Posted in 2020, Chronic Illness Things, Covid-19, Goals, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Mental Health, thoughts

Month to Month Feelings

I was thinking about everything that has happened, and this is the blog post that grew from those thoughts. Please enjoy my ramblings πŸ˜‰

This month I desperately need a strong month. I need a month to push and have it actually go well. The first quarter (oh my goodness, it’s been OVER a quarter) of the year has been harder that I can even say. This past month wasn’t what I wanted, but that’s okay. I need to be okay with it, and I am starting to be okay and even happy with it. There’s been so much good (SO much good. God has blessed me with overflowing blessings), but there has also been so much hard and even harder. So I want to push and be strong this month, but I also want this month to work for me. You know what I mean? Where there’s some months where you push and work but yet there’s too much hard and you don’t get where you want to be. In ways that feels like failure, but it really isn’t. Failure is completely giving up, not trying. When you actually try but not hit the goals you wanted to hit, that’s not failing. I honestly don’t know an accurate word for it. I wish there was one. But this month I am MAKING it work for me.

I always struggle with having a positive mood when things don’t go my way. I don’t mean that in a mean, self-centered way. I just sometimes am disappointed when God shows me that the plans are different that I thought. And in April I even struggled with some depression again. It’s hard in this time, with all the craziness in the world. And sometimes I don’t know how to help myself. But I have taking steps to take care of myself, and made an amazing essential oils blend, and I have been writing affirmations every morning and I am super happy about my affirmations this month. These are the affirmations:

  1. I am doing the best I can, and that’s okay.
  2. God has given me all I need; I shall not want.
  3. I am strong and confident in what I believe.

I highly encourage you to do some daily affirmations. It really helps. I also have been doing 3 positives every morning, and that is really helping kicking the depression away.

To help me stay encouraged throughout the day, I like to write some quotes of a whiteboard I have. One quote I found in an email really struck me, and I put that up on my whiteboard.

The deepest root of a Christian woman is hope in God, and it yields this strong tree of fearlessness in the face of suffering.

John Piper

This quote is so amazing! I truly believe this can happen for each and every one of us. We just need to be with God. We need to enjoy our time with Him. We need to not start our day without talking to Him. That is how we will become a “strong tree of fearlessness in the face of suffering”.

I want this month to work for me. I mean that as in, I want to do the work this month and see my rewards and my goals being met. So I am going to do as much as I can so I hit my goals. And the rest? Well, that’s up to all the people on the other side of this screen. If I have a goal to hit a rank in Young Living, or to get more Instagram followers, I will post what I can to encourage people to stick around, but to stay and engage, well that’s up to all the other people. I can’t make them, and that’s okay. But I will encourage others by being myself, and they will stick around. Someday I will find the people in my niche, and oh what a fun day that will be.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts. It’s really crazy that this is going out on the Internet (well, you’re reading this so it’s out now) but I just want to share real feelings. Let me know if this resonates with you.

Be blessed!
Mackenzie πŸ’•

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Posted in 2020, Covid-19, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Mental Health, thoughts

A Needed Update β€οΈ

Hi everyone. It’s been a few weeks. I want to keep posting regularly, but there’s been a lot going on in the world and in my life. I’m here today to have a heart to heart. Just what I would say to a friend over coffee or tea. Enjoy πŸ₯°

I have tried over and over again to write another blog post, and I even had a ton of posts planned, but the words were stuck. The words wouldn’t come out. I just didn’t feel like writing anything to share on the World Wide Web. πŸ˜…

I had to work through some tough emotions this month. With a little more time on my hands and a whole lot less social anxiety, I have had to deal with my thoughts and emotions more. It’s not fun, and I think that’s why everyone is so frustrated with staying home-they actually have to feel emotions. It’s not fun sometimes, but it’s needed. And that is what I have been doing this month. Detoxing emotions. Physically detoxing. Taking the next step in my healing journey. And it’s been so good but so hard. It’s been good because I have been moving forward, taking the next steps to feel better. But it’s also been so hard, because I am taking steps forward. You understand, right?

I really want to start posting more often, but it might be a little on-and-off for a little. See, I want to store up a ‘stockpile’ of blog posts, so if I can’t get a new on written, I have other ones that I can post!!! It might seem fake, but that’s my life. I try to be as real as I can, but sometimes, you need to just keep posting even when you have nothing to say. Unwritten blog laws probably say I shouldn’t write that in my post, but I’m not a normal blogger. I’m me, Mackenzie. And I am on the journey of being comfortable in my own skin, and being happy with who God has made me to be.

