Health, mental health

Sunday Unplugged – A Day Without Social Media

It is so habitual to see then number in the red bubble grow and to get rid of it. Or, we simply can’t just be in thought; we have to see what everyone else is up to or what we may be missing out on as opposed to actually letting our imagination wander. How dare we sit at home while others are checking in and posting their exciting life. This make us thirst for constant activity and new experiences rather than realizing that life is also intertwined with down time.

It becomes burned into our subconscious, to click the icons we constantly open on autopilot. We are addicted to superficial, instantly gratifying encounters behind a screen, rather than engaging on a personal and intimate level. When is the last time you made direct eye contact with someone and held a conversation? We so easily pour out from our fingertips but walk by with our heads down in person.

I started boycotting social media on Sundays and as my first day in, I already accidentally clicked the icon three times by 1pm. It’s not even that I must check it but that it has become so habitual to stay caught up. While working on my assignments, I picked up my phone a few times to distract myself. What urges us to pick up our phone to indulge in something rather that the task we are currently doing occupied with? We constantly need to disassociate our presence with life around us, to travel in a virtual wormhole into other’s polished and edited moments.

In the long run, it creates the need and urgency to produce experiences for our feeds to show and tell, pausing to capture it all in real time. Instead, we should share our memories after the fact. These habits can also be dangerous as to expose so much information from where our kids go to school to when we aren’t home, and so on. Many will struggle with insecurities from comparing their low times to everyone’s highlights. We often forget that our friend’s lives are also filled with low times as well, only they just aren’t published.

It’s time to start setting restrictions on ourselves, not just our kids. Setting times to check our phones or milestones throughout the day to allow us to indulge in social media and our online world is a great way to start. For example, checking social media on our lunch break and before dinner rather than all day. Would you be embarrassed if you knew the number of minutes per day or per week that you spend on social media? I know I sure would. Make it a point to engage with others in person or contact someone via text, call or email to see how they have been. How often do you communicate to those who do not have social media? Another way to help get the reigns on your addiction is to start by giving up a day per week to focus on yourself and your family. Creating these healthy habits will allow us to live in the moment and view the world in front of us rather than through a screen. So, the next time you are at a concert or wedding, put down your phone and enjoy the experience. Take it all in because the view is much better without a device in the way.

From my day without social media, I have discovered that even just by lunchtime, I got through my school assignments faster, I was inspired to write a lot and without distractions; my day was much more productive. I feel as though I gained many hours of my life.

Health

High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

  • High blood pressure, hypertension, is a silent killer that makes the heart work harder. Hypertension can leave your arteries scarred and damaged, leading to ischemia and can even affect multiple organs if left untreated. Blood pressure is recorded using two numbers: systolic, the top number that measures the pressure during contraction, and diastolic, the bottom number that measures the heart’s pressure in between beats. The ideal blood pressure is 120/80. It is normal for blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day while you rest, exercise and do your daily activities. It is important to assess your risks for hypertension as it can be caused by lifestyle or be a hereditary trait.
  • Women are at a higher risk for hypertension. Family history, weight and hormones can play a large role in developing high blood pressure. It is important to maintain a healthy balance, as weight and hormones can sometimes go hand in hand. Even being just 20 pounds overweight will increase your risk. Making our hearts work harder causes damage in the long run.

    Diet is another risk factor for developing hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, you should be on a low salt diet, as salt increases blood pressure. Eating clean and a well-balanced meal that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol can decrease your risk. Not only is it important to have a healthy diet to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrients but to also prevent health problems that can arise from your food choices. About 70% of the American population is considered overweight, which is why heart disease is so prevalent in the US.

    Your lifestyle can also lead you to have high blood pressure.  Decreasing alcohol consumption is also a great way to lower your risks, as well as smoking. Smoking narrows your blood vessels and increases your risk for ischemia (lack of blood flow) to your heart, brain or other organs. An excess amount of alcohol in our blood system will create an unhealthy blood pressure over time. Staying well hydrated is an important habit to create that will help keep your body healthy. When our body’s cells lack water, they signal to the pituitary gland to produce vasopressin, which constricts our blood vessels and can cause a terrible domino effect if you already have narrowing of the blood vessels due to atherosclerosis (plaque build-up).

    Cutting back on caffeine, losing weight (if needed), managing stress, getting a full night of rest, reducing sodium and eating potassium rich foods are a few way to lower your blood pressure naturally. You can also read this article on foods that are good for blood pressure.

