Wellness and I

We all deal with a stress in a different way. For some it comes easier than to others. I’m amongst those who don’t handle stress very well, so I am constantly seeking new and better ways to keeps myself from the “edge”.

I have recently started a course called WRAP. It stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan and it is aimed at everyone and anyone who’d like to be able to take care of themselves a bit better, be in charge again, get back into that drivers seat.

The course itself is only two and a half days over a course of three weeks. I have already covered the first two days so I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to share what I’ve learned.

First of all, it was exceptionally good for me to hear what other people have to say, what is it that makes them feel good, to hear others opinions, and exchange ideas. Sometimes, there are those brilliant little moment when someone says:”In order to feel better I do x,y,z”, and you think to yourself:”That is an amazing idea, I really have got to try that!”

Second thing I’ve learned is the importance of keeping well. I actually new about this, but I never gave it much thought. Something else is always more important. If I do not feel well, all of my time and energy will be spent trying to get better. However, when I do feel well, I forget about doing all of those things I used to enjoy. All of a sudden I “don’t have time for it”, or I use some other silly excuse. So I put my energy elsewhere and before you know it, I’m all burnt out and feeling like the worse piece of sh*t all over again. It’s a vicious circle.

So El turned around and said “enough is enough”! From now on, even when I am well, I will keep doing things in order to keep myself well. So even if/when things are not 100% right, I will be able to deal with them, to come out the other end undefeated. I will be less susceptible. I will be less fragile.

To begin with, I would suggest making a list of things that make you feel good. It’s a small list of anything that we need to do on daily basis to be/stay well. It can be anything from deciding at what time we’ll be waking up, through having shower, coffee, brushing teeth, to going out for a walk, swim, ride, jog… It can be doing yoga, putting make-up on, cooking lunch, reading a book, watching tv, meditating, listening to the music, playing games… I’m not saying we should do it all day long, just make a list and do at least one of those things. I believe in positive reinforcement. As soon as I do one of these things, I automatically feel at least a little bit better about myself because it gives me some sort of sense of accomplishment. If my goal is to get up by 8, by not letting myself stay in bed longer I will already feel better and won’t beat myself up all day long for wasting all that time in bed when I could have done something more productive. If I, upon getting up, go to the bathroom and use my daily face scrub and face cream, I will feel like I’ve done something good for myself and next time I look at my skin I will be happier and won’t beat myself up cause I have a zit on my forehead. It’s the simple things like that, that keep me going when I am at my worst and don’t really feel like getting out of the bed and changing from PJ’s, let alone facing the rest of the world.

One of the obvious things, but I still feel like I should mention it, is not to make the list too long. Don’t promise something you cannot keep, not to others and especially not to yourselves. Make your list realistic. I love planning my day ahead. I make a list (to-do list, so different type 🙂 ) and I tick off things as I go throughout my day. But it doesn’t have to be perfect. I used to feel bad if I didn’t finish everything off of my list. But I think I was a bit hard on myself and at times expected a little too much. I am working on that perfectionism of mine and I am happy and satisfied if I finish 80% of things from my list.

These are all just examples, but I do hope I am getting my point across. And that is- take time to take care of yourself before caring for others and don’t feel guilty about it, give yourself a break every now and then, and do things to keep well even if you are already feeling well. I guess we don’t realise how good we have it until we lose it. Bad things will still happen, something or someone will ruin our day, there’s always things that will make us worry, but then why not be in charge of the part of our lives that we can be in charge of? There’s that small percentage of things in my life that I can actually control, so why wouldn’t I?

Until next time,

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Life Hack #2

Putting on mascara sounds easy enough, right? Well, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to put mascara on without making a total mess. It’s even worse when I’m in a hurry! The more I’m trying to rush, the worse it gets.

Not to worry though! This Sunday’s life hack is: cotton buds. All you need to do is wait for mascara that you so elegantly smeared all over your eyelids to dry,  and then use cotton buds to remove it with a simple twist. It’s super easy, super effective, and it doesn’t remove your eye shadow.

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Axiety/Depression Support Group

As my anxiety is getting the better of me and I still cannot function like a “normal” person, I’ve decided to do something about it.

A few weeks ago I went to the library to return some book I was reading and just like every time I go over there, I decided to check out the bulletin board to see if they’ve put anything new up. I found a pamphlet about this non-profit organisation called Aware, having support group meetings right here in Dublin 1, in Lower Abbey Street, some 15-20 minute walk away from where I live. It was Monday when I saw this, and the meetings are held on Tuesdays.

