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This Mental Health Monday, we’re talking about a really interesting, natural way to combat negative feelings: mood-enhancing spices!

Who knew you had little bottles in your kitchen cabinets that could help you feel better, am I right?! Well, our guest blogger, Sunrita did! Sunrita runs a business called Spice it Upp where she is very used to talking about how  mood-enhancing spices improve lives. I was so excited when she contacted me, because eating well is such an important part of feeling good, and we rarely talk about it on Mental Health Monday!

Related: The Food & Mood Connection

In this series, I’m all about creating hope by showing you personal stories from people who have been where you’re at and gotten through it. This is why it’s so fun when someone like Sunrita comes in with such a different perspective! Everyone can find something they can relate to, so everyone can get a little hope and help.

MHM is so helpful for people in their twenties especially because this is the time when a lot of mental illness creeps up to the surface.

I mean, think of all you guys go through! You’re leaving home for the first time, going to college or grad school, working full time for no money at internships and juggling jobs, or maybe starting families. Or maybe all of the above! So, if you’re not the most well-adjusted person in the world, you might struggle with some symptoms of depression, anxiety, or negative coping skills.

So, now that you know what the goal is here, I’m going to pass it over to Sunrita. She’s going to tell you all about how you can incorporate these mood-enhancing spices to your diet. She’ll even give you meal recommendations! I’m so excited to see what you’ll create, and how it’ll make you feel! Happy cooking!

Bonus!

Mood-enhancing spices are a great way to keep your mood lifted if you’re feeling down. Sometimes though, they may not be enough if you’re tackling a bigger mental health issue. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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The Many Causes of Depression

“How many of you reach for a pot of ice cream or a large bar of chocolate when you feel down in the dumps? Movies have romanticized binging on a tub of ice cream as good coping mechanisms for a breakup or stress. But while it’s a great excuse to get some yummy treats in, you are also cramming in calories!

Be good to yourself and treat yourself well without making your body suffer! The good news is that there are many healthy food alternatives right now in your kitchen shelf that not only make you feel good, but also do your body good!

At some point of our lives we all go through a down phase, when we feel low and lonely. Sometimes we can tell because we start to have relationship problems, stress over exams, PMS, etc. There are other underlying causes of depression that sometimes go unnoticed though, like lack of physical exercise and increased mental stress, low self-esteem, anxiety, or lack of social interaction. As long as these symptoms are not too severe, requiring medical attention, you can combat them at home with healthy food alternatives and mood-enhancing spices.

Mood-enhancing spices are a great natural alternative to antidepressant medicine. Many studies conducted by universities and scientists show that specific spices have mood-enhancing benefits since they contain the feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Reach into your cupboards and start adding a spoonful of happiness every day.

Top 5 Mood Enhancing Spices

1. Saffron

Saffron is a popular Persian spice which has long been used in traditional Persian medicine as a mood-enhancer. It has antidepressant effects similar to those found in Prozac. A study by Shahin Akhondzadeh Ph.D concluded that consuming 30 mg of saffron per day helped relieve depression and mood swings associated with PMS.

Apart from being an antidepressant, saffron is said to have a positive effect in treating sexual dysfunction in men, Alzheimers, menstrual cramps, anxiety, and insomnia among others.

Meal Ideas with Saffron

Saffron is a sweet mood-enhancing spice, often used to make rice and desserts. You can add a few strands to most dairy-based dishes, either sweet or savory. Try making a saffron risotto or paella with added chicken or fish. You can also add a few strands of saffron to normal mayonnaise or cream, and use it as a dip or sauce base for pasta or with baked potato. Add a few strands to warm milk with honey and you have a soothing, warm saffron drink.

 

2. Cinnamon

Have you noticed how just buying a cinnamon apple scented candle at home lifts your mood?! According to new studies, cinnamon might help maintain dopamine and manganese levels. Cinnamon has an abundance of manganese, which helps to keep depression and anxiety under control. This aids cognitive functions such as sleeping, movement, feelings of anxiousness, attention, and learning. Dopamine also helps remove bacteria from the gut, which is often the cause of irritability.

Meal Ideas with Cinnamon

Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your hot chocolate or coffee

Make a fresh fruit breakfast parfait with cinnamon powder on top or fruit salad with orange juice and cinnamon

Throw in a stick of cinnamon when you make soups, broths, or stews

Add cinnamon powder with other spices when you make a rub or marinade for meat.

3. Cardamon

Cardamon is a fresh, warming, aromatic spice, with a subtle citrus undertone. It’s extensively used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. As with cinnamon, the aroma of cardamon pods has at therapeutic affect on the mind, which is what makes it one of the mood-enhancing spices. The manganese content in cardamon is the largest, making it a favorable antidepressant spice. It’s one of the best mood-enhancing spices to add to your meals when you feel overwhelmed or just a bit low.

Meal Ideas with Cardamon

Break a few pods or cardamon into boiling milk and make cardamon milk, or cardamon tea when you’re in need of instant energy and a mood lift!

Add cardamon powder to plain vanilla ice cream, top with nuts and fruit and treat yourself to a healthy sundae.

Make rubs with it and other spices.

Add whole cardamons to rice and make an aromatic cardamon rice to go with any curry.

 

4. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is an aromatic seed covered by an outer layer popularly known as mace flower! It is used in many culinary preparations for a spicy-sweet, sensual flavor. It can be used to make both sweet and savory dishes. It is believed that Nutmeg has anti-depressant quality due to the presence of Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI). MAOI stops the breakdown of enzymes like dopamineserotonin and others. This helps to maintain the level of happy enzymes and improve mood, concentration and positive drive.  

Meal Ideas with Nutmeg

Add a pinch of nutmeg to French toast.

A dash of nutmeg to a glass of hot rum, cola or wine gives the drink a very energizing taste

Make banana or any fruit smoothie with a pinch of nutmeg

Add it with other spices such as cumin, cinnamon, cloves and turn it into an instant mood enhancing spice blend for curries and marinades.

 

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is the golden spice which gives Indian curries their characteristic yellow colour. It is considered one the most popular and healthiest spices with many medicinal properties primarily due to the curcuminoid content in it. The presence of curcumin reduces depressive symptoms. Curcumin is one of the best anti-inflammatory nutrients in the world which has mood-lifting benefits. Inflammation in the brain can cause high levels of oxidative stress, and stressed nerve signals. The anti-inflammatory properties of Turmeric addresses the root causes of depression hence making it easier for suffers to combat depression related syndromes

Meal Ideas with Turmeric

Turmeric milk is perhaps the most popular, easiest and fastest way to consume turmeric. Add a tsp of turmeric powder to warm milk, add honey and drink it as a soothing before bedtime drink.

Add turmeric to any curries, thick soups for the added colour and benefit.

Make aromatic colourful yellow rice with turmeric, cardamom and cumin seeds.

Add it to scrambled eggs, roast vegetables or even noodles.

In Conclusion

What we eat has a direct effect on your mood and health, so before you reach out for other substances that you may think help you cope with stress and depression give spices a try.

Consuming spices reacts with the receptors in the tongue that sends  messages to your brain similar to pain signals,causing your brain to trigger the release of the happy endorphins hormones.

Eat Spicy to Stay Happy 😊”

mood-enhancing spices

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I am bursting with excitement! I’m so excited, in fact, that I stopped the presses to write this post. Yes, I actually pushed back all the Mental Health Monday posts that were scheduled this month so I could tell you I scored a partnership with BetterHelp online counseling services!

BetterHelp online counseling services are an alternative to traditional talk therapy. Online counseling is more affordable and less anxiety-provoking, and BetterHelp specifically offers the largest database of licensed counselors. But there are cons, too! Check out a therapist-in-training's opinion of the services.

What is BetterHelp?

BetterHelp online counseling services are an alternative to traditional therapy. Online counseling is great for people who are wary of new social situations, or meeting new people. It’s also great for people who like to think about what they say. BetterHelp specifically is the largest platform for online counseling out there, with almost 2,000 therapists and 25 million sessions completed to date. They also own several other entities that service more specific populations, such as Terappeuta, for Spanish-speaking clients, Pride Counseling for LGBTQA clients, and Faithful Counseling for those wanting a Christian perspective.

In addition to just having a lot of therapists, BetterHelp therapists are also fully licensed professionals. They have the same credentials as the therapists you might meet in person. So, why would they decide to work online instead of in their own practice somewhere?

