New Beginnings, New Filter

February 1st – the beginning of a new month.

Filter:  it can be used as a noun or a verb. Merriam-Webster describes it as a porous article or mass (as of paper or sand) through which a gas or liquid is passed to separate out matter in suspension.

The way I see it, the start of a new month should be fresh, clean and full of promise. No negativity, no slacking and no whining. So, how do we do that in a world that is always showing us what we don’t have, or what we should be doing or what we should aspire to be? Easy. You filter it out.

Let’s say you started your day off right (whatever it is that you do) whether it be meditating, working out, reading your bible and a good cup of coffee. So you’re day is starting off pretty great, right? Then you go to work and your met with co-workers who complain about work. This is where your filter comes in: put your headphones on. 🙂 Seriously, block it all out. If you can’t do that politely nod and go to the break room for a sec and come back – or simply use your words as a porous article  to separate the useless information that you’re hearing from your co-workers. Like, “girl Janet is always coming in here thinking she got it like that, she be getting on my nerves, ”  then you reply disinterested “oh, okay.”  And that’s that.

Filtering your life can be used as a means of getting all the rotten things out that aren’t going to help you move forward. And I’m all about moving forward.

With that being said, start your month anew. Begin fresh and follow through with the goals that you have for yourself. Write them down, read them out loud and don’t fail yourself because that’s who you’re doing it for. And use your filter to get only the good things out of life.
via Daily Prompt: Filter

Love Yourself

I cannot stress this enough. You need to love yourself. You need to send out positive energy into the world, and receive it back. If you don’t love yourself, if you don’t do what’s best for you (not someone else) then, the only person your letting down is.. yourself.

sunset-successconcept

Love yourself. Feel it, believe it. 

I had a horrible day yesterday and I uttered the worlds, “I wish I could change myself, I don’t want to be me.” How horrible does that sound? Extremely. Don’t let that happen to you. Smile when your feeling bad, hold it in for a minute. It’ll change your whole mood. I’m still learning, granted, but what I do know is that I didn’t feel better by downing myself. I do, however, feel better when I’m loving myself. Admit your faults but don’t beat yourself up for it. Grow. Become better. Do better. But most importantly. Love yourself.

Saturday Confessions: Overnighter Life

These are my confessions.

  • After working an michaelovernight shift on Saturday, I don’t always go to the gym. In fact, I like staying in my PJ’s and watching Law and Order: SVU.
  • I also would rather sleep most of my day when I know I have to work an overnight shift the next day, which starts later that night. Why? Because I never feel like I get enough sleep.
  • Sometimes I eat candy at work, like I did last night. Then I promise to make an effort to work out later that day and make sure to put in a few more reps for the candy.

I’m human and I will never claim to be perfect. But feels good airing out the little things that help me relax when I’m working weekends. And since I, unfortunately, have to work tonight I’m going to indulge in my current favorite shows. It’ll help me decompress and the drift off to sleep.

And with that, I leave you with a classic and a favorite. Happy Saturday.

Usher baby:

Change!

Momma, just don’t understand.

It’s like a play on the song “Fame.” Get it? Yes, no? Maybe.

Well that’s what I want to write about. Change. It’s a simple word and it’s an action type of word, a verb. When you initiate change something is going to be different. Most likely your actions to a particular thing that you always do, for instance a routine.

By definition, change specifically means to make or become different (google it). Working out is a former of change. Whether it be your mind, or your body its actually transforming it into something that was not there at the present time. Essentially change is progress because whatever it is that your aiming to change is in turn causing you to do something.

Just two months ago, I spoke about progress and how taking little steps towards your goal

One lit bulb among unlit ones

Change.

can help you achieve some amazing feats. Now, I want to push myself and all of you to embrace change.

So why don’t you change up your daily routine, or even your gym workouts. It’ll help alleviate the same monotonous actions and bring some variety into your life. And lets be honest, variety is the spice of life.