So, how are you? What’s up in your life? What’s fun, what’s exciting, what’s new? Tell me everything! Even though I only know you through the computer screen, I want to be friend with ya!

Love y’all!

Mackenzie πŸ’•

Posted in 2020, first post, Goals, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Mental Health, thoughts

Goals for April! 🌸 πŸ’—

It’s the beginning of April now! I can’t believe how time is flying by! 2020 hasn’t really been what I thought it would be so far, but it will be okay. I just want to encourage you to keep going and don’t give up! Keep trusting God, and remember that He knew all of this craziness was going to happen, and knows what will happen after this.

Keep up with what you have going on in your life. Even when life is crazy with this pandemic, we still need to keep up what we need to do in our lives. It’s really hard, and I have been really struggling with not letting the news overwhelm me. But God knew this all would happen, and He is the only One who can give us peace now, and anytime.

my goals

This year I started doing monthly goals and resolutions, not many yearly ones. A year is a long time, especially with everything that is happening in 2020 and in my own life. Right now my state is still in shelter-in-place, so I don’t exactly know what will be happening this month. But I know I still need to live my life, even if it’s just at home. To be honest, that’s not to much different from my regular life. And, for me, that’s okay.

So, these are my goals for this month. I hope they encourage you to set goals, goals that will push you but also could be attainable if you are motivated and focused.

  • Keep becoming healthier and feeling better! – My health hasn’t always been the greatest, but I am feeling better. I just want to keep feeling better and finding a rhythm to feel better on a consistent basis!
  • Keep falling in love with Jesus every day. – Staying home a lot more has given me so much more time to talk to Jesus and learn more about him. I just want to keep falling in love with Him every day.
  • Finish 30-day SHRED strong! – I am currently doing a YouVersion Bible plan with some Internet friends. This plan (30-Day SHRED if you’re interested!) is where you read through the whole Bible in 30 days. It has been very interesting already, and I really want to keep up with it. It’s a lot to do, but so worth it!
  • Connect with more people through the Internet and real life! – Connecting with people has always been hard for me. During this time, I know I can encourage others. I really want to help other have fun at home! I know I can keep in contact with others during this time, and I am so thankful for that. So, this month I just want to encourage and get to know more people!
  • Write more blog posts – I really haven’t made posting on my blog and Instagram a priority this month. In April I really want to keep up with my weekly posting here and posting 3-4 times a week on Instagram. I love it when I’m sharing more of my thoughts, so I want to keep doing more of it this month.
  • Do more art – I haven’t done as much art as I wanted to this month. I finally got back into in at the end of March, so I definitely want to keep up with that. I love to put on a good audiobook and be painting for hours on end. Definitely doing more of that while we’re all stuck at home!
  • Workout on a regular basis – I have been doing pretty good at doing some kind of exercise every day. I want to keep doing that! My goal is to do 10 minutes of exercise every day-whether it’s yoga, dancing, strength training, or really anything else! I just need to get my body MOVING.
  • Organize my spring clothes! – It’s April now, so hopeful Michigan will start acting like it’s spring πŸ˜…. So I want to get all my warmer weather clothes rearranged in my closet. Not necessary, but it is fun and helpful.

what are your goals?

Life is really crazy right now. But also, you’re probably staying home more than ever right now. So make some progress for YOU this month. Start working out, or learn a new skill. Work on lessening anxiety, texting people regularly, or whatever you need to do to help your mind and body. I don’t know what your’e life is like right now. But maybe God is using this time at home, not doing much of anything, to get your attention. Listen to Him during this season.

So, tell me. What are you going to set as your goals for April? I’d love to hear!

Talk to y’all soon!