Well, BetterHelp handles the housekeeping end of therapy and eliminates the situations therapists hate, which take the genuineness out of the process. For example, BetterHelp handles the billing. So, a therapist will never have a great heart-to-heart with their client, only to have to lead them back into the front desk and ask for $150.

Another reason therapists may gravitate toward online counseling is the lack of dealing with other systems like the courts. Unfortunately, that does mean court mandated clients cannot use online counseling services. But since therapists have less case management to do, they can charge less. BetterHelp online counseling does generally cost less than traditional therapy, at $35-$70 per week. Traditional therapy can cost up to $250 per session.

Bonus!

Anyone who is interested in BetterHelp is likely dealing with a mental health issue that feels like it’s getting out of hand. For that reason, I’ve put together a resource list full of phone numbers and websites you can call or use to get the right help. It includes the suicide hotline as well as substance abuse, eating disorder, and sexual assault hotlines. It also includes BetterHelp and other similar online counseling sites. You can get it for free right below:

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BetterHelp online counseling services are an alternative to traditional talk therapy. Online counseling is more affordable and less anxiety-provoking, and BetterHelp specifically offers the largest database of licensed counselors. But there are cons, too! Check out a therapist-in-training's opinion of the services.

How Can BetterHelp Online Counseling Services Help Uninspired Readers Like You?

If you’ve been here before, you know all about Mental Health Monday. Every week, either myself or a gust blogger writes a post about all different aspects of mental health. Today, we’re talking about this ~awesome new way to get therapy.~ Last week, we had a blogger named Jo talk about the best books for self-care. But sometimes, we have much more serious posts. For example, Elizabeth’s post that covered heroin, domestic violence, and PTSD. I want to make sure that, if any of these posts bring up anything tough for you, you have somewhere to turn.

And what’s the point of dredging up all these emotions for you?

It’s because Uninspired’s goal is to help twenty-somethings be the best versions of themselves. And you can’t give your best to the world if you don’t have 100% to give because of trauma, depression, anxiety, etc. In fact, the more you try to give when you have nothing, the more you’ll actually hurt the people around you, as well as yourself. So, we need to push back against this idea that we should act like we’re always fine. And we need to stop thinking of therapy as something that people only do when they’ve hit rock bottom.

That’s why I host Mental Health Monday, and that’s why I partnered with BetterHelp online counseling services. I want to showcase people who are pushing against stigma and sharing how they’ve healed through negative experiences. Hopefully, that gives you the push you need to do the same for yourself. And in that case, I want you to have somewhere to turn before you lose that energy!

If I’ve convinced you to give it a shot, you can start the signup process here. If you need more convincing, read on.

BetterHelp online counseling services are an alternative to traditional talk therapy. Online counseling is more affordable and less anxiety-provoking, and BetterHelp specifically offers the largest database of licensed counselors. But there are cons, too! Check out a therapist-in-training's opinion of the services.Who am I to tell you all this?

A bonafide therapist-in-training, friends. I’ve been learning about the benefits therapy for about six years now, which is a full quarter of my life. Since I’ve started seeing clients, I’ve been fortunate enough to see that “aha” moment in so many of them. Seeing clients talk through things that have been bouncing around their heads for sometimes years is proof to me that counseling is the answer for almost any question.

In other situations though, I’ve seen clients who I could tell were just so uncomfortable with the whole process. It’s very difficult for a lot of people to sit in front of a stranger and tell them their deepest thoughts. As we know about technology, sometimes having that barrier of a screen makes it easier to be open. So, my experience having to draw people out of their shell has led me to believe that online counseling is the answer for a lot of people.

Pros and Cons of BetterHelp Online Counseling

So, now it’s time to really break all this down. I am an affiliate for BetterHelp, so I’ve been talking a lot about the pros, but I want to be honest and tell you about the  cons, too. Since I am a therapist, it wouldn’t be ethical for me to just push anything on you without making you aware of potential downsides. So, we’re going to go through both the cons and the pros of online counseling.

Cons

  • Not readily covered by insurance. It may be partially covered, but likely not fully. This is offset by the fact that online counseling is cheaper than traditional therapy, but it’s a fact nonetheless.
  • Online counseling is not for everyone. For example, if you’re thinking of hurting yourself or someone else, you’ve been advised to seek psychiatric care (someone who can prescribe meds) or you’re in an emergency situation, you’re better off visiting a traditional therapist or hospital. They also cannot take on mandated cases for reasons I’ll cover in the next point.
  • Loss of cues available with in-person conversation. A huge thing we learn in grad school is content vs. process. Often, the content that people come into therapy with is not the root of the problem. The process gives this away. For example– Brooke & Gary from The Breakup have this big fight that seems to be about doing the dishes. That’s the content. But the process becomes clear from watching not what Brooke says, but how she says it. Her emotionality is one clue that their fight is really about Brooke not feeling like Gary respects her needs. However, if a therapist were seeing Brooke online, she would only be privy to the content, and the process would be much more difficult to figure out.

Pros

  • Confidentiality. While no one can 100% assure confidentiality over the internet, BetterHelp uses the same encryption technology as high-profile financial institutions. That means someone would have to care enough about your therapy conversations to hire a criminal to bypass firewalls made to protect billions of dollars. I love you all dearly, and I mean this in the nicest, most loving way possible, but nobody cares about you that much.
  • Affordability. While it’s tough to get insurance to pay for BetterHelp online counseling services (or any online counseling), the fact that it’s cheaper than traditional therapy balances that out. While you can pay anywhere between $100-$250 per session for traditional therapy, sessions with BetterHelp cost between $30-$70 per week. You can choose between several ways to pay. And they offer payment plans for people who can’t afford their rates! And, you get a week for free when you sign up.
  • Versatility. BetterHelp online counseling services are super awesome for busy people, people who travel a lot, and people who need more access to their therapist than the standard one session per week. Since your “therapy room” is online, you can have sessions anywhere you have internet access. And your therapy room is open all the time! While your therapist won’t always be there, you can always drop your thoughts there throughout the week. When your session comes, you won’t have forgotten anything you waned to talk bout. There’s also an app for easy access!

Have you ever heard of BetterHelp online counseling services? What has held you back from trying it out?

BetterHelp online counseling services are an alternative to traditional talk therapy. Online counseling is more affordable and less anxiety-provoking, and BetterHelp specifically offers the largest database of licensed counselors. But there are cons, too! Check out a therapist-in-training's opinion of the services.

BetterHelp online counseling services are an alternative to traditional talk therapy. Online counseling is more affordable and less anxiety-provoking, and BetterHelp specifically offers the largest database of licensed counselors. But there are cons, too! Check out a therapist-in-training's opinion of the services.
BetterHelp online counseling services are an alternative to traditional talk therapy. Online counseling is more affordable and less anxiety-provoking, and BetterHelp specifically offers the largest database of licensed counselors. But there are cons, too! Check out a therapist-in-training's opinion of the services.

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There are probably millions of self-care books out there.

The self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty big and intimidating. I’ve stood in front of that long stretch of books so many times, trying to figure out which book would enlighten me most– make me my best self. Cure me of all my emotional ailments. How do you know which self-care books are legitimate and which ones are a load of horse shit?

This Mental Health Monday, Jo (Duffy the Writer) and I are going to help you out with that. Jo has picked out five self-care books that she has personally read and enjoyed. She gives you a quick synopsis of each one, along with a little guide of who should read each book! That way, you’ll know exactly how to avoid wasting your time on a book that isn’t helpful for you.

If you’re not sure what you’re reading, let me give you a little explanation before we start. At Uninspired, we’re all about helping people in their twenties be the best adults they can possibly be. We talk about lots of things, ranging from cooking and DIY tips all the way to personal finance. But one of my favorite parts of Uninspired is Mental Health Monday.

Every week, I feature a different blogger who has something to say about mental health.

I am a therapist (in training!) myself, so technically I could write a post myself every week, but I choose not to. I have extensive knowledge on how to treat lots of different mental disorders and relationship troubles, but a lot of times, people get more hope from seeing that people have actually been through the same things as them and come out the other side better for it. Mental Health Monday is all about hope stories.

So, now that we’re all on the same page (haaah. Get it? ‘Cause this post is about books), I’ll let Jo take the wheel and talk about the top five self-care books for people in their twenties. Happy reading!

Related: 25 Blog Posts About Practicing Self-Care

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Bonus!

