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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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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Improving Sleep Hygiene

As somebody with a history of depression and the tendency to stay in bed all day if only my toddler would let me, I struggle with sleep hygiene. During my second cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) session last month, my therapist gave me a list of ways to help improve my sleep hygiene. I want to share these helpful tips with you, especially if you deal with frequent bouts of insomnia or have mild to moderate depression.

Improving Sleep Through Behaviour Change

Stimulus Control Procedures

  1. Go to sleep when you are sleepy.
    The longer you stay in bed, the more the bed is associated with a place to be awake instead of asleep. If you need to, delay going to bed until you are sleepy. No, this does not mean watching TV or using your smart phone. Screens emit a blue light which messes with your circadian rhythm.
  2. Get out of bed when you cannot fall asleep or go back to sleep in 15 minutes. 
    Get out of bed if you cannot fall asleep after giving it your best effort. It is better to get out of bed than it is to keep laying in bed with your ruminating thoughts. Once you are out of bed, return to bed when you are feeling sleepy again. The goal is to associate your bed with sleepiness.
  3. Only Use the bed for sleep and sex.
    Avoid other activities that do not involve sleeping or lovemaking. Activities to avoid include watching TV, listening to the radio, eating, or reading in your bed.

Sleep Hygiene Guidelines

  • Caffeine Avoid consuming caffeine 6-8 hours before bedtime. Caffeine disturbs your natural sleep rhythm. I would suggest cutting off caffeine consumption around 1700 (5:00 PM) so you will feel sleepier prior to bedtime.
  • Nicotine Avoid nicotine before bedtime because nicotine is a stimulant which keeps you awake. Avoid tobacco before bedtime and during the night as well.
  • Alcohol I don’t know about you, but alcohol makes me drowsy. Even though alcohol promotes the onset of sleep which makes you feel sleepy, alcohol also interrupts your natural sleep pattern. Avoid consuming alcohol less than 4 hours before going to sleep.
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Because we don’t get this drink in Canada. If it’s fruity and sweet, I’m probably going to drink it.

  • Sleeping Pills Sleep medications are an effective short-term treatment for people who struggle with falling asleep at night. However, sleep medications lose their effectiveness in approx. 2-4 weeks when they are taken regularly. Over time, sleeping pills may actually make sleep problems worse due to dependency; withdrawal from the medication can cause insomnia. Use sleep medications only if you need them and avoid relying on them long-term.
  • Regular Exercise Do not exercise within 2 hours of bedtime since exercise excites the nervous system and interferes with your ability to sleep. I am guilty for exercising right before bedtime…
  • Bedroom Environment Your bedroom should have a moderate temperature and it should be quiet and dark. Personally, I leave the window open at night and close the blinds. Also, I sleep with earplugs and an eye-mask which helps a lot.
  • Eating A light bedtime snack, such as a glass of warm milk, a banana, or a piece of cheese can promote sleep. Avoid eating snacks in the middle of the night because awakening may become associated with hunger.
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Eat all the yummy things; my mom really knows how to host a party! 🥳

  • Avoid Naps OK, I am totally guilty of this one! I love afternoon naps and will occasionally take an afternoon nap, typically lasting at least 1 hour in length. Now that my toddler lives with me 24/7, she doesn’t let me take naps. The sleep you get during the day will essentially take away from the amount of sleep you need that night. If you must take an afternoon nap, schedule it before 1500 (3:00 PM). Do not seep more than 15 to 30 minutes, according to doctors’ recommendations.
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Now that is the biggest yawn I’ve ever seen! 😂

  • Unwind Before Bedtime Allow yourself at least 1 hour before bedtime to unwind. Find what works for you to wind down, and give yourself an hour to do so. Consider reading a book or writing in a journal before you fall asleep.
  • Regular Sleep Schedule Keep a regular time each day (7 days a week) to get out of bed each morning. Keeping a regular waking time helps set your circadian rhythm so that your body learns to sleep at the desired time each night.
  • Stick to the Plan Set a reasonable bedtime and rising time, and then follow through with the plan long-term. Set the alarm clock and get out of bed at the same time each morning, regardless of your bedtime or the amount of sleep you got the previous night. This guideline is designed to regulate your internal biological clock as well as reset your sleep-wake cycle.

Monkey Business by Rebecca Tan 🐵

I would greatly appreciate any feedback or tips that you have for fighting insomnia. Let me know if anything on the list has helped you achieve a good night’s sleep by joining the conversation and leaving a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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Breaking Trust

1:00 AM: My heart is pounding through my chest and anger rages through my veins like a forest fire. I’m not angry – I’m furious. I feel like the carpet has been pulled out from under my feet by some prankster. Right now, I’m sobbing like a 2-year old who desperately longs for a comforting hug and a popsicle to soothe the pain. In reality, I am an adult and I won’t be eating any popsicles tonight to help me self-soothe the pain away. The pain I feel is emotional and I’m not the type to eat my feelings anyways.

I apologize for wasting your time with another depressing post. If you would prefer to read something more uplifting and positive, feel free to click away. Because this is the internet and everyone can read my blog posts, I cannot openly express who hurt me or share the juicy details with you. That being said, this post isn’t directed towards you or anyone else in the blogging community. I am writing this blog post because it’s incredibly painful for me to fathom what happened last night and I just want to be understood.

As some of you already know, 2019 has been a bad year for me. I try my best to stay positive but it’s difficult when I’m dealing with $hit that is VERY triggering to my mental health and well-being. Tomorrow, I have my first cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) session on campus so I plan to discuss my anxiety and trust issues with the therapist. I have been on a 3-month waiting list so I am grateful that I am finally getting some professional help.

What the hell is happening to the world?

Everyone handles anger differently. My anger accumulates in the pit of my stomach which makes it difficult for me to eat after experiencing hurt or betrayal. My negative emotions feel like a tangled ball of anger, envy, jealousy, and frustration towards everything that’s wrong in my life right now. It is like I am drowning in my own sea of negative emotions and I have lost the ability to breathe.

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This elegant image of Miku Hatsune illustrates depression in an artistic way. Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/253679447

As Sheldon states from The Big Bang Theory, “Everything is changing and it’s simply too much!” After being mislead and lied to by my loved ones this week, I don’t know who I can trust anymore. I have been lied to by friends in the past which seriously sucks, but loved ones… really? Am I destined to be lied to by everyone I encounter in my life? What other secrets have they been keeping from me?

10:00 AM: In my book, lying is NOT okay. From the moment I met you, I made it very clear that lying is unacceptable and that I won’t tolerate it. However, you made the choice to keep me in the dark by making me oblivious and ignorant to the world around me. Like they say, ignorance is bliss…. but is it really bliss? Even though you felt like it was best to protect me during my most vulnerable moments, you still lied to my face and broke the foundation that we worked so hard to build. You probably felt like I was too emotionally unstable to handle the truth, but you also kept me in the dark. Right now, I’m having a hard time trusting anyone including you.

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Trust is a fragile thing – difficult to build and easy to break.

How does it feel when you realize that you’ve been lied to? Do you believe that it is ever OK to lie to someone? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓ I really enjoy reading your comments! ❤️

Thanks for stopping by!

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3.2.1 Quote Me! – Love

I was nominated by the lovely Ilona Madam, who is one of my favourite bloggers in the WordPress community. I love the casual, French vibe she brings to her blog and I feel like we share a lot in common. For example, we are the same age, we are only children, and we are cat moms. She’s also an aspiring model and I’m like, totally not a model.🤷‍♀️

Mes amis, we can all learn from Ilona Madam to dream big in life and persue our passions. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to check out her blog. Merci beaucoup! 

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

“3.2.1 Quote Me” was created by a guy called Rory https://aguycalledbloke.blog/

⭐ Please note that Rory will be re-blogging your responses unless you wish for him to NOT do so 

“Once a week, I will pick a random topic, post two quotes on that topic and nominate 3 bloggers, who in turn will post 2 quotes on the topic and nominate 3 bloggers of their own.” – Rory 

  1. Thank the person who tagged you.
  2. Post two quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day. → Topic is LOVE ❤️
  3. Select three bloggers to take part in “3.2.1 Quote Me!” → I’m keeping the same topic: LOVE ❤️

➡️ My 2 quotes for the dedicated topic Love:

“Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.”
– Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
 John Lennon

➡️ My nominees:

Huguette

PoojaG

Michelle

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Meeting you 6 1/2 years ago was the best thing that ever happened to me ❤️

♥ HILARY TAN ♥

Practicing Gratitude 🙏🏻

I used to think that keeping a gratitude journal was silly and a waste of time. However, I’ve learned that practicing gratitude can positively influence one’s mental health and well-being. Since having a major depressive episode on April 4, 2019, I started being more mindful of my negative thought patterns as well as making mental notes of the good things that are happening in my daily life. Now, I really wish that I had written these good experiences down. As I continue to gain control over my mental health and work on managing my depression, I plan to eventually quit my antidepressant medication for good. I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled this Thursday to discuss options.

Previously, I haven’t been keeping a physical list of the things that I’m grateful for in my life. Rather than thinking of obvious things that most people are grateful for like food, shelter, family etc., I’m trying to dig a little deeper by appreciating some of the mundane things that many people take for granted. Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that I previously talked about? Let’s assume that my physiological needs (food, water, sleep, sex etc.) as well as safety needs (roof over my head, resources, property etc.) have already been met.

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My Gratitude List:

1. I tried meditating outside in the courtyard for the first time. The view is quite pretty, especially in the evening. Will I be meditating in the courtyard tomorrow? Probably not. I prefer to meditate from the comfort of my balcony.

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Beautiful view from my balcony this evening. I walked barefoot in the grass today which felt rejuvenating.

2. My husband strongly encourages me to go back to nursing school in January 2020 even though I am afraid of failing again. He suggested that I follow a study schedule by studying for 2 hours a day. So far, this is day 3 and I like to take my sweet time reading this textbook. If I follow this schedule, I calculated that I will have the entire textbook read in three months. A lot of students use this textbook to help them study for the NCLEX-RN exam but I plan on using this textbook to brush up on the fundamentals of nursing and re-learn concepts that I may have missed in school.

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This is the textbook I am using. Right now, I am reading a really boring section about ethics. I have to study ethics each semester which is a requirement by the University.

3. My husband and I walked to the mall this afternoon (and back home again). It takes half an hour to walk there and I was initially reluctant to go. I told him that he owed me a Starbucks beverage if I dragged my ass there. On the bright side, I survived the heat wave and also got my 10,000 steps for the day.

4. When we finally arrived at the mall, I tried the Strawberry Pink Drink from Starbucks and it was really yummy. 😋 Since I’m frugal AF and rather not blow all of my money on Starbucks drinks, I’m going to try and replicate this delicious beverage on the weekend. The DIY recipe that I found comes from www.nutmegnanny.com and their photos are mouthwatering! 😍

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DIY strawberry-coconut refresher recipe and photo credit sourced from nutmegnanny.com

5. I scored some good deals today at Bath and Body Works. Even though I really cut down on my spending over the years, I still buy things from time to time as long as these items are on sale. Today I saved $19.51 because both items were discounted at 75% off which makes me happy. Also, I broke even on some lottery scratch tickets and yet, I still got enjoyment from scratching the lottery tickets without taking a loss. For some reason, today I felt like treating myself!

What are some things that you are grateful for today? I am also curious to know whether or not you keep a gratitude journal. Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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No Shows Really Blow

My laptop is still causing problems so I haven’t been posting as often as I would like. Thank you for being patient with me as I attempt to solve these issues (thank you, handyman husband, for your help in this matter). I am in no hurry to buy a new laptop as I am taking the Frugalwoods Approach to live on a simple budget and making do with what I have.

Kijiji is a Godsend

Some of you may know that I recently embarked on a Kijiji journey as a way to embrace minimalism. I am forever grateful that such a platform exists for us Canadians, where we can attempt to hand our crap over to the next guy in exchange for cold hard cash. The truth is summed up perfectly in this famous quote:

b6e33-o2bo2bh2bh2bl2ba2bl2ba2b-2bc2bo2bmRather than pawn off overpriced junk like the majority of people like to do, I intend to sell my sentimental items at significantly reduced prices because donating was out of the question. These things are still dear to me and have a value attached to them, so knowing that there is a risk that these items could end up in the landfill if I were to donate them makes me feel uneasy. Knowing that someone actually wants to pay money for these items helps me let go of both my physical and mental clutter which is preventing me from discovering my true passions and desires in life. It is my way of saying goodbye to these things in a respectful way, which is a concept that Marie Kondo emphasizes.

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We all gotta start somewhere. During the decluttering process, you might benefit from reading this book: The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

But Then Again, No.

