The Power of Laughter

Ollyy_Shutterstock_0

“What do you call an alligator in a vest? An investigator.” Did that pun make you laugh? If so, congratulations – you just strengthened your immune system, lowered your stress level, and got in a little bit of exercise. A simple laugh can cause the above health benefits, as well as many others,  to happen within your body. We have all heard the quote “laughter is the best medicine,” but do you know why?

Laughter has been known to be a positive healing force. It has physical, mental, and social advantages. When looking at your physical health, research shows a good laugh helps boost your T-cells. These cells are specialized immune system cells which, when activated, help your body fight off sickness. In addition, laughing releases endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers. When they are released, chronic pain can be relieved. Another benefit is lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels. Lowering a person’s blood pressure helps reduce their risk of stroke and heart attacks. Stress and anxiety levels can also be decreased, which triggers the T-cells to increase your body’s immune resistance. Lastly, humor can help a person add exercise into her day. When you are laughing, your stomach muscles expand and contract, providing effects similar to doing ab workouts. Along with your abs, laughing gets your heart pumping and can burn as many calories as walking at a slow to moderate pace. Can’t complete a physical activity due to injury, illness, or another health problem? Start laughing to get your body moving.

Humor has many mental health benefits. When a person’s stress and anxiety levels are decreased, a sense of well-being and joy can occur. Laughing is known to help create a positive and optimistic outlook. It helps a person shift her attitude and perspective during a disappointing and difficult time. Psychological research states humor allows people to see things more realistically and stop them from feeling overwhelmed. Another benefit is when you are laughing, you can’t feel any other emotions. You can’t be angry or sad when you have a smile on your face. Instead, your energy is increased, giving you a sense of hope and strength to face life’s challenges. A simple smile or small chuckle can go a long way, no matter how you are feeling.

Lastly, relationships are strengthened, and your social health can improve through laughter. There is a reason why people say laughter is contagious because when one person starts laughing, it is easy to join in. It helps people connect and share a moment of humor and happiness. Humor can be used as a way to communicate and produce positive feelings among people. When a positive bond is created, people will be more spontaneous, express their emotions more, and there are fewer disappointments and disagreements.

All people learn how to laugh as babies. However, as you grow up, it can be harder to find things that humor you. Life’s challenges could make it hard or you might not feel like laughing because of one thing or another. Sometimes you have to make an effort to laugh during the tough times. Easier said than done, right? Try bringing humor into your day by completing small tasks, such as renting a funny movie, reading a funny book, or watching a funny television show. Every Sunday, your newspaper has a section dedicated to making you laugh, so why not check it out? Also, take a walk down memory lane and remember the hilarious moments of when things didn’t go right. Keep up to date on good jokes and stories, or play with a pet or children. Finding laughter in your everyday life can be trying, but take the time to do fun activities with your family and friends. Be silly and goof around. Once you start laughing, you’ll recognize the many benefits. After all, Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

xoxo,

Megan

Advertisements

23 Ideas for Better Self-Care This Weekend

selfcare

Recently, I have discovered the true value of self-care. In the past few years, I did things that I considered to be self-care, but never truly understood the importance of taking care of yourself. Yes, I love to help others, but to effectively do so, I need to make sure I’m healthy and able first. Also, it is helpful for me to divide my self-care into “categories” of physical, mental, and emotional. That way, I can make sure all areas are covered. Below are some ways to fit self-care into your daily schedule:

Physical: 

  • Go for a walk
  • Dance
  • Swim
  • Play with a dog
  • Clean and reorganize a space in your home
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Drink water

Mental: 

  • Read a book
  • Journal
  • Turn your phone OFF
  • Do a DIY project
  • Color
  • Take pictures
  • Take a long, deep breath
  • Watch an old movie

Emotional: 

  • Meditate
  • Practice yoga or exercise
  • Light a candle
  • Talk with a friend
  • Write down a list of things you’re grateful for
  • Take a nap
  • Bake cookies for a family member or friend
  • Donate or volunteer

Whether it is an hour or only five minutes, take time for yourself every day. Sometimes you have to make yourself a priority, in order to be a better person for the ones you loved.

xoxo,

Megan

A “Win” for Me

Image result for summer

As we start the first day of a three day weekend, I can’t help, but think about everything that has happened. I am wrapping up my first year as a teacher and completely understand the “teacher struggles of May.” (T-minus 11 days until summer, by the way.) Teaching has been the most challenging yet wonderful thing I have ever done. Also, it is one of the most fulfilling things I have encountered. Those students…my kids…are why I try to work hard and be the best teacher I can day after day.

