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Fitness Planning

September 22, 2014 - Heather - in category A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

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Fitness has always been an important part of my life. I played sports growing up and I early on fell in love with the feeling of being a part of a team, working towards a goal, and developing a skill. After having kids I looked for a new way to get fit that involved more than chasing after them. I began running and after experiencing a “runners high” I became addicted mentally and physically to the movement. I realized that I started to use my running as a coping mechanism to stress, and as a way to clear my head and become focused.

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Creativity

September 16, 2014 - Heather - in category A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

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Part of me is angry I even have to write this. Shouldn’t we all have the time and space to paint and write every day, frolicking in a meadow, braiding our hair with flowers we grew in the garden? Why would we need to remind ourselves to engage in this most valued human drive? What could be more important than the free expression of life and beauty?I suppose laundry is important. And work. And cooking food, raising kids, driving places, baying bills, getting enough sleep, returning emails, avoiding phone calls…all the daily tasks of maintaining the life we’ve created.

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Nutrition for Mental Health

September 09, 2014 - Heather - in category A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

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Nutrition is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Because food struggles have been part of my personal journey it can feel like a loaded topic at times, but I know it is also one full of healing and health and even joy, which is why I want to share it with you. In my experience, nutrition intersects beautifully with the other Get Happy! topic I lead, mindfulness. When the gears are working smoothly and life is feeling relatively balanced, consuming mindfully becomes natural and we are in sync with our bodies. Mindfulness is also a great tool to help us stay in the moment with food rather than focusing on a predetermined outcome such as a “better” body. At its best, a healthy relationship with food can be pleasurable, natural, joyful, nourishing and nurturing. Food can be prepared with love, shared with loved ones and a way to show our bodies some love.

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I Love Mindfulness

August 15, 2014 - Heather - in category A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

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I wanted to reach out and share a little bit with you all about mindfulness. It’s a topic that has become increasingly near and dear to my heart. As I see my career moving forward, I see myself moving more towards incorporating mindfulness and instructing people in this valuable tool. Sometimes I call it a tool because we’re all comfortable with that sort of cognitive-behavioral language. It seems tangible and practical that way—and it is! But really, I think of mindfulness as much more than a tool. The principles of mindfulness–things like acceptance, openness to experience and not judging–are spiritual principles. They’re about being connected to something larger and embracing a set of values as you go through life. They’re about letting go of control where we don’t have control anyways. Mindfulness is all about accepting and dealing with life on life’s terms. It won’t coddle you. It’s not going to tell you everything will be ok and you’ll get a fairy tale ending. But it will tell you you’re here now. You’re breathing. Your heart is pumping. You can apparently read ; ) And this is the only moment we have. So, right now, you’re ok. You’re ok even if you’re in emotional or physical pain–because pain is not inherently bad. We just label it that way and tell ourselves we can’t handle it and must escape. On the contrary, I find when I sink into a difficult emotion, it softens. I’m yielding to it rather than putting up a cold hard shield of resistance. Holding up that shield of resistance is what is actually difficult and draining. So, I allow the feeling and become curious about it and I’m always surprised when it dissipates more quickly than I could have imagined.

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