What's On My Feeling Myself Playlist + Why You Should Have One Too

Hello Lovely,

I love how music transforms my mood! I love creating playlists on my phone. Years ago I used to have a playlist for when I was Feeling Myself. It was filled with confidence boosting songs that always put me in a good mood. Of course over time, the songs on that list changed, but this still elicit the same happy response. When these songs come up on my shuffle, I can’t resist the urge to dance in the car and I feel super pumped. It’s an instant get-out-of-your-head anxiety-helper. That’s why it’s a huge part of my self-care routine.

I can’t do sad or even slow music because I just don’t like being in my feelings. My choice in music is a conscious tool in making myself feel better. I wanted to compile a list of some of my favourite make-me-ridiculously-happy songs.  For some reason my phone refuses to save my playlist so I’m always losing it. But luckily with Spotify, it’s always saved.

Everyone should make a playlist. Whether it’s your workout playlist, a daily commute playlist, or a party playlist. I usually listen to my music on shuffle to ensure I listen to all of my music equally, but if you’re in a mood for a certain type of music, then gather those songs together in one playlist. Maybe you want a playlist for just Soca music? Create the playlist, then go through your music library and add each song that fits that genre. Maybe you know that listening to certain songs makes you feel better when you’re down or angry. Instead of having to search for them, they’ll all be available on one list.

So which playlists do you like to listen to? If you haven’t made one yet, or you just feel like making another one, what’s your next playlist going to be? Share your faves in the comment section below!

What’s on your self-care playlist? Share your favourite mood boosting songs in the comments below.

Don’t forget to Pin for later!

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Ask Olivia: My Mother is The Reason I Have a Food Addiction

Hello lovley,

I haven’t done an Ask Olivia session in forever and I’m so sorry about that. I love when you guys send in your questions and seek advice. Lately I’ve responded on a one-on-one basis, but when I got this request, I had to share:

Hey Olivia,

My mum and I have never gotten along. She would get mad at me for nothing and always told me she hates me. She never says thank you, doesn't appreciate anything I do and won’t even give me keys to the house. She breathes down my neck all day and says hurtful things like I'm stupid and fat. She insists I’ve gained 20 lbs. when I’ve actually lost 20 lbs. and still continue to exercise. The worst part is, she now has dementia. Despite all of this, I still have respect for her, and do everything she asks of me. But when she gets on me about my weight, I start to stress eat and pick up unhealthy food to eat. Food has become a source of comfort, but I can’t let it or her destroy me. What should I do?

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Dear Reader,

I'm really sorry your mother treats you like this, but I’m also very proud of the way you manage to maintain respect for her. That is not an easy thing to do and says a lot about your character. I know its hard to be polite in the face of such disrespect, but given that she is your mother, whom you live with, limiting your interactions with her doesn’t sound like much of an option. However, I would suggest if moving out isn’t an option right now, arrange your daily schedule in such a way that you create boundaries between the two of you (ex: Getting up at a time you wouldn’t have to talk to her, finding activities that keep you away from the house etc.)If your interactions with her are the reason, you’re overeating, then your interactions with her and food have to change. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that eating too much in one sitting or taking in too many calories throughout the day are common habits that can be hard to break. There may even be moments you enjoy being around her, that draw you into communication, but it turns south and then you’re turning to food.

From a psychological point of view, the reason food feels like a source of comfort is because many highly processed foods trigger the reward centres in the brain. People begin eating these foods because they release endorphins and “feel good” neurotransmitters, which can temporarily relieve emotional distress. But no amount of temporary relief can compensate for the life long damage you're causing.

Meal planning is optimal to help you gain control of your overall food intake. Meal planning also involves keeping healthy snacks around for those binge moments. Too much of even a good thing is bad, but it’s still better to keep healthy options around that won't set you back too far.

Lastly try emphasising stress management techniques such as meditation, walking, or talking to a friend or therapist to help you deal with the underlying issues promoting stress. As 'long as you allow your mother's words to hurt you, that will constantly play in the back of your mind (subconscious) and drive you to seek comfort in the unhealthy behavior. You can’t change the person, only how you react to them. This is where its important to build new healthy habits, or strengthen those you already do.

