Mental Health Moment #9- EVERYTHING MENTAL HEALTH

Happy Sunday and happy Mental Health Awareness Month! Today I’m so excited to share this mega post that’s covering anything and everything mental health. I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again, it’s all about breaking the stigma. That phrase is seriously overused, but there still doesn’t seem to be much of a change. Mental health issues and struggles are everywhere, seriously… everywhere. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn’t make you weak, in fact I think that being able to recognize when you’re struggling and being able to reach out for help or treatment makes you one f*****g strong person. Take this week as inspiration to be open and honest about your journey, your struggles. Even if your story helps just one person, it’s all worth it.

My mental health update:

I wanted to start of with a little update on my mental health and where I’m at right now. To be honest, I’ve been struggling a bit the last few weeks transitioning from the end of my sophomore year to summer. Transitions are always hard for me because it interrupts my recovery and treatment routine and forces me to adapt quickly. I was able to talk about this with my therapists before leaving for the break, and I think that’s helped a lot, but it’s still hard. The best thing I can do for myself is continue to be open and honest about how everything’s going. A large part of this is being able to acknowledge when I’m not having a great day or when I’m feeling a bit off. If there’s been anything in my life that’s been nearly as hard as recovery, it’s faking being happy. There’s nothing worse than pretending that I’m feeling great and loving life when I just feel so unbelievably blah and empty inside. Being able to say that I am feeling really anxious or depressed that day has been the best thing I can do for myself. I’ve also had to learn that putting my mental health first means that I have to be selfish sometimes. I have to become comfortable with saying no (which is incredibly hard for me) and I have to be okay with asking my friends and support system for help when I need it. And actually, that isn’t selfish as at all as long as I’m also making sure to support those around me just as much as they support me. I have to remind myself, every single day, that I am worthy. Remind yourself that too.

Body Dysmorphia… What is it?

I’ve been really open about my ED and dealing with anxiety and depression, but one thing I haven’t really talked about is body dysmorphia. It usually goes hand in hand with EDs but also adds another level of complexity to the illness. Body dysmorphic disorder, by definition, is a disorder that makes you focus on certain and specific physical flaws in your appearance. They are often so small that no one else would notice it, but it’s often times the only thing you notice about yourself. It can become so severe that you make drastic changes in your behavior and social behavior to avoid flare ups of these feelings. For me personally, my body dysmorphia would be extremely severe right before a purge, but would subside right after (I’ve learned that this is the eating disorder voice telling me what it wants me to hear). I feel comfortable in baggy sweatpants and sweatshirts that cover up my body and feel extremely anxious when wearing anything that exposes parts of my body. A big part of my recovery, and one of the goals I set for myself this summer, is to become comfortable wearing clothes I want to wear, no matter how uncomfortable I feel in it. BD is one of the aspects of mental illnesses and eating disorders that often goes under the radar, maybe because to some it seems like an overreaction, but it’s just as important/severe as anything else.

Tips and tricks: on days where you’re feeling less than, try these tips out and remember that everything will be okay

  • Breathe– Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to slow down your sympathetic nervous system.
  • Essential oils– Use different blends of essential oils, either on your body or in a diffuser to help reset & revive your mind. Lavender, spearmint and ylang ylang are my favorites to diffuse every day.
  • Get creative– Grab a piece of paper and just start doodling, painting or whatever else your creative juices are feeling. If you’d rather use a device, there are tons of coloring and doodling apps that work just as well.
  • Gratitude– Write down three things you are grateful for, right then and there in the moment. This is something you can do right there on the spot or incorporate it into your morning/daily routine.
  • Fidget– One of my friends got me a bag of marbles to play with every time I’m feeling anxious, and it’s actually been one of the best ways to help calm myself down.
  • Do nothing– Remember that it’s okay to do absolutely nothing sometimes, it’s not lazy, it’s not selfish, it’s necessary.
  • Pamper– Take a bath, take a long shower, book a massage or a facial, anything that’s going to help you feel normal and special.
  • Move– You don’t have to do anything intense to get your body going, a quick yoga session or even just a leisurely walk in your favorite area of town will do the trick. Anything to get your heart rate up and blood flowing will always make you feel better.
  • Clean– Having a clean space can help clear your mind. When your space is cluttered, it’s easy for your mind to reflect your environment. Tidying up and doing a simple clean can help you feel in control of everything, and it’s a great way to get moving a bit.
  • Therapy– This isn’t something you can do right on the spot, but I really believe that therapy is a life-changer. Ever since I began therapy, I feel so much more centered on a daily basis. It’s not going to fix all your problems at once, it’s a practice that takes time, but it helps, I promise.

