Tag Archives: mental health

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 7, 8, and 9

If you’ve been following along in this series (first post HERE), I’ve been really into reading about the ENNEAGRAM lately. This has brought about a desire to use the knowledge I’ve gained about my type to help me get through all the ways this crazy world we’re living in is bringing about anxiety/stress. What I’ve found has been wildly helpful!

Again, if you’re totally new to the enneagram, I would encourage you to check out some of the great resources available online about the types and how to type yourself.  I’d also recommend checking out Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If you too have been obsessing about all things enneagram as of late, consider identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting a few positive life-practices to help you combat them.

To help, I’ve listed some examples below based on my readings of each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just a jumping-off point. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. They are simply meant to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices!

Today let’s talk about TYPES SEVEN, EIGHT, & NINE —

Enneagram Type Seven:

Positive Practice #1 – As different impulses and desires pop into your head, write them in a journal.

Get in the habit of recognizing your impulses by taking the time to jot them down in a journal. Instead of acting immediately upon each of your desires, this will give you the chance to reflect and evaluate whether it is something that will truly bring you happiness. Learning which impulses are worth acting on will take time, but the fun thing about having a written record of them is that you’ll be able to notice trends. Are you more likely to crave a certain thing when you’re upset? Are you procrastinating? Finding these trends can help you sort out what’s really good for you and what’s a distraction.

Positive Practice #2 – Reserve some time each week to “single task” or to do something you enjoy without external stimulation. 

Sevens can sometimes mask their anxieties by surrounding themselves with people. If no people are available, they might pop on the television or turn the music way up. But welcoming some silence, or at least some alone time, will help a seven to trust themselves and their feelings. To make this easier, schedule something that you truly love doing so you won’t mind doing it by yourself. And if possible, leave the TV set off and the headphones at home.

Positive Practice #3 – Set long-term visions and then work backwards to turn them into a plan.

A seven may go after a goal full speed ahead without thinking about the long-term consequences. To mitigate against possible disappointments or unhappiness, sevens may need to take a different approach when it comes to goal setting. You’re very good at going after things and getting what you want — and that’s a good thing! But what you achieved may not be what you want forever. So when goal-setting, cast a vision for your future. What do you want your life to look like in five, ten, twenty years — we’re talking the whole picture here. Now work in reverse to develop the plan that will help you achieve that vision.

Enneagram Type Eight:

Positive Practice #1 – Practice letting others take the lead when in low stakes situations.

Here’s the deal — eights love taking control of a situation and exerting their power. However, if you want true loyalty and security from the people around you, it means showing them you don’t always have to be at the front of the pack. Identify areas of your life or decisions that you feel are low stakes enough that you’re happy to be a follower instead of a leader. This will be different for everyone, but will go a long way in securing trust from others.

Positive Practice #2 – Say yes to opportunities that allow you to inspire and uplift other people. 

While eights are self-reliant and independent, they feel most powerful when they’re able to energize and encourage other people. Even better if they’re able to help others through a crisis. Eights can be “yes people” so it can be helpful for you to filter through requests by asking yourself if this opportunity will allow you to motivate, encourage, and inspire. If so, go for it!

Positive Practice #3 – Find ways to include others in your successes and celebrate them. 

Again, because you’re independent and have a perception of yourself as the leader of the pack, you may not take time to recognize the people that have helped you when you achieve something great. But as we all know, it’s lonely at the top. You’ll enjoy yourself so much more in the happy times if you make a point to recognize the contributions of others and include them in celebrations. Think: going out to dinner with the whole team when you snag that big deal.

Enneagram Type Nine:

Positive Practice #1 – Get in the habit of making decisions or forming opinions on your own so you can stick to them when you’re with others. 

Nines have a tendency to go along with the group majority. They love to keep the peace and make sure everyone is getting along, so why rock the boat? However, a true relationship means showing up as yourself — even if you disagree on something. Because your instinct is to follow the crowd, take some time before you’re in said crowd to sit with yourself and form your own opinions. This way when someone asks what restaurant you want to eat at, you won’t have to respond with, “Whatever everybody else decides is fine!”

