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mental health

Happiness mental health Mindfulness

Daily meditation and self-care guide – Blogmas day 3

December 6, 2017

Hello my lovelies,

You’ve already been reading a lot more from me than you usually do, and I truly hope that you’re enjoying it. Deciding to go through with 12 days of Blogmas is a big deal for me, especially as I’ve been going through somewhat of a transitional period.

Transitional periods can be really tough. At the moment, I am unable to legally start working, nor can I get my driver’s license, and I am not the first person to have to deal with this. Moving to the USA on a fiance visa is a lengthy process that can leave almost anybody feeling a little bit floaty and lost. The way I try to keep myself from spiraling into anxiety or sadness is simply by taking the time out of my (very free) day to nourish my body and soul with a bit of meditation and self-care. Thus, I’m here to share this special slice of my day with you, in hopes that it will inspire you to take some time to yourself today.

Meditation

Meditation was a completely foreign concept to me a few years back, but ever since my best friend introduced me to an app called Insight Timer, I’ve fully hopped on the meditation bandwagon. Insight timer is a free app that’s packed with free guided meditations (p.s. I’m not being paid to say any of this, although I wish I was – insight timer, hit me up). You can select the length of the meditation you’re looking for, and then pick something that looks good. I’m rarely disappointed by guided meditations on there, but there are also user ratings so you can feel free to check those out. At the moment I aim for anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes, but to be fair, at the start I couldn’t sit still for more than 5 minutes, so take your time.

Incense

I know that so many people have either a love-hate relationship with incense, or they just straight up hate it. I am not either of those people, because the smell of incense is incredibly calming for me. It feels like I have almost trained my brain to go into “relax mode” whenever I light it, simply because it is always present in my meditation practice. Lighting incense a few minutes before I do anything sets a calming vibe in the room that gets me into the right mindset.

A cup of tea and a snack

 

After I’m done with my meditation, I like to take some time to have a cup of tea and have a nice snack. Calming, non-caffeinated teas like chamomile are always my go-to, and my current snack obsession is salted and roasted almonds, coconut chips, and dark chocolate chips. Almonds and coconut contain fiber, protein, healthy fats, and so many other goodies – and we all know the benefits of dark chocolate! I like to make sure that this mid-day snack is nourishing to my body and doesn’t weigh me down. As I slowly finish up my snack, I usually hop back on my lap top and get back to writing, fully energized and full of concentration.

 

Do you take some time in the day for yourself? Are there any rituals you have?

Let me know in the comments below!

Christmas mental health

Lonely for the winter holidays? Read this. Blogmas day 2

December 5, 2017

lonely for the holidays

Before I say anything else, I want you to know that I feel you. I’ve been where you are before, and I know how excruciatingly hard it can be to navigate the world alone and lonely during the holidays. The media is filled with ads of happy families spending small fortunes on gifts in sparkly boxes, and opening them together by the fireplace. Scrolling through social media can also be tough, as people love to highlight idyllic moments (it’s in our nature), and build up the magic of the holidays. If there’s anything that can make you feel extra lonely, is this built up image of the perfect family during the holidays.

When I moved to the USA from Macedonia to attend University, I was aware that my parents couldn’t afford to buy me plane tickets to go home for EVERY school break. As understanding as I was, spending any holiday alone was always very tough. Personally, I was fortunate enough to stumble across an incredible local community that took me and all other international students in for the holidays. These are some of my warmest memories from college, gathering around a 20+ person thanksgiving table with friends and strangers alike, and feeling a sense of belonging.

