6 apps I use to manage anxiety

There are a number of apps I use that I believe have helped me with managing my anxiety in one way or another. Please note, this is not a promotion for these apps of any sort. I simply would like to share what apps I enjoy using.

1. Headspace

The first app is Headspace. Headspace is a meditation app that has a number of exercises. My favourite exercises are “managing anxiety” and “letting go of stress”. I end almost every day with meditation. I find it’s a great way to relax my mind and prevent it from going to negative places that keep me from falling asleep. Headspace is a paid app but the foundation exercises can be done for free!

https://www.headspace.com/

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2. Peak

The second app I have really grown to love is peak. Peak is a brain training app and I feel like it’s really working! I do the daily brain workout every day and I’ve not only improved my brain as the app is intended for, but I’ve also gotten better at performing under pressure. When I first started using this app I was so anxious. All the exercises have a time limit so that would stress me out and I couldn’t think clearly. After doing it every day, I am actually able to calm down and think things through. Now my brain diagram is super large and it makes me feel confident haha.

http://www.peak.net/

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3 & 4. Carrot & Pursuit

Now we’re into the exercise apps – Carrot and Pursuit. Carrot is an app that tracks your steps and motivates you to get a certain amount each day. Pursuit is a running app that lets my friends and family know when I’m running and allows them to send me voice recordings to cheer me on! These apps motivate me to exercise, which has so many great benefits (like reducing stress!)

Pursuit: https://pursuit.run

Carrot: https://www.carrotapp.com/home-2/

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5. Lifesum

Lifesum is a food tracking app that I only really use when I’ve been neglecting eating healthy foods. I’ll start entering in all my meals and realize I am not getting the nutrition I need. When you enter in a meal, the app will show an emoji that indicates the healthiness of your meal. When I see that all my meals are showing a sad or disappointed face, I’m more motivated to step up my healthy game.

https://lifesum.com/

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6. HealthMate

Last, but not least, HealthMate! This is an app for the Body+ Withings scale. It shows you a graph of all the progress you’ve been making. It displays much more than just your overall weight. You can see your muscle mass, body fat percentage, average heart rate, body water, bone mass and BMI. It motivates me to keep on exercising, and makes me feel confident and successful when I see I’m making progress towards my goals. Feeling this way allows me to think more positively and manage stress more efficiently.

https://www.withings.com/ca/en/health-mate?up=weight https://www.withings.com/ca/en/body-plus

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So there you have it! Headspace eases my mind, Peak trains my brain and allows me to get better at thinking under pressure, Carrot, Pursuit and HealthMate motivate me to exercise, and Lifesum encourages me to eat healthy. All these apps combined contribute to me feeling good both physically and mentally. I’ve included links under each app in case you want to try some out!

 

How I finally stuck to living a healthy lifestyle

When I first got together with my boyfriend, we discovered we each had a lot of skills. We also discovered that we both lacked one pretty important skill – cooking! For us, this was totally fine because he lived downtown and we were surrounded by restaurants who could do the cooking for us. It was wonderful at first. We tried different places all the time and ate a lot of delicious food. His apartment was always in walking distance so we’d get Caesars and wine or whatever we felt like that night! 35 pounds later (and a decrease in our bank accounts), we realized our restaurant plan wasn’t as great as we thought. Our new plan was to start cooking healthy meals and lose our newly gained weight. So we got a gym membership and looked up healthy things to cook together. We had a lot of fun putting together meals and hitting up the gym 3 times a week… until we just stopped. The numbers on the scale weren’t changing fast enough and we didn’t take enough time to prep our meals and stick to a plan, so we were back to buying lunches and started going to the gym less and less until weeks passed without going. Does this story sound familiar?

It’s actually quite a common routine – you decide you’re going to lose weight. You start going to the gym and put yourself on a strict diet and it works for a while until maybe one day you crack open a bag of chips and eat the whole thing in one sitting (guilty). We went through this “ritual” a few times after and it always ended the same – we gave up. We tried the gym, we tried talking to a nutritionalist, we tried counting calories, we even got into running. So I asked myself – why is this always ending the same way? Why can’t we stick to a healthy lifestyle? There’s so many people out there who live one so why can’t we do it too? I finally have the answer to that question – we were too focused on losing weight. When you have one goal that’s difficult to reach, there’s so much that can get in the way of achieving it – especially because we wished it would just happen over night and that’s just not how life works. It’s like starting your own business and expecting it to take off right away. It takes time, patience and a ton of effort to make it happen! It’s not easy.

The only way I was able to make a healthy lifestyle work for me was by creating new goals that didn’t have to do with the number on the scale. These were my new goals:

  • Gain more natural energy
  • Lift X number of pounds
  • Be able to run for X number of minutes
  • Drink more green tea
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Drink more water
  • Eat a healthy breakfast every morning
  • Bring a lunch to work (most of the time)
  • Go for 15 – 30 minute walks at lunch
  • Pre-plan dinner

So I worked on strength and stamina, I drank a ton of water (and I peed a lot), I transitioned from a coffee addict to a green tea drinker (I still drink coffee from time to time – I feel there’s no need to completely deprive ourselves from something we enjoy – I just no longer get a massive headache if I don’t drink it), I made a healthy breakfast almost every morning (we also treated ourselves sometimes), I brought lunches to work (most of the time), I went on walks at lunchtime with my boyfriend and I lost the 35 pounds. Finally. And I didn’t gain it back.