Positive Practice #2 – Send follow-ups after big group conversations to encourage yourself to stay focused. 

Because nines are in the habit of not exerting themselves socially, they can sometimes tune other people out, disengage, and start to day dream. To stay focused as an active participant, set a challenge for yourself that you have to send at least one follow-up after a group social engagement pertaining to the conversations that were had. Something as simple as “You mentioned xyz the other night so I thought you might enjoy this article on abc” is not difficult to do, but setting this goal will help you pay closer attention when in big groups.

Positive Practice #3 – Schedule regular cardio and strength sessions. 

Exercise can help you play out emotions you might be suppressing. For nines, that emotion is often anger. What better way to get out aggression in a healthy way than by strapping on sneakers to pound the pavement or lifting heavy dumbbells? Regular exercise can also help a nine with body awareness, concentration, and self-discipline.

P.S. Enneagram Types 1 – 3, right this way! Are you an Enneagram Type 4 – 6? Check out this post.

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 4, 5, and 6

As I mentioned in the first post in this series (HERE), I’ve been really into reading about the ENNEAGRAM lately. This has brought about a desire to use the knowledge I’ve gained about my type to help me get through all the ways this crazy world we’re living in is bringing about anxiety/stress. What I’ve found has been wildly helpful!

Again, if you’re totally new to the enneagram, I would encourage you to check out some of the great resources available online about the types and how to type yourself.  I’d also recommend checking out Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If the enneagram is old hat to you, consider identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting a few positive life-practices to help you combat them.

To help, I’ve come up with a few examples based on my readings about each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just ideas. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. They are simply meant to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices based on your type!

Today let’s talk about TYPES FOUR, FIVE, & SIX —

Enneagram Type Four:

Positive Practice #1 – Set working hours and stick to them. (Sleep schedule and exercising regularly are of equal importance.)

Fours often find these two things to be true — 1) they prefer to do things when they’re “in the mood” and 2) they are actually happiest when they’re working (ie. realizing their full potential). This leads to a rather classic self-sabotage — not being “in the mood” to work but then being unhappy because of not working. You won’t find that full potential, or happiness, just waiting around for inspiration to strike. (And while you’re at it, set a sleep and exercise schedule too. Self-discipline works well for a four, who values individuality and freedom, because THEY are making the rules. Use this to your advantage!)

Positive Practice #2 – Small actions will eventually snowball — break your to-do list down accordingly.

You are very in tune with your feelings and view most things through the lens of how they make you feel. Getting things done or helping a loved one creates enormous reactions and emotions from a four. But in the same way, a really big task will create a huge sense of overwhelm and thus, inaction. When looking at tasks that aren’t broken down into smaller chunks, you might get the sense that you don’t have your life together and you never will. But starting small and working through things step by step allow you to feel productive and good.

Positive Practice #3 – Get in the practice of cutting off the “rehearsals” in your head.

As a four you have a very active imagination! This is super helpful to so many things and a huge part of what makes you YOU. But it can start to be harmful when you let the conversations in your imagination run wild — especially if those conversations are excessively negative. You start thinking about what you would say to someone, how you could hurt them, or who is talking about you behind your back and what they’re saying. When you notice this is happening is there something that can help pull you back into reality?

Enneagram Type Five:

Positive Practice #1 – Adopt both a breath practice (meditation or yoga) and movement practice (jogging, dancing, etc).

Fives can be really intense and a little bit high-strung. You might find it difficult to relax because you have so much nervous energy pent up inside of you. Exercise that’s more cardio focused, like running or dancing, can help you chill out in a healthy way. A movement practice gives all that energy a place to go. You might even find that daily exercise is key to achieving the chill time you need. But balancing a regular fast-paced workout with an occasional focus on breath, even if it’s just 2 minutes of meditation to start your morning, can be super grounding for fives.

Positive Practice #2 – Invest time into one or two intimate friendships and seek their advice and counsel regularly.

