A Little Self-Care Never Hurt Anybody...

If you're anything like me, you're hard on yourself, like REALLY hard on yourself. So, when things don't turn out as planned, you get a little down and need some serious self-care like I do. 

It's funny how we are harshest on ourselves when we, of all people know how hard we've worked for something, and yet we still give ourselves shit for it. Well, the time to stop acting so high and mighty over ourselves is done. 

It seems like the world of crystals and chakras, essential oils and diffusers is at an all time high, which to me, is awesome because my friends make fun of me MUCH less for the crystals in every pocket of my pants, purse, coat etc. 

So if these things can be so widely accepted now, its safe to say taking a little time each day for some self-love should be right up there too. 

I have a special place in my bedroom that I filled with all my crystals, diffuser, pictures I love, a plant & some books I can reach to when I need a little pick me up. It's very important to have a little sanctuary to retreat to (besides the place EVERYONE knows I love most - my bath tub), where you can get a little personal quiet time to reset, recharge and renew your inner happy kid. 

Some self-care activities I really enjoy include:
 taking a hot bubble bath
reading a biography or self-help book
lighting a candle
blasting some tunes or a podcast
having a cup of tea and hiding in my happy place
catching up on sleep (going to bed early! YES! this is self-care too!)
putting on a face mask
baking
taking a walk
journalling (getting it out helps to ease anxiety)
catching up with a little Netflix

What are ways you practice self-care? I'm always interested in hearing back from you guys! So let me know in the comments below!

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2018, New Year - Same but Improved ME!

We all know resolutions are dropped before January even ends, so that's not what we're going to do this year. No, this year I'm giving myself some attainable goals to achieve in 2018. 

It's very easy to get discouraged when the resolutions or goals are too lofty, so I've decided to set several smaller attainable goals that I can just build on as they get smashed!

My 2018 Goals

  • Drink more water
  • Save money
  • Workout regularly
  • Meal Prep 
  • Get more sleep (have a regular routine)
  • Cut added sugars (this one isn't going to be pretty, but I'm going to try my damnedest!)
  • Take Self-Care more seriously
  • Don't let negative people affect me
  • Watch less TV (this will be hard, I binge like a mother)

What are your goals for 2018?

2017 in Review

An entire year summarized in just a couple paragraphs. I wish it was harder, but this year, was very uneventful personally. However, it doesn't mean I didn't get to experience some really high high's and some very low low's.

Pretty big highs this year included the birth of two of my new favourite gentleman & an adorable little lady. Elliot came into the world in February, Theodore followed suit in April and lastly, Elliot's cousin, Zoe rounded our year of babies out in October. 

In the short time these babes have been in the world it's been wild watching them grow up and even more amazing has been watching the guys I've known since my teens grow into men and then into big marshmallows over their kids - it's been remarkable. 

Another pretty great experience in 2017 was my first trip to Europe in August. A friend found himself smitten with a beautiful english lady and fancied himself a wedding. This meant myself and our merry band of misfits (and 2 of 3 babies!) made the journey to Nottingham England for a charming country wedding.

We spent several days in Nottingham, then all by myself I made my way to London and then on to Amsterdam for a few days before meeting up with my boyfriend and the band he works for. I was able to travel with the band for a week and got to experience a German festival, Antwerp Belgium and Paris. It was an absolutely whirlwind experience and I can't wait to get back to Europe for another adventure.

I must admit the lowest low's rocked the highs in 2017.

In 2017 I lost two coworkers I considered friends to suicide. Two. 

I've never felt shock and numbness like I did in those situations. It's so hard to wrap your mind around the struggles of mental health and knowing someone just couldn't handle their fight on their own. I just wish these friends had reached out and asked for the help that was so readily available to them. 

They may be gone from this physical plane, but the marks they left on those that worked with them and their families & friends will never be fully gone. 

If you are experiencing depression please contact your family doctor for the support you need. And if you're having suicidal thoughts, PLEASE reach out to someone for help. The Ontario Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600 or go to a crisis centre in your local area - listings located here: Distress & Crisis Ontario

Another low this year for me has been in my relationship. Without going into details about this (as it's much too personal to share with the masses as we figure out our situation), it's been a messy road of tears, yelling, anxiety, numbness, anger and some nights spent watching too many romantic comedies and crying.

I've been a little embarrassed about this, I mean, who really wants to admit they're going through something with their partner, but that's life truthfully, and though it's caused me serious heartache, working on fixing it will be the truest challenge I face in 2018. I'm ready and willing to put in the work and so is he.

So it wasn't just events that were high and low this year, but things like my motivation and will power were tested as well. I have a VERY unmotivated 2017 (which is funny because I went back to school and aced my program!), I let my fitness fall to the wayside, I didn't actually update this blog at all & I very seldom wanted to go out and socialize. 

I ate terribly all year & it sucks. You truly do feel the weight of bad choices after awhile. It's scary amazing how your body works I tell you! 

Don't get me wrong, I had a pretty great year this year, I don't want anyone thinking I'm sad, because as of now, I'm not. I've got myself motivated for 2018 and in the next post you'll read all about the plans I've got and the goals I want to set for myself over the next 12 months. 

I must admit, I can't wait! 

My 2017 Goals!

2017 is fast approaching and I wanted to share my goals with you. I try not to set specific timeframes for these goals, they're more things I really want to work on, things I think will help me live a better life. 

Well these are the things I want to try to focus on in 2017, what are you most excited about trying/changing in the new year?

