Posted in Open Letters

12/10 Open Letter

Hey y’all,

It’s the Sunday before my first final. I do not at all feel like cracking open my textbook at this point. Who else is ready to close all the books, shred the notes, drop the pencils and curl up with a warm blanket, some hot cocoa (my favorite hot beverage), curl up on a comfy couch next to a roaring fire and watch an oh so cheesy rom-com?

I could not be more ready at this point to start my holiday break.

I don’t have any exciting personal life updates right now due to the fact that I’ve either been working or studying all week long, but I do have some updates on that book I said I might write in one of my last posts.

I’m going to keep this post short and simple. As I wrote in a post earlier this week, when I’m stressed out about tests and projects and last-minute things like I am right now, I like to give myself something to look forward to. But since this last week I’ve been interviewing for research internships in my department, I started thinking about plans for next summer! Chances are, I’ll be spending my summer doing research. But since I’d love to do something fun when I’m not in the lab, I’ve also been thinking about taking the opportunity to possibly open up an Etsy shop. Etsy is a great place to find many unique, handmade things. I’ve bought a few pieces of clothing and jewelry from there and they’re great!

Not many people who’ve met me in recent years know about this and I’ve certainly never mentioned this before on my blog: from when I was in the seventh grade until the end of my sophomore year of high school, my life goal was to become a jewelry designer and open up my own business. I even taught a class on it to a few kids. But that dream died after that point. I still have up my Facebook Page, though, from my jewelry making days! So if you ever feel like looking at the stuff I made in my short-lived career as a jewelry designer, feel free to take a look at my page! If I do decide to do the Etsy thing, I’ll probably get that page back up and running, at least for the summer.

But summer is still a long ways away, and in the mean time, I have a lot of stuff to take care of this week. I have one more interview for a lab internship and two finals and then I’m free!

As you can probably tell I don’t have a ton of fun life updates for y’all this week, but I will once I get home and have time to relax! In next week’s posts and letters, I’ll probably be sharing with you all some of my goals for 2018, and fun holiday activities! Also, I get to show you all my DIY gifts! I’m beyond excited.

I hope everyone who is still working on finals has a successful week, and that everyone who is home for break has a very restful week!

Love,

Aarti

 

 

Posted in D.I.Y's and Advice, mental health, Other cool stuff

It’s almost break!

Hey everyone!

Right here, right now in the middle of dead week (the week before finals) at University, I’m having a little trouble motivating myself to keep moving forward. I decided to do a little mental self-medication: I’ve always found that the perfect way to keep pushing forward is to remember the things that you are pushing yourself towards. So with that, here are the things I’m looking forward to next week, right around this time when finals will finally be over!

  1. Sleeping in as much as I want
  2. Not studying
  3. Seeing friends and catching up over cups of homemade hot cocoa
  4. Baking lots and lots and lots of cookies, and peppermint bark
  5. Making mysterious holiday presents
  6. Decorating the house
  7. Saying things to my sister that annoy her and cracking up at her classic look of disapproval
  8. Trying out new recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  9. Taking long drives with my sister while blasting our favorite tunes and singing along
  10. Visiting that cute little outdoor shopping mall in Tacoma and getting Bubble Tea
  11. (Hopefully) taking more pictures for this blog so that I can update from sunny season
  12. Window shopping (maybe a little actual shopping) with my mom
  13. Finishing my book and writing up a review
  14. Blogging, of course!

What things are you all looking forward to doing during the holidays?

-Aarti

Posted in mental health, Personal Reflections

Let’s Be Honest

The Power (and awkwardness) about being completely honest

What do you think life would be like if you were always completely honest?

Like, if you were to go up to the barista that you think is so cute and tell him or her that you have a big, fat crush on them? That is why you go to their coffee shop every Tuesday, right?

Or, would you tell the girl in your chemistry class who randomly hates you that you didn’t do anything to her and you don’t know why she’s mad at you without letting your pride getting in the way? You don’t want her to know that you care about what she thinks- that makes you look weak and scared. But it really does hurt to know that someone who doesn’t even know you that well acts like they hate you and doesn’t tell you why.

Would you be honest when someone asks you what your most embarrassing memory is? Or would you tell them the second or third most embarrassing memory instead?

Many of like to think that we are open and honest with other people.

But to be honest, that’s a lie.

Continue reading “Let’s Be Honest”

Posted in Open Letters

12/3, Open Letter

Hey loves,

Happy first week of December. As I’m writing this letter to you after sort of a hard week, but at the end of which there was a happy, hopeful twist. I guess that’s why I’m adding a picture of this beautiful Christmas tree from a local cafe. Like I mentioned in my last letter, I didn’t grow up Christian, but that didn’t stop me from loving the sight of a Christmas tree. I’m not sure what these trees symbolize to Christians, but to me they symbolize hope. Hope for joy, for surprises, and for peace- exactly what everyone needs at this time of the year.

