Managing Your Anxiety

I feel like now is a good time to write another post about managing anxiety, especially since so many of us are struggling with anxiety during this difficult time. As an extreme introvert, I still don’t know if I am enjoying these social distancing orders. Ever since my university switched over to a remote learning plan, I have experienced a bunch of different emotions such as relief, happiness, sadness, anger, distress, depression, and anxiety. I didn’t think it was possible to experience so many emotions at once! With that being said, the focus of this blog post will be aimed at managing anxiety.

Anxiety Management Practices

  1. Develop awareness of anxiety by asking yourself these important questions: 
    ✧ What are the physical signs that are making me feel anxious?
    ✧ What are the behavioural signs that are making me feel anxious? How am I behaving towards myself and others around me?
    ✧ What am I focusing on that might be adding to my anxiety?
  2. Build Anti-Anxiety “Grounding” or “Distancing” practices. Establish a minimum-time of practice during a given event such as a 15-minute time frame.

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Make your own practices/resources visible and available so that these resources are available to you when you need them the most. I have compiled a list of ideas to help get you started!

♥ Here are some ideas ♥

1. Talking to someone who “gets” you or finding support groups online.

2. Trying the 5-4-3-2-1 Technique from I Attended an Anxiety Workshop

3. Practicing breathing exercises from I Attended an Anxiety Workshop

4. Meditation and mindfulness practices from I Attended An Anxiety Workshop | Part 2

5. Practicing yoga from the comfort of your living room. I recommend FREE workout videos from YouTube. My favourite fitness channel on YouTube is BeFIT🧘‍♀️🌱

 6. Journaling such as gratitude journaling or bullet journaling.
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7. Physical activity such as long walks outdoors. Just remember to keep your distance from everyone if you decide to leave the house.

8. Chores which include cleaning and tidying. You could Marie Kondo your home while listening to the audiobook. Yes, it is FREE on YouTube!

9. Cooking or baking. Give your unused cookbooks some love by trying a new recipe.

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Delicious homemade strawberry shortcake in all of its glory.

10. Tap into your creative, authentic self. You could revisit creative projects that you have been neglecting such as adult colouring, blogging, knitting, jigsaw puzzles etc.

11. Appreciating nature by spending time outdoors or indoors, depending on your preference. Again, remember to keep your distance from people to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. My favourite place to escape from reality happens to be this therapeutic sanctuary on campus.

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Since the outbreak of COVID-19, people stopped congregating here. As of last week, they closed this place down until further notice.

12. Aromatherapy works wonders too. I wrote a blog post about the essential oils and diffuser that I use everyday.

13. Listen to music on YouTube, Spotify etc. Surprisingly, I am enjoying the Spotify subscription a lot more than I thought I would. I use Spotify to listen to music playlists on my iPhone or Google Home(s).

14. Spending time with your beloved pets ♥️

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My boy, Timon, chilling in his cat tree. Like Timon and Pumbaa from the Lion King.

15. Tracking water intake using a cute app like Plant Nanny. Do you often have a shit mood? You might be dehydrated and not even be aware of it. Want to track your water intake? Try growing a virtual garden! Before I switched over to a new phone a couple years ago, I had a virtual garden which was awesome! 😊🌺

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16. Practicing self compassion like self-care, positive affirmations etc.

17. Playing video games or watching Netflix. It’s easy to get addicted to these things so try and put a limit on how much time you spend engaging in these activities. Even though we don’t use Netflix, we happen to have over 3TB of downloaded movies, documentaries, and TV shows.

18. Reading a self-help book to help lift your spirits. I recommend reading “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero.
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(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Remember to continue practicing your preferred strategies in moments when you are feeling calm, which will help reinforce these stress relief practices. You need to actively practice these techniques especially when you are having a better day, or you will struggle to gravitate towards good habits when you are knee deep in anxiety and/or depression.

Quotefancy-4889622-3840x2160You might be surprised to learn that many bloggers struggle to find the motivation to write sometimes. Honestly, I haven’t been motivated to write blog posts since being confined to my house . I also faced a ton of resistance prior to writing this blog post. Now that I have written this blog post, I actually feel a sense of accomplishment! If you enjoyed reading this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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No Breaths Left to Take

I wrote a parody of the song, “No Tears Left to Cry” by Ariana Grande. Sorry for picking on you Ariana, but I also plan on uploading a future parody of “Thank U, Next.” If you enjoyed reading this parody, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here.

Even though I haven’t been blogging on a regular basis, you can still find me leaving comments and interacting with this wonderful WP community. Life is up in the air right now since I am forced to self-isolate for the rest of the winter semester. All we can do is take it one day at a time and try to make the best of this coronavirus craziness. Thanks for reading! ❤

[Intro]
Right now, my patient is SOB
He lives with end stage COPD
Ain’t got no breaths left to take
So he’s coughing it up, coughing it up
He’s wheezin’, he’s wheezin’, he’s coughing it up
He’s coughing it up, coughing it up
He’s wheezin’, he’s wheezin’, he’s coughing it up (Oh yeah)

[Refrain]
He’s coughing it up (yeah), coughing it up (Yeah)
Hacking, he’s trying to cough it all up
Yeah, he’s coughing it up

[Verse 1]
Ain’t got oxygen in my lungs
I ran out, but boy, it’s hard, it’s hard, to breathe
Don’t matter how, what, where, who’s tried it
I quit my smokin’, my smokin’, my smokin’

