Breathing for Anxiety: 5 Exercises You Need To Know


Let’s start things off by taking a nice deep breath. Inhale through your nose, filling your lungs fully. Relax your shoulders, straighten your back. Release the tension and stress you’re holding in your body as you exhale through your mouth. Continue breathing in this way for a few moments more.

Did that feel good? I know it did for me. Now that we’re all calm, let’s explore why you might have been feeling tension in the first place.

Tension can come from stress, tiredness, anxiety, and a myriad of other causes. The biggest one I struggle with is anxiety, so that’s what I’ll focus on today. These breathing techniques can be used to calm any of the emotions that give you tension, though.

Control your breathing, Control Anxiety

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, unease, or nervousness. It’s our body’s response to stress. Anxiety can be related to an upcoming event like a new job, a test, or another big event, but can also come from feeling uncertain about the future or other situations.

I would say that almost all people will experience some form of anxiety during their lifetime. Some of us will experience longer and more serious periods of recurring anxiety due to anxiety conditions. Lucky us!

I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life. My parents got divorced when I was young, and it made me a worrier. I was always worried about something, and with that worry came anxiety. It followed me into my teenage and adult years, and it’s still something I struggle with daily. It’s primarily focused around social situations, and if it gets bad enough, I’ll have a panic attack.

Anxiety Is Different For Everyone

My husband on the other hand, is not a worrier. When we first started dating, he didn’t quite understand why I was anxious all the time. I still remember him saying he related anxiety to “The feeling on Christmas Eve of waiting for the next day to come.” For him, anxiousness was linked with excitement. For me, it was linked with fear.

Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. It cues our body to have a fight or flight response. Without anxiety we wouldn’t know how to respond properly to unsafe situations. If someone pulls a knife on us, we need our brain to yell “DANGER”, and not “That’s a pretty cool knife.”

When you have an overactive anxiety response, life can be exhausting. You never know what your triggers will be, and sometimes you’re just anxious without anything causing it. Finding the source can be tricky, and finding relief is harder.

How To Deal

There’s a multitude of ways you can deal with anxiety: medications, counseling, exercise, exposure therapy, etc. Everyone has a different solution. A frequent one that pops up is meditation. Meditation IS a great tool, but it can be hard to get started and make time for a routine.

A great way to ease into mediation is breath work. It’s easy, it doesn’t need any equipment, and it can be done anywhere, anytime. The right breathing techniques can even calm down a panic attack.

Breathing is the only automatic function in our that we can control. You can’t change the rhythm of your heart, but you can change your breathing patterns. It seems like a simple thing, you breath everyday without thinking about it after all. But harnessing the power of your breathing is an amazing tool.

Where Do I Start

So how do you get started? I would suggest practicing the following exercises when you aren’t anxious (or minimally anxious). It’ll be easier to remember the routine while you’re stressed or panicking if you’re already comfortable with the pattern from practicing. I’ve listed 5 exercises below, so play around with what works best for you. You may find that you like some more than others.

Meditation usually requires a quiet spot on your own. That’s not necessary for breath work, but it can be a bit easier to focus if there’s minimal distractions. I do some of these exercises with my kids running around, or even in public. Since my anxiety picks up in social settings, it’s important to be able to tune out the noise around me and focus on my breathing, but that might not be easy in the beginning.

How To Prepare

For each of these exercises you can choose what position you’re in. Some prefer to lay down on a soft surface such as a bed or couch. Standing or sitting in a comfortable chair works as well.

If sitting, it’s a good idea to practice good posture as you breath. Point the crown of your head to the ceiling, spine straight, and shoulders back. Closing your eyes is a great way to help you focus inwards, but if you’re more comfortable with your eyes open you can certainly leave them that way. You do you.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

The first method we’ll work with is diaphragmatic breathing. My psychiatrist was the one who taught me this, and it’s been scientifically proven to help with panic, anxiety, and stress. Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which in turn can combat your fight or flight response. It’s a good building block for the other methods listed below, so start here first. It can be beneficial to practice this one laying down the first few times.

