Monday, 19 February 2018

How I Survived A Vacation At 32 Weeks Pregnant (With A Baby In Tow!)

Being pregnant while raising a baby doesn't give me much time to sit still and relax.
To be honest, for the first 30 weeks of the pregnancy, I was pretty much going at my regular pace, with very few pregnancy symptoms (thank you, Universe!).

Only lately, with the final stretch in full fledge, am I feeling the weight (literally) of the tasks of mothering, wife'ing and life'ing.

We went on a family vacation to England last week, and it was wonderful.
Yes, there were absolutely some moments of challenge (baby and I both started the week with colds, babe is teething and moving like crazy, there were some exhausting nights etc;) BUT I feel so proud of how well the travel went, and how much I was able to enjoy myself.

We had a lot of family obligations (we were visiting family, after all! Step-brother's wedding was the main event) and I was able to squeeze in two lovely friend dates with my friends from Canada and my bestie from England. Amazing.

Now, we're home.

I'm so ready to embrace the quiet and calm that daily life provides.
We are going to be moving at the end of the month, so I am slowly preparing boxes, organizing junk and donating things we no longer need.

Also super, super excited to think that in roughly 7 weeks I will meet my second baby boy (whose name is still not finalized, but that's on our list of "to-do" this week!)

Spring will also bring two lovely family visits, as my dad and step-mum are coming for Theo's first birthday (and to meet the newest addition) AND then my sister is coming to visit!

Life is going to be busy and action-packed with two little guys, but I am so enjoying the "baby years" and I feel so prepared.

I'm at 192 days sober, and it almost doesn't feel like a thing anymore.

Being around drinking/booze is totally normal to me now (without feeling any FOMO or disgust at drunkenness). I'm just so comfortable with my choice and realize that it doesn't matter at all what others do.

Sobriety has given me all the things I struggled so hard to get while drinking (an anxiety-free life, confidence, true happiness, calmness, joy, constant state of gratitude and awe...). Who knew all this time that putting the bottle down was the answer?!

Here are a few photos from sunny England!

Took the day off from mom'ing to visit two of my favorite pals from Canada in London! This was a really nice reunion <3

A teething related freak-out moment during a pub lunch in Tunbridge Wells. Daddy's face says it all! 

During my step-bro's wedding reception. A little family time. 

Feeling fancy

We brought Theo to Hastings on our last day of vacay to see the sea! He loved our family day, which included eating fish pie, walking around the shore and shopping

Friday, 26 January 2018

Last Stretch Of Last Pregnancy and Sobriety Perks

Wow, it's already week #30 of my second (and final) pregnancy!
I am so looking forward to meeting my second little son-shine, but it's also bittersweet to know that these final weeks will be my last experiences as a preggo lady.

We've always been super comfortable with the decision to have 2 babies and dat's it. We are both from families of 2 kiddos, and we quite like the idea of focusing all of our resources and energy/time on 2.
It's the right number for us!

It's crazy to think that 2 years ago, Thomas and I were living in Montreal, not married yet, struggling with immigration paperwork and feeling heavy-hearted because the process was so long and arduous. We never gave up on "us" and look at what we have created!

It makes me so happy to look back and see how the Universe really did set us on the right path amidst some majorly stressful and confusing times.

And now, life is so cool.

Sometimes I am surprised at just how significantly my life balanced out (particularly when I gave up booze).

I am reading Catherine Gray's amaaaazing memoir The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober, and it's so incredibly relatable. What a great, inspiring read.

Incredibly inspirational quit-lit right here

The book has helped me to really face my own lingering fears that surround my new, sober life.

Sometimes, I've doubted myself or my decision to be 100% booze-free, but it doesn't take long to remind myself why I made this choice, why I am sticking to it and how much better it is making my life.

