Health · Lifestyle

Boost Your Energy Levels and Boost Your Health

We all lead busy lives. And even on from that, we can all make excuses not to take care of ourselves as much as we should. We justify that we’re busy or that we’re not able to go to the gym or we just had to grab a takeout. But then, should we be surprised if we find ourselves feeling sluggish, tired, and generally low? At this time of year, a lower immune system can be rather obvious. So here are some things that you can do to make sure that you keep your energy levels up to feel happy, healthy, and strong.

Tired, Stressed, Fatigue, Boost Your Energy Levels

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Eat More Magnesium Based Foods

We all know that we need to eat a balanced diet to stay at a healthy weight or even to lose weight. For energy, a healthy diet is of paramount importance too. But what does that really mean? One of the nutrients that we need to make sure that we are getting plenty of is magnesium. It can really play a part in giving our energy levels a boost. It has been found that if you’re deficient in magnesium, your body has to work harder to function normally, which in turn, will use up a lot of energy. So make sure that foods like almonds cashews, fish, and whole grains feature regularly in your diet.

Move More

It might sound ridiculous, but moving more can actually help you to feel like you have more energy. It isn’t necessarily anything like a five-mile run or a weights session. But a walk around the block or to the park and back could be just what you need. It will lift your mood and make you feel invigorated and refreshed, rather than feeling low and lethargic.

Reduce Stress

If you are feeling stressed, then it can naturally drain you of energy. It can be often as a result of anxiety, which can really zap the energy out of you. It can leave you feeling physically exhausted as well as mentally exhausted. And if left to spiral out of control, then it could trigger other things like depression or bipolar, as mentioned by the site Bipolar Lives. So you need to be monitoring things closely to see how you react to it all. Timeout, exercise, therapy, and dealing with the stressors head on can all help. So, find out what works for you and then go from there.

Avoid Sugar

When you feel tired, then it can be tempting to reach for a bag of candy or some chocolate. These things will give you a short burst of energy (well, a boost in your blood sugar). But after that, it will leave you feeling more tired than you ever were before. So refined sugar, and processed foods, in general, should just be avoided. Keeping your blood sugar level steady will be what helps you to feel energetic and have a steady burst of energy.

Is there anything that you find helps you to stay on top of our energy levels or gives them a boost?

Health · Life

Mortal Combat: Beating The Signs Of Aging

It’s something that we can’t deny, the looming of Old Mother Time will get us all eventually, and while we hit a peak with both our physical and emotional health, both start a gradual decline that we can get quite concerned about. But what are the key changes in the body as we age, and what can we do to prevent them?

Aging Hand Creasy Age Wrinkles Children Open

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Bones

As we age we lose our bone density, also known as osteoporosis. Part of the reason our bones become less dense is because of the lack of calcium, as the body will absorb less calcium (and vitamin D) from foods. Certain bones tend to weaken more than others such as the bones in the spine, which can be very painful, and while you can pay a visit to the chiropractors to work on realigning your spine, you can work at increasing your bone density by doing a few things. Exercise, especially resistance based ones, has been shown to increase bone density. You should also increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D, and up your intake of good fats, as these will help to absorb the calcium and vitamin D into your bones. In addition to this, you need to cut back on foods that will take calcium from your bones, such as carbonated drinks, caffeine, and the main culprit, refined sugar.

Muscles (And Body Fat)

The decrease in muscle mass starts around the age of 30 and is caused by the decrease in levels of growth hormone, or testosterone in men. Most people will only lose about 10 to 15% of their strength due to age, but there are issues like sarcopenia which comes from extreme inactivity. You can continue to strengthen your muscles as you age by taking part in resistance training, or anything that requires you to fight against gravity, from sit-ups to push-ups and pull-ups. Body weight exercises are a great place to start. Exercising is also great to reduce body fat as you age. By the age of 75, your amount of body fat tends to double in comparison to your early 20s and 30s, which will increase the risk of illnesses like diabetes.

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The Brain

Generally, the number of nerve cells will decrease in the brain as you age, but although your brain is able to compensate by making new connections between the nerve cells, your brain will tend to have more cells than it needs to do standard activities, also known as redundancy. Of course, the concern for many of us as we age is the onset of age-related cognitive decline, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. The trick to preventing this as best as possible is, again, exercise, but for your brain. That feeling of frustration when you’re learning something new is the thing you should be aiming for. This is the point where your brain is making new connections and neurons. So by doing things that are completely brand new, from learning an instrument to a language, this is what will keep your mind sharp and fresh.

