4 Healthy Habits to Impact Your Mindset

by: Danielle Ternyila

Changing your mindset can be a really hard thing to do, but it is far from impossible. It takes time; it won’t always be easy, but nothing worth it ever will be “easy”.

There are at least some things you can do throughout your day to help change your mindset slowly but surely. By doing things that bring more positivity, focus, and energy into your every day, you can gain the confidence to do anything! The first step towards anything is believing in yourself, and these mindset tricks can help get you there.

Make Your Bed Every Morning

As soon as you crawl out of bed, turn around and make it again. It’s your first task of the day, so it’s sure to give you a huge sense of self-accomplishment immediately. Who wouldn’t want to start their day like this?

Doing so is known to improve your mood, much like some of these other simple habits. Make your bed so you’ll sleep better later, to reduce your stress levels, and improve your productivity. It’s the little things in life, after all.

Say Thank You Instead of Sorry

This is a big flaw we all can struggle with easily. When we make a mistake and get called out on it, our instinct is to apologize, but we’re human and can make mistakes. We are always learning, always growing, so we should be saying “Thank you” to those who catch the mistakes, help us through them, or just point them out. Thank you for your attention on that, thank you for pointing that out, thanks for explaining this.

When we break the habit of diminishing our work by apologizing, we can appreciate all our efforts, achievements, and growth instead of feeling guilty. Saying thank you, or at least learning not to immediately blurt out “I’m sorry!” when something isn’t done right, changes the attitude of the whole conversation. We shouldn’t have to feel like we have to be perfect all the time; just your best is exactly enough, and never apologize for that.

Drink Water First Every Day

Instead of starting the morning with coffee or your favorite tea, drink down a glass of water first, and maybe even add a splash of lemon for extra flavor! After sleeping for 8+ hours (by following the next tip), your body needs to be replenished. It has basically been in fasting mode for those long hours overnight, so you want to nourish it with what’s good for it, like hydration!

Play Your Happy Playlist

If you haven’t already, prep a “happy playlist” on your music app of choice. This should be all of the songs that make you feel good, the ones that lift you up and make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Be it a childhood favorite, some upbeat vibes, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack or bagpipes, music can be a great tool for our mental health, and it’s something we can do daily.

Music can provide more benefits to your mental state than you could think. It is actually linked to having positive effects on the brain and natural chemicals like dopamine, the “happy” hormone! Start playing that feel-good playlist, and find somewhere to fit it into your every day, maybe when you are feeling your most anxious during the day. I listen to my playlist in the car on the commute to work or anytime I need to clean but not feeling it; a quick dose of “Walking on Sunshine” or “Dancing Queen” to get myself excited!

What are you doing every day to improve your mindset? What songs put you in your best mood? Share with us in our private support group on Facebook!

A Lesson for the Anxious from Schitt’s Creek: What People Might Think

by: Danielle Ternyila

“Trust me, people aren’t thinking about you the way that you’re thinking about you,” Alexis Rose said in the award-winning Netflix series Schitt’s Creek.

As someone suffering anxiety constantly, this motivating quote hit home in a real way. Her adult brother David is a nervous wreck over taking his driving test, and she explains it this simply: no one is thinking about you the way you’re thinking about you.

Anxiety has this terrible way of convincing us of the worst and overthinking everything. I often spend more time stressing over every detail of my life; I can get so caught up in “they’re going to think this about me” and “this is not what they want me to do,” but the truth is no one cares more about myself than me. I am my biggest critic, just like you your own and David his.

David’s driving test was causing him so much stress and anxiety because he was worried about passing, failing, letting the driving instructor down, or just doing it all wrong. Alexis reminds him he is the toughest on himself, which feels matter-of-fact to her, someone who does not often second-guess herself or question her worth. David fires back that she doesn’t know what it’s like to be him, and he rattles off reasons things are “easier” for Alexis. These are all excuses in David’s mind, though, that he uses as a coping mechanism when things feel hard for him.

It’s easy to be on the outside looking in, and we see this when David tells Alexis her life is so easy. Our anxious minds aren’t going to tell you everyone struggles and it’s hard for us all; we don’t know what battles others are going through, so it’s just easier and more common to assume they just don’t have any.

David puts this new knowledge to the test when he gets in the car with the driving instructor, and he asks how much the guy really cares about David’s driving. Turns out, he was hardly paying attention, he was really longing to make his DJ side gig his career, and no, he didn’t care how well or bad David did and how David presented himself.

We are so afraid to be judged, yet here David realizes that that he was so nervous to impress someone who didn’t even look at him during his test, let alone judge him. From my anxiety-ridden perspective, it’s important to see this dialogue we often hear internally and see how it really plays out.

Moral of the story: don’t be so afraid you start holding yourself back. Your anxiety is only mirroring your biggest fears, not reality, and if you still can’t gain control over your mindset in the most stressful moments, then at least binge Schitt’s Creek for a chuckle (advice from a fan.)

