Weekend recap and doing things that make you anxious

Good morning everyone!

Once again a new week has rolled around, and i love Mondays so i don’t mind! This week is going to consist of school work, group work, hospital appointment and trying to be out in the sun as much as possible. It is still minus degrees, but the sun shining makes such a difference to energy, motivation and overall happiness according to me!

 

Instead of writing my goals for this week as i don’t have any (I might write a post with goals for March!), i thought i would instead do a recap of my weekend.

As i wrote in my previous post, here, i was asked if i wanted to go to a crossfit workout with a friend. A part of me wanted to say yes, the other part i.e the anxiety in my brain was screaming “No….”. However i had to just go against that anxiety and said yes anyway, even if my anxiety was still screaming no, and i began worrying unnecessarily about all these little things. When the morning rolled around i still felt anxiety and i had begun to get a stomach pain from my anxiety (which often happens and is one of the reasons i have to cancel different plans because my anxiety gives me such a stomach pain that i feel like i physically can’t leave the house.) and i wanted to cancel the plans. But i knew the only way to overcome the anxiety is to face it and that is what i did.

And you know what…. i had a great time. Not only was the workout fun (short but intense as it was just a free trial workout!), but also had a good time with my friend. As well as meeting a girl who goes the same program as us (my friend and I), but she is about to graduate in summer (so a year ahead of us). We could get some advice from her and hear about the upcoming courses, which ones are good and which ones aren’t as good, but also hear her experience of internship and how she was working with nutrition and health. It was very beneficial to hear all that information from her and hear how she was doing health consultations and had her own business/company as well as doing talks/lectures. Basically what i want to do, but have always thought i needed to have my degree before i could start. (Apparently, i could have already started with health consultations and nutrition consultations after my first year was done!).

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I had worried so much and felt so anxious but the day turned out so amazing and i know i would have felt even more anxiety if i had missed out. Infact, once i got home i began to look for crossfit courses or memberships because i loved it so much (I did a 4 week crossfit course in 2016 which i loved, and have wanted to get back into crossfit since then but the membership is so expensive that i can’t afford it. However when i work and earn money i might have to invest in a crossfit membership!!).

After that, my friend and i met up with another friend of ours and played Laserdome and it was basically us and lots of 10 year olds who were extremely good at the game. Not to mention they had come prepared wearing all black clothes and they were so short that you couldn’t see them hiding… whereas my friends and I had clothes that reflected in the dark making us visible as well as being so tall that it was hard to hide. Safe to say we didn’t win! Also can mention that laserdome is not good for my anxiety…. i don’t like games like laserdome or even computer games where you have all this tension, stress, anxiety and even worry… it can send me into panic mode. So i don’t think i will be playing laserdome again, but atleast i have tried it!!

Sunday was a day of rest/self care for me. Sleeping in, cleaning the whole apartment and all the small places where dust and crumbles or grease stains have left their mark! Followed by a walk in the sun, a workout (feeling extra motivated since the crossfit workout!), buying some food to make one of my favourite foods (rice paper rolls) and then spending the afternoon in bed barely checking social media or anything… just resting, which was very much needed!! Even if i had a great time with friends on Saturday it does drain me of energy, so usually i need a day to just be by myself after a day spent with people. Introvert problems i guess!!

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Anyway, i am looking forward to this week… mostly because each week that passes the closer to summer and sunshine… even if that also means worrying about a summer job and living under the summer, but that is for another post! haha

I hope you all have a great week! And remember that sometimes you need to face the things that give you anxiety and realise that it is not as bad as you think. It is the worry and the anxiety beforehand that is worst, but once it is done you realise it wasn’t as bad as your mind made you think it would be!!

 

Stepping outside of your comfort zone, trying new things, stop doubting yourself.

One of my goals for 2018 is to stop doubting myself and stop holding myself back. For so many years i have kept myself back and not done things i have wanted to because of anxiety and self doubt. Sometimes i wonder how many things i have missed out on because of anxiety and self doubt… so many times i have said no when i wanted to say yes. (But there have also been alot of times i have said yes when i have wanted to say no, just because i am a people pleaser and that hasn’t always lead to good results.) I guess i just need to get better at actually answering with the real answer… not saying yes when i mean no, because i want to please others. And not saying no, when i want to say yes because of self doubt and anxiety.

