• The 5 Wellness Apps I Actually Use

    There’s a ton of absolute ca-ca out there in the app world for wellness, dieting, and fitness. You know what I’m talking about – junk bond apps with countless ads, video content that doesn’t stream properly, weird lists of routines that don’t actually provide you information, and jarring meditation apps that could actually spiral you into an anxiety attack. THE INTERNET IS FUN, AMIRITE?!

    However, once you wade through what first pops up when you type in “gluten-free” to your search bar and get to the apps with true street cred, it is possible to find digital bliss online. I find that the apps I enjoy the most have one purpose and perform that purpose very well, rather than trying to do 12 things at once. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses. So, on this Manic Monday, allow me to share with you the 5 wellness apps I actually use in an effort to pay it forward technologically – for meditation, sleep, fitness, and diet.

    FOR MEDITATION:


    HEADSPACE

    This is an app that teaches you how to meditate and be mindful, and the voice of the man who guides the meditation here is truly soothing. During the bite-sized sessions, the app easily switches from speaking to silence without snapping you out of a deep moment of transcendence. You can pick meditations on a range of themes: from anxiety to sports.

     

    FOR SLEEP:

    RELAX MELODIES

    So I emergency downloaded this app in the middle of the night during a recent weekend vacation in the Hamptons as the hotel I was staying in did not have exactly sound-proofed walls and when the party in the next room over was still going on at 3am Monday morning I started to lose my shit. I didn’t bring my back-up Ambien and was truly kicking myself when I remembered I DID have earbuds and a cellphone that could help make the moment a bit less painful.

    I downloaded Relax Melodies and totally jazzed out to a combo of white noise and rain for the remaining 4 hours of sleep I did get. The sounds on this app are plentiful and they seem to go on forever. The tracks on some noise apps start over after a while which can bring you out of sleep but they don’t on Relax Melodies which is a nice benefit.

    FOR FITNESS:

    MIND BODY

    If you live in any urban center you gotta download Mind Body! I book 90% of my workouts through this app and the discovery feature is a really neat way to find new studios in your area, especially ones promoting good deals. Chances are high your favorite studio is on there and you can eliminate any clunky booking system they still rely on from your routine. I like to book a week in advance with the apps because it’s just so easy and it automatically adds your classes to your calendar and sends you little reminders too. 

     

    SWEAT WITH KAYLA

    If you haven’t heard of Kayla Itsines by now, where the eff have you been the past 2 years? This trainer from Australia has amassed a remarkable Instagram following of 7 million fitness fanatics who love her BBG programs. I myself have dabbled in the app often and like to think I’ve slimmed down because of it. 

    A back injury side-lined me for some of 2016/2017 but I’m slowly getting back into the program and it really does work to change bodies fast. Coupled with the meal plan and shopping list her team also provides it’s hands-down the best overall fitness app I’d recommend to anyone looking to transform the way they feel and look.

     

    FOR DIET:

    FAT SECRET

    My endocrinologist turned me on to Fat Secret, y’all. It’s a pretty basic calorie counter but I love it for it’s ability to tally net carbs you consume every day. For anyone with a slow metabolism it’s a great way to track just how many you’re putting into your body. You’d be shocked at the count in some foods – type in apple and be blown away.

     


    Tell me, pals – what are you favorite wellness apps that actually work? I’m always looking to app new ones to my rotation! Let me know in the comments below!

    Image via WIRED

  • How To Take The Most Brain Soothing Bath Ever

    You’re going to start reading this thinking it’s a beauty and wellness post but really, it’s all about #MindMatters when it comes to taking a bath. At least for me – and here’s why:

    A bath is soothing, healing, and calming. It centers your body and mind. It releases toxins from your body that slow everything down and make your brain feel cloudy. It relaxes your muscles and allows your body to enter a state of rejuvenation. The body and mind are directly related – calm body, calm mind, calm body, calm mind.

