September can be a very stressful month for many. It often means saying goodbye to the mindset of carefree summer days.
Add in so many uncertainties surrounding the Pandemic into the mix and this September could likely be even more challenging for many more.
If you feel more stress in September, YOU are not alone.
With the kids heading back to school, changes in routine, jam packed schedules, many unknowns, a change of seasons, shortening daylight hours; anxiety and overwhelm are certain to play a big role in many of our lives during the month ahead.
September is also “National Self-Care Awareness Month”.
Self-care knows no boundaries, unfortunately neither do anxiety and overwhelm.
Everyone can benefit from practicing self-care. It’s not SELFISH!
So take advantage of it in the month ahead and make self-care an important part of your daily routine.
Pay attention to how you are feeling.
Communication is key.
Healthy boundaries are imperative.
Practice being kind to yourself and tell your guilt to fuck off.
How do you prepare for Stresstember?
How do you ease back into a routine?
What is one thing you look most forward to in September?
***Leave your emojis in the comments as to how you are feeling about the month ahead.
Last night I watched a movie on Amazon Prime called “Brittany Runs A Marathon”. My family has started rating the movies we watch lately by how much mom cries during them (especially the ending) which isn’t really a fair assessment to be honest because I cry while watching just about anything these days. But if we go with their rating system (maybe instead of Rotten Tomatoes we use Salty Teardrops?) this one was as close to a 10 as they come.
The movie is based on a true story (which usually ups the ante right there) about an overweight woman who feels dissatisfied with pretty much everything in her life and soon gets a wake up call from her doctor when he reveals to her that she doesn’t need Adderall like she hoped but instead needs to lose 50 pounds as her physical health had started to become unhinged too. And even though being the “fat girl” sidekick was always her safety net (or so she thought) she decides to take her doctor’s advice and eventually leads Brittany to take up running, eat healthier and stop using drugs and alcohol to numb her pain.
The movie is about so much more than a weightloss journey though and runs much, much deeper than that. It was an inspiring, heartwarming, super funny, thought provoking and very, very relatable journey to me in so many ways even if I’ve never run a day in my life (or ever had the desire to!).
The storyline brought with it lots of important life lessons (and plenty of stereotypes too), all of which resonated with my own journey through life. It was an emotional journey and one that proves just how hard it can be to fall in love with yourself. It taught us the importance of body positivity, learning to love the body we’re in and self-acceptance. It taught us about the hard work and difficult steps it takes toward achieving our dreams while continuously focusing on small yet attainable goals no matter what. It also showed us that it is perfectly okay to accept help from others, to never judge a book by its cover and that it’s more than okay to walk away from toxic relationships in our life that no longer serve us or who can’t see our worth.
I wrote a blog a couple of years ago (see link below) where I opened up about how I struggled with both Anorexia and Bulimia in my late teens and early 20’s. But truth be told my eating disorder has never truly left me and it continues still to this day to be a constant struggle in my life.
My self-hate is very strong-willed and even more stubborn. It has stopped me in my tracks many times over from believing in my dreams and achieving many of my goals. It very often stops me from loving myself or accepting help from others. My self-hate has also blinded me from seeing through some very toxic relationships over the years as well and learning to accept and love my body has been as torturous as learning how to love my mind except there is no where to hide from your body.
As most of you know who follow my journey regularly I love walking and hiking and way back at the start of the Pandemic in March I began walking several miles every day and hiking on weekends as much as possible (#summerofrich). I even started exercising a bit from home as well and it felt empowering but as the weather began to change over the last few weeks I have basically stopped exercising all together and it has drastically increased those feelings of self-hate and brought with it many of the danger signs that accompany an eating disorder.
I also have a very poor relationship with food itself which has most likely stemmed from several childhood traumas surrounding food (see blog below) and it seems to have created a lifetime struggle with food and self-worth which is something that I am overwhelmingly conscious of around my children as I never want them to have the same toxic relationship with food as I do. I just want them to love who they are from the inside out.
Spoiler Alert: Brittany eventually runs a marathon (it is the title of the movie), the mother of all marathons no less. But the movie is not about how she reached the finish line of the New York City marathon (fun fact: they actually filmed the marathon scenes during the 2017 event!), it was about her incredible transformation (both physically and mentally) toward loving herself and kicking that “fat girl” sidekick to the curb that allowed her to get there. It was about how she kept tying up the laces of her running shoes, tripping over them from time to time as they came undone and learning to tie them back up again every time she fell down while running just one block at a time of the congested and mean streets of New York City and letting the people in her life who saw her worth cheer her on from the sidelines.
I loved watching Brittany’s journey toward finding self-love. She deserves to wear that medal around her neck, not for the weight that she lost but for running all those miles toward her own self-truth, without compromise.
Maybe one day I will be able to run that same marathon too?
My heart is overflowing tonight. There are no words to describe how I am feeling right now.
