19
Jan

WEGO Health Guest Blogger: Nate Rich

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Diet Tracking With MyFitnessPal – You Are What You Eat!

By Nate Rich

If you would have asked the 500+ lbs. version of Nate Rich to measure and record everything he ate and drank, he would have thought you were crazy. Well, sometimes the “crazy” way is the right way, and it certainly was for me. Remember, Earth being circular was “crazy” too. To most people, the concept of recording everything you eat and drink sounds ludicrous. However, to fitness fanatics and casual dieters alike, taking detailed notes on the caloric value is a huge aid to maintaining a specific diet plan. Perhaps equally important as the amount of calories consumed is the specific macronutrient breakdown. Although there are many ways to calculate you food and beverages, my absolute favorite is digitally with a program and website called MyFitnessPal.

Let’s go back to 2009 when I weighed over 500 lbs. After the devastating loss of my Dad from heart failure, who meant everything to me, I decided to get serious about losing weight and would not stop until I succeeded. I went from drinking a couple liquid diet shakes a day (sub-500 calories per day), to low carb Atkins-style dieting, to 10 other random diet concepts. The road to losing 300 lbs. was full of failures, but each failure led to another option. One of those options was the concept of recording what you ate and drank, so you could actually grasp the caloric value of everything, and understand your macronutrient intake. At first, it just seemed like a bunch of work for no reason, but the more I got into it, the more I learned and was able to tweak my diet. Some days I would feel starving, and others I would feel almost bloated. Without a record of what I ate (and at what time), I really was just guessing as to what could be the problem.

Being able to grasp what you eat, how much you eat, and how it affects your weight, energy levels, and brain functionality (seriously!), is the primary reason why I believe recording your diet is of use. You have the opportunity to realize your “low carb diet” is actually a “high carb diet” because you thought Sweet Potatoes were considered vegetables. Or, you have the opportunity to analyze your diet and find out that perhaps you are so bloated recently because you’re favorite “diet condiment” is actually loaded full of sodium unexpectedly. We all want to pretend like we know everything about food and diet, and that “I’m not stupid enough to eat something with so much sodium” but I am telling you certain things fall through the cracks that can create a roadblock for your goals. Some of the biggest surprises for people are cream in your coffee, oil while cooking food, carbohydrates in everything (always a surprise), and the biggest one is the sneaky grams of sugar that are everywhere.

My personal preference for tracking my diet is MyFitnessPal. Nowadays, I do not use this religiously every single day while I am maintaining my body weight, but I bust it out any time I see myself gaining weight and want to get serious again. It is a great “check yo-self before you wreck yo-self” tool (Lol, yeah. I just wrote that).

MyFitnessPal is a website with applications for all smartphones. With ease, you can record your body weight, food intake, beverage intake, and even exercise routine. There is a seemingly infinite list of foods, drinks, supplements, and condiments in their standard database that you can search for while adding your meals. If somehow your specific item is not in their database, you can add it with ease. It really is the best diet tracking database I have used.

Tracking your macronutrients is highly undervalued in the mainstream dieting approach. Of course the caloric value of foods matter, and of course the total amount of calories you eat matters. However, it really does matter how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and sugar you are consuming. I have seen people tell me that they are on a low-carb diet, but they are eating a TON of vegetables throughout the day. This is not a bad thing, however their vegetables of choice were carrots which are heavy in carbs (sugar). On a low-carb diet, you are relying on ketosis to lose fat, which requires very low-to-no carbohydrates. So, without tracking your macronutrients you may not realize that all of your vegetables are derailing your low-carb diet plan!

Another great feature is that there is an endless history so you can track your progress over long periods of time without losing any information. Let’s say you’ve gained some weight, but you remember a time last year when you were your leanest and felt your best. You can simply look back to that time by searching date or body weight, and peek into what exactly you were eating and drinking during that time. It can be a great way to get yourself back on track.

Overall, I personally use MyFitnessPal, and highly recommend it for anyone. Even if you aren’t trying to lose a bunch of weight, it is still a great way for people to actually learn and understand what they’re eating. It is mostly true that you are what you eat, and tracking what you eat is a great way to manage your diet and body goals.

