Emotional Wellness: Let’s Start Monday Off Right, Shall We?

Now I know BuzzFeed isn’t necessarily breaking news or cutting edge information unless you want to know what kind of grilled cheese you would be or see the rainbow of dresses worn at the Oscars…but I still enjoy a nice little chuckle every once in awhile. And while scrolling through to figure out which Buffy character I would have been, I stumbled across this truly heartwarming article. There was a race in San Jose remembering a fallen soldier and on the course, there was a WWII Vet in his uniform cheering on the runners. And then those (FYI-already starting to tear up, I love this story so much) started running off the course to shake his hand. The 95 year old was later interviewed and stated that he, “never got that much recognition in my life.” Precious. Absolutely precious. 

I felt this article was appropriate to share because you really have no idea sometimes the impact you can have on someone’s life. Just today, on my run, a girl drove by me and shouted, “whooo good for you!” (whether she was being sarcastic or not is not something I really care to analyze). But her giving me an impromptu yell of encouragement was really nice. I have heard this a million times that you should try to smile at one stranger a day. If they see it or don’t, if they think it’s genuine or not, you should try to share a little bit of happiness with one person a day. Now being an introvert, this concept terrifies the pants off of me. Having to interact with a stranger? In person? I’d rather not, thanks. But lately I have been trying to push myself a little bit outside my comfort zone. Maybe my “victories” aren’t as meaningful or grand as being able to shake the hand and thank a WWII vet, but…I’m working my way to it.

Emotional Wellness: Replacing the Hate with Gratitude.

Back when I was in counseling dealing with my eating issues, my counselor recommended that I stop shamming my body or stop framing my body in a hateful and start seeing how absolutely remarkable my body is. Not in it’s looks or in weight, but in what my body can accomplish. This post from Three Curvy Girls actually puts it in a “in your face, look at how amazing my body is”. And what I love about their post is they aren’t shamming anyone else while bringing themselves up. There are so many slogans and campaigns that “curvy is beautiful” or “thin is in” that tend to shame someone in the process. But they talk specifically about the struggles that their body has endured and the triumphs their body has accomplished. Nothing shames anyone else. Additionally, they include emotional, appearance, as well as physical stuff. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. Because struggle or not, we all have some pretty remarkable bodies.

What are some of the things you are grateful your body can accomplish?

Emotional Wellness: Getting Through The “New Year” Marketing Campaigns.

This may seem like an odd or silly post, but I know for me, I dread the new year not because of the fact that I have to train myself to write a different date, but because I am now inundated with ads about losing weight. As the New Year arrives, so do all the weight loss and gym ads in every form imaginable. I often find myself at ends with supporting a healthy lifestyle and others aiming to achieve that and complete and utter annoyance at the fact that every time I see an ad it is ALL about losing weight. And every time I see those and I feel my annoyance level rise, just a little bit, I remind myself that tis the time of year. And tis our society always seeking the fast and easy fix and there is no need to let myself get annoyed by things that I have no control over. I’ve spent too much of my time getting annoyed over things that are completely out of the realms of my control. And that is more annoying to me than a diet that helps you “lose” 30 pounds in 30 days.

So that’s it. That’s the secret. That’s how you get through the ads during this time of year and during the summer and during every single day of your life. You promote health and fitness as opposed to the quick losses and gimmicky products and you hope that others follow suit. And you don’t waste your time getting annoyed at things you cannot control.

Emotional Wellness: Chase Your Dreams, Realistically?

I think it is because I’m analytical and logical that I always really struggle with the concept that you should dream big and keep chasing those dreams. Because realistically speaking, it’s impossible for everyone to achieve their dreams. It’s impossible for everyone to work their dream job and live their dream life in their dream home in the dream location etc. etc. etc.

But what about chasing realistic dreams? And if they are realistic, how much of a dream are they? Is there a happy medium? Is there a way to dream realistically? Or is that just an oxymoron? And yes, this is one of those blog post where I pose questions and have no answers to them. I’m not sure why dreams fascinate me so much, but they do. I used to work with a guy that would tell me his actual dreams and because I was a psych major he figured I could interpret them or something. Dreams are fascinating and the fact that we use dreams as motivation to achieve greatness…just blows my mind.

