LIFESTYLE

FLOWER POWER FOR ALLERGY GIRLS

Anyone how knows me knows how bad my seasonal allergies are. In the summer it is not uncommon for me to me sneezing, blowing my nose and have very red and itchy eyes. This is because I have seasonal allergies that make me allergic to almost everything outside this time of year. The worst part of these allergies is the reaction I get to flowers.

I absolutely love flowers, I mean who doesn’t? They are so beautiful and bright and make any room look fresh and clean. Plus who doesn’t love getting flowers from their significant other?! I get chocolate now instead (yum) but miss out on the excitement of receiving flowers, giving them a big sniff and then setting them up for my guests to enjoy.

So, in order to have beautiful flowers in my life, I am incorporating floral print wherever I can. I purchase floral print tops, dresses, blankets – whatever I can find that is a floral print!

As I am writing this post I know it may seem like a silly topic but I know I am not the only girl out there who love flowers but has an unfortunate allergy to them!

How do you lovelies incorporate flowers into your life?

WRITE YOUR WORRIES AWAY

Writing has always been a huge part of my life. As a child I wrote short stories, I wrote in my diary and I wrote notes to my friends when I was supposed to be listening to the teacher.

University forced me to take a different approach to my writing. As a public relations student, my courses were heavily focused on writing. I wrote anything from press releases to strategic communications plans to research proposals. Regardless of what writing task I was assigned, it always had a specific format and structure to follow.

As an organized person I didn’t have a problem with this. I enjoyed following templates and formats and then using my creativity to make it visually appealing. That is the thing though, I am not only organized, I am also creative. My creative side was focused strictly on the visual during that time and my writing suffered for it. In my final year of university, I took a Creative Writing class and it brought out that side of me again and I was so thankful. Writing returned to what it had always been for me – expressive. 

Over the past few years writing for this blog I have learned how therapeutic writing can be. As much as I love when you darlings read my blog and am honored when you are able to relate to one of my posts – I write this blog for me. I write to reflect my life and the opportunities and challenges I face. As you may or may not have noticed – I only write about the positives. This isn’t because nothing negative ever happens – it’s because I don’t want the negatives to be the focus of my writing and especially not my life. Finding the positive in any given situation or topic has helped me through many tough times throughout my life.

Even if you are just writing for yourself and don’t want to show anyone  – do it! I promise you won’t regret it.

YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO BE HAPPY

Something we tend to forget is that everyone has their own goals and dreams. What makes one person happy, isn’t necessarily what is going to make another person happy. The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all the same; with the same goals, dreams and wishes.

Our differences are what make us interesting. People are generally attracted to people who share similar interests as them, but few people are looking for someone exactly the same. Best friends, couples, families, co-workers, classmates – they all bring different challenges and excitement to the relationship to make it amazing.

The problem with our world today is that not everyone can see this. So many people focus on the things that make them happy and expect that to be what everyone should want. They see others enjoying things that don’t make sense to them, and instead of respecting it – they judge.

No matter how much the world changes or how many people learn to accept things that are not familiar to them, there are always going to be those few that don’t. We can’t dwell on this. We need to spread our love and do what makes us happy regardless of what others have to say. If we’re being the best person we can be and pursuing the things in life that make us happy, we can’t lose.

So, don’t depend on others to make you happy. Be your own happiness and I promise, you will be the most delightful version of yourself.

TREAT YO SELF

While on the job search the past couple weeks, most of my time has been spent inside my apartment. My days have been spent in front of my computer – wearing my trusty yoga pants and my favourite crew neck sweater -working on cover letter after cover letter.

Today I decided enough was enough and I needed a break. I got dressed, curled my hair, put on some makeup, and took myself on a date. An appointment took me downtown so I figured why not take advantage?! I went to Wasabi house for the sushi I have been craving and then for dessert at Sweet Hereafter – the cheesecake shop I have been dying to try.

Now the key point of this blog post is that I did this alone. For some reason, as a society, we rarely do things alone. While out I was approached multiple times to confirm that I was actually eating alone and not waiting for someone. I enjoy going out for a bite with the girls – or even on a date – just as much as the next girl, but what is wrong with being my own date?

