anxiety

Calm On The Go! CalmiGo

I am excited to share with you a new resource that I have been using over the past few months for anxiety. It’s called a CalmiGo and it claims to offer a “Calm in your pocket” experience – I couldn’t agree more! This drug-free and all-natural anxiety remedy has quickly become one of my favorite tools because it’s easy to carry, easy to use, and quickly helps me regain control of my breathing when I am struggling through an anxious moment. It’s been scientifically tested and is even being recommended to patients by doctors and therapists in several countries already.

The CalmiGo device was developed by Adi Wallach. Adi herself understands how awful and uncomfortable anxiety can be and through her own personal journey to find healing she lovingly created the CalmiGo. Her attention to creating this multi-sensory, compact, and easy-to-use device was a passion project for her and I think she nailed it!

I love that the CalmiGo is even safe for children to use. I have been hearing from so many of you who have children struggling with anxiety and I believe the CalmiGo can be helpful. I think that giving your anxious child a tool like Calmigo is a great way to empower them to take control of their feelings and as a mother myself I can’t think of a better way to show my kids how much I love them and care about their mental health.

I have been using my CalmiGo at night when my sleep is disrupted and I wake up anxious. I love that I can turn off some of the features so I don’t wake my husband and each time I’ve used it in this instance I have fallen back to sleep quickly. The light lavender scent that the device emits is great too!

Using my CalmiGo proactively three times per day for three minutes has improved my sleep, my anxiety and anticipation in certain triggering situations, and it feels so good to take a few moments to breathe deeply. It helps me feel grounded and well – calm.

Visit the CalmiGo website for more information about how it might help you gain control over your own anxiety.

Here is a link to a video that shows a CalmiGo demonstration.

I am very excited to be partnering with Calmigo because I know how much it has helped me regain control of my anxiety and I know it will help you too!

For 20% off your purchase with Calmigo use my code BLOOMING.

Anxiety Is Information

Anxiety Is Information

My therapist recently challenged me to start thinking of anxiety as information.  I must admit I left her office feeling a bit miffed by the idea especially as I started to contemplate how my anxiety plays out. It’s usually a full body and mind phenomenon. Heart racing, mind running laps around me, sweating, and searching for a way out. Sometimes I’m awoken this way in the middle of the night too and then the insomnia side takes over. If anxiety is information in these moments then what could it be telling me?  I’m dying – That’s usually the only answer I can come up with. Even though my rational self knows that’s not true because I’ve lived through each anxious moment and period in my life thus far it still feels that way.  Then, I spend my remaining energy focused on ways to find relief in those moments instead leaning into them. Apparently, that’s what might be missing.

This concept had swirled through my consciousness for weeks until I finally decided to give it a try knowing I wouldn’t get it right the first time.  Embracing something as uncomfortable as anxiety must take some practice to perfect and I felt up for the challenge.  Afterall, I am known to be a pretty good listener so I should be able to pick up on what my own anxiety is trying to tell me! Fortunately, or unfortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long.

Anxiety has been my bestie today. It’s ok. I’m letting her take the lead for now and I think I know what her message is-- at least this time.

I need to slow down. Take some time for myself. Meditate and journal. Perhaps there has been a trigger and I should look out for it. Not let it consume me, just notice it. Don’t let it derail me. Instead, consider what it can teach me.

I am ready to learn.

I wish I could share that I am on the other side of this already and that I’ve gained so much insight and I’m feeling great. Though that is not the case, I am hopeful it soon will be. As I work towards finding my peace again, I challenge you to search for ways to lean in to what your anxiety is telling you instead of focusing on the methods by which you can numb it, erase it, and tolerate it. Rather, try and find ways to acknowledge it, embrace it, and grow from it.

CBD Success

I spent great time with my friend Lynn this summer and she taught me so much about a supplement I have had in my anxiety arsenal for some time but have been too nervous to use. It’s called cannabidoil and you might know it as CBD.  My hesitation was coming from my experience will medical marijuana which is different because it contains tetrahydrocannabidoil (THC), the mind altering component of marijuana. Though I was using it conservatively its effects had a role in my hospitalization in 2016 as my PTSD spun out of control. So you can understand my hesitation in using CBD even though I knew it was different. Anyway, Lynn’s knowledge about CBD and her testimony inspired me to give CBD a chance and I am so glad I did. It has helped me with pain, sleep, anxiety, and most importantly has given me peace when I’ve needed it.  The health benefits of CBD are endless and I want to share some information that Lynn has passed along to me in hopes that you might find some relief from CBD too.

