Mental Health · Positivity · Wellness

Dear Body,

I’m sorry. I’m still learning to love you. Every day I’m trying, now. I’ve spent so many years hating you when I was thin and when I was larger. I don’t want to hate you anymore, because you’ve never done me wrong. When you carried me through the best moments of my life, I still hated you. You did nothing but be there for me. You digest my favourite foods, allow me to feel so many things, let me see my surroundings. I’ve spent so much time trying to hide you from the world.

That ends today. You are nothing to be ashamed of. You are not something that needs to be hidden from the world. I don’t hate you anymore, at least I’m trying not to. I’m grateful for you. I’m trying every day to be grateful for you. You are always there when I need you to take me where I need to go. You are always there to calm me of my anxiety. I’m trying to love you body, and I will continue to try my best to love you each and everyday. All of you.

🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

Why is society’s standard to not be body positive? It’s like if you’re confident about your body you’re a narcissist or something. What is so wrong with showing ourselves some love?!

They tell you on the airplane to secure your mask before helping another. You take time off work if you’re sick. You go to work and/or school every day to better yourself.

So why is ~simply~ being positive about your body so hard? Why are we influenced and encouraged to be insecure, (not intentionally of course)?

It’s taken years of bullshit and vastly deteriorating mental health to get to this point. I’m still struggling everyday. The most important things is that we don’t give up. I’m hitting a point in life where there’s no way out but self love. The universe has slapped me in the face because I’ve neglected myself for so long, and I must grow.

We’re all on this together. Check yourself out. Drink water. Move your body. Fuel your body. Feed your soul. Buy yourself a cupcake. Eat the cupcake. Repeat.

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

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Mental Health · Positivity

“Sticks and stones”

I remember when I was younger, my mom would always tell me: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

She told me to repeat it in my head over and over again. But the words do hurt. They really, hecking hurt. They encourage my mind to run through the miles and miles of negative thoughts and self doubt I harbour in my head.

A lot of things hurt. Some days just being awake hurts. Mental health is so hard to understand sometimes because not enough people are talking about it. There still remains stigma.

I encourage you to speak up, and speak out. Even if you just share your feelings, or what you deal with, it’s something. There is nothing more comforting than finding that you aren’t alone in how you feel.

A lot of things hurt, but there is comfort out there. There are others out there that feel the way you do. There are people who care about you. There is more to life than how you feel.

Words hurt, but this too shall pass. 🌷

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

Mental Health · Wellness

My Body Rollercoaster

I try and camouflage how big 
I am on social media so no 
one else knows the shameful
truth: I’ve gained weight.

This past month has been really, really shitty; I won’t put it lightly. I hold myself to these ridiculous standards like: Summer months are your good months, why are you depressed? You’re supposed to be happy. You’re supposed to be skinny. You’re supposed to be organized. It’s been over 2 years, why can’t you let it go?

Today I’m going to dive into my body cycle over the past 8 years, and the experiences that accompanied it.

A little back story here: 2 1/2 years ago I experienced what to me was a traumatic experience, which shocked me to my core. I am still recovering from it. I’ve realized that until recently, I have been neglecting myself because of these standards I’ve placed on myself.

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Because of this experience I developed panic disorder and very acute anxiety, which eventually lead to sleeping pills, antidepressants, and a whole lot of weight gain. Unfortunately, this all made it worse. I was feeling really good in November, and actually decided to come off of my medications, which was a HUGE victory for me.

I thought I was ready, but I see now that I wasn’t. “Just because you have high days, it doesn’t mean you are over your anxiety. It is always going to be there! You will just get better at dealing with it,” was something I was told back when I first started counselling. It was scary because I thought she was supposed to be able to fix me, and take it away!

Since then, I’ve come a long way, but I still have an even longer way to go.

Because of this weight gain, I’m experiencing the body that I’ve always convinced myself I already had. I’ve struggled with body image since back in grade 8 when I was severely tormented for my body, even though I wasn’t even big at all. Girls would throw toxic words st me like confetti, like “tank,” etc. I can assure you I was never a weaponized army vehicle, let alone big enough to be referred to as a tank. I was scared to go to school, and I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere.

