WAYS TO PICK YOURSELF UP AFTER A GOOD CRY

You’re in your room, your eyes are puffy and you just got done crying harder than you ever thought possible. Let me be the first to tell you: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this picture. In fact, you should be proud that you were brave enough to let yourself express all that emotion! Below are a couple of caring and healing actions you can take once you’re ready to move forward from that freeing cry sesh.

YOU ARE THE BOSS OF YOU

Once you have allowed yourself to calm down, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are the boss of your life and your emotions. Being hurt is okay, so is being sad or scared, but it is ultimately up to you to pick yourself up and push yourself forward. Remember: you are a boss babe, and you are capable of outshining all of the stars put together. This is probably the most crucial step, in my opinion, because a vina’s power comes from loving and believing in herself!

INDULGE A LITTLE

Granted, it’s never okay to eat your feelings, but we’re talking about a little indulgement. There’s nothing like dipping into your favorite snack for a little pick-me-up after spending so much energy being sad and down. Or perhaps your idea of this includes splurging on that aged brie from Trader Joe’s you’ve been eyeing all week. If there was ever a time to indulge a little, this would be it!

TREAT YOURSELF

Do you have a face mask that you have been saving for just the right moment? This is it. This is the moment. After giving yourself a pep talk and eating to your heart’s content, rejuvenate with a regimen of your choice! Whether it is a face, lip, or hair mask, do something that will make you feel energized and like you are ready for what’s next. Go the extra mile and throw some bath salts or bubbles in that bad boy! The point of this step is to feel fresh and new—like you just wiped off all the tears and the self-doubt from your life and are ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

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Photograph by Paramount Home Entertainment

BUST OUT YOUR FAVE FEEL-GOOD FILMS/TUNES

It has been scientifically proven that when you fill your brain up with happy things while you’re sad, it has a positive effect on you! It may be tempting to wallow in your own sadness and watch all the saddest movies or listen to “In My Feels” radio, but you must push past the sad and get into the happy. My go to right now? “Thank U, Next” By baby girl Ariana Grande! Make yourself a playlist pre-breakdown so you are prepared! Another way to rid the blues? Watch some feel-good movies. This includes something with an overall positive message, a plot where the strong female lead makes a big comeback, or something straight up funny. Did anyone say “Mean Girls?”

This list is a very small amount of things you can do to pick yourself back up after a good ugly-cry session. The world may seem like it is just not going right for you at the moment, but you have the world at your feet; but first, let’s get you through this bad day. You got this girl.

Lean in to your community of kickass vinas on Hey! VINA who are ready to love and support every piece of you. 

CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK FOR A HAPPIER LIFESTYLE

You changed jobs or moved to that new city. You’ve switched partners, became single to focus on you, or tried to shake out your routine. Yet you still feel like happiness is unreachable. Why is that so? Read on for ways to change the way you think and start living a more content life!

BEAT BAD HABITS

There are certain habits that we don’t know that we have.  You might spend too much time on social media and not get enough work done, and this may frustrate the people around you.  The problem isn’t the social media—the problem is that the work isn’t being done.  Their reaction to you may shock you and upset you because, in your mind, you didn’t deserve it.  But if you think about it, nobody would have gotten upset over your social media habits if the work was done on time.

Someone might have said something to you like “It’s always the same thing with you” or “this is exactly what happened last time.” I believe that sometimes, it really is just the situation you’re in.  But other times, when it’s easier to blame the situation rather than do some introspection and change yourself for the better, I think that is the time when you really have to knuckle-down and brave face through the transition that will ultimately change the entire trajectory of your life.

If you start noticing a pattern or a continuous thread of responses from the people around you, it’s time to seriously start thinking about the impact your attitude has on your everyday life—and especially your future.

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THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ARE CONNECTED

Activating your brain to start noticing the things you do that is causing you to behave in ways that may be destructive to others is no easy task.  You basically have to dissect yourself and find out what the root of your behavioral issues are.  And that is daunting.  I’ve been listening to Dr. Caroline Leaf recently and find her books very helpful.  She speaks about controlling your thoughts and switching on your brain. This is basically the idea that your thoughts control your feelings, and your feelings control your behavior.