If you’re alone this winter, here are some things you could do:

  1. Check out local community centers, churches, or universities. When I lived in London I worked at a Charity Organization called The Passage, and they hosted a beautiful Christmas dinner for so many people that had nowhere to go. I got to meet some incredible people there, that I’m still friends with to this day.
  2. Actually have a friend that’s nearby? Ask to tag along with them during the holidays, I doubt they’d say no and you’d be exposed to some fun new traditions. I’ve been lucky to have some incredible friends whose families have become my families along the way.
  3. Plan a day out. If you’re at a university, reach out to some other people staying behind and ask them if they want to come see a movie with you. If not, take yourself out to the cinema. Popcorn, candy, soda – the whole deal. You deserve a day of fun!
  4. You know that extra long book you’ve been eyeing but never have the time to get into? Pick it up and get lost in it. Books not your thing? Spend hours playing a video game, making art, or *insert your favorite hobby here*.
  5. Volunteer. I know this kind of seems counterintuitive, but volunteering is an incredible way to give back to your community. Volunteering will keep you so busy and distracted, that you won’t even have time to feel lonely. Plus, you might score a free meal, and you’ll meet some lovely and kind people along the way.
  6. Head out to a bar / pub. Whether you people-watch and or make friends with other lonely people, you’ll get to enjoy a pint along the way.
  7. Count your blessings. You might be feeling lonely, but this season will soon be over, and I’m sure you have some things to be grateful for. A roof over your head? Friends? Food? Always stay grateful.

If you’re reading this and you are NOT alone for the holidays, please reach out to anyone who you think might be, and invite them over for some family festivities. Everyone can use a family this winter, even if it’s not their own.

Srna

Happiness mental health Mindfulness Psychology

Is Instagram making us unhappy?

July 12, 2017

 

When scrolling through Instagram on any given day, you will easily come across beautiful photos of friends or strangers, depicting themselves as if they are living their best lives. It has been widely discussed and debated online whether or not these views are realistic. Perhaps the most notable argument was that of Essena O’Neill, when she claimed that Instagram doesn’t depict real life. Today I would like to look at the so-called “Instagram Culture” through the eyes of Carl Rogers, a psychologist that lived long before Instagram was a speckle of anybody’s imagination.

Carl’s theory is pretty cool and easy to grasp. He believed that people have an “ideal self”, the kind of person that they wish to be, as well as a “real self”, the person that they are the very moment.  His theory belongs to the field of humanism, which states that as people, we are inherently self-aware, and can shape our personality by constantly striving to reach our fullest potential. Thus, the more similar our ideal and our real self are, the happier and more fulfilled we become. Perhaps the best part of his theory, is that as humans we are born with free-will, and have the mind-capacity to constantly strive to be better. The broader your imagination, the more likely you’ll be to reach the good life.

So, if we were to apply Carl Rogers’ theory to today’s Instagram Culture, wouldn’t imagining ourselves in the best light possible be a positive trait? Shouldn’t it help us become better, happier, and more fulfilled people? And of course, if this is the case, why are people such as Essena O’Neill so unhappy with Instagram’s ability to distort reality?

I believe that Instagram can be an amazing tool for the mind, if used correctly. If you imagine your ideal self, and then feel motivated to push yourself to live your life in such a manner, this will allow you to get closer to happiness. Many people launch successful businesses, portray aesthetically pleasing lifestyles, and create opportunities for themselves through the photographs they post on Instagram. Using Instagram as a visual tool for self-fulfilment is something that I firmly believe in, as it has helped me become more self-confident. On the other hand, if your ideal self doesn’t match up with whatever image you are trying to portray on Instagram, which I believe is the case of Essena O’Neill, you will end up drained and unhappy.

What do you think about Carl Rogers’ theory of self? Do you think that Instagram is good or detrimental to our self-actualizing process?

