5 Tips to Maintain Wellness During the Holidays

5  Tips to Maintain Wellness During the Holidays

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With the holidays rolling in (for those celebrating) I decided to compile a list wellness tips so the holidays don’t become a hindrance on your wellness goals. This time of year, tends to take a toll on our minds and our bodies so it’s wise to mindful of unhealthy habits and temptations that may sabotage our goals. Follow these tips if you want to maintain your goals and be right on track before the “new year, new me” brigade makes its presence.

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Here are five tips towards maintaining wellness this holiday season!  

  1. Don’t Let Exposure Be Your Excuse:

This time of year, your social calendar tends to always feel jammed-packed. It’s as if you are invited to every holiday get-together, gathering, “friends-giving”, work holiday party, and other local holiday events known to mankind. Not to mention you have your kid(s) school holiday functions and family obligations to attend. We all know, where there are joyful people, there is almost, always—FOOD-unhealthy food!

While you are scheduling your social events, make sure you also schedule and pencil in all the tempting foods that you will be exposed to. This is the time of year when you walk into work and it is almost guaranteed that you will be offered some kind of homemade sweet treat or not so healthy dessert or dish. The best way to plan for this is to prepare! You can’t make an obstacle on the track an excuse  if you prep for the obstacle in advance, … right? Here are a few quick tips to combat over indulgence:

  • Pack healthy snacks you enjoy and take them to work with you or have  them prior to your holiday event as a substitute.
  • Eat small portions of food offered while at the holiday events.
  • Always look for smaller plating options to sample food items.
  • Rule of thumb: If you can’t read the nutritional labels from a dish you likely shouldn’t be eating multiple serving sizes or have a large serving size of it.
  • Ask for recipes when applicable so you know what you’re eating. 

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Sure, it’s ok to indulge once in a while, but don’t let the exposure be your excuse! If you’re going to give into temptation, be mindful about it! And whatever you do, do not take any leftovers home! 🙂 

  1. Don’t Skip Workouts

This is the time of year you want to maintain not gain. Studies show that during the winter season, daylight savings time, and holiday time seems to contribute to weight gain. (Also, speaking from personal experience here).  Make it a goal to maintain and not gain. Host workout or step challenges with friends, family members, or co-workers to ensure you are not slacking on your physical activity. Look into local fun-runs or holiday workouts or host a workout yourself with friends! If you know you have a planned event in the evening, get your workout done earlier in the day! Your body and mind will thank you! Working out will help to alleviate some of the stress that tends to build up-especially around the holiday time.

  1. Mind Your Fluid Intake

This time of year, it’s important to be mindful of your fluid intake.

  • Quality H2O! Drink more water throughout the day as it will help you feel fuller and of course keep you hydrated.
  • Drink green tea! Green tea helps to boost metabolism which can minimize weight gain. Green tea has other added benefits that can improve brain function and physical activity which is especially needed this time of year. For those of us in the colder areas, what’s not to love about curling up with a hot beverage, a blanket, and a good book. Try it! Here’s a good book recommendation: The Light Within Us All: Life Lessons through Self-Discovery by Tyrone M. Robinson, III.
  • Don’t blame it on the alcohol! For those of us who drink, this is the time of year that you are exposed to alcoholic beverages the most, especially at holiday events. Limit yourself to 1-2 drinks at each event (this includes egg-nog). Know your limit and of course, drink responsibly.
  1. Spend Time Alone:

The holidays are a time for spending it with loved ones, but don’t forget to spend time with yourself. This festive season tends to be the time of year where most of us give more of ourselves to others. For some of us, especially if you often give all year long and are in a helping profession, this can become mentally and emotionally draining! I am all for spreading love, spreading kindness to others, giving gratitude, and generosity, however, make sure you leave some of that kindness, gratitude, and generosity for YOU! Take some “alone-time” to reflect or meditate. Remember, you can’t spread love unless it comes from within.

  1. Let It Go!d675a1504b10a6cbaecbd04ef6294cfa

This time of year, can be draining for us all! We tend to have soo much more to juggle and so much to do on top of our normal daily obligations. Let go of anything negative that may be holding you back. Don’t dwell on past disagreements with loved ones. Don’t beat yourself up over that piece of chocolate candy you had. Let go of all guilt, shame, negative self-talk, inadequacies, expectations, fears, judgements, and doubts. Have fun, enjoy time with your loved ones, and most importantly-yourself. Be joyful, be merry, and be accepting. Whenever you are feeling any of the above check in with yourself and remind yourself of your greatness.

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I will leave you with my personal mantra:

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“I know my heart and I know my intentions.” 

Try repeating this to yourself, take a deep breath, and Let. It. Go!

Season’s Greetings to you all!

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ABOUT

Iris L. Mendez is a mental health professional, certified wellness coach, and blogger dedicated to spreading awareness on mental and physical health. She enjoys empowering, inspiring, and motivating her clients to live healthier, happier, holistic lives through fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness.  

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29 Top Growing Pains Before 29

29 Top Growing Pains Before 29

With my 29th birthday approaching, I decided to reflect on these past almost 3 decades of my life. I am truly grateful to make it to another year, especially because so many people have not made it into this holiday season let alone age 29.

(Let’s have a moment of silence for those no longer with us………

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I am nearing 30 and at this point, it’s expected of me to have it all figured out, right? Welp, I don’t have it all figured out and I won’t pretend to. Over the past years specifically this past decade, I have had many lessons. So, I decided to compile a list of 29 lessons and growing pains. This post is inspired by my dear friend/coach; Coach Nadia K., who posted something similar for her 30th birthday. I hope that it serves as inspiration and clarity for those of you wishing to navigate this thing called adulting. The universe knows I am still trying to navigate it myself. (“Iceberg straight ahead!”)growing-pains.jpgHere are my 29 Top Growing Pains and lessons before 29.

1. Be Present:

We live day to day pushing through our hectic agendas and what appears to be chaos. One meeting, errand, and obligation after another. When we are not rushing from event to event we are immersed in our tablets or cell-phones; never really embracing the day or being present in our environment, with our families and loved ones, and in our day to day lives. Being present allows us to forget about the troubles of the past, allows us to quit worrying about what’s next on our “to do list”, and for just one moment just be. Don’t live in the past or future-just-be-present.

2. Live Mindfully:

Living mindfully does not mean you have to practice mindfulness or meditation (however, I highly suggest it). Being mindful means to be present within yourself and your environment. To Thoroughly understand all of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and to just notice it all without reaction. Practicing mindfulness over the past few years has truly transformed my life and mental health.

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3. Live with Intent & Purpose:

Be intentional with everything you do and every encounter, connection, and the relationships you have. Everything you do should be done with purpose.

4. Eat Clean:

At the young age of 29, I still look like I am 16 years old! #babyfaceproblems I get carded for pretty much every purchase I make and I furthermore get offered the kids menu at some restaurants. I don’t attribute it to just good genes (thanks, mom ;)) I am positive that my change in eating habits 4-5 years ago, has assisted in keeping me looking healthy, feeling healthy, and looking young. As the old saying goes, “age like fine wine.” You can’t age wine well without proper care and nourishment! So, be sure to take care of your body by putting the right things in it and it will take care of you. At this point in life, we are old enough to grasp the knowledge of proper nutrition, so don’t let ignorance be an excuse.

5. Be Physically Active:

Pick up a hobby that requires you to be physically active. I like to run and practice yoga so if nothing else, I try to incorporate that into my lifestyle. However, chasing around your kids, nieces, and nephews counts. Whatever you do, just get up and move.

6. Spread Kindness:

In order for us to spread kindness, we must first be kind to ourselves. We are always our worst critics. We tend to beat ourselves up and say some of the meanest things to OURSELVES! We allow negativity into our minds instead of being gentle and kind to ourselves. Genuine kindness starts within ourselves. Over the past few years, I have ensured to check in with myself whenever I am not being kind. I have a small select few friends who will also check me when needed. Treat YOU how YOU deserve to be treated!  

