Keep Your Balance (For Mental Sake)

I have found a direction of health and fitness to help cope with my mental health. It has been one of the most beneficial things I have done that helps me cope with life and just overall weighing mental health. Since working the hours that I do, I have severely neglected working out. It seems as if my life is just a non stop work load and that it what it revolves around. My wife and I have become obsessed with personality types, as you all may have seen. I need a significant amount of alone time. My wife has witnessed the times where I can just not interact with anyone whatsoever for the entire day. I can go a week, I can go longer than a month. I don’t really need interaction with people. I have had so much social interaction with working that it is mentally overwhelming to my social battery. I have a low social battery to begin with. Every single day I try to mentally prepare myself to interact with people for a work shift, sometimes double shifts and even triple shifts. The only time I can really recharge and find some type of balance is when I work out. The mental effects that working out does to me is beyond what I could ever explain. Being without it for basically the whole summer has taken a huge hit mentally.

To find balance in mental health we all need to make time for the things that help us. I also find relief with writing. I barely have time to sleep, so I am just so exhausted I find it difficult to sit down and just write. Not making time and having a balanced life to devote to your mental health is only setting you up for a road to disaster. Not making time for mental health is destructive. I have been so focused on providing that I have neglected my mental health severely. It has been so important to me for my wife to attend college this semester, and she finally is going back. I wanted to be able to provide to lead the road to her education. It has become so important which is the reason why I have taken it upon myself to work the hours I do. To be quite frank, living in other states is not quite like living here. Living in New York is nearly triple the money for what other states pay for things. It isn’t easy providing here. I can be transparent about it. It is the reason why I work the way I do. My wife’s education is so important to me that I have made it my #1 priority for her to be able to do what she loves.

There needs to be balance in everyone’s lives. No one should be working so much that they can barely even function. It is only worth it because I do it for her. I only continue to push forward: for her. The biggest thing I have struggled to find balance with my mental health is my need for extreme amounts of alone time. Finding a balance with being so exhausted, it has been difficult to incorporate the things that help me into my schedule. I haven’t made time for myself and what is able to help me thrive and function. Without alone time I am not even myself. Since I am known with my personality type to be the “mastermind”, I am a planner. Everything I do is planned and structured. I would say about 90% of my life is this way. Without a plan I don’t know what to do. It is probably the reason why I have struggled to adjust into the swing of things. Out of all of the planning I do, I neglected to plan to make time for myself and find balance. Last week was THE WEEK I decided to make a plan to get to the gym at least three times a week. I actually made it five times. I have made it to the gym every day so far this week as well. I structured a plan that incorporates time that helps my mental health. It has been refreshing and recharging to find my way back to my balance. I started writing more again and I started consistently meal prepping and going back to the gym. I have been consistent with the gym for four years straight. It was just as part of my schedule as taking a shower or running an errand. It was always incorporated. It isn’t selfish to make time for your mental health and find balance to do the things that help you find relief. I found my way back and I will continue to make plans to find a way to get to the gym no matter what. When we neglect our mental health, everything in turn goes on a roller coaster.

Take care of yourselves.

Jason Castellani

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Gateway to the New Beginning

What does staying in the same place do to us mentally?

