Anxiety

Anxiety is tricky. It’s a hidden sickness, often hiding even from those who have it. I will think “this is great, I’ve completely learned how to effectively manage my anxiety levels and I never have issues anymore.” Then I have a panic attack, crash for two days, and have to pick myself back up again.

I confuse people. I’m easily social and clearly enjoy the company of others, and yet only have a few close friends that I open up to. I’m outgoing and often speak up in a crowd, and yet the act of doing so can flood me with embarrassment for hours afterward. I often act without thinking to the point where outsiders classify me as an extrovert, then I isolate and am hopelessly introspective for weeks at a time. My own anxiety turns my personality into a series of contradictions that make it difficult to sustain the relationships needed for personal or professional development.

Dating is laughable. I have a stubborn independent streak that attracts mature independent men, but if things get serious I drive them away with what seems to be a jealous, insecure edge. I’m neither jealous nor insecure, but my hours of thinking cause thoughts to spin in my head to the point where I need to say them out loud. I ask about a girl you added on Facebook, not because I care that you’re friends with some girl, but because the thought will spin around and come to the forefront of my brain about 20 times in a minute and it seems to be a casual conversation topic to my over-active mind.

There are many self-diagnosed anxiety disorders floating around our society right now. There are a lot of people who thrive off of the attention that being sick can get them, and mental disorders conveniently lack physical proof. Because of this, there is also a lot of skepticism if one claims to have an anxiety disorder. When my anxiety levels build, I am always aware of it. In my head, I tell myself to tell someone. Explain that I need time to go and calm down, explain why I am acting differently. Instead, I am so afraid of eye-rolling and judgement that I pretend I’m ok, even when it is obvious that I am not. I’m already prone to isolating myself, prone to pushing away help in situations where I should accept it. It doesn’t help that anxiety will make me think I am always disliked, even by those I know enjoy my company. When I actually have a panic attack, I’m terrified. It feels like I’m dying. Before I knew what they were, I honestly believed I was going to die. My only focus should be on recovering from the attack. Instead, I focus on making sure that no one will find out that I had a panic attack that day.

It’s not all bad. The same force that keeps me thinking that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not good enough, also pushes me to succeed. My motivation and drive are off the charts. My current career also stems from my anxiety – I have a skill to see 4 or 5 possible pathways where others only see one, just because of my natural tendency to over-think. Friends rely on me for advice and insight into moral matters, because they know I spend so many hours of my life just…thinking.

Remember there is strength in admitting weakness. Remember it is always ok to accept help when you need it, and to give yourself a break from personal condemnation when you fall down. Remember to let go of shame and move forward. Remember that you always have permission to love yourself. Recovery isn’t an uphill path, and your symptoms will likely be exacerbated while you are young and trying to find your path, or through periods of great stress in your life.

The world is still beautiful, and you will find happiness.

 

 

 

How to Pack!

So a few weeks ago, I went to spend a few days with my friends in Ottawa. Packing is one of my favourite parts of any trip, as I love organization of any kind. I’m not the lightest packer in the world, but I’ve never had an overly large or overweight bag, and more importantly, all of my things are perfectly packed and placed within the bag. I also personally love reading or watching YouTube videos where other people describe how they pack, so I thought that would be nice for me to share with all of you today!

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My room usually looks something like this a day before any trip…a huge mess. I also usually have a few weeks of laundry that need doing before I can go anywhere. It always feels like an overwhelming task at this point, but I get it done without fail. I usually have three goals to complete before I go on a trip: do all my laundry, pack my bags, and clean my room. Never skip cleaning your room! Nothing beats the feeling of coming home to a perfectly clean room after a long trip.

