The last thing I expected last Tuesday was to be leaving my office in a stretcher begging paramedics to help me make it home to my daughter, but thankfully I walked away from the situation with my life and a loud and clear lesson that balance is the best defense against work burnout. For weeks, my body hadn't felt quite right. Anything I ate led to bloating and just a general feeling of discomfort when it came to digestion. For weeks, I had been exhausted, barely able to get myself energized to write and edit on the weekends.
I was often pushing through sleep deprivation, but fatigue is something you gradually get accustomed to when you're parenting a four-year-old who isn't the best sleeper. Because my nights were filled with interrupted sleep for the past several years, it was easy to neglect that my moderate asthma probably wasn't being well-maintained. Most nights, I was popping up from my pillow at 3 a.m. in response to my daughter's cries to sleep in my bed, have another cup of water or disappointment from wetting her "big girl draws". While parenting through partially closed eyelids, I'd take a few puffs off of my inhaler before comforting my daughter, so much that I didn't notice I was way more dependent on my asthma inhaler than I probably should be.
Working seven days a week on minimal sleep had become a normalized part of my life.
I was no stranger to hard work and had often worked more than one job at a time since undergrad. But what wasn't normal was the stress I had taken on at work. My colleagues and I were involved in an HR issue at work which involved an abusive boss, restructures in the organizations and adjusting to new supervisor. When I wasn't at work navigating transition, I was elbows deep in the search for private school with my spouse for our future pre-schooler. The month has been filled with coordinating work schedules so we could meet up for school tours and Pre-K assessments. With every meeting and appointment that was slowly holding my life hostage, my anxiety was growing and there were days when I definitely felt like my brain was on auto-pilot and my body was damn near being left behind as the responsibilities of adulting were running full speed. However, this particular work day there was no catching up in the rat race and I literally could not catch my breath.
I went to lunch that day walking about ten minutes from my desk job to treat myself to some ridiculously unhealthy McDonalds. I returned to the office that day after walking ten minutes in 32 degree wind, talking to my sister and living my best life with a gut full of Big Mac. As I was getting myself together to return to my work, my lungs felt slightly irritated, but like most asthmatics I figured a few puffs on my inhaler and sitting the hell down and breathing slowly would have me right back at it. But after a few puffs, I realized the medication wasn't working and my chest was growing tighter and tighter. I was sweating and in what seemed like minutes could barely call out my colleague to call 911. It seemed like I was waiting for an hour for the paramedics to arrive but in all actuality it was probably only about ten minutes and the rest of the scene I only remember as a big blur of breathing masks, me begging for help and being sped past my coworkers on a stretcher in tears.
Every breath felt like my last as I struggled to breathe.
I didn't care about my purse, my day planner or even my open Facebook direct message on my desktop computer. I could barely muster the strength to unlock my phone so HR could call my husband. And to be completely real, I felt like that day I was going to die. I was going to die in that damn cubicle surrounded by people who the deepest conversation I ever had with was mainly office gossip and our dreams of flipping the finger to senior leadership the day we walked off the job. One minute, I was scheduling conference calls and doing data entry and the next, I was begging for my life while being wheeled past the boardroom. In that moment, I knew that none of those things mattered if I wasn't healthy, making work/life balance a priority and choosing self-care.
The whole ordeal was hella embarrassing but a glaring reminder that although mentally you may be booked, busy, breaking necks and cashing checks, your body is not invincible and may have other plans.
By the end of the work day, I was sitting in the ER on a breathing mask. My co-worker had brought my personal items from work and, while I fiddled for my insurance card, a doctor casually informed me that I was one intervention from being intubated and that the asthma flare-up was probably due to the cold weather. I was more embarrassed than anything and medical providers determined that I should stay overnight in the hospital for observation. This would be the second stay I had in the past ten years for asthma complications. My parents lectured me about burning the candle at both ends, and while I knew their criticism came from a place of fear and concern, I couldn't help but think about how many women like myself repeatedly put their health last under the heavy burdens of career, motherhood, and personal relationships. For me, it was asthma, but so many other women are putting off that pap smear for the parent/teacher conference.
In a survey discussed on HealthyWomen.org, it was found that when it comes to the health needs of their families and themselves, women often put themselves last and prioritize healthcare in the following order: Children, Pets, Spouse or Significant Others, and Themselves. In our household, the dog only gets her needs met when she has a health scare and my husband forces time into his busy schedule. However, when it comes to flu shots, fillings and eyeglass exam, I am typically the one armed with my day planner and cell phone coordinating my family's care, navigating insurance and hoping I'll remember to schedule my annual exam at some point when the weather is warm and I have enough PTO left over at work after all of my daughter's appointments.
In addition, many women are often too exhausted to get around to their own health after filling out internet forms, double-checking insurance coverage and making appointments for their family members. The survey revealed that many women have just plain checked out of maintaining their own health:
"A shocking 78 percent said they often put off taking care of themselves or getting their health appointments made because they are so busy taking care of other family members' health.
It's not surprising women feel busy. Approximately 82 percent of women do most of the health-related research for their kids, 86 percent of women schedule the majority of the health care appointments for their kids, and 72 percent arrange for the payment of the majority of the bills for their kids health care. And, unfortunately, navigating insurance and health care bills can take lots of time because the process can be incredibly confusing."
But more than a missed pap smear, falling completely apart at work was an epiphany to me that staying committed to small moments of self-care matters much more than we think. I also recognized that self-care is about more than Taco Tuesdays and Lush bath bomb binges. My soul was tired.
Every day seemed like an uphill battle to search for the energy to do the bare minimum while overwhelmed with thoughts of the struggles of the world around me.
A few months later and I'm dedicating each month since to a detox of some sort, whether it's been not reading work emails at home or removing the social media apps from my phone. As much as we'd like to think it's the big misfortunes in life that make it more difficult, it's actually the slightest imbalances, anxiety triggers and repeated reminders that adulting is difficult that can slowly suffocate us if we don't keep them in check.
Featured image by Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy