Category Archives: Life

Things That You Should Never Leave Without When Hiking

Nature is endowed with so many amazing wonders which entice many who have an eye for what is essentially beautiful. For many, it is the path less traveled that gives them a deeper longing to uncover what is hidden in it. It can be an exhilarating yet a worthwhile undertaking when one plans to venture in the wild and hike.

It will never be an easy travel, however. This is most especially true if you dare to explore even those places that others have not trekked before. The best thing to do at any time, however, is to be prepared every second. You prepare not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Also, for either a long or a short hike, there are just some things that you should never leave without. Of these essentials, you should never forget to bring one of the best water bottles for hiking as you will need it in more ways that you think you will.

Don’t just do it, plan it

So you have anything planned for the weekend? If you intend to explore the wild and be close with nature, you need to make sure that everything needed will be ready even days before the date. It’s essential that you plan ahead and not just hit the road and go wherever the track leads you. Unnecessary troubles usually happen when people don’t plan ahead. That’s the reason why former American president and father of time management Benjamin Franklin hit the mark when he said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

You owe it, first to yourself, next to those whom you will be tagging along, the quality of the hike, as well as the safety of everyone. You don’t need to rush just to satisfy your or everyone else’s curiosity and desire to know what’s beyond the horizon. For sure there will be great things there. But your safety should be the primary concern for you won’t enjoy the sight if you have already fractured a hip or have been lacking water because you forgot to bring the water bottle. You might not have the time left to do whatever you need or want to do if you did not plan to manage your time as well.

Needless to say, everything that you will do even before the day of the hike matters. Just to it only after you have thoroughly planned the possible risks and contingencies. And, as mentioned, you should never go on a hire with the following bare essentials, or you’ll go back barely surviving.

So, here are the things that you should always bring with you when you hike:

Comfortable footwear

The appropriateness of the footwear you need will depend on the intensity of your activity. For a short day hike that will not require a heavy pack or a very tough terrain, you can just wear a pair of trail shoes. However, for longer hikes, when you need to bring a bigger backpack for carrying heavier loads, or would need to trek through a more technical route, you may need to wear hiking boots as these will provide ample support throughout the journey.

Navigational tools

A map and compass/GPS will not only tell your exact location or how far you are from your destination, it can also help you locate nearby campsites, sources of water, and an emergency exit routes in case of emergencies or accidents. GPS units are quite useful. But then again, having a back up such as the ever handy map and compass is always a smart option.

Water and purifying equipment or a means of having a water safe enough to drink

Your body will consume water and you will also release water through perspiration and urination while on the go. Without enough water, your body won’t perform as they used to. Drinking too much of what your body requires will only make you even more thirsty. This can also make you at risk of hypothermia and altitude sickness.

Make sure to find the best water bottles for hiking where you can store the water or any beverage that you can sip smartly while hiking. There are so many available brands that offer water bottles with features that allow liquid stored to remain cold or hot for 12 or more hours. There some designed with a filter that can make even the dirtiest water be safe enough to drink.

One great option will be LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with two-stage integrated filter straw. If you have one of that water bottle, you won’t have to worry if in case you really ran out of something to drink. Anywhere where there is a body of water will be enough to quench your thirst as this bottle features the award-winning LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane water filter that can remove harmful bacteria and protozoa from any water source.

Extra food

You need to be prepared for the unexpected. There could be things that could keep you out longer and away from your destination than expected. Even if you have your hiking gear there is still a possibility of getting lost. You may also lose track of time, or emergencies/accidents may happen. So, you need to make sure that you have extra food to keep the energy up and boost your morale.

Proper clothing and some extras

You just don’t know what the day may bring. The best thing to quickly adjust to possible weather changes is to dress in layers, but never wear cotton as it will keep moisture close to the skin. It will also be a good thing to wear a hat.

Fire, light, and a whistle

Your primary concern wherever you are is the group’s safety. You’ll never know what happens when you are on the road. It is a smart thing to bring essential safety items like fire, light, and a whistle. If something has kept you off the track or longer than intended, you can use these items to keep warm, to see where you are going, or to signal that you are lost and in need of help.

Emergency aid kit

You can find emergency kits for hikers at any outfitter. If you have the chance to take a first-aid class with the American Red Cross or a Wilderness First Aid class, get on the list. You will double your effectiveness in delivering first-aid in case of an emergency if you do.

Multi-purpose tools

These are all-in-one or multi-functional tools that can do most cutting, fixing, and performing a good list of repairs that you may need along the way.