    Sources

    https://www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-risk/factors-that-increase-your-risk-for-heart-disease/high-blood-pressure-heart-disease/

    Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

    Invisible Illnesses Unveiled – Addiction with Red

    Alicia (Red) Campitelli

    Sobriety / Clean Date March 7th, 2016

    Fifty percent of addiction is due to genetic factors. The other 50% is due to poor lifestyle choices. The same could be said for heart disease and other health issues. You may be genetically predisposed to something, like skin cancer, but there are ways to protect yourself and try to minimize your genetic risk.

    One gene, for example, is the MTHFR gene mutation. This gene is common in 40% of the population and in a nut shell, it means that you can not process folic acid. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. If you can not process it, it will build up toxicity in your body and cause a folate deficiency which can lead to many health issues: autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety, addiction, heart palpitations, insomnia, mood disorders and even cancer. This is just one gene mutation, a common one, but there a many others.

    It is important to take care of yourself, be healthy and learn to cope with life’s stressful situations. These important skills are not always taught in life or can be fogged by low self worth. Throw in poor nutrition, deficiencies and crappy sleep habits and you have a hostile environment for your body to produce chemical imbalances that can put you at risk for addiction.

    I chose to interview Red because addiction truly is an invisible illness. It does not discriminate against sex, race, wealth or fame. It is not always obvious to others and some people can shine a light on the pieces they want you to see in their life, while keeping the rest in the shadows. There are many stories and these stories grow and grow and our country is overgrown with this epidemic. In hopes that we touch someone and inspire even just one person to become sober, I am helping Red unveil her story.

    What is your official diagnosis and when were you diagnosed?

    I am an addict. Substance abuse / drug addict with other borderline issues. I would say I was 21 when drugs and alcohol started to effect my life in a negative way.

    What was your addiction?

    My drug of choice was opioids (pain killers like oxycodone / roxicodone) and narcotics (heroin). Downers were my every day drug but I would do anything that was in front of me. I hated cocaine & crack but I would use till it was gone, even if I was the creepy chick in the corner freaking out alone. Blues made me feel “normal.” It’s kind of crazy to say, but it was true for that time period of my life.

    Looking back, can you think of any warning signs that may have led you to addiction?

    Low self-esteem throughout my whole life and never feeling good enough, in my own head, or to others. I engaged in an emotionally, mentally and physically abusive relationship, which soon started isolation, depression, lost of self-worth, diminished family ties and lack of interest in things I once enjoyed. After that relationship had ended I turned to drinking and childhood friends where replaced with using friends. I would build up an identity and when I lost it, I would fall apart.

    What helped you get sober?

    Enough was enough. I was tired of living the life I was, which wasn’t living at all. I didn’t want to die but I wasn’t thrilled about living. I was surviving. Groundhog Day (movie) surrounding around the getting and using and means to get more drugs day after day. Getting high wasn’t fun anymore and hadn’t been for a long time, but I couldn’t stop. I can’t put into words of how horrible that feeling was. I started heavily drinking at 21 but I could take a couple days off; however, once I started using opioids and narcotics it was all over. I used drugs all day and everyday. I remember quitting cold turkey one time, in the beginning, and lasted four days. I wasn’t ready until I went to rehab 2 1/2 years ago. I choose to go to rehab in a different state because I didn’t trust myself to get through withdrawals and not check myself out or sneek drugs in the facility, in my neck of the woods. I had to be honest if I was serious about changing. I am not saying another addict couldn’t get clean on a friends couch, by themselves, cold turkey or in the same state they used in, but I needed to escape to help with my obsession.

    What advice could you offer to someone who is currently struggling with addiction?

    Ask for help. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but things will get better; hold on.

    There are so many possible ways to stay clean: 12 step fellowships, religion, celebrate recovery, working out / organized sports, family, maintenance programs, etc. If one of the listed above doesn’t work for you then switch it up. I don’t care what you have to do in order to change your life and get the needle out of your arm, liquor bottle out of your hand, pills out of your tummy, powder out of your nose and smoke out of your lungs; you need to create a new life. Stop repeating your negative self-destructive patterns. Try to find out why you do what you do and better yourself. Relapse can happen but its important to stop using as soon as possible and surround yourself with people in recovery. Keep in mind that relapse doesn’t have to be part of your story. You are not alone!

    What advice could you offer to someone who is sober, in regards to staying sober?

    Don’t pick up NO MATTER WHAT! The feelings of using will pass. Play the tape all the way through. Drugging will only make things worse in the situation you are trying to escape from.

    When you were struggling with addiction, what was your mindset? At what point did you realize that you were struggling with addiction?

