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.

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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What To Do When You're Not Feeling So Confident

Hello Lovely,

Are you a confident woman? Do you keep pushing in the face of adversity? Do you wake up every morning ready to rock? And then it happens. Every confident woman has a weakness somewhere. There's always something that can hurt our pride or put a thorn in our confident stride. Maybe it's when someone lets you down and you now have to fend for yourself? Maybe it's when you realise that you have no reliable or authentic friends at work, and no matter how hard you try to ignore it and just focus on the job, you can't deny that it gets a little lonely. And maybe even uncomfortable if you know they don't like you. It's hard to maintain your confidence when you have to interact with the very thing that tries to tear you down. I'm sure we all have our methods for breaking through, but after so much fighting, do you ever just get tired?

I know I do. I'm on a positive vibes only right now but I'm surrounded by negativity every day. No matter how hard I try to compartmentalise and distance myself from the drama, it really only does one thing: Leaves me alone. You brush it off as haters and a sign that you're clearly doing something worth watching. You also remind yourself that comparison is the thief of joy and it's never good to second guess yourself because of what someone else is doing. And sure for awhile being alone is nice, because I'm confident in myself and what I have to offer. However, after so much alone time, sometimes I do start to think, Is it me? Am I the problem? And just like that, my confident is shattered. So what do you do when you're not feeling so confident? Here are just a few ways to pick yourself back up.

1. Call your person

Everyone should know that episode of Grey's Anatomy where Christina told Meredith (or was it the other way around) that she is her person (if you don't, I literally just provided the clip for you, watch it, don't be lazy). It quickly became a thing that we all started saying. Everyone should have a "person" or maybe more than just one person. I have two people. Two people that no matter what, I know they won't judge me, they will understand, and depending on my mood will automatically know if I need sound, logical advise, or just an ear to vent to so that I feel right. And yes these are the people I would call if I just murdered someone, if they weren't already there when it happened.

2. Dance It Out

Or whatever your thing is. What is it that soothes you? Dancing? Singing? Video Games? Cooking? And it doesn't even have to be something you're good at. God knows I am not the best singer, but that doesn't stop me from building karaoke playlists that I belt out in my car while not letting people out of corners (eye of the tiger baby - not literally the song, that's just how it makes me feel when a song I really enjoy singing along to comes on).

3. Stop trying

Who gives a damn any way? So what if your coworkers don't like you, so what if you messed up that recipe? Give yourself a break. Literally, stop trying. Whatever it is, walk away from it. Do not let that moment define who you are. You, awesome you. You'll get it next time, or maybe never at all; and that's okay. Whatever it is you can't do (after trying everything you could to do it) simply wasn't meant for you to do. Stop trying, and find something else you can do!

We're not perfect. We cheat on diets, we skip gym days (for months on end) but we're not failures. It's okay to not be confident 100% of the time. It's okay to not have all the answers. Give yourself credit for the things you can do and know that tomorrow is a brand new chapter waiting to be written.

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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?

5 Times I Felt Incompetent and How I Dealt With It

5 Times I Felt Incompetent and How I Dealt With It

I hope this post shows my human side. We all make mistakes and we all fall short. Whether it's that relationship that ended after 2 years or only 2 days (yes I have lost a guy after only 2 days) there is always going to be something in life that makes you feel incompetent.  Today I want to share, in no particular order, about five times I felt incompetent, which is going to involve me "putting a few people on blast".

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5 Ways To Stop Letting Your Personal Issues Impact Your Work

5 Ways To Stop Letting Your Personal Issues Impact Your Work

The boundaries between our personal lives and professionally lives continue to get blurred – and it’s easier than ever to let one impact that other. Especially since millennials are the “most stressed out generation” according to an American Psychology Association survey. (Hmm, I wonder why.....?) It’s impossible to flip a switch and leave all the personal happenings behind when you step into the office, but it’s essential you try to prevent your personal issues from impacting your work.

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6 Ways To Practice Self Care During Chaotic Times Of The Year

Hello Lovely,

As much as I love the holidays, if I’m completely honest, they also bring pangs of anxiety. Not only are you forced to spend time with family members you're not exactly fond off, or stuck in traffic or an airport somewhere you may or may not be interested in going, this past holiday season was particularly difficult for my family. On December 16, 2017 my step dad died. Even though he was sick and I had seen the warning signs that he would not make it to the New Year, it still felt like I had the rug pulled from under my feet. So to say that this holiday season was chaotic is a HUGE understatement. Family dynamics got crazier and we spent time we should have spent rejoicing and decorating, planning a funeral. It's enough to cause the deepest depression spell but I got through it all smiling and laughing. Which may leave you wondering:

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How can practice self-care during the holidays or other chaotic times of the year?

