Weighted Blankets: Pros and Cons

Weighted Blankets: Pros and Cons - The Boyfriend Blanket
Beauty Brite Disclosure

Depression and anxiety come in many forms. Some cases are fairly mild and pretty easily managed, others are more severe and can make managing everyday tasks very difficult. The spectrum of effects is wide and each person experiences them differently, which can make finding the best treatment a pretty hit-or-miss effort; one that requires patience, time, and openness to trying a variety of approaches to find what works for you.

Depression and anxiety can be pretty sneaky. Many people may not even realize that they are suffering from these conditions because they don’t always manifest in physical symptoms. Also, they may have been a part of a person’s life for so long that they can’t remember being any other way thus they don’t necessarily recognize that they are feeling it.

While depression and anxiety are receiving more media coverage and recognition in medical and behavioral therapy communities they are still sometimes looked upon with a bit of a stigma. Many people still are loathe to admit that they sometimes deal with feeling low or uncertain because they don’t want others to think something is wrong with them.

I would say that I probably have dealt with a low-level sort of depression for most of my life. But, I had traumatic events in my childhood that I believe account for them. And, for me particularly, I have developed skills and coping mechanisms that work for the times I feel a bit low. Self-care goes a long way for me — things like taking time to read, crochet or knit, or spend time with friends or family are often all I need to boost my spirits.

Also, even though I’ve not sought out therapy in a professional setting for those childhood issues (though I have seen a therapist for marriage issues which did inadvertently enlighten me about some things), I feel as though I’ve thought about those childhood traumas and through reading psychological articles and information learned in college while taking classes in the subject matter I’ve come to a place where the past is the past, and forgiveness and letting go is the present. So, day to day, I’m pretty good.

Sometimes, though, there isn’t a childhood trauma or other significant precipitating event that leads to depression or anxiety. There isn’t any one thing you can put your finger on and say, “Aha! That’s why I’m now dealing with these feelings.” Sometimes, it just is. For whatever reason, whether it’s just an inability to process and work through how one feels or whether there is a chemical imbalance in the body that triggers it, it’s just there.

Finding a good therapist is a great first step to trying to learn about and understand why you might be feeling depressed or anxious. Talking about how you feel and different experiences you’ve had in life can help to illuminate where these feelings come from and also result in developing ways to handle yourself to combat them. I’m no psychologist, so I won’t wax poetic about different coping mechanisms or cognitive therapies. But, I will say, if you are having difficulties emotionally do please consider giving a therapist a try. I personally found that the therapist I saw was really great at taking what I said and asking questions to help me to really explore the roots of things that happened, how they affect me, and provided much needed perspective and closure when necessary.

My daughter also deals with depression and anxiety, but at a more moderate level. Hers manifested as she progressed through adolescence into her teen years and had a more profound effect on her ability to manage daily living skills. However, hers isn’t rooted in childhood trauma. There’s not any one thing that any of us in the family can point to to account for it.

I recognized it and approached her to put feelers out to let her know it was okay to want to talk to someone about it, even if it wasn’t me. I offered to take her to a neutral, third party (a therapist) where she could explore her feelings with someone she had no relationship with and who she wouldn’t fear would judge her and who would help her. I kept the conversation brief and didn’t push the idea. Just laid it out as an option and let her consider it for a while.

Several days passed before she came to me and asked if I would make the appointment. That was more than two years ago, and she has been seeing the therapist regularly. It helped, quite a bit actually. Between the coping mechanisms I had passed on to her, and the ones she developed with her therapist, she was feeling better. But, she was still struggling with negative self-image, some anxiety in social situations, and generally feeling depressed — more than she liked.

After two years in therapy, her therapist and I decided it was time to explore medical options. Our pediatrician administered a depression index assessment and was, frankly, shocked at the score. Even with therapy, my daughter still scored as severely depressed. After extensive discussion about the length and type of therapy she’d been doing, among what seemed like a barrage of other discussion about everything from diet and exercise levels to what kinds of friends she hung out with to asking if she was using alcohol or drugs or having sex … our pediatrician finally felt informed enough to explore medication management.

