Simple Strategies for Boosting Your Health

Guest blogger Melissa Howard shares some valuable insight on keeping yourself well as we move into spring:

Making health and wellness a priority isn’t easy. Most adults are overburdened. As a result, they aren’t as likely to make self-care a central focus in their lives. Luckily, there are some simple health-boosting techniques that can fit into even the busiest of schedules. Deep Curves Ahead shares some options below.

Make Time for Sleep
Overall, adults usually need between 7 and 9 hours of quality sleep each night. It gives your body enough time to go through critical processes that keep you healthy, so rest needs to be a priority.

If you experience any signs or symptoms of sleep disorders, such as frequent waking or extreme fatigue during the day, it’s wise to see a medical professional. They can assess your condition and develop a treatment plan, ensuring you can get the rest you need.

Use Stress-Reducing Techniques
Many stress reduction techniques are easy to work into even the busiest of schedules. Meditation and deep breathing can be incredibly effective and can often be done nearly anywhere. Taking a second to watch a funny video is also an excellent option, as a quick laugh can be a natural mood-booster.

For some people, journaling is a great way to keep stress levels down. It lets them vent their frustrations in a safe manner, giving them an outlet. However, writing down what you’re grateful for can also work. With the gratitude approach, you focus on the positive, which can be a better fit for many.

Lastly, take a look at your surroundings and see if your home is cluttered — believe it or not, this could be a major source of stress and anxiety. Not only will cleaning up a bit help alleviate these feelings, but it can also release any negative energy this clutter has trapped in your home.

Examine Your Job
For many people, their careers are a major source of stress. A lack of job satisfaction has a negative impact on your health, so it’s crucial to examine your work situation to see if it’s an issue.

When you’re not feeling challenged at work, boredom can become a problem. If you’re under constant stress, burnout is more likely to be an issue. When a workplace is blatantly toxic, it strains your mental health.

If your job is causing you a significant amount of distress, pivoting into a new career might be a smart move. Online degree programs make heading in a new direction simple. You can keep working and manage family obligations while you acquire new skills, allowing you to maintain a balance.

When you look for an online school, make sure it’s accredited. Additionally, research tuition costs, fee structures, and other related expenses to ensure the pricing is competitive. That way, you can secure a quality education without breaking the bank.

Get Enough Exercise
Exercise is a big part of overall wellness. Not only can it keep you physically fit, but it can also reduce stress, lead to better sleep, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and more.

Most adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to happen all at once. As long as each session is at least 10 minutes long, you’re meeting the requirement.

Learn to Say ‘No’
In some cases, people struggle with their health because they’re overwhelmed. By learning to say “no,” you can get more control over your workload and personal life.

If you’re asked to accept a task or obligation that you genuinely feel isn’t a smart idea, say “no.” Don’t overburden yourself if it isn’t a genuine necessity or requires you to sacrifice in another critical area of your life. If you do, you can keep your workload manageable, relieving a significant source of stress.

Photo Credit: Pexels

About Melissa:

“Every suicide is preventable. After losing her younger brother to suicide, Melissa Howard felt compelled to create Stop Suicide. By providing helpful resources and articles on her website, she hopes to build a lifeline of information. She went to school at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and currently works as an executive assistant.”

(Lay Your Head On My) Pillow

“…and just relax, relax, relax…”

I know I can’t be the only one who remembers that groove from Tony! Toni! Toné!. Yes, that song came out when I was, like, 7. No, I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about (there are some pretty adult themes in those lyrics). But hey–I’m a sucker for a good R&B tune! (And if you’ve never heard this song, please give it a listen–it’s awesome.)

You’ve probably figured out I use songs as the titles for my blog posts. Sometimes the songs get stuck in my head for days–they won’t leave until I get my thoughts out. Most times, the songs remind me of a particular feeling…a moment…a memory. Today’s song actually came from a conversation with my therapist.

In a session earlier this week, I shared how overwhelmed I felt–just plain stressed and anxious–with all the changes in my work schedule and obligations in my personal life. After I was done explaining everything, she asked me a question that knocked me right on my ass:

Can you be relaxed on the busiest day of your life?

Now I had to think about this for a minute, because basically my entire life I’ve assumed busy = stressed. I enjoy having things to do; I love staying busy. But I don’t like being stressed the fuck out. (My guess is most people don’t.) My therapist challenged me to relax and not get tense even when I’ve got a lot going on.

So yesterday, even with the stress of work and home, I tried to relax. Instead of worrying about every possible thing that could go wrong, I tried to focus on the present–what was happening in that moment. And the day went surprisingly well! Usually at the end of a work day, I’m dragging myself back to my car–all the stress of the day just weighs on me, so much that it feels like a physical weight.

Yesterday, I left work feeling light as air.

So many of us struggle with anxiety and stress; we weigh ourselves down with worrying and feel we’ll never be able to accomplish everything. If you feel this way, you are absolutely not alone–I’m right there with you. But I’d encourage you to ask yourself that question, “Can I be relaxed on the busiest day of my life?” Allow yourself to see things in perspective–you don’t have to be stressed or anxious just because you are busy. Handle your shit–don’t let your shit handle you.

And just relax…relax…relax.

No More (Baby Imma Do Right)

“I’m gettina lil’ tired of your broken promises, promises…”

Y’all remember that song??? 3LW had middle school me hype! I was really out there singing (definitely off-key) to my (completely imaginary) boyfriend to get his (entirely hypothetical) shit together. 😂😂😂

Now, those three little women didn’t know what the hell they were singing about either. (Or maybe they were more sophisticated young adults than I was—who knows?) Either way, I appreciate the message behind the song in a way I couldn’t back then.

Sometimes, we stay in situations we know aren’t good for us. Whether it’s a job or a relationship or something else entirely, we stay because we feel comfortable. We stay because it’s what we know. We stay because we can’t imagine another way.

So we put up with the lies. The abuse. The broken promises, promises. We push aside our intuition and let the situation control us, instead of the other way around. Eventually, we find ourselves two options: stay or go.

Not an easy decision, but a necessary one.

Today, I stand at this crossroads. I can stay comfortable (and unhappy) where I am. I could journey to a new (scary and unknown) place.

I don’t know what to choose.

Without sharing too much, I’ve been in this situation for a long time time (over a decade actually). Many aspects of the situation are excellent, but a few key areas conflict with my personal values. I can choose to overlook those few things and just focus on the good, but that makes me feel like a fraud. I don’t want to lie to anyone, especially myself.

So here I am, between a rock and a hard place. I don’t know what I’m going to choose, but I do now this—I need to make a choice. Because as those three little women sang all those years ago…

“You do, or you don’t. You will, or you won’t.”

Sometimes, you need a dance party.

The past two weeks have been crazy busy. My stress level was on 10, y’all. Today at work I felt like my head was going to explode. 

And then, I heard ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber

Y’all might be thinking, “Welp, let me get a mop to clean up the head explosion. If she was on the edge before, surely Biebs gave the final push.” 

NOPE. Turns out what I needed to alleviate my tension was a full-fledged, no shame in my game dance party. So that’s exactly what I had. 

I body rolled in my foyer. 

I twerked on my refrigerator. 

I pop, locked, *and* dropped it in the middle of my living room and it felt f*cking fantastic. I feel so much better and am ready to conquer the last day of the work week. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, Missy Elliott just dropped a new video and I have more booty shakin’ to do. 

Titanium

It’s been a rough few weeks, folks.

Work has been crazy busy lately, and it took a toll on me.  Between all day customer classes, exam reviews for internals, required meetings, and ton of other commitments, I barely had time to breathe.  There were some several days during that two week period where I didn’t eat anything all at work because there simply wasn’t time for it.  After work, I headed home to take care of household duties–laundry, dishes, meals, and caring for my fiance and our three boys.  I was exhausted physically and mentally.  Emotionally, I was a wreck–I was so overwhelmed with everything on my plate, constantly a few seconds from tears.

Then I started listening to Pitch Perfect radio on Pandora and I finally found some clarity.

No, it wasn’t the a capella covers and Glee mash-ups that brought me some sanity.  It was a single song, Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia.  This song was all over the radio when it came out in 2011; it was also covered in the movie Pitch Perfect (hence why it showed up on my Pandora station).  It’s more of a dance song, which probably explains why I never really paid attention to all the lyrics–too busy shakin’ my groove thang–but the words in the song really gave me strength during a time when I was feeling especially down.

“I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium”

Titanium:  the stuff airplanes, spacecraft, and missiles are made of.  Talk about being able to handle tough situations.

After hearing that song a number of times on the station and finally listening to the lyrics, I realized that I *am* titanium.  Even with the 12-hour work days and endless amount of chores to do at home, even with the stress and competing priorities, no one can knock me down but me.

“You shoot me down, but I won’t fall–I am titanium.”