 

Author Bio:     Hi, I’m Nate Rich, and I weighed 525 pounds about seven years ago. Today, I am 300 pounds lighter, a body builder, a world traveler, and extremely successful in business and in my personal relationships. What happened between then and now is a story of total body and life transformation, which began in the face of extreme adversity. I conquered that through determination, motivation, and my own personal routine of fitness and living healthy.

 www.builttoberich.com

Twitter & Instagram: @builttoberich

FB: facebook.com/builttoberich

28
Dec

New Year’s Goals with a Chronic Disease a.k.a. When Things Don’t Go Right, Go Left

Here is our January blog post from our monthly blogger Sharon Coyle-Saeed! Remember to check out our blog each month to read more from Sharon. Happy reading!

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New Year’s Goals with a Chronic Disease a.k.a.

When Things Don’t Go Right, Go Left

By: Sharon Coyle-Saeed

Way before it was the “in” thing to do, I was creating vision boards at the age of 7.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do in my life—become a Broadway star.  By the time I was a senior in high school, I had my life mapped out step by step with goals broken down into individual to-do lists, and timelines. With new headshots in hand, signed with a manager and finishing up playing the lead in the musical, “Gypsy,” I was ready for my close up Mr. Demille.  My whole world came crashing down the summer after I graduated high school, when I was struck with severe Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  After major surgery, I remember waking up from a medical coma and still writing a to-do list. It read something like this. “Get catheter out, get breathing tube out, get drainage tubes out, get staples out, get NG tube out, get picc line out and then, get the heck out.”

What about those life goals though? What about the theatrical endeavors?  Well, to be completely honest, I was crushed. Losing my colon was not as devastating as the loss of my first love—theater.  It is very challenging to speak about the death of that part of me till this day.  However, being raised as a tomboy with the mantra, “toughen up,” I brushed myself off, and got back into the saddle once again, and again, and again, and again. I would like to think this is resilience. Although, it is probably that I inherited my father’s stubbornness gene. Through the years, I learned how to adapt and adjust. Of course, I get disappointed, but I don’t let it get me down. 

Every year, for the pending new year, I have the audacity to make very specific goals, knowing that at any moment, an obstructed bowel resulting in an elongated hospital stay, may disrupt these dreams.  No wait, they are not dreams. My resolutions are one a very detailed word document, as if I am responding to a Fortune 500 company RFP (Request for Proposal).  Let me explain further.

They are in five categories: physical (tone up, eat right), tangible measurable ones (like learning Spanish, cleaning clutter, or going to a conference), relational (spending time with friends and family, helping children achieve their goals), emotional (laugh more, don’t sweat the small stuff), and spiritual (be in the moment, pray more). Every year, I go all in full force thinking and believing I will reach ALL of these goals. Last year, I created 76 of them! Yes, you read that right, 76!!!! Guess what? I actually reached many of them. Thing is, if you aim higher than you think you can, you will attain more than if you set the goals too safe. So, go for it! Write down anything and everything you can think of doing and becoming!  Why not?

Why not? Because I have a chronic, and sometimes serious disease Sharon, and what if I am stuck in the hospital half of the year? This rang true for me this year. Okay fine for the past four years.  I hate to even write it, but this year, I was in the hospital for 7 months out of 2015. Yes, there were some goals that I had to adjust.  Like going for my Master of Social Work is going to take me 3 years, not 2. I was scheduled for Reiki Master training in October, and finally did it in December, and some goals I just plain old missed like, “stay out of the hospital.”  However, I do believe that by having this road map, it gives some sense of direction and purpose when everything else seems to be crashing in around me.

What about the theater goal? My lifelong dream? Sometimes when things don’t go right, we can go left. For a few years, I directed and choreographed a show for over 300 children at my son’s elementary school which was very gratifying, have taken vocal lessons and belt out tunes while driving, and did a musical fundraiser to benefit Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Some goals we can adjust, some goals we grow out of, and many we can accomplish! If you can conceive it, and believe it, you can achieve it!

As the year comes to a close, I start to create resolutions for 2016! Of course, at the top of my list is, “stay out of the hospital.” BRING IT ON 2016!  I am so reaching that goal this year! What is on your list?

