#BreaktheStigma

See the person in front of you. They smile, laugh and engage with those around them. You think to yourself, ‘They really have their life together and will definitely go far.’

What you may not know is that when at home or alone, they are struggling to go through everyday routines. They could have be sleeping too much or too little, feel numb to things around them or have a sense of hopelessness, having thoughts or memories that they are unable to shake, or may even be thinking of harming themselves. It is very easy for people to smile and put on a mask that hides what they are really going through or struggling with. Just because they don’t show the outward signs, that does not mean there is not a daily struggle.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and our social well-being, in other words, how we think, feel, and act. It is also a factor in how we handle stress, manage relationships, and make decisions. Having a positive mental health is important through every life stage, from childhood and through adulthood.

While there are biological factors that contribute to mental health, such as genes or family history, that does not exclude life experiences like trauma or abuse.

The Stigma

Whenever someone hears the words ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental health’, right away a negative view is formed, even if subconciously. Even though people may accept the medical or the genetic explaination of the condition and treatments available, there is still that negatitve feeling attached to those words.

There is still a lack of understanding on what really is mental health or how this negative stigma can affect the person who struggles with the mental illness and their families as well. The persona who suffers from the illness can feel shame for having issues and this can lead to isolation. As unfortunate as it is, they face or have experienced harassment, bullying, violence, and discrimination when looking for employment or housing. The stigma can also prevent them from seeking help due to the shame/humiliation they feel, which only makes it worse.

Not Alone

You are not alone. That is very important to remember. 1 in 4 Americans have a mental illness of some kind. Stay connected with others and get support. You do matter and there is hope.

Very Well Mind – Mental Illness and Stigma

MentalHealth.gov – Let’s Talk About It

The Beginning of Your Yoga Journey


First off, the differences between the two. Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation. On the other hand, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

Even though yoga and meditation are two different things, they do go hand in hand. Both of these practices are ancient, abopted by Western culture around the 1980s and soon became extremely popular.

Yoga

Although there are many different variations of yoga, the benefits still remain the same.

Back Pain Relief

Yoga sessions once or twice a week can help with discomfort and back pain. Through various stretchs, poses, and/or exercises, your back muscles will experience greater flexiability and agility with an added bonus of increased core strength.

Assist with Arthritis Management

Slow, easy paced yoga forms help relieves tension, as well as pain in joints or muscles. A few specific forms of yoga, such as Iyengar and Bikram help withh rheumatoid arthritis.

Migraines Be Gone

For those who search for alternatives to combat headaches or migranes, yoga and meditation can help. Yoga is an excellent exercise to do to help prevent them or to help with an existing one. If able, the bridge pose is most beneficial. It helps relieve the tension in the neck and shoulders, areas that can cause a migrane.

Meditation

Meditation has become highly popular in managing stress levels. There are several different types of meditation that have become popular and they all share the same benefits as well.

Emotional Improvement

Since meditation requires deep relaxation, coming out of your thoughtful state leaves many feeling refreshed. It is encouraged to look at the postive aspects of your life and focus only on that. So after the 10 minutes, you are feeling more up-beat and positive.

Stress Management

The main reason many people practice meditation is the benefits of reduced stress levels. Regularly meditating helps reduces the stress responses that happen in the brain throughout the day. So the more you meditate, the better you handle and react to stress which is a huge bonus when it comes to high blood pressure.

Better Concentration

With helping to manage stress and improve emotions, obviously you would be able to concentrate better. BUT, meditaiton also helps increase levels of gray matter concentration in the brain. So it is an added bonus, leaving you to regulate and process emotions more effectively, help with your memory, and boost your learning ability.

Overall, meditation and yoga have many benefits. By combining meditation and yoga you can get even more of the benefits from the two. What are some of you favorite yoga poses? Let us know in the comments! Until next time lovelies!

Essential Oils

Abby: Eucalyptus and Spearmint

Aromatherapy Eucalyptus Spearmint Travel Size Body Lotion - Bath And Body Works

My favorite combination of oils and scents is Eucalyptus and Spearmint. I use this a lot in my classroom. The two scents combined are a wonderful stress reliever. I like to use lotion especially in the winter time to keep my skin moisturized. There is also fragrance oils, candles, hand soap, as well as diffuser oils.

Bath and Body Works has a few good choices for lotions, candles, or oils with prices starting at $5.50 up to $24.50 for all of their products.

Hana: Lavendar

Lavendar is such a popular scent among lotions, candles, and body washes. I love putting it in my essential oil diffuser and turning it on before I go to bed. It helps me calm down and relax and I am able to fall asleep so much more quickly than when I do not use my diffuser.

