Emotional/Mental Wellness-Part II

Welcome to Emotional/Mental Wellness-Part II of the Wellness series! (Part I-Spiritual Wellness-can be found here.) Though some of these tips may seem basic, often we stray from the basics. Sometimes it’s a simple reason why we’re feeling “off” and unbalanced–and often it has to do with losing track of the basics! I hope that you’ll be able to find some help in this post!

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1. Pray. Pour your heart out to God! God will lead you to truth and wholeness. In God, you will find joy. That doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time–but joy means security in God, no matter what! The sacrament of Reconciliation can also help us stay well emotionally–we get the darkness out of us and find forgiveness! There is so much healing and life to be found in that. We don’t realize how much our sin unconsciously affects us and our well-being.

2. Find social support. At work or in other situations, we can encounter people who bring negativity. Life can be stressful anyway. Tragedy and hard times hit us. Surround yourself with positive people who inspire you. Make time to connect with those people and groups that keep you real. Make friends with honest, loyal people that you can count on in good times and bad. Confide in family and friends that will encourage you, even when you’re in your darkest hour.

3. Don’t fill your plate too much. I’m not talking food here. I’m talking about life balance. Keep your priorities straight and stay focused on them. This will cut down on unnecessary stress. This will help you to be calm(er) and to savor the life you are living. It’s difficult to do the best we can if we are spread between 100 things. If you focus on the most important things, you’ll excel.

4. Fill your body with nourishment.  Many people don’t realize that the foods they ingest can affect their moods! Stay away from refined sugars and heavily processed foods. Make sure that you’re getting healthy fats–such as avocados–in your diet. Vitamin D also affects mood. The most common source of Vitamin D is fish–this page contains a list of Vitamin D-rich foods. Another help for mood or anxiety is essential oils. I love to use Lavender for its calming affects, and not to mention it has a great scent!

5. Get enough rest. This is another arena of our life which can affect your mood. Not only can sleep affect your mood, it will also affect the quality of your work. Are you a person who doesn’t sleep because you feel there’s too much to do? Consider this: if you let your body recharge each night, your productivity will show this. On the other hand, insufficient sleep will catch up to you and the quality of your work will suffer.  The amount of sleep you get can also affect your relationships with others. If you’re crabby because you’ve been cutting out sleep, it won’t be a positive influence on your relationships.

Next up: physical wellness! As you can see, often these tips will affect other parts of your life; that’s because each part of our being is connected and goes with the other! Do you have any other tips or necessities in your life for staying emotionally balanced?

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7 Quick Takes-Staying Healthy & Praying for Peace

I decided to hop on the 7 Quick Takes bandwagon this week! It will probably not be every week, but I’m happy to share with you some thoughts about staying healthy, peace, and Christmas this Friday!

1. Today was my last day of work–I’ll be off all of next week and able to celebrate Christmas with my family! What a gift that will be. I’m ready to re-charge my batteries and spend quality time with people I love, while also celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ! I hope that you are also able to have some time re-charge, and most of all, simply reflect on Christ!

2. I am loving the On Guard® blend! doterra on guard (photo copyright of
dōTERRA)

Each morning I’ve been rubbing a little on before work. It smells so pleasant, being a blend of wild orange, cloves, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary! It’s very soothing, along with its powerful immune-system boosting properties. I credit it (along with other factors) with helping me stay healthy–it seems that nearly everyone at my office have battled sickness, but I’m still standing strong! (Thank You, God!)

3. It’s difficult to eat healthy around the holidays. It seems that celebration always = a lot of sugar. Excess sugar is not good for your immune system. Remember, moderation is key! Being careful about your sugar intake can help keep your immune system strong. Also, drink lots of water with sweets–it will help clear out the sugar from your system.

4. Look for the next post in my wellness series this weekend! It will focus on mental/emotional wellness. I posted the spiritual wellness post earlier in the week. The physical wellness post will come after Christmas. I hope that this series, though the posts may seem basic in some aspects, can help people live a life of greater wellness!

5. Pray, pray for the world, my friends. Fast if you can. There is so much violence and hatred. I’m not going to link to any news stories, because I’m sure you’ve heard some of them. It is more important now than ever that we turn to prayer. We cannot change hearts; only God can. Trust that by your prayers you are helping to bring about peace in some way.

6.  Personally, I like the peace prayer of St. Francis. Gandhi wisely quipped that we should, “become the change you wish to see in the world.” By being people that carry Christ in our hearts to the world, we can help to bring about greater peace. Create a sanctuary of peace in your heart, a manger, that always holds Christ. In this way, you will bring His peace to those around you.