 

Author Bio:

Sharon Coyle- Saeed: Health Activist, CEO/Founder of ibdjourneys:

Sharon Coyle-Saeed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1990. She has three Associate degrees in Psychology, World Language, and Theater.  Sharon’s Bachelors is in Journalism & Mass Media with a Middle Eastern Studies minor from  Rutgers University. She is currently a graduate student of Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University with a focus on Aging and Health. Sharon just completed an internship at Robert Wood Johnson/The Steeplechase Cancer Center. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner, a freelance reporter for Gannett NJ, an IET Intermediate practitioner and holds certifications in EFT (Level One), Angel Card Reading, Angel Realm Reader and Aromatherapy (Stress Management, Essentials and First Aid). To help others is her sole and soul’s desire. 

2
Dec

It’s the season of giving! How are YOU giving to your SELF?

Sharon Coyle-Saeed’s monthly blog post is ready for you to dive into!

Remember, Sharon is our monthly guest blogger, so make sure to check for her posts at the beginning of every month. Enjoy!

 

bubble pic for blog

 

Being a frequent flier at the hospital, I noticed two things which were beneficial in curtailing my recuperation period upon release. The first thing that helped in getting back into action after a long stay of laying horizontal, was to force myself to push through the leg shaking (especially when trying to conquer going up and down the stairs in my home) and MOVE! The next thing that made me feel more human was to indulge in a manicure and pedicure. Let me be more specific—indulging in a spicy, hot, fire engine red manicure and pedicure. It has kind of become my signature go to color.

I am a wife and mother of two sons and come from a lineage of women where sacrificing one’s own happiness for others is not only expected, but applauded. However, taking this one hour not only made me feel rejuvenated, it felt like a means of survival.  I had a flashback of the first time I traveled overseas with my infant. The announcement upon takeoff strongly urged mothers to initially use the oxygen mask before placing it on your child.  At that time, this seemed to go against everything I was raised to believe. However, feeling like a new person walking out of that nail salon, those directions of taking care of one’s self first, finally made sense.

What was working the first 10 years of being a stay at home  “sacrificial lamb” mom, could not continue in this current health crises of intermittent small bowel obstructions from too many surgical procedures resulting in concrete adhesions which placed me as an inpatient 50% of the year since June  2011. Being chronically ill, I knew in order to be functional when I was home, I needed to use the oxygen mask first. In other words, I needed to pamper myself, even in small ways, without GUILT! The key is in that last word! For with guilt, the benefits from the comforting comforts may have a reverse effect.

Although I love manicures and pedicures, I had to find some cost effective every day treatments. Little indulgences which would not break my non-existent bank account. This is when I started the love affair with an item in my home that was always there, but never used—–my bathtub.  My daily pampering or “treatment for a functioning Sharon” starts out like this. I set my phone to the Pandora meditation music station, plug it into my ipod dock, light three candles while saying an intention such as, “may this bath be cleansing of not only my body, but my mind and my spirit,” turn the water on, pour in a handful of Epsom salts, step in, and do a self Reiki for the first portion of the experience. When I drain the tub, I think of all the bad energy, the dirt and the things my body does not need going down the drain. I am then ready to start my day!

I highly recommend pampering for everyone, especially for those like us who are going through a chronic, and sometimes serious disease. Here are some of the ways that others indulge! Can’t wait to read feedback on how YOU pamper yourself! If you currently do not, make it a goal for the New Year! See you in 2016 when I touch upon setting goals—when your health is unpredictable!

“I have an eclectic music collection. When I am in a minor or a major flare, music in my Buddha!”