I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Until next time,
Srna

 

mental health Skincare

Eczema and skincare (that doesn’t irritate it)

July 2, 2017

Eczema

If you’ve clicked on this post, chances are that you have eczema (or a similar skin condition), and are aware of how absolutely miserable it is to deal with it. My eczema story began when I was very young. At three year old, my parents noticed that I had red splotches on the top of my hands and for the next few years I was “allegedly allergic” to nuts, citrus, ketchup, etc. After a few years passed and I had many tests done, my rashes spread all over my body and we learned that I was suffering from atopic dermatitis, or eczema. My eczema is mainly triggered by stress, anxiety, or just general discomfort. I have also noticed that hormonal changes affect me greatly, so this is what I’m attributing it to for now. Mind you, I am almost 24 years old, and my eczema is still very much present! I’ve gone through so many stages with it, and have tried every “cure” known to mankind (spoiler alert, nothing has fully worked, but stick around).

I like to believe that the worst stage of my eczema journey is truly over. From age 10 all the way to age 16, I dealt with eczema so severe that it was borderline disgusting. Okay, not borderline – it was truly gross. I scratched my hands and fingers so much that they were constantly covered in open wounds. Shampooing my hair burned my wounds, and flexing my fingers would rip the fragile skin that could never fully heal. I even had a huge patch of eczema on one side of my face (never the other one), and to this day I still get break outs on and around my lips and nose. If you put a severity scale in front of me, I would say that my eczema was at an absolute 10 back then, and at a measly 1 or 1.5 at this very moment. There are many things that I believe contributed to this change. Mainly time, hormones, and taking care of my body, skin, and mind. Today, I’m going to share with you a few products that have really helped me manage my eczema through the years.

1: Bioderma Atoderm

I discovered this lotion just a few months ago, and I now find myself reaching for it multiple times each day. It’s a very gentle lotion that is aimed at people with very dry to atopic skin (ding ding ding!). It’s so gentle that you can put it on newborn babies, so you know that there isn’t any junk in there. Fragrance-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic, it truly covers all the bases. I’ve officially stopped using any other body lotion, and slather this all over my body and face, not only after showering, but often right before bed. The formulation isn’t very greasy, which is amazing when it comes to a product like this. It takes just a few minutes for it to fully soak into my skin, and I am ready for a great, itch-free night of sleep.

2: Forever Living lip balm

I have tried many Forever Living products in the last couple of years, but because my lips are one of my biggest problem areas, this lip balm is always in my hand bag. It’s extremely soft and moisturizing, and leaves a bit of a glossy finish to the lips. It’s completely colorless, but it has a sweet and fruity scent that I really enjoy the smell and taste of. I’ve found that aloe is not only soothing for eczema, but it often heals my lips for a period of time!

 

3: Body Shop Vitamin E oil

This was a completely accidental discovery, and it is perhaps my favorite part of my nightly skincare routine. I cleanse, I tone, and I cover my whole face and neck in this gorgeous serum-in-oil. I let it soak all night, and by morning time I find that the dry spots of eczema on my face have gotten all of the hydration they need. This little baby helps my makeup glide on the next day, and I couldn’t recommend it enough! It has a very elegant, almost old lady-esque cosmetic scent, and I am all about it. It makes me feel like I am at a luxurious spa.

 

 

4: Essential oil roller

Last, but by no means least is the Tisserand Aromatherapy Roller Ball. Like I mentioned before, my eczema is triggered by stress, anxiety, and discomfort. I roll this oil onto my pressure points (mainly my wrists) any time I might feel a bit off, and it does a wonderful job at relaxing me. I’ve taken it on flights, and have even used it first thing in the morning if I’m not feeling particularly calm.

 

 

I am on the lookout for other products that may help me and others suffering with eczema. If you are a beauty or skincare brand with a product for sensitive skin, I would love to try it and review it! Feel free to email me at info@acrushonlife.com.

All my best,

Srna

Creative writing Happiness mental health Mindfulness

Meet my Higher Self (and maybe your Higher Self too!)

June 27, 2017

Sit down and visualize your ideal self. Not your prettiest or fittest self, but your true state of being. The image of you with the highest vibration, that is the most spiritually aligned and vibrant. That is your Higher Self.

I wrote these answers almost two years ago and just found them in an old journal. It baffles me to tell you, but I am so much closer to my Higher Self than ever before. Let me share my answers with you!

