A List of Things I Do When I Don’t Feel (Mentally) Well

A brief list of things I do when I don’t feel (mentally) well:

  1. Physical Activity – walking, running, hiking, weight lifting, yoga, swimming, and I even attended an intense spinning class last week for the first time ever.  Any and all of these help so much!
  2. Reading – it helps when I actually know what I’m in the mood for, but for the most part reading puts me in a “flow” state of mind, and can take me from super awful bad places to simply, I don’t feel great, but I’m okay.  (Current reads: Hunger by Roxane Gay; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling)
  3. Meditation – Oh. My. Goodness.  Even ten minutes of meditation helps me relax and calm my brain.  I like to use Headspace, other times I like to use visualization, breathing, or listening techniques.
  4. Writing – where I don’t stop.  I write and write and write and write and dont use punctuation or care or worry about any of it.  Seriously.  I just let it flow like I did in that sentence there.  I don’t analyze why I’m feeling that way, or the events that occurred.  I just write about whatever comes to mind.  It helps me clear my head.
  5. Research – anything interesting, wherever it takes me.  Sometimes this means watching documentaries, sometimes I’m going from blog to blog, or journal to journal, or finding books, or podcasts.
  6. Movies/Shows – watching too much Netflix, TV, or movies in general isn’t great because it makes me feel like I’m wasting time.  But sitting down and watching a documentary, a funny show, or any kind of thought provoking movie can take me to another place.  Also, I’ve found that listening to radio podcasts or news sources such as NPR help me quite a bit.  This is partially because I like knowing what is going on nationally/internationally.  Too much though and it just gets depressing.
  7. Real Human Contact – like, away from my phone.  The best interactions happen when my phone is not in my hand, or preferably in a different room.
  8. Avoiding Social Media (or my phone in general) – this one probably drives some of my friends crazy but I like to put my phone down, especially on weekends.  Twitter in particular drives me nuts and makes me incredibly anxious.  I hardly check Facebook, unless I have a notification, or am posting a blog to my page.
  9. Sitting – sometimes I sit and stare at the wall and daydream.  And it’s wonderful.  Just to sit, just to be, and let my imagination go.
  10. Cleaning – that feeling of satisfaction when something is in its proper place (my mom would laugh if she read this- lol, my daughter cleans? Love you, Mom!)
  11. Drivingit’s just relaxing!

I can add more to the list, but these are my main go to’s for getting out of a bad moment. Not that I’m saying it’s always easy to recognize I can do these things when I’m feeling particularly down.  However, once I do I truly tend to feel better.

How about you?  What do you do when you’re not feeling well? I’d love to hear!

Shannon

A “Now Age” Piece to the Depression, Anxiety, Insecurity (you name it) Puzzle

I picked up Material Girl, Mystical World by Ruby Warrington, following the advice of a 41HBf4ocHpL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_family friend, and tired of the constant nag of depression that weighs on my shoulders day to day.  Being unemployed and having no income, still living at home, and unsure of where I want to go with a career is difficult.  It’s a struggle so many of us millennials are facing.  We spend so much on college, we want to reap the reward.  However, many have found the reward just doesn’t come.

I’m personally absolutely burned out by jobs that don’t cut it.  Part-time menial positions, jobs where the boss is an absolute ass, where the environment makes you feel like you’re worth less than you are.  Jobs where you are “talked to” for being too nice to clients or patients.  Jobs where, it’s clear, you’re working a job, not a career.

This, along with Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington’s suicide, have brought me to a need to find something more in my life, and something now.  Because, god dammit, I do not want to be the next victim of depression.  Because I want to learn from Chester’s death, and I want to memorialize him as the courageous human he was who did what he could with this time on this planet, touching millions of souls.

Circle back to wandering aimlessly around Barnes and Noble, taking a break from the Harry Potter binge I’ve been on.  Standing in front of the “dear god, this is so embarrassing, I can’t be seen near this” mystical section of the store, taking a deep breath, knowing that maybe you’re so obsessed with Harry Potter because you need to kind of live it in the real world…

Spotting the book right away (how could you not with its vibrant pink cover, and catchy title), and deciding- yeah.  I’ll give it a go.

