stress

Hello, October

Sometimes I get really anxious. It’s never about anything in particular, it just – happens. It feels like a combination of little things that would be fine on their own but added together becomes too much. I’m a self diagnosed hypochondriac (haha) and with cold season and the decline of warm weather has come an onset of symptoms to freak out about. Winter months are dreary for me and usually when I feel my worst, I’ve always thought I may have seasonal depression. Spring makes my soul feel like it’s in bloom and although the beautiful colours of the fall foliage got me feeling some-kind-of-way, it also feels ominous. Every autumn I try to prepare myself mentally for winter but it never seems to be enough. I hope this winter is different, I always hope each winter will be different.

I have been trying to confront my anxieties and some have been harder than others. Being surrounded by people at school countless hours a week is exhausting and spending so much time on social media outside of school has also been exhausting. I find it so hard to cut down without feeling like I’m missing out on new content, while simultaneously feeling like I’m missing out from real-world content. It’s something I struggle with a lot.

I know all my problems are currently within my own head, which I think can sometimes be the hardest part. To fight your own illogical need to feel anxious, with your own sense of rationality. I think sometimes it’s important to just take deep breaths, and to not pick on yourself for loses. This week I missed two classes because I needed the mental health break and I knew I wouldn’t suffer too badly by not going. And I think that’s ok. I didn’t get nearly as much work done, or do as many readings, but I did get some stuff done, I did finish group projects, answer e-mails, book appointments and sometimes that’s enough.

Sometimes I find it hard not to be my own biggest critic. I always tell myself I’m not working hard enough, that I’m not doing my best in school, that other people are doing more, are doing better, are happier, prettier, have more money, are doing cooler things. And in those moments I just stop myself. I focus on everything I’m currently proud of. I think of all the good things currently bringing happiness to my life. I think of my prospects and how everything I’m working on currently will pay off in the end. I take some deep breaths, grab a cup of water and give myself a mental hug.

It’s hard to give yourself a break sometimes, to tell yourself “you’re doing enough, you are enough”, so incase you weren’t able to say it today – you are more than enough. Now take a deep breath and go enjoy a nap – you deserve it.

Romanticizing Overexertion

Hello Folks,

So I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this afternoon when I came across this photo:

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This. THIS. THIS!! I can’t express enough how accurate from start to finish this quote is! I am currently working two jobs, back to back, Monday to Friday, working around a total of 12 hours a day. I wake up at 5:30am and get to sleep by 10-11pm and THIS IS NOT GOOD. I’ve been doing the full-time + part-time job situation for just over three weeks now and it’s sufficient to say that it’s taken a toll on my mental and physical health.

Firstly, my body is lacking an incredible amount of sleep, I actually just slept from 4-8pm, and this is the first time I’ve been able to fit a nap into my schedule for a while. Secondly, I haven’t been eating properly – at all. I went grocery shopping for the first time in about three weeks yesterday, and on Saturday while I was working, I realized in 26 hours (the time from my break at my other job) I had only eaten the crumbs of the bottom of a bag of white cheddar popcorn. I thought that I could handle this, and that eating on my break at McDonald’s and then again on the bus on the way to my second job was enough, but it’s really not. A body needs proper nourishment not a bowl of cereal or a granola bar.

I’m only going into such detail because today it all added up and my body finally gave up on me. I was at hot yoga with my friend Chloe, and I should disclose that this wasn’t my first time going. There was about 15 minutes left of an hour and 15 minute class and I started feeling dizzy. This happened a couple weeks before, and I ended up exiting class just in time to puke in the change room bathroom. I attributed this to the fact that I ate cereal with Chloe before the class, where my body really isn’t used to eating so early in the morning. So today I chose to skip breakfast to avoid that happening again. I felt dizzy and I tried steadying my breathing and stopping the pose. When that didn’t help and I could feel my vision blurring I tried to get out of the room (and the heat). Next thing I knew everything was black and my head fucking hurt. I thought I had just woken up with a really bad head ache when it came back to me that I in fact had already woken up for the day, and that I also was in a yoga class haha.