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So when my friend asked if i wanted to join her and try a crossfit workout at a new gym that is opening my first thought was yes, that sounded like alot of fun. But then my second thoughts were… No, what happens if i am bad at the workout. I know my friend is amazing at workouts and alot fitter than me and i didn’t want to embarrass myself. What if she didn’t even want me to join, just asked to be nice. (I struggle with constantly feeling like my friends don’t like me… and i am trying to realise that they do infact like me as a friend.All these doubts and insecurities that made me want to say “no” and just stay in my comfort zone. Not try something new and step outside of my comfort box(though i have done a 4 week crossfit course which i LOVED. And if crossfit memberships weren’t so expensive i would definitely want to sign up to a crossfit box!).

Instead of answering my friend i decided to give myself some time to think…. think about what i really wanted to answer and why i was doubting myself.

I finally realised that it was just self doubt and insecurities. And the only way to overcome those is to face them – just like with all my past struggles, you just need to face them and realise they aren’t so bad.

So what if i suck at the workout tomorrow? I am going to face my insecurities and doubts. I will most likely have a fun time with my friend, talk to some other fitness lovers at the gym and hopefully have a good workout and a fun time. I have nothing to lose by atleast trying. And i know if i said no i would regret it… i would sit at home wishing i had said yes and angry at myself for once again letting my insecurities and anxiety make the choice for me.

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It is easy to stay in your comfort zone. Easy to let your anxiety and doubts control you and your life. But at some point in your life you have to face those and overcome your fear and doubts. And that is one of my main goals for 2018!!! Since 2016 i have made so much progress in these areas in my life i.e moving to a new city, studying a new program and creating a new life, making new friends, going on different dates with people and not letting anxiety hold me back,  and just trying new things and being open to new opportunities and experiences…. and i just need to keep doing that! I can say that over these years the anxiety is alot less with trying new things, talking to strangers and making new friends. It does get easier to step outside of your comfort zone and you get to experience so many new things when you just try and dare to step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while and not let anxiety hold you back!

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World mental health day

The day may be coming to an end, but it’s never too late to make you all aware that today the 10th of October it is world mental health day.

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Each day so many people suffer from different mental illnesses, and so many people suffer and struggle in silence. Mental illness is still rather taboo to talk about, its a conversation topic you want to avoid and not talk about your own struggles, instead pretend everything is fine… or that’s how i perceive it anyway. However i am noticing a difference and how more people are talking about their struggles and mental illness.

I have also made previous posts where i have mentioned that some of my friends who i just guessed were so carefree and stressfree and healthy, have infact suffered from different mental illnesses and some deal with anxiety as well. It then makes me question how my friends perceive me… whether they just think i am a happy and positive person with no struggles to deal with.

I don’t talk about my struggles and i won’t make this too much of a personal post either as that is what i choose to move on from… However i would say i am a health activist and that includes mental health. I am passionate about overall health and wellbeing and that means a healthy mental state as well. I want to help people get healthy and to dare talk about their problems…. the only real way to get better is to admit you have a problem and find a way to cope with the problem or make the problem go away such as through treatment.

Mental health is so so important. It is easy to push past your limits but if it leaves you feeling lifeless and unhappy then it is not worth it.

Talk about your struggles. Get help for your struggles, and take care of yourself.

You aren’t alone if you are struggling and you can get help- there are people out there who can and want to help you, as long as you dare to ask for it!

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and this is something i need to get better at reminding myself of.

What have you done today for your mental health? Rested? Worked hard? Worked out? Went to therapy? Talked to friends or family? Kept yourself from self harming? Made a delicious meal? Cleaned your room?

Self care and taking care of your mental health isn’t just taking naps and using face masks, but also about knowing that you NEED to clean your room and do your studies and that you WILL feel better after it’s done. Somedays the best thing you can do for your mental health is to do all those basic things like clean, wash, study, go to the store, exercise because it will make you feel better.

