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What I Keep in My Self-Care toolkit

Hey bb’s!

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I hope that you are enjoying the sun if it is sunny where you are. It is crazy sunny and hot over here in Canada, but it is so nice to see the sun.

My last post was about 4 Reasons Why Self Care is Hard. Even though it’s hard, I still do it. I am pretty sure I would be a disaster area if I never practiced it. Maybe my toolkit will help you with creating your own self care toolkit, if you haven’t already done so.

1. Meditate
Meditating is essential to my self care toolkit. as I have Psychogenic Non epileptic seizures, doing 5 minutes of meditation before bed helps to relax me and cool down my anxiety before sleep. If you’re anxious, I find that anxiety often pops up the most before sleep because the TV is off, you’re in bed, and you can  only hear the beat of your heart. (OK, that was a bit cheesy). I use an App called Insight Timer, and there are a tonne of different meditations, for different lengths. It also notifies you when you have reached milestones with your meditation, so that helps with staying motivated.

2. Apply a Facemask
My Fiancee and I often do facemasks on Fridays, to celebrate the end of the work week and also to wind down from current stressors. If you follow me on Instagram at joeyjo422, you will see that I love a good facemask.

3. Practice Yoga
This feels like a typical North American/Millenial/hipster thing to say, but I find that simply practicing the poses puts me in a better state of mind.  I hate the North Americanization of Yoga, but that’s for another post, maybe? Since moving away from my key yoga studio, I find I practice Yoga online mostly. If you want someone to check out try: The best yoga chanell!!   I know this lady in real life and she is fantastic.

4. Grab Coffee with friends
I always enjoy grabbing coffee with a friend, as I am able to catch up with them and am staying connected to my social circle. I also enjoy spending time by myself and read a good book while sipping on some java. (omg I sound so old school today! What’s going on??!)

5. Listen to Music
I feel like this one would be in most people’s self care kits. I always love waking up to Amy Winehouse, and then maybe listen to some Halsey in the afternoon. It totally depends on the vibe of the day! I also really appreciate live concerts, but those can add up in terms of cost.

6. Watch Stand up Comedy on Netflix
I got into Stand up comedy when I was super depressed about 3 years ago, with dire hopes to maybe get a laugh out of my monotone self. It was a good effort, and in that time I discovered Iliza Schlesinger. She is super hilarious and I highly suggest her newest Netflix special “Confirmed Kills”, if stand up comedy is your kinda thing.

7. Spend time with my fiancee
I love spending time with my fiancee, and doing fun things like going to the farmer’s market or even grocery shopping. She is super special and makes me really happy. I would have to say that a key part of having people in your self care toolkit is to make sure they make you happy and you don’t have a toxic relationship with them.

I think I could go on and on with regards to what’s in my toolkit, but those are the basic ones that I rely on. I also realize that self care means something different to everyone. When I was on Instagram, I saw that my friend had gone camping, and one of the hashtags she used was #selfcare. I find that super cool!  If I was able to run I would totally have running in my toolkit, but that’s off the table, just for now. What’s in your toolkit? Do we have the same ones?!

Lots of love,

Sita Gaia xox

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Long Overdue Update & Tips On Keeping Your Chin Up!

DSC_0247Update! Holy Crud. I have been away for so long! What happened to the time? Well, now that I think about it, I know what happened to it. This past November I spent a couple weeks in a Neurological Hospital doing extensive testing to find out where in my brain the seizures are coming from. I did so many advanced tests, some of which I had never done before. Although the stay was long, and at times boring, I kept myself occupied by watching shows on Netflix. My new personal faves, by the way are United States of Tara and Raising Hope. Thankfully the hospital had wifi, so I was able to watch them from the comfort of my hospital bed. But I digress. The stay wasn’t all fun. I was monitorized 24/7, and had many seizures. I was hooked up with EEG wires that were attached to my head, and then there was a wire that I connected with a plug in my bed so the EEG techs could see my brainwave activity at all times. Whenever I felt a seizure coming on, I pushed a button that activated a camera so the doctors could see what my seizures were actually like. The seizures weren’t fun, (obviously) but I was so glad that I had so many because it gave the doctors (as well as the rest of the medical team) a good picture of what my epilepsy was like.

Ultimately, the doctors were able to confirm that all of my seizures are epileptic (as there was prior thought that some of them might have been emotionally based), and they were also able to tell me where in my brain the seizures were coming from. This was a huge step for me! I finally felt like I was getting some answers. The doctors also told me that they wanted to do more extensive testing, which would maybe happen sometime next year. In addition to getting this news, I got a change in my medication regime, which so far has been helping! I was exhausted by the time I was finally discharged, but also so happy to be going home. My amazing boyfriend came to see me on my discharge date, and we travelled home together which was comforting, as I still had so much information to process. It was also just nice to have his support, as I had received really amazing news.

That being said, I missed 2 weeks of school, so I was super excited to be back at home and start up my regular University life. This past week has been crazy because I have working really hard to make up my placement hours. (In case you didn’t know, I’m studying Social Work and as part of our program we have to do a fulltime placement in a social work organization for one semester). I love it though, and I feel like I have been learning so much, which is awesome.

Anyways, today I was talking with a friend who’s also in the Social Work program, and we were sharing our experiences with living with a chronic medical condition. Although she doesn’t have epilepsy, we were still able to relate to the challenges of living with our different conditions. One thing that came up in our conversation was how  to maintain a positive attitude, despite feeling ill on a regular basis.
My friend said, “Sita you’re always so positive,  how do you do it?!”  I thought about it for a bit, and then realized that more people might want to know how I keep my chin up, even when shit hits the fan.

Here’s my list of how I keep my chin up:

Use positive self-talk. I have learned to stay positive by using a lot of self-talk. You know that little voice in your head that talks to you? That’s what I mean. Sometimes when days are rough, I try to tell myself that it’s only one day out of my entire life. That helps to put it in perspective because I know that the anxiety, sadness, anger and frustration won’t last forever. It’s my reality in the current moment, but life will change.

Talk to someone else. Whether it’s my mom, boyfriend, friend, or simply sharing my stories on here, it helps me to unload. My feelings are usually validated by the other person, and it feels so much better to have someone say, “It’s okay to be tired; it’s okay to be overwhelmed. Take it easy on yourself and go relax.” Sometimes that validation is all I need to calm down.

Listen to funny podcasts or watch Reality TV. They may not ‘fix’ my situation, but they help to improve my mood and take my mind off of what’s upsetting me.

Look at past Successes. Sometimes when I feel like my future is bleak, I think about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve been able to accomplish. I’ll think: Yay! I have great Social Work experience! I’m working so hard in university and I’m still going despite the challenges.  When I’m going through a stressful period, I’ll remind myself: You’ve done it before so you can do it again. Having my own little mantra helps, and it reminds me that I AM capable of whatever I set my mind to.

Treat Myself. I don’t do this on a super regular basis, but sometimes I’ll get myself a pompous coffee drink, or a little brownie, because they’re things that I enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with a little treat every now and then.

It could be worse. I know it sounds cliché, but in reality the situation could be worse than it is. For example: So, I had a seizure! But hey, at least I wasn’t alone. Or, I had a seizure in public, but at least some amazing kind-hearted people were nearby to help me out.

Talk to a Counsellor. I have talked with a couple counsellors, and by just having someone listen non-judgementally can really help. Counsellors can be great at giving you new ways to cope, and to help you look at the bigger picture.

So I’m obviously not perfect, and not all of these help ALL the time, but they’re worth a shot! I’d love to hear what YOU do to help yourself going in tough situations. Love you all! xox