Considering I had nothing better planned, I’ve decided to go and check it out, and luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait long.

I showed up on Tuesday some 10-15 minutes early, met with facilitators (there has to be two there at all times during the meeting) and spoke with them for a bit. People slowly started showing up and introducing themselves, and everyone seemed very friendly and nice. Every support group meeting starts and ends in the same manner: Facilitators remind us of confidentiality, remind us to state our names and what we suffer from, we can talk about medicines and doctors but we do not name either, they remind everyone to come on time, and meeting can begin.

My first experience of it was quite emotional. I didn’t even realise how much has built up inside of me, waiting to eat me alive if I don’t let it out any time soon. I had no problem talking to these people and I couldn’t wait for my turn to speak. When a person talks, everyone else listens. We can offer advice, support,and ask questions, but only after they are done, which to me completely makes sense. I started talking about my recent and unfortunately- current agoraphobic feelings and how annoyed I am with myself for being so afraid outside when up until recently I was an extremely happy, outgoing person, who had no problem traveling by myself and I actually enjoyed the time alone. I felt like I could say anything to these people and that I will not be judged or ridiculed in any way. When the waterworks started, no one said a word. No one laughed at me. No one was judgmental. It felt liberating. It felt good. I sat in a room full of people, I cried my eyes out, and I didn’t care. They offered support as much as they could, asked if I tried x,y,z, talked to me for a little bit and then when I was done, we were off to the next person. We make time for everyone to talk if they want to.

The group invited me to join them for a coffee in a little café right outside, where we sat and talked for hours afterwards.

This is something I do on weekly basis now. No, not cry in public 🙂 Go to the support group meetings. It gives me a reason to go out, I get to connect with people,and I absolutely love listening to the Irish speak, they have such a wide variety of accents! I even made a few friends and now I meet them during the week. I believe we will all be going together to pictures next Tuesday after the meeting.

I would recommend support group to everyone and anyone who has anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, or similar. It’s a great place to let it all out and to be surrounded with people who can empathise and sympathise. They, or may I say WE know how you feel, we’ve been there, we crawled out of that darkness, we’re struggling to catch our breath and keep our heads above the water, we understand! Seek help and people will be there. Someone will hear you out, there is always hope. And not just support groups. There are helplines and email support, all of them are free and open for everyone. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Hope this post helps…

Until next time,

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Life Hack #1

I decided to add new category called Life Hack Sundays containing little tips and tricks I use on daily, weekly, or monthly basis to make my life easier wherever possible. I will try to post them every Sunday, like the title says 🙂

To start it of, I will begin with an easy one.

Bobby pins! They are everywhere and I’ve been through so many of them, I’ve lost the count. I always have some on me/ with me wherever I go.

So for the first life hack: If you got silky smooth hair and bobby pins keep sliding and falling out, the solution is hair spray. Spray just a little bit on the bobby pin and I promise it does make a difference. Also putting them in upside down, so that the corrugated side is against the head makes them stay in even longer.

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I got new hair extensions!

Right, so… I think I’ve mentioned somewhere along the way that I am absolutely obsessed with long hair! My hair is about 20-21 ” long but like that’s not enough, I’ve decided to get me some hair extensions 🙂 So after a very long search, comparing prices, watching videos and tutorials on YouTube, and reading reviews, I decided the best course of action was to go outside, browse in person, see what I like, and then buy it.

I went out recently with a friend to Temple Bar, we had coffee in one of the cafés and we complemented the Italian girl, working there as a waitress, on her hair. She said there was a little shop just off Henry street where they do all sorts of hairstyles but they also sell hair extensions. I decided to check it out. So last Saturday afternoon, when Steven and I went shopping for groceries,we stopped by that little shop. The woman was very pleasant, we found the extensions that match my hair colour, she cut and fitted everything right there on the spot (added clips) and that was it. All done! The actual hair is absolutely beautiful, I love the quality of it, it looks shiny and healthy, oh, and it’s 24″ long!!!

Few days ago I’ve decided to play a little bit with it and try out some hairstyles, so having this blog in mind, I snapped a few pictures which I’m about to share with you. Now, I’m being the worst hypocrite for this, but you know what, even I apply heat to my hair once in a blue moon! So yeah, I did it a few days ago. I first straightened and then curled my hair.

