Managing Your Anxiety

Reading Time: 4 minutes

For certain, there’s going to be anxiety in life……. so suck it up buttercup. Just accept it. No one is exempt from anxiety. How you manage your anxiety will be the deciding factor on how efficient you will be able to navigate throughout life. Anxiety mismanaged will make you miserable, literally.

Simply put, anxiety is having feelings of fear and worry about an upcoming event and/or the overwhelming sense of the possibility of something bad happening. That means it hasn’t happened. Shrink your anxiety level by shifting your focus to what truly matters which is the present. Evaluate your head space. Make every effort to keep your mind in the right here, right now.

Practice daily taking inventory of your feelings and emotions. Know the signs of anxiety. For some people, when terrorized by racing thoughts, they may experience trembling, rapid breath, increased heart rate, sweating, stomach aches, feeling agitated, tense muscles, or nighttime restlessness. When you become aware of these physical responses to anxiety, pose this question: How are you really?

There are numerous ways to manage anxiety. Learn to be in control of your emotional responses to difficult situations in our high-stress society. Below are some practical tips to help alleviate anxiety.

The quickest way to reduce your anxiety level is to simply just breathe. Take long, deep breaths. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. By doing so, this disrupts the fight-or-flight response. As you breathe deeply, a message is sent to the brain to calm down and for the body to relax.

Closing your eyes to picture yourself calm can help combat stressful situations. Guided imagery is using your imagination to put your mind and/or body in a more relaxed state. Visualize that it’s a beautiful day and you can feel the sun’s warmth while enjoying the pleasant smelling flowers. The goal is to clear your mind from thoughts that are stressing you. Your brain has the ability to adjust so train it to become more resilient as you face life’s challenges.

Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Stepping outside can calm you down. Changing your scenery can have a positive impact on your mental state. Time spent outside can reduce your anxiety levels. It’s a quick escape to physically remove yourself from an anxiety filled atmosphere. As you experience the change of scenery, allow yourself to regroup.

There’s nothing like cranking up the music of your favorite artist to bring you into a mental state of calmness and happiness. Music can facilitate relaxation by calming the nervous system. It’s been proven by Neuroscience that music can reduce anxiety. Some genres of music can effect the body’s physiological systems by slowing the heart beat, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing stress hormones levels.

Journaling your thoughts and feelings can aid in reinstating a balanced perspective. For example, writing things down that you’re grateful for will redirect your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones. As you journal, you may begin to gain valuable self-knowledge while releasing certain emotions. What’s great about a journal is that you can always refer back to it for reminders of appreciation and signs of personal growth. Writing things down can help keep your mind uncluttered. When you have a sense of feeling organized and balanced in your thoughts, you can’t help but to decrease your anxiety level. Avoid filling up your journal with only negativity. What will help with this is to end the journaling session with gratitude and solutions to problems.

Aromatherapy has been used for ages to manipulate the state of mind. Aromatherapy (also known as essential oil therapy) is a holistic healing treatment that utilizes natural plant extracts to encourage health and well-being of body, mind, and spirit. Inhaling certain essential oils can have the same affect on the brain as anti-anxiety drugs just without the awful pesky side effects. For anxiety, it’s recommended to use essential oils such as lavender, rose, ylang-ylang, chamomile, jasmine, basil, sage, and orange. You can add a few drops to your lotion and apply to the skin. Putting some drops in the bath or shower is relaxing. Sprinkling a few drops on the pillow at nighttime or adding an essential oil to a diffuser can help de-stress. I enjoy using my diffuser on a regular basis.

Is anxiety keeping you up at night? A weighted blanket could be the answer to getting a good night sleep. Some studies have shown positive results in those who have used weighted blankets to assist with settling down for bedtime. These blankets are filled with materials and beads to give it weight. The concept behind this type of therapy is to stimulate deep pressure touch to reduce stress and anxiety. Using a weighted blanket is often compared to swaddling an infant. As the infant is neatly tucked and wrapped, the blanket has a calming effect and helps the baby sleep better. While the weighted blanket will have you feeling refreshed in the morning, some blankets may come with a pretty price tag. Expect to pay about $100.00 for a nice quality weighed blanket. And please consult your doctor before trying a weighted blanket if you have circulation or respiratory disorders.

