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Health

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health, Puberty, Sexual Health

    Periods Made a Little Easier with Clue

    clue app

    Being on your period is always an unpleasant experience with the physical and emotional pains that come with it. However, it becomes an even worse situation when you’re out somewhere and you start, but you didn’t plan ahead because you weren’t supposed to start at that time or you don’t have a set schedule for your cycle. I know that when I started it could be as short as 28 days to 40 days in-between cycles. Even if there are symptoms that signal your period is about to start, not everyone is the same, and they won’t experience them right when they begin having frequent cycles. That’s why to make things easier girls can get the app, Clue.  

    What is Clue?

    Clue is an app that helps women keep track of their monthly cycles. It collects data based on how often you start to how low you are on your period. There are even different tracking methods that help you not only understand what is happening with your body but to also get an idea of what is normal for your body. You could be someone who is very emotional during this time, or you could need extra sleep. Because periods usually only last 4-7 days, it can be hard to pay attention to how you’re feeling and live your life. This app helps you catalogue the information in just a few seconds, so when you have some downtime you can always go back and see what happened during that time.

    Give me the Data

    The Clue app has an easy set up. You download it, create an account, and put in your birthday, height, and weigh. These details can help Clue give you better research based on who you are. After that on the home page, you’ll see a circular arrow with a red circle in the middle. This is the page that helps keep track of everything. It shows how many days it has been since the last cycle started. This is the most beneficial part. I know that there have been days for me where I think I’m supposed to start at the beginning of the month, but I have no idea when. The day represented on the arrow just lets me know whether I’m close or not.

    Moving on to entering the data. The green circle with a white plus in the middle or the red circle with “Enter today’s data” are not hard to see because they are about the only pop of color. This part is what I really enjoy while using this app. There are so many little things to add:

    • Pain (cramps, headache, ovulation, or tender breasts)
    • How much you’re bleeding (light, medium, heavy or spotting)
    • Emotions (happy, sensitive, sad, or PMS)
    • How many hours you slept
    • How energized are you
    • Mentality (focused, distracted, calm, or stressed)
    • How motivated you are
    • Hair
    • Skin
    • Cravings (sweet, salty, carbs, or chocolate)

    Each of these can be added to your personal tracking options or taken away. It is all up to what you want to know. The section about the actually happenings of your period is gross to think about, but it helps to know how much bleeding you have to see when your period will be over. It also provides information that a doctor may need to know.

    Other really cool functions of the app

    Another function of Clue that I enjoy is the notifications. Every app has these, but Clue has set reminders to let you know when your cycle will begin, if you’re late, or if PMS is about to hit. This saves so much time. If I get notified that I’m late or about to start then I can make sure I have a pad or tampon with me. Most girls probably already have these any way, but sometimes after using one from the last cycle you forget about restocking because you’re just glad it’s over. That has been a problem for me in the past. Once that last day is over, being on my period is the last thing I want to think about.

    The final part of Clue that really makes it a good app is the Cycle Science section. When first starting your period, you may not know the ins and outs of it. You probably just think, “Hey, I’m bleeding. This is a thing now.” This section explains why all of the functions in Clue are important.  There are little articles with medical terminology, too. Some of this stuff you might not be taught, so having this here will help later when you’re older and go to the doctor. You’ll have the information you need to tell your doctor exactly what’s wrong if your period has something to do with it.

    If there is something to dislike about this app, it would be the “Plus” section. I have never found the need to pay for anything more because it is all provided right there in plain sight. There could be some extra analysis data I could be missing, but with everything that is already there, I don’t think you actually need anything more. This app is pretty straightforward so using it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Wanna download Clue and make period tracking a breeze? Get it on the App Store or Google Play. Or do you have more questions about periods and birth control and everything else that comes to sexual health? Check out our Need to Know page.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health, Mental Health

    Psychological Effect of Color

    colorful brain

    Do you ever see a bright and vibrant plant in a garden and feel a sudden rush happiness? Maybe instead, you walk into a bright green room and feel a heavy envious tug on your heart. No matter the place or emotion, colors have the baffling psychological ability to morph our emotions. From red, blue, orange, and green, all colors serve a trigger to certain feelings or emotions. Here is a list of colors and the corresponding emotions they stir up in order to organize your life by the colors that represent it.