Here are three things to help you spruce up your routine for a healthy happy life:

  1. Wake up and say thanks. You can achieve this by meditating even if it’s just for five minutes. Or you can pray. Or just wake up and say “thank you.” Sounds a little nuts, but it’s showing appreciation for all you’ve have at that very moment you wake up like: your home, your bed, beautiful early morning sky, food in your fridge or clothes in your closet. It’s a way to refresh your day the very moment you wake up and set yourself up for a successful day — and it even gives you a piece of mind. Try it.
  2. Sip some tea. The benefits of tea are crazy good. Not even playing. I know some of you have seen the flat tummy tea posts on social media sites. But aside from what some tea companies claim to offer, there are different kinds of tea to help you clear your mind, make your body feel good and even clear your colon. To name a few benefits
    • Tea is full of antioxidants.
    • Tea has less caffeine than coffee. (And for some us, coffee is like crack in the a.m.)
    • Herbal Tea can help smooth the digestive system. Yeah buddy.
  3. Lastly, put on your favorite song on and turn up the volume. Let loose a little bit. Create your own routine to your favorite song and dance like no one’s watch, because technically you’re all alone at home with at least 30 minutes to yourself and no one is watching 🙂 . It also helps get the blood flowing, heart pumping and you get to let loose a bit.

Change is scary, starting a new gym program is scary or even a new routine. But change is definitely what you make it. So why not let change work for you.

Are Workouts and Depression Related?

Okay, long time no write. I know, but I’ve been going through some things. Now, I’m glad to say, that I’m doing better. Mentally and physically.

So, the blog title really just begs the question: are workouts and depression related? These past few months my workout have been spaced out and nearly non-existent. Oddly, enough my emotional levels have been up and down, too. Not to mention, my diet has consisted of fast foods, soda and moderately sized to large meal portions.

I believe all of that is, in fact, connected.

I did some research to back this up (because, honestly, I never knew it to be true happy-woman-after-rununtil I experienced it first hand). According to the various experts at WebMD, physical activity can improve self-esteem, because “When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins.” Those endorphins are said to trigger a positive feeling, which experts believe is something similar to that of morphine. Think “runner’s high.”

All of which makes sense. But lets dig deeper like when you start to feel sad for no reason at all. It’s something that was happening to me, and until I had an intervention with my mother, I was experiencing crazy up and down states.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic admit that although exercise is proven to help relieve anxiety and depression, there isn’t a clear link between it all. There are, however, added benefits which according to the Mayo staff includes:

  • Releasing feel good brain chemicals: neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids (all said to relieve depression)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals (said to worsen depression)
  • Increasing body temperature (said to have calming effects)

Now, the article on the Mayo Clinic website, “Depression and Anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms,” goes on to state that any type of exercise — not just gym and the obvious — can help relieve symptoms of depression. Several activities such as: washing your car, gardening or taking a simple walk around the neighborhood can all help take your mind off of the things that stress you out.

How I turn up at home when I'm about to work out!!! Image provided via Tumblr.

How I turn up at home when I’m about to work out!!!
Image provided via Tumblr.

Also, something which I haven’t mentioned, exercising makes you feel good about yourself. It’s obvious, but at one point this year, I forgot about that.

So, I’ve come to my own conclusion it’s the lack of exercise that could cause a spike in depression, however, there’s so much more that goes into being healthy with mind, body and spirit.

Next post, I will discuss the benefits of meditation and yoga. Speaking from experience, it’s not something I would’ve ever thought would make a difference, but for your mental health in my opinion “it’s all relative.”

Alba 

What’s So Bad About Multitasking?

Multitasking can be a beautiful thing.  You accomplish many things at a time, make plenty of people happy and have time to do more of what ever else you may need to do.

But is it the easiest? Not exactly. You see, in order to multitask successfully, you must write it down. Again, in order to multitask successfully you must write it down. The reason for this is plain and simple: your liable to lose track of time, forget a few things and mess up your order of things you need to do. When you lose track of time and get some things done instead of others, you’re wasting your energy and time.

So, how do we maximize our time? First, we write it down.

Now, I know there are many articles, and research journals that shows that multitasking isn’t good for your health. But what kind of multitasking are they referring to?

  • Driving and texting?
  • Sending emails during meetings?
  •  Talking on your cell, feeding your child and feeding the dog?

IT'S NOT THAT BAD

Probably, so. But I’m talking about something a little differently. I’m talking about organizing your tasks through out the day so that you can spend efficient time on them and get them accomplished. Now, technically, the definition of multitasking according to the Oxford Dictionary is, “the handling of more than one task at the same time by a single person,” and what I am alluding to is multitasking but doing so in an organized manner.  

For example, today I have a few things I need to do, but it’s a Saturday and I don’t want to stress my self out. Besides, if I don’t manage to multitask successfully in my life during my work week – then leave it there because weekends shouldn’t be stressful. So, first things first – I write out everything I want to get done: gym, shopping, writing, cleaning, watching my favorite TV shows, cooking Dinner, talking to my mom. Ok, boom. I have quite a few stuff I need to do. Now, I organize my tasks in the order to maximize my time!

