Random Self Care Thoughts

Self Care Thoughts

Self-Care doesn’t have to be meditation, working out and green juice — to me it’s honoring what you truly need when you need some comfort and care — which could be wine, a nap, seeing friends or funny YouTube videos.

Recently for me it was a matcha, crying and Friends reruns at 11am on a Thursday morning... 🍵😢📺 Here’s what happened:

A few weeks ago, I went to the DMV to get my CA driver’s license. The day before I prepared everything I needed, and spent an hour studying for the test. I woke up extra early, got there right when they opened and waited in the long line. I had been there for two hours and gone through two people reviewing and approving all my documents.

I thought I was finally at the part where I would take my test and picture and be done. NOPE!

The next lady I was sent to was AWFUL and said she didn’t like that my bills said either my first name or middle name aka “weren’t consistent” and told me to leave and come back when I had bills that were “consistent.” When I tried to ask her why the other people approved my documents, or show her that my birth certificate has both names, she said she didn’t care what they did or what my birth certificate said she wouldn’t let me go through. I was shocked and frustrated that she wouldn’t even listen or answer my questions.

I didn’t know what else to do since she was completely shutting me out so I just left. I called my mom and told her the situation and she told me to go home, get what I needed and go back.

I would usually push myself to do that but I didn’t have it in me on that day. I felt so angry, depleted and disrespected, that I just wanted to go home, feel safe and comforted — so I honored that.

Right away the first thing I wanted was a big delicious matcha, to let out my feelings of frustration and rejection, and to just sit on the couch and give myself the permission to watch something lighthearted that made me laugh and feel good.

A voice in my head was saying, you should be working, or doing something productive, getting this thing done that you need to get done, or reading something thought provoking – but I ignored all those voices and gave myself some comfort — and it was exactly what I needed. Don’t judge yourself for whatever you need. Let yourself off the hook sometimes, sometimes that what self care is all about.

LG Faves: April 2019

LG Faves - March 2019

Hi friends! I am sorry I have been so MIA this past month. Things have been busy and I haven’t been able to sit down, settle my thoughts and write something out. I have gotten out of the habit, but I really miss it. I will be writing more soon, I promise. In the meantime here are some of the things I have been loving in March/April!

Music: Gabrielle Aplin

One of Gabrielle’s songs came up on a Spotify playlist I was listening to and I loved her voice and the song lyrics. I looked her up and then fell into a rabbit hole of her pretty, girly music. My favorite songs have been: Waking Up Slowly, Miss You and Nothing Really Matter.

TV shows: Shrill & Broad City

Shrill has been an incredible, refreshing show i have watched. i talked about how it has made me feel and why I’ve loved it here.

Broad City is a hilarious quirky show I can watch at any time of the day. I love seeing Ilana and Abbi’s ridiculous antics and how they are there for each other no matter what happens. The show always makes me laugh out loud and leaves me feeling good.

Food: Sweet Potato Crust Quiche

I love making this quiche at the beginning of the week and having it for brunch or lunch throughout the week. It is a nice way to switch up what I usually eat but I am still getting some great protein and vegetables. It is satisfying, easy to make and delicious. I loosely follow this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen but I make it in my own way — I don’t use the vegetable suggestions in her recipe, but instead my favorite combination is: red onion, spinach, zucchini and red bell pepper. I also love mushrooms instead of the zucchini sometimes. And, I don’t use egg whites, like the recipe suggests, but instead use about seven eggs, and I use whatever cheese I have on hand which has been: goat cheese, feta cheese, Daiya cheddar or mozzarella cheese.

Nonfiction Book: Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

My best friend HIGHLY recommended this book and I absolutely see why. It is a book that discusses attachment theory and how by understanding your attachment style you can navigate relationships more wisely given your style and that of your partner. It is “an insightful look at the science behind love, [so readers can have] a road map for building stronger, more fulfilling connections.”

Fiction Book: The Bell Jar

I started reading this classic novel and am enjoying it so far. I want to make my way through reading classic feminist texts so I knew this was a must read. The themes of mental health and feeling stuck in a patriarchal society always hit home for me so I am excited to continue reading it and sharing my thoughts.

Cool Things I've Seen Recently

Cool things I’ve seen recently

I’ve read/seen/listened to some interesting stuff on the inter-webs recently that I wanted to share. They have been thought provoking, inspiring, and fun. Hope you enjoy!