If you know anything about me as a person, I hate being the centre of attention, like fully despise and avoid at all costs. So passing out and hitting my head on the floor in a room full of people is pretty much the opposite of what I would have liked to happen that morning. Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first time passing out. I tend to have a history of stress and twice before had experienced the exact same situation. I felt dizzy, my vision started blurring, I thought I was going to throw up and before I know it I’m on the floor blacked out. The first time it happened was in grade 10 or 11 and I went to the hospital because I wouldn’t stop vomiting after. They ran blood tests, checked my heart, embarrassingly asked if I was pregnant in front of my mother and that was it. Nothing was wrong they just attributed it as stress and told me to slow down.  The second time was in grade 12 and I was on the public bus on my way to school in Switzerland. Luckily this was one of the only times my exchange student actually accompanied me to school so I wasn’t alone. I was in the corner of a packed bus and I could feel the same dizzying nauseous feeling coming on, I just wanted to get off the bus because I was sure I was going to puke on some Suisse strangers and I was not ready for that A-Level type of embarrassment, but before I had the chance to try and exit the bus, I was on the ground. Strangers picked me up and it took a while for my eye sight to restore which was the worst part, so I stumbled off the bus just seeing stars.

And that brings me to today. I stood up and told people to not call an ambulance because it’s happened before (and I worked in three hours and didn’t have time for them to tell me what I already knew). I got a bunch of unsolicited advice about low blood sugar, low blood pressure, dehydration and lack of sleep. They were all probably right to some respect, but I knew that what it really was that I wasn’t taking care of my body and it had to just ‘restart’.

I know University and College and life in general can be so difficult it’s hard to do anything but complain on twitter about how much coffee you drank because of how much sleep you didn’t get, but we really need to teach students especially  and young adults how important self-care is. The year I did at University was a mess of sleepless nights and poor diet. The next year when I switched to college my course load was a lot easier, but I had school 5 days a week and I had to wake up at 6am, but I took so much better care of myself and the pay off was incredible. I’d try and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep and although my cooking was still sub-par, it was better than the caf food I was eating the year prior. I know that as a student, you have a heavy course load and an incredible amount of stress to do well. Some people also have jobs and extra-curriculars. I remember feeling guilty every time I’d just lie down and watch an episode of Netflix because I knew there was a better use of my time, but looking back there really wasn’t. I’m sure I could have done a little bit better in my classes, but I needed that time to let my body and mind relax and actually do something I enjoyed.

When I read the quote today it just hit something inside of me that told me to wake up and start taking care of myself. I applied to 14 other part-time jobs today in hopes of finally being able to quit McDonald’s once and for all, and returning to working a normal amount of hours weekly. I won’t lie, I do enjoy having two different jobs and I do enjoy the extra hours, but 12 hour days aren’t realistic in the long run, or at least for someone like myself that isn’t yet educated enough on balance and how to care for my body.

So from here out, I plan to start taking care of my body and listening to it when it tells me to slow down and pay attention. I need to stop laughing at and romanticizing how busy and stressed I am, and instead learn to control my schedule and find more time to focus on myself. Life is busy and stressful and filled with so many pressures from so many different things, but when you take a step back you just need to realize that ultimately you are the centre of your own universe and if you don’t take of yourself you will eventually not be able to do the school or work that you’re draining your body for in the first place.

Just remember to pay attention to your body and realize when you need a break. To take some time to yourself to reenergize because you don’t want to miss your opportunity to be a shining star because you were too busy being a flame.

Love always,
Kate

Finals

Hello Folks,

It is finally the time I have been dreading, finals. I mean, on one hand I’m excited to finish off the semester and go home to my family for the holidays, but on the other hand I’m extremely not excited for five exams in one week.

It’s times like this that I’m constantly searching for motivational words to give me the strength to keep studying and not give up. So without further a due, here are some of my favourite motivational quotes I’ve mustered up from the depths of the internet this exam season:

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Love always,
Kate