Self-care books are great for helping you get from your baseline up. But if you’re in an emergency situation, or just looking for more tailored help than a self-care book can provide, I’m here to help. I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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Self-Care Book List For 20 Somethings

“It’s the beginning of the year, and our Instagram feeds can be full of inspirational quotes with whimsical backgrounds and Facebook posts welcoming the challenges of 2018.  It’s great that the dawn of a new year means we can start fresh and kick some goals, but sometimes it can all be a little overwhelming. Especially for young people who may have trouble expressing how they feel, or even knowing where to start.

Luckily for us, as much as our social media feeds are full of positive vibes, it’s also becoming more commonplace to also talk about mental health and self-care. Stigma and taboos are gratefully being torn down and in its place we have understanding and empathy.

So, as well as looking to improve your muscles at the gym, be sure not to forget about the biggest one you have: your beautiful, barmy, bewildering, brilliant brain. These excellent self-care books will help you do that.

Related: Classic Novels from High School to Re-Try in Your Twenties 

1. The Anxiety Book by Elisa Black There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Elisa Black talks about the triggers for anxiety and some really practical solutions to reducing attacks and symptoms in a witty, matter of fact way.  There are no air-fairy statements to be found in this self-care book, just real life observations of what it’s like to live with anxiety. And who better to write such a book than a journalist who suffers from it herself?

Read Q&A with author Elisa Black here

Buy now on Amazon.com

A Good self-care book for: Anyone experiencing, or living with someone suffering from anxiety and panic attacks

Related: Mental Health Monday- Understanding Anxiety

 

2. Because We are Bad by Lily Bailey

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Lily Bailey details a heartfelt childhood into adult account of what it’s like to be a young girl with severe OCD. The rituals that can make or break her world and the thoughts and anxieties that run rife through this little girl’s mind can be a little tough to read at times, but there is an ending of hope and optimism. An inspiring true story of an ordinary girl with a busy mind and her journey from childhood, teenage years and into adulthood.

Read the full book review here

Buy now on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Anyone experiencing, or living with someone suffering from diagnosed OCD

Related: Mental Health Monday- Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors 

 

3. Presence by Amy Cuddy

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Starting your first full time job can be a daunting one. There are workplace politics, strong personalities, difficult conversations and awkward social interactions to deal with, and that’s all before you actually learn the skills of the job!

Presence gives practical exercises, power poses and examples to help you go into work, university, in fact any social situation feeling ‘present’, positive, and confident.

Read full review here

Buy from Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Introverts entering the workplace for the first time, social anxiety sufferers and those who find public speaking and presenting excruciating

Related: Mental Health Monday- Getting Through a Job Interview with Social Anxiety

 

4. UnFu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

There are lots of expletive filled motivational self-care books out there, but this is one of the best.  Bishop, in his straight talking Scotsman way tells you why you are where you are. What’s difficult to comprehend at the start of the book is that where you are right now, however unhappy you are. That’s right! It starts tough, but talks you through some sometimes confronting thought process and negative thought loops we all get ourselves tied up in.

Read full review here

Buy on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Anyone who feels stuck in a self-pity rut and wants to get back on track

 

5. It’s All In Your Head by Rae Earle

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

This is a self-care book every young adult should have on their shelf.  Luckily, not all of us have manic depression, OCD, or full blown, crippling panic attacks. But many of us struggle with tough days and short-term depressive episodes. It’s All In Your Head deals with all manner of mental health issues and struggles that young people experience regularly, or from time to time. What’s wonderful about this book is that author Rae Earle tells the reader that it’s OK, most of us have experienced it. There is also some sound advice on how to feel better and get better. An excellent plain speaking self help guide for young people with some great illustrations.

Buy on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Every teenager and young adult!


Jo-Ann Duff – Duffy The Writer

Jo-Ann, or Duffy as she’s known in the wordy world, is an ex-pat Brit who has lived an incredible Australian life since 2005. Duffy is a freelance writer, and when she isn’t creating engaging content for small Australian businesses, she has her nose in a book as a reviewer for Australian publishers and independent authors. You can follow Duffy on all social media platforms @duffythewriter.

Your semester is in full swing by now, but if you’re anything like me, you’re not even close to seeing the end of the tunnel yet.

Spring semester has a nasty habit of being like that. It calls itself “spring,” like it’s going to be warm and happy and painless, and then it fucks you up the butt from January all the way to May. That’s why for this Mental Health Monday, I’ve enlisted Lou to talk to us about eliminating stress in college students.

At Uninspired, the point is to help you be better at adulting. Mental Health Monday in particular helps you do that by teaching you how to manage your emotions, and giving you hope that you can do it. This is a big transition you’re going through! You might need some help.

This post may be specifically geared toward stress in college students, but these tips are great for people in their twenties in general! You’ll find a lot of different foods to keep yourself naturally healthy and energized (while this semester rams you or just in case you have a supremely busy lifestyle post-grad). You’ll also find some ways to make money online, a natural way to improve your memory, and more!

Everyone's semester is back in full swing, and that means you have to deal with all the stressors that come with that PLUS being a functioning adult. Get good grades, exercise, socialize, get eight hours of sleep, blaaahh blah blah. These 14 tips for eliminating stress in college students will help you balance it all!

Bonus!

Lou’s tips about eliminating stress in college students are really, really awesome and helpful. However, there are times when they may not be enough. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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Top Tips To Eliminate Stress in College Students

“Now that the college students have returned to school, it’s important to stay healthy and manage all the stress you all endure. Unfortunately, not many students only have to study while they’re at school. For example, many are working part time jobs after classes to pay for their expenses. This can cause a lot of stress and the reality is, worry won’t make it better! Here are some tips to help you mentally and physically manage your anxieties:

1. Sleep

Sleep is important for managing stress in college students. As you well know, 7-8 hours is an ideal amount of rest. This is important not only so you can stay awake during your classes, but it helps with your memory! Your brain transfers things over to long term memory while you sleep, which is a big part of the reason staying up all night to cram for a test is a bad idea.

2. Limit the technology

Turn off technology equipment 30-60 minutes before planning to go to bed. I know; this is a tough one! It’s also beneficial to turn off your cell phone when you are doing your homework or projects to eliminate the constant distraction. It is better to take a break and check your phone for 5-10 minutes every hour as a reward for good studying than letting it be an interrupter of your focus. I have been trying to teach this to my daughter all through high school!

3. Limit sugary foods

Try to minimize or even ditch sugary foods. They are an energy booster, but that energy boost is followed by a crash. Protein is much better because it lasts longer. Almonds are a great, high-protein snack you can bring to the library with you while you study. You can also start your day with eggs for a protein boost, or have chicken or lean beef for lunch.

Related: The Food & Mood Connection

4. Surround yourself with laughter

You can eliminate negative energy in your circle by surrounding yourself with laughter.  It might not be easy to eliminate negativity since you don’t have complete control over your surroundings in college, but it helps to look for people who are smiling and laughing more than they’re complaining.

5. Meditation

Meditation for just ten minutes a day helps calm the mind. Wake up and take a few minutes to tell the divers three things you are grateful for today. It starts your day in a place of happiness and love.

6. Some foods are particularly good for stress relief

Some important foods to include in your diet for stress relief and to help enhance cognitive function are green, leafy salads. Include vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli.

Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C and potassium. This will help you fight off colds and other viruses, which really, really make it hard to get out of bed for class.

Blackberries and strawberries are known as the two top brain berries. Studies show they may help prevent memory loss, which is helpful for your academics!

Salmon, herring and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain doesn’t make omega-3s on it’s own, but not getting enough in your diet has been linked to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Stress in college students doesn’t need to be exacerbated by unnecessary anxiety!

Mixed nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate are excellent snacks. Nuts are high in protein, while pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent other molecules from oxidizing, which can damage your cells!

Coffee is actually a brain-booster as long as you don’t drink the whole pot! Drinking more than 1-2 cups will give you the jitters and increase your heart rate. Then you’ll start to feel anxious and actually lose focus.

7. Keep hydrated

If you weigh 100 pounds, you should drink 5-6 8oz glasses of water per day. The water in a healthy smoothie or juice with no sugar added can be included in your daily count, but iced tea or soda that has caffeine should not.

8. Keep a planner

If you need to work part time in addition to classes, or if you’re heavily involved on campus, managing your day by writing it all down, even on your phone, will help you stay on track. Take a half hour on Sundays to schedule your whole week ahead of time. Then you’ll easily be able to tell when you’re getting your assignments done, or how you’ll squeeze in some type of exercise.

9. Make your money online

Many students are now discovering ways of making money without leaving the dorm. This is where the world of internet marketing can come into play for the right candidate! Here is one company to give you an idea of what is out there for you. Click here.