    • RED: A color closely associated with romantic feelings, especially the feeling of love. In addition, red serves as a symbol of excitement.  
    • ORANGE: A color that also brings on feelings of excitement. It also invokes the need for attention.
    • YELLOW: A color that envelops the viewer in feelings of warmth and energy.
    • GREEN: A color associated with intense feelings of greed and jealousy.
    • BLACK: A color that precipitates unhappiness, sorrow, and stands as a universal symbol of evil.
    • BLUE: A color that revolves around feelings of serenity and sadness. In addition, sky blue can be used to reduce anxiety.
    • PURPLE: A color that exudes mystery, the need for relaxation, and universal wisdom.

    For more information about the psychological effect colors have on you everyday go to https://www.verywellmind.com/color-psychology-2795824!

  • Cooking, Food, GirlSpring.com, Health, Healthy Eating

    My go-to healthy snacks

    image of snacks

    1. Banana and Peanut Butter

    This is my favorite snack. It is healthy and easy. Banana’s give you potassium and help with digestion. Peanut butter provides you with protein, which keeps you full for a few hours!

    2. Yogurt and granola

    My favorite yogurt is either Chobani plain with honey and granola or Chobani Vanilla with some granola. This is my favorite pair, I get healthy bacteria for my gut and the granola has protein which helps me stay full.

    3.  KIND Bars

    I love kind bars, they don’t have a lot of ingredients and I can just grab them when I am running out of the door. They are made with simple ingredients, include protein, and aren’t packed full of sugar. They are my guilt-free snack.

    4. Grapes and Reduced-fat cheese stick

    There is no better pair than grapes and cheese. I love both of these. I love incorporating lots of fruit in my diet… I get a sugar boost from grapes and cheese is low-carb and also a good source of protein.

    5. Rice cake and avocado

    This is a new combo for me that I’ve found is really good and really filling! I love avocado toast but when I am cutting back a little bit on bread, I use a plain rice cake and it’s still really good!

    These are all of my favorite snacks that I like to rotate throughout the week, they are all pretty healthy and give you a boost so you can make it through the day and make it to your next meal.

    Happy snacking!

  • Health, School

    Say Goodbye to Mid-Semester Slumps

    Mid-Semester Slumps

    Say Goodbye to the Existential Dread

    Halfway through the semester, I found myself completely burnt out. Overwhelmed with a full schedule and a color-coded planner demanding all my time, I needed a change. Although I had no motivation in the mood to give up, I also didn’t have the energy to wallow.

    These are the steps I took.

    Rest

    Sometimes all your brain needs is a nap and a snack to refresh. I began forcing myself to turn off my phone. Without the anxiety of missing a text or call, I had time and head space to enjoy things like a hot shower, a charcoal mask, and an entire movie. Whatever helps you feel mentally and physically rested is important. Taking care of oneself isn’t an option. Self-care is adamant.

    Cook

    For some, cooking is stressful. But for those who enjoy the challenge, cooking is an excellent way to clear your mind. I love discovering a new recipe. Cooking is therapeutic and rewarding. Try it sometime!

    Exercise

    I am constantly thinking about where I need to be and when. Time is personally, a big stressor. Therefore, it is relaxing to clear my agenda and go to the gym. I love taking my time at the gym and allowing myself to relieve stress. The gym isn’t always relaxing. However, exercise can be done almost anywhere. For example, take a nice, long run through the neighborhood. Blast the headphones and block out the world.

    Let go

    Saying no is healthy. Accepting every invitation or offer is exhausting. When one begins living to please, they stop living for themselves. Learn to say no to things that aren’t mandatory – as well as things you don’t actually want to do. Making decisions for oneself also makes it easier for one to partake in self-care.

    Take a break and allow yourself to rest. Brains can’t function on empty.
  • Articles, Health, School, Stress

    Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

    Self-Care Isn't Selfish

    Self Care ≠ Selfish

    Because being self-aware does not make you self absorbed

     

    I feel like I’m always enveloped in some sort of activity— finishing an assignment or project for school, cleaning my room and bathroom for the third time in a week, or spending time with my closest friends, doing anything from running errands to talking about our days.

    Recently, I’ve realized that there’s never a moment where I take a moment to breathe. A moment to relax, to clear my thoughts.

    Don’t do this. Make time for yourself, whenever it’s possible.

    After years of spreading myself too thin, I’ve finally recognized a crucial aspect about myself: I cope with stress and anxiety by keeping busy. Whenever I’m alone with my thoughts, I begin to think about all of the other, more productive things I could be doing at that moment. I feel guilty for taking a break.