7. Spend Time with Yourself:

If you are over the age of 22 and you have never gone out to eat-alone what are you waiting for? And no, I don’t just mean eating alone in the work lunch room, I mean going to a bar for a drink-alone, eating at a restaurant or café-alone, or even traveling-alone. (no social media involved) If you can’t enjoy your own company, how do you expect others to do so? Spending time with yourself is the best gift you can give yourself. If you don’t have time to actually take yourself out try setting aside an additional 10-20 minutes for yourself before you shower; meditate, read a book, or just breathe! You will appreciate yourself so much more.

8. Saying No is OK!

There was a time in my life where saying “no” to people was very difficult. I would feel guilty for saying no. I often took on more on my plate than I could chew. Most of the time I would agree to do things for others who quite frankly wouldn’t necessarily look out for me. While I don’t believe in doing things for others just because they will do for you, if you find yourself looking out more for others and you don’t feel any reciprocation even in appreciation form, then there is a problem. You have to start saying NO! Sadly, when you give a hand, some people like to take the whole arm. Begin to truly limit the amounts of times you say yes, especially when your intuition tells you to say no from the beginning.

9. Decrease the Defense:

We all have defense mechanisms-some of us utilize them more than others. (Guilty). At this stage of life, you should be very mindful of your feelings and how your defense mechanisms are wired to react. Overreacting at our age isn’t cute. Be aware of your defenses and how you respond to others. This is something I continuously work on for myself.

10. The Law of Attraction:

“What you believe, you become.” What you speak into the universe has a tendency of becoming your reality. We often make decisions based on our own beliefs and biases that conspire with the universe and the manner in which things manifest for us. Be sure to keep positive energy around you and avoid anything toxic. You will be surprised how much in your life changes for the better once you begin to think more optimistically. Don’t take it from me, try it for yourself.

11. #FOE Family Over Everything:

As I got older, I come to value my family more and more. Sure, we don’t always get along nor do we always agree on everything, but at the end of the day they are my family. Appreciate the family you were given. Tomorrow is never promised so despite any disagreements you may have, be sure to show and tell your family members how much you truly care, love, and appreciate them. Friends may come and go, some friends turn into family, but at the end of the day; family is over everything.

12. Trust Yourself:

If I had to choose one of the most daunting tasks in adulting-aside from domestic house chores (half-kidding here), it would be making decisions. For some, decision making comes easy, for ME, not so easy. For years, I have 2nd guessed every decision I have made. This all boils down to the ability to trust myself and my decisions. Effective decision making comes from being able to weight out pro’s and con’s while at the same time not perseverating about the con’s. Make a decision AND STICK TO IT! When all else fails, flip a coin-for humor. Take time to sit with yourself, reflect on the decision, and trust yourself.

13. Quit Worrying About What Others Think:

When you truly relinquish others thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and perceived expectations of you, only then do you truly begin to live! We hold ourselves back so much based on what we think others will think. Shame and doubt play a key role in the hindrance of focusing on how WE think of ourselves. Don’t worry about what others think- it will be a huge weight off your shoulders. 

14. Be Vulnerable:

Vulnerability has such a negative stigma, being vulnerable does not mean you are weak. I believe, those who courageous enough to be vulnerable are the strongest individuals. You can only show your true self in life and love through vulnerability. This is something that I have come to learn over the past years. Once you show up and show your true self; no defenses, no facade, and no shame in what others may think of your true raw self; you will invite wholeheartedness into your world. It’s ok to be vulnerable.

To learn more about vulnerability check out.

15. Reading is Fundamental:

One of my goals this year was to pick up more books-and actually complete them. (Pssst, libraries still exist). The knowledge that is gained through reading is one that can’t be gained elsewhere, especially when reading for self-development. So be sure to pick up a book, e-book, or audio-book.

16. Be a Self-Learner:

When I first decided, I was going to start my business, I was completely clueless (still feel that way at times ;)) The wonderful, worldwide web gives us the opportunity to literally search anything on any search engine and LEARN! (from reliable sources, of course). There are so many courses, content, and information out there to help you strive in many areas. While I am no longer in school, I have continued to self-teach and embrace being a life-learner and student of life.

17. Network:

I don’t know how many times I heard the term “network” while in undergrad. Networking truly is the key to success. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. As the saying goes, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” If you are my age and find yourself in a room where you are the smartest and most vocal, it’s time to step outside your comfort zone and start to associate with people who will push you to be better and add value to your life.

18. #DoItScared

We all tend to have bucket lists of some sort. It’s time to do all the things we want to do but are too afraid to do and as my Biz Babe Aandra Bohlen states so often, #doitscared. We literally get one life to live so why hinder ourselves with fear. Just go out there and do whatever it is your pretty little heart desires, fear and all.

19. Traveling isn’t as Hard as it Seems:

One of my goals post grad school was to travel. I don’t know why in my mid-twenties I had yet to explore some more. We give ourselves excuses, tell ourselves we can’t afford it, and tell ourselves we don’t have the time. Traveling is not as hard as people make it seem. Pick a destination, find the best deals online, and book it! #doitscared

20. Practice Gratitude:

Gratitude is something I find myself practicing daily. As the season of thanksgiving approaches, we are often only limited to this time of year to truly be thankful for even the basic things in our lives that we take for granted. Try this: for the next year, write one thing you were thankful for daily and place it in a mason jar. At the end of the year, look through the mason jar, and reflect on all the things you are thankful for.

21. Change:

If you are my age, still claiming to still be the same person, and pride yourself on having “never changed”, it IS time for some change! Change is the only thing in life that remains constant.  

22. Create the Life You Want:

When I was 18 I was offered a full-time job at a local social service agency I was co-oping at while in high school. I declined the opportunity and decided I wanted to go to college instead. As a high school senior, I witnessed many of the workers at that agency miserable every day; wishing they could be doing something different. It was in this moment that I learned that you must truly create the life you desire. In that moment, I vowed not to ever wake up in a position where I hate my life, career, or those around me. You truly have the power to create the life you want and it is never too late to begin that journey.

23.  Don’t Hold Grudges or Resentment:

For years, I held resentment for many things and people in my life. Having grudges and holding on to resentment is pure toxin for the body. Holding on to that grudge or resentment will literally deplete energy, cause estranged relationships, and increase stress levels. If there is someone you wish to make amends with, please do so now. Holding on to resentment and grudges will only affect YOU.

24. Self-love:

Self-love goes along with taking care of yourself; mind, body, and spirit. Over the past 2 years, I have been able to love myself more, in return, I have attracted individuals into my life that contribute to my self-love.

25. Materialistic Things Mean Nothing:

Growing up, my mother would take my sister and I thrift shopping or yard sale shopping. I never truly appreciated that until now. I truly find peace in a thrift store or yard sale. Materialistic things really mean nothing to me. The ability to not be able to attach myself to things it truly a liberating one. As an adult, I truly cherish experiences and people over things. I honestly am more excited when I purchase a great item at a thrift store than whenever I purchase a discount  or get a great deal at a high-end department store. At the end of the day, when we leave this universe, who we impacted matters more than WHAT we have accumulated over our lifetime. 

26. It’s OK to Fall:

So many of us fear to fail. When we fall, or fail we rarely share those moments with people. Without struggle, there is no progress. When you fall, it is ok, as long as you’re able to get back up.

27. #SorryNotSorry:

Taking responsibility for your own actions comes along with adulting. You have to be able to accept your wrongs, apologize for them, and ensure the same mistakes don’t happen multiple times. When you say sorry, you show empathy and compassion.  

28. Be Realistic:

Things will not always go your way. You have to be realistic in everything you do and all the decisions you make. Don’t minimize anything you are going through.  

29. You Will Never Have It All Figured Out!  (Self-explanatory here). 

There you have it, the 29 growing pains before 29. I would love to hear from you so if you have any growing pains to add or any input on navigating life comment, share, and email me at Findyourwill@gmail.com

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Happy Holidays and Happy 29th Birthday to Me!