I developed an eating disorder in grade 9, in which I would bend over in my bathroom mirror every morning, and if I saw any rolls, I wouldn’t eat that day. I would only nibble enough so my mom wouldn’t get suspicious. I’d throw up the remainder. I was so thin, and so unhealthy. The worst part of all of this? I didn’t even know it. I had been convinced that I was fat and that I was a problem.

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Luckily, I overcame this. I couldn’t actually tell you why, whether it was my soul revamping my path, my love for food overcoming my excessive need to be thin, or some other miracle; I overcame it.

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Young minds are so influential, and so vulnerable. I actually didn’t comprehend a lot of this damage until recently when I started councilling. It bites me in the ass to this day. Even after I overcame my disorder, and I was SO SMALL, I was convinced I was huge.

Fast forward 8 years, and I now see myself as that same girl in highschool, except this time, I am a tank. Or at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself because I actually am “fat” now.

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This is a new body for me and I’m trying to navigate my way through life in it. I try and camouflage how big I am on social media so no one else knows the shameful truth: I’ve gained weight. I’ll use poses and clothes. I’m in denial because I don’t see myself as that big, but then I see photos, and I realize how big I am. I have a tendency to lash out. It’s not right, it’s no one else’s fault.

You need to surround yourself with people who don’t treat your insecurities as inconvenient because they are what make you human. They are no one else’s problem but your own, but you also need support.

I decided to start taking care of myself, because no one else is going to. It is my responsibility to be there for me. I can’t wait to share my new journey that you guys soon!! Until now, I’m still holding myself accountable to a spot where I can share.

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There’s my rollercoaster for the day. Some much needed back story for you guys to understand some of my past. This comparison was done to show myself something: what is similar in all of these pictures? I am unhappy!! I’ve been unhappy at any size. So it’s time for me to accept the skin I’m in and be happy REGARDLESS. I’m starting a happiness journey and I can’t wait to share!

Reminder: it’s OKAY to be skinny.
It’s OKAY to be fat. It’s OKAY 
to be ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE. 
But it’s IMPORTANT to make sure 
you’re happy, too.

This is My Body rollercoaster so far. It’s not perfect, but it’s what’s brought me to this moment in my life, so I’m grateful. I am so, so thankful for this community and everyone I’ve met so far. Thank you, thank you. ♥️

 

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

Mental Health

Why do I even bother?

Same days I’m just FLOODED with ideas for articles I can write for this page! It’s overwhelming because I just want to share everything, and hope to help someone some day.

But then other days I wake up and doubt why I even try. Asking myself why I even started. I’ll never have anyone reading my content anyways. But why does THAT even matter?

At the end of the day, this page is for me, and not for anyone else. I would love for someone to read something and feel some kind of comfort, but is simply an outlet for my voice and experiences.

My depression and anxiety also have a spectrum, where some days it’s gunna be a high day, some days a low. Some days I’ll feel like I’m drowning in my mind, and self doubt seems to be my only ability.

Other days, it’s bright and sunny, even on the coldest day. My day is filled with motivation, and body confidence, and energy. And some days it’s an in between.

Get to know yourself! You are human, and not every day is going to be great for you. Some months are going to suck.

But just remember that it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

Cooking

Korean Beef Bulgogi, Veg Style

Some nights you just want to eat take out, but let’s face it: you’ll probably end up feeling crappy about yourself after , whether financially, physically, or mentally.

My boyfriend and I went to a Korean BBQ place about a year ago, and he had the best meal ever. It was called Beef Bulgogi, which is a traditional Korean dish. Only problem? I’m veg, so I couldn’t try it out! Thankfully, we tried some alternatives, and a year later, we’re still making it at least once per week!

It’s fast, cheap, filling, vegan, and tasty! It is also super easy to customize it because really any spices or veggies will work great. The veggie ground is a great alternative to beef ground, as it has the same texture and consistency. Also, it’s not raw, so it cooks SUPER FAST!

