Well-being

Men’s Mental Health

Today is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This week leading up to Father’s Day is an awareness week all about men’s mental health.

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It’s hard being a female in society with a mental illness; due to the gender stereotypes that have formed over the years, women are perceived as emotional beings. These same stereotypes have also acted as a barrier for males suffering from mental illness as they are supposed to be the strong ones who don’t let things get to them.

Regardless of gender, race, or age, mental illness can affect all of us. Social stigma inhibits individuals from sharing their stories or getting the help they require.

Examining males, specifically (taken from Movember Canada):

  • 1 in 10 Canadian men will experience major depression in the course of their lives
  • 3 of every 4 suicides are men

What can we do?

  • Talk about it. Ask questions. The more we talk, the more we combat the stigma as we build an understanding.
  • Listen. Listen to their stories. Listen for cries for help. Listen to your friend.
  • Encourage action.
  • Check in with those you love.

Here are a list of articles and resources I recommend taking a look at:

https://ca.movember.com/mens-health/we-need-to-talk

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/talking-about-men/201702/mens-mental-health-silent-crisis

https://headsupguys.org/

Making a List & Checking it Twice

It’s Wellness Wednesday of March Break! I am working today so not entirely a break but it isn’t so bad when you love what you do.

To help break down all the thoughts in my head and all the things I feel like I have to do, I like to make lists: grocery lists, to-do lists, pros/cons lists, and lists about lists. I contain most of them in a notebook purely dedicated for making lists.

This is what the first page of my lists book looks like:

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There are several benefits for list making.

  1. For one, it reduces anxiety. I find that getting things out of my head and onto paper makes me feel almost instantly better.
  2. It holds you accountable. Just like I decided to post every day about my Whole 30 journey to hold me accountable, writing down your task and goals allows you to be accountable to yourself.
  3. It helps you organize your thoughts in one place. It reduces clutter and I like to break my big thoughts and tasks into smaller subsequent parts.
  4. …which leads me to this point: it feels damn good crossing something off your list. You get feelings of higher productivity and higher self-esteem.
  5. Lists help keep your priorities in check. Today I made a list of all the things I have to do from sorting my laundry and cleaning my room and writing my dissertation. Having it written down allows you to see them all and figure out what should be done first, and create strategies for getting them done.

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I have two to do lists on the go right now. There is one with ~50 things on it that I need to get done (a larger list). I have another that I like in my agenda that is on the side that I fill out weekly, which is more short term goals.

Here is a link to an interesting article I read entitled “How Making Lists Can Quell Anxiety and Breed Creativity” by Carrie Barron, M.D.

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

“Every day’s to-do list.
1.) Listen
2.) Trust
3.) Do”
― A.D. Posey

Daily Affirmations

Happy Wellness Wednesday or Well-being Wednesday! (reader’s preference)

We made it to hump day. How are you feeling?

I feel pretty good, considering this week feels like it is moving very slowly, it has been a good week so far.

A (Mid)Week in Review

This week, I have already started to make a few changes to my morning and evening routines:

  • I have reduced the amount of screen time when I wake up and before bed.
  • I have started using skin care products in the morning and evening and have been much better about remembering to take off my makeup at night
  • I have started meditating in both the morning when I wake up (~5 minutes) and before bed (~30 minutes…but I usually fall asleep partway through)
  • I keep a water bottle beside my bed so I can have some water in the morning before my morning coffee or tea
  • I am keeping up with my Five Minute Journal more. Starting the day off with gratitude is very pleasant!
  • I am trying to read a bit before bed each night while I “unplug.” I always complain I don’t have time to read. So I am making the time!

Other Victories So Far This Week: 

  • I tried vegan cheese…and loved it! (Nuts for Cheese is the company. They’re based in London, ON.)
  • Fell in love with Farm Boy (again)
  • Made plans with friends I haven’t seen in a while
  • I have read and made notes on several articles for my dissertation
  • I got a gym membership for a place much closer to my house with several locations around the world! They offer yoga and Pound! classes and I am so excited to try them out!
  • I created a Daily Affirmations jar

What are Daily Affirmations?