We started my daughter on the lowest dosage possible of an anti-depressant which I keep separate from other medications in a place my daughter doesn’t have access to. I give her the medication daily and watch her take it. Not because I don’t trust her to take it appropriately, but because I just want to make sure it is getting taken regularly so that it can be effective.

After a couple of months, the dosage was raised very moderately and then was raised once more a few months later. She still takes a moderate dose daily. And this, in addition to continued therapy, has made a world of difference. She still struggles some days with her emotions. But I have seen the sparkle return to her eyes. I have seen the beautiful smile and heard the infectious giggles I used to live for when she was a little girl that I worried were gone forever. She isn’t hiding out in her room 24/7 anymore, avoiding contact with other people. Where one year at a family Christmas gathering she had an emotional meltdown while the family was having a White Elephant gift exchange game (because she thought she was ruining everyone’s good time) she is now the life of that activity, not only participating in the gifting but calling out the numbers for other people to choose from the gift pile, often in goofy, silly voices.

Therapy and medication have made a world of difference. But, still, her depression and anxiety are ever there and sometimes rear their ugly heads to try to topple her. We still look for other ways to help her feel the best she can.

For her, we’ve found that drawing and other art-based activities bring her joy. Also, we’ve found that tactile things bring her comfort. Not only tactile things that she can touch, but ones that have an emotional meaning, as well. For example, for Valentine’s Day this year her older sister gave her the cutest little stuffed toy, a sloth (because they are a favorite of both my girls). This is a cherished item that brings her joy, not just because she can touch it but because it was given in love. It reminds her that she is loved.

Another way to speak to her in her love language is with blankets. She loves them. All kinds. The softer and more comfy they are, the better they comfort her.

During my reading about depression and anxiety I came across some literature about weighted blankets and how they can help comfort people who suffer from these conditions. It hit all the boxes for me – it’s something she can use pretty much anywhere at any time she needs it, blankets are already a comfort item for her, and it’s an additional “therapy” sort of thing we can try that isn’t adding more medication to her daily regimen.

I looked at quite a few different brands of weighted blankets. I decided that The Boyfriend Blanket would be the one to try for my daughter.

The Boyfriend Blanket

Things to know about The Boyfriend Blanket:

  • It’s engineered to be 7-12% of your bodyweight to provide a calming effect, like being held. The blanket is available in three different weights based on the user’s body weight.
  • Dimensions — 48 inches wide, 78 inches long
  • The blanket uses DTP (Deep Touch Pressure) to evenly distribute weight, applying even amounts of pressure with non-toxic high-density glass beads that are sewn into pockets in the blanket to evenly distribute weight across your body.
  • Weighted blankets are a proven technology that has been used by the medical profession for decades.
  • In addition to being used to help those suffering from anxiety and depression, this blanket can also be used to help those dealing with PTSD, Autism, Stress, and Restless Leg Syndrome. But, anyone who wants to achieve relaxation and/or a deep meditative state will find the blanket beneficial.
  • It fits as a cover for a twin size bed quite nicely, but can be used anywhere you want comfort — in a larger bed, in a chair or on a couch, in a rocker, as you sit in a lounge chair outdoors, or even in the car on a road trip. Wherever you need comfort, you can take the blanket with you.

My daughter’s eyes lit up upon seeing it for the first time, really just because she loves blankets. The denim cover appealed to her, as well as the fuzzy wool side. But, when I told her about the weighted insert and how it could activate pressure points in her body to help alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety I could tell her interest was peaked even more (from the fact that it could help her or because it came from me in a place of love and caring, I’m not sure). But, either way, she was all in for it.

The Boyfriend Blanket was inspired by denim jackets like the ones many boyfriends might give their girlfriend to wear to feel closer to them.
The wool side of the blanket. So soft and comforting!

And she loves it. The “Pros” of The Boyfriend Blanket are that it helps her feel more centered, more at peace and that it looks great and feels very comforting when using it. Depression can cause one to feel untethered, like they’re floating and not attached to anyone or anything, like they don’t have a place or purpose in the world. This blanket, along with the therapy and medication seems to help her feel grounded and centered. And loved. Most of all, loved and cared for.

So, we count it a successful addition to her daily routine.

