My Three Favorite Work-Outs That Don’t Stress Me Out

Working out is supposed to be a form of relieving stress, not piling it on. You know what I mean. Trying out a new gym or some trendy new workout studio can be intimidating. You don’t know what to expect. You feel like everyone in there might already be a pro. Will everyone know you took a three month break from your last workout?

I also can’t tell you how many gym memberships I’ve had that I stopped using because I have no clue what to do with those machines and because there’s no way in hell I’m going to go work out with the guys in the weights section. Props to you if you’ve overcome this! But if you’re inconsistent about exercising like I am and still find it challenging, know that you aren’t alone.

For the last two years, I’ve stuck with the following and actually look forward to working out (what?!):


I attend Black Swan Yoga in Austin, and I absolutely love it. It is hot yoga, which I used to hate at one point, but I’ve become used to it. Also, sweat dripping down my body makes me feel accomplished as hell. Like, damn. I am a super sweaty yoga goddess (even if I can barely hold any given pose).

What I love about yoga the most is that the entire point of the workout is time you make for yourself to focus on yourself. You aren’t there to check out other people’s poses or talk with your friends. You’re there to meditate and feed yourself spiritually and physically. After every yoga practice, I feel calm, relaxed, free, and proud of myself.

If you’re barely starting out, I recommend a beginner’s or all levels vinyasa yoga class. Hot or not is dependent on you. I don’t push it on anyone because it doesn’t suit everyone. And no, you do not have to be physically flexible to try a yoga class. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t do yoga because I can’t even touch my toes!” Good! That’s the point. Everyone is at a different level in their yoga practice and it’s called practice because the more you do it, the more flexible you can become.

Oh, and if you really don’t feel like attending a class, try YouTube for Yoga with Adriene. She has all sorts of yoga for anything you might be feeling for as little as fifteen minutes.

Orange Theory

As someone who was consistent in her cross-fit regimen back in the day, Orange Theory feels like cross-fit but just one level less intense. AND I LOVE THAT! I loved cross-fit, too, but honestly, for me it felt stressful going into a WOD (workout of the day) every day because I just knew I was about to die trying. It’s also worth noting that I’m afraid of lifting (very heavy) weights over my head because I am a clumsy individual and I get hurt a lot. Enter OT.

Orange Theory is an hour long workout that includes both cardio and strength training during every. single. workout. Every day is a different workout, and while there is a diversity of training equipment, there are no bars to lift over one’s body. It’s a group workout, which I’m a big fan of because nobody’s eyes are only on me and the coach isn’t yelling directly at me. We’re all in this together! And in one hour, I’ve knocked out both cardio and strength training and nobody laughed at me while I did it.

Yes, the workouts are intense, but they’re not so bad that you have to say a little prayer before you begin.

Jogging Outdoors

Finally, jogging. I am a wannabe runner. I’m that person who begins training for a half-marathon (hell, I have even paid to enter) and then gets to six miles and doesn’t run for another six months. But despite my lack of consistency (I’m beginning to notice a trend on this post), jogging outdoors is so relaxing. You can put on your favorite music, or not. You can run fast or slow. You can even meditate. Seriously, I do walking meditations sometimes and they really chill me out.

I hate running on a treadmill. I know, Orange Theory is fifty percent running on a treadmill, but they change it up so much that it doesn’t feel boring. If I have to run on a treadmill, I’m bored out of my mind with nowhere to go. Running outside is so liberating. It feels like when you were a kid and you played on the playground. Or like you’re running away from all your problems. I typically imagine the latter.

How I learned that hating my body was an immature act (and I had to grow up)

Do you ever see pictures of yourself from a few months or years ago and think, “Wow, I was so thin!” And do you remember that at the time, you thought you weren’t thin at all? This happens to me frequently. I see pictures of myself that are pretty recent and I remember being so unhappy with my body at the time. I remember all the negative thoughts, like thinking I was too big, too soft, too bloated. Then I see these pictures some time later and I think, I looked really great. Why did I waste so much time being so hard on myself about the way I looked?

Insecurity about our bodies is not a new issue. It’s something we constantly struggle with, and I mean that for both men and women. I used to believe that men never wrestled with body image, but over the years, as I’ve become more aware of the negative self-talk that exists about body image, I’ve heard men make some pretty sad, self-deprecating comments about their bodies as well. They’ve been unhappy, too. A lot of us are!

I’ve read about studies of little girls as young as age six talking about diets they want to try or commenting that they don’t want to be fat. This breaks my heart. I guess in this sense I’m “lucky” that my body image issues didn’t start until I was about age twelve. This is around the time puberty hit and all of a sudden, my body was doing its own damn thing and I felt like a passenger on its crazy train. But from the time I began to worry about what my body looked like until very recent years, the effect of trying to achieve a thin, lean figure has been so damaging to me.

