How to Care for Yourself While Caring for Others

How do you care for yourself while you're caring for others? Read on to learn more about how you can nourish yourself while nourishing others.

If you’re accustomed to putting others first before themselves, you’re more susceptible to mental and emotional burnout. Sadly, many other-oriented caregivers may not even realize they’re on the verge of this burnout until they hit the wall. This phenomenon, in turn, begs the question: how do you care for yourself while you’re caring for others?

This question can be hard to answer, especially if you’re not used to thinking about your needs. However, that’s precisely what we’re here to explore today: how you can take care of yourself while simultaneously caring for your loved ones around. Read on to learn more about how you can nourish yourself while nourishing others.

Take A Timeout

Think about the last time you felt overwhelmed by the thought of caring for someone else. How did you feel? Did you feel anxious? Do you feel exhausted? Or maybe you feel frustrated? No matter what you felt, take a moment to tell yourself that these are all perfectly valid emotions and that you are not wrong or bad for feeling emotions. After that, take 20 minutes for yourself to decompress. This little break can look like a long walk, a sit on the couch, or even a quick laugh break watching some of your favorite funny videos on YouTube. These quick breaks are especially great for students, no matter whether you’re in a bachelor’s or master’s program, and they can be integral in maintaining your sanity.

mom reading to her children

Prioritize

As a natural caregiver, your inclination is most likely towards other people. While this can be a great instinct, it can quickly go haywire if you don’t prioritize your needs. The next time you feel burned out from caregiving, take a moment to consider what you need to do next. Is it something you can accomplish in ten minutes? Are the people whose help you need readily available? Will you feel more at ease if you decide to take care of this task next? Getting in touch with your priorities is imperative to ordering both yourself and your life; don’t overlook this step.

Breathe

Perhaps you want to change the world, or at the very least, you feel like you have the power to do so. While we don’t want to knock your philanthropic ambitions, keep in mind that you’re only one person! It’s an incredibly rare (and often doomed) human being who can singlehandedly change the world around them. In these moments, take a deep breath. Deep breathing can do wonders to bring you back down to a calmer, more centered baseline. A popular breathing technique is the 4-6-8 technique: breath in for four seconds, hold your breath for six and then exhale for eight. After a few rounds, you’re guaranteed to feel more at peace but more grounded in your purpose and the subsequent decisions you’ll make.

As beautiful and necessary as natural-born caregivers are, sometimes they need to take a little more time than others to care for themselves. Hopefully, if you fall in this camp, you’ve learned a few tricks to help center yourself the next time you feel overwhelmed about the amount of tender loving care the world needs.

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

Easy Ways To Practice Self-Care As A Busy Student

As a student, self-care can easily fall by the wayside. Here are some easy ways to take better care of yourself as a busy student.

Self-care is important for everyone. As a student, self-care can easily fall by the wayside, in favor of keeping up with a busy schedule of class, homework, a part-time job, and social life. Starting college can be a real shock to the system. You’re surrounded by strangers and have to learn to fend for yourself during what might be your first time away from home. Looking after yourself is more than just keeping yourself fed and up to date with college work. It also means caring for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Here are some easy ways to take better care of yourself as a busy student. 

Look After Your Physical Health

Take your health seriously. You’ve already read the self-care guides that tell you to get regular exercise, but you need to get the basics of healthcare right too. This means you need to register with a doctor in your college town, so you can seek medical help if you need it. If you’re never made your own doctor’s appointments before, it can seem scary, but if you’re ill, don’t put it off. Additionally, if you’re ill at college, you’ll miss classes, and it can be hard to get caught up again. If you went to your doctor when you needed it, you can be back on your feet and back at class much sooner. 

Your eyes also need care. As a student, you’ll be spending a lot of time reading, looking at screens, and staring at whiteboards at the front of lecture halls. This can lead to eye strain. If you notice you’re struggling to see the board, or are starting to squint more, get your eyes tested. If you do need to wear glasses, make sure you actually wear them so you don’t damage your eyesight further. You can find stylish frames on sites like eyeglasses.com, so you can match your glasses to your wardrobe. 

Learn To Ask For Help

If you’re struggling at college, it can be tempting to just bury your head and hope the problem will go away. This solution is not effective, and will only make whatever the problem is much worse. 

What’s causing the issue? Is your workload too high? Is there something on your course that you just cannot understand no matter how long you study it for? Ask your tutor for help. Catch them after class or use their office hours to speak to them privately and explain the issue you’re having. The job of your tutor is to help you, so if you need some further explanation or an extension on a deadline, speak to them as soon as possible so they can offer support before it’s been left too late. 

If you’re struggling with your mental health, perhaps due to stress or homesickness, see what services your college offers to help you. All colleges will have something in place, like a counselor or a peer support program. Make use of these services to ask for help if you need it. 

It can also help to talk to other students about your worries. Chances are that if you’re struggling, one of your friends will be too. Sometimes just talking about wherever is worrying you can help a lot, so learn to be open about your feelings. You and a friend with similar worries can support each other and offer each other help. 

Learn What Eases Your Stress

Stress is a common issue for students. There’s a lot on your plate and you’re under a lot of pressure. Stress relief is different for everyone, so it’s important to learn what helps you to unwind. Try to focus on stress relief that is healthy. For example, a glass of wine might help you relax, but turning to alcohol for stress relief isn’t good for you. Instead, it can make the problem worse, as you come to rely on it. 

Instead, find your go-to stress relievers that won’t damage your health. This might be getting up early to go to a yoga class before your college classes start. It could be a solo walk, dancing in your bedroom to a favorite song, watching an episode of an old favorite TV series, chatting with a housemate in the kitchen, or anything else effective for you. 

lady drinking water out of glass

Fuel Your Body

If you’re going to be able to concentrate and learn effectively, then you need to have the right fuel in your body. The classic student diet isn’t known for being brain-food, so try to resist the temptation to order too much takeaway or eat a lot of easy microwave meals. 

You don’t need to be a whiz in the kitchen to cook for yourself. There are lots of recipe books and blogs designed for students cooking on a budget in a shared kitchen with minimal equipment. Learn a few simple recipes so you can cook fresh, tasty meals with fresh ingredients that will properly fuel your body and brain. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you’re not sure you’re getting all your nutrients, adding a daily multivitamin to your routine can help to make sure you’re getting everything you need. 

Get your flatmates involved too. Suggest one night a week where you all eat together and take in turns to prepare a fresh, healthy meal. Meals like lasagna, curries, stews, and soups are easy to prepare for a crowd and load with plenty of vegetables. Invest in a slow cooker for days when you’re at class until late. Load all the ingredients in before you head out, switch it on, and you’ll have dinner ready and waiting for you when you get home. You could buy one as house, and all use it. 

It’s also important to drink plenty of water. When you’re properly hydrated, your brain functions more effectively, making you better able to concentrate and absorb information. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you can add fruit or veggies to your water to make it taste more interesting, without adding sugar from cordials or squash.

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

3 Reasons Why Mindfulness in Self-Care Will Soothe Your Mind

Have you ever thought to incorporate mindfulness into your self-care routine? Here are some of the ways mindfulness improves your wellbeing.

Self-care is so essential if you want to live a happy and productive life. It’s easy to let stress get the better of you. Many people find it challenging to fit self-care into their schedules. Simple things, like meditation or healthy eating, are important aspects of self-care, and they’re easy to incorporate into your daily routine. But have you thought about mindfulness? Mindfulness simply means being present and letting your thoughts come and go naturally. It’s an incredibly important part of self-care. If you can learn to be more mindful in your everyday life, you will be a lot happier, and you will find it so much easier to deal with stress and anxiety. These are just some of the ways that mindfulness can improve your wellbeing. 

It Reduces Stress 

When you have had a stressful day at work, it’s easy to sit at home in the evening worrying about what tomorrow will bring or thinking about things that you could have done differently. This is rumination and it leads to a lot of excess stress. If you are always on your phone, negativity from the news or social media can lead to a lot more stress. But if you can take a step back, put your phone down, and be in the present moment, that stress will melt away. At the end of a long day, don’t sit in front of the TV or scroll on your phone. Instead, spend some time practicing mindfulness. Consider getting a mindfulness journal that is filled with great tips and space to record how mindfulness is improving your mood. Journaling can help you keep up with the practice. Everybody has their way of dealing with stress, but mindfulness is one of the most effective. 

It Improves Relationships 

Friends and family are an essential part of self-care for many people because spending time with people that you love helps to reduce stress and boost your mood. But sometimes, relationships suffer because of a lack of mindfulness. Often, even though people are spending time together, they are not present. They are thinking about something else or playing with their phone instead of listening to one another. This can take a toll on relationships. However, if you practice mindfulness, you will get more out of the time you spend with loved ones, and your relationships will be better

It Improves Sleep 

Sleep is an essential part of any self-care routine. It’s important because a lack of sleep increases stress levels, takes a toll on your mental health, and affects productivity. Many people struggle to sleep as a result of stress and an overactive mind. But mindfulness can be a huge help with stress. When you practice mindfulness, it teaches you how to let those stressful thoughts drift away instead of sticking around, so it’s a lot easier for you to get to sleep at night. You will also find that the quality of your sleep improves, so you wake up feeling well-rested and ready to face the day. 