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The next thing I do is I get out my suitcase, whatever size it is I’m taking, and my toiletry bags and packing cubes (which I just have thrown inside my suitcase here). I then go through my clothes…dirty and clean…and plan outfits for the days I’m going. Two traveling outfits (for going there and back), and then enough everyday outfits to last me. In order to keep my bag on the light side, I try to pack lighter clothes, and bring a common sweater to layer between outfits if it’s chilly. I also try to plan on using one pair of pants between two outfits, so that I’m not packing a different pair of pants everyday. I also make a pile of bras and underwear I need for the trip (1-3 bras depending on the length of the trip. The longest trip I was on recently was a month long, and 3 bras lasted me perfectly). For underwear, I pack twice the amount of the days I’m going…because underwear is light, and you never know. I also make a pile for pjs, and a pile for sweaters/outerwear. As you can see in this picture, not all the piles are complete. This is due to the fact that I had already thrown the dirty laundry in the wash before I took this photo. The only thing that’s not in this picture that should be are shoes….I usually wear one pair, and take one extra pair for a different look. If I’m going somewhere with a gym, I also take a pair of running shoes.

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Next I pack my toiletries. Pictured above are what I call in my mind my “general toiletries.” They include: toothpaste/a toothbrush, a razor, a comb, a brush (I just am bringing my tangle teaser), deodorant, face wipes, hair protection spray, and body cream.

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Next in the toiletries category is my makeup. I generally bring just the basics, with a few different shades of lipstick and an eye-shadow palette for changing up looks. I know the Urban Decay Naked Palette isn’t the most compact thing in the world, but the eye-shadows don’t crack easily, and it has it’s own good brush and mirror, which makes it perfect for travelling in my books. Plus, the shades it provides can make a range of really diverse looks (I also use “Buck” for my eyebrows when I’m travelling). Pictured above, I have: concealer, foundation, powder, bronzer, blush, four lipsticks, an eye-shadow palette, mascara, eyeliner, tweezers, nail clippers, nail polish (not a usual item, but my manicure was almost gone), a hair clip, and body spray.

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Next, I pack the brushes I will need. In this case, I brought a powder brush, a foundation brush, the brushes I use for bronzer and blush, and my eyebrow brushes.

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Now I pack everything Away. I have shampoo, conditioner, and soap in a plastic bag (in case of spillage). Otherwise, my general toiletries are in the clear bag (so I can easily see where the item I need is), and my makeup is in the other bag (I generally use all my makeup at once anyway).

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Alright, by now my laundry is done, so it’s back to clothes. These packing cubes were one of the most brilliant purchases I ever made. I have 4-5 for different purposes, but for short trips I keep it simple…tops in one, bottoms in the other. It makes it so easy to find all my clothing, and everything gets rumpled so much less. Plus, it protects my clothes from any spillage that happens inside the suitcase.

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Next comes the part where I fit everything inside the suitcase…which is an art. It can take a lot of rearranging to see where everything will fit best. One piece of advice that I have learned over the years…if something doesn’t seem to fit, roll it up tight, then try again. Rolling takes up so much less space than folding. My bras, underwear, and socks go in the top compartments. The small zippered compartment I keep empty for dirty laundry on short trips.

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Now for my carry-on…the backpack. I love how I organize this…I always have exactly what I need all through the flight or train ride, without fail.

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These are the items that I put in the main compartment. My water bottle, a snack (I had leftover melon in the fridge…perfect!), a small purse (for nights out), my nintendo, my computer, my notebook, my pencil case, my wallet, and my chargers. The items in this main compartment are the most flexible, as they completely depend on the length and the type of trip.

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These are the items in the middle compartment. Kleenex, cough drops, hand lotion, gum, pads/a tampon (I wasn’t expecting my period on this trip, otherwise I would have also had a toiletry bag filled with the necessary items, but it’s always good to have them on hand), and my keys.

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Lastly, these are the items in the top compartment of my suitcase. More gum (always gotta have gum!), the lipstick I was wearing that day, and hand sanitizer (the biggest must have for airports or trains).

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And now I just put on my comfy outfit and I am good to go!