Stop Beating Yourself Up! 9 Steps Towards Mindful Anger

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Stop Beating Yourself Up!

9 Steps Towards Mindful Anger

Things happen in our everyday lives that tend to tick us off or rub us the wrong way. It could be something as irrelevant as getting a paper cut, spilling your coffee on the way into work, or something as significant to getting into a fender bender on your way home. The relevancy and significance of these are individually based. However, all of these things may cause anger, sadness, annoyance, and irritability in our lives.

But who are you really angry with?

  • Are you mad at the paper that unintentionally caused the paper cut? (Hey, paper never did anything to you, pick on someone your own size!)
  • Are you mad at the coffee? (Blasphemy, who could ever be made at coffee?!?)
  • Are you angry with the other person involved in the fender-bender collision?
  • Are you angry with… YOU?

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Often times we are angry more with ourselves than with others. As the saying goes, we are our own worst critics and it’s important to understand that beating ourselves up, especially in situations that were beyond our control, is never the answer.

Check out my 9 Steps Towards Mindful Anger that will hopefully decrease your knockouts or KO’s in the ring of solidarity!

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Step 1: Pause!

Take a deep pause! Stop dead in your tracks (if it’s safe enough to do so; i.e. your skin isn’t being burned by the spilled coffee in the scenario above). Pause, acknowledge, and assess the situation. Be aware and non-judgmentally conscious of what just occurred.

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Step 2: Breathe!

Take 3-5 deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Clear your mind so you are able to focus more on your next steps logically rather than emotionally. Deep breathing increases the oxygen flow to the brain which in moments of perceived danger, tragedy, or perceived obstacles can allow us to make quick and sound reactions. For more on mindfulness practice, meditation, and deep breathing exercises contact me here.

Step 3: Finish Finger Pointing

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Didn’t your parents ever tell you it’s rude to point? Quit blaming yourself. Finish the finger-pointing habit. Things happen! Was there a cause or effect of the situation? Of course. But, it has happened, so there is no reason to begin a marathon of self-blaming, hypotheticals, and what-ifs. Blaming yourself will not make things any better nor will it change a situation. We often want to hold someone accountable even if it’s at the cost of your own sanity by taking the blame for something that was completely out of your control/or not your fault. Sure, sometimes, there is something or someone to blame and being accountable for one’s actions and taking responsibility should always be the moral thing to do, however, if it truly wasn’t your fault and you had NO control of over, quit making it your fault! Stop the judgment, finish the finger-pointing, and quit trying to hold someone accountable-especially yourself.

Step 4: Reframe & Regain Resiliency

Reframe you negative self-talk into positive self-talk and positive thinking. Cognitive Reframing is a process in which you reframe negative thoughts and feelings into more positive ones and elicit positive responses, reactions, and behaviors.  Think of it as a lens you change or modify inside your mind to turn the bad into good. See the good or positive out of difficult situations. This is where true control and resiliency are regained.

Step 5: Quit Quoting

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Sometimes it’s not our own negative self-talk that influences us. Some of our deep-rooted anger towards the self may have been learned or comes from past trauma including verbal and physical abuse. Someone may have told you something negative about you or believed something negative about you that you have now internalized. During times where things happen that are out of our control, we tend to replay those quotes in our minds especially if it coincides with the negative statements or quotes we once heard. This is a form of negative self-talk by attempting to confirm and validate that previously stated negative statements or beliefs. We can’t continuously repeat the negative quotes that we have heard by others, especially toxic people. Nor should we create quotes or perceived ideas of how others who are important to us will react or what they will think or say about you. Quit the quoting and understand that you are human. Repeat after me, “It is ok. It will be ok.”  

We can’t continuously repeat the negative quotes that we have heard by others, especially when stated by toxic people. Nor should we create quotes or perceived ideas of how others who are important to us will react or what they will think or say about you. Quit the quoting and understand that you are human. Repeat after me, “It is ok. It will be ok.”  

Step 6: Turn UP-ward Spiral thinking

Turn up!! That’s right Turn downward spiral thinking into UPward spiral thinking. Negative situations can sometimes cause an increase in anxiety or make irrational inferences from one situation to another. I have always been an “expect the worse, hope for the best” type of person. But thinking the worst is not always healthy. Ruminating about difficult situations and feelings can cause them to manifest into other feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in your life and negatively affect our mental health. Especially when you downward spiral into a list of possible worse case scenarios caused by 1 simple negative outcome. There’s a negative domino effect that occurs and we in turn literally run our brain in circles pondering ALL of the worst-case scenario outcomes from this moment on. Reverse the downward spiraling and instead, think of some positives that can or have occurred as a result of the one negative situation. Sometimes it’s hard to find a positive but focusing on the positive is better than having the negative manifest and literally take over your life. So, instead, turn UP!

Step 7: Exert Energy

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In difficult situations, our flight, flight, freeze response in our brain kicks in and sometimes your response is to want to KICK something or someone. There is literally no positive result of potentially harming yourself or others nor will it fix or solve a situation. You may want to punch a wall (I have been guilty of feeling this way), you may want to scream, yell, or fight. It is in these moments where being present is essential and beneficial. Be mindful of your physiological responses. I.e. heavy/fast breathing, leg shaking, clenched fists, jaw clenching, pacing, rapid heart beat. This is all normal! Be present and aware of these responses. Don’t react to them negatively. Find healthy ways to exert negative energy -positively. When you exert energy endorphins in your body are produced, secreted, and or released which can cause positive or happy feelings in the body.

Here are some healthy physical ways to exert energy positively:

  • Exercise
  • Laugh
  • kickboxing class
  • dance
  • safe sex
  • crying

Step 8: Let It Go!

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In the annoying words of the over-rated popular movie Frozen: “LET IT GOOO!”Let go of things you cannot control. It’s important to recognize some things we just cannot control, however; we can control our feelings and our reactions to those feelings.   You can’t allow bumps on the roads from affecting your entire day, week, and life. While it is important to acknowledge your feelings, what you do with them matters most.  Remember to Be present, be mindful, accept that it happened, learn from it, and move on.

Step 9: Stop Beating Yourself Up & Just Breathe!

Repeat steps 1-8. Live well and be mindfully angry! 

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Iris L. Mendez, LSW -Certified Wellness Coach-Findyourwill@gmail.com 

The Healthy Habits Struggle

The Healthy Habits Struggle 

Top 5 Reasons We Don’t Make Healthier Choices!

Beep, Beep! All aboard the Healthy Habits Struggle Bus!

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Why does it seem so difficult to make healthy choices?

As a wellness coach, I have spoken to many wellness clients who seem to always have the same initial responses with regards to why they can’t or don’t make healthier choices. So, a few weeks ago, I decided to poll some of my social media followers and posted a question on my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts:

“Working on a new blog entry and need your help: 
What are some barriers/or obstacles that you face when it comes to losing weight, getting fit, and making healthier choices? Comment below!”

I got many responses and after assessing the comments and themes in the comments, I came up with Top 5 Reasons We Don’t Make Healthier Choices! Read the reasons below along with some real talk tips on how to combat them to ensure you become a better, healthier YOU!

1. “I just can’t find the motivation.”  

I get it, sometimes you just don’t feel like it. Heck, I am currently writing this blog knowing I need to take my butt to the gym. Do I feel like going? NO! Am I going to? YES! So, how do I “find” the motivation to go? That’s the issue; motivation isn’t something you FIND it’s something you have! Motivation like willpower and desire are all things we can work on daily; like muscles, they too must be exercised. The key is to “Just Do It!” (Yep, Nike said it best). When I don’t have the motivation to get out of bed but I know I need to, I JUST DO IT! I take a deep breath and count to 3; One, twoooo, (deep sigh) three; and I am up!

