7 Mental Getaways to Take This Summer

I’d love a real tropical vacation, complete with hot cabana boy and a lot of girly mixed drinks, but unfortunately, it’s not in my budget. I’m sure many of you can relate: you’re jonesing for a vacay, but your budget screams “Don’t even splurge on that mani-pedi for a few weeks.”

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t relish and delight in the relaxation that the summer heat screams. I know it’s not the same as an island or a European tour or Iceland cruise, but you can take these 7 mental vacations to really capitalize on the summer sunshine and get yourself (and your perspective) refreshed.

7 New Year’s Resolutions to Ditch This Year

t’s a timeless tradition: the New Year Resolution.

We resolve to make them by year’s end and then, as it approaches the end of January, suddenly, we’re completely off track. The key to making those resolutions stick is to form and word them like an actual habit and keep the resolutions simple. Another way to stay on target? Recruit a friend! A friend of mine and I emailed each other our resolutions and reached out on a quarterly basis to see how we were both doing and hold each other accountable. Truly, the buddy system works! Where I failed in 2018 with my resolutions was making too many. In typical fashion, I bit off more than I could chew and at times, my resolutions were too complex. Overall though, I did pretty well considering. For 2019 however, I’m going to stick to just a few and keep it simple.

Another reality of resolutions is we often make ones that are not realistic or concretely helpful. So, to all you single mommas out there trying to pin down your resolutions and goals for 2019, here are some resolutions you can kick to the curb or revise, and exchange for resolutions that are:

  1. Easier to follow and make habit
  2. Realistic and positive

Let’s get started!

REDO THE LOSE WEIGHT RESOLUTION

Many women (and men) make the “I’m losing weight goal,” only to be sidelined by well, cookies, cakes and leftover macaroni and cheese their kids didn’t finish.

Read More: 7 New Year Resolutions to Ditch This Year

Just DO It,

Laura

7 Reasons for Breast Pain Before Your Period (& Sometimes, After)

“Why are my breasts sore?” It’s a question many women ask themselves, especially if they’re suffering from sore breasts before period cycles.

I have dealt with severe pain and sore breasts for the past few years because I have fibrocystic breasts. I didn’t know, however, that I had fibrocysts until I ended up with a painful lump after my yearly breast exam and had to go for an early mammogram.

In general, it’s not unusual to have tender breasts before your period, but why does it happen in the first place? And what else could be causing you to have general breast pain? Here are 10 things that could be causing your breast pain:

1. Progesterone

During the second half of your menstrual cycle, your progesterone levels rise. In particular, these levels rise the week before your period. When progesterone levels rise, this causes your milk ducts to swell. Translation? It can make your breasts very tender.

Read More: 7 Reasons for Breast Pain Before Your Period (& Sometimes, After)

Periods Are A Pain,

Laura

The State of Wellness

Being well. Eating organic. Avoiding GMO’s. Making sure you’re part of a Crossfit “box.” Never using anything that has toxins on your skin. Doing yoga at least twice a week. Having a life coach.

If you are not taking your wellness seriously…you are ill! Incredibly ill. 

And a failure as a human being, completely, don’t you know?

Being well isn’t just feeling healthy and happy these days. It’s a full on business, complete with Kool-Aid sold to you at sometimes, exorbitant prices, with the goal of you being the most fit, green, and organic human being on the Earth. Forget keeping up with the Joneses; these days, it’s “out-rawing” your neighbor and making sure your home is so Feng Shui’d out that you are the most “well” person on the planet. These days it’s ensuring you can out “burpee” and bench press your fellow citizen and then brag that you haven’t ate a cooked piece of meat or used a skincare product with the word “paraben” on the label in order to know that indeed:

You. Are. Well!

Don’t get me wrong. I love running, the gym, ballet and eating healthy, but you won’t catch me going vegan or meditating every second. Although truth be told, a little meditation would be good for me! The fact is being well and healthy is very important but we can’t have a life coach for every move we make and we can’t squat and burpee our way down every single hallway and through every event in our life. We can’t always keep calm and Zen, mantra-ing our way through the day with a side of Yoga and essential oil. Sometimes, you need a little caffeine, curse words, chocolate and a complete meltdown on your couch.

Read More: The State of Wellness

A Little Caffeinated & A Little Zen, Too

Laura

5 Things You Learn About Yourself While Running

I love doing a variety of fit activities, whether it’s a HIIT class, ballet, weight training, barre, running, or what have you. Each activity has a different body and mind benefit. When I dance, I can only think about each movement and everything else melts away. When I run . . . I can think about, well, everything.

Out of all the fit things I love to do, I find I do my best thinking while running. Perhaps it’s because running is something that comes automatically without much thought. Sure, you have to avoid tripping over a rock or slipping, but the movement is instinctual . . . fight or flight, right?

As I run, I find that my thoughts are clear and logical, and it allows me an emotional release. Whether I am making up solutions as I run miles or releasing feelings, I learn so much about myself while running. We all can. If we solely ran for the physical benefits, we’d probably find something easier to do, but there are so many mental benefits from running that you can’t help but be addicted to what running does to your brain.

1. You Learn How You Really Feel

When you run, don’t be surprised when every emotion comes pouring out of your body. Happiness and joy. Rapid quick thoughts of anxiety. Tears of sadness or joy. I can count on many fingers the amount of times I have been running and crying. Perhaps it should be my hashtag.