I hope this advice has been helpful. If you or anyone else you know is struggling with an addiction , do not hesitate to get help. Check out some resources below:

Food Addiction | Signs, Symptoms, Depression & Statistics

Do I Have A Food Addiction? | Psychology Today

11 Grown-Ass Strategies For Handling Your Mom If She's Toxic - Bustle

Surviving the Toxic Parent | Psychology Today

If you would like to ask a question, shoot me a message in the form below. Just put Ask Olivia in the subject:

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I Had An Anxiety Attack in A Beauty Supply Store

Hello Lovely,

I want to start this post by acknowledging that admitting this could be misinterpreted and may even be damaging to my career. But I honestly found so much therapeutic power in documenting this breakdown. You should know that for over ten years I have struggled with generalized anxiety disorder. But this past Tuesday was just embarrassing. For the past month, I haven't been able to decide what to do with my hair and it's been starting to stress me out. You may have seen various photos of me in different wigs. While wigs can be so fun, what they really are sometimes is a sign that I have no idea what to do with my hair. But a part of my hair care regimen dictates regular hair treatments and I was overdue.

Feeling pressured I told my hair stylist to pick a style and went with the first thing she suggested, crochet. I've never had crochet braids before but I figured it shouldn't be too bad. Problem is, I couldn't decide what type of crochet hair I wanted, and I honestly don’t know much about weave. Eventually I decided I wanted a "Afro twist out" look. So I drove around for two days, going to five different stores. In the last store I picked up 5 packs. At the thought that it would cost me $50 I started to second guess if it was worth it. I held the hair up to my face, but I just couldn’t picture it. All I saw were faux locs, box braids or Havana or Sengalese twist (none of which I wanted). Without much options, I began to feel trapped, which led to, you guessed it, an anxiety attack.

I immediately called one of my best friends, crying in a beauty supply store wanting to just curl in a ball on the floor and hope no one saw me. My chest hurt and I became angry with myself for being so indecisive. I dropped my first choice and considered leaving the store and returning with someone else to help me make up my mind. I called my hairstylist to ask her a million questions about the cheaper Havana twists before deciding, it would work. I waited to cash out, breathing deeply as I hoped no one would notice that I had been crying. But when I got home and told my mum what happened, I started crying all over again. My chest got tight all over again and I just wanted the floor to swallow me. I couldn't make a simple decision and I felt stupid for it. It took me talking to two different people, crying, eating a cupcake, sipping red wine hot chocolate and writing an entire thread just to calm down. Worst I feel like I failed myself for not being more in control.

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I SHARE THESE STORIES + PERSONAL BITS BECAUSE I KNOW HOW HELPFUL IT CAN BE.

If I were a reader and were going through something like this, I know it would help to read that someone else had gone through it too and reading their words would help me to feel a little bit better and to know that I wasn’t going through it alone. I share the less shiny, unfiltered moments of my life with you here because I think it’s important to be real with you and talk about the lows just as much as the highs.

Anxiety is not easy because I never know when something will trigger it. Someways it's big things, some days it's little things like me thinking a little too long about what someone said to me. Yet I'm super calm in most crisis situations and never overreact at work.

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SO WHAT NOW?

I got my hair done last night. My hairstylist was super encouraging during the process and I felt the weight lifted off me as she worked. Anxiety is something I deal with everyday. Luckily I know most of my triggers and I’m able to stay away from there, but it’s really hard when things you couldn’t plan for happen. I continue to reach out to various support groups and write in my self-care journal, which is so much fun to use!

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If this post helped you or spoke to you in anyway, please feel free to drop a word of encouragement in the comment section below. If you need advice for dealing with your own anxiety, feel free to fill out the form above and I’ll be touch.

How To Use My New Planners To Kick Off 2019 The Right Way

Hello Lovely,

Do you have goals for 2019? The holiday season is over now and it’s almost time to return to work. So after a couple of weeks of excess, it’s time to get back to it, bring that self-discipline and determination back and get it done. Staying on track after the initial high of motivation can be tough, though. This is why people often opt out of making New Year’s resolutions. But the fresh start that a new year brings should never be overlooked; it’s an opportunity to go after what truly makes you happy from a fresh perspective. That’s where these planners can really help you.

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As a thank you to everyone who has been such an amazing support over the past year, I am giving away two free printables to help you prioritise self-care and plan self-care activities for every day of the month. These sheets are actually a part of a bundle deal that I’m releasing today, called “How To Own Your Sh*t”. The bundle sells for only $10. The bundle includes a fitness planner, ($6 if bought separately) and a self-care workbook with 30 activities ($6 if bought separately). The fitness planner comes with 5 healthy recipes to get you started, easy workouts and it allows you to easily record your meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks; keep track of your daily activity and exercises; and has space for reflection to allow you to improve every week. There’s even links for three of my favourite at-home workouts. While the self-care workbook has 30 different activities ranging from silly confidence boosters to deep introspective creative writing.

All planners are easy to print and put together, and if you live in Nassau, I’ll print the planner for you if you want. A small delivery fee of $2 will be charged. Purchase the Self Care Planner here and the Fitness Planner here. Or buy them both here.