Don’t sit around and wait for motivation to come knocking on your door with a cape, inviting perky smile, hands on his/her hips, eager to meal prep healthy meals for you and then get you off your butt to go work out. Sure, some of us may have the luxury of hiring someone to do all of the above BUT true motivation comes from YOU! You can’t wait for your flaky friend, unreliable gym buddy, or unaccountable accountability buddy to pull YOU towards YOUR wellness goals! You have to truly want it and when you truly want something, you will PUSH yourself to get the job, task, or goal done; by any means.

Think of it like this, when you want to apply to a job, want to purchase a new pair of shoes, car, go on a dream vacation, want to apply to school, or even get the guy or gal you want-you push forward to obtain those goals. Do the same for yourself! While the rewards to a healthier lifestyle may not be all tangible, in the end, they exceed any reward you can obtain from materialistic items. Use YOUR fuel to drive you towards your wellness goals. Self-motivate!
Update: I went to the gym. =)

2. “I just don’t have time.”

This is a big one! I often hear, “I don’t have time.” “I have so much to do.” I have to go to school or work, and then come home, and tend to the kids, bae, the dog, the cat, or school work. In other words,  “I don’t have time for me.” This is all very normal! We ALL have obligations, however, one thing we forget is that we are also OBLIGATED to ourselves since birth. If you are not important enough to YOU to make time for YOU, how can u expect others to do so too? You have to take care of YOU. I often tell my mental health client’s parents; you can’t appropriately take care of your child(ren), if you haven’t taken care of yourself. You have to be at your best for YOU in order to be at your best for others. Set time aside every week to meal prep and set time and days you will work out. Set aside time before bed or in the morning to pack your meals and snacks. Take it from me: Hi I am Iris, and I am a recovering procrastinator- time management is something you work on daily. Build your healthy habits and goals into your schedule as if it’s a doctor’s appointment you can’t miss! (Read more about goal attainment here).

Making healthier choices will allow you the ability to live healthier for you and consequently for all your other obligations including those you love. If you can’t self-motivate like I stated in #1 then you have to be willing to do it for those you love and need you the most without forgetting that you should love and need yourself just as much as they do. Self-love and self-care does not equate selfishness! (Read more about self-love here).

3. “But, what if I fail?”

Sometimes fear can be a manipulating illusion. When I started my wellness journey almost 5 years ago, I too was afraid. I didn’t know if I would get the results I wanted. At that point in my life, I didn’t even know what those results looked like for me. All I knew, is that I wanted to FEEL better not necessarily look better. Lots of my wellness clients or those who consult with me tell me about their “yo-yo dieting” ways. You know, when you go on a “diet”, lose weight, then go off the “diet”, gain again, and go back to the SAME cycle. This then pulls your confidence in your abilities and in yourself to the ground. Like anything, our bodies adapt and eventually your body will get use to this cycle and you will end up seeing NO RESULTS; this is called plateauing. You have to shock the body by introducing new workouts and healthy habits in order for results to be long lasting. My suggestion, do your research, incorporate new healthy living habits into your lifestyle-daily. Keep it fun for you. Keep yourself interested and you will see long lasting results.
Want to know more about why dieting doesn’t work? Check out my blog entry on The No-Diet-Diet.

4. “I don’t know how to be healthy, especially with so many unhealthy options.”

This is huge, especially in communities where healthy habits are not promoted and healthy options are not available. I grew up in Camden, NJ where the corner stores were where I got half of my nourishment daily. (Read more about my healthy hood life struggles here). If you don’t know how to be healthy, you just don’t know. However, as the saying goes, “Ignorance is never an excuse.” We live in times where anything and everything we ever wanted to know is right at our fingertips via technology. Search anything on search engines or find the app for whatever it is you’re researching.  If you don’t want to do the research part, there are various professionals out there including myself, who are willing to do the research for you or already have the knowledge you are inquiring and are willing to help you through the process. (For Life Coaching services Opportunities 2 Serve).
The reason why most people fail at understanding how to be healthy is because being unhealthy is easier especially in environments where you are tempted by either unhealthy foods in your home or in the workplace. Temptation to dig into unhealthy food seems to be everywhere. The way to combat this is to ALWAYS keep healthier options THAT YOU ACTUALLY ENJOY around you. I always pack snacks and healthy options when I go to work, or anywhere for that matter. Check out some healthy recipes here.

When I know I did my part in ensuring I am taking care of me by putting the proper and more nourishing foods into my body, I am less tempted to indulge at the office every time someone brings in cakes, cookies, donuts, or pretzels. You know your environment best, both at home and work, so ensure you are planning and prepping to combat whatever temptation obstacle gets placed in your way. If you are interested in learning more on how to live healthier schedule a complimentary wellness consultation with me here or shoot me an email.

5. “I’m not consistent enough.”

What it all boils down to is discipline. Consistency comes from discipline. For me, there was a time where I NEVER made my bed in the morning. What was the point, I was only going to get right back in it at night?  However, one day I was told how the sloppiness or disorganization of my bed resonated with the disorganization of my life. My inconsistency in not making my bed shed light on my own inconsistency and disorganization in life. Now, I admit, I am not the most consistent person (work in progress here), but I did develop the habit of making my bed-everyday, as well as other beneficial habits in living a healthy lifestyle. Like in the military, this takes discipline.

You can try to do all of the tips in #’s 1-4, but if you don’t work on your discipline or lack discipline none of the above will stick-permantly. I think that the word discipline has a negative connotation. When we think of discipline, we think of punishment of some sort. We tend to feel a lack of control at the idea that we have to obey something or obey some sort of expected code of conduct or behaviors. However, being disciplined within oneself means that you show up for yourself like you do for work. When it comes to being disciplined for YOU, YOU set the rules and terms the only “punishment” is your inability to complete a task because you weren’t consistent enough in committing to your terms.
All of these things take time but if you focus on you,  maintain consistency,  and work on your discipline- daily, you will slowly but surely start to see results. Work on bettering you daily.

If you’re looking for a great self-development book to get you started, check out: The Light Within Us All: Life Lessons Through Self-Discovery by Tyrone M. Robinson, III. 

If you’re interested in wellness tips and more subscribe to The Well Log Monthly Blog Letter here.

 

 

Tis the season: Cough, Cough; Sniffle, Sniffle

“Tis the season: cough, cough; sniffle, sniffle” Immunity Tips5cdb8e5e34a9a2d4e9642ca3061f83c3982645002cd9b7747dbeb8bc9316c907

Can you believe it’s Mid-October! The weather is finally breaking here on the east coast. You know–that funny time of year where you don’t know if you should put your tank tops and flip flops away and bring out your booties and sweaters… Yup–THAT time of year has finally arrived. I go outside and the brisk weather hits me. I suddenly feel the need for a sweater, cardigan, or light jacket. While at the same time, the sun is shining so bright that the heat from the rays reminds me, it was JUST summer a few weeks ago. If you’re like me and enjoy this time of year you were probably elated to hear the words: It’s officially hoody and scarf season! In my last post, I talked about change.  Now that the weather has finally changed… it’s also time to admit it’s flu and cold season-something I am not so excited to hear and witness!

Tis the season where your co-workers are coming in coughing, your kids are coming home sneezing and sniffling, and you question your life expectancy at any sign of a stomach ache, headache, or bowel irregularity. (hey, just keeping it real here). It’s that time of year to boost your immunity. As a Latina, I grew up with many superstitions or home remedies to help aid when sick. I can’t tell you if any of them actually worked or had any evidence based research to back up the methods my mom or friend’s mom would use. As I grew up and began my healthier life-style I came across some natural everyday ingredients and products that we are not aware has many immune boosting benefits and no, I am not talking about oranges and Vicks Vapor Rub.