Start by getting comfortable wherever you are. Place one hand over your stomach right below your ribcage, and the other hand on your chest. Take a minute to feel how each hand moves as you inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Inhale slowly through your nose and feel the hand on your stomach move outwards. You want to keep your chest as still as possible, so that your hand there doesn’t move. After you have filled your lungs deeply, let your stomach muscles contract and push your breath through pursed lips in a controlled manner. The hand on your stomach should fall as your lungs empty, but your chest should stay still. Repeat for several more breaths.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Square Breathing

This one is a good exercise that has a bit of visualization to it as well. It’s very popular because it’s easy to remember and simple to practice. You’ll need to count for this one, so it might take a few run throughs to get your breath to match the count. Don’t speed through it, think “1 and 2 and 3 and 4” not “1234”. You can envision the square in your mind, or trace it on your lap with your finger. To start, find your comfy position as before and begin below.

Focus on your breath for a few seconds. After you’ve focused, envision a square with 4 equal sides. Breathe in through your nose on a count of 4, while taking this breath envision tracing the top of the square from left to right. Once you’ve inhaled fully, hold your breath for a count of 4. Mentally trace the right edge of the square from top to bottom. Exhale through pursed lips for a count of 4. Follow the bottom of the square from right to left. Finally hold your breath again for a count of 4, tracing the left edge of the square from bottom to top, reaching the beginning spot. Continue breathing, counting, and tracing as many times as you like.

Diagram of Square Breathing

Finger Breathing

Personally, I love finger breathing, and I especially love it for my son. At 2.5 years old we’re solidly in the “terrible two’s”. There’s a lot of big emotions going on, so I’ve taught him this technique to calm him down in the middle of being overwhelmed. It has a physical, grounding touch to it. There’s two ways to do it. I’ll explain the method I use with him in detail, and a less conspicuous way after.

Place your left index finger (or right if you’re a lefty) at the outside base of your right pinky. While taking an inhale through your nose, slowly trace the outside of your pinky upwards with your left index finger. Pause for a count when you get to the stop of your pinky. Exhale slowly through your mouth while tracing down the inside of your pinky to the base of your ring finger. Pause for a count at the bottom of your pinky and ring finger, then inhale tracing your finger upwards on your ring finger. Pause for a count at your ring finger tip, then exhale while tracing down your ring finger towards the base of your middle finger. Continue in this pattern of inhaling upwards, pausing, exhaling downwards, and pausing until you’ve traced each side of each finger, and down to the outer base of your thumb. If you are still stressed you can trace backwards in the opposite direction until you reach the base of your pinky again.

Diagram of Finger Breathing

I use my finger to trace my son’s hand, but if you’re wanting to do this on your own you can just use one hand.

Place your thumb at the base of your pinky on the same hand. Inhale upwards as before, but just run your finger up the inside of your pinky finger instead of tracing the outside. Pause at the top, then exhale as you run your thumb back down the inside of your pinky finger. Do the same movement to your ring, middle, and index finger, inhaling on the upstroke, pausing at the top, exhaling on the down stroke, and pausing at the bottom.

Long Exhale

Like diaphragmatic breathing, lengthening your exhale has been shown to stimulate your vagus nerve. This calms your fight or flight response, which is usually your source of trouble in a panic attack. Many breathing techniques utilize a long exhale, so it’s good to have this skill in your tool box. At first, at least for me, this was pretty hard to do. I’d exhale quickly at the beginning, then “run out” of air before I finished the count. I eventually found that releasing my breath slowly ensured I took advantage of the full exhale count.

Make yourself comfortable in a position you can sustain. Observe your normal breathing for a few moments. Inhale normally through your nose, taking time to fill your lungs completely. Purse your lips by puckering them, then exhale as slowly as you can. Feel your lungs empty completely, then inhale through your nose at a normal pace. Don’t worry about counting the first few times you practice this method. Just keep trying to lengthen your exhale so that it’s longer than your inhale. Repeat as desired.

4-7-8 Breathing

The final method I’ll talk about is 4-7-8 breathing. Like the square breathing it involves counting as you inhale, hold, and exhale. It takes advantage of a long exhale, and is a good next step once you’ve worked on that skill. Since you’re counting, you’re sure that your exhale is twice the length of your inhale. This is the optimum ratio for calming anxiety. Remember to count at an even tempo, and not rush through it.