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Thoughts on Being 21

So yesterday was my 21st birthday, and to me at least, that’s a pretty big deal. Twenty-one is the age where you are universally considered an adult, by anyone’s legal or non-legal definition. You can drink pretty much anywhere, you can drive, you can rent an apartment and live on your own, and you are no longer in your shaky first years of being out on your own where you have to ask your parents for exact directions every step of the way. In a lot of ways, that’s scary.

Things that suck about being 21:

  1. A lot of student discounts stop at 19 (what is up with that??)
  2. You HAVE to book your own doctor’s and dentist appointments
  3. Job interviews matter a little more, and the questions only get tougher
  4. There is no excuse for rolling out of bed, putting on sweats, and going anywhere
  5. You can’t blame your parents for any quirks that are unlikable in your personality – you have to take responsibility for who you are
  6. “Angst” and “hormones” are no longer excuses for being a bitch
  7. You really have to start figuring out a career path
  8. Saying “my mom says no” is no longer an acceptable excuse to get out of social engagements
  9. Sales people who come to the door are actually there to talk to you, not your mom or dad
  10. It’s time to do your own taxes

All of this being said, I’m actually pretty excited for the coming years. Even with the hardships and responsibilities, this is now officially my own life. There is a great sense of freedom in that, even in knowing that no one will catch me if I fall down. I’m no longer growing, or waiting for life to start…I’m just living.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and subscribe! If you would like to see more of me, feel free to check out my Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter! You can also visit my youtube channel where I vlog everyday as part of the Seven Year Challenge!! xoxo ❤

How to Clean a Litterbox Properly

This post may or may not be motivated by certain roommate frustrations. I do not own cats, but I have gotten in the habit of cleaning up after the two that live with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cats, but getting home after a vacation and realizing that my entire apartment smells like litter can be frustrating. Especially since if cats don’t have a clean litter box, they do search for other alternatives (I came back to find I had to throw out most of my bedding recently).

Cleaning the litter box couldn’t be a simpler process.

1. Pick up the litter box

2. Empty the litter box into a trash bag (carefully, so as to not spill litter everywhere)

3. Wipe down the box

4. Pour in a new bag of litter (yes, the entire bag)

As for how often to clean the litter box: if you have 1 cat, then clean it once a week. If you have 2 cats, clean it twice a week. If you have 3 cats, get two boxes and clean them both twice a week. If you have more than 3 cats, seriously re-evaluate your life choices.

Yes, I am saying to completely use up an entire bag of litter every time you clean the litter box. The good news is, litter is dirt cheap (it’s literally dirt). I know it’s still not as cheap as not buying litter, but that unfortunately is one of the costs of cats. They do cost money and time, as much as they are known for being less high maintenance than dogs. Less maintenance does not mean no maintenance. You may think the box looks fine with only a thin layer of litter, however, that thin layer will become unsatisfactory to your cats very quickly. They like it deep enough to bury their poop in.

Reasons to clean a litter box regularly:

-Without cleaning, the room will smell. Eventually, your entire place will smell. Even if you are scooping out the messes every few days, that is not sufficient to remove the smell. The only thing that will cut the smell is changing the litter.

-Your cats become stressed if their litter box isn’t clean

-The cats will search for alternative places to use the washroom. I have heard of a few other cases besides mine where they decide to use the bed of the human they think is most likely to address the problem. It is unfortunately a source of communication.

-A dirty litter box breeds bacteria. Don’t let bacteria in your home.

-Cat feces contains parasites

-The cats will start to smell bad if their litter box is dirty. They will smell clean if their box is clean. It’s one of the charms of cats.

I hope you all clean up after your pets properly, and I hope your litter boxes are sparkling with the care and time you put into cleaning them!

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Should I Make a Youtube Channel?

Hey guys! So I have been wanting to make a YouTube channel for quite a while now. However, there has been a lot of worries that come with that. I’m still busy with school and am likely to be much busier come September, I’m already posting here twice a week, so would a YouTube channel take away from that, and would my content be any good in a visual format vs a written one? I don’t know!

