Getting lost in a good book is one of my favorite things ever!… I have loved the magic of reading since I knew how to read…. The smell of my hometown library, books feeling like my friends, falling asleep reading books, the smells of my childhood books like the munch bunch series!! Oh the nostalgia! I love Books. They have always given me so much, like comfort, knowledge, and as we all know… knowledge is power!
Here are some of my favorite self help reads I would like to recommend and share with you! this is a sample of what I like to read in my own kindle!
- Spirituality... Animal Speak…the spiritual and magical powers of creatures great and small. by Ted Andrews, if you are interested in learning about your own animal totem or how nature and animals are connected to us all check this book out!
- Relationships…..Beyond the breakup: Understanding your Ex boyfriend from the Male Perspective. by Andrew Aitken…This book will help empower you to make healthy decisions regarding romantic relationships!
- Feminism…. The Second Sex (Vintage)…by Simone de Beauvoir-Chevallier, A thought provoking look at women’s societal and personal roles in our lives and what it means to be a “woman”.
- Food and Weight.….Susie Orbach on Eating….by Susie Orbach, a positive look at nourishing your body with no diets or food obsessions.
- Food and weight.… Naturally Thin… by Eve Adamson and Bethenny Frankel, This has no dieting or calorie counting, and rules such as “Know Thyself”, and “Your diet is a bank account”, and “Taste everything eat nothing”, which I love!
- Career…. Getting Real about Having It All… Megan Dalla Camina, This is geared to help empower you to set goals and make your mark in a balanced way that feels good to you!
- Fun and Funny…Stirring the Pot ; My Recipe for Getting what you want out of Life…by Jenny Mc Carthy…. this is a comical self help book with a variety of fun reading!
- Single Women Reading… I feel thin today and other musings from a 30-something single woman…by Victoria Mc Irvin... a fun read, this is the type of book you stay up all night to finish!
- Assertiveness.…. Pulling your own strings.. by Wayne Dyer, this book is a bold look at learning that you cannot please everyone!
I attended a workshop a few years ago on DBT or dialectical behavior therapy. DBT is a set of skills used to treat anxiety, depression and other emotional problems life throws at you. I thought I would share the turtling skill today and some other ideas on how turtling can help you. If you feel a connection to turtles or any other animals look up their symbolism to give you ideas how the animal’s energy can help you in your life. This is called using an animal totem.
The following information has been borrowed and adapted from Moonshine-Consulting.com.. I often share this information with my clients so I hope you enjoy this !
I have always really liked turtles. Maybe it’s the way they go at their own pace in this fast paced world and still get to their destination. Even slow progress is progress so this teaches up patience and persistence.
- Turtles use a variety of strategies to take care of themselves, they withdraw inside themselves and reemerge cautiously. They protect themselves through snapping and biting. They are adaptive by living in water and on land, let things roll off their hard outer shell, move slowly and intentionally and are persistently self righting. (moonshine-consulting.com.)
- When life turns them upside down, they use supports, family, friends, professionals,the community and other resources to flip themselves over and right themselves once again.
- You can use a variety of turtling skills to help your life such as retreating inside yourself and reemerging when safe, going slowly and methodically, being mindful about how to invest time, energy and attention. Deflecting the judgements of others and let things roll off their hard outer shells (turtles) or Let things roll off your back, Being adaptive to your environment, turtles are able to live on land and water.
- Turtles are persistently self righting, they use their weight and environment to get themselves right side up and in balance even if this takes hours or days. (Moonshine -Consulting .com) worth repeating!
So what are some of the ways you could use turtling to help you in your own life when you feel turned upside down?
Other nature totem meanings of the turtles are: longevity, grounding, patience, survival skills, endurance and owning our own space and time
“slow and steady wins the race”
It has taken me years to adopt better eating habits, and it is still a work in progress but I have come a long way and I wanted to share ideas related to eating that are good for your mental health.
- 1. Everything is connected and what you put into your body matters. Food and Water Matters.
- 2. Stay hydrated, NOTHING should take the place of water… practice taking in a little more each day and you will feel so much better and flush out toxins. Pop and sugar drinks should not exceed one per day if at all. Water should be hydrating you! If you can drink one glass first thing in the morning before coffee or whatever, you will help flush the toxins which accumulate during sleep.
- 3. I love organic eggs. I feel they are a superfood! I add chives and salsa and a small amount of cheese.