Grounding Method: Count Down to Stress Less

by: Danielle Ternyila

Experiencing anxiety is not new, and you’re not the only one feeling like a bundle of stress ready to explode nowadays. No matter what it is you are going through, the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. Instead of “accepting defeat” against the anxiety and whirlwind of emotions consuming you, focus your attention on things you can do that will help instead of hurt.

Make a conscious decision to do what you can to control yourself and these emotions; ground yourself. Trust me, it sounds so impossible and hard. If you’re thinking “No, I can’t turn it off, the anxiety will never go away,” then take another step back. You can’t think that way or things will never change. Negativity follows negative vibes. To take control of your stress, you first need to accept that you do control this. You have the power to make things better in your life, no one else; they’ve got their own lives to take care of after all.

To gain control in a stressful situation, you can count down with these simple steps, a tried and true coping mechanism for panic attacks and anxiety. Use your 5 senses, counting down from 5, to calm your mind. Your mind may be racing, thinking and worrying over so many things, and I feel you! Now, you can’t turn your brain off, but why not shift gears? Give your mind a new task to clear your thoughts.

Grounding Technique for Stress and Anxiety

5. See – In your head (or out loud if you’re alone and can!), find five things you see. My hands, blinds on the window, a desk plant, blue walls, and a yellow pencil, for example.

4. Touch – Now find four things you can touch. The cotton drawstring on my hoodie, the wooden desk, rubber keyboard protector, and condensation on my water bottle, perhaps.

3. Hear – Name three things you can hear: the air conditioner, birds outside the window, and the neighbor’s car just started

2. Smell – What are two things you can smell? Coconut candle and lemon tea

1. Touch – Finally, think of one thing around you that you could taste (not saying you have to actually taste it). An apple?

It’s that easy! When you go through these simple 5 steps and count down through your senses, you will be able to clear your mind. Whether you’re just a little worried or under stress in a tough situation, this anxiety grounding technique will help you come back to the present and focus on what really matters.

Conquer the Stress of Back to School

September for most of us is a reminder: back to school!  With that brings a lot of stress for parents. All the extra expenses of school supplies, new clothes and backpacks, getting the kids up early and out the door while still getting to work on time. Add into that the daily fights for homework, showers and bedtimes… Here are some tips for conquering the “Back to School Stress” from a mom who has survived it, 20 years in a row.

The one part of back to school that I enjoyed was the organizing. I am a nut for organizing, and although my kids were not all as enthusiastic about it, I know it made their lives a little easier.  

  • Calendar – One trick I learned was hanging a dry erase calendar in the kitchen. Each family member had a different color marker so we could track activities and appointments, then later as they grew: all the work schedules. There are apps that also will do this and share electronically to all members if that works better for you, but having everyone on board to see what is going on is great.  Often with after school activities, one parent is running around with the kids, so it’s good to be able to look to see where others may be at and when you will get home.  You can also plan in advance when you know days are going to be crazy, so plan an easy dinner or set up a carpool schedule to help.
  • School supplies – The schools have at least gotten better about giving you the list before school begins so you can bargain shop before everything is out of stock. Nothing was worse than the night after the first day of school, everyone is in the store fighting for the last 5-subject notebook.  I know when I would see deals on 1 cent notebooks or dollar store composition books I would buy them to keep for the next year. After school starts if you see the sales, pick up some extra supplies and keep a box in a closet. You will always need extra. 
  • Color coordinate – I would try to color coordinate notebooks & folders for the same subjects for each kid…green would be science, math would be blue, etc. It made it easier for them to grab in their lockers. 
  • Inbox – Have one spot in your home for all papers that you need to see and complete. If you have more than one child, perhaps a wall box with folders for each kid that they can put papers for you to sign and you can put back for them to put back into their bags.
  • Routine – Setting a routine is key to sanity. Setting the expectation with kids is also important. Each kid was different when it came to needs. Some needed more hand holding and some were very independent. So not all routines and expectations are the same. Have a time that homework needs to be done by. My oldest liked to get it done and not think about it about it but my youngest needed down time after school and was better if she did her homework later. A slower schedule, especially if you have more children, will help keep the peace. My youngest, since she was slower in getting ready in the mornings and prefered to sleep as late as possible, would be on a night shower schedule. Right after dinner she needed to get in and get it done, as she also did not like going to bed early so she would drag it out.   Finding what each child needs and how to build a structure for it will make everyone’s lives a little easier.
  • Lunches – One of my least favorite things was the lunches, so everyone knew I would make their lunch with resentment. And it showed.  Since I did not like to prepare lunches, my husband would take that role over for me. He enjoyed making their lunches special by cutting their sandwiches funny or leaving notes for them with a joke or an “I love you”.  This task did not bother him so it worked out better that he would handle that. The key here is to prep the night before instead of waiting for the morning, or delegate.
  • Communication is key – Talk about what is overwhelming you and find a solution. You don’t have to just keep feeling that way. It’s good to talk with the kids on what they can do to help you. It’s also good to talk to them to see if they are feeling overwhelmed and if there are things you can do to help them out too.  Some routines just need adjusting until everyone is in a good place. When something isn’t working, change it up.  Work as a team. There were days when I did not have the patience for the homework sit-down and my husband would take over.  Some tasks were more stressful for me than him so we would work that out.
  • Life/work balance – Set aside some time for yourself, walking with a girlfriend or going out for coffee to just have some “me” time is crucial to the life/work balance. Because let’s face it, being a mom is a full time job so you have to make sure you give yourself time to yourself.

