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.
April was a great month. I made some new (online) friends, stuck to a morning routine/ workout plan, and did a lot of self care things. I have a feeling that May is going to be even better. It’s Mental Health Awareness month! I’m being brave and setting some goals for myself for this month. Since we’re all self-quarantining, this is the perfect time for us to build some long lasting habits and really focus on ourselves. Let’s dive in!
Read 2-3 books this month: One of my new year’s resolutions was to read 1 book per month, but since I have so much extra time right now, I’m confident that I can squeeze in at least 3 books this month. I really want to read: Dune by Frank Herbert, Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, and The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, this month.
Establish a morning routine: I currently wake up around 7:30-8:00am, check my phone (sadly, but I find it so hard to break this habit), drink warm lemon water, make myself some coffee, and read my book. I want to try being more productive by trying to write a little for my blog after I read and also trying to reduce my screen-time in the morning.
Workout every other day: Working out makes me feel so so good. I played a lot of sports during my adolescent years and I believe that’s the sole reason why I emerged out of High School as a sane, normal teenager (sort of). Exercising to feel better, rather than to achieve a certain body type, is how I motivate myself to get in some movement during the day.
Reduce meat and dairy intake: I’m so proud of myself for already being more conscious about what I put in my body. Last month, I reduced my dairy and meat intake and it did wonders for my body. My skin cleared up, I felt energetic, I was able to focus better, and I also just felt more content in general. It’s a great feeling and and even greater thing to do. My parents are also supportive of this decision of mine (not the case previously) and it makes things much more easy for me.
Approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 30 have anorexia, and 1 to 3 percent of college-age women have bulimia. In addition to these clinically recognized conditions, there is a virtual epidemic of “subclinical” eating disorders among American women, many of whom do not meet the strict criteria for anorexia or bulimia – such as bingeing, purging, and fasting, or abusing laxatives, diet pills, and diuretics – to keep their weight under control.
There has been a great deal of speculation about just what other factors – besides a cultural emphasis on thinness and the difficulty women have losing pounds – prompt some women to develop eating disorders while others manage to avoid them. One factor is occupational: eating disorders are common in women whose livelihood depends on thinness or appearance – for example, dancers, models, actresses, gymnasts, figure skaters, long distance runners, and jockeys.
Eating disorders can last a lifetime for some people. The thoughts, patterns, and habits that were developed during the disorder are hard to get over and a lot of individuals who are “weight restored” can still struggle with the same mentality that was present during the ED.
I have been very open about how I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since 4 years. It started out with me restricting food because I wanted to lose weight and feel better, but soon I became obsessed with my results and began to starve myself. I lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time and, soon enough, my health began to deteriorate. I lost my period for three years, my hair started falling out, I was tired all the time, I was isolating myself.
My obsession with food and exercise lasted for about 2 years. I started recovery with the help of my golf coach, family, friends, and doctors. What I needed was a massive amount of support from the people closest to me and I was lucky enough to have friends who really cared about me and helped me with the recovery process. I also went to a nutritionist, which I believe was the best thing I could have done, who helped me throughout the weight gain process.
Since the last year, however, I am at a very uncertain place with regards to how I feel about my body and myself. I know I’m not the only one though, I know so many girls, around my age, who struggle with the same thoughts and patterns and have even partaken in some type of disordered eating. I feel especially upset about how social media portrays women and how we are forced to believe, since a very young age, that there is only one body type that is beautiful. Girls are made to feel like they aren’t good enough or “worth it”, just because they aren’t a size 0.
It’s so upsetting to see how girls as young as 9 are dieting and starving themselves because they want to be “pretty”. This is the kind of mindset I had for a very long time and I strongly believe that social media played a very strong role in shaping the way I thought of myself in such a negative light. It is so wrong to believe that being “pretty” comes in only one size and shape. I know countless girls who are so confident and happy with themselves and how they look even if they aren’t a size 0. It takes a lot to be truly happy with they way you look in our society today, especially when we are constantly told that we can’t love ourselves if we don’t look a certain way.
We are so much more than what we look in the mirror. Instead of striving to be skinny for the wrong reasons, we should pay more attention to keeping our bodies and minds healthy by staying balanced and doing the best we can. This means focusing on not only eating healthy and nutritious food, but also meditating, reading a book, and exercising to FEEL GOOD, rather than tiring yourself every day to look a certain way.