To start, exhale forcefully through in a “woosh”, clearing your lungs of air. Close your mouth, and inhale through your nose at a count of 4, feeling your lungs expand. Hold onto your breath for a count of seven. Exhale through pursed lips in a controlled manner for a count of 8, emptying your lungs fully. Starting with another inhale, repeat this sequence.

Finishing Up

Hopefully one (or all) of these techniques will be beneficial to you. Even though you breathe daily, breath work is a skill just like any other. You didn’t hop on a bike for the first time and take off. You practiced and gave yourself time to master riding. Keep working at it little by little, and you’ll be a pro in no time.

If you want to explore more breath work, meditation, or mindfulness, I’d highly suggest the book Practicing Mindfulness by Matthew Sockolov. It has 75 mediations, and even talks about long exhale and finger breathing.  It’s a great resource to help you ease into mediation.

How To Wake Up Early For Your Morning Routine

A good morning routine will help you get your day started on the right foot. Follow these tips and you’ll be a morning person in no time.

How To Wake Up For Your Morning Routine

Why Make a Morning Routine?

Don’t you wish you could wake up each morning, ready to go and feeling rested? I’ve talked about the importance of sleep and how to get it in this post, but sleep is only part of the equation. You have to actually get out of bed the next morning.

Having a morning routine will make waking up easier, and you’ll feel more fulfilled when you complete your tasks to prep for your day. Knowing you’ve already completed a few tasks will get you going, and you can capitalize on that momentum for the rest of the day.

How To Get Up In The Morning

First things first, you have to start with sleep. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, but without a good night’s sleep you won’t meet your goals for the next day. Once you have the sleep part down, there’s just a few steps that will help you wake up when you want to.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and waking up consistently won’t happen overnight. Give yourself time to adjust, and be realistic about your goals.

Follow these steps and you’ll get there soon enough, just be patient.

Set Your Intentions The Night Before

This sounds cheesy, but I have found it to be immensely helpful for waking up in the morning. Set your intention the night before. Your mind is a powerful tool. That might sound a bit woo woo, but it’s true!

Have you ever had to wake up for an early flight? You know that if you don’t get up by X time, you’ll be running late and possibly miss your flight. Going to bed, you run over everything you’ve packed, what time you need to leave your house, etc. Then the next morning you spring out of bed right on time. It’s strange how that works!

Most of the time that scenario is driven by anxiety, but I promise you can harness the same process for your daily routine. Even if you don’t believe me, just give it a shot.

Tonight, as you’re lying in bed, close your eyes, and say, “Tomorrow I’m going to wake up at 6:00 am, when my alarm goes off, I’m going to feel rested, and I’m going to get out of bed and get going.” You’ll be surprised at how well it works.

Set your intentions and your mind will follow through in the morning.

Don’t Snooze Your Alarm

This one is tough to get used to at first: Don’t snooze your alarm. You do not get any meaningful sleep in the 9 minutes between your alarm and snoozing. You might think you do, but you really don’t. Tell yourself that it’s time to get up, and do it.

The key here is actually getting out of bed. If you decide not to snooze, but you lay in bed and think “5 more minutes”, you’ll quickly go back to sleep. Now you don’t have any alarm, so you’ll oversleep and be late to work.

How To Set Your Alarm

Now that you can’t snooze, it’s important to set your alarm the right way. You might be thinking “I just pick a time on my phone, right? How complicated is that?” It’s not complicated, but it does require a bit more thought.

Pick your time thoughtfully.

When you’re wanting to start a new morning routine it can be tempting to go all out and try to get up at 5 am. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you typically wake up at 7 am, 5 am isn’t going to happen.

Pick a time that’s realistic for you, but still pushing yourself a bit. Let’s say you do get up at 7 am but you want more time in the morning. Try 6:45 am for the first couple of days, then when that gets easy try 6:30 am. Keep gradually waking up earlier, and soon enough you’ll be waking up at 5 am like you want.

