8 important nutrients for fighting depression

Did you know that there is a BIG connection between mental health and nutrition? That nutrients and depression are often intertwined?

And that if you are someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, there is a good chance that your symptoms would improve if you addressed nutritional deficiencies. Maybe even drastically so as it has for me!!

The crazy thing is that you may feel like you are eating well. Really well. Or maybe you’re not. Either way, it’s easy to accidentally miss a piece or more of the nutritional puzzle and suffer when it comes to your mental and emotional well-being.

I used to constantly struggle with depression, anxiety, brain fog, exhaustion etc. It was miserable. One of the reasons I started this little blog was to share the amazing transformation I have experienced as I have made changes to my diet and lifestyle. I feel soooo much better, I just had to sing it from the “blogosphere” in case it could help another soul.

Here is a list of 8 important nutrients that research has shown can affect the mental health of those deficient.

Continue reading

From obsession to a sustainable life

I just read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for a book club I am part of.

At the close of this thrilling tale, Victor, the creator of the “monster”, warns a sea-captain who is on a risky expedition to the North Pole to “avoid ambition”.  You see, Victor’s misled obsession in the story came at a terrible price— moral failure, fear, exile (as he pursues the monster), the death of those most dear to him, and ultimately his own premature death.

While Frankenstein is a piece of fiction, I believe the author hits upon a universal truth. The truth that obsession comes at a terrible price. While it probably will not kill us and those we love, thank goodness, obsessive ambition (any obsession, really) leaves us unbalanced and has the potential to wreck our lives.

Brance and I were chatting yesterday about Netflix’s CEO’s recent comment that their main competition is not Hulu or Amazon Prime or any other streaming service, but rather SLEEP (this is my paraphrase).  I kid you not. In other words, they are building their business on the back of obsessive behavior that causes us to opt to bing-watch rather than sleep.

And I think we all have fallen prey to their ploy to get us to skip sleep to watch the NEXT episode!  Oh man, it’s a chore to get one of these streaming services to STOP playing and NOT load the next one. While binging on too much tv really might pose a problem for some people, for most of us it is a funny example of where an obsessive, weak moment can lead us ocassionally— a  bing-watching hangover.

In all seriousness, I really do think Netflix’s CEO, like Shelley, has tapped into something big here. And that is our tendency to Continue reading

Loving and surviving motherhood

Ah, motherhood!

Motherhood is simultaneously the most wonderful and difficult adventure I have embarked on in life. There are moments where you are filled with ecstatic joy and fulfillment and others where you crash on your bed at night in utter exhaustion and dismay.

Motherhood is something I am grateful for–for the amazing opportunity I have to watch my precious children grow and learn and for all that it is teaching and doing in ME. It is something I hope to become better at over time.

I have found that motherhood demands a lot. And to be the best mom I can be, focusing on certain things really helps give me an edge. Or, perhaps, keeps me from falling over the edge!

I thought I would share a couple of the things that help me keep my sanity as a mother. That help me be the best mom I can be and enjoy this crazy adventure of motherhood. Continue reading

hooray for goals! and some of mine.

Do you set goals for yourself?

Research suggests that working towards goals can boost happiness and wellbeing. And we don’t have to wait for a new year to roll around to make a new goal and reap the benefits!

Even a goal as “small” as a vacation can provide a huge boost. So much so, that the planning and anticipation are known to increase happiness even more than the actual vacation itself. And don’t think that the vacation has to be exotic or require a lot of money (although, at times it may). A camping trip or weekend away can have the same effect, as long as you are planning and looking forward to it.

Brance and I were talking about this “phenomenon” over dinner tonight and he said something insightful. He thinks that it boils down to Continue reading

Holiday “blues”

I’m really missing family today.

It happens most holidays and St. Patrick’s Day weekend is a huge deal in our neighborhood. Corned beef, potatoes, kilts, bagpipes, green everywhere(!), friends/family, and one heck of a parade (if you live in Southie, anyway).

And I happen to be alone this afternoon—which I would normally enjoy.

It’s weird. Holidays are suppose to be joyous occasions (I used to LOVE them), but the last 6 years has taught me that isn’t always the case. I’ve kind of come to “dread” them. (And, with a husband and two sweet daughters, I am luckier than many.) There are people who have no family around them at all.

So, since Brance and I have become aware of this sadness that can coexist for some on a holiday, we try to make an effort to invite others into our family celebrations (as unimpressive as they may be, ha. Although, Brance is a pretty amazing cook.). We have found that it not only blesses others, but it uplifts and encourages us as well.

My parents have been an incredible example of this to me over the years. Hardly a Thanksgiving or Christmas would pass (and many a Friday night) where there wasn’t a widow or single person celebrating with us around our table. And having been the recipient of that kind of hospitality a couple of times the last few years, I must say they were doing more good than they realized!