Sun protection gears

You’ll need sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your skin and your eyes whenever necessary. To get the most of a sunscreen product, make sure that you bring one that gives full-protection coverage. That means it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

Backpack

Look for one that will allow you to keep all your gears intact and safe even from moisture. There are backpacks that come with a cover or water shield. Keep a list of all the things that you need to bring and place it where you can easily check what you have in your bag. That way, you’d know if you have everything packed.

Concluision

With everything prepared, you are now ready to hit the road and will be assured to have a fun-filled and safe journey.

Maternity Leggings 101

Both first-time moms and those who have already experience becoming pregnant several times get overly excited at the thought of bringing to life their next bundle of joy. This ecstatic feeling may wane over time, however, especially when you finally realize that there are a lot of things that you cannot do while you are pregnant. You may still disregard the thought and consider all the other joyful emotions and positive benefits of having a baby inside your belly.

But there will come a time when you will see the obvious: you just won’t fit in your pre-pregnancy wardrobe anymore. Panic attacks. But why so sudden? You may have to change a few of them, but will that be enough? You cannot even walk comfortably with your pants as they are just way too tight for you to even breathe. Can there just be any good alternatives to these?

Maternity Leggings: Pregnancy Game Changer

Maternity Leggings

Fortunately, you don’t have to ditch everything in your closet. Well, you may say goodbye to some of those tight-fitting tees and jeans for a while, but you can still use them after you have given birth to your baby.

However, you can add a versatile set of clothing to your wardrobe. These are so versatile that you can even wear them even after you have given birth. Yes, a good pair of good quality leggings can be a real game changer. They can help you get on with your day feeling great about yourself and about your pregnancy.

But how does a maternity legging help your pregnancy? Let’s have a deeper look at these amazing invention intended particularly for expecting mothers like you.

Maternity Leggings vs. Regular Leggings

Are Maternity Leggings Worth Their Price

Maternity leggings provide support to your growing belly. It is also a smart and gorgeous way to dress up. Keep your baby happy and still feel great about yourself in a pair of these versatile preggy leggings. They are not your regular exercise leggings, however.

These maternity apparel are designed to fit perfectly on the body at the same time stretch loosely to allow the skin to breathe. This will make you feel comfortable even while wearing something that covers your legs and even your bump. Some brands are even designed with shaped panels that cradle your bump and provide support to your belly as it grows.

Maternity leggings are made to be super stretchable and super soft so that it can accommodate your growing belly. They are also made with a slightly different material from that which is used for regular leggings. There is also a slighter shine to how these leggings are made. They can be worn over shirts and dresses.

They are made from several types of fabrics and colors to match your preferences. Can you imagine how this pair of leggings will look on you? This one is made of Nylon and Spandex so, I’m pretty sure that it will be totally comfortable when worn. It looks pretty with those chic hole design on them.

There are preggy leggings that are made to be extra strong to provide maximum support to your baby belly. There are pregnancy belly that comes as a full-length legging and others with a Capri style.

Not only do they function well to provide maximum comfort, you also find them to be totally wearable whatever the occasion may be. You can wear them while doing Kegels or other exercises. You can even wear them at formal events. Whatever the occasion, they will look great on you.

Are Maternity Leggings Worth Their Price

Preggy leggings can just be your best maternity for pregnancy. Find a few pairs that match your preferences. These leggings usually come in various colors, sizes, and style, so there will definitely be one that will match your needs. You will find buying a couple pair of these ingenious apparel to be one of your best investments ever.

Just consider a few of the benefits that you can get from these versatile apparels:

  • It’s easy to get feel uncomfortable with what you are wearing. But these leggings are simply irresistible as they are quite comfortable when worn. They look and feel like your second skin. Just see how they mold perfectly to your pregnant figure. It doesn’t matter whether you are in your early pregnancy or about to give birth. Wearing preggy leggings will just make you feel light and at ease with your pregnancy.
  • Put them on and pair with the perfect top and you can go wherever you want to. They will never run out of style.
  • This ingenious pair of leggings can serve multiple purposes. You can wear them if you want to head over to the gym or just stay cool inside the house.

To look your best in them, make sure to pair them off with a flattering top. A tunic will look best with them. Either a loose or a fit tunic that flows with your preggy curves will make you look great when paired with maternity leggings.

 

You can also wear a pair of these leggings under your dress or skirt. That will just make moving about more comfortable.

If you want to hit the gym, you might as well pair it with a loose-fitting tunic t-shirt. Put on a zip-up sweatshirt, a pair of fashionable sneakers and you will be taken as a trendsetter wherever you go.