Is it that simple? Yeah, it can be. If you have children, or have social ties that you need attend to – then fit them in your schedule and start checking them off one by one. I pair up activities that I know can be done with others. That is multitasking.

See, the issue at hand is that if your multitasking then your not giving something your full of attention, only partially meaning their is a chance for failure. Charles J. Abaté, a writer for the National Education Association, conducts research of his own on the subject. He says, “For certain kinds of behavior, brains (like microprocessors) are essentially linear devices that are incapable of performing two separate tasks simultaneously. In a more colloquial sense, though, it seems quite obvious that people are capable of at least some level of simultaneous activity.”

In my opinion, if you write it down and plan accordingly you can successfully multitask. I believe it’s good to challenge yourself and it’s healthy for you.

The beauty of multitasking is that it allows you to live at ease with everything that you need to do. Stress free. Now, if your stressing yourself attempting to do 4, 5 things at once – then your missing the point. Literally, the point is on the other side of the room and you totally just walked by and missed it.

Remember your not trying to complicate your life.  It’s all about being stress free.

Breathing Exercises to Help You Balance Your Life and Relieve Stress

I think I’ve overloaded myself with too many  activities. On one hand I have this blog I’m running + a media critique paper + reports for capstone class + a midterm and now a futuristic new media communication technology group project that I’ve recently been assigned. Oh yeah, and I just remembered, a final. That’s just on one hand. On the other hand, I have everything else in my life going on and I’m taking on peoples projects because of certain complications. Where do I find my balance? How do I keep my sanity?

And sometimes, I just can’t make it to the gym, you know?

Sometimes,  I’m  just so focused on my studies and the people around me that I just can’t focus on myself and it really just breaks me down. So what do you do?

Photo Credit via Eva Tricks

Photo Credit via Eva Tricks

 Just Breathe. Stop what you’re doing. Breathe. Keep your back straight, bring your shoulder’s back. And breathe. Good? Now Repeat.

That’s my own little version. I practice it for, literally, about 60 seconds and I’m back. I regain composure and control of whatever situation I am currently in. Sometimes, I even close my eyes and count to ten. Who ever thought breathing exercises could work so well, huh? The fact is that breathing reduces stress, and carrying on a load that is as big as a gorilla on your back normally tends to cause a good amount of stress. Now, some people say a little bit of stress is needed to keep people going and striving for more, but sometimes there’s too much that can really break a person down.

Here Time Magazine’s Health Website has 6 Breathing Techniques that can help anyone relax in 10 minutes. My favorite or most preferred?

Guided Visualization.

In a nutshell,  you’re basically breathing deeply while focusing your mind on positive images to replace negative thoughts. The whole idea of guided visualization is to go to that happy place that you’d rather be, instead of your current state of mind.Time magazine would rate this exercise on an intermediate type of level and they also state that there’s usually a coach, therapist or guide that suppose to help you go there. I think that if you can’t afford it, just grab a friend who cares about you and is willing to help you go there.

Breathing exercises, just get like Nike and “Do it” its good for you.

Just Breathe.

Alba

Moving Your Body for a Healthier State of Mind

What messes with our minds and the state of which they’re in? Stress. Which can easily lead to depression, over eating, suicides, and basically, just a disruption of your whole life.

Humans are generally always busy, especially in the twenty-first century. We’re all connected wirelessly to pretty much everything like: our jobs, our calendars, are loved ones — you name it and theres more than likely an app on our phones that allows us to be connected to it. It’s the information age, what do you expect, right? Well, I find it sometimes challenging to manage all the things that are going on in my life even with smart phones, because really, at the end of the day it can’t do all the thinking for me. I still have to make the decision to get up and go to work, eat my healthy 5 -6 meals a days, tend to my social activities with other human beings, get my fitness part in, and of course remember that I have school and homework that needs to be done. It’s easy for someone to go a little cray-cray (crazy).

Employing fitness into my schedule has been one of the biggest stress relievers to date, and as we all know stress can get pretty heavy on the brain. Sometimes, when I’m just so out of it, I put on my running shoes and I get up and go; I’m almost instantly at ease. Why? Because exercising actually relieves stress. A certified athletic and personal trainer, Frank Lupin, states for an Everyday Health article; “When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that fight stress.” Aren’t our bodies awesome?