What is she like?

  • She is confident, helpful, nourishing, motherly even
  • She wake up early and manages her time in a productive manner
  • She loves, cares, and looks after not only her family, but the community around her
  • She is able to find peace in quiet, rather than finding anxiety and fear in it
  • She thrives off of helping other people reach a state of happiness, joy, or comfort
  • She loves creating warm moments and happy memories

Where does she live?

  • She lives in a house, in a warm, family-driven community
  • She’s about a 20-30 minute drive from a medium-sized city, in a small town on the outskirts of it
  • She lives in the USA

What does she practice?

  • She practices a healthy, mindful lifestyle
  • She takes time in the morning to get in touch with her senses
  • She has a healthy romantic relationship
  • She’s an artist

What does she sound like? What does she feel like?

  • She has a warm, welcoming voice
  • She’s great at hosting friends and strangers alike
  • She’s quiet when she needs to be
  • She’s lighthearted and can take a joke
  • She’s also thick-skinned and can cope with life
  • She feels calm
  • She feels feels like her career pushes her to think critically
  • She feels like the work she does is important, and if it truly impacts even one person, it’s all worth it
  • She feels grief and empathy
  • She doesn’t feel a sense of insecurity
  • She never allows jealousy to get the best of her

How does she think? What is important to her?

  • She thinks about injustice
  • She ponders about the human experience
  • It’s important to her to feel safe and joyous
  • She believes in talking through issues
  • Expression through creativity is important to her

Wha does she do when she’s upset?

  • She talks
  • She writes
  • She cries
  • She is rational

What kinds of people does she surround herself with?

  • People that haven’t given up on their dreams
  • People that are kind and caring
  • People that inspire her to be strong
  • People who believe in her and what she’s capable of
  • People that are willing to work hard
  • People that she can enjoy coffee with
  • People that appreciate the concept of a community

What does she believe in?

  • She believe in love
  • She believes in cheesy traditions, presents, dinners, twinkley lights
  • She believes in the healing power of music
  • She believes in innovation
  • She believes and art and creativity
  • She believes in grief and sadness
  • She believes that life should be enjoyed
  • She believes in feeling passionate about all aspects of life
  • She believes in helping
  • She believes that people can change
  • She believes in herself

 

If you’re a little bit lost, I urge you to fully immerse yourself in this writing prompt and then put it away in your journal. Reflect back from time to time, and see what you would like to change or alter in your life, in order to become as close to your Higher Self as possible.

All my best,

Srna

Happiness mental health Uncategorized

Solo coffee dates: reasons why you SHOULD

February 1, 2017

go out for coffeealone

Do you have a habit of going out for coffee, tea, or even a meal by yourself? Ever since moving to a brand new city, this has become one of my favorite things to do. By nature, I’m outgoing – by character, I’m an introvert. Coffee shops provide the perfect space for me to be around people, all while spending time with myself, by myself.

If you’ve ever felt awkward sitting by yourself, I’m here to share some reasons why you shouldn’t feel awkward and why taking yourself out on coffee dates is a healthy, amazing habit.

1. You can get a lot of work done.

Coffee shops are amazing for getting work done. Bring your laptop along, or if that’s not your thing, bring a notebook along. Need to read a book or an article? Those are welcome too!

2. Your self-confidence grows.

Who’s that cool person hanging out alone, looking cool as heck? It’s you!! I’m not sure about you, but when I used to be anxious about going to coffee shops alone, I never looked at a person sitting alone and thought they were a loner. I thought they were super cool. To be quite honest with you, I feel cool as a cucumber when I hang out by myself.

3. You get to meet strangers.

This one is quite counter-intuitive because you’re going to be sitting there alone, but it’s totally a thing. Ever since I started taking myself out on coffee dates, people have been striking up conversations with me left and right. You’re way less intimidating when you’re sitting by your lonesome, and that could lead to meeting some amazing humans.

