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Category Archives: Self-Care + Health

10 Tools to Help You Give Without Getting Drained

In our society, where we have a tendency to constantly be in a state of “go go go” it can be a real challenge to find the energy to give anymore without feeling stressed, tired, exhausted and just flat out, well, drained.

Maybe it’s after a long day of work and you find yourself getting a call from a family member with another problem and you just don’t have the energy to deal with it. Or maybe it’s struggling to have patience with that one difficult customer.

Regardless of the exact scenario, these situations can all be really challenging. If we don’t take time out of our day to really tune into ourselves and give ourselves some good ol’ self-care, we can find ourselves in this constant place of being drained and stressed out. And, frankly, that’s not good for you or anyone around you.

So here are 10 simple tools that can help you give without feeling drained:

#1 – Spend time in nature.

Go out and soak up some sun, breathe in the fresh air, walk barefoot in the grass, and marvel in the blissful sound of birds chirping.

#2 – Exercise!

When we strengthen our bodies, we also strengthen our entire being. So go for a run, do some yoga, or hit up the gym.

#3 – Eat well.

Are you finding yourself always in a hurry and rushing over to McDonald’s? Well if you really want to replenish yourself so you’re not drained and stressed out all the time, then find some alternative foods to eat that are much nutritious for you. Eat some fruit and veggies. Have a salad. Maybe even try out going paleo, vegan or gluten free. Find food that energizes you and makes you feel like you’re at your optimal health.

#4 – Get enough sleep.

One of the most important factors of our mental health and overall well-being is the amount and quality of sleep we get each night. After all, our brains can’t function optimally if we don’t give it a chance to rest! The general rule of thumb is to shoot for somewhere between 7 to 9 hours each night, depending on what your body needs.

#5 – Support yourself.

We can’t really support others, nor can we fully receive support from others, if we don’t support ourselves. So support yourself in the work you do by praising yourself for a job well done, rather than be super critical about it not being “good enough”. Support yourself in relationships by being in relationships with people who are kind, loyal, and respectful of you.

#6 – Meditate — often.

Enough said.

#7 – Breathe!

When we’re stressed and worn out, we habitually forget to breathe. So bring everything back to the breath and do it often! Take deep breaths and then let it all out.

#8 – Do things that light you up.

Be sure that you’re taking time each week (or even day) to do things that you really truly enjoy doing. Do what you feel passionate about. Take time to write, take photos, grow a garden, take your dog for a walk, dance… do whatever helps bring more fun to your life and energizes you.

#9 – Bring passion into what you do.

While it is important to do things that you already feel passionate about, it’s also important to put forth the effort to bring passion into what you do already. Bring passion into regular exercise routine, bring passion into your not-quite-dream-job, and bring passion into your new diet. When we bring passion into all aspects of our life, we can then find ourselves much happier — which supplies us with plenty of joy and love to share with others.

#10 – Give yourself some alone time.

While it can be easy with our busy lives to always be socializing and doing things with others, it is also important to give yourself some “me” time to do whatever with yourself. Take some time to yourself to journal, read, or reflect on your day. Take some time to go someplace by yourself so you have space to deal completely with your own thoughts, emotions, and overall experience. Allow yourself to take some moments to stop and look within — for it is within that our endless supply of love dwells.

LookWithinLoveSupply

Click to Tweet: Allow yourself to take some moments to stop and look within — for it is within that our endless supply of love dwells. via @jenilyn8705

Now I’d like to hear from you! Out of the 10 tools listed, which one are you going to do today to help you “fill yourself up”? Share it in the comments below!

Why Setting Boundaries in Relationships Are So Important

If you would’ve asked me 5 years ago what boundaries were I would’ve had no idea how to answer you.

Boundaries were a complete foreign concept to me.

It wasn’t until I had moved to South Korea, where I was in the midst of all kinds of relationship problems, that a friend had introduced the concept to me by mailing me a copy of the book, “Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin” by Anne Katharine.

That friend and that book started the beginning of an entirely new way of living and being in the world, which, ultimately, transformed the way I’ve approached relationships.  My relationships with guys I dated, friends, family, co-workers, peers, clients or customers, and even people I would pass on the street began to change.

I no longer felt susceptible to all of the energies of others going on around me.

I was no longer at the complete will of what other people wanted or needed from me.  Instead, I was finally able to be in-line with what I needed.  I was now able to live in-tune with my own desires, needs, and feelings.

I was finally able to tune into myself and honor myself, rather than to live in a way that involved constantly giving and accommodating to other people’s needs and wants.  I also finally stopped getting caught up in other people’s problems so much that I’d treat them as my own.  I learned how to start saying “no” to things that I really didn’t want to do, and saying “yes” to things that I really did want to do.