Mackenzie πŸ’•

Posted in 2020, Bible Thoughts, hope2020, Mental Health, thoughts

My Quiet Time Routine

Hey y’all!!! How’s life going? I know, probably pretty crazy. With everything going on in my area with COVID-19, its been insane. But that’s why this post is SO important. We ALL need Jesus. We can’t do life without spending time with Him. So, today I want to share my quiet time, or God time, routine. I love my routine, I think I have finally found the best kind of time for my life to really grow closer to God. Enjoy this post, but even more than that, let this post be your incentive to find your best routine for God time!

why does everyone call it ‘quiet time’?

ok, honestly – I am not exactly sure why. But, I think it is because this is the time where we separate from the noise of this world and QUIET our minds and hearts so we can commune with God, our glorious Heavenly Father. It doesn’t mean we don’t have music blasting and singing along with our whole hearts to worship the Awesome God who made EVERYTHING(cause I know I do!). So, the quiet comes from quieting every other distraction from the world and devoting that time to focus on our one true and perfect and good God.

I like to call it my God time, or my time with Jesus. Simple, I know. πŸ˜… But this is probably my favorite part of my day. I usually kind of split it up into two times, just because I do a lot of Bible studies and I am not able to do everything at one time. I love it; I really do.

That is the most important thing: we need to LOVE our time with God. We can’t do it begrudgingly, because then we will really never grow closer to Him. We can’t do it mindlessly either. We will fall away more than actually growing closer to Him. So, if you see that you really don’t enjoy your time with God, ask yourself why. Ask yourself what has been placed above God in your heart. Pray that all idols will be taken out of your heart. Pray that you will love your time to commune with God more. Pray that you will love your Heavenly Father more. Pray to be a scholar of God and what He had told us.

my God Time routine

My God time is split into two times: one when I get up, while having breakfast; and the other one, when I have extra time throughout the day. My early morning time is pretty simple, while my second time is usually a lot more in-depth studying the Bible. I know some of y’all are already like “oh she’s such an overachiever” but I really don’t mean it in that way. I have had some tough times in my life and I don’t know what I would do without my time with God. I need my time in the morning, and if I could do all my time then I would. But I have a lot of pain and soreness in the morning, so I can’t write that much until after I have put my oils on and exercised. (tip – find a pattern that works for YOU)

early morning…

Normally I start my mornings doing a short devotional. Right now I am doing 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs, and it is probably the best devotional I have ever read. I usually write down the key takeaway that is on the side of the page, and the verse that she starts the day with. It is really making me so much braver than I was before, and I’m only halfway through!

After I read my devotional I write down three quick affirmations. I just started doing this at the beginning of March and I am really seeing a difference in my day! My three affirmations for March are:

  1. I belong to God, and nothing could ever change that.
  2. I can make today a great day, only by God’s strength.
  3. I am kind, and I will serve others willingly.

I’ve heard about people doing affirmations every morning, and I always kind of thought it was weird. Not sure why, but I know I was WRONG. These have changed my day, and I am so excited to come up with new ones each month.

And that is my morning time! This usually takes right around 10 minutes, yet in really gets your started off right! And, of course, I am listening to the Passion 2020 Vibes on Spotify the whole time. πŸ˜‚ Such a good, God-focused, yet fun playlist! (tip – find a great worship playlist that you can’t get enough of!) Then I exercise and keep on with my day!

later…

Later in the day, really whenever I have a good chunk of time, I have my main time of studying the Word. I prefer to do it in the morning, but really whenever I have time to focus and learn more about God. I know a lot of people encourage having a set time to do devotions, but for my life and health right now I can’t set a time and be able to do it regularly. I just need to do it daily, but not every day at the same exact time. A little controversial, I know, but as I have said, we need to be able to make our God time our own. Which includes WHEN we do it.

So, when I have my God time, I usually sit on the floor next to my prayer corner. My prayer corner, as you can see in the photos, isn’t that big, plus it kinda is a 3-in-1. I do devotions here, workout on the mats, and do my hair in the mirror. For me this is the best spot for me to have time with God. When I am really not feeling good, I do it on my bed, but I prefer to keep it in one specific spot.

I will have a post coming all about prayer sometime soon, so I won’t dive into why I chose to do a prayer corner. But this has really grown my heart to commune with my Heavenly Father.

My prayer corner

what I do in my quiet time

So, now I am in my quiet time. I first read my She Reads Truth Bible, or whatever Bible I am currently using. I love my SRT Bible, I think its such a good resource! Currently I am working through the New Testament, first in my SRT Bible, which is the CSB translation. I am planning to read through the whole NT in 3 versions: first the CSB, then the ESV and finally the NIV. Right now I am reading Acts and it is really changing my relationship with God for the better.