Schedule get-togethers with your close friendships on a routine basis so that you’re more likely to follow up. As a five, you might prefer isolation. Especially if you sense the possibility of conflict. Because fives are careful about who they trust and open up to, navigating a ton of surface-level friendships and acquaintances isn’t always worth it to you. So invest your time and energy into just a few and work to build these relationships to a point where you feel comfortable working through the inevitable conflict that could arise. Ask these close friends if you could set up a weekly dinner date with them; get it on the calendar.

Positive Practice #3 – It is easy to get carried away with all your developing interests — set aside time for research and time for action.

Sticking with the scheduling theme, fives might find it helpful to block off time to let their whims run wild. A five loves a rabbit hole and will research new subjects all the time. But this can become a distraction to their day-to-day accomplishments. If, instead, you have set times during your week to explore whatever your heart desires, it can be easier to keep trucking through your to-do list when a great idea hits you. You’ll know that you have plenty of time to look into this new interest at 5 o’clock or whenever your planned research time happens to be.

Enneagram Type Six:

Positive Practice #1 – Channel your anxiety into productivity and creativity.

When sixes are able to reassure themselves that their anxieties are normal, they can be more present within their tensions. Their anxieties can become almost energizing. When anxiety crops up, sixes should turn to their to-do lists and creative pursuits. Have outlets at the ready — like a bin of craft supplies or tools for an ongoing home renovation project. When your brain starts rolling out worst case scenarios, acknowledge them, and then pick up the paintbrush or screwdriver.

Positive Practice #2 – Start a self-love journal where you can write down things you like about yourself and things in your life that make you happy.

Sixes can be extremely pessimistic when they let self-doubt and negative thought patterns take over. As a six, you might project what’s going on in your head on reality. To encourage a positive outlook, begin to identify the positives in your everyday life. Reflecting on the things that are going right in your world will help you start to cast that vision on a wider scale and negate your glass half empty tendencies.

Positive Practice #3 – Be intentional with showing people your appreciation for them.

Think: texting your best friend how much she means to you, sending a card to your mom just because, or taking your kid out to eat one-on-one when they’ve done something you value. Sixes are very skilled at getting people to like them, and because of this (plus, fears of rejection), aren’t always overt or vocal about their feelings and commitments. Challenge yourself to show someone how you feel about them at least once a week.

Ok, enneagram-obsessed loves! I hope this helps you use the information about your type to your advantage. It might take you a while to settle on the practices you want to adopt, and that’s ok! Once you do, I know they’re going to have a positive impact on your life! xoxo

Keep an eye out for the final post in this series where we’ll explore Types 7, 8, and 9! Thanks for reading!!! 

P.S. Are you a Type 1, 2, or 3 and you missed my last enneagram post?? No worries. You can read it HERE! xoxo

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 1, 2, and 3

During the last few months of lock-down/quarantine/(whatever you want to call it), I’ve done a lot of reading about the ENNEAGRAM. This isn’t necessarily a new obsession, I’ve been interested in it for the last few years. After working with my mom (who has done enneagram trainings for her job in pastoral care) to type myself as a 9 and reading Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, I’ve been consistently seeking out enneagram content.

But recently, I’ve really been exploring the idea of using the knowledge about myself that the enneagram offers to my advantage. Even though so much of the enneagram involves being faced with the aspects of yourself that aren’t so pretty (hi, I’m a 9…most commonly known for being lazy…yikes), it’s power comes from what you do with that information.

If you don’t know anything about the enneagram, there are a ton of great resources online to learn about the types and type yourself. I’d also recommend checking out Chestnut’s book (linked above) as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If you’re already up on this whole enneagram biz (and you love trolling IG for memes about your type LOL), I would totally encourage you to try taking it to the next level by identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting some positive life-practices to help you combat them. Doing so myself has been wildly helpful during an otherwise very stressful and scary time in the world.

To help get you started, I’ve identified some positive practices based on my readings about each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just ideas. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. I just want to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices based on your type!

Let’s start with TYPES ONE, TWO, & THREE — 

Enneagram Type One:

Positive Practice #1 – Take time for yourself to relax without any responsibilities.

Think: a solo afternoon outing, a solo night in, or solo weekend getaway. Ones put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure things go to plan. But it can be stressful to be around other folks who have differing opinions about the right and wrong ways to enjoy whatever adventure or vacation you’ve mapped out in your head. Things will go a lot more to plan if you’re the only one you’re planning for. Give yourself that space every once in a while to relax without feeling like the world depends on you.