No matter how much you enjoy something, bad things still happen. Since March, I have been struggling with my depression and anxiety BIG TIME. On Sunday, March 31st, my sweet Nana went to Heaven. She was more than a grandmother to me. Growing up, my mom, sister, and I lived with my grandparents and Nana was actually a second mother. She was there for every school event, summer day, and tough time. It is just now getting real that Nana is no longer with us.

Grief is an extra “ingredient” that makes dealing with depression and anxiety so hard. There have been days I didn’t want to get up. There have been days I felt as if I wasn’t the best teacher for my kids because I zoomed out too often. There have been days when I have laid and watched hours of Netflix in the dark. However, I have discovered that it is okay to be feeling this way. It is okay to grieve. But, it is also important to remember that things will get better.

This morning, I got my car inspected. Yes, it is a small thing, but I have been trying to do this for a while. It is a win and that is all I need right now. Good things happen. Three day weekends happen. So, right now, I’m going to take my win and enjoy these days, the sunshine, and the unofficial start of summer.

xoxo,

Megan

A Lazy Friday


diff-between-rest-and-relaxation

I’m a workaholic. I work most of the time and have to keep myself from squeezing in a task in my spare moments. Yet, today I’ve decided I’m not going to do anything, except rest, relax, and recharge. And, you know what? So far, it has been great.

My day has been filled with laying on the coach, watching T.V., and eating leftovers. The only “work” I have done has been online shopping. The beauty of being lazy is that it helps a person become a better person, because you are able to refuel and ease some of your stress. It is a type of self-care that everyone needs to do.

While you may be spending hours in store lines today, make sure to take some time being lazy and enjoying the day. Trust me, you’ll feel better and stronger to take on the holiday chaos.

xoxo,

Megan

Day 1: An Update

healing_process

Back in October, I gave a life update on the new journey I was taking. Now, several months later, I decided it was time to provide you with another update.

Life hasn’t truly gotten easier. In January, we had another health scare with my grandmother. At 84-years-old, she got the flu and pneumonia. Hearing the doctor say “she might become one that succumbs to the flu” scares you to death. The two weeks she was in the hospital was full of emotions and prayer. Thankfully, I’m happy to report she is now 85-years-old and went into her first store since December this past Tuesday. Let me tell you, that woman is as tough as nails.

As for my job with the magazine, due to recent budget cuts, my position was eliminated. Yes, I am sad, because this means a decrease in income each month, but I’m also comforted. I’m comforted in thinking that I’m on the edge of finding my passion and what I am meant to do. You may know that I’ve been in graduate school, getting my teaching degree. This past spring, I have been student-teaching and loved every minute of it. Those students were so inspiring and made me want to come to work every day. Along with teaching, I feel as if I will spend this summer and the months afterward doing more of what I love. God only knows where life will take me and I’m confident in His plans.

During October to December, I healed from the stress of my grandmother’s stroke and grief of my dog’s, Gidget, death. Now, I am using these summer months to heal and find myself. In these past few months, I have been grieving; grieving for things in life I may never have and grieving for things I’ll never have again. My depression and anxiety have taken hits in my daily life. Now, I’m going to heal.

Some say writing things publicly makes your commitment to them stronger. Whether that is true or not, I’m going to share the ways I want to heal. I want to write, I want to design, I want to read, I want to take pictures, I want to paint, and I want to go for walks. Darn it; I want to sit and watch a whole movie without doing anything else. To be honest, I can’t remember when the last time was I did some of the things listed above. Life has been busy, and I’m grateful for being given the opportunity to manage work, student teaching, and school. However, I’m ready to sit, listen, and heal.

“I’m choosing happiness over suffering. I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love.” 

xoxo,

Megan

Link to “Day 1” post: https://metaylor.com/2017/10/06/day-1/ 

 

My Mental Health Self-Care

may-mental-health-month-slideshow-final_0

May is Mental Health Awareness month. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, I am a little ashamed I haven’t written about the topic this month until now.

For the past week or two, my anxiety and depression have run rampant. I have felt like crying for most of the days, ate very little, and wanted to spend the majority of my time sleeping. There have been some recent events in my life that brought on this heavy onset. However, good or bad, I still have to manage my mental health every day, and I have a few ways to help me.

  • Dancing to fun music. My current jam? Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”
  • Yoga at night to calm music.
  • Taking a bath and just relaxing.
  • Deep breathing.
  • Taking a long drive or walk to clear my mind.
  • Doing an at-home spa treatment, such as a face mask, pedicure, etc.
  • Writing long and honestly.
  • Reading curled up with multiple blankets on top of me.
  • Cleaning and organizing.