[Pre-Chorus]
I need help, my lungs are shutting down
Can’t breathe now, can’t breathe or catch my breath
Catch my breath, and then my lungs are clear
Then now you know it, dear
Know it, dear, yeah

[Chorus]
Right now, my patient is SOB
He lives with end stage COPD
Ain’t got no breaths left to take
So he’s coughing it up, coughing it up (Oh yeah)
He’s wheezin’, he’s wheezin’, he’s coughing it up
Oh, I’ve got meds for him to take
And it will help him for goodness sake
Ain’t got no breaths left to take (To take)
So he’s coughing it up, coughing it up (Oh yeah)
He’s wheezin’, he’s wheezin’, he’s coughing it up

[Refrain]
Coughing it up (yeah), Coughing it up (Yeah)
Hacking, he’s trying to cough it all up (He coughin’ it up)
Yeah, he coughin’ it up

[Verse 2]
Whenever I lose my breath, I start to wheeze
And boy, it’s hard, it’s hard, to breathe
Cigs did this to me, emphysema you see
I quit my smokin’, my smokin’, my smokin’

[Pre-Chorus]
I need help, my lungs are shutting down
Can’t breathe now, can’t breathe or catch my breath
Catch my breath, and then my lungs are clear
Then now you know it, dear
Know it, dear, yeah

[Chorus]
Right now, my patient is SOB
He lives with end stage COPD
Ain’t got no breaths left to take
So he’s coughing it up, coughing it up (Oh yeah)
He’s wheezin’, he’s wheezin’, he’s coughing it up
Oh, I’ve got meds for him to take
And it will help him for goodness sake
Ain’t got no breaths left to take (To take)
So he’s coughing it up, coughing it up (Oh yeah)
He’s wheezin’, he’s wheezin’, he’s coughing it up

[Pre-Chorus]
I need help, my lungs are shutting down
Can’t breathe now (Hmm, oh)
Catch my breath
Ain’t got no breaths left to take
Oh yeah, oh yeah

[Chorus]
Oh, I’ve got meds for him to take
And it will help him for goodness sake
Ain’t got no breaths left to take (Take)
So he’s coughing it up, coughing it up (Oh yeah)
He’s wheezin’, he’s wheezin’, he’s coughing it up

[Refrain]
Coughing it up (yeah), Coughing it up (Yeah)
Hacking, he’s trying to cough it all up
Yeah, he’s coughin’ it up

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Forgetful Woman

I wrote a parody of the song, “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande. If you like this parody, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here. Thanks for reading! ❤

[Verse 1]
Oh yeah
Her daughter called her
But there was no answer from her mother
‘Cause it’s her business, she grew suspicious
And sent mom to the ER
Don’t need to hang up
Taking control of this situation
Mom can’t remember
Completely focused, her mind is scattered

[Pre-Chorus]
All that she got
Is her name, so she claims?
Not time or place

[Chorus]
Somethin’ ’bout her makes her feel like a forgetful woman
Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout her
Made her wanna say things but she couldn’t
Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout

[Verse 2]
Nothing to say, she can’t remember and
Feels under the weather
Every day I see her
It’s like she’s meeting
Me for the first time
She lives in the moment, lives for today
Her love remains strong, can’t take that away
Life should be savored, it’s only nature
Odds not in her favor

[Pre-Chorus]
All that she got
Is her name, so she claims?
Not time or place

[Chorus]
Somethin’ ’bout her makes her feel like a forgetful woman
Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout her
Made her wanna say things but she couldn’t
Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout her

[Refrain]
She don’t wanna be like that
Memories that fade like that
Dunno how she’s feeling inside
Somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout
She don’t wanna be like that
Memories that fade like that
Dunno how she’s feeling inside
Somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout

[Instrumental Bridge]

[Chorus]
Somethin’ bout her makes her feel like a forgetful woman
Somethin’ bout, somethin’ bout, somethin’ bout her
Made her wanna say things but she couldn’t
Somethin’ bout, somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout her

[Refrain]
She don’t wanna be like that
Memories that fade like that
Dunno how she’s feeling inside
Somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout
She don’t wanna be like that
Memories that fade like that
Dunno how she’s feeling inside
Somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout

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500 Followers: A New Milestone!

(っ◔◡◔)っHappy 2020! I wish you all a beautiful, magical New Year!

I know that this blog post is [very] late so I’m going to keep the belated New Year wishes short and sweet. We are well on our way into the month of January and it’s hard to believe that we’re living in the year 2020! If you made New Year’s resolutions this year, are you still sticking to them? Keep in mind that January 12 is the day that most people ditch their resolutions. 🙊

I had initially made a New Year’s resolution to write something everyday for 365 days, whether that is blogging, journaling, or note-taking. Even if I force myself to write 200 crappy words each day, it’s enough to build some kind of momentum, especially when I’m feeling uninspired or lack the motivation to get started.

Just Do It ✔

I am notorious for writing long-ass text-messages, long-ass emails, and leaving comments the size of Mt. Everest on my friends’ blogs, and yet, I rarely invest the same amount of time and energy needed to write blog posts on a consistent basis. Throughout my blogging journey, I learned that I much prefer writing for an audience than I do writing for myself. Another key factor that demotivates me from getting started on writing blog posts is based on an idea called paralysis by analysis. I haven’t previously heard of paralysis by analysis until recently, while I was listening to The Mindset Mentor podcast by Rob Dial. If you want to learn more about the crippling effects of paralysis by analysis and how you can overcome it, I highly recommend checking out his podcast on iTunes.