Check In Mentally & Physically

This requires you to be aware of your triggers and methods for recovery. Take particular note if your mood always drops after talking with a specific friend, or if you have anxiety around a specific task. On the flip side, don’t forget to do a scan of the positive things as well. Like if you feel a little extra warm and fuzzy after watching movies with your family. The more awareness you can bring to the things that both deplete you and fill you with joy, the more you can do these next steps effectively.

Setting Boundaries With People

I love my family but sometimes something as simple as calling me the wrong name ticks me off. Setting boundaries is going to look different depending on the person and situation. As an introvert, being around large groups of people for long periods of time can feel like my worst nightmare. There have been times I simply chose not to go to family events just to avoid the noise.

I was particularly inspired to work on this when the night before my step dad's funeral I had to sneak away to my bedroom just to be alone and work in silence. I still wanted the TV on (on something I actually enjoyed watching) but I couldn't take the back and forth conversation of my mum, grandmother and uncle over the noise of the TV while I was trying to work. I already had a brunch with my best friend's earlier that day so I had pretty much met my social quota for the day and just couldn't do it any more.

After dealing with my anxiety for over a decade my mum knows when to not take things personally but still checks me when she feels I'm getting worked up and taking it out on her. Make sure the people closest to you understand your triggers and respect your boundaries that you have in place or any effort you make in self-care can result in offended family members or friends.

Respect Your Budget

This is the time of the year where it is easy to over-indulge. For those of us who only get paid once a month, you know that after that early pay day in December, it's a LONG way to January. Once you figure out what you can spend on extras like holiday gifts, events, and other holiday things, honour that. If you splurge now, you pay even more later. And later comes sooner than you think. The list of things that seem to trap us in extravagance may differ from person to person, however, it is common to be swept up into excessive behavior. Aristotle wisely stated, “all things in moderation.” 

Forgive

Forgiveness isn't something that's one and done. Forgiveness happens again and again, often for the same offence. Because no one is perfect, someone will always do something you don't like. It takes a strong person to forgive someone, no matter what they've done or how long ago it happened. It’s not too late. Your forgiveness will not only heal their hearts, it will heal yours. Forgiveness simply means, I value myself (or our relationship) more than being right. Who do you need to forgive? Maybe you owe yourself some forgiveness. P.S. You don’t need an apology to forgive someone.

Give up expectations

I expected my step dad to die before the New Year but. no matter how sure of this I was, I still wasn't prepared when it happened. The holidays, particularly Christmas, can set us up for unrealistic expectations. It's supposed to be a “magical” time of year as we dream of the perfect holiday. Past experiences, the loss of loved ones, the loss of a job or financial difficulty all seems to heighten during this time of year.  One of the best ways to take care of yourself during this emotionally trying time, is to give up your expectations of the perfect family with the perfect tree while hosting the perfect parties with the perfect gifts.  This type of thinking is extremely damaging to you.  As you relinquish these ideas, you are able to open yourself up to experiencing greater joy in the reality of the moment.  Let go of false illusions and celebrate the moment.  

Don’t get caught in the hustle and bustle of the season

Plan ahead and designate specific time frames for the tasks that you need to complete or the functions that you will attend. This will give you time for mental preparation, allowing you to not be overwhelmed.  The malls and stores are extremely active at certain times of the day and week.  If possible, plan your shopping time during quieter hours, such as weekday mornings.  Shop online in the privacy of your home to avoid crowds all together.  When you do plan to be out in the crowds, calm your mind and body before going.  Realise that you don’t have to rush.  Take your time and enjoy the shopping process.  Often times, by changing our perspective of the situation, we can approach things with calmness.  We do not need to become part of the holiday frenzy.  Create a sense of peace and joy, true holiday feelings, inside your mind and spirit.

Take care of yourself over the holidays. It’s the best gift you can give yourself and everyone you love. May peace, joy, love and happiness be yours today and throughout the year!

How to Make the Most of Your Mental Health Day

How to Make the Most of Your Mental Health Day

Some people think taking a mental health day means staying at home doing nothing. If you’re feeling burned out, it can be tempting to use the day to stay in bed and catch up on shows and movies. But lounging around all day is more likely to leave you feeling lethargic than rejuvenated. So if you're looking for new ways to take a break, here's a few suggestions for how to make your next mental health day count. 

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