If you want to improve your self care routine, it’s so important that you practice mindfulness on a daily basis. 

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

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5 Helpful Tips to Self-Care in a Crisis

Whether the crisis is the COVID-19 global pandemic or something more personal self-care is crucial for survival. Here are 5 tips to self-care in a crisis.

Whether the crisis is the COVID-19 global pandemic or something or a far more personal nature like a family bereavement, break-down of a relationship, or loss of a job, self-care is crucial for survival. To ensure that you’re physically and mentally able to ride the wave of the crisis, you need to look after yourself, especially if you’re also in charge of looking after others. Follow these tips to practicing self-care during a crisis.

Take Care of Your Mental Health 

Crises can cause a tremendous psychological strain. It’s natural to feel anxiety, stress, grief, or worry during and after a disaster, but looking after your own mental health will help you to think rationally and practically about the situation in hand. Taking care of your mental health is personal to everyone. To some, it could be talking to family and friends. To others, it could be journaling, painting, or taking a walk. Take some time to explore what helps you to feel better mentally and prioritize this activity at least once a day. 

alarm clock on books

Manage Your Productivity

During this current COVID-19 crisis, you may feel like you have to take up a new hobby, learn a new language or complete an advanced craft project to have something to ‘show’ for your time in lockdown. That’s not true. The need for productivity is usually a helpful and positive driver, but it can kick into overdrive in times like these. So, whether it’s this current situation or a different crisis, keep an eye on the pressure you’re putting on yourself. Keep your goals achievable and unpressured, and make sure you’re being kind to yourself. Why don’t you focus on building self-care into your routine? You will likely see the work that you do produce is better, and the process of getting there is more efficient. 

Centre Yourself  

Even if this is an area that you have previously dismissed, consider practicing meditation. Meditation allows you to center yourself and calm your thoughts. In times of stress and crisis, it can be the difference between surviving and thriving. If the idea of sitting down to meditation is daunting, consider signing up for a guided meditation program or choosing from several apps that can teach you what to do. If meditation doesn’t feel right for you, there are a number of other ways of practicing self-care and centering yourself, such as mindfulness or writing in a journal. 

Organize, Organize, Organize 

Getting organized can help you to feel more in control of what may be a totally uncontrollable situation. Start small – take a look at your calendar and see what the next days, weeks, and months may look like for yourself. From here, consider where you can find time to practice self-care. Is it easier to prioritize yourself in the mornings, when the house is quiet? Or is it easier in the evenings when the sun goes down? Allow yourself to plan small, helpful things like food shops or conversations with friends. Having something to look forward to will help the journey stay a lot more enjoyable. Keeping an eye on your responsibilities will give you more mental freedom to explore things that make you happy. 

Prioritize Yourself 

During a time of crisis, you may feel like it’s important to look after your nearest and dearest before you leave time for yourself. However, this is likely to cause problems than it solves in the long run. If you are exhausted mentally or physically, the help you will be giving to others will not be as good as if you were calm and rested. Try and take some time to yourself at least once a day, whether it’s to sip a cup of coffee in the garden or to draw a long hot bath filled with bubbles. Some time alone will give you the mental space to assess your situation, keep you grounded and help you consider the future. While learning to say no can be hard, it can help you avoid burnout during this hard time. 

friends linked at elbow

Maintain Contact with Loved Ones 

It may seem like a time to shut down and deal with the matter in hand, but staying in touch with friends and family is a great way to look after yourself. Isolation can negatively impact your well-being, so even if you cannot see loved one face-to-face, engaging in a video call or over the phone can ease any feelings of loneliness that may have crept in. However important connection with others is, make sure the people you are engaging with are bringing positivity and support to the relationship – it’s imperative to surround yourself with the right people during trying times. 

Stay Optimistic About the Future 

You may scoff at the suggestion of keeping a positive mindset about the future, but it’s essential to maintain the feeling that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. What makes you happy? What have you always wanted to do? Finding true happiness – even when you’re not living through a global pandemic – is a noble search and one that can be best undertaken in times of crisis. If your current situation offers you more time than you may have previously had, consider what your life looks like at the moment and how you like it to be in the future. This can be an incredibly valuable plan for setting out life goals and setting yourself up to achieve all you’ve wished for. 

The COVID-19 crisis has united many people across the globe in a crisis, and while it may feel challenging now, there are ways to care for yourself to ensure you’re in the best shape you can be at the end. Taking time away from work and undertaking simple, practical actions can transform your mindset. Whether you’ve been affected by this crisis or another one, hopefully this guide has provided some tips and tricks on how to look after yourself, and some encouragement along your journey to finding true happiness. 

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

Learn A New Hobby in Isolation | 3 Tips for Taking Better Pictures

Follow these 3 tips for taking better pictures, and you’ll be an expert by the time things return to normal. You can be productive in self-isolation.

Everyone has more free time on their hands right now. While self-isolation is tough, everyone must stay inside to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Staying indoors doesn’t have to be entirely boring, though. People can take up new hobbies, like photography, to help pass the time. Here are three tips for taking better pictures so that you’re a pro by the time things return to normal.

Research Equipment

Please, don’t just buy the first photography equipment you find online. Instead, do some research to ensure that you’re purchasing top-of-the-line devices. For starters, you must know what to look for in a light meter. First, decide if you want a handheld option or one that’s built into the camera. There are pros and cons to both choices, so make sure to investigate thoroughly. Also, buy high-quality lights that’ll improve the quality of any shot. People that are genuinely interested in becoming better photographers should look behind the scenes, as well. Research the companies who made and tested the equipment before you buy anything. The more you know about the devices, the better.

taking iphone photo of feet

Choose Unique Subjects

Yes, we’re all stuck inside for the time being. However, that doesn’t mean you have to take boring pictures. Select interesting subjects for your photos. Open your windows for some fresh air and take some photographs of the people outside. If you have pets, stick the camera in front of them and see what happens. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take risks. This applies to camera techniques, too. Try taking some portraits as well as some landscape shots. The more pictures you take during this time, the better your photography will be.

Go Online for Advice

One of the most essential tips for taking better pictures is to utilize the internet as much as possible. Start by watching videos posted by famous photographers. These experts will likely have insight that will help you on your journey to becoming a skilled photographer. Also, post on forums if you have any questions that need answering. It’s important to maintain community during this challenging time. Luckily, the internet is a beneficial tool that can keep people connected and provide support to those who need it.

taking iphone photo of bag and flowers

Staying inside for an extended period can have a significant impact on anyone’s mental health. That’s why it’s crucial to reach out to your loved ones when needed. Also, try to take up new hobbies that will distract you from the craziness of the world. Photography is the perfect hobby, and if you follow these tips for taking better pictures, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Meet the Author

Kayla is a writer, artist, and designer from the Chicagoland area. She incorporates her creativity to produce work that is informative and thought-provoking.

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3 Ways to Practice Self-Care with a Makeover at Home

Follow these ways to give yourself a makeover at home if you’re looking for a change. Your loved one won’t even recognize you when things return to normal.

The world is unrecognizable at the moment. We all want to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus. However, staying inside is easier than it seems. People are all over the country are struggling with complex emotions that come along with social distancing. Anyone wondering how to lift their spirits while in self-isolation should follow these ways to give yourself a makeover at home. Show yourself a little love during this uncertain time.

Choose a New Fashion Style

Social distancing provides the perfect opportunity for anyone to rebrand themselves. Start by researching all the different fashion styles, so you can determine which is the best fit for you. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box, either. Experiment with different looks until you find one that works for you. The best part is, no one will see you! You don’t have to show anyone an outfit that you’re uncomfortable wearing. Play around a little. Once you find a style that works for you, set up a nice little photoshoot in your living room and post the pictures on social media. Your followers will give you nothing but compliments if they believe you’re confident in the look.

women doing makeup

Order Beauty Products Online

Sadly, many retail stores across the country are closed right now. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your beauty routine while you’re at home. Order beauty products online. Lots of stores have an online chatting option, so you can speak to a consultant if you have any questions. Be sure to inquire about the shop’s return policy before you purchase anything, though. That way, if you try an eyeshadow that you don’t like, you can return it and find the perfect shade. Not only is ordering materials online a crucial step of an at-home makeover, but you’ll be doing your part to stimulate the economy and maybe even help small businesses in need.

Watch Tutorials

There are only so many shows on Netflix. Do yourself a favor and turn off the TV every once in a while. Instead, watch beauty tutorials online that’ll help you achieve the makeover of your dreams. The old saying is true—practice makes perfect. If you want to impress people with your new look when things return to normal, watch expert videos online about how to improve your beauty routine. Many people online can show you how to correctly apply makeup or what to do with curly hair. If you watch these videos repeatedly, you’ll become a professional in your own right.

teen doing nails on bed

Anyone who needs a little self-isolation pick-me-up should follow these ways to give yourself a makeover at home. There’s so much uncertainty in the air right now. All of this doubt can get a person down in the dumps. So, please, do whatever you can to make yourself feel better; whether that’s trying new hobbies, connecting with friends, or giving yourself a makeover. Try your best not to focus on the negatives. We’ll get through this together.