There are so many different homeopathic remedies to assist with immunity boost. So, I am going to share with you some of the products and remedies I personally use to help me stay well! Before I give my list, I want to first and foremost provide a disclaimer. I am not a doctor or a nurse. I repeat, I am not a doctor! I am providing you with a list of items that have assisted with my own immunity boosting. I strongly urge you to seek medical treatment if you feel ill. Most of the items on my list will only help with immunity if you begin to implement them into your lifestyle on a routine basis. I encourage you to do your own research and ensure that none of these interact with any other chemicals or products you are currently prescribed or using. Always read labels and ingredients of anything you are intaking. I would love to hear from you. So, I invite you to connect with me and let me know of any remedies or products you are using to help boost your immunity this season.

Here’s my list:

  • Oranges: The ye ole’ remedy is high in Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that can help fight off infections and many other health benefits. If you are allergic to fruit, try taking a vitamin C supplement or vitamin found in any pharmacy or vitamin shop. Orange juice can also be a substitute, but often times orange juice is high in sugar so unless you’re juicing your own, I say stick with the main source.
  • Ginger root: Ground ginger or piece of raw, fresh, ginger root can be taken when feeling ill. It helps with nausea, gas, and has even been noted to help as an anti-inflammatory. Be sure to research how much of this one can intake as high quantities is not recommended. I normally cut some slices and put in an herbal tea or eat about one quarter ounce piece. I have also put some slices into home-made soup (see recipe below). You can also find ginger candy at some health food stores. I also like to have it on my sushi!
  • Herbal Teas: There are various herbal teas that will help with immunity boost. Be sure to research the tea you are drinking. I specifically use green tea with matcha (fortifies immune system), peppermint tea, and longevity tea. Some teas with Echinacea (reduces cold/flu symptoms and boosts immunity: this can be taken as a vitamin too) are also beneficial. You can also choose to add honey (can reduce cough/throat irritation), limes (can assist with respiratory issues), lemons (high in vitamins), ground or raw ginger, ground cinnamon (yummy), and/or ground cumin (many health benefits including immunity boost) to your tea for added benefits.
  • Hot Toddy: (not a thotty lol) A hot toddy is an Irish drink. Ingredients: steeped tea, your favorite scotch, brandy, or bourbon (pick one!), honey, and lemon. MMMM! (be sure the alcohol doesn’t interact with any other medication). This has helped me with a sour throat or when I have had a raspy voice.
  • Essential oils: peppermint oil: You can apply to your temples for headache relief or place under your nose nostrils to assist with a stuffy nose.
  • Coconut oil pullings: This is something I started doing and need to continue to make it a habit. You take a shot of coconut oil and swirl it lightly around your mouth for 5-10 min every day first thing in the morning. Not only does this help clear any bacteria in your mouth but it also helps with teeth whitening. As we all know, coconut oil has many health benefits!  I seem to increase my oil pulling routines whenever I feel a cold coming on.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Take a shot of diluted apple cider vinegar #ACV or a spoonful. Like coconut oil, ACV has many health benefits. It can help clear a stuffy nose and sooth a sore throat among other benefits.
  • Zinc: Zinc can be taken as a throat lozenge or as a vitamin. It can also be found in many homeopathic medicines often times alongside Echinacea and even with elderberry. Zinc, like Echinacea, has been known to have immune boosting properties.
  • Elderberry: Is an antioxidant that has benefits of improving cold and flu symptoms. Elderberry can be taken as a vitamin, juice, or found in homeopathic medicines and lozenges.
  • Epsom salt w/ lavender: Relax! Take a bath and soak in Epsom salt to alleviate body aches, soreness, and headaches. Be sure to stay hydrated before, during, and after: and don’t oversoak! Try adding a few small drops of peppermint oil to your bath water to help cleanse your soul.. just kidding, not your soul but that’s what it will feel like.
  • High-Quality H2O aka Water: Speaking of Hydration! Drink lots of water if you are feeling ill or have a headache coming on. Feel free to grab some Smart Water or any other water with electrolytes especially if you have been vomiting or have diarrhea (I know, I know, TMI).
  • If you’re feeling under the weather, try taking some deep breaths, join a yoga class, or go to your local gym or spa sauna.

Here are few of my go-to products whenever I feel a cold or sickness coming on:

  • Amy’s:  No Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Pho Vietnamese Noodle soup
  • doTERRA On Guard Protecting Throat Drops
  • doTERRA On Guard Essential Oil Protective Blend
  • Zicam Cold Remedy RapidMelts Quick Dissolve Tablets Plus Echinacea: Lemon-Lime
  • Emergen-C 1,000 mg Vitamin C Powder, Super Orange
  • Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies
  • Sambucol Cold & Flu Relief, Black Elderberry, Quick Dissolve Tablets
  • Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Drops Ginger with Echinacea
  • Jakemans Confectioners Honey and Lemon Throat and Chest Drops
  • Ricola Honey Lemon w/ Echinacea Cough Suppressant Throat Drop
Hope you stay WELL this cold/flu season!

The Wellness Fad

“The Wellness Fad: A breakdown of the 8 components of wellness.”

As featured on Opportunities 2 Serve September Edition of “The Salt Blog”.

Is it just me, or does it appear that everywhere you look someone is talking about or promoting wellness? It seems like the wellness industry is becoming more of a fad than an actual lifestyle.

Here is a challenge:

Log into any of your social media accounts at this very moment…

I’ll wait…

Now tell me…

  • How many posts did you have to look through before you came across a post related to fitness, exercise, working out, “clean-eating”, “being mindful”, and/or  “thinking positive”?
  • How long does it take before you see a promotional post of some product, “diet”, or program that claims and guarantees you will “lose weight”, “get fit”, and “feel great”?

I bet it took you longer to brush your teeth this morning than it did to find a post that was promoting “holistic” or wellness related content-right? –assuming you brushed your teeth, of course.

Our minds are consumed each day via media with someone participating in some fitness challenge, posting post-workout “swelfies” (sweat selfies), followed by a post of them fueling their bodies with some form of a “clean” or nutritional healthy meal/shake. (If you didn’t find anything wellness related in your social media feeds, I challenge you to shoot me an email: Findyourwill@gmail.com, because this tells me, you’re not following the right people.)

I know some people might be tired or feel annoyed by all the posts related to wellness. Believe it or not, as a Certified Wellness Coach, I am tired of it too. However, my exhaustion isn’t with the promotion of wellness, it’s more so with the lack of promotion of what wellness really means!

Sooo, what exactly IS wellness? Have you ever stopped to think about what this word really means?

Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to break it down for you.

Here is my personal definition. findyourwillwellnesswww-findyourwillwellness-com

Wellness isn’t just about eating right, getting fit, and being conscious. There is soo much more that goes into the quality of your life as it pertains to wellness–WHOLE-listic wellness that can add to your overall well-being.

Represented in my logo, Find Your Will Wellness, I have 8 colorful leaves which represent the eight components or dimensions of wellness. I acquired the knowledge from my education/research but more importantly from personal experience. These are all areas I have worked on throughout my personal wellness/fitness journey and continue to work on with myself and my wellness clients. As you read the eight components below, I want you to assess what areas of wellness you can improve on.

Physical Wellness: Physical wellness doesn’t simply refer to your actual physique. When you think of the physical: you shouldn’t just be thinking of how you look in the mirror or in a bathing suit. You should be thinking of yourself internally as well. Are your organs healthy? Do you have any physical health/medical conditions or ailments that hinder your well-being? What are you putting into your body (food, substances, toxins, etc.)? Physical wellness isn’t simply about weight or fat.  Physical wellness can be assessed in how comfortable you are in your own clothing and more importantly, how comfortable you are in your own skin! When I first began my wellness journey, I remember the “a ha” moment, when I couldn’t keep up with my nephews while playing in the park: I was 24 and in my mind, there was no reason why I felt sooo exhausted and uncomfortable taking a few strides to chase them. This lets me know my physical well-being was at risk. So I decided it was time to make a change-and I did!

