My Honest Opinion About Self-Care

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Sundays are always stressful for me. I’ve mentioned the Sunday Scaries before and I haven’t found a way around that feeling yet. Yesterday I woke up and promised myself that I would do something to take care of myself and I couldn’t manage to do it.

Self-care is glamorized as face masks and bubble baths but I’d actually just love to read a good book and drink a cup of tea. Lately I’ve been so busy that I even feel like I need to rush through my daily shower in order to get more things done. Self- care is needed but it isn’t happening.

My generation puts so much pressure on themselves to succeed. My university has something called “30 Under 30” which highlights graduates under 30 who have moved on and done amazing things with their lives. I hate that. I don’t need a daily competition reminder.

I’m burnt out and frustrated with this self-care talk. I’ve spent so much time taking care of other people and sometimes I really just need someone to take care of me. I have a ton of negative energy around me right now and I need to get away from it.

Do you have any tips for self-care?

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Learning How to Say “No”

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I’m a people pleaser and that’s not always a good thing. I hate disappointing people and nothing brings me more joy than helping someone in need. This people pleasing quality gets me in trouble a lot of the time because I make other people happy but don’t have time to chase my own happiness.

I’ve been struggling lately with this because sometimes people take advantage of how caring I am. I get myself in situations where I’m so busy taking care of other people that I don’t take care of myself. I end up exhausted, crying, and swearing that I’ll make a change and start saying “no”.

This weekend we had a family member ask me to do something for her and her family that went way too far. I want to help them but helping them would hurt my mental health in a way that would take too long to recover from. I don’t want to go into details but I had to have a serious conversation with Brett and luckily we both agreed that I had to say no.

Saying no is hard, especially when you love the person and want to help them. But sometimes you have to say no in order to protect yourself from damage. It feels selfish and wrong but it’s needed. I hate disappointing people and I know that this decision will hurt my relationship with the person. But this time I have to put myself first. I have to save myself from something that will damage me.

Taking care of yourself is more than just “self-care Sunday”. Taking care of yourself means protecting your mental health, your energy, and your well-being. It means learning to say “no” to things that will hurt you. Put yourself first, you’re worth it!

Do you have a hard time saying no to people? Any advice on getting over being a people pleaser?

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Murad Skincare Review

Murad Acne Products

I shared my acne story a couple of months ago and had a lot of great feedback on it! I hate hearing that other people are also struggling with acne and skin problems but I love how we are able to have open and honest conversations together. It’s hard to share something so personal with the internet but I would be happy to help just one other person with their acne journey.

Today I thought I’d share a super honest review on Murad. I first heard of Murad from our Danish exchange student when I was in high school. She came to Michigan with a tube of the acne spot treatment and let me borrow it to help with my acne and it worked really well!

A few years later when I was in college I was really struggling with my acne and saw that same spot treatment at Ulta. I noticed that they had the Clear Control 30-Day Acne Kit ($38) and immediately purchased it. Even though it was about 5 years ago I can remember my exact thought after trying the clarifying cleanser for the first time. I remember this moment because I still think the same thing every time I was my face with the Murad Clarifying Cleanser. I think “this feels and smells like a spa treatment”!

I first purchased these Murad products when I was in college with a really tight budget. I honestly feel like all of the Murad products are really reasonably priced for how well they work! I don’t mind investing in my skincare because I know what it’s like to have bad acne and I don’t want to go down that path again. One of the things I love most about Murad is that I know the products work for me so it never feels like a waste of money. I can’t even tell you how many times I have repurchased all of these products at this point!

My Tried and True Favorite Murad Products

  • Clarifying Cleanser ($30): What more can I say about this product? I love it so much and I have tried a ton of other cleansers! I feel like I am a cleanser expert by now. This makes my skin feel refreshed and clean but not dried out. I can feel it working but it’s not painful. I look forward to washing my face because it feels luxurious and spa-like. If you are going to buy just one Murad product I would recommend the Clarifying Cleanser!
  • Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment ($22): This was my first Murad product and what made me want to try more. For the most part, I don’t have a ton of new breakouts that form. But I always have a tube of this spot treatment on hand for any unexpected breakouts that form. This is easy to throw on and walk away because I know that it will get the job done!
  • Skin Perfecting Lotion ($40): I fell in love with this Skin Perfecting Lotion pretty quickly after buying my first Murad starter kit. I’d put it on after washing my face and could feel it start working right away. I contribute a lot of my clear skin to this product right here. One bottle easily lasts me 3-4 months and I use it every single day!
  • Oil Control Mattifier SPF 15++ PA ($40): Moisturizer is the most important part of my skincare routine. I always look for something that has SPF in it to wear during the daytime. This is my go to moisturizer for the summer because it’s a bit heavier than normal moisturizer. It makes my skin feel hydrated but not greasy. Best of all, it protects my skin from the sun while doing my normal day to day activities.

