It’s been a while since I’ve written on my blog, and a part of me hates that. I had every intention to keep on writing when my daughter entered the world, but my priorities have drastically switched.

I’m finding it hard these days to take those moments for myself and continue with my passion for writing. I’ve been stretching myself thin by working two jobs and trying to get a piece together for the CBC Literary Contest. Most days, I only have three hours to spend with my daughter, so I try to compound everything between 7 AM and 4 PM. Which also includes cleaning, on top of everything else!

Why am I doing this?

Well, the thing is, my love & passion for writing is still in its infancy stage, so I know that I need to keep my primary source of income AND my side hustle intact until I can branch off. I’d LOVE for my writing to be my main hustle, but I’m also a realist, and I’m trying to do everything that I possibly can to get to that goal. That, unfortunately, means stretching myself thin at present.

Most of you ask if my husband helps, and he does. We are great partners and try to split everything 50/50, but I want to be 100% some days. When he is back at work in the next few weeks, everything will fall on me. I knew this day would come, and I’ve tried to prepare for it as much as I could. Working two jobs isn’t ideal, but I need to get to where I want to be.

How is this affecting my anxiety?

It’s been tough to navigate, but I know that I have the necessary tools and support to follow through. Since my last post, I mentioned how much of a struggle it’s been. I think it’s been like this for all of us. I’m taking it day by day and trying my hardest not to stress overly (…I said trying!)

Will I continue to do this? Probably!
As much as I preach on self-care, I have tunnel vision at the moment. I’m trying to secure my family’s future, and this is the only way I know how. The Home Edit isn’t hiring any Canadian Organizers, so… 😉

In all seriousness, I’m not overly worried about my mental health. Stretching myself thin is one thing, but I would never intentionally damage my well being. Thank you all for the continuous support, and hopefully, I can come back next month with some great news!

Do you ever get such a high that your low feels incredibly LOW?

That’s where I’ve been sitting the last couple of weeks

When I look back on my last post, I think to myself, “man, I thought I had it all figured out.” As always, though, life likes to show up and say, hold my beer.

It’s hard for me to put into words what I’m going through, so, unfortunately, I’m not going to divulge entirely. What I can say, though, is that I am badly stressing out, and my body is fighting back.
Even though I stopped working out 25 days ago, I lost 5 pounds.  
My TMJ has been acting up so badly that I’ve been unable to open my mouth wide enough to eat specific foods.
My IBS has been bothering me over foods that don’t normally upset it.
Stress has won.

The whole house got a common cold recently, and I went into full panic mode over us having COVID-19. Luckily, I had friends to calm me down, and my husband recently took training on symptoms to realize that we’re fine. We cooped ourselves up in our house yet again anyways to avoid spreading it to others. I can’t even tell you the last time I left this house.

I’ve lost all my energy and motivation to do the things that I usually love. All excess of my energy is funnelling into my daughter. I feel as if being a secondary thought to myself is OK even though I know it’s not. I’m doing the best that I can with what I have.

It’s been hard.
It’s been a struggle.
It’s been depleting.

I’m trying to remain hopeful that things will turn around because I feel that’s all that I have left.

So, this blog post is for all of you who are also feeling stressed out, finding it difficult to get past uncertainty, and trying to adjust to a new normal.
I feel like we’re all struggling with something now, and I hope that we can all find the strength to talk about it out loud with others. You’re not alone

Music has surrounded me in every aspect of life ever since I was a baby. To my mother’s singing, to our car radio tuned into trans-am Radio, to my music players over the years plugged into my ears. I could go on, but you get the point. I always listened for fun, but when my dark days came around, I started to use it to help with the various emotions I would feel: rage, loneliness, love, etc. I love the power that music has to aid my stress and anxiety, but it’s also a great portal to relieve any other loud or angry feelings that can come to us. Personally, it makes me feel less alone when I connect to the lyrics that the band was trying to convey.

When I get too anxious/stressed, there are a couple of things that I like to listen to,

  • The App “Calm” has helped with guided meditations and deep breathing exercises, but what I love most about this app is the background noises that you can choose from in the main screen: Serene Lakes (two) and Rainforest. I love being surrounded by nature sounds.
  • Matching my symptoms to the rhythm/tempo of songs almost validates what I feel, for example:

    Feeling anxious because no one understands me:
    Alice Merton – No Roots

    Feeling angry over things that happen in our society/culture
    Marilyn Manson – Beautiful People

    Feeling lost when someone leaves your life
    Fleetwood Mac – The Chain

  • Classical Movie Scores/Soundtracks when I find the time for a relaxation bath. Sometimes I need something without lyrics to melt all the nonsense that’s floating through my brain.

    Check out “Epic Film Scores” through Google Play

Music is magical to me; not only is it universal, and it helps us cope when we need it the most – it activates our entire brain, creating the potential to improve our feelings.

I love listening to music as a stress reliever, and I always recommend to do it when you’re doing things in the background, like driving (especially when you’re alone and can BELT out the lyrics!) and cleaning house. Dancing around my kitchen is the only exercise I can do nowadays! Whether you decide to listen or create, make sure that music is a part of your life so you can start seeing the benefits it has towards your physical and emotional health.

Have you ever been so stressed that your body has just given up on you?

There are times when I try to push through discomfort and stress, but sometimes that ends up making me sicker in the end. Trying to pinpoint why I’ve been overly stressed is a little hard, but I think I’m angry at myself for not recovering fully from my last car accident. Due to this, I’ve been battling the flu/cold for a little over a week now, and I’m just thankful that I didn’t end up missing more work than I needed to (sometimes, I’m not that lucky!)

