All Entries For emotional health
For many people, cold weather and a lack of sunshine can bring on a mild depression known as the ''winter blues.'' People that experience the ''winter blues'' will generally lack motivation and energy. Others may even develop a clinical depression in the form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is ''a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.'' Those that experience SAD may produce too much melatonin, which is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and body temperature. Producing too much melatonin disrupts the body's internal clock and may then cause depression, as seen with SAD sufferers.
Some of the signs of SAD may include the following:
- Loss of energy
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed mood
- Weight gain
- Cravings for sweet and starchy foods
Our nation faced an unthinkable tragedy on the morning of December 14. The school shooting in Newtown, CT, instantly became something that we could not wrap our brains around. We try, but the answers that we seek do not come. We struggle to comprehend it as adults and as parents, to choose the right words when speaking with our children, and to figure out how we can protect those around us who are more precious than anything on earth.
On the one hand, it seems an impossible task to try to write anything that can even remotely address people’s needs in response to the horrific news that has been plastered on our television and computer screens, our mobile devices, and the black and white print around us. On the other hand, it feels inappropriate to write about anything else at this time. (I began writing this less than 24 hours after the event.)
In the aftermath of a tragedy that is beyond our comprehension, people’s initial shocked reactions include the questions: "How could this happen?" "Why?" "Who would do something like this?" Even those in the news media, visibly shaken by the event as they reported on it, asked those questions.
With time, we can come up with intellectual answers to these questions that focus on the identification of the perpetrator, realization of the individual’s background and history, and a piecing together of the events that led up to the incomprehensible. And with time, an increasing amount of the factual details will come together to tell a (perhaps fateful, and definitely tragic) tale.
The emotional dealings with the aftermath are a much different matter. Read More ›
When I find my mood is going downhill, I usually take an exercise break to try and lift it back up. The mood boost that we get is just one of the many benefits we experience from exercising. Not only do I know that I burned some calories, improved my overall health, but I feel a lot better in general and come back with a much more positive outlook on things for quite some time afterward.
Posting anything on the internet can bring a lot of comments and feedback -- some positive and some negative. I wonder though, if it weren't for the anonymity of the internet would the same people that leave negative comments and feedback say the same thing in person? I doubt that they would, so when you get brave people to post blogs and videos, they open themselves up to a lot of scrutiny. Our very own Coach Nicole experienced this several years ago with comments made about her on her YouTube workout videos. I don't know if I could've taken those negative comments as well as Coach Nicole, but I didn't believe one word of the negative comments that were posted.
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When friendships start to unravel it can really throw us for a loop. Learn how to set things right and make a fresh start.
Not long ago, I was browsing through a friend's Facebook page when I saw a discussion she was having with some mutual buddies about a party they were planning. It sounded like a lot of fun. The only problem: I wasn't invited. Should I call them? Ignore it? Do something sneaky, like ask if they were free for dinner on the date of their big bash? The incident reminded me that even though I'm no longer in middle school, my friendships are as important—and almost as emotionally charged—as they were back then. "Connections between women are so intimate that any bump in the road can make us feel vulnerable, hurt and betrayed," says Irene Levine, Ph.D., author of Best Friends Forever (Overlook Press). We asked the experts to weigh in on five of the most common friendship flaps—and how to solve them. Read More ›
''The buck stops here'': many of us have heard this phrase in our lifetime. It basically means that YOU assume responsibility for your actions.
President Truman was known to make reference to this phrase from time to time. At the National War College on December 19, 1952, Mr. Truman said, ''You know, it's easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you--and on my desk I have a motto which says, ''The buck stops here''--the decision has to be made.''
The decision has to be made, but have you really made the decision? The decision to take your life back? The decision to stop passing the buck to somebody else or some circumstance and take ownership of that decision?
Sometimes, as we move through life, we tend to pass the buck in order to make it easier on us, right? There are times in our work lives that we pass the buck to our co-workers. Other times, maybe we pass the buck to our spouse for whatever reason. Why do we do that? When a decision has to be made, make it and go forward with that decision. The buck stops here, with you! Read More ›
Let’s face it; we all have outside influences that affect us every day of our lives. I know I do. Daily, sometimes hourly, there seem to be obstacles that just get in the way of my journey.
