My Blog’s Own QR Code

My Blog's Own QR Code

Advertisements

Alcohol and Your Body

Drinking can seem like one of the biggest social events on a college campus but when weekend fun turns into a daily routine, your body will start crying for help. ¬†The liver is the largest organ in the human body and it has over 500 different roles. ¬†One of its most important roles of the liver is to break down food and convert it to energy when you need it most. ¬†It also helps rid the body of waste products and plays a crucial role in fighting infections. ¬†When the liver is damaged, you generally won’t know about it until things get serious. ¬†Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver in two main ways: oxidative stress and toxins in gut bacteria. ¬†The end result? ¬†Liver disease that can lead to serious hospitalization or death.

So how do you know if you’re drinking too much? ¬†You may have an alcohol problem if you:

  • Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
  • Lie to others or hide your drinking habits
  • Have friends or family who are concerned about your drinking habits
  • Need to drink in order to relax or feel better
  • “Black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking
  • Regularly drink more than you intended to

If you need to drink more than you used to in order to get a buzz and can drink more than other people without getting drunk, these are signs of tolerance which can be an early warning of alcoholism.  If you experience any of the following signs, you may be experiencing withdrawal from the heavy amounts of alcohol your body is used to consuming.

  • Anxiety/Jumpiness
  • Shaking/Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or ¬†vomiting
  • Insomnia/Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

Alcohol abuse can lead to destructive decisions like drinking and driving, performing poorly at work or school, increased probability of overdosing when mixing alcohol with medications, disorderly conduct and embarrassment or heartbreak for yourself and others.  If you or somebody you care about think you might have a drinking problem, visit www.helpguide.org for information, support and help.

Good Vibes

If for any reason you wake up feeling like something or someone is draining positive energy from your life, do something about it! ¬†It’s hard enough to balance relationships with a full workload and still try to squeeze in a little “me time” all under 24 hours. ¬†Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul says that we live in an extremely externalized culture. ¬†“We are constantly pulled outside of ourselves–by other people, by the media, by the demands of daily life. ¬†Nothing in our culture or education teaches us how to go inward, how to steady the mind and calm our attention. ¬†As a consequence, we tend to devote very little time to the life of the soul, the life of the spirit.” ¬†Read more…

Not having the right amount of stillness and balance in your life can lead to high levels of anxiety, causing physical and mental ‘numbness’. ¬†The Calm Clinic¬†says physical numbness is most likely a result of uneven blood flow. ¬†When your body is feeling anxious, it goes into “fight or flight” mode, ¬†heats up and blood rushes to the areas it feels are most needed to fight or run away; as a result, you lose feeling in different limbs. ¬†Anxiety can also lead to depression as a result of your mind trying to deal with/find solutions for all of the external stimuli (friends, family, partners, colleagues, etc.) in your life and the brain feels overwhelmed, helpless and simply shuts down.

I’m not saying to shut important people out of your life or that you’re going to be backed into a corner from anxiety, but doing things you love by yourself and for yourself play a key role in physical and mental wellness. ¬†Here’s a few simple solutions to find your center and steal your own slither of happiness:

  • Meditation–Find a quiet place to yourself (like in a dark room lit with candles or in a grassy field in a park), come to terms with every thought that comes up and let them pass until your mind is clear
  • LIGHTLY indulge in that chocolate you’ve been craving or thinking about. ¬†Chocolate increases serotonin and endorphin levels, lowering stress and boosting happiness
  • Take a bath! (<–Read my first post)

The ADHD Talk

Ask almost any college student if they know what adderall ¬†is and I guarantee that 90% of them would answer “yes.” ¬†Adderall, as described by drugs.com, contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine which are central nervous system stimulants that affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. ¬† It’s a prescription drug used to control narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); adults can also have ADHD and in fact, up to half of the adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children but when the ADHD persists into adulthood, the symptoms vary and the individual often has problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.

There are three different categories of ADHD symptoms: inattention, ¬†hyperactivity and impulsivity. ¬†Those who suffer with the disorder know exactly what it’s like to try to sit patiently for a half hour, even ten minutes, to attempt to proactively keep their room clean, to pay attention when someone is talking, to finish an assignment without making stupid mistakes and worst of all, to procrastinate on almost everything there is to do. ¬†I made it through my adolescent life with a lot of help from my parents but as soon as I left for college, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy four years. ¬†I managed to barely pass my classes for two years with the help of my first college boyfriend but the symptoms took a large toll on our relationship and in his words, “he got tired of babysitting me.” ¬†School became so difficult for me without any structure or authority figure in my life that I spiraled out of control and took the year off.