Make sure you’re going to bed with enough time to get your sleep in. Waking up earlier is going to be incredibly difficult if you didn’t go to bed at a good time. I made this post that explains why you need sleep and how to get it.

You’ve picked your time, now pick your alarm.

I like to wake up to music, and in particular I like something that starts with a bang. I Love It by Icona Pop was my go-to wakeup song for a long time. It starts LOUD and has a great energy to it.

If you don’t like waking up to music, you can always pick a preset from your phone. I would advise going with something louder rather than soft. I don’t know about you, but windchimes won’t wake me up in the morning.

There’s also a multitude of apps that you can use to wake yourself up. Some make you do puzzles or math problems before dismissing them. This would be a good option if you know you’re just going to dismiss it and roll over.

There’s also the good ole standby, an alarm clock. Some people prefer setting their alarm clock (or phone) across the room from where they sleep. That way they have to get up to turn it off.

Try a few different methods and find what works for you.

Get Out of Bed

Next step: get out of bed. Seems easy enough, but this is the hardest step of them all. When you feel snug as a bug in a rug, sleepy, and warm, you don’t want to get out of bed! Cue Veruca Salt stomping her foot.

Well you have to. This goes back to setting your intentions, but once that alarm goes off you’ve got to will yourself to get up.

There’s not a lot I can say on this one, because it’s all up to you. It’s straight willpower and determination. Picture Shia LeBeouf yelling “JUST DO IT” at you. Then do it, of course.

Pick Your Habits, Start Small

So now you’re up. You may not be happy about it, but you’re up. What’s next?

This part is up to you to decide. Why did you want to get up early in the first place? What habits are you wanting to form?

I would suggest picking 2-5 habits you want to do every day (or almost every day). Start small. Don’t have a whole checklist of 20 items you must do before you eat breakfast.

My routine looks like this:

  • Bathroom time (Wash my face, brush my teeth, etc.)
  • Quick stretch session
  • Get dressed
  • Take my meds
  • Make my coffee
  • Write in my planner

Pretty simple right? It’s what I’ve found works for me on an every day basis. I’m prepared for my day, and ready to get to it. After all that it’s time for me to wake up my kids, then the day really begins.

Some other ideas for your routine might include:

  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Doing a daily devotional
  • Journaling
  • Clearing your inbox

You probably have several of your own that you’re wanting to try, so start there and move forward.

A cup of coffee is a great way to start your morning routine.

Be Prepared For Your Morning Routine

If you’re planning on exercising in the morning, it’s important to put everything you need out the night before. This means having your shoes ready to go, your TV set up for the exercise video, or whatever else you might need.

Same with meditation or a devotional. Put whatever you’ll use out where you can easily get started without a lot of setup at the last minute.

Get Going

As a final note, make sure you aren’t putting too many items in your routine. Especially in the beginning. Start with one or two new ones, and go from there. As you wake up earlier, you’ll have more time, and therefore be able to do more of what you want.

Now you have several tips to help you wake up for your morning routine. It can be hard to start at first, and you’ll probably have to play around with what works for you, but it’ll be rewarding once you get the habit down.

How To Wake Up For Your Morning Routine

Weighing Daily, What You Need To Know

When people start a weight loss journey, the first question that comes to mind is: how often should I weigh myself? The answer is: it depends. No one method will work for everybody, so it might take some trial and error to figure out what’s best for you. Here’s what you need to know if you want to start weighing daily.

Weighing Daily, What You Need To Know

What’s the Right Way?

Everyone has a conflicting opinion. If you google it right now, you’ll find 15 articles with 15 different answers. There are a few schools of thought, though.

You can weigh:





Some people like setting a routine, so weighing sporadically isn’t for them. Other’s find weighing on a set schedule is restrictive and tedious. You might find that weighing daily stresses you out, but monthly doesn’t give you enough feedback.

Fluctuations and Accurate Results

Before picking how often you weigh, it’s important to talk about fluctuations. Fluctuations are small shifts in weight that are caused for a number of reasons. Most of the time they are within half a pound to a pound, but your weight can fluctuate up to 5 or 6 pounds in a day!

Some causes are: how much you eat, if you’re retaining water, where you are in your monthly cycle, how much you’ve exercised, or even if you’ve gone to the bathroom or not. The list goes on and on.