Inspiring

New York Times Article - Jenna Wortham on the Exhilarating Work That Leaves Her ‘Naked and Shivering’

TED Talk - Multipotentialites: Why some of us don't have one true calling | Emilie Wapnick

Thought-provoking

New York Times Opinion Piece: Don’t Let Sex Distract you from the Revolution

Pardon My French Podcast — Escaping Expectations with Hayley Quinn

TED talk — Searching for love to escape ourselves | Hayley Quinn

Giggles

Lets end things off with a good laugh — here are two videos that made me LOL:

SNL Weekend Update: Pete Davidson & John Mulaney Review Clint Eastwood's The Mule

James Corden: The David Beckham Statue Prank

Favorite Oatmeal Bowl

Favorite Oatmeal Bowl

I wanted to share my favorite oatmeal combination at the moment. It is warming, comforting, and delicious. It seriously tastes like apple pie in a bowl, and it’s simple and easy to make.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Honeycrisp Apple

  • 1 tsp Ghee — I use 4th & Heart Madagascar Vanilla Bean!

  • 1/3 cup Quick Cooking Oats

  • 2/3 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

  • 1 tbsp Flax Seeds

  • 1 tbsp Pecans

  • Cinnamon — to your taste ( I use a lot! )

  • Cardamom — to your taste

  • 1 tsp maple syrup — adjust to your taste

  • Optional: A few drops of Stevia — your preference!

Directions:

Heat a skillet and add 1 tsp of ghee to the pan. Once the ghee is melted add the apples and cook (you can follow my stewed fruits recipe for this part).

While the apple is cooking, prepare the oatmeal. Bring 2/3 cup of the almond milk to a bowl in a small pot. Once it’s lightly boiling, add the 1/3 cup oats and stir while they cook for about a minute. Add the cinnamon and cardamom to your taste, and the 1 tbsp flax seeds. Add a few drops of stevia here if you like to sweeten with stevia.

Remove the oatmeal from the heat and stir it a little bit. Let it get to your preference — if you like it with more liquid you can add some almond milk (I like mine drier).

Once the oatmeal is cooled off a bit, add the 1 tbsp of pecans and stewed apples (making sure to get some of melted ghee in there!) Mix it well, drizzle the maple syrup on top, sprinkle more cinnamon, and serve!

Spring Playlist - Pretty

Spring Playlist - Pretty

Pretty melodic songs that lift your spirit and remind you that colorful spring flowers are starting to bloom. These are delicate fun songs that build as you listen to them — so they go from softer, more atmospheric to stronger, poppier sounds. They will leave you feeling empowered and energized.

It’s a pretty eclectic mix — there’s some indie pop, hip-hop, pop, electronic, alt pop — but it’s a great combination and it’s all the stuff I’m loving right now.

Hope you enjoy!

LG Faves: February 2019

LG Faves February 2019

It’s time for some February favorites. Since I have been following my February intention of read more, stream + read online less, I have two books and no TV shows, lol! A big part of being able to read more is to not be addicted to a TV show. Anyways, I hope you find something interesting to check out below.

Food: Lavva Coconut Yogurt

Oh Lavva how I love thee! I have finally found a dairy free yogurt that I actually enjoy, doesn’t have tons of sugar, and the ingredient list is normal. I had been missing dairy yogurt because I grew up with my mom putting a dollop of yogurt or cottage cheese on so many things: fruit salads, oatmeal, granola, toast, etc, but as I got older I started having skin issues on my arms and we found out that it was linked to dairy so the yogurt had to go. I had been searching for a replacement but I didn’t enjoy the flavor of any of the ones on the market – until I found Lavva! It is delicious and the ingredient list and sugar content is amazing. I highly recommend checking it out if you have to find a dairy free yogurt alternative.

Nonfiction Book: What Made Maddy Run? by Kate Fagan

Oh this book! I have talked about it a lot now – you can read my takeaways from it here. I can’t recommend it enough. No matter who you are you will learn something and gain some empathy and understanding reading this powerful book.  

Fiction Book: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

This book is so much fun. It’s all about entering into a different magical world surrounded by magicians, kings, dragons, fairies, and I just loved it. It was a nice change from such a serious book (Maddy) and you find yourself falling into a wonderful fantasy hole that sweeps you away. If you’re looking for something fun this is the book for you. 

Music: Lizzo

Lizzo’s music is upbeat and empowering. She has an incredible voice and her music reminds me of powerful woman’s voices from the Motown, soul, disco era. It immediately puts me in a good mood and makes me want to dance, and I love that most of her lyrics focus on loving your body, embracing who you are, and strutting your stuff. It is refreshing! She just came out with a new song called Juice and her new album – Cuz I Love You – is coming out in April.