This is the ground that I buy:

Prod_1664_IMGP3_B26_5

It’s approx. $10 for 4 packs, you can’t go wrong with that! You can use normal ground beef if you want, also!

This is a standard dish I would make on a Wednesday evening, after having school 9am-12pm, and work 12:30pm-6:30pm.

Korean Beef Bulgogi, Veg Style

Time: 30 minutes     ~     Servings: 2-3     ~    Great when reheated the next day for lunch!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 2 1/4 water
  • 1 pack of yves soy beef alternative, (this is the ground that works for me)
  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp of oil for saucepan
  • broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radish, green onion etc., sliced, (optional)
  • butter for rice, (optional)
Instructions:
Step 1:

Cook your rice! I use a rice cooker which helps a LOT! You can get them for $20ish CAD at, I highly recommend this to save time!

Step 2:

Rinse and slice your veggies.

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Step 3:

Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat. Lightly oil the pan, and place your garlic and onion in the pan. Stir around for 2 minutes, and then add the pack of ground.

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Step 4:

When the onions start to go translucent, and there’s a nice fry on the ground, you can add in the rest of your veggies! (I like to leave my radishes and green onions out, and place them on top, raw, at the end, but this is personal choice). You can place a lid on the saucepan in order to soften the veggies faster.

Step 5:

When veggies are to your desired tenderness, turn the stove off, and then you can put the brown sugar and soya sauce into the pan. Mix this around so the soya sauce and brown sugar create a teriyaki glaze-type sauce.

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Step 6:

Serve over rice. Butter rice. Place raw veggies on top. Your choice! This is just how I eat it.

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And that’s it! Super easy, hey? Other than the rice, this is like a 10 minute dish! The sauce is always super tasty too; we can’t get enough of this dish!

If you try it, let me know how you like it!

Happy cooking!

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

Knowledge · Mental Health · Wellness

Self care?

So far my 20’s have been a mess, in the sense that the transition from living under the guidance and authority of my parents, to being completely my own person. Recently, I’ve hit a wall and come to some hard realizations: I have absolutely no skills in self care. I have no idea when to take a break, when to let things go, when to put myself first, or even what taking care of myself feels like.

I have a habit of imploding when things go bad, and instead of taking time to get trough it, I distract myself with everything and everything. This just leads to me burning out and bottling up the original problems, which is not super healthy. So, instead of continuing down this path and sulking about it, I’m deciding to research, speaking to loved ones, and figuring out how the fuck to be 22.

I need to figure out self care. This may sound silly, because some of you may have developed these skills when you were 5, but I’m realizing it’s okay to learn things later in life!

Step 1: What is self care?

I see people talking about self care days/routines. What does this even mean? When do you do this? What do I do? Well it’s different for everyone.

Self care for one person may not work for another, and that’s okay! Self care is about putting yourself first, and letting yourself grow and breathe.

For some people, that is bath bombs, a good book, and some alone time.

For others, it’s catching up with a loved one you haven’t seen in a while, and journaling your thoughts.

For me, I still don’t quite know yet, but realizing I need to find out is the first step!

Step 2: What makes you happy?

For the next week I’m going to write down things that make me feel good, and sift through and find ones that I can easily do when I’m not feeling great.

Example: Walks usually help me clear my head. I love to be in nature, and to even photograph it. So nature walks and photography can definitely be on that list.

Keep doing this until you have 5/6 items on your list, (which forces you to be creative and think deep), and then pick your top 3.

Step 3: When the heck do you use self care?

This is the hard one for me. I feel like I don’t deserve to take care of myself, or I need to take care of someone else. Well just like they say on airplanes: “secure your oxygen mask before assisting someone else”. How can you expect to be there for someone else if you’re a mess yourself?

It’s frickin hard I know, but you deserve to be happy, too; I promise.