Extending The Life Of Your Leggings

It’s not easy to find a good pair of leggings, much more part with it. You need to make sure that you care for it properly so you can have them longer.

Here are some things you need to consider to do just that.

  • Wash them gently in cold water. Then, place them on a clean, flat surface to dry. This will keep them from sagging and losing their shape.
  • Regularly examine the seams of your leggings. Don’t forget to check the inner thigh and rear parts of the leggings for signs of wear. A wardrobe mishap is the last thing you want to happen.
  • Invest in high-quality leggings to ensure that you can keep wearing them longer.

Conclusion

Pregnancy leggings could just be the best maternity for your pregnancy. If you have not considered buying one, perhaps this will inspire you to try a pair soon. Invest on a premium quality pair and you’ll soon love them like many others who find them to be comfortable and versatile pregnancy necessities.

Just a quick side note before Election Day…

Guys, I’m gonna talk about politics real quick.

I know, I know. You’re tired of hearing about politics. You’re tired of election coverage. And originally, the post I was going to write tonight did not involve politics at all, except perhaps a line at the end remind everyone to vote. That post will go up later this week. But right now, I just gotta do this real quick.

I know this isn’t a blog about politics. But guess what? This is my blog and it can be about whatever I want! If you want don’t want to read it, you can find someone else’s blog to read! I am a person who is wildly passionate about lefty politics, so I just can’t let this election go by without doing everything in my power to make sure a racist, misogynistic lunatic does not become the most powerful figure in the world.

You don’t have to read. But I have to write.

Let it be known, before I start that I am still feeling the Bern and will forever be feeling the Bern until death parts us. I still have Bernie sticker on my car. I still have a Bernie sign in my window. Bernie is my homeboy.

Anyway.

Like everyone else, I have been disgusted by this election. It makes my stomach hurt. At times, I have felt physically ill watching Hillary’s opponent spew verbal garbage all over the news and then watching other white old men defend him. It’s sickening.

I can’t say that I love Hillary either. But Hillary is the most qualified candidate in US history. Most people agree on that. She has been the First Lady, she has been a senator, she has been the Secretary of State. Basically, she’s a badass lady boss.

At its worst, the President of the United States is nothing more than a figurehead. We all know that Presidents don’t have as much power as we grew up thinking. Congress and the SCOTUS are there to keep checks and balances, to make sure that we remain a democracy. Hillary’s opponent cannot even manage to be a figurehead for the United States. We would be a joke to every other country in the world (moreso than we already are just with him running). He could not even fulfill the most basic role as President.

Then there’s the Supreme Court. Whoever the next President is will likely appoint the next three Supreme Court justices (although if you’re like me, you wish Ruth would just stay there forever #Ruthisthetruth). If you at all lean left or right, that is reason enough to vote. Naturally, whoever Hillary nominates will lean more to the left and whoever her opponent nominates will lean to the right. He’s pledged to select justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. That would reverse all the progress and rights women have gained over the last 43 years. It would allow the state to have control of our bodies. Just writing that makes my stomach drop.

ALSO CAN YOU SAY SHATTERED GLASS CEILING?!

I feel myself babbling. And I apologize. But this election has turned us all into babbling, crazed nuts who will hopefully all be able to collect ourselves on Wednesday morning and get back to normal. At least, I hope so. Otherwise, you will find me crying in a heap on my floor, never to emerge from my apartment again until I’m ready to commit to the move to Canada (I’m half kidding).

So I’m just going to post my Facebook post from last week here because I have to go make some calls for Hillz and because I want people to VOTE. It is literally the most important thing you can do. You have a voice! And you should use it.

 

Guys, the election is tomorrow. I’ve posted a lot of political stuff and I’m not sorry because I’m passionate AF but this one is for everyone. I saw this a few weeks ago, when Lewis Black when on the Daily Show and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I know a lot of people aren’t voting- I get it. The two candidates are both some level of horrible. The political system is not set up for third party candidates so it’s just not possible to get Bernie Sanders into the White House. Trust me, if it was, I would be the first one in line. But it’s not. I’m not saying I agree with that- I don’t- but that’s just what we’re dealing with right now. Hopefully some day it will change. But it’s not going to change by tomorrow (Worth noting that Sanders will be in charge of the Senate Budget Committee if Hillary wins which is a pretty big deal and a huge step in the right direction for the progressive agenda).

We’re either going to have a Trump or Clinton presidency. Fact. I don’t necessarily love Clinton but I won’t worry about my safety as a woman with her as president. I won’t have to worry about not having the right to my own body. I won’t have to worry that the cost of my medication is going to be hiked up astronomically. I won’t have to worry that my access to mental (and physical) health care will be cut.