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A New Year, A New Direction

What is this blog’s outlook for 2020? Honestly, I wish I could tell you that overcoming paralysis by analysis will make me a more productive and active blogger. I wish I could tell you that I will publish weekly blog posts like I did last year, and that I won’t become another blogger who suddenly drops off the face of the blogging planet. I don’t want to feed you empty promises because I was too ambitious at the time, and then fail to deliver on these promises. This year, I have a bunch of shit stuff that I need to deal with and unfortunately, blogging is not my top priority right now. At this time, I am working on an even bigger project that will hopefully pave the way for a better future. This year, I’ve decided to return to university to finish what I started. 👩‍🎓

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go and no one else.” —Les Brown

In the beginning, I created this blog so I would have a place to share my poetry with people who actually enjoy reading poetry. A few years ago, I didn’t even know that I could write, let alone poetry. And as time went on, I discovered that I have more to write, more to create, and more to give back to the universe. These realizations were only discovered through the hardships that I have faced over the last decade, and for that I am grateful. I also discovered that writing helps me process complex emotions as well as make sense of my tangled web of thoughts. By pruning the proverbial shrubs, writing allows me to better understand not only myself but also the people around me. This blog is like a baby to me which I would feel terrible for abandoning. Similar to human babies, blogging takes long-term commitment and a great deal of time and energy.

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During my quarter-life crisis back in April 2019, my blog really started to blossom. Honestly, I did not expect to gain 500 wonderful followers, and yet, here we are. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for spreading the love and helping to keep this blog alive! ❤

Thanks for stopping by!

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‘Tis the Season to Be Sick

Every year around the holidays, I seem to be one of the “lucky” individuals who gets sick. Last year, I caught bronchitis which started off as a head cold. Due to my crappy immune system, this nasty bronchitis refused to leave my poor lungs for several weeks which ultimately lead to an inflamed trachea. On top of that, I spent last Christmas in the ER. Thanks Santa! How thoughtful of you!

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Despite receiving the flu shot on Saturday, December 7, 2019, I wasn’t prepared for what was to come. From what I discovered over the years, the flu shot seems to work against me for some reason. However, the faculty insists that students receive their flu shots each year so that they can attend clinical practice. And this is kinda a big deal. If you don’t attend clinical practice, you automatically forfeit the entire semester. And anyone who has been following me knows why I cannot allow for this to happen.

On Sunday evening, I spent my waking hours in the bathroom puking my guts out. At one point, I didn’t make it to the bathroom on time and my poor husband volunteered to clean up the mess. I was in so much physical pain that I thought I was dying, similar to the memories from Christmas 2018. I didn’t see a magical light leading to heaven or anything, but if projectile vomiting is similar to what dying feels like, then yes, it was a near death experience for me.

Last night as I was lying in bed, I thought to myself, “This is it. I’m going to die. Pneumonia finally got me.”☠️ Memories from Christmas 2018 

It wasn’t just me who was sick this past weekend. My husband was the first one to get sick, so I spent the weekend nursing him back to health. Hey, I want to take some of the credit for making him feel better. It’s possible that I may have caught this stomach bug from him. However, he didn’t experience any vomiting whatsoever, so could it really be the same sickness? Yesterday evening, my toddler had a fever, but she displayed no signs or symptoms of being sick. Instead, she was full of energy and bouncing off the walls like any healthy kid. This morning, she asked us to take her to the playground so she could play on the slides. Not today, Rebecca. You still have a fever. You’re supposed to be sick. Silly girl. 

The Mystery Continues

Perhaps I had food poisoning, which is a possibility. Some of the food I ate last weekend was questionable, such as a bag of stale BBQ potato chips. Dollarama, get it together! 😑 Add 3 chocolate bars to my day’s worth of calories, and that binge could have been enough to cause a puking fest. We usually don’t eat junk food at home, but I thought it would be nice to surprise my husband with some of his favourite treats. He refused to eat any of it, so I ended up stuffing my face with chips, candy, and chocolate. Now, I am swearing off junk food for good, which could just be a temporary food aversion. Yesterday, I had a long conversation with Steve in the comments section over at Steve’s Country. He is super friendly and I highly recommend checking out his blog! 😀😺

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Always find something to laugh about every day. And if you can’t find anything, you can always laugh at yourself!

I am grateful that I am able to breathe through both nostrils. Thankfully, I didn’t end up with clogged sinuses or a stuffy nose. Try to stay healthy my friends, especially since there are sickly people everywhere this time of year.

Thanks for stopping by!

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I Attended An Anxiety Workshop | Part 3

This blog post is the final installment of the I Attended An Anxiety Workshop series. Please check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t previously done so, which give detailed descriptions leading up to this point. Thank you! ❤

During the month of November, I attended an anxiety workshop on campus called “Confront the Discomfort.I previously shared some techniques that were addressed in Session 1 and Session 2, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of positive comments and feedback I received from all of you. You guys are the reason why I continue to pour my heart and soul into blogging. Blogging is more than just a hobby for me. Blogging is an essential part of my recovery. 

be-still-be-present-be-mindful-quoteDuring Session 3 on November 19, 2019, we talked about positive coping statements for dealing with anxiety. I want to give you some examples of coping statements that I use in my daily life. Next time you are feeling anxious, I challenge you to try applying some positive coping statements similar to the ones I am going to share with you today.

Did you know that these coping statements can be used to manage stress, as well as phobias? Oh boy, so my fear of balloons can be overcome by repeatedly using positive affirmations? Even I am a bit skeptical about this one. Skepticism aside, let’s explore some coping statements, shall we?

