Ice Ice Baby!

You might be thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?” The title of this blog post will make sense in a moment. And no, I am not talking the illicit drug known as “ice”. I am literally talking about frozen water such as ice cubes, crushed ice etc. and weird pregnancy cravings. This is a vulnerable post so I encourage you to read the whole blog post before jumping to conclusions. Btw, all images are my own and any advice I share here is based on personal experiences. And just to be clear, I am not a medical doctor nor am I here to give medical advice.

Some Quick Life Updates

I have been busy this month studying for the NCLEX, so I don’t have a list of goals to follow except for the ones that were carried over from March 2021. I really need to pass this exam, and it is has been stressing me out because I still don’t feel prepared. To be honest, I don’t think that I will ever truly feel prepared for this exam. Also, I was working up until this past weekend, and had to decline another shift because it is getting increasingly more difficult for me to work; right now I am 34 weeks pregnant and feel totally useless. I picked up one CDC shift this week which is a work-from-home job, and I feel guilty for not picking up additional shifts right now. There is only so much that I can do these days without losing my sanity 🙄 In the meantime, my cravings for crushed ice are very intense. I crave ice more than I crave MCDs coffee and bubble tea.

Most of you probably enjoy munching on the ice at the bottom of your glass on a hot summer day, and it is quite normal to enjoy the occasional ice cube from time to time. But is it normal to crave ice every day, regardless of season? I have what is known as “Pica” which is defined as:

Pica – craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value – such as ice, clay, soil, or paper. Craving and chewing ice is often associated with iron deficiency, with or without anemia, although the reason is unclear. – Mayo Clinic

For most people with pica, it is usually due to a deficiency and goes away once the deficiency is corrected. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved ice from 1st trimester up until I gave birth. We did not have access to the best health care services in Saskatchewan, so my anemia was easily overlooked. Apparently, I was severely anemic and nobody caught onto this, including myself. After I had my daughter, my ice cravings went away soon after. I think that pagophagia, that is, cravings for ice, are highly correlated with low iron levels during pregnancy. Now that I am wiser and have better access to healthcare where I currently live, I am suspicious that my iron levels might be dropping again, so I will be getting another blood test in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, I plan to start taking an iron supplement.

Symptoms Related to Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)

I am going to share with you some of the symptoms that I deal with on a day-to-day basis. Women in their child-bearing years are highly susceptible to Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA). You might have IDA and not even know it, since other health conditions can cause these symptoms as well. One particular thing that screams iron deficiency for me is pagophagia (cravings for ice) which is based solely on my personal experiences. Please speak to your doctor if you think that you may be deficient in iron or have similar symptoms as I do. I am not going to go into detail about the pathophysiology, pharmacology, and biological pathways related to IDA. If you are interested in that stuff, feel free to check out this link for more information.

My Iron Deficiency Symptoms:

  1. Pica: Cravings for ice, dirt, clay etc. Has anyone watched My Strange Addiction? It is a rather disturbing show and yet I watched all of the episodes I could find on YouTube 😂 I am convinced that several of these people have Pica. Personally, I don’t think cravings for ice is that bad except that it is terrible for tooth enamel, but overall, I don’t think that my addiction to ice is hurting anyone. I know that every addict says that, but it’s just frozen water, people. It is not like I am eating paint chips or chalk. Personally, I prefer soft ice over hard ice (yes, there is a difference!). If you suddenly develop cravings for non-food items, please don’t ignore this red flag and speak to your doctor. I am not here to glamorize Pica – it is abnormal.
  2. Extreme fatigue and lack of energy Like I said before, other conditions can mask iron deficiency anemia (IDA). From personal experience, I know that 3rd trimester is exhausting, and perhaps my lack of energy and feeling like I am going to pass out are linked to that. However, fatigue and overall lack of energy are also related to low iron levels.
  3. Breathlessness with light exercise Perhaps this is related to pregnancy, as I am extremely exhausted climbing stairs these days. I can barely walk to the mailbox down the street without feeling totally exhausted. Even getting ready for work was a daunting task that I dreaded, and it is a miracle that I can even managed to get through the day without feeling like I was going to collapse any second. Other people have even pointed out that I look tired. Extreme exhaustion is not normal and should be discussed with your doctor if you are experiencing similar symptoms.
  4.  Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Since 1st trimester, I have been getting the worst leg and foot cramps at night. On average, I get anywhere from 2-6 leg cramps, including Charlie Horses, in a single night. I also get horrible itching at night, so I often need to resort to an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-allergy medication, which doesn’t always relieve the itching. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had similar itching so I know this is probably a pregnancy thing. But is it really a pregnancy thing, or an iron deficiency thing? 🤔 I already discussed this with my doctor and was told to increase my magnesium intake. The dose that she recommended for me is quite high so I am going to try a magnesium gel to help calm my restless legs at night. Apparently, gels and sprays are much more absorbent then magnesium gummies. If you are curious to know where I order most of my melatonin and magnesium products from, I use a Canadian site called www.naturalcalm.ca. Even though they only ship within Canada, I have seen some of their products in US stores.
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First comes love, then comes marriage 💕