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Also i think we should make talking about mental illness less taboo and more ok. HOWEVER i don’t think we should glamourize or “normalize” mental illnesses. I.e i have seen far too often people say, “oh everyone has depression” or “all young girls have eating disorders” or “all university students have anxiety”…. because that is not the case and you should not generalize mental illness and neither glamourize it. unfortunately it feels like depression and eating disorders are rather glamourized in social media… often portrayed by young moody girls who have a certain look and still have perfect hair and make up and look flawless and that it’s just a dark phase. I recently watched the movie  FEED which is new and is about eating disorders and i thought it was done so well. No glamourizing of an eating disorder and no stereotypical things or talk about calories or weight. I think im going to write a review on it, but i would recommend it as i don’t think its  as triggering as to the bone, and also not as glamourized.

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Overcoming social anxiety as a vegan

If you are not a vegan then this post might not apply to you, but if you have social anxiety it might help for when you are eating out or meeting people and have to eat. Whether it because you have to eat at certain times due to your food schedule or maybe you have celiac or IBS and that makes it complicated when you go out to eat so you just avoid the whole situation. But that isnt always the best…. I never let my veganism stop me from socialising. If i go to a party or place where the chances of there being vegan food is small then i bring my own food or eat beforehand, and sometimes such as when studying with friends ill bake something vegan which we can all eat.
But also when first meeting new people im learning to be ok with just saying “i dont eat animal products” and not dancing around the subject such as saying… “no, i dont eat that…. no not that either… ” “oh there was butter on that… no i cant eat that either”. When in all honesty ive learned its better to just say “im vegan or i dont eat animal products” and then its up to the person how they react and respond. Whether they are judgemental or curious or begin debating with you. But know what you believe in and dont feel ashamed about it either. Just like if you have any other allergies or intolerances.  Social anxiety can suck and its not easy to be “different” when you have social anxiety and that is something i know can stop people from going vegan. So i thought that this post from Soycrates was very good to read. (And there is alot more on veganism HERE and about the environment HERE
Note… no, i am not trying to make or force any of you to go vegan. Everyone makes their choices and if you arent vegan and dont plan to be vegan then maybe this post isnt for you… but i know i have many vegan readers so maybe this is helpful to them 🙂 
 
I know that I’m not the only vegan who has ever had to deal with social anxiety. I see posts about it on the daily, and occasionally I’ll hear people talking about wanting to go vegan but having the fear of social interactions limiting them from taking that crucial step. Part of it may be because we know the stereotypical image of veganism: to announce you’re vegan in public is to be the punch line of the “How can you tell if someone is vegan?” joke (which isn’t a very good joke in the first place, but it still has an effect on us). With social anxiety, calling attention to your veganism can often feel like an invitation for others to see you as an elitist, a wuss, a snob, picky, over-emotional, or any of the other derogatory associations that those who dislike veganism might make. People with social anxiety make it through the day by flying as low on the social radar as possible. Having a set of moral beliefs that change your lifestyle does place you just a little higher on the “necessary social interaction” ladder. But veganism and social anxiety do not have to violently clash, and in fact the social interactions we have to make to sustain veganism could actually build a bridge towards further success in overcoming social anxiety. Here’s a list of tips for those trying to juggle a motivation to live ethically with a fear of social situations:
  • When ordering food, it may not be necessary to use the word “vegan” to make sure you’re getting animal-free food: asking your servers different questions, like “is this dairy free?” (when the only possible animal product in what you are ordering is dairy, such as some smoothies) or “does this have animal products?” or “What are the allergens in this?” can sometimes do the job equally well, or better. Your server may have never heard of the term “vegan”, your server may have strong sympathies for people trying to eat-out with allergies, it may stress to them the stronger importance of ordering animal-free food. This way, you don’t have to worry that they started freaking out or judging you for being “vegan”, and you still get your plant-based meal. This tip is for those with especially strong social anxiety, or those who live in areas where veganism is extremely unpopular.