I also use the Enduring Word Commentary while I’m reading. I don’t like to read it every day, because I want to rely on God’s Words, and not another person’s words. But it is a really helpful resource.

I usually read through the passage once, then look at cross references and commentaries. Then I grab my pencil and start underlining, circling, and writing notes. Then I read through it one more time, highlighting everything. I am using a highlighting key for my SRT Bible. I like it, but I also like just highlighting in random colors. It will probably go back and forth whenever I get a new Bible. Currently in my SRT I am using these gel highlighters. They’re not my favorite, but they work fine!

My highlighting key

After I study God’s Word, I pray and talk to God. Again, more on this coming later, but this is such an important part of growing closer to God. That’s why it’s getting its own post. πŸ˜‰

Then I either read a book and take notes, or I work on a Bible study. I am currently reading through Visual Theology, and it is really good. I also have a youth group Bible study that I work on every so often (this is the Bible study we are doing currently). This changes frequently, and sometimes I don’t have this time.

ok, wow. I can’t do that much.

Yeah, I know. After writing all this down, I see how much I actually do. It’s so good, but it’s not the normal. So, I just want to encourage you to do as much as you can. Whether it’s listening to sermons on your long drives, or reading for ten minutes two times a day. Just get in the Word. Lean on the Lord. He is only one who can truly help you. I sometimes spend up to two hours focusing on God, but it wasn’t always like that. Sometimes it was hard for me to have my God time last for more than 20 minutes.

It’s something I believe we all need to grow in. We all need to enjoy more time with God, myself included. But even if you feel discouraged sometimes, don’t give up!

I’m here for y’all. Whatever you need, let me know. I would love to help in any way I possibly can.

Love you guys! Stay in and stay safe!

Mackenzie πŸ’•

Posted in 2020, Essential Oil FUN!, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Lessen Anxiety & Depression, Mental Health, thoughts

Extra Tips to Lessen Anxiety & Depression

Wow, I can’t believe we’re at the end of this series! This has been such a cool series, and I have been so blessed by writing it. So, to end this series, I want to give you some extra advice to truly help you lessen your anxiety and depression. The steps that I listed beforehand are the steps you need to do every day, but these are extra tips and suggestions that I believe that are needed, but not everyone needs the same ones or the same amounts.

I’m going to list all my other tips here. I would love to hear if y’all have any other tips!

  • Medication is a COMMON GRACE from God to us. I believe that medication can change the game of fighting the battle of anxiety and depression. So, if you are fighting this battle of anxiety and/or depression and feel like you can never get on top of it, talk to a doctor or counselor. Explore all the options. I personally couldn’t do medication because we weren’t sure how my body would react, but sometimes I wished I was able to take it so I could help my brain more. But, that time has passed. And I did it, even without medication. So, talk with the wise people in your life. Find what would work best for YOU.
  • Counselors/therapists are NOT the same as mentors. I know, you’re probably ‘really, girl, they’re the SAME’, but they’re not the same! Licensed counselors and therapists don’t specifically have to share the same faith as you, though I encourage it greatly. They have to be able to understand how your mind works with what your circumstances are. Mentors, on the other hand, keep you accountable with your time with God. They will help you focus on God instead of your circumstances. SO, as you can see, mentors need to have your same faith.
  • Essential Oils are AMAZING! Next week’s post is all about my essential oils brand & amazing they are. But, essential oils can help you bring you emotions back into control. Some of my favorite oil blends right now are Valor, Peace & Calming, and a DIY Adrenal Support blend. I’ll be sharing more about them in the next few weeks. But, if you want to jump right on in, click this link to sign up under me and get a great deal on a Premium Starter Kit!!! And if you want more oil info, check out my Instagram!
  • Declutter your space. Yeah, this is one that I think everyone either loves or hates. But when you’re space is super messy, your anxiety can go haywire over it, and your depression can keep you doing nothing (it’s too much work to get my stuff, to clean up, etc.). So tackle one thing at a time. Put away your clean laundry. Take a break. Put all the books on the shelf, take a break, and etc. Give yourself reasonable rewards for cleaning up certain amounts. It takes so much work sometimes, but it’s worth it. And, while you’re cleaning up, give your space a lil’ love. It always helps to make our space our own. So, print off a graphic of your favorite verse, put some of your favorite pictures up, just make your space your own.