Here are just a few things that I enjoy in  my day to day that would not have been possible if I continued to drink on the reg:

→Life doesn't overwhelm me anymore. I used to get anxious/frazzled/scared/emotional quite easily, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was flooding my system with way too much alcohol. Nowadays, my natural state is calm, silly, soothed and happy!

→I am learning a new language. German! If I was still prioritizing booze, I wouldn't have had the focus/energy/memory or attention span to focus on this.

→I can parent efficiently and with endless love. I'm never impatient with my son. I don't get snappy cause I'm never hungover. I don't rush to get him to bed so I can have a glass of wine. I enjoy the ups and downs and twists and turns that our days provide. I am mom'ing full time, from the time he wakes up (these days 7:30-8:00AM) to bedtime (8:30-9:00PM) - so that is enough work. Adding alcohol to my day would only rob me of energy, and make me far less efficient.

→I'm a way better wife. When I was drinking a lot, it was way more common for us to have disagreements, lovers spats or just downright dirty fights. Being constantly hungover, tired, irritable and sick makes you snappy! These past months have been so blissful in the romance department. Not drinking allows me to be fully present for hubs, which means that I am able to engage fully and give him the best love. We have always had a really solid relationship, but now it's even better, because it's way more silly and carefree. I have to force myself to go to bed at a certain time, cause otherwise we would just stay up all night chatting and giggling. It's lovely.

→I'm setting new goals. Now that I am not spending my life hiding away in hangover-land, I am realizing that there are so many things I want to try. Pregnancy has limited me slightly, but I am dreaming about a summer filled with outdoor activity, family trips and adventures. My dreams are getting bigger and further-reaching, and I'm so excited about being able to give my kiddos a fun, exciting and healthy, happy life. I want to play and run and swim and visit cool places. Try new foods, push through fears, get out of my comfort zone.

→I'm helping others. For so long, I didn't talk openly about my struggles with booze, because I was ashamed of my inability to control my intake. I felt like I was damaged or faulty for not having the ability to stop once I got started.  Now, I realize that I'm definitely not alone in the struggle. So many women have had (and continue to have) unhealthy drinking habits, and I know that sharing my story will help others. I want people to know that life only gets bigger, better and far more fulfilling once the wine glass is filled with sparkling water. 

→I'm realizing that sobriety is really cool and underrated.  One of the biggest fears and misconceptions surrounding sobriety is that it's...boring. I admit, this was one of my biggest worries when I decided to quit. Will I still be fun? Will people want to hang out with me? What will I do if I'm  not chugging 6 pints of cider? The funny thing is, when I was drinking, I saw myself as
this cool/outgoing party girl. I thought that drinking made me fun and mysterious.

Nowadays, when I see drunk girls that remind me of those times, I have a completely different vision. Now, I see them, with their slurry speech and squinty eyes, for what they really are. Lost. Not in control. Searching for something, that they definitely won't find at the bottom of a bottle. It's really eye-opening to have such a shift in perception; drunk doesn't make us cool or pretty or desirable. It makes us sloppy and very often, quite ridiculous.

Sober is sexy as hell. Being able to walk into a party/bar/room/event and present your authentic, unaltered self? That is what builds true confidence and self-love. And, in our generation, it's the most rebellious thing you can do, right?

OK this ended up being longer than originally anticipated (as always!). Time to go for a little walk, the bakery is calling my name and we are visiting an apartment later and I'm really excited cause it has a terrace and garden! Yeah for summer BBQ's and sun-tanning and happy babies on blankets <3

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Consume Consciously

I want to preface this by saying that almost all of this post came to me in a daydreamy/sleepy state while lying in bed last night (early this morning?). Have to start writing down these thoughts when I wake up...some of them are pretty interesting!!!

What You Tune Into Matters.

This can, of course, be applied to almost any area of life. What we CONSUME, creates our reality.
Television, music, movies, food, beliefs, all adds up and adds to our vision of reality.
was thinking particularly about my relationship with the news, and how a shift in viewing habits made a really big difference in my overall happiness.
When I first moved to Switzerland, we didn't have many English channels.