Related: Low-Effort Side Hustles to Boost Your Financial Independence

10. Eat breakfast

You can manage your stress better if you start your day with a healthy breakfast. Grab a whole wheat bagel or toast, a piece of fruit, and some juice if you’re in a hurry.

11. Pack snacks!

You might be out of your dorm from 8m to 8pm. You’ll need some snacks to keep you going, so keep some in your bag! Pack some dried fruit, plain popcorn, or whole wheat crackers and cheese for some quick go-to snacks between classes.

12. Avoid synthetic smart drugs

During those stressful study periods before exams, avoid consuming synthetic smart drugs. If you need a memory booster, try an all-natural dietary supplement with no harmful side effects. Here’s one that I recommend, called Mastermind.

13. Reach out

Every college and university has services you can reach out to if you need to talk to someone about your anxieties. Sometimes just talking about your concerns helps eliminate them!

14. Don’t worry about what you can’t change

Try not to worry about the student debt you’re accumulating. When you’re finished your studies, you’ll find a way to pay back your loans. What you’re learning now will give you the skills to fix those things later, so don’t pend so much time worrying that you miss those lessons.

By following my tips above, we can eliminate stress in college students! Concentrating on positive and healthy solutions can go a long way in self-management. College and university can be a wonderful and creative experience for you. Focus, live a healthy lifestyle, and love life during these important years while finding out who you are.

If you enjoyed this post about stress in college students, please feel free to share with your friends!”

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Eliminate Stress in College Students | Mental Health Monday | Uninspired

What is self-awareness exactly? Can you define it?

I mean, duh, it’s being aware of ourselves. But there’s way more to it than that. How does being aware of ourselves affect our lives? Why do we need to be self-aware? How does being good or bad at it affect our relationships? That’s what I mean by what is self-awareness. What is self-awareness for?

These are some of the questions that our guest blogger, Patrick, will answer for Mental Health Monday today. He blogs over at patricklinfante.com, and he is endlessly fascinated with human emotion and communication. He’ll explain this vague, heady term and why it’s important that you  incorporate it in your lives. I love that when he defines self-awareness, he breaks it into subcategories which get more and more specific as they describe more specific aspects of that self. And you can see that each section is a little longer, a little more detailed. It wonderfully describes exactly how people define themselves. And once you can define yourself, you can go out and be your best self.

…Are you sensing a pattern here?

Is there an Uninspired echo?? I invited Patrick to come talk about this today because, like every Mental Health Monday, I wanted to give you something that would help you be the best adult you can be. That’s what Uninspired is all about! Helping you stop feeling ~uninspired~ and start feeling motivated to transition smoooothly into adulthood. Of course, the first step to being an amazing version of yourself is knowing who *yourself* is! So, this post is pretty important. Learning to be self-aware means that we’ll be better equipped to go out in the world and be well-adjusted, productive members of society. So, let’s find out. What is self-awareness??

What is self-awareness exactly, and why is it important? Our guest blogger today, Patrick, is here to talk about exactly that, and why it's especially important for people in their twenties to know themselves.

Bonus!

Mental Health Monday posts are really good at inspiring people to do more– learn more about themselves, get more help for a problem they’re having, etc. But they aren’ therapy in and of themselves. They aren’t emergency services you can call on in the middle of a scary situation.That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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“The Importance of Self-Awareness”​​

What is self-awareness? Why is it important? Where does it apply in our every day lives?

Well, self-awareness is one of the single most important aspects of our lives!

Knowing yourself is more important than knowing anything else. If you don’t even know yourself, how can you expect anyone else to understand who you are or where you are coming from?

What is self-awareness?

We can break it down into 5 subcategories.

  1. Self-Concept
  2. Personal Values
  3. Self-Identity
  4. Self-Development
  5. Self-Regulation.

Let’s begin with Self-Concept.

This is simply the general view of yourself. Are you athletic? Nerdy? An adrenaline junkie? A musician? Quiet? Loud? You can see how broad this is, and how the lines might start to get blurry as we dive deeper!

Next in line are Personal Values.

This Piggybacks off of self-concept. What do you value in life? What are your wants and needs? Do you care about relationships? Do you care about money? Maybe you care about people a lot? This is similar to your morals. What do you believe in? What makes you tick?

Then we have Self-Identity.

This is a more narrow scope on the previous self-concept. This is where we delve into what our specific qualities are, as well as our potential. We may be an adrenaline junkie, but are we better at driving, biking, surfing, skiing, or something else altogether? You are athletic, but are you better at individual sports, or team sports? Do you excel at hockey, basketball, baseball, tennis, etc? Do you retain information on the first go-round? Or do you need it repeated 3 times? Are you a visual learner? Are you an auditory learner? Maybe you learn by doing? Do you communicate by speaking alot? Do you use a lot of body language? A little body language?

I’ve give you a moment. Please, ponder those thoughts thus far.

As we continue, we get into Self-Development.

You are now aware of what your specific skills are. Now, which ones can be bettered? AH. Which ones, should be bettered. Listen, it is all well and good to work on your weaknesses, but.. at some point, they are still a weakness. We should most definitely work on them so that we are well rounded. However, let’s also spend time working on things we are already good at. Let’s make ourselves GREAT at them. Are you working on yourself, or are you becoming complacent, regardless of the multitude of reasons why?

So… how do we know? How do we check? Who holds us accountable?

WE DO.

Which brings us to self-regulation.


Related: Your Low Self-Esteem May be Hurting Someone Other Than You


Area number 5. Self-Regulation.

We are our own judge and jury. We may have had teachers to hold us accountable, or our parents perhaps, or, maybe even the law at times. That is simply to get us to understand structure and discipline. At the end of the day, we are the ones that sculpt our lives. We are the one that decides whether you get up immediately, or you hit the snooze button. We are the ones that get to choose to stay in and work on our craft, instead of hitting the bars regularly.

And that’s what this is all about.

CHOICE.

We have infinite choices in this life.
Are we choosing to be self aware? To hold ourselves accountable? Are we choosing to work on our strengths and weaknesses? Are we choosing the good life?

It helps if you are self-aware. If you can look yourself in the mirror, and be honest, every day, you have already succeeded. You have embraced yourself. You have accepted the faults, and have felt pride from the strengths. And you accept what you do know, while you also accept what you don’t understand.

The more self-aware you are, the more advantages that you have! If you are aware that you are terrible at basketball, you might not join a competitive league. Or you might! If you are choosing to have fun and improve something. Furthermore, this shapes our lives. If we hate sitting at a computer, we should probably avoid getting an office job, where we sit at a computer 40 hours a week. If you aren’t very social, you might not enjoy working in a restaurant. Perhaps if you are excellent with people, you’d LOVE a sales gig. (You also might not)

The more things we try, the more we sample what is out there in the world, the closer we get to knowing exactly who we are. This helps bring us closer to the life that we ultimately desire.

Again, the key is to pay attention. The key is to Choose to pay attention in life. Try out new scenarios, and pay attention to the results. Pay attention to how it makes you feel.

The real question, is what are you going to do with the information that you find?

Hopefully you use it to create the best version of yourself.

Will you choose to see what is in front of you?

Will you live in denial?

Or will you live?

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If you’re in your twenties, you’re dealing with uncertainty. I am not even slightly uncertain about that.

Hah. But really. If you’re in your twenties and struggling with anxiety or depression, dealing with uncertainty can be that much more stressful. So today, I’ve brought in Sylvia, who like the rest of us, is a twenty-something trying to wade through all the unknowns life is dumping on her. She is sharing the four tips that have helped her the most, and that she thinks will help you, too!

I thought this post was great for Mental Health Monday because like I said, if you’re in your twenties, you’re dealing with uncertainty. And, since Uninspired is a blog for women in their twenties, it seemed like a perfect fit. Since I’m all about trying to strike that balance between enjoying life now and building for the future, I want to make sure I give you guys plenty of tips about caring for yourself. If you don’t engage in self-care, it’ll be next to impossible to find that balance and keep it. Not only will you not be able to keep the balance, you’re also much more susceptible to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, or more depending on your situation.

So, now that I’ve scared you into caring for yourself, it’s time to switch it over to Sylvia, who blogs at sylvmarcia.com. Her four tips for dealing with uncertainty will help keep you sane when you feel like you’re going crazy planning for the future.

Related: Practicing Gratitude in Times of Stress

If you're in your 20s, you're dealing with uncertainty. I know that for sure! But, Sylvia's 4 tips will help you find certainty even in the worst situation.

Bonus!

