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How To Be Happier

How To Be Happier

Over the past few months, I have made taking care of myself and my mental health a priority. In my first year of University, I was doing a lot of things that contributed to me feeling unhappy and unmotivated all the time. I was not sleeping well, my diet consisted of a lot of fast foods, I was not working out or drinking enough water. Once I got back home, I realised just how much my mindset had changed. I was sad and snappy, things that I loved doing did not make me happy anymore.

Here are some of the things I have started doing to make a positive difference for my mental health :

1. Working Out

I’ve always been someone who’s played a lot of sports and who’s been relatively active throughout my teenage years. When I started college, I didn’t dedicate a lot of time to fitness and working out and surely enough, I lost touch with my athletic self. I’m slowly starting to incorporate fitness into my daily life and have started seeing a big positive change in my mental and physical health.

2. Gratitude

Writing down at least three things that I am grateful for every morning has made a huge difference in my life. I always take out 5 minutes out of my day to write about the things and people that I am grateful for and also list down what I can do to make my day better. I highly recommend buying The 5 Minute Journal that I use every single day and night to write down daily affirmations and gratitude lists.

3. Going to Bookstores

If there’s one thing I learnt this year, it’s that I will never order books online again. Why should I if I could simply go to a bookstore and spend an entire afternoon being surrounded by a room full of some of my favourite paperbacks? Just the idea of walking to a nearby bookstore on a cloudy day and being able to spend hours browsing through volumes gives me am insurmountable amount of pleasure. It’s one of my favourite things to do.

4. Spending More Time In Nature

Going out for walks and hikes and getting some fresh air will make you feel so much better and clear headed. Whenever I’m feeling anxious or stressed out, I always make sure to go outside and walk a little and I always end up feeling a little bit better after.

A Healthy Relationship With Food

A Healthy Relationship With Food

I have never known what it’s like to eat like a ‘normal’ person. I have days where I go out to eat with my friends and family and I wonder how they’re so relaxed and unbothered when it comes to ordering an item off the menu. I have spent hours thinking about what I will eat for my next meal(s) and have spent an exceedingly large amount of energy thinking about which diet I should follow next so that I can be skinny and finally be ‘happy’.

My journey to lose weight was in the ninth grade where I created a weight loss plan for myself. I followed a strict diet and exercise schedule religiously and surely enough the weight came off. However, it was only a few months before I started to become obsessed with weight loss and exercise. I denied myself the pleasure of eating my favourite foods, I’d skip dessert outings with my best friends, and I tried my best to avoid dinner parties because I wanted to skip a meal. From the outside, I was getting thinner and thinner by the day, but mentally I was falling apart.

Anorexia is a serious disease that affects so many girls around my age. We starve ourselves, weigh ourselves 5 times a day, spend ridiculous amounts of hours in the gym, and barely eat anything. It’s a serious mental disorder that causes so much pain to not only ourselves but also to our family and friends. I know that I missed out on three years of my life that I could have spent making memories and doing the things that I loved, but instead I wasted it by counting how many calories I’d eaten that day and hating myself because I should’ve spent more time exercising.

BED is something that I still struggle with and I have just recently started recovery from this disorder. I say ‘recently’ because all my previous attempts at recovery were unhelpful since I believed that recovery meant starting a new diet and losing weight. There has been a lot that I have learnt in the previous year about forming a healthy relationship with food and I believe that I am finally understanding the reason why diets don’t work.

In the end, it’s not about the way I look in the mirror and it’s not about whether I fit into a size 0 dress. My appearance and weight will continue to change and that is something I need to accept. What matters is that I am healthy and strong, what matters is that I listen to my body and it’s cues, what matters is that I take care of myself and learnt to love and accept myself for who I am. Any kind of change that I want to make for my body should come from a place of love and care, instead of a place of hate and shame.

Glowing Up During Quarantine

Glowing Up During Quarantine

Glowing up is the act of working on your physical and mental self to show up as an improved and happier person. You essentially dedicate a number of days, weeks, months, or even years to solely focus on yourself and your needs. Whether it be reading more, meditating, working out, eating healthy – glowing up is when you take good care of yourself and prioritize your needs and wants.

Since we’re in lockdown now and have so much free time in our hands, it makes sense that we dedicate our time and energy on doing things that we’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. It’s the best time to focus on taking care of ourselves and work on our physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Working Out

One of the most important things you could do to improve not only your physical but also your mental health is moving your body every day. You’ll feel better about your body, be less stressed, and feel more accomplished at the end of the day. Instead of focusing on the physical benefits of working out, I try to focus on the mental satisfaction that I get at the end of a good workout.

Drinking Water

It’s good for your skin, your organs, your brain, and it also helps improve your mood.