Meet the Author

Kayla is a writer, artist, and designer from the Chicagoland area. She incorporates her creativity to produce work that is informative and thought-provoking.

Methods of Reducing Everyday Stress for College Students

These methods of reducing everyday stress for college students will help you remain calm, cool, and focused during your time inside and outside of class.

Going to college should be an exciting moment for students; however, it can often be a stressful process. For many students, it’s their first time out on their own. College introduces a new level of independence and responsibility that may feel overwhelming at times. If you can relate to this, don’t worry. Following these methods of reducing everyday stress for college students can be your keys to success.

Monitor Your Sleep Schedule

One of the biggest problems that students run into during college is partying. There’s nothing inherently wrong with going to parties. Ultimately, it’s all about putting your educational priorities first. It’s important that students get seven to nine hours of sleep during school nights. This will help you avoid feeling burnt out during your daily routine. By making sure you schedule your day with those sleep hours in mind, you can maximize your drive and overall attitude.

Avoid Car Troubles

If you rely on your vehicle to get to class, then unexpected car issues can introduce a whole new world of stress. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution. If you look at your car’s owner manual, you should find a maintenance schedule within. Make sure you consistently stick to that schedule and visit your local experts. Also, always take care of your tires; if they face problems, getting around will be near impossible. If you’re in the Knoxville area, for example, there are tire experts who offer a great product for an affordable price.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Another college cliché is students ordering food instead of making their own healthy meals at home. There’s nothing wrong with ordering a pizza every now and then, but you should be prioritizing healthy food throughout the week. Relying on junk food and energy drinks to get you through the day will inevitably lead to burnout. Focus on foods that will keep your body healthy and your mind engaged.

Be Active

Between sitting in class and sitting in your dorm doing homework, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of sitting down most of your day. Throughout the week, you should consistently implement a workout routine. This can include running, lifting, or even yoga. These are simple ways to increase physical and mental health.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

If you’re taking the proper steps to relieve stress but it doesn’t seem to work, don’t panic. It’s important to remember that there are many students suffering from stress every day. Don’t think twice about reaching out to a counselor or fellow student for help. Sometimes, simply talking things out with someone else can put things in a new and positive perspective.

Methods of reducing everyday stress for college students are incredibly important for university attendees to research. College can be a life-altering experience for students, opening doors they never thought possible before. By combating the everyday stress inducers of college life, you can make those years some of the best years of your life.

Meet the Author

Kayla is a writer, artist, and designer from the Chicagoland area. She incorporates her creativity to produce work that is informative and thought-provoking.

How to Deal With Having A Toxic Family

There are all kinds of different families out there, even toxic ones. If you are struggling with a toxic family, here are some tips to help you deal.

By definition, a family is “a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.” However, we can all agree that there are all kinds of different families out there, stretching beyond this simple definition. For most people, it is much more than a gene connection – it is the core of love, support, and compassion. However, while positive feelings are indeed present, families can be complicated.

Just remember the splendid portrait of a dysfunctional family that is the movie “The Royal Tenenbaums.” In this movie, eccentric and weird individuals are joined in one group, trying to overcome their past traumas and differences as the story progresses. It’s a tribute to all the people struggling with their family relationships. Still, the movie is only a two-hour snippet, while real life is something that you cannot simply put aside after the end credits. If you are struggling with a toxic family, here are some tips that will help you deal with all the poison.

Identify the signs of toxic behavior

Family relationships are packed with emotions, and it is often difficult to be cool-minded when thinking about them. That is why it is essential to take the time to reflect on your family’s behavior and identify toxic elements. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • One or more family members want to have control over your actions (who you’re dating, what you’re doing in your career, your choice of friends, etc.)
  • Your siblings are too competitive, and they seek to outshine one another in everything.
  • They use threats or emotional blackmail.
  • They are too critical about everything.
  • You don’t feel comfortable being yourself in front of them.
  • Someone is always complaining.
  • There is no end to the drama.
hand on window rainy day

Assess the impact it has on you

Sometimes, it seems more comfortable to ignore the problems and observe them as occasional quarrels. If you asses and admit the effect that situations like these have on you, it will be easier to face the problem head-on. If the majority of your interactions are negative, this could lead to depression, anger management problems, anxiety, and stress. Think about how you feel after a family dinner, what emotions a phone conversation with your parents causes, etc. Don’t hesitate to talk with an expert about it.

Understand your differences

It’s only natural that people are different. These dissimilarities are even more apparent when there’s more than one generation involved. Just think about the different ways you and your parents tackle finances and success in general. And what about romantic relationships, marriage, and offspring? Acknowledge their viewpoint, but don’t let it have any impact on how you live your life. Make sure you make that clear to them.

Set boundaries

Toxic family and people meddling in your personal affairs can be exhausting, and it’s no exception with family. They will test your patience and tolerance to the point where you start losing it. Tell them how far they can go with you and don’t allow them to take one step over that line. You don’t need to be there for every crisis or be available at all times. Most certainly, you are not obligated to change yourself in any way.

black and white shoes rainy day

Practice detachment

You don’t have to be involved in every petty argument in your family. Don’t participate in messy situations, try to keep the conversations light, avoid topics that lead to quarrels, or be shy to abandon the conversation when it becomes too much for you.

Keep some things to yourself

Toxic families and individuals have their way of using the things you say against you. Are there some past actions or personal regrets of yours that you’ve told your family, and now you never hear the end of it even though you’ve asked them to finally let it go? Are your personal failures and fears used against you in arguments?

If that’s the case, try to save some details from your personal and professional life for yourself, and share only the things that are either very relevant or have a positive context.

shh

Enough Is Enough

All of us feel like we’re in debt to our family  – and that is true, to some extent. However, when you’ve been through years of emotional torture, and you feel like you’ve tried everything, perhaps it’s time to cut ties. Here are some things that should raise red flags:

  • They insist on intruding on your privacy even after you’ve tried all the tips above.
  • They are verbally abusive (body-shaming, name-calling, rudeness, or slurs).
  • They are manipulative and won’t hesitate to lie to you to get what they want.
  • Every contact with them causes emotional distress.

You can see how things go and how you feel if you distance yourself from them temporarily, or you can decide on permanent isolation. If you can, don’t cut all ties suddenly. Try to explain to them what’s going on (you can write a letter, make a phone call, or talk to them personally). Prepare for their reaction, but expect that you will feel some guilt and confusion as well. Be sure to have a close friend or a counselor to help you through the rough times.

Toxic families can make us feel unworthy, sad, and small. But the fact they make you feel like that doesn’t mean you truly are. Look within, learn to appreciate who you are, and love yourself. Everything else will follow.

Meet The Author

Sarah is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.

45+ Quarantine Tips for A Healthy Mind & Body

The world is different these days. Quarantine can be difficult for some, so I have created a list of tips to remain healthy and happy with this Quarantine.

As you probably know, a lot is going on in the world and most people are being sent home. Some of you might still be able to work, some of you might not be able to. Regardless of your situation, it is important you maintain the guidelines set by the governing body where you are. This can be difficult for some, so I have created a list of tips to remain healthy and happy with this Quarantine. This article is brief, but hopefully helpful for you at this time.

If you are looking for more information regarding the Coronavirus, check out the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

quarantine mind health holding tea

Healthy Mind Tips

Keeping a healthy mind can be difficult right now. Here are some tips to keep your mind healthy during Covid19 Quarantine.

  1. Limit exposure to the news
  2. Call or video chat your loved ones
  3. Keep a journal
  4. Allow yourself to feel
  5. Cry if you need to
  6. Create a self-care plan
  7. Write letters to your loved ones
  8. Connect with your friends and family on social media
  9. Do something you love
  10. Spend time with your pets
  11. Pick up a new hobby
  12. Maintain open communication with those in your home
  13. Take some space for yourself
  14. Go for a walk (if permitted according to local recommendations)
  15. Take a hot bath or shower
  16. Watch your favorite show or movie
  17. Keep a gratitude list
  18. Create a self-care menu
  19. Try something new
quarantine body fitness equipment on couch

Healthy Body Tips

It can be easy to neglect our physical well-being when stuck at home. Here are some ways you can continue to remain healthy this Quarantine.

  1. Get enough sleep
  2. Do yoga
  3. Continue healthy eating habits
  4. Drink plenty of water
  5. Do home exercises
  6. Stretch every morning and night
  7. Continue your regular morning and night routines
  8. Keep your normal routines as closely as you can
  9. Wash your hands for 20 seconds frequently
  10. Shower at least 4 times a week
  11. Moisturize, your hands are probably not used to being washed so much
  12. Avoid excessive substance use, such as alcohol
  13. Maintain proper hygiene
quarantine productive laptop on couch

Productivity Tips

Many of us are working from home right now. If you are not used to this or if you are trying something new, working from home can be very difficult. Here are just a few ways you can maintain your productivity from home this Quarantine.