These are the three areas that you need to focus on to age well. And, remember, it is never too late to start, no matter how old you are.

My Thinking Corner

Growing Happiness – My Thinking Corner

Happiness, My Thinking Corner, State of Mind, Mental Health

Don’t go chasing to harvest happiness from afar when you haven’t even bothered to plant and water it where you are. Jacqueline

Your happiness is always where you kept it. It’s not acquired through materialism and it’s not what happens to you.

It may be absent on some days when the going is rough, but always know that it’s there in the midst of chaos, pain, sadness, failure, success, peace and all the ups and downs of life.

We harp so much on happiness that sometimes this sells the idea that we have to be in a euphoric state, floating and gliding through life that those who don’t feel that way are left wondering if something is wrong and a cycle to buy happiness commences which only leaves the purchaser shortchanged.

Accepting that it’s okay to be just okay is a key to contentment.

Growing your happiness will never be a destination that you get to and all of a sudden everything is just as perfect as you want it, but a mindset that you build from within and know that despite every situation you will remain in charge of your state of being.

Jacqueline

Please, do check out my new book ‘Unbridled,’ now available on Amazon. Your reviews will be most appreciated.

My Latest Book is in Town. Grab a copy on Amazon.

Book cover, Unbridled, Poetry book, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha, Bold Must-read

Available in paperback on Amazon. Check This Link

You can watch the trailer below

 

Book

At LAST! Here’s UNBRIDLED.

 

BOOK TRAILER

Available in paperback on Amazon

 

Writing is turning my pain into art.

 

Writing has been therapy and coping mechanism to deal with things that threatened to drown me. I still surprise myself at how far I’ve come and how much healing, grace and joy that I’ve received.

I wrote the first book ‘Out of The Silent Breath,’ in doubt of my capability to do it.  This second poetry book ‘Unbridled,’  is written not just for me, but for love and those who keep me sane.

Unbridled is written for souls hurting, for healing and becoming.

It is served to be well-thumbed and mulled over.

Written in free verse each poignant poetry vibrates with a life of its own.

Bold and uncensored verses that talk about societal issues of rape, domestic violence, sadness, infidelity, racial discrimination, sex, depression, loss, pain, femininity, grief, suicide, womanhood, relationships, love, resilience, courage, anger, mental health, paedophilia, child abuse, break up, conflict, loneliness, ageing, life, lust, optimism, Poverty, Race, Death, Justice, Beauty, Endurance, Faith, Dreams and Empowerment.

The author’s words epitomise the poetic impulse to capture concentrated images from experience and observing life’s moments; impassioned, ecstatic, sad, fiery, sensual; they are naked intimate expressions saying as much as they can say in few words.

To purchase, check this link.

 

 

Personal · The Daily Post

Naked but not Ashamed…

My silhouette

If I took the experiences

that life handed me deeply to heart

I would have committed suicide.

I am glad that I didn’t

because that’s a cowardly way out.

I see these experiences

as the hand of fate steering me in a direction.

—∞—∞—

I realise that life is hard and not fair

that life can be a bitch (forgive my French)

but the Spirit of Hope and Fight in me

tells me that new every morning

is a gift from the Lord and

I must unwrap this gift of the day

with utmost gratitude, grace, and belief.

©

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Guest Posts

Getting to know the beautiful, delightful, smart and prolific writer; Amanda Eifert.

It’s an honour for Mandi to accept to do such a personal interview with me. Ever since I started blogging Mandi has been a staunch and heartwarming friendly support. Mandi, I wish you all the best in your endeavours and appreciate your hand of fellowship.

  • Introduce yourself, a bit about your background, your likes, dislikes and general outlook towards life.

Hi, my name is Amanda or Mandi as some of you know me. I am from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and have lived here all my life. I live by two gorgeous parks and off-leash trails for dogs. I enjoy walking the off leash trails. I miss my old dog and enjoy the other dogs on the trail. I also love how peaceful it is on those paths.image1.JPG

