Mental Health Check-In

Hi there!

I started this blog to challenge myself to be vulnerable, so here goes: I’ve been struggling a bit in the mental health department. I’m okay & thankfully I have plenty of established coping skills, but my anxiety has been not so great lately. (Edit: woke up in a much better headspace this morning, yay!)

I think this is because of a few things; we’ve had some things going on personally that bring out a lot of feelings, I’m adjusting to being on summer break, & the dreary afternoons lately are the worst when I’m, as both my therapist & John describe me, a house plant.

Thankful to be in a much better headspace!

Typically, routines & my comfort zone is how I keep my anxiety in check. It’s summer break, & while I still have grad school coursework, I’m finding myself with a lot of free time. I’m playing with Theo & watching funny shows, but also feeling guilty that I’m not being more productive. It’s a vicious cycle, feeling anxious about how I’m wasting my summer break feeling anxious.

Here are a few things I’m trying to do this week that seem to be helping:

  • Making a to-do list for the following day. I’m putting even the smallest of tasks on my list right now, so that I feel productive crossing it off!
  • Making fun plans. I have a beach trip planned for Friday, a weekend by the pool with my parents, a weekend trip planned for the 4th of July. Making plans gives me extra things to look forward to!
  • Getting ready for the day. The first few days of summer break, I stayed in pajamas. It made me feel off all day, so this week I’m putting real clothes on & doing my makeup.
  • Moving my body! Those endorphins do wonders. My mom & I have decided to do some fun dance workout videos (Kyra Pro on YouTube is one of my faves!) & hold each other accountable. We just did our first one together & I feel great!

Just a reminder that everyone gets into a funk sometimes. Hopefully we have good support systems, coping skills, & patience with ourselves to start feeling better. Leave a comment & check in, how are you doing?

Love,

Danielle

Goals to Set for Yourself That Don’t Include “Lose X Amount of Pounds”

Disclaimer: If you are struggling with disordered thoughts/eating, please see a licensed professional for help.

On my worst body image days, my mind goes right back to its default “I need to lose weight” mindset. Big events, summertime, comparing my body to others, clothes shopping, all of these things can really trigger this mindset for me.

I’m trying to choose compassion when it comes to my body & goals. It’s easy for me to be compassionate toward others, & a little harder to choose it toward myself!

I’ve found it helpful recently to set small goals for myself that are not weight-loss oriented. It’s a nice reminder to myself that health does not equal weight loss; health is doing things to make your mind & body feel good. Here are a few goals I’m setting for myself!

  • Eat colorful foods! I want to eat more fruits & vegetables-it always makes me feel better.
  • Take at least one virtual dance class per week! Dance brings me so much joy & the endorphins don’t suck, either!
  • Manage my time better-Teaching, grad school, upcoming certification tests, I have a lot going on. I’ve been feeling stressed & unorganized lately, so I want to take steps toward managing my time better.
  • Wear clothes that I love-no more trying to squeeze myself into my pre-quarantine jeans. I only want to wear clothes that make me feel amazing!
  • Eat breakfast-I want to continue eating breakfast every morning; it’s an easy way to nourish my body & kick off my day in a positive way.

It can be so easy to feel the burden of your past (or present!) disordered eating or thoughts. Society puts such an emphasis on how to “get a summer body”, “ways to lose weight for the wedding”, or “drop 3 sizes, fast!” Here’s a reminder for you, that you are amazing exactly the way you are, that there are a million things more interesting about you than what your body looks like, & that you are worthy of making fun, beautiful memories RIGHT now. Not when you lose X amount of lbs. Right now!

Love you guys!

Danielle

Reasons to go to Therapy When You Feel Totally Fine

The color of this dress (from Target!) makes me so happy!

“What’s wrong?” “Are you okay?” are a few questions I received when I told family & friends that I was going to therapy. While therapy is wonderful for those who are struggling (& if you are struggling, there is help out there for you!), it can also be amazing when there’s nothing wrong at all. I felt inspired by an Instagram post by Keiko Wolfe, to write a list of reasons why everyone should go to therapy, whether you’re going through something or not!

I’ve previously written about my mental health journey (I’ll link my post here!) & have mentioned more recently that I’m going to school to become a mental health counselor myself. My main reason for being in therapy right now is to be the best therapist I can be, but I’m also working through other things in my sessions. Here are a few reasons why someone might benefit from therapy!

  • To process a big life change
  • To nurture relationships with others (& yourself!)
  • To learn more about yourself
  • To unpack childhood trauma
  • To learn new coping skills

Therapy is so helpful for people who are struggling, but it’s not ONLY for those in a dark place. That is what the stigma surrounding mental health tells us in our society. Regardless of how you feel about therapy or where you are in your mental health journey, I hope you know that you are worthy of living your best life. I’m so happy you’re here!