Once you get over the initial anxieties of “is everyone looking at me?” or “do they think I’m pathetic for being alone?” and all that nonsense it is actually quite relaxing to eat out alone. You are working with your own schedule and can sit, relax and reflect. Not to mention the fact that I made myself quite a cheap date – a full day of fun for under $20!

Next time you have a craving or you simply feel like getting out of the house, think about taking yourself on a much-deserved date and treat yo self!

DON’T LET YOUR RELATIONSHIP STATUS AFFECT YOUR VALENTINE’S DAY

Let me premise this post by saying that if you are in a relationship this Valentine’s and celebrating with your love – good on you. I hope you have a lovely time because the message of this post is for everyone – including you love birds!

It is assumed that because Valentine’s day celebrates love, that it is a day for couples and couples only. This simply isn’t the case at all. Valentine’s is a day to show all of the people in your life that you love them. This includes friends, family, significant others, and pets – don’t forget about your furry loved ones!  We tell our loved ones we love them all throughout the year, but Valentine’s is special day celebrate that love.

Valentine’s is also a day to celebrate the love you have for yourself. You shouldn’t set your worth on your relationship status on this one day of the year. Instead, you should take the time to remember all of the things you love about yourself and celebrate them. Do you love flowers and chocolate but you don’t have anyone to buy them for you? Heck – go out and treat yo self! Take a nice relaxing bubble bath and read that book you haven’t found the time to read. Snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn and binge watch your favourite show. Whatever you do, take advantage of this day to do something you love and do it just for you. 

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s and shows all their loved ones just how loved they truly are – especially themselves. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

MY JOURNEY WITH ANXIETY

This is a post I have wanted to write for quite some time now. With today being #BellLetsTalk day, it only seemed fitting for that day to be today.

Roughly three years ago I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and placed on medication to assist with anxiety and panic attacks. Although I was unaware of the fact that it was anxiety I had been suffering from – it was something I had been dealing with my whole life.

Most people who know me consider me to be an outgoing and social person. Few people know the struggle I face each and every time I attend a social event. Crowds and large groups of people can be overwhelming for me. I feel comfortable, happy and safe in my own space.  Leaving that safe space causes it to be hard for me to breathe. Sometimes people will be talking to me and I can’t even hear what they are saying because I am so overwhelmed by everything and everyone around me. My heart beats fast, my palms sweat and my mouth goes completely dry. It is extremely rare for me to spend the night at a friend’s house because the idea of not being in my own apartment with my own bed and blankets is overwhelming for me.

As a teenager, my issues with social anxiety made it hard for others to be around me. I always felt like no one understood how I was feeling – because they didn’t. I always thought I was being overdramatic – because that is what everyone told me. It wasn’t their fault that they didn’t know how I was feeling or that they thought I was being overdramatic. I didn’t know what was making me feel that way, so there was no way for them to know. To them, I was anxious, oversensitive and got upset about the of smallest things. Within social groups, friends often tease each other with the understanding that it is all in fun and no harm is meant to be done. This was something that my anxiety could not handle. While my friends were just trying to include me and have fun, my anxiety caused my feelings to be hurt and for me to be overwhelmed by them. If my friends didn’t answer my phone calls or invite me somewhere right away – I immediately assumed they hated me and didn’t want me around. Eventually, this constant state of anxiety, paranoia, and sensitivity led to no one wanting me around.

In addition to social anxiety, I had an obsession with how I looked – clothes, hair, and makeup. People assumed I was being shallow and materialistic – but this was not the reason behind my obsession. My appearance was the only thing I felt I could control in times of anxiety. When I couldn’t control how overwhelmed I was feeling about any given situation – the one thing I could control was my hair, makeup, and clothing. It may sound silly, but I needed that sense of control.

At the time in my life when I was diagnosed with anxiety, it had reached an all-time high. I was having panic attacks almost daily. I couldn’t focus on school without having a panic attack. I couldn’t attend social events without having a panic attack. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store without becoming completely overwhelmed and taking a panic attack. I knew that this was no longer something I could ignore and hope I would get over. I knew it was time to figure out what was going on with me and how to fix it.

I went to my doctor and talked with a counselor about how I was feeling. I assumed that they were going to tell me it was normal. I was a 23-year-old university student – of course, I was stressed and taking panic attacks. I assumed they would tell me I just need to take a breath and calm down – this what I always heard from friends and family. However, this is not what they told me. How I was feeling was not completely dedicated to the fact that I was a university student. I had an anxiety disorder that I needed to treat.