 

  • When at a social gathering and someone offers you non-vegan food, a quick smile and a no thanks are enough: a “thanks, but I can’t eat that”, or “thanks, but I’m vegan” is the easiest way out of a sticky situation. This time it might be necessary to mention that you won’t eat it (on ethical grounds), otherwise they may further prod you to try it, leaving you scrambling to try and subtly explain why you’re not interested. People appreciate short and to-the-point, and if you’re among good friends just remember that even though they may not understand veganism fully, they likely respect you enough not to make open judgements or immediately tease you. Offering to bring your own snacks can help avoid these situations. Some party hosts may react negatively knowing that they didn’t bring anything you can eat or you can’t seem to eat anything at their party. Be open with them: let them know it doesn’t bother you, or let them know the onus to bring vegan food was your responsibility, not theirs.

 

  • Keep in mind that you may have a social encounter with a vegan, vegetarian, or sympathizer without even knowing it: I used to dance around the subject of veganism, trying to be as coy and indirect about it as possible, until I stopped by a smoothie bar and meekly asked, “Does this, um… have… milk… in it?” to which the woman working there smiled and informed me of the wide range of animal-free options on the menu. She further asked whether I was vegan or not and was beaming at my response of “yes”, sharing similar sentiments herself. Here I was, trying not to offend a vegan by asking if they had anything vegan on the menu. Even if not everyone you meet will be a vegan, the image of veganism and its popularity is changing and increasing each year. People everywhere are becoming more knowledgeable and open to the idea of animal-free living.

 

  • If someone asks you questions about why you are vegan: 1. take a deep breath, straighten up your posture, and smile. Slouching, frowning, shallow breathing, these are bodily signs that psychologically force us further and further into anxious, defensive, uncomfortable and undesirable mindsets. In essence: fake confidence about being asked about veganism, and eventually you’ll have that confidence. 2. Be totally honest. Even if you think they’ll think it’s dumb to be vegan “for the animals”, “for ethics”, “for the environment”, say it anyway – if you lie (like saying it’s about health or just a fad because you think they’ll be okay with that) and they ask further about the lie, you’ll be stuck again scrambling for some way out of the conversation. If you stick to what you know, you’ll have more control over the flow of conversation than you otherwise would have. Stick to easy-to-explain concepts and try not to imagine that your conversational partner is automatically rejecting everything you say. Social anxiety has a nasty habit of making the individual believe everything they say is being ridiculed, and with veganism so widely ridiculed in popular culture we can feel doubly so.

 

  • Don’t feel like you have to be the “perfect vegan spokesperson” whenever someone brings up the topic: it’s stressful knowing that you are probably the only vegan a lot of your acquaintances might ever meet, and as such you sort of embody what veganism is in their eyes. You are the vegan emissary, and it’s a tough job. But you don’t always have to be on the job – if someone asks you about veganism and you don’t feel like you can be the top notch educational ethical guru, just talk about how veganism makes you feel, how veganism changed your life. Talk about why veganism makes you happy rather than why others should follow suit. This doesn’t make you a “bad vegan emissary” because it might turn out that they’ll hear why veganism makes you happy and want to try it out themselves.

 

  • Even if you screw up, nobody will remember it forever: if your voice goes all high pitched and sniffly when you talk about slaughterhouses, if you have to send back a meal because they put cheese all over it, if you stutter when someone asks about veganism, it’s easy to feel like, “Well, I fucked up, I have cursed veganism for a thousand years. I have brought a plague unto our tofu fields and a pox on our plant-based pizzas. I have made myself and veganism look silly and now everyone will laugh at me whenever they see me”. But social anxiety has a hand in making us feel that way. When the fact is, most people, if they don’t forgive mistakes, easily forget mistakes. The person most likely to dwell on our mistakes… is us. Not them. Even if this rational thought doesn’t automatically get us out of the thick of social anxiety, it can help us calm down in our worst moments.

 

  • It’s okay to have social anxiety, and it’s great to be vegan. Never blame yourself for having anxiety and never give up fighting for veganism. We can’t change the world in one day, we can’t change ourselves in one day. But every day we put in a little more effort, with a little more support, and we do see results.