And when do you finally decide to give up on a dream? Or what happens when your dream is crushed.

Dreams, let’s discuss their intricacies.

Emotional Wellness: I Found Some Inspiration!

Last night when I was watching The Voice, there was a commercial for NBC’s morning show about a new segment they are doing (I think? I’m not sure…I don’t watch the morning shows unless I’m sick…) honoring those who inspire. And there it be, my inspiration for a post-who inspires me! As I plotted out this post last night, I noticed a trend in the people that inspire me. As with most things in my life, I find one thing or a few things that I really like and latch on to that. Which is good and bad, but that is neither here nor there. And another part of my post that I wanted to do was actually recognize the people that inspire me instead of the vague, “oh I’m inspired by people who are passionate”…these are 6 people that have inspired me. And it is not a comprehensive list.

My sister. I wrote an entire post on my sister. She is the first person I have ever looked up to and been inspired by. And she will always inspire me and motivate me. She is the one that got me into running. She is the one that always set the bar for excellence. She’s a rockstar.

Meghan. Meghan was my roommate my second year of grad school and also my supervisor for my wellness GA. Meghan somehow saw something in me over a phone interview and hired me as her GA which ended up being one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. I all of sudden was introduced to the entire field that I never even thought about which ended up fueling me to want to pursue a career in wellness. Meghan also helped me, inadvertently, to pursue a healthy lifestyle. A complete healthy lifestyle. She along with Beth, my other roommate, helped me so much in my growth as an individual and in my recovery. Even though we are in separate states, her dedication to wellness and health constantly inspires me to pursue wellness.

Court and Lisa. Yes, these are two different people and yes they have both inspired me in different ways. But they come as a package deal. Court inspires me much like Meghan does by encouraging me to chase my dreams and pursue them relentlessly. Lisa inspires me to conquer the world against all odds.

Eric. Eric inspires me to love and laugh and to never take life too seriously.

Marn and Heather. Again, another package deal here. This set of ladies have inspired me to stay grounded and to value those that have been there by your side for years and years. Er. Decades. We are getting old! 

My Mom. This lady picked up her entire life and moved from Germany and the States, at 19. For her husband and daughter. I can’t imagine doing something like that. Every person she knew and loved sans her new family was not just a drive away, but there was an actual ocean separating them. As I get more and more invested in moving to Canada, I keep my mom’s strength in the back of my mind. It never ceases to amaze me what she did for her family.

Who inspires you?

Emotional Wellness: Advice from Adult Me to Teenage Me.

I have seen a few of these posts or videos about giving yourself advice and what you wished the teenage version of yourself had known. I was thinking and pondering this post last night when I was walking home and trying to think what would be the most beneficial advice for me to give my teenage self and I have a few words of wisdom…that probably still apply to me presently.

  • Just concentrate on doing your work-all that drama is just secondary.
  • Quit trying to be someone you are not. Just embrace the fact that you are one heck of an awkward person.
  • If you don’t like someone, don’t waste your time on them. That doesn’t mean be rude or mean to them, just don’t waste your time and energy on them.
  • Just accept the fact that people are going to change and grow and if you grow apart from someone…it’s ok. Don’t be bitter about it.
  • Talking behind people’s backs will get you no where fast. Drama might be fun to watch, but there is no need to get involved with it.
  • Concentrate on things that you are in control of and not things that are out of your realms of control.
  • Quit comparing yourself to everyone else and making everything a competition.

I really don’t have too much advice for my teen self. And honestly these bits of advice are really general and generic. But that is mainly because the “bad” times during my teenage years were mostly self-inflicted and could have been remedied by just not getting involved with drama.

What would you tell your teen self? What is some advice that you would like to give?

PS:  this post is purposely a little bit more “light-hearted”.

 

Emotional Wellness: How To Improve?