I, along with many of you who are about my age, could very well bring another human into this world in the next 4 or 8 years. I’ll be damned if I bring my son or daughter into a world where it’s okay to hate, where it’s okay to discriminate against entire genders, races, ethnicities religions. Where it’s okay to criticize people on the size and the shape of their bodies, where it’s possible to be a fucking presidential candidate despite saying that you can grab women by the pussies. None of this is okay. And I don’t want my kid to grow up in a world where it is.

Also I want to get paid the same as my male counterparts, thank you very much.

Hillary is bad but Trump is worse.

VOTE. It’s fucking important.

P.S. Besides voting for President, there’s also senators, state reps, governors, town council, etc plus issues specific to your town to vote on, all of which have a direct impact on you. Vote. Votevotevotevote.

P.P.S. If you live in New Hampshire like me, you can register at your polling place! Also if you live in NH, PA, NV, IA, AZ, NC, CA, IL or WA- you have the chance to flip the Senate! What a world! Vote for your democratic candidate!

P.P.P.S. I’m really sorry about this whole post guys, really I am.

One last thing- I love you for making for making it this far. Take care, ya animals.

23 Years, 23 Things

Today is my 23rd birthday- it’s not a milestone, it’s not a monumental one by any means but I find myself feeling more thankful for this birthday than I did for the last few. My heart over the past few weeks and months have been full, overflowing even. Here’s 23 things I’m grateful for (in no particular order).

