Do A Double Take and Read this Again

Here we are again. Hello there, long time no see.

Thank you for bearing with me during my hiatus. I think I’ve gotten a grip on life again and I’m hoping to make up for some lost time. I’m not someone who generally writes posts far in advance, everything I write is relevant to my in the moment experiences. Perhaps, I’ll try to take a different approach to my content to leave some wiggle room for posts written in advance – I think it would be worth a try rather than leaving my readers high and dry when I dip low or lose my mind for a week…. weeks. Oopsies, sorry about that.

Before I get down to the good stuff, I recommend re-reading this quote. It is certainly worth a double take, heck I’m thinking of making it my screensaver on my phone.

Mindset = Profound Power

Let that sink in. What you believe, you can achieve, yes, I am a cheeseball for saying it that way BUT let me say it again. What you believe, you can achieve. There is absolutely no limit to the power of your mind and mindset, there is no stronger force that will impact your life than how you think. That’s right, YOU.

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar I was terrified, terrified about the life I was going to live. However, after reading and researching on my own, and intense therapy that I applied to my life day in and day out that terror turned to hope and that hope turned to confidence that I was not going to just live with bipolar – I was going to thrive.

I was going to find harmony and balance, I was going to overcome my struggles for stability and reach a level of normalcy in my life. I was not just going to exist as I had been doing for years – I was going to live, laugh and love. And have I done that? I like to think I have.

That all being said I still struggle, my life is not perfect, my diagnosis is not a cake walk BUT my mind is set and I know my life will only ever be as good as my mindset. When I am in the lowest of lows, when my anxiety is sky high and then when my hypomania is higher than sky high only I can talk myself off the ledge. Only I can choose to listen and apply the caring words of those who support me – me. It is the power of my mind that can change my life.

When we are our worst enemies, the villain that causes this rift is our mind and mindset. How we talk to ourselves, how we train our mind to view ourselves the narrative we have about our life and what it has been, what it is and what it will be – only we have the power to change that it; change the narrative and train – yes train – our mind to seek the good and to be the good that can change our life beyond compare.

It’s ironic that my last post was exactly the kick in the rear that I needed to overhaul my mindset. Writing out and the rereading my post I realized my life was in fact only going to be as good as my mindset and my mindset had been poor with little attempt to change it while I was in what we can call a funk. I was letting my emotions dictate my life, but hold up – I’m a lot more stubborn than that. My mind is far more stubborn than my raw emotions and I realized my emptiness and unhappiness was going to linger longer than it needed to be if I fed into that mindset. If I fuelled it – if I did absolutely nothing to counter it.

So what did I do, I read, I sewed, I cross-stitched, I exercised, I ate clean. I did everything that I didn’t want to do. Why? Because, I knew in my mind those are the things that contribute to the life I want to be living at my best and throwing them all out the window when things start to go sideways is only going to make me feel at my worst.

I gave my mind a little credit and acknowledged the mindset I was in and fuelling was getting me nowhere fast and did not offer happiness. So I changed it, I did the things I knew historically made me happy and I felt satisfied with myself. Eventually that satisfaction turned to a feeling of happiness and here I am. Am I completely in the clear? Nope, that emptiness has its claws dug into me BUT I am a lot more aware of my mindset and what it is capable of.

I’m not always this good at calling myself out when I’m not doing so well, but 10 out of 10 times when I do it is because I deliberately change my mindset.

Be aware of yourself. Be aware of the life you live and the life you want to live. Be aware of how you are contributing daily to achieve your desired life. Negativity only brings forth negativity, so take a deep breath and ask yourself what can you do that is positive even when you feel negative – what can you do that is positive that will shift your mindset and give you back the power.

I hope everyone has a blessed week.

– Steph

What to Say

I don’t feel “depressed”, I don’t feel “anxious”, I don’t feel “unhappy”, yet I feel a sense of emptiness. I feel like I have no motivation to start or finish anything –
I have a tons of things I could be doing during this time of quarantine yet I am complaining I’m bored … because I’m not doing anything because I have no desire to. Heck! I’m working from home so I even have an additional 3 hrs in my day because I am not commuting.

What to do?!