As far as “Cons” of weighted blankets, I can think of only two:

  1. Cost — Weighted blankets can cost a bit of money, more than the average throw blanket found at many mass merchandisers. But, in terms of the still-affordable investment, I feel like the benefits way outpace the price. It’s so very worth it!
  2. The Boyfriend Blanket, in particular, consists of the weighted insert and a separate outer covering. There are ties sewn into the inside corners of the outer covering that anchor the weighted insert to it. Several of these ties have come apart from the outer covering, allowing the weighted insert to flop around inside the blanket. Not a huge deal, because my daughter loves it so much that she doesn’t mind having to fix it from time to time. I’m not sure how I should go about making the anchor ties more secure, but I’m pondering it over and I’m sure I’ll come up with something that will work.

Overall, I highly recommend giving a weighted blanket a try if you or someone you love deals with anxiety or depression or any condition in which applying small amount of weight to body pressure points may alleviate discomfort. There are quite a few on the market. And for the benefits, I think it’s a very affordable and worthy option to try.

Do you or someone you care about suffer from anxiety or depression? Are weighted blankets an option you would consider trying? If you have tried one, please feel free to share your experience here in the comments!

We Added Style To Our Fitness Routine And We Love It

When it comes to my fitness, I like to treat myself with new equipment and new accessories.  It just helps me stay motivated! How you stay focused on your fitness? We rounded up some cute styles to add to our fitness routine!  Let’s explore them!

We Added Style To Our Fitness Routine And We Love It
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Shanti Wellness: Natural Products for Natural Problems

Shanti Products
Shanti Products

In the spirit of Earth Day, I wanted to try some products that boasted being natural products. As someone that suffers from pain and inflammation connected to autoimmune disease, I am often looking for natural products designed to relieve pain, inflammation, and anxiety.

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Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully -- Tru Niagen
Beauty Brite Disclosure

So, I guess I might be considered by some to be middle-aged. But, in most respects, mid-forties doesn’t seem to be markedly different than the mid-thirties for me. The only thing I’d say that is noticeably different personally is that I seem to have a little less energy overall. At this point in my life, aging gracefully is pretty high on my radar, for sure.

When I was younger and had an idea about something I wanted to do there seems to have been more follow through. Life is give and take, where I had a little more physical energy when I was younger and tended to sit still less often I am now more likely to be still enough to choose projects more thoughtfully and intentionally.

So, here’s the give and take — when I was younger I did more things that required physical exertion, but now that I’m older I’m accomplishing more projects that require stillness. Like writing projects. Like planning things more thoroughly. Like starting crochet or knit projects and actually finishing them. Like actually trying more recipes where I used to just collect them thinking someday I’d get around to them.

Give and take. I’d say it’s a pretty essential skill for aging gracefully, in my opinion. Because nothing is sustainable long-term in life. You don’t have optimal energy from day one to the last day. You don’t have maximum intelligence all the way through. You don’t make the absolute best decisions.

I tend not to view a successful life in terms of having the best of everything or being my best self every moment. We all need those times when we just let it all go and give ourselves permission to be less than perfect.

But, do not mistake me for a slothful quitter. No, I do keep my ear to the ground to learn about new products and technologies that make life better, healthier, and more enjoyable.

Since decreased energy is a bit of a thing for me, I thought I’d share something I found that might help to address this issue. Tru Niagen™  from ChromaDex. It’s a dietary supplement, much like the daily vitamins many of us take to support good health. It contains 150 mg of niagen (vitamin B3).

Aging Gracefully - Tru Niagen

Tru Niagen™ is a form of vitamin B3 that combats aging by improving cellular health and increasing NAD levels in living human cells. NAD is important in how cells use energy. As we age, the stresses of daily life begin to deplete our body’s stores of this important coenzyme.

Aging Gracefully - Tru Niagen

WHAT IS NAD?

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme found in every living cell. It’s essential to every cell, but especially to those with mitochondria. That’s because mitochondria are “the powerhouses of the cell.” Mitochondria depend on NAD to convert food into the energy our cells need to stay charged and functioning at their best.

Source:
Tru Niagen™

So, I’ve been taking Tru Niagen™ for a few months and (aside from a couple of periods of having head colds or stomach flu) have noticed that I do feel like my personal energy levels are higher. I do deal with low blood iron and low vitamin D that contribute to my decreased energy levels. So, I continue to try to address those issues as well.