You can find lavendar scented products almost anywhere. My preference is the form of essential oils, however there are also lavendar scented bath bombs that are great to help you unwind at the end of a long day

Kelly: Jasmine

Yes, yes, it is an oil derived from the flower hence the name. I used this oil and scent frequently while I was pregnant. Like the scents my fellow Wisco Girls listed, it helps to overcome stress and improve moods but it also helps balance hormones (see why I worshipped this while pregnant). A few other perks include reducing anxiety, helps with sleep, and it can act as an aphrodisiac (wink wink).

Jasmine can be in oil form, candle, soaps, scrubs, or even perfume. If you are looking to pair it with other scents, people have recommended citrus oils or lavender.

What scents or oils do you prefer? Until next time lovelies!

Guilty Pleasures: Homemade Chocolate

Men may have their dogs, some women have their diamonds, but my best friend is chocolate. Here is a quick 5 ingredient, easy, and boyfriend-approved recipe to get your chocolate fix!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil (you can also use cocoa butter, vegetable shortening, or copha)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Boil a cup of water in a saucepan and place a large bowl over top of the saucepan not allowing it to touch the water.

2. Melt the coconut oil on medium in the large bowl.

3. Add powdered sugar to melted oil.

4. Add cocoa powder to the mix.

5. Add milk powder to the mix as well.

6. Add vanilla extract and mix together.

7. Mix well until it is smooth and there are no bumps.

8. Pour the mix into molds. If you don’t have molds like I did, you can use an ice cube tray to make them into smaller pieces.

9. Tap or shake the tray gently to let the air out of the chocolates.

10. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until molds are solid.

11. Serve and enjoy!! Powdered sugar sprinkled on top is optional. Refrigerated leftovers should last up to 4 months!

Let me know what you did to your chocolates. How did you make them unique? Comment pictures below!

Recipe from: https://hebbarskitchen.com/homemade-chocolate-recipe-milk-chocolate/

Video

Drop Those Fizzy Bombs!

Bath bombs can be fun for all ages. As much as I like going to the store and picking the perfect one, it can also be fun to make the perfect one at home! Here is a how to video so you can have a DIY spa day.

Recipe

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup Epsom salt
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • Food coloring-as much as you need to get the perfect color
  • Essential oil scent of your choice
  • Spray bottle
  • Molds

Stir all of the dry ingredients together. Combine the food coloring with a little bit of water in a spray bottle and spritz it into the dry mixture. Make sure to do this gradually, because if you add to much the mixture will start to fizz resulting in the bath bomb not fizzing in the water. Next add a few drops of essential oil and mix everything together until the color is consistent throughout. Place the mixture into whatever mold you decided on and let them dry overnight.

Original Recipe from Maria’s Self Blog

Music Credit: Snow Music Studio

Smooth Sipping – Part 2

Good Morning! Today is the day. Smoothie prep!

Thank you for your input or votes that popped up in the comments. I also recieved help on choosing and narrowing down the options from my fellow Wisco Girl team members. Below is the smoothie schedule. Feel free to try them out with me. A review blog will be posted on Saturday. Until then my lovelies! 😀

Smoothie Agenda

Monday  Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast

Tuesday  Honeydew

Wednesday  Kiwi Strawberry

Thursday  Watermelon Cucumber

Friday  Peach Pie

 

Smooth Sipping – Part 1

Good Morning my lovelies! In two weeks, I will be starting each weekday with a different smoothie and I would LOVE to hear your input. I have compiled a list of different smoothie recipes that I have found all over the Internet. HOWEVER, the list is too long and this is where I would love to hear your opinions.

Is there one you are interested in but want someone to test it out first? Let me know for most of these I have never heard of or tried myself. Is there one you are interested in but it is not on the list? Drop your votes or suggestions in the comments section below. 😀

Sunday, March 3rd, I will post the list of smoothies I will be prepping for the week. On Saturday, March 9th, a reflection on each smoothie will be wrapped up into one big blog post with pictures of the hopefully delicious looking smoothies (a bit hesitant on the green looking ones though). So Smooth Sipping will be a three part blog post.

Smoothie List

Orange Banana

  • 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (4 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup strawberries, tops removed and cut in 1/2
  • 1 to 1 1/2 ripe bananas

Peach Pie

  • 1 cup unsweetened frozen peaches
  • 1 tablespoon honey, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup nonfat or 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt

Gingery Kale

  • 1 banana, peeled and broken in chunks
  • 1 cup (6 oz/185 g) frozen mango chunks
  • 2 cups (2 oz/60 g) torn kale leaves
  • 1 cup (8 oz/250 g) Greek yogurt, plain, low-fat
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) 100-percent orange juice
  • 1 slice fresh ginger

Honeydew

  • 2 cups honeydew melon, cubed
  • 1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice, from frozen concentrate
  • Ice
  • Honeydew melon slices for garnish