I have been on disability for over eight years now. I used to be an admin assistant in construction for a commercial development company. I became ill, not realizing what was happening to me because I had never experienced mental illness before December 2008. I left work my last day emotionally distraught, embarrassed, and not realizing I was hearing echoes after certain people talked. I would hear what someone usually said, then hear an echo of their voice which would comment and say something mean.
On December 24, 2008, I waited in the emergency with my Dad. We discovered I was experiencing a psychotic episode. I went into the hospital in January. Once I started a certain antipsychotic, I stopped hearing things. For some reason my now doctor told me when you hear things, it’s always the worst things you can think of. After, the psychosis I had a mini depression.
I have never had another psychotic episode since 2008 but now experience depression and severe fatigue. Severe fatigue meaning, I cannot mentally or physically do things for a long enough period to work or do many activities in life.
After trying countless medications and developing insomnia along with my depression, I went into the hospital to overhaul my cocktail of medications in July 2015. I’m finally, on a helpful and tolerable med called Clozapine.
It acts as an antidepressant, antipsychotic, and causes me to sleep through the night. Before Clozapine, not being able to sleep and becoming so used to sleep medications that they stopped working was miserable. Now, I have more freedom in everyday life as well and can do some exercise and concentrate better.
I’m a determined writer and I’ve been working on improving my writing for years. I have a BA in English Literature, a certificate in Residential Design, and am pursuing an online MFA at UBC for May 2017. I love being creative and imaginative in my writing; I enjoy drawing and acrylic painting at times; and I adore dogs, hanging with my friends, Netflix, scrapbooking, and yoga. I’m told I’m intuitive and thoughtful.
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I don’t like it when people push me into a corner and force me to decide something, I need time to weigh matters for significant decisions. Because of my illness, I need a bit more control over my life than some people realize. I have to plan down-time to relax and can’t do activities out of the house every day. I hate it when people are discriminative of people with mental illness or disabilities of any kind. I regret that because of my disabilities, I missed a lot of time with my best friends and are not as close to them as I would like. But maybe that’s life and it happens as a person grows older.
I’m extremely close to my family and I’m drawn to people who are close to their family too, including pets. I’m a proud Christian and would not have made it through what I have, if not for God’s grace and the love of my family and friends.
  • Tell us about your blog and your purpose for starting it. Did you have any set goals in mind when you were setting up your blog? What do you think about the blogging phenomenon itself? What has your blogging experience being? Here, you can share some links of your top posts or blog posts that you particularly like with us.
I mentioned earlier, I have been working on my writing for years now. After my mini depressive episode, I couldn’t read books such as Harry Potter and it was hard for me to even write. Daily, I increased my ability reading, starting with easier books such as the Twilight books and other Young Adult books, eventually, moving into more difficult reads such as the books I read in university English classes.
My goal with writing was to bring my writing to the point it was at in university, but I hope I’ve surpassed that goal. I had read some of my friends blogs and had a friend who blogged on WordPress. I signed up and started blogging.
In the beginning, my blog was a place to share about my mental illness and my daily life, the disappointment I felt at not being able to live and be like a normal girl of my age back then, and the classes I was taking. I also started writing for a young woman’s magazine and I enjoyed writing about these current events twenty-somethings would be interested in.
I also started taking some editing course through Simon Fraser University online. Quickly, I discovered I would never be perfectionist enough to be an editor, but I loved to write so I focused on creatively explore writing. It has always been my passion and I’ve been writing poems since I was eleven or so as stress relief and because it always felt right to me.
The editing courses were useful and I did learn when editing others work, to leave it as their own work and not completely change it as my editor for the young women’s magazine had done to my articles often. But I did need to work on my spelling and grammar and my blog and the editing courses aided me there.
At the same time, I was working on a Residential Design certificate. It was good knowledge to know had I been able to return to work, but it wasn’t my passion. I signed up for a few creative writing courses, and participated in many versions of the WordPress online courses. I started writing posts for my blog everyday. Gradually, I fell head over heals in love with writing fiction and especially, poetry.
I have made it my goal to visit www.shadowpoetry.com and learn to write using as many poetry types as I can master. Poetry always comes out the easiest for me, usually in free verse. Fiction requires more thought. Through Flashfiction challenges, through writing my own novel, and learning the whole process behind developing a novel, my writing has improved substantially, since I began blogging nearly five-years ago.
As a writer, I realize a blog is a necessary part of sharing your work with the public, by commenting, participating in prompt challenges with other bloggers, and sharing your work over social media. I never realized even a few years ago, how all these social media accounts add to a writer’s audience.
Twitter is a big one. I have many followers on there and quite a few new ones every day. I write some poetry only on Twitter and have found places to publish my poetry through Twitter. Mainly, www.spillwords.com. I also love the WordPress community. It’s so supportive and I love brightening someone’s day by telling them how wonderful their writing piece is or what it makes me think about. Critiquing is so helpful as long as it is done in a helpful and kind manner and I try to do this when I comment. I would rather in my own work, have someone be honest with me if it doesn’t sound right (etc.) than tell me it’s fantastic and lie. But not everybody likes such honesty.
  • Take us with you on a typical day spent with you. Show us a bit of your World and yes we love photos of  your pets if you’ve got any.
Honestly, my average day is not interesting. I set out with a list of tasks to accomplish and try my best. Sometimes, it’s a bad day, and I end up staying mostly in bed and sleeping. Other days, I do chores I need to around the house, make healthy meals, do twenty to thirty minutes yoga or walking, clean, comment on other blogs and read blog posts, catch up on writing for different prompts, read books or magazines, or work on editing my novel in second draft. I research a lot online, try to stay up on current events, and watch Netflix or TV at times.
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A day out, I plan ahead. I go to a festival in Edmonton in the summer; go to the mall for necessities and sometimes clothes shopping; I go for coffee and meet a friend or sometimes on my own for a change of environment; I go for a longer walk in the river valley; go to a farmer’s market on a Saturday; get my hair or nails done; attend an appointment or go to a movie; and whatever else I want to do or need to do. I can only go out every couple of days usually, but sometimes I manage two-days out at a time. I’m limited to about four-hours out at a time, unless I’m simply sitting, such as for a movie. After a while, an extremely noisy or loud place is difficult to remain in on certain days.
On weekends, I often do something with my Mom in the day. I’m pretty constantly texting friends or messaging them and connected to the online world throughout my week, but sometimes even I need a break.
  • What’s the next pit-stop for your blog’s outreach and publishing?  Any plans in the offing? You can also share some of your published works here.
Well, like you, I’ve started doing interviews of other poets and Bloggers. It’s fascinating to learn about other writers, their writing processes, how they publish their work, and to find their unique take on life and writing in general. It’s been a success for me on my blog. I was extremely pleased to have you as my first interview. Now, I’ve got a whole list of interviewees until October at least. The interviews are informative for readers such as blog followers, as well as myself.
I’ve had poetry published in www.spillwords.com and www.sicklitmagazine.com since June 2016. I continue to send out my poetry to literary magazines and journals, as well as websites which publish poetry and fiction. My goal is to have a short story in fiction published.
Fiction is harder for me as I said, but I love it. Rejection makes me all the hungrier to have it published. Even when I receive rejection emails, I’m happy a publisher/magazine took the time to reject me and often tell me what I need to work on.
I want to eventually publish my novel which is a paranormal romance. I’m working on rearranging and polishing the second draft of my manuscript. Then, I need to look at editors because as it is my first novel, I need an editor to read through the whole piece and tell me what works and what doesn’t. I think I’m going to try querying for an agent after, but I will see. There are advantages to self-publishing, but given my health, it may be better for me to have a publisher take care of editing the manuscript, doing the cover, the marketing etc.
Thanks for interviewing me, Jacqueline. I appreciate your generosity.
Here are some current links to some of my work and some photographs:
5. Interview With Marquessa Matthews – Nonfiction –https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/interview-with-marquessa-matthews/
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This is Nikki. My long-passed on pet, but as I said I miss her 🙂
Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Suicide and the Artful Mastery of Self-Deceit – Stream of consciousness Saturday.