If you can control your thoughts and how you think, you can control how you feel—which means you can control your reactions to different triggers and situations.

We all think that we can’t help how we feel.  And perhaps we can’t, but we certainly can help how we respond to our feelings. Have you ever thought yourself into a bad mood?  If you can do that then, as hard as it sounds, surely you can think yourself into a good mood.

FOCUS ON YOU

If you feel that you are always unlucky, that the world is always against you, or that everyone always treats you with disrespect and nobody sees how much you do for everyone, maybe you should go back to the beginning and work on yourself first.  Take some real time out. Away from everything and everyone.  Take a diary and write down all the things that affect your emotions and ask yourself why they do. Write down everything that makes you happy and what you can do to motivate your happiness.  Write down ways you think you can experience that happiness more often and how you can increase moments of happiness into a longer lasting state of being—rather than just bouts of happiness which are dependant on external influences.

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CHANGE YOUR POV

The best way to change other people is to start by changing yourself.  And I know that they say you can’t change other people, you can only change how you react to them.  But I believe something different.  I believe that if you work on yourself and develop skills that will conform to you – not to anyone else’s standard – the people around you and the relationships you have will automatically change.  And in that and as much as you don’t really change the people around you, you certainly change their perception of you and the way that they respond to you.  For instance, if you walk past a colleague for months without saying hello to them, chances are that they won’t see the need to say hello to you.  But if you change the way that you see them and stop one day to find out how their evening was, chances are that they will respond well to that and then one day, they might even start the conversation with you.  Do you see how the colleague in that scenario “changed” from not seeing the need to say hello to you to initiating the conversation?  In this scenario, you might think “Wow, the colleague really changed a lot” but, when you unpack it, you find that the real person who changed was you.

If we focus our energy on ourselves, we can all change the way we respond to situations.  You might think that you can’t help yourself, but if you put the same dedication into yourself that you put into trying to change everybody else, you will soon learn that you can help yourself.  You can change how you think and feel.  You can decide not to blow up a situation.  You do have the power. It resides within you.

Surround yourself with positive influences—download Hey! VINA to meet supportive vinas today! 

HOW TO HANDLE BEING THE STRONG FRIEND WHEN YOU NEED SOMEONE TO LEAN ON

On December 23, 2003—five days after my 24th birthday, two days shy of Christmas and six days before my older brothers’ 26th birthday—my mother passed away quietly in our home after a long bought with cancer.  She was my best friend, confidant and a real-life version of Martha Stewart. I was devasted, broken and silent. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t even move. 2004 is still a blur to me.

What I didn’t realize then was that, in time, my wounds would heal. I would learn to smile again and maybe even look on this day and be at peace with it. Better still, my pain might help someone else get through theirs—and in the years following, it certainly proved to do so.

But what happens when it’s you that needs a shoulder to cry on? Sure, history has proven that you can weather the storm and recover, but being strong all the time is exhausting. At least I know it’s been for me. My girlfriends are great people with huge hearts, but sometimes I feel like life has been much kinder to them and they can’t really understand what I’m going through. I’ve always been the “big sister” with weighty advice and reflective suggestions, but now I needed someone to be that for me. What was I to do?

I decided to take a walk. I walked near a park, around my block and to my favorite coffee house close by. I didn’t go in, though. I sat on a bench outside and soon smelled the comforting aromas of freshly brewed coffee and warm baked goods. I started watching the people come and go around me and wondered where they were going. Who were they going home to? What kind of life did they live? Then it hit me—everyone has gone through something and has a story. Mine was no different and no more important. Sure, maybe I had more loss in my life, but my friends loved and cared about me enough to support me when I was having a rough time. Not everyone has that blessing.

Maybe instead of assuming the worst, take a chance and reach out to your friends and loved ones. Explain to them what you’re going through—they are your friends and family for a reason, after all. Call it a leap of faith, but I’ve found people can surprise you in the most incredible ways. If you’re still concerned, take your trusty dusty pen and write it down.

Next time you’re concerned that your friends may not understand, try one of these actions first:

  1. Take a walk to reflect on the many blessings in your life.
  2. Sit still and breathe deeply—sometimes slowing down is what you really need.
  3. Write it down—seeing the words on the page can be truly healing.