David Eisikovits, Crohn’s, New York

 

“I pluck my eyebrows. It makes me feel extra good when they look sharp and playing on my Daddy’s piano!”  Danielle Fiorello, BiPolar, Deep Anxiety, PTSD, Suicide Ideation, New Jersey

“I cuddle with my dog.” Shannon Rives, Crohn’s,

 

“Microwaveable unscented neck wrap.” Tina Koelbe-Tko, Diabetes, Chronic Migraines, New Jersey

 

“After a surgery, I like to get some sort of accessory for my Jeep Wrangler.” Ryan Stevens, Crohn’s, Ohio

 

“A hot water bottle or a bag of ice on the back of my neck.” Cheryl Howdyshell, Polycythemia Vera, Virginia

 

“Artwork, coloring, knitting, and playing with dogs.” Peggy Farrelly, Cancer Survivor, New Jersey

 

Author Bio:

Sharon Coyle- Saeed: Health Activist, CEO/Founder of ibdjourneys:

Sharon Coyle-Saeed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1990. She has three Associate degrees in Psychology, World Language, and Theater.  Sharon’s Bachelors is in Journalism & Mass Media with a Middle Eastern Studies minor from  Rutgers University. She is currently a graduate student of Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University with a focus on Aging and Health. Sharon just completed an internship at Robert Wood Johnson/The Steeplechase Cancer Center. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner, a freelance reporter for Gannett NJ, an IET Intermediate practitioner and holds certifications in EFT (Level One), Angel Card Reading, Angel Realm Reader and Aromatherapy (Stress Management, Essentials and First Aid). To help others is her sole and soul’s desire. 

 

2
Nov

WEGO Health’s New Monthly Blogger: Sharon Coyle-Saeed

WEGO Health would like to introduce you to our new monthly blogger, Sharon Coyle-Saeed. Sharon is an IBD health activist. Keep reading to learn more about Sharon and to learn more about what is to come from her. Thank you Sharon!

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I just wanted to introduce myself. First off, I would like to thank the WEGO Health community for giving this opportunity to reach out to all of you!  My name is Sharon Coyle-Saeed, and I am the CEO/Founder of ibdjourneys. ibdjourneys (yes all small caps), is a support group for those inflicted with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and a place for caregivers.  IBD (the two major ones are Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive tract and may also cause extra intestinal manifestations.

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in September of 1990. As I packed my bag with resumes, headshots, tapping shoes and sheet music, I headed into New York City to try my luck at making it as a working singer, actor and dancer. It was my dream, since the tender age of 7 to grace the Broadway stages.  I exhausted my rounds on the New Jersey stages and was ready for Times Square.  All of those dreams were dashed in an instant. As I headed out the door, I was struck with an “intestinal virus”, which never quite left.  A month later, I was dehydrated and 20 pounds thinner. I was put through the ringer of tests and in walked the same Gastroenterologist I use today, who announced, “You have a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease called ulcerative colitis.”  These words that would become part of my everyday  vocabulary, were so foreign to me then.

From that day in 1990 up until 1992, I was placed on every medical treatment known for IBD in those days.  Nothing worked.  I was rushed up to Mount Sinai Medical Center in NYC for an operation which was not an option. As my large intestine was ready to burst from perforation, I was wheeled into a surgical procedure called a total proctocolectomy(removal of my entire colon),  with J-Pouch formation(bringing down the small intestine as an anastomosis) and a temporary loop ileostomy. After that surgery, I was in a medical coma for about a week’s time and when I came out, my view on the world was somehow changed, but I was not ready to receive the message completely. By the end of that year, my stoma was reversed and since my mother worked at a local college, and I was convalescing, I decided to take some courses before heading back out to be a Broadway star.

On the first day of school, I met the man I would eventually marry and have two children with. My career path took a turn from actress to human resource/store manager of high end retail stores. After having my children through C-section and one was a very challenging birth which was a delivery with placenta abruption, my peritoneum was now a belly filled with concrete adhesions. In 2009, I was diagnosed with peritoneal inclusion cysts. Two environments have to be present in order for these cysts to form—active ovaries and adhesions. I had them both.  These cysts(2 in total) grew to grapefruit size and in 2011, more specifically June 6, 2011, was my “doomsday”. I headed into a surgery which was supposed to be a ‘simple’ surgery….. it was anything but that.

After that surgery, I was rushed back into the operating room a month later, to alleviate strictures that had formed.  From 2011 till this very year of 2015, I have been an inpatient for 50-60% of the year. In fact, I am an inpatient right now while writing this blogpost.

