Orientation Week: Putting your health first

Your mindful Monday is hitting you on a Sunday because today is Move in Day at MSVU and the relevance is HIGH.

This week there has been and will be: reunions between friends, tears between family members, excitement and nervousness between your stomachs and hearts, and bright, beautiful places ready to be the homes of your incredible journeys through University.

What we sometimes forget is that this week there has been, and will be, times when we put our (I’m including myself) health at risk. I’m not just talking about physical health, or mental health. This week for new and returning students will be full of stress, anxiety, excitement, heavy lifting, overload of information and importantly a LOT of fun.

This is a lot for our body, brain and heart to process. When you’re enjoying every moment of back to school keep in mind that you need to take care of you first!

Some steps to try and make your first week as healthy and happy as possible: Continue reading “Orientation Week: Putting your health first”

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How to sweat the small stuff and still live your life

I’m sure none of you are strangers to the phrase “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”. I don’t like to use the term because it is a widely used, grossly misunderstood and highly misleading sentence. As a lover of science, mathematics and grammar (I know, very random interests); as a chronic worrier, over thinker and generally anxious person, I never understood the phrase. I never understood because I literally could not stop myself from sweating the small stuff. I was obsessed with minor details, I felt as though I couldn’t make any mistakes. I was constantly worried that I would make even one wrong decision and that it would completely ruin my life. Continue reading “How to sweat the small stuff and still live your life”

Timelines, relationships and other things I suck at

Well everyone, here we are. About one month fresh out of my “one year single”. It has also been basically one month since my last post, which was the 365 Days Single post. This I think is a good precedent to the fact that I have made a mistake (as we all do), and I’ll get into that soon. I was so overwhelmed by the response to this last post, that I thought to myself: I should go back, and read it to see what I think.

This is when I realized: hey, I haven’t written anything in a month.

I then checked the journal I keep beside my bed: nothing.

I checked the notes on my phone: nothing.

This month has been a little weird. I have realized that I may have led you (and myself) astray. God forbid if any of you might actually try and get life advice from the unqualified cold mess that I am, I wanted to clarify what I have learned so that you can learn from my mistakes. Otherwise we’d all be doomed to repeat them. I was thinking about where I was a month ago. I felt that I was in a really great place. I felt like I had accomplished a goal, that I had spent the year single and tried my best to spend it working on myself. The month of May had been spent doing things I loved, that I had forgotten I loved. So naturally, I looked at it as one big check mark on my list. After one whole year of working on myself, I must be ready. It’s been a whole year, so I should have it all figured out by now.

Wrong, oh so wrong.

I’m going to do something a little weird, but important. I’m going to quote myself.

(I’m not a self centered weirdo, swear)

“Don’t lose track of the things you love most. Live life in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire and bring along the people that will rekindle it.”

Just one month after I thought I was ready to stop focusing on me, I lost track of the things I loved most. I hadn’t written, I barely read, I spent less time with friends, I stopped keeping good contact with everyone. I stopped trying. My soul had been smoked out. There was no fire, and no one around to rekindle it.

I found myself subconsciously trying yet again to morph myself into a person I thought I should be. I found myself thinking more than being. Something I promised myself, I’d never do again.

I wrote this line just a few short months ago on April 15.

On that same day, in that same post I wrote this:

“You’ll have to find yourself again, you’ll have to remember how to be your own “us”. You’ll find the beauty in yourselves, you’ll find the wonder in yourselves. You’ll see all there is to see in the world. Someday you might find someone who can do that for you again, until then:

You can be all that for yourselves.”

I had to rekindle my own fire, I knew this. I just needed a bit of a kick to start.

I had the right idea, but didn’t quite hit the mark. You see there is a small problem with this. This goes along with my love of timelines. I have a lovely wonderful fantastic human being in my life, who knows me better than I know myself. He is also insightful as hell and can make you see that you are troubled when you didn’t even know you were. He is one of my closest friends, he is my confidante, and my advice-giver (and we always get ice cream so that’s cool too). I even got to see him last night. On one of our weekly ice cream dates not long ago, he helped me understand my own feelings. While talking about a situation that I was uncomfortable with, he looked at me and said, “We are very similar.”.

This is undeniably true, but I wondered why he had said that in the particular moment. What followed will be advice that I will carry with me forever, and was jut the reminder I needed.

He said to me, “We love timelines. We love to set a schedule of when things will be done by, and we feel like when that time comes we’ll have accomplished whatever it was we needed.” (or something of that sort, my cotton candy blizzard distracted me a smidge).

He and I also spoke a long time ago, roughly a year ago, and said that we would spend one whole year single, to focus on ourselves. I set the goal at the time thinking that it was reasonable, that one whole massive year was more than enough time to find myself, figure it all out, and have my life together. When the 365 days were up, I felt at first that this was accurate. I’ve done a lot of things, I’ve learned a lot, I’m not all the way there, but after one year I should be ready.

I was wrong.

