Tangible Movement is thrilled to announce that our newest ambassador is Grammy-award-winning singer/songwriter Miguel! Miguel started pursuing his music career at age 13, and has since released four studio albums combining R&B, funk, hip hop, rock and electronic styles. He joined Tangible Movement as the lead ambassador in order to share his story and to inspire and encourage others. Miguel is excited to be working with Tangible Movement and to be speaking out on mental health and awareness.
We’re Totally (Not) OK is a podcast about the intersection between mass media culture and mental health, hosted by Canadian actors Caleigh Le Grand & Tanya Bevan. Recently, they brought Tangible Movement Founder and Executive Director Torri Shack on as a guest to discuss the connotations that rear their weird heads in dialogues about mental health and mental illness, and how she shifts her position within said conversations from one that is affected by them to one that is affecting them. She speaks about her personal challenges with depression, addiction, suicide, bipolar II, and personal relationships, and how she came to form a movement that supports the education, awareness, recovery and wellness of those dealing with similar matters. You can listen to the podcast featuring Torri here, and find all We’re Totally (Not) OK episodes here.
Susie Weaver is the founder of So Happy In Town, a lifestyle and parenting blog that emphasizes the importance of mental health. Join Tangible Movement Editor-in-Chief Jessica Hutt in discovering the role of mental health in Susie’s career and beyond.
Jessica Hutt: What is your personal experience with mental health? Why do you chose to speak out on this topic?
Susie Weaver: I was first hit by depression in my early 20’s when I was at university and it really came out of nowhere. One minute I was this happy go lucky student and the next I was floored with daily panic attacks and crippling anxiety. Back then, in the mid 90’s, mental health carried a lot more stigma than it does now and I felt embarrassed and ashamed that it was happening to me. It was such a lonely place to be because nobody even talked about it, never mind admit that their mental health had taken a nosedive. I knew I had to speak out and launch my #itsoktofeelshit T-shirt campaign because I don’t want any young person to ever feel like I had.
Hutt: How does the value you place on mental health influence your parenting style? What do you tell your children about mental health?
Weaver: I place a huge amount of value on mental health in my parenting because I feel it’s so important that I educate my children to understand that mental health is just like physical health - sometimes it’s good and you feel strong, but sometimes it’s not so good and you need some support. And the most important thing is that it’s so ok to ask for that support by talking about it. You never have to feel alone. The #itsoktofeelshit T-shirts have opened up so many conversations between children and teens and their parents about mental health - the power of having a naughty word on your top! That’s really made the campaign so worthwhile.
Hutt: Why did you decide to start a blog? How has doing so helped you?
Weaver: I started my blog because I wanted to talk about the highs and lows of parenting and life in general. I wanted to write about the good times but also the tough times, because the most important thing is we’re all in this together and trying our best to get it right. Mental health was one of those subjects that I wanted to be really open about because it affects us all, both as parents and our children.
Hutt: What advice would you give others who are suffering in the ways that you have? How do you cope and maintain your mental health?
Weaver: My main piece of advice would be to keep an open conversation about how you’re doing with a close friend or family member - someone you can trust to give you their time when you need it. Don’t ever think you’re being a pain and nobody wants to be bothered with you - I know this is easier said than done because we’re all guilty of thinking we shouldn’t burden others, but anyone who cares about you would hate you to be dealing with your struggles on your own. If ever I feel the beginning of a panic attack, I remove myself from the situation if possible and concentrate on my breathing (breathe in slowly for 3 and out again for 4). I find exercise hugely helps my mental health, getting plenty of sleep and having regular digital detoxes - too much social media definitely isn’t good for me.
Hutt: How do you believe we can take steps towards erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness?
Weaver: Talking, talking and talking. Basically normalising mental illness as much as possible and sharing our own stories. I know it’s not easy for everyone but many people find once they have shared, not only does it help them, it really helps others know that so many of us have been affected by mental illness at some point in our lives and it’s ok.
Hutt: Is there anything else about yourself, your story, or mental health that you would like to share with us?
Weaver: It is said 1 in 4 children in every classroom are struggling with their mental health in some way, and that’s why 100% profit from every single #itsoktofeelshit T-shirt sold is going to YoungMinds, who are fighting for a new era where mental health support is available to every single young person who reaches out. Let’s keep talking about mental health as much as possible because the more of us that share our stories, the bigger our voice will become.