I don’t have much more to say, so I know this is going to be a shorter post. But I believe it was really important to give closure to this topic. It’s HARD. I believe we, as a culture, are starting to open the conversation about mental illnesses, but it’s not to where it should be. It’s more in the statistics right now. I really want to let you know that there ARE people who understand. They’re hard to find sometimes, but they’re out there.

Whatever you’re dealing with right know, let someone know. If you don’t know anyone to tell in your life, message me. I know it may be awkward, but you need to confide in someone. I recently made a Contact page, so head over there and write a message. I will definitely get back to you. ➑️Click here to immediately go to the Contact page.⬅️

What was your favorite takeaway?

Be blessed 😊

Mackenzie πŸ’•

Posted in 2020, Bible Thoughts, Chronic Illness Things, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Lessen Anxiety & Depression, Mental Health, thoughts

Why God Time is So Important – Plus FREE Worksheet!

Woah, I can’t believe that we are at the end of all the tips! Don’t worry, we will be having one last post to recap and give some extra super important tips that can change this whole battle. πŸ˜‰ But this post is kind of my testimony of how God has gotten me through my battles with anxiety and depression. And some encouragement to fight this battle. I hope you are blessed by this post.

my story

I’ll be honest. There has been a LOT in my life. And some of it I’m not ready to share. But I want to share the part of my story when I really started to see why I needed my time with God.

My story starts the summer of 2017. I had an amazing winter and spring season, with getting to know many new people and friends through a retreat I went to. I was so blessed by everything that was happening. There had been some family stress going on, which was very overwhelming. But, I was able to keep myself going. Around the end of April my health started to go down hill. Not a ton, just more food restrictions. It was just one more thing, ya know?

So, with everything that was going on in my life, in June to July, depression hit HARD. I wasn’t able to be a part of some activities that I wanted to be in. I felt like I was excluded purposely, but now I can see it was just kind of what happened. It wasn’t anyone’s reason, just life.

It kind of wrecked me. I became so withdrawn, gained weight, and I didn’t want to do anything. That sounds really extreme when I write it down, and I kinda don’t want to keep it in here. But it’s the truth.

The only thing that kept me from drowning in my own emotions was the summer Bible study that I was a part of. We were going through this book on the Psalms. Every week I would hear the perfect message that I needed. Especially this one week when we went through Psalms 42 & 43 (fun fact: they were originally one psalm!). Here is the main refrain of the two psalms:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 42:5-6a

I studied this that week in July. And I went, kind of not wanting to go, that night. But then, on God’s timing, we talked about how this psalm was about depression. And leader was talking about these six steps that I have listed & talked about in this series. I started thinking about it more, but it still wasn’t getting out of that pit yet.

A couple weeks later, in the middle of August, I was drowning in my anxiety and depression again. Late at night, I was in a panic attack, and I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. So, in desperation, I grabbed my Bible and flipped to Psalm 42. I read it, and I cried. Then I read it again, and cried again. It became alive to me that one summer night.

And I won’t tell you it was all easy from there on. It was a struggle. Somedays I won, and somedays I lost. But I tried to follow these steps, and I know without them I would not have made it out of that pit. Because depression and anxiety are huge, gaping pits that the devil digs for us to fall into. God is the only one who can take us out of that pit.

God time, quiet time, what does it all mean?

Now that you know where I am coming from-a place of struggle, but learning and growing-I want to explain what I mean by quiet time or God time.

Some people call their time with God quiet time, some call in God time. Others call it devotions or devos. Whatever you call it, it is a time of the day where you separate yourself from the rest of the world and take time to learn more about our God. It’s a time of prayer, of communing with our Heavenly Father.

We need this time to give our worries and doubts and emotions to Jesus. We can’t fight and win the battle with our anxiety and/or depression without our Perfect Heavenly Father.

I will definitely be posting a post specifically about my God time. But it is so different for each person, and I don’t want to put y’all in a box. So definitely find what is right for YOU.

it’s a BATTLE

Without God, we will never win this battle. Because it truly is a battle. Anxiety and depression are two huge things that the devil uses to keep us from loving Jesus with our whole hearts. We need to have the armor that is mentioned in Ephesians 6:

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.

Ephesians 6:10-16 CSB

We need to always be on alert, with the armor of God on at all times. It’s sometimes is hard to understand how to use these pieces to fight our spiritual battles. So, I decided to make a free, 3-page worksheet to help you through these steps.