There are different ways you can use CBD. I use a tincture and tablets and we even credit some of Jeff’s Boston Marathon training success to CBD lotion. I’m so happy Lynn agreed to share some of her knowledge about using CBD tinctures with you.  In reading this I discovered I was using my tincture wrong and once I implemented her tools I found success.

6 Tips to Taking CBD Tinctures

By Lynn Julian

CBD tinctures are one of the simplest forms of cannabidiol products, which also make them one of the most popular. The definition of a tincture is “an herbal liquid extract that is meant to be consumed orally.” CBD is a natural cannabinoid found in all cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana.

What is the Best Way to Take a CBD Tincture?

When taking a CBD tincture orally, in the mouth, place the liquid CBD oil under the tongue. CBD liquid is best absorbed by the tongue, not the stomach. One can also enable a little lung absorption of CBD by taking deep breaths in through the mouth, holding, and blowing out through the nose. This is similar to vaping CBD oil.

Here are easy tips for medicating with CBD tinctures:

1.    Do put the dose of tincture UNDER your tongue.

2.    Don’t touch the vial dropper to your tongue unless you wash it.

3.    If it’s a thick, CBD oil in a syringe, place the dose of CBD oil on your finger, rub it under your tongue and suck the remainder off your finger.

4.    If it’s a large dose of CBD oil, with a lot of fluid, use the tongue to rub the tincture around the inner cheeks. Or, separate the dose into 2 doses.

5.    Inhale very slowly and deeply, 10 times (in through the mouth / out through the nose. Then swallow the unabsorbed remainder of the tincture.

6.    Don’t drink or eat anything for ½ hour after you place the tincture.
This will give it time to fully absorb and not get washed into the stomach.

CBD oil is a hot topic in the media right now and I am a firm believer in its benefits. My dear friend and fellow Boston Marathon survivor, Lynn Julian, shared with me some of her tips for using CBD and I wanted to share them with you! I've learned so much from Lynn and hearing her encouraging words about CBD this summer inspired me to give it a chance and I am so happy I did! https://www.stillbloomingme.com/new-blog/cbdsuccess
#ptsd #CBD #cbdoil #mentalhealthawareness #naturalmedicine

Survivors Sharing Part 1

In November of last year Jeff and I traveled to NYC to join other terrorist attack survivors for a Strength to Strength retreat. I wrote about it here Thankful.Grateful.Blessed.

We had the opportunity to meet and bond with so many wonderful people. It was emotional, life-changing, and powerful hearing everyone's stories. I remember getting back to my room after hearing Elaine's story and I knew that her words had changed me - I could feel her pain. She and I became fast friends. We bonded over therapy experiences, post-traumatic growth, and our strides to find healing. She is a treasure in my life.

Elaine survived the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya on September 21, 2013. Ironically, September 21st is the International Day of Peace. That day 67 precious lives were lost and I know Elaine carries their memory with her.  You can hear her story in an interview the gave to Anderson Cooper here. I have no doubt that what she shares in this article will touch you too.

Elaine and I have been talking for some time about how we could share our experiences with other survivors and those suffering from PTSD. We taped our last conversation and each shared how we live now as survivors with PTSD. This is the first part and I wanted to share it with you as June is National PTSD Awareness month.

My Personal Anxiety Arsenal

I was so focused on getting out of town last week that I missed sharing my personal anxiety remedies with you. Here is my follow-up on last week’s post and tools I use on a daily basis to combat my anxiety and ultimately to help me move through my life better.

First, I start every day with meditation and prayer.

Insight Timer is the best meditation app.  I have tried them all and I keep going back to this one so I said goodbye to several others.  There are meditations from practitioners from all over the world, meditations for every ailment under the sun (including one’s for kids that I use daily with my treasures), and meditations for even the busiest of people. If you only have five minutes to give yourself then Insight Timer can help you. If you have an hour or anything in between, Insight Timer can help you.  I have had people tell me that they don’t feel meditation is their “thing” before and I can’t imagine how getting comfy, popping some ear buds in, and focusing on your breath wouldn’t be your thing.  These are guided meditations that help you redirect your focus and train of thought. It’s very simple!  You can meditate with me and look through the sessions I use most by searching for Still Blooming Me. Don’t be shy and send me a friend request! This is a snapshot of my profile.