In these past 4 years, I have met many wonderful warriors of not only IBD fighters, but many challenging diseases. I have been asked on many an occasion, “How do you do it? How do you get through long hospital stays? How do you maintain relations with friends, family, your spouse and your kids? How do you remain so positive? “

This blogspot is not only going to be about my journey.  I would like to highlight how everyone else gets through their day! As a featured blog writer, I am going to explore, “How to cope and live purposefully with a chronic (and sometimes serious) disease.”  I will share some of my favorite tips and coping mechanisms and can’t wait to read and hear yours!

Next month, I will focus on pampering! Pampering is indulging in our comfort and needs and YES! This is a necessity when we are dealing with a chronic disease! Get rid of the guilt! You are worth it! I will share some of my favorite pampering indulgences and highlight others that are combatting an illness as well. Just in time for the holidays when we need to take some extra TLC out for ourselves!

Author Bio:

Sharon Coyle- Saeed: Health Activist, CEO/Founder of ibdjourneys:

Sharon Coyle-Saeed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1990. She has three Associate degrees in Psychology, World Language, and Theater.  Sharon’s Bachelors is in Journalism & Mass Media with a Middle Eastern Studies minor from  Rutgers University. She is currently a graduate student of Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University with a focus on Aging and Health. Sharon just completed an internship at Robert Wood Johnson/The Steeplechase Cancer Center. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner, a freelance reporter for Gannett NJ, an IET Intermediate practitioner and holds certifications in EFT (Level One), Angel Card Reading, Angel Realm Reader and Aromatherapy (Stress Management, Essentials and First Aid). To help others is her sole and soul’s desire. 

6
Oct

2015 ePatient Connections Conference

ePatient Connections 2015

#ePatCon

 

 

WEGO Health is excited to be a part of the 2015 ePatient Connections Conference that is

happening October 29th-30th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In addition to some truly inspiring and empowering health activists, three members of the WEGO Health team,  Bob Brooks, the Executive Vice President of WEGO Health, Kristen Hartman, Director of Sponsor Programs, and Kristin Mraz, Community Recruitment Manager, will be there as well!

 
 
 
 
ePatient Connections Conference 2015

 

Overview:  

o   The ePatient Connections 2015 summit focuses on bridging the communication gap between industry leaders and ePatients to establish shared goals in order to enable cross-functional, patient-centric collaboration to improve overall health outcomes and enhance participation in clinical trials.

Day: 

o   Thursday, October 29th – Friday, October 30th

Agenda:

o   http://exlevents.com/epatient-connections-2015/agenda/

Place: 

o   Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District Hotel

 

 

 

5
Oct

Mental Health Advocacy: What’s in It for Me?

Gabe-Headshot

 

 

I am a mental health advocate, speaker, and writer. In a nutshell, my job is to publicly speak and write about living with bipolar disorder – the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a speaker, I stand up in front of crowds and talk about very personal things. My history of mania, depression, and hyper-sexuality are all fair game. I once joked that you haven’t made it as a mental health speaker until you tell a room filled with people about your sex life after psychiatric medications.

This kind of work is very difficult. I’ve been publicly shamed, received horrible e-mails, and I’ve even received death threats. Once, someone sent a package of toilet paper to my home and told me I was full of crap, except he didn’t use that word.

I openly discuss the side effects of medications on my sex life, which was an adjustment for my wife. I also discuss many of the mistakes I made in the past, from drug use to infidelity, and everything in between.

My family has had to adjust, as well, and as I gain popularity, they have to adjust more. Given society’s desire to blame mental illness on poor upbringing, this doesn’t always paint them in the best light.

Before any of you jump on the “he’s doing it for the money” bandwagon, I’ll gladly show you my bank statements. I do get paid for what I do, but money isn’t the primary motivator. I spend more than I make because things like travel, internet service, and business cards aren’t free.

I didn’t wake up one morning and set out to be a mental health speaker and writer. It just sort of happened. My first step was volunteering for a local mental health charity. I participated in their local fundraiser, helped stuff some envelopes, and eventually they asked me to tell my story at a luncheon they were having.