I used this site to help me put together the worksheet. I so hope and pray that it blesses you. Even as I was making it, I was learning more about the pieces of armor, and seeing how good God is that he has blessed us with this passage.

Enjoy the worksheet, friends. I pray that it helps you grow closer to Him in everything. And let me know in the comments below, some posts you would love!!! It’s almost the end of this series, and I am so excited to see what’s next! Let me know some ideas! Love you all. Be blessed!

Mackenzie πŸ’•

Posted in 2020, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Lessen Anxiety & Depression, Mental Health

4-Step Guide to Finding Mentors & Friendships

Hey y’all! Thanks for coming back for post #6 of this series! I’m super excited to see what y’all think about this post. It definitely was a harder post for me to write. So, enjoy. I hope this encourages you. πŸ˜‰β€οΈ

my story

So, to summarize, this post is all about how having friends and mentors supporting you through your anxiety and depression journey can help so much. If that’s all that you take from this, that’s okay. This is one point/tip that I struggle with MUCH more than I would like to admit. When I am in a time of high depression and/or anxiety, I don’t want to reach out to others. I just want to hide and pretend all is just fine. And sometimes I don’t think people care about me enough or want to actually help. So I just stay quiet.

But that is NOT right, and I shouldn’t feel or think that way. God gave us other people so that we don’t have to be alone and go through the tough things in life without any help. We need someone who we can trust, to encourage us when we feel like we can’t go on anymore.

And, before y’all start think what I know you are thinking, Jesus should (and is!) be our Best Friend. We need to run to Him when anything hard happens, whenever we a feeling overwhelmed with life. But lots of times He works through other people around us and who are in our lives to encourage us. He gives us people to show and remind us of His perfect love.

So, keeping that in mind, who should you confide in? As you realize your struggle with anxiety and/or depression, who should you tell?

tips to finding good relationships

Now that y’all know when I am coming from, from a place of still figuring out the best way to do this in my life. Not that I don’t want friends and mentors, but finding close people to lean on can be so hard sometimes.

I am still learning this, but I can help you with four tips that I have found true!

  1. Find your close friends and mentors in good places – You can’t find truthful, kind, but yet honest friends and mentors in an untrustworthy setting. As you find close friends and mentors, look for them at church, youth group, or Bible studies. It’s not something ‘hard and fast’, but you want a mentor and friend that has the same beliefs as you, and the same kind of passion for the Lord as you.
  2. Your mentor should be older and wiser than you – This one should be kind of obvious. But, you can’t gain wisdom from someone who is still in the same stage of life as you. Depending on your age and time of life, your mentor should be 2-10 years older than you. Or older than that too. But you need someone who has walked through all the emotions of that stage of life to help you through it.
  3. Your friends and mentors should have good senses of humor – Weird tip. I know. There are so many crazy things that happen in life, and sometimes you just need someone to laugh with you. I know sometimes I make a little joke about all my allergies, and when someone laughs with me in it, that’s when I know I have made a good friend. πŸ˜… But you need to make sure it isn’t a humor that kinda puts you down for what is different. That is a type of joke you need to STAY away from.
  4. Your friends should look out for you and check on you – We all want to have someone reaching out to ourselves, so we don’t have to put as much effort into the friendship. But friendship is a two-way relationship. Really, any relationship is two ways, not just one person reaching out. So, maybe reach out to one person for a while. Someone you know well but is maybe struggling a little. And you also should have someone reaching out to you, whether it be a friend or a mentor. If you don’t have that right now, I get that. I’m finally starting to grow out off that season. It hurts. But watch out for those relationships where you can see that it could turn into a very close two-way friendship. Nurture it, and watch it grow.

Life is HARD sometimes. I get that probably more than you know (not bragging in any way), but sometimes reaching out to others is not only going to help them, it will also make you feel happier and more satisfied, whether you share what’s going on in your life right now or not. We need community. We desperately need community outside of our screens.

Whatever your life looks like, anxiety and depression is real. It’s so hard to admit that it is a problem, especially to our friends who usually only see that smiling, laughing versions of ourselves. But we need someone to confide in, to take care of us when we don’t now how we can go on anymore. Keep reaching out. It’s humbling, but so needed.