By the end of the night I was already thanking the universe for this book.  For putting the mystical world into terms that are completely relatable to me as a human, as a woman, as a person with a pre-teen past in meditation, tarot, and Wicca.  As a woman deeply affected by her monthly cycles.  As a woman lost in the technological, total connectedness of our world (how many of us are actually connected).

Forgetting my, as Ruby Warrington calls it, ego (how I look, how others perceive me, how likeable I am, etc.), and finding a space within the mind where I can move past the cystic acne, the post-college “freshman” fifteen weight gain, and the inability to actually take the people I love out for a proper dinner.  Let alone buy work clothes somewhere other than Good Will, or being so focused on the work that doesn’t suit me.  Allowing myself to regard that spiritual side.  The inner mind.  That there is a point to nature in this incredibly materialistic world we live in.  That my outer experiences do not have to be my truth, and I can live inside myself as a whole being.

Ruby’s book is a warm, kind, passionate, and serious reminder that drinking soy lattes and buying gel manicures doesn’t equate to self-love if it’s the means to serious internal love for who we are.  The loving needs to be done for the mind, perhaps even more so in today’s world than for the external body.

The thing is I knew this once.  My entire middle school career was centered in the curiosity of the vast abilities of my mind.

I don’t know what made me stop, what distractions came about.  Maybe it was just life.

My take away is this: next time you begin to focus the transfer of self-hate on needing that $29 vibrant shade of lip, take a step back.  I’m not saying to not go for it – we all do need that external loving as well.  But what I am saying is, if you’re not feeding your inner self (your passions, social needs, dharma, physical exercise, mental health) then don’t expect this sexy shade to take you to the next level of absolutely loving yourself and ridding the anxieties, pain, and insecurities of daily life.

Material Girl, Mystical World has been a God send.  It has forced me to look directly into my spirituality, and what it’s lacking (everything).  My spiritual life is hungry, voracious even.

I’m finding what gets me in my “flow”, the state where I can put my problems aside because my attention is entirely focused elsewhere.  I’m meditating.  I’m allowing myself to find trust in my intuition. I’m actively seeking my dharma.  I’m distracted from desperate feelings of needing to find a career to center my life on.  And the thing is, I know this will lead me into the career right for me, even if I haven’t a clue what to make of my passions and desires now.

I don’t know what will happen next.  None of us do.  And I have my slip ups (panic moment just this afternoon, not knowing exact plans for the evening!).

But it’s a start.

And if something seems missing in your life, even if you’re not jobless or depressed, and feel like you have nothing to be feeling bad about…

Maybe try tuning in to your spiritual needs.  Material Girl, Mystical World is opening real doors of recognition and realization for me.  What will open yours?

Shannon

Order Material Girl, Mystical World here.

Visit Ruby Warrington’s online “Now Age” magazine, The Numinous.

 

Five Reasons You’re Scared To Start

You have an idea.  And maybe that is all it is: an idea.

Maybe you’ve had this idea for years but can’t bring yourself to start actualizing it.  Maybe it’s a business idea. Maybe you’re thinking about a new job, or moving to a new city, state, or even country. Maybe it’s a new hobby you’ve been wanting to try, or one you’ve been wanting to bring back to life.

Whatever it is, for some reason you’re hesitating.  It’s a project you can’t start, and maybe you don’t even know why.

I know- I can relate to you.  Because I have been there, because I am still there.

Why are projects so hard to start?  Why do we put exciting ideas and dreams off to the side?  I have five major reasons– can you relate?

1) Scared of Failure

One of the biggest reasons I fail to start a project is that I’m afraid I will fail, and failure isn’t a concept I am keen on.  Failure means you didn’t succeed, and this gives you further reason for self-doubt.  It implies that you are “too dumb”, “too unorganized”, “too inexperienced” to ever succeed in anything you want to accomplish.

The thing is, there are many different ways to view failure.  And while the negative outlook is a very easy one to take, there is also a much better, brighter one.

Hey.  At least you tried.  And trying is not failing- if you didn’t, you would never know the outcome.  Is that what you want on your deathbed?  Knowing that you never even tried to live your life’s dream?

When I start a project, failure is always hovering in my thoughts.  But who knows what can come out of this so called failure.  Maybe this “failure” will lead to more success than we ever dreamed possible.

