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BEYOND THE BEAUTY: How nutrition affects mental health

#MentalHealthMondayBeyond the Beauty: Last week, I shared with you how physical health affects our mental health. And while we can't always help what happens to us healthwise, it's important to focus on what we CAN control. Nutrition is one of those things..I remember in therapy, my psychologist would always ask me how my diet was. And for good reason. What we eat has a huge impact on how we feel physically and mentally..My diet is by no means perfect, but I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater. I usually eat about 90% clean whole foods… and 10% dark chocolate. You can see from this picture how much I adore my dark chocolate! .The more I learn, the more I adjust what I put in my body. I’ve cut out all artificial preservatives, flavors and colors. No dairy either because of a severe allergy..In the last few years, I've looked into how specific nutrients can help ease the symptoms of depression, and make sure I include them in my diet: Omega 3 fatty acids, B-group vitamins, and Vitamin D are all backed by science as being good for your brain health. BTW, a lot of people have a Vitamin D deficiency and don't even realize it - I was one of them! Are you? You should find out for sure..My partner, @mentalhealthamerica has lots of information about these three nutrients, which specific foods are good sources of them, and more about diet and mental health. Just click on the link in my bio and go to the "Mental Health America" button..Start with one small tweak in your diet, and go from there. The thing that's empowering about nutrition is that you have full control over what you eat, so why not choose food that's going to help you feel better? xxoo

Beyond the Beauty: Last week, I shared with you how physical health affects our mental health. And while we can’t always help what happens to us healthwise, it’s important to focus on what we CAN control. Nutrition is one of those things.

Read moreBEYOND THE BEAUTY: How nutrition affects mental health

LET’S TALK ABOUT: How physical health problems take their toll on your mental health

#MentalHealthMondayBeyond the Beauty: Let's talk about how physical health problems take their toll on your mental health. For as long as I can remember, I've had a crappy immune system - ever since I was a kid, I was always fighting something. But my longest battle was with endometriosis, and it definitely contributed to my depression..30+ years of on-and-off excruciating, debilitating pain from endometriosis really got to me. I've had five surgeries for the disease, and each recovery was a little harder. I felt like my body was failing me. And after every surgery, it was like starting over to get back to my usual exercise routine and feel "normal" again..Then out of nowhere, right after my fifth surgery for endometriosis, came lichen planus - an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It itches and scabs like crazy, and it was all over my arms, legs, and torso. I felt hideous and self conscious. I wore long sleeves whenever I could (even in the spring and summer) and couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror..That was when I was at my worst with my depression. And my health was definitely a huge factor. I'm telling you all this because I want you to know that if you have medical problems and you're feeling depressed or anxious, you are not alone..If you're not sure if you're having symptoms of a mental health condition, my partner, @mentalhealthamerica has mental health screenings you can take to find out. Just click on the the link in my bio and go to the "Mental Health America" button. Recovery is possible - I'm living proof.

Let’s talk about: How physical health problems take their toll on your mental health. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a crappy immune system – ever since I was a kid, I was always fighting something. But my longest battle was with endometriosis, and it definitely contributed to my depression.

Read moreLET’S TALK ABOUT: How physical health problems take their toll on your mental health

BEYOND THE BEAUTY: How to be happy living with depression

#MentalHealthMonday : Last week I mentioned that while choosing to see beauty every day is a big part of what helps me with my depression, there are several other things I have to consistently do to help me feel good..Enter “Beyond the Beauty” - a new series to share what I’ve learned to do to fight depression beyond #IChooseBeauty..For me, it mainly comes down to paying attention to five things every single day. Do I slip up? Absolutely. And when I do, I can definitely feel it in my mood. I have to make a conscious effort throughout the day to make everything happen..I detail it all in a blog post on my website - there’s a link to it in my bio. Click on “How to be happy living with depression.”.I’ll be sharing more coping tools and strategies that help me going forward. And remember, my partner @mentalhealthamerica is an incredible resource - MHA offers everything from a support group to free screenings to information about treatment options.