Are you experiencing similar symptoms? Do you have weird cravings for things like ice? If yes, then I would highly recommend getting your iron levels checked. Sometimes, relying on food sources that are high in iron is just not enough, especially if you are also expecting 🤰 If you are struggling with pica or any of the symptoms I listed above, I want you to know that there is hope. Feel free to join the comments section below ↓ if you can relate to these struggles or deal with a deficiency. It helps knowing that I am not alone ♥ I will do my best to reply to your comments!

Thanks for stopping by!

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March Recap | Spring 2021

I wanted to upload a new blog post highlighting my goals for the month of March but I was working yesterday evening. And earlier this week, I was too exhausted to do anything productive. I am a very last-minute person when it comes to blogging because it is not my top priority these days, so consequently, my blog posts tend to be a bit late. As of late, WP has changed the settings yet again so I am not very eager to use the WP editor. A blogger suggested that I write my rough drafts elsewhere so I am trying Microsoft Word now. If this works, you might be seeing more blog posts from me in the future.

Although March started off slowly, I did end up picking up more shifts mid-March. In terms of the habit-tracker, I stopped using it because I find that a basic list is fine for my needs. I have simplified my life so much that nothing is overly complicated anymore. Furthermore, I believe that much of our anxiety and depression stems from having overly-complicated schedules and lifestyles. Don’t get me wrong – I still get anxiety and depression, but it’s manageable despite doing things that are still anxiety-provoking. I also pride myself for living medication-free and am living proof that one can work through their problems using a holistic approach. 


Learning to Let Go 🧘‍♀️🌱

I feel less guilty declining shift offers as long as I do not have to interact with people. Much of my shift offers are done through texting/email which I am totally fine with. I ended up picking up extra shifts this month and my once-barren schedule for March quickly became a colorful mosaic. I am the type who feels like it is my obligation help out wherever I can, while forgetting that I have other things to do like studying for an upcoming NCLEX exam that continues to nip at my ankles. Reflecting on the March of March, here are the goals that I managed to accomplish:

MARCH GOALS 2021

Career Goals:

