Dealing With Despair: Staying Grateful And Grounded

Journal Thoughts

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.

A How-To Guide On Staying Sane While Staying Isolated

Journal Thoughts

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.

Picnicking Through a Pandemic

Journal Thoughts

(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. 

Seeking Out Seafood: Giving Fish a Second Chance

Good Eats

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. 

Tastefully T’s: A Restaurant Review From Your Average College Vegetarian

Good Eats
My beautiful Power Wrap from T’s Restaurant in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

When my boyfriend and I decided to go out to breakfast after a night filled with greasy pizza, an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and other nighttime festivities, my stomach couldn’t stop churning. Like most URI students, I can attest that the “Sunday scaries” are real.

More times than not when I go out to breakfast, my options are slightly limited as a vegetarian. Typically, I can choose between the sugary-goodness of stacked French toast or plate-sized chocolate chip pancakes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely die for either of those dishes. However, following a junk food-filled weekend, I craved a little bit of a change. I am by no means a strictly clean eater, but I am a strong believer in eating your colors.

So, when we settled on visiting T’s Restaurant in Narragansett, Rhode Island for breakfast, I knew I was in for a treat.

A Word On Optimism And How Bad Days Make Things Better

Journal Thoughts

Because the glass isn’t half-empty, you’re just more hydrated now.

Darling Darla (Obviously not pictured on the beautiful 60 degree day.)

It is the middle of January in New England, yet it was a balmy 60 degrees the other day. Although this is a sure sign of climate change, I took advantage of the warming Earth and went walking with my dogs.

It was when I was walking my big lug of a Bernese Mountain Dog, Darla, that I seemed to have a moment with myself. I suddenly had felt the urge to stop in the middle of the road and close my eyes. I’m not sure if it was the sun beaming onto my face or the wind’s warm gusts, but in that moment, everything felt at peace.

To New Beginnings (And Not Giving Up)

Journal Thoughts

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

– Plato

It has been months since I last wrote a post on here. Although it makes me feel decently ashamed of myself for not keeping up with something I truly love doing, I need to accept that this whole blogging/writing/journaling thing will take a bit of time to get the knack of. It is a learning curve, after all.

Excuses for why I haven’t been writing are unnecessary. Life happens, priorities get off track. All that matters is that I’ve come back to it and have not given up blogging for good.

Measure Your Happiness, Not Your Waist-Size

Self-Care

This past summer, my body was in the absolute best shape that it has ever been in. I was exercising regularly, eating well, and just giving my body some much-needed attention. It was definitely the definition of a self-care summer.

So, to no surprise, I spent the summer taking a record-winning number of mirror selfies. And, not just any mirror selfies. I had my (almost) abs exposed and my leg muscles flexed. I felt good, baby! During those months, I actually enjoyed wearing crop tops and never passed up the opportunity to take photos at the beach.

Seeing genuine evidence of my personal growth made me feel incredible.

The Secret Behind Aesthetic Smoothie Bowls

Good Eats
It may not look super pretty, but it definitely was super yummy :’)

I don’t know about you, but I always see these BEAUTIFUL photos of smoothie/acai bowls plastered all over my Instagram explore page. (Then again, maybe that’s just because I’m obsessed with stalking through food accounts.)

I always used to make smoothie bowls at my friend’s house after we got back from the gym. Well… I suppose I truly wasn’t the one making them. My friend would simply give me an assortment of ingredients to choose from, and then mix up the creation herself. The bowls always turned out tasting, and looking, amazing.

However, when I moved back to school (away from my smoothie goddess of a friend) and tried to recreate these bowls myself, my first few attempts were absolute failures. Even with the same ingredients that we used, I still always ended up with too thin of a consistency or too chalky of a texture.

That is, until a few days ago.

We All Have Emotions, So Why Not Embrace Them?

Self-Care
This was taken at the beautiful “Path of Life Garden” in Windsor, Vermont.

I miss my mom every second of every day.

I feel it most at night, when I’m laying awake by myself. There are only so many things that can distract your mind when you’re in the silence of a darkened room.

It happens with long car rides too. Car rides can actually be the worst. I have an hour and a half drive from my university to my hometown, and doing it alone is enough to drive me mad some days. Podcasts aren’t so effective if your brain chooses to ignore them, no matter how hard you try to listen.