Travel as an Antidepressent

Sometimes depression can manifest from monotony and routine. Same thing, every day, same commute, same coffee, same coworkers, same bed, same views. These things can start to feel very boring and predictable and while for some, it may lull a sense of security and happiness – for others, it may lull a sense of entrapment and boredom.

Travelling, even just a quick drive to a new town, can really help to combat some of those feelings of sameness. Whether you decide to go to Amsterdam, New Jersey, or rural Canada – a new view, a fresh perspective, and a challenge of planning can re-awaken something surprising and enriching in a person.

There are so many budget ways to travel – from a National Geographic cruise in Greenland, a train ride up the California coast, or a train ride across town to a neighborhood you’ve never explored: get out of your comfort zone, routine, and zip code!

Aging Well

Folks focus a ton on looking like you’re aging well. But I’m concerned with feeling happy, feeling mentally sound, aging happily, and letting go of fear, insecurity, and obligation.

One way to age well, mentally, is to be confident in your ability to take care of yourself as you age. Medicare Nationwide is one way to feel confident in ones ability to be and stay well. America may be the land of opportunity but for those millions of us who don’t have access to affordable and reliable healthcare, we’re constantly one illness away from crippling debt.

It may seem like a very millenial thirty-something thing to have a trusted therapist and a self-care routine, but having a therapist as we age is smart. Knowing yourself well enough to anticipate mood swings, behavioral changes, and opinion shifts is a strong approach to aging. Happily.

Looking the Part

Sometimes when it’s hard to get the mentals together, it actually does help to get the exterior together. I’m not sure if it’s aspirational, process-derived, or a consistent enough lie to convince the psyche, but looking good can actually help us to feel good.

I’m not saying to go buy a Kylie Jenner LipKit or spend seven hours watching winged liner YouTube videos. I’m saying that putting some effort into the exterior can enrich the interior. When I’m feeling unwell, exhausted, or just down – here are the self-care appearance steps I take to convince myself I’m well:

  1. A freshly washed face. Don’t let make-up or the world sit on your face. Wash it and indulge in a nice facial cream.
  2. Mascara and tinted chapstick. This is enough to feel like you’re making an effort, but not so much that it feels like you’re lying to yourself and the world.
  3. Go with linens! They’re comfortable, they send a message of togetherness but they feel mostly like pajamas. I suggest well-tailored linen slacks (the bottoms should not drag on the floor, please.) and a button down top in the same color story. Together, this look is a very chic mental breakdown.
  4. Flats. Never wear heels while feeling down.

Food for Healing

Did you know that by changing your diet, you may able to heal many of the things that ail you? Food has the ability to help us lose weight, sleep better, and have more energy. However, with the Standard American Diet and the emphasis on convenience over nutrition, along with the cost of health foods, it can be difficult for us to get the nutrition we need. So where to start? With breakfast of course.  

Breakfast is one of the most important meals, and not only should you not skip it, you should pay careful attention to what you are consuming at this meal. Many breakfast items, such as cereals, granola, and yogurt, are stocked full of added sugar. Rather, you should be adding protein and healthy fats to your meal to keep you fuller throughout the day. This includes eggs, beans, lean meats, avocados, and nuts.  

Next, you want to make sure your meals are well rounded with lots of vegetables, some healthy grains, and protein. You do not need to eat meat at every meal. In fact, we recommend that at least one meal doesn’t have meat in it. Lunch is a great option for this because there are tons of delicious salads and soups that yummy on their own without meat.  

You will also want to pay attention to your snacking. This is where the convenience of over processed foods comes is hard to ignore. Rather, make your own health snacks, such as creamy hummus.

You can also make your dessert healthier by saving big delights, like pie and cake, for special occasions. If you need a little something sweet every night, try a piece of dark chocolate.  

Paying attention to what you eat might not only be good for your waistline; it can help extend your life. 

Annual Retreat – Anchorage

We are so excited to announce that our next Prosperity Alaska Health and Wellness treat will be hosted in Anchorage! We were there just three years ago, and we are excited to go back for another four days of health and wellness goodness!  

Our retreat features a variety of events. Our attendees can start their morning with a meditation or exercise class, such as yoga or cycling. Then it’s breakfast from some of Alaska’s healthiest chefs. We then have a full day of workshops and talks. There are two options at each time so attendees can pick what they want to focus on. After a light lunch, we usually do some kind of excursion, like a hike or boat tour. Then it’s dinner and group activities. On the last day, all of Alaska’s healthiest brands are here showing on their latest products. You will leave with a gym bag full of goodies! 

This is a great weekend for everyone, and we hope you can join us this year in Anchorage. 

Yes! Mental Health Days are real! Yes! You should take them!

Most of us have a backlog of sick days that we never use or that we store in case something goes really wrong. We think we need sick days just when we are vomiting or coughing, whenever we need to give our bodies a break from our regular schedule. However, our mental health also needs those breaks.  

There are some days when we just can’t face the world. When we are feeling sad or anxious. Maybe we are going through a tough time, like a breakup or loss of a loved one, or maybe we are struggling with depression or anxiety. Whatever the reason may be, you still might need a mental health day. Just like when we are physical sick with the flu, we are not productive at work or please to be around if we are not of sound mind and body. We need to give ourselves that day to take care of the emotions and feelings we are experience so that we can return to our lives and be the employee, partner, parent, and friend that we are.  