  • Continue picking up more shifts if it fits my schedule I managed to pick up a few extra shifts during the month of March and I am proud of myself for doing this. Let’s not forget that I am a newbie and stepping outside of my comfort zone makes me feel uncomfortable. I will admit that I often cry before shifts because I am terrified of the unknown. My dad used to tell me that I wasn’t making progress because my comfort zone only stemmed from my study desk to the garbage can in my room. And he was right. A person will not make much progress if they are unwilling to step outside of their bedroom, unless they are a full time blogger of course. As a teenager, I hardly left my room and my parents’ friends knew me as the girl who hibernated in her room and lived in her pajamas. To this day, I still live in my pajamas but I have made a lot of progress since then.
  • If shifts become available for second job, try to bid on them I ended up getting 3 shifts for my side-hustle job which was surprising. I did not have much luck bidding on shifts this week but that’s okay. You win some, you lose some. I predict that there will be a dry spell in April 2021 so I am not going to get my hopes up too much. Also, I might lose this job entirely once my job title changes (long story). Any extra shifts I am able to get during the month of April will be a bonus and definitely not something that I feel entitled to have.
  • Complete 1-2% of UWorld each day ➡ Test date is April 26, 2021 Yikes. I do not feel ready to write this exam and will probably never feel fully prepared. It is very exhausting juggling this pregnancy with a busy work schedule, and I hardly find the time to study these days. I am currently 86% done the QBank which I am proud of but I am still terrified of writing the NCLEX. I really need to pass this exam because my future depends on it #no-pressure
  • Finish writing the 3-6 month learning plan I submitted the learning plan but I still question how I am going to complete everything on the list. It is stuff like this that keeps me up at night. My learning plan is ambitious so I am really hoping that I will be able to finish it on time. I continue to try my best at work, but is “my best” really enough? I always feel like I could be doing more and never seem to feel satisfied with things.

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts per month Let’s face it: I am writing the bare minimum right now. I am not sure if I will be uploading a goals-related blog post for April yet. Like I mentioned earlier, blogging is not my priority right now but I do find that these posts help keep me accountable for my actions. Also, I do not want to become complacent with my writing which is the main reason why I continue to blog.
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments I went to all of my doctor’s appointments this month. However, I need to schedule a few more appointments which I plan to do during the months of April and May. I am still on the edge as to whether or not I should get the COVID-19 vaccine now or after I give birth. I am eligible to sign up for a vaccine now, so I am seriously considering it. There are a lot of appointments to keep track of so I recommend using a basic planner to keep track of everything, such as these ones:
  • Send some Easter snail mail I sent a bunch of mail to those who gave me their current addresses, but I have mixed feelings about continuing this craft. I love sending snail mail but I seldom get mail in return. Not only that, but half of the time, pen pals do not let me know if they received their mail so I often wonder if the mail got lost or something. Lack of communication drives me crazy and I try to practice what I preach. I try to let people know via email or text message when I have received their mail. Seriously, how difficult is that? 🙄
  • Continue tracking monthly spending I am really proud of this one, since I only spent $170.15 on myself during the month of March. My credit card bill was low because I cut out so many unnecessary expenses (except my monthly phone bill) and kept myself busy. I continue to shop at Dollarama but I go there once a week and spend ~$20-30 per trip. Did I mention that I still have money left over on that Tim Hortons gift card that I earned from Swagbucks back in January? I decided to finally use up the gift card by splurging on some treats for the family. It is hard to believe that $25 lasted me 1.5 months! With the Tims Rewards, Roll Up the Rim (RUTR), and hockey promotion thing, I managed to score some bonus drinks too! 🙌

Health Goals:

My only “health goal” was to stay healthy 😷 I am doing everything I can to keep myself and my family healthy, especially since I am exposed to potential pathogens at my workplace. Currently, I am craving crushed ice really badly which is a sign of iron deficiency. It is called Pica and I had cravings for ice chips when I was pregnant with my daughter as well. It turns out that I was severely anemic last time. I am not too worried this time because my cravings did not start until 3rd trimester where iron deficiencies are quite common; therefore, I am trying to eat things rich in iron. If anyone happens to know any recipes that are loaded with iron, please let me know in the comments section below ↓ In the meantime, I will continue chomping in my ice chips 😋

P.S. A while ago, I uploaded a Virgin Pina Colada recipe on my blog. I can assure you that all of my drinks are non-alcoholic. My current obsession are Virgin Lime Margaritas. My takeaway is that you can still enjoy these fancy drinks even when you are pregnant. Non-alcoholic drinks do not have to be “boring.” Another reason why I like these drinks is because #crushed-ice. It’s so refreshing! 🥥🍍

Thanks for stopping by!