4. Thinking time.

A change of surroundings is the perfect excuse to figure out whatever thoughts are jumbled up in your head. I’ve written the best material at coffee shops, and I’ve solved some of my trickiest life issues while brainstorming over a yummy cappuccino.

5. Charge your batteries.

Whether you’re an introvert, or an extrovert – coffee shops are the ideal place to charge your batteries. It’s the perfect place to be alone and surrounded by people at the same time. Upon leaving  find myself energized and ready to take on whatever task is ahead of me.

Tell me, is this something you ever do? If not, are you considering going out for a solo coffee date?

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Till next time,
Srna

 

art mental health

Bullet Journal: A Beginner’s Flip-Through

January 11, 2017

*this post features affiliate links that I really think you could benefit from <3

Hello friends,

After a much-needed hiatus, I am ready to come back to you with full-force. I mean, as an engaged woman I now have all the knowledge needed to feed your brain, don’t I? Oh wait, that’s not how that works? Oops.
This past month has been a perfectly balanced mix of stress and bliss. I got to visit the beautiful Paris, I spent hours working on my marriage visa application, and I probably drank a solid three cups of coffee a day. Take that as you may, but I think that they were much needed in order for me to survive this month.

I also picked up an awesome habit / hobby that I’m extremely excited to share with you today. That’s right – I started making a bullet journal!

Bullet journal newbie

The illusive “Bullet Journal” – what the heck even is it?
Realistically, a bullet journal can be whatever the heck you need it to be. A daily organizer? Definitely. A monthly planner? For sure. How about a place where you can scream at the world and write all the swear words you’d like? Heck yeah.
I started a bullet journal with the intention of leaving my computer for a chunk of time each day. I also started a daily meditation practice, but more on that another time.
I mainly work from home, so I don’t necessarily need the daily function of a bullet journal, which is why traditional planners have never worked for me.

Enough chatting, let me take you through the early stages of my very first bullet journal!

The journal I use is the Moleskine Classic Notebook, Pocket, Squared, Black, Soft Cover (3.5 x 5.5) . I know that many people use dotted journals, but this was all I could find and I don’t mind it at all.

I also use the thinnest pen from the Sakura 50034 6-Piece Pigma Micron-005 Ink Pen Set, 0.20mm, Black! It’s suuuuper fine, really easy to work with, and doesn’t bleed through the paper.

Before I did anything else, I started off with a bullet key. This key makes it easy to distinguesh tasks and events, what needs to be done, what’s already done. It is a massive helping hand when it comes to organization.

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Next off is my Index, which I fill out as I go. As you can see, I never really intended for this to be instagram-worthy, even though it does get more interesting as we go.

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The next four pages house my 2017 year overview. I didn’t really realize this at the start, but this just ended up being an “important birthdays” calendar. It’s still not filled out, so please don’t freak out if you aren’t on there yet and we’re besties. Promise you’ll make your way.

P.s. This is where my washi tape game starts taking off. Washi tape is the bomb.

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This is my future log. It’s an easy place to write big things that are happening or need to happen. People coming to visit, application submitions, and oh yeah – I’m 23 and still working on getting a driver’s license. It’s cool.

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Queue pretty quotes and a mood tracker. I’m one moody ***** sometimes. My mood tends to go all over the place, so this is a nice way to kind of see an overview of my moody year. I do have to pay myself on the back though, so far I’ve only had one “meltdown day”and a third of the month is already done.

P.S. I started learning handlettering as a way to ease my anxiety. I know that a lot of people assume that I naturally have dope handwriting but uh – no way. I legit learned to write semi-pretty in the last few months.

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These two are probably my favorite pages so far. I was doodling on a little piece of paper, the mountains somehow happened, so I cut those out and used double-sided tape to stick them in my journal. “Seek adventure” is pretty much a life motto for me at this point, so I knew that it would fit perfectly around the little drawing.

