Learning To Be Alone // Tips on Battling Loneliness

Recently, I’ve had a few friends and followers ask me to share some tips or advice on battling loneliness and how to be alone. I’ve had coworkers and friends commend me on my healthy ability to spend multiple nights completely alone in my studio and while I appreciate the kind words, I truly believe that being alone should be second nature to us all – but sadly, it’s not. Not even for me.

It was only until recently that I’ve come to terms with being alone. I still struggle with it sometimes. It’s not a perfect science by any means. Growing up, I was raised to believe that if you were alone on a weekend, or a night where you could be out “having fun” with friends, you were sad. A loser. So, I’ve always had a hard time spending time with myself. I made excuses and avoided it by calling a friend to hang out instead, or going out and being miserable because I wasn’t listening to myself – I needed to be at home, alone.

Sitting with yourself – flaws and all – is incredibly difficult. But we must. We have to do this for ourselves, because in time, I’ve realized I prefer it. Once you cross the scary, oh my god, I’m so pathetic for being home alone on a Saturday night mindset, it becomes apparent that you enjoy being alone. I love hanging out with myself – I’m actually pretty fun. We all need to come to this realization that we need ourselves – not anyone else.

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned on being alone and battling loneliness:

 

Be Productive

I’ve learned that when I’m completely alone in my studio, being somewhat busy helps my mind to distract from any negative, anxious thoughts. Come up with a small checklist with tasks like: clean your room/space, wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, make my bed, go for a walk, make myself dinner, etc. These are very simple tasks, but once you hunker down and get them done, you’ll feel majorly accomplished and productive – plus, you’ll have a nice, clean space all to yourself, that’s always exciting!

 

Go Easy on Yourself

The act of being alone is really difficult for people who aren’t used to it. For myself, it took awhile for me to adjust and I actually didn’t even do it at first. In the very beginning, if you find yourself getting too anxious or even having a panic attack at the thought – call a friend to come over and be with you, or go to their house. Things like this don’t happen overnight, take it a day at a time. You’re not a failure for it, you’re just listening to yourself. The next time, you might be more able to accomplish being alone.

 

Alone vs. Lonely

Know the difference between these two crucial words. The act of being alone can be extremely freeing, and I’m even coming to learn, necessary for growth and self discovery. Being lonely can happen anywhere. You can be surrounded by all your “friends” or even a partner and feel utterly lonely. It’s like Rupi Kaur’s poem always says,

View this post on Instagram

🌞

A post shared by rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) on

 

When we get these intense feelings of being lonely, it’s usually always a sign we are in serious need of looking within. Of giving ourselves the right amount of attention. Sometimes, it takes a certain amount of pain and heartbreak to become self aware. To know when you need to be alone and when you want to go out with close friends and feel their company. There’s nothing wrong with wanting company and loved ones around – we are human that’s instinct. But, knowing the difference between healthy want and a need that calls for a closer look at your emotions and mental health is key.

 

Don’t Date 

Now, this may seem like a harsh statement, but there’s a reason for it. When you’re in the realm of feeling such intense loneliness, it’s a mistake to jump into the dating world. Most people use dating as an excuse not to sit with their feelings. It’s like the poet Kiana Azizian says,

View this post on Instagram

us.: collection of poetry is on amazon now🌹

A post shared by kiana azizian (@kianaazizian) on

 

I’m incredibly guilty of this. A little over a year ago, I was this person that jumped from Tinder to OkCupid to Bumble, scrolling and swiping for the next guy who could fill the lonely void I had. Did it work? Absolutely not.

It takes a certain amount of strength to reject the idea of dating and staying alone – by yourself. Making a choice to be single goes against every ideal that we as women are taught. Find a good man, fall in love, get married, raise a family. Well, what if all that isn’t what will make you happy right now? What if you need time alone? What if you need to fall in love with yourself instead?

It’s a difficult decision to make, but it’s one worth trying. Learning to be alone with yourself and going through the trials of online dating just doesn’t add up. In order to battle loneliness and successfully being alone – you need to actually be alone. This way, when the time does come – and it will come – for the right match to enter your life, you’ll be ready. You’ll know what you deserve because you’ve been giving it to yourself all this time.

