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BEYOND THE BEAUTY: If you struggle with your self-confidence, try this

Truth: I struggle a lot with my self-confidence. I’ve been really having a hard time lately, and I know why. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) gave me a lot of coping tools that help me sooo much, but sometimes, you gotta dust off your tool box, if you know what I mean.

Read moreBEYOND THE BEAUTY: If you struggle with your self-confidence, try this

Mental Health During the Holidays

#MentalHealthMonday:.I saw a great message about the holiday season from my partner, @MentalHealthAmerica, that really resonated with me, so I wanted to pass it on to you... I know sometimes when I'm feeling down, I don't want to reach out to people because I feel like I may be a burden. This is such an important time of year to check in on your friends and family, and tell them what you love about them. ️."Sometimes the holidays can be especially hard for people. The holidays can cause some to feel anxious or depressed despite all the decorations and festivities. Some feel pressure to impress friends and family. Others may find their anxiety increases when they travel. And for others, family time is sometimes tainted by unwanted conversations or a toxic relative, some people don’t have anyone to spend the holidays with, or some are reminded of a lost loved one. It’s important to let your friends and family know you care." .You just never know how much your kindness can help someone, and give them hope at just the right time. xxoo Sahar..........#ichoosebeauty #mentalwellness #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthsupport #depressionrecovery #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthblog #mentalhealthblogger #mentalhealthrecovery #mentalhealthwarrior #inspirationalmonday #wordsofwisdom #motivationalmonday #wordstoliveby #mindset #wordsofencouragement #b4stage4 #healthyholidays #holidayspirit #holidaystress #holidays2018

I saw a great message about the holiday season from my partner, Mental Health America, that really resonated with me, so I wanted to pass it on to you… I know sometimes when I’m feeling down, I don’t want to reach out to people because I worry I may be a burden. This is such an important time of year to check in on your friends and family, and tell them what you love about them. ️.

Read moreMental Health During the Holidays

BEYOND THE BEAUTY: Exercise and mental health

#MentalHealthMonday:The great news: Exercise has been proven to help with depression. The tough part: When you have depression, you lose all desire and motivation to do ANYTHING, even the things you love and the things you know will help you feel better. It's like a catch-22.I've always been active, and enjoy exercise a lot. But during the worst times with my depression, I'm inconsistent with my exercise, even to the point where I just stop for long stretches. What helps me the most is to just do something... anything... even if it's going on a five-minute walk. I start small, and build from there. Sometimes this is so much easier said than done though, and I've definitely been at a place where I couldn't do anything, not even get out of bed. I've been on track lately though - doing a lot of walking and Barre these days, and planning to get back to the Pilates reformer (as seen in this photo). You can find more info about how exercise helps your mental health from my partner, @mentalhealthamerica. Just click on the link in my bio and go to the "Mental Health America" button...........#IChooseBeauty #mentalwellness #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthsupport #depressionrecovery #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthblogger #mentalhealthrecovery #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthwarrior #Mondayinspiration #inspirationoftheday #inspirationdaily #inspirationalpost #inspirationalwords#itsthelittlethingsinlife #simplethingsinlife #findingjoy #beautyeverywhere #beautyiseverywhere #lookaroundyou #lookaround #gratefulness #beautifuldays #gratitudeeveryday #lifeisbeautiful #liveinthemoment

Beyond the Beauty: The great news – Exercise has been proven to help with depression. The tough part – When you have depression, you lose all desire and motivation to do ANYTHING, even the things you love and the things you know will help you feel better. It’s like a catch-22.

Read moreBEYOND THE BEAUTY: Exercise and mental health

BEYOND THE BEAUTY: My morning practice to fight depression

Beyond the Beauty: When your alarm goes off in the morning, do you immediately pick up your phone (because your phone is also your alarm, of course), check your texts, emails, social media platforms, and the news before you get out of bed? You know that’s like crash-landing into the start of your day, right?! … Read moreBEYOND THE BEAUTY: My morning practice to fight depression

BEYOND THE BEAUTY: My nightly practice to fight depression

#MentalHealthMonday.My evening routine for the last several years is something that takes just a few minutes, but makes a world of difference in how I feel about myself... especially when I'm down. It's a tool I learned in therapy that helps to train your brain to notice the good in yourself and in your life, even if things are crappy in your world..Every night before I go to bed, I ask myself these three questions:.1. What am I grateful for today (or what went well today)?.2. What's something I did today that makes me proud of myself?.3. What am I looking forward to tomorrow?.Some nights, the answers come quickly; other times it's a major struggle, but those are the times I know I need this exercise the most..Try adding this practice to your day, and see how you feel when you do it consistently..Sometimes the answers can seem so insignificant, like "I'm proud of myself for checking the mail"... but actually, that IS a big deal if you're not feeling well. It's still something that you made happen and you should be proud of every little thing..This definitely works better for me if I write down the answers, so that's what I recommend you do. Start a journal or keep track digitally in your notepad on your phone. It can be so therapeutic to read through your answers once you've been at it awhile: at You’ll see all the things you accomplished, all the things that went well in your life, everything you have to look forward to!.I hope this helps you as much as it helps me. And if you need more ideas on how to stay mentally healthy, my partner, @mentalhealthamerica has lots of good info. Just click on the link in my bio and go to the "Mental Health America" button. #beyondthebeauty.: @angelous8103

Beyond the Beauty: My evening routine for the last several years is something that takes just a few minutes, but makes a world of difference in how I feel about myself… especially when I’m down. It’s a tool I learned in therapy that helps to train your brain to notice the good in yourself and in your life, even if things are crappy in your world.

Read moreBEYOND THE BEAUTY: My nightly practice to fight depression

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

RIP Kate Spade (#IChooseBeauty Day 1658)

Her sister said Kate Spade didn’t get the treatment she needed for her depression because of how it might affect the image of her brand. We have to stop the stigma of mental illness. My beautiful wallet has suddenly taken on new meaning- a reminder that there’s so much work to do. #stopthestigma #mentalhealthmatters #RIPkatespade

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

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”

Featured in Women’s Health magazine: “30 things people with mental illness want you to understand”

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and I’m proud to be featured in Women’s Health magazine among several “strong, kickass women with mental illness” who share what we wish people understood about us and our condition.

Read moreFeatured in Women’s Health magazine: “30 things people with mental illness want you to understand”

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