I have a perfectionist, as well as a black and white mentality. I strategize and think logically about everything. I plan and overanalyze everything. However, I have been known to be impulsive and spontaneous with things at times. But when it comes to things that need to be done, my mind is endless amounts of wires scattered that are just trying to find the outlet they belong. I think logically; it is all I know how to do. My wife, on the other hand, is not this way. She is very free spirited. She doesn’t come up with why something won’t work out, she doesn’t make plan A, B,C, etc, like I do. She just freely does what she does and trusts the process. As for myself, I am constantly talking about a plan A, B, C, etc. It gives room for there to be a fall back incase the previous plan doesn’t work out. In overanalyzing things, it sometimes does prevent someone from moving ahead. I am extremely intuitive and I have always been able to foresee ahead. Walking into the unknown is not something I can do freely. I don’t embrace a lot of change. Frankly, I am not a big fan of much change. Not that I don’t choose to grow or remain the same, I just struggle with certain change. Change is needed and it can be very good. My wife tells me often to trust the process, to just have faith and believe. But due to how my mind is wired, I struggle with that. I struggle with walking into the unknown. Just like she is wired to be free spirited, my mind is wired to be logical and strategical. . But, I would say that in many ways that I have grown and tried to follow her lead as much as I can with trusting the process. She has taught me so much about faith and what it means to walk into the unknown and learn to let go of the inability to see ahead with every little thing. Lets say that you are at a job for a couple of years, but you get offered another job that pays more and is better. What would you choose? Sometimes we can be hindered to believe that we might as well just stay in what is familiar, because what if something doesn’t work out. At least with the job that you’ve been working at for years is secure. What happens if you aren’t that good at the other job, what happens if you lose it, etc? Your mind can go in a lot of different directions. What is the base of this? It is security and stability. It is rather simply put. Many times, many of us do not like change to begin with. What happens if you had experiences where you just didn’t have security and stability? You somehow want to find that in the ways you never had it. In return, you choose to remain in what is familiar, comfortable in ways, and secure. It is stable, and it is exactly what you want. But will you ever progress in remaining where you are. It is a rhetorical question; hence the reason for no question mark. We will never progress and move ahead if we just stay in what is familiar. Through my wife’s free spirit, I have learned to have more faith. That is exactly what faith is- it is walking into the unknown and trusting that all things will work together for good.  It doesn’t mean  that is a free pass to be reckless and careless either. But if you hinder yourself from taking chances, you may very well not get the things you could get if you put yourself out there a little.

 

“Nothing is predestined,, The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings”. -Ralph Blum

A week ago today was my birthday. I had this originally supposed to be posted yesterday. So technically yesterday made a week. I apologize for the inconsistency with this blog. Life has been a little hectic. But I decided to dedicate this week to new beginnings. After all, we all need to start over and let go of things in order to grow. I have never been the type to announce a birthday ever before. This week I am going to do a theme on new beginnings and the importance of change. I have been the type to always hate being the center of attention since I am young. I never liked presents or being sung happy birthday right before I blew out the candles. It always made me extremely uncomfortable.` I don’t even disclose that my birthday is approaching or I say nothing when the day arrives. I go about the day like it is any other day. It always just.. was. However, this year is a new beginning. While I will always be the type to never like being the center of attention, I will never want a party for my birthday, and maybe I won’t be excited about it, this year was a new beginning for change. Why? Because unlike every other year of my life, this year I acknowledged it and I reflected on my year with how much I have grown mentally. I have done that since I was a kid. I was never a normal kid. I never wanted anything materialistic, I never cared about presents, parties, a cake, or hanging out with people. Since I am young, I have always been the type to reflect on my year, to look ahead to when I can finally be the age that matched with my mind, to be an adult, to list out what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, my goals, etc. Most kids aren’t thinking about their adult years at 8 years old. But, I was nothing of a normal child like I stated above. On my 8th birthday I sat and reflected on my life, my visions, what I saw in my future, my dreams, my goals, and what I wanted to be. I set out a plan on my birthday of 8. I was doing it even younger than that. As each year passed, the more I set out plans and the more I strategized what I had hoped to accomplish in that year. What I got materialistically wise was never of significant value. This year was everything different and everything new. That is why I want to dedicate this week to talk about new beginnings and change.

 