- 4. Pay attention to how the food you eat makes you feel. If you feel sick or off or bloated your body is telling you something.
- 5. Do not eat close to bed. If I eat close to bed, I have poor quality sleep and just feel bad. It is bad for your digestion and causes acid reflux. I know many people, myself included have eaten emotionally before bed. This is a work in progress.
- 6. Add healthy foods into your diet instead of trying too hard to eliminate your favorite or junk foods. I have learned that if I tell myself I cannot have something I want it more. So instead I add in healthy food, and the less healthy or junk food loses its power over time.
- 7. Make you own desserts. I love sweets. I grew up on them, and sugar is very addictive. But, over time I learned to make better and higher quality desserts. Think better oils and better quality sugar or simple fruit. I am still working on portion control.
- 8. Take Vitamins and talk to your Dr. to approve them if needed, and or other supplements you feel your body needs. I feel that since I have started taking a high quality vitamin I simply do not need as much sugar. Sometimes we overeat sugar because we are lacking nutrients and we keep feeding ourselves.
- 9. Look at labels. If a food has 5 grams of sugar or less it does not register in your body as sugar. So I aim for 10 and under most of the time if I can. Every bit helps to cut back. Learn to look at labels. Educate and empower yourself.
- 10. Limit eating out…. then you know what is actually really in your food. And you can control the oil, sugar, salt and other ingredients much more effectively.
- 11. I hope these help you….again I am still working on this, but after years of trying I can truly say I have changed many of my old bad habits into small habits of health. If they stick it was worth it, even though it does not happen overnight!!
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Hippocrates, 460 B.C.
So it is Christmas time again. Over the years I have adopted what I like to call a Minimalist Green Christmas.
If you love all the festivities and go all out, and that is what you enjoy…then by all means stick with all of your traditions, but be aware of the true cost…. to your time, energy, finances, stress levels, and overall peace of mind.
I think Christmas should equally be about what makes YOU happy, and not just everyone else happy.
Here are some things I have done through the years to take my stress levels way down. The following are only ideas and you can add, adapt or borrow! My hope for you is that your Holiday will become a time of unique celebration with less negative side affects.
- 1. Only shop for the kids. If you have any credit card debt consider telling friends and family that you do not want to exchange this year. Save money. Love them. Cook something yummy for them and focus less on things! Save and reuse wrapping paper! Re-gift anything you don’t love.
- 2. Only decorate your tree. Lights and tons of christmas decorations can add to stress levels, clutter, and take hours to get out and put away. Spend it instead watching a Christmas movie or having hot chocolate and talking with your child or family.
- 3. Create new rituals that are your very own. Music and a Christmas breakfast can be fun! I used to attend a Christmas Brunch and it was memorable and very yummy!
- 4. Shop early! I personally do not like last minute gift anxiety.
- 5. Pay attention. Are you being controlled by the consumerism and the need for accumulating more? Decide to have a more eco-friendly Christmas and make it less about stuff and more about the feelings and experiences.
- 6. Go through your home and give gently used items to friends and family as gifts. One person’s trash can be another’s treasure!
- 7. Avoid the junk food. There are endless treats that are so tempting to make and eat! Make one or two treats only. Don’t keep junk food around you!
- 8. I have adopted many of the above minimalist ideas and watched my stress levels decrease. And I have learned that if people don’t agree it’s OK. I have to take care of myself first! And I will not apologize about that to anyone.
- 9. Understand how your moods are affected around the Holidays and be Kind to yourself. Are you more depressed? Anxious? Do you miss loved ones, or feel pressure to entertain them? Do you have unrealistic expectations or have you been programmed to believe what a “normal” Christmas should be?
- 10. Get help, change the moods and energy to try and stay upbeat. Avoid substances or overindulging in anything, food, gifts, spending. Less really can be more!I hope you can adopt one or more of these or just spend some time thinking about how to make your Christmas a little more Green, eco friendly, less stressful, more meaningful and what YOU want it to be!! Peace of Mind is so worth it!
“ask yourself what is really important and then have the courage and wisdom to build your life around your answer”
instagram-the good quote
It is my hope that you will have a depression, anxiety and mood management toolbox of healthy activities which promote wellness and good feelings.
Coping skills like anything else work better with practice. So Practice! Make it a personal goal in your life to develop useful, and enjoyable and effective coping skills.
I love how some are universal and some very unique to the person. Here are some of my favorites to get you started, but add adapt and borrow! Make your very own list!