Mental/Emotional Wellness: Mental/emotional wellness refers to your overall mental health. When was the last time you got a “check up from the neck up”? Many of us suffer from mental health illnesses and don’t even realize it. In order to detox the body, we must first detox the mind. The rest will fall into place. During my journey, I realized I was not mentally stable. I sought out mental health outpatient therapy. I learned new ways to cope with things and was able to talk through some issues I had harbored for so long. It was the best decision I could have made for my health.  Like I always say, “change begins in your mind.”

Spiritual Wellness: When you think of spirituality, it doesn’t necessarily have to be religion. Spiritual wellness comes from within as it relates to your overall values and belief system. For me, I began practicing mindfulness and meditation while in graduate school. I took a course called Spirituality in Social Work where I learned how to have a spiritual-centered approach with not just clients but myself.  I began learning about Buddhist practices, read more self-development books, studied the Law of Attraction, practiced deep-breathing techniques, defined my belief system,  learned about Chakra balancing, and just became spiritually conscious. In order to be well, we have to understand our spiritual existence and what that means to each of us.

Financial Wellness: This is a HUGE part of wellness. Unfortunately, money is a necessity for survival. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to purchase food to nourish your body, pay for that gym membership, or participate in activities that are conducive to your overall quality of life. Often times, lack of money is the root source for why people don’t make healthier choices for themselves. Lack of finances or inability to budget effectively can contribute to a decrease in mental stability. Poor financial wellness can create a domino effect that can affect all of the other components of wellness. The key is to budget effectively and not live beyond your means. Something I strive to work on daily!

Environmental Wellness: Environmental wellness refers to your environment in its entirety. Where do you live and work? What kind of air are you breathing? Are you around toxins such as lingering chemicals from cleaning products, smokers, etc. Are the individuals around you conducive to your wellness? These are all factors to consider when you think of your environmental wellness.

Occupational/Career Wellness: Are you happy with your job/career? Are you happy with your workplace or work environment? Is it a hostile environment? Do you often find that work is adding stress to your life? Or maybe you feel like you’re not yet in your career and are struggling to find it. I have experienced working  jobs I absolutely dreaded going to. I didn’t allow myself to get “stuck” so I devised a plan to make a change, tune into my passion and do what I love. Confucius said it best, “find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If you are unhappy with your work or lack thereof-it’s time to reassess your occupational/career wellness.

Social Wellness: Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging. If we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and our psychological needs, we can assess that we as humans crave intimacy, friendships, and companionship. Your overall social wellness refers to this. Do you have friends? Who are they? Are they contributing to your livelihood? Do they support you? Studies show that we are an average of the 5 individuals we hang out with the most. Assess this for yourself and if there are some changes that need to be made, adjust accordingly. Sometimes it’s best to just let go and love some people from afar. Surround yourself with individuals who push you to be better, people who give you the raw-supportive truth about you; the good, the bad, and the ugly. This also pertains to social media- who are you following and what are they posting- is it good brain fuel? Your relationships-whether romantic or not, play a key factor into your overall wellness. It wasn’t until I exited some toxic relationships that I realized how much it actually hindered my wellness progress. Don’t be afraid to unfollow people in real life too. If it does not serve you, let it go.

Intellectual Wellness: Intellectual wellness refers to personal development. What are you doing to be a better you-educationally? How are you training your mind? Are you taking on a new hobby? Course? Learning new things? The brain needs to be constantly challenged. My suggestion: start by reading self-development books. If you are not a reader, then look into a self-development podcasts or audiobooks to listen to. Take on a new hobby or learn a new skill. Surprise yourself. You will feel so proud of yourself in the end because you were able to do something you didn’t think you could while also increasing your overall intellect.

So there you have it: The 8 Components of Wellness. Wellness isn’t a fad or a trend, it truly is a lifestyle you commit to. I hope you were able to assess your own overall wellness and make plans to increase the quality of each. I would love to hear from you and what areas you are going to work on. Do not hesitate to contact me. Remember-live WELL!

Sharing Isn’t Caring

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Sharing Isn’t Caring: 

One of the first things you do every day is to look on your phone. You check your text messages, you check your emails, you scroll through your social media accounts, and you check your favorite news app. It’s not surprising to find posts related to fitness or wellness as the trend and fad continues to take over your newsfeed and timelines. Ever so often, you find a meme or post that you can identify with regarding your own fitness and wellness goals and before you can even think about, almost instinctively, you either re-share or repost it -in an eye blink. But what if what you are re-sharing can trigger negative thoughts for someone who may be suffering from body image issues, mental health disorders, poor self-esteem, or even eating disorders? Some of the memes I have seen online posted by my own friends and family makes me cringe. While innocent, unbeknownst to them, they are creating and contributing to the body shaming or “fat shaming” culture- unintentionally. All it takes is one share, and before you know it, that one post has gone viral for all the world to see-to be viewed by those who struggle in silence. What you post and share can have negative effects to people and their mindset. Many times, I have come across status updates where someone is talking about what they ate and how they “feel fat.” I don’t quite remember “fat” being a feeling or emotion (insert hand to chin, pondering emoji face here). Other times, I read status updates which attempts to justify the reason behind your indulgence of food; like that big slice of pizza or cheesesteak you devoured-labeling it “#fatkidproblems” – one simple search of this hashtag will show you how often people feel the need to “excuse” their eating habits. My message to you, eat what you want and balance-don’t ever make an excuse as to why you provide your body with one of its core needs for survival food.

Let’s take a look at some questionable memes and posts:

Posts like these imply that “dieting” or eating healthy is tasteless and boring-when in fact, it’s the person creating the meals who is tasteless and boring-hard truth here. I tell my wellness client’s all the time-get creative in the kitchen! There are so many different ways to cook things and they don’t have to be bland at all! Take a look at some of my recipes on my website www.findyourwillwellness/recipes. Have a little fun in the kitchen that doesn’t compromise your time or waistline.

 

This post sheds light on restrictive forms of eating. If you read my blog entry on my website titled, “The No Diet-Diet” https://findyourwillwellness.com/2015/11/09/the-no-diet-diet/  you will get a better understanding of why diet’s DON”T WORK! Implement healthy habits and changes into your lifestyle that will be long lasting. This post implies that in order to gain results- you must restrict or starve yourself. As a mental health professional, I have worked with many patients and clients who suffer from eating disorders. It is believed, the less you eat, the more you starve yourself, the better the results. If you are hungry-YOU HAVE TO EAT! I always am surprised when I hear people make comments or pass judgments on the amount of food I eat throughout the day. I am often reminded how “small” or “tiny” or “skinny” I am, and yet I eat “soo much”. News flash: It’s not about how much you eat, it’s about how much of WHAT you eat. I aim to eat 5-6 times a day, three meals and 3 snacks in between in each meal. More importantly, I eat when my body tells me to, if I’m hungry-I eat-in moderation, eat as clean as possible, and I ensure I eat appropriate portions! Don’t deprive yourself, you are causing more harm than good. When your body is in starvation mode that is when bad fat begins to store itself in all the most common problematic areas.

These posts make me chuckle because neither of these are the reality for me. First and foremost as stated above, you shouldn’t be depriving or restricting yourself. It’s ok to have a slice or slither of that chocolate cake at a birthday party or while out at dinner. These posts promote binging behaviors which can spiral into an eating disorder. How many times have you actually sat in front of a cake and devoured or inhaled it all in one sitting? If you have ever done this, you likely haven’t nourished your body very well throughout the day. Life and wellness is about balance!
Again, you don’t have to eat literally NOTHING in order to be healthy or tackle your fitness goals! While it is good to begin to implement more raw natural products into your everyday intake such as, vegan, gluten free, soy free, antibiotics free, non-GMO, and/or organic products;  restricting things such as “fat” or “carbs” will hinder your progress. You should have a balanced intake in your daily diet or eating regimen and routine. I re-assure you, eating purely ice will land you in a hospital bed as there are many medical and organ complications associated with restrictive eating.