In fact, the "news" was pretty much the only thing I could tap into in English. Now, we have better Anglo channels, and I do watch quite a bit of French TV, but I digress.
Back in the day (aka, Fall 2016-fairly recently? Spring 2017?) I pretty much had the news on in the background all day long.
And, not great news, either. I'm talking about the lowest of the low. CNN style.

I'm definitely not suggesting that we shouldn't be politically aware of what is going on in the world. 
I don't think that walking around with our heads in the clouds in ignorant bliss will solve world issues.
However, the amount of  crappy news, that we watch is affecting our minds, feelings and thoughts. 
I am a huge fan of responsible and intelligent journalism. As a writer and lover of research, there's no way that I deny my admiration for this profession.
But, once again, we need to put our filters on and remember that a ton of what is being broadcast is propagated nonsense meant to instill fear, order and maintain certain political agendas.
It's just not a feel-good kinda thing.
It's never too early to set positive viewing habits for the littles. My kids might get tired of me blasting non-stop pop hits, but it beats violent and propagated news any day!

I realized when Theo was born that watching news was making me feel a little out of sorts, so very holistically, I just stopped tuning in. 

Whereas before it was an automatic behaviour, now, it's more of a rare occurrence.
still keep up with world events (mostly through reading news articles) and that suits me just fine.

I didn't realize how much of a difference it had made in my overall boost in mood/energy/happiness (which is also equated to just living the life I want to live, not drinking etc;) until I had this thought this morning.

So, now, my go-to background is usually an MTV Pop Hits channel (equally dangerous, for different reasons, but definitely more of an endorphin booster).

So, the moral of the story is: consume what makes you feel your best. Consume good, happy, healthy relationships. Consume good food. Consume lots of water. Consume happy broadcasting (and obvi don't eliminate everything you love if it involves some violence etc;)
Just, consume consciously.
Gimme some of THIS! Wow, this looks so serene and peaceful. So important to take moments every single day to zap out and tune into our hearts for a little while. <3

P.S. We survived 3 days of Christmas and now I'm soooooo SO happy to have a "day off" where we can just chill as a little family and get back to our routine a bit. Baby is all partied out and I foresee a big day of naps ahead. 

And me? I'm going to organize 2018 calendars/planners and overview of vacation and moneys. I'm starting the year with a huge paycheck cause I worked a ton last month so I'm excited about that, and I'm obsessed with event planning so it's gonna be a goooood day.

Plus- I bought hubs a sandwich press which makes amazing paninis and wraps so I'm definitely going to be getting my sandwich on in the very near future.

PLUS- I'm determined to narrow down baby names for the new babe by end of week! We have so many ideas but nothing is sticking yet. Must find the right name!!!

Love love love

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Eve: A Journey Through Past Drunken Moments

So, I realize that I blog a lot about my current realities; the blessings and bliss and perks of being a sober mom. I focus on all of that good stuff because, in a way, it's new to me. I'm not used to being permanently non-anxious. I'm not used to feeling good so regularly. A lot of people in early recovery talk about these early moments; when you begin to feel authentically, when you learn how to speak your truth without "liquid courage", when what people think of you stops being priority.

But, it's helpful as well to remember exactly why I decided to cut alcohol out of my life.

I wouldn't say that I was the type of drinker who got drunk and fucked everything up. I never lost a job due to drinking, I had a nice apartment, I had (still have!) a dog that I took care of. I really loved my friends and family and didn't actively push anyone away (although now, I have a different view on how my drinking was damaging to some important relationships, in it's own way...more on that later). Overall, I was a highly functioning, intelligent and capable young lady with a penchant for drinking too many bottles of wine. Or beer. Or cider. Or anything.