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As stated in the Five Minute Journal, daily affirmations are statements of what you want in your life. Every time you write or say these statements, you are priming your brain and yourself to start believing these beliefs. If you get the Five Minute Journal, they include information about a psychological study that also goes into the logic behind daily affirmations but if you want more quick information, here’s a link with some examples: https://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/instagram-positive-affirmations/

What is MY Daily Affirmation?

The one I write in my journal every day is a combination of two of the examples in the Five Minute Journal. Honestly, I found it difficult in the moment to come up with my own even though a quick Google search would’ve helped at the time.

This is my daily affirmation:

I am comfortable in my own skin and I live with passion and purpose.

I made a jar with 21 other affirmations and I will read one each day in addition to increase more positive vibes and using the Law of Attraction.

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Morning Routines

How do you start your day?

Do you hit snooze a few times and get up at the last possible moment? Does your alarm list look like this?IMG_1704.jpg

Mine used to. Now, I only have one alarm. And I use all my self control to not press snooze.

Right now, my current routine is as follows:

Wake up

[Usually: Check social media]

Skin care routine

Make my bed

Stretch

Write in my Five Minute Journal

Get dressed and do my makeup

Make a coffee and have breakfast

Leave for work

 

Not too bad? Well, I would like it to look more like this:

Wake up

Stretch or do yoga

Make my bed

Drink water

Write in my Five Minute Journal

Meditate

Read a few pages of a book

Skin care routine

Get dressed and do my makeup

Make a coffee and have breakfast

Leave for work

A few extra steps would make all the difference. I’m hoping to work towards better morning and evening routines in the near future and will blog about it next week to hold myself more accountable.

Let’s do this!

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Fighting the Flu

Well, here we are: we’re on our way to the end of February and the flu is spreading like wildfire at my workplace. And I am currently in recovery day 5 of having the flu.

On Saturday I woke up feeling as though I was hit by a bus – a bus that was on fire. I felt like I was extremely hot and cold at the same time with a mix of fever and chills.

I had the textbook symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)

All I could think was: could I have avoided this by getting the flu shot like my mother said?

Reports such CNN as say that the flu vaccine is only 36% effective this year. So is it worth getting? I have not gotten the flu shot because I have been on and off sick since winter started, especially working with children. I was going to get the flu shot once I was healthy but I have not found that time. And alas, here we are. I don’t think I’m a credible source for whether or not you should get the flu shot but I will say that if I had gotten the flu shot, perhaps I would not have been hit this hard with the symptoms.

I have a Fitbit and I thought this was interesting (since I’m a huge data nerd) but you can see how being sick has affected my resting heart rate. I woke up sick on the 17th where my resting heart rate jumped from 69 to 72 and today it is 82. I have caught myself in coughing fits where my heart rate has been at 132 bpm. I hope with more rest and relaxation, I can get it back down where it belongs.

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How to Fight the Flu

Sleep
They say sleep is the best thing for you when you’re sick? They’re right. Absolutely right. I attribute getting better quickly to sleeping a lot this weekend and over the past couple of days. I slept last night for 10 hours and I feel a million times better. All I have left is a residual cough.

Hydration
Tea.
Water.
Orange juice.
Soup.
Repeat.

Advil was my saving grace over the past few days to help with the aches and fever. Taking a hot bath with epsom salts also helped ease the aches and pains.

I hope if you’re reading this, you don’t get the flu or fall victim to another form of sickness this winter. Stay cozy, friends!

The Fight Within

Today’s post is not about food. I am remaining compliant today and have 9 days left in Whole 30, but in the past 24 hours, something more important has taken over my thoughts. Apologies in advance for my disorganized array of thoughts.

Last night, I received news that a good friend is fighting hard with his battle with cancer but has unfortunately been placed in a palliative care unit in the hospital.