On the right is my “attitude of gratitude” list! My best friend uses this phrase a lot, and I dig it so much (pssst check out some of her amazing work in this blog post). You can see what I’m grateful for, but I’m sure this list will grow onto other pages int the future.
I used little letter ink stamps for the letters and that looks super cool in my opinion. I couldn’t find the exact ones online, but these also look great – Hero Arts Stamps Copperplate Number Set!

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Next is a little brain dump for blog post ideas. I covered this up so I wouldn’t spill all the cool beans to you right away, but there’s really good stuff brewing. The right is a quote I really like and a super flashy sticker.

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Next up: organization. I haven’t actually began filling this graph out, but it’s a place to research, compare, and comment on wedding venues for my future wedding. Now that I’m engaged, I figured that this would be a good thing to have in my bullet journal. Please don’t ask me when the wedding is, I have no clue.

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And last, and probably least (if we’re being honest) – is my netflix show tracker! I should be embarassed by my viewing choices but I’m really not. Degrassi all day err day. I’ve been watching it since 5th grade, get out of my way.

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And this, my friends, is where my bullet journal ends. I’m sure that if I update you in a month it’ll be packed with new content, as I’ve been adding pages in it every day. Just remember, a bullet journal doesn’t have to be anything. Use it as a planner, or not – the choice is yours!

Srna

Happiness mental health Mindfulness yoga

The Ultimate Guide to Bedtime Yoga

December 12, 2016


**This is a guest post written by Lindsey Dirats. Not only is she an amazing Yoga teacher, but she’s also my soul sister!

 

To spite being a teacher of yoga and mindfulness, I still find it so hard to slow down sometimes. My natural rhythm of operating is approximately a thousand miles a minute. Sometimes, I forget to take my foot off the gas at bedtime and falling asleep can be a struggle. Sound like you? Fear not! This posture sequence is a sweet and gentle way to wind down before bed, or any time you might want to take it down a notch. There are several torso-to-thigh postures (like in Child’s Pose), which relax your parasympathetic nervous system. This is relaxing because it decreases your body’s fight-or-flight response.

I recommend that you start this practice with the 6 rotations of the spine to begin to connect breath and body. I made a little video for you walking through those movements! I apologize that it cut off at the end and that it’s completely unedited (current unavoidable tech situation…oh well) but it still covers what we need to get started for practice tonight. 

 

Standing Back Arch – Urdhva Hastasana

  • Begin with your feet placed hip-width apart, feet parallel, toes facing forward, and arms down by your sides.
  • Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently lift your arms up overhead, clasp your hands, and extend your index (pointer) fingers towards the sky.
  • As you exhale, reach backwards with your hands and lift your gaze up towards the ceiling – bringing a slight arch to your back.
  • Sustain for a few deep breaths
  • On an exhale, draw yourself upright again and let your hands float down by your sides.

 

Half Moon Pose – Ardha Chandrasana

  • Begin with your feet placed hip-width apart, feet parallel, toes facing forward, and arms down by your sides.
  • Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently lift your arms up overhead, clasp your hands, and extend your index (pointer) fingers towards the sky. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Exhale, send your hips out the right and lean your hands over to the left.
  • Hips and shoulders stay parallel and facing forwards, and avoid collapsing over to the side
  • Sustain for a few breaths
  • Inhale, sweep your hands back up overhead, and exhale over to the other side – hips shifting to the left and hands leaning over to the right
  • Sustain for a few breaths
  • Inhale, sweep your hands back up overhead, and exhale to let them float back down by your sides

 

Forward fold – Uttanasana

  • Exhale, let your whole torso droop slowly forward, drawing your chest towards your legs
  • Bring as much of bend to your knees as you need to (it may be a deep bend, and that’s perfect!) to get your belly to rest on your thighs
  • Let the crown of your head fall towards the floor, head is loose on a relaxed neck
  • Let yourself hang like rag doll for a few breaths
  • To rise, make sure knees are bent, and slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time