 

#inspo:

 

As always, I’m sending an infinite amount of love, support and positive vibes your way. Whatever you’re going through, however shitty your day/week/month has been, I promise it will get better, I promise the light will come. Someone in my life once told me that there is no “light at the end of the tunnel” but simply people who love you bringing a light into the tunnel. Eventually there are so many people shining a light around you that you forget you are in the tunnel. I’ve been playing that through my head constantly the last few weeks, and it’s helped put everything in perspective. Being at rock bottom has allowed me to see beauty and joy more clearly than ever. The light will come, believe me.

Lots of love xx

Mental Health Moment #8- Inspiration Board

Hello lovelies and happy hump day! Hope you all are having a fabulous week so far and if you’re not, keep your head up, it’ll get better I promise. For today’s post, I thought I would share some of the quotes that I turn to on days where I’m feeling blah or even just a little less than happy. I’m always adding to my photo album on my phone and find myself flipping through these photos when I need a little pick me up and I hope they can do the same for you!

Sending lots of love and positive vibes your way xx

*200 Posts* Looking Back

Wow, here we are, 4 years and 200 posts later. I’m going to try not to make this too mushy, but I’m truly amazed, proud, in-awe, and every other positive adjective of myself, this blog and all the places it’s gone. When I first started I was a bored high school student sitting in a class I really didn’t care about. I didn’t know who I was and I was desperately looking for answers. Swimming, school, friends, family, I didn’t know what my true life’s purpose was. And it surely wasn’t to just float through life doing whatever, I needed a purpose. The driving force to get me going. I started writing about things I enjoyed: food, fitness, travel, body image. I wrote for myself. But suddenly I realized the power that I had with my words, the power this platform I created had. People started coming up to me at school, “hey, I read your blog post the other day on body image and it was so inspiring”, “you’re blog post on those Singapore brunch spots was awesome and I tried a bunch out”. I was reaching people, people were reading my blogs. That’s when writing about things I enjoyed or cared about became my passion. It wasn’t about putting on this front that everyone would like, it was about sharing my story, my journey and my experiences while promoting what I cared about, kindness, self love and positivity. No matter what I’m writing about, how old I get or where I am in the world, those three things will always be where I’m rooted, and those three things will always be where SwimEatLove is rooted. I’m beyond grateful everything this blog has given me. It’s connected me to some of the most incredible and inspiring people, allowed me a creative outlet to express myself without any limits, and it’s given me purpose. So while I’ve now hit this milestone of 200 posts, there’s no slowing down. I want to share my story, be open, honest and vulnerable as long as I possibly can.

So to celebrate, I thought my 200th post would be a look back on the last 4 years, the posts I’ve loved, the ones you’ve loved and a bunch of others in between.

It all started with me sharing my love for swimming, the good, the bad and the ugly. Butterfly or Butterdie “When you are floating there in the water desperately trying to grab onto the lane line, is when it hits you. You are gasping for air and using the lane line to keep you above the water, while also trying to rip your super tight goggles and cap(s) off your head.”

I’ve shared photos through Life Through A Lens to give you all a little peak into my life. I’ve shared my love for food through my Food Adventures from around the world and many recipes I’ve come up with myself (some heart healthy, some healthy for your soul).

I began to share my journey to self-love, although a hard one. The ‘Perfect’ Self. “It blows my mind that I can pick up a magazine with the header “The New Plus-Sized Model”, flip it open and see a gorgeous woman wearing size 8 clothes. As a society, we have painted a picture of what the ‘perfect’ woman looks like; long skinny legs, a flat stomach, thin arms, and narrow hips.”

When I traveled, you traveled. You came with me around the world; Thailand, Paris, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Cambodia, California and so many more. My adventures became your adventures and I loved that. I shared my journeys in those places and also what it took to get there. Holiday Travel Tips. “As this post is going up, I’m in an Uber on the way to LAX ready to hop on a plane and head back to see my family for the holidays. Since traveling is something that almost everyone does during the holidays in one way or another, I thought I would share my holiday travel guide/tips for today’s post. I’ve done some other “travel tips” posts in the past (be sure to check those out!), but this one will be my updated one specifically for the holidays. Enjoy and happy traveling! xx”

I found myself becoming interested in new and different things, and I shared that with you. Never thought I’d be a little fashion guru. Natural Glam- “No Makeup” Look. “Good morning lovelies! Now that it’s back to school and work, there’s a lot of 5 minute, easy makeup looks going on. Today I thought I’d share my natural, go-to no-makeup look with you all. I wasn’t always a ‘wear makeup to school’ kind of gal, but lately I’ve found that it helps me feel put together and ready for the day. Having basic makeup done makes me feel like I’ve made an effort for not only people around me, but myself as well. For me, natural looks are all about keeping your skin healthy and glowy while still covering up all the imperfections.”