    When I put drugs before anything or anyone, I realized I had a problem. I did care about people when I was in active addiction but if I had to choice between using and a particular person or drugs, drugs would win that fight. It’s sad yet it’s true, but in the moment, I didn’t look at it that way.

    Favorite quote:

    Oh man, my favorite quote… This is funny to me because my life before sobriety was so different. One of the quotes I used often was: “If anything could go wrong it will. I even have “Murphy’s Law” tattooed on my leg. Now I have turned into that annoying person I used to hate (on social media) with all the inspiration quotes.

    “Don’t let you stop you”

    “Fear is a liar”

    “You are incharge of your own happiness”

    “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”

    “When you are grateful you become less self-destructive”

    “Oneday at a time”

    Simple, right? I put this in my mind daily:

    “My philosophy is, Its none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing & accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.

    -Anthony Hopkins

    Three things you can’t live without:

    Besides the obvious, in order to survive: Laughter, nature and companionship.

    What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Staying clean from drugs & alcohol, paying bill’s on time, building credit, being here for my family’s lives as a loving, trusted and supporting member, furthering my education, building meaningful relationships, helping others and dedicating time to the community, being happy and filled with joy. Some people might look at that list and think that is what adults are supposed to do and I should want more for my life life a top of the line car, big house with white picked fence, money, travel around the world, the perfect husband, three kids… Well, you’re not wrong with wanting more but I’m just now learning to be an adult. I was very selfish in my active addiction and I was given a 2nd chance, so I’m taking it and trying to become a better person. I’ve been working on these goals since I got clean but I’ll have to continue the rest of my life.

    Resources

    National Suicide Prevention Hotline

    1-800-273-8255

    SAMHSA’s National Helpline 

    1-800-662-HELP

    Florida based recovery program

    Peace Club

    Non-profit movement to help people with depression, addiction and suicide

    TWLOHA

    ——-

    Photos by Misti Blu

    Shoot location at Rockledge Gardens

    Body and Beauty, Health

    Toxic Free and Chemical Free Perfume Oils

    Yesterday, I was at the post office shipping an order and the woman in front of me had a powerfully pungent toxic perfume that gave me an instant headache and nausea that lasted for hours. If you don’t care about what your body absorbs then maybe you could be mindful of your friends and family members who hug you and see you at gatherings and are too timid to speak up that your toxic fragrance is making them ill. In the U.S., manufacturers can legally hide hundreds of synthetic chemicals in the one word: fragrance. We live in a toxic world so why not minimize our exposure where we can. Live a healthy life and give the gift of quality air to your loved ones.

    Wildling Apothecary

    Healthy Food

    Halloween Festive Party Recipes

    October is such a transitional month. Hurricane season is almost over and the tease of a cool breeze is on the way. It’s time to start getting festive and decorating. Food can be fun and still be healthy and delicious. I am offering a spooky dinner dish and side that will be a hit at any party. Everything is also gluten-free, and can be dairy-free as well. Most importantly, none of the ingredients call for scary preservatives, dyes or fillers. You won’t feel like a pumpkin after this meal! It is so delicious that it will haunt you forever with cravings. 

    Stuffed Taco-Lantern

    1 pack of Gardein meatless crumbles (you can substitute with meat)

    1 can of black beans

    1 small 4.5 oz can of green chiles

    Season with onion powder, garlic salt, turmeric and cumin

    Orange bell peppers 

    Sriracha 

    Spinach

    Goat cheese (optional)

    Preheat the over to 375. Mix the meatless crumbles with black beans, green chiles and spices on medium temperature, enough to warm it up and mix everything together. Cut the top of the orange bell pepper off and remove the seeds on the inside. With a small knife, cut different jack-o-lantern designs into the peppers and then stuff them with the mix. Top with goat cheese, unless you want a fully vegan dish. Place the peppers and lids on a foil covered baking dish and cook for 20 minutes. Line the plates with fresh spinach and place the peppers on the spinach. Decorate the top of the peppers with a little bit of Sriracha. 

    Misti’s Salsa Salad

    1 can of black beans

    1 can of fire roasted corn

    1 large tomato diced

    1/3 of a white onion diced

    Handful of chopped cilantro

    Handful of chopped scallions

    1 teaspoon of garlic powder

    2 limes juiced

    10 generous shakes of Cholula hot sauce 

    Sea salt and pepper to taste

    Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve with chips. You can also add fresh chopped avocado. 

    *Published in www.thebeachsideresident.com

    October 2018 issue