Last year was the first year of my college life that I brought home decent grades. ¬†How did I manage to turn things around? ¬†My randomly selected roommate had ADHD and was prescribed a form of adderall. ¬†She and I became close friends because we were so much alike and could understand each other, unlike a lot of other people who judged us for being impatient, disorganized, impulsive and “stupid.” ¬†I had a long talk with my mom and finally went to the doctor about the problems I had been having. ¬†I might not be a super-being now or even close to as organized and proactive as a “normal” peer but I am getting through my last semester and fifth year in college, realizing I am different and there will eventually a ¬†perfect job out there for me.

A Walk in the Park

There is nothing I love more about the first signs of spring than knowing I get to spend my free time at a park, basking in the sunshine. ¬†Spending time outdoors makes me feel so at peace, one with nature, care-free and above all, healthy. ¬†There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors that people aren’t even aware of because of convenient technologies and indoor facilities that soak up free time. ¬†An article from the National Wildlife Federation explains that the average American child spends as little as 30 minutes outside each day. ¬†Child obesity rates have doubled and the U.S. has become the leader in prescribing ADHD and depression medications because they are missing that vital connection to the green world.

I remember when I was a young child, it took all my willpower to listen to my mother to return inside after dark.  I wanted to play outside with my sister and neighbors all day long, never wanting to return to the boring house.  Today, when I start feeling the stress of school or peer relationships, the first thing I do is drive to a park so I can walk around and breathe deep instead of taking my frustration out on other people.

The green outdoors doesn’t just have to be limited to walking around and staring at the trees. ¬†You can meditate, go on a run or a jog, take a friend to a picnic and even bird watch if that’s your thing. ¬†My dog loves when I tell her we’re going on a walk because she knows she can sniff around for a good hour or two and investigate the mysterious smells of other animals while I inhale the fresh air and finally get a break from my computer or television screen. ¬†Go to the beach, go to a zoo, a park, a walk down the street or wherever you prefer that’s outside with someone you love because face-to-face communication is lacking in today’s world and being outside is a great way to reconnect.

If You’re Getting Sick…Try Not to Panic

Lately I’ve been surrounded by people who have been sneezing, coughing, losing their voices, vomiting or weak from a fever. ¬†I have always had a weak immune system because I have several autoimmune diseases ¬†so I was surprised to find myself in pretty good shape this entire week. ¬†If you find yourself getting sick, try and quarantine yourself from others you recognize with cold or flu symptoms (it’s often hard to tell the difference between the two). ¬† Both can be treated with medicine to shorten the time spent sick but once the cold or flu has started, there’s nothing more to do than temporarily mask the symptoms and ride it out.

Experts say that Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. ¬†It protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling. ¬†It may not cure the cold or flu but if you eat enough fruits and vegetables or take an additional supplement to get the recommended daily 500 mg, Vitamin C can play a large role in keeping you out of your bed and on top of your daily life. ¬†If you don’t prefer straight fruits or vegetables, visit www.smoothieweb.com for over 500 healthy, multi-purpose smoothies.

I’m sure everyone could feel this one coming but exercising daily is a great preventative to battle the cold, flu or fatigue. ¬†Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. ¬†Physical activity can help by flushing bacteria out of the lungs (preventing cold, flu and other airborne illnesses) and prevent cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, like urine and sweat. ¬†Read more…

Last but certainly not least, your water intake is the key to any aspect of your physical health.  The average human body is comprised of 50-65% of water; mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired after about 1% dehydration.  Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues: the main tissues affected by a cold.  For more information on the cold, flu or any health-related topics discussed above, visit mayoclinic.org or webmd.com.

Helpful Hints to Track Your Progress

IMAG0752

Making a change in your life can seem like it’s taking forever to notice progress and stick to the ritual. ¬†But if you push through the long hours, annoyances and in some cases, the pain, the changes become routine. ¬†After something becomes routine and habitual in your life, you barely even worry about why you wanted to make those changes in the first place! ¬†As this Huffington Post article explains,¬†¬†something as simple as making your bed every morning can kick-start positive changes in other aspects of your life: “first the bed, next the world.” ¬†In the case of working out and eating clean (unprocessed foods with no chemical additives), I have found several strategies to be especially helpful.