Clothing: Girlfriend Collective Bodysuits

I have been wearing these bodysuits for a while and can’t believe I haven’t mentioned them before! I love them. The brand – Girlfriend Collective – is amazing. They believe in slow fashion and only use ethical manufacturing and recycled materials for their clothing. The body suits are so soft and comfortable. The Lily bodysuit is my favorite so far, and I love that theres button snaps at the bottom so you don’t have to take the entire bodysuit off to go to the bathroom, makes life so much easier! They’re soft, comfortable, and flattering.

Movement: Running

I started running again after many years of having to avoid it because of recovery and it has been so special. I can’t believe how much I have missed it and am so grateful I was able to reintroduce this movement back into my life. I am going to write a longer post about this because there is much more tied with running and my eating disorder, but for now what I want to say is that I feel so profoundly happy that I have reached a point in my recovery where I can enjoy running again in a healthy way.

 Movie: The Boy Downstairs

I have always liked Zosia Mamet from her days on Girls and the column she wrote for Glamour. I find her very interesting and thoughtful so I enjoy following the work that she does. I recently saw this cute rom-com she did on HBO and enjoyed it. It was a quirky indie film but a nice light watch with a different storyline than the typical rom-coms and takes place in hipster Brooklyn which is always fun.

Content Diet

Content Diet

The things you read, people you follow, and the content you watch have a big impact on what you think and how you feel. It is the fuel you are putting into your brain, and just like the famous Buddha saying goes, “what you think, you become.”

An important part of self-care and recovery that isn’t discussed enough is the impact the information you are consuming is having on your wellbeing. Because we are living in an era of relentless connectivity and social media saturation, we need to protect ourselves, and an important way we can do that is by being very conscientious about what we are following and reading.

Content Diet

When I realized this I took a deep look into how the content I was consuming on a daily basis was making me feel, and then cleaned out all the junk I didn’t want making it’s way into my head.

I wanted to expose myself to things that lit me up and inspired me, not things that made me criticize myself or brought me down.

In my opinion, the only types of “diets” we should be talking about are: CONTENT DIETS. Just like if you eat nourishing foods you are going to feel energized, if you consume thought-provoking interesting content you are going to feel expanded.

For our mental health and well-being, it is very important that we be aware of how certain content makes us feel and to remove things that don’t align with our goals or help us feel our best.

Here are some of the tactics I have applied to my life to remove negative content that was making me feel good:

Social Media:

  • I don’t follow people that make me feel bad about myself

    • This can be someone I knew from college, a toxic friendship, or a wellness influencer – anything that makes me feel less than or that my situation just isn’t as good as theirs — is an unfollow.

  • Bloggers who are “super healthy” restrictive eaters

    • Nothing against them but that content isn’t healthy for me and it makes me start questioning what I am eating and I don’t need that — I want Recovery :)

  • Skinny models or photos posted with beauty/body ideals that aren’t aligned with what I want to believe in

    • I am working towards believing in beauty standards that are more realistic and accepting of all body shapes and sizes

    • Therefore models, especially VS models or bathing suit company models, are not the types of beauty ideals I want pushed upon me

  • Any accounts that I have found to be triggering, crude, or inappropriate

    • Sometimes these don’t even make sense but if the content feels triggering, gross or cruel in some way, it isn’t something I wan to be exposed to

Media/News:

  • I don’t follow any news outlets on social media and am not subscribed to any of their email marketing lists

    • I don’t want information pushed upon, rather I want to go to the websites and choose what I want to read

    • I pick the articles that I want to be reading

  • I don’t read the news every day

    • I know some people might find this irresponsible but my first priority is to take care of myself and A LOT of what is in the news is triggering and upsetting for me, so I choose to protect myself and not read this content every day

    • I will read the headlines every other day to be aware of developments, and then I will choose which stories look interesting to me

    • I listen to the NPR Up First podcast frequently because I find that way of consuming the news better for me.

  • Read more books & magazines

    • I have been going back to reading hard copy books and magazines because I am tired of how much of my time and attention can get hijacked by advertisements or various things popping up online

    • When I read a magazine article, I can sit and read the magazine article in peace and then move on and do something else without finding myself down an internet rabbit hole two hours later

    • I have a New Yorker subscription which I love — that is my favorite form of reading interesting, well-written articles

What Made Maddy Run – Thoughts on Depression & Suicide

What Made Maddy Run - Perfectionism, Suicide & Depression

I recently read the book – What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan. It was incredibly powerful and moved me deeply. I saw so much of myself in Maddy, and because of a few different choices, I am still here, whereas she is sadly not.

