My Mental Health Journey – A Summary

World Mental Health Day just passed and this seems like the perfect time to talk about my year. Reading about the journeys others have experienced have made me want to write about my own.

This year hit me like a ton of bricks. I have learnt so much about who I am as a person. I have taken the time to take stock and find out what I truly want and what is most important to me.

There have been many surprises as well as many disappointments. You could definitely compare my life to a rollercoaster at the moment, although for the most part I’ve been completely blindfolded and left to the hands of fate.
For anyone who knows me, I like to know where things are headed. I like to plan. So, I’ve had to learn how to let go and allow myself to be surprised by both the good and the bad.

Without further ado, this is my 2017 in a nutshell.

Spring


Springtime was the hardest time of year for me especially adjusting to all the changes in my life. I was getting ready for university and very excited. However, at this time I was experiencing anxiety and slowly understanding that I was also dealing with depression and on the highway to a burnout. I was about to turn 21, it was difficult to enjoy it all whilst still feeling like I was falling into a black hole every so often.

My trip to Bali was planned for May which was giving me considerable amounts of stress. For most people this is meant to be calming experience; planning a holiday, yet I didn’t even want to go anymore.
At this time I started meeting with a therapist. It was very helpful as it gave me an outlet that wasn’t close to home which honestly, I cannot stress the importance of. Sometimes you need someone to just talk to that isn’t part of your everyday life.

Summer

Bali turned out to be a big turning point in my mental health. This is going to sound all “Eat, Pray, Love” but being away for 2 weeks on my own, away from the chaos was amazing. I found myself again a little bit and this holiday really saved me in many ways.


I am so used to dealing with things only once I am feeling insanely overwhelmed. During my time there I had time to think and I noticed all my self destructive habits; mainly my sense of control over situations. The future has ALWAYS been more important than the now which always leads to me being very stressed.

Work brought so many opportunities my way and I had the chance to go to New York. It was spectacular and I will always be grateful for this experience. Not only did I learn about myself as an ambassador at work, I had yet another chance to embrace the now. It was THE BEST 10 days of my life. I stayed out till 7am most days  and I even walked from Times Square to Wall Street.  My feet were burning but I loved seeing the city this way.


…and then I came home. I started experiencing panic attacks again, there were days where I didn’t even want to leave my bed because dealing with everything seemed so daunting. All the while maintaining my full time job. I cannot express how much love I have for my colleagues. They dealt with my moods and tiredness and kept me sane for the most part.

Now

I will not be studying this year. This was a difficult decision to make but the stress I experienced from the process was overwhelming.

At the moment I have been trying to focus on that self love I talked about in January. I tell myself that life will happen no matter what so I better make the most of it and wow, it’s a process. It doesn’t mean that I don’t get panic attacks and I’m still dealing with my depression. However, I am actively trying to do my best to be the happiest version of me I can in the situation I am in.


The dots are slowly connecting for me, and like I mentioned, I’m starting to learn what is most important. I have started letting go of the things I have always felt like I needed to control.
Over time I have allowed myself to fall away and crawl into a shell. There is only one version of me and I need to take care of her, love her and let her enjoy life. Until really recently I wasn’t doing any of those things.

What I’m trying to say is, it’s all a process. I’m not an expert, once I get my psychology degree that will hopefully change. However for now all I can say is this:

Trust the process and slowly, you will see some change. Just be patient and talk about it because therapy is important.

January Resolutions | 4 things I’ve learnt

It’s just a thing. Without fail, every single year, January is the month of self improvement and we all get hyped up setting ourself resolutions for the year.
Everyone dives head first into the gym and working out, motivated that this will be THE year and classes of every kind fill up with people dead set on that new hobby they always promised themselves they would get around to.
I applaud everyone who does because they found the motivation to start their journey. As we all know, the hardest part it starting. Once you do and gain momentum, it’s easier to keep the habit going strong!

Me walking in the woods.
This January I began the journey to accomplishing my 2017 goals and set myself on the path of self love. I’m taking baby steps to start understanding myself and my feelings as well as honing in on what it is I really want to achieve this year.
These are the 4 things I have really tried to put emphasis on this month and the lessons I have learnt.

1. Me- Time is important. 

I always joke that I don’t date other people, I date myself. I used to take myself out for little treats like going to the movies and having a cosy night in the bath. One needs to pamper themselves from time to time right?
I forgot to do this for a while but finally picked up the habit again.
This time is so precious as we spend a lot of our day with other people, in class or at work. Even just taking care of our siblings or significant others. Everyone needs a little breathing space every once in a while!
It doesn’t have to be anything overly extravagant. You can make yourself an extra fancy coffee at home and drink it in the backyard. The idea is to have a few moments where you take special care of yourself!

2. There is never a wrong time to start budgeting 

Money and I are like oil and water. I love to see money saved, however, I am also just as quick to spend it all at once. I know some of you totally relate to that statement! 
Budgeting is so important to educate yourself on because we don’t learn about it in school. Unless you have someone in the family to help you out, you’re on your own. Especially at a young age, saving and spending intentionally is the best thing you can do. Not only does it set you up for the future, it builds good spending behaviour that will keep you on track well into your later years.
I recently discovered Rachel Cruze’s YouTube videos. She makes everything seem much easier and more manageable than I ever imagined.
Being in her 20’s herself, she really understands where the struggles are and how to best make use of your money and BUDGET!