Positive Practice #2 – Set reminders that allow you to be patient instead of continuously following up.

Ones have an incredibly strong sense of right and wrong and are extremely self-disciplined. Others might not respond or take action to your requests as quickly as you may like. Because the one is also a great educator, they can view reiterating themselves and trying new approaches as helpful — when in fact this may have the reverse effect and cause the other person to shut down completely. (Which will stress a one out even more!) Instead, channel your love of planning and map out your follow-ups in your calendar.

Positive Practice #3 – Join a group that lets you display and discuss your emotions without fear of judgment.

Think: book club, film club, or any group that allows you to have conversations about the realities of humanity. Because ones are often uneasy with emotions, it can be beneficial to discuss things like how a book or movie made you feel in a group of people who are doing the same. This can help you identify emotions and emotional impulses better in your own life and help you feel more at ease about the messy aspects of being human.

Enneagram Type Two:

Positive Practice #1 – Set up a practice of asking others what they need.

Twos are known as “The Helper” for a reason — you love to help and you’re largely very good at intuiting what people need. That doesn’t mean it is what they want. And if they don’t, that’s not a reflection of you OR a rejection of you. You can and should still lean in to this “helping hand” side of yourself though. When the urge arises, do your best to make this your first step — state your intentions, “I’d like to help,” and then ask, “what can I do?”

Positive Practice #2 – Start a journal to document the “gifts” you receive every day.

Think: Gratitude Journal. Twos tend to place value on how what they’re giving is perceived, instead of looking to what they are receiving. You might not even recognize something as a “gift” because it is not something you would give or you wouldn’t give it in the same way. The more you can start noticing all that you are receiving in your life (by jotting it down in your journal), the better you will become at recognizing all the love in your world.

Positive Practice #3 – Invest your time in a service opportunity that is just for you.

This is something that is just for you — not something you know will garner public recognition or a lot of “likes” on your social media feeds. Think about your own interests and how you can give back within those worlds. Maybe you enjoy being around kittens so you sign up to foster or volunteer at a local animal shelter. The more you find fulfillment in something BEYOND just a general sense of helping, the more likely a two will resist the urge to call attention to themselves and their good deeds.

Enneagram Type Three:

Positive Practice #1 – Make time for one-on-one interactions with your loved ones.

Threes need to feel truthfulness, loyalty, and cooperation in their relationships. However, they are also fantastic multi-taskers who are always GO GO GO. Because of this, you might turn to big group outings or group vacations with your friends and loved ones to knock out that quality time all in one go. Resist this urge. Instead, slow down and really connect with the folks you care about without a bunch of other people and distractions around.

Positive Practice #2 – Schedule breaks throughout your day.

You are susceptible to burn-out and exhaustion because of a singular focus on your goals. Threes are super ambitious and value self-development — great qualities! But they also need to take breaks if they want to reach their full potential. Make sure you’re setting aside time during your day to step away from work and your personal to-do list — try the pomodoro approach or just set a few alarms in your phone to signal when you’re going to take a ten minute breather.

Positive Practice #3 – Get involved with a group project that has nothing to do with career advancement.

Again, threes are highly skilled multi-taskers so they might sign up for their office’s kickball league and think, “Cool, this will help my likability standings at work PLUS knock out a workout and be my weekly socialization time,” only to find they’re miserable every Thursday during the matches because they actually HATE kickball (and their co-workers who joined the team). If you’re going to focus so much of your energy on career, you should look for some outlets that are outside of work (and build relationships with people who have nothing to do with your next promotion) where you can take a little pressure off of that side of yourself.

Ok, enneagram-obsessed loves! I hope this helps you use the information about your type to your advantage. It might take you a while to settle on the practices you want to adopt, and that’s ok! Once you do, I know they’re going to have a positive impact on your life! xoxo

Keep an eye out for follow-up posts with ideas for the rest of the types! Thanks for reading!!! 