That’s another thing, I apologize for not posting. I’ve had ever intention to write and post, alas I have not had the motivation to. Perhaps I am lowkey depressed. I have things swirling thru my mind yet I’m incapable of formulating sentences. The times I have attempted to write I’ve scrapped the content because it was garbage. I am not even the biggest fan of this post BUT I know I need to let you know I’m still here – I just have writers block.

I feel like I’m on the brink of feeling happy, yet that emptiness is so prevalent. I feel stuck. Perhaps, this quarantine and isolation is doing more to my psyche than I realized.

On a positive note, a perk of working from home is I get to spend the full day with my dog Nutmeg and I’m pretty sure she is enjoying me being with her 24/7 considering she’s on my lap all day and showers me with kisses non-stop. #blessed

Everyone keep your chin up, this is a trying time in our lives but we will get thru it. I feel a bit discombobulated and I think that is why my mood is so hard to pinpoint.

I’ll try to gather my thoughts and compose something a little more insightful next week.

– Steph

News Flash

I don’t generally post two Bipolar Gains posts a week, however I’ve had a change of heart and wanted to share because my last post was pretty negative AND that does not embody the journey of self-love that I’m on as I try to be the HEALTHIEST VERSION OF MYSELF (key word – HEALTHIEST). Sometimes it’s so easy to get hyper-focused on one detail and it takes away from the whole experience.

I am no longer going to weigh myself – atleast not once a week. Maybe once a month or every 6 weeks, I’ll find a balance. I will take progress photos at the beginning of each month and measure BUT that blasted number is NOT going to ruin my happy vibe. I have seriously been getting so caught up with the fact my weight has stayed the same with all the effort I’ve been putting in that I have lost sight of how good I actually do feel in my skin. How confident I am wearing my outfits.

Maybe 155 lbs is not in my deck of cards BUT maybe being a size 9 is – even if I do weigh 170 lbs. The point is WHO CARES! I sure as heck need to stop caring about what I weigh. When I started this segment on my blog, I specifically said I didn’t want to focus on the number and with weight watchers that is a MAJOR CON because I weigh in every week with huge expectations on myself to see a lower number. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER! I need to emphasize that for you and me!

From my highest weight I am down around 28 lbs – great. But how I see myself is so much more important than the figure I see on the scale. It’s an accomplishment, I don’t want to take away from that BUT I do want to remind myself that I am so much more than a number and even at my biggest I deserved to love myself and even now where I’m at, how I look, whether it is my ideal physique or NOT – I deserve to love myself.

Enjoy the journey, don’t get deterred because the “number”, is not what you envision for yourself. Trust the process, trust your body to change positively as you change your active lifestyle positively AND love and respect your body along the way. You can’t hate yourself into sustainable enjoyable change. That’s something I needed to hear again.

Happy vibes my friends.

– Steph

A Few More Hours in My Day

Holy Cow!

I have been trying to find a rhythm with work, gym and life in general and I’m not sure that I’ve been succeeding as I’ve failed to seriously blog the past while.

Work has been going really good so far, it is pretty low key and low stress, which is great! I start at a later time, which let’s me sleep in longer and the commute has been pretty good. It has just been a matter of finding balance with the remaining hours of the day once I get home with respects to accomplishing what I want to accomplish.

My spanish studies are on hold. I’ve decided I’m going to enroll in classes when the time comes to commit. For now I am focusing on shona. The national language of Zimbabwe (where my husband is from). I have to say I LOVE THE LANGUAGE at least what I know so far, which isnt a lot BUT I can read the words to pronounce and spell them – it’s a start. I have started flashcards, so now it’s a matter of memorizing some phrases and words so I can compose sentences next. We want to go to Zimbabwe in 2021 and I want our kids to speak shona when they come into the picture. I think learning a second language is super beneficial and allows you to feeling more connected to your heritage.

I have been having a lot of fun learning shona with my husband, he has been a really good sport and indulges me with 1-3 hr sessions a week where I pick his brain. I’m not sure if he’s loving it BUT I love sharing the time with him especially because it has to do with learning about his native tongue.

Aside from that, some personal projects are on the go.