When I was first prescribed medication – I was hesitant. I was hesitant because of the stigma that is attached to taking medication for mental illness. People say that we shouldn’t depend on medicine and that we should learn to cope without it. I agree that we shouldn’t completely rely on medication and that we should find additional methods of treatment  – but what my medication has done for me is allowed me to manage my anxiety enough to be able to take those extra steps on my own.

Three years later and I can honestly say that I feel I have my anxiety under control as much as it is possible for me to have my anxiety under control. Now that I know and understand what is going on,  I have been able to find ways to cope.  When you are upset, stressed and/or having a panic attack, it is almost impossible to calm down and work through that moment when you have no idea what is happening or why.

Now that I know anxiety is what I am dealing with, I have been able to communicate my thoughts and feelings with my friends and family who have been understanding and supportive beyond expectation. Conversations and support from my friends and family are what have gotten me through the toughest times of my life and continue to assist me every day. If I am having a rough day and my anxiety is starting to take over, it relieves an enormous amount of stress and anxiety knowing I am not alone.

I share my story today in hopes of helping someone else with their struggles and continue the conversation to end the stigma associated with mental illness.

MORE OF ME (FOR ME) TO LOVE

Gaining weight is never fun. No one wants to look at the scale and see that the numbers have jumped up or look in the mirror and see a little extra flub. The question is why? Why do we focus so much of our time and attention on the number on the scale or some extra skin on our bodies? What we should be focusing on is why we are gaining weight. Where is that weight coming?

I have gained a fair amount of weight over the past eight or so months (30lbs to be exact) and it’s something that has bothered me. I would look in the mirror and see the extra skin and be sad. I would struggle to button my pants and get angry. I would look at old pictures where I was at my ideal weight and feel regret. I would feel sad, angry and regretful until I looked at the reasons why I was gaining weight.

One of the big reasons is because I am not a teenager anymore. I am a woman – a woman with a lower metabolism but more curves. This isn’t something to be upset about – it is something to be proud of. Growing up I was blessed with a small frame and the ability to eat without gaining weight. Even with the weight, I have gained I am still not what many would consider big or fat because of my smaller frame. There is just now some extra skin attached to that small frame.

The main reason why I gained weight because of how I’ve been eating. I’ve been eating out a lot and making a lot of poor choices with food. Does this upset me? Not at all. Many of those times eating out were memories. I was eating out with friends or family spending time together eating delicious but sometimes fattening food. I started a new job which involved a lot of travel and therefore eating on the road and dinners out with colleagues. Again, is this bad? Nope. I am working doing a job I love and spent time out getting to know colleagues and making new friends.

Does this mean every single time I ate out was for one of those reasons? Again nope! The idea of eating out is saving it for these occasions which means cutting back – eating at home and making healthier choices when possible. I think that gaining weight is okay as long as you are remaining healthy – and that is my only regret. Choosing to eat out a bit too much and neglecting my health.

Now when I look in the mirror instead of seeing the skin I look at myself I see growth. I see that I am aging and maturing and becoming more of a woman each day. Not that you need curves to be a woman – you definitely do not – but for me, my curves help me embrace that side. When I look at the extra skin I think of the memories I have made with family and friends – of delicious burgers, fries, and cheesecake. I also see opportunity. I see the weight I’ve gained and the curves I’ve acquired and think about switching some of my bad eating habits out for good ones – throwing in some workouts and building the body I want while still loving the body I have.

WHY I LOVE BEING ALONE ON A FRIDAY NIGHT

For whatever reason, being alone on a Friday night has a stigma attached to it. No one cares if someone stays home alone on say a Tuesday – why is Friday so different?

After a long week, it is so important for us to unwind and I feel that it is equally as important for at least one weekend day or night be for you. It is completely up to you which day and how you want to spend it – but the one thing to be sure of is that the time is set for yourself.

Tonight after work I took a nap on the couch, watched some Netflix, got a relaxing shower and now I am here writing to you while snacking on buttery popcorn and sipping ROLO hot chocolate. How is any of this bad?! Just because I am not drunk or with friends I can’t have a good time? LIES!

Friday has become my night. Working in communications I spend my entire work with people. I love my job and I love working with people but by the end of the week, I am ready for some good old-fashioned Shae Time. 

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