3. Feed yourself the right foods

This month I devoted myself to cooking my own food and buying foods that I adore and are healthy. I have a habit of being lazy and eating anything and everything that is convenient, regardless of nutritional value.
Because of this I slowly watched myself gain weight over the past couple of months. The fact that it is unhealthy foods I have come to rely on and crave on a daily basis was a game changer for me. No more of all this going forward.
Since cutting out sugars and minimising the carbohydrates that I eat, I find myself having less cravings and moments of extreme hunger. I still get bored and immediately think I’m hungry though and my go to when this happens is to drink water or eat fruit.
As they say, “if you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re simply just bored”.

4. Practice self reflection and gratitude 

I just worked this into my daily schedule and started writing my gratitude down daily. Something I try to do is run through all the things I am grateful for and reflect back on the day. Such as my feelings and the vibes from the people around me before I sleep.
It’s insane to think how much of our day we ignore and simply forget about. Whether this may be moments we share, passing thoughts or emotions we feel.
The realisation of how important gratitude is the best lesson I have learnt this month.
It doesn’t only allow you to appreciate things, it also gives you a positive outlook on things. Whenever you feel negative, you have a store of all the things you have to be grateful for.
Another version of this is to make a list of things that simply make you happy, the more specific, the better.

What has brought you one step closer to your goals this month? what lessons have you learnt so far?

Read-A-Theme Read-A-Thon | Poetry

I took a ridiculously long break from reading. I need to apologise to myself about that one because reading is my number one favourite thing to do.
I was on a serious roll last year and for some reason just stopped. I’m definitely getting back into it again and therefore so excited that the theme for the Read-A-Theme Read-A-Thon is Poetry.
I have been a HUGE poetry fan for a long time and loved writing my own back in high school.

The idea is to read books, obviously andI have one book on poetry that I am definitely planning on reading.
My main focus however, is on finding poems that I love this month.
From whomever and wherever they happen to appear from.

What are you reading this month?

New Year’s Resolution

Every time the new year rolls around, we create this imaginary boundary that separates the happenings of the past and gives us an opportunity to solely focus on the year that is to come.
I haven’t decided how I feel about this yet. I just know that the more I have grown up, the less I have started to hate resolutions and have begun to embrace the challenge.

This little lady is very talented when it comes to setting myself impossible goals by thinking of things that were too vague. As well as simply giving up within a couple of weeks.#lazygirlproblems
But not this time! This time I haven’t plucked my resolution out of a hat, it’s something I feel strongly about. Self love. 

While I was toasting to 2017 with my family, with the loud booming of fireworks echoed in the background, I realised that 2017 really did feel like a new year. There was so much I wanted to work on and achieve mentally.
I have never been one to deal with my feelings. They get shoved in a box in my head or I sit and stew in them until I boil over.
Giving advice about finding a way to cope with things and finding happiness within yourself to people always seems so easy. Yet I always find myself caught in this net of uncertainty and self doubt. (The perks of being a perfectionist) 

Whilst watching a TV show, I heard this quote: “The problem with perfectionists is that instead of finding that last push and giving it all they’ve got, they never finish anything”.
This hit home HARD. Because this is me. I start things and if I happen to not like the product or I don’t see results, I bow out. I do this with fitness plans, with sewing projects, with my blog and the worst of them all, with relationships.

2017 is the year to stop bowing out. To learn to deal with the parts of me that make the things I do imperfect and that make me imperfect.
It is the year to embrace the challenges that life brings. I’m going to see where they lead, maintain my friendships and stop disappearing on people. I need to finally start this journey of self love I always thought I had, but realised I had no clue about.

What is/are your new year resolutions?

Parma Ham and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad

There is something I love more than sleep on this planet and that just happens to be food. Don’t be shy now, I know there are many of you out there that feel the same way!
I recently went for a late lunch with my dad and we ended up in Le Pain Quotidien. They’re famous for their organic ingredients, healthy options and in all honesty I can’t stay away from the place when I’m craving a beautiful salad.
I ended up ordering this baby. They call it the Tuscan Board. I call it salad heaven.

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Because I loved it so much, I am here to share an easy recipe to recreate this beauty!
You will need (For 1 Portion):

Lettuce
Ruccola (Rocket)
Quarter of a grilled aubergine
Half a grilled Courgette
Parmesan
A few slices of buffalo mozzarella
4 parma ham slices (have as many you think is necessary)

For the vinaigrette you will need: 

A handful of fresh basil leaves
A tablespoon of olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
A pinch of salt

-Blend or mash the basil leaves and olive oil together. When this is done, add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. It is ready to be drizzled on to your salad!
To complete it, just a light drizzle of extra olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. Et Voila!
A restaurant style salad, made easy at home!

Obviously all these measurements are arbitrary. You can do whatever you like with the salad, add less parmesan, add more courgette! Make double the basil vinaigrette…It’s all up to you! As long as you enjoy the end result…
I’ve never been one to stick to recipes 100% unless baking. I won’t be starting today 😉

I hope you enjoyed this little recipe!