Carlson, Karen J et al. The Harvard Guide To Women’s Health. Harvard University Press, 1996.
Maybe it’s the sagittarius in me, maybe it’s because I love the concept of not seeing someone for a really long time only to see them a few months later, absolutely KILLING it. I mean, it’s happened to me so many times, I’ve seen people from my school disappear for a couple months and then I see them suddenly, and they’re a completely new person. They’ve got different hair, they’re not into the same music anymore, they’re doing good at school. It’s like the person’s got a complete makeover – they’re a better version now and they know it, cause they worked for it.
There’s just something about taking time for yourself and doing things that make you feel good. I always tell myself that change is good and that the process of change makes you grow into a better, more mature version of yourself. The time that you invest in taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself really shows and people all around you see it too. During the holidays I would get so much time to really do things I liked doing. Waking up without an alarm, going for morning runs, spending time with my best friends, and reading good books. I spent time doing happy things and I would always come back to school feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Just doing tiny things like drinking green tea, stretching in the morning, meditating, and spending time with the people you love makes a whole lot of difference. I stopped hanging out with the wrong crowd – with people who made me feel tired and really anxious all the time. I stopped giving my time and energy to people who weren’t putting in the same amount of effort that I was putting into the relationship.
When you start to value your own opinion and care less about what others perceive of you, life becomes easier. I started to put my needs over other people’s needs, make goals for myself and take small steps throughout the week to achieve them.
Social media also plays such a huge role in our lives nowadays. It is no surprise that social media has definitely changed the way we think, what we wear, what we eat, and where we choose to spend our time. Influencers on Instagram constantly tell us that we should be wearing clothes from a certain brand, that we should be travelling to different places, that we should be spending a lot of money on things that will “make” us happy, that there is something wrong with the way we look and that there is only one way to be beautiful.
So many teenagers struggle with mental health problems and disorders because we are forced to believe that there is only one way we can be happy. Taking time off social media can improve the way we view and think about ourselves. There is so much time to do things like reading good books, exploring new places, spending time with your family, and doing schoolwork. Everything becomes so simple and you realise that being that ideal version of yourself wasn’t really that hard all along. With time, the small changes that you make start to turn into habits and after a while you don’t have to think twice about following your daily routine.
A lot has happened since I last published a blog post. I started college, made new friends, and decided to change my lifestyle completely.
I had big plans when this year first started, but somewhere along the way I lost sight of them and got stuck in a loop where I would be good for a few days but eventually go back to my old, detrimental habits. I got stuck in a pattern of negative self talk which was terrible for my mental health and wellbeing.
I turn 18 in 53 days and I want my 18th year to be the best year of my life. I want to be happy, healthy, balanced, and at peace with myself. There are a lot of things I could do now to be that ideal version of myself. One thing I learnt this year is that progress matters more than ‘being perfect’. Even if I’m not where I want to be, the fact that I worked slowly and steadily towards my goals shows that I care about my future and myself.
2019 has been all about learning new things about myself and trying to understand my patterns and triggers. Now that I know I’ve learnt a lot about myself (or at least I think), I know where to start. The fact that I get to be in a completely new environment, with new people, and new surroundings makes it easier to say that ‘I’m starting fresh’.
Last week, I took a flight that had a 15 hour layover in the Hong Kong International Airport. As I entered the airport after a 6 hour flight from Mumbai, I had a list of things in my mind that I could do in those 15 hours : sleep, read my book, buy a journal, FaceTime my friends and parents, and walk around if I was bored out of my mind.
After spending the majority of those 7 hours napping on top of my backpack, I decided to walk to the help desk to find out which gate my flight was on (they announce the gates 2 hours before the flight, and I had 8 hours left). I took another look at the screen, after a long nap, to see the flights and to my horror I saw that 90% of the flights on that screen had CANCELLED written next to them in bright red. ‘What’s going on?’ I thought to myself. I was aware that there were protests going on the week before but I never suspected that the situation would get this bad.
So I walked to the help desk and asked the lady about my flight to San Francisco and she said in the most casual tone ever “Oh yeah, your flight’s been cancelled.”
Now, I am a 17 year old teenage girl who’s travelling alone for the second time in my whole life. I’ve never been to the Hong Kong airport, my mom books my flights, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m supposed to do in this situation.
