Tag Archives: mental health

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.

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Focus Your Mind For Improved Concentration

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

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.

mid-week round-up

afternoon-sunset

Hi friends! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve been a bit M.I.A. around these parts. Our internet is a little on the fritz, and nothing annoys me more than starting a post only to lose internet connection for the next two hours. Hopefully the problem will be resolved soon. Another reason for my absence? A little Thanksgiving vacay in St. Pete! Chet and I drove up to spend some time with my mom and sister for the holiday weekend. We had a wonderful dinner at Bella Brava, played a few rounds of shuffle board, enjoyed some lovely parks….and watched ALL of the Gilmore Girls revival. All in all, a very productive trip! I hope y’all had similarly magnificent weekends. Now, enjoy a little mid-week pick-me-up in the way of one dozen links…

Small space holiday decorating hacks.

My thoughts and heart are with Appalachia.

The case for abolishing high school football.

Reddit is tearing itself apart.

How to create the perfect holiday cheese board.

What it’s like to have your period in prison.

I’ll take one of each, please!

Adding this to my list of podcasts I want to check out.

A mental disorder that gives us unique insight into the digital age.

Gorgeous budget-friendly bag, if you’re in the market.

This book is definitely on my holiday wish-list.

And speaking of books… I just finished this memoir and now I want to eat at this restaurant and binge watch this TV show!

mid-week round-up

peeling-paint-buildings

Good day to you all! What are you up to this week? We’ve weirdly gotten really into getting DVD’s in the mail from Netflix. Throwback, right?? Since Chet’s in charge of queuing them, I look forward to seeing what arrives each week. Maybe we’ll finally get to see all those Oscars movies from the past couple years. Haha! Anywho, thanks for putting up with all the wedding posts as of late. It’s been so fun to share all the details and photos. I think it will be really nice to have the posts to look back on. (And hopefully you find them fun to look at, too! Or even useful, if you’re planning your own wedding. Congrats!) Have a fantastic day, and here are some articles I think you should read…

How Elizabeth Holmes’s house of cards came tumbling down.

Why aren’t mental health professionals weighing in on Donald Trump?

Returning to Cuba 55 years after parents fled Castro’s regime.

Welp, my phone is clearly doomed.

Airlines are ill-equipped to handle accusations of sexual assault on their planes.

A decade in the life of our country’s wiliest coyote.

What happens to your body on a tea detox.

Lexington should leave its urban growth boundary alone.

An abortion provider in an anti-choice state.

I’m obsessed with this perfume commercial directed by Spike Jonze.

How Stranger Things channels the female frustration of being disbelieved.

Ingredients for a super luxurious spa night.

mid-week round-up

rusty storage wall

What’s everyone up to this week? I’ve gotten back on the wedding planning wagon and am looking forward to a few purchases that should be arriving in the mail soon, including another wedding dress and 18 feet of bunting. We also scored a guestbook and a whole bunch of chalkboard signs for SUPER cheap at an office supply store that’s going out of business. Now I’ve just gotta get the invitations printed and I’ll feel proper on top of things. Hope you have a great rest of your week, and here are some little internet gems that I thought you might like…

Healers who prioritize compassion face challenges in our medical culture.

Yoga for wine lovers.

People in Shakespeare’s England were also obsessed with food.

An exploration of syndromes that are unique to particular cultures…like magical penis theft.

The relics lingering inside America’s great national treasures.

10 Trader Joe’s beauty products you have to try.

A tiny detail lost since hunter-gatherer times and how to rediscover it.

This looks like one of those rare cases of movie better than the book. (I can’t wait to see it!)

The Arctic suicides.

Ugh, too relatable.

Has the internet changed everything?

Decorating a rental on a budget.

mid-week round-up

dock house

How was your weekend, my loves? We had a fantastic out-of-town visitor for ours and, despite a never-ending thunderstorm on Saturday which kept us from the beach, managed to show off Miami’s warm weather with a few, quick outdoor adventures as well as enjoy a tiny umbrella clad cocktail. (We also ate our weight in Cuban food at Sergio’s and bounced off the wall for a solid hour after downing a glass of Cafe Bombon.) With just a few more days until we head out of town for the holidays, I’m planning on wrapping Christmas presents tonight. Hope your week is grand, and here’s a quick play-by-play of my most recent internet activity…

Racially and ethnically diverse communities often lack equal access to eating disorder treatments.

I listened to this podcast last night on my friend Adam‘s recommendation. Act One is a MUST LISTEN.

Books to read this winter, if you’re in need of some reading list additions.

Why not make a few DIY gifts to hand out this holiday season?

Feeling like shit? Here are 15 easy things that might help.

Wow! Food prep goals.

After the last detective leaves, who shows up to clean up the crime scene? 

The weirdest (but cutest?) addition to your next tea party.

The first editorial to be featured on The New York Times’ front page since 1920.

Love and co-habitation.

Consider making your own! 

Have you been to any of these popular bars?

P.S. Have you read yesterday’s guest post? What are you waiting for? Go give it some love! ❤

mid-week round-up

mwru street scene

What are you up to this week? Yesterday we went to the pool (again!) and had it all to ourselves. And last night we watched So You Think You Can Dance. Have y’all been watching this season? I LOVE Gaby and Jaja! Chet is going to ask his students today for hole-in-the-wall Cuban restaurants so we can check one out this weekend. Can’t wait. Have a great week, loves! Here are a few links for you to peruse. Once you’ve clicked ’em all you’ll be THAT much closer to the weekend! Enjoy…

Don’t buy cheap pork. Two words: manure lagoons.

Atlanta teacher asks, “What teachers’ lounge?”

Nutritional factors may be a piece of someone’s mental health picture.

Beautiful tribute to Nora Ephron.

The poverty line was set under the assumption that every household would have a houseWIFE.

Could a painting have killed Caravaggio (and other famous artists)?

College housing isn’t always as plush as the brochures would have you believe.

Sad to have left Lexington before Broomwagon opened. Check them out if you’re in the area!

Former N’Sync singer to One Direction: “Everything is about to be terrible.”

“One day moooore!” sing the teachers of West Des Moines.

Egg freezing is being touted as a reliable way for career-oriented women to delay motherhood. But is it? 

From the streets of Baltimore to the syllabus at University of Maryland Law School.

P.S. In case you missed it, here are 7 colorful accents to turn any room from white to bright!