Beyond the Beauty: How to be happy living with depression

Last week I mentioned that while choosing to see beauty every day is a big part of what helps me with my depression, there are several other things I have to consistently do to help me feel good.

Read moreBEYOND THE BEAUTY: How to be happy living with depression

Going beyond #IChooseBeauty to fight depression

#MentalHealthMonday: It takes more than noticing the beauty in life (like this aisle filled with dark chocolate ) to put that smile on my face..Living with depression is a daily struggle, and while choosing to see beauty in every day is a HUGE part of what helps me feel better, I want to share more with you about all the other things I have to consistently do to keep from slipping back down that dark hole I was in a few years ago. The work does not stop, you guys. It's a forever fight. And some days are definitely harder than others..But I want you all to know there is light. Please don't give up. And if you need help, please reach out. My partner @mentalhealthamerica can help you learn about the many treatment options - just click on the "Mental Health America" link in my bio..Look for more about my journey with depression and my daily coping tools here on Mondays and in my InstaStories thoughout the week. I will also be sharing on IGTV because some things are easier to explain on video in increments longer than 15 seconds at a time. I sincerely hope that what I’ve learned can perhaps help you... or someone you know who's struggling. xxoo #IChooseBeauty

Truth: It takes more than noticing the beauty in life (like this aisle filled with dark chocolate) to put that smile on my face. Living with depression is a daily struggle, and while choosing to see beauty in every day is a HUGE part of what helps me feel better, I want to share more with you about all the other things I have to consistently do to keep from slipping back down that dark hole I was in a few years ago.

Read moreGoing beyond #IChooseBeauty to fight depression

MENTAL HEALTH MONDAY: Take this free mental health screening

#MentalHealthMonday - How are you feeling today? It’s important to be in tune with how both your body and mind are doing. ️ To help you with the mind part, my partner @mentalhealthamerica has a screening you can take here: MHAscreening.org.It’s free, anonymous, and confidential..As part of this month’s #4mind4body challenge, you can raise awareness and help people identify mental health problems #b4stage4 by posting a link to MHAscreening.org with #4mind4body.And remember to follow @mentalhealthamerica for daily challenges to help you feel good throughout the rest of #mentalhealthmonth #IChooseBeauty

#MentalHealthMonday: How are you feeling today? It’s important to be in tune with how both your body AND mind are doing. ️ To help you with the mind part, my partner, Mental Health America has a screening you can take here: MHAscreening.org.

Read moreMENTAL HEALTH MONDAY: Take this free mental health screening

BEYOND THE BEAUTY: The healing power of words

I’ve always had a thing for words. From the time I was a little girl inseparable from the E. E. Cummings book my dad gave me to my career as a journalist, words have always had a special place in my heart..So I suppose it’s no surprise that it was words that came to my rescue a few years ago..When I was at the worst with my depression, I remember so desperately looking for the right words. The ones that help you hold on when you feel like your world is slipping through your fingers; bring you peace when you’re at war with yourself, and comfort you when you wish the hurting would just stop..I took screenshots of inspirational quotes, bought a ton of coping books, and hung art filled with positive messages. What I finally clung to – and still return to – are the words I learned during my therapy. They kept me going when I wanted to stop, brought me strength on days I felt too weak to get out of bed, and gave me hope that things really would get better..Every session, I wrote down the coping statements as I learned them:.Hold on.Focus on the good.Breathe.Pages and pages of notes that last year turned into the Notes to Self collection. I wanted to share them with you on t-shirts, coffee mugs and pillows. I want the bright colors to lift your spirits and the words to give you strength, peace and light..And I want the healing to spread. For every purchase from the Notes to Self line, I Choose Beauty will donate 5% of the net proceeds to @mentalhealthamerica to educate the public about mental illness and wellness..Most importantly – if you’re depressed or know someone who is, please get help. Therapy saved my life, and it could be the beginning of your journey to healing. #mentalhealthmatters #IChooseBeauty

I’ve always had a thing for words. From the time I was a little girl inseparable from the E. E. Cummings book my dad gave me to my career as a journalist, words have always had a special place in my heart. So I suppose it’s no surprise that it was words that came to my rescue a few years ago.