    #TubTime also happens to be my FAVORITE time of the day. I love taking a bath so much I often start my day with one and end it with another. I know that two baths in a single day can seem extreme to some, but there is a good reason why I like to rise and shine with a deep soak in addition to doing it again before jumping in the sheets. More than anything else, taking a bath is a time that I move far away from my cell phone and the world around me – the emails, the Instagram posts, the city noise coming from outside my living room window – to be at one with myself and my thoughts. It’s meditative these days to simply BE, to have 20 minutes of quiet without external stimuli driving our brains absolutely nutters. I actually take it a step further and practice Transcendental Meditation in the morning bath to help get my day started, and it’s game-changing for me when combined with a warm soak, holistic salts, fragrant bubbles, and chilled lemon water.

    So here’s how I make my bath the best one ever – feel free to follow suit and let me know how you feel afterwards (I bet $250 that you’ll soon become as obsessed as I am).

    Make It Hot

    You want the water as hot as you can possibly stand it. Why? Because you want to sweat. When you sweat it releases toxins from the body that are slowing you down, making you feel like shit, and keeping you bloated. You actually burn a few hundred calories when you take an hour long bath, so make that temperature rise, honey!

    Add Magnesium Salts, Baking Soda, and Lavender Epsom Salts

    Magnesium is like nature’s candy for calming frayed nerves and helping an anxious individual reach sleep more easily. It helps to regulate the nervous system and when magnesium salts are placed into a bath, your pores open, allowing the mineral to seep directly into your blood system for a quick, calming effect on the entire body. Baking soda is a great add because it neutralizes acids, resulting in smoother skin and cleaner hair. Finally, Epsom salts soothe tired and achey muscles so any aches and pains you’re experiencing may be bathed away.

    Add Rose Bubble Bath to Calm Your Mind

    I love adding a scent based on aromatherapy that helps to calm and quiet the mind. If you don’t have a rose bubble bath, you can simply add a few drops of rose oil to the tub to help.

     Leave Your Phone on Silent in Another Room

    Forgetting your phone is my #1 rule to taking a bath that will ACTUALLY change the way you feel. Your brain MUST release itself from the grip of the phone and all the stimuli that come with it. Seriously, it needs a break to just process how you’re feeling, thinking clearly, and be creative. 

    Bring Plenty of Water With You

    If you’re taking a long, hot bath you will get thirsty. The most annoying thing that may happen is that you get so thirsty you feel like you need to grab a glass of water just so you survive in there. I like to bring in a pitcher of fresh lemon water with me so that even though I’m sweating out all the toxins, I’m constantly replenishing my body with alkaline water so I stay hydrated and feeling great. 

    Dim The Lights

    If we’re trying to relax here, we might as well set the mood. Turn the lights out or turn them down low. Enjoy yourself.

    Light a Candle (or 2)

    Along the lines of setting the mood, I like to light a candle or two and place them in the bathroom with me for some extra scent-sational moodiness.

    Embrace the Silence

    Finally, take a deep breath in and out. Do that 10 times. Do that 10 more times and then again. You’ve reached silence. Your bath has begun and you can work to soothe out all the kinks going on upstairs in your mind. 


    TELL ME – what are you favorite tips for taking a bath that soothes the mind? Let me know in the comment below! πŸ™‚

  • I Have Social Anxiety and Have to Go To a Wedding Alone + More…

    It’s Friday again, party people. Can you believe it? Seriously, the past 7 flew by in a flash. The last weekend of July is here! Makes me wanna scream!

    Anyway, it’s also time for a new episode of #JustAskLo to drop so here it is, QUEENS. I’ve gotten some outstanding, meaningful questions from all of you and just want to say that this week’s episode may be my favorite so far. I’m fielding question regarding social anxiety, having anxiety about moving on after the death of a lover, and how to create a beauty routine if you’re starting from scratch. My video remarks are at the bottom of this post with the questions below edited for clarity and length. Product recs are below the video!


    Question 1:

    “I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding for a sorority sister next year. I’m honored but also having a lot of anxiety about joining her on her special day. I don’t know a soul at the wedding except the bride herself, and I’m traveling alone to a different state and staying by myself at a hotel. In a larger city I’m okay on my own, but this is a small town and I’m worried about being lonely.