Be Good to Yourself
Mentally healthy people value themselves and treat themselves with kindness. This week, try eliminating negative self-criticism and making time for your favorite hobbies and projects. Broaden your horizons by trying something new like planting a garden, learning a language, or going to a dance class. By treating yourself with respect, you will become happier and more balanced.
Try Physical Wellness
It is no secret that there is a direct link between physical and mental health. Taking care of your body can help your mind. Some ways you can improve physical fitness are eating nutritious meals, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep. Exercise is also known to decrease depression and anxiety, as well as improve mood.
Surround Yourself with People who Spark Joy
People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. This week, try surrounding yourself only with people who make you happy. Make plans with friends and family members who support and uplift you. Or, try meeting new people at places like a club or a support group.
Serve Your Community
People who give themselves to their communities are likely to be happier and better-adjusted. Try volunteering your time and energy to help those in need. You will feel happy and fulfilled to have benefited your community, and you might meet new people along the way!
Talk About It
Get help when you need it. Seeking aid is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Treatment is effective, and people who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and lead full, rewarding lives. If you don’t have the means to see a counselor, speak to a trusted friend, teacher, or family member. You can also try to seek out resources at your school or place of work.
Track Gratitude and Achievement
Appreciate yourself to the fullest by journaling the things you have accomplished. Additionally, count your blessings by recording the things in your life for which you are thankful. Try starting with three things you were grateful for and three things you were able to accomplish each day. If you want to record these digitally, check out the free apps Happier and Attitudes of Gratitude Journal.
Go Off the Grid
Sometimes, it can be helpful to leave your phone at home and live a day free from constant texts, emails, and other interruptions. Try having a genuine experience and being present in the moment. Spend some quality face-to-face time with those you love without your smartphone getting in the way.
Hang Out with a Furry Friend
Research shows that time with animals lowers cortisol, a stress hormone, and boosts oxytocin, which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend who does or volunteer at a shelter.
As simple as it may seem, going for as short as a thirty minute walk in the woods can do wonders for mental health. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression, and boost well-being. Whether a stroll through the park, a hike in the woods, or camping in your backyard, try spending some time outside this week!
Find the Silver Linings
As much as we would like to hope otherwise, stress is inevitable. Bad things are bound to happen, but mentally resilient people will take the moments that they are totally overwhelmed and try to find the good in them. In many cases, it’s all about how you view the situation.
By: Jessica Hutt
Sara Sheehan is a Connecticut-based author and fierce mental health advocate. She is the author of MoonSoulChild: The Journey Through my Heart, I Was Never Broken, and Letters to You. Join Tangible Movement Editor-in-Chief Jessica Hutt in discovering the intersection between Sara’s mental health journey and her writing career.
Jessica Hutt: Tell us about your writing! How does mental health influence your work?
Sara Sheehan: My writing is a trip through my mind and a journey through my heart. Writing has been a huge part of my life because it’s the one therapy that has worked. Being in my own solitude, away from everyone, and just inside my own heart. I felt secure when I wrote, and that’s not a feeling I felt from anyone, including myself.
Hutt: What is your personal experience with mental illness? How did it become such an important part of your life?
Sheehan: Anxiety has been a huge part of my life before I even knew, or could accept it. Growing up I didn’t talk. I would get anxious to just talk around people I didn’t know, or even close family members. I never did public speaking until college. I feared talking, and the impact put on my shyness. I became the girl who “didn’t talk” or “couldn’t talk”, and it was miserable to be made up into a joke because I didn’t speak to anyone. I remember people would find it odd that I actually had friends, and the people I was close with didn’t treat me like I was abnormal. I wanted to be normal, I wanted to be how open everyone could be, I wanted to be outgoing. I didn’t have the voice, my anxiety had other plans for me. I found my voice when I wrote - that’s how I managed. I grew up and out of my “shy” phase after I graduated high school, I managed my nerves well, and when it came to situations, I did the best I could and wrote my heart out. My anxiety hit all time high when my friend passed in 2017. I spent a whole year anxious, depressed, and trying to grieve, while trying to understand myself. Anxiety is a mind game. It will have you believing what your own mind makes up. I’ve became “sick” off illusions I created to the point where I actually felt sick, and it’s terrifying because you can accept it, and still never catch it the next time around.
