From My Late Night Anxious Brain

From My Late Night Anxious Brain |Candidly Kelsey

Tonight’s surprise 2am blog post is brought to you by crippling fear of the future, and a poorly planned 11pm workout.

Insomnia is a bitch.  The to-do lists that run through your head, the what ifs, could haves and fears that give you the cold sweats.  The never-ending mantra of things running through your head that make you feel the need to get up and pace the hallway just to expel some of your energy— but you’re trying to sleep, so that’d be counter productive, right?

The best part of it is that when you try to actually catalogue your thoughts, you realize this is all utter nonsense.  That the thing that is stressing you could be totally bullshit or the biggest decision of your current being.  Either way, all scenarios just cycle.  Your wants, your needs, your doubts, your hopes, your plans.  The ifs continue to pop in and out of your racing thoughts while you try to picture sheep or count clouds or whatever the hell Mom told you to do when you were 9 and didn’t know what the word “insomnia” was.

But that’s the best part of your anxiety brain– even if you tell it that you’re just freaking for no reason, the little scared goblin of stress is still crying and holding it’s sides, stirring the pot of your thoughts despite your attempt to control them.

Because they do cycle.  Things ping around in your head with no rhyme or reason, like a game of super not fun pinball.  Even if it’s just one thought, bouncing through the rest of your daily brain functions, causing all the normal to move around it so quickly that you can’t make sense of it all.  Catching up on emails and going to work tomorrow is so normal, but when those plans bounce off your anxiety, suddenly everything is overwhelming, and moving too fast.  Like the red sock in the load of whites, but the washing machine door is stuck shut so you just have to sit and watch while all your clothes turn pink.

You can repeat your “calming” mantra, play your relaxing apps or videos, but the excess energy in your legs and the feeling that your heart is beating too fast (it isn’t) or that you can’t breath (you can) is too distracting.  So you just lay in bed and listen to your thoughts cycle, and count the passing time by how many times you have to remind Netflix that you’re still watching.

Or you can write this totally self-serving blog post to try to help you put words to your feelings, and hope that it helps.  Did it help? I don’t know.  But it certainly passed some time while I waited for the Xanax to kick in.

PS.  This was weirdly personal, but this is a big part of my life.  Much more so than make-up or anything else I write on here.  And if Huffington Post is correct in their statistics, basically all adults suffer from anxiety.  So you get me, right?  Right?  Good.  Okay, bye.

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My Favorite Acne Products

I’m a big fan of Mario Badescu products. I’ve been using the Cucumber Lotion and Buffering Lotion for awhile, but recently added the Drying Lotion to my nightly routine. The combination of the two really seem to help keep the gross little spots at bay.

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I’ve had problems with hormonal acne for years, battling with any over the counter medication I can find. I switched out of acne-centered cleansers for something more gentle, and have added serums and other treatments so that I can control how much of a treatment I am actually putting on my face.

After washing my face at night, I apply the Buffering Lotion while the Cucumber Lotion is still fresh on my face, after reading that toners help serums soak in better. I follow up with my eye cream, and moisturizer. After my moisturizer is completely dry, I dab on a little bit of the Drying Lotion over my blemishes.

The lotion is a little trick to apply. Whatever you do, do not shake it.  And especially do not shake the samples in the store and then read the giant “do not shake” on the back and walk away very quickly. Whoops! The pink goop at the bottom is what you want to apply to your face.

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Using a cotton swab, scoop a little bit of the pink solid at the bottom out. Let the excess liquid drip off, and then gently apply to your blemishes. It’s helpful to use a cotton ball or some tissue to catch the extra liquid from dripping down your face.

Warning: this crap stings.  Especially if your skin is broken or dry.  Use it as a spot treatment only as it’s very potent, but holy crap does it work wonders. After the stinging subsides, I forget I have it on at all and go to bed. It’s not a miracle worker, and depending on the size of the tiny rat bastard  blemish on my face, I usually still have a pimple the next day, but the appearance is greatly reduced.

My best results usually occur when I use a combination of the Buffering Lotion and the Drying Lotion, and then skip the acne products the next morning to give my face a chance to relax.  Again, it’s no miracle product, but it’s my little savior until doctors somehow find a way for hormones to not create tiny volcanos on my face, then I’ll take it.

