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!

9 GIFS THAT MIGHT AS WELL BE YOU DURING FINALS WEEK

The end of the semester is fast approaching, but before you can relax on the beach or catch up on some Zs, you gotta get through finals week. So bring on the procrastination, last minute stressing, snacking, and caffeine dependency. And what better way to feel less alone than with these gifs that represent all of us during finals week?

When you thought you studied, but apparently it was all the wrong things.

When you’ve got the stress munchies. Or maybe just the procrastination munchies…

When you think you’ve got another week of classes, but finals actually start next week.

When you’re forced to skip out on everything and anything social because you have to retreat to the lib for the next 72 hours.

When every time is coffee time. 9 a.m.? Coffee time. 3 a.m.? Still coffee time.

When sleep becomes the absolute last priority.

And although there are plenty of gifs that you can find while procrastinating, here are some that might actually motivate you to study.

Those who are graduating or close to graduating, study, study, study! You’re so close you can taste it!

Feeling like you just want to give up and drop out? Take a tip from Dory.

And if all of this still isn’t motivation enough, here is a picture of Ryan Gosling.

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Happy studying, and good luck to everyone on their finals!

In need of a study buddy? Find one on the Hey! VINA app

(Featured image via loupyestu.tumblr.com)

DINNER PARTIES: HOW TO BE A STRESSLESS HOSTESS

Anyone who has hosted a dinner party for their vinas knows it’s a tricky balancing act between pleasing your pals and having fun of your own. We say, why not do both? Follow these helpful hints, and before you know it, you’ll be the hostess with the mostest.

PICK GUESTS WITH PURPOSE

This sounds harsh, but essentially, only invite people whom know each other well and get along. The last thing you want while finishing meal prep is feeling like you took the conversation with you when you entered the kitchen. With partygoers who can entertain each other, you’ll have time to focus on the main event—dinner.

STICK TO YOUR SPECIALTIES

Although it may seem tempting to try and master the dish you just saw on Master Chef, it’s best to go with what you know. How about the delicious casserole you’ve been making since college? Or the cake you’ve been baking with your mom since childhood? If you’ve kept these dishes in your recipe book for that long, there must be a good reason why.

BE MINDFUL OF ALLERGIES, BUT NOT TOO MINDFUL

It seems like everyone is vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, or some variation these days. Yes, it’s important to be conscientious of your guests’ unique needs—if your vina has celiac disease, maybe don’t serve pasta as the main course. But if you try too hard to please everyone, you’ll end up making as many dishes as there are guests. Plus, people with dietary restrictions are used to making adjustments when eating out.

PREP AHEAD

Prepare as much as you can before the event even begins. Strategically select recipes that include instructions on how to “plan ahead” and indicate the dish can be made a day or two in advance. Also, desserts, such as cheesecake, can be made the night before, which checks a whole course off of your to-do list. The less time you spend in the kitchen during the party is more time you’ll get to spend around the table with your vinas.

DITCH DISTRACTIONS

Got a bunch of kiddos who are sure to cause chaos? Hire a sitter, or promise a friend an IOU and plan a sleepover at their house. Pups that won’t quit begging at the table? Drop them off at doggie daycare for the evening. An S.O. who’s going to infringe on girl’s night? Suggest alternative plans, such as going out to dinner with their own group of friends. You’ll be so much more at ease knowing it’s just you and your besties.

How do you throw a to-die-for dinner party? Let us know in the comments!

(Featured image via 100layercake.com)

SHAKE OFF THE STRESSES OF THE WEEK WITH THESE RELAXING VINA DATES!

With final exams and deadlines looming this time each year, it’s no surprise April is Stress Awareness Month. But we’re right there with you, stressed sistas. When you finally decide it’s time for a break, here are some ways to decompress with your BFF–

ART CLASS

Color yourself relaxed. Research has found that merely 45 minutes spent channeling your creativity through arts and crafts can significantly decrease stress levels. Go to a pottery class or check out one of those ever-popular painting and wining classes. Vinas, just free your mind and your creative juices with a friend.

YOGA

It seems like everyone’s a yogi these days, but maybe they’re onto something. According to the Mayo Clinic, yoga can help people better relax and manage their stress. Throw on your cutest leggings, grab your closest vina, and stretch that stress away!

AFTERNOON TEA

Tea time! A 2010 study by University College London showed black tea can help alleviate the stresses of everyday life by effectively regulating stress hormones levels after the fact. Tea rooms are super trendy and can be found in pretty much any city, so check one out with your bestie when you’re feeling stressed.

COMEDY SHOW

Apparently, laughter really is the best medicine, well, when it comes to reducing stress at least. According to Greatist, studies have shown that LOLing decreases stress on the circulatory system and rejuvenates organs with oxygen. So what are you waiting for? Get your giggle on with a vina at a local comedy club and forget your worries.