It was startling and extremely disheartening to learn that a friend’s husband committed suicide three days ago. He shot himself and it wasn’t by mistake. It was a premeditated action.

To say the least, my mind meandered from pillar to post. I couldn’t even begin to fathom the horror his wife and daughter must be living through. I couldn’t even begin to think of how brokenhearted they must be.SoCS badge 2015

It’s a nightmare that never goes away. The questions of ‘why’ will forever dance around in their heads. The first question that popped into my mind was equally why and the second question as foolish as it might sound was ‘how did he get a gun?’ 

Guns are not easily obtained back home in Nigeria and I have only ever had a gun close to me when armed robbers pointed it to my head and I found myself staring into the nozzle of the gun and praying as fast as I could in my mind.

Jokes apart, I stared my death in the face and I grew cold. I know that it’s Grace and Mercy that saved me. That Grace and Mercy stopped the robber from going trigger happy and coldheartedly shooting me.

In my ruminations, I realised that for a partner or anyone to decide to take his/her life then their sense of despair must have been horrendously hopeless. It’s just sad. It also makes me realise that a lot of artful concealing of emotions and self-deceit must have played a role until things got out of control.

The worst deceit that one can indulge in is the artful deceit of self. Indulging in such cover-up cheats one of the ability to be true to themselves and to reach out for the help they need. The saying ‘fake it until you make it,’ has always made me ask the question, to what extent should someone fake it until they have to pause and take stock of their fakery?

