaller, more manageable mini-goals makes the goal less overwhelming. It’s like when your room is a complete mess, so you decide that one day you will clean out the closet, then your drawers the next day, and so on and so forth.

That being said, part 1 of what I have dubbed Operation Makeover My Life, is setting weekly goals!

I always psych myself out when it comes to setting weekly goals because all I can think of is, “What if I fail at accomplishing all of my goals and then am a pathetic failure because I can’t do anything right?”

Is this a tad overdramatic? Why yes.

First thing to write down for yesterday’s challenge – I will fail at accomplishing all that I set out to do this week. I will accomplish my goals for the week… And if not, that is ok. There is always next week. I will be kinder to myself.

So here are a couple of my goals for the week:

1. Drink green tea!

 

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I have actually already started on this one! I’m enjoying a cup of green tea with lemon while I am writing this!

Green tea is something that I used to enjoy daily, and I have to say that I actually felt better when I did. Green tea has such a huge amount of health benefits, curbs the appetite, helps control sugar cravings, and helps stimulate the metabolism. It’s also very hydrating.

And delicious.

It seems simple and silly, but as part of bettering my health and body, incorporating a cup or two of green tea into my daily routine seems like as good of a place as any to start!

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I also want to work on getting my hands of some matcha (it’s just so darn expensive) for even more health benefits!

2. Reduce my intake of processed carbohydrates.

We all know how I feel about my (grotesquely large) “snack” plates as meals.

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See all those pretzels and rice snaps? Now, there is nothing wrong with enjoying some pretzels now and again. I know that a lot of people look at carbohydrates and breads as the devil… But the way I see it is that if pretzels are the most unhealthy thing that I am eating, then I don’t exactly see it as the worst thing in the world.

What makes my pretzel habit problematic is that they seem to make up almost half of my total intake for the day… I include them in my lunches, and often my dinners since I often have snack plates for dinners as well. Along with incorporating them into meals, I also snack on them throughout the day.

I just don’t feel comfortable with the percentage of my total intake coming from these types of foods or with the lack of nutritional value that these foods offer.

And this leads me to my next goal.

4. Eat more protein!

I seem to have fallen out of incorporating lean protein sources into any of my meals… I maybe have something like tuna or chicken breast of fish twice a week… And that is certainly not ideal. Funny thing is, I know that part of my aversion to protein sources is my stupid fear of calories… I feel like if I am going to intake x amount of calories, I would rather get them from something that I enjoy more (hello pretzels).. Which is dumb.

Protein has a thermogenic effect on the body, so incorporating more protein into my diet would actually encourage a higher metabolic rate after meal time which would encourage a leaner physique.

and that brings me to my final goal for the week…

5. Normalize my meals.

One cannot and should not live on acai bowls, snack plates, and pretzels alone… I strongly believe that if I started eating more normal meals, my issues with constant grazing and high intake of low fiber carbohydrates would greatly lessen.

Then maybe I would feel better about myself and less bad about my diet and eating habits.

 

Small steps. Small steps.

Here’s to a good week!

Question(s):

What are your goals for the week?

What is your biggest dietary downfall?

 

 

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