This is Jacob’s latest tattoo that he got yesterday. The picture was originally taken while on a family vacation in Washington D.C nine years ago during the week of his 13th birthday (but he swapped out the Washington Monument for the C.N Tower).
Thank you for this incredibly meaningful and very moving gesture. You are always so full of surprises. 🤗🥰
In all likelihood if you try calling me there’s a very good chance you’re gonna get my voicemail, that is of course unless you are one of my kids or my husband. They know that unless it’s an emergency, it’s best though to give me a warning signal by sending me a text first.
I wrote a blog a couple of years ago titled “Call Me, Maybe” where I spoke about how making a phone call can cause me severe anxiety and how much more severe it becomes when my phone rings.
I much prefer to text, use Facebook messenger or even email with others unless I am in the right frame of mind to chat on the phone at that moment you call or I am prepared ahead of time to do so.
I welcome texts and messages with wide open arms, I enjoy receiving your emojis and silly GIFs and I especially love the distraction late at night when my mind is spinning out of control. I truly appreciate every time you reach out to me “just because” you are thinking of me or you simply want to chat but much like making or receiving that anxiety provoking phone call, reaching out “just because” to my friends and family via text is just as overwhelming.
Like with most every aspect of my life, my anxiety causes me to worry; ALOT and it also causes me to have severe heart palpitations day in and day out, including when I reach out to others via text message etc just to simply say “hi”; and more often than not it will cause my mind to spin into a downward spiral.
What if I’m bothering them, what if I’m burdening them with my problems, what if they’re too busy to chat, what if they’re tired of hearing my negative thoughts, what if I’m just too exhausting for them, what if I say something wrong or embarrassing, what if they will judge me or what if they simply don’t want to hear from me?
I know that most of these worries and fears are just my anxiety talking down to me yet everytime I go to send someone a text message these thoughts overwhelm me and feel very real in the moment.
The unknown possibilities are endless as to how someone will react when they receive a message from me and the guilt I feel for not being able to reach out more often is so unbearable at times.
I know I have lost relationships because of my inability to reciprocate but sadly the deadly combination of having a depressed and anxious mind can do horrifying things to your self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence and I’m just so grateful to have an army of people behind me that aren’t keeping score as to who sent the last message.
Let’s all take a moment today to wish the world’s most recognizable character and the most lovable mouse on earth a very happy 92nd birthday.
I have always been a really big fan of Mickey Mouse’ (like ginormous) and that feeling has never waivered.
To me Mickey Mouse embodies all that is good in the world. He is a symbol of family, friendship and fun. He welcomes and accepts everyone he meets into his home (which just so happens to be the most magical place on earth) with a warm embrace.
He brings smiles of joy to millions of faces, both young and old alike and he believes that no dream is impossible and that “if you can dream it, you can do it!”
Let’s celebrate and appreciate Mickey today for all of his amazing and special attributes that he has brought to the world over the last 92 years and all that he represents because we could sure use as many warm embraces (virtually for now) and welcoming smiles (under your mask) more than ever before right about now.
I wish I could be with him to celebrate today; how about you?
What are your most cherished memories of Mickey and/or the Magic Kingdom?
This is the aftermath from the storm we had yesterday afternoon.
For many of us, a fence may symbolize a feeling of safety, protection and healthy boundaries but a fence may also be seen as a defense mechanism that allows someone to shut themselves off or separate themselves from others.
Or what if a fence is really a symbol of an obstacle or barrier that’s standing in our way or restricting us or completely stopping us from achieving our own personal and emotional growth?
Today I’m feeling conflicted about my “broken fence” and today I find myself “sitting on the fence” as to whether or not it’s some kind of a sign?
What if it’s a chance opportunity to break down my barriers or what if it’s a pathway to something I’ve been longing for or what if it’s representative of an opening to “mend the fences” inside my aching soul?
Today we welcome in the month of November and the good news is that means there are only 60 more days left until this year from hell will finally be over! But today also marks the beginning of Movember which also means that for the next 30 days men from all around the world will be growing a moustache in honour of their fellow men everywhere.
Movember, which originated in Australia is now a celebrated movement that raises awareness and funds for men’s health issues but more specifically; Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Depression and Suicide.
As we watch men’s moustaches grow we are paving the way towards critical and possibly life saving conversations to occur and reminding men of the importance of early cancer detection, making time for annual check-ups, getting more active and essentially decreasing the amount of preventable deaths.
From a young age some boys are taught (whether it be culturally, generationally or socially) that a “real man” shouldn’t cry, that a “real man” can’t show fear, that being compassionate is somehow a character flaw and that acting anything less than a tough guy is a sign of weakness.
These untruths only feed more and more into the many toxic masculine aggressions and can also lead many men towards feelings of “self-reliance and emotional repression”, both of which can very likely produce an increase in mental health problems such as Depression and Suicide.
A man with such toxic character traits may also make it much less likely that they will seek medical and/or psycholgical help for themselves and could therefore lead to a much shorter life span.