I have tried a few other Murad products and really loved them too but these are just my everyday favorites that I use to keep my skin healthy and clear. I still have breakouts every once in a while but it’s nowhere near my cystic acne that I had a few years ago.

I feel much more confident in my skin now and realize how important it is to invest in my skincare routine. I don’t change up my skincare products a ton because I have a good thing going. I do have a few other favorite skincare products that are not from Murad that I can share at a later date.

If you are struggling with acne, just keep trying products until you find what works best for you! I tried SO many other products before I found Murad. What works for me may not work for you. It’s frustrating and expensive but you are worth it! Skincare is something that I am passionate about because it’s been an uphill battle to get where I’m at now with my skin.

What are your favorite skincare products? Have you found any life changing acne products?

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Migraine Update: Elimination Diet & New Meds

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Everyday I’m worried about when I will have my next migraine. I always have pain medication on hand and an excuse at the tip of my tongue to leave early. I avoid making plans outside of work and family obligations because I never know how I will feel on that day. I’ve let my fear of pain control my life for years and the anxiety that comes along with this fear holds me back from doing what I love to do.

My migraines are genetic and I can go on and on about all of the reasons why I may never be completely pain free. My current neurologist is a headache specialist. He’s a great guy who wants to help me live my best life. But he doesn’t have all the answers. He’s willing to try new things in hopes of them working but a lot of it is up to me.

It was up to me to realize that I was taking too much ibuprofen. It was up to me to realize that I wasn’t fueling my body properly. It was up to me to realize that I was feeling sorry for myself and needed to change.

Last summer I read Grain Brain by David Perlmutter which was recommended to me by my physical therapist. I learned about gluten, carbs, and sugar and how they interact with our brains. I wanted to try an elimination diet but it seemed like too much work at the time.

This summer I’m willing to do anything it takes to live a pain-free life. I’ve changed my lifestyle to balance the amount of gluten, carbs, and sugars I am eating. I’ve made my health a priority.

It never feels like enough though. I’m on day 3 of a debilitating migraine right now. I’ve had to leave work early and sit in the dark with ice packs for hours at a time. I’ve had to miss meetings and time with my family. I’ve been angry at my messed up brain for constantly hurting. I’ve told myself that I’m a terrible employee and co-worker because I can’t stand being in the office when I feel like this.

I’m also having trouble sleeping again. I can stay up pretty much all night and have gotten used to functioning on very few hours of sleep. I feel like a zombie.My neurologist prescribed me a medication to help me sleep since I was going days without sleeping for more then a couple of hours. He also prescribed me a pain medication for when I have migraines.

I didn’t like the sleeping pills. I was dead asleep within an hour on the couch. Brett had to help me get to bed. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on and feeling helpless. The pain medication didn’t help and I don’t plan on taking it again. I ended up being sick to my stomach while on it.

I’ve felt pretty angry about my migraine situation lately but I’m trying to do my best to take care of myself. Whatever that means. I went 5 days without a migraine when I first started the elimination diet which is a long period of time for me.

Hopefully I will have a positive migraine update for you soon!

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National Migraine Awareness Month

June National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

I’m sure you have heard of other National “insert illness” Awareness Months before. June is the awareness month for migraines and headaches. The goal is to raise awareness and recognition for migraine treatment, patients, and more.

As a migraine sufferer I know how hard it is to have other people understand what it’s like to live day to day with the constant pain of a headache or migraine. I understand how debilitating and lonely it can be. What gives me hope is knowing that there are millions of other people who want to raise awareness too. People who want to share their stories and join the fight to find new research and treatment options.

My migraine story started when I was in high school and have continued throughout my twenties. I don’t know if I will ever not have a headache or migraine but the odds seemed to be stacked against me. However, three new treatments options were released in 2018 so I have hope that something will be created that will help me.

If you are struggling with migraines or headaches, just know that you aren’t alone. There are millions of other people in the world who are also suffering which is why it’s so important to raise awareness. If we all stand together we have the opportunity to have our stories make an impact and bring about real change.

Migraines are an invisible illness. When you call in sick from work with a “headache” most people think you are lying or should suck it up. But for some people, including me, living with the constant head pain is reality. We are told that we look healthy and not chronically ill.

