Self improvement

How to make 2019 about YOU

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You know who LOOOOOVES New Year’s?? GYMS!

“New year, new me!”

Regardless if you are struggling with grief, depression, anxiety, or trauma the following suggestions will be applicable and allow you to take charge of your mental health. Let’s make  2019 is the year of better mental health !

  1. Remember to be grateful, every day: When people focus on just three things that they are grateful for each week, they create a better quality of life within just three weeks.  

    No matter what happens in your life, focusing on gratitude always has the potential to shift your focus. Sometimes people who suffer from depression struggle with gratitude, and if you’re one of those people, I recommend you keep it very simple. Even things like: being able to breathe, being able to see, and being able to hear are substantial things to be grateful for.

  2. Use A Mood Tracker: If you who struggle with depression, anxiety, or mood issues, this is a powerful little tool!
    “Foreverism” is when something bad happens and you fear that it will be that way forever.
    But a mood tracker gives you black and white data that destroys that myth that depression, anxiety, etc are always present. It destroys the fear of foreverism.

    Using a mood tracker (whether an actual app or just a notebook) helps you to identify patterns of behaviors and emotions and help you hold qualitative info that says, “this is not going to last forever.”

  3. Check Your Gut Health: Gut health and mental health are directly connected. While this is really a personal issue, some recommendations you can start with to see if it helps are: decrease the amount of sugar you consume, check out probiotics to see if they have an impact, and do some research to understand the correlation between your gut health and your mental health. You might be surprised how your gut influences you!

  4. Stop Handing Over Your Power: This one will likely take some adjusting to for lots of people.
    When you allow someone else’s opinion of you to determine how you feel about yourself, that’s giving them the keys to your mental health. Maintain your own power.

    Here’s a newsflash for many of you :) : YOU get to decide how you want to feel each and every day. If you decide you want to feel peaceful or content, then allow yourself to feel these feelings.

  5. Sleep IS Important: When people get deep, healing sleep it lowers their risk for depression and anxiety. I’ve watched a direct correlation between increasing sleep and decreasing depression and anxiety in the clients I work with.

    From a brain wave level, when we hit REM sleep we enter Theta and Delta. This allows both your minds and our bodies to heal and reset. When you aren’t getting enough sleep or deep enough sleep, it sets you up to experience an increase in depression and anxiety. SO REST UP!

  6. Get Creative: Don’t get caught up in the prettiness or presentability of the work of art you create, just do it! It can be something as simple as doodling or just writing letters at slanted angles. People who have not experienced complex trauma might seem more naturally creative. And that’s okay.

    If you’re one of  those people I’m going to recommend: drawing, painting, singing, dancing, cooking, baking, etc. Find something that you enjoy and just do it! Don’t get caught up in the finished project.

  7. New Learning: Evidence that shows that new learning helps the brain to heal. This is going to clearly look different for everyone. This could be learning a new instrument to play, or  learning a foreign language, it might mean learning a new game to play and for others it might mean just doing some crossword puzzles.

    The real question to ask yourself is, when is the last time I learned something new? The old adage if we are not learning we are dying is really accurate here.

  8. Movement: There is research that shows people who walked one mile six days a week grew new brain cells.

    That’s not necessarily realistic for every body, specifically those living in unwell bodies. You don’t need to run a marathon (unless that is your personal goal). However, but try to begin to gently move your body in a way that honors your body.

    The goal is not weight loss or even exercise. The goal is simply for you to wake up the cells in your body. Gentle movement a few times a day can be very helpful for even the most sedentary bodies. My recommendation is to begin with some simple stretching and see how that feels. (Always consult a physician beforehand.)

Navigate your mental health differently this year. And make 2019 the year of great mental health and see how that trickles down to every other area of your life! Are you excited to see what else is possible?

Check out the options for private coaching to find the right package here: https://www.jennbovee.com/work-with-jenn/

Let’s start the new year with you investing in your wellness.

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I have never been a good sleeper. Even as a child, after my sister fell asleep I would take my pillow and blanket and lay on the hallway floor and watch television. On my best nights I would lay there for two and a half hours before I fell asleep. On my worst nights it was substantially worse. As I grew older my poor sleep continued to grow more and more out of control. At one point, in my adult life, my sleep was so poor that if you pieced together all the ten-minute sections of sleep I got, it would equate to just about three hours. To say this impacted every area of my life is the greatest understatement of all time. Are you aware of how your body and mind are impacted by sleep loss? Many people are aware that sleep loss causes depression and even accident proneness, but what about the other areas impacted by sleep loss? Here’s a short run down of the impact of sleep loss: Weakened immune response, weight gain, impaired brain function, cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure, heart disease, destroys sex drive, and is responsible for accidental deaths. The impact of sleeplessness is wide ranging, but I wanted to give you a taste for it.

For those of you who have struggled with getting deep, healing, rejuvenating sleep I would recommend the following immediately: do not use the bed for anything other than sleep and sex. Any other activities done in bed create confusion in your subconscious mind. Remember that 96-98% of habits and behaviors are stored in your subconscious mind. As such if the habit is that when you lay down you are doing anything other than sleep it creates confusion for your subconscious mind. At the end of the day sleep is a habit. My goal is to empower you to change your habit so that you can live the life you have always wanted to.

