Thoughts in a moment: mindful discussion book club

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I have decided to create a thoughtful book club! The reason is two-fold: I want to read more and engage in constructive conversation! There are no hard and fast rules to this book club and you don’t have to read every single book to participate! If there are a select few books you’d like to jump in on the discussion for, by all means! We are meeting here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/399791290395171/

I made this selection of books because I believe these are all issues that are affecting our present day and also issues that relate to the intentions of this blog — some are little known. I believe we will generate positive dialogue and perhaps learn something about the world, ourselves, and each other! Happy reading!

April

For April, I decided to choose two books. The first, The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish Way to Live Well is a quick read about this Danish way of life that you may already be partaking in without even knowing it!

The second book, In Defense of Food, discusses the industrialization of food as it relates to the decline of the environment. Pollan looks at food from a health perspective and discusses the multi-billion dollar food industry with facts.

May

“When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules—about work, about love, and about womanhood.”

June

TBD

July

“Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.”

August

“It started with a harmless quest for perfect wash-and-go hair. Every girl wants it, and Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt finally found it in a fancy salon treatment. They were thrilled—until they discovered that the magic ingredient was formaldehyde.”

September

“Your toddler throws a tantrum in the middle of a store. Your preschooler refuses to get dressed. Your fifth-grader sulks on the bench instead of playing on the field. Do children conspire to make their parents’ lives endlessly challenging? No―it’s just their developing brain calling the shots!”

October

“Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.”

November

“#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed”

December

“From the star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills comes an emotional and eye opening behind-the-scenes look at her descent into uncovering the mystery of chronic Lyme disease.”

January

“Even as seas rise against the shores, another great tide is beginning to rise – a tide of outrage against the pillage of the planet, a tide of commitment to justice and human rights, a swelling affirmation of moral responsibility to the future and to Earth’s fullness of life.”

February

“Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.”

 

Guest Post: Calm Your Fear of Postpartum Anxiety

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By: Kristy Rodriguez

Postpartum Depression gets a lot of attention these days (which is great! Awareness is important), but did you know that postpartum anxiety can be just as disruptive? “Great,” I hear you say. “Another thing to worry about.” But pregnancy is a time of joy. Or at least it should be. It can be hard to really feel that joy if you are worried about what’s coming. But the best offense is a great defense! Ease your mind—and help make sure that you are not caught off-guard—with four easy steps:

Step 1

Educate Yourself: Learn about the signs and symptoms of postpartum anxiety, and how it is similar to (and different from) postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor, your midwife, your doula, and your mom friends. Then take matters into your own hands by seeking out information from multiple, reputable sources, in print or online. Do not just consume endless horror stories—there is nothing productive in that. Look instead for sources that focus on prevention and treatment.

Step 2

Make A Plan: Discuss your concerns with those around you. Get your partner, your care providers, and any friends or family that will be helping you in the early weeks and months on board. Make sure they know what to look for and have a plan for checking in on your mental wellbeing after delivery. You need the people who know you well on the lookout, just in case you yourself are not in a state to identify what is going on. And if things get bad, they may need to push you a bit to get help.

Step 3

Ask For Help: Compile a list of potential mental health treatment providers in your area, and know what your insurance does or does not cover. That way, if you need professional intervention, you can get the help you need faster, and you won’t need to scramble to find this information while under the influence of postpartum anxiety or depression, while learning how to care for your new arrival to boot. Think of it as your worst-case-scenario toolkit.

Step 4

Relax: When it comes to postpartum anxiety (or depression, or any number of physical or mental difficulties) the best prevention is to be as healthy as possible. So, take care of yourself the way you would anyway. Being kind to yourself, saying no to stress, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, getting quality sleep, making sure that you have at least some (doctor approved) movement in your days—all of these things will help you to be as physically and mentally healthy as possible.

In other words, now that you are prepared for the worst, take the focus off of possible future problems and put your focus on meeting your needs in the here and now. If you need any help with these things, consider picking up a copy of Pure Nurture: A Holistic Guide to a Healthy Baby, your guide to self-care during pregnancy.

If you are already struggling with postpartum anxiety, skip straight to steps 3 and 4. Getting help as soon as possible will help you get back on track faster. There is a way out, and there is no shame in needing a little help to find it.


Kristy S. Rodriguez, pre- and postnatal wellness expert and advocate, is the owner and founder of Pure Nurture, LLC, a business devoted to educating and inspiring women to nurture and nourish themselves through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. As a Holistic Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher specializing in pre- and postnatal wellness, Kristy works with individual clients, as well as teaching classes and workshops, both in person and online.