And along with fashion, I’ve become obsessed with beauty, as well as all things summer and the beach but we already knew that. Summer Beauty. “It’s finally that time of the year where we’re all whipping out our bikinis/suits and headed to spend time at the beach, the lake or even just by the pool, soaking in every ounce of sunlight in hopes to get that perfectly sun-kissed skin. Today’s post is going to be all of my summer beauty tips and go-to’s to get you looking fresh, relaxed and glowing. Under each section I have linked some of the products I have been loving this summer.”

I shared by true and lasting love of my beautiful island of Singapore with you. Mega Guide to Singapore. “Planning on visiting Singapore or always wanting to visit? These are my top 10 things to do in Singapore. It may only be 31 miles wide and 17 miles long, but the beautiful island is PACKED with fun things to do!”

For two years now, I’ve brought you into my life during the holidays. Trying to share my profound love for Christmas and the season, 12 Days of Christmas has allowed me to do so. Christmas Tag. “Red or green – which color occupies your life during Christmas? Red, and red glitter. What’s your favorite Christmas accessory? Gold hoops. Do you buy presents or try DIYs? Buy presents, but I love putting together gift baskets/sets. Chocolate, Strawberry, or Vanilla – what do you prefer the most during Christmas? None of them… everything PEPPERMINT! What is your favorite Christmas slogan? Be naughty, save Santa the trip;)”

And what I’m most proud of is how open I’ve been about the hardest parts of my life. Sharing about my struggle with an eating disorder with you all was the hardest decision, but the best decision I ever made. As scary as it was, the number of people who reached out thanking me for trying to break the stigma was life-changing, and I don’t say that lightly. It was become a big part of my life and will stay with me forever, even way after recovery. That’s what this blog has been about, helping others feel less alone. Mental Health Moments are a way to make sure that this important conversation is being had. If no one else will talk about it, I sure as hell will. To My Eating Disorder… “Today is National Love Your Body Day, and while I try to preach and live by the idea of self-love, I’ve been struggling with this by a battling with an eating disorder. It’s not something a lot of people talk about, and it’s not something a lot of people talk about publicly. But I’m ready to break that mold. The scariest thing about this whole battle has been feeling alone in my fight. But I know I’m not the only one. I’m here telling my story with hopes that it can help others out there feel a little less alone. I’m not posting this looking for pity or attention, I’m posting this because reading other peoples stories was such a big part of the start of my recovery. If this can help even just one person feel a little less alone, then it’s worth it.”

How crazy is that, 200 posts. And guess what, I already see 400 on the horizon.

Much love always, Aime.

 

10 Tips For A Productive Morning

Happy Tuesday lovelies! Today is my first day of classes for this semester, and I thought what’s more fitting than sharing my tips for having the most productive morning ever. Whether I’m getting up early for school, work or just to get the day started I’ve found that these things always make me feel much more awake and positive about the day ahead of me. I hope you find these helpful and are ready for a jam-packed week ahead

1. Drink water and eat. I can’t stress this enough, the second you wake up drink a big glass of water. It’s so important to rehydrate after hours of not drinking anything. And make sure you’re eating something in the morning. Whether it’s just a banana with peanut butter or a full breakfast with eggs, protein, and healthy carbs it’s so important to get enough energy in you for the day. Eating a hearty breakfast can also help reduce unhealthy cravings throughout the day, so make sure you start it off right. My favorite on-the-go breakfast is a banana with peanut butter on a whole wheat english muffin or berries and yoghurt, and my favorite full-fledged breakfast is a whole wheat english muffin, two eggs over easy, half an avocado and berries or yoghurt.

2. Keep a gratitude journal. I started keeping a gratitude journal a year and a half ago when I started college and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. I do admit there have been times where I’ve been not as good about writing something down everyday, but I always get back on track. All I do is whip out my notebook and write 1-2 lines about something I’m grateful for at that moment. Spending 30 seconds to think about something positive can make such a big difference to your day. I also find myself pulling out my journal and reading back through all the things I’ve written when I’m having a bad/hard day. I really think this is something everyone should do.

