I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Little did I know, it doesn’t have to be your actual, fancy career title in order for you to be one. I’ve been one my entire life.
When I first went vegetarian about a year and a half ago, I had no idea what I was supposed to eat. I had stopped eating meat altogether, but had no true, healthy replacements in terms of the nutrients I was now lacking from eliminating an entire food group. However, after a lot of research, trial, and error, I slowly built up my healthy kitchen.
So, for anyone who is new to the plant-based life, I have created a vegetarian and vegan-friendly shopping list to help you stock up on the necessary nutritional goods.
Journaling has become one of my favorite forms of self-care. For me, I appreciate it because it encourages me to face the thoughts and feelings that I’ve been avoiding all day. I am definitely one to suppress my emotions just to put on a smile, so journaling gives me the space for self-reflection and venting. Though, as much as I enjoy pouring my heart out, for some, this form of writing can seem like a daunting task.
However, a date with your notebook does not have to be some sort of huge formality or become a big ordeal in the slightest. In fact, your journaling experience should not at all feel like a meeting with your shrink. Instead, it should be viewed as an easygoing outlet that is there for you whenever you may need it.
I’d like to think of myself as a self-care advocate. I love nothing more than to practice self-love and to promote it to those around me.
Now, although “self-care” goes a lot deeper than the surface-level face masks and manicures, these types of DIY spa days are not to be overlooked! Sometimes, giving your physical body that little bit of extra love can be just the thing you need in order to get yourself in a better mindset for the day.
That is why I decided to compile a list of my all-time favorite, summer self-care staples that I’ve incorporated into my day to day routine.
Better yet, for all of you college students struggling financially, don’t stop reading! Self-care does not have to be expensive. In fact, most of these products can be found at your local Walmart or drug store.
So, let’s get to it!
People are already aware of the blemishes they have on their body, so why bother pointing them out?
My entire life I have been in an infuriating mental battle with my rosacea. For those lucky ones unfamiliar with the term, rosacea refers to a skin condition that causes a variety of symptoms evident on your face and neck. This can look vastly different from person to person, but for me, it causes my cheeks to physically burn and get extremely red.
To make matters worse, my rosacea is triggered by almost anything.
Doing a light work out? Red face.
Taking a stressful, time-sensitive exam? Red face.
Sitting in the sun for a short five minutes? Red face.
Having a completely casual conversation with my closest friends? You guessed it– my cheeks cannot seem to even let me enjoy the simplest, most mundane moments without getting red.
Unfortunately, I truly would not mind the fire engine color if it weren’t for the heat accompanying it. In the worst episodes, my rosacea genuinely causes me discomfort and can even completely throw off my body’s internal temperature. I could be sweating, with a burning face, but the rest of my body will have chills.
Although this condition does my body no harm at all, it has become an incredibly sensitive insecurity of mine that continues to dock my self-confidence every time it arises. And, to be brutally honest, this insecurity has stemmed solely from the comments made about it by others.
To all of my fellow friends out there that can’t quite grasp the recognition of your own worth and strengths: this one is for you.
I seemed to have lost control of my emotions; it feels as though my life has been swallowed up, and I am merely floating in some sort of empty space.
I had to take a mini break from blogging, because I have been unable to form my feelings into words. I barely can do so now, but knew writing would help to decompress my thoughts. (Long story short, sorry in advance if this post is a bit scattered.)
Over the past few weeks, my perspective of my day to day life has changed drastically. Major stressors have consumed my existence, and with that, I feel as though I have been forced to grow up overnight.
Bloating. Even the word itself is ugly. It feels round and insulting. Normally, these descriptive words would translate directly to how I feel towards my own bulging belly. However, now, I am working towards the opposite (even as difficult as it is).
I miss being able to hug my family members. I miss smiling at familiar, unmasked faces on my college campus. I miss screaming at concerts until I have no voice left, as I move in sync with sweaty bodies around me. I miss cozy sleepovers filled with hysterical laughing fits. I miss being able to spontaneously leave my house, without needing a real reason why. I miss sitting in classrooms with my peers. I miss seeing others in person. I miss browsing at the grocery store without worrying about bringing a deadly sickness back home to my loved ones. I miss not having to live in constant fear about the state of the world around us.
It’s no secret, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Schools and work places have gone online, people are confined to their homes, and everyone seems to be on edge. Though, if you read my last blog post, you’ll know I am not one to sulk in sadness. Rather, I try to look on the bright side of every (and I mean every) situation. Do I regret all of the little things that I had taken for granted in the months leading up to this crisis? Absolutely. Have I been continuously thinking about what life would be like right now if we weren’t in quarantine? Without a doubt. Have I let these thoughts consume my mind in its entirety? Some days it feels this way.
