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.

New Year, Same Me

One of the best things about 2017, for me, was that it was a year of discovery in many ways. I learned so much about myself, the people around me, the places I love and the world in general. With so many huge milestones happening this year, it would be hard not to stumble upon new discoveries. Usually at the beginning of every year I write my new years resolutions, typically revolving around school and swimming. This year when trying to write them, I found it particularly hard to think of anything. I starting reflecting on the past year and everything that had happened and I had learned. Instead of writing resolutions for the year, I decided to write myself vows, vows that I know have been created out of the experiences I’ve had over the past couple of years. My vows for the year represent who I am as a person and all the things I hold near and dear to my heart.

With lots of new and exciting content coming to the blog this year, I thought a perfect way to start is to share some of my vows for the year with you all. What are some of your resolutions/vows/goals for the year? Let’s share them in the comments below!

My Vows

1. I vow to put my family above everything else. After leaving home for college this year, I realized that there is absolutely nothing that is more important to me than the close bond I have with my family.

2. I vow to love myself and my body no matter what and to appreciate all the things my body allows me to do . After dealing with many years of body image struggles, I feel like 2017 was the first full year where I never looked in the mirror and thought I was fat or felt the need to suck my stomach in while wearing a bikini. It also happened to be the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

3. I vow to allow myself to try new things, even if it seems scary. If there was a theme to this year, it would be trying new things. I’m going to be completely honest, most of the new things I tried were terrifying at first (ie. leaving home for the first time), but they also ended up being some of the best parts of the year.

4. I vow to become an adventurer of the world as best as I can. One of my biggest passions is traveling, and I was lucky enough to travel to two new countries (New Zealand and Korea) last year that I absolutely fell in love with. I hope that I can add another new country to the list this year. But beyond traveling to new countries, I vow to allow myself to explore the areas around me, whether it’s in Singapore, LA, or Tokyo, and to appreciate all the natural beauty of the world.

5. I vow to treat my body and mind as a temple, but in a balanced and healthy way. Of course I love working out, staying fit and eating healthy, but I also love skipping a day at the gym or pool to go explore a new city with my family and to eat food I love (even if it’s not the healthiest). I felt like 2017 was the most balanced year I have had. I focused on my health and fitness every single day, but also allowed myself to take a break if I felt like I needed it.

6. I vow to open myself up to new hobbies and passions. I had an amazing moment earlier this year where I discovered what I felt my life purpose was. That moment only came from allowing myself to try and find new things I was passionate about. I vow to allow myself room to try new things that I have an interest in, knowing full well that I may fail.

7. My last vow is to allow myself to be 100% real, authentic and honest on my blog and Instagram. This is something that I learned to do over the past 6 months, and it has been amazing. It’s not easy to be out on social media sharing personal information about your life and struggles, but I think it’s important for all of us to show our true selves every day on every platform. My whole goal through my blog and Instagram is to inspire others to be healthier, happier and laugh a little more. I have been amazed at the responses and messages I get to my posts, it’s what keeps me going every single day and I vow to keep that up as best as I can through this year.

I just wanted to end this by saying how extremely grateful I am to all of you for reading my posts and following along on my life adventures. This blog and Instagram have quickly become one of my biggest passions and I am so thankful for that!

#fitgirllife- Eating Clean in College

One of my biggest fears going into college was food. Not necessarily how good it was going to be (though that was something this foodie worried about), but how hard it was going to be to eat healthy. I had heard so much about “freshman 15” and seen so many friends come back from their first year having gained a lot of weight. Once I got to college, I scoped out the food situation and quickly figured out how to eat healthy and clean. I wrote down everything I ate for 3 days, and have it all down below for you to reference. Please keep in mind that on all three of these days, I had 3- 3 1/2 hours of hard workouts, so the calories (though I don’t count them) and quantity may seem a little high. I hope this helps and gives you some ideas about how to eat healthy in college!

Day 1:

2 hour swim

2 eggs over easy with Sriracha

Bagel with cream cheese

Bacon

Half a cup of coffee w/milk

1 rice cracker

1 banana with peanut butter

1 bag Skinny Pop (100 kcal)

1 hour weights

1/2 bottle Kevita Kombucha

Celery and peanut butter

1 grilled chicken breast with grilled asparagus and zucchini

 

Day 2:

2 hour swim

1/2 avocado and 2 eggs on 1 English muffin with Sriracha

Bacon

1 cup coffee w/ milk

1 rice cake

1 banana

Chobani yoghurt

1/4 cup granola

1 1/2 hour weights

Tomato and veggie soup (from Pacific)

Apples

Hummus and pita

 

Day 3:

2 eggs over easy on 1 piece of rye toast with Sriracha

Bacon

1/2 cup coffee

Fruit cup

Egg salad sandwich

1 hour weights

Small chia seed bar

1 packet of Trader Joe’s peanut trail mix

2 hour swim

1/2 bottle Kevita Kombucha

Grilled chicken with whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and kale

1 rice cake

 

Buddha Bowl: Garlic-Soy Chicken and Grilled Veggies

One of this year’s hottest food trends is the Buddha Bowl. It’s basically like an Acai Bowl, but for dinner. The idea is to pack a bowl full of complex carbs, healthy fats, proteins, and tons of veggies. Last night I made this Asian inspired Buddha Bowl, and I have to say it was quite a hit!