Feeling Trapped? Fighting “Quarantine Stress” in 4 Simple Steps

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

The last few months have not been the easiest for anybody, and have brought on many challenges we did not expect to face. As a result, I’m sure we’ve all felt down and anxious at least once while in quarantine. Some are coping with working from home, while others have to manage the many responsibilities that come with school and entertainment options temporarily closed. Many have had to face these self-isolating months completely alone – something that might have taken a toll on their mental and physical well-being. Call it the dreaded quarantine stress, if you will. Here are some ways I have found useful to cope — 

Mindful Exercise

Staying fit and healthy while confined within four walls can be a challenge for many. However, moving, staying active, and exercising can have incredible benefits on our mental well-being – benefits that you should not be ignored! Maybe HIIT training and running for miles aren’t your thing, but other practices – such as yoga and meditation – can help you understand yourself better and fight stress. 

All this, while also toning your muscles and tuning your mind! While doing your make up and putting on your corporate dress might not be part of your routine anymore, starting your day with a Power Yoga session can be just as beneficial to boost your self-confidence!

Take Up a New Challenge

Boredom – especially when combined with feelings of anxiety – can be extremely detrimental. Keeping your mind busy and giving yourself a goal to work toward can be an easy solution to implement. Several challenges can work, but the one you pick should fit your preferences. Whether this is minimalism, vegetarianism, or working toward a zero-waste lifestyle, a challenge can help you focus your mind and energy toward a positive goal. 

Turn Your Home into a Sanctuary

Of course, you might have started to feel a little trapped within your four walls. However, instead, start thinking of your home as a safe place where you can retreat in turbulent times. Start by turning your garden, patio, or terrace in to a space for enjoying the sunshine during the day and get all that Vitamin D you need during this time. 

Indoors, add plants and swap the heavy curtains for a lighter version. These two simple additions can help you let in enough natural light and fresh air to create a much happier environment. Some companies, such as Kaya Hemp Company, create ethically-produced products that can help you craft a comfortable and healthy sanctuary all for yourself.

Build Relationships (Virtually!)

If you have had to face the quarantine alone, you might have struggled to find enough support from others. However, technology is on our side. Don’t skip a call with your loved ones or a catch up over the phone with your friends. Even just a quick chat can lift your mood and help you see things differently. Moreover, many people now have more free time to fill so you can deepen the relationships you treasure and rebuild the ones that you haven’t had time to cultivate before the restrictions.

I hope you found this useful, and maybe even a little reassuring? Have you created ways of combating quarantine stress? Share your tips in the comments! xoxo

P.S. Follow Kaya Hemp Company on Instagram HERE.

4 Ways to “Clock-Out” When You Work From Home

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Working takes a lot out of you, and a job can be very demanding some days. You must take the time to rest and recover so that you can return to your duties the next day full of energy and motivation. But it can be difficult to transition from a work mindset to a recovery mindset when working from home. 

Below are four of my favorite ways to “clock-out” after a long day of work and signal to my mind and body that work is over and rest has begun. Setting aside this leisure time right after I wrap up for the day is crucial for me to enter the rest of my evening in a state of calm. Then, I can return to my desk the next morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 

1. Pull out the Coloring Books

One way to relax after a long day of work is to grab your favorite coloring books and put your feet up. Invest in a variety of books from https://www.pennydellpuzzles.com/coloring/ so you can mix it up and choose different designs to work on. You’ll be creating a masterpiece while allowing yourself to rest and relax. Coloring is an activity that’s fun and beneficial for kids and adults alike. It’ll take your mind off all the stress and strain from your workday almost instantly.

2. Take A Warm Bath

You may also want to put taking a warm bath on your list of ways to “clock-out” after a long day of work. It’s your chance to unplug from technology and relax your muscles and brain from thinking. Put some bubbles in your bathtub and grab your favorite book that you can get lost in for a while. You might also want to put on some soothing background music and meditate while you’re soaking in the tub. You’ll feel like a new person when you get out of your bath and you’ll feel in a calm frame of mind. It’s an excellent way to relieve any stress you’re feeling in your body as well.