I forget that taking care of yourself means that you also need to look after your physical health, too.
When I went back into Physiotherapy, I was initially told that my lower back pains weren’t as bad as I thought. I was a little concerned as the pain was consistent and didn’t seem related to my pregnancy in the slightest. When I went to their Massage Therapist for a consultation weeks later, I found out that my ribs were out of place and since I was pregnant, we would have to split the treatments in two. He worked on my left-hand side first and not only did my lower back pain almost dissipate, but I was able to take deep breaths again.

I couldn’t believe it. A month of worrying and overthinking that my back pains would never subside, I was on the right track. My anxiety did not help my physical health – I need to remember how highly intertwined both our physical and mental health is.
I was feeling inadequate over not being able to do basic activities, and this caused my stress levels to skyrocket, not to mention interrupt my sleep patterns. I wish I had a button that I could switch off during these times.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadians who report mental health symptoms can experience three times as many chronic physical conditions compared to the general population

signs-of-stress-on-the-body

People tend to brush stress aside, but we need to look at it more seriously. Think of it like a see-saw; if we don’t have a handle on our physical health, our mental health will suffer and vice versa.
We aren’t always aware of what we’re going through or even open up to others about our struggles. It takes a lot of strength to be open and honest that you need help or support (and arguably the most difficult step) but the sooner help can be provided, the more likely you will experience benefits of treatment (whether it be physiotherapy or therapy!)

Check out my friend's blog "Work Out, Feel Good" 

One of the biggest hurdles that most people get anxious about is their finances. Just the stress alone could be debilitating, and it might even feel impossible to overcome.  I have struggled with finances for a good chunk of my life, and for the longest time I blamed my guardians for not teaching me the right way – but now as I look back I realize that they too did not have the best grasp on it as well.

So, how can we cope will financial anxiety?

  • Set a budget and check in with yourself regularly
    A budget is one of the hardest things that you’ll have to do because you cannot lie to yourself here. You need to make sure that all coffees, muffins, hair appointments, etc. are captured. Once you have an understanding of your wants/needs, you will be able to prioritize what is important to you.
  • Assess how you react to spending
    Start paying attention to how you react whenever you (or your family) is spending money. Do you overspend to compensate for the discomfort? If you start to become aware of how you feel during each financial situation, you’ll be able to make better and logical decisions.
  • Saving
    Most people feel as if they cannot save any money due to their debt. It doesn’t matter how big your debt is; people will still stress and over think about it because it’s a constant worry that you’re not saving enough or putting enough down. As long as you’re putting money down towards your debt, it’s not lost money.
  • Reward Yourself
    I’m not saying to go out and spend a frivolous amount of money on yourself at the end of each month, but don’t punish yourself either! One of the rewards that I give myself is coffee – even though I make it every day at home, I still like to frequent a local coffee shop to sit and enjoy their brew.
  • Power of Touch
    You would be surprised how much physical touch can help anyone. Even a small exchange of a hug can help reduce stress by up to 30%. My husband and I like to offer each other massages a few times a month to alleviate any type of stress that we might have, and I highly encourage getting a hug from a loved one whenever things get too overwhelming. If for some reason you cannot find anyone to exchange a hug with, sweat it out!

If you still find that you’re anxious about your situation, there is no shame in seeking out a financial advisor. There is no purpose to staying up at night and worrying about your finances – nothing will magically appear or disappear. You need to learn how to calm your mind and gain more confidence!

As I was driving back home from work this week, I turned on a local station (102.1 The Edge) and listened to one of my favorite ‘jockeys’ Fearless Fred. He brought up an interesting and important subject, Social Media Disorder. People were responding to his news via text and phone; a woman caught my attention when she called in crying saying “I didn’t leave my house for a week binge watching Netflix” – She needed to be ‘in the know’ for fear of missing out.

My heartstrings pulled at her; I knew what she meant. I’ve been in a similar situation, but it never got that dire. As I look around at our society today, I notice a lot more people being ‘married’ to their devices: updates are shared numerous times a day, that perfect Instagram photo takes hours to capture, and our social interactions with one another have become limited.

For several years I’ve been trying to unhinge myself from my devices. This started a day before my wedding when I shut off my phone completely when I went on my 10-day honeymoon with my husband and more recently whenever I notice that I jump from three Apps for over an hour. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to stay away from my devices, but, over time I realized that it was healthy to do this. I would get stressed out when I couldn’t check my notifications – why? What’s so important that I need to be validated online?

Think you might be affected? some of the most common symptoms of social media disorder are:

  • Interrupting conversations to check your social media accounts
  • Lying to others about how much time you spend on social media
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Trying to stop or reduce your use of social media more than once before without being successful
  • Loss of interest in other activities
  • Neglecting work or school to comment on Facebook or Twitter accounts
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you are not able to access social media
  • Spending over six hours per day on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
  • An overwhelming need to share things with others on social media sites
  • Having your phone with you 24 hours a day to check your social media sites
  • Using social media more often than you planned
  • Severe nervousness or anxiety when you are not able to check your notifications
  • Negative impacts on your personal or professional life due to social media usage

If you feel that you’re obsessed or addicted to Social Media, you’re not alone. Social Media Disorder affects over 30% of the population and I’m sure that number gets higher each day. If you are having trouble going out to enjoy your true life, not your social media life, please reach out. We’ll find someone who can help