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March Goals | Spring 2021

February was a busy month for me. Although I have been using a daily and monthly habit tracker to keep track of my goals, it did not dawn on me to write a goals-related or monthly recap blog post. Now that we are well into the month of March, I am going to skip February altogether. I won’t bore you with a February recap, and March is pretty much a continuation of February. Overall, my goals have not changed that much within the span of a month.

March started off slowly as I did not have anything scheduled near beginning of the month. As the month progressed, my schedule got busier and I found myself with very little time to sit down, gather my thoughts, and write a semi-decent blog post that I was passionate about. Today, I feel like I do not have time to craft a blog post; however, anxiety is at an all-time high for me. Therefore, I feel like writing this blog post is not optional at this point. Right now, I am feeling very stressed with everything that is happening in my life, especially when trying to find work-life balance. I am grateful for the casual hours but I am still dealing with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy, nonetheless.

Re-grounding Myself 🌱

Today, I had to decline a shift offer which was incredibly difficult for me since I am a people pleaser. To make matters worse, I kept replaying the phone call in my head over and over again. This particular event has been on my mind all day which has hindered me from getting any productive work done. During times like these, I need to remember to re-ground myself and focus on the list so I can get out of my own head. I will show you my list for the month of March. My daily lists are very similar except that daily lists include mundane tasks like cooking and cleaning. So what does my list for the month of March look like? Here, let me show you:

March Goals 2021

Career Goals:

  • Continue picking up more shifts if it fits my schedule
  • If shifts become available for second job, try to bid on them
  • Complete 1-2% of UWorld each day ➡ Test date is April 26, 2021
  • Finish writing the 3-6 month learning plan

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts per month
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments
  • Send some Easter snail mail ✔
  • Continue tracking monthly spending

Health Goals:

Don’t get me started on my health goals. My goal to make water my beverage of choice went out the window because I crave icy, sugary drinks these days. I am not watching my weight right now nor am I counting calories. I am not overweight so I am not concerned, but the amount of sugar I am consuming is a bit alarming. In happier news, I passed the glucose tolerance test (GTT) last month so I do not have gestational diabetes. My bloodwork also came back normal so I’m happy about that! It is hard to believe that I am in 3rd trimester already ❤ Grow baby, grow!

I choose to believe that the quote by Roy T. Bennett is true. I have seen growth in my personal life because I continued to focus on my goals every day, regardless of how mundane they were. There will always be good days and bad days, and as long as you keep watering your plants everyday, you will be successful in life. I am curious to know if you use a daily or monthly habit tracker. Have you had success with your habit tracker? Are you building your dreams and chasing your life purpose? I am curious to know in the comments section below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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Affordable Self-Care Ideas

Are you one of those people who could use a self-care day to recharge? Me! Pick me! 🙋‍♀️ If you happen to fit into one of the two categories below, then you would probably benefit from a self-care day. Personally, I fit into both categories depending on where I stand in my work and personal life. When I am unemployed, I learn more towards #2 and when I am employed or taking courses, I learn more towards #1. Not to mention that we are also dealing with a freaking pandemic, which has taken a toll on people’s mental health.

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ So tell me, what kind of person are you? ♥
1. You are overwhelmed because you feel that you need to stay busy, or you have a hard time relaxing when you do have free time.
2. You do not know what to do with your free time so you end up doing nothing productive or rejuvenating.

Below, I have compiled a list of affordable self-care strategies that will not break the bank and will hopefully help you recharge and reground yourself. I cannot stress how important it is to take care of your mental health and well-being, especially during these difficult times. Obviously, I am not a party planner nor am I going to plan out the whole day from morning to night. What I will do is give you some free or budget-friendly suggestions for a self-care day. Self-care does not have to be elaborate or expensive! Let’s get started, shall we?

Go For A Walk Outside

What? You don’t walk your cat?

When my cat was sick, my husband took him to the vet. Afterwards, my husband spoiled the cat by letting him venture outside. And the cat loved it! ❤ Pet parents do not hesitate to take their dogs (and cats) out for walks, but when was the last time you took yourself out for a walk? Are you spending way too much time indoors and not enough time in the great outdoors? If you live in Canada like me, I totally understand why you may choose to stay inside the house. Canada is cold AF, especially in this province. If the weather is nice where you are, depending on what your definition of “nice” is, I encourage you to stand barefoot on the grass as a way to ground yourself and reconnect with Mother Nature.