We just can’t get away from exercising. It’s needed for our physical well-being and for our mental health, as well. Having an exercise routine may make some individuals less prone to anxiety. From my personal experience, after my workouts, I find myself in a much better head space. Researchers recommend exercise to thwart anxiety because it stimulates feel-good chemicals in the brain.

As the world continues to speed up, it’s crucial for humanity to set aside time to slow down and manage their anxiety. Because anxiety can mentally immobilize a person. So be equipped to take the edge off to reduce stress so that you may thrive in peace and good mental health. And above all, please seek professional help if your symptoms of anxiety are severe in which your emotions and thoughts are interfering with your daily life.

“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” – Dan Millman

Smoothies… Better Than Juicing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to health benefits, smoothies are a much better option than juicing. They are both beneficial but smoothies triumphs over juicing when it comes down to the nutrients, weight loss, and digestion categories. Besides the scrumptious taste, smoothies are packed with so many nutrients. For me, drinking a smoothie is like throwing a party for my taste buds. (LOL) This thick, creamy, rich beverage is versatile and can be modified for any taste and dietary preference. Smoothies are a godsend because they can be consumed as a tasty nutritional treat or even better…. a meal replacement.

There are countless options when making smoothies. And these flavorsome concoctions are effortless to make. The three major parts of the smoothie are broken down into:

  1. Base liquid (e.g., water, milk products, coconut water, yogurt)
  2. Fruits and/or vegetables (e.g., bananas, kiwi, mango, broccoli, kale, spinach)
  3. Other add-ins (e.g., protein powders, spices, syrups, nuts)

Once you have gathered your favorite ingredients, combine them in a blender and mix until creamy. In blending raw ingredients, none of the nutrients are lost. Sadly, cooking destroys many of the nutrients found in vegetables. Just two cups of blended fruits and vegetables via a smoothie is sufficient in meeting the daily recommended servings. If you’re not eating enough fruits and veggies, then grab a smoothie because it’s sure to help in that department. For my salad-haters, by having a veggie smooth as often as possible, you’ll be doing your body a world of GOOD. (As for me, I get excited when I see a plate of greens.) Just think. You can cram a whole day’s worth of goodness in just one delicious smoothie drink.

Smoothies are loaded with nutrients that the body can immediately absorb because the fruits and vegetables are in liquid form. This liquid form makes it so easy on the digestive system to break down the plant cell wall as opposed to eating solid foods. The importance of breaking down plant cell walls is to allow the chemicals inside the cell walls to mix and create numerous chemical reactions necessary to fight certain diseases.

One of the best things you can do for your immune system is eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Well, in this case, preparing a smoothie will get the job done, also. By selecting certain ingredients for your smoothies, you can boost your immune system. Here are six awesome ingredients to ward off the little sniffles or the flu: citrus fruits, berries, kiwis, leafy greens, apples, and ginger. Hitting your immune system with a boost of Vitamin C will help clear out any colds or flu. Besides building up your immune system, these ingredients will give you natural energy for the entire day.

Body detoxification process involves cleansing the blood and nourishing the body from the inside out. As the body eliminates toxins through the various systems, the detoxifying process helps protects against diseases. When drinking a smoothie, you are replacing processed foods with healthy ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and other add-ins with great nutrients. Such ingredients will aid in restoring body organs to a better state.

It’s been said that dark fruits and veggies contain high level of antioxidants to protect brain cells. Healthy foods and staying hydrated is the key to having your brain in tip-top condition. You can start the day off with a sharper mind by having a smoothie as a breakfast substitute. Ingredients like kale and spinach are filled with memory-boosting vitamins and minerals. And the protein in almonds helps with focus so you won’t be easily distracted at school or work.

Smoothies can be a part of your strategy for weight loss. Keyword is “part“. Not one single thing can make you lose weight because you must take into consideration other factors when on the road to weight loss. But by incorporating a nutrient-packed smoothie into your diet, you will feel full longer which can help curb the vendor machine cravings. Powerhouse ingredients that triggers fat burn are green tea, blueberries, strawberries, spinach, coconut oil, and cinnamon… just to name a few. Healthy fats like nut butters and avocado will help slow digestion. With the right blend of weight loss foods, a smoothie can decrease body fat.