  • Join¬†My Fitness Pal¬†online and download the app on your smart phone to keep track of what you ate, when you ate it and the nutritional facts as they pertain to your weight loss goals. ¬†The app even has a barcode reader so you can scan items for instantaneous answers. ¬†Medical studies show that maintaining a food diary doubles your weight loss and this online tracker is free and easy to use.
  • Use a separate calendar for tracking and staying on top of your fitness. ¬†It’s nearly impossible to squeeze a description of the day’s workout and meal plans in the same box that you scribbled your [school]work obligations. ¬†Referring to separate calendars for different types of schedules and goals will help ease the stress of balancing the already-busy life you have with your new ‘fit and healthy’ life.
  • If you get discouraged looking in the mirror day after day, tape newspaper over your full-length mirror so you won’t be tempted to obsess after your shower or workout and complain that you can’t see any differences. ¬†Take a ‘before’ picture on the first day of your routine and only take the newspaper off the mirror every 30 days to take monthly progress pictures. ¬†Compare the pictures after three months and I guarantee you will be much happier with what you see.

It takes a lot of time to get that beach body but stick to a plan and repeat to yourself, Just Do It!

Let it Be: Ladies Edition

catty+girls+so+not+me

As the Beatles preached in their 1970’s single album, “Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.” ¬†How do you let a close friend know that they are making a mistake? ¬†Are you upfront and open about the problem? ¬†Do you let something carry on for so long that the conversation finally pours out of your mouth with frustration and anger and spirals out of control? ¬†Or are you the type of friend who holds their breath and says nothing until the friend has dug a hole for him/herself without even realizing they were doing anything wrong? ¬†There are some things in life that you can and should let pass you by for the other person to figure out on their own but there are also times when that friend could use some good, straight advice in a way that doesn’t sound condescending. ¬†We’ll call this section ‘straight talk’ and give instances when you should “let it be” or not let it be.

  • Your girlfriend is frying her curly hair everyday with a straightener/dying it way too often: ¬†It’s ok for someone to use the chameleon tactic to disguise their natural hair’s color or style but that chameleon could turn into an unruly dragon if there aren’t regulations. ¬†Try dropping subtle hints to her like “I miss seeing your pretty curls/waves” or “Oh you should try this great leave-in conditioner but you can’t use heat on your hair for a week! ¬†It worked great for me!” ¬†Letting her think you are looking out for her from personal experience will make her feel that you are being honest and helpful rather than harsh.
  • Your friend is seeing a guy/girl that you don’t get good vibes from and could mean trouble or heartbreak: Try to let this one be for a while. ¬†If you are noticing negative behavior rubbing off from the significant other to your friend, just give them enough space to figure out what they want. ¬†Nobody wants to be nagged about possible love choices. ¬†If there are no improvements in the next few months, sit your friend down and get them to openly talk about aspects of their relationship and determine if it’s healthy or hindering before taking further action.
  • Your friend is mooching: You’re generous enough, letting friends wear clothes or borrow makeup or eat your food. ¬†But when it gets to the point that it’s taking a toll on your budget or wardrobe, it’s time to put them in their place and let them know that you don’t appreciate them treating your possessions and belongings like their own. ¬†Suggest that they buy their own versions of whatever they are mooching off of you.

(Image borrowed from sheenalashay.com)

Hair’s to Change!

IMAG0720_1

As the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2014, millions of people lifted their glasses and toasted to a new year with new resolutions to which they swore to follow. “One drink/piece of chocolate/cookie/a million other things won’t hurt me.” ¬†But giving in one time turns into ten times and before you know it, you are no closer to reaching your goals and in fact, you may be further behind than before. ¬†This scenario has already played out for me twice thus far; but for the past week, I have pushed past temptation and ignored ailments and negative thoughts. ¬†The hardest hurdle for me to jump over when working out and eating healthier is reaching four days in a row. ¬†If I can push myself on day five to work out and avoid unhealthy foods, I look forward to extending my willpower to day six.

I ombred¬†my roommate’s hair last night for four long hours, applying dark brown to the crown of her head and bright red from the chin down. ¬†Over these four hours, I felt productive and skillful which inspired me to write about how something as simple as dying your hair a different color or several colors can be exciting and refreshing, helping you accomplish resolutions and goals that the old you couldn’t/wouldn’t. ¬†You can also use this tactic to motivate and reward yourself; once you have worked out for x days/months in a row, treat yourself with something that you have been craving or wanting to do. ¬†Try using these tips to push yourself closer to your resolutions:

  • Reward yourself to frozen yogurt instead of ice cream at the end of every successful workout week. ¬†Frozen yogurt has a load of healthy benefits but use caution with size and toppings!¬†http://bit.ly/1bKZWek
  • Get a manicure or pedicure–What could be better than a stranger massaging your hands, legs and feet making them soft and beautiful?
  • Buy a new form-fitting top to show off your progress at the gym and your newfound abs

Whatever you are working for or toward, just keep your imagined result in mind and repeat to yourself, “I am the only one who can make this vision a reality”.