How long should one walk around wearing an artfully decorated mask that smiles, laughs, chit-chats and conceals the pain going on behind their mask? There are days that I felt a small wild animal growling in my head about one thing or the other but yet, I apply my gloss, wear my glad rags and get on with my to-do list like the World is all bright and beautiful. However, I’ve learnt to express and share my emotions when I feel overwhelmed and it’s not only cathartic to do so, but also offers the opportunity to hear good counsel as well.

Here was an upwardly mobile young man, who by all appearances had things going well for him, but for some reason, his thoughts fell apart to such an extent that he felt suicide is the only way forward. If he had sought help is it possible that he wouldn’t have resorted to this?

In core African societies, mental ill health is grossly overlooked and neglected and it’s almost seen as a taboo to insinuate that a person has Bipolar disorder or PTSD. Its results are far-reaching though suicide is not particularly a common phenomenon possibly due to the strong social and family system in existence, nonetheless, the dearth of professional care in this regards especially with the increasing level of stress and societal dysfunction in our present World makes this a cause for concern.

SOC’s prompt for this week coincided with my thoughts on the art of masking emotions based on the suicide incident.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha


P.S. You are cordially invited to our monthly blog party happening right now. Join in through this link.

Below is my first Poetry Book “Out of the silent breath” which is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When you buy my book, you support me in an invaluable manner.

Out of the silent breath

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha’s poems portray images that stare us right in the face. Images of love, joy, death, pain, challenges, violation, and freedom. She writes in a language that’s rich in imagery, earthy, honest, vulnerable, yet full of the promise of hope, of loving and of Grace. A collection of light and dark soulful prose.

Discover Challenges · Personal · The Daily Post

Stumbling Forward…personal

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Obstacles. No single existence is devoid of hurdles to jump as they journey through their path in life and these encompasses all living things. The strength of a plant is predetermined from the state of its seed, thus even before we make our grand entry into this World, we possibly started our struggles right from the womb that bore us.

These hurdles come in different forms and in various shapes and sizes. Some knock us so hard on our backside, flat on our faces or at the cusp of a precipice where we are left grasping for release from the clenching holds that threatens to suffocate us to death.

Every human enjoys having a good sense of well-being and in the midst of these trials, a human can literally clutch at straws in the bid to stand upright. They either turn to the bottle, drugs or the Lord, seeking for strength.

Severe depression and suicide are the end result of a life that finds no glimmer of hope at the end of the turbulence that they are passing through. At that point in time, it seems as if the demons that they battle overwhelms and the only way to end the torment would be to stop living.

I have been in very deep pits. I have battled mental health, mental torture, and depression. There have been points in my life where the misery that permeated every pore of me was a living, breathing pain.

One of the instances, I would briefly share for now is when I lost my pre-term child. Please believe me when I say that the pain is beyond words. I carried this beautiful being inside me, but for some reason that I don’t know, I left the hospital after hours of horrendous labour with empty hands.

Fortunately, I have no head for drinks, no penny for drugs and never felt suicidal. I clung to the Cross and to writing. With every fibre in me, I held on and my husband held me.

God, family, friends, books and writing, have been my greatest support. When I am crossing one of my many rivers, I look up above, I look around me and I look forward. Life is a constant battlefield in our minds and except we personally buffer ourselves and wage an onslaught to find peace, we remain subjugated by these trials.

What I have learnt over the years is not to wait for the boat to get rocked, but to be mentally prepared to steer the boat as it rocks, so that I don’t capsize.

A couple of books that helped me when I struggled through these obstacles are, The battlefield of the mind, Your best life begins each morning, Purpose driven life, Women Of Faith Bible and lots more.

Writing my own books has been a challenge of doubt, of wondering if I am good enough. Of constantly questioning myself about who would want to be bothered to read my words when there are billions of books out there, but you know what, I said to myself, Jacqueline, you may not get it right, you may not be the best out there, but my girl, you are definitely more than good enough.

So that’s another hurdle jumped. Publishing my first poetry book is a positive affirmation that indeed, I might stumble in my quest but instead of the obstacles making me fall behind, they will cause me to stumble forward and give me some fulfilment.

Buying my book will go a long way to support me and clicking to purchase from any of those links will possibly earn me a commission of a few cents, but this is yet another curve in my journey. Finding ways to break through the obstacle and earn from the sweat of my brow.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Obstacles, The Discover Challenge