    I struggle with depression and anxiety and at night it’s always magnified when I’m lonely and the thought of being alone at my hotel makes me anxious as well. The wedding will be over by mid-afternoon so I’ll be spending a lot of time after it alone with nothing to do. I’m single so no chance of getting a plus one. I don’t want to add more stress to the bride’s life by asking for a date. What should I do?”


    Question 2:

    “Six months ago by fiance passed away. We were together for 4 years and he suffered from addition. The past 2 years of our relationship were not good because of this and we had no plans to move forward with our wedding. I tried leaving him multiple times but he always came back. I gave up everything for him because he was my main concern at all times, so much so that I lost track of myself.

    Three months ago and ex-boyfriend of mine got in touch and we’ve been spending a lot of time together. It seems perfect and too good to be true. We broke up previously because we were at different places in our lives but we’ve both grown a lot for the better. He is everything I want in a lifelong partner. We’ve discussed moving in together recently and we’re on the same page.

    My issue is that I worry that our friends and family will think we are moving too fast, especially after what I’ve been through. How can I get over the fear of wondering what others think? I have anxiety and attribute it to worrying about how others perceive the situation. How can I stop myself from worrying about what others think of me?”


    Question 3:

    “I’m 27 years old and have never been a girly girl. I wear makeup once every two weeks, if that. I don’t wear it to to work or to grab dinner with friends. I don’t feel that I look beautiful without makeup, I’m just lazy and unskilled in that area. I wash my face with water, but that’s pretty much the extent of it.

    The reason I’d like to start putting myself together a bit more is that I think it will make me feel good, and I wouldn’t mind attracting some men! I want to look like I’m trying, because I know it must seem like I don’t care about my appearance very much at all.

    Any suggestions on how to start a good beauty and skincare routine? Products you recommend? Also, if you have tips on how to put yourself out there too that would be great.”


     


    PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS:

    CETAPHILSKINMEDICA SPFRETINOLGLOSSIER MOISTURIZER

    COVERGIRL MASCARACONCEALER – BOYBROW

  • I’m Finished With Soul-Sucking Content

    Hey there, pal. Hope you’re well rested, sippin’ on something herbal and maybe even getting a little sunshine in your life. Truth be told, every time I sit down to write I have you, my reader, on my mind. I’ve been sharing my personal journey, pains, tremendous moments of happiness, and some general mediocrity with you a lot but lately it leads me to wonder what’s going on with you in your life. What is it that you want from me (besides this article of word vomit)?

    The type of content I’ve been creating lately, content that’s authentic and meaningful (at least for me), seems to be causing a positive stir within my audience and even close friends. The outreach across my email, YT channel, and Instagram DMs has been truly inspiring and healing for me. Your response makes me know in my heart that I’m doing the right thing by moving towards real life shit like How to Heal a Broken Heart rather than a Style Guide with Sunglasses for Summer. Like, read Refinery29 if you need that info (not a knock on R29 – I love them – I just don’t want to be the one to write it). I’m simply done creating content that sucks my soul. Just done. Good-bye.

    Don’t worry mutual lovers of lifestyle and beauty…I’m still going to speak extensively on my love for beauty products and make-up because I have this deep, churning passion for things of this nature but why not spice this stuff up so that it’s way more raspberry swirl than plain old vanilla?  The black goo at the end of a mascara wand truly touches me inside in a curiously meaningful way so why not share what it’s like to feel confidence from a special product as I flaunt my lashes on a first date?

    Yes, I’m still going to cook my heart out on Instagram Stories and when I feel like it share those recipes on TheLoDown. I LOVE TO COOK. It gives me LIFE, literally and figuratively. Nothing more authentic than sharing one of my deepest passions with you. And YES, I’m going to continue creating meaningful wellness content that shares what I’m trying out in real life, love it or hate it, then passing the good word on to you.