♥ Let’s talk about coping statements ♥

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Before we dig deeper into some examples of positive coping statements, what the heck are coping statements to begin with?! ♥

The best definition I found is directly sourced from www.choosehelp.com, which defines coping statements as “truthful positive statements used to replace the negative and untrue thoughts that take over when you feel anxious, stressed, angry and/or when facing overwhelming situations [such as phobias].”

I really love lists. I love lists so much that I had originally intended to write listicles for this week’s blog post. As I started writing these lists, it dawned on me that the material this week is quite dry and does not really spark excitement. If my own writing is gonna bore me to death, then chances are you’ll probably be bored out of your minds too. And nobody would want that. Not me. Not you. Not anyone. 🙇‍♀️

A Simpler Way to Remember Things: Draw a Picture

Disclaimer: Since I do not have the resources to draw and upload my own images for you, I am using images directly sourced online. All images shown below belong to the rightful owner, Rebekah, from @journey_to_wellness_. The images that I am displaying here are strictly for educational purposes ONLY.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Rebekah from @journey_to_wellness_ does an excellent job at illustrating effective coping statements for dealing with anxiety.

♥ My New & Improved Listicles ♥

I’ve decided to take it upon myself to improve my otherwise boring lists by making them more visually appealing. This is literally the extent of my artistic abilities, and I know that these lists are not nearly as exciting as the previous illustrations. However, I hope that this information helps you find relief whenever you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.

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Coping Statements for Stress.pngWell, I hope you enjoyed reading the I Attended An Anxiety Workshop series as much as I enjoyed writing it! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated since I am trying to improve my blogging and writing skills. Have you used similar positive coping statements in the past when you had to deal with a stressful situation? Please leave a comment by joining the conversation below↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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I Attended An Anxiety Workshop | Part 2

This week is a continuation of last week’s blog post, titled I Attended an Anxiety Workshop. Please check it out if you haven’t read it yet. Thank you! ❤

On November 19, 2019, I attended the last session of “Confront the Discomfort, which is an anxiety workshop offered to students at my university. I’m technically a student but at the same time, I am not a student. I am registered as a student, but I haven’t taken classes since being forced to withdraw in April 2019. I will be starting school again in January 2020. A part of me dreads 2020 because I used to think that 2020 was in the distant future. Well future, here I am so watch out! 🙊

peace-social-text-square-templateDuring the summer, I stopped taking my antidepressant medication. Please do not abruptly stop any kind of medication without speaking with your doctor first. After quitting my medications and significantly reducing my caffeine consumption, I am feeling mentally stronger these days. Hopefully, the progress I have made will be enough once I return to school in the new year. Ultimately, I figured that I had nothing left to lose and everything to gain by attending this anxiety workshop.

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could go right.” —Tony Robbins

Shine Bright Like A Diamond

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I was unable to attend Session 2. Luckily, they were happy to fill me in on the details. Only I showed up for Session 3 (final week) so I got to word vomit all over ’em. Like diamonds, private counselling sessions like this one are incredibly rare, so I interpreted this opportunity as a blessing in disguise.

Here is what I’m having a hard time fathoming: One student in particular made a lame excuse as to why he couldn’t attend the last two sessions. Dude, here are 2 professionals who are willing to help you for FREE and instead, you rather turn down this opportunity? SMH. 🤦‍♀️

Tip of the Iceberg

Using the summary sheet from Session 2, we talked about The Anxiety Iceberg. If you have studied psychology, you’re probably familiar with this diagram. I don’t have an exact diagram to show you since the one they gave me is barren. Basically, the behaviors that we outwardly express on the surface are attached to underlying subconscious thoughts such as fears. What fears are holding you back in life? Why do you suffer from anxiety and what factors may have caused this? Most often, the root causes stem from negative childhood experiences. Our behaviors are a type of coping mechanism we have adapted in order to survive in the real world. In other words, your fears are meant to protect you.  

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What fears are you hiding under the surface?

As I dug a little deeper into my past, I learned that I have a fear of both success and failure. And balloons. I am afraid of succeeding at something that seems overambitious, like nursing school. In elementary school, I learned that peers will dislike you if you are the smartest kid in the class. In high school, I leaned that nobody will notice you if you are extremely introverted. Loneliness followed me throughout my childhood and adolescent years, which added to my depression and social anxiety.

In university, I was an average student. I took a mainstream degree so I could please my parents and win their approval. Unsurprisingly, a mainstream B.Sc. degree got me mainstream results. I stopped trying to stand out or achieve big dreams. I thought that I wanted to be like everyone else, but trying to fit into mainstream society DID NOT lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.

“Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy.” —Rihanna, Shine Bright Like a Diamond 💎


Emotional Activators: What is Really Going On?

Instructions:

  • Think of one emotional activator that triggers you.
  • Write it down on the tip of the iceberg.
  • Think of the memories, experiences, thoughts, and beliefs that contribute to this emotional activator in particular.
  • Then write these memories, experiences, thoughts, and beliefs under the water of the iceberg → This is what’s really happening.
  • What can you do to better manage/respond to this activator? Write down 3-5 strategies.
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Drowning to be reborn again as her true self. Source: https://wall.alphacoders.com 

Thank you so much for joining the conversation last week, and leaving such lovely and insightful comments. This week, I plan to finish replying to the rest of your comments. I apologize for taking my sweet-ass time, as I unintentionally got swept away into the addictive world of video gaming. 105+ hours later, I finally beat the game and awoke to the realities of life. As of today, this blog has gained 400 amazing followers which is a HUGE milestone for me. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for spreading the love and helping to keep this blog alive.