  1. Keep a regular schedule
  2. Create a work-specific space for you to focus
  3. Remove as many distractions as possible
  4. Eat healthily
  5. Drink water
  6. Create realistic goals
  7. Create a to-do list the night before
  8. Maintain a “normal” schedule
  9. Get enough sleep
  10. Maintain a clean space
  11. Get ready every day like you are going into work
  12. Make your bed each morning
  13. Take Breaks

No matter your life circumstances, please continue to remain safe and healthy. Practice healthy living while stuck at home. What are you doing to keep healthy and busy? Let’s share ideas in the comments!

If you are looking for more information regarding the Coronavirus, check out the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

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Ultimate Guide to Self-Care for Students (A Must Read)

With the demands of coursework and modern life, students need self-care more than ever. To learn more, read the ultimate guide to self-care for students.

Students face many demands, including coursework, deadlines, and other school responsibilities – all on top of their social lives and even part-time jobs. We get it – school is overwhelming; you’re stressed out, and all you really want is to lie down and watch your favorite show. All this stress is normal, but you have to learn how to manage it and take care of yourself in the process. Step one is developing a self-care routine. Below is the ultimate guide to self-care for students – it’ll help you start putting you first.

Take Care of Your Body First

The first step to taking better care of yourself is starting a consistent exercise routine, even if it’s just walking to campus instead of taking public transportation or doing ten jumping jacks in between homework. Staying active is great for obvious reasons, but you also have to get your diet in check. You’re probably familiar with the freshmen fifteen, but if you aren’t careful, that can quickly turn into the senior thirty. Try your best to maintain a good diet throughout college. It’ll help you focus and feel better during school, and you’ll develop a habit that should last beyond graduation.

Of course, you need to get enough sleep as well. Don’t be that student who pulls all-nighters to finish a paper due the next morning. Your paper probably won’t be your best work because you’re exhausted, and pulling all-nighters is an awful habit to start. Instead, allow yourself time to complete your projects, and get to bed on time.

Students Can Say “No” Too

Signing up for every interesting opportunity in college is really easy, especially if you’re a freshman. However, all the fun activities you’ve signed up for will become a hassle when coursework begins piling up and your roommates want to go out. If you become comfortable with saying “no” more, you’ll be able to say “yes” to the things you actually want to do.

Start a New Hobby

Another great way to take care of you is to pick up a new hobby. You’ll stimulate your brain to learn something new and exciting, and you may even find the hobby meditative. However, before you run to a new hobby, do a little research so that you know what you’re getting into. Don’t take on a hobby that’s going to require crazy amounts of money or work – school still needs to come first. For example, if you’re thinking of picking up photography, do some research to find the right camera and to decide which type of photography you want to get into.

When you develop a self-care routine, the stresses of life will become a lot more manageable. Plus, you’ll be able to develop some great habits that will help you through life. Just remember that no one can do it for you – after all, you can’t have self-care without focusing on taking care of yourself first. What are thoughts on self-care for students discussed here, let us know in the comments?

How To Enhance Your Mental Health

Mental Health is your overall well being, and isn’t something that should be ignored. Here are a few tips to enhance your mental health.

Mental Health is your overall well being and isn’t something that should be ignored. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world would be affected by neurological or mental disorders at some point in their life. Currently, around half a billion people suffer from conditions of mental health. It affects your social life, career, academics, and a lot more. Here are a few tips to enhance your mental health:

Positivity

Research suggests that your perception of yourself may affect how you feel. When you perceive your life and yourself in a negative light, your brain helps to confirm that bias through daily experiences. So, always promote positive feelings of personal power and self-worth. Tell yourself, “I guess I’ll have to work harder on the next interview” instead of “I’m such a loser, this was the third interview I tanked.”

journal houseplant

Gratitude

Your psychological mental health, well-being, and happiness have close links to gratitude or how grateful you feel. To become more grateful and find happiness in little things, you can adopt the practice of maintaining a gratitude journal. It encourages you to be grateful in general and make a gratitude list that you can refer to whenever you are feeling down. It fills up your heart with satisfaction and gives you that intangible warm feeling that has nothing to do with temperature.

Be Mindful Of The Moment

Living in the moment and being more mindful helps you to shed off negative emotions and move on from a difficult past. Being mindful means, you are more aware of your surroundings and sensations in everyday mundane routine like having breakfast, showering, biking to work or back home. Pay more attention to the sounds, smells, touch, and taste of your daily experiences.

Workout

A workout is great for your muscles, bones, and especially useful for a healthy and functional brain. During a workout, your brain releases plenty of hormones called endorphins. These chemicals improve your mood and relieve stress. It’s one of the reasons why people have an unexplainable smile after an intense session of sweaty exercise. These hormones work well to fight against depression, stress, and other conditions that may affect your mental health adversely.

link arms

Change Your Diet

A diet filled with nutrients goes a long way to nourish your physical self and your brain. Try to stay away from trans fats and fast foods. Instead, plan out a diet with a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates, proteins, good fats, and of course, veggies and fruits. These food items increase serotonin, dopamine, and more chemicals that have a calming effect on your mind and keeps you alert. A healthy diet also keeps you away from obesity that has been linked time and again with negative mental health.

Don’t wait for a resolution or the “right time.” Start with these tips today to take care of your mental health. A healthy and active brain keeps you productive and happy and it ripples into your social and professional life as well.

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How Indoor Plants are the Answer this Winter

Over 10 million Americans have seasonal depression and adding plants in your home can help. Here are my favorite indoor plants for winter self-care!

The lack of green outside is something that we typically cannot control. When it’s rainy, dark and cold, our mental state tends to plummet. It is estimated that over 10 million Americans have been through Seasonal Affective Disorder, or as some call it, seasonal depression. When adding plants in your apartment or house, the touch of nature can help create a more positive and relaxing environment. So, while the lack of green outside is something that we can’t control, the life we create in our homes is.

Your psychological health should be taken just as seriously as your physical health. Plants freshen up the air in your home and release oxygen and absorb the toxic carbon dioxide. By having the visually appealing plants in your home, you can help relieve your stress while taking care and nurturing your new off-spring, even in the winter. 

From Gray to Green  

Since plants are picky about the environments that they can grow in, we have included a list of plants that can survive the lack of sunlight and warmth that the cold season brings. By choosing a few of your favorite plants and delegating time to help them grow, you’ll be adding a light to your winter. And if you don’t have a knack for growing plants, don’t worry! There’s a plant on this list for every gardening skill, from so-called “black” thumbs to experience plant parents.

1. Snake Plant 

Also known as Sansevieria, this plant is notorious for being a low-maintenance addition to your space. If you water it every two weeks and make sure to not let your temperature get lower than 55 degrees, this dark green, sleek plant will thrive. 

2. Peppermint Plant

A combination of water mint and spearmint, the Peppermint plant can help with your digestion and bloating issues. You can keep the plant in extremely cold temperatures as long as it’s receiving sunlight. Also, it smells great which is a plus! 

3. Aloe Vera 

Aloe vera helps with just about anything; from psoriasis to sunburn. Keeping this in your home is extremely beneficial with not much up-keep. Just make sure it’s receiving enough sunlight! 

4. Bromeliads 

The pop of color that bromeliads add to your home makes the fact that they only bloom once in their lifespan worth it. The colors will hopefully make you forget that you probably aren’t in a tropical environment. Bring in the feeling you get on vacation right into your home. 

 5. Staghorn Fern 

If you want to add a hanging basket to your decor, the Staghorn Fern is for you. They get their name from the leaves resembling horns and antlers. Since they grow on trees, they can thrive in a vertical environment. The plant only needs water once every two weeks and is a fun addition to your plant family. 

6. Rosary Vine 

Also called the string of hearts, the Rosary Vines grow like beads on a rosary. Just make sure you water them once a week and they are receiving enough sunlight! If you put this plant in a pot, the vines will beautifully hang off and work as abstract decor. 

7. Eucalyptus  

Eucalyptus plants are not only visually appealing but can serve as air fresheners and are healing when putting in teas since they’re high in antioxidants. The uses for Eucalyptus are numerous, whether in their oil or dried form. 

8. Alocasia Polly 

These dark green plants are beautiful and add a sleek touch to your home. With medium light and regular watering to keep the soil moist, having an Alocasia Polly can help you stick to your plant care routine. 

9. Zebra Plant 

This Brazilian plant has the potential to grow yellow flowers on top, with the name coming from the leaves having stripes. Keep the plant away from direct sunlight and water 2-3 times a week. 

10. Succulents 

Succulents store water in their leaves, meaning they only need watering once a week. These trendy plants are easy to take care of, so are a good option you want to start off simple. They also look beautiful potted — with the diverse variety of shapes and sizes to choose from. 

Home is where you should feel safe and free. It’s where you unwind from work or school, and spend time with yourself and your loved ones. That being said, it can be easy to feel trapped in your home with stuffy and dry surroundings. Don’t let the cold season make you feel limited on creating an indoor garden for yourself. By putting in an effort to bring in liveliness around you, you’re putting in an effort to improve your mental wellbeing. Not all plants thrive in the sunny summer, and with a bit of research and time management, your winter plants will make your home life more enjoyable and filled with ease.