Reasons to workout that aren’t for physical reasons

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Exercise can change the body, there is no one denying that. But i think exercising just to change your body wont get your far… you wont enjoy working out, you will feel sad because you dont see results and you will never feel good enough. There are far better reasons to workout than just to have abs… because in the end, what good are visible abs? Like honestly… if you think having visible abs is the best thing ever, comment below 5 reasons that are so great about visible abs or a thigh gap`?

Because in all honesty, from having both visible abs and thigh gap in the past… they did not bring me happiness. I did not feel pretty or happy, i didnt enjoy exercise, it was an obsession for me. Something i did to not feel anxiety or guilt. Something i did to burn calories, to change my body, to become small and most of all wanted to be invisible. I didnt want the guilt or anxiety over not exercising. Even if i had the body which had once been a goal, it didnt bring me happiness because i was never satisifed. The weight needed to be lower, the bones more visible and more of myself had to dispapear. Exercising because you hate yourself wont get you far.

For me, exercise isnt about physical appearance but so much more. .Woking out has lead me to be stronger, more confident, find something i love and enjoy and am good at. It challenges me, calms me and destresses me. Its a place for me to think and to just be, it helps me to breathe better and to be healther. Working out means that my body is strong and healthy ,i can carry heavy grocery bags home. I can walk many flights of stairs, i can walk long distances and run when i need to or want to. I can punch hard if necessary. My body can cope with different situations in life, for example because my body is healthy and strong it can fight off infections, it can “survive” if i go a few days with less or little food. My body can recover from injury and my body can function and work long hours such as when i was active for 8-12 hours daily during my summer job. My body is capable and functions. Who cares about abs or visible muscles if your body wants to give up after a 2km run or if you cant even carry grocery homes or your body collapses after one work day because its so exhausted. Working out should make you stronger, healthier and more capable and functioning in life… not make you weaker, more tired and less functioning.

Wanting to exercise and enjoying exercise is great, just make sure that the reasons you exercise arent just to change your body. Because you wont ever feel happy in your body if you always want to change it. Instead, find an exercise form ou enjoy and dot hat because you like it. Dont feel like it is a chore each day.

Each time i go to the gym, or run or walk or do boxing i go there with a smile on my face. I enjoy each moment even if at times it is tough, i do it because i enjoy it. And that is a reason why many dont workout, because they dont enjoy it…. when instead they could find some of exercise they actually enjoy, or can eventually enjoy anyway. Because exercising isnt just something you do for 4 weeks to change your body and never do it again… it should be part of a helathy lifestyle WITH a healthy mindset as well. Because if your mind isnt healthy then exercising isnt healthy either.  That is important as well, your mental health should be healthy while exercising as well… even if exercise CAN help with anxiety, guilt and stress… it shouldnt be causing those feelings, or not exercising shouldnt cause those feelings. But i know for me, exercising helps me relieve stress and anxiety.. but it doesnt cause me stress or anxiety. I dont feel guilty if i am too tired, dont have time or motivation to exercise… those things dont affect me. I also know that a few days of not working out wont make me lose progress, it doesnt work that way… then there wouldnt be so many fit people because if they were to lose progress after a week or two, then nobody could get injured, nobody could go on holiday for 2 weeks, because they would just everything they have worked for… but it doesnt work like that.

Think… how long did it take you to reach the stage you are at now? Why would all of that disappear in a week? Just like eating a pizza wont make you gain weight and eating a salad wont make you lose weight… its about what you do most of the time compared to sometimes.

Anyway, this post took a turn.. but i felt i needed to write about this, as i get so many comments and emails each day about people worried about losing their progress while on holiday. Or only exercising because they want to have 5% body fat and have visible muscles and abs… but that is still too focused on appearance and even food and exercise (which doesnt have to be a bad thing, but it is still something you dont want to have too much attention on).

Anyway, this post is getting too long and off topic…. but atleast i wrote a few of my thoughts out, and maybe it can help someone.

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