𝕊𝕥𝕒𝕪 𝕒𝕨𝕖𝕤𝕠𝕞𝕖, 𝕞𝕪 𝕡𝕠𝕤𝕤𝕦𝕞𝕤.

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I Attended an Anxiety Workshop

I recently joined an anxiety workshop on campus because my cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) therapist suggested that I should see what workshops are available to students. Then she told me that she is happy with the progress I’ve made so far, and that I don’t need to book another appointment until the end of the year. Um, okay.

I have some mixed feelings here: Will I be mentally prepared to handle school in January? What if I have another major depressive episode like last time? Will the progress I made this year be enough to overcome failure? 

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“Confront the Discomfort” is the workshop I accidentally stumbled upon two weeks ago. When I signed up that day, I was innocently checking emails instead of studying, and thus, procrastinating like it was nobody’s business. This workshop takes place every Tuesday on campus and runs for a total of 3 weeks. I was unable to attend the second workshop since my toddler was with me that day, and I highly doubt that they would have wanted her running around and screaming the place down.

Fight or Flight

I admit that I was hesitant to join this anxiety workshop, since I often dismiss the possibility that anyone can help me with my problems. However, earlier this year I surrendered to defeat and accepted the fact that I do not have the answers to my problems. Shocking, right? I have some of the answers, but not all of them. Also, I am usually reluctant to join social gatherings since my natural instinct is to isolate myself from people. Social anxiety is real man, but I know that social anxiety is not an uncommon disorder. To make matters worse, [social] anxiety sufferers are the ones who are likely to refuse help, and thus, unlikely to attend these workshops in the first place. And yet, anxiety sufferers are the ones who are most likely to benefit by attending these workshops.

So far, I have only attended Session 1, and I plan to attend the Session 3 next week. I was unable to attend the Session 2 so I am missing that worksheet. Using the summary sheet from Session 1, I want to show you how to do the 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique and the 3-7-8 Breathing Exercise. Both of these techniques are effective at calming your nerves so that you can focus to the present moment. I’ve been using the 3-7-8 Breathing Exercise for months now and can confirm that it works quickly and effectively.

5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique 

Preparation:

  • Place both of your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lean back into your chair, and make a mental note of the feeling of the chair under you and against your back.
  • Cross your arms over your chest.
  • Gently tap your shoulders, alternating one side at a time OR place your hands on your thighs and tap one leg at a time.

Directions:

  • Find 5 things that you SEE in the room.
  • Notice 4 things that you can FEEL in the room (feet on the floor, itchy sweater you’re wearing etc.)
  • HEAR 3 things in the room right now (traffic, clock ticking etc.)
  • What are 2 things that you can SMELL OR 2 smells that you like?
  • Get 1 thing that you can taste (mint, gum etc.) OR 1 taste that you like OR think of 1 thing that you like about yourself.

3-7-8 Breathing Exercise 

  • Breathe in quietly through your nose for 3 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds.
  • With pursed lips, exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds.
  • Repeat the cycle as needed until you feel a sense of calmness.
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It is all about finding the clam in the chaos.

I am curious to know if you have attended workshops related to mental health, especially workshops focused on dealing with anxiety. When you were a college or high school student, were similar workshops available to you? If not, is this something that you would be interested in? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 7.0🌞

Whoever is reading this post, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to connect with me! I’m currently out of creative ideas so one of the best ways to kick-start my writing is to work on these Sunshine Blogger Awards. There always seem to be an abundance of them in my drafts because I am slow getting around to completing them. In case you missed my last post, here is a link to my similar yet different blog post titled 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 6.0🌞

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The Sunshine Blogger Award is per recognition award for bloggers who inspire readers by promoting positivity and bringing joy. Thank you, Geneva, for nominating me for the award on August 14, 2019. Geneva runs a parenting blog called cerratomom.com, where she writes about “all things relating to baby, mom, and parenting” from personal experiences.

If these topics interest you, I highly suggest that you check out Geneva’s blog. My first impression of Geneva is that she cares about her readers. She goes out of her way to give encouragement and support to those who seek it. That being said, from a parenting perspective, she has a lot of advice and wisdom focused around dealing with anxiety and depression. 


🌞Sunshine Blogger Award Rules🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award has rules (surprise, surprise!). These rules ensure the success of this award, providing exposure to all the award winners. The rules are quite simple and straightforward.

Rules for Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Questions I was asked:

1. What is your favorite kind of weather? Sunny with a chance of rain 🌦️

2. Would you rather read or write? Both! I need to read in order to improve my writing and communication skills.

3. When it comes to food, do you prefer salty or sweet? Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was born with a rattle in one hand and a lollipop in the other. This girl has a terrible sweet tooth and still struggles with a sugar addiction to this day. 🍭🍭

4. Have you ever been to Disneyland? Nope.

5. What made you want to start a blog? Mostly boredom and the need to vent about things that were bothering me. Even though my blog is available for anyone to read, I feel like I am not annoying people with my venting and ranting, unlike other social media platforms which feel a bit too pushy and invasive. I appreciate each and every one of you who read my content and leave comments. The fact that you actually want to read my blog means so much to me! ❤

6. Which country would you love to visit? I previously answered this question in 🌞The Sunshine Blogger Award🌞 and to cut to the chase, I would love to visit Japan. I was fortunate to visit Asia in summer 2018 where I spent two weeks in Singapore.