My father always tells us that there is wisdom in all things, and for everything under the sun, there is a time and a season. Everyone goes through hard times and needs a caring shoulder to cry on. Trust the people in your life. It makes all the difference!

Need other strong vinas in your life to be there for you? Start swiping on the Hey! VINA app today. 

NEW YEAR, SAME ME

It’s that time of year. Everyone is all, “New Year, new me,” and here I am just trying to avoid all these posts from my friends and family. I hate the new year for this reason. Why do we need the new year to make us want to change?

Let’s be honest, January 1 is the day when everyone is declaring how they will be new and improved this year. As if the first day in January is any different than March 15 or August 2. Why does January 1 make everyone want to go crazy?

Personally, I stopped making resolutions a few years ago. I found myself setting unrealistic expectations for myself that I wouldn’t normally do. Instead, I made myself some goals and checked in on it a few times a year. Then, toward the latter half of the year, I would review what I had done, what I maybe could still do, and what I could just cross off. It put me in a better headspace. I felt more in control. It is the act of “failing better” – when you stop putting resolutions on yourself, it gives you an opportunity to fail and recover. Nothing is written in stone, which means you can get back on that horse and try again.

Let’s talk about some of the not-so-healthy things we do in the name of the New Year, and how to change that mindset!

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DIETS

Maybe you’re not aware, but there’s a movement for body positivity and loving yourself. Some of us have had to teach ourselves how to love the body we have. Many of us still struggle. I try to gas myself up, and gas up the women around me, because I want them to love themselves. I hate hearing my best friend talk about “when I’m down 30 more pounds I’ll be comfortable.” No sis! You’re gorgeous the way you are! If we keep telling ourselves that 30 pounds from now “I’ll be worth loving” or “I’ll be worth buying this dress” or “I’ll be worthy,” then we’re not doing ourselves any favors.

Diets and fads are the most harmful thing. Obviously, if you’re on a specific diet due to lifestyle, sure! Examples are vegan, gluten-free (for medical), etc. But to follow a diet because it’s trending is insane, in my opinion. Especially when there are many reputable articles out there telling us how harmful diet culture is.

Let’s not forget that we are showing our kids this. When we constantly go on fad diets, we’re showing our girls that we have to keep up with the Joneses (or the Kardashians) in order to be accepted in society. We’re telling them that their bodies aren’t okay the way they are.  

Instead, why not just try healthy eating rather than a fad diet? Why not try to love yourself? Make that your resolution to love yourself unconditionally.

Like Mama Ru says: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love someone else? Can I get an amen?” Amen, Mother Ru.

GYM MEMBERSHIPS

Why do you wait until the new year to join a gym? They count on all of us to want to rush to the gyms. They prey on you to get into this contract with them so that they can charge you for a whole year. And for some of these gyms, good luck getting out of that contract. I have seen in some gyms that you literally need a doctor to tell them why you are unable to work out. Then they will consider to let you out of your contract.

Instead of joining a gym, why not join your local rec center? How about the YMCA? A local fitness group that meets in a park? Or just watch The Fitness Marshall on YouTube and dance along with him. He’s amazing and you can get in a good workout. Also, there are tons of fitness apps you can download on your phone, tablet, or smart TV/device. Save some money and gas.

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ONLY 10% OF PEOPLE KEEP THOSE RESOLUTIONS

Yeah, that small of a number. Shocking isn’t it? Depending on the source, you can find numbers that range from 10% to 39% – but a lot of it has to do with the age demographic and the specific goals. But still, it’s not a lot!

It also doesn’t help that people tend to focus on the things about themselves they don’t like and the things they want to change. By doing this, you’re evoking these negative emotions in yourself. Generally speaking, these negative emotions aren’t going to motivate you.

RESOLUTIONS SOUND SO FINAL

The word resolution – close to resolute (read: unwavering) – sounds so final. As if it can’t be changed. Instead, try making goals! Some goals to try this year:

  • Join the ACLU

  • Meditate more

  • Enroll in school

  • Try to keep in touch with friends more often

  • Make time for yourself x times a week/month

  • Eat healthier, but don’t deny cravings

  • Be kinder to yourself

  • Read more books this year

 See? Aren’t those better goals than some of those resolutions?