One thing that I want to do is a review on some facial products that I bought. I really want to get back into focusing on me and doing face masks once a week like I was doing routinely in my former city BUT I want to add the extra frills of toners, serums and moisturizers to see where I can really take my skin. There is a drug store brand named Pixie and I bought a few products, they were reasonably priced in my opinion and so I’m excited to see if they make a difference. I’ve taken some before photos of my face to show my skin and I’d like to see the difference in 3 months.

In addition to doing a skin care regiment religiously I want to take biotin everyday for skin, nails and hair. I snapped a photo of my hair length and I am happy with it BUT it wouldn’t hurt to see it get longer. I just want to continue with the theme of being physically healthy. And that means your entire body – skin is the largest organ of the human body. I think I should be doing more than the bare minimum. I’ve been trying to go more minimalistic with my esthetic (as mentioned in a former post) and I really want to feel confident in my skin without makeup and lately my skin has been freaking out SO minimal make-up has not been the case. All I think it needs is a little TLC – some consistency and some proactive care.

I’ll let you know at the end of my experiment and I’ll list the products used. My skin is generally dry, however for a random period of time I looked extra slick! Super annoying. However, now that it’s dry again I have to be conscious of looking dull and like I’m a snake shedding a layer of skin – gross I know. That is where my exfoliating face masks and personal micro dermabrasion tool comes in. We will see.

Sorry this post is more of an update than anything…again I’m trying to find my rhythm. It’s terrible, but I haven’t even been playing my guitar. I think I need a few more hours in the day!

– Steph

Let’s Try This Again

Okay, it is the beginning of March and I should have progress photos to share. Sorry to disappoint but I never had time to get them done. However, I can assure you I look the exact same as February.

My stats are as follows:

Heaviest Weight: 198lbs
Goal Weight: 155lbs

Jan 1/2020 Weight: 172.2 lbs
Feb 1/2020 Weight: 169.6 lbs
Current Weight: 170.6 lbs

Measurements

Jan 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Feb 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Current Bust: 39″

Jan 1/2020 Waist: 32″
Feb 1/2020 Waist: 31″
Current Waist: 31″

Jan 1/2020 Hips: 42.5″
Feb 1/2020 Hips: 42″
Current Hips: 41.5″

So as you can see I’m up a pound, this is most annoying. I have not been able to break away from 169-172 for the past 4 weeks at minimum. I think I need to be laser focused on my nutrition for the month of March. The last few weeks I’ve been off the wagon a bit. Inconsistent gym time based on injury and holidays. The recipe for stagnant weight and inches lost.

I’m going to keep trying though, move forward in March and see what I can do. Unfortunately, my gym routine with my sister is seemingly coming to an end. It is just not working with my new work schedule. We can’t coordinate a time that works for me and my sleep and her having someone to watch her kids so we can go earlier.

This week I’ll be attempting working out during my lunch break at work. We have access to a beautiful gym for free, so I want to take advantage of it. I will be doing cardio in the evenings on Mon, Wed and Fri for 20-30 minutes and my sister and I will keep going to aquafit on Thurs.

I am hoping to get back in the swing of things and hopefully break into the 165 zone. I know it’s possible. It is just going to require a bit of extra work and attention to detail.

Happy workouts everyone. When you hit a wall dont stop, climb over or walk around BUT keep going. I know it will be worth it when I see how far I’ve come at the 9 month mark of my journey.

– Steph

Bumps In The Road

So life throws curve balls sometimes or if we want to be a bit more dramatic we can say wrenches. My shoulder(s), primarily my right shoulder have been acting up like CRAZY! It hurt to sleep, to hold things in my hands, to grip things in general. It was blatantly painful with no beating around the bush.

That being said, life happened as well, I went away for the long weekend and as a result of the above noted, my gym routine suffered.

Pain is no joke. I’ve learned the hard way that you do not push through pain. There is a difference between pain and discomfort from soreness or exertion. Push through those BUT not pain, otherwise you could do more damage.

I’ve rested essentially with minimum use of weights the past two weeks. If I lifted it was between 5-10 lbs which is a far cry from what I usually lift. But you do what you gotta do.

I’m hoping and looking forward to going back consistently with serious workouts… I just hope and pray my body obliges.

Stats time!

Heaviest Weight: 198lbs
Goal Weight: 155
Current Weight: 169.6

Measurements:

Bust: 39.5″
Waist: 30.5″
Hips: 41.5″

Shockingly I’m down in the stats department – I’ll take it!