Well, this is what chronic migraine looks like. I drag myself out of bed every morning, brush my hair, and throw on enough makeup to look somewhat decent. I don’t feel good, I want to go back to bed, but I go to work and continue living my life the best I can. If I really don’t feel good I work from home or take a sick day. I know I’m lucky to work for an amazing company but I’ve heard other people’s stories about being fired for not being able to come into work.

This pain could ruin my life if I let it. I could stay in bed all day and feel sorry for myself. But I won’t. I’m out living my life and talking about how I feel. I want spread awareness. I want people to know that headaches are a real problem. I want doctors to find new treatment options. I want to be taken seriously.

I won’t let migraines ruin my life. Some days are better than others. Some days feel like the worst days of my life. But I know that things could be worse. I’m still able to work, own a house, be a dog/cat mom, and travel. Migraines make all of these things so much harder but it’s rewarding to know that I am able to overcome the pain most days and accomplish big things.

June 21st is the Annual Shades for Migraine Awareness Day led by the Association of Migraine Disorders. If you see people on social media posting pictures of themselves wearing sunglasses with the hashtags #shadesformigraines and #MHAM this is why. These people are sharing their support for the millions of people worldwide with migraines.

I’ll be wearing my sunglasses on June 21st. Will you?

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Image via American Migraine Foundation

 

Anxiety Won’t Ruin My Life

Anxiety Won't Ruin My Life

I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately between my personal life, work, and my mental health. I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember and it seems to come in waves. Many days it’s smooth sailing and then other days I’m drowning in my worries. I’m normally able to function just fine but sometimes I can’t even make myself leave the house.

I think the trigger to these last couple of weeks of anxiety has been the fact that Brett took a new position at his job and has to travel a lot. I spent a week alone while he was in Atlanta and I barely slept the whole time he was gone. Every noise woke me up and had me searching all the rooms in our house for an intruder. I contemplated staying with my parents but I’m trying to be a “real” adult and suck it up.

I have come to the conclusion that anxiety is something I will just have to live with. It’s not always easy but I know I’m far better off than many others who suffer. I won’t let anxiety ruin my life or keep me from doing the things I want to do. I almost let my anxiety keep me from studying abroad and that would have been a terrible decision.

Sometimes you just have to throw yourself outside of your comfort zone and hope for the best. I’ve found that standing up to my fears has made me much stronger.

How do you cope with anxiety?

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6 Migraine Essentials

Migraine Essentials

I never thought that I would be blogging about my migraines.  I started getting them when I was young and I felt really alone in my struggle but since I started blogging I’ve found so many who can relate to my story. I hate that there are so many men and women struggling with migraines but it does help me to know that I’m not alone and there are a few things that can help.

Over the years I have come up with a list of essentials that I use when I have a migraine or in order to prevent migraines. My number one tip is to always stay hydrated. Everyone has their own migraines triggers but dehydration seems to be a very common one. I drink a ton of water everyday in order to make sure that I am hydrated. Being hydrated is the number one rule for me for my migraine prevention.

Here are six essentials that I have found work for me when I have a migraine.

  1. Headache Hat – This is basically an ice pack that wraps around your head and has velcro straps so that you can adjust the pressure. Basically it’s the best invention ever. You can buy one on Amazon for $40 and it’s worth every penny. I am also known to tie ice packs around my head with a scarf. It’s not the best look but it works!
  2. Electrolyte water or supplement – Like I said, hydration is key. But when I get a migraine I don’t want to do anything and that includes drinking water. I always keep a big bottle of electrolyte water in the fridge along with a Gatorade so that I can quickly hydrate during a migraine. You can also buy electrolyte packets to add to normal water.
  3. Blackout curtains – I am very sensitive to light on a normal day to day basis. When I have a migraine my sensitivity is even worse. We have blackout curtains in our bedroom so that no matter what time of day it is I can curl up in bed and try to rest. I also sleep on the couch in the basement when I’m in a lot of pain because it’s dark, cold, comfy, and quiet.
  4. Caffeine – This is a tricky one and can kind of work differently for everyone. I don’t drink coffee and the tea I do drink has very little caffeine. When I have a migraine I like to grab a coke/pepsi for a quick dose of caffeine. I have found the Excedrin Migraine doesn’t work for me and this method does.
  5. Ice roller – My neck tends to get really stiff during a migraine. I had physical therapy for my migraines so I know a few stretches that can help. But what helps more is having this ice roller ready to go in the freezer to roll over my neck and forehead. It feels so nice!
  6. Comfy Clothes – This sounds ridiculous but when I have a migraine I am looking for something to provide comfort. Putting on my favorite pair of pajamas or sweatpants automatically makes me feel better. Comfy clothes don’t make the pain go away but they make it feel more bearable than being in pain and wearing jeans, for example.

What are your migraine essentials?

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