First of all, I’ve only just woken up. Second, I apologise for the pics being in bathroom but that is where I do my hair. All the pulling and brushing gets hair all over the place and it just seems like common sense to do it in the bathroom because it’s easier to clean afterwards. Third, I was still in my PJs and I was having my first morning coffee…

I straightened my hair the day before, I woke up and it was a mess! I really wish it’s like in the films when you go to sleep and you wake up with a perfect hairstyle. Like, your hair and make-up are far better than they were when you went to bed! But unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that, so, yeah… As I said, my hair was a mess.

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The worst part of having naturally light coloured hair is eyebrows and eyelashes being practically invisible. I do have mascara in this picture (yes, I slept with mascara on, I was too lazy to take it off the night before). Eyebrows however I had to fill in a bit. I use Art Deco No.3 pencil and if I’ve been informed correctly, that’s a German company. I absolutely love this pencil, it’s the best one I’ve ever tried, it actually makes my eyebrows look quite natural.

Next step was straightening my hair in order to clip extensions in properly. I do not use hair straightener (flat iron), mainly because it looks a lot healthier and shinier when I do it with blow dryer and round brush, and second reason would be- my Nicky Clarke flat iron is in UK. I bought BaByliss blow dryer and I am extremely happy with it. I was lucky to get it on 50% discount for around 30-35 EUR, it usually costs around 70 and I absolutely love it!

 

Showing off my extensions 🙂 I’ve put them against my own hair just to show how similar the colours are (#6 Ash brown):

And then finally clipping them in:

After I’ve put my make-up on, I was all ready to go out. I do love the long hair, but in all honesty this is a little bit too much even for me. I might have to trim them a little bit.

After I was done with whatever business I had in town that day, I’ve decided to see what would curls look like on this length. I recently got a curling wand, and once again I got BaByliss purely because I was so happy with the hairdryer so I assumed the wand would be good too. It came with a heat protective glove and I honestly have no idea what I would do without it. It’s absolutely brilliant! The wand has 4 different heat settings: 165, 180, 195, and 210 °C. I never go above 165 °C. Another very important thing is hair protection. Some time ago I got this Lee Stafford flat iron protective spray and I’m reasonably happy with it.

And the result after curling is:

All done 🙂

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Until next time,

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My “Pamper” day

As of New Year, amongst other decisions, I thought it would be a good idea to have one day just for myself. I needed some sort of routine and consistency in my life, I needed a change, so I thought where better to start but with myself? I made Fridays my “pamper” day ♥

So this is how it goes… As I am unemployed at the moment and have some free time on my hands, I get up, as usual, at 7 am. I have my morning coffee or two, have a quick breakfast and then start my day. First things first! My hair! This takes the most of my time. My hair is about 53cm long right now (about 21″). I normally take really good care of my hair (no heat, no pulling, no brushing other than with wide tooth comb, no hairspray, no towel drying and so on). Even though I really look after it, my hair is extremely dry and needs extra care. So once a week I put on Extra Virgin Olive Oil all over my hair and I leave it on for several hours, while I go around, finish things around the apartment. Yesterday morning I actually tried to do something different so instead of Olive Oil, I’ve put my Loreal Hair Mask and left it on for a bit over two hours. The results were amazing! My hair was super soft and silky, and it smells really good!DSC_0161

About 10-15 minutes before I’m planning to wash my hair out, I put on face mask. I discovered recently this Vichy mask for which I think is really great. It leaves my skin feeling so smooth. Actually, it’s more than just a mask. It’s 3 in 1 – face wash, face scrub, and mask, so I can use it however it suits me, but I prefer it as a mask. While I’m in the shower and before I start washing my hair, I wash the mask out and then rinse my face with Dr Organic Tea Tree Face Wash. It’s smells a bit citrusy (probably because of the mandarin and lemon extract, duh! ) and I honestly really love that smell.