I’ll take it back a little bit. I don’t believe anyone had a good time in high school, and if you did, you’re lucky. As dramatic and angst-y as it sounds, I hated high school and you couldn’t pay me to go back. I’m grateful for the harsh lessons that were learned, but dear Lord, I dreaded walking down those halls every day. It felt like I was always being scrutinized, and I wanted so badly to look good while being scrutinized! I guess I thought if I was pretty enough or thin enough, it would lessen the blow of the mean things people would say. When I started the ninth grade, I was exercising numerous times a day and I simultaneously got sick (unrelated to the exercise). This caused me to lose a significant amount of weight and I felt good about myself. People noticed, and I was happy. Later on that year, I put the weight back on. Mind you, I was never fat or even overweight. I was just an average looking girl. But it got back to me that an upperclassman cheerleader had said, “Dania gained weight, right?” I remember that day so clearly. I remember the cheerleader’s name to this day. I got home and cried and refused to eat the rest of the day. I fought with my mom because I took my anger out on her, as teenagers do. I remember crawling under the covers of my bed and thinking I never wanted to come out. I just wanted to wrap blankets around my body and never have to show it to anyone again. I felt so ashamed and disgusted with myself. It honestly breaks my heart thinking about it now. I see pictures of myself throughout all my years in high school now and I was, dare I even say it, thin the whole time!

Fast forward to the years after I graduated from college. I went to Boston for my first year of law school, and I became so anxious and depressed that I had to withdraw after I finished my 1L year. Because I was so depressed, I had begun losing a lot of weight. When I moved back to my hometown in the Valley, I didn’t have a job and I wasn’t going to school. So, I took up cross-fit. And I loved it! And I got pretty good at it (if I do say so myself. Nobody else said so, except my coach. Once.) I also auditioned for a semi-professional dance team and made it. This meant I was working out five to six times a week doing cross-fit. I had dance practice twice a week. The dance team also gave us a free gym membership, and we were required to go workout twice a week in addition to dance practice. (Yes, they checked to see if we fulfilled this requirement each week). I would start my cross-fit workout at five a.m and then dance practice or gym time (or both) later that day. So what did this mean for me? It meant I was suddenly in the best shape of my life. Not only was I leaner than I had even been in high school, I was strong. I was fitting into clothes I hadn’t even fit into when I was twelve years old. I was down about 25-30 pounds and I loved the way I looked in a bathing suit, and/or my very small dance uniform.

So that’s it. Obviously, at this point of my life, I was ecstatic with happiness, right? My whole life I thought if I were thin and built and beautiful, all my self- esteem issues would go away. And is that what actually happened? NO.

I remember weighing myself every day and night and freaking out if there was even the smallest increase in my weight. I remember sitting at a family get-together once, and my cousin told me, “Stop touching your stomach! You think you’re fat, but you’re not!” I hadn’t even realized I had been fidgeting the whole time, trying to suck it in and touching and touching my waist. I’m not going to pretend I hated this whole exercising like crazy experience. It actually taught me just how capable my body is of doing things that I never thought possible. It taught me that I was strong and I had stamina. And honestly, ever since then, I may not exercise as intensely, but it is something I will always do.

But at the time, even though I was happy with my body, I hated myself because I hadn’t finished law school and I didn’t have a job. I was living at my dad’s house, and I felt like a failure. My self-esteem was shot.

Fast forward and I’m in law school again. I went from exercising every day, sometimes three times a day, to exercising once a week if that. School stressed me the hell out, and I neglected taking care of my body so that I could put that time into studying instead. When I did make some free time, it was to see my friends and go out for drinks. Definitely not to exercise. So, of course, I slowly gained all the weight I had lost over the years.

And guess what? I hated myself again. Now I was in law school, working hard for my dream, but I wasn’t skinny anymore. So, of course, that made me a huge, unattractive failure in my eyes.

Do you see the vicious. fucking. cycle?

I am just so tired. I’m tired of hating my body because it can’t be thin and toned during the times I want it to be. When I was in law school, I would cry and hide under the covers like when I was in high school for the same damn reason. Wasn’t it time that I grew up and stopped acting like a scolded child? Why do I have to be ashamed of my body, like it did something wrong? My body is beautiful, not offensive.