I want to share with you a very personal situation that affected my journey in a very negative way.
At the end of the summer of 2011, I started a new job. This job was something that I’d set out to attain several months before. I spent several hours in phone conversations with the management of this company. Many of these phone calls happened very early in the morning--good thing I’m an early riser! This job was everything I wanted. I would be working for a company I’ve had a relationship with for several years. I would be working from home, and talking to people, helping them to improve their own understanding of how business operated and how I could help make it better. These are all things that I wanted and, quite frankly, things that I am good at. I was told it could take several years to fully learn all the different software adaptations available within this company and I was willing to move as fast as I could to learn it all. Read More ›
This was a topic that I have been considering blogging about for quite some time now, but was too embarrassed as to what others would think about me. After all I spend a large portion of my day helping and advising others, so why on Earth could I not figure out how to help myself?
The term therapy is not always welcomed with enthusiasm and open arms for many people. Many times it is equated to those whose lives are out of control. In fact I must confess when someone told me he/she was in therapy it caused me to ponder what was so horrible in that person's life to have them seek advice from someone else. Why couldn't his/her family help them out?
Well, that all changed when I found myself in this quandary after experiencing the loss of my mother-in-law and a family issue that could not be resolved by normal conversation and intervention. Regardless of how much effort I was making, I could not change the situation. I had reached the point in my life that I needed help. Just like I need a doctor to manage my high blood pressure, I needed someone to help me manage the fears, anxieties and concerns of a situation that was truly out of my control.
When I made the appointment for my first visit I was quite nervous as to what even the therapist would think of me. I felt like I did the first time I walked into the gym when I was overweight and could barely walk on the treadmill for more than a few minutes at a time. What would people think of me? Would they think I was a messed up middle-aged lady struggling to cope with life? Would they think I was on the verge of a breakdown? Read More ›
I’ve always been a sensitive person. Sometimes that’s a good trait to have, because I feel like it makes me more empathetic towards others. Sometimes it’s not so good, because I get my feelings hurt very easily. I’m convinced there is a genetic component to it, because I see the same trait in my oldest daughter. My husband, on the other hand, is very good at letting things roll off of his back. He doesn’t let rude comments or misunderstandings bother him. He’s able to take it in, and then let it go. I’m just not like that. I let things bother me too much. Read More ›
How can I get motivated?
How do I stay motivated?
Will someone please motivate me to exercise?
These are all questions that I have seen a lot of members ask on the SparkPeople message boards recently. Motivation seems to be hard to come by some days, while other days it seems much easier. Why is that? Well, something that I have experienced that may help with the “problem” of finding and keeping motivation to stick with your health goals (and any other goals you may have set), is to find the motivation and power from within yourself.
While having external motivators, such as preparing for a big event, fitting into your swimsuit just in time for summer or fitting into a particular outfit for that special event, can be helpful in the short-term, it may not help you in the long-term. What happens to your motivation once that event comes and goes? Your motivation to keep going after an external motivator is over may cause you to lose your desire to move forward, therefore, you may be more likely to lose your motivation and fall back into some older, less healthy habits. That is unless you have some other form of motivation from within yourself.
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I am declaring war on a six-word sentence.
You may know by now that I started my weight loss journey on December 28th, 2009 with a goal of losing 60 pounds. I managed to lose 100 and I did it within one calendar year. I lost that weight by fueling my body with the rights foods and working hard-- very hard.
I’d like to share with you a phrase that I’ve heard during my journey: ''Yes, but men lose it easier.'' Although this phrase is only six words long, it can have a much more disastrous effect than it might seem. Have you ever heard these words while on your journey? Have you ever used those words to another person on a weight loss journey?