3. Spend 3 minutes checking your planner. I am constantly filling out my planner (currently using this Kate Spade one) throughout everyday just to make sure I’m on top of my schedule and all the work I have, but I like to spend a bit of time every morning going over all the things I have to do that day. As I’m doing this I also cross off the day before, it’s such a small action but really helps me shift my focus from the past to the present. When I do this I always remind myself that it’s a new day with new possibilities and new intentions, as cheesy as that may sound.

4. Make yourself a cup of coffee. I started doing this recently (even in my dorm room), and I’ve been loving it. I find that making coffee at home makes you move around a little bit which is exactly what I need when I first wake up (along with my cup of joe). I didn’t think I was going to be able to make coffee in my dorm room, but it’s surprisingly easy. I just have ground coffee from Trader Joe’s, an Alfred coffee french press (which I’m obsessed with) and then a microwave safe mug to boil water in. It’s something mindless you can do while still moving around a bit.

5. Do your makeup. Even on days that are a bit more chill or that I’m going to be staying in for a while I always do my makeup and get dressed. I don’t do anything crazy or over the top but the act of getting ready helps me get into a more productive mindset. Especially if I’m going to be doing some work or need to do something important, getting dressed and made up puts me in the ‘ready to go’ headspace, it always makes me feel so productive without fail.

6. Tidy up your space. I try not to let my room and workspace get too messy, but when I wake up I really try to tidy up and organize as much as possible. I’ll throw away any trash, file away lose papers and very quickly make up bed. Doing all of this helps me feel organized and calm about the day ahead of me. There’s nothing better than having a clean and fresh start to the morning.

7. Meditate or create daily intentions. I’ve started using the apps Headspace and Calm in the mornings, and it’s made such a difference. I usually just put on a 5 minute meditation that I’ll listen to while I’m tidying up or brushing my teeth. Even if I’m not focusing on it 100%, just having it on in the background makes me think about the day ahead of me and what I want to get out of it.

8. Use citrus essential oils. Citrus scents are known to be amazing for waking you up and making you feel revived and fresh. I love to use anything citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit) in my diffuser in the morning to make the room smell nice and wake myself up. If I’m really needing it, I’ll also dab a little bit on the insides of my wrists to carry around with me as I start the morning.

9. Get some sunshine and fresh air. When I wake up in the morning and don’t have anywhere to be for a bit, I always try to get outside even just for a little bit. Whether I walk out to grab breakfast and coffee or I just sit on my patio for 10 minutes, being outside always makes me feel so awake and ready to begin the day. And plus, so much research says that getting a little bit of Vitamin D every morning has infinite positive affects on your body.

10. Start your morning routine at night. Yes- get your morning off to the best start possible by getting everything ready the night before. Get your stuff organized, get your things together if you have an early start, just make sure you end everyday prepared for the next day. Not only will you thank yourself for doing so the next morning, it will also help you sleep better and feel more at ease knowing you’re prepared.

Mental Health Moment #5- Quotes To Live By

As we enter into the new year, I’m ready to continue my mission to use my platform to be an advocate for others who out there who are also battling. I vow to be open when it’s necessary, but also stay private when I need to. My hope, today and always, is to open myself up so that others know that they are not alone, and to help me understand that I am not alone.

With that, for my first MHM of 2019, I wanted to share some quotes about mental health, recovery and genuine self love that constantly cycle through my mind and have come in extremely useful in times of need. I hope these quotes can remind you of the beauty that lies within your soul. You are not defined by a mental illness, you are not defined by your weaknesses; so don’t let them define you. You are who you choose to be, today and everyday.

1. “You wake up every morning to fight the demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.”

2. “I’m proud of the woman I am because I went through one hell of a time becoming her.”

3. “From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand. From the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain.”

4. “Mental Health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”

5. “Keep going and don’t worry about your speed. You’re making progress, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Forward is forward, no matter how slow.”

6. “You are not a victim. Just a fighter with scars that few can understand.”

7. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world, but those who fight and win battles that other do not know anything about.”

8. “It’s okay to be a glow stick. Sometimes we have to break before we shine.”

9. “The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths.”

10. “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”

11. “Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.”

12. “Healing isn’t about changing where you are; it’s about changing your relationship to who you are. A fundamental part of that is honoring how you feel.”

13. “Accept everything about yourself- I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end- no apologies, no regrets.”