To figure this one out, I thought back to the times I felt the worst:

  • Arguments with loved ones, whether parents, friends, significant others, etc. This is when I’d feel the most emotionally out of control and depressed.
  • When I’m on my period, o tend to feel really low energy, low mood. I know that this is a symptom of this time of the month, but I tend to convince myself that it’s just me and not what’s going on in my body. Big mistake! Don’t underestimate your hormones.
  • When a traumatic experience happens, whether a death, break up, loss of job, etc. These times are hard, and you need to be there for yourself more than ever.
  • When I’m overly stressed out about school or work I tend to feel really bad.
  • Some days, there is no reason. Some days I just wake up and feel like shit, and THAT’S OKAY TOO!
  • Your answers may be the exact same or different, but it’s important to think back to the times you’ve felt the worst. This is when you need self care the most.

Step 4: Remember!

You don’t have to be at your worst to practice self care, this is just the most important time to have these skills!
Sometimes it’s good to take care of yourself on a regular basis REGARDLESS of how you’re feeling.

Also remember that you deserve self care and love just as much as anyone else. You are human; you make mistakes.

Step 5: Is that it?

Pretty much. Sounds easy, right? Well it’s not going to be easy, but we have to try and stick with it. Whatever helps you stick to self care, use it.

I have a hard time doing things for myself because of my insecurities and self doubt, I tell myself I don’t deserve it. What is helping me is telling myself that I’m doing it for those around me. It is important, though, for me to teach myself that at the end of the day, it is for myself, too.

This was a hard thing to open up about because it’s pretty embarrassing to say at 22 I have no idea how to take care of myself. Realizing this is the first step. Then to act on it, and to continue to act on it.

We will get there. ♥️

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

Mental Health

Having anxiety vs Having anxiety

Anxiety doesn’t have a “look”. Nor does depression, happiness, or any other feeling and mental health condition. This is me when I want the world to see me vs when I do not. But my anxiety is there in both. My insecurities are there in both. Whether you’re panicking because you’re picking up your mom from the ferry, or panicking because you feel both mentally numb and out of control at the same time, your anxiety is valid.
.
Today I’m giving myself permission for this feed to not be perfect. I’m giving myself permission to be human. To make mistakes. To have depression. To have anxiety. I am giving myself permission to be and share my best and worst self today. To not kick myself down into the dirt because I assume everyone is going to think I’m doing it for attention. Or because people are going to judge me. I’m giving myself permission to be able to show my real self to the world today and from now on, and not apologize. I am unhappy in both of these pictures, but it’s really easy to hide that on social media. Let’s lift those barriers. We all have issues. We all deal with them differently. They are all valid. Be your beautiful self and don’t apologize for it. ♥️

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

Mental Health

I’m sorry, Mom pt2

I moved out of my parents house 1 year ago today. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t realize it then, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I have great parents. They are always there for me when I need them. Sometimes they just aren’t helping though; they’re making it worse. It’s not their fault though. They try, and that means the world to me.

We didn’t always see eye to eye, though. I was a stubborn child. I’d have different opinions than them, and I wouldn’t keep quiet about it. I spent a lot of time grounded, or in my room questioning if something was wrong with me.

I was more emotional than they were. Why couldn’t I keep my mouth shut like my twin brother? He’d just say okay and let it go. I couldn’t do that.

Anyways, it wasn’t until I developed my anxiety that this got a lot worse. My anxiety shortens my fuse. I have a temper, and when I’m feeling anxious, I can’t control it. I just snap and say whatever I’m feeling. Unfortunately, this doesn’t go over well when you have very sensitive parents.

They take everything personally. That’s just who they are and that’s fine. It just sucks when you feel insane because you say something you thought was totally fine, but it turns out it was “disrespectful”, and then you can’t understand what’s wrong with you.

I spent a lot of time hating myself for being as emotional as I was. I can’t let things go. My parents would go to bed after an argument we’d have, and then I’d never hear about it again. No closure; no resolution. Just thoughts questioning my entire make up as a being.

 

Today, August 1st, 2018, I sit in bed feeling unbelievably depressed. I feel useless and pathetic. The reason? I had to come home early.

I was staying with my parents, (a different city which takes approx. 4 hours to get to by car and ferry). Before I got to my parent’s house, I was on vacation with my boyfriend’s family for about a week. My mental state wasn’t the greatest, but I was excited to get home to see my parents.