Bump Day! Supplements in Pregnancy

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Hitting week 20 of pregnancy and I am feeling pretty good! Good nutrition is super important for pregnancy and I have researched and consulted with holistic nutritionists and my doctor about supplements during pregnancy. I knew for sure that I wanted to focus on whole food vitamins and I had already been taking the Mega Food Baby and Me vitamin for about eight months prior to becoming pregnant. It contains all of the vitamins and minerals necessary to help develop baby and sustain a healthy pregnancy, including Folate which is so important before and during early pregnancy.

I read a lot about vitamins and a couple of lists that I found helpful were from Mama Natural and Wellness Mama, sharing the supplements that they take during pregnancy. I don’t take all that they take and it really depends on your comfort level and needs during pregnancy.

One thing that Enza Ward, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and owner of Senzable Health pointed out to me that was super important for pregnancy was probiotics.

Babies are born with a sterile gut so it is so important to take a high quality probiotic supplement or obtain probiotics through food to get the right balance of gut bacteria.

I am taking Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics which contain 12 probiotic strains and use a traditional Asian fermentation process.

You can also obtain probiotics through fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut as well as tempeh and kefir.

Another supplement that I feel is very important is a good prenatal omega three that contains DHA and EPA. I have been taking the Garden of Life brand Ocean’s Mom.

Recently, I have been reading articles that say most of the population is deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is important for general health but can help to get things moving, especially in pregnancy. I am taking a magnesium citrate from Natural Factors.

I usually take a B-complex vitamin to help regulate my mood and for energy. I was taking it leading up to pregnancy and have taken it periodically throughout. B vitamins are water soluble so you pee out any excess however, it is important not to over do it.

I have also been drinking red raspberry leaf tea, periodically. It is said to help with morning sickness and strengthen the uterine muscles.

There are many other supplements women can take in pregnancy and it is really up to the mother what her comfort level is and her needs in pregnancy.

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, naturopath or medical professional. These statements are my own personal beliefs. Please consult with a doctor before taking any supplements.

Cleaning with essential oils

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doTERRA’s OnGuard protective blend essential oil. Photo courtesy of doTERRA.com.

I am kind of the queen of anxieties when it comes to chemicals…don’t worry, I’m talking to a therapist. Most of my fears are probably irrational and take worst case scenario to the max but I am just not comfortable cleaning with things that could potentially be harmful to my health, or my family’s health. So many chemicals have such adverse side effects on our health such as cancers and asthma. So, a few years ago, I spoke with Green Calgary, an organization in the city that gives people information and offers workshops on how to make your home more green and to minimize indoor air pollution.

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We all have a story to tell, what’s yours?

I wanted to share a friend’s story. Her words are powerful, even in a time of struggle. Her story may be more challenging than some but I think we can all relate to struggle, perseverance and defining ourselves. Like I have said before in previous posts, if we all share our story we will all be able to find some common ground and I think that is a great part of healing. I would encourage you  to share your struggles and your story with someone and maybe you might be surprised with the response or the outcome.

Written by Cait on her blog: Fancy, Free and Fatigued 

Every heart has a story to tell, let me introduce mine

To my Core:

I’m writing this blog in hopes that you can understand that although my body is not well and I am struggling that I am happy. I’m writing this to give you the opportunity to understand my experience and in hopes that maybe I can influence yours. My journey has taught me to remain resilient when fairness and kindness are meek and to kindly push boundaries when you feel that something is not right. Life is so extraordinary if you develop the right approach. xo

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How to deal with anxiety one day at a time

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Living with anxiety is hard and people who don’t experience chronic anxiety have a hard time understanding what you are actually going through. Anxiety is something that I have dealt with on and off for years. Some days it is better than others. And while I’ve never been formally diagnosed, it is definitely something that I have sought help for in the past.

The way people experience anxiety can be very different. My anxiety comes in the form of worrying about little things. It comes in the form of obsession about things that might cause harm to my body such as germs or chemicals or diseases and what not. It sometimes expresses itself in anger towards people who don’t deserve it, but if I am worrying anxiously about something, and then discussing something completely un related with someone it can cause me to take my anxiety frustrations out on them.

With my various anxieties, I sometimes have to do things a few times to make sure in my own head that the are actually done, or that my health will not be harmed, even by something as simple as using a public washroom (this is where the OCD component comes in). Most of my anxieties are completely irrational and I have taught myself to acknowledge my feelings but to move past them through the power of my mind and exercises in mindfulness.These exercises where given to me by a therapist and have helped me combat my daily anxieties.

So what is anxiety? People, namely people who don’t understand anxiety, have told me that worry is a wasted emotion. But anxiety is so much more than just a simple worry. It is a general sense of uneasiness in everyday life. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “We all feel nervous or worried at times. This anxiety can be a helpful feeling when it motivates us or warns us of danger. An anxiety disorder, on the other hand, causes unexpected or unhelpful anxiety that seriously impacts our lives, including how we think, feel, and act.”

