This is the first Wellness Wednesday post of 2019! I'm glad you decided to check today's post out. If you missed last Friday's post, you probably didn't see that we adopted a dog! I wanted to talk today about the emotional health benefits of having a pet, be it a dog or a cat.
1. THEY CAN READ YOUR EMOTIONS
2. THEY ARE LOYAL
As I retreated inside with the dog, Jonathan stayed outside with her, and she eventually came to him. She never ran away, but just sat there outside waiting for comfort. She is so loyal and loving, and I'm so happy she didn't run off.
I am also amazed that dogs remain so loyal. Even when they are in abusive homes, they are still so loyal to their owners and would do anything to protect them. We don't deserve pets, they are so good to us! To tie this into the ultimate topic of this post, their loyalty helps us feel as though we are never alone and will always have a friend.
3. THEY BOUNCE BACK
4. THEY IMPROVE US PHYSICALLY
If you've been a pretty loyal reader of my blog, you know that I suffer from anxiety, particularly medical anxiety I would say. But, around this time of year, a different form of anxiety plagues many people, making it really hard for them to enjoy the season.
So, I thought I would share some information on seasonal affective disorder to spread awareness and urge those who are experiencing symptoms to seek help and guidance.
WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?
Biologically speaking, scientists and researchers agree that less sunlight due to Daylight Savings Time can cause some people's bodies to react by reducing serotonin and melatonin which control mood and sleep respectively.
The fall and winter seasons are also hard for people who feel alone. During these times of year, people are normally filled with cheer, are giving gifts, and laughing with their family members. SAD can come around if someone they loved passed away in that season, if they feel they can't contribute financially to various celebrations, and so forth.
WHO DOES SAD EFFECT?
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SAD?
SAD symptoms include:
WHY YOU SHOULD SEEK HELP
SAD can cause you to act out of character or harm yourself, and I'm praying that you don't do that. Everyone who was placed on this earth has a purpose. You mean something. If you don't feel like you mean something to anyone you know in person, you mean so much to me. Your life is precious and I don't want this illness to take anyone else from this world.
SAD, however, can be treated or at least managed by going to various therapies, exercising to reduce stress, or through medications.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, I hope you will seek professional help. If you don't have the means to do so, you can always search for anonymous chat lines and chat rooms where you can talk about your problem with a professionally-trained coach.
You are worth it. Get help so that you can feel better and so that you can brave each and every day knowing that you have someone in your corner.
Everyone handles their anxiety differently, but I always love to do some research to see if someone has any new ideas on handling their anxiety. Sometimes these tips and tricks work, and other times they won’t. It just depends on the person and their level anxiety.
I would say that I’m a fairly anxious person. I’ve opened up about this in a number of blog posts. I find myself worrying over the smallest of things, like the way I spoke to someone or like small symptoms that I worry to be a sign of a bigger problem.
I know, however, that many have it a lot harder than I do. But, I hope this list of coping mechanisms and relaxation tips will help you as much as they help me!
MAKING A VIDEO DIARY
Sometimes, I feel even more anxious and depressed when I talk out loud to myself because, in all honesty, it makes me feel crazy. So, to remedy this, I decided to whip out my iPhone when I have something I need to talk about.
I record myself talking in vlog style. I just kind of open up about the struggles of the day and the frustrations I’m going through. I normally delete my videos because I don’t want to clog up my phone’s memory space. I think it would be really cool if someone created a video diary app where people could record their feelings and see where they used to be in their anxiety journey.
I love this mostly because it helps me get out my frustration and, during my little talks with my “audience,” I often find a new perspective in my feelings that helps me better deal with things.
USING AN OIL DIFFUSER OR CANDLE IN STRESSFUL ZONES
We all have different areas in our home or place of business that are more stressful than others. For me, it is my home office area and my regular office at my job. For myself, scents are powerful and really help me to calm down in stressful situations.
I really recommend an oil diffuser, especially if you aren’t allowed to have candles in your work place like myself. You can purchase oils that are specifically for stress relief. My favorite oil to use is a lavender oil. It really helps to destress a stressful environment.
MAKING LISTS AND SCHEDULES
I can honestly say that creating a to-do list or a schedule really helps me. For example, I bought myself a cheap planner to use for scheduling my blog posts. It helps me to stay organized and I can easily change my post ideas with some white-out.
I have another example. This past weekend, I went back home to help my mom declutter and clean my grandparents’ room. She had made a list of things to do, but they weren’t organized by type. I decided to organize the lists by what needed to be done outside of the house, in my grandparents’ room, in their bathroom, in my mom’s room, and around the house. Then, we were able to prioritize and get the most important things done before moving on to secondary tasks.
PLAYING BRAIN GAMES
I find that I tend to have fewer and fewer anxious episodes when my mind is busy. For that reason, I start almost every day with some brain games. I have two apps on my phone for this particularly. I normally plan a round of sudoku and a game of solitaire. Not only does this help me activate my brain and get it ready for the day, it also helps to take my mind of off super stressful things happening in the background of my life.