I got home and it was great. We celebrated my birthday on July 30th, and everything was awesome. My boyfriend had to go back home to Burnaby a few days before me, so I was going to be at my parents house by myself.

I think, to a normal person, what’s the issue? I couldn’t tell you why there is an issue, but yes, staying at my childhood house without my boyfriend there makes me terribly anxious.

So at around 4pm, July 31, my anxiety is getting terrible and I make the decision to go home with Michael instead of staying with my parents for an additional 2 days.

I was bawling. I knew this would kill my parents. I had only stayed 2 nights so far and they had really been looking forward to spending time with me.

I slowly and carefully try and tell my mom, but can’t contain my emotion and just start bawling. She asks what’s wrong and I explain the decision I’ve made. She goes silent. Starts crying and doing stuff franticly. She’s hurt.

“Are you mad?” I ask her, looking for reassurance, she responds with “what do you expect me to say? Just do what you need to do”.

This one kills. The guilt. I get it mom, you’re hurt. I’m so fucking sorry. I feel so bad, I can’t stand it. But I need to look out for me right now. Sometimes I’m strong enough to deal with my anxiety, but tonight I’m not.

My brother texts me, “wtf, really?”. Yep, you have a pathetic, POS sister who can’t even sleep in her childhood bedroom by herself without having a panic attack. In his defense, he did book the following day off work to hangout with me. Yay, slap on some more guilt.

My dad gets home from work. He doesn’t realize I’m downstairs and can hear him. “So why did Jessica go home?” My mom responds, snappy, “anxiety. She’s still here, though”. It’s like it’s a joke to them. They just don’t get it. It’s real. I know it seems stupid, but it’s valid.

Great. I’ve completely screwed up everything. My parents and brother are all upset, all because I couldn’t just “get  over it”, and do the most natural fucking thing in what should be the most comforting place. Sleep in my childhood bed.

Dinner is awkward,  my parents are upset and barely talking to me. My dad asks what it was this time, and then asks why I’m crying again. I’m sorry dad, I can’t handle this guilt! It’s really hard to upset you guys and feel this way. I explain this to him and he tells me that it’s my own shit I need to accept.

My parents are great people. They only want what’s best for me. Unfortunately sometimes they just don’t understand. Sometimes I need to look out for myself, and that can sting.

I don’t know why I get anxious about the things I get anxious about. I don’t know why I am in a bad mental state right now. I do know though, that the last thing I’m trying to is upset you guys.

I cried nearly the whole ferry ride home, thinking over and over again whether I made the right decision to go home. Should I have stayed and faced my panic? Maybe I’m just making it worse by running away. I replay it over and over in my head. I ask Mike over and over again. My parents are hurt because they had little time with me but Mike’s parents had a whole week.

Why am I like this? I’m sorry mom and dad. I’m sorry that I hurt you. It’s the last thing I meant to do. Things are just hard right now. I need to face some of my own shit. I hope that one day you can understand. I wish I could make everything better.

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

Mental Health

I’m sorry, Mom. Pt1

It’s harmless. Your mom hugs you and exclaims that you are really hot.

That’s ok, it’s 30 degrees outside. I’m fine.

Then you sit beside your dad and he says the same thing.

Weird. They’re probably warm too, though.

Thinking back, my brother also said that to me when my knees touched his at dinner.

What is going on.

I snap at my mom. “Stop. Why are you saying that? I’m not hot, I’m.”

“Woah, chill out, it was just an observation.”

“You’re stressing me out!”

“Why are you stressed about me telling you you’re hot?!”

Yeah, Jess, why are you stressed about that?

I don’t know, but people can be so insensitive sometimes to others’ anxiety.

I told her I didn’t mean to snap, but my throat was starting to tighten up, and my heart was starting to beat faster.

She knows that abnormalities with my body give me really bad anxiety. But now she’s upset. Why am I like this.