Dealing with uncertainty in your life can be unsettling, and sometimes downright terrifying depending on what’s going on. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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Dealing With Uncertainty

“Sometimes I wish life was easy. That the path I was supposed to go down was clear. I would know the right decisions to make. I’d know when it would be good to chase a dream or when to give it up. I would know which friends to choose or what books to read. I’d know what to major in and what jobs to apply to. I would know that life would work out the way it’s supposed to. I would be able to feel confident that my life is going the way that is best for me.

Right now, I don’t know that. I don’t know anything. I’m treading water trying to grasp at whatever I can, but I feel as if I only end up sinking. Life is currently a blur. I don’t know much right now. I don’t know if I chose the right career path or the right place to live. Honestly, I don’t know if blogging is even worth continuing to work on at times. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I’m making it up as I go along and hope I’m doing something right. At times, the feeling of wanting to give up is overwhelming. I hear it getting louder and louder every day. It’s hard to stop at times. It makes me question who I think I am that I can do whatever I’m about to do.

I’m dealing with uncertainty. A lot. 

I like to believe everyone has these doubts at times. Everyone, at times, wishes they knew what decision to make. I also believe that when you’re struggling with mental health, it can make it harder to manage. Things that are not meant to be anxiety inducing or dreadful are already for me, so let’s add on things that would stress anyone out, and it makes it unbearable.

I find it hard to trust the process of life. To be okay with dealing with uncertainty. To be okay with trying when I don’t know how it’s going to work out. Below are four tips I have for handling the unknowns of life while struggling with anxiety and depression.

 

1. Remember how you got where you are today.

    Once, a path I thought I was supposed to go down suddenly closed. This may sound cliche, but most of the time though, things happen for a reason. The path I ended up going down instead lead me to new passions, relationships I wouldn’t have otherwise. I discovered things I would never expect if I knew exactly where I was going all the time. If you asked yourself five years ago, where you thought you were going to be in five years, would you have been right? I know I wouldn’t have. There is beauty in that, I think. There’s a beauty in dealing with uncertainty, and in embracing it. I remember those times that things didn’t work out the way I wanted, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It allows me to acknowledge that sometimes life’s surprises are for the better.

 

2. Grounding techniques.

   It’s easy to get caught up in the unknowns of the future, especially when it seems anxiety and depression control you. Living in limbo. Getting so caught up in the future, that you forget how to live in the present. Research grounding techniques that bring you back to present. You can only truly control your present, so stay there. I have an essential oil roller that I put on my wrist and smell when I find myself getting caught up in ideas I can’t control. There are many other techniques – I suggest clicking the link above and finding one that works for you.  

 

3. Do your best no matter what.

   The only thing you can do and should do is your best. If you do your best, you can’t have regret. No matter what the future will bring, bring your best self. It’s so easy to get caught up in dealing with uncertainty, especially with anxiety. Currently, I don’t know what job I will have come September or where I’m going to be living. I have goals, but I have no idea what will happen. It’s easy to get caught up in all the negative outcomes that can possibly happen. I become paralyzed by all the options and ideas I can do. This is when I try just to do my best and keep pushing through, so no matter what I will know that at least.

 

4. Take advantage of where you are now.

   I recently moved back home, which is something that gave me extreme anxiety. I appreciated and enjoyed living on my own and having my own space. Moving back home makes me feel restrained or like I’m in high school again. Even though I’m here now, I try my best not to think of it and know that it’s only a temporary situation or else I get too caught up.

I also try to take advantage of living at home. I get to be around my pets, live close to my niece and nephew, save money, not have anxiety about my apartment catching on fire, and it’s a good temporary place before I start the next step. Yes, this situation has some difficulties, but it also has some positives, and I try to enjoy those when I have the chance. Think of where you are now. This could be the people you are around, location, amenities, or anything else. Focus on those things that can make you feel better and remind yourself of those when anxiety teases you about the unknowns.

 

Dealing with uncertainty is typical. No one ever fully knows what the future is going to be even if you have it all planned out. Living in those unknowns can often heighten, especially for me, anxiety and depression. By remembering the four things I listed above, I can cope with them a little bit more.

dealing with uncertainty

Did you ever lay down and just KNOW you weren’t going to get any sleep that night?

Or were you ever SO pumped to go to bed because you were tired af and then you stared at your ceiling for ten hours? Insomnia is the worst, especially when you know you have to get up early the next morning. You could take some cold medicine to knock you out, but you don’t like the idea of all those chemicals in your body for no reason. You don’t have any sleeping pills and counting sheep is made up and useless, so, what do you do? Grab your laptop, go to Youtube, and type in this crazy simple thing called “ASMR”.

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response.

It’s just a long, made-up phrase that means you get a tingling sensation in your head and spine when you’re exposed to certain stimuli. Have you ever felt something like that when you were at the hair salon, or the doctor’s office, or while being taken care of by a parent when you were a kid? This is all ASMR. It’s a feeling sort of like chills that stem from getting personal attention, or from feelings of intimacy. And they relax the listener. It helps people de-stress and get to sleep. Of course, when you type in ASMR on Youtube, you’re getting a re-creation of those feelings of intimacy. But sometimes, as Julie Beck pointed out in her article for The Atlantic, it’s nice to get the tingling feeling without the vulnerability that comes with an actual intimate interaction.

ASMR is a seriously cool, natural, and free way to nip that insomnia in the bud. Check out this post full of awesome videos that will help you get some rest

Great, so what does ASMR have to do with mental health?

I know, I know. I promised you guest posts every Monday. Guest posts from people who have overcome incredibly difficult mental health situations and came out stronger because of it. However, sometimes life gets in the way, and plans change. Make plans, God laughs, ya know? So I’ve written a few mental health posts myself, that I’ll post in the event of a schedule change. They’re all chock full of good information too, I promise! Here’s how ASMR fits into the mental health picture.

ASMR is a really good natural solution for insomnia. And, as many of you know, insomnia is a really frustrating symptom of a lot of mental disorders. It’s a symptom of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and big lifestyle changes. And more, probably, if you want to get into it super deep. It helps because as I said before, it’s a way of recreating feelings of intimacy. And even further, it’s 100% natural. ASMR doesn’t involve medication, it’s not addictive, and it’s free. You can find thousands of videos right on Youtube. Below, I’ve organized some popular ones based on some popular ways to trigger the sensation.

There’s also a really lovely community of ASMR content creators and listeners on Youtube. This is good for your mental health because support is HUGE for getting through hard times. Every video I’ve ever seen has comments thanking the ASMRtist for helping them get past their mental health issue for the night to get some sleep. And those comments have hundreds of replies from people sending their well-wishes.

So, what are some ASMR triggers?

Good question. What makes people get these tingles? How do these “tingles” help with insomnia? What types of stimuli can effectively recreate personal attention through a screen? A ton, actually. There isn’t much research yet on why certain people feel certain triggers, so anything on that subject is speculation. But there is plenty of speculation.

The most popular triggers are whispering and speaking softly.

This is the whole premise of ASMR, and the most popular category of triggers. It might be because those types of voices are typical of intimate situations. Think- telling secrets, late night talks with friends, partners, loved ones, etc. Thinking about those kinds of situations may promote relaxation. Once you’re relaxed, it’s much easier to tell insomnia to shove it! Here are some channels by ASMRtists with great whispering and soft-speaking voices, along with a favorite video of mine:

Gentle Whispering

Gibi ASMR

Isabel Imagination ASMR

CuteBunny992

Gwen Gwiz

Accents are also a big trigger. A lot of people like when a person speaks in broken English or with an accent. I think this could be because your brain is less able to predict the sound that’s coming next and prepare for it. You know, normally, you can anticipate the next sound, but when the person isn’t a native English speaker, it might come out different. Here are some popular ASMR videos from people who whisper in English, even though it isn’t their first language.

Another popular trigger category has nothing to do with talking– just sounds that can be created with your hands or other objects.

People seem to like the purposeful movement that comes with tapping and scratching. Personally, I’m not very responsive to these triggers because often they’re too loud for me, but I do like the purposeful movement. You can watch the tapping video I provided, but that transitions us nicely into the next triggers: visual ones.

 

The last trigger category is visual.

Visual ASMR triggers include any situation where the ASMRtist uses exaggerated hand movements, or pretends to touch the viewer. Sometimes it’s with a makeup brush, or they pretend to move hair away from your face, etc. A popular one is a follow-the-light trigger that you might experience at an eye doctor appointment. Here are a couple good examples:

Bonus!