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7. Are you ready for Christmas? It is coming so quickly! More than ever, this world needs our Savior! As you wrap gifts and sign cards, don’t forget to make room in your heart for Him. After all, the birth of Baby Jesus is what we celebrate!

Spiritual Wellness-Part I

Welcome to Part I of the Wellness Series! Today we will be focusing on the spiritual side of ourselves. Of course, though we cannot see our soul, it very much affects who we are–including our actions and what we think and believe. As I stated in the introductory post, each aspect of our beings affects the other aspects. (As I am a Catholic Christian, this post will come from that perspective. I hope that, wherever you are on your journey, you can find something that resonates with you.)

P1000266Our soul is the only part of us that will live forever. It’s amazing to think that a part of us is immortal! The choices we make today, in these mortal bodies of ours, affect our eternal futures.

There are a million things I could write, a million ways in which we can pray and grow closer to God. Obviously, I’m only a simple lay person, like the majority of humans. However, I do know that these are some avenues that all of us have access to (although some of our brothers and sisters around the world struggle to access the Sacraments because of persecution or lack of nearby churches–pray for them!).

1. Receive the Sacraments. God, being our Creator, knows that we are bodily people. The Sacraments are concrete ways we can experience God through our senses. God is so good that He wants us to be able to experience these things with our whole selves, in ways we can relate to! Think about Holy Water, the Eucharist, the awing beauty of a cathedral, the loving gaze of your new spouse as you exchange vows on the altar, or hearing the kind voice of the priest on the other side of the confessional. These are just a few examples of the experiences that come with receiving the Sacraments. Of course, attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is the way to start. What about adding another day each week to attend Mass? Don’t forget about the Sacrament of Reconciliation! The priests have heard it all–so don’t be afraid! Christ is healing you of your sins, forgiving you, through the priest! Pretty amazing, to have your sins wiped away and have a clean slate again. We don’t realize how much our sins pile up–much like a messy room. “It’s just a pair of socks,” a person shrugs as the socks are discarded onto the floor. Later, they will be astonished as “just one pair of socks” has also turned into a pair of pants, a shirt, a belt, papers, and anything else one can think of. Confession cleans out the dirty room and makes space for you to welcome Jesus!

2. Do the Examen. St. Ignatius of Loyola came up with this simple prayer. It allows you to reflect on your day and ways in which God was present. It is great for discernment, especially in finding patterns. It can also be a great examination of conscience and help you to realize areas of strength and weakness in your spiritual life. If you would like to learn more about the Examen, go here.

3.  Pray the Rosary. Many people love the Rosary; many others struggle with praying it. One thing can’t be denied: it is a powerful prayer. (To my Protestant brothers and sisters: Catholics are not worshipping Mary when we pray the Rosary. We are looking at the life of Jesus through the eyes of His mother, the one who loved Him so dearly and was closest to Him during His earthly life.) If you struggle with praying the Rosary, this blogger also has a hard time, but has some good reasons to keep on prayin’ it anyway.

4. Serve others.  “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Christ also reminds us that, when we do an act of service for another person, we are doing it for Him! There are so many needs in the world, including in your own home or neighborhood. Perhaps someone that you live with needs some extra attention, or there is an elderly neighbor you could share conversation with. There are numerous places looking for volunteers, including soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, or nursing homes. There are also many needs worldwide, which you could contribute to financially or by going on a short or long-term mission trip. Ask God where He is calling you to be His hands and feet today.

5. Talk to God, always. Just as with our family members and friends, we must be in conversation with God in order to build a closer relationship. “Pray without ceasing; in everything, give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:17-18) Giving thanks to God is so important. Yet we must also be honest with Him and learn to confide in Him our deepest thoughts and needs, and the needs of the ones we love and the world as a whole. We can talk to Him silently throughout our day, in the car, while washing dishes, and when we need to speak a word of truth to another person. These are just a few examples. God is never far from us.

I hope that you can hold onto these tips and find a closer, stronger relationship with God! One huge aspect of wellness is your relationship with God–which affects your mental/emotional health, can affect physical health, and even your relationships with others!

Next up: mental/emotional wellness! (Here is the introductory post to the wellness series.)

Why Wellness?

I am a huge advocate of wellness.  Why is it so important, you may ask? Perhaps you are even wondering what exactly wellness is. Well, God made us bodies. Within the body is a mind. Most importantly, we contain a soul. All of these facets work together to make us who we are. Each aspect of our self affects the other. For example, if your physical health is off, your mind will be affected also. Wellness is the integration of all these facets of ourselves in a positive way. Living a life of wellness equals living a balanced life.