Now she’s crying because she’s taking it personally. My mom has her own anxiety, and quite a few issues herself, so she gets upset very easily. It was hard sometimes growing up with such an emotional mom, because I was never trying to hurt her. I always felt like I was doing something wrong.

When I developed my heath anxiety, it was hard because I didn’t understand what was going on with me, and I’d look to my mom for support and for the answers. Sometimes she’d get frustrated because my anxiety is different than hers.

She’d say things like “you just have to feel it,” or “nothing’s wrong with you”. But when it wouldn’t fix it, I could see she was hurt. She would take it personally and I would feel so guilty.

I remember one afternoon I was cleaning out the bathtub. I scrubbed the walls so hard, getting absolutely every crack and tile.

When I had finished, and was typing in my laptop, my arm starting pulsating. It was shaking, and my muscles were spasming.

I felt my heart race. My ears starting ringing. I felt like I wasn’t breathing enough. I was having a panic attack.

My mom and dad were frustrated. My dad said “omg your arm spasms and you freak out? Everyone has anxiety. There’s nothing wrong with you. Stop breathing like that!” (I was probably hyperventilating st the time).

I couldn’t tell you where I developed this anxiety from, or why it’s around my body particularly.

But it’s there.

And it’s real.

And it’s valid.

I’m sorry mom, I didn’t mean to snap. But you were stressing me out. I hope one day I can tell you that and you can understand and not take it personally.

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6

Mental Health · Wellness

3 coping methods for anxiety and panic that actually work for me!

Box breathing?

Meditation?

Standing in the grass?

These methods may work for you, but they don’t work for me,  and that’s okay! Different things work for different people, and I hope someone else out there finds use and comfort from the techniques that work for me.

“The 5 senses”

For this method to work the best, it is important that you are saying these sentences out loud, and actually sensing your surroundings. For touch? Actually feel the objects. For smell? Actually smell the scents you are talking about. Say it to yourself and listen.
1. First, sit or stand up so you can see your entire room.
2. “What are 5 things that I can see?” Colours, objects, people, etc.
3. “What are 4 things that I can touch?” Actually touch and feel these things.
4. “What are 3 things I can hear?”
5. “What are 2 things you can smell?”
6. “What is 1 thing you can taste?”

When you focus on your senses, and show yourself that they are working properly, it can work wonders to take over your anxiety and be comforting. This method can help to ground you.

“Tell someone”

As an extrovert, sometimes I can’t process the thoughts in my head until I get them out. When you are in a crazy cycle of anxiety and your mind is going a mile a minute, it can be impossible to process your thoughts. Having both of these things happen at once? Implosion waiting to happen.

Therefore, something that really helps me is to talk to someone I love and trust. Lately, my boyfriend is the master of this role. Now all I have to say is “I’m feeling very anxious,” or “why am I so anxious,” and he gets the hint and helps me sort out my thoughts.

its amazing what hearinngnyour own thoughts can do. Say what your anxious about, and try and put it into words.  It will probably sound silly but that’s the point. Allow yourself to feel silly; it will help ground you!

“HALT”

I actually found this method by watching Jane the Virgin. Who would of thought, hey?
Anyways, HALT is an acronym that stands for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. This method takes a little bit of time and effort to work because you have to remind yourself that it exists when you need it most.
I recommend writing “HALT” on sticky notes around your house to remind you when you are first starting out.

Really all you need to do is say “HALT” for a second when you’re feeling hopeless and/or anxious, and ask yourself, what am I feeling right now? Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?

These are the major causes of stress and anxiety, and 9.9 times out of 10 are a contributing factor to why you’re feeling emotionally out of control.

While it may not be 100% responsible, it definitely helps ground you, and being comfort knowing that anxiety is a symptom of other factors.

———————————————————

Most times, I’m just stressed about something, and this stress is allowing all of my rationality to exit my mind. Sometimes just taking my focus off of what I’m worried about can fix everything.

While these strategies may not work for everyone, they really work for me. I hope that someone can add one of these tools to their “toolbox”, and can get some relief when feeling anxious.

xo,

A3D7EE3D-F666-4772-AE13-C37CADDE24A6