Danielle

Tips for Becoming a (Reluctant) Morning Person!

I’ve always been a night owl. I love staying up late & sleeping in, & it’s been my default my whole life. My grandpa always used to tell me that my ideal work day would be between noon-8 pm; he was totally right!

I teach 2nd grade, which isn’t exactly conducive to sleeping in or staying up late. Add on my grad school coursework, & I was always TIRED. I would take naps for hours after work, wake up, & do my school work, staying up until 1 or 2 am. I slowly realized that staying up late was not sustainable.

So I started going to bed earlier. & it was magical. My mom has been trying to tell me that for years (sorry, Mom!) & I was so set in my night owl ways, I just didn’t want to hear it. I thought I would be missing out on something if I went to bed early (I have no idea what, I’ve just always felt that way haha.) & then I’d drag my miserable, exhausted body to work, after sleeping until the last possible second. Here are some tips for becoming a (albeit reluctant!) morning person:

  • Make gradual changes! You’re probably not going to become a morning person overnight. BUT you can choose to go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Notice how much better you feel in the morning, & start there.
  • Create a morning routine you actually look forward to! It might include sipping a cup of coffee on your porch, playing with your dog, eating your favorite breakfast, or going for a run. Whatever can bring you even the tiniest bit of joy in the morning, do it!
  • I love naps. LOVE them. But, I had to cut them out (most days, anyway!) Instead of my usual post-work nap, we’ve been taking Theo for a long walk. This gives me enough energy to power through making dinner, doing homework, & whatever else I have to do after work.

I hope these tips help inspire you to become a morning person! If you’re just starting this journey like me, comment any tips you have!

Good luck early bird!

Danielle

Don’t Let Others Dim Your Light

I’m sending you love on this gloomy Monday. I hope your week is as wonderful as you are!

Happy (ish?) Monday!

We have NO control over other people; what they say, what they do, how they interpret things you say or do. We can only control our own reactions. That’s easier said than done, but I try to choose grace. Grace for myself & others, in every situation.

People can really suck, sometimes. It’s hard & it’s upsetting, especially for my fellow empaths. It’s difficult not to take on that negative energy; difficult to let it go.

Not everyone leads with kindness, not everyone is mindful of the feelings of others. That says everything about them & nothing about you. Don’t let others get you down, don’t let them dim that beautiful light of yours. Keep shining, beauty!

Love,

Danielle

2021 Intentions

I couldn’t be more thankful for these guys!

When we went back to school in the fall, I started setting weekly intentions for myself. This felt like a good way to be gentle with myself & not to feel too much pressure while teaching. It felt comforting & productive while not overwhelming. I really recommend setting weekly intentions, particularly if you’re struggling.

Each week, I would write in my agenda my intentions for the week; what I hoped to achieve & how I hoped I could leave those I interacted with feeling. Instead of the typical New Years resolutions, I thought I would set some intentions for the new year.

  • Appreciating the little things. 2020 taught me to slow down & enjoy the things I have.
  • Making time for hobbies. I love to be creative & life doesn’t always allow for much time to do that. I’m hoping to set aside more time this year to explore things that make me feel creative.
  • Being more intentional with my spending. I want to cook at home more often, order takeout less, & buy clothes that I truly love & will want to wear frequently.

I have a lot of goals I’m working toward (academic, profession, & personal!) but these three intentions are what is resonating with me currently. I like that if I make these three simple things a priority, my year is already off to a good start!

This is also only the second year that I’m not setting a weight-related goal at the beginning of the year, I think it’s important to acknowledge that. I spent my whole life telling myself that I would lose weight in the new year, that this would somehow make my life more fulfilling. Time & time again, life has proven to me that I do not need to lose weight to have value. I can be happy right now, as I am.

2021 is here; things aren’t magically better or less stressful. Life is challenging & messy & overwhelming at times. I’ve been feeling immense gratitude; for the health & happiness of my loved ones, for John, for our life together. I’m so lucky & even on my most difficult days, that doesn’t change.

I hope that you’re doing well! If you’re struggling, I’m thinking of you & sending light your way.

Happy 2021!

Danielle

I’m Proud of Myself

This was a difficult year! There is so much to be proud of.

Acknowledging my accomplishments isn’t something that comes easily to me. I’m not sure if it’s something women are conditioned (thanks, patriarchy!) or if it’s something else, but I rarely discuss my accomplishments or things I’m proud of myself for. I wanted to write this post, because there is a lot to be proud of this year. I hope it inspires you to take a moment & to reflect on what you feel most proud of this year.

I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for teaching in the midst of a pandemic. For showing up daily & trying to be the best teacher I can be for my kiddos, even when it’s hard. I’m proud of myself for sticking it out through grad school; through late nights of writing papers & discussion posts, on nights I feel like giving up. (Also for getting an A in my most recent course!) I’m proud of myself for adapting & finding ways to cope with an anxiety disorder that has really been amplified in this pandemic.