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Luckily, Canada carries Japanese goodies. Image: Ramune soda fizzy candy, pretty origami paper, and a Miku Hatsune key chain.

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Featured here is my Miku Hatsune mug ◡‿◡✿

7. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? I wish I could teleport into fictional worlds, such as books or movies. Admit it! At one point, you probably wished you lived in a fictional world too. Day to day life is often too boring and repetitive for me, and and many people rely on escapism for a breath of fresh air. Being able to physically teleport into fictional worlds would be like escapism on steroids, and a step up from virtual reality. 😅

Escapism – the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

8. Who is your favorite fictional character? I recently had this discussion with Ilona from https://ciccophoto.com, and I told her that my favorite fictional character is Miku Hatsune, a voice bank from the Japanese synthesizing software known as VOCALOID. Even though the software has expanded over the years to include dozens of characters and their corresponding voice banks, Miku will always be my favourite! 

If you’re curious to know what she sounds like, here is a peaceful/sad songs playlist with hundreds of songs to keep you entertained for hours. You’re welcome. ◡‿◡✿

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9. What is your favourite show to watch? I prefer watching documentaries related to health and wellness. The majority of the documentaries that I watch happen to be British, which I usually stream on YouTube. I do not watch a lot of TV so I couldn’t tell you what the latest TV shows are on Netflix. Any TV shows that I watch on a regular basis are shows that Nick introduced me to, such as Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.

10. What are you afraid of? I have Globophobia, which is the fear of balloons, especially the anticipation that they will pop. Surprisingly, this fear is not as unusual as you might think. A psychology professor who taught at my previous university has a fear of balloons, as well as my mom’s friend. According to Wikipedia, here is the definition of balloon phobia:

Balloon phobia or globophobia is a fear of balloons. The source of fear may be the sound of balloons popping. Generally, globophobics will refuse to touch, feel, or go near a balloon for fear it will pop.

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The phobia has control over you, which is anxiety-provoking at social events. Image sourced from https://pixabay.com

11. What is something you want people to know about you? I don’t have my life together, despite what people think. People assume that I have an easy life and that I get everything I want, but life is not all sunshine and rainbows. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety, depression, and loneliness, I’m slowly coming to terms with my demons.


🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD NOMINEES🌞

https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/

https://midnightwander.wordpress.com/

https://theblackprincessdiaries.com/

https://middleme.net/

https://hunidasblog.com/

https://untipsyteacher.com/

https://kathleens-blog.com/

https://seaofwordsx.wordpress.com/

https://journeythroughlife591163021.wordpress.com/

https://mentalhealthathome.org/

https://mochalatteandconversation.wordpress.com/

QUESTIONS FOR THE NOMINEES:

1. What year did you start blogging?
2. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from blogging?
3. What time of day do you blog most often?
4. Are you a morning lark or a night owl?
5. What is the first thing you do after waking up?
6. Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Why or why not?
7. What is your favorite social media platform and why?
8. Do you drive a car?
9. What does luxury mean to you?
10. Who is your role model?
11. What is your job/career/profession?

And….GO!! There is no pressure to respond to this nomination, as I know you have very busy lives outside of the blogging world. I look forward to reading your answers if you do decide to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award. I am curious to know what your answers are! BTW, I am reusing the same questions I asked last time because I haven’t previously nominated these bloggers.

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🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 6.0🌞

Whoever is reading this post, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to connect with me! I hope you are all doing well, especially since flu season is back and students are in the midst of stressful midterms yet again. In case you missed my last post, here is a link to my last blog post titled 31-Day Motivational Journal Review.

screen-shot-2018-03-23-at-8-2116615623 (1)The Sunshine Blogger Award is per recognition award for bloggers who inspire readers by promoting positivity and bringing joy. Thank you, Tatterhood, for nominating me on August 12, 2019 for the award. Your blog gives me daily inspiration and reminds of reading a diary. I like the personal touch that you have added to your daily musings. If you haven’t heard of Tatterhood yet, please go give her blog some love! ❤

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🌞Sunshine Blogger Award Rules🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award has rules (surprise, surprise!). These rules ensure the success of this award, providing exposure to all the award winners. The rules are quite simple and straightforward.

Rules for Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Questions I was asked:

1. Have you ever been hypnotized (stage hypnosis)? No, I have not been hypnotized on stage or through self-directed hypnotic therapy. I’ve always been a little skeptical of hypnotism and feel like it wouldn’t work on me. I know that in order for hypnosis to work, one has to keep an open mind and I am already closed minded. 😂

2. Do you believe in aliens? Sure, why not? It is likely that aliens probably exist, considering how HUGE outer space is. There is probably intelligent life on a distant planet in a distant universe somewhere far, far away.

3. What would your Circus Act be? Well, I cannot juggle and my balance is horrible so that eliminates a lot of options. I took a quiz because I couldn’t answer this question, and my result is a sideshow performer!

You are a rarity indeed! A little off the beaten path, your pride is in your individuality. No bed of nails or floor of broken glass can scare you. You take it all with a smile. Some may call you a “freak”, but you should consider that a compliment. Remember, uniqueness is what gets you noticed!

