On self advocacy

On health

First off, apologies for the long hiatus. These past few months have been an undertaking, bringing me to the subject I want to talk about: self advocacy.

In short, self advocacy is the ability to advocate, or stand up for oneself and ones own beliefs. I think it runs much deeper than that. For me, self advocacy is pretty synonymous with self care. Without being able to stand up for myself, I’m not able to take care of myself. As a teen, and talking to people my age, it’s become obvious that self advocacy is ridiculously important. Its valuable politically, in your professional life, for your health, and in your personal life.

I’m gonna start off with politics. Often times, our ideas aren’t seen as valid. The younger someone is, the less informed people assume they are. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I know 17 year olds who have organized protests and who read the proposed tax bill for fun. As the people inheriting everything that is happening right now, our ideas are just as valid as those of the people creating the problems.

Even though some of us can’t vote, our voices are valuable. Stay informed about issues that concern you, back up your opinions with facts, and stay levelheaded. Your passion and your ideas are valid. Use them for good.

Professionally it can be hard to stand up for yourself. Young people usually don’t have a lot of work experience and most likely you haven’t been at a job for too long. We’re new to the workforce and that can be scary. It can be hard to say no, or know when you’re being taken advantage of. Again, educate yourself and know your rights.

Self-advocacy is super important when it comes to your health as well. Again, we’re new to making our own opinions and these new things like figuring out insurance can be scary. That being said, its still super important that you have a say in your healthcare. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, its probably better that you do. You have the right to get a second opinion if you feel like it. If you feel like you are not being treated with respect, you can always change providers.

For any LGBTQ+ (or not) youth out there, there is something called a Q card. These can be lifesavers in a doctors office. All they are is a business card you can fill out that has your sexual orientation, gender identity, and any questions that you might have. All you have to do is fill it out and hand it to your healthcare provider. Most misunderstandings are avoided. You can find them here.

Finally, and most importantly, your personal life. You have the right to say no and you owe it to yourself to practice self-care. The ability to understand what your needs are and communicate them to others is the most important skill you will learn. Your health and wellbeing should be top priority. Remember: self care is never selfish.

Stay safe and educated out there!

Every good wish,

Julia

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On meditation

On health

With all of the excitement about meditation lately, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. In case you haven’t tried it yet, I would strongly recommend starting. It’s just as great as everyone says. Not only do you get the street cred of being able to say you meditate, but there’s also some pretty great self-care benefits as well.

The first one that I’ve really experienced is better focus. Some forms of meditation involve focusing on breath or sensations in the body. Its surprisingly harder to do than one might think. Once you learn to be able to focus on your breath or your toes, you can apply the focus to daily life. Tasks will be easier to complete, you’ll be able to quiet the constant inner chatter, and work better in environment with lots of distractions.

The second is stress management and sleep. Meditation is often used as a coping mechanism. Again, meditating can teach you to quiet the constant stream thoughts. This can be used to gain perspective on stressful projects or situations and quiet your mind before going to bed.

Meditation can also make it easier to deal with people. It can also make you a bit easier to deal with, as well. Just like with learning a musical instrument or getting in shape, meditation takes practice. The results, on the other hand, are not as obvious or immediate. Meditation teaches patience and understanding so you are kinder to others as well as yourself.

Practicing meditation helps with anxiety and depressive disorders as well. Teaching the patience, focus, and mindfulness techniques I touched on earlier gives tools to help when you are struggling. Again, you learn to be patient with yourself, tend to sleep better, and have increased focus on yourself, your needs, and what might be the cause of your anxieties.

Meditation has even been shown to help treat chronic pain, headaches, and other chronic illnesses.

The best part of meditation is that its not a huge time suck. Meditating for just five or ten minutes a day can result in some of the benefits.

No matter how busy you are, I would recommend trying meditation. Integrating the practice into your life helps to make you a happier, healthier human. It can be confusing and intimidating at first, but like with anything, the longer you do it, the easier it gets. The more meditation you do the more benefits you will see in your daily life.

I suggested a few meditation apps in my health apps post. The one I have been using to get started is called Calm, which is great for beginners. I have also started using an app called Insight Timer, which is more for people who have a bit of meditation under their belt.

Every good wish,

Julia

 

 

On health apps

On health, On sex ed

As the end of the school year nears, people start to panic about pretty much everything. This is especially true for those of you who are graduating. College kids are always stressed and broke. Here are a few free apps that can help with stress, clear up questions, and help you try and keep some of your sanity.

First off Pacifica. Pacifica is a stress and anxiety reducing app. It uses actual treatments and teaches you how to apply them to your daily life. It comes with a mood/health tracker, meditations and mindfulness, relaxation techniques, self-help guidance, goals, progress tracker and peer community support. You can get it here for iOS and android with paid upgrades.

Another stress relieving app is called Headspace. This is a guided meditation app that gives you the skills to be happier and healthier. Level one is made up of ten guided meditations to start you off, with a paid subscription to access all of their meditations. You can get it here for iOS and andriod.

Calm is another meditation app. Unlike Headspace, Calm has guided and unguided meditations, breathing exercises, soundscapes. Calm also features sleep stories, which combine music, soundscapes and nice voices to send you off to sleep. Get it here for iOS or android.

Yoga Studio is one of the most popular yoga apps out there. It comes with hundreds of poses, videos, and guides for people of every level out there. Get it here for iOS or android.

My Sex Doctor is an app all about sex ed in the real world. It talks about pleasure, safe sex, STIs, your body, relationships, dating, flirting and anything in between. Get it here for iOS or andriod.

For anyone who gets a period, Eve is a fantastic period tracker and sexual health app. It helps track your cycle, gives you health tips, teach you more about your body and sex, and provides science based information on birth control, your body, birth control and sex. You can get it here for iOS or andriod with paid upgrades.

Planned Parenthood recently came out with their own period tracker app called Spot On. It tracks your cycle, symptoms, and provides accurate information on sex, birth control and your body. Get it here for iOS and android.

Evernote is a great organization app. It lets you list, take notes and pictures all while allowing you to share across devices. You can also share with other users of the app, making it useful for group projects. You can get it here for iOS or andriod.

None of the health apps are supposed to replace a real doctor. While they have accurate, scientific information, always go to a professional if you have a real concern.

Every good wish,

Julia