ASMR is a great way to combat insomnia, but a lot of times insomnia is caused by things like anxiety, depression, or really tough life stuff. For that reason, I’ve compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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What’s your experience with ASMR? Have you found a trigger that quells your insomnia? Comment below and let me know if you experience tingles or not!

Practicing gratitude is something that I often forget to do, especially in times of stress.

But practicing gratitude has amazing benefits for helping us feel better in the face of trouble! Actually, according to a book by Robert Emmons, there’s a ton of research suggesting gratitude is the key to conquering hard times.

How, you ask? How, indeed. It seems ridiculous to suggest that when life is terrible, we should pretend everything is good. It goes against everything we’ve been taught our whole lives. Yes, it seems difficult to admit that there are good things when you want to focus on the bad. And, in some situations, it can feel inappropriate to focus on the positive. This, I think, is why people are so put off by the idea of practicing gratitude. But that’s not what being practicing gratitude is all about!

Practicing gratitude even in times of stress is a way of reminding yourself about the good things in life when it seems like everything’s bad.

However, it’s not about pretending that the bad things don’t exist. It’s not even about just remembering that there’s good in addition to the pain. It’s about realizing that in the face of tragedy, you have the power to re-frame it, to still feel grateful. That power you feel is solid proof of your power over your tragedy. You will not let it get the best of you.

If you’d like to buy the book by Richard Emmons about practicing gratitude, you can find it here.

My background in psychology has proven to me that practicing gratitude is really important, but it’s something that has generally slipped through the cracks in everyday life. Life has been really hard lately, and while lots of negativity is surrounding me, I have to remember that I’m also surrounded by good and happiness. Remembering that fact in the face of adversity gives me power over the situation I’m stuck in.

Related: What is Self-Awareness?

Melissa Gonzales of Mint Tea and Elephants has written a lovely blog post about the things that make her happy, and I thought it would be a great exercise to do the same for myself.

I need some power in my life lately, and I know you might, too. Uninspired, as some of you know, is all about becoming a better adult, while still being able to celebrate passion and fun. Sometimes, like on Sunday, it was about pure fun (did you see the road trip playlist?) and some days, it has to be more geared toward actually helping you with adulthood. Today is one of the latter. How can I push the message that you guys should be your best selves if I’m not living that way myself?

So, here it is. As many things as I could possibly think of to be grateful for, or happy about. If you’re reading this, I’m actively tagging you to do take this challenge, and doing it for yourself. I only ask that you tag me in your posts, so I can read all the wonderful things that you’re practicing gratitude for.

Most people don't practice being grateful in times of stress. Today we'll explore why, and give readers ways to be more thankful, and therefore happier.

1. I’m Practicing Gratitude for My Sister

My sister, Lauren, is the most gorgeous creature to ever grace this earth, and I’m so grateful for her. She’s a junior in high school, but she got asked to the senior prom. This picture below is of her stupid face and her stupid dress and their stupid pre-prom at a house that overlooked New York City and also had a DAMN infinity pool. The party was for at least 50 kids and their families, and it was CATERED. With PASSED HORS D’OEUVRES. It was beautiful. Every girl at that party was somehow stunningly beautiful, but Lauren stood out like a *rose among thorns,” as she wished I would say. She was classy, elegant, and drama-free. And, you know, just as naturally inclined to pin a boutonniere as I was at my prom.

I see the resemblance now #prom #prom2k17 #sisters #twins

A post shared by Nicole Locorriere (@niicolee00) on

2. I’m Practicing Gratitude for Sappy Rom-Coms

  • 50 First Dates

    • I’m disappointed with you if you don’t know this. But, just in case I’ve got some rock-dwellers reading today, the movie is about a guy falling in love with a girl with short-term memory loss. Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is a total ladies man who makes it a point to disappear after he’s been with someone. One fateful day, he falls in love with Lucy (Drew Barrymore) who has short-term memory loss, and suddenly, instead of aiming to be forgotten, he has to fight to be remembered every single day. It’s super touching, and you’ll probably ugly-cry, but there will also be tears of laughter. They throw in a perfectly tasteful amount of dirty humor. If you’ve never seen it, or if you love it as much as I do but don’t own it, you can get it on Amazon! Rent it for $3.99 or buy a digital copy of it for $12.99.
  • Silver Linings Playbook

    • This is dark but, this movie played a role in getting me over the worst breakup of my life, so I’m very grateful for it. I would fall asleep watching it so I wouldn’t feel so lonely. Then, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and cry to the DVD menu music because I was too afraid of what I’d feel like if I turned it off completely. It’s so indulgent and yet so poignant. It’s deep and yet has many moments of easy comic relief, which make you feel less gutted by the end. The plot surrounds Pat (Bradley Cooper), dealing with his new diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and his wife leaving him. In the process, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who helps him get more comfortable with his new normal. Also, it has the most lit soundtrack. If you’re interested in the movie, you can find it on Amazon. Same deal as 50 First Dates!
  • Letters to Juliet

    • This one is super cheesy, but it’s one of my favorites because it’s such an easy watch. It’s about a writer named Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) who goes on vacation to Verona with her insufferable fiance. When she comes across Juliet Capulet’s balcony, she finds heartbroken women who write letters to Juliet, and Juliet’s four “secretaries” who write back to all of them. When Sophie finds a letter dated 1957 and writes back, and her answer brings the now-elderly woman back to Verona, in search of her true love. Sophie, the old woman, and her grandson travel throughout Italy together in search of long lost love. It’s the most predictable, neat and tidy movie in existence, but I love it. If you think you might too, here’s where you can get it.

3. I’m Practicing Gratitude for My first Affiliate Sales!

Yes! This month, I made my first few affiliate sales, and I’m extremely thankful for them. They’ve validated that I’m building trust with you guys, because you trust me to recommend good products to you. I’m so grateful for that. I’m still getting the hang of this affiliate marketing thing, but I know for sure that the key is being genuine. And that’s the whole point of Uninspired! Being your genuine selves even in the face of boring, soul-sucking adulthood. You know. So, I’m thanksful that’s resonating with you, and I’m thankful that we’re becoming friends!

In case you missed it, here’s what I’ve been promoting that got me my first bit of Uninspired ~cash flow~

Elise McDowell’s E-book on Affiliate Marketing:

Elise has come up with the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to get into affiliate marketing that I’ve come across. When I found her e-book, I was contemplating buying Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s $200 course on affiliate marketing. But this book is just $25, and it’s made me three affiliate sales this week! Since my commission from each one was $10, I’ve already more than earned my money back. In less than seven days, at that! If you’re looking to get into affiliate marketing and NOT spend a ton of money on learning how, this is a great start! You can even use it to build up some savings. Then, maybe after a few months, you can have the cash you need to take a famous course like Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. If you’re interested, you can check it out here.

SiteGround Hosting Services

When you have a blog with WordPress.com, Squarespace, Blogger, etc., they don’t give you the freedom to create your brand and make money with it. If you’re thinking of making money with your blog, you’re going to need a service like SiteGround. They give you the freedom to add plugins and other necessary things that companies want in order to advertise with you. Your hosting service is like the engine that makes your car run. It’s all the intricate, techy things that make your site run that you don’t really want to deal with. SiteGround has amazing, 24 hour customer service and is extremely reasonable for whatcha get. Seriously, I’ve had so many dumb questions, but they’re always so pleasant and helpful there. If you’re ready to make the jump into self-hosted blogging, I highly recommend it, and I also highly recommend SiteGround via this link 🙂

That’s it for today!

That’s the list of things I’m grateful for this week! I hope to do more posts like this in the future, not only for me, but for you, too! I get to practice gratitude and remind myself that I have control over the negativity in my life, and it seems like you might get some good recommendations for products and services 🙂

Hope you have a beautiful and positive week!

~Sending good vibes~

Nicole

Bonus!

Practicing gratitude is a really important facet of positive psychology. However, a lot of people aren’t ready to access positive psychology because they’re too busy struggling with getting to baseline. If that’s the position you find yourself in, this bonus is for you. I’ve written ups list of mental health resources that you can download here for free. It’s chock full of hotlines and resources like BetterHelp that you can use to get yourself back on track. Since the whole point of Uninspired is to help you be the best version of yourself, I really urge you to claim your list, whether it’s for you, or someone you know who might be in need. I want to see you all at your best!

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being grateful

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I have to admit, this is a pretty tough post for me to write, but it’s super important!