Toward the end of the year, and for the first few weeks at the beginning of the year, the commercials are all aimed at “New year, new you”. I say bull****: New Year, same you. Maybe a better you, but not a new you. You’re already perfect. And if you don’t have a vina to tell you that, let me be it! I’m here to gas you up.

Making goals and motivating yourself to reach them is way easier with vinas by your side! Download the Hey! VINA app to find your tribe. 

 

GETTING INTO YOGA FOR THE ABSOLUTE ROOKIE

As a former athlete (gymnast to be exact), I’m used to putting my body into precarious positions. After being injured in a competition many moons ago, I’ve struggled to find an activity that not only challenges my body but doesn’t exacerbate my injury while doing so.

Being sympathetic to my dilemma, a girlfriend of mine suggested I try “hot yoga” (hot what now?!) I had never heard of it, let alone knew where to sign up for it. After my initial confusion passed, she invited me to her local studio. 90 minutes and 800 buckets of sweat later, I emerged from the studio declaring I’d never try that again! However, my interest was peaked by the stretching and fluid movements of the practice. I decided to dig a little more and research the different types of yoga so I could find the best class for me.

The first thing I did was make a list of the different types of yoga and, based on their description, would decide which one would be best for my super basic level of proficiency. Also, one that wouldn’t cause me to sweat out my body weight before the end of class. Although I found quite a few different types, there seemed to be five that were the most popular with classes being easily found.

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HATHA

You’ll find this term used very loosely in the yoga world, as every style is technically Hatha in practice. It refers mostly to being introduced to the very basic postures of yoga. This would be perfect for a beginner or someone looking to get a little more limber before jumping into a full-blown style.

ASHTANGA

Popularized in the 1970s by K. Pattabhi Jois, this style focuses on sequencing each posture with your breath. Although super fluid, this is a demanding style that will definitely work up a sweat.

VINYASA 

Translated from Sanskrit as “to place in a special way,” this style also follows a specific sequence of movements as with Ashtanga but allows for an infinite combination of those sequences. Think of this as the pick-your-own poison type of yoga – no two classes will be the same. Promise!

BIKRAM 

A.k.a, hot yoga—sort of. Introduced by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is all about the sequence of its 26 poses. Taught in heated rooms, this class is very specific in how each pose flows into the next, which is why not all Bikram classes are hot yoga classes. Any class that deviates from the exact 26 pose sequence Choudhury established cannot call itself “Bikram.” However, all Bikram classes are technically hot yoga classes. Confused yet? See “80 buckets of sweat” above for clarification.

IYENGAR

This style is hyper-focused on proper alignment and breath in each pose. Yoga props are often used to assist in the ultimate stretch and, being such a meticulous style, the instructors must go through rigorous training to gain certification. This style is also touted to be the best style if you have an injury or chronic condition because of the steady, focused hold and stretch challenges. Bingo!

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It may look way over your head at first, but yoga is one of the best forms of exercise you can do for your health. Not only does it involve your core and many of your muscle groups, but it also brings mental clarity and relaxation. So don’t be afraid to try it—start slow and easy, doing only the exercises you feel comfortable for the amount of time you can hold it. The beautiful thing about this practice is that it is very much an individual experience (in a group setting), which allows you to focus on incremental growth and personal improvement.

Still a bit scared to try it on your own? Head over to the Hey! VINA app and find a yogi vina to join you in your flow! 

HOW TO LIVE A HYGGE LIFESTYLE

Hoo-gah is the correct way to pronounce the word, hygge. I don’t know about you, but it feels kind of good to say! It’s like practicing a breathing technique: breathing all the way in and letting it all out with a great, hooooo-gah. Whew! I sure needed that after this eventful summer season; so many BBQs, so many outdoor activities with friends, so much running around but so little ME-time- amiright? So as this season slows down, let’s all embrace the hygge lifestyle.

SO WHAT IS HYGGE?

Hygge is a concept used to define the quality of simplistic contentment and well-being. It’s most commonly used in Scandinavian countries during their harsh winters, which usually consist of only seven hours or less of sunlight each day. It’s an intimate way of enjoying a cozy life at home while calming and soothing the senses. It wasn’t until the 18th century when Denmark turned hygge into a way of living that it became the trending lifestyle we all want to be a part of.