Some bumps in the road lately, but my eyes are on the prize and I’ll keep heading in the direction I know will get me to it, even if I go inch-by-inch.

– Steph

Endless Possibilities

I’m not manic, but I’m feeling pretty darn good.

This week I started my new job, and might I say, I’ve made it to the big leagues my friends!

This firm is beautiful! It’s massive and everyone I’ve met has been so welcoming, which gives me good feels. 3 associates that I’ll be working with invited me for lunch. I’m a little nervous, but I think it will be a nice icebreaker. The Senior Partner that I am directly assisting seems like a nice man… again I’m getting good vibes.

When I was contemplating applying for this position I was really getting into my own head. I was excited about the firm, the area of law I would be working in (intellectual property…. how cool right?!?) and the challenge it would offer my career BUT then came the doubt.

I doubted my ability to commute, my ability to work for a senior partner, my ability to fit in one of the largest international firms of Canada, and my ability to learn a new area of law.

I was building walls around myself with limits I was inadvertently placing on myself with the “challenges” I was telling myself I would face. So, what did I do? I applied anyways and told myself I’d give it my all and if it was meant to be – it would be.

After submitting my resume I received a phone call, which resulted in a 20 minute over the phone interview. I was then contacted about a week later and invited to do a in-person interview. The nerves were real! I was so excited for the interview but was incredibly anxious… I literally scratched my legs to the point that I broke blood vessels (I scratch when I’m anxious, terrible habit).

So the 2nd interview took place with 2 personnel. The head of HR and an assistant. As soon as I sat down I felt a surge of confidence, how or why? I can easily say it was an answer to a prayer. I thought the interview went great. However, following our meeting I was asked to do an assessment on Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Let me just say the letter I read was probably the most complex letter I’ve ever seen and my objective was to proof read. YIKES!

After I left the assessment I felt deflated, I sincerely felt like I bombed the proof reading portion. However, shockingly I was asked for a 3rd interview! This time when I entered the room there were 3 associates, the Senior Partner and HR staring at me. I answered all the questions confidently with my legs vibrating under the table. Again, I wasn’t quite sure I made the cut, there were some pretty intense questions.

Surprise, surprise after that entire process they offered me the position! And HR said my assessment was incredible, they said that my proof reading caught errors that weren’t even in their answer key! Talk about a shocker!

Ultimately, I was challenged every step of the way to attain this position. However, with each challenge I surprised myself with my composure in the trenches. I also learned I need to give myself a little more credit for what I offer as an assistant. When I was offered the job I was told that “ everyone was impressed by me.” By me! Can you believe that??

Can you imagine if I would have settled with the limits I was justifying in my head. If I would have limited myself because of the challenge applying for this position posed? I would have missed out on an amazing job offer from a firm that thinks I am worth investing in!

Surprisingly enough I wasn’t even nervous going into my first day of work this week. I think the intense interview process made me realize I am more than enough to fulfill and excel in this role. I bring skills and value to this role and I’m going to own it!

As I sat in the training the past few days, I’ve grown more and more confident and more and more excited. There is so much potential to learn, grow and shine in my role and I’m ready for it.

I really want to go into 2020 shedding limits I put on challenges and take as much opportunity as possible to challenge the limits I have in place (that need to break). We are our only limit when it comes to what we can accomplish, when it comes to our confidence, and when it comes to our growth. I want to burst through my self-imposed limits and face new challenges and grow a little more with each and every single one.

I encourage you to look at yourself with a little more confidence, look at yourself with a little more love and encouragement that YOU CAN OVERCOME CHALLENGING THINGS, and not just overcome but THRIVE.

Take that leap of faith to do something that you might think is out of your comfort zone and you just may be amazed at what opportunities unfold.

– Steph

Give It All You’ve Got

So last week was pretty challenging with respects to my fitness regime but just as I wrote in a previous post, we must be stubborn about our goals and flexible about our methods.

That being said I was flexible. I attended the gym 3 times last week, the Fiton exercises have been non-existent… needless to say I will be working on that. But I did literal gym time which is where I’ve always struggled to be consistent. So YAY for that.

I don’t know why BUT I was super exhausted this past week so getting to the gym was a trial in itself, but when I went I gave it my all.