14. “Sometimes I forget putting myself isn’t selfish but necessary.”

12 Days of Christmas|Day 6- Holiday Pamper Routine |2018

Hello lovelies and happy Day 6! The holiday chaos getting to your head, finals driving you crazy or just in need of a Tuesday night recharge sesh by yourself, I’ve got you covered! Today’s post is my current pamper routine. I’ve done quite I few pamper routines in the past (I honestly just love writing these and reading other people’s, and who doesn’t love a little self-care), but this one is my official 2018 Holiday Pamper Routine, full of products I’m loving that will get you in the true holiday spirit.

 

I always start off by changing into some cozy Christmas PJs or a nice fluffy robe, really anything as long as I’m comfy. Before I start anything else I’ll try to set the mood in my room. I love scents so I’ll either use my diffuser with lavender and citrus essential oils or I’ll burn one of my favorite candles which is Champagne Toast from Bath and Body Works. And of course I’ll turn off the main lights and throw on some fairy lights. After my room’s feeling nice and relaxed, I’ll go use my MakeUp Eraser (I’m so obsessed with this right now) to take all my makeup off and then hop in the shower. I talked about these in my last pamper routine too, but I’ve been loving the Herbal Essence Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner for my hair, especially during the drier winter months. If I’m feeling like I really need it, I’ll also do a treatment using either the Briogeo deep conditioning mask or the Moroccan Gold Series treatment mask. I’ll then go ahead and use a good body scrub everywhere (it’s winter, we all have dead skin cells) and shave using the Eos shaving cream. After I shave I make sure to moisturize right away. I bought the C. Booth coconut fig body lotion over Thanksgiving and have been living for it.

If I’m at home and have my beloved bath tub I’ll take a bath after I’m done showering. I’m ridiculously obsessed with bath bombs, so of course I’ll use one of those. I absolutely love all the Lush Christmas bath bombs, so those are always a good go-to, but I also found these really cute Christmas ones from The Body Shop (so freaking affordable!) which I really want to try when I’m home for Christmas. When I’m in the bath, which I could literally sit in for hours, I’ll make sure the lights are off and have some chill show or vlog playing. If I’m really wanting to treat myself, I’ll also light a bunch of candles to really set the mood. And if you’re really really wanting to treat yourself, pour yourself a nice lil glass of wine (if your of age of course), because you deserve it;)

After I’m done in the shower (or out of the bath), I’ll dry my hair super quick with a towel and put my PJs or robe back on. During the winter my hair gets brittle and dry really easily, so I use both the Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine leave-in conditioner and the argan oil from Marrakesh Oil. If I have something to get dressed up for the next day, I’ll straighten my hair. But more often than not I just let it air dry.

Now it’s facial time! I’ll start by washing my face with either the Grown Alchemist polishing facial exfoliant or the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate. During the winter my skin can get really dry and flaky (as it does for a lot of people), so it’s really important to use a good exfoliator to get rid of all the dead skin cells and prep your skin for a face mask. On a real pamper night I’ll usually use two face masks, one purifying and one hydrating just to make sure I’m not drying out my skin too much. For the first mask I love the Indian Healing Clay with apple cider vinegar or the CVS dead sea mineral face mask. If you’re looking for a more luxurious mask, the Boscia Charcoal mask or the Glam Glow Bubblesheet are also amazing. I’ll leave that mask on for about 12-15 minutes and then wash it off/take it off. For the hydrating mask I have a ton of different Korean sheet masks that I’ll usually choose from, but I also found these really cute Christmas hydrating sheet masks at CVS which I think are perfect for a holiday pamper night. I typically leave sheet masks on for about 20 minutes so while I have that on I’ll put on either a Christmas movie (check my last 12 Days post for my fav holiday movies) or some vlogmas. Since it wouldn’t be Christmas without peppermint hot chocolate, I’ll make myself a cup of that, and maybe even top it off with some peppermint whipped cream if I’m feeling extra special.  And of course I’d make sure it’s in a cute Christmas mug.

After I take off the second mask I’ll go in with the rest of my evening skincare routine. During the winter I use heavier moisturizers, especially in the evening. I start with the Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizing lotion and go over that with the Tarte Maracuja Oil. If my skin is super dry, it usually soaks that all up within a few minutes, so in cases like that I’ll go in with another layer of the oil. I personally am not a huge fan of sleep masks, but I do love the Ahava Sleep Cream for an overnight facial. Another thing I’ve started using lately are under-eye masks because let’s be honest life can be super stressful and cause bags and circles under your eyes (I’ve started getting them and I feel like a Grandma now). But they honestly just feel so good and refreshing too.