Despite seeming to have it all together, there were so many things that I did while drinking that left me feeling like a big bag of dicks. I felt ashamed and embarrassed on a regular basis, and especially the morning after when drunken flashbacks would crawl back to me.
I was ashamed that I was not able to go out for a night with friends without literally giving up the next day to feeling like shit, being sick, eating like crap and wasting my day watching shitty TV.

We're just around the corner from a New Year, and I am so excited to continue this sobriety journey well after my second babe is born.

But to do so, I need to remain accountable.

I need to remember the why's.

Some of this stuff I can laugh at now, but some is actually still very depressing to remember.
I can still feel/remember/experience emotionally the way I felt back then, when I think of these things.

So, without further ado, here are some of the (very personal) and not so great things that came along with being drunk/hungover for the entirety of my 20's and (luckily) only a smidge of my 30's.

*Being overly friendly/chatty with people at bars who I didn't really have any reason to like, other than the fact that they were "also drinking". I woke up so many mornings with that "uggghhh, whyyyyyy" feeling after talking to weirdos, sometimes flirting with them and often exchanging numbers. Even worse was when I would go back to the same bar, see them again, and not even remember that we had met and chatted before. Bla.

* I also did this with friends/acquaintances/people who lived in my apartment complex. There were times when I was so bored of drinking alone, but most people were not off getting loaded on a Tuesday night, so I had to go looking in the shadows for company. This made me feel super desperate and lonely. I spent so many nights at this creepy neighbour's house, drinking and talking, while he hit on me and tried to get me to want to hook up with him. These are really bad memories, and thankfully, happened towards the end of my drinking days.

*Called in sick waaaay too many times to work. OK, so I was admittedly in the midst of a big life change. Thomas was in Montreal, we were trying to sort out immigration, and the stresses of that led me to drinking so much more than normal. Which, led to even more debilitating hangovers. I called in sick to work almost on a weekly basis that winter. I just didn't have the drive/energy to get myself to work, and being hungover and sick would literally cripple me. It was a really bad example to set for the people working under me in my department. Even though I wanted to exit the corporate world, I shouldn't have abused the system while I was still being supported by it.

*Was not "present" for friends/family the way I should've been. This one is also tricky to deal with, emotionally, at times. When I scan back on all of my hangouts with good friends and family members over the last decade or so, I realize that while I was physically present, and often "engaged" with them, my mind was always at least partially checked out. Because I always had drinking on the brain, every get-together was tainted with my inner dialogue running on a hamster wheel. Do we have enough wine/beer? Should I go get more? Do they notice that I'm drinking too much/too fast/too furiously? Why am I the only one drinking? 

I know now that a lot of people were aware of this, but didn't address it, probably because they feared that it would cause an altercation/hurt feelings/situation. And they were totally right. When I was actively drinking, I wasn't very receptive to interventional conversations about my habits. So, my friends and family didn't really say anything, probably had their own opinions about my drinking, and we left it at that. (Side comment: this is the area that I am most proud to have bettered myself in. I know that my friends and family love me and support me 100%, and it feels really good to know that I am now really "showing up" the way I should've before. I value my relationships much more than ever before, and am so lucky to have a core friend base that has been around for years and years, seen me through every phase, and loved me unconditionally throughout. Same for fam. Same for hubs. I got it good.  Hashtag blessed for real.)

*Overdid it at almost every special event. This is my second sober Christmas, and I have to say, it keeps getting better. Three years ago, I hosted Christmas at my apartment in Montreal while family was visiting from the U.K. Although it was a *lovely* celebration, with good food, company and presents, I drank too much (much more than everyone else, that's for sure) and that kind of makes my memories...sad. I remember that when everyone left, I was left home alone, and I kept drinking, even though I was already wasted and should've just gone to bed. Those lonely moments of "after-partying" alone on nights that were never meant to be spent wasted...happened just too frequently at the end. I am not happy to report that a lot of significant moments in my life are hazy because of drinking. Even the night I met my husband, I was really drunk. So, yes, I have good memories of how romantic the night was, but I also know that a lot of the details just seeped into the Earth, never to be found again. I'm really glad that now I can remember everything that we do together. All conversations. All the little sweet moments. Everything is just so much more meaningful now that I am present, alert and engaged.