    It’s difficult to define stress; it can present itself in a multitude of ways, ranging from napping to the inability to concentrate. However, once you’re able to detect when you’re stressed, much like I did, you can discover how to alleviate it. Is confronting your emotions easy? No. But is it worth it? Definitely.

    Self-care is not selfish. I have to repeat this mantra to myself every single day, and chances are, so do you. You’re allowed to be your own priority.

    One of my favorite anti-stress methods, and one that has helped me the most is journaling. Through writing my emotions, I have learned so much about myself, including how to identify my emotions and why I’m feeling that way.

    I’m not a fan of pushing my problems onto other people, so through journaling, I’ve found a way to express my thoughts and relieve myself of the pressure they put on me. After putting my feelings on paper, I typically engage myself in “me time.” This concept, something that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, varies from person to person. It takes some trial and error to learn what works for you. Common methods are taking a bubble bath, applying a face mask, engaging in a type of exercise, or listening to your favorite music– as long as you’re doing something you love, you’ll come out the other end feeling better than before.

    As broad and cliché as it sounds, try to shut your brain off. Release the stress and worry of the day and be present in whatever you’re doing. We tend to become so wrapped up in our worries that we miss out on opportunities that can take the edge off, such as goofing around with friends or getting lost in the latest episode of New Girl.

    Stress is completely normal.

    So don’t be discouraged whenever that all-too-familiar feeling rolls around; above everything else, don’t burn yourself out by ignoring it. Recognize and accept what you’re feeling. Take a break to do something you love. Acknowledge that the feeling won’t last forever– you’ll wake up tomorrow, regardless of what happens day, to a fresh start.

  • Body Image, Confidence, Health

    My Fitness Journey

    My Fitness Journey

    Learning the Difference Between Self-Sabotage and Self-Care

    When I was 14 I decided to make a change. Chubby and tired of being labeled “the chubby friend”, I started a 30-day workout video called “30 Day Shred” by Julian Michaels. I also downloaded the My Fitness Pal app to count calories. All of this was completely new to me and I had zero knowledge of working out or healthy eating.

    However, I did know that the Google search results on “how to lose 20 pounds in a week” were not working.

    Within the first week of counting calories and working out, I noticed results. Because I was in the ninth grade, my metabolism was probably in its prime. I just needed to put in a little effort because of bad genes. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Without realizing it, I lost 30 pounds in a month! Often, I lost motivation and did not want to work out, but watching the scale go down helped me to persevere.

    If you know anything about counting calories – you know that once you factor your weight loss, it lowers your calorie intake and so on. Ultimately, this created an obsessive behavior. As the weight continued dropping, I managed to still see myself as the chubby, 130-pound girl I was determined to erase.

    I was miserable. I constantly thought about food, and wouldn’t hang out with friends if I hadn’t worked out. If I missed one day of working out, I felt like I had gained 5 pounds. If I ate more than 2 slices of pizza I would take laxatives to make up for it. After diving straight into an incredibly unhealthy mentality, I didn’t eat cake on my birthday because I was afraid it would make me fat. I was afraid of food and terrified of gaining any weight.

    This went on for a while until I was miserable enough to confess to my sister – which wasn’t much of a confession because all I ever talked about was food and working out so she had already noticed.

    My mentality was so messed up. I started to research on maintaining my weight and tried to find stories about people who had gone through the same thing. I found nothing.

    It wasn’t until I came across a girl on Instagram who had just finished a workout guide called BBG. Grace had abs and that was what I was striving for. I worked hard and wanted abs to prove it. So I started doing BBG and I did not like it, at all. I thought the workouts were boring because I was a runner. I didn’t finish BBG but I continued to follow Grace and her fitness journey. BBG lead her to fall in love with lifting weights and cured her unhealthy relationship with food.

    Finally, I found my solution to this madness. Although the weight room was unfamiliar to me, I threw myself in. To be honest, I was clueless and felt like a man. Eventually, I  learned the correct form, put my headphones in and pretended to know what I was doing – using the Nike Training app as my guide. I fell in love with the gym. It became my stress reliever and my favorite part of the day. My body was sore, but seriously who doesn’t like that feeling? I felt so strong but just wanted to transform my body.

    Weight lifting resolved my eating issues. I fell in love with healthy eating and learned how to balance my meals and fuel my body according to my new active lifestyle. I stopped counting calories and solely focused on how my body felt and the nutrients I was consuming.