Hutt: How did you get into writing? How does it help you?
Sheehan: High school days, young and in lust. But really, Neyo got me into writing. I remember loving his music and admiring the fact he wrote every word. Still to this day, I pray one day we can write something together because he’s my inspiration. I started off wanting to write music, but when I really started to write, I just let it flow. I wrote best when it came to my heart. I expressed myself through my writing and I loved having an outlet to be my own person. Writing has saved my life, because I wouldn’t be this sane without putting my feelings into words. I always thought of writing as a friend to me, it was always there when no one could understand, because I was the only one who actually felt it. Writing has helped me overcome my fear of being known, though I still get anxious being the center of attention. I’m more known, but with a little mystery.
Hutt: What advice would you give to people who are suffering in the same ways that you have? How do you cope?
Sheehan: I’ve said this one time in one of my pieces - “I can’t give you ways to overcome anxiety, or any mental illness, or weight you’re carrying, but I can tell you you’re not alone. I can tell you it’s just your mind playing tricks on you. Some days I find myself not ready to take on my everyday life, or even in a mood that I can’t shake, and seem to not know what’s wrong. I take a mental health day and do what it is I need to feel better, whether that’s sleep, enjoying a good tv show, getting some sun, or writing. Just because you’re suffering in that moment doesn’t mean every moment has to be so bad. Find something that helps you feel secure and in control. Think of something that makes you feel good in the same moment you feel you lose yourself, do more of that. Writing is that for me.
Hutt: Is there anything else about yourself, your story, or mental health that you would like to share with us?
Sheehan: My story is all in my writing, each book I’ve released is a piece of myself. I write for my own healing, but in hopes that my work comes across someone it may help, too. I inspire to open the eyes of the hearts of many, to show their heart and stop spreading hate. I want everyone to know they’re worth more than how they appear to be, and that your true worth is never in the eyes, but only felt within the heart.
Hello all, and happy MLK Day! Today is a day to promote equal rights for all Americans and to honor the legacy of one of the greatest civil rights activists of all time. For this reason, it is designated a national day of service, to be celebrated as a “day on, not day off”. MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community." Use this tool to find a volunteer opportunity today.
I also wanted to share this blog post written by Natalie Cohen, the social media coordinator for Walden Behavioral Care. Titled “Five Mental Health Lessons We Can Learn From Martin Luther King Junior”, this piece relates Dr. King’s preachings to mental health. She writes that we should “educate society about matters that they may not have been exposed to or those who have been misinformed” and that “the mental health field needs each of us to become an advocate for social justice and change”. I couldn’t agree more!
Dr. King is remembered as a passionate and eloquent speaker. Today, I would like to honor his memory by sharing some of his most moving, inspiring, and relevant quotes. Please click on the title of this post and comment your favorite MLK quote - I would love to hear from you!
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right if the head is totally wrong.”
“If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.”
“I have decided to stick with love. hate is too great a burden to bear”
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
“All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
I hope you all enjoy your holiday and utilize today to make your community a better place. Let’s all try to incorporate MLK’s values of charity, tolerance, equality, and justice into our lives this week!
One of the greatest benefits of living in the age of social media is having access to other peoples’ experiences. While some social media influencers have been criticized for promoting unattainably perfect lifestyles, others are refreshingly honest, and candidly share their messy, flawed truths with the world. One such truth is the positive influence that going to therapy has had upon their lives. These people have realized that therapy is just another form of self-care, like a workout or a massage. Going to therapy has allowed them to process their thoughts, prioritize their wellness, and help them feel better and more productive. This week for Therapy Thursday, we are going to shout out three amazing social media influencers who have spoken candidly on how therapy has helped them become their best selves:
Nicole Modic (@kalejunkie) - Nicole Modic is a wellness blogger and recovered bulimic. In a blog post entitled “How I Healed My Eating Disorder, Part 2”, Modic writes “Find a therapist, or at the very least, someone who is NOT a family member or friend, that you can talk to, 1-2x each week. Consider these non-negotiable meetings that take priority over everything else you’ve got going on in your busy life.” She speaks openly about finding the right therapist, suppressing the urge to cancel standing appointments, and the challenge of being vulnerable in front of a stranger.