*Just felt crappy overall. It's sad, because there was always, always a part of me that was the positive/rainbows and unicorns/glass is always half-full girl. I always sought to feel better/be better/love more/fear less etc; which makes the realities of alcohol abuse even more horrific to me. The truth is, no matter how much soul searching I did, no matter how many Deepak Chopra books I swallowed down, the cycle of feeling like crap-o was not about to just go away without some major lifestyle adjustments. I had to literally stop/drop and roll away from the booze in order to get closer to the light. And it's not a 135-day fix, either. I am still working. I will continue to work. Because the deep, down issues are not just "I drank too much". That was the learnt behaviour to deal with false and deeply rooted core beliefs about who I am and what my worth is.

*Self-love matters. This I will repeat over and over until I'm blue in the face. We really need to give ourselves a break. We are so hard on ourselves. We repeat negative things in our heads over and over and over, all day, all week, all year. We seem to think we are flawed, or unworthy, or just not good enough. This is such an epidemic of the ages, and a really sad one, because it's so far from the truth. We need to shift after from the "I suck" mentality to the "I am a miracle" one. To celebrate that we are human and sometimes that means things can be tough. That sometimes we don't feel good, and sometimes we do. But, we are all in this together. Love, vulnerability and empathy are the glue that hold us together, and we really need to focus on those things if we want to live meaningful and loving lives.

I feel like, as this years comes to an end, I am saying goodbye to an old part of myself. A part of myself that I don't need to carry with me for the onward journey.
It's bittersweet, because I've known her for a long time, and I know her very well.

I know I'm healing.

A few months ago I would've snapped and been so offended if anyone made a comment about my sobriety. I took criticism really hard in the early days. Now, I realize that being sober is not only a choice, but it's a blessing. I could've continued on this dark path of self-destruction and abuse.
Instead, I chose to abandon ship before it got too difficult to walk away.
Before I had to be dragged away.

I'm super proud of how far I've come, and by continuing to be vulnerable and share my story, I really hope to reach other people who have struggled (or are struggling) with similar things.

2018 will be THE year where I really jump out of my shell and go deep.
I want to help, I want to heal, I want to love.
Bring it on.

(another personal challenge is going to be working on speaking my truth more. I have historically struggled with addressing situations that I find stressful/points of conflict etc; until it all snowballs and I either erupt or react over-emotionally. From now on, I'm going to work on having and using my voice, and not being afraid to disagree with others. We don't all need to have the same visions/opinions/truths to co-exist peacefully. Agree to disagree, but don't let your voice get snuffed out if you have something to say!)

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Baby Boys, Blogs and Blessings

I realize I haven't updated my blog in quite some time! I fall into these spells where I get a little too pre-occupied with my "work" writing, and forget that investing in my creative writing is just as important!

I'm hoping to revamp my website in January and re-launch my site with a new concept (now/old concept. It's pretty clear that this is going in the direction of a sober living/recovery blog, cause that's what I'm passionate about these days!).
BUT, in the meantime- here are some point-form updates for ya!

⇢We are having another baby boy!!! I am so excited. It's funny how when I first got pregnant (with Theo) I had this idea that I would have a little girl. I dreamt about raising her to be strong and independent and to take no shit from anyone. I swore that she would not struggle through the feelings of low self-worth that plagued me for a big part of my life.

But then, we found out it was a boy. After mom'ing a little guy for 8 months I realize that he is exactly what I needed. Little boys have the ability to show you a different, softer side to masculinity, that is often very confusing and hard to understand for young girls and women.
It has helped me realize that gender is really a societal construct- and we have to be super careful with the messages we give our wee ones about what they are "supposed" to look/feel/dress and behave like. My boys will learn that love is their superpower. I can't wait for April to meet the newest addition. Still working on a name!!!