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5 Quick (and dirty) Health Tips

Quick and Easy Tips to Start Feeling Healthier NOW | Candidly Kelsey

 

My life dream is to work with people on improving their health.  I want to be the nice Jillian Michaels (with a slightly bigger ass).  But as I am still without the certifications after my name that says I am qualified to instruct others on improving their well-being, I thought I’d offer up my opinion on some basic health matters by sharing 5 Quick (and dirty) Health Tips:

1. Drink more Water

I am actually cringing even as I write this, because this is the most overused health tip in the history of Yahoo! Health articles, but it still holds true.

SCIENCE LESSON: Your body uses water in EVERYTHING. Water is a major part of your muscles, your blood, your organs, and your cells (to name a few things).  When you become dehydrated, that means your body is missing the water to keep things running the way they should.  This could result in low blood pressure (less water = less water in your blood = lowering the amount of blood you have because water isn’t diluting it like normal = feeling sluggish because not enough blood is pumping and delivering things like oxygen to your organs), muscles that aren’t working to their potential, dizziness, fainting, headache, etc.  All of this adds up to us not feeling the best that we could be, making this change simple: Drink more water.

There are plenty of simple ways to add more water to your daily life:

  • Get a cute water bottle.  Carry it with you 24/7, and drink often.  Or, if you want to stay super dedicated, you can even write on the water bottle body-builder style to time your water intake throughout the day.
  • Set phone alarms.  This one is my personal favorite.  I have an alarm that goes off at 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm.  I am for 100oz of water per day, and whenever those alarms go off, I check my progress.  If I’m slacking, I drink a few glasses.  Eventually, it becomes a habit.
  • Drink a glass of water before every meal.
  • Stop drinking soda/juice/gatorade during the day, and replace it with water.  Bing, bang, boom.  Less calories, less sugar, more water.  It’s a win-win situation.

For your entertainment, see: My cute water bottle, a hand-painted 52 oz Bubba Keg (originally made for festive alcoholic consumption, is now my favorite water bottle).

Quick and Easy Tips to Start Feeling Healthier NOW | Candidly Kelsey

2. Increase Your Fruits and Veggies Intake

Notice I said “increase” not “get a totally-unrealistic-amount of servings per day”.

If you are a person who eats very little, or literally no whole fruits or vegetables, then trying to suddenly start eating 3 servings of each per day will be really hard.  This is where people tend to get scared and shy away from making healthy choices.  You don’t have to cut out all of your favorite foods to improve your health. You can benefit from even adding a little bit at a time.  Start off by eating a little bit of fruit with your breakfast in the morning, or have carrots and hummus as a snack (try any garlic hummus that’s on sale next time you’re at the store– trust me), or add a vegetable side to your lunch or dinner.  Start small and work your way up to more.  The most important thing to remember is to not overwhelm yourself or you’ll quit before you even start.

3. Eat Breakfast

Eating breakfast starts off your whole day.  You have literally gone from NOT eating for the 8+ hours you were asleep, and maybe a few hours before that.  A good rule of thumb is to start off the day with a breakfast containing a good amount of fiber and protein.  Though sugary cereals and bagels are delicious (real talk, have you ever had an asiago bagel? YUMMMMM.), replace the refined carbohydrates with protein and fiber to stay fuller for longer.

Some ideas include:

  • Breakfast burritos in whole-grain tortillas, include eggs, peppers, onions, salsa, a meat like sausage or bacon (organic or grassfed if you can manage it!), and a little sprinkle of cheese.  Sorry, am I drooling?
  • Greek yogurt with berries, a sprinkle of chia seeds or flax meal, and a dash of cinnamon
  • Whole grain or ezekial toast (made with sprouted wheat) with almond butter, banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Green smoothie: small spoonful of Greek yogurt, toss in some spinach or kale (or other dark leafy greens of choice), half of a banana for sweetness or a tiny spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter for taste, and a few ice-cubes.

For more ideas, do a little Googling! There are TONS of ideas out there for healthy meals!