HOW I HEALED FROM MY EATING DISORDER, PART 1:
HOW I HEALED MY EATING DISORDER, PART 2:
Carolyn Brown (@carolynbrownnutrition) - In a recent Instagram post, New York City-based nutritionist Carolyn Brown, RD told followers that therapy is “pretty much my favorite hour of the week.” She also debunked the myth that things have to be wrong for one to go to therapy, writing “I don’t go to a therapist cuz I’m crazy (mostly), I go so I DON’T feel crazy”. Check out the post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhjXVKlFIP_/?utm_source=ig_embed
Chris Sol (@secretsofsunshine) - The lifestyle blogger behind the Instagram account @secretsofsunshine shares how she finally found her way to therapy in this post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BiAIl0FHvVY/?utm_source=ig_embed. In it, she writes “Being raised in an emotionally and verbally abusive environment, there was lots of distorted layers of beliefs that needed to be explored and dismantled. I refused to even entertain the idea. Shrinks are for crazy people who don’t have control… but let me just tell you, that is SO FALSE. Everyone needs a therapist, life is hard and sometimes it’s nice to not have to put on a brave face and a fake smile”. She couldn’t be more right, therapy is a great tool for any and every body! Read the blog post in full here: https://www.growwitheflow.com/2018/04/25/where-is-my-mind-a-mental-health-journey/.
Going to therapy is an act of self-care that nourishes your emotional and spiritual needs. Don’t get caught up in a baseless stigma that will hold you back. Talking to a therapist has changed all of these people for the better, and could help you too.
By: Jessica Hutt
Physical health is a vital part of wellness, and is essential to mental well-being. However, fitting workouts into a busy routine can be difficult. Instead of completely neglecting your physical health, try our 10 Minutes for 10 Days Challenge. Everyone has an extra ten minutes. What’s your excuse?
Day One: Try a ten minute run. Running is a great exercise for this challenge because you can do it anytime and anywhere. Motivate yourself by wearing something you feel confident in!
Day Two: Let’s ramp things up today! Try the following regimen:
50 High Knees
20 In & Out Squat Jumps
Day Three: After two days of challenging workouts, you must be sore. Try yoga & stretching today to recover. Here is a great video for full body stretch yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SZ2xVnbcxY
Day Four: It’s day four, and we’re back at it! Today, try the following lineup:
30 Plank Dips
20 Side Leg Raises
Day Five: Get your jam on and try a fun cardio workout today! This dance workout from Popsugar is amazing and will definitely have you sweating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj2IubFfEqY
Day Six: You know what day six means? It’s pilates day! This workout is amazing because it is both relaxing and makes you feel strong. Enjoy Dreamingreen’s pilates routine for a stronger body today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A98Glp5DuY
Day Seven: You’re almost there! Today, your goal is to complete:
25 Leg Presses
Day Eight: You’re doing great - keep it up! Today, your challenge is to go on a run. If you have extra time, try to do 35 sit ups. You got this!
Day Nine: You’ve trained hard over the past few days. Today should be full of well-deserved rest and recovery. If you feel up to it, try some stretching and yoga. You can refer back to the video from day three if you would like.
Day Ten: You made it! Let’s make the last day the best. Start the day off with twenty five push ups, then go into thirty five sit ups. Rest and rehydrate before completing thirty lunges and fifteen leg lifts.
Congratulations! You made it through. I am so proud of your strength and persistence. I hope you can integrate some of these habits in your routine, and that this challenge has proven to you that everyone has time to work out.
By: Jessica Hutt
Do you know the difference between shyness and introversion? Introversion is a basic personality trait that is characterized by inward-looking thoughts and feelings, while shyness is insecurity and inability to speak up. Despite the fact that shyness is most often the result of a painful experience, between 40 to 60 percent of adults define themselves as being shy, and most of us will experience shyness at some time in our lives. The good news is that shyness can be overcome by changing our inner dialogue and strengthening the voice within.
One person who has succeeded in breaking up with shyness is author and life coach Joel Annesly. On January 2 (World Introvert Day!), Annesly released a new book entitled Quiet Confidence: Breaking up With Shyness. In the book, he “assures those plagued by shyness that they can overcome the traumas that caused their shyness to develop, learn to embrace the beauty within and express themselves with confidence”. Here are some of the best tips that Annesly shares in his new book:
Avoid Negative Labels - Annesly writes that “labels can build you up or destroy you”, and encourages his readers to choose a label that empowers them instead of tearing them down. He says that you should think of yourself as “quietly confident” rather than “shy”.
Look Within - There is no better way to discover your true self than looking within and celebrating yourself. Annesly says that you should “Practice non-judgemental awareness, self-compassion and loving kindness for the beautiful person you are inside and the way you see the world.”
Stop Overthinking Everything - It is no secret that overthinking and shyness go hand in hand. Overanalyzing can lead to indecisiveness, mental exhaustion, and self-defeating, negative thoughts. The solution, Annesly argues, is to learn how to outsmart your overthinking.
Find a Safe Space - Annesly says that “When you develop your safe environment, a place where you can be free to be vulnerable, you will have no need to overthink things.” When you slowly expand this environment, your “quiet confidence” will also expand and grow.
Find your Friends - Develop a group of friends that builds you up! Make sure to only keep relationships with people who support and encourage you unconditionally.
Find a Creative Outlet - Annesly suggests that “Developing and expressing your creative passions can lead you to become a ‘Subject Matter Expert’, which will help you will naturally become more confident.”
Develop Positive Body Talk - Confidence doesn’t have to be verbal. Annesly writes that “Becoming aware of, and adjusting, your body language, posture and physical appearance can provide you with instant confidence.”
Want to learn more about overcoming shyness? Quiet Confidence: Breaking up With Shyness can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Confidence-Breaking-Up-Shyness-ebook/dp/B07J427PNV/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547469725&sr=8-1&keywords=quiet+confidence%3A+breaking+up+with+shyness
By: Jessica Hutt
Hello, all! As much as I like to keep these Motivation Monday posts positive, this past week has been a real struggle for me. As if getting back into a regular routine after the holiday season isn’t difficult enough, I also faced a nasty virus that kept me out of school for days. I felt like I was being crushed by a mountain of work that just kept piling up. It seemed useless to even try to chip away at the work because I thought I would never catch up to my classmates. Frustrated and discouraged, I felt my eyes keep gravitating towards a sticker on my laptop, which reads “Look. If you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?” The quote, which is from Eminem’s classic pump-up song “Lose Yourself”, prompted me to look at my life in the big picture. As much as I wanted at the time to wallow in herbal tea and self-pity, what I want in the grand scheme of things is to do well in school so I can have a shot at being admitted to my dream college. I don’t have a lot of time left in high school, and I don’t want to look back and regret not trying harder. As trivial as it may seem, the sticker made me realize that right now is my window of opportunity to get what I want out of life, and a runny nose is not going to take that away from me.
While this might be a goofy example, the sentiment remains. The way we act now can and WILL determine our futures. Every single person faces challenges in their life. The truth of the matter is that the real world doesn’t stop to accommodate them. This week, I challenge you to take control and push your limits. Don’t wait to step out of your comfort zone - do it now! If that means something drastic to you, more power to you! If it’s something smaller, like just getting out of the house, that is completely valid too!
In the spirit of my Eminem sticker, I have also included some of my favorite motivational quotes to bring you power this week. I hope that this is a productive and inspired time for you, and know that you have the potential to excel:
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. - C.S. Lewis
Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine. - Roy T. Bennett
Your true success in life begins only when you make the commitment to become excellent at what you do. - Brian Tracy
Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. – W. Clement Stone
If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you. - Les Brown
By: Jessica Hutt
Recently, I came across a quote that I found to be particularly relevant during this time of year. The quote, spoken by Mother Teresa, said “we shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” The idea of doing something simple to improve the lives of others fits in perfectly with the values of the holiday season. We all want to be charitable people, but sometimes, our busy schedules or tight budgets get in the way. Here are some simple ways to give without sacrificing this winter:
⭐️Spontaneous Acts of Kindness - Community service can fit into your routine, rather than the other way around! Try “paying it forward” the next time you are at a coffee shop or café. If you have some extra change burning a hole in your pocket, take the opportunity to help someone out. Maybe you will inspire a stranger to “pay it forward” next time!