KNOWING WHEN IT IS TIME FOR A BREAK
I feel like a ton of people who struggle with anxiety tend to try to be people pleasers for the most part. For me, it’s all because of how I feel someone sees me. I don’t want to be seen as a bad friend for not wanting to hang out, a bad family member for not wanting to help out, or a bad employee for needing a break or being unable to complete something in someone’s desired timeframe.
But, I try to remember back to three or four years ago when I was in college and had to give up some of my leadership positions in my various groups because I simply couldn’t handle the stress. In college, I was the drum major of the band, the editor of the newspaper for three years, in a sorority where I was the president, in gospel choir where I was the president, and in a number of academic honor societies that had different requirements. On top of all of that, I was taking classes full-time.
I decided that I wouldn’t stop being in any of my groups, but I would give up leadership positions in some of them, mainly in my sorority. A group of people actually decided to let someone else be editor of the newspaper my senior year, so that also helped.
But, it is OK and good to take a mental health break. If you have some vacation days at work or you are able to take a long weekend, do it. Even if you just sit at home and watch your favorite shows. You don’t have to go somewhere to relax your mind!
DOING SOMETHING I LOVE
Whenever I'm feeling anxious, it always helps when I do something that I love to take my mind off of that thing that's making me anxious. For myself, that is usually watching a movie, baking, or writing. It is sometimes honestly just going to a room on my own and listening to my favorite music.
Your hobbies will change as you age, and your hobbies will be different. This one really works if you have some friends who also enjoy them. This gives you the chance to be around people who love you doing something you both love to do!
There are a ton of ways out there to cope with anxiety. I know there are many I didn't even mention. If you have any tips or tricks to coping with anxiety attacks, please let me know below in the comments so I can give them a try. I hope these few tips can help someone else out there!
LEGAL: All photos taken from Pixabay.com, a Creative Commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
As Hurricane Florence continues to near my home, I realized just how hard it will be to stick with a weight loss program, special diet, or mental health-building should disaster strike. I myself remember how long I was out of commission after Hurricane Matthew hit my area in 2016, and I can see this hurricane hitting harder and keeping us in the dark longer.
BEFORE THE STORM HITS
Here are a few things you can do before the storm hits to maintain your health and wellness routine when disaster strikes.
GET FLAVOR PACKETS FOR YOUR WATER
Water is always important to have in your emergency stock pile, but some may decide not to stay hydrated and rather drink sodas or alcohol during a storm. However, this can cause you to become sick with issues like nausea, which can make surviving indoors with no AC nearly impossible.
Instead, buy some flavor packets for your water. It will help give your water variety while still keeping you hydrated. There are low-carb, low-calorie options, and there are flavors that everyone will love!
IF THE STORE IS OUT OF WATER, DON'T COMPROMISE
I actually ran into this problem when I was out shopping for storm supplies when I was at my mom's house. I thought I wouldn't have to fight against the crazy storm preppers since I heard the storm wouldn't cause as many problems in her area, which is nearly three hours away from my home.
I was wrong!
By the time I got into the store, there was very little water left. I actually had to pay nearly $2 for a 12 pack of those small waters you generally give to your children. But, it was better than nothing. Before I saw those, however, I didn't see any affordable water choices!
While the diet Dr. Pepper looked tempting, I decided to stock up on these as well as my baby water bottles. Later, when I visited another store, I decided I would also get some Powerade, which contains electrolytes to help keep us hydrated should we run out of water or want a little bit of variety.
MAKE THE BEST DECISIONS POSSIBLE
Some ideas for hurricane snacks include jerky, pepperoni, nuts and seeds, cheddar chips, fruits, and veggies.
TAKE SOME TIME TO PLAN AND ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS
For me, I am testing the waters. I was actually farther from the storm, but decided to come back to my house because I have my husband and cat here along with several electronics I want to save.
WHEN THE STORM HITS
Here are a few tips to follow when the storm has hit. This could mean that you're trapped due to flooding, your power is out, or you have no water to bathe in.
GET MOVING TO PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN
This will keep your heart pumping and facilitate calorie burning to help you maintain your weight loss, even when you're stuck in the house during the storm.
SERIOUSLY, DO ANYTHING
you're stuck with! You can learn a new language, how to knit or crochet, or how to write a poem. The possibilities are endless, and you've got a lot of time!
CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS
Aside from your diet, you need to be sure you are staying clean, dry, and safe when you are without power and water.
Instead of wasting water on baths, do what they do in hospitals: take a bath with some baby wipes. They are good enough to keep your baby's bum fresh, so they're good enough to keep you fresh! Invest in some and use them during the storm to keep clean and conserve water.
STAY MENTALLY HEALTHY WITH A DAILY JOURNAL
I may not use them on my YouTube channel. Often, I delete videos a few days after I take them. If you don't want to do a video, you can just journal your day or feelings to help you organize your thoughts and keep the scary thoughts away.
So, staying fit and healthy during a storm isn't impossible, but it isn't easy either. It will take dedication to stay away from sugary and carb-loaded foods, and it will take motivation to get up and move when you're stuck in one place. But, you will thank yourself when you continue to see the results you were hoping for!
LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.