    These days, I’m fixated on REAL LIFE content instead of the #SocialMediaLife and even though it can feel a bit scary to expose myself in a more personal way, I also find that for the first time in a long time, I feel good about myself and what I’m doing. I love my new #MindMatters series on YouTube in which I speak candidly about anxiety, stress, depression, and mental illness. It’s so FREEING to be able to get this stuff out of my brain and into the world. If you’ve seen some of those videos, THANK YOU for watching and thank you for the words of encouragement. I’m not hiding anymore. I’m over it. I don’t care what people think. YOUR support keeps me motivated to keep #MindMatters going!

    And tomorrow, I’m dropping my first #JustAskLo video in a new advice series that will air every Friday on my channel. I’m taking your questions now and forever, so send them here, leave a comment on the video below, or slide into my DMs. I can’t wait to bring this new series to life with your help. I hope it’s as meaningful to you as it is for me.

     

  • VLOG: How to Heal a Broken Heart

    Y’all know I’m going through the shitttt right now, but am truly getting better day by day. It’s been a weird 2ish years health-wise with some depression and anxiety, and now that I’m single there’s a whole slew of painful moments and emotions to contend with. The reality is that you have to go through difficult moments to move forward into adulthood and to grow into the human you’re supposed to be at the end of the day. I know this lesson, it just sucks to be living that moment.

    I’ve started to VLOG a bit more on my YT channel per my viewer’s request so my newest one really comes from the heart – and is about how I’m actually working to heal mine. Enjoy and leave your comments below!


     


     

  • Dating at 30 in the Digital Age

    I’ve been single for a few months now after getting my heart shredded into pieces and am finally ready to “come out” about it. Breaking up at 30, with the guy who I thought was “the one” makes me feel like such a failure. Thankfully, in NYC there are a lot of women who find themselves in situations such as myself, and I’ve been told that women my age are actually the cream of the crop for serious guys looking for the real deal. For real. Right. Right?

    Now that I’ve gotten the sad, self-indulgent bit out of the way, can we um, talk about dating apps? I’ve been off the market for a WHILE now and now that I’m back ON the market I have no idea what I’m dealing with. The only thing in town a few years ago was Tinder, but now that that’s officially creepy and dead, where do I go? What photos do I choose? What do I say to inquisitive internet strangers? Will they want to go out with me just because they can find stuff on Google about who I am? All I can say is, I’m not sure how I feel about this newfound, strange place I’m entering in to.

    I’ve dabbled a bit on Raya and Hinge so far – two wildly different apps with wildly different types of men on them. Raya is mostly full of Angelenos and British photographers, photos of The Playa abound. Where are the New Yorkers on this thing? Ones who aren’t models? Help? I even had to configure a song to play alongside my profile of alluring photos and that was the most stressful piece in all of it. So far, I’ve matched with Lupe Fiasco. I’m sure he is nice, but I don’t see a future with a man that lives in Chicago.

    Hinge is TOTALLY different. My phone won’t stop beeping at me. I’m close to pressing the delete button, but there do seem to be some moderately nice dudes on there? It kind of feels like what Tinder used to feel like in the early days, with a smaller community but still swiping through mass amounts of people. I feel exposed and naked, especially because they require you to provide quotes like “what you’re looking for” in a mate. I chose to write: “Looking for a crunchy beef taco in a city full of soft tacos. This is not a metaphor.” And truly, it’s not. I’m from Southern California and I’m dying for a fucking PERFECT CRUNCHY BEEF TACO in NYC. Everyone thinks it’s a joke. They are wrong.

    Is this my future since my fantasy future imploded? Whatever happened to meeting a nice guy at a bar or through a friend? I don’t want to be in this place, yet, here I am. Long story short, that’s how far I’ve made it after a few days of dipping my toe back into the water – with caution, because it’s scary, I’m scared, and what if my ex pops up on my phone with a profile of his own? That would surely be heart-melting. The thought alone makes me miss him, miss our little family, and the life we so carefully constructed together – the one that is no longer.


    Are you an online dater? What are your favorite apps? Leave me a comment below!

    Image via Mashable.