  1. All of the wonderful, loving, kind, funny, generous, gracious people in my life. My mom and dad for being my best friends always. My step parents for their support. My sister for being the coolest oldest sister ever. My best friends for being the best people I know and keeping my head above water on days where I’m struggling. My partner for making me laugh while also making sure I feel loved and protected- and his incredible family for graciously welcoming me in over the past four years. I’m thankful for all the people I interact with on a daily basis, who keep me going, keep me laughing, keep me loving.
  2.  RECOVERY. Obviously. The past year has been unreal. I hardly recognize myself anymore. Sometimes when I’m reaching for the ice cream scoop at night or picking up an unexpected IMG_6201snack before work, I allow myself a few minutes to marvel at who I’ve become. Someone who’s unafraid of food. Someone who doesn’t force herself to exercise every day. Someone who can fully embrace life and can live spontaneously, without worrying about what and when she’ll eat, where and when she’ll exercise, if she’ll be “safe”. I’m so proud of that girl.
  3. Clean water. Such a simple, often overlooked thing but I am thankful each and every day that I have access to clean water- for drinking, for showering, for brushing my teeth. It’s such a simple thing but it’s something that so many people live without and something I remind myself to be thankful for daily.
  4. A new, full-time job at the New Hampshire Food Bank where I’ll be doing community outreach (working with SNAP, Summer Meals Program and Cooking Matters) and helping people who are food insecure. I am so excited about this position and feel grateful that this opportunity came up so soon after completing my dietetic internship. My start date is in a week and a half- wish me luck!
  5. A cozy, bright one-bedroom apartment in New Hampshire that is 100% all mine. After my internship year, I decided that I needed some time to myself to continue down this road of self discovery. My plans vacillated between a few different options, including living with my partner, but I realized I wanted (and needed) some time to myself in a place that I wanted to be before committing to that kind of change. Putting myself first was a very new feeling for me and I gotta tell ya, so far it feels good! I’m moving in Monday and I can’t wait to make it all my own.
  6. The opportunity to work with my big sister this summer! During the in between months going from
    my internship to my job, I’ve been working in a cute little shop that my sister manages. This marks the most time I’ve spent with her since before she left for college (in 2007) and it’s been so nice to spend time with her, her husband and her puppies. I’m so grateful for this time and so sad about not being able to see her everyday or hang out at her house or hunt for Pokemon together after work (she got me hooked guys). She’s so cool and conducts herself with a grace and style that I just do not have. I’m so lucky to have her. Also- she crafts some very cool things and has a cute little Etsy shop. My favorite are her Payne Killers which are aromatherapy scented pillows that are wonderful for recovery aches and pains. If you want to see her stuff, check out her site HERE.
  7. The democratic system. I, like many others, have been glued to my TV each night this week watching the Democratic National Convention and last week, I watched bits and pieces of the
    RNC. I have unabashedly been a Bernie fan from the beginning- well, that’s not true. I was a Hillary fan right out of the gate. But once Bernie came on the scene, he had my political heart. I have never seen a candidate that I agree so strongly with, nor have I ever seen such a genuine, down-to-earth, bullshit-calling  candidate (although it’s worth mentioning, I have only become wildly interested in politics over the last few years). I was blessed to be in New Hampshire during the political season- and had the opportunity to see Bernie (three times, not that I’m bragging)and 14 of the 16 Republican candidates. That being said, I was immensely proud and happy for our country to finally nominate a woman (a progressive, experienced, passionate, smart woman at that) for a major party presidential candidate. Even though I cried when Bernie gave his speech this week, I got chills watching Hillary accept the official nomination last night….but I’m still not taking this bumper sticker off my car.
  8. My two months home in between my internship and moving out for real. It’s been two months of family, good friends, relaxation, stress (the good kind), gin cocktails, eating dinner outside on summer nights, puppies (not mine, unfortunately), journaling and lots and lots of ice cream.
  9. A warm bed- in fact, more than one. So many people go to bed every night without their own bed or without a bed at all. There are so many families, living in the US and elsewhere, who live with no privacy and no space to call their own. For the last 23 years, I have always had my own room. After my parent’s got divorced, I had two beds all to myself. I still do. Without my own space, I wouldn’t be able to relax and read or concentrate on my writing or be able to watch as many episodes of Parks and Rec as I wanted to late into the night.
  10. EARTH. I got a love of nature from my parents and it runs deep. I love everything about the Earth- the stars, the sky, the trees, the grass, the dirt, the creatures. During my internship, I would say a little prayer out loud to myself on my way to work- a habit I’ve gotten out of now, but really need to get back into for my own peace of mind. The first thing I always gave thanks for was the Earth and all the things it has brought to my life. Part of the reason I’m moving to NH is for the hiking, the way everything is spaced out, the trees, the trails, the lakes. All that good Earth hiding away up there.
  11. Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. Coffee with milk, coffee with cream. Coffee ice cream. Coffee gives me life. Note: I used to NEVER let myself have cream in my coffee but man sometimes some cream in your coffee really hits the spot.
  12. Wine. Wine, wine, wine. White wine, red wine, or a nice rose (my personal favorite). Cheap wine, expensive wine. Wine makes my already wonderful life just a tad better. Note: I used to avoid drinking alcohol to avoid the extra calories but now I am unashamed to have a glass of wine at the end of the day. Not that I’m some alcohol fiend but still, a good glass of wine every once in a while is quite lovely.
  13. My health and my access to healthcare. Ironically, my body had less aches and pains than it did last birthday when I was beating it into the ground. Eventually, obsessive exercise will catch up with you, as it did with me which has resulted in all sorts of knee, hip and foot pain. However, even though I’m achy, my body is recovering from all the hell I put it through over the past 7 years and I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful for my access to healthcare (not something everyone has, unfortunately) and the doctors who are and have treated me.
  14. Similarly, THERAPY. I love therapy. I think everyone should go to therapy (if it is available for them). I left my therapist in May when I left New Hampshire but am hoping to see her again soon. Even if I feel like I’m doing much (much) better than I was in the days I was seeing her, there’s still little pieces of things that come up where therapy really makes a difference. Seriously, go to therapy. It’s the best.
  15. I already mentioned him above but- my partner, Charles, is one of the best people in my life. I tend not to talk about him too much on my blog since I don’t think he feels great about being discussed in the big blog world but it’s my birthday and I’ll talk about him if I want to! Charles makes me laugh, he reminds me not to take life so seriously (something that I work on nearly daily). Throughout the last 4 years, he has seen me at my absolute lowest point. He saw the raw, real, miserable part of me that I tried to disguise to most other people in my life. And he saw me through it and loves me just the same. Our relationship has gotten stronger and simpler over the past few months and I’m so thankful for that.
  16. I have never, not ever, had to worry about where my next meal is coming from. Food and I have a complicated relationship but food insecurity has never been a part of my story. I’m thrilled to have accepted a job that will help people get access to food.
  17. My uncle’s healing and recovery! For almost 2 and half months now, my uncle has been in the hospital after a whole bunch of complicated, scary health problems. I am so happy that he is finally getting better and that I’ve been able to visit him twice now and see him on the upswing. Even though it’s been a long process, it’s so great to see him getting back to his old self.
  18. Books. Obviously. All books- fiction, juicy beach reads, memoirs, biographies. I’m particularly thankful for books by funny women like Amy Poelher, Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler (books I also re-read during moves to alleviate stress). There’s nothing I like better than curling up on a couch and getting sucked into a new book. It’s my favorite way to travel.
  19. The recovery community online! Honestly, I’m not sure I would have gotten this far without the community I’ve discovered. As I’ve mentioned before, I relied (rely) on the Minnie Maud method for recovery and at first, it took a lot of support and reliance on the people who were using/have used MM to recover. I’m now part of many different recovery/body positive forums that I use for inspiration, support and compassionate understanding. If you’re looking for extra support or want to hear more about things like this, please feel free to comment or email me at [email protected]!
  20. I’m equally thankful for the recovery and body positive accounts that I follow and connect with on Instagram. Some of my favorites include- @bodyposipanda, @nourishandeat, @thefuckitdiet,@thelifeofandie, @goofy_ginger and @dothehotpants- all of whom I’ve connected with in some way or another and have immense respect and gratitude for. Seriously, if you’re looking for badass, uplifting and refreshing badass women, there you have it. There are lots of other accounts that keep me motivated and show me love and support on the daily. If you’re not already following me, check it out here!
  21. The ability to be present for my own life. Since I started recovery, I realized how many times I was
    absent to my own life and that makes me so sad to realize. I choose not to feel sorry or sad for myself, and instead choose to show up everyday to my own life.
  22. The people who read this blog! When I first started blogging, I was a bit (a lot) uncomfortable with both the process and myself in general. I had always narrated my life in my head, like I was writing a novel or magazine article, so starting a blog was natural in some ways but also took a leap of faith. I was nervous to put myself out there but have been met with warmth and love and support, all of which I cannot thank you all for enough.
  23. This past year of unequivocal self-discovery. I’ve learned more about myself this year than I have in my whole life. It’s so empowering and makes me a more confident and happier person each and everyday. I’m so incredibly, wonderfully grateful for all I’ve learned about myself and all the ways in which I’ve learned to love myself.