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You Version Bible is a new app for me that a dear friend recommended.  What I love most about this app are the guided devotional plans you can use.  I just finished a seven day plan about overcoming anxiety and each devotional was spot on with what I needed to hear that day and gave me scripture to apply to my journey too.  If you have been following me then you know that I read Jesus Calling each day as well. It’s funny because last week I noticed that in both resources the same words were being spoken to me and that was to call on Jesus when I need his help and just say “Help me Jesus” out loud.  I believe that whatever faith you come from, God is not far away and hears your call. Invite Him on this journey with you. You will be relieved by the peace you will find in His presence.

As I move through my day I use other remedies. Some require you see a Naturopath and Psychiatrist so I won’t mention those tools by name. What I will say is that anxiety is created and perpetuated by an imbalance in your neurotransmitters. My personal naturopath is working on a piece that will explain this further in a blog that is coming up.  In the meantime, I can suggest a supplement I lean on quite a bit. L-Theanine tablets help get me through sleepless nights and anxious moments.  I have taken many different forms of it but I like these the best.

 

Part of my anxiety is really fueled by my sleep patterns and so I have noticed that I really need to quiet myself down at night and this includes some rituals I have developed over the past six months as I have learned what helps me and what doesn’t.  So here is my sleep prep routine; I eat an earlier dinner because I notice when I eat too late that my digestion keeps me up longer, I take my supplements and medication by 7pm, I drink Bedtime tea, I read a book instead of looking at my phone because the blue light our phones and televisions emit disrupt our circadian rhythms, and remember that Insight Timer app I mentioned up above?  I love to snooze away to the Yoga Nidra for Sleep meditation.

I hope some of these tools help you get to feeling better soon! I’d love to hear what you have in your own anxiety arsenal! Comment below or contact me.

 

Be Gentle With Yourself

This week I want to focus on some coping mechanisms I use that have brought me tremendous healing since August and tools I use on a day-to day basis depending on how I am feeling.  The reason why I felt compelled to write about this is because last week I was approached by two dear friends who are struggling with anxiety in their daily lives. Each described their fears, whether it is driving on a busy highway, sitting in a movie theater, enjoying a kid’s soccer game, or just social anxiety in general.  The common thread for me between the conversations was compelling.  These are two healthy women who have wonderful lives, people who love them and support them, and who have nothing to be afraid of; yet they are living in fear. 

What I have learned in my healing process is that anxiety is created when there is an imbalance with our neurotransmitters, which is something we can correct over time with the proper guidance and doctor.  It can be perpetuated by the things we consume, whether dietary or environmental. And furthermore, anxiety exists in our lives because we give it energy and permission to do so through our actions and inaction.  Now that I know this it’s easier for me to get through my anxious times but if you don’t have these tools, anxiety can cripple you to the point where you can’t find hope in anything.

I think the greatest piece of advice that I have received from each of my therapists and doctors has been to be gentle with myself.  Whether I was trying to find the cure to my sleepless nights, appetite loss, anxiety, or depression – I was to be gentle with myself.  This isn’t an easy thing to do and I had to make some difficult decisions in order to claim some peace.

Over the past 6 months, my focus shifted to the things I could control in my world and less about what was happening outside of that and slowly my mindset changed. For example, the world news was responsible for my trigger in July. So I don’t watch the news anymore and haven’t since, I don’t scroll the Facebook news feed, and I don’t watch violent shows or movies that could re-trigger me. Wow did this bring me peace! During a time in our history when the world has been so chaotic, I have been focused 100% on what happens within the walls of my own home.

Being gentle with myself has included eliminating alcohol, caffeine, most social media, and toxic relationships; and on the flip-side it has included doing more of the things I love like sewing with my aunts, taking baths, really playing with my treasures, focusing on the health of the relationships that matter to me, praying and meditating, and building this positive resource for others.  Staying grounded has become my priority, not my social calendar.

I am not advising you make all of these changes overnight but I am encouraging you to examine what changes you can make that will create a small impact on your life right now. How can you honor yourself better? How can you show yourself true love? How can you be gentler with yourself?

Below is a link to a guide my therapist shared with me that includes some great tools for coping with anxiety.  I hope you find it useful and share it with your loved ones who need it today.

Self Help Tips for Coping with Anxiety