Mango, Strawberry, and Pineapple

  • 1 mango, skin removed, cut into 1-inch dice, frozen
  • 5 strawberries, stems removed, cut in half, frozen
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 cup orange jucie

Green Morning

  • 2 cups vanilla almond, coconut, or soy milk
  • 1/2 cup whole oats
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh, frozen or canned peaches, or mango cubes
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup baby spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas

Papaya

  • 1 small papaya, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • Pineapple wedges and/or maraschino cherries for garnish

Watermelon and Cucumber

  • One 2-inch piece English cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • 1/2 small lime, juiced (1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon, frozen

Sunrise

  • 1 cup chopped ripe strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped seeded watermelon
  • 1 cup chopped fresh peach
  • 1 cup raspberry sorbet
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Razzy Blue

  • 1 banana
  • 16 whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberry yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Concord grape juice
  • 1 cup 1% buttermilk

Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 banana, broken into chunks
  • 14 frozen strawberrys
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon white sugar

California

  • 7 large strawberries
  • 1 (8 oz.) container lemon yogurt
  • 1/3 orange juice

Pineapple and Banana

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple – peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 1 large banana, cut into
  • 1 cup pineapple or apple juice

Kale and Banana

  • 1 banana
  • 2 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup light unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Kiwi Strawberry

  • 1 banana
  • 6 strawberries
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt
  • 3/4 cup pineapple and orange juice blend

Recipes found at: https://blog.fitbit.com/category/eat-well/recipes/, https://www.foodnetwork.com/search/smoothies-, https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/138/drinks/smoothies/?page=3

Stress Be Gone

Stress is something that most people struggle with on a daily basis. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress (there are also some people who don’t deal with it at all). Here are some ways to help deal with and reduce stress in your everyday life.

How Stress Affects the Body

Physical Effects: When you are stressed out chances are you will end up pushing yourself to an extreme. This could be long hours at work or multiple high-intensity workouts. There will be draining effects on your body, resulting from this that could lead to you feeling sick. Stress can also lead to overeating, which will result in weight gain, or on the other end of the spectrum loss of appetite causing you to lose an unhealthy amount of weight.

Emotional Effects: Being overly stressed can lead to emotional breakdowns or intense burst of emotion such as anger, jealousy, aggression, or even depression. This can cause strain on relationships with friends, family, or a significant other. Other signs of stress are when in public you can be perfectly fine and act happy, but as soon as you are alone you feel overwhelmed with emotion.

Relieving your Stress

Coloring

This is such a great way to unwind, and with the newly popular “adult coloring books” it makes it way more fun for us adults. I have built up my collection of these over the more recent years, and they literally make themes for anything. If you don’t want to spend the money on “professional” coloring books, you could always just print some coloring sheets off of Google images. All you need to do then is grab your kid’s crayons and unwind for an hour or two.

Bath Bombs

Taking a hot bath or shower is a great way to just chill out for a while. If you do opt for the bath, bath bombs just make it seem 100 times more relaxing. There are so many different scents to choose from and you can get them almost anywhere nowadays. You could also just add bubbles. Whichever you choose to do, it is sure to help you relieve some stress.

Dance it Out

Fellow Grey’s Anatomy fans will understand this one. Whether you’re in your living room, kitchen, or in the middle of surgery, when it’s all just getting to be too much take a minute, and dance it out.

Journaling

Finding a nice quiet place and writing all of your worries down can be a great way to let it all out. Whether writing about what is stressing you out that day, or just talking about your day, in general, it is a good habit to get into. I’m someone who doesn’t like to talk about my problems with someone else face to face, so writing it out helps me to release some stress, and forget about it afterward. Plus, it’s an excuse to go out and buy a cute notebook or journal.

Yoga

This is a great way to relax both the mind and body. You could spend 20 minutes or an hour with this one, whichever fits best into your schedule. You can buy disks from Amazon, or you could look up some yoga routines on YouTube. A bonus is you are also getting a workout in with this one! You can also check to see if your local gym offers any yoga classes.

Spa Day

You can do a DIY spa day at home, or really treat yourself and go to an actual spa, both are sure to relieve that extra stress you have been feeling. You could buy a couple of face masks and a new nail polish color and cancel the rest of your plans for the day.

Oils

Essential Oils can be a great, simple option for relieving stress. If you get a diffuser you can have that going in the background of your everyday life. Lavender is a great scent option as it is very calming and can help you feel more relaxed. I use my diffuser with lavender oil at night, as it helps me fall asleep quickly rather than tossing and turning.

You Time

The most important tip to helping release stress is taking time for yourself. It’s okay to take off of your jobs a couple of times a month or go out by yourself on the weekend. Take a day to go shopping, out to lunch, or even just alone time at home reading.

Tell us about your favorite stress management tips below and give us a follow so you can see the rest of our posts. Until next time lovelies.