I have so much goodness in my life. Honestly, I feel guilty sometimes for all that I have. There are so many people who have less. It was a full and grateful heart that I say thank you to all of you who keep up with my blog and thank you for reading this today. Happy weekend my friends!

A Celebration of Fathers

A pause on the body positive, recovery things for a big Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! As I am wont to do, I’m going to use this here blog as a platform to honor two of the most important people in my life.

 

My step dad came into my life when I was 8 years old and even though we had somewhat of  a rocky start, I am extraordinarily lucky to have him in my life. He has always supported me in whatever I do. He regularly reminds me how proud he is of me and what I’m doing. And there is no one who embraces family quite like he does. He shows his love for his family- his parents, his sisters, his sons, nephews and niece- often and sincerely. I’m so lucky to have that kind of love in my life and so thankful for his unending support.

As for my dad…

The very first thing I can remember in my life is of my dad, coming into my room when I was standing up in my crib, crying. I remember him finding my pacifier so I could go back to sleep. Although it had been happening for many months before, that’s the first time I actively remember my dad taking care of me and it hasn’t stopped since. As I write this, he is in the kitchen making me a salmon burger since I just got home from work (note: I am not writing this on actual Father’s Day!)

My dad is the coolest person I know. He taught me how to fish (even if I still make him worm my hook and take the fish off because it freaks me out). He passed on his aptitude for science and his love of running (which is currently on pause for the sake of recovery). He passed on parts of his dry, sarcastic sense of humor onto me and my sister. He introduced me to Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Joel which continue to be my all-time favorites. (He also gave me his finicky digestive system, horrendous sinuses and terribly wide fingernails, but I’m not talking about those things).

My dad was made to raise two daughters. I think it’s probably hard for some dads to raise two girls but man, this guy nailed it (in my humble opinion). My dad has supported my sister and I, always.  He is constantly reminding us that he is proud of us no matter what we choose to do. He reminds me that all he wants is for me to be happy, regardless of what I choose to do or where I choose to go in my life.

My dad is non-judgmental and full of compassion. He taught me how to important it is to care about the world around me. He instilled in me a deep love of the Earth and nature and trees and dirt and stars. He set up his telescope when we were younger so he could show us the stars and planets in the night sky. He brought us on vacations that allowed us to see new things and explore nature. He took us to Los Angelos and brought me to Yogurtland three times that week when I became obsessed with it. I’ve spent many-a-week with him at lake houses in the summer time, sitting on the dock talking about life after making burgers and corn on the cob for dinner. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

For the first several years of my life, I was told often how much I looked and acted like my mom (which is a compliment in its own right). Once I went away to college, I discovered new pieces of myself- new passions, new ideas, new interests- and suddenly, everyone was telling me how much like my dad I am and that, my friends, is the compliment that I wear most proudly. There’s a certain part of me that I think only my dad can understand. It’s the part that I don’t think either of us could put into words but he just gets me on a cellular level and I’m so immensely thankful for that. There’s not a lot of women my age who could say that their dad is one of their best friends, but I can confidently say that I am one who can. My dad is the coolest, tallest, baldest person I know and I’m so infinitely grateful for him.