Sleeping Enough

Getting a good night’s sleep is necessary so that you don’t wake up tired and groggy the next day. Sleeping for at least 7-8 hours helps improve concentration and productivity and also helps prevent depression.1

Meditating

It’s important to take care of your mind during this uncertain time. Meditating everyday even for just 5 minutes makes a lot of difference and over time you’ll be able to notice how mentally strong you’ve become.

Reading Books

Reading books is one of the best habits a person can have. It helps stimulate the brain, reduce stress, and also helps improve your memory. Not to mention also the fact that you’re learning new words and new ways of thinking and also gaining more knowledge about the way our world works.

Self Care

Using face masks, hair treatments, and taking supplements is going to make such a big difference in your appearance. When I was in college last year, I had a phase where I wasn’t really taking care of myself. I’d forget to do my daily skin care, take my supplements, and I was just generally not putting in much effort to take care of myself. As a result, my appearance worsened and I was looking dull and tired all the time.

When I got back home I realised just how poorly I was treating myself and decided to never make the same mistake again.

In the end, we should think about how lucky we are to be able to use this time to grow, improve, and better ourselves. It’s all about being kind to our bodies and minds and doing something to live a happy, more fulfilling life everyday.

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25133759/

June Recap and July Goals

June Recap and July Goals

I feel like I’m getting more used to being at home everyday, not being able to go out and do the the things that I would usually do if I wasn’t in quarantine. I’ve learnt to make time to do things that will help me feel better mentally and physically – things like working out, drinking tons of water, and talking to friends everyday.

I did a lot of fun things this month like celebrating my mum’s birthday by going out for a picnic, going on hikes, and discovering new places in the city during my daily walks.

For the month of July, I have set three main goals for myself.

Meditate Every Morning

I use the app Headspace for meditation but lately I haven’t made time to do so. I had a phase in college where I was waking up early to fit in 30 mins of meditation and stretching and it helped me improve my mindset so much. Just seeing how my mood improved and changed (for the better) throughout those weeks made me want to keep continuing to wake up 30 mins earlier to practice this habit everyday.

Make Time To Journal Everyday

In addition to the 5 minute journal that I use everyday, I recently bought another book from Papier that I want to use. It’s basically a book where I put up pictures of my favourite memories and write about it.

Do A Workout Challenge

There are a bunch of workout challenges you can find on Pinterest and I want to start doing these every month. This month I’m starting with the POPSUGAR 30 day squat challenge that I came across recently.

Anorexia – Part 1

Anorexia – Part 1

9th Grade

At the age of thirteen, I was becoming aware of the way I looked. I wanted to be pretty. I wanted to fit in.

So I created a plan for what I was going to eat and I began to follow it religiously. At the time, I was also training for golf whilst eating as little as I possibly could. Weeks passed by and now I was starting to lose some weight. I was actually getting stronger and healthier, I was feeling confident and feeling good about myself. So the results began to show and I started to receive compliments from friends and family. I was proud of myself. I wanted to be better and lose more weight.

Lose all of it.

So that’s how it began. Over the months, I began to eat as little as 300 calories per day, I was exercising vigorously and eating as clean as I possibly could. This is when everyone began to notice that something was wrong. Now I was getting really harsh comments from everyone around me –

“You look sick.” Why did you lose so much weight?” You look terrible.”

And I know that some of those remarks were coming from a place of concern and worry, but it certainly didn’t change anything. In fact, it only made me feel worse about myself, and feeling this way made me eat even less.

Looking back at that time, I realize that things were not right since the beginning of my weight loss journey. I didn’t want to be healthy, I just wanted to be a stick-thin figure. My intention to lose weight was coming from a place of self-hatred, I wanted to change the way I looked, not for myself but for everyone else around me. I wanted to be accepted and the only way I thought I could fit in was if I lost weight.

At the same time, it felt good to be in control of something.

A lot of things began to happen to my body and my mindset throughout that year. A lot of bad things.

Even though I toning up in the start of my entire weight loss process, a few months down the line I began to feel weak and tired all the time. It was hard to keep up with conversations. Talking, for even a few minutes, was a drag. My skin was pale and dry. My hair was falling in clumps and had lost all of its shine and thickness. I lost my period (and didn’t get it back for the next three and a half years).

I was, of course, oblivious to all of these changes and paid no mind to them. The only thing that mattered was the number on the scale – and it had to be the lower and lower every time I stepped on it.

To be continued

Being Okay With Who I Am

Being Okay With Who I Am

Recently, I’ve been feeling okay about who I am as a person. Throughout the last few years, I criticised myself about the tiniest things – the way I look, how I act, how different I am. I was not okay with who I was as a person. I was constantly looking for ways to change myself: change the way my body looks, change how I talk, change the way I dress. There was something wrong about me and I had to change.