As a result, I managed to stop going out and drinking so much.  I stopped being around people who always wanted things from me but hardly gave back what I had given them.  I stopped dating guys who expressed no desire to have the kind of relationship I wanted simply because I was attracted to them.  I stopped experiencing so much gossip and drama in my personal relationships.

Instead, I started becoming more in tune with the real me.  I started traveling and visiting places that I truly wanted to go to (even if that did mean going by myself).  I started taking up hobbies and activities that I always wanted to do that I never made time for before.  I started eating better foods for my system, which significantly helped improve some health problems I had been experiencing.

Because I started setting boundaries in my relationships with others, I was able to start feeling more in control of myself and my own life.  In fact, I was able to feel more confident in myself and empowered.

And because of learning this one relational tool, I was also able to find myself in much more fulfilling and loving relationships.  I’ve developed friendships where we have enough similar interests to where I can truly be myself and there is mutual support.  I’ve also found myself in a romantic relationship where there is so much mutual loyalty, respect, and love that having differing views and beliefs on things is hardly a deal-breaker.

Do other people’s emotions and experiences still affect me?  Certainly — but it’s hardly as much as it used to.  I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how to regulate myself so things that other people’s “stuff” doesn’t nearly impact me as much as it once did.  I know what I am in control of myself and my experience and that I’m not in control of other people and their experiences — and that makes all the difference.

So why are setting boundaries in relationships so important?

It’s important because it separates our experience from other people’s experiences.

It’s important because it helps us become more aware of our own experience so that we can fully own and be in control of ourselves.

It’s important because it allows us to take better care of ourselves — emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually — so we feel so much less stressed, overwhelmed, and out of balance.

BoundariesTakeCareSelf

Click to Tweet: Boundaries allow us to take better care of ourselves – emotionally, mentally, physically, & spiritually. via @jenilyn8705

And, most importantly, boundaries allow us to truly become more in-line with ourselves.  The more we are true to ourselves, then the more we allow others to truly see and experience us for who we truly are.  And this, my friends, opens the door to real, true, and genuine love.

Are setting boundaries a totally foreign concept to you?  Do you have trouble feeling overwhelmed by other people’s “stuff”?  Do you have difficulty taking care of yourself?  Are you ready to start setting boundaries in your relationships so that you can really start creating loving relationships in your life?

If so, then I’m here to help! 🙂

I’m currently accepting a limited number of new coaching clients.  To learn more about my coaching practice and to sign up for your Free 30-Minute Consultation to discuss the possibility of coaching with me, then click here.

5 Ways to Care For Yourself During Your Menstruation

If you’re a woman, you’ve dealt with this: the bloating, the painful cramps, the irritation, the potential messes that can happen, and the overall feeling of discomfort.  Our monthly period isn’t something that many of us would refer to as “enjoyable” by any means.

Many of us have a tendency to try and “hide it” as much as possible so that it doesn’t have to really impact our already busy lives.  So we use tampons, we take the higher doses of ibprofen, and we take a birth control pill or another kind of synthetic hormone in hopes to hinder the symptoms of our monthly period.

In a way, it can almost become as if we were trying to get rid of it all together so we just “don’t have to deal with it” every month.  Admittedly, I know I’ve been there.  I’ve done the regular use of tampons to avoid “messes” mixed with taking birth control pills in hopes to either shorten the period, make it lighter, or reduce symptoms.  Heck, I even went so far previously as to try to master the pill taking in a way so that I could trick my body into “skipping” periods during months where I had decided that I “didn’t have time” to deal with it.

It’s almost as if our culture as a whole wants to avoid dealing with periods.  It’s not something that we really talk about and discuss how we can “make it better” for ourselves and others.  Heck, even upon a trip to the OBGYN we don’t discuss with the doctor how to “make improve our period experience” but rather it turns into “here’s a medication to take that will hopefully reduce it or, nearly, eliminate it all together”.  We  would rather hide it, complain about it, wish it away or try to practically eliminate it rather than to accept the process and nurture ourselves through that process.

Honestly, its really sad when you think about it.  It’s one of the things that really makes a woman a woman and rather than to accept it and nourish it, we’ll reject it and try to wish it away.  And, as a result, we may gradually find ourselves developing other problems down the road, such as: worsening PMS, worsening cramps, infertility, increasing amounts of irritability before or during menstruation, women’s health issues, and so on.

It’s important for us, as women, to be mindful of our body’s natural process and to nurture our bodies and ourselves during that process.

WomenProcessCare

Click to Tweet: It’s important for us women to be mindful of our body’s natural processes & to properly nurture ourselves. via @jenilyn8705

After all, it is the one time out of the month where an organ in our body is actually shedding it’s lining — that’s a big deal!  So while self-care is important all the time, it is even more important during our week of menses.  Here are 5 ways to take care of yourself during your menstruation:

#1 – Give yourself time to rest — especially on the first day.