When I came upon this picture the other day (see attached) of the soon to be “President of the United States!!!” and his son Hunter Biden, I saw a picture of courage and strength, I saw a picture of acceptance and understanding, I saw a picture of forgiveness and I saw an unconditional love between a father and his son.
This picture went viral but sadly it did so for all the wrong reasons. Some individuals (to remain nameless) mocked and shamed this portrait as a toxic portrayal of how a “real man” should act and they are sending a very misguided and scary message to the world; especially to the most vulnerable and most impressionable young men among us.
I wish they could see what I see when I look at this picture and I wish that they could see how having the gift of a strong male role model in a young boy’s life could set the bar higher towards a society where men are embraced for their vulnerability instead of their toughness. We could sure use more men like that in the world right now.
Let’s “change the face of men’s health” (Movember’s motto) and squash the stereotypes by supporting and encouraging all men to see this picture through that same lens.
Today, October 10th, 2020 is World Mental Health Day. For over 7+ months now our entire world has been met with the most unimaginable challenges and tragic losses and moving forward, probably for many years to come, there is going to be an even greater substantial need to have more and more Psychological and Mental Health supports put in place that are more readily and easily accessible to everyone.
So this year’s goal for World Mental Health Day comes as no big surprise as they turn their focus to ensuring that there is a sizeable investment made in Mental Health programs, Research and Education both on a National and International level which as many of us know firsthand is dangerously underfunded.
But just this past week, right here in Toronto I felt that first glimmer of hope unfolding toward that goal as CAMH (Center For Addictions and Mental Health), together with many community leaders (including the Premier of Ontario) unveiled their two, brand new State of the Art buildings at this historic landmark.
They will be opening to the public next month and it will include 235 inpatient beds and 600,000 square feet of safe space to allow for healing and recovery.
BRAVO to everyone involved for taking this critical step forward in creating this incredible safe and inclusive space for our community and beyond.
I myself have personally benefitted from many of their world renowned community outreach programs and resources and I am hopeful that this redevelopment will help benefit many others in the near future too.
Today is World Health Day and in its entire history today’s celebration couldn’t be more fitting than ever before. World Health Day is an initiative that raises awareness about the overall health and wellbeing of people around the world which is why today feels très importante! The theme of this year’s #worldhealthday is in support of nurses and midwives who have been the unsung heroes of Covid-19 by sacrificing their own health and wellbeing in order to ensure that we can all live in a healthier, safer world. Feel free to give a shoutout here to a special healthcare worker in your life!
Last night I had a meltdown of epic proportions. I knew that it being my 6 year Anniversary since the onset of my illness yesterday (See blog “The Anniversary Effect”; April 4, 2020) that it wasn’t gonna be an easy day. But I did just what any good doctor would order me to do and got out of bed (eventually), took a 2 hour walk through my neighborhood and then treated myself to a warm bubble bath when we got home.
But like clockwork everything changed without a moment’s notice and almost as soon as I stepped out of the bathtub I found myself crying over “spilt milk” again, even if most of what I was crying over wasn’t really worth getting upset about at all; but you see, the truth is, it really feels like there is plenty of spilt milk to cry over these days.
At any given moment we may find ourselves feeling sad, scared, disappointed, angry, worried, distracted, exhausted, restless, short tempered or impatient (did I cover enough adjectives?). I find that since first becoming ill my patience has become next to nil which can often stir up plenty of other emotions quickly. And now with each passing day I’m pretty sure that most of us are finding ourselves losing their patience too in some way or another or with someone or another. In other words, we are all starting to get on each other’s nerves.
It’s ok if you’re not quite ready to admit to it yet though and since there is no real guidebook for us to follow on how we should feel during a Pandemic, we all get a free pass. So with no Playbook or guidelines to follow on how we should react or be feeling right now let me reassure you that whatever the heck you are feeling is perfectly valid.
Even if you’re living with June Cleaver from “Leave It To Beaver” we are all learning together how to coexist with others on a much different level than we were before and you may be feeling very claustrophobic, frustrated, on edge and downright snappy toward one another as we test each other’s patience and deal with each other’s anxieties and ever changing moods.
It’s hard, it’s super fucking hard right now but “we’re all in this together” and the one thing that is gonna make this nightmare just a tad bit easier is ensuring that we all work together as a team, within our individual homes, and create a Playbook with your home team. (I really do miss sports)
This experience is no doubt gonna change us all and we are all going to have to make some changes in order to get through this Pandemic together and maybe a good place to start is by developing a “Playbook” for your home team and make sure it includes several “strategies” and “plays” that can help reduce some of your household stressors and anxieties.
Ask your teammates what you need from them right now and moving forward to help make this time together more successful and remember that it’s still ok to cry over spilt milk while figuring it out, but by figuring it out together hopefully we will create some stronger, more adhesive family units by the time this is all over.
So what are some things you need in your Playbook?