Now that I’m feeling all clean and relaxed I’ll usually end the night in cuddled up in bed finishing off a Christmas movie or watching more vlogmas. I love spending nights out with friends, but sometimes a quiet night in taking care of yourself is just what you need (and trust me, everyone needs this once in a while).

Happy pampering! xx

Mental Health Moment #4- Feelings in words

Today I want to quickly interrupt 12 Days of Christmas (don’t forget to check those out if you haven’t already!!) for another MHM, my last one for this year. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten during my battle has been to try and write out my feelings every time I have an urge or begin to feel anxious. To be honest, when I first heard this I was really hesitant about it. As much as I love to write and express my feelings through words, I thought that words wouldn’t be able to explain all my thoughts and feelings. But once I gave it a try, I found myself able to express some things beautifully, brutally but honestly. I wanted to share some of the writings that have come out of some of the hardest times. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I’m not doing any of this for pity or attention. I’m here to break the stigma around mental health. That’s why I’m choosing to be open and vulnerable. I want to be the person who talks about their battle, the good, the bad and the ugly, so that others struggling know they’re not alone.

– “Times like this make me want to give in, throwing up is so much easier than dealing with the mental war I have going on right now.”

– “It’s okay that I’m not okay.”

– “The harm of one cookie pales in comparison to the harm of forcing a purge.”

– “I’m going to keep looking forward, towards the light that shines brightly at what seems like a never ending tunnel. But the tunnel will end.”

– “I don’t want to ruin my nail polish, but I also don’t know how to stop myself.”

– “Prioritizing my recovery is sometimes the hardest part of my day.”

– “I realized I was allowed to feel anxious. It was the way I was feeling in my core, and there was nothing I could have done to change that.”

– “Pizza makes me feel guilty, but being bent over the toilet with my fingers down my throat and my mascara running makes me feel even more guilty. In a battle of the guilts, I choose the pizza.”

– “It’s not scary that people call me crazy, it’s scary that I believe them.”

– “What I want people to realize the most are things that I don’t know how to verbalize.”

– “Sometimes the biggest lie I tell people is that I’m okay.”

To anyone reading this who is also suffering, remember you are not alone. Please reach out to me if you need someone to talk to.

National Alliance on Mental Health: https://www.nami.org/

National Eating Disorder Association: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Mental Health Moment #2- Coping Techniques

Happy Tuesday!! Hope you all have had a lovely weekend and are ready for Thanksgiving. I’m back today with my second MHM which is going to be full of coping techniques and mechanisms. I know everything is very circumstantial and can vary from person to person, but these are some things that I’ve found to be useful for me in a difficult moment. So whether it’s fighting an urge, feeling an anxiety attack coming on or anything else I hope you can find some of these things useful. And if there’s anything else you do that I haven’t mentioned, please share them below xx