- Carlybellexo

It'll Never Be Me - Until it is - Being Diagnosed with Anxiety

I've always been someone most would consider high strung. Meaning, I'm easily excitable, a little nervous and sensitive at times. I've always been nervous of things like job interviews, meeting people for the first time and making a good impression. I feel like everyone deals with this kind of nervous stress, so this was never something I worried about a lot. Don't get me wrong, I could stress with the best of them, but I always found talking it out, or even just taking time away from the stressor would help quickly. What happened this time, is not like anything I'd ever experienced before. 

Two weeks ago I suffered a pretty severe anxiety attack at work. I kind of just snapped and had a big old fashioned meltdown (Now, I do not want to get into the stressors that both my doctor and myself know caused me to sort of trip and fall over the edge of "high strung" to anxiety). I felt like I was having a heart attack. There was a tightness on my chest that I couldn't shake, I couldn't breathe deeply and I could not stop crying and shaking. I felt like a failure, like everything I had done to that moment wasn't good enough, that nothing I could do would make the situation better. For lack of better words, I felt like I was drowning. I just felt like I couldn't keep my head above water. 

  *This image was on pinterest with no one to give credit to. If this image is yours please contact me and I will give you credit

*This image was on pinterest with no one to give credit to. If this image is yours please contact me and I will give you credit

I had to call my mom to pick me up, because I knew I couldn't continue on. I couldn't think straight, my mind was racing a mile a minute and all I could think about was what had happened, what had been happening all week and more importantly, what was going to happen because of what had just gone down. 

Nothing I could do would calm my nervousness, the pain in my chest or stop me from crying. Now, I want you to know, I am NOT a crier. But this month, I had cried nearly everyday. Little did I know at the time, that the "stress" I was feeling was closer to anxiety attacks. 

 cartoon: @introvertdoodles

cartoon: @introvertdoodles

I went to the emergency room (because my family doctor's after hours clinic was closed Fridays for him to do his rotation in the ER). My heart rate was over 100bpm for a long period of time, so they put me into a quiet room to calm down and relax while I waited for the doctor on call. 

THANKFULLY, they sent in my own family doctor to talk to me. I think this made explaining the situation a lot more comfortable for me. I cried a lot more, I shook and I discussed with him how I felt about the environment I was in, and how it made me feel. We agreed the best course of action (FOR ME) was to pull me out of the situations that had sent me spiralling into anxiety attacks. 

We also reached the conclusion together that I should try some anti-anxiety medication to help balance me back out. I'm not usually a person that accepts prescriptions for medication. I don't necessarily agree with putting things into my body that could do harm in the long term, but at this point in my life, feeling as desperately lost and, for lack of better term out of control of my own thoughts, I accepted. 

 It helps me to see someone I respect like Kristen Bell openly and fearlessly talking about her struggle. No one should make you feel bad for trying to get yourself better, no one. Don't ever let them. (below is the video of the full interview she did)

It helps me to see someone I respect like Kristen Bell openly and fearlessly talking about her struggle. No one should make you feel bad for trying to get yourself better, no one. Don't ever let them. (below is the video of the full interview she did)

It's been a week and 2 days since I left work. Every day has been a struggle. I haven't been able to sleep, I found the medication I was put on would help more for an immediate attack and not necessarily support me in more of a constant balance. I made another appointment to meet with my doctor (which he told me to do so we could see how I was making out after my initial visit) and we decided to change the medication to another anti-anxiety pill, but one that is more slow acting, so it lasts longer in helping to balance my nerves. I'm finding already, 2 days in, they are helping me feel a little more like myself, a person I've missed for over a month. 

Dealing with friends and family is another hurdle I'm trying to gracefully tackle. So many people have been asking me how I feel and offering their advice on how I can "get over it". Everything from the looks people are giving me, to the simple "don't think about it" causes more stress for me. It's hard to turn your brain off, no matter how much you know what you're thinking isn't rational. I know everyone is trying to offer support from the outside, but really, if you haven't been plagued with these irrational thoughts all the time, it's so hard to understand. It's like I'm constantly battling my own brain to maintain some sense of normal. 

  *This image was found on pinterest with no credit given. If this is your image please contact me and I will give you credit for it here.

*This image was found on pinterest with no credit given. If this is your image please contact me and I will give you credit for it here.

I've always been a huge supporter of mental health issues because they can and do affect so many more people than you think. Your neighbour, the one smiling brightly and cheerfully, they could be suffering inside and hiding it. Your boss could be suffering, and that could be why they're a little harder on you. Your mom, your brother, your father, your sister - Anxiety isn't a death sentence, but to someone suffering it can feel like it. Please remember to try to offer support without simply dismissing how they feel. 

You can help someone suffering with anxiety just by being there. Listening to them talk, because even though they're worried about things you know to be not true (they are aware their fears are irrational too, but they just can't control the way their brain handles this), just listen, support them when they're having a good day, support them even more when they're not. Try not to constantly talk about their anxiety, often that little bit of normality can help them feel closer to calm. At the same time, try not to get upset with them if they're having a particularly bad day. Try not to let their anxieties pull you in as well, because you need to protect your mental health as well as support theirs. 

Lastly, I wanted to share this video of Kristen Bell talking about her struggle with anxiety and depression. Often times people can suffer from both, which makes their struggle even harder for them to deal with. Anxiety and Depression can and do happen to everyone, don't feel alone or "crazy". You're you and you're allowed to feel how you do. Just know there are many people out there suffering from the same things and we are just a few key clicks away for support.

Have a good day my lovelies.
  - Carlybellexo