So the first thing I do is call my mom since she booked my tickets and would tell me what I should do now. But she lives in California and is obviously sleeping right now (It was 2am in California when I called her). So I call my dad, and he obviously freaks and goes on about how I should’ve taken a different flight and how he knew the protests would create a problem and this and that and “DAD CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD DO NOW?”. I’m stranded at this airport, I can’t leave because I don’t have a Hong Kong Visa, literally all the flights are cancelled, the restaurants and stores at the airport are getting shut, people are lining up at 7 Eleven to get water and food in case things get even worse later. Seriously, I think to myself, I should have taken a different flight.
So now it’s decided that I’m going to spend the entire night stranded at the HKI airport and I prepare myself by buying all the snacks you won’t find outside Hong Kong, the biggest water bottle I could see, and a portable charger because I literally couldn’t find any charging spots at the airport.
I slept for a total of 2 hours that night; most of the night was spent listening to a lot of music, walking around, and looking at the announcement screen to see that most of the flights were still cancelled and the situation was clearly not improving.
I called my mom a good amount of times that night and she said that I would be able to catch a flight by 6am and that everything would be okay, but it wasn’t until 9am that my mom finally called me and told me that she’s rescheduled a flight that leaves within two hours. At this point I’d been standing in the longest queue that I’ve ever been part of for literally close to two hours and I was exhausted.
Luckily I got on my flight after spending another hour in line to check in, crying because the lady at the desk said she wouldn’t give me my boarding pass because my luggage was going to be sent by another airline (she literally gave my boarding pass because I freaked and started crying in front of everyone. You best believe I wasn’t going to spend another minute on that airport let alone wait for a whole day to catch another flight), and actually running to my gate because of the delay. I mean, I was literally sprinting across the airport with my bright neon pink VS bag and all these papers in my hand. I must’ve been a sight to see.
Overall, my experience was pretty crazy but it was also a lot of fun. I was so thankful to have entered that plane and spent the next 8 hours completely knocked out on my seat. I absolutely love being independent and I love to travel by myself (this was like my second time, but still, I mean I like being on my own) and I think I handled myself pretty well, excluding my mental breakdown at the check-in counter. Also, I saw a bunch of cool people, slept on the floor – it’s no wonder I only slept for 2 hours that night – and listened to some really good music the whole time I was there.
It’s a Monday morning and my mind is racing with everything that needs to be within the next 24 hours. I look over my diary and check the ‘rules’ I have set up for the day: wake up at 5, don’t use your phone for the next 2 hours, get started on your class-work immediately, and most importantly – rest only when you’ve finished a week’s worth of homework.
This was a typical start to my week when I was in 11th grade. Every single day I woke up as early as I could, slept until my body gave in to the exhaustion, and spent every single minute of my spare time reading books for my literature class. Literally. I read Henrik Ibsen during 10 minute car rides.
A normal weekday in my life involved waking up at 5am to do math, going to school and using every single free class I had to study in the library, spending 4 hours after school at the golf club (doing some sort of physical activity), and coming back home only to pour over my school notes again.
Now typically you’d want to be doing the things I was doing and you’d find my hard work commendable. From afar, I was doing well at school, performing ably at golf, I was “healthy” and “spending my time constructively“. But deep down, I was miserable.
I was hardly ever going out with my friends on the weekends, every free lecture spent mingling usually ended with a guilt trip. Basically my social life was close to non-existent and I was tired all the time. Soon enough, the weariness on my face was seen, first, by my dad and then quickly by my teachers at school.
On one occasion, during the aquatic meet at school, I burst out crying for no apparent reason (it was stress, as I now know it). Everyone around me consoled me, I was taken to the infirmary immediately, my dad was called and I was asked to go home and rest. The next week consisted of wretched days curled up in bed, unable to move, tired, sick, and depressed.
I knew I needed to change then.
I now know that I was suffering from a severe case of being a perfectionist, and over the months, I have learnt a great deal about taking time for myself and not going ballistic about every single minute that I spend on social media, meeting friends, or doing anything besides schoolwork.
It’s essential to work towards living a balanced lifestyle making time for work, friends, family, and setting goals that focus on aspects that are physical, mental, and spiritual.
I learnt this the hard way by going through a complete burn out. I’m much better today and I’m aware that setting unrealistic goals is going to do more harm than good. Instead, I focus on being productive and getting work done in a timely matter so that I can focus first on being happy and calm, instead of being frantic, dispirited and totally worn out.