I have a close friend who tells me that it’s essential to know the difference between wanting and needing someone in your life. When you’ve spent time on your own, getting to know and loving yourself – you will never need a person. You have you. You’ll want someone to share your life with, someone worthy of entering the wonderful world you’ve created and built for yourself, but you won’t need it for your own self worth.

 

 

Spend a night in with yourself – you might actually like it. 

 

Do you struggle with being alone? Share how you battle loneliness in the comments below. 

Self Care Sunday // Wisteria Fox

I’ve always been a believer in the beauty of a great bath. Soothing and relaxing, it can help to heal the stresses and anxiety of a bad day. That being said, I also don’t believe that throwing a bath bomb in the tub solves all your issues associated with mental illness. Self care – however you practice it – is just one part of the picture. Therapy, journaling, cognitive behavioral tools. All of these things together is how I battle my anxiety.

Suffering from anxiety and depression, Alyssa Vicari –  the woman behind Wisteria Fox – truly understands the importance of self care. Baths always had the ability to calm, relax, and escape Vicari away from the stressers in life, so she created beautiful bath products that could help distract and benefit her skin. Eventually, she began selling her products so others could have this escape as well.

Researching different brands that spread the important message of self care, I stumbled upon Vicari’s shop and got to speak with the woman herself. A kind, gentle soul with a passion for healing others, I was all too happy to purchase a box.

Not only does Vicari sell these wonderfully scented products – she hand makes them. Vegan and cruelty-free, all the products are completely natural, using SLSA, an alternative to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. But don’t worry, the bath bombs still foam and fizz to your heart’s desire. Derived from coconut and palm oils, they smell heavenly.

This month, Vicari unleashed a new idea: Self-care boxes. For June, the theme was, “Goodbye Negative Mind, Hello Positive Life.” Loaded with a potential mix of bath bombs, bubble bars, bath soaks, body scrubs/shimmer scrubs, the box also comes with tips and tricks for coping and dealing with mental health issues/anxiety/stress, handmade stickers, drawings, and quotes.

While my box was a little bit different than the others, here is what was inside!

Amber Sunset // Mind Over Matter Bath Bomb

IMG_2373

A soothing, salmon colored bath bomb, Mind Over Matter is scented with base notes of raspberry, cantaloupe, and watermelon, middle notes of jasmine and violet, and fresh top notes of grapefruit and kumquat.

To say the least, it’s a serious plethora of scent. Last night, I used this bath bomb and it made for an extremely calming, content experience. I finished up watching GLOW on Netflix, and just soaked in the tub, smelling like an array of wonderful scents, it was great.

As an added bonus, once your bath bomb is all fizzled out, there’s a Carnelian stone inside of it! While I’m not super informed about the healing benefits nor do I practice, I’m always up for learning new information!

Providing protection from negative emotions from others and within yourself, the Carnelian stone is a great guide to a renewed love of life, increases inner strength, and grounds energies to the present. I even received a little note in the box on tips and best practices for using the stone!

IMG_2397.JPG.jpeg

 

Wild Spirit // Essential Oil Bath Bomb 

IMG_2375.JPG

Scented with lemongrass essential oil and topped with dried lavender buds, this bath bomb is the perfect recipe for a Saturday night in. Notes of eucalyptus and spearmint are included for the utmost of relaxation.

On top of the beautiful bath products, I also received two adorable tips and reminders for my mental health:

The first was this super cute ornament saying, Without rain, nothing grows. I just love it! I ended up hanging it on my cork board next to my bed, so I can see it when waking up and falling asleep at night.

IMG_2374.JPG

And lastly, there was a really creative activity in the box! I received a bunch of cut out, white paper butterflies with a note that told me to write a negative thought on the butterflies, place it under a thin layer of soil, water, and watch as that negative statement or word turns into something beautiful. What a wonderful message, I absolutely loved the idea and will be trying it out soon.