Take a look at the visual guide below for a summary of these perfect winter indoor plants along with basic care instructions to ensure they thrive all winter long!

Meet The Author

Heidi is a writer and content creator based in New York City. When she’s not covering health and wellness topics, you can usually find her at a coffee shop or hanging out with her bearded dragon. You can take a look at her extended winter plant care guide here.

Give The Gift Of Mental Health This Christmas

Mental health is incredibly important, so, you should give yourself the best gift and focus on your mental health. Here are four options for this Christmas.

Christmas is billed as a wonderful time of year where you think about others and practicing gift-giving. However, the festive season isn’t always family dinners around a massive portion of food and tinsel on the tree. Often, people find Christmas to be a stressful time, especially when the stigma is that you’re miserable when you don’t get in the spirit. No, you’re not a Grinch – you need to boost your mental health.

With that in mind, you should give yourself the best gift of all and focus on your mental health. Here are four of the greatest options this Christmastime.

Don’t Indulge

It’s tempting to eat and drink what you want until the New Year, but junk food and alcohol only impair your thinking. The latter is linked with mental health concerns, and that’s why a top mental health treatment therapy center will focus on the impact of substances. Sure, a couple of glasses of wine here and there aren’t going to send you into a spiral; however, you should be aware of how easily negative thoughts can spiral. Where possible, try and replace alcohol and junk food for water and exercise. You’ll find that working out over Christmas is a fantastic way to relieve stress and reduce tension.

gifts

Buy Yourself A Present

Do you know that your mental health suffers around this time of year? Do you dread Christmas for this reason? There’s no reason to continue doing the same things over and over again and hoping for a different result. After all, it’s the definition of insanity. Instead, you must prepare for the inevitable knock to your mental health by treating yourself to a gift. A spa and massage day is a great way to tackle the Christmastime blues as it eliminates tension and helps you to relax. Giving to other people is fine and dandy, but you must be self-aware, too.

Avoid People

You shouldn’t avoid everyone because being alone at Christmas will only intensify the feelings. Still, there’s no good reason to surround yourself with people, friends or family, that negatively affect your mental health. So, if your successful cousin likes to brag and rub it in your face, then don’t give him or her the opportunity. You can always start a tradition of your own and keep the gathering to a select few people who you know are good for your health. If they are unavoidable, sit as far away as possible at the dinner table and zone them out with chit-chat.

mug and gifts on table

Involve Yourself In The Community

Of course, the other side of the coin is that you don’t have many people around you and feel lonely. In this case, you can throw yourself into the community and forget about your situation. There are thousands of people who are ill or homeless and have nowhere to go that need feeding and taking care of, and volunteers are welcome to help. Serving at a soup kitchen, for example, is cathartic for them and your mental health.

If you suffer from mental health issues at Christmas, how do you maintain a positive mental attitude?

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

Five-Minute Meditation | Easy Ways to Add Meditation To Your Day

No one has time to sit and meditate for hours. All you need to do is the following easy five-minute meditation methods to make this work. Read More!

Who has time to sit on a mat and meditate for hours? All you need to do is implement the following easy five-minute meditation methods to make this work.

Time is always of the essence of modern life. Our days are a blur of commutes and work. Most of us even bring work home with us, meaning that embarking on anything meaningful during our evenings is out of the question.

This is terrible news for our social lives, and for out of work activities like meditation. Honestly, who has time to sit on a mat when they don’t even finish work until the early hours? The trouble is that by scratching meditation and other mindful practices, we leave our wellbeing and mental health at risk.

Something has to give, and it often comes in the form of the time we dedicate to these tasks. For example, it’s entirely possible to fit meditation into even busy days by merely considering five-minute sessions instead of hour-long marathons. All you need to do is implement the following easy five-minute methods to make this work.

lady meditation

Keep Things Simple

You won’t have time to embark on an intense guided mediation in five-minute chunks, so don’t try. Instead, keep things simple to make sure you can enjoy the benefits of meditation in short timeframes. Focus on straightforward breathing exercises that can lead you into a whole new world despite the running time. This will stop you from feeling a sense of failure when you have to cut things short. It also guarantees some level of mindfulness despite your limited practice. 

Invest In Techniques To Help You Focus Fast

Many of us take between ten and twenty minutes just to settle into meditation, but that’s not a luxury you can enjoy. Instead, invest in sure-fire ways to focus attention fast for efficient meditation. Apps like Calm are invaluable as they provide plenty of five-minute sessions. Equally, mala beads can get you into the zone in seconds. Simply take the time to learn how to cleanse mala beads so you can get straight down to business when it matters. With these tools, you should be able to focus in seconds and get down to serious meditation for the remainder of your sessions.

lady doing yoga

Let Go Of Your Need For A Set Meditation Space

Set meditation spaces are fantastic, but letting go of your attachment to a ‘meditation room’ is vital to make fast meditations work. There’s just no point wasting time getting to your meditation space in the first place. Instead, quick-fire success rests solely on your ability to meditate wherever you happen to be at the time. You could be in your kitchen or riding public transport, and you should still be able to switch into meditation mode to fit that five minutes into your daily life. 

Making time for anything every day can be a challenge, especially something like meditation that’s often pushed to the side. Luckily, five-minute sessions could be the key you need to unlock this habit at last. Simply make sure to keep these points in mind and stick to your schedule to enjoy the benefits you always assumed were out of reach. 

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

3 Ways To Practice Self-Care During A House Move

It's important to practice self-care when you're moving to have the energy and sanity to cope. Here are a few self-care ideas for moving house.

Moving is stressful. If you have ever moved home yourself, you don’t need us to tell you that. Still, there are ways to minimize the stress you might feel. This article will give you a brief run-down on three ways to practice self-care while you are moving!

Another thing you can do is practice self-care in the run-up to your house move; in this way, you will have the energy and the sanity levels to cope with everything you need to do. Here are a few ideas that we think will be useful to you.

#1 Start Your Day Off Right

In the weeks and days before your move, you will have daily to-do lists of things you need to accomplish. You might be tempted to jump out of bed and straight into the jobs you need to do; in this way, you will be able to get through everything faster. Well, that’s the theory anyway. In truth, you probably won’t be as productive as you want to be, especially if you haven’t given yourself time to destress and re-energize yourself.

So, give yourself time at the start of each day to refresh yourself and enjoy your morning. Have a cup of tea, read the newspaper, take a relaxing shower or bath, and eat something healthy for breakfast. This healthy start to your day will do much for your stress levels, and you will be able to work productively on your to-do list with a focussed rather than frazzled mind.

It's important to practice self-care when you're moving to have the energy and sanity to cope. Here are a few self-care ideas for moving house.

#2 Carve Down Time Into Your Schedule

The nearer you get to your house move, the busier you will be getting everything ready for moving day. This is understandable, but your days shouldn’t be filled with your moving tasks, as you still need to factor in some downtime for yourself. This is especially true when your day is taken up with family or work activities too, as your stress levels are going to rise when your schedule is overloaded with things you need to get on with. 

So, take a walk during the day to clear your head. Relax your body and mind with an Epson salt bath, perfect for when your body is sore from moving boxes and furniture. Spend time with your friends. And take the occasional moment to sit down, close your eyes, and calm your frazzled mind.

#3 Practice Positive Thinking

Your emotions will be running high during the moving process. Further, you will likely be worried about moving day itself, among other things. You might be feeling heightened emotions at the prospect of saying goodbye to certain friends and neighbors. You might start to panic, especially when you begin to wonder if moving was the right thing for you to do. And as a result of the emotional rollercoaster that you will be on, you might start to feel low, depressed, and overly anxious.

So, practice positive thinking. One way to practice positive thinking is with journaling or meditation. I encourage you to list all of the things you are grateful for and each of the positives that will happen because of the house move. And think about these things whenever stress threatens to defeat you, as with happier thoughts, you will have the ability to conquer those negative thoughts and feelings that could overwhelm you.

Take care, thanks for reading, and good luck with your house move!

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

Simple Steps To Help You Keep Calm & Control Stress

If you want to know more about encouraging a happier outlook, you're in the right place. Read on for some tips to keep calm and control stress.

There are so many aspects of life in the modern world that can increase stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, this makes it very easy to get trapped in a cycle of poor mental health. Opting a positive mindset can be tricky. It would seem impossible to gain a handle on every different issue you face on a day to day basis. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are several simple steps that you can follow, which should help you in gaining control and reaching a much more beneficial state of calm. You might even see changes in your mood in just a few days. So, if you want to know more about what you can do to keep calm and control stress, you’re in the right place. Read on to uncover some of the best self-care top tips that you can begin implementing today.