 

Read More: 5 Things You Learn About Yourself While Running

How the Gym Saved Me From My Depression

The past year has tested every part of my being and reached into just about every corner of my world. Whether it was work, my divorce, or parenthood, this year has been a marathon of events in which the bottom line always required that I just keep on running . . . or swimming. Depends on your sport of choice. Wink.

I was moving. I was dealing with a difficult person. A child undergoing many changes. Job changes. Health issues. Money issues. It felt like once one thing had resolved, another major issue was waiting for me right on deck. There were certain times in which I was so stressed, eating was almost impossible. My stomach decided to take on all of my stresses for my brain, and I just wasn’t myself.

I wondered quite a few times why this was happening. But as time has gone on, I have realized that no matter the reason, I am getting stronger and tougher, mentally and physically.

After my Summer of “no food,” I finally felt well enough and looked to the gym with open
arms; it was like I was reuniting with a lover. The gym had always been a great source of
stress relief and fun for me, and so I was looking forward to getting back to “picking
things up and putting things down.”

It wasn’t just that working out helped increase those happy, feel-good hormones in my mind. It wasn’t just that being able to do real push-ups for the first time in my life got me into shape.

The gym saved me from succumbing to depression. It kept me from giving up.

Read More: How the Gym Saved Me From My Depression

6 Life Lessons I Learned From Ballet

I always wanted to dance. Growing up, I wished to be enrolled in ballet but at the time, my parents couldn’t afford to send me. My older sisters had gone before me but financial fortune was not on my side. Once I hit high school and my parents could afford it, I started classes right away. When I went to college, I took more classes but still, I wasn’t good enough to make a living from dance so I eventually stopped.

But ballet is just so beautiful, it didn’t matter to me if I was the best or the worst. It felt great doing it. So finally, after a divorce, two moves, health issues, and a year from hell, I signed up again for an adult ballet class.

For just one hour a week, my financial stress, single-mom woes, dating dilemmas, ex-husband hassles, and other life stuff just melts away. My noisy brain is silent and strictly focused on assemblé, battement, and more. Every motion has my complete attention. I can’t bother to be sad, stressed, or think about the 50 million things on my to-do list. All I can be is in that very pose or position, whether in center or at the barre. Ballet’s beauty goes beyond the confines of the classroom; there are so many life lessons I have learned from my time dancing.

Read More: 6 Life Lessons I Learned From Ballet

 

Dance On,

Laura

How Anxiety Is Actually Like a Real Prison

You may be the boss of you as an adult, but when you have anxiety, it can feel as if you are never in charge. There may seem to always be something hovering over you and stealing the wheel from your hands when you least expect it. In so many ways, anxiety can operate like a prison. It’s a sentence that you didn’t ask to serve or do anything to bring it on — most likely anxiety was handed to you by genetics or a traumatic situation — but it’s one that many people deal with, whether as a short-term sentence or a life-behind-bars type of scenario. It took separating from a former partner for me to understand how it had affected me.

And it wasn’t just my anxiety that reared now and again (an occasional sentence? community service?) that hurt my progress emotionally, but it was being romantically involved with someone who held it against me, hovering over my head, trying to make me feel bad about myself. Using it as a weapon for control.

It made the anxiety worse, not better, and in that case, there were two prison guards and one operated more covertly than the other (the former partner, not the anxiety). As I walked away from the situation, I started to see the writing on the wall.

I realized I was worth something and that while I can be anxious, anxiety does not rule and will NOT rule me.

Read More: How Anxiety Is Actually Like a Real Prison

Set Yourself Free,

Laura

7 Things I Don’t Want You to Say When I’m Feeling Anxious

People mean well and want to help, but when someone is experiencing anxiety or feeling nervous, the last thing we need is more useless cliches that don’t help us one bit. It’s hard to understand anxiety unless you have experienced it. Most people have felt anxious in their lifetimes, but if you’ve ever experienced the glory of a panic attack or been so anxious you felt sick, you know why I see red when people say, “Just relax.”

Newsflash, Einstein: if we could just relax, we would.

This of course doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to manage your anxiety. When I am feeling anxious, exercise, deep breathing, stretching, and time with friends help me feel better. Sometimes it also means shutting down my cell phone and not bothering with anyone, minus my daughter.

But when someone tries to give you unhelpful advice about anxiety for the 50th time, it’s enough to make you want to check out of dodge for the weekend.

1. “Just Relax”

Look, do you have a magic wand to erase this feeling of dread? If you did, you would use it and if Idid, so would I. Telling me to “just relax” is not helpful.

Read More: 7 Things I Don’t Want You to Say When I’m Feeling Anxious

SSH,

Laura

6 Ways to Relieve Stress as a Single Mom

Are you a stressed single parent? Welcome to the club! Adjusting to single motherhood definitely takes time but eventually, it’s simply the life you know and you’ll have a routine down pat. Still, women especially mothers, are known for biting off more than they can chew and not asking for enough help. This means that especially after a divorce, you could be feeling the burn mentally and physically, and no, I am not talking about voting for Bernie Sanders here. Some of you single moms may be laughing here when I say this but, there are ways to relieve your stress to bring you a happier and more peaceful life, post divorce. Things don’t always have to feel so difficult or challenging. Take my tips and find yourself feeling more at ease in your daily life after divorce!

Read More: 6 Ways to Relieve Stress as a Single Mom

Take a Deep Breath,

Laura