IMG_2377.JPG

 

I absolutely loved all the different products and activities in my Wisteria Fox Self Care box! It was so beautifully packaged – I would definitely consider ordering another one. It brought some excitement and healing to my day in a simple way. It’s so essential to practice self care and when a company – and its founder – are part of this wonderful mental health community, it seems like a no brainer.

IMG_2366

If you want to treat yourself and learn to practice more self care, order a Wisteria Fox Self Care box to help heal your heart and soul.

Visit https://wisteriafoxshop.com/ to shop the many soothing smells.

 

Do you have a specific routine for self care? Share your practices in the comments below. 

5 Tips on Tackling Your Period With Anxiety

Mother Nature is a real bitch. Ladies, this post is just for us. Battling the PMS demons can be hard enough, add on a mental illness and it can seem like you’re going through a week of pure, unadulterated hell.

Nearly all women suffer from the sudden mood swings and amplified emotions that come with the Lady in Red (whatever you may call the broad), but paired with the beast that is anxiety, it’s almost unbearable. But, it doesn’t have to be.

When anxiety starts to creep in, here are a few tips on caring for yourself while you ride the crimson wave.

 

Say It With Me: Self Care!

This is a big one – especially when it feels like your uterus is being punched over and over. Kidding aside, self care can help to combat the heightened sensations in the days leading up to your period. Exercise can benefit the body and does wonders for diminishing PMS symptoms. If you’re not really a fan of the treadmill, you can take a little walk outside, go to a yoga class, or even work out from the comfort of home while you binge Orange is the New Black.

Self care comes in many, many forms. There is no right way to do it. Just do something – anything – that makes you feel good. For me, it can be different for different emotions or days. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly emotional during my period, mixed with my own anxiety, I like to go to a bookstore. For me, it’s calming and it’s a safe space. I feel happy surrounded by books. Sometimes I blog while watching Netflix and destroying a California burrito. Other times, I like to lay down in my dog’s bed and cuddle with him. Do what you need to do to feel better and remember that this is cyclical – it will pass.

 

It’s Okay to Struggle

You’re not going crazy, or losing it. You’re actually going through a tough cycle, and that’s okay. Don’t ever let yourself feel undermined or less than because you’re having a hard time with your emotions or thoughts. It’s the journey of living with an anxiety disorder – self-sabotaging thoughts will pop up and you will struggle with them.

Remember that you’re not alone. Not only is there a large community that tackles mental health each and every day – almost all women battle their period each month. You’re not alone in your suffering. 

 

Embrace Your Emotions

While these symptoms can be temporary – your anxiety isn’t. Like I’ve always said, it’s crucial to feel the emotions you are feeling and meet them head on. Whether that’s anger or sadness, allow yourself to experience it. If you don’t, you’ll just bottle it up and it will explode. You could also project your own emotions and issues onto other people, which is never a fun situation.

 

Write It Down

It’s important to feel your emotions, but it can also help to write them down. Fully feel your feelings first, with no narrative or story. Once you’ve processed, you can start to see the real reason you’re upset. Rather than writing yourself off as “hormonal” or “crazy,” realize there’s an intuition and potential wisdom with these fluctuations. Jot it down during your period and take the time to think about them after your cycle is over.

 

Give Your Period Props

When you really think about it, we are pretty amazing as women. Take a second and pat yourself on the back simply for being badass enough to function at all when you’re bleeding, hormone levels are constantly shifting, and battling daily anxiety. I mean damn, we are some strong, sensitive bitches.

 

If you feel those intense mood swings and emotions coming on, remember this: you are not weak for struggling. You are not weak for getting emotional. It’s something we all – as women – go through. It’s our ability to navigate those fluctuations – along with bouts of anxiety – month after month that’s a huge part of what makes women so empathetic, compassionate, and resilient.

Embrace the power of the period. And go ahead, have a Netflix marathon all weekend, you deserve it. 

 

How do you handle getting your period with anxiety? Share your tips! 

Dear Sensitive Soul // How To Live From The Heart

Wearing your heart on your sleeve isn’t always a walk in the park. As sensitive, open-hearted people, we are deeply affected by the world.