The next time you see a post similar to the ones above, think twice before liking and re-sharing it.  I know you mean no harm, but think of the individuals who will not look past the humor of this all and internalize it. This also contributes to YOUR own negative self-talk with regards to your own personal views and relationship with food, dieting, and wellness. Remember, sometimes sharing isn’t caring. Say it with me, YOU NEED FOOD FOR SURVIVAL! YOU NEED FOOD FOR FUEL! YOU NEED FOOD FOR NOURISHMENT! FOOD IS GOOD FOR ME!

Stay Positive and remember, “Change begins in your mind.”

Iris L. Mendez, MSW

Find Your Will Wellness
Certified Wellness Coach
Instagram: @FindYourWillWellness
Please consult with a medical physician and/or mental health provider before beginning any fitness, nutrition, or mindfulness regimen or program.

“I Don’t Need Therapy”-A Mental Health PSA

MENTAL HEALTH … 

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I recently had conversations with a few friends about mental health where I realized the lack of education and information that people have on mental health disorders and treatment. These conversations inspired this blog entry.
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It’s hard to believe that mental health still has a negative stigma, especially among the minority population. In my culture and community, we are encouraged to utilize our own methods to deal with some of our stress, life transitions, and trauma without fully being aware of the actual effects it has on our brain and it’s development or lack thereof. We internalize, self-sabotage, and utilize our own self-medication processes to treat ourselves  such as drugs, alcohol, poor nutrition, sugar, and other toxins which may not be conducive to our well-being and may, in fact, be contributing to our mental health issues. We are afraid of using alternative medicine options such as pure grade essential oils, yoga, proper nutrition, exercise, mindfulness meditation, reiki healing, massage therapy, and deep breathing techniques to assist with our daily life stressors when research shows these methods have been utilized for centuries to promote and increase our overall health and well-being especially in the mind!
*The above are not recommendations  or suggestions for mental health treatment, please consult with a physician or your mental health professional.*
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It’s 2016… 

Why is mental health still so taboo? 

Why are people so afraid to get their brain/minds checked?
Why do people believe, “talking to a stranger about my problems won’t help me.”

STOP, STOP, STOP!! 

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Therapy isn’t just TALKING! Mental health professionals do not spend tons of money and time in school to learn how to “talk” to people. We learn about the brain, the body, various mental health disorders, diagnosis, different therapeutic treatments, modalities, interventions, and even medicine the same way a physician or doctor learns about the body, disorders, medicine, diagnosis, and treatment.
Treat mental health the way you would physical health. If you broke your leg would you leave it untreated? & even if you did and it “healed itself” it wouldn’t properly heal, you would forever have long-term effects as a result of it being untreated. Same thing goes for untreated mental health. The longer you prolong treatment the more detrimental your effects, which may require a more severe form of treatment including inpatient intervention and medication or worse-be too late to treat. Would you get physical therapy for your leg if it were broken? Yeah!  So why not get therapy for your mind! Take care of your mind -it’s the core being of your existence aside from your spiritual being!
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed professionals such as counselors and social workers all have various techniques, therapeutic modalities, and approaches to treating mental health.Do your research on the type of treatment you may need and find a clinician who primarily services that area AND your population. If you’re already aware of a possible diagnosis then look into a therapist who specializes in that area.
Choosing a clinician:
When you don’t like a doctor or a physician’s approach what do you do? You find another one right? …. If you don’t like their interpersonal skills, opinion, or bedside manners you would consider a different physician.. correct? Use this SAMEEE approach for mental health! I have been in therapy (and not ashamed of it) where I did not like a therapist or the approach because I knew what modality or treatment was best for me and I did not approve of their approach… and guess what, I switched, found a new therapist, got the treatment I needed, and am now well and coping.
Here are some common therapeutic interventions, treatment, and approaches:
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-CBT
  • Trauma Focused-CBT
  • Psychotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Family-Focus Therapy-FFT
  • Art Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Drama Therapy
  • Dance Movement Therapy
  • Addictions Counseling
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • The Maudsley Method
  • The Sanctuary Model
  • Solution-Focused Therapy & Counseling
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Medication
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing-EMDR
  • PsychoEducation (what I’m doing right now via this blog)
*These above are  just a few therapies off the top of head; these are not recommendations or suggestions for mental health treatments-please do your research or consult with a physician and your mental health professional* 
Each of the above interventions has their own methods of providing therapy for specific diagnosis and mental health disorders.
Stop making mental health so taboo!!! You go to the dentist for your teeth, an optometrist for you eyes, GI doctors, primary care physicians and more-all for your body-so do the same for your mind! Your mind is just as important as your body. Treat it right!!
Get a “check up from the neck up”.
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To those of you who suffer in silence: you are not alone and there is help. You are not your illness and your illness is not adjective. It’s not something you can just “get over”. Continue on your path towards healing, get treatment, and there’s no need to be ashamed or embarrassed. You can get through this. Embrace your journey and share your story. You never know who you may inspire.
To my fellow mental health professionals, don’t doubt your abilities to help others but also remember to help yourself! Don’t be ashamed of seeking your own mental health support and treatment even if it’s just to cope and learn new strategies for yourself.
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How to find resources:
Contact your insurance provider regarding behavioral health and mental health coverage in your area.
Take a look at my resource page (click the tab above) for resources on mental health.
If you would like to be added to my mental health resources section please contact me or comment below.
Hope this helps! Together we can help break the mental health stigma.
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Remember: “Change begins in your mind.” Let’s get our minds right.
Iris L. Mendez, MSW

Where to Fit Wear

 

Screenshot_2016-02-03-06-51-35-1Ladies, you’re working out and you feel sweat forming in areas you never thought possible.  It’s uncomfortable, wet, and distracting. You go to complete a simple jumping jack and you have to use one hand cause the other hand is busy holding your boobs in place. You constantly adjust your shirt, undershirts, pants, sports bra, and any other creative makeshift garment (i.e. doubled up tank tops/bras) made just to keep those bad boys in place and not have anything else fall out. Let’s face it, you most likely exerted more energy trying to tame your breast than in your actual workout. You were distracted, self-conscious, and quite frankly, over your workout before you could actually reach your target heart rate. What’s a gal to do?

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Don’t worry, you’re not alone and there is a solution: Proper attire. Proper attire during workouts is essential to your progress-this goes for both men and women. I know, I know, workout clothes can be expensive but I assure you, if you catch a good sale and make the investment you will see better results and more importantly avoid causing injury especially to your back and chest areas by securing your boobies.  If you’re concerned about your breast being too big, just remember, you WILL go down in cup and band size if you continue on your healthy lifestyle journey.

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Here are some of my tips on appropriate attire when working out.

  • Invest in headbands/sweatbands-keep your mane tamed!
  • Make sure your pants are tight fitting but not too tight-no camel toes please.
  • Make sure your pants are not too long or flare-y. (I made up a word there lol)
  • Wear appropriate sneakers based on your fitness regimen; there are different styles of sneakers for a reason-to support different types of workouts -a quick Google search can help you out here.
  • Don’t forget to tie your shoe laces appropriately
  • Deodorize-self explanatory
  • Make sure your shirt/top/sweatshirt are not too loose, long, or thick.
  • Wear true to size socks. Nothing annoys me more than a sock that has made its way past my heal and into my sneaker while I’m doing a burpee or wearing too thick of a sock while working out to the point where my toes can’t breathe.
  • leave the hats/caps -you can cause yourself to overheat especially if you are outdoors in the warm climate.
  • Undies-wear appropriate fitting panties- I have tried UnderArmor brand but they have not been true to size for me so I feel like a have dual wedgie lol. (sorry not sorry for the visual). I have also tried THINX brand panties which now has a sports edition. These panties you can wear while on your cycle and get this- no tampon or pad. Sounds gross I know, but it’s not it has microbial wicking formula so no smell, no wetness, and no “sitting in your own blood”. Check out their website for more details-trust me you’ll be mind blown. It’s the new smart panty and I can’t wait to try their sports line! http://www.shethinx.com/products/sport-panties

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  • Lastly, wear a supportive bra!!!