To all the fathers out there: thank you. For fixing the things that break, for the vacations, the meals, the trips to the movies and the park. For cheering at the sports we were never good at. For the support. For the love. Thank you.

6 Things People with Anxiety Are Tired of Hearing

I’ve been suffering from anxiety for a long time, long before I ever considered it anxiety or any sort of disorder- it only took me 22 years to realize that throwing up every time you travelled or got nervous (like on the alter at church- twice) isn’t exactly normal. My family and friends have been tremendously helpful and supportive throughout this process. I’ve gotten words of encouragement and support whenever I needed them. There are, however, certain things that just make me cringe when I hear it and/or exacerbate the anxiety so I made a list so you can help the anxiety-ridden gem in your life without making them inwardly cringe. Enjoy and happy weekend!

  1. “I worry a lot too.”

This is one of the most common misunderstandings about anxiety. Worry and anxiety are not synonyms. Everyone gets worried. Worry is a natural human emotion. Some worry is good; it can motivate us to make a plan of action, to fix something that needs to be fixed, to help us find solutions. Everyone worries but not everyone gets anxiety. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is exactly that- a disorder. It’s a chemical imbalance; it’s outside the realm of worry. You might worry, but do you ever wake up with heart palpations out of nowhere and not be able to explain them? Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and worry one of your loved ones with die in a terrible situation that you create entirely in your head? Do you ever spend an hour-long car ride worrying about the fact that you might have left your hair straightener on, even though you know you shut it off or worry that the oven is on, even though you didn’t use it? Do you ever enter a room full of people and feel exhausted and tight-chested at the prospect of what could be awkward conversation? Do you ever have a twitch in your leg and worry that you have some sort of overlooked diagnosis that will lead to paralysis or cancer or death? Worry is one thing. Anxiety is another.

  1. “Just calm down.”

Oooooh is that what I have to do? Calm down? Thanks for clearing that up!

Everyone with anxiety knows that they need to “calm down”. That isn’t the problem. I think I speak for all people suffering from anxiety when I say if we could, we would. But it’s not that easy for people with anxiety. Generalized anxiety is a disorder, one that prevents people from “just calming down”. In time, anxiety can become well controlled through medications, therapy and other techniques but until then, calming down simply is not an option. And by telling someone with anxiety that they need to just calm down trivializes the worries they have. It makes them feel like there is something wrong with them because they can’t calm down, which pushes them further into the downward spiral of anxiety.

  1. “You should do yoga/meditation.”

Yes, we all know that yoga and meditation are proven to reduce stress in some people. Truly, we do. Although there are no numbers to prove it, I would guess that every person with anxiety has at some point been recommended to try yoga or meditation. Chances are that the person you are speaking to may have tried it before. Maybe you suggested this because you’ve tried it and it helped for you or you have a friend who tried it and says that it changed her life, but what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve found my own ways to calm myself down when I feel the waves of anxiety rolling in and those methods look a lot different than the methods other people have come up with. Each person is different and each person finds peace in his or her own way. While yoga is certainly a helpful way to calm down, it’s not the only way and it doesn’t work for everyone. Instead, try asking if they’ve found anything they can do to calm themselves down and figure out what works for them individually.

  1. “Take a joke!”

This is possibly the least helpful thing you can say to anyone who has anxiety. The person who says this is trying to get the person to lighten up, get out of their anxiety-ridden mind and just enjoy the moment. But this phrase likely has the opposite effect. People who suffer from anxiety get caught up in their own mind and are also battling their own insecurities and uncertainties. I know that when my anxiety pays me a visit, I am sucked into a world of self-doubt and become even more sensitive to anyone poking fun or offhandedly joking. This situation is even worse in public situations with people you may not know particularly well because you’re trying so hard to appear like it totally doesn’t bother you when in fact, you’re on the verge of tears and having a hard time maintaining normal conversation because your mind is taking you down a terrible path of self-hate and fear. Whether it’s with people you know well or people you don’t, hearing to just “take a joke” makes you feel like you’re somehow failing at controlling your emotional reactions and the thoughts in your head when in reality, anxiety is not something that you can control.