Knowing this, my therapist gave me a helpful handout – of which she gives me many, I love it – adapted from the wonderful Beth Berry – Revolution from Home. When I read the handout, it was like Berry was speaking directly to me. While I’ve more recently come into the idea that vulnerability is a strength, I didn’t always believe it.

As Brené Brown says,

“We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

This is something I’ve always struggled with. Growing up in a childhood where showing emotion was looked down upon and emotional communication wasn’t exactly there – expressing any emotion was considered negative. But having this mentality also limited any good feelings too.

I’ve learned that it is possible to be a heart-led person and a high functioning human being. Here are some ways to live from the heart, while protecting it:

Discernment is everything.

It’s so crucial to be cautious about what and whom you let into your experiences. Opening your heart to your family, friends, co-workers, community members and regularly listening to the news can be extremely overwhelming. This doesn’t mean you’re living in blissful ignorance, but with self-loving discernment.

We aren’t required to hold pain.

Though we feel deeply, we aren’t serving anyone by stocking up on all that pain. Don’t bottle it up – let it in, feel it, then let it pass. I’ve found that holding in that pain builds up and channels itself into more anxiety and fear.

Self-love is key.

Creating a safe space for your heart to flourish should become a part of your daily practice – it will make healing a much smoother process. The more you realize that loving yourself is worthwhile, the easier it will be to share that love with the people who matter.

In addition, your version of self care is yours alone. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else. Whether you want to leave a party, be the first to call it a night, or the only one ordering dessert at dinner – do what you need to for your own mental health and heart.

You are only responsible for my emotions, mindset and actions.

Becoming more clear on what I’m responsible for in my personal relationships and what I’m not, has helped to create healthy boundaries with those I love and surround myself with, as well as the world around me. No one else can control your emotions but you – own your feelings. 

 

To my shining stars who feel just a little deeper than the rest – I see you and want to make it clear: 

Never mistake sensitivity for weakness.

The world needs us softies, let’s show ’em how compassion is done.

 

How do you feed your heart? Share your ways of coping with being hyper sensitive! 

4 Negative Thoughts I’ve Had When Dealing With Sickness & Anxiety

When we’re feeling well, it’s difficult to devote time to ourselves, but when we get sick – it’s necessary. Every year in the United States alone we get billions of colds, flues, and other common ailments. For most people, these sicknesses cause a lot of aggravation, but not much else. For those of us with mental health issues, something as basic as the common cold can increase anxiety.

As I lay in bed sick today, I felt compelled to write this because as crappy as I feel, I’m still hard on myself and not able to let go of control. I have several negative thoughts, like others with anxiety probably have as well.

Take a break from blowing your nose to learn some of the negative thoughts I’ve had, and how I battle them while feeling under the weather:

If I’m not constantly being productive, I’m wasting time – and I’m not good enough for the outside world. 

Feeling like there’s too much to do? Don’t get trapped in the cycle of thought that tells you you’re not worthy of putting your feet up and doing nothing, especially when it’s necessary to your health.

I get myself stuck in this cycle of ruminating, but it helps to remember that we are all worthy of rest and relaxation, taking a load off doesn’t make you any less productive. It makes you smart for listening to your body. Let go of having to control and rest.

Is this more than just the flu? Maybe it’s something more serious? 

As you lay there with the sniffles, runny nose, cough, body aches, and fever your mind can wander. Because you’re actually sick, you start to see the sickness as something more threatening than it is. With anxiety, trivial things can be inflamed by obsessive thought, causing me – or any of you – to entertain the notion that your simple flu is at the level of cancer or another deathly disorder.

I don’t have time for self care. 

I can find myself ignoring self care because I think I have too much to get done. Laundry, cleaning, taking care of my dog, working, the list goes on. None of those things (sans making sure my pooch is happy) are as important as you and your mental – and physical – health.

Take the time that your body needs to recover. Whether that means taking a sick day, not going out on a weekend, or spending the entire day Netflix bingeing in your yoga pants – do it, guilt-free.

I’m not good enough to be taken care of. 

With my anxiety and insecurity, everything always comes back to not feeling good enough. It seeps into every facet of my life from family and work to relationships and friendships, so it’s no surprise it presents itself when I’m feeling sick.