Ok, so once I’m done with a shower, washing my hair and face, I put on my face cream with Jojoba extract that smells soooo unbelievably wonderful and pleasant, leaving my skin feeling soft. I make chamomile tea and I never put any additives (no sugar, no milk, no honey, no lemon). I do however have a couple of teaspoons of honey afterwards, I just love the taste(this I only recently discovered, I never used to like honey before). As I’m done with my tea, I am left with these two tea bags that I put on my eyes and leave them there for about 10 minutes. Yesterday morning I didn’t have have tv/laptop on, no music, nothing! Just me sitting there in silence and enjoying it. I was sort of trying to meditate and just relax in general, and it felt really good – eyes closed, feeling warmth of the tea bags, trying to empty my mind and for just 10 minutes not worry about anything…

After all of this, it’s pretty straightforward: apply Garnier hand creme with honey onto my hands, do my eyebrows, do my finger and toe nails, listen to some music, watch some documentaries (I’ve seen 4 or 5 yesterday!), read a book, cook some dinner, play some games… Pretty much anything that would help me relax and get my energy and strength back. In the evening I finish my skincare off with Dr Organic Snail Gel that I find to be absolutely amazing. Other than the fact that it smells so nice, I can see the difference on my skin. Since I started using it, I had a lot less breakouts and red spots and blemishes are slowly disappearing (very slowly, but they certainly are). This Snail Gel I use every night, regardless of the “pamper” day.DSC_0164

Oh, and I always let my hair air dry. One of the little “hacks” I use would be: if I want my hair to be reasonably straight but still have some sort of shape and be easy to style, I just put it in a braid whilst still damp and sleep with it like that. I have silky and soft hair in the morning that also looks nice. Obviously, things go wrong every now and then, but there are always bobby pins there to help me style it and keep everything in place 🙂

This “pamper Friday” of mine is a fairly new thing, I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks now, but I am beginning to appreciate it more and more, especially when my anxiety gets really bad. I think every girl should make at least a little bit of time for herself every now and again, even if it’s just a few hours a week, or a month. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated, and like I’m ready to take on the world! Friday works for me because of my personal circumstances but pretty much any day would work. I am a strong believer that, in order to let someone else love us, we need to love ourselves first. I understand this can be difficult sometimes, but I truly am doing my best to make that happen, and to feel good about myself, even when everything else is going wrong…

Until next time,

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I have been nominated for Liebster award!

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Ok, so first of all, HUGE thanks to Bron who nominated me for this award. Bronwyn is this amazing woman who was kind enough to share with us the details of her life, her accomplishments, her struggles… She is beautiful and funny, and I really enjoy Bron’s blog – Truly Madly Deeply Me I really hope you’ll check it out!

And now: What exactly is Liebster award?liebster-award-L-QSGhF9

Liebster award is given by bloggers to other bloggers to help promote their blog and get more readers and followers. It only exists on internet and it follows the similar principle to the chain letter. So here are the rules:

Liebster Award Rules-By E!

10 questions Bron asked me

1.What made you to start a blog?

It was anxiety and depression that made me start the blog as a way to try and reach out to the world, share my experience, and possibly help someone else who has the similar predicament.

2.What would you not do for a hundred thousand dollars? A million? Ten million?

There’s not that many things that I would do for money (other than legit work) so it’s difficult to say what I wouldn’t. I guess, I wouldn’t do anything that would change or affect who I am. I’d like to keep my dignity and my integrity, thank you very much. I’m being very vague, I know, I’m sorry, but I can’t think of anything specific 😦

3.If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

I am going to go and assume that this person needs to be living so… (10 minutes later, still thinking) I still don’t know. Possibly some famous writer. I would love to know what’s going on in their heads and how they come up with the things that they do come up with. The wires in their brains must be connected differently. I’d like to explore their imagination.

4.What’s the most amazing place you’ve ever traveled to and why?

I’ve been to Monaco at night, the view down to Monte Carlo is absolutely beautiful! The sea, the ships and casinos, everything is glowing in dark. I wish I had some photos of it, but it was too dark and my camera wasn’t very good back then.

5.Shark diving, bungee jumping, or sky diving?

Definitely sky diving.

6.What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I believe I’m most proud of my knowledge of English language. Everything I know I’ve achieved by myself, by listening to the music, watching films without subtitles(or English subtitles to check my spelling), reading books, translating, and so on. And I never stop learning! I’d like to be a lot more eloquent than I am so I read as much as I can. P.S. Let me just say that what they taught us in elementary school is ridiculous! I’ve learnt a bit of grammar in high school, but that’s about it. Everything else I had to learn by myself. And I’ve got ESOL and IELTS certificates to show for it 🙂

7.What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?

I mostly lack motivation. It’s really hard to get me to move and it usually takes a lot of energy to get me to do anything (my energy of course). I feel tired and burnt out most of the time. But when I am motivated, it is purely because I want to make my parents and my husband proud of me.