I hope this post encouraged you. It’s hard to navigate relationships sometimes, so I hope this was a good guide to help you keep on keepin’ on. And there is only TWO more posts in this series! So be sure to follow me on this blog (in the sidebar on laptops/larger screens or down below this post on mobile) and on Instagram to keep up with all the fun!!! Love y’all so much!

Mackenzie πŸ’•

Posted in 2020, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Lessen Anxiety & Depression, Mental Health, thoughts

The Importance of SLEEP!

Here I am again! πŸ˜‰ I am back for post #5 of the how to lessen anxiety and depression. I hope these tips are helping you! I am convinced these steps will help you lessen your anxiety and depression. It’s rough sometimes, but I want to come alongside you in this trial. πŸ₯°β€οΈ It really is hard. We hear all the stats and reasons about all the negative, all the rising stress, anxiety & depression, but we usually never hear HELPFUL tips about how to change and help ourselves and others. We need to stop stressing about the rising rates of anxiety and depression, and actually DO something. Ok, I’m done ranting now. πŸ˜…

This post is about sleep. Boring topic, right? Something you could actually fall asleep to? (hahaha…ok I’m sorry not sorry) But even as I was researching for this post, I finally saw more of the reasons and logic behind the importance of sleep. So, I hope you learn lots from this post, and, even more importantly, are able to find practical ways to make this part of your life better and easier.

yes, sleep 😴

Most people understand this step, but don’t make it a big focus while dealing with anxiety and depression. And probably there’s a few of you who are about ready to click off of this post. But hang on with me! We all kinda start to shut off when we hear people talk about sleep. But, y’all-this is IMPORTANT.

Let me say it again: don’t click off. This is important.

We should have seven to nine hours a night, but most people around my age barely get five hours! Why is this? I believe that we think of sleep as something we need to get out of, so we can do what we really want/need to do. Others really know they need sleep, but they believe that they can’t say ‘no’ to certain events or they need to get things done BEFORE they can sleep and rest their bodies and minds. But we desperately need to start making sleep a priority.

So, like I have been doing with all the other posts, here are some stats (found here and here) to back up this tip:

  • Having an insufficient amount of sleep can lead to depression and weight gain.
  • Having a regular sleep pattern helps restore your brain and body for the next day.
  • On the other hand, insufficient sleep diminishes your mental clarity

This is one step that I personally don’t struggle with that much, but I understand how much others need it. For me, with my chronic illness, I need around nine hours of sleep to be able to function well. I can hardly function on seven hours, while others need about seven to eight hours to function well.

Another important tip is to go to bed around the same time each night. I try to turn off my light around 9:30, but on Wednesdays and Sundays, I have extras going on so I head to bed later. But it really all depends on your schedule, and when you get tired.

It really is all about how to have the least anxiety and depression, and finding what it best for YOU. I don’t want to you to take everything I say extremely seriously, because you need to find what is right and best for you and your lifestyle.

So, that is all I have to say about sleep. It’s another one that it slightly awkward to talk about, but it is SO important.

I will see you next week Wednesday to get back on my regular posting schedule!!! I’m really looking forward to some content I am preparing for the next few months.

Love you guys so much. Thanks for staying around to hear all my thoughts that I put up on this lil’ corner of the Internet.

See y’all next week!

Mackenzie πŸ’•

Posted in 2020, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Lessen Anxiety & Depression, Mental Health, thoughts

Why Fresh Air is Vitally Important to Us!

Wow, we are already onto post #4 of this series!!! Thank you SO much for all the love for this lil’ series. And, I apologize for skipping a week–it was rough last week and I did not have enough time to write this. I am really focusing in on writing and getting content out that will be super helpful! And I am so excited for some posts coming up after this series. But for now, this post will be all about fresh air and getting outside! It’s a little weird talking about this subject, because no one really talks about this. Anyways, please enjoy!

why is getting outside important?

Again, as I said in the intro, most people don’t talk about this part about lessening anxiety and depression. It seems so obvious, but also so different. We all feel better when we are outside, but we don’t make it a priority.

But it helps your body SO much! It helps your blood pressure and heart rate, strengthens your immune system and makes you happier! Plus many other great benefits like:

  • Fresh air cleans your lungs and makes them healthier
  • Fresh air helps your brain work better
  • Fresh air helps your digestion
  • Fresh air & being outside improves your self esteem

these facts were found here and here

Now, why would we not want these things?!?

let’s be practical now

As we see more of the benefits of getting fresh air, why do we not make it a priority? What are some practical ways to get fresh air regularly? How can we change this in our lives?

