Category Archives: mental health

The Mind-Body Connection

The mind-body connection is a colloquial term that gets thrown around in every day jargon (like my use of SAT words? )  BUT, what does it actually mean?

Here is an official definition: Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are and vice versa! (http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/what-are-mind-body-therapies)

Okay…but still…what does that mean?

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It means that if you don’t take care of your body, put good, nutritious things in it and exercise you are going to feel like crap emotionally AND physically. It means that if you don’t build up your confidence and self-esteem, if you don’t love yourself, you’re going to treat your body like crap and it will feel like crap and look like crap.  And you will look at yourself in the mirror and hate yourself and punish your body because you can’t stand YOU.  You will either eat when you aren’t hungry or starve yourself, or pump your system full of drugs and alcohol to mask the pain or you will gamble or smoke or have sex with random people or sit in your room in the dark and cry and continue to hate yourself and wish that things could be different but you are convinced you are doomed to wallow in the muck of self-pity and loathing for the entirety of your life.

On the other hand, if you do take care of your body, eat clean and exercise you will feel good not only physically, but emotionally as well! You will be proud of your accomplishments, proud of who you are, proud of your hard work and guess what?

If you feel all those things about yourself, you’re going to LOVE yourself! You are going to RESPECT yourself and you will want to continue to treat your body like it’s the only one you’ve got (because it is) and you will continue to nourish your mind and develop a POSITIVE outlook on life that will in turn encourage you to keep taking care of that body of yours and as you can see… the cycle continues.

me and patrick

 

Let’s rewind 2 years ago and let me give you a scenario:

It’s the wee hours of the morning. The sun has not even peeked out over the horizon yet and I am woken up by the sounds of my daughter crying.  I rub my sleepy eyes, lay there for a few minutes hoping she will stop and go back to sleep but she doesn’t.  She just cries louder.

I drag my tired butt out of bed and go to her room, only to find that she’s hungry and wants to eat…at 4:00 AM! I grudgingly carry her downstairs, give her some beans and cheese (because she loves to eat that stuff) and wait impatiently for her to finish so I can take her back upstairs and crawl into bed.

And for the love of God, I’m hoping she will sleep in for a change because I can’t fathom the thought of her getting up at 6 like she typically does and having to deal with that.

Now…fast forward to present day:

It’s still the wee hours of the morning, 3:35 AM to be exact, and I wake up to my son crying. I give him a few minutes to calm himself down but he doesn’t.  I haul my butt out of bed and into his room to find that, low and behold, he’s hungry.  (Maybe it’s a genetic thing in my family).  I take him downstairs and feed him cereal and cheese (because those are his favorite things) and wait until he’s done.

By the time he’s done and I take him back to his room it’s around 4:30 AM.

These scenarios sound very similar, right? But there’s one BIG difference…ME and my MINDSET!

After I put my son back in his bed I had a choice…I could go back to sleep OR I could go downstairs and workout. I talked to myself for a while, trying to decide what to do.

The conversation in my head went something like this: I could go back to bed because I have to go to work and take Charlie to soccer practice afterwards.  It would be cozy.  I could just workout later. (But I also know I probably won’t because if it doesn’t happen in the morning – forget about it).  If I go back to sleep I won’t get up at 5 to exercise like I originally planned and if I don’t exercise I’ll feel disappointed in myself and I’ll let everyone else in my accountability group down.

So…I CHOSE to put on my big girl panties (and my workout pants) and went downstairs, pushed play and did NOT regret a single minute of it!

Here’s another funny thing…I’m actually not tired. Not yet anyway (it is only 1 in the afternoon).  But I truly and honestly believe I feel just as good today as I did yesterday (even though I got a lot more sleep yesterday) because of how I treat myself and my body.  I truly believe I feel SO good, emotionally AND physically, because I watch what I eat, drink a daily superfood shake and exercise.  I take time for myself to take care of myself which benefits not only me but my family as well.

me and 15lb weight

So…my final words of wisdom…TREAT YOURSELF JUST AS WELL AS YOU TREAT THE ONES YOU LOVE BECAUSE IN THE END, YOU’RE THE ONLY “YOU” YOU’VE GOT!

Tomorrow is Never Promised

Remember: Enjoy your life today, because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is never promised – Alan Coren.

There is something that has been weighing on my mind the past week or so and I wanted to share it with y’all. Last week I found out that the cantor at my temple passed away unexpectedly.  She left behind a husband and a young daughter, who is actually in my daughter’s preschool class at Sunday school.

tomorrow isn't promised

 

She was bubbly and bright and had a beautiful singing voice. Not only did she lead the congregation in song during Shabbat services, but she would also come to the preschool class and sing songs with the kids.