This year I have hope for a future. I have more hope this year than any year of my life. I have made a plan of the things I want to accomplish, pursue, change, grow, and progress in. I always make more than just a plan A; I go above and beyond and make plan B, C, D, etc as mentioned above. This year shed real hope and real life. This year is the first year as a married man. Last year was so incredibly different on my birthday. Last year on my birthday I went about the day as if it were just an ordinary day; just like I always have since I am young. As much as I can foresee, I never envisioned being married a year later. To be quite frank, I never envisioned being married at all. This year on my birthday I spent it with my wife. I was in my head some of the day. It is usual for me to remain in my head. But I was so abundantly grateful to have her beside me. Her presence was by far the best gift I could have ever received. She truly was and is the best gift I have gotten so far. Through my wife I have grown so much. I have learned so much about forgiveness, letting go, kindness, joy, and so on. Through her I see my potential as an individual. She doesn’t highlight the negative. She always keeps her eyes fixed on the positive. I am so eternally grateful to have someone that can help me grow in those areas that I need growth in. I have grown a lot from last year. Recently, I saw someone I haven’t seen in years. This person acknowledged where I am in my life and how content I truly am. And before I could ever even acknowledge her; because I always do, they said that a lot of where I am is due to my wife. That my wife shaped me into the man I am and still becoming. Her believing in me is priceless. I couldn’t agree more with the statement of me looking mentally better now then ever before. People we surround ourselves with can ultimately either build you up or tear you down. Either people are for you and rooting for you and want to see you win, or they are against you. My wife has stood beside me even when we were friends. She saw potential in me when I couldn’t see it in myself. She guided, grounded, supported, and encouraged me through the doubts. I rose above the ashes and conquered so much because of her. Through my obstacles really did lead me to new beginnings. It led me right to my wife.

This year was a year of mental growth more than any year ever before. I have always reflected and was hard on myself because of the perfectionist and black and white mentality I have. I never think I am pursuing and accomplishing all that should be done. In life we are in constant competition of who graduated college at what age, who got a higher salary, everything is just competition. My mentality is I am all in or I am uninterested. Therefore, I have been my own harshest critic. This year is most certainly the best year so far. It started off with my wife after all. It taught me so much more than I could ever write. Gifts never meant anything to me ever before until my wife. My piece of advice- find a new beginning and don’t ever stop finding ways to grow. Find a gift that cannot ever be replaced. Embrace change, let go of what you think you know, trust the process, and don’t allow fear or just walking into the unknown hinder your potential for success. Stop comparing yourself and competing with other people. They do not and never will have your story. The person that completed college at 24 and you are still in college at 30, doesn’t make them any better than you. It never will. Get to where you are going, no matter how slow or fast you go. Close the old doors, open some new. Welcome new change, welcome new opportunity.

 

 

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Cleanse.

Saturday:

Today we were active all day, but we are doing a detox cleanse. I broke my fast at 3:30 and my wife fasted till 2. We started our fast at 6 last night. We have remained active throughout the day and have drank a lot of water. We did the fast to cleanse our body of toxins because groggy and fatigued. I, for one, always feel incredible when I fast. When fasting, it gives you other things to think about besides food. You gain focus when fasting. I have actively done intermittent fasting for over a year. Although I stopped for some time, I picked it back up for the most part. I like the way that fasting gives me mental clarity. We are doing the cleanse till Monday morning.

Angebel’s corner.

Thanks to Jason, I was introduced to Charles Bukowski. I have fallen in love with the way his work has awaken my writing senses. He’s a mad man. I want to be a mad woman. I never want to hold back ever again when I write.

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead”

On Tuesday my husband talked about the things we do to recharge. He also tapped into some of the things I deal with mentally (anxiety and depression). I also deal with PTSD.

Mental health was a taboo topic growing up. It was forbidden to talk about depression because it led to be being accused that you weren’t a believer. As I got older and told people about some of things that happened to me, they always asked if I went to counseling. “No” was always my response. I’ve seen a mixture of the raised eyebrows, a jaw-drop, or a ‘trying really hard not to show any expression’ look.

I encourage counseling. Do not let anyone discourage you from it.

Overall, my hope is found in Jesus. Jesus is my anchor. Only truth and stability that I have experienced.

When the motions of life, and- mental health come crashing in, seek truth.

With love,

Angebel

Roots of Recharging

As for today, today is recharge. This week, we are honoring Mental Health Awareness Month as it is last full week of May. Yet overall, we try to incorporate a lot of mental health into each week’s themes.

My wife and I both have our coping skills. We both have our things that we resort to when our mental health weighs heavy.