 

Standing Wide-Angle Forward Fold – Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Take a wide stance, toes facing forward, feet about a leg’s length apart from each other, knees unlocked
  • Exhale, lean forward with a flat back – option to bring hands down onto your bed
  • Either sustain here for a few breaths, or let your torso drop down between your legs, crown of the head points down towards the floor, hands can either reach down to the floor, out towards feet – whatever is most comfortable!
  • Let yourself hang for a few breaths
  • To rise, bring a bend to the knees and slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time

 

Time to get in (onto) bed!
Seated Forward Fold – Paschimottanasana

  • Sit on your bed with your legs extended, toes flexed towards you, knees slightly bent
  • Inhale to sit up nice and tall
  • Exhale to reach down towards your feet and bring your belly down onto your thighs
  • It doesn’t matter if your legs are almost fully extended, or if they’re very much bent! Find what feels good in your body.

 

Head-to-knee Forward Fold – Janu Sirsasana

  • FIRST OF ALL let’s call this head towards knee, shall we?
  • Begin in the same way you started seated forward fold, but with the sole of one foot on the inside of the opposite thigh
  • Inhale your upper body upright, exhale, gentle bend to the knee, and belly down onto thigh
  • Repeat on the other side

 

Bound Angle – Baddha Konasana

  • Draw the soles of your feet together and hold on to either your ankles or the outside of your feet
  • Exhale to draw your chest forward and gently use your elbows to press on the insides of your knees, inviting your hips to open
  • Take a few deep, easy breaths
  • On an inhale, slowly draw yourself upright

 

Cross-legged Forward Bend – Adho Mukha Sukhasana

  • Cross your legs
  • Inhale to draw your upper body tall
  • Exhale to gently let your belly collapse down towards your legs and slide your hands away from you
  • Take a few deep breaths, and then inhale yourself upright again

 

Child’s pose – Balasana

  • From your cross legged position, roll up over your ankles onto hands and knees
  • Exhale to send your hips back, coming to sit on your heels
  • Arms extend out in front of you, belly drops onto thighs, and forehead comes to rest on the bed
  • Feel free to breathe gently in this posture for as long as feels right. It’s such a good calming position!
  • When you’re ready to come out of it, come back up to hands and knees

 

Wind-relieving Pose – Pavanamuktasan

  • From hands and knees, flop on over onto your back
  • Draw your knees in towards your chest and give yourself a hug around your shins, option to f
    ind a gentle rock from side to side
  • Alternately extend one leg and then the other, drawing knee
    towards chin and breathe deeply

 

 

Reclining spinal twist – Supta Matsyendrasana

  • Draw your knees back into your chest, and let them drop over to the right. Gaze out over your left shoulder for a few breaths
  • Inhale to lift your knees back through center and then exhale as you let them fall over to the other side

 

Corpse pose – Savasana

  • The pose we’ve all been waiting for! You might want to get under your covers for this one.
  • Option to place a pillow under your knees, and I like to put a lavender-scented eye bag on my face as well.
  • You can leave your arms down by your sides or rest them on your belly. Let your feet flop open.
  • Slowly, allow yourself to release all tension from your body. Let muscle melt from bone. You have nowhere to go, nothing to do. There is no need for effort in this moment. Enjoy the benefits of your gentle practice and let yourself drift slowly into sleep!

 

 

**If you want to see more from Lindsey follow her on instagram (it’s @lindseydirats) as well as her amazing Facebook page!

 

Take good care of yourself,

Srna

mental health

4 Ways to Lessen Anxiety Right Now

December 9, 2016

Anxiety may seem like an untamable beast. It’s known to creep up when we least expect it, and it can sometimes make us feel defeated. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder about two years ago, and I know just how daunting anxiety attacks can really be. I’ve gone through full on panic attacks, as well as small unexpected bursts of unease. I’m here to share with you a few tips on lessening your anxiety in the moment it strikes.