  1. Remove yourself from the situation- This has been the hardest thing for me to learn to do, but it’s also been what’s helped me the most. If you’re in a situation that’s feeding your anxiety or around people who are making you feel anxious, leave. It may seem weird or like it’s the wrong thing to do, but you have to learn to be selfish sometimes. It’s okay to do what you need to do if it’s going to help you feel better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your friends you need to excuse yourself or to even just say no to a plan if it’s going to make you feel worse. Don’t be conceded, but be selfish when you need to be. It’s okay.
  2. Focus on taking deep breaths- This may sound really obvious, but when your in a moment of panic or anxiety it quickly becomes something you forget to do. When I start to feel anxious I get really jittery and my hands and feet start to go numb because of the lack of oxygen. Taking 10 really deep breaths can often be the first and most helpful step to begin to calm me down. Remember this next time you begin to feel anxious, just breathe.
  3. Write out your feelings- If you’re someone who can communicate really well with words, try writing out your feelings. I’ve started doing this recently and it’s helped me so much. The moment I begin to feel an urge or begin to feel anxious I’ll whip out my phone and begin to write everything I’m feeling down. Every negative and positive feeling and emotion I’m feeling at that moment. I write for as long as I can and write as much as possible. I usually find that I’m able to articulate feelings that wasn’t able to recognize before writing. This helps me to logically comprehend all of my emotions and begin to understand why I am feeling that way, which is exactly what I need when I’m in an extremely emotional state.
  4. Practice mindfulness or meditation- For the longest time I was so hesitant to try meditating because it always just seemed to hokey to me, but I have seriously been proven wrong. If I’m starting to feel anxious, I’ll grab my phone and put on a guided meditation using either Headspace, Calm or InSight Timer and it works so well. The apps have tons of different guided sessions to choose from, so you can really just do whatever you need in the moment. If I’m short on time, I’ll just put on a quick five minute re-focus or awareness meditation and just let myself be in the moment and re focus my energy on something positive. I’m not saying that mindfulness and meditation works for everyone, but I would really recommend at least giving it a try.
  5. Change your environment and get outside- This is especially true for me when I’m feeling really anxious, but getting outside can make such a big difference. If I’m held up in my room I can start to feel trapped and claustrophobic, so getting outside and being aware of the environment around me can make me feel so much better. I love just walking outside, especially if it’s a bit cooler outside, and taking deep breaths of the fresh air and just sitting on a bench somewhere. Just a few minutes of this can calm me down and re-focus me so much.
  6. Essential oils are your best friend- I know I’ve brought this up a lot in previous posts, but I’ll share this story again until I’m blue in the face. My mom has always been a believer in essential oils for EVERYTHING, and I really just ignored it as much as possible until a couple of years ago. Now I’m ADDICTED. Honestly, essential oils can do so much for you physically, but also mentally. If I feel myself starting to get a bad urge or becoming really anxious, Ill put some eucalyptus and citrus essential oils in my diffuser and rub some lavender on the inside of my wrists and it honestly calms me down so fast. I don’t know the science or research behind oils, but I just tell myself if it works it works.
  7. Practice self-care… but mindfully- I’m a huge believer in self-care, but I also believe it has to be done mindfully. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good night full of face masks and Netflix, but when I’m looking for a way to cope with negative feelings, self-care has to be done mindfully. Whether it’s doing a face mask, painting your nails, taking a bubble bath or anything else, do it with a goal in mind. Tell yourself that what you’re doing is a way to reward yourself for all the positive and good things you’ve done. Constantly remind yourself that you deserve to be taking the time to care for yourself. By doing this, you’re not only caring for your outside, but you’re caring for your brain as well.
  8. Talk it out- This can really depend on the person, but if you’re the kind of person who can communicate effectively by talking, do it. While I’m someone who needs to talk out how I’m feeling, I also find myself hesitant to bring it up to friends out of a fear that it will be too much of a “burden” on them. But I’ve learned that true friends who support you will be willing to talk to you, actually they will want to talk to you. Talking to someone else and verbalizing all of your thoughts and emotions can help you to logically comprehend what’s happening. It also gives you the opportunity to hear someone else’s opinion which can be so helpful too.

Mental Health Moment #1- Turn It Around

For my first Mental Health Minute, I want to talk about how to make a bad day just a little less bad. Whether you’re struggling with something small or big, everyone has those days where the shit (excuse my French) just hits the fan and you feel like there’s nothing you can do but just lay there. But today’s post is going to be all my little tips and tricks to making your day just a tiny bit better, because on most days that’s all you really need. A lot of these are going to seem really obvious, but when I’m in a mood these basic things are often what I forget about the most. I hope you enjoy this post and are excited for more Mental Health Minutes to come!

  1. Surround yourself with positivity- If there are people in your life who are feeding your negativity, get away from them. Choose to be around and spend time with people who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. During times like these you have to be a little bit selfish and acknowledge who YOU need to be around at that time.
  2. Make a countdown calendar- One thing that I’ve done this year is to keep a countdown, I’ve been using the app Event Ticker, to all the exciting things coming up. When I’m having a day, I’ll go into my calendar and remind myself of the fun things I have planned for the future. It’s an easy way to remind myself of all the good things I have going on.
  3. Treat yourself- Open your computer, go to your favorite store and buy yourself something you’ve been wanting, big or small. Buying something online is such a small thing that always makes me even just a little happier. It doesn’t have to be a big purchase or investment, just something small will always do the trick. But knowing that I have something on the way to my mailbox always makes me excited.
  4. Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while- If I’m having a bad day or feeling weird, reaching out to someone who I haven’t talked to in a while makes me feel so much better. It’s a way for me to disconnect from the “now” and to remember something positive about the past. Whether it’s just a Snapchat or a longer facetime call, it’s always something that can create positivity in m day.
  5. Pamper yourself- I’m a huge believer in self-care and me time, and that’s especially true on a bad day. If you’re short on time, even just throwing on a face mask for 15 minutes and chilling for a second can make a huge difference. But if there’s a little more time, go through a full pamper routine. Relax, make yourself feel better and just disconnect from everything for a bit. Taking time to just breathe and not think about anything else can change your mindset tremendously.
  6. Take a work/school break- I know this may sound impossible, but remember that your mental health should come before anything else. If you have the ability to leave work or school a little early to take some time for yourself, take it. If you don’t, give yourself some space from your work or homework at the end of the day. When you get home, give yourself 30 minutes to do something you like to disconnect yourself from work. Watch an episode of your favorite show, take a bath or hang out with friends. Giving yourself space from the stressful things in your life, even if it’s just a little bit, can refresh your mind.
  7. Do something nice- I’m a true believe that what goes around comes around. If you’re looking for some good in your life, start with yourself. Reach out to someone in need, send someone an appreciation card, buy a meal for someone on the streets, any small gesture that can help lift someone else’s day is almost guaranteed to make you feel better too. And besides, the world is always in need of some good.