I know that change can be good. If you’re extremely unhappy with yourself, it’s good to want to improve in healthy and manageable ways…but when the need to change comes from a place of self-hatred – when you develop unhealthy habits and patterns that are doing you more harm than good – it’s not okay.

The way I think about myself has changed drastically in the last year. I look back at pictures of myself and actually think I look good – and this is shocking cause at the time I would hate the way I looked. I’m starting to value myself and my thoughts, because that is what I deserve. I deserve to love myself.

Growing up, I heard a lot of hateful things that were directed at me.

You’re not good enough, you’re not worth it, you’re not special.

And for a while, I started to believe those things. I did not love myself or take care of myself – I was unhappy, anxious, and angry. I would stop myself from doing things like joining clubs and teams, making friends, and going out.

However, as I started to grow older and perform better in school and sports – I realised that all of those things that were said to me were lies. I was free to be whoever I wanted to be. I could do whatever I want. I was worth it.

Over time, my confidence improved. I was no longer the shy, quiet girl who would just do whatever was asked from her. I became a person who was happy in her own skin, someone who stopped believing all the lies that were thrown at her, someone who started to work for herself and her future. Because she knew she was better than that, because she knew she deserved better.

My Quarantine Essentials

Since quarantine began, I have made sure that I use this time to improve myself, develop ‘systems’ to achieve my goals, and take care of myself. I have been doing certain things to keep myself busy whilst also making sure that I have fun. Using this time to do things that make me happy while also doing other important things such as schoolwork, has helped me stay busy and feel good.

Here are some of the things that I consider my ‘Quarantine Essentials’:

Books

I honestly don’t know what I’d do during this quarantine without books. I’ve always loved reading but in the last 2 years, I haven’t prioritized doing so and I feel bad about not having taken out the time to read. Luckily, now I have so much free time in my hands that I can easily read one book in about a week or two. I am currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear; It has been a while since I’ve read a book about forming habits so I am especially excited about learning more about the subject and inculcating his practices.

TV shows

Surprisingly, I was never a person who would watch TV shows or anything of the sort. Mainly because I never had the time in high school, but also because I was not very fond of shows (shocker, I know). I usually spent my time watching Self-Help youtube videos or actually going out to watch movies. Right now, however, I have discovered some great shows that I have rewatched already (and plan to do so again in the future). Some of these shows have literally transported me into a whole other world and made me feel as though the characters are real and that I am actually part of the show. Some of the shows that I currently am binge-watching – and am absolutely in love with are:
  1. Elite on Netflix
  2. Normal People on Hulu
  3. Rick and Morty on Hulu
I’ve also discovered a newfound love for Marvel movies and I’m rewatching of the films in order – it’s been great. Other TV shows that I’m watching on the side are Ozark and Vampire Diaries.

Skin care

I religiously use face-masks twice a week and treat myself to a bubble bath once a week. I typically use skin-care products from TheBodyShop, mostly because they’re not very expensive and also because they actually work.

A Month of Indulging

A Month of Indulging

Since I have so much free time now that we are in quarantine, I’ve been experimenting with cooking and have been trying out new recipes. This week was definitely when I ate a lot of soul-good foods; I was also sick so that meant that I was craving a good amount of comfort foods. By all means, I believe that in May, I focused more on my mental health (rather than my physical health) and indulged in food that makes me feel good. I’ve struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia in the past and I believe that this month of letting myself go was very necessary. Believe it or not, even when individuals are weight restored from anorexia, the mental battle is still extremely hard to fight. So here we are! Let’s dive into the delicious meals I ate during the last few weeks:

Creamy cheese pasta with broccoli: I tried making for the first time ever and it turned out to be a huge success! I also managed to burn the broccoli that I cooked as a side, but it still ended up tasting pretty good!

Peanut butter toast with banana and cinnamon: this is definitely one of my favourite comfort foods and really my all time favourite. It’s easy to make, healthy, and very delicious.

Some good ol’ cereal: this is my top to-go breakfast. Personally, my favourite is Barbara’s Oat Crunch and Annie’s Cocoa Bunnies. They’re both very healthy and taste so good.

Red Sauce Pasta: I didn’t even look up a recipe to make this pasta but I somehow managed to make the most delicious pasta I’ve ever tasted. I truly believe that I’ve mastered the art of making delicious pasta because this was truly so flavourful.

Burnt pancakes (oops): I managed to burn these pancakes I cooked for breakfast the other day. They still turned out pretty alright.

Veggie burger: I stopped eating meat in 2020 and the transition to becoming a vegetarian has been queit easy for me. We ordered in the Harvest burger from this famous hamburger restaurant called Bandit.