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I Spent a Week Indulging in Self Care—Here’s What I Did

Hello lovely,

I love being busy. I usually tell people I thrive on busyness. I do my best work when there’s a little pressure on me to get everything done, and I’ve always been the person who puts a lot on her plate.

But lately, my balance has been off and I probably bit off more than I could chew. I knew something was wrong two weeks ago, when I found myself getting annoyed at every little thing. I even exploded on my boyfriend (more than once).

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love my blog and I love having a full agenda. But… I’m exhausted and could use some much needed time away from the stress. So, I embarked on a week full of stress relief, self-reflection, and serious me-time.

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SUNDAY - FRIENDSGIVING

I began my week with a friendsgiving dinner by my best friend Richard’s house. It’s our second year doing this, and even with the usual delays we had a blast. It was great catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in over a month. Our group of friends love and fight like family, but the best part about this family is that I chose these people, so I’m happiest when I’m around them!

MONDAY - THE SIMS 4 AND QUALITY TIME

I’m really loving the new Sims 4 expansion pack: Get Famous. It’s probably the best expansion pack we’ve had since University Life in Sims 2. So I feel really relaxed and happy, when I can zone out for an hour or two and just enjoy it. I also got to spend some much needed quality time with my boyfriend. I finally got to watch the Patriot Act by Hasan Minhaj and everyone needs to watch that show!

TUESDAY - TIANA AND A NAP

On Tuesday Tiana surprised me at work. It’s always great to see my bestie, and Tuesday was a really slow day for me mentally so it was a much needed break. We walked around the campus, talking to students and teachers as we passed them. It was a much needed distraction. When I went home, I took a nap without setting an alarm. I felt really refreshed after that nap and was still able to get much needed work done.

WEDNESDAY - HALF=EARLY WORKOUT

Working in a school comes with it’s perks, like half days. We had an early dismissal on Wednesday because the high school’s Carol Service was that evening. So with this extra time, I was really excited to squeeze in an early workout. No one was on the park (not even my trainer who got there when I finished my last set of squats). It was so peaceful and exactly what I needed.

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THURSDAY - NAILS AND A PARTY

I normally get my nails done every two weeks, but my last nail design lasted three weeks. This time I was super excited to get a winter design because I’m counting down the days to Christmas! I ended the day at the Elevation Awards Nominee Announcement Party where I was nominated for Blog of The Year for a 2nd consecutive year. I’m really feeling confident this year as a contender!

FRIDAY - A NAP AND GAME NIGHT

Friday was particularly stressful. The day before, the principal of another school on the island died of a heart attack and was found slumped over his desk. This was probably the biggest eyeopener because today everything continued as normal. I’ve always read memes about not killing yourself for a job that will replace you when you die, but this was real. All of the guidance counsellors at my school vowed to never take our job home with us and enjoy time with family this weekend. At work, I’m one of the people responsible for our school’s Christmas play and child actors are probably the worst. If that wasn’t enough, before leaving there was drama that had to be investigated only to find out none of it was true. After work I was pretty exhausted. I wanted to get sushi but that didn’t work out because I totally fell asleep. While I was sad about the sushi, I have to admit, that nap left me feeling really rejuvenated. I ended the night playing the Sims again and all was right with the world.

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SATURDAY - VOLUNTEER WORK, CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AND CHRISTMAS MOVIES

This was probably the best day out of the week, although the way it started, it didn’t look like it would end well. I stopped for gas on my way to a community service event and ended up in a fender bender at the pump. Luckily it wasn’t severe. After the community service event, my mum and I ran some errands. We went looking for ornaments and found six that we really liked, but the options here really aren’t diverse enough. After checking out two lots we settled on THE tree for $125. My beau lifted the tree like it weighed nothing and got it in the stand for us like a pro. We watched a Lifetime Christmas movie together (A Very Nutty Christmas) and then I watched a A Twist of Christmas by myself. It was such a relaxing end to what could’ve been a stressful day and the perfect end to a week of self-care.

My week of self-care is officially over as I write this, and I’ve never felt so at ease and ready for the next week to begin. I feel an overall sense of calm, through mind and body. I also feel more confident in myself. I have a deeper sense of self-awareness, and my beau and I are communicating better than ever now that I’m coping better with stress as it arises.

If there’s anything this week taught me, it’s that self-care is the most critical thing anyone can do for themselves. Each act will look different for everyone but it has to be done intentionally. Now it’s your turn. I challenge you to take a week of self-care. You don’t have to start on Sunday, just indulge in self-care activities for 7 days. Pay attention to what makes you happy and what stress you out. Adjust and make time for yourself.