Don’t Keep It To Yourself 

One of the worst things that you can do, which can have a really negative effect on your mental health is to bottle up all of your worries and keep your problems to yourself. Trying to deal with everything that life throws on you all alone isn’t possible for even the strongest of people. Plus, there really are no reasons for you to feel as though you cannot open up to those around you. Staying in regular contact with friends and family can be a real help. Additionally, just allowing yourself to discuss any issues that may come up can be the first step in changing your ways. Sometimes those close to you are not quite qualified to aid you in resolving every issue. So, scheduling a session with a professional, such as therapy for panic attacks, may be more suitable. Do not allow yourself to feel any guilt if you decide to seek out counseling. There is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, you should ultimately be very proud of yourself for taking significant steps towards getting better.

Engage In Beneficial Practices

There are so many practices that have been formulated to provide calm and help to balance the mind. Taking part in any of these can cause you to see some real changes. Possibly the best concept to try first is meditation. The benefits of meditation are widely recognized, and many people swear by the activity. They report being able to gain a more positive outlook and eventual ‘inner peace.’ It can be tricky to start off with, but even this is part of the process, as it teaches you how to become more patient and also increase your stamina.

Additionally, you may like to head to a local yoga group. Further, yoga is as good for your body as it is for your mind. Stretching and balancing exercises are paired with soft music and the wise words of your instructor to create the perfect environment for releasing tension and stress, and the rush of endorphins you will feel after a workout can improve your mood even more. 

There are countless ways to become stress-free and calm. These tips are just a small snippet into what you can do to control your stress! What are your favorite de-stress tips? Let us know if the comments!

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

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How to Address Mental Health Without Shame

Mental health is an important aspect of overall health. So, we’ll show you that you should have zero shame when addressing your mental health!

Mental health is an important aspect of overall health. So, we’ll show you that you should have zero shame when addressing your mental health!

Many seem to suggest that the world is getting worse and worse due to the current political climate and the potential toxicity of social media. However, to think that everything is terrible means neglecting to take in all of the information to the contrary. In fact, there is much to be optimistic about. One of these sets of optimism includes the shifting attitudes and public awareness surrounding mental health.

For many years, those with mental health issues were disregarded as being silly, or willfully irrational. It was easy to dismiss those with vulnerabilities. This is a great shame to put it extremely lightly, and will never stop being so. However, these days, many understand that mental health is just as important as physical health, perhaps even more critical.

This means that you should have zero shame when addressing the issues you may be facing. In fact, taking the time to finally accept you need help can allow you to start your journey of becoming better. It can also help you to start finding the light at the end of the tunnel. This is essential for positive living, but it first requires you to admit you are not an oddity, you are just in need of some help. After all, we wouldn’t look like someone with a sprained or broken arm as deficient. Further, only in the presence of unfortunate circumstances, and that’s precisely how we should view those with mental health issues, provided we know those circumstances can be improved or managed.

With the following advice, we’ll show you that you should have zero shame when addressing your mental health:

Everyone Must Maintain Their Mental Health

The main reason that you should feel zero shame when addressing your mental health is that everyone, no matter who they are, must maintain it. Sure, some are more predisposed to mental health conditions than others. Genetic and environmental issues can be a real factor. However, that’s not to say there are those out there ‘immune’ to mental health issues. Depression can come for anyone, as can trauma, as can intense stress, as can panic attacks. For that reason, taking care of yourself is something admirable, something that should be considered courageous and strong. The more we can spread this idea, the more it will grow. Thus, more people will feel empowered to talk about this.

There Is Hope

There is always hope. Even those suffering from PTSD or severe mental conditions can be helped through therapy, medication, or by separating themselves from a difficult situation. To feel there’s no light at the end of the tunnel is not only damaging, but it’s unfortunately false. Additionally, amazing professionals such as Psychotherapist Haley Neidich serve as a bastion of impartial help. In seeking professional help, you are allowing for the strength of support, which we can receive to be just around the corner.

You Can Become An Ambassador

What happens when you talk to someone whom you do not understand? Often, you learn that they are a person just like you. For example, you may have never met someone with dwarfism, thinking this to be a sad affliction that you are glad you do not possess. Then, in speaking to someone, you realize that they are as much a lovely and radiant person as you are. You are a person who is living their life to the full, and this completely resolves your ignorance. The same can be said for those dealing with mental health struggles.

If you have gone through trauma, or perhaps something equally as hard, and that still has an effect on the way you live your life, speaking about it can help. By speaking up or talking with someone else, others can learn how to best help themselves and seek the help they need. It can also help those without these challenges to understand your journey. Whatever opinion they come to, they will at least be able to do that with the facts in front of them, not their impressions or ignorance to lead them. Unfortunately, awareness is just like light, an absence of it will inevitably lead to darkness. However, you can serve as that light, provided you take that courageous step after first prioritizing your treatment and daily care.

To Conclude…

You mustn’t feel ashamed of your mental health. No matter how it demonstrates itself, there is always a silver lining. There will always be a potential recourse of treatment, and now that awareness is spreading, you are likely to find a loving community to surround you. The best thing you can ever do is care for yourself, and having a mental health struggle will never, ever disqualify you from that.

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

The Power of Gratitude & The Law Of Attraction

The practice of gratitude and law of attraction are powerful. I see gratitude as a way of shifting into a future version of ourselves - one we dream about.

Happy National Gratitude Month! The practice of gratitude is incredibly powerful. It’s something that I teach my patients about on their very first visit and continues to remind them of in the future. Further, I see gratitude as a way of shifting into a future version of ourselves – a version we often dream about.

You know, the one that doesn’t have the intense reactions when things aren’t going our way. 

The one that has no self doubt when wanting to launch the business we’ve been crafting in our minds. 

The one that has no fear of judgement and can completely be herself. 

You know, the one that is actually happy living life because she knows she’ll be provided for. 

YES, it really is that powerful!

Gratitude & the Law of Attraction

You see, the more we harness the feeling of gratitude (that loving feeling in our hearts), then, we are actually sending out vibrations to the universe. These vibrations are saying that we want more of those circumstances in our lives !!

This is how the energy behind gratitude works, it’s called the Law of Attraction. Quick digression before I continue explaining how to create a life you want to live, it’s important, I promise. 

Do you remember the film, The Secret

If you have not, it’s all about the Law of Attraction. I personally don’t think it articulates it in a practical way. After I watched that film I became obsessed with my thoughts. I thought that any sort of negative thought I had would manifest. It was actually quite exhausting and anxiety-producing. This is not the way the Law of Attraction works. Just because you have a thought does not mean that that thought is going to come true. 

The Power of Gratitude & The Law Of Attraction

The “secret” aspect of the law of attraction, is that you have to continue to place out the vibration of what you want while believing that you already have it. 

Yup, you read that right. You have to believe you already have the thing that you’re wanting to call in. 

*** This is because you have to become an energetic vibrational match for that version of yourself in order for it to land.

Say you want to be a famous musician, but you are terrified in front of crowds. Well, in order to manifest that dream, you have to step into the person that can rock it in front of crowds. Beyonce Knowles actually had an “alter ego” named Sasha Fierce to help her do this!

Law of Attraction & Health

Dr. Joe Dispenza spends his time teaching people these principals while helping them heal from physical ailments by believing that they do not have the disease they are trying to get rid of. Dr. Joe has them see themselves in life without the disease, and feel into what that feels like. In doing this, his patients are actually aligning with a healthy version of themselves. For some people, it’s a spontaneous instant healing. For others, it takes them weeks, months, years. It all depends on how powerful you truly (at a bodily level) believe yourself to be. 

What this means is that we can create the life we always wanted to live – we just have to believe it to be true. We can’t just mentally believe it to be true, that mental knowing MUST be translated into the BODY. 

The Power of Gratitude & The Law Of Attraction

Embody as in feeling into that belief, knowing that it is already yours. 

Embodiment is the missing piece when I talk with patients who already have gratitude and affirmation practice. They spend time changing mentally, re-writing the tapes their minds like to play or at least recognizing that they can shift their minds. The issue here is that it is not translated down into the body. 

Concluding

Over time, I think embodiment can come if they begin receiving positive feedback from their environment. Yet other times, it seems as if they’re saying these affirmation mantras over and over in their minds but they’re not seeing any changes in their day to day lives. 

Sometimes this happens due to conditioning that has to be uncovered first, the body must deal with the wounds that created the belief around control, self-doubt, judgment, unworthiness, you name it.

Stay tuned for my next post on how to shift out of these conditioning patterns. For now, I invite you to work on the future self visualization process that I give to all of my patients on their first visit. It’s a simple yet powerful process that can be implemented daily. I’d love to know how it goes for you!

Download Dr. Sarah’s Future Self Visualization PDF here

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Meet the Author

Hi, my name is Sarah. I am a naturopathic doctor, reiki master, and intuitive empowerment coach. 

Through my naturopathic medicine internship, I began to realize that the body has a lot more to say than what I was conventionally trained to look for. I’ve found that the body stores many emotions, memories, and unhealed past events which all contribute to physical disease. 

During this time I was also on my own healing journey. It was on this journey that I began to realize how powerful awareness is.  I concluded that in gaining awareness, our perspective will shift, and in perspective shifts, our entire lives will shift and we will begin to live life authentically, with meaning. I hold space for people to explore these unknown aspects within themselves, spaces they otherwise wouldn’t explore. Through this exploration, we come to the awareness that will ultimately set them free and allow them to heal. The way I see it is that I’m just a human, supporting another human with an open heart and a nonjudgmental mind. 