I’m proud of myself for how I treat people; I’m mindful of how I make other people feel (although maybe a little too much so sometimes!) & I try my best to make others feel valued. I’m proud that I enjoy learning new things & challenging myself. I’m proud that I lift other people up instead of tearing them down. I’m proud that during a difficult year, I found strength I didn’t know I had.

As we wrap up 2020, there is so much to be proud of. I’m proud of you, for getting through a tough year; for reflecting on priorities & making hard choices, for making sacrifices & showing up. Maybe you suffered a loss, whether that’s a loved one, a job, big plans. There is so much to be proud of yourself for!

Walking into 2021 feeling grateful.

What are you most proud of yourself for?

Thank you so much for being here; for supporting my blog. You inspire me & I couldn’t be more grateful. Have a happy new year!

Love,

Danielle

Making The Most Of The Holidays This Year

I’ll most likely be living in comfy clothes this holiday season! Sweatshirts, baking cookies, pet snuggles. So cozy!

The holiday season is different this year. There’s no getting around it; maybe you’re doing a socially distant Thanksgiving, or you’re celebrating Christmas just with your household. Maybe you’re used to cooking for an army of people, or you usually travel this time of year. The holiday season IS different this year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be great!

The holidays are typically a time for celebration & togetherness; those things might look different right now. You need to make decisions for yourself & your family, to stay safe & healthy.

I wanted to write this because I’ve spoken with several people who are feeling bummed this season. We miss our family & friends who we usually celebrate with, we miss traveling or other experiences & traditions. These feelings are VALID. All we can do is make the best of it, so I wanted to share a few ideas of how you can do just that!

-Make new traditions! Have a ginger bread house making competition, bake a new cookie recipe while listening to Christmas music, go for a walk to get fresh air & see Christmas lights. Do little things that help keep that holiday magic alive!

-Focus on gratitude. There is so much to be grateful for; the health of my loved ones & myself are at the top of my list this year for sure! We might be missing some traditions this year, but if everyone is healthy & doing well, that makes me so happy.

-Connect with loved ones, virtually! Host a Zoom happy hour where you make festive holiday drinks, FaceTime your family & eat dinner together, watch your favorite Christmas movies. Just because things are different, doesn’t mean we can’t all enjoy this season!

I’m sending you a giant virtual hug & hopefully some holiday cheer!

Danielle

A Quick Mental Health Check-In

Hi there!

I wanted to just do a quick mental health check in. I hope you’re doing okay & hanging in there! I’m hanging in there but I’ve also just felt like I’m not functioning at my best.

I feel tired. I feel good some days & am having terrible anxiety the next. I have happy days with my students & then other days where I get home feeling tense & overwhelmed by the weight of it all.

I haven’t been moving my body or eating nutritious food very often; actually, I’ve been turning to take-out food for comfort. I’ve noticed some weight gain which I’m trying to come to terms with. It’s hard to maintain a positive body image when I’m not taking care of my body very well. I’m working on taking some small steps toward nourishing & moving my body. After all, it does so much for me & I should really take care of it!

This morning, I woke up early enough to cook breakfast, drink matcha, & play with Theo before leaving for work. Those small moments of self-care set the tone for my day.

Even in dark times, I have so much to be grateful for. Here’s a quick list!

I love him 😊
  • John 💕 I’m forever grateful to love & be loved by him. Even in my anxious, irritable moments, he makes me feel so loved.
  • Teaching my students how to be kind human beings.
  • A happy, healthy puppy who greets me with so many kisses every day when I get home!
My baby is getting so big!!

It feels like we’ve been in this pandemic for such a long time; let’s remember to be gentle & kind to ourselves. Weight fluctuates, productivity comes in waves, & some days we just need to order Chinese take-out & binge a show on Netflix (these may or may not be my plans for the evening!)

Sending you a virtual hug,

Danielle

You’ll Get There.

I hope this post encourages you!

I know I can’t be the only one who sometimes feels like my goals are JUST out of reach; close enough to almost touch & yet so far away, all at the same time.

Working on a graduate degree that will help me achieve my DREAM while navigating teaching during a pandemic feels hard. It feels nearly impossible sometimes. I find myself feeling a little discouraged lately.

But I’ll do it! Progress is progress, & I have to remind myself that I’m further along in this journey than I was, whether it feels that way or not. The late nights & early mornings; the frustrated tears while I finish an assignment. It’s all going to be worth it someday, when I finally reach that goal.

I just wanted to remind you that you’re doing it. Even if you’re at a crawl, you’re still making progress & moving toward your goal. You’re closer to it now than you were yesterday!

We’ll get there!

Danielle