But, lifestyle changes like adding a multivitamin, eating healthier (or trying to, at least), and adding Tru Niagen™ to my daily routine seem to be having a positive effect. One of my first thoughts upon waking up in the morning used to be wishing I could turn around and just crawl back into bed for more sleep, even if I’d gotten a solid seven or eight hours of sleep. I don’t find myself doing that anymore. Also, most kinds of physical activity that required energy used to make me cringe since I knew I’d tire and want to stop, thus potentially leaving the entire project undone if I never went back to it. That seems to be something that I’m not having to deal with as much now, either.

Aging Gracefully - Tru Niagen

I am very encouraged regarding the effects of adding Tru Niagen™ to my daily routine. Because I, like most people, want to age well and remain intelligent and productive as long as possible. Anything I can do to try to have a good quality of life no matter how old I live to be is worth it. I still have a lot to look forward to in life and I want to be healthy enough to enjoy and appreciate all of it!

Obviously, I make no health or safety claims about using this or any other health supplement. If you are interested in this or any other product, please first take some time to do some research and to consult with your physician, as well.

Do you suffer from lower energy levels? What are you doing to address those concerns?

Natural Care For The Family

As a single mom, I am always on a budget. However, when it comes to beauty, I like to be picky with what I use!  A few months ago, I had to purchase a list of basic beauty essentials to send to school for my son, such as a comb/brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, etc.  They were going to work with the students on how to use these items, basic needs, and how to care for themselves! At the time, I needed to buy the items quickly, so I didn’t choose natural items!  After buying everything on the list, I realized, I should choose natural beauty for the family!

As a single mom, I am always on a budget. However, when it comes to beauty, I like to be picky with what I use! A few months ago, I had to purchase a list of basic beauty essentials to send to school for my son, such as a comb/brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, etc. They were going to work with the students on how to use these items, basic needs, and how to care for themselves! At the time, I needed to buy the items quickly, so I didn’t choose natural items! After buying everything on the list, I realized, I should choose natural beauty for the family!
Beauty Brite Disclosure

As time went on, I’ve been slowly switching my son’s basic care items to natural products. We are now using natural toothpaste.

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Five Ways to Improve your Physical and Mental Health

Improve Your Overall Mental and Physical Health Naturally

improve health

Beauty Brite Disclosure

Over the past year, I have been making the push to go completely natural in both my home and my healthcare. So far, I have managed to switch my cleaning products for my house to completely plant-based. I wanted to incorporate that lifestyle into ways to improve health and wellness.

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This Years Hottest Easter Items

This Years Hottest Easter Items

 

Beauty Brite Disclosure

As Easter is quickly approaching I thought it would be fun to put together a list of the hottest Easter ideas for your little ones. With that being said, our Children know the real reason that we celebrate Easter and that is always our main focus but who doesn’t love to see their little faces light up with joy to see what the “Easter Bunny” has brought them.

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Smoking: Using Hypnotism to Kick That Nasty Habits’ Butt

Smoking cigarettes. It used to be acceptable in restaurants, the workplace, and pretty much anywhere. As we as a society have become more aware of the health issues surrounding smoking, we have become less accepting of smoking in public places.

Smoking Using Hypnotism to Kick That Nasty Habits' Butt

Smoking Using Hypnotism to Kick That Nasty Habits’ Butt

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Plant-based Eating Made Easy

 

Plant-based eating made easy 

Beauty Brite Disclosure

In the last several years, I’ve moved towards a more plant-based diet. My goal is to eat in a healthier, more sustainable diet, for both myself and the planet. It also allows me to try new foods and to search for interesting new recipes to try. Although, sometimes trying to find all the ingredients can be daunting, but not anymore. With Purple Carrot, I get all the ingredients I need to make plant-based meals delivered directly to my home. It’s simple, delicious, and fun.

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Getting Whiter Teeth While Restoring Enamel

New Dental Products from Rembrandt and Plackers
Beauty Brite Disclosure

I have to admit that I’ve never been the best at taking great care of my teeth. I spent the money on an electric brush, and I use special toothpaste for people with sensitive gums and prone to bleeding. I’ve never had the best of luck with dentists, so I don’t like going. Because of this, I had $2,000 worth of dental work.

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