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!
Sleeping in as much as I want
Seeing friends and catching up over cups of homemade hot cocoa
Baking lots and lots and lots of cookies, and peppermint bark
Making mysterious holiday presents
Decorating the house
Saying things to my sister that annoy her and cracking up at her classic look of disapproval
Trying out new recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Taking long drives with my sister while blasting our favorite tunes and singing along
Visiting that cute little outdoor shopping mall in Tacoma and getting Bubble Tea
(Hopefully) taking more pictures for this blog so that I can update from sunny season
Window shopping (maybe a little actual shopping) with my mom
Finishing my book and writing up a review
Blogging, of course!
What things are you all looking forward to doing during the holidays?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
This post was inspired by a couple of friends and a holiday that is important to my family- Diwali. I wanted to use the concept that this holiday celebrates to talk about something I, and many of my loved ones, have realized recently- why it’s so important to talk to other people about the negative things that go on in your life. I wanted to shed some light on why I think these things are part of the things that make your voice so significant- why you need to be heard, and why other shouldlisten to you. These are the things that make you glow- they are how you share your light with the world.
So for two weeks before this I was on vacation, and last week I was moving back to my University’s campus and I didn’t get any time to write! I had all of these ideas going in my mind and I’m so looking forward to sharing them all with all of you- this is the first one!
This one goes out to all of you who struggle with anxiety. Whether you’ve been diagnosed or you just easily get anxious like me, I hope this helps in some way.
Most of the times, I get anxious about my expenditure, my grades, and the my impressions on other people. When I’m anxious, it feels like both my mind and body are frozen in time, like I can’t move or think about anything else but that which I’m worried about, or like anything that I do could lead to some other things falling apart, crashing and burning. Sometimes I vent out my worries to someone. But mostly I sit and stare for a long time. I imagine what will come next, and what I can do if it doesn’t go the way that I want it to. I’ve done this as long as I can remember struggling with anxiety, but I never realized how very unproductive it was until a few days ago when I was worrying about something irrelevant and my sister said to me: “Aarti, don’t just sit there and worry. DO something about it”
When it comes to my anxiety, my sister is my biggest supporter So I listened to her, and ever since then when I’ve felt anxious, I’ve also remembered to tell myself to dosomething about it.
Of course there is no general formula for solving all issues of anxiety, but there is a general formula that I like to use for dealing with anxiety. The first step is the one that I struggle with the most: talking to someone about it. I hate talking to other people about the things that make me anxious, because it seems like almost anything can make me anxious: awkward encounters, busy schedules, uncertainty, hard tests, and everything above and beyond that. Sometimes its hard to find someone to talk to about anxiety too, since it’s given that not everyone is going to understand how you feel, since what you get anxious about is not something that someone without anxiety troubles also gets anxious about. Sometimes, the most someone will be able to give you is “Relax, you’ll be fine”. At times hearing this from someone you trust can make you feel better, but not always. If you haven’t found someone in your life yet who you can vent out to, diaries work great too. Even though you can’t necessarily bounce ideas off of them because diaries can’t talk back, they are great for self-reflection- talking to yourself! And since you know yourself better than anyone, it’s definitely something that could work.
Something else that works in helping with anxiety is working out- go jogging or do some yoga, and, if you really don’t want to get of the house to do something, clean your room and the kitchen! While working out doesn’t involve doing anything about your problem at the moment, it does give you time and space to actually think things through, while allowing you to be productive and do something good for your mind and body and something that will undoubtedly make you feel better about your health.
And of course, for those of you who love to write like me, write about it: use your anxiety productively by figuring out what you need to do through writing. Pass on what you learn to your fellow bloggers and writers, and use the lessons you have learned because of your anxiety as ideas and inspiration for future writing projects!
And lastly, the best way to deal with something that you don’t get know how to tackle is to plan for it. Lay out everything you need to do to accomplish the task, and then direct yourself, step by step, on how you will accomplish it. If you worry about little things at a time instead of freaking out about the big picture, your anxieties will be a lot easier to deal with.
Anxiety often doesn’t feel great to have, but I’ve slowly come to realize that my struggles with anxiety have made me the person I am today- someone that I couldn’t be more proud of, even though she still has a lot to learn and a long way to go. So, loves, if you struggle with anxiety at times, make sure you keep reminding yourself that you are strong, you are loved, and you will get through it.