I believe the first step is to see and acknowledge that we don’t get enough fresh air. So, as you read this, if you are thinking, ‘wow, I need to get outside a LOT more!’, that is such a great step. Now we just have to find practical ways to do this!

One very practical way to do this is combine with the tip beforehand, exercising regularly! You can take a run or walk outside, or even do your yoga or cardio out in your backyard!

You can also take a book outside to sit and read. Eat meals outside! Whatever you can do outside, take it outside!

But even if you only get outside walking from your car to the building and back, that’s good too! It’s hard to get this step done right now, because of the Michigan weather (it’s COLD in the winter over here!). But maybe even try to not always take the closest parking spot. It’s OK to walk a little. It’s actually really good. Especially before an appointment that you could get nervous about. Between the exercise and the fresh air, that would actually be really good for you.

That’s all I have for today y’all! I hope you enjoyed this post, I know it was a little different than usual, but it was very important to talk about. What are some of your favorite ways to get outside? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted in 2020, Chronic Illness Things, Health & Wellness!, hope2020, Lessen Anxiety & Depression, Mental Health, thoughts

Exercise Daily to Lessen Anxiety & Depression!

It’s time for post #3 of my series about lessening anxiety and depression! This post is all about exercise, and how to find the right type of exercise for your brain and body. I hope you enjoy!

why do I need to exercise?

Exercise is another thing that I think people either love or hate. But our bodies are made to move a LOT more than they usually do in a day. Less than 5% of adults have 30 minutes of exercise a day. 30 minutes of movement (movement to get your heart rate going) is what we are SUPPOSED to get. And kids are on screens 7 1/2 hours a DAY! That is wayyy too much screen time in my eyes.(not intention pun lol) And it is even harder to get active, because only 1 in 5 homes have a park or recreation center/gym within a half mile (click here for the statistics). These facts show that we are not getting enough movement, and the reasons why we don’t, make sense.

Not only does exercising strengthen your body, but is also helps your brain and emotions! This is a little explanation from WebMD:

When youΒ exercise, your body releases chemicals calledΒ endorphins. TheseΒ endorphinsΒ interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.Β EndorphinsΒ also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.

WebMD

how do I change this cycle?

But when you exercise, find the best version of it for YOU. Some people love CrossFit, or gym equipment. Others like yoga or Zumba (aka dance exercise or dance cardio). Whatever gets you moving that you ENJOY, do that.

My fitness journey has been definitely long and crazy. My whole life I have had low muscle tone, and that means I had to ‘exercise’ as much as I could, but I fought my parents the whole way through. It wasn’t fun to me, and I didn’t understand how and why it could help me.

Finally this past year, I started to see how important it is. I did yoga through the Down Dog app for a while, when my pain was bad and I couldn’t do much at all. I usually did about 15 min of Hatha yoga in the morning that’s a little more strenuous and strength training. At the end of the day I did 10-15 min of the Restorative yoga, which is all on the floor and just mostly stretching, which keeps my muscles loose while I sleep. And for me, yoga is super calming and lessens my anxiety.

But after my bad flare in December, my muscles became so tight that yoga became kind of painful. And I needed something else to get my heart rate going, so I actually started doing PopSugar’s Dance Fitness exercises. I LOVE them! They’re so much fun and I get my heart rate up, which is something yoga doesn’t do as much.

I rotate between the 10 minute dance video and a couple of the different 30 minute videos. Here are the links!

If I’m doing the 10-minute dance video, something I am trying to do more is do a bodyweight exercise or walk around with 3-pound weights for about 7 minutes. It gets me moving even more, and is really strengthening my body.

And I know that lots of people with chronic illness & different kind of health issues can’t exercise much. And that’s okay! Even if it’s just walking around at home for five minutes or doing yoga or dance, just get MOVING! Learn your limits, and push yourself as much as you can, but don’t overdo. Find the perfect balance for your body!

I will be keeping y’all updated on my fitness and health journey over on my Insta!!! Go check it out here!

I’m so excited to see your reactions to this new post!!! Leave a comment about your health and wellness journey! Let’s change this world by being statistic-changers!

Love y’all!
Mackenzie πŸ₯°πŸ’•