One Day at a Time

I’ve switched provinces twice since my last post. Our time in British Columbia came to an end just as summer was beginning. Will finished up his second semester of the art therapy program and we promptly packed up what little we had in our tiny apartment and headed back east.

 

After a very difficult (and expensive) year we decided that life in Nelson wasn’t working for us and so Will made the choice to continue his program as a distance student. We spent the summer in Quebec working our usual seasonal jobs and in September we packed up again and made our way back to Newfoundland. There was a lot of uncertainty about moving back to the island at first but as things started falling into place we knew it was the right thing to do.

Being home again has had it’s ups and downs. A lot has changed and sometimes I feel like I don’t belong here anymore. I’m sure I’ve changed as well. I experienced a lot of new things in B.C (both good and bad) and my time there certainly left it’s mark on me. St. John’s feels familiar and comforting, which is something I desperately needed after my year away, but it doesn’t exactly feel like home anymore. I live here, but I’m not truly living here, if that makes sense. Will finishes school in a few months and I’m hoping once we settle down and start doing regular life stuff that feeling will fade. I haven’t been able to settle in and get comfortable anywhere in the last 5 years, we’ve always been on the move. Putting down some roots here will be a welcomed change.

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Right now we’re trying to take things slowly. I’ve taken some time off work to deal with a health problem and focus on my art and Will is busy writing his thesis. I’m not entirely sure what the future holds so I’m doing my best to focus on the present and enjoy everything around me.

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How to feel better

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I think it’s time to admit that I’m not doing the greatest. As someone who moves around a lot (I’ve lived in 4 different places during the last 4 years) I expected the move to British Columbia to be difficult, but I honestly had no idea how much of a toll it would take on my physical and emotional well-being. It’s not one thing in particular, like missing my family or adjusting to life in a smaller town, but a lot of things that have come to together to make life much less enjoyable than it was before.

I’ve been in ruts before, felt stuck in less than ideal situations, and have dealt with periods of major depression. I know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, or some joy to be found in the unlikeliest of places. I try to be patient and remind myself that while it feels like there’s a big ol’ raincloud over my head right now, the world is always changing. Something incredibly awesome could be right around the corner. Most of the time that’s enough to keep me going. The incredibly awesome thing for me is that we get to go home in May so we can go back to doing all the things we’re used to doing…like snuggling animals, eating poutine, and going on adventures.

In the meantime I’ve been trying to take care of myself as best I can since I tend to be hard on myself when I’m sad. I criticize myself for not making more art, I get upset about my appearance, and I start comparing my life to that of other people who seem to have a lot more going on. I’ve been trying very hard to fight against the negativity and keep myself from falling into a pit of despair. Here’s some things I’ve been doing to help myself get through it.

Make myself laugh

Will and I usually spend most of our time laughing at stuff anyway. When he’s busy with school stuff or gone out doing something sporty I throw on some youtube clips of my favorite comedians or watch a tv show that gets me smiling. Cute animal videos and using those odd but hilarious Snapchat filters with friends are also good for this.

Plan some adventures

I love traveling and discovering new places, but there hasn’t been much of that due to Will being in school and the winter conditions making it difficult to travel. Since we’ll be hitting the road and heading home in a few months we’re looking at maps and planning stops along the way. Parks Canada is offering free passes to national parks across the country this year so I made sure to get one so we can visit some awesome new places. It just so happens to be Canada’s 150th birthday as well so there’s going to be a lot of neat things to check out. Visit the website here to see what’s happening in your area, there’s also an app for your phone that will give you event listings based on your location. How awesome is that?!

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 Eat well, work out

We’ve been doing a lot of stress eating over the last few months. I really have been trying to eat better but with the cost of food being so high and the sadness being what it is, I haven’t been living the healthiest lifestyle. I do have a few healthy recipes I ‘m trying to get back into rotation, such as this really great avocado pasta sauce and having a bowl of baked apples with some greek yogurt in the mornings. Here are some good food recipe sites to check out:

Green Kitchen Stories

Oh She Glows

Alexandra’s Kitchen

Along with eating better, I’m also making sure I do some kind a physical activity every day. I go for a spin on a stationary bike, do pilates, or go for a long walk. Will is very athletic and is always off biking and skiing, so there’s been no impact on his waistline whatsoever. I’m pretty jealous.

 Make something

Because I’m a professional artist (some of the time, at least), being creative can actually be a pretty big source of stress for me. It feels awful to be stuck in a rut or feel uninspired. My creativity seems to being coming and going a lot. I’ll have a week where I make a bunch of stuff and feel super excited about it, then for some reason I’ll start to feel like nothing is working out well and I’ll go a month without being able to finish anything I start. Our apartment is dark and there isn’t anywhere for me to set up a proper workspace, so unless I can work on it while sitting on the on the couch, it’s not happening. It’s important to me to keep trying though, so when one thing doesn’t work for me, I find some other way to work out my creative frustration. When I stop being able to paint, I switch to photography for a while, or needle felting. I recently started a video log as well so I could brush up on my video editing skills. Even doing a simple DIY project found on Pinterest can make me feel better.

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Show myself some love

This one can be difficult. I can really be my own worst enemy. I’m trying not to get too down about not accomplishing as much as I’d like, or feeling like I’m not as pretty as I used to be (mostly because I don’t have a reason to dress nicely and put on make up, so I don’t). Moving meant leaving a lot of my favourite people, places, and things behind and I usually need all of that to cope. I’m not able to cheer myself up by going for a walk to a duckpond anymore, I can’t easily go to a gallery or sit in a cozy cafe with my best friends and observe the world through a window. I’ve been having to come up with new ways to perk myself up, which honestly has been really hard because I don’t have much to work with. I’ve been finding this self care sheet pretty good for getting me though the worst bits.

