NHBPM-Day 21

The prompt for NHBPM, Day 21- “Write about mental health”

Guys, I’m going to come right out and say it. Mental health is huge! It’s so important for a person’s overall well-being. Unfortunately, mental health isn’t emphasized in the United States.

That’s evidenced by the recent tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Would that have happened if Adam Lanza had received help sooner in life? Would that have happened if his mental health had been taken care of from an earlier age?

The tragedy would have been avoided if Lanza had received help. Mentally well people do not do what Lanza did.

When you live life with a health condition, whether it’s Celiacs like my best friend, MVP like my Mom, or Type 1 diabetes like myself, mental health and well-being is just as important in maintaining as is keeping the body healthy.

One of the things I like about holistic approaches  (in conjunction with Western medicine and science) is that they focus on mental health. The state of your mind is extremely important.

My previous roommate, Kelly (she is training to become a shaman) and I had many discussions about holistic medicine, mental health and overall well-being. She really enlightened me about a lot of things that I should have taken as common sense. One of the biggest things she urged me to do when I was first diagnosed with diabetes was to de-stress. Stress makes everything 10 times worse and deteriorates both your mental and physical health.

It’s for that reason that I started doing yoga and meditation. I started working out. I started to de-stress. For anyone that knew me growing up, they’ll tell you that I was a stress ball. I would cry before tests from the sheer stress of taking them. I would stay awake the night before something big and constantly run through all the different (and worst) scenarios of what could happen. I would obsess over little things and things that I had no control over.

I’m happy to say that I’m not like that anymore. Sure, I still stress about things but I’ve learned to manage my stress much better. It doesn’t cripple me anymore or leave me lying away for hours and hours. It doesn’t consume me in the way it used to.

I made a conscious decision to maintain my mental health in the same way I made the conscious decision to maintain my physical health. I’ve learned over the past year that the two are intertwined. If you’re feeding yourself nutrient rich foods and exercising, you’re not only improving your physical health but also your mental health because you feel better about yourself (there’s also proven brain chemistry that happens when you treat your body well).

I think this post may be a bit jumbled, but if you take one thing away from it, it’s that your body is a temple. All parts of it must be fed and maintained. A happy mind is a happy body (I think I made that  up, but you get what I’m trying to say).



Like, whoah!

Ok guys. I did something yesterday for the first time in about a month. Are you ready?

I went for a run!

Cool, Liz. What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that for about two months, I seriously got into running. I couldn’t go a day without pounding out a mile, and if I did, I felt super guilty. I won’t classify myself as a runner. I was only up to two mile runs before I stopped, but I didn’t care. See, I’ve never liked running. I’ve never willingly run, so the fact that I had gotten into the habit of adding running to my routine was amazing. Yoga, weights, walking, all yes, yes, yes. Running was always a big NO.

I stopped running around the time I had a lot of crap hit the fan. They say when you’re depressed, have low self-esteem and are generally feeling down, exercise helps bring a person back up. I have to say that I was at that point of being really low and exercise was the LAST thing I wanted to do. The thought of putting on workout clothes and exerting all of that energy into a run when I was already feeling so drained just drained me even more.

Yesterday was really no exception to any other day this month. The only difference is that I was all of a sudden determined to get back to my old self, get my confidence back and start feeling happy every day all day again. So, without even thinking twice about it, I changed out of my work clothes, put on my tennis shoes (which haven’t been touched in a while), got in my car and went to the track. I walked a mile and ran a mile, with a few lunges and squats interspersed throughout. It wasn’t an extremely hard workout but it felt great and I’ve definitely been missing it.

I won’t say I’m a changed person today. I’m certainly not back to my old self, but I’m one step closer, especially if I keep this up. And that’s all I really want. To get back to the person I was so I can live the life I want to live.

7 Minutes In Heaven

No, not that silly game teenager’s play at their first boy-girl party. I’m talking seven minutes of relaxation for your soul… which, to me, translates into heaven.

I’ve always known yoga is good for the mind, body and soul. Every time I get done a yoga session, I always feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever comes at me in my often chaotic, messy days. I always tell myself to do more yoga. Seriously… here is a mental clip I have quite often.

“Wow, I feel so relaxed after those 15 minutes of yoga. I really need to do this more often.”

My inner monologue is so poetic, I know.

But, the truth is, I don’t do yoga as much as I want. I find much inspiration from my dear friend Sarah, who is a faithful yogi (waking up before the sun comes up on Monday mornings to practice yoga at a studio takes serious dedication). You can check out all of her yoga adventures, as well as her baking creations on her blog at http://collegekidyoga.wordpress.com/.

I guarantee you will find her full of life and as inspiring as I do. Shout out! She’s also my favorite walking buddy. Early morning conversations during long walks with great friends is also great for the mind, body and soul. But I digress…

Back to yoga. Now if only I was as flexible as Sarah…

Maybe that’s part of the reason why I don’t engage in yoga as much as I would like. My flexibility has always been, how should I put this… non-existent. I’m serious. Ok, not really. I’m actually more flexible now than ever, but that’s probably in part to the sporadic yoga. Which means I should probably do it more so I can get into bendy positions like this:

Actually, I really just want to be able to do this without feeling like my legs are on fire and going to fall off:

Anyway, this morning I woke up, showered and decided I didn’t give a damn about my hair. Au natural aka curly, I was letting it air dry as I put on my makeup, made breakfast and danced around my room to Stereophonic’s “Maybe Tomorrow” (you know you like that song too!).

Then I had a brilliant idea as I looked at the clock to see I still had plenty of time before I had to leave the house and fight through traffic.

Tara Stiles morning yoga! Bingo. A seven minute YouTube video that will transform your morning.

And my morning was transformed. Introduced to Tara Stiles through Sarah, I knew this woman had to be amazing.  While I’m not quite as flexible as Ms. Stiles (who makes folding her body in half look so darn easy), she is an awesome inspiration with a whole slew of yoga videos on YouTube from beginner (oh, me me me!) to advanced.

I finished up that seven minute video (it went by super quick) and went on with the rest of my morning, feeling better than I had all week.

I’m thinking yoga might be a good addition to my morning beauty routine. My roommates will hopefully be able to sleep through all the noise when I fall over from trying some yogitastic move.