⇢I'm super into Tony Robbins these days. Am I the only one who has a little crush on this massive man? He's like 6'7 of pure happiness, joy and motivation wrapped into a horse.

⇢Baby's first Christmas is coming up! Excited to establish our very own family traditions. We have a bunch of family stuff to do, but are going to do a Christmas brunch/pressie opening day on the 23rd to really enjoy our core fam.

⇢I've got travel on the brain. We have several weddings next year, which are being hosted in England, Scotland and Canada. We might not go to Canada again until 2019, but it's still on the table! I'm super motivated to do the two U.K trips and then add another week or two on a beach somewhere with our boys.

Spain, perhaps? Going to brainstorm ideas and look at dates with hub-a-lubs. After being pregnant for close to 18 months straight, I will definitely enjoy some vacation time! Also want to get the boys accustomed to adventure/travel etc; as soon as possible, as we do plan to bring them all over the place, cause we don't want to give up our love of exploration!

⇢This pregnancy is EASY-BREEZY. I might come back later on and edit that, but seriously, I can't complain. This is week 24, and although I am pretty big, I feel AMAZING. I didn't have any nausea at the beginning, like last time.
I'm only starting to get a bit of acid reflux, but that's easily kept under control with smaller portions and no trigger foods. My only ailment is that I broke out in eczema 2 weeks ago on my face! I have never, ever had skin problems, so it's a bit weird, but I am treating it with natural oils, and hopefully it clears up soon.

⇢Feeling stronger and stronger in my commitment to a sober life by the day. As I see how I've transformed in all areas (and continue to transform on the daily) I realize just how toxic alcohol consumption was to my life.
I am 100000% more confident, free, less emotional, more energized, happier, relaxed, rested, calm, loving, sweet, patient, fearless...when I compare these blessed feelings to how I felt while/after drinking, it's not even on the same chart.
Meeting more and more people with similar experiences who are just so blissed-out without booze just helps me stay focused.
I know the real work will start when the babe is out, but who knows, maybe it'll actually be easier this time because I am fully committed. Day 131 and counting!

⇢We're still flirting with the idea of moving. Clearly, we will have to within the next year or so, but right now we are comfy and have enough room for the new babe to join us. Want to make sure we have the perfect 5-year + place before committing to a move. The right place will show itself to us, when it's the right time, as all things unfold in the perfect time, always.


Blessings, seasonal greetings and happiness and love to all

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Shining Without The Wine'ing

I was just writing my bestie an email, and came up with this most excellent title for a blog post!
Yes, I'm talking about drinking again! (rather, about not drinking).
106 days ago, I took the conscious decision that I would not drink anymore.
Yes, it coincided with my second pregnancy, so naturally, it's a time when I wouldn't be drinking anyways.
That helps.
But that's not the reason for my decision, either.

See, I spent many, many, many years drinking. And not just having an occasional glass here and there with friends or family. My drinking might've started out that way, but it quickly evolved into an all-too popular epidemic called binge drinking.

I would drink fast and furiously.

My tolerance for alcohol, towards the end, was so high that I regularly "shared" 3 bottles of wine on any given night with my hubs, and that wasn't shocking to me.

Now it is.

The thought of consuming 750ml x 3 / 2 = 1125ml of wine! For one person. A standard bottle of wine contains 5 servings, so that means I was having like, 7.5 servings of wine on a regular 'ol night.

(I didn't drink like this when pregnant with my first son, FYI, there was just a "relapse" period 2 months after he was born that lasted about 1.5 months and reminded me of why I hated this cycle!!!)

But that's another point. You know, sometimes I would do these major pauses in drinking. Like, do a detox for 15 days, with the hopes that I would come out on the other side and finally know how to drink moderately. But, it doesn't work like that.

I'm sure that some people can successfully "cut down" on their alcohol (these people usually fall into a different category, where alcohol is not necessarily problematic in their lives) but for me, it's really all or nothing.