8.How did you meet your best friend?

Bojana and I have been in orchestra together. She is only a year older than I am so we kind of connected right away. We were 13 and 14 years old back then. So it’s been more than 10 years that we’ve known each other. She was my maid of honour!

9.What was the last book you read without skipping through anything?

Would you believe if I told you I never skip through books? Last one I read (I finished it a couple of days ago) is called Dead Wrong by Leighann Dobbs. I ran into it by accident, and apparently there is 7 books in the series, following Blackmoore sisters in these cozy mystery and romance novels. I am currently reading book no.2 in the series, called Dead & Buried.

10.What is something you’ve always wanted to try but have been too scared to?

I am going to have to refer to question number 5 and say sky diving is something I would really, really love to try, but I am way to scared to even think about it at the moment.

10 random facts about myself

  1. Even though Serbian is my native language, I speak English about 85-90% of the time. I even think, dream, and talk to myself in English.
  2. I have a friend Jovana whom I’ve known since we were babies. We’ve been inseparable in the past for quite a few years. We might not always see eye to eye, and we drift apart every now and then, but we’ve always kept in touch over the years and we talk on regular basis.
  3. My thumb on my right hand is different shape and size to the left one, and doesn’t really go well with the rest of my fingers either. Even though it’s not my fault, I find this embarrassing and I hide my right thumb as much as possible.
  4. I had parrot, tortoise (two or three actually), a few dogs, a few cats, three hamsters, bunny, guinea pig(s), chinchilla, and fish (one of which had babies while in my aquarium). I hope I haven’t forgotten any of them. And of course, I didn’t have them at the same time!
  5. I carry a picture of a dog I named Kudze in my wallet. He was not technically my dog, but of a neighbour near my vacation house, but they never really cared much for him. I was the one playing with him and feeding him, and I loved him more than anything. I knew him for 12-13 years, he died two years ago.  I believe he had cancer. As he was getting older, they got another dog. We call her Bumba and she is the sweetest thing! I love her so, so much and I can’t even begin to explain how much I miss her.DSC_0146
  6. I am almost sure I mentioned this somewhere, but just in case- I finished Musical school and played violin. At some point during my University years, I joined a rock band and was a lead singer. My time spent in the band was only about 7-8 months.
  7. Technically, I am a pharmaceutical technician even though I don’t work as one. I went to Medical School and was trained as a pharm.technician for 4 years, as my high school education (different education system).
  8. I start things and I rarely finish them. This is really difficult for me to admit.
  9. I never had chicken pox, never broke a single bone, and never spent a night in a hospital. For that reason, I consider myself to be lucky.
  10. I was a smoker for 8 years. I am not proud of this, but I am proud of the fact that I quit smoking on 9th April 2013. I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol since October 2012.

BONUS FACT:

My parents had me when they were 21. I believe that the age gap is not that big, which allows us to have a better understanding of each other. Even though we have a friendly relationship, the respect is still there.

My nominees:

  1. Bojana from Jezicara
  2. My dear friend Bill from Harmony, Books & Films
  3. Lisa from Rainbow Hill Meanders
  4. Vicky from Travels in the Middle East and beyond
  5. Aya from Little Aya’s Cottage
  6. Tippy’s mom from Tippy tales
  7. Beautiful Rachel & Michelle from 2 Classy Sisters
  8. Sam from Wandering in the mind
  9. Kay from Kay’s Blog
  10. Dear Basant from Thoughts of a Socially Anxious Extrovert

10 questions from Me to You:

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. How many New Years resolutions have you broken so far?
  3. What would you consider to be your “ideal reader”?
  4. Are you a cat person, a dog person, or do you maybe think it’s a little bit more complicated than that?
  5. Do you have a favourite quote?
  6. How many books are you planning on reading in 2016?
  7. What is your guilty pleasure?
  8. Do you have any funny/embarrassing moments that you would like to share?
  9. What was the last thing that made you laugh to tears?
  10. If you could pick a celebrity to be friends with, who would it be and why?

Wow! I’m finally done! Normally I just sit down, type, and post in a matter of couple of hours. This one took 3 days to compose! I certainly had loads of fun 🙂 Last thing to do is go and look up everyone’s “About” page and notify them… I look forward to reading your “Liebster award posts”.

Until next time,

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