Give It A Rest 

This topic came up briefly in a conversation this week, and I thought it would make a good blog post especially as we are entering the new year with our plethora of resolutions. 
On our grand journey of life, amidst all of our goals and in between the ups and downs we have, I believe it is vital to learn the difference between resting and quitting. It’s okay if life exhausts us mentally and physically! That is bound to happen at some point and time  but what isn’t okay is rolling over and playing dead as life pasts you by.

Take a breather.

Rest, regroup, and refocus then get back on the horse.

Giving up can lead to poor self-esteem, it can cripple you and create a mentality that you are incapable of following thru with anything, that you will never succeed; that you are a failure. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Each of us is capable of accomplishing our goals, we may stumble a little more than the average person at times BUT that’s doesn’t mean that we are incapable.

If we have a heartbeat we are capable. If we have a desire we are already on our way, we just need to implement action. And when we implement action we need to recognize that if we to rest, regroup, or refocus it doesn’t mean that we’ve quit.

Sometimes our rest may need to be a little longer BUT that’s okay! So long as you pull up your socks and keep moving forward. Remember, progress not perfection.

Don’t get caught up in negative self talk- labeling yourself as a failure if there is a standstill on your journey. You are not a failure. You are human. Taking a rest is not failing. And that is a distinction you need to be aware of. Once you can distinguish that you are still on track to meet your goal even though you’ve rested, the goal will not seem as overwhelming  because you will realize you don’t have to “start over” every time there is a slight hiccup.

Allow me to make an analogy.

If you hike a mountain it is not uncommon to rest. Now, may I point out that just because you rest it does not mean that you’ve quit. If we looked at every time you rested while hiking a mountain as quitting (meaning you had no choice but to turn around and hike back down the mountain). You would be backtracking non-stop! At that rate you would never reach your goal of getting to the top. You would most likely be exhausted physically and mentally and reach a point where you didn’t even want to step foot on the mountain. No body hikes like that! And for good reason.

Look at your goals with that mentality, permit yourself to rest without backtracking all the way to the beginning. Pick up where you left off and move forward. Remind yourself that you are trying and that is what counts.

Trying is HUGE! Do not dismiss your efforts with so little value. No one ever accomplished anything without trying first. So, try, try and try again.
This is an exciting time of year where goals are ablaze, be excited, don’t be discouraged. Recognize that 2018 is going to be your year, and it is going to have ups and downs and standstills and that is perfectly okay – it will not take away from it being any less your year, and an amazing one at that. 
– Steph

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An Extra Happy Pill


Did you take your daily dose?

I am uploading this post early because I will not have a wifi connection on Thursday. That being said I will potentially also not have a wifi connection for the next 2 weeks, so if I don’t post it’s not because I’ve fell off the wagon its just because I am in the sunny country of Nicaragua!

It’s honestly been my dream to visit Nicaragua for as long as I can remember. My dad is from Nicaragua so it is important to me that I see where he is from and see my heritage. I will be going with my parents and I could not be more excited to share this experience with them. This trip was a graduation present and I can’t accurately express how grateful I am for this opportunity.

I love travelling but this trip is especially special to me.

Now, onto my post’s topic.

Gratitude.

Life can be so unbelievably hard sometimes, however if we can manage to have a grateful heart it can make a world of a difference.

I am not saying having a grateful heart is an easy task when things seem to be going wrong or when you are in the depths of despair, but I have personally tried really hard to look for the silver lining in every situation.

And boy – it’s not easy.

However, gratitude, is the key to a happy heart. When you see what you have, rather than what you don’t. When you can look at any situation and ask yourself what can you take away from it? 

There is always, always something positive that you can be grateful for.

I was once told that I say thank-you too much. Nonsense. You can never say thank-you too much. And I believe it’s important to share your gratitude with those around you. Not only will it make you feel better, but it will most likely lift the spirits of others. When you express your gratitude it’s harder to take things (or people) for granted and it sheds some light into your dark abyss. When have you ever felt worse off for hearing someone say thank-you to you? I’m going to guess never. So, fill your heart and someone else’s and say thank you.

If you have no one to physically express your gratitude to, write it down. Gratitude journals are a great idea, I have one (I haven’t recorded in this particular journal in a while since I record my thoughts in my personal journal), but looking back on what I wrote in the past is always uplifting. My sister recently bought a gratitude journal, and it’s rekindled the flame and I think I will intentionally write in my gratitude journal moving forward. I literally only listed 5 things a day, and that is probably where I will start again. It can literally be as simple as catching the bus on time – or waking up without having to hit snooze because you felt so rested.

The more we start to recognize the small things the more grateful our hearts will be and we won’t always have to look for the obvious things to be grateful for. The more grateful our hearts are the less anxious, resentful, envious or depressed we will be for the things we don’t have.