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Look for a 3-part series coming about spiritual, mental/emotional, and physical wellness! I hope that you will benefit from the series and find even more sustenance on your journey to living a life of wellness!

Mornings: The Start to a Great Day!

The way in which we begin the morning can have a lot of bearing on the entire day. You know those mornings everything seems to go wrong, and the whole day is thrown off balance? Yes, starting the morning off right is very important! Cold winter mornings can be even more difficult to get out of bed for. Hopefully these small tips can help you get the day off on the right foot!

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1. Praise God! This new day is a gift! You made it through the night and still have breath in your lungs! Too often we forget to praise Him. So, give thanks to God for the new day He has given! Reading a Psalm of praise is a great way you could do this. Setting a morning prayer routine is important. You can wake up earlier, or pray on the train or in the car. During this time of prayer, you can thank God for all the blessings you have, and ask for help with situations in the day ahead.

2. Drink a rejuvenating beverage. A cup of tea does wonders to keep me awake & focused at work! You can also try hot water with lemons–also very yummy and revitalizing! If you want to to drink tea or coffee, try to drink decaf–caffeine can be very addicting and not allow you to get by well without it.

3. Have your outfit ready for work or school. Now, this step is one you would have done very first–before you even went to bed the night before. It will save you lots of time in the morning and make getting ready go more smoothly. You won’t need to worry about walking out the door late simply because you couldn’t find an outfit that matched!

4. Eat breakfast. Yes, this step is very important. Choose something protein-heavy, such as eggs and bacon. Fruit is a good option for energy as well. You could even set out the cookware the night ahead to save a little time. Making breakfast does take a little extra time–but it’s worth it. You won’t be focused on your hunger and will be better able to concentrate.

These tips are very basic, but they can go a long way in getting your day off to a great start! Do you have any other tips for starting the day right?

Reasons to Journal

(This post came from my old blog, and has a few additions.)

For over 10 years, I’ve consistently kept a journal. I plan to do so for the rest of my life. Journaling helps me vent during the tough times,  celebrate during the good times, and see the interesting in the in-between times.

You can keep a journal for many purposes: prayer requests, your prayers to God, your feelings, events of your life, dreams, important conversations, thoughts on life, and anything else you can think of. The journal pictured is one I used in the past, and greatly benefited from. Below is a picture of the front page for each day. There is a place for the weather, events of the day, where you are spiritually, what you are grateful for, people you are thinking about, and more. The next page is blank for other musings.

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(This journal can be ordered online here: http://journalsunlimited.com/shop/inspirations-a-gratitude-journal/)

I definitely recommend journaling to everybody. You may not consider yourself a writer, but no one else needs to see your journal. It is purely for you. (Of course, you could also write prayers–so maybe you and God.) It’s not something you need to do every day, either, but could simply be a solace in dark times to pour your heart out. You could also simply write positive happenings and moments that you want to look back on. In my opinion, journaling can be a great avenue for emotional health.

This woman uses her journal as a prayer journal to write Bible verses and encouragement as art. I love to look at her Instagram from time to time and see what she has come up with:
http://web.stagram.com/n/hersoutherncharm/

What are the benefits of journaling? Here are a few that I’ve found. For each person, they will be different.
1. It is a positive way to process emotions. If you are angry or sad, writing is a healthy way to process your thoughts. For good situations, it is also a great way to celebrate these happenings. When you are in the midst of making decisions, writing down your ponderings each day can help you see patterns and come to a conclusion.
2. It is a way to track your growth as a person. You can look back at old journals and find ways you’ve positively changed. On the other hand, sometimes you will see other changes that may not be so positive, and figure out how to get back to a good spot. You could use your journal as a way to set goals.
3. Journaling is a great way to relax. Spilling your thoughts on paper is a great way to unwind at the end of the day, or to prepare for a new day. It might even be a good “siesta,” a way to take a break mid-day.
4. Your journal is an avenue to see God’s hand. Journaling is a beautiful, tangible way to look back at situations and see how they have evolved. How good God is, and how wonderful and amazing are His ways! Looking back at old journals and the situation now, I can see the change and that God has answered my prayers!

What are your thoughts on journaling? What benefits have you seen from journaling, if you are a journaler?

I Am Back!

I am back! I will be posting again, hopefully at least twice a week.

If there’s one thing I could say, it is that God is GOOD, all the time. Even when we feel that our life is a disaster, God is STILL working. In fact, it is in the times when we feel the worst that God is doing the most! Don’t despair. There will be another post coming on this topic. May God bless you in the meantime! Keep looking up to the Son!

Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.