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Living with A Dysmorphic Disorder – What’s Going On and How to Cope?

I want to discuss image dysmorphia.

I’m struggling with it.

My distorted image makes it hard for others to give me proper advice. No matter how many times someone tells me that I am not the way I see myself, I still see a different person in the mirror.

My “friend” in the mirror sees all of my flaws. She also hides my clear image. I literally can’t see my real self unless I give myself a side-eye. Then, my “friend” will quickly distort the picture before I can fully process what I just saw. It’s frustrating to know you can’t see yourself, but your own mind will not let you change your distortion.

Sometimes, I wonder if I can see any bit of the reality that others see. Sometimes, I wonder if they are wrong, and my truth is right. Sometimes, I just know I am right. Sometimes, I know I am wrong.

When I take photos of myself, I look at them in disgust. I see flaws in every part of my body and mind. This leads to thoughts of self-deprecation. When I question myself, my “friend” hisses to shut-up because I am the one that knows nothing. I am stupid. I sometimes ignore her, other times, I fight her, but most of the time, I cower away too afraid to lose another battle.

I can look in the mirror, and I can see many things that I hate about myself. My “friend” makes me believe that everyone can see what I see and hate me as much as I hate myself. I can unconsciously (thanks to my “friend”) seek out specific people who with 100% certainty will validate what she has been telling me. She can’t be wrong if other people believe it too. It is a cycle that is tricky to break.

No matter how much I protest or try to protect myself from her evil thoughts. She is there, waiting for me to be weak. She comes in like a savior but leaves me as a sinner. I hate her, but she is me, so I love her too. My self-image is split and shattered. I live with this for most of my life.

So, there are so many ways my story could have gone. My path is twisted and hilly. I still rely on her to tell me, “like it is” when I don’t know the answers. She always comforts me with her evil banter.

However, it has gotten better. I can stand my ground and have won a few battles. The war still rages, and my reality will forever be distorted, but I go on. With every battle won, I hope to be closer to my truth.

Here are some ways that help me win my battles.

Get Help / Seek Out Positive People

When you see yourself as an awful person, you attract people who think the same about you. Try to find a couple of good people in your life and be honest with them. Tell them that you are trying to conquer a demon and need a supportive friend. This can be difficult at the beginning because your judgment in others may be off. If you can afford it or have the resources, seek professional help. They will help you learn the tools and guide you into accurately finding the right type of people that you need to surround yourself to maintain a healthy environment.

Say at least 3 things you love about yourself.

Many people struggle with this and only focus on the negatives. Sometimes, you have to stand for 30 minutes before you can come up with something. However, this is what you need to do.

Look at yourself in a mirror.

I avoid mirrors as often as I can whenever I look in the mirror I just think negative thoughts. Now, I try to focus on other things apart from what my “friend” thinks. It helps me to stop thinking so negatively about myself.

Look at yourself as though you are someone else.

I’m the type of person who often sees the good in everyone. I can look at someone and instantly see good qualities about them. I realized that I had to see the good in me. I had to see the positives about myself even if that means looking at myself as though I am another person.

I can look at others and think how great they are as a person. It helps me to realize that people look and act differently. We are all beautiful and unique.

So, why can I be the same too?

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others, you first have to learn to love yourself. You have to see how you look genuinely. Sometimes, it is tough to do. Especially when I feel that person has everything, and I have nothing to show. I start to turn on the negative faucet and pour it all over myself.

When I catch myself doing this, I turn it off. I stop looking. I stop trying to understand why they are so “great.” I try to focus on myself and what makes me “great” or what “in” nature is beautiful at that moment. One of these two mental exercises does pull me out of my head.

So, these are some exercises to help me to learn to love myself. You will be able to say good things about yourself. That initial haze of feeling stupid and vain will start to fade out. This is just your “friend” trying to stop you from seeing your truth. You will begin to pick up the habit of counteracting some of your thoughts and distortions.

If you spend most of your time, your thoughts and your energy on your body shape and flawed mind, you won’t indeed be happy. It takes so much energy and time out of your life. You need to let go of the obsessive thoughts and learn to love yourself and to live life.

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31-Day Challenge: Great Journaling Prompts for Self Love and Self Care

In today’s mostly digital, paperless reality, the thought of the journal might evoke ideas of hidden young crushes or something that you “used to do.”