Our body is going through a lot in that first day of our period, so it’s important to recognize and honor what our body is going through by allowing it to rest.  If you start over the weekend, give yourself the time and space to rest during that first day.

If you do need to work or have activities to do on the first day, make the effort to let yourself rest in any moment that you have time.  Rest even more during your lunch and other breaks, take extra moments during your day to meditate, and try to avoid doing any extra errands.  Anything that doesn’t need to be done on that exact day, put it off to the next day when you’re body will have more energy to do it.

#2 – Do low-intensity exercise.

Go for walks and do low-intensity cardio, as this will help with the flow but not strain the body.  Do stretching and more passive-kinds of exercise such as yin yoga or a yoga class that is more gentle in nature.  This is most important to do during the first few days of your period, as your body is doing a lot more work in the beginning.

# 3 – Eat well.

Because we lose quite a bit of blood during our period, it’s important to eat foods rich in iron the week before we start our periods to prepare.  So be sure to eat red meats, dark leafy greens (like spinach), and seaweed, as this will prepare your body for what you will be losing during menses.

Also, be sure to eat many fruits and vegetables during this time.  During PMS and menses we may have the tendency to start reaching for chocolate, sweet, and sugary things.  This is just a sign that our body is in need of nutrients it is deficient of.  Many times, it is commonly iron (as I mentioned earlier) and magnesium.  So be sure to eat many green vegetables, as these will be rich in magnesium, and it will better satisfy your cravings.

Finally, remember to take your multi vitamins since this will also reduce your likelihood of becoming nutrient deficient.

#4 – Take a soothing hot bath.

Take a hot or warm bath once or a few times during the week of your menses filled with bath salts and essential oils.  Then go ahead and light some candles, play some soothing music, and just soak.  It will not only help you relax, but it will also help sooth any cramps, aches and pains that you may be having.

#5 – Journal and reflect.

While we are menstruating, the communication between the left and right hemispheres of our brain are more powerful than any other time of the month.  As a result, we may find ourselves receiving more messages from our intuition and instincts while we are menstruating.

So take more time to journal, meditate, and reflect.  You may find yourself more likely to reach some “a ha” moments, receive new creative ideas, or find an answer to a question you have been contemplating on for weeks or months.

Even if you’re not feeling more intuitive during your week of menses, don’t just ditch the journaling!  Continue to journal and reflect upon your current thoughts, feelings, and how you have been feeling in your body.  In doing so, you may be able to come to some deeper insights about yourself.

In the comments below, share with me at least one thing that you are going to plan on doing during your next period.

3 Ways to Start Taking Care of Yourself When You’re Codependent

In my early 20s, it was easy for me to become a stressed out mess.

I was always being easily affected by other people’s “stuff”.  Feeling guilty for doing certain things — or not doing certain things.   Putting pressure on myself to try to do anything and everything that was asked of me.

I was often trying to be putting other people’s needs first before mine, because that’s the idea I was taught growing up.  The idea that “taking care of yourself is selfish” was so embedded in my mind and overall psyche that I had no idea how to live my life in another way.

I was a total caretaker — and a total codependent.  I focused so much on other people and their own needs and feelings, that I rarely had any awareness of what was going on with me.  As a result, I had little sense of what proper boundaries were and how to set them effectively.  I constantly found others crossing into my space and myself crossing into other’s space.

It was difficult, it was heartbreaking and boy was it messy.  My relationships were far from what my heart truly desired them to be like and I had no idea what to do.  That is, until I began to do my own inner work.

For those of us who have tendencies toward codependency, learning to stop focusing so much on other people and start to focus more on yourself can be very difficult and damaging.  Here are 3 ways to start taking care of yourself when you’re codependent:

#1 – Break away from other people’s problems.

So you may have a friend, family member or partner who seems to always come to you for help.  Or maybe it’s that they haven’t asked for your help but you think that they need help or a “push” with X, Y, and Z with their life.

Break away from this and allow the other person (or people) to have their own space.  Say no to their request and then over time just watch and see what happens.  Many times if we are having a problem with breaking away from other people’s “stuff” it’s because, deep down, we don’t think that they will be able to survive without our help.  This is completely untrue, with the exception of some more extreme circumstances (such as having a child, partner, or relative with severe special needs or a disability).  It is merely a false belief that our fear-based mind has created to separate ourselves from being able to have more loving and harmonic relationships.

So make the effort to step away and give the other person their own space.  This can be very challenging at first, but be strong and diligent in this.  Often we can find ourselves surprised in doing this because we find that others start doing the things completely on their own that we didn’t think they could do.