Washington Post and HuffPo hands down have some of the BEST wellness news articles for me. I was reading about emotional wellness this morning in THIS article on how to improve your emotional wellness. I spoke…many times last week about how I was having a slew of bad things just come at me (my car is in the shop for the third time in two months today!). So this article immediately caught my attention. And do you want to know why? Because even though it is “5 habits” to use to improve your emotional wellness, it is essentially one thing.

When life knocks you down…Get. Back. Up.  When you fail, learn from it. When you lose, find meaning in the loss. Pick yourself back up from rejection (something I struggle a lot with). But everything basically boils down to when life knocks you down, figure out how to pick yourself back up again. Don’t let it knock you down for too long. Learn from the knocks, the hard-times, the failures, and all the negatives. Turn those negatives into positives. I used this example in my essay for grad school. When I started off in college, I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life. I had everything planned out (I’m planner, it’s what I do). And in one semester (my first semester), one class took my plan that I had carefully been cultivating for at least two years and threw it out the window. I failed Macroeconomics. Which, seeing as I was a business major (marketing actually) is kind of a big thing to fail. So I, always a strong student, sat down as I looked at my dismal report card. In my first semester of college, I lost my academic scholarship and was being warned that I was about to be put on academic probation. I looked at my report card, saw that my highest grade was in psychology, and I went full force and never looked back. I graduate in 3 1/2 years and took my GPA from a 1.69 to just below a 3.00 (2.98). My GPA was not what got me into grad school. Rather it was showing that I learned from that failure and I was able to persevere and go past it. And in case you were wondering, I graduated with a 3.74 (or something like that) with my master’s degree.

What I’m saying isn’t new or revolutionary. But it is a reminder that life was never meant to be easy. And the true test of one’s character isn’t necessarily how they handle things in the good times, but rather how they handle things when life knocks them down and how they pick themselves back up again.

Emotional Wellness: Stop Just Going through the Motions.

We have all had those days. Those days where you don’t really know what you even did all day but somehow it’s night time and time for bed. We just go through the motions of the day and forget to experience the day. Some people may say that this is a sign of the dreaded “stuck in a rut” phase. Erin Cox, a blogger for HuffPo among other duties, wrote an article Sunday on some of her tips to get out of being in a rut. Erin’s article concentrated more on stopping things that stop you (getting over those pesky little road blocks). But I wanted to share today my personal tips for getting out of ruts.

Switch it up. Whether it is how your office is set up, how you structure your day, the workouts you do, even the music you listen to, switch it up. Change is a great and healthy thing and can often be motivating. I recently rearranged my office and re-motivated my workself to be a bad ass worker and get stuff done again. Sometimes you need a big change. Sometimes just switching my Pandora station helps. Regardless, I know that change helps me.

Treat yo self. This is completely stolen from Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec, but seriously, treat yo self. Sometimes you can’t always change what you are doing, but it helps to know that there is a prize at the end. Take a day off after finishing a huge project and just enjoy having the day off. Whatever it is that will keep you motivated and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel, do it (I mean, within reason…I don’t want any cops knocking on my door saying I said do ANYTHING…). Sometimes there is just nothing you can do about the rut and you just have to trek through it, but if there is something on the other end of that rut that can keep you motivated…make sure you keep your eyes on that.

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Take a break. Sometimes walking away from the rut and doing something else, even for only a couple of minutes, can really help you re-focus.

Nothing I am writing here is groundbreaking. This isn’t brand new research. But that may be because I sometimes feel that getting stuck in rut may not always be in your control (even though I feel like you should have complete control over your life…) but sometimes things are outside of your realms of control. The important thing is to make sure that you continue to be in the driver’s seat of your life and you can dictate how you deal with being in a rut.

Or maybe I just need to redefine my definition of rut. Operationalize that. Because Erin and I both used different definitions and I’m sure you have a different one too.

In other news, I’m working on a blog post about growing up-pros, cons, is it all it is cracked out to be, etc. and I’m looking for some input. If you want to share information-stories, wisdom, thoughts, etc., please email me at wellnessblogging@outlook.com so I can start compiling information.

Have a great day!