It has taken me several years to finally reach the point that I’m at now. That point is to stop hating myself and my body because I’m not thin. When I’ve had relationships end, I’ve thought, “Maybe if I were skinnier, he would have stayed.” When I’ve been happy in a relationship, I’ve thought, “What if he cheats on me with that girl because she’s skinnier and prettier than I am?” When I’ve dated someone who can’t stop singing praises about my body and tells me that I’m beautiful every single day, I’ve thought, “He’s just saying that because I’m his girlfriend and he feels obligated to.”

The truth is you will never be happy with yourself and your body until you decide to be. We will always feel we can be more toned, more muscular, more fit. Some people are trying to gain some weight or add some curves. But at what point will it be enough? Why are we so unkind to ourselves now? And who decided I had to look a certain way to be worthy? We keep striving for this ideal goal and without knowing it, we believe that once we reach it, everything will fall into place and we will never have a negative thought about ourselves ever again. But that ideal goal just does not exist. Or it does, and you’ve already reached it. You just have to decide.

We are so accustomed to calling ourselves “fat” or “not skinny enough” or “ugly.” We are accustomed to seeing someone disgusting when we look in the mirror. We are so accustomed to those things that we will not recognize when the moment comes that we realize we are actually just fine as we are. Even if you decided today to never make a negative remark about yourself for as long as you live, your brain will still make those remarks for you because we’ve trained it to be that way. It’s wired to be an asshole. We have to reach a point where we fight back. We have to reach a point where we grow up and stop accepting society’s lies about our bodies, like scared little kids who believe anything you tell them.

This is where I’m at now. As much as I love to preach body positivity, it does not mean that I see no flaws when I look in the mirror. I’m not going to lie – I’ve come a long way and I can’t help but love the person I see in the mirror these days (Hey, girl, hey! I see you feelin’ yourself!) But it took me a lot of tears and self-loathing to get here. I had to make a conscious effort to look in the mirror and say, “I love you. I love your legs and your stomach and your super round cheeks.” And I had to do that every time I wanted to say the opposite, or every time my brain was automatically saying the opposite for me.

Could I stand to lose a few pounds? Sure. Am I going to feel like a disgrace until I do so? Nope. Do I even want to make an effort to lose the weight? To be honest, no. I love to exercise, I love to run, I adore yoga. I also love to eat tamales and I adore buffalo wings, and I don’t own a scale. I feel good about myself. You should, too.


Hello everyone!

My name is Brissa and I am the owner of Dulce Soap Company.

Dulce Soap 3

Upon creating this company, I never knew I would be learning so much regarding toxic materials, ingredients, and marketing scams. Even today, I continue to learn different facets of the beauty industry and what their accommodations are to us, if any. What is toxic, you ask?

Let’s review together!

Let’s imagine that every morning you wake up and you head to the bathroom to start your morning routine consisting of: brushing your teeth, washing your face, priming your face for makeup, then finishing off with makeup. Let’s break down all of the things you may have put on yourself!

1) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

This ingredient hides in your toothpaste. It was originally used to clean floors (what?!) and is what typically causes the “foam.” This detergent can also cause canker sores.

2) Parabens
Parabens are found in a lot! These include shampoo, face wash, soap, face cream, and others. Why “parabens” is a word to freak out about: they mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt hormonal balance! In other words, some days when you are irritable, or foggy-brained even, it could be because of the face wash you are using!

3) Phthalates
This is another scary group of a toxic family; these can cause birth defects and disrupt the endocrine system. They’re commonly found in cosmetics which helps them stick to our skin or face all day. Look for these in hair spray, deodorant, and cosmetics.
I understand that as women, we can’t control our future or our growing fertility issues. However, we can start learning about things we don’t have to buy. I encourage everyone to make the switch A.S.A.P. and start using more naturally-derived products. Dulce Soap Company only sells products that are paraben, SLS, and phthalate-free. This makes it an easy transition for you to start using products and not have to “think” about what you’re putting on your skin. Remember, the skin is the largest organ, and it absorbs a crazy amount of products everyday! So be in control of your body, if you can, and make good, beautiful, and healthy choices!

Dulce Soap 2

Check out my three favorite clean beauty companies! Juice BeautyBeautycounter, and Crunchi.

Also, ask your local skincare vendors.  Most of them are full of knowledge and can’t wait to educate you on toxic ingredients!