⭐️Make A Donation - “Anything helps” is a cliché because it is TRUE! No matter how little you have to spare, giving any amount of money to a charity you believe in will help you get involved in making change. Thanks to the Internet, it is faster and easier to make donations than ever before!
⭐️Bring Cookies to a Nursing Home - Being charitable doesn’t have to take a lot of money or time! Distribute sweet treats and get to know nursing home residents this winter. Many of these people are not fortunate enough to have friends and family who will visit during the holidays, and you are sure to bring a lot of joy into their lives!
By: Jessica Hutt
Hello, all, and happy new year! Today is the first day back “in the swing of things” after a cheerful holiday season. Though it may be hard to adjust, take time today to be present and clarify your intentions for the new year. Motivate yourself to stay on track with your resolutions by implementing small changes into your lifestyle. I know that today may feel difficult and tedious, but after the day is done, the worst will be over. Focus today on re-assimilating yourself with your routine. This week may be exhausting and tiresome, but each day is a new beginning. Each night is an opportunity to refresh and start over. Remember self-care this week and nourish your physical and spiritual needs. You can make it through this week, I believe in you!
By: Jessica Hutt
It is no secret that the winter holiday season can become an overwhelming whirlwind of stress. In fact, according to a survey by Healthline, 62% of people report increases in their stress level during the holiday season. Whether your trigger is having family around, the burden of buying gifts, or getting thrown off your diet, here are a few tips to stay sane during the holidays:
Avoid Making Too Many Commitments
It’s okay to say ‘no’! Be honest with yourself about how much you can handle, and remember that you don’t owe your presence to anyone! Self-care and mental health always comes first, and it’s easy to forget that we are in control of our schedules. If going somewhere will put a strain on your happiness, just say no!
Make a Budget
One of the most common sources of stress during the holiday season is fiscal strain. The best way to avoid overspending is to plan ahead and stick to your budget. Try downloading an app to help you keep track of your expenditures, such as EveryDollar (free on iPhones, Androids, and computers!)
Somewhere in the mayhem of shiny new gifts and heaping piles of cookies, the true meaning of the holiday season can be lost. In the coming weeks, try to stay grounded in what is really important. Put things into perspective and reflect on how lucky you are.
Every joyous moment spent with family and friends deserves your full attention. Try to experience the excitement of the holidays in real-time. Not every Snapchat needs to be replied to instantaneously, and not every funny moment needs to be documented on your Instagram. Focus on making happy memories instead of pretty pictures.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Having a busy schedule can be a real roadblock during the holiday season. However, scrambling to buy gifts for everyone on your list at the last possible second is a recipe for unnecessary stress. Try planning ahead and getting a little bit done each day. Remember that buying gifts and decorating is supposed to be fun more than anything.
I wish you all a joyous holiday, and look forward to the new year ahead!
Hello, all! For today’s Motivation Monday post, I decided to share a list of simple ways to motivate yourself this week! A lot of the time, getting started on a task is the hardest part. Try implementing a few of these lifestyle tips this week and see what works for you! We can never stop improving ourselves. Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and productive week!
Teresa Gleason is a fitness instructor and mental health advocate based in New Jersey. She is known in her community for leaving encouraging and motivational signs in front of her house. Join Tangible Movement in discovering Gleason’s story.
TM: What are your personal experiences with mental illness?
TG: I always was an active, athletic, and relatively healthy kid. I started noticing something off back in middle school where I'd get bouts of sadness for "no reason." More than just the average blahs. Fast forward to the end of high school I fell into the poor body image trap and developed an eating disorder (bulimia) that lasted 7 years. Also, chronic fatigue would come and go more so in my 20s.
TM: What are your coping mechanisms?
TG: Back then I felt like I tried everything to cope! And although what I tried may not have worked every time it was worth it to give it a shot. I remember I made myself a jar with "things to do instead of bingeing." I wrote things on a piece of paper like "take a walk, call a friend, do a craft.." It sounds a little silly now but it came in handy once in a while. Also, a lot of therapy - I was lucky enough to have a fantastic therapist in my life during my struggle. I also attended group sessions in which it was super helpful to be with others with similar struggles. I even found an online support group. Other than that a lot of family support and self talk!!