Learn more about anxiety disorders. Also, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.”

One of my favourite philosophers explains anxiety in such an eloquent way and it is a notion that has stayed with me. According to Kierkegaard in The Concept of Anxiety, 

Anxiety is a qualification of dreaming spirit, and as such it has its place in psychology. Awake, the difference between myself and my other is posited; sleeping, it is suspended; dreaming, it is an intimated nothing. The actuality of the spirit constantly shows itself as a form that tempts its possibility but disappears as soon as it seeks to grasp for it, and it is a nothing that can only bring anxiety. More it cannot do as long as it merely shows itself. [Anxiety] is altogether different from fear and similar concepts that refer to something definite, whereas anxiety is freedom’s actuality as the possibility of possibility.

[…]

Anxiety may be compared with dizziness. He whose eye happens to look down the yawning abyss becomes dizzy. But what is the reason for this? It is just as much in his own eye as in the abyss, for suppose he had not looked down. Hence, anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, which emerges when the spirit wants to posit the synthesis and freedom looks down into its own possibility, laying hold of finiteness to support itself. Freedom succumbs to dizziness. Further than this, psychology cannot and will not go. In that very moment everything is changed, and freedom, when it again rises, sees that it is guilty. Between these two moments lies the leap, which no science has explained and which no science can explain. He who becomes guilty in anxiety becomes as ambiguously guilty as it is possible to become.

What I understand from Kierkegaards notions of anxiety is that many things can bring on anxiety and when there are seemingly so many possibilities, it brings on the dizziness of anxiety. We are faced with constant decisions, especially in this busy modern world that it can prove overwhelming for some.  I am however, not as depressing as Kierkegaard however, the good news is there are lots of ways to combat anxiety. Some ways that I try to deal with my anxiety on a daily basis:

1. Constant positive thoughts
I know that as soon as I get in a negative tail-spin it’s only down, down, down from there we go. My negative thoughts only breed negative thoughts. Many things can set off the rampage of negativity such as a fight with my partner, something stressful happening at work, traffic, or just having a plain old bad day. But, when those things do happen, I want to have a way to combat them and not to get into such a downer mode or an anxiety ridden state that can be hard to get out of.
I’m not saying that my thoughts are all roses and butterflies but I definitely know I can get caught up in negative emotions, because life goes on and it is much better when I am looking to the bright side of things.
2. Aromatherapy
For me, I know that light and smell really affect my mood. Life is stressful no matter who you are, and I really try to take a few minutes each day to chill. For me, this may mean having a cup of tea with a candle lit and watching a favourite TV show or using essential oils to boost my mood. I find, if I take some time to indulge in these things it has a drastic impact on my mood. I am less likely to let some anxieties bother me and even after a stressful day it can really help to calm myself and help me not to be so snappy.
3. Consciously drinking more water
I’ve noticed my mood and how I handle stress drastically improves when I am hydrated. This is something that is quite simple but I know I often don’t get enough water each day. When I drink more water I’ve noticed that I get less headaches and I am a generally more happy person. Seems like a no-brainer, right?
4. Going for a walk
This is something that I have used more in the past to help with anxiety. I do find that getting outside still really helps to clear my thoughts and to calm me down. Something about fresh air and time to clear your head that is so important for well being.
5. Talk about it
I find when I talk about the feelings I am having with people who understand it truly helps to combat my irrational anxieties. This could be a good friend (I use this one a lot, sorry guys!) or it could be a therapist or counsellor. It is really important to have a support system and to not internalize your feelings. Some days all it takes is for a good friend to say “calm down, you are letting your thoughts get the better of you, don’t worry!” I think if I didn’t have some sort of support system, I would be in a really dark place.
6. Exercise
For me this is going to a group fitness class, at least once a week. But doing something active can really help to get the good feelings flowing. Even yoga is a great exercise and one that I need to try to do more often as it combines physical well being with mental well being.
7. Take a break
I find I need to get out of the city every once in a while. Doing a weekend day trip to the mountains or visiting a friend in another city can really help me to re-charge and give me a new perspective.
8. Healthy eating
If I make sure that my diet is in check I always notice that I am in a much better head space. Not only eating healthy food but making sure to eat something at breakfast, lunch and dinner and to stop for snacks in between. I find planning all of this difficult some days but when I do, I feel much better.
I think that mental health is a societal issue and it is important to talk about how we are feeling. If you have serious feelings of anxiety it is a great idea to seek a mental health professional to give you the tools to deal with it. I am always looking for more great ideas to combat my anxious feelings day to day. Please share your strategies with me! I love sharing common stories and I think it is so important to speak and to listen.