The thought of meeting a stranger doesn’t have to be scary as long as you listen to your intuition and take measures to protect yourself from the scammers and creepers. If anything feels off to you, listen to your gut because it’s probably right. I cannot stress how important it is to have a buddy with you if you are selling to a stranger. Never go alone because you don’t know who you’re dealing with.

🍁 Protect yourselves, my Canadian friends! 🍁

If someone tries to lowball you by offering to pay a price that is significantly lower than what you listed, kindly tell them to GTFO. Seriously, you’ll get good at saying NO to people. I block lowballers because I cannot deal with people who do not take me seriously, and why should I? Lowballing is rude, especially when I have listed my prices competitively low, to begin with. Also, I get the sense that people who cannot pay my asking price don’t actually have the money which is a red flag.

Last but not least, be prepared to be disappointed. People will inevitably bail on you at the last minute or fail to show up at all, hence a “no show.” This actually happened to me yesterday evening. I did not encounter issues with my first customer but my second customer was a different story. She texted me 10 minutes before meeting up to see if I was open to an e-transfer, mind you, for an item I was selling for $7.00. I refuse to do e-transfers because I prefer simple transactions involving cash. Cash is a language everyone understands; either you have it or you don’t.

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All the new Canadian bills looking pretty. Photo credit by Reddit User Zingledorf

I thought her request was suspicious as I proceeded to tell her that there are ATM’s where we were meeting. She gave me some lame excuse as to how she doesn’t have time to go to the bank and get the money. Not to mention that my husband and I drove 30 minutes out of our way to meet her at a location she requested, which was clearly a mistake on our end.

Anyways, I was aggravated by her bailing on me so I ended up stuffing my face with Bulk Barn treats which is something I regretted afterward. Bulk Barn is another Godsend store in Canada, for those who choose to eat their feelings when their emotions get the best of them. In my case, I felt a mix of frustration, anger, and disappointment which translated into sour cola gummies, sour berry gummies, sour cherry gummies and clusters of OMG goodness (not entirely sure what they are but they’re divine). Fortunately, the prices are reasonable and you control how much you buy since everything is weighed.

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Enjoying the beautiful Cotton Candy Sunset last night while typing out the rough draft on my balcony. Sometimes I need to reconnect with nature to overcome writer’s block! 🌸

If you are Canadian, I am curious to know whether or not you have tried Kijiji as a buyer or seller. If you aren’t Canadian, have you used Craigslist or other apps like Let Go? What were your experiences like? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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My Favourite Things

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I was inspired to write this blog post after reading Rebecca’s blog post called My Favorite Things. She runs a blog called Minimalism My Way and I encourage you to check out her blog. If you would like to learn more about minimalism, she provides a detailed explanation of what minimalism is.

I think that we share a lot common. We both listen to The Minimalists podcasts which originally inspired Rebecca to write her blog post. Rebecca writes:

I was listening to a podcast earlier from the Minimalists (those guys who made the Netflix documentary) that gave me the idea for this blog post.  They have a really great podcast that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the idea of minimalism.

Personally, I think that this idea is fantastic because it makes me think about things that are most essential in my life. Looking back a few years ago, my list has changed quite a bit. People have the misconception that I still have an obsession with Hello Kitty which is not true. I stopped collecting Hello Kitty stuff years ago because I got bored of collecting and the clutter gives me anxiety. Everyone is unique so it’s understandable that we different tastes and preferences!

When you think about your favorite things, I want you to consider these questions: What things truly spark joy in your life? What items do you use the most? What items can’t you live without?

Here is a list of my favourite things which are in no particular order. Similar to Rebecca’s list, I also chose 5 items to include in my list of favourite things.

Coffee Mug

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This is definitely my favourite mug by far. I bought it from Bed, Bath and Beyond because it was on sale. I wanted a nice, tall mug for my coffee and this mug has served its purpose for 3 years and counting. I also like that it wishes me Happy Birthday everyday  because why not celebrate 365 days of the year?

Essential Oils

img_3353-1Can you tell that I really like the essential oils from The Body Shop? I have other essential oils but these ones are the best in my opinion. I first discovered them at a friend’s house and I’ve been hooked ever since. The scents are refreshing and different than what you would typically find elsewhere: boring lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

Please do not burn these scents using a candle and traditional clay diffuser. For best results, they are meant to be diffused in water. In the background, you can see the diffuser that I use. 🌱

My Cat

Meet Timon, the latest addition to our family!