  • How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep Tonight

    I grew up with insomnia. Seriously! I’ve been a troubled sleeper since I was a kid. It would take me up to 90 minutes to fall asleep most nights, and that time gave my mind a wide berth to explore, be creative, and be afraid of the dark, too. I’d wake up around 2 or 3am and again take 90 minutes to fall back asleep. Once my mind turns on, boy, it’s hard to turn it back off.

    Once I entered adulthood, insomnia became more painful and actualized than it had when I was a child. Back then it was a nuisance, and my legs hurt with growing pains. The lack of sleep didn’t bother my young body and mind as much, before real life seemingly entered the picture. Now, surprisingly, I’m a pretty good sleeper 80% of the time, but it’s not because I suddenly had some natural, internal shift that came with age. No, it’s because I follow good sleep hygiene practices – ones that actually work.

    My doctor was the one who clued me into “sleep hygiene” a few years ago. Brushing your teeth does not fall on the list – it’s not that kind of hygiene. What we’re talking about is cell phone usage, steady bed times, and what to do before you get in between the sheets. All of the following things really help me, and because I know I have a lot of troubled sleepers out there reading da blog, I’m excited to share what has made a true difference in how quickly I zonk out, how long I stay asleep for, and the overall quality of sleep I’m getting. 

    Get Hot and Clean

    Taking a hot shower or bath before bedtime allows the body to relax before trying to get some ZZZsss. The body’s temperature naturally begins to fall a few hours before you go to sleep, and raising it in the bath, then allowing it to fall once you get out helps to force the body into that relaxation mode. Apart from the physiology behind it, I find that taking a soothing bath or shower helps to scrub my brain just as much as my body. The literal feeling of being clean also helps me for some reason.

    Get Rid of Blue Light

    We’ve all heard about the dreaded BLUE LIGHT by now. It comes from your cell phone and computer primarily, the tools we seem to have attached to us 24/7, even in bed. Blue light tricks the body into thinking it’s daytime, and makes it much more difficult for your brain to naturally transition into sleep mode. If you CAN’T shake the habit of bringing your laptop into bed with you, install f.lux – a  blue light reducing app that turns on around 7pm and turns off around 7am. It shields your eyes from the blue light your computer gives off by changing it to a warm, yellow color instead. You can adjust when it comes on and off, and how intense you want the protection to be.

    Additionally, iPhones these days have its own blue light shield built in called “Night Shift” installed into the software. You have to manually turn it on, but it works in the same way that f.lux does. It really helps to reduce the blue light tricking your brain into thinking it’s 2pm when actually it’s midnight and you’re stalking your ex on Instagram.

    …And Get Rid of Your Devices

    Now that the blue light has been eliminated from your comp and celly, let’s get rid of them from your bedroom altogether. Yes, altogether now! HAHAH, I know – right? Can you imagine NOT reading emails and scrolling through Buzzfeed stories right before bed? Well, if you can imagine what it’s doing to your brain you may consider putting. the. cell. phone. down. All you’re doing is makin’ your brain do a do-see-do up there by continuing to stimulate it with activity from your phone and computer. 

    Science has proven time and time again that our devices are keeping us up and in order to truly get a good night’s sleep you have to make the decision to stop using them an hour or two before you go to bed, and don’t check them again until morning or unless you need to call the fire department because your kitchen is ablaze. The absolute BEST way to give yourself something to do before bed is by reading a book – an actual, physical book, in low light before saying Z-YA-LATER to the world. I find that when I read a book it takes only minutes before my eyes begin to flutter.

    If you’re too lazy to turn off the light, get an Alexa from Amazon, get special outlets that connect to Alexa, and then tell Alexa to turn off your bedroom lights for you from bed. Ta – da!  Asleep!

    Don’t Check The Time

    Once you fall asleep, if you wake up in the middle of the night, do everything humanly possible not to check and see what time it is. If you check the time, you are officially MIND FUCKED. Just trust that it’s still dark outside, and you should be getting back to sleep.