On Monday my sister and I adhered to the workout plan cardio, weights and core. However, Wednesday once we finished cardio, we looked at each other and decided we needed to spice things up. Ultimately, we ended up doing a virtual Zumba class, which neither of us have ever done before. Might I say, not too shabby. The Zumba was a way for us to move and get a workout in when we both really didn’t feel like working out.

Thursday, our aquafit day never came to fruition as I was in a pretty foul mood (Nutmeg, my dog woke me up 4 times throughout the night!!!! The little turkey assisted me with waking up on the wrong side of the bed) this resulted in me having no desire to be wet. So that one was on me.

Friday’s workout ended up turning into a Saturday’s workout. My sisters and their families and my husband and I, all went out and didn’t get home until 11pm on Friday night. Needless to say my sister and I opted to do leg day the next day.

Consistent gym time is the objective, and when I get to the gym my goal is to give it my all. I’m happy to say, even though my energy level was low I gave all that I had to give in each session I went. Perhaps my 100% of effort this past week only looked like 75% in my previous weeks BUT that’s not the point. Every day; Every workout I want to be aware of what I have to offer and let’s be honest – it is going to fluctuate.

DO NOT GET DOWN ON YOURSELF if your everything doesn’t meet or surpass a previous workout. Do what you can with what you have to offer on that given day.

Previously (years ago), when I was obsessed with the gym I would go for 2 hours everyday. Drip sweat and nearly die each and every workout. I had a standard that I required myself to meet and there was no mercy granted to myself. This my friends is not how you build a healthy, sustainable relationship with the gym OR yourself. Show compassion, kindness, patience and mercy towards yourself on the days that you don’t feel your best. You deserve a pat on the back for just getting to the gym.

Every workout will not be a spitting image of the previous one. Your energy will fluctuate and that is where you need to give it your all and know that it is enough. Be realistic with yourself and you will be able to give yourself a whole lot more love and appreciation for what you do accomplish. Give it your all, whatever that looks like throughout your week and you’ll never lose.

Now my friends, stats for the week.

Heaviest Weight: 198lbs
Goal Weight: 155
Current Weight: 170.2

Measurements:

Bust: 40″
Waist: 31″
Hips: 41.5″

Regardless to the numbers posted above, I see and feel that progress is being made. My relationship with fitness is the healthiest it’s ever been and my relationship with food is heading in the right direction. All in all I know I’m getting closer to my fitness and wellness goals each day and for that I am grateful and proud of myself.

Happy workouts this week everyone.

– Steph

It’s a Comeback… Again

Following my last “Bipolar Bliss” post I figured I should lighten the mood with a meme, and might I just say this one is hilarious.

Sometimes the moods of bipolar get the best of us, but the beauty of it is that they won’t last forever. We are entitled to a comeback, with a happy mood. I had been going thru a rough patch and feeling pretty crummy about life in general with this diagnosis, however I have a life so I’ll start with that fact, which should be enough for me to show gratitude. Not only do I have a life, but I live in a country with access to modern medicine and therapy (which I do require)… more to be grateful for.

Taking medication stinks BUT so does being a tornado in my life and those that I love. Medication allows me to live a moderately stable life – so it looks like I’ll bite the bullet and pop the pills for the rest of my life. Besides, I have so much practice now I’m a pro.

So much has changed from my last Bipolar Bliss post. I recieved a job offer!!!!! From one of the largest firms in Canada, not only does it act nationally but it is also an international firm. The pay and benefits are mind blowing – so things are looking to have taken a turn for the best! I will be working as a legal assistant in a new area of law; intellectual property, which honestly is so exciting! I can’t wait to start learning about this area of law and the litigation process.

Things are picking up, and despite my pessimism last post, I have tried to be positive and lo and behold things have seemingly gotten better…. coincidence? I think not.

Attitude plays a huge role in managing this diagnosis, if you have the right one and try to push thru the ugly the possibilities of finding things to be grateful for are endless.

– Steph

Picture Day (Progress Pictures)

Okay!

I have to say not focusing on the weight and focusing on how I feel makes this post a lot easier to write.

I feel great! I feel healthier and stronger than I have in a long time. I feel leaner BUT maybe it is all in my head, because as you will see below with the pictures there isn’t a whole lot of a difference (at least to me).