What Made Maddy Run is the story of Madison Holleran, an ambitious college athlete at UPenn who committed suicide her freshman year. The book discusses the story of Maddy’s life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people face to be perfect and constantly achieve, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.

This is an incredible book for anyone to read, especially those who want to gain a better understanding of mental illness, perfectionism, and how to help people who are struggling.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways I had on depression and suicide from the book (I also had thoughts on perfectionism I wanted to share, but this post go too long, so I will share that in a separate post):

Depression

Throughout the book, it is repeatedly mentioned that people couldn’t understand what had gone wrong, or how Maddy was so unhappy when everything was great in her life — loving parents, happy family, talented, smart, athletic, beautiful, popular. Depression and mental health issues — they don’t have a face! It can happen to and affect anyone, and some of the most depressed people have a seemingly “perfect” life. It is genetic, so trying to make sense of it is futile.

When someone tells you they aren’t doing well or if someone is having a rough day, be kind to them — you really don’t know what anyone is going through.

No one would ever have suspected I was severely depressed. I became an expert at going from crying to slapping on my happy, cheerful face and being vivacious Lili. I would tell my mom how I hated seeing people because I was so tired of faking it and would get annoyed when people would describe me as — Oh Lili is always so sweet and happy — I felt like such a fraud and so alone.

Suicide

This is something I haven’t opened up about before, but if this can help anyone, even just a single person, it is worth it to me.

I had a really tough time when I was about 25 years old. I would wake up with nothing that made me want to get out of bed. I hated my work and what my life had turned into. The climax of all of this was when I would show up at the office and couldn’t stop crying. Just crying and crying and no matter how much I tried to stop I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I would run outside and pretend like I was going to get a coffee and just stand in an alleyway and cry.

That was when the thought struck me – if this is what my life is going to be, I don’t want it.

I didn’t want this life. I was miserable and tired of being so deeply unhappy. I didn’t see a way out and thought I could no longer continue. It was a scary thought, but in an effort to be honest, I just wanted the suffering to end.

I called my mom and she connected me with a suicide hotline and I spoke to them. It was terrifying but it was the first step I took in getting help. They instructed me to go talk to HR and figure out a solution whether that be medical leave or intensive therapy. That is when I started seeing a therapist twice a week. I considered inpatient treatment – which I wish I would have done – but at the moment I was terrified of people finding out about it and thought it sounded too extreme.

I want to emphasize the point here that I didn’t look at it as killing myself, I saw it as ending the suffering because I didn’t see another way out. At this point I had been struggling with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder for over ten years and didn’t know how or if I ever would get better. I also hated my job but didn’t know what I wanted to do instead, I felt completely trapped.

I think  this is a helpful thing to note because people just look at suicide as killing yourself and that wasn’t at all how I saw it when I was in the midst of my darkest thoughts. I felt like I was already trapped in the hell of my daily life, and it seemed like it would provide a release.

In reading Maddy’s story I can see how she was miserable and unhappy and couldn’t see a way out. I relate to how she felt so utterly trapped and was suffering deeply that she just wanted it to end. When you are in such a dark place it is very difficult to think clearly or see other options, you feel extremely stuck and exhausted. You also don’t see time clearly, a week can feel like eternity, and you need help IMMEDIATELY. When my mom would tell me to just finish out the week at work, it felt like a mountain I couldn’t climb and it would infuriate me because I felt like she didn’t understand the gravity of my pain, you need help and for things to change right away because you are already at your wits end.

If you’re struggling with any of this get help now. Call the suicide hotline or talk to HR right away. Things truly can change today and there is a way out that doesn’t involve suicide or hurting yourself. That is what I wish I could tell Maddy if she was here today — that things can get better and she can get better. To take a break from school and get the help she needs right away so she can find her way out of that hell and start creating a life that makes her happy.

The Gifts of Recovery

Rumi Quote

We tend to look at disorder and mental health issues as a negative thing. As something we would never wish upon anyone because of the suffering that it causes. And yes, that is true. In the midst of these issues it involves pain, isolation, and confusion. But I think there is something important to be said as to what you gain when you come out on the other side.

There are incredible gifts that come with recovery.

As I work through this process I continue to be struck with how grateful I am for what I am learning. You develop immense strength and fortitude, and gain a depth and understanding of yourself that most people don’t have to look at.