    Breathe Deeply

    Taking deep breaths actually helps to calm the nervous system and body. Scientists just proved it in mice (it was in the New York Times) and they think it’s the real deal with humans too. As someone who does a lot of breathing exercises, I can say they really do help to chill out. We’re not talking like 1 minute of controlled breathing, however. More like 10 or 15 minutes. Whether you’re going to sleep or trying to get back there in the middle of the night, try my fave exercise. Simply count to 10 with your breaths over and over again. In – 1, out – 2, in – 3, you get the picture.

    Take Your Magenesium

    Forget spritzing your pillow with lavender. Do yourself a real favor and take 500mg of high-quality magnesium 30 minutes before you hit the sack. It decreases cortisol, the stress hormone and also allows your muscles to relax. If you’ve never taken it before, skip the Ambien and try this instead. I find that it helps knock me out cold til morning.


    What helps you fall asleep at night? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

    xx,’

    L

  • Tools You Can Use To Overcome Anxiety Right Now

    UPDATED April 13, 2017: new video at the bottom of the post!

    I’m an anxious person by nature. I recently suffered from a period of depression and anxiety that stemmed from serious vitamin deficiencies (you can read that article here), but anxiety is part of the framework of who I am. I’ve always worried about something bad happening to my loved ones when they leave the house, I can send obsessive text messages to make sure someone is okay, and facing my own day is a challenge in and of itself. I sometimes think of anxiety as different kinds of monsters that follow me around the house and down the street.

    Being paralyzed by fear, or the unknown, or a physical discomfort is so debilitating – it makes normal things, like taking a walk, or grabbing dinner with friends difficult at times. Not every day is bad, that’s for certain, but go through a period of stress, and the inflamed mind can take its own vacation into a land of discomfort, a place it knows very well.

    I’ve been learning and practicing different tools to help me overcome my moments of anxiety for a while now. The following list is certainly not extensive or complete, but simply my go-to toolbox when my mind starts to race and I’m feeling like I could use support beyond just a tight squeeze from my Mom. Some of these things are quite obvious, and some I’ve picked up in therapy.

    Stop “What IF-ing”

    My fabulous therapist told me a long time ago that I do a lot of “what if-ing”. Thinking about anything that is not the here and now is essentially that. Say the words “what if” out loud followed by some thoughts and you’re doing it. In essence, this is anxious worrying about things that have not materialized and are simply conceptual. It can apply to literally anything: finances, sleep, picking your kids up from school, relationship woes, etc. Instead of “what if-ing” all you have to do is replace the “if” with “is”. Say the words “what is” out loud now and follow them up with exactly the position you’re in. What is real, what is now, what is around you. For example, if I can’t sleep and my mind begins to wander into what my schedule looks like the next day, essentially turning on my brain power and putting sleepiness to the side, I try to get into the headspace of “what is” instead of “what if”. What is really happening right now is simple: I’m just laying in bed. The moment is now. Being present, and not worrying about the future or fantasies does something to stem the anxious thoughts that flood through a stressed-out mind.

    Create a Scheduling Pattern That Works For You

    Whether it’s by journaling, using a to-do list app like Evernote, or leaving a Post-It next to your bed, create a small to-do list for the next day. As someone who works from home and has a fairly open schedule, just tackling the day is one of the hardest things for me to do. It sounds really simple – just go be a human, but for someone with anxiety and free-time on their hands, it’s a problem. I’ve found that creating just a small list of things I’d like to accomplish the next day can be incredibly powerful in releasing your mind from thoughts about what’s to come (essentially “what if-ing”), allowing you instead to ease into a nice book, TV show, or the attention of your partner. 

    This list does not have to be stuck to. The exercise of getting your thoughts out, and providing yourself with some structure to follow, is what’s really helpful here. I’ve woken up plenty of mornings without a clear feeling on what to do with myself. It can be pretty painful to be honest. It should be easy to get up and get moving, but it isn’t for everyone.

    For me, taking my dog to the dog park for a morning romp, followed by exercise and a steam bath are how I like to start my days. Creating behavioral patterns helps me to get up and go like most people do. Knowing I have a responsibility to my pet to get out the door and face the day is a great way to avoid morning thoughts of discomfort.