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HAPPY SPIRITS

As the summer season comes to an end, the words cozy, comfy, and hot cocoa fill the crisp air. The fast-paced summer days have gone, but the nourishing and nurturing days are totally in. It’s no wonder most animals hibernate, load up on foods, and rest for these darker, cooler seasons. Much like animals, our human bodies are similar, telling us it’s OK to move at a slower pace and to load up on hearty foods that heat up our system and keep us warm and strong as we prepare to rejuvenate again for the spring and summer seasons. Our bodies know exactly what it needs and when our bodies are listened to, we create a healthy mind-body connection, which ultimately makes our spirit happy. Happiness is a term our Danish friends know well, after all, they are known for  having the title as “the happiest country in the world”–so, let’s take some of their pointers on how to live the hygge lifestyle.

MAINTAIN A MINDFUL & MINIMALISTIC LIFESTYLE

Hygge doesn’t exactly mean going overboard to make your home and lifestyle as hygge as possible. It’s about spending time in the comforts of the things you have and enjoying the simplicity of it all. Treating yourself to a bottle of vino and a calming bubble bath after a hard day at work or cooking your favorite savory meal for you and a loved one count as hygge. Reminiscing on special moments, or escaping a stormy night by staying warm and dry, or wrapping in a blanket, watching your favorite film are other great examples of hygge. Danes are known to be very modest and less flashy, so no, we are not just talking about doing this all for some Instagram-worthy photos (even though this lifestyle is oh so trendy!). To really understand the concept of hygge is to really take time out for yourself and your loved ones while being totally present.

LET THE ROMANCE COMMENCE!

Candles are a huge Denmark treat and are believed to relax and calm the mind, so it’s no wonder Scandinavian countries are also rumored to be the largest consumers of candles in the world. These natives know that when trying to brace the frigid-dark months, candles bring natural light and warmth to the home. Candles can even heat up the temp between you and your partner or inspire some self-love with a peaceful meditation. Check out hygge-scented candles to add some extra comfort into your home. The scented brewed tea and baked strawberry cake candles are perfect to light up in the morning while enjoying your cup of joy, AKA Joe.

COZY COMFORT

It seems as though loungewear has now become quite a pricey fashion trend, but as I said above, don’t go overboard! I know the idea of looking good while feeling cozy may sound appealing to some, but loungewear is for lounging! Layer-up on your sweats and make sure you have a pair of fuzzy socks and slippers to slid into while sinking into an oversized robe. Your boyfriend’s oversized flannel can also do the trick. The more layers, the better. If you are in the mood for some shopping, Nordic-inspired interiors (think modern Game of Thrones vibe) like candle-sticks, bulky knitted pillows and blankets, and deep color accents are a great part of hygge.

BOOK CLUB

As we wind down on our list, one of the biggest hygge novelties to have is that perfect winter’s night book; full of romance, self-care, and escapism. Attend to your inner imagination, cuddle up, and relax. Books are soulful and meant to be enjoyed during these dark months. Check out our monthly book selection on VINAZINE for some extra inspo.

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ENJOY THE OUTDOOR ELEMENTS

As much as we love to hygge indoors, there’s much to hygge outdoors. Build a fire, go apple picking, play in the snow! A hygge lifestyle is about enjoying life’s little moments, including earthy sights, sounds, and smells of nature. If you’re lucky enough, hygge cuisine is big on cooking fresh meals, use what’s in your garden! Winter herbs like thyme can survive the colder season and veggies like potatoes, carrots, and turnips are seasonally available, perfect for a hearty soup! Indulge in the elements and make do with the wonderful things that are available to you. Just because the cold is here doesn’t mean your life has to stop. Take it easy and enjoy your winter’s sanctuary the hygge-way!

P.S. Hygge can be celebrated year-round. Lighten your linens for the spring and get your fingers dirty in your blossoming garden. Stir up some freshly squeezed lemonade this summer and invite your vinas over for a terrarium-creating date. Be one with the seasons. Here’s to living our best lives.

Looking to enhance your hygge lifestyle? Check out Hey! VINA and meet cozy and simplistic vinas in your area!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PROBLEM WITH PORN

The female form is a beautiful thing. Women, once considered goddesses, are known for their enchanting male-magnetism. Men would fall to a woman’s feet for the chance to be in her presence.