  1. “Go out and forget about it.”

A lot of people go out and have a few drinks to forget about their worries and troubles. That may work for some people but it’s important to remember that what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. When anxiety strikes, the last thing I want to do is go to a crowded bar. People with anxiety try to process everything so precisely and with so much detail that a crowded place with lights and TVs and multiple conversations and too many people and drinks and that cute guy and the girl who has the cute outfit and the football game and the guy who is trying to talk to you and the conversation behind you is all TOO MUCH. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting and when my anxiety gets particularly bad, all I want to do is curl up in my bed, watch 30 Rock and have a glass of wine, thank you very much.

  1. “But you have so many good things in your life.”

Though certainly well intentioned, reminding someone with anxiety that they have so much good in their life ultimately makes them feel worse. When someone with anxiety hears that, it trivializes his or her fears and worries. They hear, “I have so much good and I still feel like I’m failing, like I’m not good enough, like my life is bad. I’m not appreciating what I have, I’m a terrible person, I shouldn’t feel this way, blah blah blah.” We know we have good things in our lives. We know that what we’re worrying about may seem trivial and small and ridiculous to worry over. We know that there are a lot of good things in our lives, our families and our friends and our boyfriends and our warm beds. We know there are people suffering worse than us. But that doesn’t make anxiety go away. Anxiety doesn’t happen because people think their lives are bad. Reminding us that we have so much only makes us feel like we are failing even more. Instead of trying to talk someone out of there anxiety, the best thing you can do is offer a compassionate and understanding shoulder to lean on. That is something that every anxiety-sufferer will appreciate.

 

Put Yourself First

Happy February friends!

Can you believe it’s already a new month? If you’re anything like me, you’re still writing 2015 after the date. (This is kind of a problem when I spend my days charting in medical records).

I hope January treated all you well! I’m always looking for an excuse for self-reflection and the end of a month seems like the perfect time. Here are some things that made me happy this month (in no particular order):

  • Discovering House of Cards (if you haven’t watched it, YOU NEED TO)
  • Starting my clinical rotation at the hospital with really awesome dietitians that make the workday feel not so bad
  • Putting a string of Christmas lights around my room so I can lay in bed at night with candles lit and feel like I’m in my own little cozy world
  • Spending the first two days of the year with two of my best friends, eating brunch and drinking wine like the fine ladies we are
  • Sitting in on WIC appointments and seeing first-hand why government assistance programs are necessary (despite what many politicians would like to believe); in particular, sitting in one one appointment with a woman about my age with one-year old twins who was so excited and so committed to being a mother
  • Putting the handwarmers that may sister made me in my boots in the morning to keep my feet warm (sound like something you need? Check out her Etsy site here)
  • Re-reading Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfection 
  • Attending a Bernie Sanders rally
  • Peppermint chocolate Lindt truffles
  • Discovering podcasts (I’m like 8 years late to the game, I know. Side note: if any of you have podcast suggestions particularly anything having to do with politics or feminism or general inspirational bad-ass-ness, I am all ears. Leave them in the comments below!)
  • Time to relax after work without having to do schoolwork (again. House of Cards.)
  • Southern Pecan coffee that I ground in my new coffee bean grinder- all thanks to my godmother 🙂

I’ve also had time to regroup and refocus this month. It’s fitting that it’s a new month because this weekend brought about big changes and life-altering revelations. I won’t get into them much here but suffice it to say, I am much more enlightened about the direction my life needs to go in than I was last week. (You may be thinking, “wow! That sounds like pretty heavy stuff!” You would be right.)

As I go into the new month, I’ve got a lot of ideas and a lot of goals bouncing around in my brain. Originally, this blog post was much longer but I’ve decided that most of the thoughts in my head aren’t ready to be shared with the world yet. Stay tuned.

This month, I’m deciding to put myself first which feels like a positively radical idea. I so rarely put myself first. Next to never. It fills me with guilt and the feeling that I’m a selfish disappointment (I’m pretty mean to myself in my head). I live my life constantly trying to keep everyone around me happy, never disappointing or rocking the boat. This week, when I was having a particularly bad day of people-pleasing, I got a much-needed reminder from my boyfriend: “Put yourself first.”

My goal this month is to abandon the compulsive urge to say yes when I really want to say no. To relinquish the need to check that other people won’t get upset before I make a decision. To surrender myself to what want. To make myself a priority. What a profoundly foreign idea.

 

So I ask you: what made you happy in January? What are your goals in February? How do you put yourself first? Share in the comments below!