Show someone else some love

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This one is important. There’s obviously more than just me going through a sad transitionary phase at the moment. One thing that makes me feel better is taking the focus off myself and asking someone else how they’re doing. If someone I know is having a hard day I ask them if there’s anything I can do to help. Making myself smile is great, but what really makes me happy is having someone to smile with.

So there’s a few things I do to help cheer myself up when things aren’t going great. Maybe you might find it helpful if you’re in the same boat and if you are, just remember what I said about the world always changing and something awesome being around around the corner. There have been times where I honestly thought that I’d never be happy again and each time I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Also, if things get really bad, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it, because I’ve been in that situation too and talking to someone (either a professional or someone you trust) really truly helped.

 

On Moving

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Will and I have been living in British Columbia for over a month now. We’ve settled into our apartment, roughly figured out how to get around town, and Will has started classes.

I’d definitely be lying if I said I loved it here and never wanted to leave, which is what I originally thought was going to happen. As soon as we reached the area where the flatness of the prairies swoops up into massive snow capped mountains, I fell in love. I’d never seen anything like it. However we keep encountering things that we know we couldn’t live with, such as the cost of living, crowds of people everywhere, and the distance between us and our friends and family. While there are some things we love about this province, the hope of me finding my forever home here quickly diminished.

I don’t know. I probably haven’t given it enough of a chance either. I know that meeting some people would probably help me adjust more, but at the same time when I’ve gone out to be around people, or to a social gathering I’ve felt more alienated. I’m just not the sort of person who does well here I guess. This town seems to attract people with certain interests, starving artists, college students, and people who want to live the hippy lifestyle. I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I’m an artist yes, but I’m not really putting myself out there these days. I feel like because I don’t really fit in style wise either, I don’t look like I’m interesting or worth talking to.

The times I’ve enjoyed the most were when Will and I have gotten away from all the people and found a nice quiet hiking trail, or when we’ve visited nearby towns that aren’t popular places for tourists. Being able to walk freely without someone bumping into me every couple of minutes. I will gladly take all of the quite little pretty spots that BC has to offer.

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Pretty Skies and Cute Ducks

We’ve been having some nice sunny weather here in St. John’s. The snow is melting and Will and I have been trying to take advantage of that by going to the park to walk around, look at people’s dogs (we want one of our own so badly!), and take photos. Even though the sun has been coming out, its still freezing cold, but it looks like it might be warming up a bit in the next few days. We also had an epic red sky last night, which is usually an indication of nice weather

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even though I haven’t been feeling very well lately, I’ve been trying to get outside more for some fresh air and exercise. Bowring Park is one of my favourite places to visit in the city. There’s walking trails, Peter Pan themed sculptures, a Greenhouse, and lots of ducks!

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This year they’ve added a rather silly goose to the duck pond, as well as some very cute little Tufted ducks.

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I’m really looking forward to when winter is over so we can spend more time outside without freezing out fingers off. I’m hoping my blog content might get more exciting too. I’d like to do some outfit posts as well as share some recipes and talk about our travels.

Here’s some bonus shots of my super tired face and Will with a pretty sunset. I might post a bit about make up as well since that’s one thing I use to perk myself up when I’m not feeling the greatest. Wearing a nice bold lipstick or a wash of color across my eyelids always makes me feel happy.

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Reset

Its hard to form any kind of routine when you’re always in the process of relocating from one place to another. Habits, both good and bad are formed and after a year or so you get used to a kind of normal that would seem intolerable to others. While I’ve managed to get used to living in two drastically different places, sometimes the stress of it all starts wearing me down. Right now we’re in the process of waiting to see where the next move will be and as much as I love St. John’s I can’t wait to start a new adventure, especially one that involves staying put for a couple of years.

Back to the whole stress bit, lately I’ve been feeling super tired and irritable. I haven’t been eating or sleeping properly, my creativity seems to have disappeared, and all I want to do is camp out on the couch under a blanket while marathoning Parks and Recreation. In an effort to focus on the positive and be less distracted, I decided to get off Facebook and Instagram, at least for a little while. I wanted to start this blog up again so I could have a space to write my thoughts, reflect, and share the best aspects of my life.

One thing I’m doing to help get myself get back on track is changing my diet up a bit.

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Will and the little bread bear

I definitely overindulged in sweeties over the holidays and now my body is getting the slow sluggish feeling that comes from depriving it of healthy foods. Thankfully Will and I enjoy cooking so a goal for this year is to try some new recipes that will make our bellies happy and healthy.

I had the craving for something sweet today so I decided to make some cookie dough bites. These are great because they’re quick to throw together, don’t require an oven, and you get protein, vitamins, and minerals. Awesome.

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The recipe can be found here. I used blackcurrant flavoured maple syrup instead of regular, which brings an exciting flavour to the cookie party. I also used cocoa nibs instead of chocolate chips because I like their crunchiness and they have a nice chocolaty taste without being sweet.

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I’ve found that sometimes the dough turns out sort of sticky, which makes it hard to form it into balls. Greasing your hands up with some coconut oil solves that problem.

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I hope to have some more recipe tests, travel tales, and pictures of projects I’m working on up here in the future. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping that leaving facebook will drive me to be more creative and go outside more.