It can be discouraging to step on the scale and see a huge difference in the wrong direction, so it’s important to weigh at the same time of day. Most people (myself included) prefer to weigh in first thing in the morning, after going to the bathroom, and only in my birthday suit.

This method ensures the most accurate numbers. Some clothing is heavier than others (think of how heavy your jeans are), so fully nude (or just undies) is best. Going to the bathroom before you weigh in means your bladder is empty and you’re your lightest.

It’s also a good idea to invest in one scale to always use, as each scale can be calibrated differently. This can cause slight shifts and less accurate numbers. I use the FitTrack scale. It’s a little pricey, but I enjoy the Bluetooth syncing and the interface of the app.

How Often?

Okay, we’ve covered how to weigh in and fluctuations, so how often should you step on the scale? I said it before, but I like weighing daily.

If you only track your weight once a month, you might be retaining water on that one day. Same deal with weekly tracking. If your weight can fluctuate 5 to 6 pounds in a day, you never know what that one particular day holds for you.

Weighing daily gives you a good look at where you are every day. During my weight loss journey, I’ve found that weighing daily helps me be accountable and keeps me in check. If I’m updated each morning where I am now, I know how strict I have to be throughout the day.

When I go up a bit, I can run down my mental list of what I can do better on. Did I drink enough water? Maybe it was that cookie I ate? I also know if I stick to my good habits throughout the day, I can reverse that small gain.

The Downfalls of Daily Weighing

Stepping on the scale daily does have a few downfalls. The biggest one for me is the variability of each day. I go up some, drop down some, then I’m back up. It’s discouraging when you’ve done everything “right”, but you gain half a pound anyways!

It can also be stressful to know you have to face the numbers after a big night of eating. Every day is not going to be perfect, but nobody likes to see a gain.

Even if you just maintain your weight, it can be a bummer because you tried so hard and now you’ve got nothing to show for it. It’s nerve wracking!

A Solution

It doesn’t have to be frustrating, though. You just have to relax and stay calm.

Each day is a microscopic look at the big picture of your journey. The best way to get the full effect is to look at the trend line of your weight loss. What’s a trend line? For this example, a trend line is a line you put on a graph that shows the general direction of where the numbers are going.

When you put a trend line on a graph you can see an overall pattern. If you go up in weight for two days, down for 3 days, up one day, down two days, etc.; at the end of the cycle you’ll be down. It might not look like you’re losing weight, but over the whole week you’ve lost 1 pound.

Outside of daily fluctuations, there’s going to be days you gain. There will probably even be weeks you gain. That’s okay! It’s a process. Watching the trend line can remind you of where you started, and let you get back on track to where you want to go.

Happy Scale screen shot of my weights in September

If you look at my graph here, it shows my weight for the month of September. The dots represent the daily weight entries, and the line is the trend line of all of them. There are definitely some big spikes on there, but big drops as well. The trend line balances these spikes and drops to show the overall loss.

How to Find a Trend Line

There are a few ways to go about finding your trend line when you’re tracking daily. A lot of apps will calculate it for you when you input your weight. I use Happy Scale on IoS, but you’re just looking for an app that averages out the daily weights for you.

The Hacker’s Diet Online is a great option if you don’t want an app. The book linked on that page is also a great resource for a no nonsense look at diets. They also explain how you can chart your weights in excel or on paper, if that’s more your speed.

Is Weighing Daily Right For You?

Still though, weighing daily isn’t for everyone. Mentally it can be a lot to take on. If you’re the type of person that’s going to obsess over every small number or gain, you’ll probably want to avoid daily weighing.

A lot of people struggle with all or nothing thinking (I definitely do in some areas), and that can be a recipe for disaster when it’s mixed with a scale. Stepping on the scale and seeing a gain could lead you to just giving up on your diet, because “I might as well eat what I want if I’m going to gain”.

Seeing a plateau for a few days could cause you to think, “It’s not working so why am I even doing this”. When you make the decision to track your weight every day, you’ve got to get rid of the idea that each number matters.