#2 – Identify activities that you want to do for you.

If you’re the kind of person who focuses a lot on other people and rarely on yourself, this can be challenging at first.  Ask yourself: What would I really like to do that I haven’t been doing?  What have I told myself that I would try but I haven’t been doing it for myself?  What might be cool to try?  What things may make me feel better, be more relaxed or feel replenished?

Write all of these thoughts down on a sheet of paper or in a journal.  Allow yourself to just brainstorm.  This doesn’t mean that you have to do everything that you write down, but to try something!  Even something as small as meditating 1-2 times a day for 5 minutes or taking a walk every morning.

Once you’re done brainstorming, narrow your list down to about 5 things.  Write these 5 down in big letters on a sheet of paper and post it somewhere where you can see it every single day.  Having a visual like this can be extremely helpful at achieving our goals and intentions.

#3 – Make the conscious effort to start doing these things for you today!

The problem that many of us run into is that once we make a list of things we want to do for ourselves, we end up tossing that thought in the back of our minds and tell ourselves “oh I’ll do that someday”.

When we do this, change never ends up happening.  Codependency is like any other addiction, which means that we have to focus on taking it one step at a time every single day.  Every day is a new day.  We have the power to completely turn our lives and relationships around — we just have to be willing to make a conscious effort every single day.

WeHaveThePower

Click to Tweet: We have the power to turn our lives and relationships around; we have to be willing to make the effort every single day. via @jenilyn8705

So ask yourself: What can I start doing today to start taking better care of myself?

In the comments below, share with me one thing that you are going to do today to start taking better care of yourself.

7 Ways to Start Your Journey Toward Self-Love

For many of us, we could all use some help in the self-love department.  Our own level of self-love can be detrimental to our success in relationships, career, health, and overall well-being.

Here are 7 ways to start your journey toward self-love:

#1 – Do mindfulness practices.

To be mindful means to be tuned-in to your own thoughts, emotions, and needs.  Many of us struggle with this because we can get so caught up in all of the things going on outside of ourselves that we forget to stop and tune in to our own experience.

To practice mindfulness is a lifelong journey and can be challenging at times, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.  A few ways to practice mindfulness include:

– Focusing intently on the present moment while doing an activity, such as while doing the dishes, cleaning, driving, cooking, or working.

– Taking moments throughout the day to tune-in to how you are feeling in your body.  Check in to see where there is tension, aches, fluttery sensations, and more.

– Taking breaks throughout the day to take deep breaths for a few minutes through your diaphragm.

If you want to start doing well at self-love, then start practicing mindfulness every single day.  The more mindful we are, then the more successful we will become in our self-love practice.

#2 – Nourish your body.

Ask yourself: What have I been eating?  What have you been eating at home for dinner?  What places do you eat at?  How much sugar do you consume?  How many processed foods do you consume daily or weekly?  What are you drinking during the day?  Do you drink sugary drinks or alcohol and, if so, how much of it weekly?

While I don’t definitely don’t think there is a “one size fits all” diet for everybody, I do think it is important for us to focus on how the the things we put into our body affect how we feel.  What foods make you feel sluggish?  What foods give you energy?  What foods make you feel lighter?

Discovering what foods work best for you and your body can be a journey, so try out a few different diets and discover what works best for you.

#3 – Move your body.

Find time every day to move your body each day.  Go for a walk.  Get up away from your desk and stretch.  Take up a new exercise that you’ve always wanted to try.

#4 – Do things that feed your soul.

What things do you feel passionate about?  What activities light you up?  Do you love performing music?  Do you love dancing?  Do you love writing?  Do you love cooking?  Whatever it is, be sure to find time to do it.  The more we do things that feed our soul, then the more we become connected to our soul.

FeedOurSoul

Click to Tweet: The more we do things that feed our soul, then the more we become connected to our soul. via @jenilyn8705

#5 – Write a list of all the things you love about yourself.

This activity can be very transformational, especially if we are dealing with relationship issues, self-esteem issues, or depression.

Get a journal and put it by your bed.  Every night before you go to sleep write down at least 2 things that you love about yourself.  Overtime, you will definitely notice a shift.

#6 – Become the master of your own self-care.

When you notice that you are hungry, be sure to make it a priority to feed yourself.  When you notice that you are tired, be sure to rest or make time to get extra sleep.  Be sure to give yourself time and space to disconnect from other people’s stress.  Be sure to set healthy boundaries by saying “no” or setting a limit to things that you know are going to greatly deplete your energy.

#7 – Be grateful for the things you do for yourself.