Honestly, May has been a month for my mental health. I’ve had my ups and downs, smiles and tears. But, there is one thing for sure, the tips above help me maintain it, and I hope by sharing them, they help you too!

Don’t ever be ashamed to admit you have depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, or another mental illness. There is no guilt in asking for help when you need it. After all, we are in this together!

xoxo,

Megan

11 Tips for Better Self-Care

selfcare

Recently, I have discovered the value of self-care. In the past few years, I did things that I considered to be self-care, but never truly understood the importance of taking care of yourself. Yes, I love to help others, but to effectively do so, I need to make sure I’m healthy and able first. Also, it is helpful for me to divide my self-care into “categories” of physical, mental, and emotional. That way, I can make sure all areas are covered. Below are some ways to fit self-care into your daily schedule:

Physical: 

  • Go for a walk
  • Dance
  • Swim
  • Play with a dog
  • Clean and reorganize a space in your home
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Drink water

Mental: 

  • Read a book
  • Journal
  • Turn your phone OFF
  • Do a DIY project
  • Color
  • Take pictures
  • Take a long, deep breath
  • Watch an old movie

Emotional: 

  • Meditate
  • Practice yoga or exercise
  • Light a candle
  • Talk with a friend
  • Write down a list of things you’re grateful for
  • Take a nap
  • Bake cookies for a family member or friend
  • Donate or volunteer

Whether it is an hour or only five minutes, take time for yourself every day. Sometimes you have to make yourself a priority, in order to be a better person for the ones you loved.

xoxo,

Megan

My Three Planners: How to Choose the Right Planner(s) for You

EC-planner

I’m very picky about my planners. The simpler, the better. All I need is a planner with a place to write down everything I have for each day. No frills, pockets, or dividers. But, I do have multiple planners. That’s right, three total. One for my daily life, gratitude, and mental health.

Daily Life Planner: 

This is my go-to planner, where I keep track of my appointments and daily schedule. Also, I write down my monthly bills and when I make a payment. As you can tell, there is nothing special or fancy about this method and I love it!

Gratitude Planner:

I call it a planner; however, it serves as more of a journal. At the end of every day, I write down five things I’m grateful for. I’m excited to read back through the past 365 days at the end of the year!

Mental Health Planner:

Again, this is more of a journal, but every day I write down how I felt. Was I depressed? Happy? Anxious? This activity allows me to keep track of my feelings and my ups and downs.

Looking for the right planner for you and don’t know where to begin? Try these tips below:

  1. Remember a planner is a tool that must be used.
  2. Choose your layout and planner size. Do you like a large planner or small? How about your days displayed weekly, daily, or monthly?
  3. Choose your style.
  4. Decide which extras you need for your planner.
  5. Choose your binding preference.

xoxo,

Megan

 

2018, Let’s Go!

dream2018

I love starting out a brand new year with thinking about my hopes, dreams, and goals. Some are realistic, while others take a little longer to achieve. I believe it is important to write down and visualize “your plans” for the year. However, I keep in mind that everything is on God’s timing and fully embrace His love and plan. As someone with a type-A personality, I have a hard time letting go of control. It is one of my goals to work on in 2018 🙂

Before I state my hopes, dreams, and goals, I always choose my focus word of the year. This word will guide the next 365 days. Sometimes these words just come to me, because of their meaning. Sometimes I have to think deep into my soul and ask what is it I need in my life? My 2018 word of the year is faith. As simple as it sounds, I want to use 2018 to grow my faith in God and His timing. In addition, I have a guiding question that allows me to center my year around. This year, it is: what can I do to change the world? 

In 2018, I would like to:

  • Love more
  • Let go of control
  • Work less and enjoy life more
  • Start the steps of getting my pilot’s license
  • Volunteer at least twice a month
  • Obtain my graduate certificate in middle grades education
  • Work on my novel and book series
  • Exercise and adapt a healthier lifestyle
  • Read more!
  • Become a better person, teacher, and writer
  • Continue writing for Forsyth Magazines 
  • Travel to at least two more states
  • Save more money for the future
  • Pass my PRAXIS II exam
  • Laugh more
  • Give thanks for all the blessings in my life
  • Be a greater advocate for mental health, active and nonactive military members, and homelessness
  • Write at least three times a week
  • Practice empathy more often
  • Smile at least once a day

What is your focus word and guiding question for 2018? What do you hope to accomplish in the new year?

Best wishes for 2018!

xoxo,

Megan