    It is incredible the way my body has transformed. Now, I workout 4-6 days a week and love it. Also, I’m much stronger and am learning a lot about form and technique with the help of Youtube and Instagram. It is crazy what you can accomplish if you just change your mentality. 

    Be healthy and take care of your body! WE can do anything. Girl power!

     

  • Health

    How to Start Working out and not get Discouraged

    Start Working Out

    It is the beginning of a new year and you may feel like it’s finally time to start making time for the gym and start your journey to a new you. You may have no idea where to start or whether or not you need to have a gym membership to lose weight. If you are feeling desperate for a quick fix then understand now that there is no such thing as a quick fix and your body will not change overnight. It is going to take hard work, dedication, and persistency.  You are not alone I, myself have Googled “how to lose 20 pounds overnight” and it was left with the only option: eat healthy and exercise.  So how do you get started?

    Find a workout you enjoy:

    You can workout in so many different ways: running, cycling, yoga, H.I.I.T., weights, and so many other things. Whatever gets your heart rate up and causes you to wipe the sweat of your brow. You need to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. H.I.I.T. otherwise known as high intensity interval training is a fast-paced workout where you give it your all for 30 minutes at a very-high intensity. It is proven to be extremely effective in burning fat and showing results quickly. Cycling and running are also high intensity cardio options that will guarantee results. Don’t be afraid of the weights! The weight rooms are usually men-dominate but there is not reason to feel intimidated. Weights will give you that toned definition you want and don’t worry you won’t walk out of the gym looking like Hulk.

    Change up your diet:

    If you continue to eat the way you did before you decided to get healthy then working out will not cancel that out. Essentially, your body will not change if you do not give it the nutrients it needs in addition to working out. So add some veggies and fruits to that grocery list so that you can get the results you want!

    At-home workouts:

    If you are intimidated by the gym or can’t afford to go, then workout at home! I was so surprised that you could do so many workouts at home. at the beginning of my fitness journey. I lost 30 pounds by working out at home. Youtube has so many free workout videos. Julian Michaels and Blogilates have free workout videos on Youtube along with many other fitness youtubers. Nike Training Club is a free app that has so many workouts. You can even select how much time you have and what you want to workout. Popsugar Fitness has a workout generator and I promise you will wake up sore after all those burpees. Going for a run is free and it not only improves your heart health but it gets you outside and the endorphins will leave you antsy for tomorrow’s run.

    Do not get Discouraged:

    Getting started is the hardest. It is easy to give up when you are just beginning to get in shape. You will feel defeated and like you aren’t strong enough. Keep pushing through! Don’t give up on yourself. If you lose motivation then pick yourself up and remind yourself why you are doing this, why you want to better yourself, and why you want to be healthy. Start off small and gradually work yourself up, when it starts to feel easy then challenge yourself by running two miles instead of one just keep going!

    Take progress photos:

    You see yourself every single day so it may be hard to see your body changing, but if you take photos you will be able to look back and see just how much your body has changed. Scales don’t always tell the truth and usually leave you feeling discouraged so stay away from them if you can. Don’t be so hard on yourself or become obsessive. Your body is your temple so remind yourself you are doing this, which is to be kind to your body, not to achieve some ridiculous “model” body.

    Make a schedule:

    If you change up your workout routine everyday or every other day then your body will continue to be challenged which means more change! It will also keep you from getting bored and burned out if you do the same exact workout everyday.

    Working out at the gym:

    You don’t have to only do cardio at the gym. If you want to get stronger and challenge your body with weights then don’t be scared to do so. I walked into the gym completely clueless about weights or what a “rep” even was. At first, I used Pinterest to get my ideas about working out with weights, but then I soon discovered Whitney Simmons on Youtube. She will show you her workouts and she will also give you tips on your form and breathing, for free! So if you want to jump into the weight room, do it with confidence. You got this!

    Sample beginner workout plan: 

     

    Monday

     

    Run 1 mile

    Tuesday

     

    Yoga

    Wednesday

     

    Run 1.5 miles

    Thursday

     

    Rest day

    Friday

     

    H.I.I.T.

     

    Saturday

     

    Run 1 mile

    Sunday

     

    Rest day

    You can customize this however you would like, but this is a sample of what a week would look like. I hated working out and once I started my fitness journey I feel in love with exercising and living a healthy lifestyle. Now, I am passionate about helping others find love through exercising, too. Don’t give up, you can do anything!

    Happy working out!