It is not reality that I’m not good enough to be taken care of. Whether that means a family member or loved one bringing you soup or laying with you for a little while, they are making the decision to take that time for you. Trust it.

 

 

And, on that note, it’s back to bed I go. If any of you are feeling under the weather, I hope you remind yourself that you are worthy of rest and your health is important.

 

What anxious thoughts do you have while sick? How do you cope with them? 

7 Small Ways To Practice Self-Care

As I quickly approach my 26th year on earth, I’m realizing the schedule of an adult is hectic. Finding the time to practice self-care and alleviate anxiety can sometimes seem impossible given the few hours in my day I have to get work done, but it’s extremely important. Not only for my mental health, but to improve my daily mood and keep me grounded in reality.

No matter how short of a time window you have to squeeze these small habits in, they will make a real impact on your anxiety and how you approach each day.

Express gratitude

While it’s beneficial to keep track of what you’ve accomplished, it’s equally important to notice what we already have. Personally, I keep my therapy journal by my bed and each morning when I wake up, I make a point to note the things that I feel lucky to have. There’s no wrong answers, it can be anything from the bed you’re sleeping in to a close friend. Practicing an attitude of gratitude each morning can set the tone for a positive day where you’re fully grounded in reality.

Unplug

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can have its benefits, but does it really make you feel good to constantly compare? Take some time to break away from social media and focus on the beauty of right now – without any filters.

Personally, this one can be difficult for me. I’m a big fan of Instagram, and I can find myself permanently attached to my phone but lately it’s my boyfriend who will give me a reminder to set my phone down and be present. With my anxiety, it can be really beneficial to have these key moments where I’m experiencing the right now.

Call Your Person

Whether that person is your best friend, mom, dad, boyfriend or second cousin – set a time to catch up and check in. This doesn’t have to be just to catch up either, if you have an anxiety crisis or just need to vent, text or call that person who always knows how to ease your mind and just knows you. One crucial thing I’ve learned is that you can go to dozens of people seeking advice or validation, but they’re never going to say what you want to hear. When you realize who your people are, they’ll always make a genuine effort to say ease your nerves. 

Meditate

While everyone has their own form of meditation they practice – make time for moments of mindfulness each day in your own way. Whether it’s right when you wake up, on your drive to work, or before you go to sleep at night, find something that works for you and stick with it. For me, it’s Simple Habit. With hundreds of various, brief meditations for my busy schedule, it’s easy to open up the app on my phone and find the perfect meditation I need in that moment. You can learn more about my thoughts on this magnificent mediation app on Simple Habit’s blog here. (Shameful self promotion, I’m aware).

Create Your Own Space

Does your bedroom look how you want it to? If not, add some candles or silly throw pillows that show off your personality and make you smile in your sanctuary. Building a cozy space that feels warm and inviting helps to establish the perfect place to retreat to when anxiety levels are high and you just need a safe place.

For me, this has been quite a journey. I’ve always made any bedroom my own, but only a few weeks ago, I finally moved into my own studio. I’ve come a long way from living with my mom years ago and I’m proud to have crafted a comfortable, inviting space to come home to at the end of each day.

Read A Book

You know what’s a great way to ease anxiety? Peruse that bookshelf and curl up with a good read. Whether you’re headed back to Hogwarts or near Narnia, the act of reading encourages a sense of peace and let’s be honest – we all love escaping in a satisfying story.

Fun tip: If you’re feeling social, hosting a monthly book club is a great way to explore new books and meet up with close friends to catch up over some chips, guac and of course wine. I host my book club, Books and Babes, and it’s something I seriously look forward to every month as a relaxing night filled with laughs and high spirits.

Learn To Say “No”

It might seem like the easier route to say yes to things, just to make others happy, but have you considered what will make you happy? This is a hard lesson to learn, and it takes a lot of practice, but in the long run it’s worth it to walk away from things, or even people, who don’t invest in your growth.

You can’t be your best self without being a little selfish. However you want to, practice self-care every day to ease your anxiety and empower your mind.

How do you practice self-care? Tell me your morning routine in the comments below!