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked

4 chicken breasts

miso paste

spring onions

sesame oil

garlic

soy sauce

ginger

1 green pepper, cut into chunks

1 red pepper, cut into chunks

1 onion, cut into chunks

1 cup green beans, cut into thirds

8 cloves of garlic, halved

salt and pepper, to taste

garlic powder, to taste

herbs, to taste

spring onion, to garnish

sesame seeds, to garnish

For the sauce:

1 tbsp. miso paste

1 tbsp. peanut butter

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. dashi

1 tbsp. water

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 200 celsius and boil water to cook your brown rice.
  2. With a mortar and pestle, grind the miso paste, spring onions, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce and ginger to make a paste. Spread on top of chicken breasts and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut up all of your veggies and put in on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and herbs. Cook in oven for 20-25 minutes
  4. For the sauce, put the peanut butter and miso paste in a heat-proof bowl and microwave for 40 seconds. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, dashi and water and mix thoroughly.
  5. Grill the chicken over medium heat until cooked, then cut into chunks.
  6. Now it’s time to prepare your bowl. Start by putting the rice on the bottom. Then top one half with the grilled chicken and the other half with the veggies. Use the spring onion, sesame seeds and halved garlic as garnish. Drizzle with the sauce and it’s ready to serve.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe! Don’t forget to comment a picture of your own Buddha Bowl:)

2017, Make It Count!

New year, new you, but what does that really mean? The most common new years resolution is to work out more/eat better and everything else along those lines. The most common thing to happen after about a week into the new year is for that resolution to be broken. People usually set expectations that are too high for themselves, “I’m gonna cut out all carbs and sugar” “I’m gonna work out everyday for an hour”. If you are someone who never worried about your diet or never worked out consistently before, chances are those aren’t going to go too well for you. But I have good news! If your resolution has anything to do with the one’s I mentioned about, just tweak it a little to make your life a lot easier. Your new resolution is: to live a healthier life. Now that you’ve changed it just a little, here are my tips to get your resolution to stick throughout the whole year!

  1. Get moving. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout everyday, but figure out some way to make moving fun for you. Take your dog for a longer walk/jog, join a group fitness class at your local gym, go hiking or turn a beach trip into a workout by paddle boarding. If you struggle to find motivation to get moving at the end of the day, try waking up just a little bit earlier and do it in the morning. It will give you an extra boost throughout the day. Make moving fun!
  2. Don’t diet, but make simple switches in your diet. Switch out white flour with quinoa or chickpea flour. Replace sugary soda’s with soda water and frozen fruit. Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, and NEVER skip breakfast. Diets never last, but these smaller changes you make will last you a lifetime.
  3. Drink a lot of water. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to let yourself get dehydrated. When you’re thirsty, it’s too late. You need to keep drinking constantly throughout the day. If you think you’re hungry, your probably thirsty to try drinking a full glass of water first. And if you’re the kind of person who struggles to drink water because you think it’s boring, mix it up with some fruit, vegetables and/or herbs.
  4. Sleep! I cannot stress this enough. Not sleeping enough will un-do all the other things you’ve done to try to be healthy. Personally, I put sleep before almost everything. If I have to skip my homework for that night to get to sleep, I’ll do it. If I can’t make the next morning’s practice because I need to get my minimum amount of sleep, I’ll skip it. And trust me, it pays off. Prioritize sleep before everything else.

These 4 easy switches will help you keep you on track with your new year’s resolution!

Teaching at 17?

It has now been 2 weeks since the first day of senior year, and it has been everything I’ve hoped for. All summer, my sister dreaded the countdown for school to start, but for some weird reason, I was super excited. I was that weird person who couldn’t wait to get back to SAS and start school again. Maybe it was the excitement of senior year, maybe it was to be back with my friends again, who knows. But the one thing that I know drove my excitement was the anticipation of one of my classes. This year, I decided to do an independent learning, where I am learning how to be a PE teacher by student teaching a Group Fitness class in my high school. I’ve been working with my mentor (the Group Fitness teacher), to create my own curriculum and learning milestones. While some of my friends think it’s extremely weird and slightly abnormal that I had such a strong desire to learn how to be a teacher, I think it’s exactly what I needed to be doing at this time in my life. Yes, I do have a lot of time before I even have to begin thinking about what I want to do as a job, but this is giving me that extra little boost of energy to keep going with all of my other work.