However, why keep a journal?

As you get older, the benefits of maintaining the journal become stronger. The journal will be valuable — documenting what you did and where you were. Examples include cases, where you want to remember what you thought on a particular day or event. Not to mention, it will help with critical thinking and your anxiety. It has helped mine.

So, in July, I will write one prompt each day. I will ask Siri to pick a number from 1 to 31 and then write about the prompt related to the number that she has announced. It is reasonably straight forward. I hope you join me on my journey. I would love you hear what you have to say. So please, send me your blog link relating to this challenge.

Below are the challenge’s writing prompts for July.

  1. How have you grown this year?
  2. What’s holding you back?
  3. Describe a scene from your day.
  4. How can you give yourself a break today?
  5. List & draw things that make you happy.
  6. When in your life, did you feel your best?
  7. What habits & actions did you do to feel amazing?
  8. Where was your headspace right now?
  9. What’s on my to-do list today?
  10. What’s one positive change I can make in my daily life?
  11. What good habit do you want to begin this month?
  12. Going forward, how can you commit to loving yourself every day?
  13. What would your life be like if you didn’t have stress?
  14. How would you describe yourself, affectionately, to a stranger?
  15. What things make you feel bad, but you find yourself doing them anyway?
  16. Make a list of 10 things that make you smile.
  17. What are your 10 worst habits, and how do they impact your life?
  18. When was the last time you indulged yourself and how?
  19. Write about something you do well.
  20. What’s something that you need to get rid of?
  21. Whom would you invite to an imaginary luncheon, and why?
  22. What do you love right now and how it makes you feel.
  23. Where do you want to travel?
  24. Who is someone you admire, and what are their qualities?
  25. Take a selfie just as you are. Write a description of your face using loving words.
  26. What are your ten best talents?
  27. What friendship that you’ve had was the most meaningful?
  28. What is the unique thing about you? Do you like to hide it or let it show?
  29. What is your superpower?
  30. What is one thing that you regret and why?
  31. Write a bucket list.
Have you loved yourself today?

This challenge is cheap and is great for your mental health and can easily be added to your daily routine. Try to add it into your morning or evening practice so you can start to make it a habit. I usually keep this list by my bed. I’ll use a prompt and write in my journal each morning when I wake up.

Writing for a few minutes every day doesn’t sound so scary, does it?

The trick is that all of this adds up and promote healthy well-being.

I hope you found this journal prompts for self-care useful.

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Weighted Blanket vs. Night Time Anxiety

My anxiety causes a lot of sleeping issues. I have rituals and a need to do many things before I can actually fall asleep. I am a deep sleeper, except when my anxiety takes hold. If there is a nagging thought, it will not let me sleep. I physically can’t sleep. I wanted a weighted blanket because I envisioned it helping me get me to a more peaceful night’s sleep.

My difficulty in sleeping stems from having a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) & obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Anxiety and sleep are intimately entwined. I often sleep better on days when my anxiety is low. When I’m contemplating several things, I tend to have a hard time falling asleep, or it takes longer to get back to sleep.

Sleep problems can also cause anxiety, too. For me, a bad night’s sleep heightens my anxiety. The next day my mind is like a quiet storm raging under the surface. To control my thoughts, I do way too many OCD habits to calm and control my nerves.

I’ve tried everything to get more restful sleep: a white noise machine, pills, earplugs, and therapy. All are helpful but not enough to help me ultimately. Therapy has helped me manage my anxiety, but it serves as more of a long-term strategy than a daily implementation.

Last winter, I realized there was one thing I hadn’t tried yet: a weighted blanket. I read about their ability to calm nighttime anxious people.

Would this finally be the cure to my sleep problems?

Weighted blankets create deep pressure touch, which is thought to help calm the nervous system of people in states of heightening sensory arousal. This is the theory behind why some children with autism may respond to the use of weighted blankets or vests during moments of sensory overload.

These blankets are quite expensive. The price increases with the weight of the blanket. Most 15-pound blankets I saw online were around $120.

Though the blanket was only 15 pounds, it felt insanely heavy the first time I took it out of the bag. I could barely lift it. The dead weight makes the blanket very difficult to hold unless it’s rolled into a ball. The weighted blanket initially did feel bulky and constrictive. I also had trouble adjusting it and worried I had invested in another failed sleep solution.