When I received the news, I froze. My first thought: I have to go visit him. My second thought: I haven’t stepped foot in that hospital since my dad died and I wasn’t sure I would be strong enough to do it. I want to and my intention is there, but these multi-level feelings of grief, weakness, and heartache are complicatedly woven. To the reader, it may not appear to be complicated. My anxiety lenses, however, would gravely disagree.

It’s not the first time in my life that someone I love has fought cancer or other medical battles. I get overwhelmed and frustrated that bad things happen to good people. I try to hold onto the idea that there must be some sort of greater meaning out of all of this.

But then this morning I received news that a friend from high school had suddenly passed away. A sweet girl who has just turned 25, just like I did last week, had her life cut tragically short.

I’m a hopeless romantic and an optimist at heart. I like to believe there is more good in the world than bad. But today is just a hard day. I send prayers to the families and friends of everyone I am thinking about today going through the hardships I mentioned as well as the people who have silent struggles and other hardships they are experiencing at this time.

On this motivational Monday, may we be able to look for the good in the world, have strength to face the bad, and learn lessons from both.

Whole 30 Days 14 & 15

Hopefully I’ll start to get back on task with writing every day. Yesterday, however, was my 25th birthday so I took a little break from the blog but I am back!

How I’m Feeling

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I’m halfway done!! While not having cake or sweet things on my birthday was hard, the idea of turning 25 was much harder. To anyone reading this who is older than 25, you’re probably snickering thinking, “kid, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” but for me, I feel like life is picking up and adulthood is inevitable. I am living in it.

Physiologically, I continue to feel alert and full of energy throughout my day. My moods are generally better with a bit of typical fluctuations. I am noticing a bit of a difference in my face and my waist (yay!). Clothes are fitting better. And my digestion is amazing! No stomach problems at all – a huge improvement since before Whole 30.

What I Ate

Yesterday, I had a smoothie for breakfast (it was my birthday, that was my sweet treat). I had shepherd’s pie for lunch, and my sister made me a Whole 30 compliant dinner with a seasoned chicken breast, sweet potato fries, and a salad with compliant homemade dressing. I had a plate of apple slices topped with cinnamon as my “birthday cake.”

Today for breakfast I had a Lara bar since I had an 8am meeting this morning and had an apple after my meeting was done. I had shepherd’s pie for lunch and the gumbo I made on the weekend for dinner. It tastes amazing! I am so happy with that recipe.

I can feel the tiger blood coming!!

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Whole 30 Day 8

How I Feel

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Well, Day 8, here we are and man, do I feel bloated. According to the Whole 30 Timeline:

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Maybe I don’t feel quite as dramatically bloated as the timeline states, but I definitely feel more bloated. I’m just gonna come out here and say it but I am not experiencing constipation or diarrhea (thank goodness) but my bowel movements have been quite regular and normal – better than before. I’m hoping this bloating phase ends soon, however.

On the bright side, I am starting to get a bit more energy. I did not hit my typical 2pm slump. Sure, I wanted a coffee around 1:30 but more for the taste than the tired sensation.

What I Ate

Breakfast: Well, I definitely didn’t leave myself as much time as I would have liked this morning to get ready so thank goodness for the egg muffins I made. I brought two with me on the way to work and they were perfect. Just what I needed!

Lunch: Leftover creamy broccoli-kale soup and a paleo chicken thigh

Snacks: Two tangerines – the citrus binge continues

Dinner: A (thankfully) compliant Filipino dish. I don’t remember the name of it but it’s some sort of leafy green made with coconut milk, shrimp, and pork. It’s one of my favourites despite me not being able to name what it is. I also had a leftover chicken thigh and shrimp as my protein.

Yoga & Well-being

I officially started my 30 days of yoga last night and my leg muscles are quite sore today! I also have been diffusing essential oils before bed which has helped me sleep through the night. I am continuing with the Five Minute Journal and trying my best to keep my moods elevated.

My Whole 30 Journey

If you creep far enough back on my personal instagram page, you would have seen various pictures of food starting on September 6th, 2016.

That was the fateful day I started Whole 30 for the first time. After the 30 days, I lost about 15lbs and several inches.

But first, let’s back up – let’s review the basics: What is Whole 30?

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