I’ve had conversations with her on a few occasions but truthfully, I did not know her that well. However, when I went home and talked to my husband that night, I cried.  I cried because she will never be able to see her child grow up.  I cried because her daughter would never really know her mother and I cried for her husband who, in an instant, became a single dad raising a preschooler.

As I put my kids to bed that night, I literally had to hold back the tears as I thought about her family and as I thought about how much I love mine.

The night before she died, she probably helped her daughter get into her pajamas, brush her teeth and read her some stories. She probably kissed her good night, not knowing that would be the last time she would ever kiss her.

And as I put my kids to bed that night, and every night since then, I think about that. What if this is the last time for me?

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to be morbid or bring you down. I’m telling you this because you never know what’s going to happen in life.  Every day…every moment is a gift.

Cherish it.

Don’t waste it.

I’m not saying every day is easy. Far from it.  Life is HARD!  But it’s also wonderful and amazing.

I’m not saying I don’t get frustrated or annoyed with my kids and I’m not saying life is a bowl of cherries for me all day every day. BUT I am saying that I do try to keep this in mind – that tomorrow is not promised.

Sometimes when we are in the moment of one of my daughter’s tantrums, it’s hard to cherish those particular seconds of my day…but…I remind myself that it will pass.

me tomorrow isn't promised

Sometimes I even sing that country song to myself in my head (seriously) You’re Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins (and if you haven’t heard it and you’re a parent or even if you’re not, you need to listen to it!)  Because this song reminds us, that even when life is hard and things are totally chaotic – it goes by so fast and when you look back that you are actually going to miss those crazy times.

 

 

Example is Power

Famous child psychiatrist Fritz Redl used to say to groups of parents: “Get out your paper and pencils. I am going to tell you the three most important things you will ever need to know about raising children.” Then he would say, “Example, example, example.”

If you’re a parent, I’ve bet you said “These kids should come with an instruction manual!”

I’ve definitely said that a time or two (or three, or four…).

hands for example article

But here’s the thing: If you SHOW them how to behave, if you SHOW them what’s important through YOUR actions, if you SHOW them how to treat others, if you SHOW them how to respect themselves by respecting YOURSELF, they will emulate you.

I can talk to my daughter all day, until I’m blue in the face, about how I expect her to act and treat others BUT I’ll bet you every single penny in my bank account (sorry Patrick) that what is MORE powerful than giving her lectures is SHOWING her how to be.

They are ALWAYS watching, ALWAYS listening, ALWAYS judging…look at the baby, look at the baby…(sorry, that’s from Old School…I digress).

But seriously, they will copy you. They want to be just like you!

back of my kids

It amazes me sometimes, the things my 4 ½ year old daughter picks up from me when I’m not even paying attention. The other day I came downstairs and found her lifting her little pink, 1 lb weights up in the air and she said to me, “Mommy, I’m doing my workout right now and then I can play.”

Another example – She said, “Mommy, I want apples and honey for a snack because I want to eat healthy like you and grow. I know it’s important to take care of my body.”  (She seriously talks like that.  She’s 4.  It’s ridiculous).

And one more example – “A boy in my class was sad today because he missed his mommy. I went over to him, patted him on the back and told him that it’s okay because grownups come back.”

Being a parent is the most DIFFICULT and most REWARDING job I have ever had. One of my friends, who recently became a mom, said it best when she told me, “No one tells you how f—–g hard this is!”

And she’s right! They don’t.  Because they can’t.

Because there are no words to describe how energy-draining, soul-sucking and exhausting it is! BUT there are also no words to describe how beautiful, wonderful, fulfilling and amazing it is to watch this little person that you created learn and grow.

Even though they most likely won’t remember them, the first 3-4 years of their life are the MOST important! Kind of crazy, huh – that the years they won’t even recall when they are adults are the most important?

But their first few years of life are the foundation of everything…of how they relate to others, of how they can expect to be treated, of how they learn to be in society, of how they form relationships.

How do they learn all that stuff? From you!

Just like me, I’m sure you want the absolute BEST for your children! You want them to be the BEST version of themselves they can be.

So, how do you achieve that? You lead by EXAMPLE!  You LOVE yourself!  You show love for OTHERS!  You treat yourself – your mind and body- with respect.  You show them that you are WORTH it.