TM: Do you take medication and/or are you in therapy?
TG: I LOVE this question! So I used to take medications prescribed by doctors who would just hear about 10 minutes of my symptoms and decided medication was the way to go. I complied thinking that was the best option. Fast forward to NOW, I've changed to a whole food plant based diet and I feel like I have pretty much cured a lot of things I used to be put on medication for.. depression, excessive fatigue, and anxiety around food. Learning that food is medicine and giving it a try has truly changed my life.
TM: What advice would you give a person struggling with the same mental illness(es) that you have?
TG: I would one thousand million billion percent recommend adopting a plant based diet. It may not "cure" everything and there's no shame being on medication when truly needed but I feel it's the least we can do to allow our body and minds to be the healthiest they can possibly be. We can't control external and environmental factors for the most part but we can control what's on the end of our fork. And those daily decisions can make a world of difference! Also, exercise! Aerobic exercise in particular. Food and movement is medicine!
It's important to mention I overcame my eating disorder about 5/6 years ago (before I transitioned to a plant based diet) and actually eating junk food in moderation was truly an accomplishment! I joined a sports league so I started exercising more for fun rather than to burn calories. Although my distorted eating behaviors finally stopped and I was exercising more something was still off - still feeling depressed and tired all the time. It wasn't until I truly adopted a plant based diet did I feel like a new person!
TM: What do you hope to achieve by posting positive signs on your lawn?
TG: I truly hope to just brighten someone’s day or give them the "sign" they were looking for! I'm a believer in "signs." I never know who's going to see what quote so I leave it up to the universe to have the right person see the right quote at the right time!
TM: What do you believe is the correlation between mental health and physical activity?
TG: Physical activity has a HUGE impact on mental health. And it's not only my belief. Studies show aerobic exercise interventions found comparable to antidepressant medication in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder. I know exercising is the last thing I want to do when I'm feeling depressed but incorporating it on a regular basis can truly change your life! I always thought, how cool would it be if a patient walked on a treadmill or rode a stationary bike during a therapy session?? Not such a crazy idea! Also, it's the reason I am a group fitness instructor. Sometimes when we don't want to exercise getting a little positive peer pressure from others to show up can make a huge difference!
TM: Can you give us an example of one of your favorite workouts?
TG: Anything in a group! Groups always add a little extra motivation and fun! I love getting creative and using my own body while incorporating something like a set of stairs or a picnic table or a watermelon! (Check out my watermelon workout on my YouTube page!)
TM: Do you have any favorite healthy meals or snacks that you would like to share with us?
TG: Although I am MUCH better now I'm still a pretty lousy cook. So I love easy recipes like smoothies, chilis, and soups packed with veggies! Here's one of my favorite smoothies. Also, my favorite cookbook is "How Not To Die Cookbook" By Dr. Michael Greger.
TM: Why did you chose to dedicate your professional life to physical health?
TG: I've seen the negative impact of not getting enough exercise or enough physical activity had on my own mental health and I've then seen the positive impact incorporating it does! I've also experienced the negative impact of thinking exercise is just used to lose weight and be thin. When I finally switched my reasons why I move it was a whole new ballgame and I want to share that with everyone and anyone! I heard a quote somewhere that I absolutely love- "Exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do. NOT a punishment for what your ate."
TM: Is there anything else about yourself, your story, or mental health that you would like to share with us?
TG: Another big event in my life that pushed me to seek a healthier life was losing my father to cancer. It was pretty traumatic to see someone so strong and healthy get taken down by a disease so quickly. I truly wish I knew then that I know now about the power of food and movement as medicine. It might have made a difference, it might not have. The more I learn about what incorporating a plant based diet can do for the health of our minds and our bodies (and our earth) the more I'm making it my mission to spread this information.
I reference a plant based diet a few times in my answers. Basically meaning focusing on consuming whole plant foods - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds while avoiding/limiting as much as possible meat, dairy, oil, and refined sugar.
By: Jessica Hutt
Giving Tuesday is a global movement for giving and volunteering that takes place each year after Black Friday. The “opening day of the giving season,” it is a time when charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for their favourite causes. Giving Tuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities. We hope that you will consider donating to Tangible Movement on Giving Tuesday and do your part in erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness. Please sponsor us at https://www.gofundme.com/tangiblemovement.