3. Watch A Movie

Another idea for how you can “clock-out” after work is to watch a movie. Pick one based on what you’re in the mood for and will keep your attention. It can be entertaining to watch a favorite movie of yours or to pick a new one that you haven’t seen before. Make a delicious snack or dinner and curl up on the couch in your comfortable clothes and a warm blanket to help you relax. You may even end up dozing off or falling asleep if you’re that tired and worn out. Nothing wrong with a nap!

4. Go On A Walk

You may not think of exercise as relaxing, but it is if you choose the right activity. Going on a walk is an excellent way to burn a few calories, reduce your stress, and calm a racing mind. Call up a friend so you two can catch up about what’s been going on in each of your lives. It’ll be relaxing to spend some time in nature and have someone who cares about you on the other end of the phone. You’ll feel so much better after getting in some steps and being able to get anything that’s bothering you off your chest to your friend.  

But I want to hear from you! What are some ways you “clock-out” when working from home? Are there any aspects of working from home you’re struggling with?

P.S. Need one more “clock-out” idea? How about an at-home workout. 

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this Wednesday? News about the royal baby (ARCHIE!!!) has definitely kept me good and distracted this morning, lol. Anyone else? So happy for Harry and Meghan…and for me, because I love those crazy royals! Haha. But now I’ve gotta snap out of it, buckle down, and get some dang work done! We’re off to Kentucky at week’s end. Hope your middle of the week is proving more productive than mine, but to distract you…

6 surprising things about the royal baby.

[Related: Purebred corgis or NOTHING.]

The magic of estate sales.

Why the world’s best mathematicians are hoarding chalk.

The snake-charming life and tragic death of Grace Olive Wiley.

Menstrual products in the Science Museum’s collection.

How a ‘Brady Bunch’ episode on measles is fueling campaigns against vaccines.

Springtime means I’m brainstorming ways to decorate the great outdoors!

[Related: A Rustic, Boho-Inspired Balcony]

Why women candidates are ruled unelectable so quickly.

Feeling called to purchase some warm weather jammies.

Mike Rosmann left seminary to become a clinical psychologist for farmers.

How to read more books in the golden age of content.

The ‘Baby Dolls’ of New Orleans.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Our Favorite Music Festival and For the Love of BOOKS!

mid-week round-up

crocodile in the grass

What’s up? How’s everyone doing? My birthday was on Friday and I had a wonderful weekend of celebrating. It finally felt like TRUE Fall so all celebrations were appropriately autumnal — read: apple orchard visits, pumpkin pie baking, grilled brats, and Oktoberfest beers. Hope y’all are enjoying the season as much as I am! Now, here are a few links I found for your enjoyment…

What the daughter of a psychic learned from her mom.

Serious #HomeGoals (and it’s in Alabama!).

Related: Empty House Tour

I’ll take one of each, please!

Retail workers are more vulnerable than ever.

The ghosts of the glacier.

Thinking ahead to Christmas pocket letters.

Related: A Spring-Themed Pocket Letter

The love story that upended the Texas prison system.

She was 16. He was 25. Should marrying a child be allowed? 

Related: An (Un)arranged Marriage

High school students are tackling Kentucky’s mental health crisis.

Steve Carell aged like a fine wine. 🙂

Myth busting Banksy.

This chocolate bark sounds yummy.

and episode 6 of Uncovered the Podcast (featuring a popular Lady Gaga conspiracy theory and info about a cult lead by 90’s hunk Andrew Keegan!)

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Chocolate Zucchini Muffins and The 5 Things That Turned Me Into a Shower Lover.

P.P.S. If you love my weekly links and would like to support my sweet blog (thank you!)–click HERE.

Guest Post: The Truth About Therapy

Just the other day, one of my students asked me why I, a seemingly well adjusted adult who is the leader of her classroom, would ever go to therapy. She said the word with disdain – therapy– as if it was something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. I chuckled, wondering just how much time I had to enlighten her on all the reasons why I do need it, and why I have been going to a therapist since college.