MASSAGE

You don’t have to be an expert to know that massages are relaxing AF. Deep tissue, aromatherapy, Swedish—you decide, but no matter what you pick, you’ll be sure to leave feeling soothed and most importantly, stress-free. (Pro tip: schedule a couples massage for you and your vina. It’ll be cheaper than getting two rooms of your own!)

How do you and your bestie get less stressed? Let us know in the comments! 

(Featured imaga via theodysseyonline.com)

HOW NOT TO LOSE YOUR MIND POST-SPRING BREAK

Listen up, college gals. We get it. We’ve been there. Some of us are there. It’s not easy to get back into the swing of things once spring break is over, whether you were jet-setting on an adventure, lying on a sunny beach, or chillin’ out at home.

Getting back to school can trigger stress, anxiety, and just plain exhaustion. There’s something about coming back from a week of blissful ignorance to a mountain of exams, essays, and deadlines that really does you in.

We can’t promise this list is going to make your days until summer break rainbows and butterflies (although we hope they are!), but hopefully, it’ll ease your woes just a little bit.

KNOW WHEN (AND HOW) TO BREAK

You don’t have time for a break, you say, and that’s why you’re reading this. But no one said breaks need to be long. In fact, some of the best breaks for keeping you alert and ready are short and sweet.

When studying or knocking out your to-do list, try to take a quick five minute break every hour or so. When you do this, avoid things like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram—it’s way too easy to get swept up into a break longer than five minutes. Instead, chat with your roommate, do some yoga poses, and just let your mind breathe for a moment.

DANCE IT OUT

Ain’t no party like a dance party. What hurts the most post-spring break is the stress, and a super easy way to combat stress is to leave no room for it. Pull up Spotify, turn up your best throwback jams and just dance. it. out!

There’s something about blasting “S.O.S” by the Jonas Brothers after a tough exam and scream-shouting the lyrics with a few vinas. Trust me on this one.

CALL SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO

Whether it’s your grandma, uncle, best friend, mentor, whomever: calling someone you love and look up to can be the perfect motivation for tackling your assignments.

They know you, they know your drive and goals, and chances are, they know what to say to help you feel like you can get sh*t done.

What tips do you have for combatting post-spring break stress? Leave them in the comments below!

(Featured image via bodenusa.com)

DO EXTROVERTS MANAGE STRESS BETTER?

For most of my life, I’ve been the extroverted friend to countless introverts. As a result, I’ve always noticed the differences—both obvious and subtle—between the ways extroverts and introverts manage stress and anxiety.

Though movies, televisions, and books generally portray extroverts as more carefree, the reality of extroversion and stress management relies on the outside variables of their environment.

WORK: STIMULUS AND SOCIETY

According to Dr. Nigel Barber, extroverts are “stimulus hungry.” This means that, unlike introverts, extroverts are more likely to work in places with lots of people—say, a bustling coffee shop. Introverts, on the other hand, are more often then not overstimulated, so they search for quieter areas to work.

In regard to stress and anxiety, it may seem that extroverts handle stress better, when in reality, they just work better in places where they’re more likely to be seen.

FRIENDSHIP: STIMULUS ON A PERSONAL LEVEL

Jumping from work to personal relationships, the interaction between stress and extroversion/introversion should be noted when it comes to friendship.

If you’re an extrovert, understand that maybe the best way to “de-stress” is to go out and hang out with friends in places like busy coffee shops, concerts, and parties. It’s totally normal to get tired from staying in (it took me a long time to figure this out as well).

If you’re an introvert and friends with an extrovert, know that your extrovert friend may get stimulus hungry or tired doing quieter activities—this, in turn, might stress you out. The stress is okay and totally normal, and as long as you communicate with your friend and talk about your personal needs in regards to stress and anxiety, you two can find a compromise.

Compromises include going out to busy place that feeds the under-stimulated party, and then staying in after to de-stress the overstimulated party; hanging out with smaller groups of people; and in general, just finding common ground.

SOCIAL ANXIETY AND EXTROVERSION

A demographic of extroverts that is commonly misunderstood are those with social anxiety. Extroverts are oftentimes generalized as being inherently social, when in reality, extroversion just means gaining energy by being around other people.

Extroverts with social anxiety, however, become more anxious when around groups of people. This fosters a dilemma between choosing to put themselves in situations where they’ll feel anxious or choosing to separate themselves from people at the risk of lethargy and depression.

Extroverts with social anxieties thus have different methods of dealing with anxieties that include keeping track of their familiar safe spaces, building a support system, setting goals for themselves regarding their anxieties, being mindful of their anxiety, etc.

Note: Stress management and anxiety are very idiosyncratic things that vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about personal issues regarding stress management and anxiety, consider doing more research on the specifics of your concerns and speak to a professional if you have any more questions. 

Do you think extroversion leads to a less stressful lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below, and join the community at Hey! VINA on the app store. 

(Featured image via Jenavieve Belair)