I don’t miss the days of the busy school mornings, shooting like a drill sergeant every morning, get up, get dress, get your shoes on, get your lunch, grab your backpack…lets go out the door. 

September, as I see it, is a time to get back to a schedule. Even though my kids are all adults, I still look forward to getting organized and back on a routine again. We are more than half way through the year, we just made it through the summer. Time to regroup and focus.

9 Ways I Gain Control of My Anxiety

by: Terry Ternyila

One thing that most people don’t know about me is that I suffer from anxiety. For as far back as I can
remember, I struggled with it daily, and it is still something I must actively fight to control, even as an adult today and parent of adult children.

I struggle with anxiety with new situations, driving to places, going to the doctors or appointments,
meetings at work, and social anxiety for parties and events. When I was younger this would keep me
from attending certain events or parties. I would be riddled with stress for days before going for a
procedure or appointment for something. And I would just dread if I had something to do at work that needed to be presented in a group. Over the years I have learned practices that I have put in place to ease my stress and anxiety in situations.

One of the biggest things that helps me is being organized and planning. Below are some tips that I have developed for myself over the years.

1. Make a list.

I always start out each day with a list of things I have to do for the day or even for the week, reminders for any appointments, calls I need to make, or places I need to go. This helps me prepare for the week, looking at what I have coming so I have what I need to do. The more prepared I feel, the less stressed I am.

2. Tackle the things that stress me out the most first.

If I keep putting it off, the stress grows with each passing hour or day that I don’t do it. It becomes a dark cloud over my head, so I get it off my list first and feel so relieved. Usually its phone calls and scheduling appointments that I stress about most.

3. Save important info to your phone.

Keeping important information available on my phone has become such a life saver; I make lists of medication history, healthy history, or symptoms so they are easy to access at an appointment, and I can also remember what I need to discuss, even track symptoms to see when something started.

Another pro tip: Keep shopping lists on the Alexa app so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it when you stop at the store. Just let her know what needs to go on the list in the moment, then look back while you’re doing your grocery shopping.

4. Be Prepared.

This goes for most everything I do; I think of the situation, whether it’s a work meeting or vacation, then I prepare and organize myself so I can feel confident from the start that I have everything I need – items, information, research…whatever I could possibly need.

5. Arrive early.

This is huge for me. I always give myself plenty of time and leave earlier than I need to. I have found that if I am rushed or nervous about being late, it will fuel that anxiety and it will snowball into something worse. I have plenty of time to find where I have to go and allow for a few wrong turns, and I have time to walk around looking for the office or room, even the bathroom if that’s a concern! Sometimes it gives me a few minutes to collect myself before walking in.

6. Talk it through.

I tend to give things more stress than they deserve, so I have found that I like to think it thru and ask myself “what is the worst thing that can happen?” This usually puts it in perspective in my head. Once you realize that the worst case is really not a big deal and can be easily addressed, you tend to calm down a bit.

7. Admitting your issues to others.

Growing up there was a lot less talking about feeling than today. Now there are so many more discussions and Facebook groups with people going through the same thing. I think we have all realized that what we are feeling is a lot more common than you think. So saying to someone, “Sorry I just have so much anxiety at these things” or “I am just very nervous doing this” helps bond with others that may be feeling the same way or understand what you are feeling at that moment.

8. Don’t borrow stress.

This one sounds a little weird, but I have learned that I would be so worried about getting something right in a situation where it is not my place to make sure it’s right. If I am going somewhere or doing something, and it’s not my job or my place to take care of events, don’t stress about it. If it’s not my job to take care of it, then I don’t need to stress about it for someone else, such as when my husband is planning something and I take on the stress for him.

9. Communicate your needs to your partner.

This may seem like a no brainer, but you don’t realize that we do things and never explain why we do them, so the more my husband or children know about my stress, the more they can assist in making sure I can do what I need to enjoy ourselves.

My husband is not built like me and doesn’t need these things in place, but he respects that I do. He knows both of us will have a much better time if I just have a few things in place to keep me feeling calm. Instead of just telling him I hate to be late, I explain that when I am running late it give me more anxiety, and I can’t calm down or shake the feeling for the rest of the night. Instead of him blowing it off, he understands and makes every effort to make sure I am comfortable.

Everyone is different and these may not help everyone. You need to learn what techniques you can
bring to your every-day that would help you minimize the anxiety in your life. You will enjoy
more and sleep better for sure.