Happy Thanksgiving, and warmest wishes from Tangible Movement! I hope that you are all enjoying spending quality time with your families, indulging in delicious meals, and watching fall football! Today, I am swapping Therapy Thursday with Thankful Thursday in celebration of Turkey Day, and will be discussing the benefits of gratitude.
Everyone is familiar with the time-honored Thanksgiving tradition of sharing what one is grateful for with the group. No matter how many times the phrases “family”, “friends”, and “good health” are repeated, the process is comforting and affirming. However, expressing gratitude does more than create “warm and fuzzy” feelings - psychotherapist Amy Morin says gratitude improves physical and psychological health, enhances empathy, reduces aggression, improves self esteem, and increases quality of sleep. With such an extensive list of benefits, perhaps thankfulness should be a greater part of our lives. Here are some ways to incorporate gratitude into the daily routine:
1. Create a Gratitude Journal
Take a few minutes out of your day to reflect on your blessings before bed! Leave a notebook on your nightstand, and fill it up with a few thoughts each night. Research indicates that keeping gratitude journals makes people feel better about life and be more charitable toward others! Nothing is too small to include in this journal - record the little things that make you happy during your day!
2. Remember the Bad
Keeping things positive isn’t always the key to keeping ourselves happy. Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, proposes the idea that “to be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.”
3. Appreciate Everything
Don’t reserve your gratitude for grandiose gestures! Forbes Magazine suggests that “The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for”. Identifying every single good thing that happens to you will make you a far more grateful person.
Thank you so much for reading, and I am wishing you all a very warm and joyful Thanksgiving. I am grateful for your readership and for the opportunity to work with an organization that is wholeheartedly dedicated to helping others. Tangible Movement sends their best regards!
Hello all, and happy Motivation Monday! Today is my seventeenth birthday, and this occasion has provoked me to reflect on the passage of time and what I hope to achieve in the next chapter of my life. To me, birthdays are a time to celebrate a year’s worth of lessons learned, goals achieved, and cherished memories made. They are also a time to prepare for the next 365 days of laughter, mistakes, experiences, and challenges to come. Today, I invite you to think back over your the past year with me. What were the highest points for you, and the most devastating lows? How did you overcome adversity and demonstrate resilience? What have you spent your time doing, and was it beneficial for you? What have you learned? Are you living life to the fullest? Are you excited or wearied by the prospect of a year to come? Are you the healthiest, most positive, and best version of yourself?
This week, I challenge you to identify a problem in your life and take the initiative to change it. Use this week as a fresh beginning and implement early New Year’s resolutions! The problem can be as big or small as you want it to be. For instance, I often struggle with procrastination, and have decided to implement the one-minute rule this week. This rule states that anything that takes sixty seconds or less should be done right away. I hope that this will increase my productivity and simplify my life! If you struggle with excessive stress, try to abide by the 5 by 5 rule this week! This rule states that if something will not matter in five years, one should not spend more than five minutes being stressed about it. I hope that you take this challenge to heart and are motivated to make small changes this week that will lead to a better lifestyle! This Motivation Monday, look forward to a week full of warmth, family, and love. I hope you are all having an excellent start to Thanksgiving week
By: Jessica Hutt
The Queer Kids Kickoff in collaboration with Tangible Movement will take place on Sunday, November 18 from 1-3 pm. The event, hosted by Tangible Movement, will serve as a casting call for LGBTQ+ youth who would like to be showcased in their local communities. Join us for drinks, snacks, and fun as we take photos for our LA series trading cards. The event is free (though donations are appreciated) and will take place at Onepiece Work (631 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401). RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/queer-kids-kickoff-open-call-day-party-tickets-51902826752?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing#tickets! We look forward to seeing you there!
By: Jessica Hutt
On Saturday, November 17, from 8:30pm-12:30am, Stage + Table will host a Wine & Cheese Pairing Competition. All proceeds from this event will go toward Tangible Movement. The contest will feature wine and cheese pairings from over 12 teams for attendees to sample and judge. After the conclusion of the competition, guests are welcome to stay and mix, mingle, and enjoy gourmet late night treats! REGISTER NOW at https://stageandtable.com/event/18-11-17-fr!