I received my Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences from Western Michigan University in December of 2013, my Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the National University of Health Sciences in April of 2018. Additionally, I received my Reiki Master Certification in January of 2019, and I am currently in a Masters of Acupuncture program at the National University of Health Sciences, will graduate in December of 2020. 

I live in the suburbs of Chicago with one of my best friends and my dog, Reece. I love exploring the nearby forest preserves and occasionally venturing down to Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks. Being outside, specifically in a forest, is where I find myself happiest. I also enjoy reading, writing, and talking about universal concepts with my friends. They always joke that no conversation with Sarah can happen without it turning existential. Good way to be if you ask me!

Feel free to email me at sarahghekierend@gmail.com or DM me on IG @sarahghekiere.nd! Check out more posts by Sarah HERE.

How To Take Your Mental Well-Being Into Your Hands

Improving your mental health can feel harder than improving your physical health. Let’s talk about how to take your mental well-being into your own hands.

Improving your mental health can often feel more difficult than improving your physical health. Problems with your body are often easily noticed and explained by doctors or other medical professionals. However, this isn’t always the case when it comes to the mind. Let’s talk about how you could take your mental well-being into your own hands.

Anxiety and depression are categories often used to explain mental health problems, but these categories are very broad. Two people with anxiety might have very different problems which require very different solutions. Still, whatever the issues with your emotional well-being, there are ways to heal. Seeing as the problems start in the mind, your mind is also the thing that can solve those problems.

Exercise On A Daily Basis

Let’s start by focusing on physical health. The well-being of your mind is linked to the well-being of your body. So, if you want to improve one aspect of your health, then you should improve the other, too. Getting your body moving is a great way to take your mental well-being into your own hands. Exercise improves your mood, so it can be a great way to adopt a positive mindset. You just need to find a physical activity that you enjoy. Perhaps you could join a local yoga class, for example. The social element of this activity would be good for your mental health, too. Stay physically active if you want to keep yourself mentally active.

Talk To People

You also need to talk to people if you want to take your mental well-being into your own hands. Opening up about your emotional well-being is a great way to come to terms with your thoughts. Sharing your feelings with others will help you to feel less isolated, as well. It’ll remind you that your loved ones care about your health. Of course, you might want to talk to mental health specialists, too. It’s important to get the treatment you need to start taking positive steps in the right direction. You could check out these counseling and mental health services. You could get the help necessary to start moving forward and improving your emotional well-being.

TAKE MENTAL WELL-BEING INTO YOUR OWN HANDS_TEA_FLOWERS-CHAIR-RELAX

Be Your Own Support

As important as it is to have friends and family members who support you, you also need to be your own source of support. Knowing that your loved ones are there for you can be immensely helpful as you start to heal, but you also need to know that you’re going to be there for yourself. When your mental health starts to suffer, it’s easy to berate yourself, but you have to be kind and patient. Whether you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression, you have to try to separate yourself as a person from your mental illness. It doesn’t define you, just as a physical illness doesn’t define someone.

Don’t be your own worst critic. Learning to understand and accept your brain will help you to process your emotions. Letting anger or stress take over can exacerbate your feelings, but a calm and friendly attitude towards yourself can make it much easier to allow those feelings to pass. It takes practice, and you’ll still need the support of loved ones, but you can take great strides forwards if you adopt an understanding mindset. Include yourself in your support network. You’ll learn that your mind is much stronger than you imagine, and that’s a good thing; it means you can work through any problems you might be facing.

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

How Cooking is a Form of Self-Care

With the right mindset and approach, cooking can offer therapeutic benefits. Inspired by Kitchen Cabinet Kings’ visual on 8 ways cooking is self-care...

One of life’s daily responsibilities is cooking and for some is even considered a chore. Between balancing your job and keeping up with relationships, cooking at home often falls to the wayside for a quick to-go box.  

However, food is fuel to keep you moving through your day and too often the convenient solutions like throwing down a microwave meal can make you feel worse. Plus, to-go meals and frozen food usually don’t benefit your health. 

With the right mindset and approach, cooking can offer therapeutic benefits. Inspired by Kitchen Cabinet Kings’ visual on 8 ways cooking is like self-care, cooking can foster not only your physical well-being but also your mental health. In some ways, it can be a form of therapy in itself. 

Creates Mindfulness

Mindfulness is focusing on the present moment. It’s when you calmly accept and recognize your thoughts, feelings, and sensations at that moment, then choose to let them go. 

The benefits of mindfulness offer benefits like stress reduction, improved focus, enhanced cognitive flexibility and boosts to the immune system. Mindfulness is common with things like meditation and yoga, however, many activities can be performed in a mindful state. Cooking is no exception!  

If you already love to dive into the cooking process, it shouldn’t be difficult to approach it with mindfulness. If cooking is more of a challenge for you or something you don’t enjoy, it just takes practice.  

Find an old favorite (or family) recipe that can help you practice mindfulness. Whether that’s starting with simple and familiar ingredients or basic techniques, you can more easily focus. 

Or, for the experienced chef, try a new challenging recipe that allows you to concentrate on the current moment of peeling that veggie or sauteing that meat. It provides a distraction from negative thought processes. You may find that different types of recipes work better on different days.

Engage Your Basic Senses

While cooking, you can truly focus on the moment and let your worries melt away. Prep your ingredients with care and precision. Engage as many of your senses as possible, like sight, smell and touch. This will create complex sensory inputs.

Try to avoid as many stressors as possible. Give yourself plenty of time to prep and prepare so you don’t feel rushed. Practice letting go of any problems, negative thoughts or emotions that force their way into your mind. Use the first tip, mindfulness, to engage your senses and immerse yourself in the process.  

Use Cooking as a Creative Outlet 

Instead of seeing the cooking process as a responsibility or chore, view it as a way to express yourself. Creative outlets are rewarding. Spending time and effort on something that you can later say “I did that” can make you feel proud and accomplished.  

With cooking, you eat what you make. You don’t have to worry about what you’ll do with it when you’re done, because it’s fuel for you to move through your day. It’s a fun activity to invite friends and family over, spend time together and improve your relationships. Try a do-it-yourself taco bar or pizza bar where people can get creative with toppings and sauces. 

Stimulates Your Brain  

We often find ourselves falling into a drag of work and daily life. Even when it’s something we truly enjoy, routines can get repetitive. If this sounds like you, having to make another decision at the end of the day (what to cook) sounds draining.  

The cooking process is a perfect way to bring some mental stimulation and change to your daily routine. Experiment with new ingredients and recipes that you’ve never eaten before. Learn and practice new cooking techniques. Research your favorite food blogger, a new cookbook and find variations of a dish you usually make or combine different elements to create something totally new.  

Find Joy in the Simple Things

Daily life is full of commitments and responsibilities. If you’re lucky, you can find ways to turn what you love into a profession, but even then burn out can happen. Instead, choose to find joy in the simple mundane things, like creating a new soup or not deflating that pie, can help make life so much sweeter. 

The act of eating is often seen as rejuvenating. We stress eat or treat ourselves to a special meal after a particularly good (or bad) day. We grab a cup of coffee to get us through the morning or a pint of ice cream to console us if we’re sad. Instead, shift this mindset to enjoy the process rather than the reward. By approaching cooking with a different mindset, we can find as much joy in the creation process as when we consume food.

Meet the Author

As a senior content marketing specialist, Megan is most passionate about creating and promoting unique content that drives client growth. Outside of the office, you can find her seeking out the next camping spot or consuming way too much coffee. Read more on cooking as therapy here.

How Yoga Can Raise Your Motivation and Productivity

FEATURED-yoga-productivity

On average, we spend 8 hours at work, sometimes doing overtime. Then, we come home and continue with our routine, cooking dinner, doing homework with kids, and continue being in the loop. 

With so much going on, we have less and less time to take care of ourselves. In fact, the work-home loop starts looking like a downward spiral with time, resulting in more stress, loss of motivation and productivity. 

What Does the Research Say?

Yoga is among the methods to tackle this problem. Different sources of research claim that yoga:

Reduces stress. Loss of motivation and productivity is often caused by stress that becomes chronic over time. According to recent research posted by the International Journal of Preventing Medicine, 52 surveyed women experienced less stress and anxiety after just 12 sessions of yoga. 

Improves physical activity and self-efficacy. According to research from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 41 surveyed participants with PTSD reported feeling more motivated after several regular sessions of yoga, with reduced stress and anxiety symptoms as well. 

Boosts memory and concentration. To help you become more productive, yoga has a positive effect on our cognitive abilities, according to a study published in the Biological Psychology journal. Reportedly, 108 participants reported that breathing exercises that Hatha yoga includes, helped them feel more focused. 

Over the years, more and more people have started practicing yoga, either as a main physical activity or in addition to other activities like going to the gym or doing Pilates. 