Here are my sleep suggestions:

  1. Disconnect: Inside of the television there is a blue tube that is designed to stimulate your brain. The IPAD is capable of depleting all of the melatonin in your brain. I recommend disconnecting all electronics at least a half hour to 45 minutes prior to bed time. Read a book, take a bath, clean the kitchen sink; whatever else we do we must stop stimulating our brains.
  2. Routine: All sleep experts agree on the validity of a sleep routine. My personal sleep routine is before bed I take my vitamins and supplements, drink a bottle of water, and brush my teeth. My experience is that once you being using a sleep routine the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep will diminish.
  3. Self-hypnosis: Once I learned how to use self-hypnosis my sleep substantially improved! If you are not using self-hypnosis I would strongly encourage you to begin. It’s hugely healing and it’s been a game changer for me. While engaging in self hypnosis I typically affirm that I am able to quickly and easily get to a deep level of sleep.
  4. Gratitude Game: Occasionally I will struggle with achieving sleep quickly. On those occasions when I am struggling with sleep, I play the gratitude game. The way I play it is I think of something to be grateful for that begins with the letters of the alphabet. If by some chance I am still awake by the time I reach the letter Z, then I just do it backwards coming up with different things to be grateful for.
  5. Deep Breathing: This is such a valid and helpful component; I just couldn’t leave it out. Engaging in deep breathing relaxes the brain and body. Just for a moment do 5 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. I would encourage you to do this several times a day.
  6. Letting go:  Many people have developed the habit of reviewing their day once they are in bed.  Find a way to release the stress, anxiety, and worry before you ever climb into bed.  Methods of letting go of these issues include: journaling, exercising, bathing, walking. Find a way that works for you.

Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist. Jenn offers in person therapy as well as distance life coaching. If you would like to learn more about Jenn or her services please check her out here:  www.JennBoveeLCSW.com

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How to Trust Again

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Trust is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: a belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. I’m sure every human being has, at one time or another, had their trust hurt if not broken. In my life, I had this habit of always picking the exact wrong guy for me. I’m sure they were nice people, but I deserved someone who could stay faithful to the relationship. I didn’t really believe that I had trust issues until I met my husband. In my head, intellectually, I knew and understood that he was faithful to me and would never break my trust. However, there was that occasional small voice in my head that would say, “You are not ______ enough. She’s cuter… They are probably getting together.” It was this same voice that convinced me that I needed to check his email, Facebook messenger, texts, etc. This habit was always magnified when my worthiness issues would be stimulated. I’m well aware that this is not a respectful and trusting way to behave. However, there was a point in time when that’s exactly how my life was. I didn’t even realize that the men I was with in the past were serially cheating.  But the stimuli did not meet the current situation. I didn’t want to not trust my husband. I love him more than life, and I know he would do anything to protect me (which includes not hurting me).   I took a few simple actions (not easy, but relatively simple) that revolutionized my trust in him.

If you are struggling with trusting a spouse, a partner, a friend, a person who you are just getting to know please apply these steps. I want you to know you deserve more! You deserve to fully and completely trust the other person as well as yourself! Here are the steps I took to increase the amount of trust I have in my life:

  1. I made a decision: On some level I’m sure that sounds trite. However, it’s really that simple. On a daily, hourly, minute by minute, basis I made the decision “I trust my husband. I am trustworthy.” Sometimes I wrote that statement hundreds of time a day, other days it was simply something I uttered out loud to the Universe.
  2. Acted as if: No matter what philosophical convictions you ascribe to this mentality has a great deal of validity. Many days, once I made the decision it was easy to act as if I trusted him. However, if he got a text and he smiled while reading it, I did something different. In that moment, I made the decision to act as if I completely trusted him. It was so freeing.
  3. Reality Checking: Looking back, I cannot imagine how much differently my life would have been if I had said, “It seemed to take you 9 minutes to walk from the driveway to the house. Am I valid in feeling insecure about that?” So when A + B = he’s cheating on me, I voice those things today because he deserves to know where my head’s at. Additionally, I don’t deserve to hold on to those toxic feelings/emotions today.
  4. Getting out of my own head: In the beginning of our relationship some of the old baggage was so overwhelming that I was drowning in my own fears, doubts, worries, and concerns. When those moments began to hit I would: clean something, write a list of positive things about him, make a list of all the great times we did together, make something for him or someone else.
  5. Do something kind for someone else: This is one of my favorite things to do to this day! Sometimes it’s extravagant things like sending someone flowers without signing the card. Other times it’s more practical things such as: paying for the car behind me at Starbucks, sending someone a card telling them how great they are without signing it, letting someone else have the perfect parking spot. Whatever you do, make sure you do it with a smile.
  6. Communicate, communicate, communicate: Seriously, this is the biggest thing for me. I am a very transparent person. I don’t do secrets, lies, and manipulation well. My husband and close friends know the details of my past. We can be walking down the mall and I can in a half second moment tell my husband I’m feeling insecure or paranoid, and it’s okay.
  7. Be kind to yourself: Do something nice for yourself daily. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but taking action in a loving manner towards yourself helps to heal your issues. For me these things range from getting myself a good book, buying myself some inexpensive flowers, or taking a really long bath.
  8. Journal: This is one of the things that changed my attention and focus immediately. Everyday I would focus on three great qualities my husband has. Even the most difficult relationship can come up with three positives about the other person. On particularly difficult days I would also make a short list of ways that he was trustworthy. It changed everything!
  9. Forgive: The definition of forgiveness that I use is giving up the hope of a different or better yesterday. It takes the people, places, and emotions out of the dynamic. Which means that it lets all of us off the hook. Once I forgave myself, and everyone else involved, it made it so much easier to love.

I don’t believe that trust can happen in a vacuum. However, I do believe that there are layers of trust. Every single day that I work on healing myself and my experiences I trust the people in my life a little deeper.

Jenn Bovee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides spiritual counseling and life coaching. Learn more about her here:  www.JennBoveeLCSW.com