In your journal that you keep by your bed, write down all of the things that you are thankful that you did for yourself at the end of every day.  Bringing gratitude to our self-love practice will bring fuel to to it in a way so that we can become even better in our own self-love.

Take action now!

In the comments below, share at least one thing that you are going to do today to start your journal toward self-love.

5 Ways to Have a Radiant Valentine’s Day When Single

For the single person, Valentine’s Day can be a much-dreaded holiday.  Rather than to be reminded of love when we see all of the hearts and flowers, we may find ourselves succumbed to memories of heartbreak and loss.

We can find ourselves dreading the holiday year after year because it is merely a reminder of the one thing that we wish we did have but we don’t have.

But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a day of painful reminders.  Whether you are single, married, engaged, or have just gone through a breakup or divorce it is possible to have a love-filled Valentine’s Day filled with joy and happiness.  Here are 5 ways:

#1 – Be grateful for where you are.

Did you break-off your engagement because you realized he wasn’t “the one”?  Did your last boyfriend breakup with you, but you’ve since realized it’s for the best because he wasn’t going to support you in all your endeavors anyway?  Have you been able to live abroad or travel because you have been single?

Be grateful that you are now free of these things that were weighing you down and the opportunities you have had because of your single-ness.  You’re free, so be thankful for it!

#2 – Celebrate your single-ness!

Though every breakup is emotionally painful, the truth is that the person we are truly meant to be with is so much better for us then our ex.  There’s something so much better on it’s way — and that is worth celebrating for!

So go out with some friends for dinner.  Go dancing.  Do some karaoke.  If you’re not in the mood to go out, then plan on having a movie night at home or do something crafty.  Find some way to celebrate because there are so many reasons to!

#3 – Shower yourself with loving gifts.

Buy yourself some flowers and chocolates.  Buy yourself that stuffed bear with a heart that you wish someone would buy for you.  Get yourself a Valentine’s Day card and write a loving note to yourself in it pointing out all the things you love about yourself.  After all, the most important relationship we can ever have is the one that we have with ourselves, so be sure to give yourself some love!

#4 – Create some love in your life.

Though many of us tend to see love as something that we must “seek” or “find” out in the world, the reality is that we ourselves have the power to create the love that we desire for ourselves.  Love is all around us, so it isn’t necessarily something that we must “find”, rather, it is something that we must chose to open ourselves to.

LoveFindOpenSelfTo

Click to Tweet: Love is not something we need to “find” – it’s something we must choose to open ourselves to. via @jenilyn8705

So how can we open ourselves to love?  Savor the present moment.  Stop and look at what is around you right here in this very moment.  Open yourself to seeing the love in the trees, birds, and sky.  Open yourself to seeing the love in each sunset.  Open yourself to feeling and experiencing the love that exists in life itself.

#5 – Give some love too!

One of the best ways to experience more joy and love in your life is to give back to others.  Do you know of a friend who is currently going through a rough patch?  Be sure to send them a Valentine’s Day card with a flower.  See a homeless person on the street?  Give them some cash or food.  When we do loving actions towards others, it helps bring more love in our own hearts.

What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day to celebrate?  Share your plans with me in the comments below!

The Truth About Being “Too Busy”

Back when I was a kid, I remember hearing adults always saying the words: “I’m too busy”.

“I can’t exercise because I’m too busy… I can’t go on vacation because I’m too busy… I can’t read that book because I’m too busy… I can’t work full time because I’m too busy,” I would hear them say.

As a pre-teen, I found this to be quite odd because, in my own observation, none of these adults were really that horribly busy.  I mean, they were spending at least 3 hours a night watching TV shows, watching movies, shopping for things that aren’t really necessities, reading novels, and checking and sending chain e-mails.  I knew plenty of other people who were more busy then they were and who were, in fact, doing all of those things that these adults proclaimed they were “too busy” for.

Of course, in this decade of the 2010’s, this has shifted a bit from the 90s.  Adults now spend more time surfing the web for hours, watching youtube videos, or doing things on their cell phone: texting, facebook-ing, tweeting, instagram-ing, timehop-ing, candy crush-ing, and so on.  Though we are more connected now than we have ever been, that same old habit of saying, “I’m too busy” is still very prevalent.

As adults, we have all, at some point or another, made this excuse in various ways and in various kinds of situations.

“I don’t have time to exercise…”

“I don’t have time to go to therapy…”

“I don’t have time to try out this diet…”

Though it is true that life as an adult requires many more demands and responsibilities, there’s a difference between actually “not having time” and “not trying to even make time”.

For many of us, when we are faced with an opportunity to change something about our lives or improve ourselves in some way, rather than to say, “Okay, I’ll make time” we experience inner resistance.  That inner resistance then surfaces by making a comment like “I don’t have time”.