Now, let’s get back to the 21st century. Imagine a woman who has a petite waist and a plump, full butt. Her breasts are perfectly proportionate and symmetrical. But men are not throwing themselves at this woman; they are throwing her around! We are talking about porn, of course. Porn has become the most lucrative industry, generating about 3,000 dollars a second. A SECOND!

By the time you finish reading this article, the porn industry will have made over half a million dollars—but, what is the real price we are paying?

THE PROBLEM WITH PORN & THE BRAIN

Fight the New Drug is an organization that aims to raise awareness for people to make informed decisions regarding pornography. The things that we are seeing in the porn industry are actually overpowering the emotions and sexual encounters we are having in real life. Not only does the brain become chemically altered, but it also changes the perception of our relationships and affects our ability to become aroused by real people.

THE PROBLEM WITH PORN IN RELATIONSHIPS

In some relationships, partners may be completely comfortable watching porn together. After all, they are joining millions of others doing the same thing at that moment. Unfortunately, what oftentimes happens is that watching porn can start affecting the relationship. Porn is seen as a body that is used to give and receive sexual pleasure. After a while, we begin to see ourselves differently and judge our own bodies (whether or not we are living up to the expectations of these actors). The judgment we pass on ourselves takes a toll on our self-image, our feelings, and our security of being in a loving relationship.

“Porn has been linked with people being less committed to their partners, less satisfied in their relationships, and more cynical about love in general,” according to Fight the New Drug. This doesn’t help that society is rapidly deteriorating, along with many morals and values being thrown out the window.

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THE PROBLEM WITH PORN ON OUR FUTURE

My biggest problem with porn is because of the fact that I have children. My son is 18, and by legal standards, an adult. By now it’s statistically safe to assume that he has watched porn. My worry doesn’t come from what he sees, but from what he learns. A Youth Internet Safety Survey found that 15% of people from 12 to 17 years of age have intentionally searched for pornographic material. Most males and females use porn as an educational way to learn about different types of sexual acts are performed. Teenagers use porn as a parameter to know if what they are doing is considered “good” in terms of pleasure.

Unfortunately, teenagers are not learning about the fundamentals that build a healthy relationship and a healthy sexual experience. As society declines in communication and trust, our youth has nowhere else to turn for their questions to be answered but to porn. Age verification is a thing of the past, where anyone can click a button to verify that they are 18 or older. Porn is not what it used to be. It’s no longer taboo in conversations or embarrassing when mentioned. The way people are viewing porn and themselves is changing.

Say goodbye to the porn and say hello to a little self-love and self-fulfillment. Download Hey! VINA today to surround yourself with vinas who are looking for empowerment, just like you!

LET’S TALK SUICIDE: HOW TO BE THERE FOR A VINA IN NEED

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and while I am thankful for those acknowledging this crisis, it also hits quite close to home for me. As three of my closest friends have attempted suicide and I have had to talk my one friend out of self-harm, this issue is more than just a topic in the paper. Suicide might be uncomfortable for some to talk about, including myself, but the more we are made aware of this subject, the better we can help those struggling during times of need. Here are some suggestions on how you can be there for your vinas who need your support.

LET THEM KNOW THEY ARE NOT ALONE

The main thing that I make sure all my vinas know is that I’m there for them: day or night. Whether they need to talk or need someone to walk home with them, it’s vital that they know they have a friend they can count on. Mental illness can sometimes make us believe we are all alone, so if you have a friend or family member who may be contemplating self-harm, let them know their emotions are being acknowledged and most importantly, noticed. If you can offer an ear to listen and shoulder to lean on, that makes a huge difference.

OUTDOOR BENEFITS

I constantly give my friends suggestions about the latest Netflix comedy special that can brighten up their mood or a cool activity they can do with others. If your vina seems to be a bit down, see if you can get her out of the house and into nature. The outdoors and sunshine are very beneficial! Vitamin D is essential for our mental well-being and the best way to get some is by enjoying a little sunshine. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quick walk to get some ice cream or a short stroll through the park, your vina needs to get out of the house where her insecurities hide in the shadows. Some fresh air can go a long way.