4. If you were invisible for a day, what would be the first thing you would do? The first thing I would do is take advantage of free travel, find someone that I dislike, and follow this person home. Then I would haunt their house for the day and follow them around town just for fun. Specifically, this needs to be someone I don’t like because I would figure out their social media passwords, hoping that they still use Facebook and whatnot, and I would hack into their Facebook account to permanently change their passwords and emails. Facebook wouldn’t suspect anything since I would be doing this in real time and location. It would be fun to read their private messages, mess up their relationships, and maybe add a few status updates of my own. Karma’s a bitchAt the end of the day, maybe I will ghost slap them on my way out the door. Too bad the ghosting life is short-lived. 🤷‍♀️

5. Hogwarts House? I am not a Harry Potter fangirl, so I will let another quiz determine my fate. My results from the quiz indicate that I am 30% Ravenclaw, 27% Gryffindor, 26% Hufflepuff, and 17% Slytherin!

You believe above all in the importance of wisdom, which is why you undoubtedly belong in Ravenclaw, but your sense of adventure means you may also have an affinity for Gryffindor house. You are a thrill-seeker – you love to travel and there’s nothing more exciting to you than new experiences – and believe that adventure is essential in the pursuit of knowledge. You are brave, but would never intentionally put yourself in danger, placing you firmly in Ravenclaw.

Your slight compatibility with Hufflepuff house suggests a deep love and appreciation for those close to you, which you may keep hidden for fear of being hurt.

 6. A smell you hate? Gasoline.

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Corner Gas… well, what’s left of it. We were lucky to get these photos before it got torn down. 😥

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The fictional Dog River grain elevator lives on. My camera has a mind of its own since the ground is actually really flat.

7. A flower you love? Sunflowers 🌻

8. Who is the strongest Avenger? I know nothing about the Avengers except that it involves Superheroes. Based on this knowledge or lack thereof, I will conclude that the strongest Avenger is the Incredible Hulk.

9. Star Wars or Star Trek? Ugh, I do not like either of them. However, Star Trek is much worse in my opinion since it’s SO outdated. I choose Star Wars but please don’t make me watch a Star Wars movie with you.

10. Ever been on Stage? Does the stage in the school gym at my elementary school count? I played my violin in a school talent show back in Grade 6.

11. Do you have a pet? – Insert Photo & show your love ❤

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Cozy mornings with my therapy cat ❤

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Rebecca and Timon the Cat 💕


🌞Sunshine Blogger Award Nominees🌞

https://puddlesidemusings.wordpress.com

https://sippingcupsofinspiration.wordpress.com

https://acupofwonderland.com

https://noloveforfatties.com

https://priyankaspen.com

https://ciccophoto.com

https://justhannahhere.blog

https://chocoviv.home.blog

https://giannaandgemini.wordpress.com

https://inhisserviceandlovingit.wordpress.com

https://crystalbyers.com

Questions for the nominees:

1. What year did you start blogging?
2. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from blogging?
3. What time of day do you blog most often?
4. Are you a morning lark or a night owl?
5. What is the first thing you do after waking up?
6. Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Why or why not?
7. What is your favorite social media platform and why?
8. Do you drive a car?
9. What does luxury mean to you?
10. Who is your role model?
11. What is your job/career/profession?

And….GO!! There is no pressure to respond to this nomination, as I know you have very busy lives outside of the blogging world. I look forward to reading your answers if you do decide to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award. I am curious to know what your answers are!

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31-Day Motivational Journal Review

I was hoping to publish a new blog post on Monday, but I found out that my grandmother passed away yesterday evening. I needed some space and time to myself to grieve. Nana, may you rest in peace, as memories of you live on. No matter what I do, I will always remember you. You always loved butterflies and even had a collection of beautiful butterfly figurines in your cabinet. Whenever I see a butterfly, I’ll know that you are saying Hi from up above. RIP Nana 🦋

“Butterflies are not only a symbol of transformation. They are heaven’s messengers, letting you know that your loved ones are by your side, always.” –Unknown

Speaking of transformations, I thought I would update you on my fitness journey. An interesting fact about my Nana is that she did yoga when she was my age. I did not know this until a couple months ago after I told her that I wanted to get fit. In memory of my grandmother, I will continue being healthy and live life to the fullest. She would have been 96 this year on November 5, 2019. Nana always seemed at peace and content with life. ♥️


31-Day Motivational Journal Review

As I begin to pick up the pieces from last night, I admit that I did not work out yesterday evening, but I plan to work out the rest of the week. Prior to working out, every day I ask myself the following questions: Why do I want to be fit and healthy? What is the point of working out 5-6 days per week? Is fitness simply for weight loss or am I doing this to keep depression at bay?

In August 2019, I met a kind soul named Benjamin Lee who runs a blog called I CAN DO. If you haven’t stumbled upon his blog yet, please go check out his blog! His blog is full of inspirational, relatable content about getting physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. Not only does he take the time to reply to his followers, but he also gave his readers a FREE copy of his 31-Day Motivational Journal. Thank you, Benjamin, for your kindness and generosity!

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Photo credit: Benjamin Lee, author of Faith, Family, Fitness, and Food 31-Motivational Journal 

During the month of August, I printed off the journal, completed the pages, and worked out even when I was travelling. Because I was 100% honest with myself, I was able to see where I made poor food choices or ate one too many slices of cake. I admit I am a grazer by nature. Instead of eating 3 meals a day, I prefer to graze on whatever is easily available in my kitchen. Now that I am wearing Invisalign, which is an alternative to braces for adults, I do not have the luxury to graze as I please. As of last Friday, I now eat 2 large meals a day (no snacks) and stopped drinking caffeinated beverages. I was told that coffee and tea will stain my aligners so I quit coffee cold turkey. Over the past week, I experienced some wicked headaches due to caffeine withdrawal so sleeping gave me some relief.