This inner resistance can be rooted in a number of different causes.  Some of these causes include (but are not limited t0):

A limiting belief about how we generally don’t have time for anything other than work.

A fear of experiencing change because that means that we may have to feel a bit uncomfortable and have to change habits.

Denial of our issue that may need change. For example: We have a health problem, but we don’t want to change our diet to fix it because then we have to face the reality about our health problem.

A limiting belief that seeking out help is “weak”.

A fear of failure.

A fear that we may “not be good enough” if we try.

A limiting belief that “we are not worthy”.

A limiting belief that others matter more than we do or that we don’t “deserve” it, but others do.

And more!

We all have these kind of limiting beliefs and fears.  We can’t fully create change in our lives until we choose to face the fears and limiting beliefs that we have.

TooBusyCreateChange

Click to Tweet: We can’t fully create change in our lives until we choose to face the fears and limiting beliefs that we have. via @jenilyn8705

So how can we begin to do that and finally let go of the “I’m too busy” excuse so we can create happier and healthier lives for ourselves?  Here are 3 steps:

#1 – Recognize that you are experiencing an inner resistance.

The most vital key is to be able to recognize within yourself that you are experiencing a resistance.  This can be hard for many of us because we are caught up in the whole habit of saying things like “I’m too busy” and don’t think twice about what we say or do.

So take the time to pause for a moment and reflect on what you have been saying and doing.  Are you resisting change in your life in some way?  How so?

#2 – Ask yourself, “What beliefs or fears are causing this resistance?”

Do you fear change?  Are you in denial that change is needed?  Do you fear that you will fail or that you’re “not good enough”?  Get out a journal and write down whatever you think and feel may be going on for you internally to cause this inner resistance.

#3 – Find the time, then act!

Once you have recognized your inner resistance and identified your limiting beliefs and fears, find the time in your schedule to actually do the thing you’ve been putting off and take action!

Then once you act, continue to check in with yourself and notice what feelings come up for you.  What kind of mind-chatter is going on in your head?  Is it that now that you have started exercising you keep having thoughts of “I look ridiculous doing this!”?  Have you decided to take up painting but now that you are acting you notice all these thoughts of “I’m not good enough for this — I’m going to mess up!”?

Just simply recognize what thoughts come up for you, but don’t attach to them.  Don’t focus on them or give these thoughts any of your time and attention.  Simply recognize them, let them pass by in your mind, and continue taking action!

What is something that you always make the excuse “I’m too busy” for?  Share it in the comments below!

Feeling Depressed? 5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

Depression.  Though we likely won’t admit it, it is one of those things that most of us have dealt with at some point in our lives at either a mild or high severity.  For some of us it has only lasted for a few months.  For others, it has been a struggle for years.

Regardless how long we have struggled with depression, it can still feel like a long, difficult and hopeless journey.

Though proper treatment can vary a lot depending on each individual’s unique situation, there are some general things that we can all try to help our depression.  Here are 5 things to consider doing:

Exercise!

A while back someone told me that whenever she went to her doctor with a problem her doctor always asked, “Are you exercising?”  If she responded, “No” then he told her to exercise for the next 30 days and if there weren’t any changes then come back.

Based on personal experience, I have often found this to be true.  The second I have gotten myself into a solid exercise routine I have always, eventually, felt better.

Part of the reason for this is because when we are depressed, our life force energy is low and being repressed.  In yoga, this is referred to as our “prana”.  In Chinese medicine and marital arts, it is called “chi”.  And so, if we do exercises like yoga, tai chi, aikido, or whatever we prefer, then we are giving ourselves the opportunity for our own inner life force energy to rise back up to a normal and healthy state once again.

Start doing things that energize you.

Though it may be difficult to find things that you find exciting and energizing when you’re depressed, doing these kind of activities will help bring you back up.  If you’ve loved dancing in the past, then start taking dance classes.  If you loved singing, then sing again.  If traveling energizes you, then find a way to take a trip somewhere.

Though I haven’t necessarily read any sources to validate this, I personally believe from my own experience that doing things that really light up our soul also helps to raise our life force energy.  It gives us the opportunity to really get connected with that zest and love for life that is buried deep within us.

Get enough sleep.

Often if we are depressed, anxious, or stressed out one of the biggest culprits is a lack of sleep.  Generally, we all want to be shooting for 8 hours of sleep per night — regardless of age.  If we are sleeping less or more than that then we tend to be increasing our chances of having some kind of problem.

So one of the things that I like to do to help wind down from the day is to turn off all electronics at the very least 1 hour before bedtime (preferably 2).  I also avoid any talking on the phone.

Reading or writing before bed can help a lot to wind down.  You may also want to consider doing some kind of meditation or breathing exercise.  One of my personal favorites to wind down is to take deep inhale while counting to 5 and then exhale while counting to 8.