    Do One Thing Every Day You Don’t Want To Do

    This exercise is new to me, but lets face it, there are of course things in our daily routines we don’t want to do. Recently the lightbulb went off in my mind, allowing me to see that the things that I don’t want to do are generally tied into some sort of social anxiety. I don’t love the idea of going to the gym, because being around a bunch of strangers I’m not brave enough to speak to can feel daunting. However, I recognize now that when I get that feeling of “no” I must, at least once a day, turn it into a feeling of “yes”. I don’t want to go out to the dinner with friends that’s been on the books for weeks? It would be easier to sit at home alone? Bingo, but I MUST do it. Getting into the habit of driving yourself through your discomfort to your destination, at least once a day, can provide relief on the other end. Being able to recognize that feeling of “no” as anxiety, instead of just sitting in it, can help lead you to make positive changes for positive change.

    Meditate

    Feeling anxious? Not feeling anxious? Cool, either way. Have you started meditating yet? I learned the practice of transcendental meditation 3 years ago, and though I don’t do it everyday, I certainly rely on it when times are tough. There are a few apps I like for guided meditation – my favorite being Headspace – that take the hard part out of focusing inward and releasing your body of stress. That’s what meditation does – the stress literally seeps out of your brain and your body, leaving you feeling much more aware, in control of your emotions, and in control of your thoughts. Meditation requires you to train your thoughts to a certain degree, so you can connect the dots with how it helps with anxiety as well.

     


    This is just a short list of things that help me. Do you have anxiety? What helps you when you’re feeling stressed out? Leaving your thoughts in the comments!

    xx

    L

    Image via CargoCollective

  • An Infrared Sauna Kicked My Panic Attack in the Ass

    Cut to Wednesday of this week. I was stresssssseeeedddd out and could feel that feeling of discomfort in my throat when I know that my brain is doing an uncomfortable dance of thoughts, round and round. I have a lot of shit going on right now, and I’m not totally in my Zen place. I went to yoga and that helped at least during the Vinyasa flow, but when class ended I felt agitated again.

    I had made a date with my friend Blair to try HigherDOSE, this new Infrared Sauna place that all the health nuts (me) have been raving about. A traditional sauna is one of those wooden rooms that’s heated – great for heart health – you basically sit quietly and sweat out your sins. I personally prefer a steam bath to a sauna, but I prefer baths in general so perhaps that’s why. You can find me in the steam room at any number of Equinox gyms most days of the week.

    So heat therapy of any nature is right up my alley – plus, I just read this article in Elle that says you can burn 600 calories if you take a super hot, hour long bath (shout out to beauty editor Julie Schott). How crazy is that? So, I guess I’ve been doing things right all along without even knowing it. I’m def going to eat a donut today.

    Anyway, lets get back to HigherDOSE (yes, that’s how the company has identified themselves – one word, DOSE in all caps). The one I went to was off of Bowery, and it’s not exactly easy to find. It’s in the basement level of this restaurant/health shop called The Alchemist’s Kitchen, and if the front door to the restaurant is open, you’ll definitely enter the wrong building and be directed by the nice door lady that you are in fact in the wrong place. SO! Enter The Alchemist’s Kitchen. Enjoy the people watching – lots of models in there, guys. LOTS. Lots of tinctures and potions with turmeric in them and quinoa salads. I absolutely loved this place. It does not feel like New York City upon entering.

    So you finally reach HigherDOSE downstairs. You check in like you would at a fitness studio and there are two small Infrared Saunas for use – reservations a MUST. You can either heat up for a 30 or 60 minute session, and the nice girls walk you through the process. They suggest you get naked, but there are towels for modesty (and sweat), along with a robe to cool off in after your session. There’s a funny shower situation next to the bathroom so you can rinse off after your sauna (funny in that you’re showering behind a plastic curtain in the middle of a restaurant – but hey, New York). Everyone is totally polite and totally into it, so I get into it too.