Mental Wellness: My Personal Belief a/b Crying

First off, I’m sorry about yesterday’s post. My mind was all to consumed with car problems. Turns out that my car is going to be $650 to fix and they didn’t get around to it yesterday. Hopefully they just get it fixed today so I can have my car back and drive normally again…slash make it over to my sister’s and pick up our mom’s/her/soon to be my bike so I can stop being so reliant on my car.

Yesterday was a stressful day for a million reasons but at the same time was a productive day. My car was stressing me out. Some personal things were stressing me out. Some work things were stressing me out. I was wearing thin.

I have this thing that I play out how conversations might look. And for some reason I always tend to do this in the shower. Apparently hot water and shampoo gets my brain thinking from different sides and perspectives. (Disclaimer:  I tend to be someone that will at least try to look at something from different angles…it also means that I am slow to do anything…) Well last night while I was doing this technique in regards to some personal stuff, I just completely broke down and started hysterically crying (on a positive note, it really helped me clear out my nose as allergies tend to make it be really stuffed up).

Which leads to me to this, my personal belief about crying. I went years thinking that crying was only for the weak and you should never cry. In fact, I probably went a good couple of years without shedding a tear. From when my friend’s son passed away to my second year of grad school as I was orally defending my comps, I don’t think I really shed a tear or at least had a good cry. I would simply take my emotions out on to the street and pound the pavement for a good run. But something snapped during my defense of my comps and it was when one of my professors said I was a disappointment (which happens to be one of my biggest fears). I could barely hold back tears as those words came out of his mouth. (Wow Vanessa, this is just a scattered blog post today!)

I figured out then that sometimes I just need a good cry. And that it doesn’t make me weak and it often times will make me feel better after and help me put things into perspective. It happened during grad school. It happened last night. It has happened in the past. And it will continue to happen in the future.

So this, this is my personal belief a/b crying. If you need a good cry. Cry. Let your emotions out. But try to take something positive away from it. It can be that now you have been able to feel your emotions so maybe now you can look at the situation/problem from a more rational (read:  less emotional) point of view. Maybe it is just the release of emotions that makes you feel better or calmer about the situation. The point is, to find a positive in the fact that you are balling your eyes out and possible have a situation like this on your hands

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Emotional Wellness: Turning Your Day Around.

I will be the first to admit that I have crummy days and I don’t always handle them the best way. One of the big things I have been working on this year is being more positive or at least finding something positive in every day. It has definitely helped with my general outlook on life, which more would classify as “pessimistic” or “very pessimistic”.

Yesterday I was just having one of those days. Everything seemed to be going wrong, from finding out bad news to not being able to let go of certain things. I was just having a crummy day. But then I went to the park and had a great workout and came back home and watched my newest addiction, Extreme Weightloss (I have an addiction to watching these types of shows…one of my favorites was on TLC, “My 600 Pound Journey”). Meredith was on this weeks episode. And by golly was she AMAZING! She hit her goal weight of 155 pounds but more than that she was just positive throughout the entire thing. She ran a marathon. A MARATHON! She discovered how much she loved to run and how good she was at it (as well as swimming). It was just awesome to get to see this girl discover running in a similar way that I did. And she was just positive the entire time. She didn’t hit her weight loss goal at the 6 month or 9 month weigh in but each time she made sure she walked away from the situation positive and ready to tackle the next challenge. At the 6 month weigh in she was something like 198 and she was supposed to be somewhere in the 180s I believe. And she looked at the scale and said something along the lines of, “I’m disappointed I didn’t make my goal but I can’t look at the number and be mad. At my highest, there was a 4 where there is a 1 right now. I can’t be mad.”

Damn. That is some inner strength and positivity right there. And motivation to turn those crappy days around. Normally I would have gone to bed in a bad mood because I had a bad day but instead I sat and thought of the positive things that happened that day and went to bed content.

There is something positive in everyday. Even if it is something tiny. I challenge you today and this week to find something positive in everyday. You can journal it, (they actually have apps for this!) or you can just make a mental note of it. But try it out for a week and see if it helps you turn your day around. Because emotional/mental wellness is important to!