Why I'm Afraid To Get Too Personal On My Blog

Hello Lovely,

In an age of oversharing, it's easy to become that person who snaps a photo of every single meal, document every part of your vacation and broadcast relationship troubles. We're encouraged to be open and speak our minds. We've learning keeping secrets can be dangerous and we've reframed many hurtful labels. All of which I'm sure has been to help society become more open-minded, uninhibited and explorative creatures. But is there a price to being so open? What are the real risks? I originally started this blog as something to do while I looked for work, but over time it's become very therapeutic for me; giving me a reason to get up, get out and try new things. And when the feedback started coming in, the positivity encouraged me to do more, share more. But lately, I haven't wanted to share as much. It wasn't until I started reading, Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis that I realised how much I was really holding back and how superficial a lot of my content had become. If you want to check out the book for yourself, it's available on Amazon - I totally recommend it.

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What are my insecurities? This isn't one of those posts where I can simply list the reasons. A lot of my reasons are intertwined. When I really think about what stops me from getting too personal it's one thing: fear of backlash. I wish I could share about my weight struggles without people complaining that I'm delusional because I'm skinny and there are people with real weight problems. But what people don't know is I often receive unnecessary comments on my weight with people asking if I'm pregnant. I wish I could share about my mental health struggles without fear that a future employer would see this and think I'm too unstable for the job. I wish I could share about my relationship issues without my exes feeling vindicated somehow. Or the fact that sometimes, even after undergoing surgery at 19, I still have bladder accidents and wet myself. And as much as I wanted to share that a few weeks ago I went to the police because I feared someone I only went on two dates with might have been stalking me, I just couldn't find the strength.

What makes it worse, is for the past five years, I've worked with really vindictive people. The kind who go out of their way to get you fired by setting you up to fail or outright lying on you. And if they had access to my deepest personal problems, I just knew they would find a way to use it against me. None of this has been easy to deal with. I mean what's the point of owning a personal blog if you can't truly be yourself on it, right?

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So how have I been dealing with it? I recently started sharing more Instagram stories. I realised a good way to get personal is to get more real on social media. One thing I'm secretly insecure about is the sound of my voice. I can't explain it, I just don't like the sound of my own voice. So years ago I assumed others don't either and haven't been much for speaking. (Hence why blogging is so appealing and I never tried vlogging). But by sharing videos of the various stages of recipes I try or videos of myself getting ready or hanging out with friends, I'm getting more comfortable with speaking in front of people. I always thought people would look at me strangely if I'm recording a video in public, like I would look vain or something. To challenge myself, I went to a wine tasting (where I wrote a small portion of this post) and took selfies and a boomerang while at a table with other people. Was I self-concious? Of course I was. But I knew the fear of what others think about me was crippling my growth so I had to do something about it.

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The same with working out. When I was in Houston staying with a friend, we went to the gym in his community and I just couldn't do it. I couldn't work out in front of those people, even though they didn't know me. I went back to the apartment and worked out there, but deep down I knew I was cheating myself. I started sharing more about my workouts on my IG stories as a motivation to myself to continue. But the truth is I'm so inconsistent with working out lately, my diet isn't what it was before I travelled for the summer and I actually put back on some of the weight I lost, so I feel like a failure and I hate sharing failures. (Who doesn't, right?)

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Well, those were some of the biggest and the baddest in no particular order . I genuinely feel a weight being lifted off as I close out this post. I really appreciate all of the love I've been receiving as I open up. I want you to know it really is a reminder to think positively and be grateful for how far I've come, instead of how much further I think I need to go. The truth is, everyone doesn't need to know everything about your life, but you also shouldn't be so ashamed of the truth that you create a completely false life just to please others who are probably struggling with the same shit as you.  To quote Rachel Hollis, "More than anything, I hope you’ll rest in the knowledge that you can become whomever and whatever you want to be, my sweet friend . And on the days that seem the hardest, you’ll remember that— by an inch or a mile— forward momentum is the only requirement."

What I Do to Get My Blogging Mojo Back

Hello Lovely,

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When I first started blogging I didn't have a schedule or a plan. Now I know what I want to accomplish by blogging and I share something every day! Or at least I'm supposed to. Every now and then I miss a day or a week, and a reader recently asked me about it. Sometimes I really am too busy to create content but most of the time, I just don't know what I want to talk about, and not knowing what I should talk about leads to panic, which of course leaves me crippled by anxiety. And just like that, I've lost it. My motivation and my will to blog. I guess you can call it my mojo. That feeling of, "I've got this. I know what I'm doing and it's going to be great!"