Today, I’m still transitioning between four healthy breakfasts that are simple to make each morning (I have been for the last two years), I’m taking strength and conditioning classes, I love to run mainly during the Summer months and overall, I feel good. I still eat things like bacon, cake, chips, pizza, (I LOVE pizza) pasta, bagels, etc – just not everyday! I don’t count calories. I try to plan my meals as often as I can so I don’t stray too far from the food I know is good for me. Eating good, healthy food isn’t JUST to get you to that “ideal number.” If that’s all you’re focused on, it can be hard to keep it up. The right food helps me feel more energetic, positive and confident. The wrong food makes me feel bloated, tired and unmotivated. When I’m faced with the hard choice between that greasy pizza being offered to me or the salad I brought to work, I remember how awful the pizza makes me feel after it’s in my stomach. Sure, it tastes great going down, but is it worth feeling like crap afterwards? I’m not going to lie – sometimes I say yes if I really want it (like I said, I don’t deprive myself) but most of the time I say NO – because I want to keep feeling good!

So if you want to reach a tough goal, like lose X number of pounds – set smaller, more achievable milestones instead. The thing I came to realize though is it isn’t about losing weight at all. It’s about improving your lifestyle in a way that makes you feel GOOD – and setting smaller goals was the best way for me to do that. They not only make you feel more accomplished and fulfilled along the way, but they will get you to your end game faster and easier. I know you can do this. Remember, you are amazing and you are capable of so much more than you realize.

5 things I wish I had been told growing up with anxiety disorder

I’ve started this blog because I want to help people the way I wish people had helped me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had incredible support from my family and friends and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but growing up, there’s a lot of things I wish people had told me about anxiety disorder.

  1. The first thing I wish I’d been told was what the heck anxiety disorder is and that it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain – that I wasn’t “crazy” or just an unreasonable person. But back then I didn’t understand that even when my mind knew a situation was going to be ok, my body continued to react like it was the end of the world. I didn’t understand why when something embarrassing happened, it would play over and over and over again in my head – even though I knew everyone else had long forgotten about it. It just didn’t make sense.
  2. Second, I wish I’d been told that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I always felt something was different with me but I didn’t know why. I could tell by the way other kids were so confident. They could get asked a question in class and their thoughts didn’t suddenly become cloudy. They didn’t start sweating or feel like their heart was going to beat out of their chest. Even if I knew the answer, it was lost as soon as the attention was put on me.
  3. Third, that it wasn’t something that could be cured – or something I would just grow out of as soon as I became an adult. Anxiety is a disorder and not a disease.
  4. The fourth thing was that alcohol was not the answer. I discovered alcohol at a young age. I got drunk for the first time at a party and thought it was my saviour. My constant feelings of fear and awkwardness suddenly disappeared and I could interact with others like a “normal” human being. The next morning, I suffered the consequences. This wasn’t a regular hangover – but constant replays of things I did or said while intoxicated that made me cringe. Over and over and over again.
  5. Last but certainly not least, I wish I’d been told to stop wishing I could get rid of my anxiety – because one day I would realize that anxiety played a huge role in becoming who I am today. While my disorder doesn’t define me, it is part of me. It’s made me empathetic. I’ve spent my life over-thinking and analyzing pretty much everything, which makes me extremely aware of how others think and feel. Anytime I had to do a presentation in school or at work, I well over-prepared to make sure that if I started panicking, the words would be engraved in my mind so I could recite them if I started shutting down. It’s a little exhausting but you know what – It’s made me pretty successful in my career. It taught me to work hard and I’m so proud of the things I have accomplished.

So if there’s one thing you take away from this, I hope it’s to love yourself – anxiety (or whatever it is you may be struggling with) and all. There will be good days and bad days. While I’ve gotten a better handle on things, there’s still days where I doubt myself. There’s days when my anxiety gets the best of me – but then there’s also days where I own my anxiety and I use it as fuel for success.

I hope this article was helpful to you! Please follow along for tips on managing anxiety, stress, boosting your confidence and improving your self-esteem. 🙂
 

 

You are enough

What does enough mean to you?

Is it when you lose X pounds, you’ll feel enough? Or how about when you finally make enough money? Or you can finally afford your dream house. Then you will feel enough, right?

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There’s nothing wrong with being a goal digger! It’s good to work towards your goals and dreams. But the truth is you are already enough!

We spend our lives chasing the future when the reality is we should be celebrating ourselves now. In this moment right here. Take a second and think of everything you have already accomplished. Write them down and appreciate them. When you’re feeling like you aren’t enough, take a look at this list to remind yourself. You are amazing! You are enough. 💪