- Eat something healthy daily and drink water so your mind and body are prepared to handle the stress of daily life! Do this every day!
- Smile and Laugh, watch a comedian, tell jokes with friends and family, laugh with others, it’s often contagious. Humor is amazing and a sure healer!
- Take a bath with Lavender and Epsom salt. Soak for 20 minutes to detox. Make an intention for the water to cleanse and let go of things you don’t need. Relax and add candles, music or bubbles.
- Take a shower! Cleanse and redirect! If you like cool/ cold showers there are benefits to this. Look it up.
- Women: start a beauty ritual, anything that helps you feel feminine. Men: engage in some kind of grooming ritual.
- Organize something.
- Go outside, walk, move, and be in nature.
- Learn a craft, hobby, or master the ones you already enjoy!
- Play with animals or kids.
- Look at kitten or puppy pictures.
- Drink something hot! Hot and Warm or room temperature beverages are good for your digestive system. I love tea!
- Make your bedroom a relaxing oasis. De clutter, clean and make it very comfortable.
- Be around people or help someone. Spend quality time with someone you care about.
- Read something you like.
- Nostril Breathing. This feels amazing and cleanses and centers you, try it. Close one nostril with finger, take 2 deep breathes in and out of the open one, then close and repeat the other side. Relaxing and Powerful!
- Read positive quotes, one of my favorites!
- Watch ASMR videos on U tube, my favorite!
- Think Positive, make this a habit as often as you can! I hope you enjoy these. Sometimes it really is the small things!
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be one of the hardest things to experience. It is actually hard to write about because I believe everyone experiences it differently.
Trauma is unique to the individual. What is traumatic to one person may not be as much to another.
Every one has heard of major trauma, such as illness, accidents, death, witnessing something traumatic, major life events such as job loss, war, or losing something or someone.
Other common traumas include bullying, poverty, abuses of any kind such as sexual, emotional, physical and domestic.
Trauma can be (acute) shorter acting, or (chronic) affecting you in the long term. Sometimes we have PTSD and do not even realize that is what it is.
Here are some tips to think about if you are experiencing or have experienced trauma in your own life….
1. Ask for help and share your story. Seek out a therapist and just talk it out, talk about it as much and as often as you need to so it can lose its impact over time and help you gain new perspective. Seek a therapist if you need more professional help. We are trained to know what to focus on.
2. Some common symptoms of trauma can be depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive compulsive disorder, nightmares, flashbacks and hyper vigilance.
3. Realize it’s a process of change and growth. What kind of healing do you need? Find that answer within and take small steps to get there.
4. You are not alone. Someone somewhere is this world has been through something like you or worse. But know that this will not necessarily make your pain easier. This is your unique journey.
5. Be in the moment and take time for self care. What does that mean to you? Carving out time for cooking healthy meals, baths and showers, walking, being outside, cleaning, or just relaxing more to get in touch with your inner self and what you need.
6. Understand your symptoms, are you depressed or anxious? Are you having grief? Are you self destructing? Is the trauma affecting your life and family, or is this something that you can handle with time and support? Know the answers to these questions so you can find the right supports and treatment for you!!
7. Choose to be a survivor. Mother nature is a process of continual renewal and growth. We are all one with this universe. While no one knows how you feel, at some point you have to say, I will find a way to survive this.
8. Help others, this is one of the best ways to get outside of yourself and your own problems. And the magic is when we help others we ultimately help ourselves!
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have“
Almost everyone has experienced anxiety at some point in their lives, myself included.
Through the years of helping clients and myself cope with anxiety, here are just a few of the best treatments tips you can use outside of the office.
1. Know yourself and if you need professional guidance through seeing your Dr. and or a counselor if you need help. It can really benefit you just sharing your feelings and symptoms with another person.
2. During psychotherapy I work with my clients on specific symptoms, and use a variety of techniques such as Cognitive behavior therapy and personalized wellness goals while hearing your story and providing support.
3. Not everyone will want or need medications but even intermittent medications can help get symptoms under control. You can make a plan and set goals with your Dr. if you do not want to be on medications long term. Sometimes just having a medication with you can work like a placebo.
4. Get to the root of the issue. Some anxiety is a mystery and can be called free floating anxiety because we cannot pin point what is causing it, Many times it is a combination of things happening in your life and body, or general worry and fear both conscious and subconscious.