Recovery also requires a lot of courage. I don’t think most people understand the courage it takes to move through an eating disorder or any addictive behavior. We use these things as coping mechanisms for a reason and it is terrifying to begin to let them go and have faith that there is another way. 

I have come to realize that this path is such a huge part of who I am and how I have developed as a person. My life path and what I am interested in completely shifted because of it, and it has affected everything I have done since it came in and took over my life.

I have had to develop many skills to pull myself out of this and rewire negative habits that weren’t serving me. Although it has been very hard at times, I am beyond grateful that I have learned these tools.

It has given me such a fortitude and belief that I can handle anything that comes my way and will be ok no matter what happens.

Without difficulties and hardships how can we grow? I had one therapist who would continue to tell me to choose life when things got rough because on the other side she said my life would be much fuller.

Here are some of the gifts of recovery I have experienced along this path:

-       Self-awareness

-       Introspection

-       Emotional management

-       Mindfulness

-       Meditation

-       Depth and understanding of oneself

-       Insight into who you are and what is important to you

-       Spiritual practice

-       Self-respect

-       Strength of character

-       Individuality and thinking for oneself

-       Larger appreciation for life

-       Peace of mind

If you are in the midst of hard times or a difficult struggle, I hope this gives you hope to stay the course. Believe that things will get better – there truly are gifts in the healing.

The Art That's Made Me

The art that’s made me

I listened to a fun podcast the other day on Let It Out with Katie Dalebout that was all about the the books, music, movies, tv shows, and media you grew up with which has helped shape you into who you are today. I thought it was an interesting idea, and of course it got me thinking about the pop culture, art, and media that have been meaningful in my life. 

Since I thought it was a fun topic, I wanted to share “The Art That’s Made Me,” here with all of you, and I hope it gets you thinking about this in your own life. What were the meaningful movies, TV shows, books, songs, etc, that you consumed in your life that have made an impact on the person you are today? It’s a cool thing to think about :) Here are mine:

Books

I didn’t enjoy reading when I was little — shocking, I know. It wasn’t until I was older, around 10-12 years old, that I started finding books I wanted to read.

I found World War II novels fascinating and I enjoyed reading stories about kids with special powers or in magical worlds. What can I say — I’ve always loved magic.

These are the first books I remember loving:

Number the Stars // The Giver // A Wrinkle in Time // The Chronicles of Narnia // The Harry Potter Series

Once I was in high school I started devouring books, and luckily most of them were required reading for my classes. The books that I remember had a big impact on me were:

The Stranger by Albert Camus // The Awakening by Kate Chopin // Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger // Siddhartha by Herman Hesse // Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë // The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Movies

Like most children, the first movies I saw were Disney. I remember enjoying The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (like every other girl who grew up in the 90’s), but my favorites were other Disney movies and characters that weren’t as popular:

Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell in Peter Pan // Alice in Wonderland // Pocahontas // Bambi

I really enjoyed movies about animals, nature, and magical lands, although Bambi tore me to pieces, I loved those movies.

When I got older I enjoyed musicals and classic films, like: The Sound of Music // Newsies

Then I became obsessed with Audrey Hepburn and loved Roman Holiday // Sabrina // Breakfast at Tiffany’s

TV Shows

I grew up with an older brother so I had to watch a lot of the things he wanted to watch, which resulted in me enjoying more boy-ish tv shows — which is fine! Here are some of the shows I remember liking:

Captain Planet // Power Rangers // Ninja Turtles // Sailor Moon

As we got older, I remember watching these shows after school:

Saved by the Bell // Fresh Prince of Belair // Sabrina the Teenage Witch

AND:

The Simpsons — that’s how I become obsessed with Lisa Simpson, I loved how she was so much smarter than her older brother, Bart, and did her own thing within her crazy family. I had never seen a strong, smart, independent young female character like her, and she inspired me.

Once I got to high school I barely ever watched TV because I didn’t have any time.

Music

As a kid, I liked music with a lot of beat. I remember loving:

Ace of Base // ABBA // Selena // The Jackson 5 // Musicals: Disney music and the songs from The Sound of Music.

THEN I remember that my mom was given a CD by a band called Pink Martini, that I loved. My favorite song on the disc was a French song called Sympathique — which was all about smoking, lol! I had no idea what the words meant but I had all of them memorized and would just play it and sing it on repeat.

As I got older I started liking my own types of music and it was very girly, poppy, female driven or angsty music. I remember listening to:

Shakira in Spanish — her Pies Descalzos CD // Alanis Morissette // Spice Girls // Britney Spears // Avril Lavigne // Janet Jackson