Seriously, these tips have worked wonders for me .

  1. Take control of your breathing.Anxiety will make your heart beat fast, your palms turn clammy, and your breaths get shorter and shallower by the second. Of these three things, the only one you can consciously control is your breathing pattern. If shallow breaths lead to a fast heartbeat, deep, slow breaths lead to a slower heartbeat, and a calmer you! Seems easy enough, right? Trust me, it is!

    Try this breathing technique: 
    Breathe in for a count of seven, hold it in for a count of 8, and breathe out for a count of 6. This breathing exercise has been proven to calm you down in a matter of minutes. The counting keeps your mind off of whatever has shaken you up, and as soon as you breaths become even and slow, you’ll find that your hands are no longer clammy and you suddenly don’t feel as alert.
    This particular breathing technique has helped me so many times in the past, and will always be the first thing I recommend to anyone struggling with anxiety attacks.

  2. Hold an ice cube.I know, this one sounds really strange – but don’t click off this blog post right away. It has been proven that a sudden change in temperature will shock your body, and bring your mind back to the present. The moment you get a hold of your mind, it will become infinitely easier to deal with your fears and anxieties. It’s a weird one, but it does wonders.
  3. Make a warm drink, preferably one that isn’t caffeinated.Whether you opt for a hot chocolate, a warm cup of milk, or a decaf tea or coffee, this is one way to soothe your body as well as your soul. Warm drinks are comforting and cozy, and they send a signal to your brain to let it know that you’re safe. Slowly sip, slowly breathe, and you’ll see that you’ll slowly begin to feel calmer.

  4. Use essential oils.Essential oils have been my secret weapon this past year. If you suffer with anxiety, lavender essential oil should be the one thing you always carry with
    you. I like to place a drop of it on a piece of cloth and press it up against my nostrils. The cloth acts as a filter for the air I breathe in, and the smell of pure lavender soothes my nerves almost immediately. It feels like a very subtle, delicate, and gentle high.

 

I hope that these four tips will help you when you need immediate relief from anxiety. Anxiety is a mental illness, and if you feel like you might be suffering, I urge you to seek help. Getting diagnosed, and talking to a professional about my mental state was the number one thing that got me up on my feet.

Stay safe, stay happy, and take care of your body and mind.

Srna

mental health

Dear Anxiety: An Open Letter

November 28, 2016

*this post was inspired by my friend Marc’s post, which you can find right here.

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Dear Anxiety,

We’ve been on quite the journey these past two years, huh bud? Sleepless nights, crying, shaking, screaming – all seemingly without reason or warning. You’ve really taught me to catch these crazy curve balls. You’ve pushed me down enough times for me to learn how to get up and push you down. You’ve been a friend wrapped up in the costume of a worst enemy, and strangely enough, for that I am grateful.

Never before in my life have I been able to fully grasp the concept of anxiety, until you kept me up for months at a time. You used fear to stop me from growing, but I have a weapon much stronger than fear, and that’s love. Every night you held me hostage in my own bed, I found the loving voices of friends and family, soothing the wounds caused by your shackles. You caused so much hurt that it pushed me to learn to ask for help. I am a rock in comparison to the marshmallow that I was two years ago, all because of you. You treated my body and wellbeing with so much hate, that I had no other choice but to learn to love and care for myself. You tried to kill me with fear, but in the end, you only made me stronger.

Dear Anxiety, it’s been two awful and wonderful years. I’ve gotten the help I need, and you don’t scare me anymore. Sure, you creep in once a month to say hello, and I’ll always give you a few hours to mingle, but that’s all you get now. You can live alongside me, as a reminder of how much I’ve grown, but you do not get to shadow me anymore.

Thank you for being the worst, and teaching me to be kind and gentle to myself.

Forever grateful,
Srna