When in doubt…DANCE!

Seriously. Not feeling well? Put on some music and dance. Felling unmotivated to get stuff done? Dance. Need to exercise more? Dance.

Dancing is a primal thing, all cultures seem to have developed music and dancing. It gets the blood and body moving. In a society where so many people sit so much of their day, this is a great way to get up and move. You don’t have to even be good at it. Just dance like no one is watching. Especially when no one is watching.

So when in doubt…Dance like no one is watching and get going.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration

Live and Let Live

Spirituality is important in one’s life, and there are many different paths. But PLEASE people, if another person is not harming someone, another’s property, or breaking the law just leave their spirituality alone.

Sure, a philosophical discussion/debate is awesome when it can expand your horizons. But for this to be possible, both people have to open minded to it and be grown ups about it. They can’t be easily offended. There are some aspects of philosophy that I cannot discuss with others because they are touchy subjects for me.

A person should not be criticized for being Pagan, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, etc. While I don’t agree with some tenets of different traditions or religions, I respect that they have chosen that as their path. Just because I don’t understand why they follow it, doesn’t mean I can’t be friends with them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration, Spirituality

Oh the weather outside is frightful…

So slow down people! I’ve lived in Alaska for a little over four years and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that you SLOW the eff DOWN when it’s slippery on the roads.

All you people down in the lower 48 are stealing Alaska’s snow so you better learn how to drive in it. If you don’t have four wheel drive, you better have front wheel drive. If you don’t have front wheel drive, stay home, borrow someone’s car who does have the specifications, or take a cab. AND DRIVE SLOWLY.

If you feel yourself start to slip, just take your foot off of the gas for a few seconds to see if it will correct on its on. If not, tap on the breaks if you do not have anti-lock breaks and try to keep the wheels straight. So if you’re slipping/spinning in one direction, turn the wheel away from that direction until the wheels are straight. If you turn all the way the other direction you’re likely to jerk the car violently if/when you do get traction back. If that happens, you can lose control of the vehicle even more.

You’re most likely to lose control around corners, but it’s also possible if you hit a random patch of ice on a straight-away, so the best way to avoid this is to SLOW DOWN!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Welcome to the New Year!

I know I’m a little bit late to say this, but Happy New Year!

Some quick tips to help you with your new year’s resolutions so that they stick:

  • Write them down. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.
  • Make them visible so you can come back to them frequently. If something is out of sight, it’s out of mind, and this is especially true with goals.
  • Make fewer goals so you have more focus. If you put down 20 goals, you’re pulling your focus in too many directions. Make a smaller amount, like under 10 and as you check some goals off, you can add more.
  • Make your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely
  • Timely needs its own bullet…put a deadline to the goal so that it gives you a sense of urgency. You can also use this to focus your efforts on the goals which have a closer deadline.
  • Know the why. If you aren’t passionate about this goal, it’s useless to waste your time on it.
  • Get slightly out of your comfort zone. Push yourself, go the distance. No one ever got anywhere by staying where they were.
  • Make an action plan for each goal. With this action plan, you can create daily routines that will help you reach these goals.
  • If you need it, get a coach. Sure, you can have a friend be your accountability partner, but sometimes it’s best to have someone who is impartial, a third party. They don’t have any emotional attachment to you so can tell things to you straight without worrying about hurting your feelings. They can keep you on track.

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration

Coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee Time…

goblet-of-coffee-1567990-1279x958

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:

Leave a comment

Filed under Clean Eating, Mental Health

Anything can be done…

clock-1420486-639x426

…You just have to take the time to do it. If you don’t have all day to do something, but you want to get part of it done, give yourself a time limit. Then go set a timer. This is particularly helpful for tasks that you don’t like do to.

I like fifteen minutes. It’s amazing what I can get done in fifteen minutes, like the dishes. I hate doing dishes. But I set the timer and get it done. If I’m not completely done with the dishes in those fifteen minutes, I leave them for later (if I’m off to do something), or I finish up what is left if I have the time. It’s nice to see a shiny clean sink. I use this method for paperwork too. I hate going through paperwork. If I just do a little at a time, it will eventually get done.

But you have to remember, you’re never completely done, so this kind of thing needs to be done often. It helps if you’re a routine type of person. I thrive on routine, and let’s face it, humans are creatures of habit. So what you do regularly becomes routine, your routines become habits and habits kind of become who you are.

One routine I’m wanting to replace is being on the phone right before bed, as well as when I wake up in the morning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Mental Health