5. Look at food and water intake. Are you really hydrated? Do you eat a lot of processed foods, caffeine and sugar? Do you use alcohol in excess? All of these things will contribute to anxiety. Slowly cut these out and use healthier alternatives so your body feels calmer. Do what works for you!
6. Befriend your anxiety, talk to yourself like you would a friend whom is having anxiety. The more we resist the feelings the more it might trigger a full attack. Accept the feelings and make a plan to work on it.
7. Find some type of deep relaxation you like and do it often, if you get into the habit your mind and body will recognize cues and start to relax sooner. Over time you will notice that you are calmer.
8. Don’t buy into it. This is easier said that done, but what I mean is you are (experiencing) an anxiety attack or symptoms. Realize it is a symptom and an overwhelming feeling, but it is not YOU! Separate the two.
9. Try to detach from the emotion and observe it like it is standing next to you, and not a part of you. This takes practice but can work by preventing full blown attacks.
10. Know your early warning signs i.e.) sweating, red face, throat closing, feelings in the chest or stomach.
11. Come back to the moment. This is called mindfulness. Listen to the sound of your shoes walking the floor, tune in to nature even for a second. Be in the moment. The more you can bring yourself back to the here and now your brain will learn to focus on the present activity.
“Calmness is the cradle of power” J.G. Holland
I thought I might share some of the insights and treatments I use with my clients inside of the office for helping to manage the blues.
Obviously we have all experienced depression or the blues at some point in our lives. There are varying degrees of depression and learning your personal symptoms is important.
You need to ask for help when needed, such as seeing your Dr. for a medication or a therapist for Counseling/Psychotherapy and or both.
The following list is not limited!
This is so important. Knowing yourself and increasing self- awareness about your personal depression symptoms is key to knowing what kind of treatment you need.
Do you sleep too much? Do you have increased irritability, anger, isolation, and just not feeling right? Are you self- medicating with drugs, food, alcohol, technology, or other unhealthy addictions? Are you increasingly sad, tearful, feeling hopeless, and have low motivation?
Pay Attention to Nutrition, Water Intake and Vitamins!
This may sound like a repeat of what you have heard before, but it’s so important. Our bodies are whole and connected. Our brains and physical bodies work together, Small changes make all the difference!
If my clients report eating junk food and drinking very little to no water, I am not always surprised to learn they are feeling depression. Know the root of the issue or you will miss the target! I know personally if I do not consume a certain amount of water in a day, I have a lower quality day and I do not feel good.
Dehydration causes depression. No, you do not have to give up your favorite beverages, but limit caffeine and do not use soda or coffee instead of water. And honestly ask your self if you drink enough water, You will feel much different if you start drinking water! I promise. I highly recommend hot tea! If you come to my office that is what I will offer you!
What are you eating? Certain foods feed our brains. Add in healthy fats such as avocadoes, organic coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and of course try just a few more fruits and vegetables. Choose whatever you like to start.
If you add lemon or lime to your water that is an awesome start!
How can you expect your brain to feel good and positive if it is nutrient deficient? Are you taking a safe amount of vitamin supplements such as Vitamin D? 20 minutes of direct sunlight or a supplement. Vitamin D is a healer.
Limit Sugar! Sugar negatively affects hormones and is addictive. Too much will negatively affect your moods.
MONITOR YOUR SELF TALK – This is a pretty simple idea of paying closer attention to what you are saying to yourself all day long. Would you talk that way to someone you love and care about? Ask yourself, Is this thought bringing me closer to my goals? Is this thought healthy? Is it really helping my situation? Practice this skill.
LOVE – Find something or someone to Love! Love is Healing! Love is Magic!
MOVE – Make yourself do something, get some oxygen flowing through your body and cells. Force yourself to think about something useful and move your body.
SLEEP – 10 hours a night is a super healer. How much do you get?
LAUGH – It feels really good! It is medicine. Use it.
HAVE GRATITUDE – Respect what you are going through, it is your experience, only you know how you really feel. Also do not forget suffering is everywhere, and right now there are people out there who are experiencing some of the same problems you are!
LOVE – Again LOVE! Think about this in a unique way, how can you add more kinds of love into your life or others lives? There is some magic in this…. so take the time to think about it.
Finally… Can you name one thing you completed today which is an improvement towards higher self-esteem? Just one?
“Learning is a Gift. Even when Pain is your Teacher”