Now that I am not drinking, I am in the phase of mentally processing all of the time I wasted drinking.

All of the times that I wasn't present when I was in the company of friends and family, because all that I could focus on was the booze surrounding me.

All of the dangerous situations I put myself in for the sake of getting loaded.

All of the harm I did to my body and mind because I would drink excessively and make myself sick.

It just makes me sad.

It's like I need to go back and take care of that girl, now that I've realized how happy I am without alcohol.

How living life sober, aware, present and vulnerable is more meaningful that anything I've ever done.

I think back on the nights I would drink alone in my old apartment, missing my long distance boyfriend, lonely out of my mind.

How I would stumble to the local bar, already drunk, and stumble back, drunker.
How none of this ever made me feel better.
How it only made me feel lonelier, more insecure and less grounded.
How almost all of my anxiety and fear was alcohol-induced.

It's kind of like mourning a dead relative.
I have days where it's hard to live with the memories, because the clearer my mind gets, the more I realize how sad and empty drinking made me.

I know that the life I lead now would not be possible if I was still drinking. I could not possibly enjoy the grounded, calm and deeply satisfying life that I have while getting loaded.

My choices to quit are my own. I don't need to fall into a category, be a statistic or scale myself on an addiction meter. I don't need to go to AA. I don't need to call myself an alcoholic, because I really don't like that term and it doesn't resonate with me. 

It's not about labels, or descriptions or explanations. 
It's not about having everyone understand my journey, or my reasons for not drinking.

It's definitely not going to turn into me judging other people's habits, because those are none of my business, even if they are harmful and toxic.

I take care of my side of the street. That's all that I am responsible for, and it's enough!

Now, when I see my hubby, my baby and my growing baby belly (21 weeks, what?!?!)...I just feel so grateful. I have all I need, all I could ever want, right next to me.

I don't need to escape that.
I don't need to rush that.
I don't need to run away from it.
I created this.
I overcame that.
I evolved.
I stopped choosing fear.
I believed I was worth more.

And that's where we're at!
106 days.
I am proud.
Life is good when you're not battling hangovers on the reg.

Alright, now here's some inspirational quotes in line with this topic! Off to play with my baboo and eat some soup on this rainy but perfect Saturday <3

I decided I was not going to stay at the bar, and on my knees vomiting up Kraft Dinner every Sunday morning!

And the right things are pretty beautiful. Meaningful relationships all around, babies, success, self-worth, health,gratitude...the list goes on and on

Nope. There isn't

Monday, 13 November 2017

Finding Happiness In A Balanced and Relaxed Lifestyle

Happy Monday Peeps!

The last several months, I've thought a lot about how my life has changed over a few short years.
Most of the changes happened super holistically and gradually; meaning, I didn't wake up one day and say "this needs to change!" and go out and make efforts to shift things.

Instead, my journey unfolded one piece at a time, each block leading me to a more comfortable and happier existence.
For years and years, I binge read self-help and personal development books (who am I kidding? I still do this!).
After a decade, I feel like I have found a personal blend of methods that work really well for me- that keep me happy, that keep me grateful and that keep me living a blessed and blissed out life.

It wasn't always so easy to tune into higher frequencies and vibrations; it took me quite some time to really understand that the key to happiness and bliss was always within me.
It's not this big secret.
It's not complicated.
It's as simple as choosing thoughts/feelings/emotions and activities that make us feel good.
Following our EGS (Emotional Guidance System, or intuition, or gut feeling) will always lead us to the right place. Sometimes life takes us on detours to get there, but the destination is always readily available to tap into.

Here are just some of the major shifts that I've made that have significantly made a difference in my day-to-day life.