If any of you have read my Start Here page, you might know I’m in a master’s program to become a marriage and family therapist. And as of this week, I’ve finished with my first year! I swear, I have never felt relief like I felt that day. At the end of last semester, I only got a week-long break. The semester before that, I was too busy crying about leaving West Chester to notice the schoolwork ended. And those semesters were undergrad anyway. Difficult, but my screams of anguish have reached an entirely new decibel in my freshman year of life.

The relief is amazing. But noticing my monstrous mood shift made me look back on this year and realize I was f*cking miserable. Of course, I had a lot going on. It was my first year living back at home after having four glorious years of freedom. I took on five graduate classes per semester (they recommend four) and maintained a full time job substitute teaching. Also, I tutored on the side and blogged in every spare minute.

I also had some beef with my new school. I miss West Chester enough, but this school is very small, which I was not used to, and religious, which I am not. Classes only seem to be offered when professors feel like teaching them, nobody answers emails in a timely fashion, everyone’s feathers get all ruffled when things aren’t done in the perfect order laid out for us. The professors don’t seem passionate about what they do, and they don’t encourage us to be. If we show any semblance of passion they’re like:

“That’s great that you’re so passionate, but it’s not going to be that [easy/fun/rewarding/insert happy word].

So like, it made sense to me that I was f*cking miserable.

It made sense that I was losing passion for the things I enjoyed doing. I didn’t want to get up in the morning, even to see my favorite kiddos at work. I didn’t want to go to class, even though I love learning. Seeing friends and going to bars stopped sounding like fun…there was even a span of several months this year where I didn’t talk to my best friend.

Yeah, it’s been pretty bleak. But then, I stumbled upon a book at Barnes and Noble called The Freshman Year of Life. It was a collection of essays that people had written about their first year after college. From what I saw, many of them were similar to mine. I didn’t get to read through the whole book, but I felt better knowing that what I had felt this year was a thing. It’s what happens to people in their freshman year of life. What a cool concept! It lifted one of the weights that was on me, one that was telling me I’d brought my depression on myself. It told me that the way I was feeling wasn’t a result of a poor decision to leave West Chester, or to go to my current school, or to not save enough money to live on my own. It’s just how most people feel after graduating from college.

It wasn’t my fault at all.

What I was feeling was just the space between what I had expected from my freshman year of life, and what I got. And it happens to almost everyone, because almost everyone makes a huge life adjustment after college. Whether you’re moving back with your parents, or making the switch from academia to the 9-5 life, OR BOTH, it’s an adjustment. And while it’s not my fault that I felt so sad this year, I made choices that made the shift more difficult than it had to be. So, I’ve compiled a list of things that I wish I had done to make my freshman year of life less shitty. That way, when YOUR freshman year of life rolls around, you can be more prepared to handle it with grace.

Your freshman year of life, or the year after college, is a time with no rules, few expectations, and your whole life ahead of you. So why does it suck?

P.S.- to those asking about my dress, it’s no longer sold at Abercrombie & Fitch where I got it. However, this is a similar one that I wore for  my graduation party (the one in the photos was for the ceremony). Sorry I couldn’t find ya the exact one!

!My Tips for Your Freshman Year of Life:

1. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

In undergrad, I was the president of a club, I did research for two different professors, I was a tutor, I got straight As, and went out every weekend. But honestly… that’s not the real world. As crazy as college seems, it’s actually a pretty structured environment. All your classes and meetings for school organizations operate around the same schedule (50 minute hours, 10 minutes for travel). You have an academic adviser. You likely have a counseling center on campus that you can visit for free, or a minimal fee if you’re feeling overwhelmed. The freshman year of life has no neat little blocks of perfect hours. There is no adviser to tell you you’re biting off more than you can chew. It costs a heck of a lot of money to go to counseling.  So, start small, and if you’re comfortable with that work load, THEN take on more. 

2. Don’t lose touch with your friends.

It’s really freakin’ hard to socialize in this freshman year of life. Like I said, I went through a period of months where I didn’t even talk to my best friend. There are no dorms packed full of potential friends here. I moved back home to New Jersey with my parents, and all of my friends stayed in Pennsylvania. I didn’t keep in touch with many friends from high school, because I was convinced that my college friends would be all I’d ever need. (WHY??) My neighbors here are cool and everything, but they’re middle aged and beyond. Not exactly a crowd to go to the bars with.

It’s also really hard to socialize because it’s not so easy to find things to do. In most places, it’s hard to find a row of frat houses or street full of trendy bars like you had at school. But please, invite your friends over for a wine night. Take turns paying for the Uber to get to the good bars. Those friends are going through a similar thing, and you need to lean on them. 

3. Remember you’re not too good for dating apps.

Dating is hard all the time! I talk about it constantly on Uninspired. But I have similar advice about this as I do about your general social life. It’s hard to come by one environment full of guys that are all around your age. Dating apps are exactly this. Of course, you need to be careful because these are internet strangers, but it can also be a lot of fun to meet new people this way!

Some rules that I follow are:

1) Do not let him pick you up at your house– take your own car and meet him at a public place. You don’t want a stranger to know where you live and you don’t want to be at his mercy in his car.

2) Meet at a location you’re familiar with in case you need to get out. In that same vein, let someone (like the bartender, barista, or waiter) know you’re on a first date in case you need help.

Following these rules, I’ve been on a lot of great Tinder dates that sparked some great friendships, and taught me about some cool new places in my area. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for at the bars and clubs in your area, check out some free dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and Happn.

4. Make time for your hobbies.

I love to crochet, but I haven’t touched my needle in over a year. I love to read, and the stack of books by my bed has been snowballing for months, but I haven’t touched them. Making time for my hobbies during my first semester in grad school seemed like a waste because I would’ve had to schedule them like my homework. And if I had to schedule them, I thought, they’d start to feel like work. But second semester, I started this blog, and even though it did make me busier, there were pockets of all my days that were fun and fulfilling. Set goals for your hobbies, so you’re reaching toward something whenever you do them. If you set a goal of reading five books so you can write a blog post about them, you won’t feel like you’re wasting valuable time.

5. Know that everyone is going through this.

Yeah, you have that one friend who went off to the city and found immediate success. I know someone who photographs high fashion models and seems to constantly be featured in magazines. I know someone else who has topped the singer/songwriter charts on iTunes. Two people in my graduating class from high school have been drafted to major league baseball teams. But like, it’s also totally fine to sit on your couch this weekend watching Gilmore Girls for the fifth time, and yes, it’s okay to eat that piece of popcorn that just fell in your shirt. It’s cool. The VAST majority of people are doing exactly what you’re doing. So don’t think about those crazy success stories too much– they’re the exception to the rule. You worry about you, and you’ll be just fine.

What was the freshman year of life like for you? What are your tips to getting through it? Drop your thoughts in the comment box below!

Bonus tip!

The freshman year of life can be really, really stressful, especially if you’re already dealing with mental health issues. That’s why I’m offering this free list of mental health resources that you can print out and either keep for yourself, or give to a friend in need It’s got hotline numbers for all sorts of situations, as well as links to BetterHelp. I’ve partnered with BetterHelp because they offer counseling services online, which is great for busy millennials like yourself.

Please, claim your list here so you always have help available if you need it:

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The Freshman Year of Life

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Food and mood are connected in ways we don’t think about often.

That’s what Bri is here to talk to us about this MHM– the food and mood connection! But before we get started, let me explain what Mental Health Monday is about.
MHM is an effort to start conversations about, duh, mental health, so twenty-something readers like yourself feel comfortable with self-care. As a therapist, I’m constantly hearing that twenty-somethings feel guilty asking for help, saying no, or putting yourself first. So, I’m here to start the conversation with you. But I can’t do it alone. I take on guest bloggers to help me spread hope, because hope lives in stories. Sure, I could preach to you about different mental illnesses and how to treat them, but to really spread hope, I’m spreading personal experiences and true expertise from people who have been there, done that, like Bri.
Bri blogs over at hippiedippiemom.com (It’s a requirement that you say that out loud for fun.) where she blogs about health and wellness. She’s an RN who personally changed her lifestyle and saw major improvement. She noticed a food and mood connection, and decided to run with it. She’s here to tell you what changes she made and why, so you can see how what you eat effects how you feel. And, she was cool enough to offer a freebie if you sign up for both our email lists! After you’ve done that, sit back, relax, and learn about the food and mood connection!

This Mental Health Monday, learn about how food and mood are connected thanks to Bri of hippiedippiemom.com! You'll learn what supplements will help you feel better, what diets to avoid or stick to, and more!

Bonus!

