Category Archives: Mental Health

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

If you look good, you feel good.

Originally this post was going to be about how if you like how you look then you shouldn’t care what everyone else thinks.

Then I started thinking about how body shaming has turned to people being too skinny. Fat is becoming the new beautiful.

Except that fat is not healthy. But it’s becoming the norm in the United States. And now I am being attacked as someone who is skinny.

My ideal beauty is natural, healthy. I really don’t like wearing makeup so I want my skin to look beautiful without it. That means I take care of myself and I’m always looking for natural ways to take care of my beauty routine. I am starting to get to the point where I am finding what truly works for me. It is taking me a long time, but to me it is worth it. If I can be beautiful by being healthy, then I’m healthy.

Healthy should be the new beautiful. If you’re healthy and you like the way you look, then no one else’s opinion should matter.

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Filed under Inspiration, Mental Health

It’s going to be okay…just start.

I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to be a perfectionist. What I mean by that is that if I don’t have time to do something perfectly, I will not start it. Then things get piled up and I get overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed because I don’t know where to start, what if people are upset with me?

Something that I have been working on is to just get started. Then I set a timer and I can be done when the timer goes off. The problem is finding/scheduling the time to finish it if it’s a project.

It’s also difficult for me personally because I don’t have a job where I have a set schedule. I thrive when I have a schedule and routines. Later this year that will change, but for now I’m doing the best I can. I just need to start. And start again. And just do.

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Filed under Inspiration, Mental Health, Uncategorized

Coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee Time…

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I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I actually didn’t start drinking it until I moved to Alaska. I used it because the amount of caffeine actually gives you a mood boost. Since I’ve started taking care of my self better in regards to SAD, I haven’t had to rely on it as much. In fact, I’ve gone back to drinking more tea. I have a box of green tea that needs to be used up. However, I find that if I’m getting up earlier than the sun, I still need that extra boost of coffee.

Some recent studies that have come out have revealed that coffee isn’t so bad. But what does coffee actually do to you? Well, there’s this chemical that your body produces called adenosine that makes you tired as it accumulates through the day. Caffeine actually has a similar chemical make up to adenosine. Caffeine will actually replace the adenosine in the adenosine receptors because it is so similar. What that does is get rid of the tired feeling that adenosine gives you. Yay caffeine! BUT (there’s always a but) if you use caffeine too much, your brain actually makes more adenosine receptors which means you have to drink even MORE to actually fight off the tired feeling. So what about the mood boost I was talking about? Caffeine actually prevents dopamine from reabsorbing into your brain, giving us that mood boost. If you want some more cool facts on what coffee does to you, watch the video I linked earlier in the paragraph.

So with all of that chemical stuff that happens with caffeine, when is the best time to drink coffee so you can get the maximum benefit? This video goes through everything, but I’ll layout the basics here.

 

First, to understand the timings I’m going to tell you, let’s talk about cortisol for a little bit. Cortisol is the chemical released during the fight or flight response and keeps you alert. There are certain times during the day that natural cortisol production spikes and drinking caffeine during these times actually counteracts the alert feeling, leading you to need more coffee, leading your brain to create more adenosine receptors and creating a vicious cycle.

If you wake up before 8 am, wait an hour to drink coffee as cortisol levels increase when you first wake up. After 8 am, drink between 9am and noon. After noon between 1 pm and 5:30 pm. If you really want to drink coffee in the evening, wait until after 6:30 pm.

Of course, this is dependent on the sun and therefore where you live, so experiment a little bit to see what really works best for you. The only thing that is constant is wait an hour after you wake up before drinking coffee.

Some different coffee recipes for you to try out. These are sugar-free or low sugar because sugar is bad:

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Filed under Clean Eating, Mental Health

How I combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Mandatory disclaimer: I am not a doctor (yet), what I describe here  is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. I encourage you to do research on your own and take that research to discuss it with your doctor.

I first figured out that I had SAD when I lived in Washington state in elementary school, when it wasn’t widely known exactly how to combat it. This means that I have been dealing with it for a while. In 2006, I got a Happy Lite, which definitely helped a lot and was the main source of  treatment for SAD for a long time.

However, I found myself still lagging a little in the emotional department. At the end of 2009, I discovered that Vitamin D plays a big role in not only SAD, but health in general. It plays a big part in immune health and mental health.

Using a combination of the Happy Lite and Vitamin D definitely improved my mood, but I when I moved to Alaska, I had to up the anti. These years living in Alaska has a rough effect on my mood. I found that I was allergic to St. John’s Wort, which is a well known herb for depression and SAD in mild to moderate cases. So I started collecting yarrow during the summer and using it during the winter months (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Herbal Remedies Frankie Avalon Wolfe, Appendix C p. 368 use for anxiety, Discovering Wild Plants Alaska, Western Canada, The Northwest Janice J. Schofield p. 318-321 Under Historical Use p. 320 yarrow was used for dream pillows “to prevent melancholy”) as a tea. I also *gasp!* started drinking coffee for the mood boost that caffeine gives you. I DESPISE the taste of coffee, so I would put plain cocoa and a lot of stevia in it to make it palatable.

More recently, as of last year really, new research has come to show that not only your immune system, but your mental health as well is affected by the content of your gut flora. So I tried some different probiotics until I found one that truly helped, and holy crap it’s awesome.

Something else that I have added in the last week or so is making sure I get outside in the forest around my house. I lived here for almost two years and really don’t spend a lot of time in the trees around here, or outside enough. More research has shown that being out in the forest (called Forest Bathing) without any technical devices is good for mental health. While going barefoot is best, I’m not doing that during the winter here. It’s really not only being out in nature, it’s the exercise. I’m taking Hunter, my dog, along with me. He LOVES running around the forest, so when I have him on the leash, he tends to pull me along. Thank goodness for cleats or I would be falling flat on my butt or face.

When all of these powers combine, my mental health soars. Here’s my current regiment so you have a more concise idea: Vitamin D, probiotics, coffee in the morning/green tea throughout the day, a long walk with Hunter, some time spent in the actual forest, Happy Lite, good music (well, music that I like anyways), and honestly being around people that I like, so hanging out with good friends and having meaningful conversation that isn’t shallow.

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