The entire month of May revolved around eating various variations of the meals I have mentioned above. I also made sure to eat healthy nutritious fruits and veggies everyday because personally, I don’t seem to function correctly without my daily dose of fresh fruit and lemon water in the morning.

Social Media Detox

Social Media Detox

In the past, I’ve taken several breaks from social media- during SAT prep and finals, but also during my holidays when I simply want to focus on myself and take time off the internet. In my sophomore year of high school, I took a break from social media for at least 6 months and then in my junior year I took another very long break.

I’ve tried taking month long breaks from instagram and snapchat, however, I’m not as busy as I used to be in high school now. I used to play competitive golf, go to a lot of tutoring classes, swim, and had tons of schoolwork to complete at all times.

Recently, whenever I’ve tried to take breaks from social media they haven’t been very long. They last about a week until I usually end up installing the apps. However, I still try my best to make sure I’m taking time off these platforms because even though social media helps us connect with people from all around the world, there are still many many negative aspects about this form of media. I’ve had days where I’ve spiralled into a daze of self-comparison and spent countless hours scrolling through the Explore page.

source : Pinterest.com

There are times when I feel alone after checking social media and there are times when I feel really horrible about how much time I’ve wasted on Instagram. There’s nothing wrong with spending a few minutes on these platforms everyday, but when you begin to get consumed by the virtual world – you definitely need to take a step back and connect with the real world by actually being present and spending time with the people around you.

Lately, I have been trying to cut down on my daily social media usage, instead of completely going off the platforms. This is mainly because I’ve been using instagram to promote my blog and also because we are in quarantine and social media is one of the biggest ways I’m staying in touch with my friends and family.

Here are a few things I have been doing to reduce the amount of time I spend on social media:

1. Allocate specific times of the day for checking social media:

Instead of constantly picking up the phone when I get a text, I stick to checking all of my social media platforms and texts at one time – this way I’m not constantly checking my phone at all hours of the day. This also helps me create some form of routine and helps me keep my mind off the phone.

2. Unfollow a bunch of people:

When you are following less people, there are less pictures to scroll through and this means you’re not going to be wasting your time looking at posts that are really not helping you in any way or form. I know a bunch of people who have done a purge where they unfollow a good amount of people and let me tell you, this has done wonders for not only their time-management, but also their mental health.

3. Keep yourself busy:

Personally, I’ve been doing a bunch of things to keep my mind off the phone. This includes baking, reading, watching movies and Netflix shows, talking to friends on the phone, and making art. I recently installed Procreate on my iPad and I’ve been having loads of fun experimenting with everything that they offer on the app.

Fever And Nostalgia

I don’t have the coronavirus, but I have a fever – great! I was so scared about the whole deal, so I read up all the symptoms and I was thankful to find out that I don’t fit into the category. Anyway, yesterday I was thinking about how being sick makes me overthink about all the other times I was unwell. The last time I was sick, I was in Mumbai and I was exactly as miserable as I am now. I was in bed, watching YouTube videos, talking to my friends, and doing all sorts of things, (drinking hot lemon water, sleeping for 16 hours a day, taking medication), to make myself feel better.

For some very odd reason, I feel weirdly happy about feeling so under the weather. The thing is that, it reminds me of being back home in Mumbai – where I lived 5 minutes away from my best friends, where I was so close to my family, where I grew up and learnt everything about myself and the world. I realised that I feel this way, simply, because I miss Mumbai and I miss my friends and I miss being home. It might be very strange, and trust me, I’m still unsure about uploading this draft on the internet, but this is how I feel and I guess it’s okay to feel this way sometimes (it also just might be my sick brain thinking all sorts of bizarre things).

Recently, I’ve also been reminiscing about my high school days. I used to hate waking up at 6am 5 days a week and I absolutely detested high school drama, but in the end, the last two years of high school were really one of the best and most enjoyable years of my life. I feel so grateful to have such a wonderful support system, friends who’ve always been there for me and always cared for me. I’ve made some of my most favourite memories with these guys and they’re the biggest reason why I miss being back home. I’ve learnt to really cherish my friendships and be appreciative for all the people who care about me. I’ve learnt to be patient and selfless, because I know that my closest friends have done the same for me.

Moving to a new country has been difficult for me. At first, I really enjoyed being in a completely new place, where there’s loads of new places to see and new friends to make – but it still doesn’t feel like home to me…yet. However, I’m so thankful for all the things I learnt since I’ve moved here. I’ve discovered a lot of things about myself and the world, I’ve met all kinds of people, and I’ve travelled a lot.

I remember my first month of college – I was so homesick, so depressed, and just very unhappy, but a few weeks down the line, I met some of my closest friends, made amazing memories, learnt so much, and truly had a lot of fun. I guess in the end it just takes time to adjust and fit into a new place.