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.

 

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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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Big Mofo

What I Wore: When I Gave UP

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Its been a very long time since I’ve done one of these outfit drawings. The intent was always there, but because of several changes to my life, I didn’t have the drive to sit down and draw.

Some people in my life know that I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for several years. It’s not really something I like talking about though so it might be news to a lot of you. I’ve had some very good times and some very very bad times. One way I’ve learned to cope with all the awful feelings in my head is to focus on keeping the rest of my body happy. Keeping myself healthy and putting effort into looking good (to myself, because I’m not great at following trends) does wonders for me on a bad day. I’m also very big on routines and scheduling my time. Waking up early, getting work done, making sure I have time for exercise, seeing friends, and whatever else comes at me. This way of life kept me functioning as a person and usually stopped me from hiding under a bunch of blankets until a couple of years ago when I decided to make some big changes. I ended up in a drastically different situation than I had been in before. I haven’t spent more than 6 months in the same city and as soon as I find myself settling in, I have to pack up and move again. Some people would hate living like that, however it doesn’t bother me all that much. It’s actually pretty exciting for me and I’ve gotten used to living with the essentials, I don’t even own a TV!

The only downside to my life at the moment is that my routine has been thrown out the window, I don’t really feel much like wearing makeup anymore, and the clothing that used to make me feel great about my body no longer suits my lifestyle. I’ve also adapted some of my boyfriend’s eating habits, and while he can eat a steady diet of junk food and still maintain the body of a greek statue, I cannot. I’ve gradually become less healthy, which has caused changes in my skin as well as thinning hair. My self-esteem has been slowly vanishing and despite trying really hard to ignore it, I’m definitely depressed.

In short, I’m a mess.

Yesterday it all sort of came to a boiling point. I threw my pleather jacket on over my hoodie and headed out the door to run some errands with my mom. I caught my reflection in a glass window and was like “oh, oh no, this is not good, why do I look and feel so awful all the time?” I spent the night in deep reflection, trying to figure out how I got to this point and why looking good was so important to me. I realized it isn’t so much about looking good as it is about how I make myself feel good. It never occurred to me that giving up on my routine was basically giving up on myself.

So now that I’ve figured out why I feel bad, I have to figure out how to fix it.

Scheduling my time and coming up with a routine is going to be hard, especially since I share my time Will now and in a couple of months we could be moving again. I think its definitely going to be a work in progress until we settle in again, especially since the next move we make will hopefully be for at least two years.

I’m going to try to put effort into looking good and feeling comfortable with myself again. A few weeks ago I did that whole “minimalist wardrobe” thing were you purge all your useless stuff and keep only the things you love and have worn over the last 6 months. This is a bit of an extra challenge for me because every 6 months I switch between cities with drastically different weather. So I ended up keeping some extra things that I love, but don’t get to wear very often because they are too warm for Quebec in the summer. The minimalist wardrobe purge did say that the process would help you figure out your personal style, but I kind of just ended up with a bunch of things that I wear out of necessity and I honestly wasn’t thrilled about putting on every day. So I went out and raided the sale rack at my favourite store for some new things that look good on my body and will fit with my lifestyle. I’m also trying to put more effort into caring for my skin and putting pretty colors on my face more often.

As for getting back to a healthy place again, that is definitely going to take a lot of effort. I’ve been trying to eat better for the last few weeks but I keep getting distracted by chocolate and bubble waffles.

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Will’s face though.

I have to crack down on my diet and I’m going to try to pick up running again, even though it makes me feel tired and awful the next day. It gets better eventually, right? hopefully a change in diet and less stress from being sad will also make my hair happy again.

Its going to take a lot of effort but I’m really hoping I can get both my mental and physical self back to where it was again.