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) shares some stats on why Americans try yoga. Among those reasons, the most popular are:

  • Less stress and improved concentration (86% of surveyed)
  • Better physical and mental health (82% of surveyed)
  • Better emotional state and more motivation (67% of surveyed)

NCCIH also recommends yoga as one of the additional treatment methods for patients with different mental health conditions. 

Yoga Poses to Boost Motivation and Productivity

As someone who spent 10 years in the downward spiral of losing productivity and motivation, I was looking for a way to get out of this vicious circle. It motivated me to participate in a  ‘30 Days of Yoga for Self-Care Challenge’. Inspired by my results, I prepared a routine that I now do every day to feel motivated focused.

Here’s my everyday yoga routine, proven to help you raise motivation and productivity. 

Tadasana and Ushtrasana for Morning Energy Boost

Tadasana is what I begin my day with. This is a perfect pose to do a morning stretch and wake up your body and mind. Also called the Mountain Pose, it is also good for helping you cope with a headache and improves posture. 

Here are some tips to make the most out of this pose:

  • Challenge yourself by doing this pose with eyes closed. This way you’ll be able to find balance without paying attention to the outer environment, helping you concentrate better. 
  • For beginners: you can improve your balance by standing with your feet slightly apart. 
  • You can position your arms as you see fit. A common way is to lift them upward to stretch your whole body. 

Ustrasana is another post to help you find balance and feel more focused. Besides allowing you to stretch your body and feel the balance, it is also good for your digestive system, helping you work on the stomach muscles. 

There are different variations of this pose. I’ve found that the following approaches help worked best for my body:

  • Slowly leaning backward helps gradually stretch your body and not hurt your muscles. 
  • Correct breathing technique is crucial when pushing your body above the waist outward and upward. 
  • It’s best to do this pose in two approaches, holding the position for no more than 30 seconds. 

While Ustrasana is recommended as the ultimate pose to wake up your body, Tadasana also works well before sleep, helping your body to de-stress. 

Seated Crescent Moon and Chair Pigeon Pose While Working

While at work, you can often find yourself unproductive and unmotivated, especially after sitting behind your desk for several hours. I found that some yoga poses can be very helpful to change your focus and bring back the motivation. 

I usually start my yoga routine at work from a seated crescent moon pose. This is a stretching pose for your spine and neck muscles. How does it help motivation and productivity?

  • You have to pay attention to every step of this pose, as you can strain your neck muscles. Thus, you bring back the focus by paying close attention to your body. 
  • This pose requires you to follow a breathing technique. Exhaling and inhaling correctly will help you feel more energized, as you slowly help your body de-stress. 

To finish my brief yoga session at work, I usually do a chair pigeon pose. Although it’s often recommended for seniors to prevent them from hurting their muscles, this pose is perfect to do at your desk (also, you don’t want to attract unnecessary attention). 

Tip! When doing this pose, try not to do it on a rolling chair. For this pose, it’s better to choose one that stands steadily. 

Balasana and Savasana for Better Sleep

 The quality of your sleep greatly impacts your motivation and productivity. After all, sleep-deprivation is the first reason that kills motivation and impairs our ability to focus. However, a little bit of yoga before sleep can help you sleep like a baby. 

For my simple evening yoga routine, I start with Balasana or a child’s pose. This is an effective pose for:

  • Gently stretching hips and thighs
  • Relieving back and neck pain after a long day of sitting behind the desk
  • Calms the brain and relieves fatigue

To finish my yoga stretch before going to sleep, I relax my body with a Savasana or a corpse pose. This is a perfect pose for complete relaxation of your body and mind, as you lie down on a surface and simply allow yourself to rest. 

Tip! While doing Savasana, you can turn on some music and meditate to achieve the complete relaxation of your body and mind. 

Wrapping Up

Doing yoga is proven to be a good method to raise your motivation and productivity if you do it persistently. I found that regular yoga sessions are effective for those, who want to feel more focused and motivated, whilst helping you take care of your body as well. 

Meet the Author

Kate is a passionate writer who likes sharing her thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, she works at Flatfy. She likes everything related to self-improvement, traveling, and new countries.

How to Reduce Stress | 4 Natural Stress Relief Options

How to Reduce Stress: 4 Natural Stress Relief Options

Everyone experiences stress. Taking steps to manage it is the key to a happier and healthier life. After all, research has shown that stress can manifest as physical and/or mental health conditions, as well as changes in your mood and behavioral patterns.

While it’s impossible to eliminate stressful feelings entirely, there are ways to keep them at bay so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Try these simple, natural techniques next time you’re going through mental battles. You may be surprised by how effective they can be!

Meditation

Meditation is a wonderful short and long-term solution to stress. Sometimes, all it takes to calm down is a quick meditation session. You don’t need to do anything fancy. Simply find a quiet place, close your eyes, and try to free your mind of whatever intrusive thoughts are stressing you out. Even just a quick 5-minute break can work wonders in soothing the mind.

The beauty of meditation is that it becomes more and more powerful the more you do it. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize and observe your thought processes. You can focus on what’s causing stress and then stop those intrusive thoughts before they become too intense. Regular meditation helps you to understand yourself better, empowering you to change.

How to Meditate

While a quick meditation session on your lunch break can help to reduce stress, you’re going to experience more relief if you do it right on a consistent schedule. There are many ways to meditate as a beginner. Here’s the simplest method to get you started:

  • First, find a comfortable position that allows you to relax without getting tired. Sitting cross-legged is the most common position, but some people prefer sitting upright in a comfortable chair. Either way, make sure you keep your posture upright. This helps to keep you feeling awake throughout the session while also preventing soreness during longer meditations.
  • Next, you want to relax your body and facial muscles. Allow your eyelids and jaw to droop. Gently close your eyes, but don’t squeeze them shut. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, allowing your entire body to relax.
  • Now, your goal is to find inner silence. This is the part that takes some practice. When your inner monologue starts, gently shush it. Over time, you’ll be able to recognize an incoming thought and stop it intuitively. This can be quite difficult, so try not to get discouraged.

That’s it — you’re meditating! Start with a quick 5-10 minute session, and then try to go longer next time. You may want to set a timer to keep you on track. Eventually, you should start to notice that there’s more and more ‘silent’ space between thoughts. Eventually, you may want to look into other forms of meditation as you improve your technique.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Bullet Journaling

Stress is often caused by too many thoughts that lead to overwhelming feelings. Your mind is rushing with thoughts about a work project you need to finish, what’s for dinner, house repairs you need to make, and everything else under the sun. Journaling helps you to make sense of that jumble of thoughts, bringing clarity and introspection to your life.

Simply writing a to-do list can be quite effective, but many people are falling in love with bullet journaling. The system was started by Ryder Carroll, a designer from New York. According to him, the goal of bullet journaling is “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” In other words, it’s kind of like a to-do list, a planner, and a diary all-in-one.

How to Bullet Journal

Bullet journaling isn’t just effective — it’s also a whole lot of fun! The basic idea is that you use specific symbols that keep you on track, rather than just traditional bullet points. Here they are:

· A dot represents a to-do task

x An x means the task has been completed

< A less than sign signifies a task that has been scheduled

> A greater sign means that the task has been rescheduled and migrated to a new list

A dash is used for quick notes and minor tasks

O An open circle is for major events

The system may seem complicated on paper, but in practice, it’s quite easy. Once you get the right tools and learn how to bullet journal, it will become a fluid process that just makes sense. There are plenty of bullet journal themes that you can use to personalize your process, too.

For example, there are not-so-artsy layouts or minimal layouts for those who prefer simplicity. If your main goal is to reduce stress, you may find that using a layout to manage your mental health is the perfect solution. If you don’t have the time or resources to create your own bullet journal, you can always hire someone to make a bullet journal for you.

You can check out the listing below to view the various bullet journal options I offer!

Exercising

Exercise stops stress. Even a quick jog around the block can work wonders for your mental health. Have you ever heard of a “runner’s high?” When you’re active, your body produces endorphins that naturally boost your mood and stop stress in its tracks. Exercising also takes your mind off your worries as you focus on the single activity at hand.

Exercise is, of course, great for your physical health, which naturally manifests as a positive mindset. Working out helps you to feel more confident in your skin, which boosts your overall mood and demeanor. While you can use exercise as a tool as needed when you’re feeling stressed out, a better approach is to develop a consistent exercise routine.

Exercise Considerations

If it’s been a long time since you’ve been active, you may want to talk to your doctor before you dive in. In general, the best way to start is just to start. You don’t need to immediately start with an intense 10-mile run or anything crazy like that. Just getting your heart beating a little faster is the first step. Eventually, you can work your way into a more intense routine.

Exercise can be (and should be) fun. If you feel like you’re forcing yourself to be active, you’re just not doing the right exercises. Try to find a hobby that forces you to exercise. You could join a sports league, go to a rock climbing facility, or explore your local hiking paths. 

Once you start incorporating exercise into your hobbies, it becomes part of your overall lifestyle, rather than a one-off activity you force yourself to do from time to time. If possible, ask a friend to become your workout buddy. You can hold each other accountable, motivate each other, and just have a blast with it.