Another favorite of mine is to focus on which nostril is being the dominant nostril on my inbreathes and then switching the dominant nostril.  So for example, if I notice my right nostril is the more dominant one, I then draw my focus on the left nostril and try to consciously (without touching it) allow it to be the more dominant nostril.

Feed your body well.

When we are eating foods that are lacking the nutrients that our body truly needs then we can very easily become depressed.  So ask yourself, “What am I eating?  How often do I eat fruits and vegetables?  How often do I eat leafy greens?  How many processed foods do I eat in a day or week?”

Consider cutting back (or completely eliminating) processed foods.  Instead, shoot for eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Be mindful and aware of your sugar intake.  Also, try to drink more water.  About a half gallon a day of water should do the trick.

Connect with others.

One of the reasons that many of us get depressed is by simply spending too much time alone.  We are social creatures, so connecting to other human beings is important to our overall health.

So go out with a friend or a few friends, depending on your preference.  Join a Meetup groups in your area that focuses on a hobby or interest of yours.  Join a book club.

You may also want to consider finding a therapist to support you on your journey.  Depression is tough and everyone deserves emotional support when struggling, so don’t be afraid to reach out and find help.  Many therapists will work on a sliding scale if requested and if one isn’t able to take you, then they will have others to direct you to.  If you don’t think that personal therapy is right for you for whatever reason, then different organizations do offer group therapy at a fraction of the cost.

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Take action now!

If you’ve been feeling kind of “down in the dumps” lately, then reflect on the list above.  Are any of these things something that you haven’t been doing for yourself lately?  How can you start integrating that into your life more?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

How to Deal with Aggressive People

Aggressive People.  We’ve all dealt with someone who is being pretty aggressive at some point in our lives.

You know, that person that interrupts you when you are trying to speak — or, they simply talk louder whenever you try to speak.  That person who doesn’t seem to allow your own point of view and input.  That person who you feel really crosses your boundaries and makes you feel energetically exhausted.

Dealing with people who have these tendencies can be quite draining and, without a solid balance of both assertiveness and empathy, can create a lot of tension in our relationships with them.

Here are several things to keep in mind whenever you find yourself dealing with aggressive people:

Remain calm.

The absolute most important thing to do when dealing with someone who is being aggressive to you is to be calm and grounded.  Whenever we are stressed, angry, and ready to really duke it out with them, then we’re certainly not going to make any kind of progress.

As the old saying goes, “You can’t fight fire with fire”.  So we have to be sure that we are calm and ready to openly discuss the issue.  This will not only benefit you by being able to self-control, but it will also help the other person calm down as well.

So when you find yourself in the presence of or in an interaction with someone who is being a bit aggressive, then stop and take a brief moment to take a few really deep breaths to get yourself centered.

Empathize with the other person.

When another person is being kind of aggressive, more often than not, it’s because they’re stressed.  Maybe they have a lot of work on their plate that is making them feel overwhelmed.  Maybe they are low on sleep or they haven’t eaten lunch that day.  Maybe they are still frustrated from dealing with the crazy traffic that they were just in and haven’t had a chance to “wind down” from that yet.

Whatever the case, it’s important to know and recognize that the other person is stressed.  Understanding this will help us to be more compassionate in any of our communications with them about the issue.

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Tweet: By empathizing with another, we allow ourselves to be more compassionate in our communication with them. @jenilyn8705

Express your concern.

Next, it’s important to express your concern with the other person.  As a stated earlier, often times a person is acting aggressive because they are stressed.  Therefore, it’s also important to keep in mind that, because they are stressed, it is very likely that the person is not consciously aware of what they are doing.  It is likely that they are simply just acting on autopilot and have absolutely no idea what they are doing.

Because of this, it is important that we respond in a sensitive manner.  We don’t want to aggressively say, “Stop interrupting me and listen!” in response.  Instead, you may want to try to make an empathetic statement like, “You seem really stressed” or “You’re talking very loudly”.  This will help knock them out of this place of being unaware of themselves and be more conscious over what they are doing.  As a result, it can help the person be more open to hearing whatever you say.

Next, you may want to try expressing your concern by saying something like, “I’m sorry, but I’m trying to say something and it seems like you are not letting me talk” or “Excuse me, but can I say something?”

Be honest with yourself.

Do you tend to be aggressive as well from time to time?  Even the most sensitive, quiet, and kind people can still have a tendency to be aggressive from time to time when under stress.  So be sure to ask your loved ones about how your behavior effects them as well.

Talk about it.