The first week of December is commonly known as “Dead Week” at my University; it’s the week before finals. Dorms usually enforce quiet hours more strictly or for longer periods of time. The main undergraduate library is open 24/7 so that people can hit the books. What makes this particular Dead Week worse than others in other quarters is that its the week before Christmas break! So while its so tempting to ditch the books and notes and go celebrate with friends and family… we can’t. Because grades.

But I always like to give myself something to look forward to at the end of every week. In the case of this week, that would be finishing off my job interview that is at the end of this week. I have a good feeling about this one- I feel hopeful! Most of this week that isn’t spent studying is going to be spent preparing for that one. But I guess I’ll be able to let you know in my next letter how that goes.

A lot of my free time will also be spent scrolling through pinterest! I mentioned in my last letter that I’d be making most of my holiday presents this year, and I know now exactly what I’m going to make. It’s going to be a surprise… everyone is getting a variety of the same thing, and I so badly want to tell everyone what that is but I’ve never been capable of keeping this a surprise except for that one time I surprised my sister for our birthday (we’re twins) so I really REALLY am going to try to keep this one a secret. But I can’t wait to show you guys once the surprise is revealed!

After this week is over, I have two weeks of sleeping in, baking cookies, catching up with friends and driving around to see Christmas lights! Until then, I just have to get through my interview and my finals.

To close my letter, for everyone who has finals after this next week (and is also experiencing Dead Week)… you got this. To paraphrase some of my friends on many occasions when I’ve been worried about tests, projects and life in general, you can get halfway to success at least if you believe you can do it.

As always, thanks for stopping by and taking a few minutes out of your day to read this! If you want to write back, you can email me at handmadeheartsblog@gmail.com OR fill out this contact form! It’s always great to hear back from you all as well.

Lots of love,

Aarti

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Single for the season.

hannah brencher.

I spent the last hour googling “single during the holiday season” and clicking in and out of articles. The stories were pretty much all the same. How to survive the holiday season. Things to do when you’re single. The articles start the same way, with cheesy puns about adding extra fa-la-la-la into your season. The slew of articles is really pretty pathetic for how weighty this feeling of “singleness” can be when December rolls around.

So you’re here. And you’re reading this. And maybe you’re the single one.

Valentine’s Day is one day on the calendar but, for some reason, the holiday season feels like two long months of social awareness for the single people in the room.

And maybe Hallmark Movies don’t make it any better because all these fiercely handsome men and seemingly perfect women keep colliding into one another in the old haunts of their hometowns while…

View original post 1,398 more words

Posted in D.I.Y's and Advice, mental health, Personal Reflections

Bloom

Hey everyone!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic LAST WEEK of November!!! Can you believe how fast this year has gone by? Needless to say, so much has happened in 2017. This last week, I’ve been thinking about how much has happened for me this last year and starting to think about what goals I want to set for myself this next year. Everyone knows that new year’s resolutions can be hard to plan and accomplish, most often because we don’t start out with a plan on how we want to accomplish our goals. Whether the goal is to eat healthier and work out more, manage time better, getting better grades, earning more money, reading more books, or even just making more of an effort to look put together, a lot of the times we see the difference in the pictures of where we are and where we want to be in a few months, and we completely ignore the part in the middle where we plan out how exactly we are going to get to where we want to be.

One this thing that I’ve learned this year as a blogger, as a student, and as someone who consistently reflects on her actions and choices, there is no way to get from the start to the finish line without planning the steps you will take in between.

And based on that, here is a step-by-step guide on how to set goals and achieve them without driving yourself crazy or getting discouraged, illustrated through a series of flower metaphors.

Part I. The Seed 

Continue reading “Bloom”

Posted in mental health, Open Letters

11/26, Open Letter

Hey everyone,

I hope you all had a great, fun and warm Thanksgiving! As I said in my last open letter, these letters are just my way of let you all know how my life has been going. One thing that has helped me get through my own challenges with anxiety is doing my best to be reflective- and that is what these letters allow me to do. These letters are for anyone to read, and anyone to respond to if they wish to! Feel free to write back through email or post comments, or PM me on my Facebook page!

 

Thanksgiving was so perfect- it was a break after working so long and hard this last week. Like I mentioned in my last post, every Thanksgiving my family does this thing where we all make one dish for our family meal. This year, I made a salted pecan caramel cheesecake, and it was DELICIOUS.