2) Time Spent on Projects

Many new projects are often time consuming.  Job hunting, or looking for the right place to live, near the right school district, in walking distance to the right shops.  Dreaded networking (especially as an introvert) with necessary contacts for a new business plan.  What if you spend all of this time and energy, and it leads to nothing, or something you actually hate?  What if after all this time, you realize what you’ve done was a mistake?  OR what if you spend all of this time working, and miss out on important life events?  For me, that would be enjoying my early twenties.  Running, hiking, visiting with my boyfriend, spending time with my mom and chocolate lab.

Balance is huge and sometimes it’s difficult to balance everything.  Do you need to relax tonight, or get to work?  When we arrive at our wits end, we know what is best for us.  Taking time out is not wasted time. This project of yours should be fulfilling, not running you into the ground.

I believe this leads to the same concept- even if you don’t succeed, even if you’ve spent months or years on a project, you tried.  And you gained something from it. New ideas, new partnerships, new experiences, new knowledge that you wouldn’t have gained otherwise.  All of this combined creates inner wisdom, and forms the person you wil become.

3) Money

Oh, the M word.  Money.  People are so obsessed with it!  Why? Because we need it. We need to eat, have shelter, drink that wine with dinner.  Go to that Yoga class, get that gift for that wedding or baby shower.  Money is HUGE.

Moving costs, materials for hobbies, the couple of weeks it takes for that new paycheck to kick in.  I understand the anxiety all too well, and don’t believe it’s misplaced.

This is my thought, and it might not work for you, but it tends to work for me:

If you need money and believe it will come, it will be there.

Remember, you have so many resources available to you.  Friends, family, friends of friends of family.  Do they have materials they don’t use that they’d be willing to pass on to you?  What can you take from the nature around you?  What can you get cheap to replace more expensive materials you may need? You can’t always get around the dreaded cost of money, but you can try.

Remember.  You tried.

4) Fear of Success

I think this is a concept that is often over looked, that many don’t even realize they experience.  However, I believe fear of success is real.  What if your business booms?  Or you love your new place of work?  Some people (me) are shy of attention.  Some are afraid they won’t be able to live up to the new responsibilities success will bring (also me). Some just don’t believe they deserve to be successful (I have to say, this is also me),

Something my boyfriend told me when we were in Virginia and I was panicked over who knows what (as usual) went along these lines: There is no actual physical threat present.  Nothing tangible is going to harm you.

You tried 🙂 (getting tired of reading that yet?)

5) It’s Difficult to Start

Yeah.  It is.  It is damn difficult to start any project.  But once you do, you often get on a roll, and keep moving.  So, just do it.  Just start.  I don’t care where you are.

If you’re in the store and an idea comes to you, get your phone out and make a note.  Speak into a recording device.  At work, write ideas on a note pad (I am so guilty of this). At a café or restaurant, be that cliché napkin writer.  Anything you do is progress!!

It is difficult to start.  And it can be scary.  But if we don’t try, we will never know what we have to offer.  We don’t know how we influence the people we come into contact with.  With spoken words, with written words, with a thank you or a hello.  With a beautiful piece of art, or our expansive knowledge of biology or mathematics.

You have something to offer.  We all do.

I’m not here to be a hypocrite- I’m still struggling with this myself.  My depression and anxiety have not gone away, but that’s okay.  I can still take the steps I want to give my life purpose, and personal meaning.  So can you.

Know when to push yourself.  This is easier said than done, but I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out when I’m just useless, and when I can offer energy into a project.  I have complete faith that you can too.  I also believe that knowing what keeps you from starting is a great step to conquering these fears, and riding your life out how you want.

Do you share these fears and concerns?  What keeps you from starting?

Love you guys!

Shannon

Cacao vs. Cocoa (Happily Eat Both!)

My recent post had me pondering the difference between cocoa and cacao.  The question eventually bothered me enough that I opened the cacao and cocoa powders in our pantry.  After a sniff, I determined they smell the same.  With thorough inspection, I found they look the same.  I did not find a difference in taste.  So, what is it that makes one “better” than the other?

The first (and most important) difference is that cocoa powder is roasted in high heat, and cacao powder is cold pressed.  This means, cacao powder keeps most of the beneficial properties of the original cocoa bean.  That is an abundance of magnesium, which does wonders for stress, heart, and kidney health.  It also fights against free radicals with an army of antioxidants waiting for battle.