This is where I would like to clarify to all of you: I have made a mistake. These timelines that we put on ourselves are great for completing mundane tasks, such as grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, writing an essay. When it comes to our emotions, our perceptions, especially towards ourselves, we cannot put a timeline on when we’ll be done. There is no way that we can say: in one year I’ll be happy with myself in every way, I’ll be ready to stop figuring out who I am. I will know who I am.

Some people can go their whole lives, still trying to figure it all out.

I’ve made a lot of progress in this last year, but I still have a lot of growth left.

Somehow when that year ended, I subconsciously stopped trying. I became dependent on others, I fell into old habits and routines. I stopped exploring, I stopped searching within myself, and starting searching for me in other people. I tried to do things that I thought I “should” do. I tried to do things that a “normal” person would do. I did things that I never thought I would, and things that were completely out of character for me.

I did things that made me disappointed in myself.

If there is one thing this year, and a few long conversations with a good friend has taught me, is that I have to follow what I feel is right. I have to put me first. It’s important to care about others, and to be careful of other people’s wants, and feelings.

But pardon me if I sound selfish or rude when I say, you (and I) need to put ourselves above everything else. You cannot sacrifice your values, beliefs, personality, for anyone else. You simply need to follow what you feel.

You need to be yourself.

You might not know who that is, or what that means (I definitely don’t), but that’s the beauty of not having a timeline. You can continue to grow and learn as you go.

Recent events have made me very aware that I still have a lot of work to do on myself before I can go back to relying on other people. I have to be comfortable with myself before I can be comfortable with someone else.

I have to learn to take my own advice.

Looking back at the quote from earlier, I have decided it needs one small change:

“You’ll have to find yourself again, you’ll have to remember how to be your own “us”. You’ll find the beauty in yourselves, you’ll find the wonder in yourselves. You’ll see all there is to see in the world. Someday you might find someone who can do that for you again, but even then:

You can be all that for yourselves.”

You can be all that for yourselves, but not only temporarily, this is where I was wrong. You shouldn’t just be holding yourself over until the next person comes along who can pick up where you left off. Don’t be a placeholder in your own life. Be the leader of your life. Make your decisions based on you. Do what feels right to you, what makes you happy. Don’t ever let anyone else dictate who you are, what you’re doing or how you feel.

I am not yet comfortable with my body. I’ve made some progress in being comfortable in my own skin, but it’s truly very difficult. It isn’t something you can snap your fingers and say “In one year I’ll love everything about my body”. I had to endure an hour of trying on jeans and shorts at my new job with coworkers who were all much smaller than I. After a few shed tears, and a vow to never wear shorts again, my self-esteem had taken enough of a kick that I struggled to force myself to eat supper that night.

This is the problem, I had found myself depending on others for my validation, for my self worth. I had thought that once my year was up, I would be confident enough to depend on someone else, to be ready to commit to something else. I thought I would be ready to throw in the towel and say, “I gave it my best shot, this is as good as it’ll get.”

I wasn’t, I’m not, and after one weird month, I know that.

So here, today, I ask you, if you would all like, to join me in kicking timelines to the curb. Yes, I am still working on all of the parts of myself that I have not reached yet, but I am not putting an end date on that. I will no longer set dates, or times to feel happy. I will not tell myself, or anyone else that an amount of time can fix their problems.

I will take two years, three years, ten years if I have to, of working on myself, of putting myself first. If that’s what it takes, because nothing in this world is more important than your happiness. Yes, other people will give that to you, but to be truly happy, you need to learn to find it within yourself. You are a strong, incredible, resilient human being, and you are going to change this world. But live as though there are no timelines, live as though you have a world of time, because it is only then, that you truly find yourself.

Don’t just rekindle your fire temporarily, feed it slowly, until it burns into a miraculous blaze. Let it light your path, and your life, like the love you find within yourself will light your heart.

Don’t rush a good thing,

xo

CL

365 Days Single

(*disclaimer* the exact number may be a lie but it’s really close)

One year. 

365 days.

8760 hours. 

31,536,000 seconds:

Of being single.

*gasps* 

That’s a long time. 

100,000: an exaggerated approximate number of the times I was told things such as the following,

“When are you going to start seeing someone again?”

“Aren’t you lonely?”

“You must get so bored.”

“That must suck.”

“I know this great guy…”

“You’d love ______…”

“Don’t worry, it’ll happen again some day.”

“You’re just so great it intimidates people.”

“Maybe if you put yourself out there more” 

To all of this I would always reply things along the lines of:

“I’m very content just living my life.”

I decided to take a different approach than most people, including myself in the past, to this year. I decided to focus on me.

I decided to let life take me where it may in the relationship department, but not to go looking for anything. 

Well let me let you in on a little secret. 

It was the hardest damn thing I’ve ever done. 

A lifetime of learning to look for support, approval, and love from others due to media, experiences, and general human instinct/habits, left me lost.

I found myself more unsure of myself and more insecure than I had been before. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. I was supposed to become this kick ass strong independent woman. 

That didn’t happen right away.

My greatest lesson from this past year which I’ve said before but will say again every day: 

Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself.