I hope everyone has a toxic-free day!
In love and wellness,
Brissa Ytuarte Headshot
Brissa is a 29-year old creative from El Paso now living in San Antonio, Texas. She thrives off of surrounding herself with like-minded women who support each other and can share in each others’ beliefs. Brissa started making soap and candles in 2012 as a way to pass time between studies. After six years of being a speech therapist provider in the homes, Brissa sought out graduate school to be an Industrial Organizational Psychologist in the therapy and health care fields. Her ultimate goal is to use this degree to increase performance, wellness, and retention in organizations that have aspirations to continue to grow at a large scale. Brissa has been married for five years to the love of her life and doesn’t plan on having children too soon. She has three large dogs and is thinking of building a soap studio in her backyard. Having lived downtown the past three years, Brissa loves the hustle and bustle of the city and has met many artists who pop-up downtown. She doesn’t plan on ever settling in the suburbs and plans to continue to explore her creative adventures in the heart of the city.


Tips for Dealing with Anxiety

I’ve suffered with anxiety for several years now, but significantly more so over the past five years. I’ll save my complete and comprehensive anxiety tale for another post and another day. For now, I want to share some of the things I have found helpful in my recent battles with anxiety.

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that people suffer from anxiety at different levels. When my anxiety attacks are at their worst, I feel short of breath, paralyzed, and panicked. I feel as though my heart is going to beat out of my chest. If I’m alone, I’ll typically have crying spells that feel like they start out of nowhere. As I’ve learned (and am still learning) to cope with my anxiety, I want to emphasize that these coping methods work for me at different times. These are relatively simple and quick exercises that help ground me, but they are by no means a type of medical treatment. The best thing I did to learn how to cope was to seek out a professional therapist/psychologist. But more on that below.


Yes, I know there is a lot of hype over meditation and mindfulness right now, but I’m here to say that I completely stand behind it. Ha! In no way, shape, or form am I a skilled meditator (is that even a thing?) nor even a consistent one. But, you don’t have to be to reap the benefits of this magical little exercise. I first came across meditation techniques when I was studying for my bar exam in 2017. Bar prep was one of the most fun times of my life…NOT! It was miserable and I hated every minute of it. It was, in fact, the saddest and most difficult time of my life thus far. During this time, my nerves and my anxiety were full blown out of control and I was willing to try anything to just get my breathing and thoughts under control. Enter the Calm app.

The Calm app offers free guided meditations for everything you’re feeling, from anxiety to procrastination to low self-esteem. I prefer guided meditations because A). I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, B). I need someone’s voice to lead me back to the meditation when my thoughts are wandering off, and C). I will likely fall asleep if I don’t hear someone’s voice while I have my eyes closed. Of course, they offer non-guided meditations. The best part of the app is that you can choose timed meditations, starting with one or two minutes. During bar prep time when every single second felt precious to me, these two-minute exercises cleared my mind and slowed down my breathing. It was also very soothing and I really began to look forward to these little gems of relaxation  time before starting my day or during study breaks.


Again, during bar prep (I can’t emphasize enough how great this time was for me, y’all) I discovered how beautiful and helpful yoga was for me. I had tried yoga several times before and loved it, but it wasn’t until this period in my life that I also discovered how beneficial yoga was for my anxiety. There are several different types of yoga classes, but I recommend a beginner vinyasa class in a chill studio. I say chill because there are yoga studios and yoga classes that are more focused on fitness and stamina (and they are amazing!), but for someone like me, a full-out endurance type athletic event kind of yoga class will do the opposite of helping me relax.

At the time, I attended yoga with a very close friend of mine who is a yoga instructor and ran her own studio. And it was the chillest, y’all. It was typically in a little house with little candles everywhere and open windows and relaxing scents everywhere around sunset. THE BEST. But since everyone can’t meet at this little house for yoga with my friend (especially since she moved to Bali. Yes. Bali! I want her life!) there is an alternative: Yoga with Adriene.

Yoga with Adriene is a YouTube channel you can access for free and practice in the convenience of your home. Her videos range from just a few minutes to about an hour and you can pick and choose what you feel like doing. Because you’re at home, nobody will judge your yoga skills and you can make your little yoga area as chill as you please. I recommend candles and dim lights! Also, Adriene is the coolest.

Walk or Jog or Just Go Outside 

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I’m here to tell you that I am not the most athletically inclined person you may come across. Exercising makes me feel good because I feel like I’m taking care of my body and showing myself some love. However, I am NOT the kind of person that’s like, “I’m going to do some cross-fit and then run seven miles to clear my head.” Um, hard pass. It takes a lot less than that for me to clear my head. More power to you if you are that type of person! I kind of wish I were that way sometimes, but pushing myself that hard makes the voices in my head louder as opposed to shushing them. For the rest of us, simply getting up and moving or just sitting outside is pretty relaxing in itself.

Take A Bath!