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First things first, know your proper cup and band size. Victoria Secret’s does free bra fittings- don’t worry it’s non-invasive and no, you do not need to take off your shirt, although I have my fair share of stories from my own experience of being a bra-specialist at Vicki’s at the Cherry Hill Mall back in my day, but I will spare you those deets. Go there, and ask for your complimentary bra fitting.

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While you are there check out their relatively new VS sports bra line-(not the Pink section). I personally like the style and fit and how it doesn’t give you the uni-boob effect like most sports bras do. Some of their bras also have zippers or traditional bra snaps which are convenient when taking off. If you can catch a good sale, you can purchase 1 for just under $25. Try it out, let me know what you think.

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Another one of my favorites is the Nike Pro Classic Dri-Fit line-I personally own 2 ; one in black and one in gray. I will say I go down in 1 size just to keep things tight and tit, I mean fit. 😉 I love how the sweat does not stick to me and wicks off of the cloth instead. It truly is a well, dry-fit. I usually can catch a good sale at Modell’s or find some deals at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s.

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I also own a few Adidas Tech-Fit bra’s (about 3 of them)- they are not as tight fitting as the Nike one’s (even when going down in size) but I love the mesh cross back which allows for more breathing room. These also have the wicking formula so the sweat doesn’t show and I believe cools you down a bit more. If you take a look at their site, I notice they now have support levels for bra fittings which are helpful. Again, I usually catch a sale at the department stores listed above.

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Trust me, I have purchased some off brands from Forman Mills or K-mart and they have not been as comfortable as these. As you can see in my photos below (cirque: 2011) I had invented ways to manage support.

In this first photo, I am actually wearing 1 off brand bra and I have another tank top over it which I tied tightly behind me. SMH! -not supportive.

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Take a look at this photo below- I have about 3 different tops on in attempts to secure,  which clearly is not supporting me.

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The brands mentioned above have proven their quality as I have owned them for a while. And even after PLENTY of washes-plenty, they still get the job done. Remember, you get what you pay for so treat yourself to some new workout clothes-that’s always a good motivator to get off your butt! Please comment and share! What are some of your favorite workout clothes, sports bras, and places to purchase these at?

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(disclaimer: I do not work for any of these companies nor will I receive any compensation by reviewing or recommending them). 

Keep your New Year’s Resolutions

8 TIPS TO SETTING GOALS & KEEPING THEM

Week 2 into the New Year! If you could give yourself a letter grade (A-F) on how well you’ve been managing your goals and New Year’s resolutions what would you give yourself-honestly? I know, I know, we all say we WANT to do something and we all intend on doing it … but, we don’t always stick to our word. So, how do we fix this? How can we ensure we meet some of our goals and resolutions before another ball drops? (Literally and figuratively- 😉 see what I did there?) I would like to share some of my personal tips for goal maintenance before you realize you’re adding the same resolutions and goals from this year into next year. Trust me, I have been known to procrastinate things myself, sadly. My simple steps and tips have helped to kick the bad “putting it off” habit. As a great entrepreneur once said, “I only put off things and procrastinate things I don’t want to do.” –Gary Vaynerchuck (I highly suggest following him on social media especially Snapchat: @garyvee). So in essence, if you’re putting it off, then it must not be that important to you.

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Tip #1 Make goals attainable and measurable:

First and foremost you have to believe that you have the capability to complete your goal and literally, envision attaining and maintaining said goal. If you begin to SEE it, you will believe it. Sometimes our dreams seem unreachable and doubt, fear, and ego play a huge factor into what we tell ourselves we can and can’t do. Make your goals are attainable within the given timeframe. Which brings me to my next tip…

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Tip #2 Make & meet deadlines!

We get deadlines for school work and within our workforce that we so anxiously attempt to meet. How often do you give YOURSELF a deadline? Is your deadline reasonable? Do yourself a favor and SHOW UP for yourself –for once. Clock yourself into life and make whatever goals/resolutions happen.

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Tip #3 Write it down!

As a mental health professional with a Master’s in Social work, I thoroughly live by the saying; “If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.” Documentation is key! (DJ Khaled voice lol he also has a great account to follow on Snapchat-another one). Write your goals down. Write down daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. I began this over three years ago (Thanks to one of my fraternity brothers) and I must admit it has changed my life. The feeling I get from crossing a goal off a list is unexplainable. Write down your goals so they are tangible and if you want to be creative, try making yearly vision boards from your yearly goals. If you’re old school like me, grab yourself a notebook and make that your goal writing notebook.

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Tip #4 Celebrate the (seemingly) small victories.

Let’s face it, life happens. Sometimes we set a goal, we start taking the necessary steps to accomplish them, and then we fall off. It’s ok, as long as you get back on the bike when you fall off. Celebrate your small accomplishments. If you swapped out a healthy snack over hitting the vending machine for some Cheetos-congrats boo. If you cursed only 5 times today over your usual 10-pat ya back boo. If you smoked only 7 cigarettes today over your usual pack a day-standing O for you. Don’t beat yourself up! As long as you continue to keep your eyes on the prize and move forward toward full management and maintenance of your goals, you’re doing fine. Studies show it takes over 22 days to a month to make and break habits, so keep striving. You’re almost there.

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Tip #5 Speak it into existence!

Goals in your mind fall upon NO ears but your own. What better way to be held accountable for your wants, dreams, desires, and aspirations than to share them with the world. Ok, maybe not the world, but at least tell supportive people you love. Make it your Facebook status so a year from now Facebook can annoyingly remind you of your goal you set. Look in the mirror and speak your goals to yourself daily. Whatever you do, just speak it!

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Tip #6 Find an accountability buddy

Link up with a friend who will either join you on your goals or hold you accountable for them. Network with individuals who are doing what you want to do and who are where you want to be. There is nothing more intimidating yet immensely encouraging than to share your goals with someone who has already completed a similar goal and is now where YOU want to be. It’s the ultimate motivation- to know that someone you look up to is now looking at you to make sure you follow through on everything you said you would.

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Tip #7 Document progress

Again, if you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen. Document your progress. If your goal is to write a book, and you’ve written 2 new chapters within a certain small time frame, document the progress. Post it on Instagram or make a timeline of completed tasks for yourself. Everyone always wants to take before and after pictures when they make a change but hardly anyone documents the progress. Document and embrace the journey.

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Tip #8 Understand the stages of change model 

Stages?…Yes, there’s levels to this ish. There are levels to changing a habit. I’ve studied mind and behavior for the past 10 years (wow, I just realized it’s been that long). It’s important to know what stage of change you’re in. So what are the stages? The first stage is pre-contemplation where you begin to think about what changes you want to make. In the next stage, contemplation, you begin to question yourself, doubt yourself, and then fear kicks in. This is the stage where we often weigh out our options and determine if and why we should or shouldn’t make the change. The next stage is preparation. It is during this stage that we often choose to make a plan of action and begin to take the necessary steps to hopefully achieve said goal. Want to eat healthier? Then if you have started to make a grocery list and go grocery shopping for your healthy meal preps than THIS is the stage you’re in, keep it up. The next stage is action. During the action stage, we begin to implement little changes in our lives in hopes to attain our goals. If your goal is to be more organized, something as simple as making your bed every morning can count as an action measure to accomplish your ultimate goal. Lastly, the maintenance stage. In the maintenance stage, our goals are somewhat met. In this stage, it is crucial that you continuously implement various action measures to ensure you maintain your goal on a long term basis.

What are some of your goal attaining tips? Comment below!

Happy New Year, find your will, and happy resolution conquering.

Be mindful and stay well,

ILM, MSW-Wellness Coach

Email me today for a free wellness consultation! 

“Change begins in your mind.”

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Please consult with a medical physician and/or mental health provider before beginning any fitness, nutrition, or mindfulness regimen or program.