Here is a prime example, when I am in my lowest of lows and I am in bed for the majority of my day (or all day) my beloved little dog Nutmeg stays with me – she just cuddles up next to me and waits till I get up. I am so grateful for her unconditional love and her companionship. It warms my numb heart on those days and makes me feel when I would otherwise feel nothing.
To be grateful is to be intentional. And I believe acting and thinking with intention is the best way to better yourself. The best way to get to know yourself better, to be confident and comfortable in your skin.

Start in reverse, start thinking of all the obvious big reasons you are grateful and then work your way towards the smaller inconspicuous reasons. Fill your heart to the brim, and I guarantee you won’t regret it. Conscientiously make the decision to be grateful.  

Existing happens one way or the other BUT living is a choice. Choose to add meaning to your life. Choose to add depth. Choose to be a round character in your life’s story rather than a flat character.

Once upon a time with bipolar, I chose to be grateful and it gave me a life I never could have imagined.

– Steph

On Your Darkest Days


I am going to share with you one word that I’ve applied to my life and it’s made a huge difference. 

Compartmentalize

It’s a big word with a potentially big impact. 

Let me tell you why. I have lows, and they can be bad, they can be ugly, they can be long. BUT just because I have them doesn’t mean everything is bad, it may seem like it BUT it’s just not the case. 

So what does that mean? It means that there is more to life than my low. More to life than your low, and if you can compartmentalize while you are in your low you will see that more clearly. 

Someone recently asked me how I was doing. I’ve been in a low lately, and this was my response: “Personally I’m not really feeling well, but if I step outside of just me – work is great, my family is doing good, the gym is going really well, and I have exciting plans coming up. Aside from “me” feeling poorly everything else in life is going great.”

Did you catch that? I expressed that me alone I am not doing well, but when I looked at different areas of my life, when I looked at all the pieces that equate to making up my life – the verdict is that my life is actually going really well regardless.

I may be feeling poorly but that doesn’t mean my life is a reflection of that. 

And for so long that was my thought process. If I feel terrible my life is terrible. This was my mindset and it was a black hole that I would feed in my darkest hours. 

Am I perfect at compartmentalizing? No, but I have realized that when I try to go thru my dark days with this mind set, it makes everything that much easier. And I am sure if your lows are anything like mine, they are anything but easy.

There are so many layers to your life. I guarantee that they all can’t be going downhill just because we feel like we are in the depths of despair. If needs be write it down! Write down what is going right in your life, separate to your feelings. I am always an advocate for writing down your thoughts, there is something so powerful about seeing something tangible. So instead of writing down your feelings – scratch that. Write down what is going right, whatever that might be. Make a distinction between how you feel and what is going on in your life. You’ll be surprised that things aren’t as bad as they seem. It may be annoying to hear BUT when you are the one convincing yourself of that rather than someone else, its so much more bearable.

Hopefully this can help you battle your darkest days. You are stronger than you realize. 

– Steph

Just Live A Little


Life.

My oh my. 

I’m currently working on making the most of my life. Recently I had someone walk into my life, mind you I showed them the exit… BUT for the brief time they were in my life they caused me to re-evaluate how I was living it. I am the most stable I’ve ever been – this is a fact. But there is more than just being stable. More than just holding the status quo.

I’ve done things in my life, but I haven’t all at the same time. Living was such a struggle for so many years I feel like my life was a bit of a write-off. Perhaps I haven’t completely escaped the mentality of just surviving. 

But I’m here. I’m alive and I want my life to reflect that.

I was asked about my bucket list and I only had 2 things to list off. On top of that the two ideas weren’t even that creative! 

That just won’t do.

Over the course of two weeks I developed a bucket list. Or rather “lists”. One list outlines things I would like to do over the course of 2017/2018, and the other lists things I’d like to do in a lifetime. I’m trying to step outside of my box, escape the mundane routine I’ve created. Add a little bedazzle. Spice things up. You get the idea.

I’m really proud of my list, it took quite a bit of effort to create it. 

It’s so easy to get into a routine, routine is good don’t get me wrong BUT there should be more. More to life. Where did my exploratory nature go? Where is my sense of adventure?

I was going thru a bit of depression the past while, feeling trapped. But I realized I was the one putting myself in the cage or like I referred to it earlier – a box. I was the one restricting myself, no one else.

When you feel trapped you are the only one who can free yourself, whatever that situation may be.

Escaping our box is a choice, and most often it requires that we put in effort and feel a bit uncomfortable. And why must we feel uncomfortable? Because my dear friends, we are stepping outside of our norm and its the price we must pay.

And when I say I want to live life I don’t mean I need to climb Mount Everest or backpack thru Europe, not saying I’d turn down the opportunity.  What I’m talking about is reading books, going to museums and art galleries, taking guitar lessons, joining a choir, going to a paint night (which I just did … my painting was terrible! But I had fun making it, and that’s what it’s all about), simple yet impactful things that will add dimension to my life. 

Dimension that’s my objective. I want to have something to talk about, things to look forward to. I want to meet people, enrich my life with perspective. Expand my way of looking at life and take advantage of the life I’ve been blessed with.