I was terrible at it. I was nervous, practically read from the sheet of notes I carried, and I was shaking so bad it was pitiful. But I pushed myself through and, when I was done, the room erupted with applause and I got a standing ovation. To say I was shocked was an incredible understatement. It was at that moment that I was hooked. If my story – my life – could have that much power, then I needed to share it.

There are a hundred little reasons. When I was newly diagnosed, I could have used some inspiring stories of people who reached recovery. When I got a little better, I started going to support groups that were run by volunteers. So now that I am doing well, I want to give back. I want to make sure that I am there for the people who come after me, because people were there for me.

I do it because I’m good at it and because I love it. It makes me feel like my experiences weren’t entirely meaningless, that my suffering has some sort of benefit to the greater good.

But mostly, I do it because if my experience can make life better for even one person, then the pain I endured had at least a little positive meaning.

And that makes me happy.

About the author:

Gabe Howard is a professional speaker, award-winning writer, and mental health coach who battles bipolar 1 and anxiety disorders everyday. Diagnosed in 2003, he has made it his mission to put a human face on what it means to live with bipolar disorder. Gabe was the recipient of the 2014 Mental Health America Norman Guitry Award, placed second in HealthCentral’s LiveBold competition, a Psych Central 2014 Mental Health hero, was a 2015 WEGO Health Awards Finalist in the Health Activist Category, as well as received a Best of the Web – Blog award. To work with Gabe please contact him via his website at www.GabeHoward.com or e-mail Gabe@GabeHoward.com.

 

28
Sep

How To Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed

 

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Did you know that by the year 2020, the World Health Organization says depression will be the second greatest disability in the world (second only to blindness)?  Because I’ve lived with bipolar disorder my whole life (diagnosed at 18 after a friend’s suicide) and worked in mental health nonprofit for years, I am not surprised.  When you’re depressed, each task requires energy.  Answering an inbox full of emails is intimidating.  Having bipolar 2, I sometimes wish there was a “pause” button I could hit when things get rough.  Fortunately and unfortunately, life goes on when you’re depressed.  I first started honing strategies to combat depression’s effects on productivity when I was a student.  In college, I battled bipolar disorder and polycystic ovarian syndrome.  I was fortunate to graduate from Northwestern University cum laude with two majors despite my obstacles.  All these years later, I also live with Myasthenia Gravis, asthma, and psoriasis.  Some of the techniques I learned for working despite depression now help me with my daily physical pain and fatigue.

5 Ways To Get Stuff Done When You’re Depressed:

1.  Classify Tasks According to Level of Difficulty:  I classify the things I have to do as a 1, 2, or 3 where 1 = easy, 2 = moderately difficult, and 3 = hard.  If I’m depressed, I focus on all the 1-level tasks first like showering and eating breakfast.  As I cross off 1-level things on my list, I build up enough confidence to tackle 2 and 3-level tasks like responding to emails, writing articles, or preparing lesson plans.

2.  Schedule an Appointment With Your Therapist ASAP:  I try my best to catch my depressive episode at the beginning, before it gets out of hand.  (Using bipolar mood charts help me with this.)  Of course, it can be hard to do that every time and sometimes I miss.  Mental illness, like any illness, can be unpredictable.  But, if you’re already well into a depressive episode, seeing a therapist is still a good idea.

3.  Prioritize Tasks:  Filter tasks according to urgency.  I usually make a “to-do list” every night for the next day.  I put 4 **** to tasks that must be finished immediately.  3 *** are for tasks that must be finished the next day.  2 ** means a task must be finished sometime this week.  1 * means it’s due next week.  When I’m depressed, I ignore tasks that have two or fewer asterisks. If trying to finish a list is too daunting, highlight 3 things you want to accomplish for one day–just three things.

4.  Find an Endorphin-Releasing Activity:  If you’re able to exercise, exercise is one of the best tools we have in fighting stress and depression.  While I continue to take prescribed medications and see my therapist, I do much better when I exercise as I blogged about in 4 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise.  Of course, the conundrum is that while exercise helps depression, being depressed can make it harder to exercise.  (See my article for Bipolar Out Loud, 6 Ideas:  How To Exercise When You’re Depressed.)  Physical activity can break the monotony of your routine.  Even 15-minutes of cardio can make my difficult situation seem less insurmountable.  Exercise releases endorphins, aka “the feel good hormones,” which make me feel better about myself and my life.