My personal theory has always been that if you want to do something, just jump in and do it, and don’t worry about the fears. I think this is something I want to pursue, but I want to make sure I have enough time to think about what I want to do with it. So right now, what I am thinking, is that I will start a YouTube channel…once I hit 100 subscribers on this blog. That’s not a challenge I’m setting for you guys, just one for myself, and it means my content has to be better than ever!

So that’s what’s happening right now, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Also, what would you like to see on a YouTube channel if I started one? DIY tutorials? Cooking? Decorating? Daily vlogs? A mix? The options are limitless.

If you enjoyed this post please give it a like and subscribe. If you want to see more of me, feel free to head on over to my Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter. xoxo ❤

Going to Greece and Turkey!

Hey guys, just a quick update for all of you. Through the month of May, I am going to be travelling through Greece and Turkey! I’m actually taking a university course on Greek and Roman civilizations. I’m really excited…I travel a lot, it’s one of my passions, and I’ve been lucky enough to have many opportunities, but these two countries are places I have never been to before, but fantasized about nearly my entire life! Plus I love classics…I would happily do a classics degree in university just for interest alone (possible retirement plan?).

I have scheduled blog posts to come out twice a week for you guys while I am gone. So things will continue like normal on my blog. I’m not sure if I will have any reliable internet at all while I travel though, so my social media presence, responding to comments, etc will likely be less than normal. I fully intend to make a long blog post when I get back about the trip. Another thing I might do, is if I have good internet at least once a week while I am away, then I might do regular Greece posts on this blog. However, that is very up in the air for now. I’m so excited though, and I look forward to telling all of you about the trip!

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and subscribe! If you want to check out more of me, then head on over to my Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter for more of me!

My Morning Routine

Unlocking a good morning is the key to unlocking a good day. Now, I have never been a morning person in my entire life. I think maybe as a 4 year old I used to be up with the sun, but that was the last time I was happy to do so. However, this year one of my focuses has been on making myself get up early and have a good morning that sets the tone and focus for the rest of the day. As hard as it was to make myself get up at 7 when I had no reason to be up early (ARGHH!!), I’m now used to it and I’ve learned that it really is worth it. I sleep better too, now that I don’t sleep for as long as I want to, because my body is compensating with more meaningful sleep for the fewer hours.

7:00-7:30

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So the first thing I do when I wake up at 7 is make my bed. I know this seems like such a keener move, but when I come back into my room later, seeing my bed all neat with my throw pillows on top of it makes it far less likely that I will crawl back under the covers. After my bed is made, I go to the kitchen and drink one full glass of cold water to wake myself up. Then, I immediately make breakfast (either a smoothie or a bowl of berries and yogurt….nothing too heavy or I feel sick). After breakfast is when some people would choose to get changed and go to the gym, but for me I just feel sick working out first thing in the morning (my workouts are early afternoon). So instead, after breakfast, I do the few breakfast dishes and get into the shower.

7:30-8:30

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         In the shower, I may wash my hair (once every 3 days!), and then I shave my legs using conditioner as the lubricant (makes my skin soooo soft), then I use soap, then occasionally I use a body scrub. I also wash my face in the shower using my favourite moisturizing face wash! Once I get out of the shower, I brush through my hair with my tangle teaser and I brush my teeth. I may also moisturize my face (I only moisturize my face a couple times a week due to my sensitive skin). I do moisturize my body using my favourite vanilla body butter!!

With that done, I go back to my bedroom and get dressed. I like to smell nice, so I will also use a body spray or a perfume on my clothes after I put them on. Then I do my makeup and my hair.

8:30-10:00

This is my free time. I might read a book, work on a new blog post, or do readings for my next classes. I can journal or sometimes I clean. My only rule is that I don’t turn on my phone or get on the internet. I like the first 3 hours of my day to be completely disconnected from the world. It helps me focus on myself and block out all distractions.

So that’s my morning routine! If you enjoyed this post, give it a like and subscribe! Then head on over to my Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter for more of me! xoxo ❤