SELF-CARE

In the midst of being a female, I think all of us females can agree sometimes our hormones get the best of us, and not giving enough back to ourselves, self-love and care need to be practiced. A little reflection while meditating can really help you get to the root of what is going on within. Maybe going out to a yoga class isn’t ideal for your vina at the moment, but in the age of the internet-you can pop a basic yoga video on your laptop and do it together in the comfort of your own home.

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PATIENCE

It is very important that you take your time with a vina. It may seem time consuming and repetitive, but your vina needs you now more than ever. A funny gif here, a good meme there, a well-placed trip to the movies, or an occasional walk … no matter how small it may seem to you, it could mean the world to your vina.

Remember: There are many resources available to provide support to those affected by suicide. If someone you know needs help, suggest these resources immediately:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text “Talk” to 741741.
  • Crisis Text Line — Text START to 741741
  • TREVOR Project — 866-488-7386
  • Trans Lifeline — 877-565-8860

Of course, new vinas are always waiting to talk. Click here to start your friendship journey.

 

 

DEPRESSED OR JUST STRESSED?

The first thing you need to know about depression is this: it is so OK to be depressed and you are not abnormal or crazy if you are depressed. According to the ADAA, “in 2015 around 16.1 million adults aged 18 years or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year. That represents 6.7 percent of all American adults.”

So if you do find yourself thinking you might be showing signs of depression and may need to seek treatment, don’t put it off or convince yourself you don’t need it. So often, people are embarrassed or unwilling to admit that they have a mental disorder because they think that it automatically separates them from “normal” people or somehow changes the premise of their entire life. What happens then is that person sinks deeper and deeper into a state of depression trying to fight their own mind, all the while showing more and more signs of the original underlying depression. Trying to mask these initial feelings will likely end up in avoiding social situations, sleeping too much or calling in sick often or using alcohol or any substance abuse as a distraction. All of these are actually some of the most common signs of depression.

One of the most challenging factors about clinical depression is that it mimics the symptoms of other less concerning issues. In the same way that anxiety and panic attacks can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack or other cardiovascular complications, depression can have the same effects as a strenuous lifestyle.

Here’s how to tell the difference:

If you no longer have time in your daily schedule to enjoy hobbies, social activities, or just “me time” in general, it’s probably time to sit down and take a look at your schedule. It might be too full, causing you to be stressed. If you find yourself no longer having the desire to do anything fun or even anything at all, (i.e. eat, shower, talk on the phone, or even watching TV) then this is a sign that you could be depressed.

If you notice yourself being extra tired at night, not getting a good amount of uninterrupted sleep, or sleeping late, take a look at your daily life. Are you always on the go, running from here to there with your mind constantly racing? Stressed.

Are you spending more time on the couch, eating lots of empty carbs, sugar, and saturated fats? Are you regularly worrying about anything and everything and end up doing nothing because you don’t even know where to begin? Depressed.

Both stress and depression can cause you to become physically drained and interrupt your REM cycle, but the root problems should be addressed differently.

There is a definitive line between being overworked physically and overworked emotionally, but that line is just as easily blurred. The thing is, the solution is different for everyone. So don’t automatically assume that you’re going to be on a medication regime the second you reach out for help. In some cases just talking things out with a professional makes a world of difference and can also improve your mental health and wellness. However, stress should not be minimized. Putting a strain on your body both physically and mentally can have serious long-term effects.

Among other remedies are lifestyle changes such as improving your eating habits, increasing your amount of physical exercise, or taking up a new personal hobby. (Especially one that connects you to the earth, like gardening or adopting a pet/volunteering at a shelter, can change your mood and overall outlook on life.)

There are also many herbal treatments that have proven great success for individuals diagnosed with depression. Ask your doctor to look into homeopathic and other natural remedies, or make an appointment with a naturopathic specialist.

Whether you have taken on a little too much in your personal, educational, or professional life or have a deeper emotional issue that needs healing, there is a fix for you. That is why it is essential to make yourself, and your healing, a priority to find that unique fix. What works for one person might be totally different for the next. Be well, vinas!

Surround yourself with vinas who support your healing journey by swiping left!