Besides these benefits, there are a lot of other hearty perks for enjoying a delicious cool smoothie. Smoothies are naturally low in calories, low in sugar, and high in nutrients. But be on guard because not all smoothies are created equal. Many commercially prepared smoothies are high in sugars. As a result, this will reduce the drink’s overall nutritional value. When blending at home, have fun trying out different combinations. Pick a smoothie recipe, start the blender, and sip slowly for enjoyment!

Getting Back On Track With Exercising At Home

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I don’t know…. It’s just something about going to the gym to get a good workout that gives me a rush. Literally, being at the gym, in that environment puts me in the best mood to exercise. But because of COVID-19 I’m no longer enjoying the luxury of going to the facility. It’s just a personal preference of mine that I’m choosing not to visit the gym during the pandemic. As a result of my decision, I’ve resorted back to working out at home. Yes, I do miss having access to all the amazing gym equipment but it’s time for me to take the initiative and get back on track with exercising at home.

Simply put – no more excuses. I took inventory of what I already possess that will assist with developing my at home workout routine. Internet access for endless YouTube workout videos…. check. I have jump ropes…. check. Free weights and resistance bands… check. And a bicycle…. check. Since it’s been a long time that I’ve used my bicycle, I know I will need to dust it off and put air in the tires. (LOL)

According to the health experts, it’s recommended that adults should exercise moderately for 150 to 300 minutes weekly. This is just a guideline seeing that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much exercise is enough. I agree with the idea that all movement is good; far better than no movement at all. Do something active, as often as you can, will serve you well in the long run. Exercise has a huge impact on your health which benefits your heart, brain, energy, and quality of sleep. Some types of physical activities are better than others for certain health and well-being benefits. Be sure to do your research. And above all, consult with your physician.

If you’re in the same boat as I am about not going back to the gym until the pandemic has subsided, here are some ideas for getting back on track with exercising outside the gym.

Resistance Bands:

The possibilities are endless when using resistance bands. This is what makes them so popular. For example….because of their versatility, they can be incorporated with pull-ups, chest press, bicep curls, and triceps extensions. The ability to move freely when using resistance bands allows you to imitate everyday natural movement patterns. The simple design of resistance bands allows for compound exercises which recruits more muscle engagement. Exercising with them will increase your range for motion, flexibility, and muscular endurance. Resistance bands are small, light-weight, flexible, and can be effortlessly tucked away anywhere. Just don’t forget where you put them. (LOL)

Free Weights:

Using free weights challenges the muscular system to enhance lean mass, build more balance and coordination. It’s also said that free weight exercises shrink waist fat. Free weight exercises helps balance strength by providing equal load to both sides of the body. In essence, your weaker side can become strong as your dominate side decreasing the imbalance. You’re sure to burn calories as you move through various range-of-motion working out with free weights.

Walking:

CDC recommends 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day. Walking add years to your life, lightens mood, strengthen muscles, improve sleep, improve circulation, stop loss of bone mass and a slew of other benefits. Walking is just plain wholesome medicine for the body. There are claims that walking even unlocks creativity. All that’s needed is about 15 minutes a day to reap the amazing benefits of walking. Best part of walking is that it’s free and doesn’t require any special equipment of training. Even if you haven’t exercised in some time, walking is the perfect option to start out with because it’s low impact. Be sure to wear comfy shoes.

Running:

Running builds strong bones, strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular system, and help maintain a healthy weight. In addition, you can expect a boost in your mood, better nights sleeping, and even to live longer. Just running 15 to 30 minutes is enough to kick start your metabolism. Within half an hour, about 300 calories can be burned. Without having the bells and whistles of the gym, your leg muscles, core, back, and arms will be strengthened with running. Runners could possibly end up with improved knee cartilage, and lower BMIs than before they started. The best feature of running is that it’s cheap. Pull out a good pair of sneakers and go for a run anytime and any place.

Jump Roping

Using a jump rope is so underrated of all types of exercises. Jump roping burns a lot of calories, strengthens coordination, and improves cardiovascular fitness. Your bones will become stronger reducing the risk of osteoporosis. This exercise speeds up your fat-burning metabolism. It’s a mini workout in one that concentrates on arms, legs, quadriceps, deltoids, and hamstrings. With 15 minutes, anywhere from 200-300 calories are burned. As calories are burning off, you’re improving your balance, agility, and your spatial awareness. When you get your jump rope game up, challenge yourself to try some tricks. Don’t be afraid to let the inner kid out.