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Photo creds to my amazing friend Sneha 🙂 

 

Here is the recipe I used, in case any of y’all want to try it!

We had so much food on the table for Thanksgiving: Turkey and gravy, BBQ sweet potato sliders (a vegetarian twist so that everyone could have them), candied yams, corn and potato patties, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, and of course, CHEESECAKE. The best part about it though was sitting down to eat with my family and friends.

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We spent all of yesterday and some of Thursday night shopping, which is sort of a tradition for my sister, my mom and I. I know a lot of people who really don’t appreciate that stores open on Thursday night, or the fact that Black Friday is such a huge crazy day when the day before is supposed to be spent giving thanks for all of the people and things that you have in your life. The only reason I do it is because I (usually) don’t buy all that much throughout the year, so I let myself have Black Friday. And, it means getting to spend a day having fun with my mom and my sister, and this year, our friend too!

But besides Thanksgiving all of the holiday fun from this weekend, this weekend I also spent a lot of time thinking about that book I mentioned I wanted to write in last week’s letter. Again, I know that trying to publish a book any time soon would be crazy at this point in my life, since I have so much going on already. But I guess I started thinking about what I wanted to write since Christmas is right around the corner.

I’ve been a Hindu all of my life- I was raised by a family that is at least somewhat religious. But I did not grow in a place where Hinduism was prominent. My family celebrates Diwali every year, and every year my parents have at least one Satyanarayan pooja (a ceremonious prayer) and we also do Ganesh Chaturthi. But because I did not grow up having a lot of other friends who were also Indian and also Hindu, these never really seemed like the community events that they are in places where there are large Hindu communities.

There are some schools and school districts in the United States that let people take days off for Diwali. But I’ve yet to hear about schools that give holiday breaks for the holidays of other religions, belief systems and cultures: Hanukkah, Eid, Chinese Lunar New Year, etc.

I grew up singing Christmas music and planning and doing Secret Santa with my friends. Every year, we put up a small Christmas tree and give each other gifts just for the fun of it. For me, Christmas means trying to show my family and friends that I love and appreciate them through gifts. But I’ve always felt like I can’t really participate in celebrating Christmas because it is not a religiously significant holiday for me. The religious significance is a part of the holiday that does deserve its respect, and I just feel like by taking only part of the tradition and not all of it, I can’t give it the respect that it deserves. That’s why even though its fun for me to spend time with my family and friends, plan out and create gifts for them, it also is somewhat uncomfortable.

I call the gifts that I give people during that time “holiday gifts” now, as in gifts for any holiday that might be important to the person that I’m giving my gift too. Because even if I don’t understand or celebrate Christmas for its religious significance, it is important to to stop and show people that you appreciate them as often as you can.

This year, I’m a little extra excited because I’ll be making a lot of the presents I’m giving to people! I’ve been all over pinterest and several craft blogs looking for ideas, and I’m probably going to be brain-storming and shopping for supplies during the next two weeks, and putting together gifts during holiday break.

During these next two weeks, I’m also going to planning out my resolutions for next year, including deciding how I’m going to move forward with this blog! The most important thing for me with this blog was to somehow set up a community that was excited to talk about mental health. This blog is about seven months old now, and I think so far I’ve done an okay job of doing that. But one thing that I’ve realized is that blogging really isn’t about making yourself well-known (unless its a personal blog), but more about making your cause well-known, and making yourself a prominent voice in that cause. But I’ve also began to feel that some part of it should also be giving a voice to other people- with a blog centered around mental health, this is especially important, considering how stigmatized mental illness and seeking mental health care are. It’s been great seeing some people do that already, whether this means having guest blog posts, or sharing the blogs of others. I’m so excited for what is ahead!

Next week, I might have some updates on my goals for next year, goals for my blog, and on holiday gift ideas! For now, you can check out some of this great website I’ve found for DIY gifts!

 

 

Posted in Open Letters

11/19,Open Letter

Hey lovely readers,

Here is the first of something I’m hoping will become a tradition on my blog: an open letter to all of you, my readers!

Those of us who care about mental health know that sometimes the most therapeutic thing you can do to make yourself feel better is simply have a conversation about what you’ve been doing, what you’ve been going through, and what you need help on. That’s what I’m hoping to do through this letter: just a short conversation with you all about how I’ve been doing, what I’ve been up to, and what I might need help or advice on. I’m hoping to make this a weekly, Sunday morning thing. If you feel inspired something yourself after reading my open letter, feel free to write back! I’m always looking for opportunities to have conversations with all of you who read this blog and support me. You can reach me by either commenting on this post, commenting when I share it to my Facebook Page, or emailing me at handmadeheartsblog@gmail.com.