4. Cook Your Own Food

It’s easy to eat healthy if you make your own food!  Not only is it more economical to buy your own food and prepare it at home, but YOU get to decide what goes in it!  Control the sodium, the excess fats, and the flavors by preparing it all.

Restaurant Burger: Questionable beef cooked on a grill greased with butter, slapped refined, white flour bun that was probably also coated in butter, processed cheese-like product, sauce of questionable origin, and fried, probably recently frozen, french fries.

– OR –

At-home burger: Turkey burger patty (or organic beef!) on a skillet greased with a healthy oil (coconut oil?), served on a whole grain bun or in a lettuce wrap, topped with fresh veggies of choice, cheese from antibiotic-free cows, and home-made sweet potato (or regular potato) fries cooked in the oven.

Which would you rather have?  The internet is FULL of recipes that are so much easier than they look, and will make you feel like the winner of Chopped.  If I had a dollar for every time I have announced my new title as “Top Chef” just from successfully completing a recipe, I’d have more than enough to remain unemployed.

5. De-Stress

I can’t stress this one enough (ba-dum, tissssh!).  Having constant stress wreaks havoc on your body in many ways.  The hormones released when your body undergoes a “fight or flight” situation, AKA you feel stressed, are not meant to be in the body for an extended period of time, and can drastically change the way the body normally behaves.

Chronic stress has been shown to do a number of things to the body, including:

  • cause weight gain that is unrelated to lifestyle changes (no diet or exercise changes)
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • hormonal changes that can cause anything from mental and emotional problems, to skin problems (rashes, hives, acne, premature aging, etc), to reproductive problems
  • significantly increase the risk of heart attack or stroke
  • significantly increase the risk of heart disease, or coronary artery disease
  • stomach pain, including the development of chronic gastric issues
  • muscle aches

 

I could go on forever about the negative health implications of living chronically stressed.  In this age, we tend to praise those who are super busy and super successful, but not think of how that lifestyle could be affecting our health.  It’s important to take time to unwind and relax at the end of the day, or work actively to make sure you don’t become incredibly overwhelmed in your life.

Another Google search can turn up valuable tips and tricks to reduce the amount of stress in your life, but here are some of my favorites:

  • To-Do lists: Daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly to-do lists can break up the stress that having a very hectic schedule can provide.  Turn big projects into less stressful, easier to approach chunks, or pace yourself as you prepare for a big upcoming event by turning it into manageable tasks.
  • Schedule: Get a planner and write things down.  Seeing everything in front of you can help you prepare so you don’t feel suddenly overwhelmed by life.
  • Learn to say “no”! If you’re already super overwhelmed, don’t take on more if you can avoid it.  Saying no doesn’t make you rude, or unhelpful.
  • Take up a relaxing hobby.  Reading, writing, watching TV, knitting, painting, exercising, gardening, crafting, reading blogs, cleaning, cooking, baking, puzzles, video games, decorating… anything can be a way to relax if you truly enjoy it.
  • Exercising and eating healthy.  NEVER underestimate the stress-relieving power of a good workout, or the energy boost and clear mind that a healthy diet can have.  Find something you enjoy, such as long walks, running, weight lifting, taking a dance class, a spin class, kick-boxing, or doing a workout DVD.  Find something fun and active and you’ll be amazed at how clear-headed you feel afterwards.

A little bit of stress is okay, but nobody should feel continuously overwhelmed, worried or anxious. Work on controlling your stress, or relieving it to add years back to your life. Nerd Alert: If you are interested in this phenomenon (and also in the field of health disparities), pick up the book “The Status Syndrome” by Michael Marmot, as he discusses this in length in relation to those who are less fortunate and how being in a stressful life situation (less education, less job security, less income, living in a violent area, etc) causes major health problems due to the chronic stress an unfavorable life can cause.  It’s a really eye-opening book.

And remember: if you’re ever feeling completely overcome, or worried that you are experiencing anxiety or depression that feels completely overcoming or is affecting your daily life, the bravest thing you can do is reach out for help. Talk to your doctor, a friend, a family member, or anyone you’re comfortable with.

 

Hope these helped.  Any questions? Feel free to contact me via the “About” page!

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