I am convinced that opening our lives and homes, on holidays or any time of year, has the power to help and encourage and transform—others and ourselves. It’s a beautiful Christ-like thing to do. It’s something I want to do more of. How about you?

Love, Lauren

Have you experienced something similar?

Living “Groundhog Day”

Several years ago when we moved to Boston (almost 6 now!) and I was struggling with winter blues, I told Brance one morning that I felt like my life had turned into the old movie “Groundhog Day”.

Every day felt EXACTLY the same. Nighttime nursings. Chasing a toddler around the house while juggling a baby. Piles of dirty dishes accumulating in the absence of a dishwasher (still no dishwasher!). Diapers galore. Laundry always needing to be folded and PUT AWAY. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make. Much of what I did every day felt like mindless tasks.

He said something, gently and kindly, that helped and really stuck with me to this day: “Most people’s lives are filled with a series of repetitive tasks.”

Yes. That’s right. I wasn’t the only one waking up and doing the SAME things day after day. And regardless of how exciting other people’s lives seemed from the outside, they too probably grew weary of certain tasks as well. Repetition was repetition regardless of the job—whether it involved scraping dirty plates in the trash or scrubbing up to perform surgery.

Another thing that helped (besides addressing the winter blues), was to change how I viewed work. Now I don’t do this perfectly, but when I do, it really does make a HUGE difference. Instead of viewing my work as dreary and unimportant, I began to look at it as an opportunity to SERVE and LOVE—my little family and even more importantly God.

We’re told to do all things to the glory of God, even down to how we eat and drink! And every single one of these seemingly mundane tasks was an opportunity to do just that! When I finally saw and embraced this truth, it totally changed how I viewed these repetitive chores and I even began to experience joy as I did them.

I am far from perfect, so it is ALWAYS good to be reminded of this beautiful way of living. My husband Brance recently taught on the subject of glorifying God in all that we do. And it was SO good to hear! I will share the video at the end of the post, in case you would like to watch it too. I love hearing him teach! And I think it is one of those things we “know”, but can easily forget to put into practice. Just like I had 6 years ago (and still sometimes do).

Any job, regardless of how mundane, can bring joy when we offer it back as a loving sacrifice to God and others!

With love, Lauren

P.S. Have you experienced something similar? I’d love to hear.

P.P.S. I’m dying over here over how tiny my girls are in the picture I share. Oh man. If only I had realized at the time how quickly that baby/toddler season would pass. Excuse me while I go scoop them up for hugs and kisses!

Joy killer and joy builder.

Brance and I were chatting a couple of weeks ago about social media and a statistic that we came across.

Did you know that well over half of people who use social media feel worse about their own life after they spend time on it? That’s a heck of a lot of people feeling badly about their life every single day. And of course we’re not talking about it cause it’s too embarrassing or we’re in denial. (But, hey, I don’t let that stop me ;).

I am convinced that so many people are miserable seeing what is going on with others because Continue reading

One of THOSE days

Oh man.

Do you ever have one of THOSE days?

You know. The kind where your emotions are up and down like a topographic map of the Rocky Mt. range. Where your kids are a raging storm indoors while a winter blizzard rages outside and you’re TRAPPED. Where you just can’t seem to get anything accomplished, but you’re not exactly sure why. Where you know that even the smallest thing could set you off and you really, really hate that.

Yeah. So that was my day today.

I don’t love days like this. In fact, I do everything in my power to NOT have days like this. I exercise and try to eat healthily. I aim for 8 hours of sleep at night and make sure I am taking my vitamins (especially vitamin d3). I am careful to avoid foods that screw with my hormones. I try my best to spend time outside every day (even in the winter!) and I jump at a couple of hours away to recoup each week (yay for a husband who makes this happen!).  I do everything I can to FEEL my best so that I don’t have one of THOSE days.

And most of the time it works. Most of the time I feel pretty even-keeled. Most of the time I am able to sail fairly smoothly through the Continue reading

4 things for singles who want to marry to do

Practice really, really loving the people close to you in life– your parents, siblings, neighbors, and friends.

It’s crazy how the people we love most in life can also get under our skin the most. Right? The same thing goes for marriage. So, learning to become more patient and kind and long-suffering (LOVING) before you tie the knot will make your transition into marriage go more smoothly. It will make marriage so much sweeter!

During my unmarried college years, when I was at home, I used to look for ways to love and serve my family. I would hop up and do dishes without being asked or wash and fold a load of towels. I spent time visiting a local nursing home or helping make food for people in my church.

It’s also a great time to break any unhealthy ways of dealing with conflict. This will be GOLD once you’re married. Being able to work through Continue reading