Quarantine Blues

Quarantine Blues

I think a lot of us can say that we went through a lot of ups and downs throughout this quarantine. I know for me, in the start I was doing good: staying productive, reading, and doing some much needed self care. As the weeks passed by, however, I started to feel more and more upset by everything that was going on in the world. It was so unusual to see how everything changed within a matter of days.

Over the months, I have tried a lot of things to stay sane and feel happy. I went through a good amount of periods where I wasn’t feeling too good about myself and my life, coming out of those phases really taught me a lot about how to be mentally strong and healthy.

I think the most important thing I have learnt is that whenever I feel a low mood coming on I don’t try to change how I’m feeling. In the past whenever I had days where I felt sad and demotivated I would try my best to put on a happy face and just ‘push through’ the day. What would end up happening later is that all those neglected feelings would come back in the form of a breakdown where I would cry for hours and hours on end and end up feeling worse. I find that when I just accept that I am having a bad day and try to not be too harsh on myself, I feel that I can easily move on from those feelings and feel better.

Talking about how I’m feeling whether it be with a friend or a family member also helps so so much. It took me a lot of time to finally learn that it was okay for me to talk about how I was feeling, rather than bottling up all my emotions. This is another reason why I recommend seeing a therapist because my mental health has improved substantially ever since I began my journey with therapy.

Meditating is definitely the best thing that I started to include in my routine this year. I’ve been feeling more calm and happy and my anxiety has reduced a lot just by setting aside 5-10 minutes everyday to meditate.

As some of the restrictions are starting to lift off, meeting up with friends is a good idea and is something I am definitely looking forward to. I recently took a long drive to see my friend who lives in another city. It was so good to see a close friend after a very long time and I definitely came back home feeling happy and relaxed.

In the end, it’s important to remember that a lot of us are experiencing loneliness and difficulty with our mental health during this uncertain time – you are not alone. It’s essential to always take care of ourselves and make time to talk to our family and friends, whether it be through text, a video call, or even in person. Working on our hobbies and having a list of things to do in the day are some of the things that we should try to do daily just to be busy and not feel bored and unhappy.

Anorexia

Anorexia

10th Grade

I was beginning to come to terms with the fact that something was wrong with me. My body was changing – for the worse, yet the only thing that mattered to me was the number on the scale. I paid no mind to the fact that I was starting to feel less and less energetic as the days passed along, everything seemed tiring and dull, even talking seemed like such a weary activity that I would just be silent and never actually participate in a conversation. I was in the worst stage of my eating disorder at the age of fifteen. I would walk down the hallway in school and get stares from everyone because I was so sickeningly skinny. People were coming to my friends and asking them if I was okay.

I wasn’t.

Many times I would think about how I could actually improve – start eating like a normal person and not worry about the way I looked. These thoughts would come and go and, sometimes, I would act upon those thoughts and take an action. I would go out and eat an actual meal…but then the guilt would consume me and I’d start to feel terrible. I would think of myself as a failure “how could I have done that to myself?” and for the next few days I would be even more strict with myself. I was trapped and I didn’t know how I could get out of the damaging cycle.

Lying seemed so easy then and I was getting better at it day by day. I was lying to my best friends, lying to my parents, lying to my teachers; they were all so concerned about me but I just couldn’t stop myself from going down the wrong path. I was frustrated and tired and I even though I wanted to change the voice inside my head would always win and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of helplessness.

Overtime things only seemed to get worse and I was unaware of how badly I was harming myself. As my weight continued to go down, I began to lose all of my strength. My skin was pale and dry, my hair was falling out, my nails were brittle and I didn’t look anything like a 15 year old. I was starting to become more and more irritable and bitter as the days went by and I was no longer the bubbly, happy person that everyone knew me as.

As the time of my GCSEs came around, I decided to make a change and I began to eat more food simply because I wanted to do well on my exams. I was still eating very little for a girl of my age, but it was certainly a huge improvement for me. I was beginning to get some colour back on my skin and my energy levels started to increase. I was on the right path.

I knew I had to make this change for myself because I didn’t want my scores to be affected as a result of my eating disorder since it had already harmed every other area of my life: I didn’t have any energy or strength and so I performed worse than ever in my golf tournaments, I was bitter and mean to all my friends and family since the topic of each of our conversations always revolved around how sick I had become, and I was no longer interested in any of my hobbies as the only thing that was of importance to me was food. I knew that if I didn’t perform well in my exams, my future would be harmed and I wasn’t willing to take that risk. Something switched during that period of time and I was no longer concerned about food as much as I was about writing the biggest exams of my life yet.

And that is how my journey through recovery began.

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.

goodbye, Ed

goodbye, Ed

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

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.