But it's been really hard to want to blog when I know that I can't provide top quality  imagery of top blogs such as A Beautiful Mess or Color Me Courtney, or I don't have a degree in journalism. If I'm going to do something, I want to do it well or not do it at all, which is what most people want to do when they set out to do something. The issue here, though, is that I act like I absolutely must have editorial shoot level photography and content written better than J. K. Rowling. You so don't, and I know that, but I don't always act like I know that.

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I've been holding back from making posts that I feel are mediocre or irrelevant in comparison to most blogs. But the whole point of blogging is to share what you love and enjoy and to be yourself entirely. To lighten the load, I often give myself permission to take a week off every now and then, because I know there won't always be something worth talking about, so I have to give myself time to find something worth sharing.

I often read other blogs and if I enjoy reading it, it's probably something I'd enjoy making or a topic I'd enjoy writing about my own experience. I don't want to be posting half arsed content just to make sure I have a post up on a specific day, so I post about whatever I like even if it's not conventional because that is the whole point of blogging and occasionally, I need to remind myself of that.

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How Decluttering My Closet Reduced My Anxiety

Hello lovely,

Let's have an open and honest chat about anxiety, shall we? Since last year, a lot has happened and I feel like I'm just playing catch-up. I've been taking time off periodically just to clear my head but nothing seemed to be working. I was falling behind at work, in my professional life outside of work and I was just always tired. The thought of doing anything creative or remotely productive left me crippled with anxiety and I just couldn't progress. It wasn't until a recent tweet made me realise at least one of the sources of my anxiety.

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So while I was home sick with the flu, I took a really long look at my closet. Over the span of several days I completed the most intense purge of my life. Anything that I hadn't worn in months, anything that couldn't fit and never would again went into the bag. I went strictly on impulse. If I got a bad feeling when I touched it, I got rid of it. Sure there were some pieces I really liked, but I couldn't tell you the last time I wore them or when I'd ever wear them again. I knew I had to toss them. And as I did, with each piece, I slowly felt a weight lift off me. Slowly I was able to find the energy (and the space) to put away my clean laundry instead of leaving it on the couch for a week until the new laundry came and that laundry just got tossed on the chair in my room (everyone has that chair; get rid of it). It was a vicious cycle.

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And even worse, I can't even tell you what's in these bags. This was the most cleansing purge ever! I think it was symbolic of all of the toxic things I've gotten rid of in my life over the past year and a few things I still wish I could get rid of. It's also symbolic of my growth emotionally and professionally. My personal style hasn't changed drastically, rather subtly. Don't worry I still have a closet FULL of clothes and options so I don't miss these clothes at all.

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I now feel better about doing laundry and putting them away immediately. My room is still relatively clean with a few more things that can be moved into storage but I'm still working on it. How are you spring cleaning this year? What are you looking forward to getting rid of and how are you getting organised?

Working on Positive Self Talk

Hello Lovely,

Let’s face it—life can be rough sometimes. We all go through ups and downs. And you know I’ve definitely been through my share of moments, both good and bad. But here’s the thing. We can learn from our past and have it help shape our future. Today is day 10 of the #21DaysofMe Challenge and it's all about transformation and self love. In addition to three ways to show yourself some love, I'm going to share three things that I love about myself.

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Show Yourself Some Love

It really starts with giving yourself the love you deserve. Don’t beat yourself up—because you are enough. Wherever you are in your journey, that’s the best you can and should be. This is why even though I was really upset to have to eat at an expensive restaurant this past weekend, I ate the most expensive food I could find to engage in self-love. I ate oysters, mussels, shrimp and lobster tails (that was my entire dinner). For dessert, I finally had crème brulee and panacotta (I didn't like it). 

Real Talk

Boost yourself up, especially when you might be feeling down. Give yourself some positive words of encouragement! Maybe you leave notes for yourself on your bathroom mirror in lipstick. Maybe you just smile at your reflection. But be sure to share a kind word with yourself every once in awhile. I stood in the front of the mirror and told myself that I was awesome because at only 28, I may not have a serious romantic relationship like my friends, but I have a Master's Degree that I paid for on my own (no loan), I recently upgraded my car and I became the first and only certified Bahamian AutPlay Therapy Provider. I reminded myself that I have a lot going for myself and everything was beginning to line up for a brighter future.

Form Healthy Habits

Whether you work out every day or you’re just getting into your routine, that’s okay. Take it slow and work at your own pace. We’re all running our own marathons! When I first started going to the gym, it was really hard. Now I hate whenever I miss a day, and that I can only go three days a week.

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Check out this video by Demi Lovato, on transforming key areas of your life.