My daughter and Timon the cat posing for an Easter photo.

We recently adopted an 18-month domestic short-hair cat from the shelter and named him Timon after the Lion King. I got him to help me cope with my depression because I know the therapeutic benefits of owning a pet. Timon brings me a lot of joy and I’m generally happier these days because of the cat.

PS4 and Okami HD

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Screenshots of the game taken on my iPhone. It took me 60 hours to beat the game for PS4. I did not collect all of the stray beads but I collected what I could.

I cannot express how much I love this game but it’s A LOT ❤️ I had this game for PS2 and loved it so much that my husband bought me the PS4 version so I could relive the nostalgia. The HD makes this game even more beautiful than it already is. The soundtracks are pure bliss to the ears and the artwork is easy on the eyes. There’s a lot of demons and evil things lurking this game so I wouldn’t recommend it for really young kids. In summary, you are a wolf God your job is to rid the evil and restore everything to normal using your celestial brush techniques.

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Adult Coloring

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Adult coloring postcard I completed and sent to a lady living in a retirement home. I never heard back from her and still think about her to this day.

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Another adult coloring postcard that I mailed to a friend for her birthday! 🍍

Even though adult coloring is more of an abstract concept than a thing, I felt that adult coloring deserved to be included in my list of favourite things. This hobby is something that I personally enjoy doing and it brings me joy. Personally, I don’t collect adult coloring books or use them because they add unwanted clutter to my house. Instead, I try to buy adult coloring postcards, cards, and stickers (I’m not making this up!) to color and mail to pen pals who are living in Canada and the US. I hope to send mail to other countries one day but I haven’t had the energy or the mindset to adult color my worries away in the most recent months.

What are some of your favorite things? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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Goodbye Materialism, Hello Happiness

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2017 was the year that I finally set myself free from materialism and it was the best decision I ever made 🙌.

Believe it or not, there was a time when I spent [most of] my birthday and Christmas ca$h on materialistic items in an attempt to momentarily feel happy. Over the years, especially during my college years, I learned that wasting money on impulse purchases not only burns a hole in my wallet but my bank account takes the final blow as a consequence for my poor decisions.

Luckily, I learned the value of money from an early age. My parents taught me that money does not grow on trees and if I want something badly enough, then I need to work hard for it. There is a misconception that only children are spoiled, selfish brats, which may be true for some kids, but I do not consider myself to fit that stereotype. Honestly, it infuriates me when people assume that I possess this quality just because I “appear” to be spoiled, whatever that is supposed to mean.

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Window shopping at the Mall of America in 2017. I left the store empty-handed even though these stuffies are cute. 🍌🎂

Be-grateful_Daily-Inspiration_The-Red-Fairy-ProjectA turning point occurred prior to moving out and living life as a 20-something independent post-graduate just trying to make it on her own, alongside her soulmate. Honestly, I could not imagine my life without my husband. I often wonder, where would I be today had I not met him? Would I still be living with my parents, hiding in my room all day, while caught in a mess of never-ending-drama-infused-quarrels among my friends, especially online? Social media was definitely my fuel for real-time connection, but was I really connecting authentically?

Unlike most of my peers, I try my best to detach myself from ego, likes, and popularity contests. Seeking approval and searching for happiness that is purely ego-driven is a pathetic way to live and sadly, too many people choose to base their happiness on external validation. I see it way too often, especially among my close friends, where their motives are purely ego-driven and they base their self-worth on the number of likes they get on an Instagram or Facebook photo. Personally, I am relieved to have left this realm where I no longer have the need to participate in this glass-ceiling dream of egotistical satiety or having to impress people I don’t like with stuff I cannot afford.

News flash! the ego is never satisfied. 😱

Throughout my young life, I have been trying to please other people and conform because I wanted to fit in. If normal is seeking everyone else’s approval while failing to love ourselves, if normal is relying on external validation such as the number of likes or comments or shallow happy birthday wishes we get once a year from people we barely know IRL, if normal is wasting countless nights dwelling on our past mistakes and wondering why we were ghosted by whatshername, then I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want that extra baggage weighing me down. The moment you realize that none of this stuff matters (external validation) is the moment you will set yourself free and start living a better life.

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I’ve only been to the Mall of America once in my lifetime and I would like to go back one day.

I am curious to know whether or not you embrace minimalism. Also, what are your thoughts about seeking social media validation? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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