In all of the apartments and houses I lived in throughout the years, none of them had a bath tub until this past year. And now I can’t get out of the fucking bath tub. I LOVE being in there! If you are gloriously blessed with a bath tub, start taking baths immediately. I know you’re thinking, “Taking a bath is so basic and that is not going to make me feel any better.” I agree – that’s why you have to be super extra when you take a bath. I recommend lots of candles, dim lights, music,  bubbles, a book if you’re into reading, and bath bombs from Lush. These are the only bath bombs that I’ve found to be fully effective and invigorating and just plain fun to throw in the bathtub. They smell so good and look so pretty! I swear sometimes I’ve felt like I’m high just listening to “dreamy vibes” on Spotify and watching all the colors and glitter swirl together. Take a bath, like yesterday.

Find Professional Help

I know that there is still a stigma around seeking the help of therapist. However, sometimes I forget because I’m so open about the fact that I see a therapist. And I love it! I’ve seen my fair share of therapists and counselors and tried a range of treatments from hypnotism to cupping to acupuncture. If that makes me sound “crazy”, so be it. At the different times of these treatments, they were all helpful to me. They helped me find methods to cope and they calmed my nerves. Except acupuncture. I’m not sure if it helped me or not, but I just did not like it. And that’s okay! Different things work for different people.

The thing about having experimented with different counselors and treatments, which is not a good or bad thing, is that I was never consistent for more than a few months. Again, I sought what was available to me at the time and I think approaching the treatments with an open mind helped their effectiveness. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

If you are ready to commit to actually talking it out or seeing someone, I recommend searching on Psychology Today. This is where I found my current therapist, and she is amazing! I’ve actually stayed consistent with her.

A couple things about seeking professional help:

First, it is not going to be an easy process.

I think simply arriving at the decision of wanting to seek professional help is a HUGE step. It’s not easy deciding you may give talking to a complete stranger about your deep-seeded issues a try. Like, what the hell, right? You don’t even know this person! But, this is their job. They listen to strangers and they help them cope. They went to school for that. And we all have bat-shit issues. It’s not that big a deal.

However, once you do take the step of seeking out a professional, be advised that it may not be a match made in therapy heaven on your first try. Even though all of these therapists are willing to help you, you will not have that “chemistry” with just anyone you sit down with. If you choose to make an appointment, and then that appointment turns out to be complete shit and your therapist is a full on weirdo, TRY AGAIN. Do not give up just because it wasn’t everything you hoped for the first time. I know people are vulnerable and delicate during this time of their lives when they feel they need professional help, so it is easy to get scared away. But don’t. Keep looking until you find someone you are comfortable with.

Second, emphasize PROCESS.

Once you do find someone you’re comfortable opening up to, do not think that you’re going to attend one session and be cured of all your mental ailments. Let’s get real. You didn’t develop your issues overnight, so why would you expect to be rid of them overnight? Calm down, crazy! (Just kidding. We’re all a little crazy. Who cares?) It’s a slow process. Even after you’ve attended for a while and you’ve learned to recognize your problem areas, you are still going to have days when you throw everything you’ve learned out the window and mess up. It will feel like you are right back at square one, but trust me, you aren’t. Don’t give up on yourself or your process.

Pray It Out, Write It Out, Cry It Out

To end on a less intense note, just remember to pray it out, write it out, or cry it out. What that means is to essentially do anything your body feels like doing when you’re facing anxiety. For me, sometimes that means praying. Whether you pray to the Universe, to God, to Jesus, to Buddha, to Lady Gaga, or to Santa Claus, just pray if it makes you feel better. I like to think that God is looking out for me and I’m never completely alone. And that makes me feel safe.

Sometimes I have to write it out. (Hey, what’s up, that’s why I even started this blog). Writing is an outlet for me. Sometimes I have full on stories and poems just waiting to fall onto the page. Sometimes I just look up positives quotes on Pinterest and write those over and over so my brain can start to believe them. Maybe for you it is drawing or painting or singing. Whatever it is, get it off your chest and put it on something tangible. (Or sing really loud, since you know, singing isn’t tangible).

And finally, if you feel like crying, just. fucking. cry. I was a long time believer of the school of thought that preached that you have to hold tears in and never show weakness. And you know what happened when I did that? I ended up in therapy crying my ass off with needles sticking out of every inch of my body (acupuncture, remember?). There is no weakness in crying. Crying is a release. The more I would fight it, the more it would build up. Now, once I cry it out, I feel so much better afterwards. I can move on because all of those emotions are released. I don’t mean go cry at work or by yourself in a coffee shop like a weirdo. Just find a private place and let those tears out and don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s just an emotion and it is not indicative of the kind of human being that you are.

As cliche as it is, remember that tomorrow is another day so just take care of yourself as best as you can for now.