I’m an open book, someone who is not afraid to share her story or struggles with the general public, but I was not always that way. When I first started treatment for my eating disorder back in 2013, I was terrified about letting the world know that was what I was doing. I covered up my move to New York as a career move (I’m in the arts so it wasn’t a stretch), but the longer I was in treatment and the more I opened up to my therapist, the more I knew I needed to open up to the rest of the world. I needed the walls to come down, and little by little, they did. Now, I can’t imagine my life without being someone who shares what she went through with anyone who asks.

Because I am the passionate, go-getter individual that I am, when I started recovery I set a very high goal for myself. I remember saying the words out loud to my therapist. “I am going to love my whole self, 100% of the time.” She laughed at me. She literally laughed, and said, “that’s an impossible goal, Katie. I’m not letting you set that.” I was angry at her for doubting me. Hey, you barely even know me!! You don’t know what I’m capable of! But it’s true…I would be disappointed every single day when I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror and didn’t fall in love with the broken, changing girl in front of me. She was trying so hard. She also believed that therapy was something that you accomplished, and then you were done. Much like how I viewed recovery when I first began the process. I would quickly learn that, like almost everything else in recovery, it was not that simple.

To an untrained eye, I am recovered. I eat normally, I have restored my weight, I don’t have panic attacks daily, and I’m not a slave to my compulsions like I used to be. But I know that recovery is a lifelong venture that doesn’t end just because you aren’t in treatment anymore. Because of the nature of this ongoing journey, I firmly hope that I am always in therapy. It’s a safe space – a place that taught me how to be open to trying new things, how to speak authentically, and what empathy really means. Most importantly it showed me how to begin a conversation about mental health with anyone who asks, including my students.


Katie Berger is a musician, performer, and teaching artist based in St. Petersburg, FL. She is the writer and composer of Full the Musical, which details one girl’s battle with her eating disorder and struggles with childhood trauma. She began treatment for anorexia in 2013 and is so grateful to her treatment team and the people who supported her through the worst of her illness. She is a mental health advocate and an ear for anyone who might need one.

This guest post was inspired by BetterHelp, a website that makes professional counseling accessible so anyone can get help – anytime, anywhere. If you’re interested in learning more about online therapy , CLICK HERE.

Focus Your Mind For Improved Concentration

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Do you find your attention span is faltering? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. In fact, some studies show that our minds have taken quite a hit thanks to the plugged-in, tech-focused society of today. We are so reliant on technology that we start to forget to tap into the hard-drive in our head. We lose focus, forever seeking out new stimuli on our screens.

Do you want to improve your focus and get your concentration back up to scratch? If this is something you want to work on, here are some great tips to help improve your memory and make mental tasks a whole let easier to handle…

Treat Your Mind Like A Muscle

When your workout is focused on a particular muscle, what do you do? You select a movement or lift a weight a certain number of reps, right? You use repetition. This is the same approach you can use with your mind–repetition. By repeating the same activity you will stimulate your synapses. Over time, you’ll act out these simulations quicker and more efficiently. So, for instance, if you want to try and improve your focus by carrying out sudoku puzzles, you need to do at least one a day. When you are quite capable of the easy ones, you can start doing ones that are medium-difficulty. Then move up to two a day, and so on.

You Need To Feed It Well

Your brain is part of your body, so it relies on the food that you eat on a daily basis. You are what you eat, and that means that your brain is what you eat as well! So, you need to make sure that your diet includes food your brain needs to function well. There are certain foods packed full of nutrients that can help your brain thrive and flourish. Blueberries, salmon, and avocados contain the vitamins and minerals that help to focus your brain and improve its function. You might also want to take daily supplements that can help as well. KetoMCT c8 oil helps focus the mind, and you can mix it right into your morning coffee. A daily supplement of omega 3 fatty acids, especially if you aren’t a fan of fish, can also give your brain a boost.

Work On It Gradually

You can’t start to work on your focus and expect things to click into place straight away. Remember that you need to treat your brain like a muscle, and the development of muscles can be slow and months may pass before things take effect. So, don’t get frustrated if you don’t notice any results after a couple of weeks. Remain proactive with your brain training. You should start to slowly feel an improvement in your focus, mental ability, and concentration after a couple of months. Keep working on it, and you will be able to improve your mind even further!

Try Out Mindfulness

If you find it quite difficult to manage negative emotions and feelings, you might find that these get in the way of focus and concentration. In these instances – try practicing mindfulness. This is a method of meditation that helps to put you back in control of your thoughts and feelings. As you continue to practice this thought technique, you will also discover that it can help improve your concentration. There are lots of apps  aimed at beginners, such as Headspace. All you need to do is pop your headphones in, turn on the app, close your eyes, and then follow the spoken instructions.

Keep It Interested

If your mind ever gets bored, you will find it can be very difficult to concentrate and focus on the tasks at hand. So, one of the easiest ways to give your mind’s focus a little boost is to do something interesting. It needs to be a compelling activity that interests you and will keep you engaged. If you enjoy reading, you might want to start reading more. If you are more artistic, than you could try writing stories or getting outside with a camera to capture some gorgeous photos

Focus On Physical Health

You should also remember to consider your physical health. A healthy body will help to keep your mind healthy. Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling unfit or not as healthy as you’d like to be, you lack focus? So, if you think it’s time to get back to the gym or to start running longer distances, why not get started sooner rather than later? That way, you will find that you can get your mind back in shape, too! 

I want to hear from you! Do you have a specific way you keep your brain healthy? If you do – let’s hear it! Tell us in the comments so we can try it, too! 

Guest Post: Is Online Therapy for You?

I always seem to find out about the newest life-changing products and services through sponsored ads on podcasts. And my interest is inevitably piqued. (I guess they really know their demographics!) From clothing rental services to period panties to audio books, they’re always telling me about something I’ve gotta try. In my experience, they’re usually right! But lately, a new set of ads has been cropping up — for online therapy. Intrigued, I thought I’d ask Marie Miguel, a resource creator for Better Help, a few of my most pressing questions…

Is Online Therapy for You?

No matter who you are or what you do, chances are pretty good that you have experienced anxiety or depression at one time or another. Some of us more so than others. In fact, depression is the most common reason for disability in America and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in the United States. The worst part of this is that many people with a mental health disorder will not get treatment. In fact, almost 40% of people with mental health conditions do not reach out for help. That is most unfortunate because both depression and anxiety disorders are treatable with therapy and/or medication. One of the most common excuses is that they do not have time. Well, with online therapy you will have time because you can do it anytime. And that is only one of the benefits of online therapy. Here are some others:

Who Can Benefit from Online Therapy?

Anyone can benefit from online therapy. Whether you have some type of anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, a mood disorder, if you are having trouble with your relationship, or even if you just need some advice about a problem. There are thousands of online therapy sources on the internet such as BetterHelp.com, which has over 2,000 licensed professionals that can help you. However, if you are in need of immediate emergency care, need medication, or are having suicidal thoughts, you should call a hotline such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Is Online Therapy Effective?

Studies have shown that online therapy is just as effective as face to face therapy. In fact, in some cases it is better than regular therapy because people who need it are more likely to use it because it is easier for them to get. Those with mental health disorders usually tend to put things off or set appointments and not show up. This may be due to the anxiety of going somewhere, embarrassment of being seen at a psychiatrist’s office, or just because some people with depression or anxiety do not want to get out of bed some days. Therefore, online therapy can be much more effective.

What Makes Online Therapy Better than Traditional Therapy?

Online therapy is more convenient because you do not have to set an appointment, get transportation, find a babysitter, or take time off work or school. It is also less expensive because the therapists have less overhead such as rent, transportation, and paying employees to work in the office. It is also more private and easy to just log into the website or chat room to talk to your therapist from wherever you are. Even if you are stuck in traffic and want to get something off your mind, you can use your smartphone to email, chat, or even text your therapist. (Not while driving of course! You’re the passenger in this scenario.) Online therapy can also be a big benefit to those who are embarrassed or have trouble talking about their feelings face to face. You are in control of the conversation at all times. You also do not need an appointment so you can contact your therapist any time, 24 hours per day, seven days a week. So, what are you waiting for?

What do you think? Would you try online therapy? Or recommend it to someone who, for whatever reason, finds traditional therapy difficult? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of online mental health resources with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.