Food and mood are connected, but changing your diet may not be enough to ward off all mental health issues. And while Mental Health Monday posts can be informative and motivating, they can’t help in case of an emergency. So, I’ve created a printable list of mental health resources that I’d love for you to claim below. It has hotline numbers for all types of situations including suicidal ideation, eating disorders, substance abuse, and sexual abuse. It also mentions BetterHelp, which, though not for emergencies, can match you up with a licensed therapist to talk with online, which is much cheaper than in-person therapy.

I really want to see you thrive! So please, claim your list right here:

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The Food and Mood Connection

I’ve been a Registered Nurse since 2009 and most of my nursing career has been in inpatient and outpatient Psychiatry. In the beginning, I didn’t question why so many people have mental health troubles compared to our ancestors. I myself suffered from depression, anxiety and PMS. Then, I changed my lifestyle. My main goal in changing my lifestyle from traditional western to something more healthy (I didn’t really know what ‘healthy’ meant at first) was to decrease my migraines and brain fog and increase my energy. I found that with a truly healthy lifestyle, I also managed the depression, anxiety and PMS. So I started to ask more questions, do more research and became a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

Why is the rate of all diseases rapidly increasing? Why are kids getting sicker and sicker? What are we doing to ourselves?
In short, we’re overloading ourselves with toxins and destroying our bodies. Mental health disorders are rapidly increasing:
  • Nearly 1 in 4 Americans have some type of mental illness.
  • The CDC says that by 2020, depression will rank as the second leading cause of disability, after heart disease. (1) Suicide is now the #10 leading cause of death in the US.
  • The rate of adolescents reporting a recent bout of clinical depression grew by 37 percent over the decade ending in 2014 (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161115094549.htm).
  • Kids as young as 3 are being diagnosed with mental health disorders! According to this article, “one in five children between the ages of 3 and 17 suffer some form of mental disorder”. (1).

The food and mood connection:

I’m going to jump right into the food and mood connection by talking about your gut! Our digestive system is quickly becoming known as our ‘second brain’! That’s how important it is! We all know that the main purpose of our digestive system is to digest our food, but did you know that our gut is also a huge part of our mental health?! Many of the hormones affecting our mental health (2) are produced in the gut. For example, up to 90% of serotonin is developed in our gut. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that sends messages from one area of the brain to another. It handles “mood, sexual desire andfunction, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior”. (3). Serotonin is thought of as responsible for maintaining our mood balance, and when we’re not producing enough it leads to mental health disorders like depression.
One way problems with our mental health arise is if we have leaky gut (aka increased gut permeability) which is caused by antibiotics, Candidiasis, (4) eating or drinking too much of the wrong things, and stress. With leaky gut, we basically have tiny holes in the lining of our digestive system that let bad germs and actual bits of undigested food pass through. This is how our immune system malfunctions, how many autoimmune diseases and mental health issues develop.  Leaky gut leads to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, asthma, allergies, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety and more. That
s just one way food and mood are connected!

Our digestive tract is also home to trillions of ‘good’ bacteria that help keep the bad bacteria at bay.

Bacteria is necessary! Bad bacteria can take over and wreak havoc. Bacterial changes in our gut are shown to lead to anxiety and how we “process emotional information”. (5) Another issue that’s gaining popularity is Candida. Candida is one of those bad bacteria that we all have. Yes, it’s bad but it’s still necessary…in the right amount. Our good bacteria is there to keep it in check, and when we destroy our good bacteria (with antibiotics, sugar, processed food, etc) it can’t keep it in check anymore and Candida takes over. If you’re a woman who’s been on antibiotics before and then got a ‘yeast infection’ after you completed the antibiotics…that’s Candida overgrowth in the vaginal canal. “A group of scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine warned public that a common yeast infection known as Candida could cause schizophrenia and bipolar disorder”. (6). Food and mood connection number two!

A third food and mood connection has to do with the western diet having little to no nutrients.

Western dieters are majorly nutrient deficient in every way! How can we really expect any part of our body to function at full capacity if we’re not giving it what it needs? The brain is 60% fat; so guess what the low-fat or non-fat fad did to our brain…it didn’t nourish it and our brain didn’t get the necessary fats. Fat is good as long as it’s the right fat. Another issue is that most of us are deficient in magnesium. I recommend my clients take this daily as a supplement. Because even if we eat a lot of vegetables all day every day, our soil has been depleted of a lot of vital nutrients. Magnesium deficiency can lead to all kinds of problems! If you’re deficient in magnesium you can experience arrythmias, muscle cramps, headaches, seizures, irritability, behavioral disturbances and psychosis (7). The brand of magnesium I recommend is Pure Encapsulations. You’ll want Mag Citrate if you also tend to be constipated or Mag Glycinate if you have regular bowel movements.

Related: 25 Blog Posts for Practicing Self-Care

Next, I know that a lot of people consider ‘gluten-free’ to be just another fad diet.

Food manufacturers definitely have their fun with the term! Several years ago, I reluctantly eliminated gluten from my diet. Initially, I lasted 3 days before I thought I would die without bread or pasta. So I ate some bread and instantly felt bloated and gassy (sorry TMI). So, naturally I stopped eating it and did more research! The information out there is very contradictory. While I was attending The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I remember hearing something mentioned about gluten linked to mental health issues. I haven’t gone back through all the modules to find out exactly what they referenced, but I did find this…There is research available dating all the way back to World War II showing that there’s a link between gluten and schizophrenia. This article explains more about that and also has links to more research about this topic.
Recent studies have shown “the risk of depression increases about 80% when you compare teens with the lowest-quality diet, or what we call the Western diet, to those who eat a higher-quality, whole-foods diet. The risk of attention-deficit disorder (ADD) doubles,” (8)

Finally, let’s talk about ADD/ADHD.

From my perspective as a Nurse, Health Coach, and mom I feel that the biggest contributor to the huge increase in the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is sugar. ADD is pretty much a sugar high all the time! The recommended daily amount of sugar for kids is 11g (give or take depending on kids age). Most kids get 3-4 times this amount! We should all only be consuming natural sugar in whole foods (like an apple or grapes). NOT fruit juice or fruit snacks because these are high in sugar and artificial colors. Artificial colors have also been linked to ADHD/ADD. (9) Did you know that blue dye in our food is the same blue dye used for our blue jeans?! And that it originates from a coal tar derivative? This is a serious situation, but you can manage and even reverse it with good nutrition!

What else contributes to a bad mood?

Stress is another major contributor to mental health disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, “The long term activation of the stress response…can disrupt almost all of your body’s processes. This increases the risk of numerous health problems, including: anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, memory and concentration impairment.” Fortunately, good food is linked to good mood! Here’s what you can do to help yourself or a loved one:

Eat foods that improve mental health:

  • Lean good quality protein (ie grass fed cows, pasture raised chicken). Toxins in conventional meat is toxic to our body and brain.
  • Fermented foods like kimchi, tempeh, and sauerkraut. These foods have probiotics that support a healthy gut.
  • Leafy greens (really vegetables in general) contain all the basic trace minerals and vitamins that we need.
  • Whole foods in general, foods that come directly from Mother Nature.
  • Healthy fats (ie ghee, coconut oil, butter from grass fed cows, avocado). Remember our brain is 60% fat!

Supplements:

Omega 3. Avoid Omega 6 because its a pro-inflammatory fat that most people are getting too much of in the diet. Read morehere. The Omega 3 should be molecularly distilled to make sure all heavy metals and impurities are out. I like this brand.
Multi vitamin. I like whole foods vitamins because we don’t want anything synthetic going into our system. The brands I use for myself and my family are Garden of Life and MegaFoods.
Trace minerals. They’re necessary and they can help our body eliminate heavy metals. You can either use Himalayan Salt or Celtic Sea Salt. I add a pinch to my water every day as well as season my food with it. You can also purchase this trace mineral liquid supplement.
Fat soluble Vitamins (A, D, K

Regulate stress:

Mindfulness/meditation can help decrease stress in as little as 3-5 minutes!! My post on mindfulness goes a little more in depth about this and has some great resources, including a link to some 3 minute meditations. You can do a 3 minute meditation anytime, anywhere!
Using essential oils throughout the day helps regulate mood, are invigorating and energizing, and promote calmness!
I hope this helps shed some light on how you’re able to prevent, improve and even reverse mental health issues. It’s time to take control of your health! Try the tips shared in this post for a week and experience the HUGE difference in your mood.
Peace, love and wellbeing!

Bri
www.hippiedippiemom.com

This article cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. This article contains affiliate links.