This week I’ve been doing a lot of waiting. I’m waiting for Thanksgiving break so I can see my family again, so that I can go shopping with my mom, my sister and one of my best friends on Black Friday, and so that I can have more time to blog! My family does this thing every year: we each make one dish for our Thanksgiving meal instead of just cooking all of the traditional foods. This year, I’m making this Salted Caramel Pecan Cheesecake that I found online- pretty much all of the best holiday flavors (except for Pumpkin, which is sad)- and it’s on a cheesecake! I’m excited, though part of me does feel like it might be too many flavors all at once. But I guess we won’t know until I’m done cooking it! If you like the recipe and decide to try it out too, let me know how it turns out!

I’ve also been waiting to get through to midterms that I’m taking in the next two days, and I have a paper due on Wednesday! But the good news is that after I’m done with all of those things, I’m pretty much free until finals at the end of the quarter, so I’m looking forward to having two weeks of lots of free time after this week!

I was dreading doing all of these things earlier on in this week, but on Thursday I spent some time talking to a few friends- we were just catching up and talking about our various life struggles, and I realized that the entire week I’d been dreading all of the big things that I have going on before Thanksgiving next week and I hadn’t spent enough time celebrating the small good things that were already happening in my life.

I’m the President of a club that I started with a few friends called Snail Mail Society, and our on-going project at the moment involves writing letters for people who are nominated by friends or themselves to receive a “love letter bundle”. The purpose of these bundles is just to show the people in our university community that though they might be going through a hard time, they have people rooting for them to get through it. Although it can be challenging to write letters to people we often do not know, we successfully pulled together bundles for our first four nominations this last week!

I also got a package in the mail (who doesn’t love packages in the mail?!?) of something that I’d been expecting for a really long time and I’m excited to open it when I get back home for Thanksgiving break!

This past summer, I had an idea for a book I’d potentially want to write, about the struggles faced by brown-skinned women in modern America. After having a really great conversation with one of my friends this past week, I think that this might actually be a topic that I’d want to write about in the future. But writing a book is a lot of work, and it’s not necessarily something that I have a ton of time to do right now, but it’s never too early to start brainstorming and documenting stories, right?

I realized that it’s only 5 MORE MONTHS until my best friend comes home from her mission! I haven’t heard from her in a little while, but in 5 more months I’m super excited to catch up on life, binge watch Flash, go hiking and get our hair done together.

One of my friends who is also majoring in Psychology recently got into a lab that she had interviewed for and accepted the position. Another friend got a job.

These are all really small things, but being happy about these is better than being sad that things you are waiting for haven’t happened already. I think that’s the biggest thing that I learned this week. I think that sometimes its really easy to forget about these little things that are worth celebrating when there are so many big things looming in our paths. But doing that can also make it hard to live in the moment. After struggling so much with that last year, I’ve noticed that the anxiety I used to feel on a daily basis has gone down the more I started consciously making an effort to celebrate all of the small accomplishments I have.

I’m going to close off this letter by asking that, if you are having trouble living in the moment, to try and do the same thing. Think about the small things that have happened in your life recently that made you smile, and know that reflecting on these positive things will help you get through the big things you might have ahead.

The last thing I want to add to this letter is a huge Thank You to all of you. Thank you for reading my blog, and thank you for caring about mental health. Thank you for continuing to support me. I hope everyone reading this has a great Thanksgiving this next week!

Love,

Aarti

Posted in Uncategorized

Check Yourself

Hey loves!

Here is my second blog post for this week. A couple of weeks ago, I attended my first Open Mic, and I watched one of my really good friends, Bre, perform. Bre is a blogger as well, and you can read her work on here blog here! Bre writes and does poetry as well. A couple of weeks ago, she performed spoken word poetry for the first job and did an amazing job. I was so proud of her! But this blog post was actually inspired by a conversation we had before going to the event. Bre and I were talking about how frustrating it is to encounter people who have no idea how privileged they are. Because of who I am now, I related to the frustration. But I also related to the problem itself, based on how I remember being a couple of years ago. In this post, I share my story.

Continue reading “Check Yourself”

Posted in D.I.Y's and Advice, mental health

The Importance of Forgiveness

Hey lovely readers!

Welcome to a new week! I wasn’t able to post at all during this last week due to my educational obligations, but I have an exciting bunch of posts for you guys to enjoy over these next two weeks! Here is the first one on a topic that I’ve recently come to identify as one of the most important ones we can talk about in relation to mental health.

Continue reading “The Importance of Forgiveness”