This phrase can be used as encouragement for some. For others it is used as an accusation, as a means of denial, as a crutch. It is the epitome of the double-edged sword. These words can cut like a knife, no question about it. I am certain that people who have uttered these words either to me or to another individual did NOT mean them in a harmful way. When a man is working hard and doing all things right and is finding success with his journey, why are folks so quick to knock his success with the phrase, ''Yes, but men lose it easier''? It is a complaint really, isn’t it? It isn't usually said in praise. Here is the deal: this phrase is hurtful. It can deflate all the sense of accomplishment that a man feels for the work that he has done. This phrase says that his work doesn’t count, that his struggles don't count. Chances are, that man will not give a complete picture of what he is going through. There is a mental battle that is being fought right alongside the physical one. I’ve said before that the emotions of this journey are sometimes the hardest part. These six words can do a great deal of damage that will require even greater work to overcome. Read More ›
One of the biggest changes I’ve made to my diet over the years was to increase the amount of water I drink. When I started working for SparkPeople over 7 years ago, I probably drank about 2 glasses of liquid a day (outside of exercise). I’d have a glass of orange juice for breakfast and a glass of milk for dinner, and that’s about it. Being surrounded by people who drank water throughout the day made me more conscious of how much I was having and the fact that I probably needed to be drinking a little more.
As soon as I started drinking more, I noticed a difference in my energy level and my mood. I felt better overall. I’m not saying that everyone needs to start chugging the H2O, but in my case, I think I was probably dehydrated most of the time. New research shows that not drinking enough could be affecting your mood and cognitive abilities. Read More ›
''Take courage'' is one of my favorite phrases from the Bible and I believe it can change a person’s life.
It takes courage for us to function in our daily lives. Some of us need more courage than others sometimes, and that’s okay. Some of us are so courageous that we believe we can conquer the world single-handedly. Others, such as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, ask somebody else to give them courage, not knowing that it comes from within.
What exactly does courage mean anyway? According to the dictionary, it is ''the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.''
Those are some rather powerful words, if you ask me!
As I think about COURAGE, many thoughts come to my mind: brave men and women defending our country and our police and fire protection who serve us daily in our homeland. What about the moment a person takes the first step to reclaim their health and start a new lifestyle?
Have you ever really thought about what it takes to make a lifestyle change? You will change the patterns of life that you’ve had possibly for years. Changing the way you eat, the way you exercise, the amount of water you drink. Learning how to deal with the obstacles in life in a whole new way will take courage. Read More ›
It’s hard for me to believe that I’ll be married 10 years this summer. It doesn’t really bother me to get older- I think age is just a number- but time just goes so quickly. There are days when I think “Wasn’t I just in high school a few years ago?”, and then I remember that it’s been more than a few years and my oldest will start Kindergarten this fall.
When I look in the mirror, I’m like most other women who are critical of what they see. My body is healthy and strong, but let’s be honest: I’ll never look exactly like I did before having three kids, no matter how hard I try. I’ve got circles under my eyes from sleepless nights with babies and brown spots on my face from being careless about wearing sunscreen. Although I don’t love these things, I do my best to accept that regardless, I can still be fit and happy. Read More ›
Are you one of those people that find it boring to exercise? Do you get tired of logging miles on the dreadmill or the elliptical? Wondering how you can keep yourself going for the long term?
Awhile back I decided I needed something fun to keep me going. I needed a goal that would make tracking all those fitness miles interesting. I chose to start a Virtual Journey. It wasn’t hard for me or some of my Twilight Challenge team members to make that choice. I started a message board for our team, and the challenge to track your fitness miles on a virtual trip to Forks, Washington, began. (For those of you who haven't read Twilight, the main setting for the four books is a small town in Washington.)
I determined that it would be 2,262 miles from my front door to the Forks High School, and my tracking began. At the time of writing this blog, I’ve have tracked 1,432 miles. I’ve blogged along the way about states I would be in if I were really running or riding my bike, and what I would do there. It helps me stay on track to know that there are others doing the trip with me from wherever they are.
I’m setting up a plan now to make sure I reach my destination before the last movie comes out on November 16, 2012. Starting January 1, I’ll need to complete 2.5 miles a day throughout the course of the year to reach my goal by the release date. When you break it down like that it doesn’t seem so intimidating does it? Read More ›