With respects to my weight, over the past month it has fluctuated, ideally I want the number to be going down not up, so without further ado let’s get into the stats and then pictures.

Heaviest Weight: 198lbs
Goal Weight: 155lbs

Jan 1/2020 Weight: 172.2
Current Weight: 169.6 (I haven’t been in the 160s since 2014!!)

Measurements

Jan 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Current Bust: 40″

Jan 1/2020 Waist: 32″
Current Waist: 31″

Jan 1/2020 Hips: 42.5″
Current Hips: 42″

Jan 1/2020 Bonus Measurements:
Neck: 14″
Biceps: 12″
Thighs: 24.5″

Current Bonus Measurements:
Neck: 14″
Biceps: 12″
Thighs: 24″

And now for the good stuff, pictures…

I feel like my shoulders are poppin’ a bit more in February… small differences.

So there you have it! Honestly, I don’t see that big of a difference (maybe just with my waist and shoulders??) BUT I feel like there is a difference and I’m liking how my clothes are fitting a whole lot more.

Someone who is the real MVP in this journey is my sister, she has been working her booty off and is down 11lbs! I’m not about to post her pictures BUT the difference is unreal. I am so grateful to be on this journey with her and I feel so honored that I have had the ability to help her achieve her goals (while having fun together!)

Working out and eating right should not be a chore. If it is a chore than it’s not a lifestyle. When you make living healthy a way of life there are endless possibilities to what you can achieve and the journey is SO much more enjoyable.

I’ll touch on my eating habits because I mentioned I was going to be stepping up my A game. Prior to getting married I did weight watchers for 3 months. I found success with their program and was able to find confidence as I wore my wedding dress and took pictures (an amazing feeling). However, I focused a bit too much on the weight component and soon became unmotivated and ultimately decided I was better off on my own after the wedding.

Perhaps, that would have been fine had I truly embraced the lifestyle of healthy eating… however my husband and I went on a bit of a binge together and we would buy candy, ice cream and pie …. like all the time. Pizza was plentiful in our household and although I was attending the gym at a mediocre basis I was packing on the weight AND feeling more and more insecure. Ultimately in the first year of marriage, I gained 16 lbs from when I was at my wedding weight. I was a solid 186lbs, BUT when we moved back to the homeland in December I started eating more plant based and lost weight.

Lately, my weight has fluctuated around 172-174 and I was feeling frustrated because I was EATING CLEAN AND HEALTHY and yet I felt bloated and was on the rise while also working out 4-5 times a week. The story goes on, and ultimately my sister and I together decided we would give weight watchers another try and this time embrace the healthy and portion controlled eating. I have to say we have not been disappointed. No more bloating (TMI) and the numbers on the scale have been reflecting the work we are putting in. Mind you before weight watchers my sister was down 6lbs in 3 weeks and now she is down an additional 5lbs! She is killing it! AND to make the experience more sweet, our husbands have joined us on the weight watchers journey. We plan all our meals with our spouses and it is an amazing experience to have the support of my sister and husband with this overhaul of nutrition.

Fun fact: I was eating healthy prior to weight watchers BUT since joining it has been eye opening with how out of whack my portions were. That was the kicker. You can eat clean BUT if you over eat you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

I’m on a journey my friends and it has really only just begun. I want to see the changes I can make in 9 months from the start of January and I have 8 more months to go. I’m hungry for change, I’m hungry for goals, I’m in this for the long haul and I don’t think I would be as committed or consistent as I am if it weren’t for my partner in crime; my sister.

I used to love working out alone, I’d get in the zone and crush my workouts – but times have changed and that mindset doesn’t work as well for me anymore compared to having an accountability partner who pushes me to give it my all at the gym. Quite often you can hear me quote that, “I’m going to throw up”. Music to my ears, I give it my all and at the end of each session there is nothing more to give – that energy and drive is thanks to my sister who pushes me to be better for her and me too.

Gushy post, but I don’t want you to underestimate the power of a workout partner. If the way you were doing things doesn’t work for you anymore – change it! Change your approach until you find a rhythm you can dance to and have fun with. Working out is my happy place and I’m grateful the love and commitment is blossoming once again in my life.

Happy workouts everyone.

– Steph