Sadly, I didn’t end up losing any weight during the month of August or September. However, I am gaining muscle and my physique is slowly improving. My body transformation has been slow so far, but I also think it is time to switch up my fitness routine again. Starting out, I did high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in the comfort of my home. All I bought was a $12.99 yoga mat and searched for free videos on YouTube. Ultimately, YOU choose how much $$$ you want to spend on health and fitness. Working out at a gym is optional. Lululemon is optional. So is that expensive Swell bottle you purchased from Costco. But exercise is FREE.

Let’s be real with ourselves for a minute. If you claim that you don’t have enough time to exercise because of x, y, and z excuses, you are wrong. You have plenty of time to work out. You simply choose not to work out because it takes effort and long-term commitment. You’re too comfortable being a lounge lizard and change is scary. It’s OK if you feel this way; we are human after all. Benjamin addresses the common struggles we face when we are first starting out and he challenges our limiting beliefs. I like that he gives a little pep talk each morning as if he’s standing right in front of me saying,

Yeah, I’m talking to you!!! Get up!!! –Benjamin Lee

No subscriptions. No fancy supplements. No BS.

Benjamin’s motivational mantras are very effective in my opinion, especially when you are first starting out. By Day 8 I wanted to quit but he kept telling me to push through the pain. Best of all, he gave me a rationale each day as to why quitting was not an option. I noticed I had more energy after a workout and wanted to share my progress with the world so I posted daily Instagram stories regarding my progress. IG stories helped keep me accountable and I helped motivate others along the way. IG gave me a sense of connection.

I like listening to Britney Spears when I work out! #Stronger

As much as I want to continue posting IG stories after completing the 31-Day Motivational Journal, I decided to take another hiatus from IG because my mental health is still delicate. At this time, I need to focus on my top priorities if I hope to crush my bigger goals. These days, I still work out 5-6 days a week but I don’t share my progress online. Instead, I keep track of my progress on a giant fridge calendar and reward myself with stickers. Because why not? It’s not nearly as fun as sharing IG stories but at the same time, I don’t need the distractions or the emotionally triggering content. 🙅‍♀️

Lemme tell you that my fridge calendar is not nearly as motivating as Benjamin’s daily words of wisdom. In the end, you’ll have to find a method that works for you. Remember, getting and staying fit is now part of your identity. Eventually, you’ll need to spread your wings and fly on your own. Even if that means rewarding yourself with stickers.

Remember, physical and mental health are interconnected, and one cannot function very well without the other. What good is it if you have an attractive body but your mind is a mental mess? You need to feed your body AND your mind with diet and exercise. His journal will help you do just that. 🧘‍♀️🌱

I am curious to know if you work out on a daily basis. If you do, what is your favorite type of physical activity? Please leave a comment by joining the conversation below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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Snail Mail, Anyone?

Whenever I am having a bad day like today, I have a habit to self-soothe (don’t we all?) by indulging in some shopping therapy. Not just any kind of shopping therapy though. Preferably, stationary-related shopping therapy. I don’t know why I gravitate towards glittery cards, stickers, notebooks, coloring books, etc. Now that Halloween-themed merchandise has taken over the store shelves, guess what I bought today? Halloween-themed cards and stickers! These items are flat enough to fit into an envelope which I can send via snail mail. Sometimes, I like to include photos, but this year I did not feel like taking photos that are worth sending. What can I say? Depression deprived me of the joy I once had for photography. 🙅‍♀️

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When I lived next door to the neighbors with young kids, I would make treat bags for them! 🎃

Seeing the kids’ faces light up made my heart happy.

Luckily, sending handwritten cards still brings me joy these days, and my CBT therapist encouraged me to continue sending mail because it gives me a sense of connection. One of my favorite hobbies includes pen-palling with both online and IRL friends who live across the country (Canada) and across the border (United States). This is my way of telling faraway friends that I am thinking about them. Some of them I’ve met in person, and others I have yet to meet. Perhaps I am childish for believing that snail mail is still a cool thing when there is email and instant messaging available at our fingertips, or maybe I am too old fashioned. After all, I am an old soul who feels like an old lady trapped inside a younger person’s body. Not only that, but I also find that text messaging lacks authenticity. Given the option, I much rather receive a birthday card with a hand-written message than a generic text message on my phone that says, “Happy Birthday!” 👉Copy. Paste. Send.

Cute birthday card I received in the mail from a friend back at home. Inside was a lovely handwritten note. 💌

Right now, I am only sending mail to people who live in Canada and the US. In the future, I would love to expand my pen-pal mailing list to include international pen pals as well. Luckily, I still have a few international stamps leftover from my wedding. If you are interested in exchanging mail with me, feel free to contact me here, or you can email me at hilary_harm_7@hotmail.com

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Like what you see? I try to send things that I think the other person will like. In this case, it happened to be rainbow unicorns and pink skulls #random

Disclaimer: I won’t be sending snail mail in 2020 because I will be a full-time student and part-time mommy again. If everything goes as planned, I want to take the accelerated route during the summer months so that I will [hopefully] finish school in December 2020. Will I be publishing new blog posts in 2020? Tbh, I am not a psychic so I don’t have the answer yet. Thank you for understanding that not all of us were gifted with the ability to foresee the future.

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I went a little overboard in 2016 and mailed 50+ Christmas cards to friends and family! 🙊

What are your thoughts about snail mail? Do you think that instant messaging is good enough or is mailing physical letters a lost art? Have you ever sent mail to online friends who live far, far away? Please leave a comment by joining the conversation below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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