    She explains what Infrared is all about, saying that it’s a way to “workout without working out” and that it will totally “de-stress” you. I went with the goal of getting rid of my mounting anxiety, so I hope she is not telling me lies. They heat up the sauna with “infrared heat” instead of traditional heat and I still can’t quite figure out what that means.  Without any scientific proof (that I can find but feel free to prove me wrong in the comments), the claims HigherDOSE make on their site regarding Infrared Sauna also note that a 45 minute session is akin to a 7 day juice cleanse detox, burning as many calories as you would by running 3-4 miles, decreases cortisol and chills you out, and is great for anti-aging because infrared heat stimulates the skin and creates collagen. I’m game for all of this, so into the sauna I go.

    Once you’re in there you can choose which “LED light”color to sweat to. My friend and I choose blue, because it’s noted that blue is a mentally relaxing color. A lot of babes that go to HigherDOSE go between red light for anti-aging benefits and blue light for chill time. We plop down in the tiny sauna with our towels on, the heat set to a 157 F. It gets hot pretty quickly. I get so hot I have to leave to re-fill my water glass a few times (kindly provided by the service). We basically talk about our problems and love lives and start SWEATING. Mind you, I’ve already done hot yoga and maybe snuck into the steam room at Equinox so I’m pretty concerned about my water intake. I make sure to drink about 9 glasses of water.

    All of a sudden, there are 2 minutes left in our 30 minute session and I decide to pop out of the 157 F box a little early. We put on robes, grab our clothes and trudge over to the bathroom area/shower. After a quick rinse we’re ready to go, having had the full HigherDOSE experience in 45 minutes flat. And can I tell you something? My anxiety has been reduced.  The feeling in my throat slowly melted back in to my body. I feel calm, and exhausted.

    Perhaps it was the conversation with my friend, perhaps it was the intense sweating, perhaps it was the soft blue light – but something about the session allowed me to get out of my brain long enough to calm down my nerves and make me feel a little bit better. At least temporarily. 

    The HigherDOSE chicks recommend coming between 1-5 times a week if you’re going through the shit, as more sessions will become more helpful over time. I’m already a believer in saunas and steam baths being excellent for health, so I’m totally into what there doing there, LED lights and all. I will be back, and soon.

    You can check out HigherDOSE online and visit one of their 3 locations across NYC.

  • Why Doing Good Things Makes You Beautiful

    So I got tuned in to a new campaign from Alba Botanica this week that I’m really digging – a beauty brand committed not only to reducing their environmental footprint, using only 100% vegetarian ingredients, and never testing on animals – but one that is also supporting women in a MAJOR WAY right now. I’m just majorly feeling the lady vibes lately so I wanted to throw my support behind the #DoGoodDoBeautiful campaign.

    Here’s the scoop: the brand is featuring intimate, doc-style vids that journey through the day in the life of fave powerful women who are making a true difference in their communities. These 5 women featured protect animal rights, push for women’s empowerment, protect the environment, and demonstrate their commitment to community through social activism and service. Giving back has a way of touching your soul in a really beautiful and calming way, creating positive energy vibes that penetrate through your skin and out into the universe. At least that’s how I’ve always felt about activism. When that happens, your skin calms down, your eyes sparkle, and your entire aura just glows.

    The #DoGoodDoBeautiful Campaign is one I’m behind because I’m a true fan of Alba Botanica – the products very much align with my lifestyle. They contain 100% vegetarian ingredients and are made with vitamins, plant emollients, and therapeutic botanicals for fabulous beauty benefits. I’ve personally made a conscious decision in the past year or so to use natural products whenever possible, and the Alba Botanica ones totally fit the bill.

    I’d love to introduce you to the 5 incredible women featured in the #DoGoodDoBeautiful campaign now – please lend your support and leave comments on this post, on their YouTube videos and on Instagram! Much love!

     

  • 2016: The Year Of My Great Depression

    the worst year ever.

    2016 wasn’t only just the worst year ever, it was also the year I turned 30, founded my own feminine wellness company, and brought an amazing puppy home. So not all bad. Light does find a way of shining through the darkness. And what is the darkness I’m referring to? Crippling anxiety and depression at the hands of a severe vitamin deficiency that went undiscovered for 16 months.

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  • TheLoDown