Do I make mistakes when it comes to my kids (or any other aspect of my life)? Of course I do!  I’m not perfect!  I’m not a robot!  I’m human!  I get frustrated.  I feel overwhelmed.  I don’t always know the right answer.

me for example blog post

But, I can say, with the utmost confidence, that today, I am the BEST version of myself. Tomorrow, I will be even better because I work at it.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.

And in turn, not only am I giving a gift to myself, but almost more importantly, I am giving a gift to my children. The gift of example.  The gift of showing them that they can be ANYTHING they want to be and they can do ANYTHING they want to do.

 

Here are some excellent resources for your reading pleasure:

http://www.professorshouse.com/family/children/articles/parents-must-lead-by-example/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-w-gauld-/parent-by-example_b_5022521.html

http://www.justmommies.com/family-life/family-dynamics/parenting-101-leading-example

 

Sharing is Caring! Don’t forget to share this article on all your personal social media pages!!

 

 

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License: Public Doman Mark 1.0

 

 

Across the Bridge

“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away. Or eat it away. Or starve it away. Or walk it away. Or punch it away. Or even therapy it away. It’s just there. You have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it. And love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge built by your own desire to heal.” – Cheryl Strayed

WOW.

sad girl
This is real, y’all! This is raw. This is life.
Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. Life is going to throw all kinds of crap your way and then sit back and watch you struggle to make a choice as to what to do with it…Did you catch that? A CHOICE…you have a choice. You can CHOOSE to either let the crap hit you in the head and knock you down OR you can choose to stand up and fight.
I’m going to share something with you. It’s not something I like to share openly because truth be told, even though this happened several, several years ago, it still hurts when I really stop and think about it. I hurt for the girl I used to be. I feel sad for what I let happen to me instead of CHOOSING to make something happen.
I didn’t have many friends growing up. I got picked on a lot. I was ALWAYS the last or second to last person to be picked for the kickball team during P.E. I was not athletic. I was not cute. I had buck teeth. I was scrawny and I had big, round glasses.
I didn’t feel good about myself. I didn’t like how I looked or who I was. And people knew it. How? I don’t know, but people pick up on that crap in a heartbeat and attack every chance they get.
I think 6th grade was my nerdiest year. It was also my worst year. I had one friend, maybe two.

sad girl 2
At lunch, my friend and I would sit at the furthest table in the back of the cafeteria, as if we wanted to blend into the white, plaster wall. She also had thick glasses, thicker than mine and was incredibly scrawny and as you can guess, not athletic in the least. When she missed school because she was sick or on a trip, I didn’t have anyone to sit with in the cafeteria.
I’m sure you can remember what a school cafeteria is like – a swarm of kids, all of those judging eyes, the popular kids sitting at a few tables in the middle, the rest of the kids scattered about the cafeteria, desperately trying to fit in.
On the days that I didn’t have anyone to sit with, I chose to slink to the bathroom, sit on a toilet seat (so gross) and either eat my sandwich or cry or sometimes, if I was really hungry, I would cry and eat my sandwich. What can I say? I’ve always been a multi-tasker…

I didn’t tell anyone about this. No one knew. Not my family, not my mom, not my dad…no one. The humiliation was too deep. At home I could pretend that everything was fine. And then I could get into my bed at night and cry myself to sleep.

Thankfully, I am not that girl anymore. But it wasn’t a short ride. It was a long, bumpy, arduous and scary road. Sometimes I got lost along the way. Sometimes I thought I was taking a shortcut but I would end up right back where I started. Sometimes I gave up and had to begin again when I finally got up off my knees.

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I am still riding along that road, trying to find my way, but the difference now is I know who I am, where I’m going and who I want to be when I get to the other side of that bridge where my happiest and best dreams are.

I am telling you this because I am proof that you can CHOOSE what to do with your life and how to live it. You can CHOOSE how to handle the hard stuff. You can CHOOSE to take care of yourself, to eat right and exercise, to take care of your mental and emotional health or you can CHOOSE to make excuses. It’s up to you.

Here are some resources to help you:

Articles:
http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/overcoming-adversity.html

5 Tips on Overcoming Adversity

Book – Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – find it here:
http://www.amazon.com/Daring-Greatly-Courage-Vulnerable-Transforms/dp/1592408419
Book – 52 Ways to Live a Kickass Life by Andrea Owen – find it here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1440564779/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1440564779&linkCode=as2&tag=yokiasli-20
Website:
http://yourkickasslife.com/

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