Showing posts with label mental-health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental-health. Show all posts

Tracking My Cycle with Clue

Between the ages of 18-24, I didn't have a regular menstrual cycle. That's 6 years of my life, my womanhood, that I lived without a clue as to what was happening with my own body.

After seeing a nutritionist and getting some help with a long-term eating disorder, my body resumed its normal cycles, and I finally had a period again. After being clueless for so long, I now have this deep appreciation for my period. Many women probably laugh to hear me say, my period is sacred. But, the truth is, for me my period signifies that my body is on track, it's a reminder to myself that I have come a long way from the unhealthy girl I was for years. And, of course, my period will always be connected to my journey to having Florence.

A few months back, I discovered Clue, a company in Berlin that makes tracking your period and ovulation accurate, fast and friendly. And guess what?! They have an app and, ladies, it's free. I think I love my period even more, now.

I used to track my cycle by making little black "x"'s in the corners of my planner days. Clue helps me track all the things that come along with my periods like pain, mood, fluid, and sexual activity. There's even an option to enter good hair vs. bad hair days because we all know that is a real thing, am I right?! One of my friends who is a creative entrepreneur uses the app to track her motivation/productivity on a daily basis to help her identify patterns that affect her workflow.

The best thing about using the Clue app: it empowers me by providing a simple way for me to track my own period and see a complete picture of how my cycle affects me. 

What I Love about Clue:
-user friendly
-simple icon-based design
-tracks emotional side effects, as well as, physical ones
-it's free!

Do you track your period?


7 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety

Balance is something I talk about a lot. One thing that most people don't realize is that balance looks different for every person. Depending on the needs of your body, the work you do, the diet you eat,  your relationships, and your money; you are the best person to decide what things help you feel balanced. 

I've noticed that especially since I became a mom staying balanced in my head, body and spirit has become a lot more complicated, but even more necessary.  My need for a release after a rough day is non-negotiable. I've started to see a few things as essential to my well-being as a person first, and a mom second. When I take the opportunity to prioritize what makes me feel better it, absolutely, trickles down into my mothering. 

Mental illness runs in my family. We've got anxiety on one side, and depression on the other. I guess my feet were placed in the valley where the two things come together - I deal with both.

My first experience with depression started in college. It was during that time that I started to realize that I had all the symptoms. I went for days without sleeping and had no appetite, except for sugary things. I couldn't concentrate on any of my school work. Deadlines were physically crushing me. I have this memory that I consider to be my rock bottom. It's an image of me sitting in my idling car in the grocery store parking lot. I was hunched over the stirring wheel, letting the tears push through my eyes. I didn't know where to go, there was no where to go, but my urge to escape from this unexplainable sadness was so real. It made me numb from head to toe. If you've ever experienced anxiety or depression, you can understand that this pain is hard to talk about, even now, five years later.

Thankfully, I got some help that year. I went on medication and it helped me curb my depression through the roughest patch. I was able to graduate and enjoy my final semester. Since that painful winter in college, I've done a lot of research. Mostly, I've studied my own patterns and made notes about the things that positively correspond with my mental well-being. I needed to understand how to shape my life in a way that allows me to manage my mental health everyday.

Going into motherhood, I knew I was up against a big challenge. Depression and anxiety are very common experiences for women and their postpartum journey. What was I up against as someone who dealt with these things before pregnancy? I resisted from letting myself feel total doom, but I also didn't want to be blindsided again.

Through some analysis, I've found 7 things to be vital tools for helping me curb my anxiety and depression. I can almost always link my ups and downs to how well I've been taking care of myself. I find that when one or more of these gets way out of balance I can start to feel my anxiety revving up. 

My 7 Therapies     

Lack of sleep has by far been the hardest part about motherhood for me. Since adolescence I've always needed A LOT of sleep. Like ideally, 12 hours. I know, it sounds crazy but I've forced myself to get used to having less sleep and I just don't feel as good. I've also noticed that lack of sleep is the number one trigger for my anxiety.     

Limit Caffeine.
I just have to. For me, that means almost zero coffee, even decaf still has enough caffeine in it that it bothers me. I have to watch chocolate too. Caffeine is definitely linked to my anxiety. It also hugely affects my ability to sleep deeply. 

Move Everyday.

I've been a jogger since I was an early teen. I started doing it to lose weight in middle school and then kept it up. Now, it's my biggest mental release. Honestly, going for a run is my quickest most effective therapy. If I start to feel anxiety creeping up, I grab for my running shoes, load Florence into the stroller and get moving.   

Eat for Your Body Type.

There is an amazing book called, The Chemistry of Joy  by M.D. Henry Emmons and Rachel Kranz, which uses Ayurveda medicine to teach you what foods are best for your body type. Before I read this, I ate fine but once I made the connection between certain foods and how they made me feel, I've been able to use food as a way to balance my mind and fuel myself with the nutrition appropriate for someone with my body type. 

Find Your Outlets.

My ideal setting for decompressing is a quiet room, by myself, with a sketch pad and some colors. I draw to relax and escape. It's a perfect tool for me when I need to turn off my thoughts. Ideally, find an outlet that is easy to create for yourself and free, so it's at your fingertips when you need it most.  

I'm not talking about drinking it. For me, being around a body of water makes me feel at peace. Since I don't live close enough to walk to water where I live in the city, I take a shower or soak in the bath.

Stillness. Prayer. Meditation. Breathing.

If you have a mind that tends to race, like mine, you need to implement some form of stillness in your routine. I'm a restless person so I'm constantly moving, and because of that I often feel unsatisfied but exhausted at the end of the day. Call it yoga or whatever you want, but finding time to slow down, close your eyes and breathe can change everything for the rest of your day. 

What tools do you use for dealing with anxiety and depression?