I was also initially worried that I would get overheated under the weight of the blanket, but I didn’t at all. Despite its weight, the blanket I purchased was surprisingly cool and breathable.

On the first night of using it, I laid down in bed and struggled to arrange the blanket on top of me because it was so heavy. The first few nights, I used the weighted blanket, I woke up to find it on the ground next to me.

Then, I had a very anxious day. A million deadlines were looming. Worried thoughts seamlessly entered my mind, and I had trouble finding my breath, much less closing my eyes. I knew a horrible night of sleep was ahead of me, and the rituals always seemed to calm my nerves. I consciously decided to lessen the grip on my routine and use the blanket.

I cozied up under my weighted blanket and was surprised when, eight hours later, I woke up still beneath it. I had tossed and turned a handful of times throughout the night, but never kicked the blanket completely off of me.

I woke up feeling well-rested and calm. My neck wasn’t as tight as usual. The thoughts were looming in my mind before bed had vanished and seemed insignificant in the light of day.

Over the next two weeks, I slept with the weighted blanket each night and woke up beneath it each morning. I began to feel a wonderful sense of calm when I’d cozy up underneath it before bed.

I enjoyed the feeling so much I even began using the blanket when reading before bed or surfing the internet. Merely having it rested against me from the waist down was soothing in a way I hadn’t ever experienced.

I’ve used the weighted blanket on and off for the past month and can confidently say it’s a routine I’ll maintain.

It’s not a magical cure for my problems. However, it’s surprisingly effective at helping me achieve better sleep and decreased my need to complete my rituals before bed.

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Blacken Matcha Detox Tea

I decided to share an impromptu recipe for a delicious detox tea.

I had an upset stomach this week. It was like everything I ate had no taste. I also couldn’t stomach most things. Desperate to find something to help my sour tummy, I concocted a recipe for a matcha detox tea. It may or may not have helped, but I did feel better a couple of hours after drinking it.

It also tasted amazing.

I had all the ingredients in my pantry, so for something so good. I didn’t have to pay a ton of money.

I hope you enjoy this tea too!

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 tsp of activated charcoal
One packet or 1 teaspoon of matcha
1/3 tsp of turmeric

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup (8 oz) of hot water
A dash of ginger
1 tsp of agave nectar
Ice cubes

First, I mixed the dry ingredients into the hot water. It doesn’t matter the sequence, but I added the matcha, then the charcoal, finally the turmeric. I stir until the dry ingredients are dissolved.

Secondly, I had the agave and ginger to the mix. I blend until it is well combined.

I let it sit for about two minutes and stir the tea again.

Finally, I mix in the ice cube and stick the glass in the refrigerator until it is cold or I am ready to drink it.

That’s it!

It is a yummy treat for my ailing tummy.

Please let me know if you have an ice tea drink that you love to have during times when you a sick or just relaxing. Please leave a link in the comments below.

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I Got Myself Out of Bed Today

I have been afflicted with depression for some time. I usually can pull myself out of it to be somewhat functional. It is hard to get yourself motivated when you feel like the world is dark and closed to you.

Sometimes, when I am walking down the street, I see a group of people enjoying the day. They are smiling. They are laughing. They are in their moment. I try not to compare myself because depression can hide in one of their smiles. However, I still compare the laughter.

I wanted to share some of the ways I get myself ready to start the day. Depression can be a severe matter. If you are spending multiple days in bed, feeling hopeless or wanting to end things, you need to speak to a professional. They will help you see through the fog. My advice is what helps me to get me started for the day. I hope it helps you too.

A routine is my secret weapon to getting out of bed. Usually, when I have a routine, I find myself more motivated to get up and get things done. Even when I want to stay in bed, knowing I need to do a chore will help me push myself out of the blankets.

I like starting my day by doing a self-care routine. This means making my bed, washing my face, brushing my teeth, and having a healthy breakfast. This routine gets me going. I do it every morning. While doing this routine, I also try to think of one thing that is positive for the day. This also could mean, “What do I look forward to doing?” It’s become so much of a habit, that I can pretty quickly figure out a pleasurable moment, like noticing my teeth look really clean, or I get to spend some time outdoors on a sunny day.