However, if I have learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that no aspect of life should taken for granted. (Not once did I expect to yearn for the opportunity to put away my groceries without having to wipe them down first.) Thus, I’ve been trying to be more appreciative of all of the little things around me.
And, to push this one step further and counter these feelings of despair, I have given myself a task.
It seems like the world has come to a temporary halt. I’m not sure about all of you, but these past few months have felt like I’ve been living in a dream that I can’t seem to wake up from. (Though, not the good kind of dream, of course.) Even with things slowly starting to open back up, these feelings haven’t lessened any.
Wherever you’re from, whatever your current living situation may be, please know my heart goes out to you. I am thinking of all of those who have gotten sick/know someone who has, those who don’t have a good home life and are stuck in a toxic environment, those surviving off of what little food is left in the house, those who have lost their source of income and are unsure of how to pay their bills now, those whose mental health feeds off of social interactions, those whose major plans have been drastically changed or cancelled, and those who are just struggling to cope during these weirdly terrifying times.
I’ll be honest– waking up everyday, I am hit with a feeling of helplessness. The things I’ve been looking forward to for months– concerts, vacations, my summer job– all have become a source of sadness as each and every one became cancelled. And yes, I am completely aware that these “hindrances” that I’ve listed may seem like shallow, first-world problems, but everyone deserves a right to their feelings.
However, as with everything, I always push to look on the positive side of any situation. Although the current state of the world is worrisome, exhausting, and simply scary, there are still things we can do to help our mental states. If you’re sick of everyone being overly optimistic in times like these, then feel free to hop off. I am not saying everything is going to be okay and disregarding all of the damage being done to practically every aspect of life. However, I also am not going to sit here and let it get the best of me.
So, if you’re having trouble finding ways to alleviate some of your anxieties, here are few things that I’ve personally done at home that are helping me to stay as sane as one can while in quarantine.
(In the safest way possible.)
Close your eyes and think back to your last trip to a restaurant. You and your closest friends all squeeze together, practically on top of each other inside a cozy booth, as menus are passed around the table. The options seem endless. You have no idea what you’re in the mood for, though, your stomach is teased by the juicy scent of a meat-lovers’ pizza crisping in the oven. The restaurant is bustling with people laughing and chatting. You look around to see what others have ordered: gooey garlic bread; heaping mounds of buttery, twisted pasta; a sizzling slightly-pink steak. Your stomach grumbles in its empty state. Flash forward and its past dinnertime. Your bellies are slightly rounder and filled with carbs, but now your tastebuds crave sweetness. You stand in line outside on this warm spring evening, waiting for your mint ice cream to be handed to you. Couples and giddy children huddle beside you underneath the light of the shack, as they share chocolatey licks of their cones and spread ice cream around their lips.
Now, forget everything you have just imagined. Picture the opposite. Picture restaurants with giant “CLOSED” signs dangling in their windows in the middle of the day. Picture vacant parking lots and barren streets. Instead of bumping into neighbors and sharing friendly conversations at your local supermarket, you’re now rushing down the aisles in hopes of avoiding all contact. The shelves look as if they were ravaged through by animals. Bread and eggs have suddenly become a scarcity. People’s faces are draped with tight surgical masks, bandanas, old scarves, or anything else they could find to cover their mouths. Bare hands are a rarity, and instead they’re now hidden behind rubber barriers. This is the current state of the world that we’re living in today, and it feels like a scene straight out of a horror movie.
Picture this. You’re seated at a rectangular table with your family, at a restaurant you’ve never been to before. A slight breeze from the swinging kitchen doors swirls around your legs as waiter after waiter brings out steaming trays of exotic-looking, colorful foods. You’re able to catch a quick glimpse of the chefs at the grill, turning over pink cuts of meat with sharp silver tongs. The stovetop sizzles as the cuts are laid to rest, with oil popping around them. Finally, a plate is placed before you. Fleshy white meat sits in neatly thinned slices, aside a vibrant lemon wedge. A citrusy armona dances in the air as you gently squeeze droplets of lemon onto the fish. After tearing off a small chunk of the juicy meat, you gingerly place it on your tongue, letting the flavor soak in. The zesty taste of the lemon blends perfectly with the peppered breading that coats the fish. This is your first time trying seafood, and you are beyond satisfied.
If only my experiences trying seafood went exactly like that. On the contrary, I cannot name a single time where I have found any sliver of happiness while eating fish.