I want to be an actively engaged in my life rather than passively letting it pass me by.

I feel so passionately about this new outlook on life, I feel alive and excited for what is to going to happen because of me making it happen. 

Ask yourself if you are trapped in routine, feeling like life is escaping you – then make a list. Make a list of things outside of your box and start doing them.

It’s been a big year for me. Lots of new chapters with school ending, me getting my dream job, a couple of toads crossing my path. I feel like in my life’s story is picking up its pace and it’s only going to get better! 

Stop thinking about all the things you’d like to do. Take action and do them. Liberate yourself from the box you live in and add dimension to your life. Stay stable but add a little bedazzle. 

– Steph

Creative Juices 

I have a love for taking old things and turning them into something new. Specifically furniture, and yesterday I hit the jackpot!

Almost two years ago I went to a salvage yard and fell in love with a set of three chairs. Although, it would have been ideal if the set had a fourth chair, its absence did not deter me. I purchased the set and I think I paid all of $3.00. 

Because I moved back in with my parents I obviously didn’t have a need or space for three chairs, but they spoke to me and I couldn’t let them pass me by. My little sister graciously let me store them at her house (my poor parents have an apartment worth of things stored in their garage and shed).

Ever since that purchase I’ve been on the lookout for a suitable table and stool. And my dear friends, yesterday was the day. 

I went to a thrift store with my mom and there was a gorgeous…. correction… soon to be gorgeous… table. It’s honestly perfect! I paid $25.00 for it – what a steal!

After finding this table I was feeling lucky so I asked if we could go to the salvage yard to find the missing stool that would complete my set. Lo, and behold  I found the stool! 

Seriously what a day!

I now have a fantastic kitchen dining table and chairs. And soon enough I’ll move out and put them to good use.

My mom said we could store the table in one of our rooms in the house. She knows how badly I want to be on my own and how perfect this table will be for my apartment. It felt nice knowing she has confidence that I’ll be living on my own sooner than later.

The other week I went to a fabric store and found a beautiful fabric to use on my chairs (and now stool too). Talk about fate.

So everything has come together nicely and over the course of the next couple weeks I’ll be stripping, sanding, staining and, reupholstering my furniture into something new.

I love having a vision and watching it come to life. It’s so rewarding!

When I was younger I always wanted to do interior design. Refinishing furniture is partially how I get my fix. As well as decorating whatever space I’m permitted to.

I’m honestly so happy right now. I haven’t had a big DIY project in a long time. I’ll be taking some before and after photos and posting them on my blog so you can see how it all turns out. If it’s anything like what I’m seeing in my head I’ll be happy with the end result.

– Steph

Just A Little Bit More 


This is so important!

Believe in yourself and what you are worth and what you are capable of.

You are priceless.

And you can do anything you put your mind to. 

So often we under sell ourselves. 

But we need to believe in ourselves just a little bit more. Love ourselves a little bit more and then we will achieve so much more. 

I have been anxious about finding a job. I’m a new graduate with no experience aside from my practicum, and after I finished my practicum on May 26th I felt overwhelmed looking at all the job postings, because they were all requesting years of experience – which I don’t have. 

I applied anyway, I’m not going to lie and say I had bucket loads of confidence in myself BUT I did believe I had something to offer. 

Lo, and behold I got a call for an interview! I was super happy and excited. I went to the interview and I was super nervous BUT before I opened the door I put a big smile on my face, told myself I could do this and that they would love me and then I walked thru the door.

It’s all about how we talk to ourselves. If you tell yourself you are going to fail, you will fail. If you tell yourself you are going to succeed you will – even if it’s not on the first try.

I thought the interview went well and walked away proud of myself for giving it my all.

I’m happy to announce that this morning I was offered the position! This is my dream job and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! 

Believe in yourself and anything is possible.

Don’t give up hope. Believe in yourself just a little bit more and you will be able to get thru anything.

– Steph

Take a Deep Breath


If ever there is a zombie apocalypse I want to make sure I am not on the city train during rush hour. When you are jam packed like a sardine I feel like the likelihood of survival is decreased. Just food for thought.

It’s Monday, the start of a fresh new week.

I made an error on Friday at work and didn’t have enough time to fix it, so I was panicked for Monday BUT my supervisor told me this morning not to worry about it. And I was able to fix it. Problem solved, I stressed and lost sleep over the entire weekend for nothing.

Isn’t that the case. We stress over something and then when the time comes to face it, it’s not that bad. You’d think I’d learn – dozens of doctor appointments going over my anxiety and yet some how it always manifests itself. Mind you, it’s a lot more subdued. 

Don’t fret, breathe and know that whatever comes you aren’t going to die from it. Coming into work that’s what I kept telling myself. 

Mistakes happen, I’m a student on practicum, I’m learning. And even if I was an employee, mistakes happen. There is no need to kill yourself over them. They will come and go and you will remain. Just take a deep breath, learn from them and all will be well.

– Steph