Goodbye inflammation, and hello beautiful skin!

However, cocoa powder is not that bad for you.  Seriously.  If you are munching on a milky way, or some product with chocolate as a sub-ingredient with a ton of added sugars, than yeah, it’s going to be bad.  The more processed, the worse it will be. When your cocoa powder is purely “cocoa powder” (search the label for ingredients, my friend), you are not in the “oh shit, should I consume this” situation.

Regular cocoa powder still possesses antioxidants, fiber, and even a wee bit of protein.  Consumption still means protection against free radicals and inflammation!  Cool, right?

Do not stress out picking between the two.  If you end up at a grocery store that does not carry cacao, going for the cocoa without added sugars and other weird unpronounceable ingredients is fine.

Cacao is my personal new bestie, but I will not flip out if I end up in a small town, where cocoa powder is the only option at the only grocery store in a twenty mile radius.

How do you like your chocolate? Dark and slightly bitter, or a richly sweet taste?

Shannon

Visit this post for more powerful benefits of cacao!

Letting Go of Others

I am that person always wanting everyone else to be happy, but never thinking about the consequences.  I am in a constant state of worry over what others are thinking or feeling.  Did I upset them?  Is this going to change our relationship?  Will I be disowned?  Is he/she okay?  What if they are depressed, or need someone to talk to?  What if they think poorly of me because I say no?  If they say no, does it mean they do not like me?

Questions and thoughts are roving through my head, day and night, keeping me on my toes, my blood pressure up, my stress level at the extreme.

If I had given more worry to myself, I would be halfway across the world, living in an apartment or home somewhere exquisite.  I would have left right after graduation, and not given a single thought to my life in Buffalo.  I would find money along the way, making it possible for me to live the life I have always dreamed of.

If I worried more about myself, I would not be in state of worry around the clock.  I would love myself.  My problems that stem from unworthiness would not exist.  I would know that I am worth my experiences, and my need to fulfill my dreams.  I would have the confidence and self-esteem to do so.

I am aware of this now, but awareness is only the first step.  Actions need to be taken, thoughts need to be managed.  It is extremely difficult to transition from years of negative thinking to a positive state of mind.

Nonetheless, it must be done. I deserve to be happy, love myself, and let go of my lack of self worth.

You do too.

Shannon

Hiya!

I am four days into my NutriBullet smoothie a day for…well, forever challenge!  My enthusiasm has yet to let up, so here I am to share more about my NutriExperience.

Today’s smoothie ingredients were:82e2b2619f8db33ab0e05077592a5548

  • A handful of spinach, pineapple, strawberries, and bananas.
  • A scoop of cocoa powder
  • A scoop of chia seeds.
  • Water for the liquid.

Now, Cocoa powder is probably my favorite thing ever, and it is so good for you.  It is actually a Super Food!.  Unsweetened raw cocoa (or cacao, as I guess many people separate cocoa and cacao into different categories) is wonderful for your blood, immune system, and heart health.  It also gives you an extra bounce in your step, and has been known to promote a healthy, happy mind.  My advice to you is that if you ever get bored with smoothies (not sure how you would, since there are so many combinations you can make!), want something more rich in flavor, or have been more down and fatigued than usual, add a tablespoon of unsweetened raw cocoa powder to the mix.  Your taste buds will be delighted, and so will your body!

As I have experienced, forcing myself to eat or drink something I do not enjoy does not work for losing weight, or maintaining good health.  When I first heard of green smoothies, I thought they looked incredibly gross.  The first one I ever made was disgusting, because I used ingredients I already did not care for.  Dress your smoothie up!  If you do not have a taste for spinach use kale or a spring mix.  If you do not like almond milk, use coconut milk.  Add in some honey or cinnamon if that is what you prefer!  A healthy life style works when we enjoy the foods and beverages we put into our bodies. Has your transition ever failed because of this?  Do not worry!  Trial and error is natural as we progress to better health.

In other news, I am beyond excited about spring!  Tomorrow the cold is going to break, and I am inspired to continue my spring cleaning, and create a healthy living environment of myself!

Who’s feeling good?

Love you guys!

Shannon