5.  Identify Allies:  “Allies” are people who will understand and help us.  An ally can be a friend or a family member or a coworker who has a loved one with mental illness.
Yesterday, I got an email from a friend and fellow mental health advocate, Mike, asking me to be part of a great project he’s starting and if I’d like to be featured on his website.  The email came with some attached questions to fill out for the website.   Because Mike is a friend and the project is mental health in nature, I decided to be honest with him.  By contrast, I’m not going to respond to a work email by telling my boss, “I’m really depressed right now.  Can this wait?”  By distinguishing between emails where I had to be professional  and emails where I could be less guarded, I felt less stress.  Mike’s response to my honest email also made me feel less alone.

 My email response:

Hi Mike,

I’m interested in collaborating. In fact, I’d love to talk to you on the phone some time…Right now, I am going through some depression. I was in bed almost all day today.  I’d like to fill out your attached questions but it won’t happen tomorrow.  I will get back to you ASAP.  As you know, it’s hard to balance health problems with a job…
–Jessica
Mike’s response:

Hi Jessica,

I’m sorry to hear that you are going through a rough time. My cell is below…Please feel free to call whenever and fill out the sheet when the time is right.  If you’d like to call this week, I’ll be available after 3pm EST each day.  Take care of you.

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno

This article, written by Jessica Gimeno, originally appeared here on Fashionably ill.  Subscribe to Fashionably ill and get your free gift, a Depression Tool Kit, today!  Sign up at www.fashionablyillgift.com.  Your kit comes with:

  • 10 strategies for getting stuff done when you’re depressed
  • 4 Scripts to help you explain depression (or bipolar disorder) to loved ones and get accommodations from employers and professors

 

21
Sep

The First Annual #RABlog Week!!!

RABlog Week

It’s #RABlog Week! In participation with the first annual #RABlog Week, WEGO Health has put together a fantastic blogroll from some empowering health activists who write about rheumatoid arthritis. Thank you to everyone who helped us create this great blogroll! WEGO Health would also like to give a huge shout out to Rick Philips who had the idea to create the first annual RA Blog week.

Now that #RABlog Week is here, click on the link to see the blog prompts that you can write about each day this week: view prompts here

Swell Girls~Arthritis Queensland

Arthritis Rebel

Finding My OM with RA

HeART Work for RA

Mom’s Small Victories

Arthritic Chick

Deb’s Wellness Blog

As My Joints Turn: (My Autoimmune Soap Opera)

Getting Closer To Myself

Singlerheum

http://springsight.net

The Arthritis RD

My Medical Musings

Living with RA

Not Standing Still Disease

An Autoimmune Arthritic Systemic Life

Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA

Tragedy.In.Waiting.

The Seated View

After Conquering Arthritis: Barbara Allen’s Life Now

Rheum For Love

Life According to Kenz

And then you’re at Jax

Autoimmune Mom

RADiabetes

Facets of Living with RA

PurpleProject

RA Guy

RA Dancer

Life with RA is a Pain

All Flared Up

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RheumaBlog

The Hurt Blogger

Rheumatology

The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo

Conquering Arthritis

Autoimmunitygirl

Here’s Your Gold Watch-Rheutired

Chasing After Normal

SpoonieStrong

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Creaky Joints

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18
Sep

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Mesothelioma

 

 

• Mesothelioma Awareness Day is September 26, 2015 and the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is spreading awareness of the disease, it’s causes and prevention.
• About 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the US.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, a carcinogen in construction and consumer products that is not banned in the US.
• Mesothelioma is a rare, but completely preventable cancer.
• Knowing information on asbestos exposure is key in mesothelioma prevention.

 

 

 

So what can you do?
o Help spread the word by donating your social status here
o If you have an older home, make sure that any asbestos abatement is carried out by a licensed professional.
o Contact a local senator and tell them you want a ban on asbestos.

 

 

 

Information above provided by: http://www.mesothelioma.com/