Spending time outside can be incredibly therapeutic. I encourage all of you to leave the house at least once a day if you can, and spend some time outdoors. Right now, I am not getting my daily walks and my mood is suffering as a result. I am probably Vitamin D deficient because I hardly ever see the sun 🌞 My blinds are closed as I write this and I keep my windows shut due to the frigid cold. Also, the paths are icy AF outside so I try not to leave the apartment. The affordable solution is to suck it up and spend time outdoors, but knowing how terrible my balance is, I rather not deal with a sprained wrist or ankle. If you live in a warmer climate, then you are incredibly fortunate! 🌴

Enjoy A Hot Beverage

You can make a soothing tea at home for a fraction of the price!

There is something soothing about sipping a hot beverage any day of the week ☕💕 A hot beverage is fairly inexpensive if you make it yourself at home. Also, it is easy to make a basic coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, so there is really no excuse not to enjoy a cup or two. My favourite thing to do first thing in the morning is to enjoy a hot beverage while I read the latest blog posts from my fellow WP bloggers!

Read A Book

Got a book that you had every intention to read, but never got around to reading? Now is a good time to pick up that book and yenno, actually read it. I cannot tell you how The life-changing art of tidying up ends because I never finished reading it. Seeing my pile of unread books made me realize that there is no reason to buy more books when I haven’t even finished the ones I have. Reading can turn into an expensive hobby, which is why I encourage you to shop your own house first before buying more books.

Take a Bath

Source: Miku Hatsune from wallup.net

I used to be a shower person, but I have evolved into a bath person over the years. I take a bath 3-5 times per week, and thus, the shower gel and body butter did not last long. Enjoying a warm bath is honestly one of my favourite ways to relax. Also, I noticed that taking a bath is the fastest way for me to warm up after being outside in the frigid cold. Not to mention, baths can elevate a crappy mood, relieve muscle aches and pains, and reduce stress levels. Although I prefer to take a bath midday, I still recommend taking a bath at the end of day before bedtime. Why? Because baths have the tendency to calm an overactive mind, relax you, and make you sleepy. If you suffer from insomnia or anxiety like I do, then try adding this bath ritual to your schedule to help you wake up feeling more refreshed the next day.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Final Thoughts ♥

Finally, I would suggest journaling. However, I do not find it very relaxing. I use a planner to stay organized but that’s as much journaling as I do these days. I used to enjoy writing letters to pen-pals and still do to an extent, but it has been difficult for me to find the motivation and energy to send snail mail. I apologize to anyone who I have not responded to via email; I haven’t had the motivation to write my wordy, thought-provoking replies. It is not that I have forgotten about you ❤ Same goes with pen-pals – I have not forgotten about you either and I will send more mail when I find the desire to write again 💌

Thanks for stopping by!

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Breaking Trust…..Again 💔

Disclaimer: I wrote the rough draft over a week ago as I am still fumbling around with the stupid Block Editor. However, this event does not dismiss the emotional turmoil, exhaustion, and frustration I have regarding what happened last week. Things are still awful and I am as moody as ever, since I am having a hard time coming to terms with things. I am not sure where to go from here or how to remedy the situation. It is hard for me to give you enough context without sharing too much of my private life online.

Sept 7, 2020 @11:55 AM: I am scrolling, scrolling. I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I am trying so hard not to cry. No, this cannot be real. This cannot be happening again. We had a promise. A promise of trust so fragile that it shattered yet again. A promise so fleeting that I could feel it escaping through my fingers like sand. I find myself screaming and shaking like someone who is in the midst of a mental breakdown. Then it dawned on me: Maybe I can take the pain away with some painkillers. Tylenol is innocent enough, it wont hurt me… maybe then, my emotional pain will disappear and I won’t have to feel anything. I just want to feel nothing…. 