Read moreBEYOND THE BEAUTY: The healing power of words

MENTAL HEALTH MONDAY: Seek mental health help as you would medical help

Starting today... I’ll be sharing #MentalHealthMonday posts from @MentalHealthAmerica as part of our partnership and my commitment to bringing more awareness to mental health..Look for mental health tips, resources, news, and more. It’s important to me to keep talking about mental health, reduce the stigma, and make sure you know there’s help if you’re struggling. Getting treatment saved my life. ️#mentalhealthawareness #IChooseBeauty #Repost @mentalhealthamerica with @get_repost・・・Oftentimes, we are subtly taught that #mentalillness is a weakness in our character. But imagine a scenario where someone broke a leg. Certainly no one would ask him to run a marathon. He would seek medical help, give himself time to heal, and get back to his regular routine when his physical health was back on track. ⠀⠀It works the same for a broken brain. You wouldn’t be able to function at 100 percent, and like someone with a broken leg, no one should expect you to. The same #recovery process would ensue: you would seek medical help (talk to a mental health professional), give yourself time to recover, and get back into the swing of daily life when your mental health felt more manageable. It really should be that simple.⠀⠀Unfortunately, people do not always view physical health and mental health in the same way, and it can be incredibly difficult to ask those you love for help because of that #stigma. Even those with the best intentions may not give you the help you need, or they may not have the reaction that you are looking for. ⠀⠀The first thing to recognize is that what you are experiencing is real, and your feelings are valid. ⠀⠀Educate yourself about your own illness, so you can feel reassured about what you are experiencing and you can educate others when they don’t understand. Talk to someone you trust about your mental health concerns, and don’t stop reaching out until you find someone who will take your concerns seriously.

Starting today… I’ll be sharing #MentalHealthMonday posts from @MentalHealthAmerica as part of our partnership and my commitment to bringing more awareness to mental health. Look for mental health tips, resources, news, and more. It’s important to me to keep talking about mental health, reduce the stigma, and make sure you know there’s help if you’re struggling. Getting treatment saved my life.

Read moreMENTAL HEALTH MONDAY: Seek mental health help as you would medical help

10 ways to show yourself some love on Valentine’s Day

You know... I didn't get married until I was 42, and trust me when I say I had plenty of years before then that I was single on Valentine's Day. So, I learned to make the most of the lovefest holiday, and you can too..No partner? No problem. I say fill the day with lots of love…. to yourself. Try these ideas from my Guest Post for @MentalHealthAmerica. Link in bio @ichoose.beauty ️xoxo #IChooseBeauty

You know… I didn’t get married until I was 42, and trust me when I say I had plenty of years before then that I was single on Valentine’s Day. So, I learned to make the most of the lovefest holiday, and you can too.

Read more10 ways to show yourself some love on Valentine’s Day

Featured in Experience Life magazine: “Shifting Focus: Sahar Aker’s Success Story”

It’s been about three-and-a-half years since I first started #IChooseBeauty, and this month, Experience Life magazine shared my journey. I’m honored, and hope it helps someone out there who is struggling.

Read moreFeatured in Experience Life magazine: “Shifting Focus: Sahar Aker’s Success Story”

The beauty industry’s toxic secret (and what you can do about it)

I was absolutely floored.

You see, while I was busy focusing on healing my mind and cleaning up my diet, I was countering those healthy efforts by slathering poison on my skin. And I had no idea.

Read moreThe beauty industry’s toxic secret (and what you can do about it)

Register now to take the renowned #ICHOOSEBEAUTY 30-DAY CHALLENGE

...and find happiness with one photo a day.