Depending on the kind of relationship (for instance, if this aggressive person is a romantic partner, a friend, or family member), then you may want to have a discussion about their aggressive behavior.  Maybe you can both come to an agreement about what the other person does when one of you is acting kind of aggressively.  It may be that you decide to give one of you a loving reminder by saying “You’re doing it again” or by giving them a simple tap on the shoulder or hand to let them know that they are doing it.

By talking about it and making an agreement with the other person, you allow the two of you to be more loving towards each other and you allow the relationship to deepen.

Take action now!

Think of a time when someone was being fairly aggressive towards you:  Maybe there is someone at work at tends to interrupt you or maybe your partner does.  How can you take better care of yourself in this relationship?  What can you say to them or discuss with them that will help make your relationship feel more balanced?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

5 Easy Ways to De-Stress FAST!

It’s Monday morning and you’re late for work.  In hopes to be on time, you take an alternative route to work but still find the traffic pretty crazy.  People are honking their cars in frustration and impatience and all you want to do is get out of all this craziness ASAP.

When you finally get out of traffic and get to work (where you are just barely on time), your boss tells you a change in plans for the day and you end up having to do work that you have had remotely no training for and nobody is there to help you.

By the time you get home, you come to realize that the salad you had planned on having for dinner had gone bad in the fridge and that you now have to make another trip to the grocery store.

After you’ve had dinner, you now have some time to relax but the only thing you seem to have the energy to do is watch some TV in hopes that it will relax you a bit.  But, ironically, it doesn’t — because come bed time, you find yourself unable to wind down enough to fall asleep.

When our lives are all filled with all kinds of hustle and bustle it’s easy for us to get all stressed out.  We can find ourselves experiencing all kinds of fun symptoms of stress like insomnia, low energy, headaches, an upset stomach, acne, muscle aches and pains, or constantly having some kind of cold, flu or sickness.

We can all certainly agree that none of those symptoms are good or fun to have.  We definitely don’t want to find ourselves tired and sick all day every day for weeks or months on end.  However, unfortunately, this is how many of us are living our lives.  We ignore our body’s signs to slow down and take care of ourselves and continue to focus on all the “go-go-go” and “do-do-do” all the things that we apparently “need” to do.

It’s a self-defeating cycle that many of us habitually fall into without really even knowing it until we have a headache and can’t sleep.  We get caught up in our self-defeating cycle of stress and we’re not sure what to do to get out of it.

Fortunately, there are little tools that we can add to our daily routine to help us avoid falling into this self-defeating cycle of stress.  Here are 5 ways to de-stress fast and quickly:

Take a breather.

Our breath is extremely powerful and important.  When we are stressed, we often respond by taking faster and more shallow breaths.  To throughout your day, stop and take a few really big deep breaths while focusing heavily on dragging out the exhale.  It will get you relaxed in no-time — trust me!

Meditate.

Take some time to meditate at least once a day, but, preferably, twice a day with one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.  You don’t have to do any particular kind of meditation in order to reap the benefits.  If you want to do a mantra by saying to yourself something like “so hum” to each inhale and exhale, then go for it.  If you like to do visualizations then go do that.  If you want to focus on counting each of your exhales, then do that.  If you simply just want to focus on your breath — then go for it!

The truth is, meditate in any way that you feel works best for you because either way meditation is still going to be a very powerful tool at combating stress in your life.

Exercise.

When we’re stressed out taking some time to simply move our bodies can certainly help us become better managers of stress.  Doing some kind of exercise allows us to release any tensions that we are holding in our bodies and help us clear our minds.

This may be a walk during your lunch break, an early morning yoga session, or a mile long run after work.  Whatever type of exercise it is — it is still going to help you!

Put good things in your body.

When we’re stressed, we often find ourselves wanting two things: We want our food and drinks fast and we want something that’s going to give us a “pick me up”.  For many of us, this could look like a quick trip through a drive thru for a burger and a french vanilla cappuccino.

Unfortunately, though, neither of these things are really giving us what our body truly wants: water and some fruits and vegetables.  So be sure to pack a bottle of water and an apple instead of just sipping on your coffee and munching on a nutri-grain bar.  Give yourself some real food.  If you really pay attention to your body when you eat something natural, real, and whole you will definitely notice a shift the second you do!

Be alone with yourself.

When we’re busy with doing this and that and we’re around all kinds of people, it’s easy to not only be stressed out over our own stuff but be caught up in their own stress and frustrations as well!

For this reason, it’s incredibly important and very beneficial to take some time every day to simply just be alone with yourself to give yourself the opportunity to get re-centered over what it is that you feel and what you are experiencing throughout your day.

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Take action now!

From the list above, choose at least one of the ways to de-stress and go do it right now!  After you’ve done the task, share in the comments below your experience.  How has doing this benefited you?  How do you feel now that you’ve done it?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!