I know that sometimes exercising can feel like more of a hassle than an actual stress reliever, but all exercising doesn’t have to be super hard-core, jumping up and down type of exercise to relieve stress.

Image Credit via Google Images

Image Credit via Google Images

Here are my top five low-impact exercise stress relievers to help forget the troubles, make you sweat, and free your mind.

  1. Walking at a brisk pace — Doesn’t matter whether your with your baby in the stroller, walking the dog or by yourself with your favorite music on your iPod, Mp3 or phone – just walk.
  2. Yoga — Yes, it is great for the cute tights and spandex, but also great for finding inner peace and relaxing the mind and soul. It helps us focus on the internal instead of all of the external influences that we seem to pay the most attention to that causes our stress! Gentle yoga, or yoga for beginners is normally recommended for stress relievers.
  3. Biking — Have you even seen an upset biker on the beach? Me either. Biking anywhere can give you a sense of peace. Doesn’t feeling the wind in your hair or against your skin sound good? Of course it does.
  4. Swimming — It helps if you know how to swim, but in case you don’t, just being in the water and floating or letting the waves drift you here and there (but be careful) can also work too.
  5. Dancing  — Zumba, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Ballet (if you know how) or funky dancing with your kids, nieces and/or nephews works too! It’s a great way to let a loose and have fun while your doing it.

The point of it all is to keep moving and/or distract your mind from what ever it is that is making you stress. And don’t forget how awesome you are. Try one of these low-impact exercises when your feeling a little overwhelmed and I’m positive you’ll feel better and on your way to a healthier state of mind.

-Alba

When Life Gives You Lemons, Throw Them in Your Water

Let’s face it, life isn’t fair and it really doesn’t care about your plans. The best we can do is learn to work with it. When I used to feel stressed out there were a few things I liked to do such as cry, eat, or go to the movies and just shut myself off from everything. None of these things helped me in the long run though. Sometimes yes, a good cry scientifically will make you feel better, but if you’re crying non stop then I would recommend seeing someone about it. Emotionally eating didn’t help me in the long run because I would just eat foods that comforted me at that moment but made me feel sick later and chunky! Going to the movies is always fun for me and I still do it every now and then when I just need to decompress but have you noticed how expensive movie tickets have become? I’m a college student! Even when I have money, I don’t have money! Let’s face it, everyone has their own situation with trying to balance out their lives, but key is to find something that enables you to relive stress more positively.

As a college student, I not only have to worry about school but also two jobs (with one which is where I do my internship I have), I’m in three weddings that are all within 7 months of each other, family time, friends time, and I’m also in a long distance relationship which is difficult enough but I need to be able to visit every 2-3 months. Things get hectic, the one thing that I am actually happy about even though I miss my boyfriend terribly, is that he is not here at this VERY hectic point in my life. I am able to concentrate in school and my job without worrying about the time I haveto put aside with him. Regardless, with my schedule and the responsibilities that I have along with my type of personality, it is very easy for me to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Everyone is different, everyone handles stress differently. Since I don’t handle stress that well, being an emotional person (sometimes), I have to take everything day by day, hour by hour. I put myself on a schedule to prevent J.M.B.D aka Jaz’s Mental Break Down.

Keeping myself on a schedule has helped feel so much better. I have Timed Exercise everyday Monday-Friday at 7:15 am, that way I make sure I get my workout in even if I don’t get a chance to do some cardio in at night time like I would normally like to do. Working out in the morning makes me feel 110% better and also just gets my day going to a positive start. I get home and I get some breakfast in and get ready to be at work either at 9:30am or 10am depending on what job I’m going into first. During work I eat my prepped meals if I don’t have a lunch set up with a friend since I try to set up a lunch with one of my friends at least once a week so we can stay up to date. After work I go to either school, work, gym, or take the time to hang out with myfriends.

I try to make my days as productive as possible but I do realize the best way for me to distress is to just simply get my butt to the gym. I have to constantly remind myself how much better I feel after I get a work out in as opposed to stuffing my face with food that I would love to eat without gaining a pound. I love just jamming out to my favorite songs that really just motivate me to get moving. Once I’m finished my workout I feel a lot more relaxed and remind myself, “that this too shall pass,” if I am having a bad day. When you’re healthy, you’re happy. So be happy and squeeze the lemons that life throws at you in your water!

Xoxo,

Jaz

water-met-limoen