Being so passionate about health, physical education and nutrition, this is the best way for me to begin working with students to help them learn how to create their own healthy lifestyles. I mean, I truly believe that every PE teachers intention is to help their students create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, right? Now that we’ve had quite a few classes and I’ve gotten to know some of the other kids in my class, I’m beginning to slowly realize how much joy doing this brings me. To see girls walk in that don’t know how to do a movement, and to slowly see them gain confidence and work hard is a really special thing to be a part of. As an athlete, it inspires me to work harder in everything I do at practice.

Who really knows where I’ll end up in 2, 4, 8 years? I mean maybe i’ll be doing my residency as a neuro surgeon at some big hospital (haha, NOT), but having this opportunity to get a little taste into this one profession at the age of 17 is truly an amazing opportunity for me. I will be keeping you guys posted as I continue through the year as a student-teacher in Group Fitness!

Horrors of the A4 Paper Challenge

This is a new body challenge that has gone horribly wrong. If you are unfamiliar with the A4 Paper Challenge, here’s how it goes. You get an A4 sheet of paper and hold it up to your torso vertically. If the piece of paper completely covers your waist, you have “passed” the challenge. Creating inaccurate visions of what a woman’s body should look like, it is causing girls to do whatever is possible to fit their waist inside that little piece of paper. But why? When I first read about the challenge, I was so unbelievably angry that the world had created such a thing. Why do we have to keep on reminding girls what their body should look like? Each girl is beautiful in their own way, and trying to get your waist to fit into an A4 piece of paper is not healthy, nor is it was beauty is. Don’t look at this as a challenge, yet as a reminder to remind yourself how beautiful you really are, whether your waist fits in the paper or not, and focus on being healthy and happy.

A Game of Balance

Poise

Being a 15 year old student athlete, there are 4 things that are on my priority list; school, sports, recovery (sleep and food), and my social life.

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If you put everything in a chart based on how much time you should be spending on each aspect, you would end up with a 30+ hour day, which is simply impossible. For most people, school and sports are the 2 things that cannot be changed. Now we’re left with recovery and our social lives. Because we are teenagers, we will simply do whatever we can to not lose or give up hanging out with friends. Because of this, our sleeping and recovery time becomes severely shortened. This, especially after a long period of time, can begin to effect us in negative ways. As growing teenage athletes, we should be getting a minimum of 8 1/2 hours of sleep every night. In reality, most of us are lucky to get a mere 7 hours. For athletes, sleep is not just a time for us to rest, but it is a time for our bodies to fix any tears or breaks in our muscles from that days workout. If you have a super hard dry-land session followed by a 2 hour killer sprint workout, chance is you have done some damage to your body. If you don’t allow your body plenty of time to repair the damages, then they will stay with your body until your next workout, and this is when injuries occur. Sleep cannot be sacrificed for anything. It is a vital part of your health.

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If you look at what else can be sacrificed for sleep, it’s your social life. When this happens, you begin to sleep in later on weekends and get to sleep earlier at the expense of going to a movie or breakfast with your friends. This exact thing happened to me during my freshman year of high school. I had morning practice and afternoon practice almost everyday, and Saturday morning practice. On school nights, I would go to practice, eat, work, and then go to sleep. This seems normal, until you see what my weekends were like. After friday evening practice, instead of going out to dinner with my friends, I would go home, eat dinner, maybe watch a little TV, then go to bed early, and I would wake up early on Saturday morning for practice. Afterwards, instead of going to breakfast with my friends, I would go home, eat breakfast, and then sit in my room doing nothing because I was exhausted. Eventually, I would get around to doing some work. At night, I would be way to tired to do anything, so I would stay home, eat and watch TV. Sundays were my only practice-free day, meaning that it was my designated work day. It was the only day that I wasn’t too deadly exhausted to work, and because of this, my Sundays weren’t exactly the best days to hang out with my friends. So there was my 7-day week, filled with school (work), sports, and recovery.

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You could look at that and say that all my needs were covered, however things began to go downhill. My grades began to spiral, I was constantly tired no matter how much rest I got, and I was always in a bad mood.

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It wasn’t until Sophomore year until I realized that my social life wasn’t something I wanted back, but it was something I needed back. I decided to drop one morning practice every week to get more sleep and work done, and I learned how to manage my time better so that my work was getting done much more efficiently. Even though I lost a morning practice and those eventful Saturday mornings of sitting alone in my room doing nothing, I was able go to that movie, or go to dinner or breakfast with my friends. After a couple weeks of getting back into a healthier routine, I started to feel much better. My grades improved, I was always full of energy, and I woke up every morning, excited about what the day was going to be like.

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From that experience, I’ve learned the importance of leading a balanced life. It’s okay to have those weeks here and there where you just can’t get enough sleep, or you have no time to hang out with your friends, but make sure that on a regular basis, you are finding time to do things that make you happy. Finding a healthy balance can improve your mind, health, and happiness. Figure out what works for YOU, to live a life where you wake up every morning with a smile on your face.

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