I feel like every time I exercise, I get a little more motivated to move throughout the day. Even when I do not have the energy to move, I do a couple of uncomplicated stretching exercises. Sometimes, this alone can get my endorphins pumping, and before I know it, I end up doing the whole workout sequence.

Finally, I go and do my work, I may still feel a little down. However, by having a stable routine, it motivates me to move on throughout the day. I think having healthy habits are like small lights that help break through the fog of my depression.

It doesn’t matter how I feel I know I have to accomplish my morning to-do list. You have to create these habits to trick your depression into not controlling you. Your morning list does not have to be big, it can be two or three small items to motivate you to get out of bed.

I may not be those laughing people, but my small accomplishments do provoke an inner smile. I feel lucky enough to see them having a good time. Habits change you. Positive patterns can help you reach your goals. Even if it is just getting out of bed, keep doing them.

I hope you found this a little helpful. Let me know how you go in and blast through your depression so you can function throughout your day.

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My Spiritual Self Care Routine

A new month is nearing, and I thought I would share some ways that I was practicing self-care and healing last month.

I enjoy connecting with the natural world by acknowledging this valuable Earth and its resources. I do not attempt for perfection in my journey, even now.

I know that some people are ready to jump into self-care and self-development but might feel overwhelmed with where to start. I hope that I can share more acumen with all of you.

Go Barefoot:
Earthing is the practice of shoeless walking. It feels good to go barefooted and do this with confidence, without craving the acceptance of others. I feel grounded on this Earth and get the sensation that I do belong on this planet and this Universe.

Breathe Mindfully:
I often hold my breath and looked tense when things get a little rough. I have experienced more emotional security and calm after following different breathing techniques. Mindful breathing allows me to be more in the present moment. It helps me better cope with my anxious feelings.

Healthy Nourishment:
I drink celery juice and smoothies every day, and I also take supplements. When I support myself entirely through nourishment, I can extend the same to those around me. I try to promote joy not only for myself but for all living beings.

Try Yoga:
I practice yoga. I don’t focus too much on the perfection of my form, but more so on my breathing and the awareness that I feel in my body and mind. I try to stay mindful even through the discomfort.

Connection through Meditation:
I started meditating about ten years ago. I was not able to focus in the beginning. It took me a few years to be aware of my breath and posture. I try to keep up with my morning prayers. I also express affirmations daily when I meditate. I do this to unite with the divine being and my spiritual self.

I’m grateful that you stuck around to read what I have shared.

Please let me know if you have practice any self-care routines in May, and how did you feel about it? Do you intend to continue self-care or start in June?

I hope so!

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“Stop being a Jerk!”

No one has ever really said to me, “ Hey, I believe the emotion is self-serving. You jerk. ” yet, it could not strike me at all to see that some of my friends and family believe my emotions are self-serving. Furthermore to be clear, getting emotional does cause me to do some pretty self-centered things at the name of self-care. Then to those people who believe my emotion is selfish, I get it.

Really, I do.

The situation is, my emotions are uncertain, so sometimes I’m somewhat unpredictable. There’s not more I can do about this. I can’t just plan my anxiety attacks ahead of time. Oh, sometimes managing my emotions means canceling plans last minute so I will stay home and concentrate on my breathing. Sometimes it means dropping out with my friends. I would rather instead virtually observe and like photos. I totally can’t speak to them when I am way too anxious.

While I ultimately see how someone might believe my emotion is merely an excuse to be a flaky jerk, it’s really not. I’ve realized that I can be sort of flaky sometimes. Yes, I don’t attend functions and would rather avoid your text on an invitation than confront the fact that I will disappoint you. I mean I am literally worried about everything at that point. I am too worried to understand that not saying anything is worse than a saying, “no.”

This is rude as hell, but on these times that my emotions are out of power, it’s not at all unusual for me to withdraw any and all plans to interact with other humans. There are moments when my mind is trying very hard to defend me by getting me to accept the worst possible consequences for my actions, which sometimes only leads me to get more emotional than I had been in the first place.

Let me be clear: No one has ever really said to me, “ Hey, I believe the emotion is self-serving. You jerk. ” However, every day, I feel like this, and it doesn’t go away. I have learned to accept it and clear out some of the mental clutter, but when an attack happens I want to scream to my anxiety, “Why are you taking this away from my loved ones and me? I want to feel and experience!”

“Stop being a Jerk!”