You can’t give up just because it might appear it’s not working. The daily number is a very tiny part of the big picture. Definitely be honest with yourself, and watch yourself along the way.

There’s no right or wrong way to document your weight loss journey. You have to do what works for you, and that might not include daily weighing.

As a closing note I just want to give you one piece of advice: Never say you “only” lost x amount of weight. “Only” only applies to gaining, not losing or maintaining.

Weighing Daily, What You Need To Know

Friday Inspiration

Wrapping up on Friday is a good time to reflect back on your week. Here’s some quotes to add some inspiration your next week.

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. – C.S. Lewis

Sometimes we regret not starting sooner, but you just need to remember you have more time to make better choices.

Fall in love with taking care of your body.

You have to start loving yourself. Your body is worthy of love no matter where you are in your journey.

Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today. – Will Rogers

It’s easy to beat yourself up over a bad day (or a few bad days). Have grace with yourself and move forward today.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. – Paulo Coelho

Fear of failure is my biggest struggle in life. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and ignore your fears.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Mark Twain

Take that first step, then another, and another. You won’t get anywhere from sitting back and waiting for your life to change.

Sometimes people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them. – Joubert Botha

You don’t owe anyone anything. You might encounter naysayers on your journey, but just ignore them and you’ll get to where you need to be.

Respect your body. It’s the only one you get.

We have to take care of what we have. Respecting yourself will help you to achieve your goals.

I hate the word “Healthy”, and you should too.

Health Defined

What does the word healthy mean? Merriam-Webster defines healthy as: Enjoying good health, beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state, or showing physical, mental, or emotional well-being.

Healthy Defined

Health is defined as: the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit, or a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well.

Seems pretty innocuous right? Why would someone hate these words? Well gather round and I’ll break it down.


When you imagine a healthy person, who do you see? Probably someone who has a fit body, lots of energy, and a happy disposition. The whole package. Now think of how many people you can name who fit those parameters? Any coming to mind?

Outside of social media influencers, you probably can’t think of anyone who fits that bill. And as we all know well; social media doesn’t show the whole picture. Posts on social media usually only show your best picture, not your struggles or shortcomings.

Instagram, Facebook, all of it.

If we’re hiding reality from our social media, we aren’t giving the full picture. There’s nothing wrong with only wanting to post your best angle, and it’s fine to only post the positives. We just need to keep in mind that it’s not the whole story.

Who is healthy?

Society puts an emphasis on health because that’s what we all strive to be, “healthy”. It defines your worth and place in life. Billboards and magazines feature skinny people as if that’s the average person.

In fact, the average size of an American woman is somewhere between a 16-20. The average size of an American man was harder to pin down, but most sites said a 40” waist was common. Now how often do you see that size of people in advertisements?

Advertisements don’t always display “healthy”.

There’s been a recent push to display different size bodies, which is amazing. Even with this push most clothing brands still max out at a size 16 or 18, though. You see even less representation for plus size men.

If we’re only seeing thin, “healthy” bodies, our definition of “normal” is skewed. Bodies of all sizes can be healthy, but plus sized bodies are not represented enough to make them normal.


I keep saying “society”, who is society? Everyone around us; friends, family, strangers. They all judge to come level. Sometimes it’s just getting a few side eye’s when walking down the street. Maybe a few comments on social media, some family gossiping.

Sometimes it’s more sinister. The United States has a law in place that allows employers to pay a “subminimum” wage to people who are disabled or handicapped in some way. This lesser wage enforces the idea that disabled people are less productive and less valuable. And that’s just not right.

That’s just one example of how “unhealthy” people are judged to another standard.

There’s no rule saying you must tick all the boxes (physical, mental, and emotional) to be considered healthy. It’s not a report card. The problem is that once you don’t make the grade in one area, you’re falling behind and people’s opinions of you can change.


We’ve talked a lot about size and appearances, but what about the things you can’t see?

Some people will always be “unhealthy”. 6 out of 10 American adults suffer from a chronic disease. That’s the majority of us! 4 out of 10 adults have 2 or more diseases.

CDC Chronic Disease Graphic

These chronic diseases can make it hard to maintain a lifestyle that would be classified as healthy. Let’s focus on chronic pain for a bit. Chronic pain makes it hard to exercise, eat right, and it saps you of your energy.