I wish that I didn’t have to write this depressing post. I wish that yesterday didn’t happen, but it did. I took a more than the recommended dose of Tylenol. My liver may not have been too happy with me but I am fine. I suggest that you try to suppress your pain with medication. It will not take away your emotional pain. To feel any kind of relief, I think I would need to black out which might be accomplished with alcohol. I abstain from alcohol and I don’t take prescription meds, so the strongest thing I have is Tylenol. Once I swallowed 2/3 of a bottle of Advil in one sitting, took a nap, and woke up with an unrelenting headache. I was fine. Nobody found out about it until a few months later, and by then, I was back to my old self, distracted by academia. 

Miku Hatsune, Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/253679447

I can relate if you are reading this post and desperately want to numb your emotional pain too. To an extent, I understand the challenges that people face with mental health challenges, and I get that life is not all sunshine and rainbows. You will probably be hurt several times in your lifetime, and those you are closest to will probably end up hurting you most. I am writing this blog post because it’s incredibly painful for me to process what happened yesterday, and I just want to be understood. If you want to read about a similar experience I had a few months ago, you can read that blog post here.

Reflecting on 2020 so far, 2020 has been a weird year for all of us. I have been working on getting my $hit together since the beginning of the year. Did the pandemic disrupt my plans? Yes and no. Sure, I did not get to travel this summer but that is not why I am upset. Like I said in my earlier post, it is hard to stay positive when I am dealing with $hit that is VERY triggering for me. My mental health is fragile and I need to do everything I can to protect my well-being. Reflecting on my previous post , we know that there needs to be mutual trust between 2 or more people, in order for any relationship or team to thrive. 

What is so difficult about being honest? Why do you refuse to change your ways when you know that your behaviour hurts me? I don’t care if being honest is more painful than covering up the truth with a bunch of lies. What hurts the most is having the nerve to lie to my face without blinking an eyelash. Even when I question your behaviour, you respond with a lie. You are emotionally unavailable and uninvested in what we were working so hard to build. A relationship is built on 3 things: communication, trust, and affection (may be intimate or non-intimate). 

Liar, Liar 🔥

This is what I want to know: Have you ever told a lie, and did it end well for you? Because it did not end well for me. When someone tells a lie, they end up hurting the people around them. Even if they get away with their lie today, it will eventually catch up to them. Some of the best liars are known to be sociopaths and psychopaths because they are constantly forced to cover up their lies and believe their own BS. Also, they are known to have incredible memory recall. Imagine yourself telling a bunch lies and then having to remember those lies today, tomorrow, a month from now, and even years from now. The psychopath or sociopath might get away with it, but the rest of us will eventually caught. The person who hurt me certainly did get caught and I am still PO’d.

Do you believe that it is ever OK to lie to someone, or continue to lie to someone for whatever reason? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓ I really enjoy reading your comments! ❤️

Thanks for stopping by!

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My 10 Favourite Feelings Tag

Pink and Yellow Shapes Birthday Pinterest Graphic (1)I want to thank blogger Pooja for sharing this tag with me! If you aren’t familiar with her blog, then I highly suggest that you check out her creative musings over at Lifesfinewhine. A while ago, I promised her that I would [eventually] complete this tag which dates back to May 27. 2020. Even though I had good intentions and even jotted down a list on my phone’s virtual notepad, the note accidentally got deleted. I am now writing a new list which is in no particular order. Today, I spent some time reflecting on the things/feelings that make me happy. I purposely left out some of the obvious things like spending time with family and friends.


Rules for Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share your list of 10 Favourite Feelings. 
  • Nominate other bloggers. 

My 10 Favourite Feelings Tag

1. Spending time with my cat. As many of you already know, I really adore my cat. I adopted him last year when I was dealing with major depression that was quite severe. If you need some happiness in your life or feel like your mood is $hit most days, then I highly recommend adopting a cat! Not every cat is friendly though, so take your time choosing the right one. Adopting a cat is a big decision, but it is a decision that you probably won’t regret! ❤🐈

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Morning cuddles with my boy, Timon ❤

2. Connecting with WordPress bloggers, both online and offline! I am very fortunate to have this blog, where I am able connect and chat with other like-minded bloggers. Blogging has been incredibly rewarding and it only keeps getting better. I never imagined that I would end up receiving personal emails, end up receiving snail mail, and even meeting Vee in real life, who is one of my favourite bloggers.