Stretching:

Stretching is excellent at increasing your range of motion, flexibility, blood flow to your muscles, improves posture, reduces soreness, and calms the mind. Some classify stretching as just a “warm up” activity. I beg to differ. It’s so much more than that. Believe it or not, stretching burns calories like all other exercises. As a general rule, you should stretch as much as any other type of exercise performed. If you’e looking to maintain a good level of flexibility, 3 days a week is all that’s needed. A stretching routine can be completed anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.

Cycling:

To get a good bike workout, expect to ride for 30 to 60 minutes about 3 to 5 days a week. This is a low impact exercise with a wealth of benefits. Cycling increases joint mobility, muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness, and reduce body fat levels. If you’re looking to strengthen thigh muscles and glutes, then hop on that bike. There’s variety intensity levels because you can cycle as a mode of transport, casual activity, or competitively. Going for a bike ride, you’re sure to get an excellent core workout impacting the back and abdominal muscle groups. If you’ve never learned to ride a standard bicycle, a stationary bike is a great alternative.

Until my mindset shifts to wanting to go to the gym to workout, again, I’m going to stay committed to exercising at home. You can tone, sculpt muscles and burn calories just the same as going to the gym. Get started today and write out your at home exercise routine. What are you waiting for?

Pressing The Reset Button On Self-Love

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What if you would simply devote the remaining of this year to showing yourself more love?

Months ago, many states experienced stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although this crisis caused a major disruption to society, for me, the silver lining was acknowledging it was time to press the reset button on self-love. Self-love is doing the small special things that makes us happy, relax, and feel good. Let’s admit it, many of us needed to press the reset button in this area.

With families, careers, schooling, and a plethora of other responsibilities, when do you have quality time to love on yourself? If your schedule is anything like mine, there’s very little time to indulge in self-love. Mere desires of showing yourself love is constantly being put on the back burner. As much as it lies within you, make time and be intentional about loving on you.

In no particular order, here are some suggestions on how to press the reset button on self-love:

Read books by your favorite authors. Reading books by authors that inspire you is so uplifting. Beyond reading for pleasure, some other benefits include strengthening the brain, reducing stress, and increases empathy. “Reading a good book is like taking a journey…” – Emma Gulliford

Journal your inner thoughts. Keeping a journal is so therapeutic in that it helps to clear and calm the mind. Some folks use it as a great tool for personal growth and development.

Jam to music by your favorite artists. Listening to music releases dopamine (neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy). Whether you’re in your car or at home, you can create that space of happiness and relaxation.

Exercise. Working out shows an impressive positive impact on depression, anxiety and so much more. Whichever activities you enjoy like swimming, running, cycling, yoga, etc., it’s sure to chase away negative moods and make you feel more relaxed.

Tune into motivational speeches. Every now and again, you need that soul-inspiring message to encourage you to keep moving forward. Motivational speeches are so powerful because they challenge you to look deep within to make the necessary changes today for tomorrow.

Enjoy a spa session. Going to the spa is a sure way to escape to another world from our hectic schedules. There are numerous benefits for treating yourself to a spa service. Visiting a spa is a fantastic way to de-stress, relieve aches or pains, improve blood circulation, and boost moisture in skin. Schedule your spa visit today.

Stop beating yourself up when you make a mistake. The inner critic inside of you works overtime trying to keep you small. Learn from the mistake and move on. (#keepitmoving)

Avoid comparing yourself to others. Know what your triggers are. Continue to wish others well for their happy moments. Be grateful for the good in your life. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors of those you assume are living their “best” life.

Close the door on toxic relationships. Toxic relationships drain the life out of you. Or, even worst, may take your life. Any person making you feel less than doesn’t deserve to be apart of your life. Give them the boot!

Practice positive self-talk. This process allows you to find the hope and joy in any given situation. Positive self-talk can be an effective stress management tool.

Embrace your uniqueness. When you’re being authentic, you are operating at your best level. Fully acknowledging and accepting your uniqueness drives your self-esteem and self-worth through the roof.

Stop dwelling on past trauma and wounds. Constantly hanging out in the past holds you back from being happy and robs you of joy for the present. Be willing to work through your feelings and redirect your thoughts.

Fight to keep the connection you have with yourself healthy and thriving. Share some ways you practice self-love.