THIS IS MY STORY: LIVING WITH DEPRESSION AND SEVERE ANXIETY

It’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but there are almost no days where I don’t wake up or go to bed feeling utterly and hopelessly overwhelmed. The feelings can present themselves in different ways, but the root is always the same; have I done enough? Am I ever going to feel like I’ve done enough and how can I get more done? What does the future hold and have I properly prepared for it? Have I done all that I can for those I love, for my coworkers, for the world?! I imagine that it was something similar for Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain.

I think I’ve suffered with depression and severe anxiety since I was 9 or 10 years old. I first sought help when I was a sophomore in high school, but because of a lack of resources, we were told that my condition wasn’t dire enough to warrant getting therapy at that time. The circumstances did eventually become dire a year or two later when I swallowed a bunch of pills. I’m not sure why, but I told a friend and she immediately took me to the nurse’s office. I was sent to a crisis center where they determined that I was at low risk for harming myself again and sent me home with my mother. At this point, therapy became mandatory for a year. I finished therapy and got better, then I went to college and relapsed a bit. My university was a blessing since it had mental health staff on site. I received therapy once a week and for the first time, saw a psychiatrist. I was prescribed Xanax for daily anxiety medication needed for my panic attacks.

With age comes the ability to gain hindsight and wisdom. Now I can say that I’ve always been a highly functioning depressed person. While most people can’t get day-to-day tasks down when depressed, I can now do those and more. Maybe it’s my way of seeking approval… approval from who, you may ask?

There was a time when I focused on receiving my parents’ approval. It was my way of proving that I was worthy of attention. While my parents were always around, they were absent. Early childhood was a back and forth. I describe it to friends now as the best/ worst childhood ever.

It’s true, my brother and I were highly praised and I don’t think I’ve ever doubted that I was loved. I just wasn’t sure that I was seen. Even now, sometimes I feel invisible. That has never gone away. My parents had what would be called a tumultuous relationship. I have no doubt in my mind that they loved each other, probably still love each other, but they didn’t know how to properly convey that love. There was screaming, yelling, hitting, drinking, and—unbeknownst to me in my childish eyes—drugging, and so much more.

We were never left alone, but you can say that at times, it felt lonely. My parents would go on to spend almost my entire lifetime on and off with each other until I was 28 or 29. I’m 31 now.

When I was 9 or 10, that was the turning point for me in which I became super anxious. My parents had a physical altercation and I spent the next few years thinking that one day, I’d come home and my mother would be dead. I remember really loving the song “Love is Blind” by Eve because it was a glimpse into my life.

Nonetheless, being highly functional kept me away from it all. I’d be anxious, but at least I wouldn’t be in the middle of everything. In high school, I think we were homeless once or twice and that added to my anxiety.

I said that with age comes wisdom and after seeing so much, it was easy for me to determine that my parents didn’t need to be together. Times were better for my mother, brother and I when my dad wasn’t around. I didn’t have to live in fear of what I’d come home to. My mom was there both physically and emotionally. Sophomore year when I swallowed those pills, it was after my dad had come back into our lives. While the physically violent nature of their relationship was better, the emotional abuse continued. I wanted out: I wanted off the roller coaster ride of fear, anxiety and invisibility.

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I imagine that Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain felt what I feel a lot, being included but not connected. I felt like I was never doing enough, like I was invisible to those most important. That the fear, anxiety and invisibility are unshakeable.

In the years since those dark times, I’ve been able to get off of medication, but the depression and anxiety are still there. What I want people to understand is that by no means do I think my life is lacking or not enjoyable. Most times when I think about it, I really am happy. The problem is, my mind doesn’t turn off and it’s not something that I’m in control of. I’m constantly thinking about the future and how I can become a better person. Please make no mistake, that is what this is, feeling like you’re constantly disturbing others.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about all this in it’s entirety, but in light of recent events, I wanted to share my story. Anxiety and depression are hard. Our minds are powerful tools and we can fall victim to our insecurities or even our own good intentions. Money, large families, nice clothes and great shoes do not solve the tricks of the mind. If you see someone succumbing to the recesses of depression and anxiety, reach out. Listen to them. Force them to talk. Remind them that they are not a burden. They need help to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you need a vina to talk to, reach out here. Also, if you live in the U.S., someone is always there to talk to you at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255