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Before I started blogging, I used to send snail mail to online friends on Facebook. I am still taking a FB hiatus and have no plans to return to that platform any time soon.

3. The smell of the Earth after it rains. Am I crazy, or is there a distinct, earthy smell after it rains? Do you know what smell I am talking about? Because that’s the smell I love! It’s a refreshing feeling after it rains ☂

4. Reaching a destination after walking for what seems like 500 miles. If the destination does not include coffee or tea, then it is a waste of my time 😂 Most of my destinations are food-related. If I didn’t walk to these places, I would probably be obese by now. I choose to walk even though I have a driver’s licence. Personally, I do not like driving a car and I will avoid driving as much as possible.

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This is one of my favourite bubble tea places. Even though I took the Light Rail Transit (LRT), I technically walked there. Since the COVID-19 lockdown, I have not taken the LRT 😷

5. Having fresh-cut flowers in my house 🌻 My mom lives across the country, and she surprised me with a dozen sunflowers for my birthday! Best birthday surprise ever ❤Sunflowers are my favourite flowers and I associate them with the month of August. They’re so sunny and cheerful. What’s not to like about sunflowers? 😍

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Not my birthday sunflowers. This photo was taken at my mom’s house, Summer 2019. Look how big and gorgeous these beauties are! 🌻🌻

6. Sunsets from my balcony. You do not need to go to the beach to enjoy a sunset. In fact, you can view beautiful sunsets from the comfort of your balcony or backyard. Some sunsets are quite stunning. My favourite kind of sunsets are the cotton-candy colored ones 🤗

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This is what I call a cotton-candy sunset ❤

7. Finding $$$ in random places. It might be money laying on the ground (I wish), money in my coat pocket, or finding money in a drawer etc. Finding money I didn’t even know I had is a great feeling! Once I found $200 cash while cleaning the house, which was money I made from Kijiji sales. I had stashed it in an envelope for a rainy day and completely forgot about it! I’m also bad for accidentally leaving money in my coat pockets. Once my mom found a $20 in my coat pocket, so she kept it. It was an old coat that I no longer wanted, but I guess it still had some value.

8. “Kodak” moments. Let me be clear about something: I am aware that I am not photogenic. My dad thinks that I love taking photos of myself but I seldom take photos of myself. Yes, I have a profile picture of myself only because I rather see an actual picture of the face behind the blog, even if that profile pic happens to be filtered. Most of the photos I post on this blog are my own, such as this adorable pic of Rebecca and Timon the cat 💕 I am really beginning to loathe royalty-free pics because every blogger seems to use them nowadays 🙄 #unoriginal

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Photo taken October 16, 2019

9. Donating/selling items. Knowing that my stuff is going to a better home is a very satisfying feeling. Meeting the buyer in person also gives me reassurance that my stuff is actually wanted, especially since I know that they want to buy my stuff. I find it much easier parting with sentimental items if I sell them, compared to donating them. For all I know, donated items could be going straight to the landfill, which I find a bit disturbing.

10. Spousal business travel. I really enjoy taking advantage of my husband’s travel excursions whenever the opportunity arises. Usually, our schedules clash and I have to stay home, but sometimes I am fortunate to join him on his adventures! That being said, I can no longer tag along on his business trips because of the pandemic 😭


My Nominees:

https://popsiclesociety.com/

https://simplychronicallyill.com/

https://renardsworld.wordpress.com/

https://mymartialpath.wordpress.com/

https://inhisserviceandlovingit.wordpress.com/

And….GO!! There is no pressure to respond to this nomination. I am curious to know what your answers are if you decide to participate! Whether or not you were nominated, you are still welcome to join in on the fun!

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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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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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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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