Sending out love and good vibes xx

To My Eating Disorder…

Today is National Love Your Body Day, and while I try to preach and live by the idea of self-love, I’ve been struggling with this by a battling with an eating disorder. It’s not something a lot of people talk about, and it’s not something a lot of people talk about publicly. But I’m ready to break that mold. The scariest thing about this whole battle has been feeling alone in my fight. But I know I’m not the only one. I’m here telling my story with hopes that it can help others out there feel a little less alone. I’m not posting this looking for pity or attention, I’m posting this because reading other peoples stories was such a big part of the start of my recovery. If this can help even just one person feel a little less alone, then it’s worth it. 

No matter what is going on in my life or your life right now, please take the time to appreciate your body for all it does and all it allows you to do. Love yourself and help others love themselves. Happy Love Your Body Day xx

To my ED,

First of all I want to thank you. I want to thank you for being there for me when I felt like I needed you and for telling me the things I wanted to hear. I loved you more than I’ve loved before. You became a part of me, and it was a part I didn’t want to lose. In the darkest days when I felt nothing but the worse things of myself you made me feel beautiful by following your demands. You tempted me, you encouraged me, you seduced me, and it was something I couldn’t ignore. You knew when to step back and when to take control. You were sneaky but terrifyingly appreciated. You captured my heart so enticingly and I became addicted to it. But no matter how hard I tried or begged, I couldn’t get rid of you. I was obsessed with our brutal love story.

Now that I’m beginning to break free from our abusive relationship, I can see what you really did to me. You made me tell endless lies to my family and friends. You made me believe things about myself that weren’t even close to true. You made me believe that food was the enemy and that eating was a punishable sin. You made me feel guilty but then extremely rewarded and satisfied after a purge. You made me damage my body in a way nothing else had ever done before. You tricked me into loving you when I couldn’t love myself. You took the things I loved away from me and taunted me with it. You took over my brain, consumed me, every hour, every minute, every second of the day. You made me spend hours in the bathroom bent over the toilet with tears coming out of my eyes. You made me feel unworthy of all the things I dreamed of. And finally, you made me the person I never wanted to be. I thought that I was you and you were me, but I now know that I was never you and you were never me. You were simply a voice in my head who I trusted and felt connected to. And I am grateful to not have you in my life anymore.

There are days where I still miss you. There are days when I wish more than anything that we could be back together. Trying to recover from our relationship has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do, and I don’t think it will ever truly end. Sometimes I wish you could come back to be the voice in my head telling me what to do. You knew me better than I knew myself and always knew what I wanted to hear. In the moment, the harm you inflicted on me paled in comparison to the beauty and confidence you made me feel.

But I find myself wanting to thank you again. Ridding you from my life has given me the chance to appreciate the life and body I’ve been blessed with. I’m thankful for my family and friends who have loved me and supported me no matter what. I’m thankful for a body that allows me to do the things I love. I’m optimistic for a life free from the bathroom and out in the beautiful world. I’m thankful for the small things in life that bring me pure joy. I’m thankful for my new look on life, one that’s much clearer and brighter than ever before. I’m thankful that I still have my life, even though you could have taken it from me. I’m thankful that I get to move on and forward, leaving you behind only as a distant memory.

Now that I’ve started distancing myself from you, I promise to live a life full of gratitude and love, remembering that I am worthy of being happy and loved in my own skin. I’m ready to live my life as me, only me, and no one else.

Aime

NEDA: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/