When you have a bad pain day you might not be able to get out of bed. Going to the grocery store is a struggle, so you can’t stock your pantry with food. Even if you had the food you don’t have the strength to cook it. That makes you more likely to buy fast food or order out. And forget about exercise.

If you’re depressed or struggling mentally, you’ll likely meet the same obstacles to get “healthy”.

With all of these conditions you’ll often be met with unsolicited advice. “Exercise can help lift your mood.” “You are what you eat, so you need to eat right.” Or my favorite, “I have an essential oil that can help.” People mean well, but unless someone asks for advice, don’t give it.

Other Roadblocks to “Healthy”

Without a chronic disease you can still struggle. Diet and exercise are a large part of how we judge health. If you’re eating whole foods and working out 3 times a week, you’re at least working towards being healthy. For some people that’s impossible.

Eating right costs time and money. A salad on the menu costs considerably more than french fries. The solution would be to just buy healthier foods, right? That’s a roadblock in and of itself. If you shop right you might be able to match the cost of a prepackage meal, but then you’ll have food that expires and needs to be cooked on a timeline. Cooking means you have to have the time and energy to prepare the food.

Someone who works a full-time job might be too exhausted to do more than microwave a meal. Someone on a lower income probably can’t buy the fresh produce in the first place.

So, exercise then? Most sources suggest exercising for 30 minutes, but what if you don’t even have that time? Exercising can also require equipment and space to do so, or you’ll have to search for resources to show you how to work out.

Only Judy Can Judge Me

Health might look different on everyone, but from the outside can you even tell? We definitely try to, by judging others for outward appearances.

A person with chronic pain can look completely “healthy” even when that might be far from the truth. A person with an eating disorder might look great, but you can’t tell their struggles from the outside. A depressed person can smile and put up a front, but is that a true picture of how they feel?

Conversely, someone who looks overweight can be a marathon runner and “healthy”, even if society would say otherwise. A disabled or chronically ill person can be just as “healthy” as someone who doesn’t have the same struggles.

So, if you can’t tell by looking, should you really be judging?


It’s none of your business how someone else choses (or is forced) to live their life. Nobody is required to disclose their “health” to anyone unless they want to. We need to stop making assumptions based on looks.

The only people who need to know should be you and your doctor. You aren’t owed any more information than the person is willing to share.


What about “health”? At the top of the post I defined “health” as: the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit, or a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well.

So, what does it mean if you’re not thriving? What if you’re not doing well?

I don’t know about you, but there are definitely days (many, many days) in which I’m just holding on to the wave. I have fewer thriving days than other days, but in my opinion that’s normal.

Love yourself.

It’s okay to just be okay. You aren’t less than for just riding along. Your worth isn’t defined by your health. We constantly beat ourselves up over the areas that we slack off, and that’s not okay. We need to get to a point of loving ourselves for our accomplishments, not our shortcomings.

Loving your body, no matter the state it’s in is an act of self-care. Acknowledging that you won’t always be perfect, with it, or completely “healthy” is to be expected.

Why I Hate The Word Healthy

Sunday Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes are a great way to start off the week. Here’s 7 of my favorite quotes to keep in mind when things get tough.

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. – Carol Burnett

Often we just want others to take over and change things for us. Lasting change will come from within!

Fit is not a destination. It is a way of life.

You’ll often hear that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The truth is that there’s no finish line, we’re in it for life.

Be the one who decided to go for it.

Sometimes you have to just trust the process and go for it! Getting started is the hardest part.

I’m working on myself, for myself, by myself.

Work for what you want, and the results will follow. You’re doing this for you, no one else.

When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.

There will be tough times where you want to give up. That’s why it’s important to figure out your “why” and remind yourself of it when you struggle.

Success is loving life and daring to live it. – Maya Angelou

Success can be defined in many different ways. What does success mean to you?

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – Arthur Ashe

If you haven’t started yet, it’s time to just make that leap of faith. You can gather the tools you need as you go.

Hopefully these inspirational quotes will motivate you throughout your week. Check back next Sunday for more quotes.