Feel Good about yourself, switch it up this week - advice with Hey Lauren

 

 

Hey GURLS,


 

To get the most out of what I have to offer, trust is paramount. I recognize that our relationship is still new. I, too, would have a tough time following through with suggestions made by someone Id never met. Well get to know each other better in time. For now, know thisI dont just say shit to make you feel better in the moment or to make the situation seem a little brighter when its not. Thats not my style. To me, inspirational jibber-jabber and looking at life through a rose-colored lens is not only annoying, but its patronizing and dangerous. My goal is to state facts, tell you what Ive learned and relay the science behind your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In my experience, knowledge truly is power. When we learn about our symptoms and diagnoses, were empowered with objectivity . Objectivity is the key to putting our symptoms in their place so we can emerge from them, rather than getting swallowed up by them.

 

In my first couple of weeks responding to your emails, Ive noticed many of you have similar struggles. While what youre experiencing often times looks different, how youre interpreting the experiences looks stunningly similar and is, therefore, worth addressing here.

 

The common denominators:

 

#IdentityCrisis

 

You are not the problem.

Your pain and symptoms have become part of your identity. Ive noticed that many of you internalize your diagnosis ( even self-diagnoses of Fucked up), and think that Depression, Anxiety, or Bipolar is a trait like height, extroversion, and the like. That couldnt be further from the truth. Please knowIm not just saying so to help you feel better about yourself. Im stating facts. And hey! Its totally understandable how youve fallen into this trapbeen there, done that. Warped societal messaging with regards to women and mental health dates back centuries. Weve been pathologized to the Nth degree from the beginning of time. And so, your ability to see the difference between you and your symptoms is not only NOT taught, but much of what youre experiencing as symptoms is secondary to what you have been taught. To make a long story shortseeing yourself clearly and not internalizing all of this stuff is not only necessary for you as an individual, but its critical for each of us to do for all of us.

 

#SoHuman

 

A diagnosis does not mean youre crazy.

The only reason diagnoses exist is to give behavioral patterns a name, so that we can best prescribe solutions. Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc. simply means that you have the necessary number of symptoms to fit the pattern called this or that in the diagnostic manual, DSM V. The criteria for each diagnosis vary. However, the most common diagnoses share several criteria: changes in sleep patterns, marked change in appetite, significant weight loss or gain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating. Its important to noteone less symptom takes you from meeting criteria to not meeting criteria. For example, if you meet four out of the nine criteria vs. five out of the nine criteria for a specified diagnosis, your behavioral pattern gets no nameno diagnosis. So, youve gotta stop pathologizing yourself and thinking youre crazywhen diagnosed. Think about itgetting a proper nights rest cannot be the difference between a crazyperson and a normalperson, which means both concepts are bullshit. Were all just human.

 

#ActionFigure

 

You are the solution.

The first action toward emergingregardless of symptoms and/or diagnosisis lifestyle changes ( eat, sleep, exercise). You have to remember that our bodies and our brains require daily maintenance. Without a proper maintenance regimen, our systems get out of whack and we feel like shit. That doesnt mean we are disordered. It means we need to mix-up our maintenance regimen.

 

As much as it sucks, its critical. Getting your body working for you rather than against you levels the playing fieldboth wiping out several symptoms and creating an opportunity for us to get a good baseline so we can see what remains for us to tackle on the emotional front.

 

Important note: Lifestyle patterns are tough to change, especially when you feel like shit, have no energy, cant motivate yourself, and cant get comfortable. I know its hard. RememberI dont suggest anything that I dont practice. I run everyday. Thirty minutes of cardio balances my mood and decreases my nervous energy. I hate itevery, single minute of it, but I hated anxiety, mood dysregulation, and low self-esteem a hell of a lot more. My run is part of the regimen I have to follow in order to stay on track and feel good. Ive learned that the hard way! And, thats the key. To feel better long-term, youre going to have to do things that arent comfortable. Youre super-uncomfortable anyway. At least, this discomfort is a means to a better end.

 

1) Eat nutritionally: Eat three meals and two snacks per day. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with grains, and a quarter with proteinred meat two or more times a week; fish two or fewer times per week; fill in the rest with poultry or vegetarian protein sources like tofu and eggs.

 

2) Sleep consistently: Our body likes a schedule. Is it fun? Maybe not, but youre fighting for your life here. Go to sleep every night with no exceptions at 10:30 pm, and get up and at em at 7:30. Get your circadian rhythm working for you, rather than against you.

 

3) Exercise regularly: Exercise is important for everyone, but for those of us with mood concerns and/or anxiety, it is critical. Research suggests that a 30-minute run gives us the same boost in serotonin levels (the brain chemical that makes you feel good) that we could expect from a low dose of an Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor ( SSRI) like Zoloft or Prozac.

 

#HeyLauren

 

Week 1.

Get started with lifestyle. The above suggestions are relevant for all of you, other than those who struggle with eating disordered behavior. For GURLS with ED stuff going ondo all of the above sans the exercise piece!

 

I have no expectations hereyoure likely not going to follow through with all of it. Ive been at this for years, and I never execute this stuff seamlessly. No biggie, seriously. The only goal this week is to start. Keep notes. What parts of changing lifestyle are harder than others? What gets in your way? There are going to be a bunch of thingsboth internal and external that come in between you and implementing change. Fill me in. I guarantee that Ive been there before and have a process to share for working through.

 

Email me at HeyLauren@GurlsTalk.com when you hit a roadblock. Youre not alone. I can help you troubleshoot and get over the humps that keep you from follow through. Once we get this lifestyle piece down, we can move forward to regulating emotion.The good news: a healthier lifestyle is sure to do some of the work for us.


 

Talk soon xo, Lauren

 

Dr. Lauren Hazzouri

Licensed Psychologist