My wife said I could put this in here- although I won’t go much into detail. My wife is so much more open with things than myself. I am extremely vague, perhaps a little over the top, but I don’t want her business out there. My wife struggles with anxiety and depression. When her depression gets heavy, she resorts to music and writing. Music has a way of her relating to the lyrics and drowning out the heaviness of the depression. The melody is soothing. When her anxiety takes over her mind, she resorts to working out, cleaning, and writing. My wife has mentioned how much she has utilized working out to control her anxiety. Many don’t realize that exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant. Working out releases good hormones in your body and makes your brain feel good. It relaxes her. While she also has weight loss goals, mentally for her, health & fitness promotes growth and hope. It gives her something to look forward to. She is a writer as well- and when her mental health weighs heavy, she takes out a notebook and begins to write. There is never a pen or paperout of sight at our place. Writing is definitely therapeutic and very helpful to let things out. Above all else though- my wife prays. And that is the most utilized form of coping that I have observed her do. She prays in the good and she’s on her knees fighting in the spirit in the bad. Praying, reading the bible, and listening to worship music gives her the ultimate most accountability and strength. It gives her perspective, rejuvenation, and she is reminded that she is not alone. It gives her peace and reminds her who she is through His eyes. She is a woman filled with joy, so much so that I cannot even comprehend it. She never remains low for long. I truly believe it is solely because of her relationship with Jesus and the security she has in the word of God that gets her by. Everything else is just an add-on. She always likes to be happy and joyful. That is just her nature. But when the heaviness comes, when bitterness strikes, when hard times hit, my wife remains solid, a rock, and pushes through things with such courage and such humility. I admire her most of all.

 

As for myself, I am very internal when it comes to dealing with things. I always have been for all of my life. If something can’t be solved through logics, I am rather clueless. Handling with emotions is something that is a barrier. My passion for health and fitness began some years ago. And ever since then I have channeled my heaviness of my mental health into that. It has become one of my greatest passions of all. Working out puts me in such a different place mentally and emotionally. My mind feels amazing when working out and even long after. I just feel great. Everything kind of disappears in the gym and all is calm in my mind. The gym is definitely my happy place. Writing has been my first source of coping since I am a teenager. Due to not being verbal or being vulnerable, I used writing as my outlet. It was just me and the pages with no one else to see or judge. Writing was one of my first passions, and it remains one of the best methods of letting thoughts out. I spill things through ink that no one else has or ever will see. It is one of my greatest releases. I actually have been called a neat freak and OCD a lot. I cannot tolerate filth. With that, I am always cleaning. It really does help me. I resort a lot to cleaning when things feel out of control. I also enjoy cooking. It feels as if I am always in the kitchen meal prepping or cooking something. Food is the way to a man’s heart. I like having something to do, and with cooking, your mind is distracted prepping food. Music is many peoples coping skill. Music has a way of drowning out the chaos. Listening to good lyrics brings comfort. It’s always something to go back to, melody and words. When hard times hit, I try to resort to praying like my wife does. Although I am not spiritually on the same level, I am not where I once was. Growing up, God was used as a weapon and I wasn’t taught that He is loving. Being with my wife, I’ve learned the absolute opposite of that. There are times all I resort to is worship music; even in the gym. It brings me a lot of peace.

What is your healthy coping method?

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Take Care of Your Mental Health

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month.

While we are more into the end of the month, we are still in it, so let’s talk about it. It shouldn’t have to take May or Mental Health Awareness Month to talk about mental health.

There are over 200 mental health diagnosis. The symptoms to them range from the unnoticeable to all the most evidently clear.

It all comes down to self-care.

Many take any “support” they can take. Self care includes cutting out people that do not care for you. Not everyone is for you. Self-care is regular therapist visits, healthy coping methods, and self-love and respect.

It is so very important and completely necessary that you have at least one coping skill. Lets face it- we all need a coping skill no matter what walk of life we come from, if we have a mental health diagnosis or we don’t, etc. Find a healthy coping skill to release your energy into. Many people, including many of those struggling with a mental health diagnosis, fall victim to drug and alcohol dependency or even another type of addiction. The problem is that we don’t learn healthy coping skills and wind up utilizing unhealthy things to fill some kind of hole.

Take care of yourselves!

-Wishing you a life of health,

Jason & Angebel

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masks.

I see the masks
there’s so many
my favorite novelty-
at last.
I’ve always seen through them
you don’t scare me.
take the masks off
one by one
we’ll get to the roots.
no more hiding
no more running.
just you and me
building something new.
leave the bags, at the door
leave the masks.

-a.g.c