When you need to take a mental health day, just tell your employer you are not feeling well. They are not allowed to ask any further questions, so just leave it at that. Some offices may not look so favorably on mental health days, and you shouldn’t have to explain your reasoning.  

Mental health days can look different to different people. Sometimes that means laying in bed and watching movies. Other times that means going for a hike and taking yourself out to lunch. Be kind to yourself and give yourself whatever you may need to lift your spirits and feel good about the day.  

Be careful about taking too many mental health days. This could raise suspicions among your boss, but also indicate that something bigger, like deep unhappiness in your job or career.  

Lastly, do not feel guilty about taking a mental health day. Yes, they are a different kind of sick day, but they are why we have these days and you need the break to be the best version of yourself. So, take that day and feel good about you!

Finding Mindfulness

There is no doubt that mindfulness can have positive impacts on your life. From decreased levels of stress to higher levels of energy, mindfulness can really elevate your life, it may even change your brain

Mindfulness may seem like foofoo science, but it works, and you don’t have to meditate 20 minutes a day to get it!  

One trick to harboring mindfulness is to sit still for about five minutes. Take deep breaths in and out and count the breaths. Odd numbers are inhales, even numbers are exhales. Count to 10 and then start again. Notice your breath as it comes in and out of you. What does it feel like against your nostrils? What sound does it make? How does your belly expand and contract with the breath? Also, note how the rest of your body feels during this exercise? Take note of your shoulders, your hands, your feet. Give attention to every piece of your body. Then, after five minutes, slowly reawaken your senses and go on with your day. Try this a few times a day and see if you start to notice anything different.  

You can also take mindful walks but paying attention to all the sounds you hear. Or, not all the white things you see along your route. The goal is not to get lost in your thoughts but take a break from them by being present with what is around you. You can even make chores into mindful practices. While washing the dishes, instead of listening to music or thinking about how much you don’t want to be doing the dishes, feel the sensations of the soap on your hands and the dish in your fingers. Try to feel everything you can without reaction.  

Your mind will likely wander and that’s OK. Just redirect your thoughts back to the present and begin again.  

Mindfulness is a great tool for helping us live in the present and stay grounded. 

It Might Be Time to Break Up …. With Your Phone

It’s no secret that our phones are causing a lot of anxiety and stress to our lives. From constant notifications to live updates on people’s best lives, these helpful pieces of technology are making us depressed. So, it might be time to breakup with our phones.  

For most of us, we can’t completely cut off contact with our phones. We need them for work, for connecting with loved ones, and for daily tasks, such as getting around town. However, we can limit how much we are on them.  

First, start by turning off all notifications, except phone calls and text messages. This means you have control of what you see and when.  

Next, create no-phone zones. This can mean that you won’t use your phone in certain areas of the home, but maybe also at certain parts of the day. The Do Not Disturb function is great for the evenings and early mornings.  

You can also try leaving your phone at home one day at week. Plan out your day and routes before time and see what it feels like to not have your phone.  

Also make a challenge with yourself to see how long you can go without checking your phone. Try not to check it during times you normally would, like riding the bus or waiting in line. See how it feels to just be in the moment.  

It won’t be easy to give up your phone, but we know that you will feel much better afterward!

Image result for no phone

Make Sure to Get Your ZZZs

Most of us think that the best routes to a health life are eating good friends and exercising. While those are very true, getting a good night’s sleep is also right at the top of the list.  

In our busy schedules, sleep is often the last thing we prioritize. We go to bed too late, wake up too early. And, when we do sleep, it’s not always restful sleep. We either toss and turn or worries and anxious thoughts keep up us at night. So, if sleep is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself, how do you get it?  

First, make start winding down a couple of hours before to bed. This means not eating anything too late, and if you know you may have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, stop consuming liquids. Also, start putting away electronics. Relax with a warm bath or a good book.  

Then, it’s time to start your night-time routine. This should include brushing your teeth, slipping into comfortable pajamas, washing your face, and setting out your clothes and supplies for the morning. When you get into bed, do not bring your phone. If you can, keep your phone plugged into another room.  

Reading before bed is a good way to get the body ready for sleep, so is listening to soothing music or a sleep meditation. If you are easily disturbed by noises throughout the night, try ear plugs, a fan, or a white-noise machine. 

It’s also important that you have the right tools for sleeping. If you have a bad back or your sleep is restless, it could be because of your mattress. There are so many great mattresses out there these days, so do some research to find one that best fits you. While you are at it, get a nice down comforter and sheets as well as some pillows. Add several soft lamps near the bed to help you unwind at night. 

Remember your bedroom should be a sanctuary, and sleeping is the only activity to be done in your bed. Do not work from there or eat. You want to create the environment that this is a place for calm and relaxation.  

It might be tempting to use medication to help fall asleep, and while these pills are useful, one should not rely on them each night. If you really need an extra boost to get to sleep, try natural supplements like melatonin.  

We hope these tips are helpful and that you next sleep is a restful one!

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