Putting Myself First (Radical Self-Love)
This is really important. Really, really important! For years, I existed on shaky ground, seeking outside validation and approval to feel good about myself.
Not focusing enough on self-love and confidence manifested itself into a number of unhealthy patterns.
Codependent relationships, binge eating, anxiety, alcohol dependence, the constant rushed/unrelaxed state that makes you want to "escape" reality because things are just uncomfortable as they are.
Nowadays, I put myself first (in an unselfish way) because I know that I can't give from an empty cup.
I find that I am naturally following my intuition more, trusting my emotions, enjoying moments in life without rushing them, not getting overwhelmed by nerves and genuinely feeling like everything in my life is a blessing. I
've created the reality that I WANT to exist in, because it is pleasant, filled with loving and supportive people, and inspiring.

Slowing Down
I used to be surprised when people told me that they suffered from anxiety.
Back in the day, it seemed like I was the only one. When people opened up about their struggles, I would think to myself, "Wow! They GET IT!".
Nowadays, sadly, having anxiety and panic disorder is almost as common as having a Michael Kors purse.
It's just a normal part of life (it isn't normal, but it's normalized).
We glorify working to the bone.

We equate success with having a million responsibilities.

We think that having a jam-packed calendar somehow makes us more special that the next guy.

We go and go and go and never actually enjoy the things we are doing, because we are too busy, stressed and tired to live in the moment.
Then, often, we escape by drinking wine/beer/booze and talk about how we "deserve" a break. Let's get drunk because life is so busy cause we're trying so hard to have a fun-filled life, but it's exhausting, so we're tired, and now we need to drink to escape it for a little while, then tomorrow we'll feel like shit and repeat, and repeat and repeat.

It's like an anxiety-fueled rollercoaster that no one really enjoys, but it's so status quo that few stop to say...wait a second. Is this really the formula that I want to live by?

It's not easy to get off the merry-go-round, because everyone is on it! (not everyone, I know that now). But, a very large percentage of everyone that you know is very likely living something similar to this schema.
And, I did too. For a long, long time.
I understand how we get there. I understand why we stay there.
I am just glad that I found the EXIT sign.

Not everyone lives their lives to the excesses that I did, I'm very aware of that, but I know that slowing down for me was absolutely essential.
Getting pregnant with my first son was really the Universe sending me a wake-up call.
There is more to life than racing through.

Now, I really, genuinely feel good because my emotions, hormones and mind feel balanced and calm (with some exceptions, naturally!).
I'm giving myself the best gift by staying away from substances that make me feel nervous, frenetic and irritable.

I don't overwork myself.

I take time for myself when I need it.

And because I tap into this calming energy, my family and circle of friends benefit.

We are peaceful and loving in our home.

We rarely argue, we laugh, we show affection and gratitude for each other and we are always aware of the blessings that surround us.

Focusing On Doing The Things I Love
These points ended up being longer than I had anticipated, so I'll wrap it up with this one. Do what you love! Oh ma God, it's the most important thing. Why would we go through life, day after day, just doing things that don't bring us much joy? I have been stuck in this rut before: working a job that I thought would bring me power, security and prestige, only to wind up burnt-out, discouraged and under-appreciated. It wasn't a great feeling, but it was a wonderful lesson.

 *side note: read Elizabeth Gilbert's BIG MAGIC for more reasons to do what you love

Leaving the office setting (even though I was great at my job, and enjoyed most aspects of it) to follow my dream of writing professionally has been the most rewarding thing I have done, career-wise. Nowadays, I work my own hours, have lots of time for my family, and enjoy the balance that my day offers. I can still enjoy doing something that stimulates my mind and creativity, while not giving up the pleasures and wonders of being a stay-at-home mom, which was always my dream.

At first, I was worried that I wouldn't make much money, but I feel more prosperous now than I did with a full-time career and salary. We have zero debts, enough money to enjoy life and still safe for the future. Tapping into abundance was as easy as saying "I will do what I love, and the money will sort itself out.". Take the risk! Do what you love. If you're open and trusting, the Universe will always match your frequency and provide you with what you need to live a happy and blissed out life.