I’m not perfect. I’m not here to tell you that it was hard for a while but I’ve finally aquired the secret to life. I’m just here to tell you that I survived.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with relationships, in fact I love them. I love love. It’s so fun and exciting and beautiful and scary. It’s tragic and passionate. It is intangible yet breakable. I am not trying to tell you all to be single right now, I’m not telling you that you aren’t or can’t be happy in a relationship. I’m just telling you that there are so many different kinds of love; but the love that matters the most?

The love you find in yourself.

As an added bonus, the modern dating world is a little weird right now, so it’s a good time to take a quick break if you’ve been feeling the need for one. How did someone manage to take the concept of an online dating site (online dating? No I’m young, that’s just for old people) and turn it into one of the most popular apps for young adults, changing to way “dating” in your 20s looks forever. Let’s face it Tinder is literally just Christian Mingle, e-Harmony, Plenty of Fish, etc. Packaged into a socially acceptable box marketed at young adults. It’s a “game”. Modern dating everybody: it’s simply become a game. 

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows being single either. I’m going to give you the straight of it. There are times when it hurts. When it’s late and you need someone to call. When it’s lonely and you need someone to hold you. When you’re sad and you need someone to cheer you up. When it seems like everyone else in the world is with someone and you aren’t. 

It hurts when self-doubt creeps along. It hurts when your mind turns on you, and tells you it’s because you aren’t good enough. You aren’t pretty enough, you aren’t smart enough, you aren’t skinny enough, you aren’t whatever-enough for someone to want you. 

Things that I have learned about myself in this year:

1. I don’t know how to flirt anymore:

I thought this wouldn’t escape me until I was quite old and married for a while. Apparently it can just poof from your mind whenever it likes.

2. I am oblivious to other people flirting:

Really I don’t see it. I don’t get it at all. Is everyone not just my friend?

3. I am shy around new people:

This was never a problem before. I was very good with making stranger conversation, now I wear headphones all the time to avoid having to speak to anyone I don’t know in public places.

4. I put too much pressure on myself:

Not everything has to be perfect all of the time. Breaks are needed, welcomed. A- is a good grade. You don’t need to take those extra shifts. You don’t have to appear at every social gathering that you’re invited to. You’re allowed to say no.

5. I have developed a habit for only doing things I think I’ll be good at:

Self-consciousness preventing me from doing anything that I might embarrass myself doing. Activities and hobbies limited to things I know I’m good at. 

6. I am not very self-aware:

Pretty explanatory.

7. I have about three self-deprecating thoughts for every positive thought about myself:

I am my own worst critic, enemy and punisher.

8. I am still very much affected by what people say/think of me, especially males:

One comment that hits a soft spot can hit harder than a physical punch to the throat. 

9. I have people around me that love me for who I am:

My friends are incredible. Honestly, I have some of the most kick ass people in my life.

10. I have a type:

Tall, skinny, awkward, longer-ish hair, hipster-esque, probably owns multiple video game consoles or collects cards of some kind. 

11. I still fall too hard too fast:

This will never change.

12. I lose faith easily:

If it only affects me: When the going gets tough, I quit. I give up on myself.

13. I love baths:

Weirdly enough, I never used to take baths, now I love them. I take them quite often when there is a clean tub available. They’re calming.

14. I still love being creative:

I lost this in time. When I was younger I wrote about anything, anywhere. I drew, I sang, I played piano and guitar. I made up dances with my friends. I lost this somewhere in translation, I luckily have regained it through this year.

15. I still get far too invested in books:

I will cry more easily at a tragic moment in a novel than in real life. Books pull at my heart strings like nothing else can.

16. I like beer:

Who would’ve thought? Not me. 

17. I am not the casual hookup kind of person: 

As if we all didn’t know that already haha.

18. I love life:

There are just these moments, the ones where you think of a song that would make it into the perfect movie scene. Your hand hanging out a car window, with a classic throwback blaring, best friend in the driver’s seat. Being at a club when that perfect song comes on. Standing at the top of a mountain, looking down at the world, feeling humble and small. Lying in bed with Kraft Dinner and a candle. Buying a new outfit that makes you feel killer. Someone who makes you laugh worthy of slow motion. Random outings to comedy shows, or cafe’s with games. Finding the perfect chocolate filled croissant. It’s all just so wonderful. Sometimes when we get wrapped up in someone, we forget to look around and enjoy the beautiful little details in life. 

That’s why this year has changed me. I’ve learned how to fall back in love with life again. 

This year tested me. It made me question so many parts of my life, of myself. It made me confused as to what was me, and what was the person I was trying to be. It taught me to tune out the rest of the world, take a deep breath, and just feel. 

This year may have been lacking a boyfriend, but it overcompensated with the discovery of so much more.

It brought me yoga, it brought me cooking, it brought me my favourite perfume. It brought me motivation, and self awareness. This year brought me excitement and curiosity. It brought me risks and choices. It gave me a year of choices entirely my own. It gave me a year of being solely responsible for myself. 

It taught me what that meant.

It meant self-sufficiency, mentally, physically and emotionally. It meant finding the things I couldn’t give myself in my friends and family. It meant learning to live. It meant learning to love. 

It started off rough, but it had to, I know that now. I had to regain the confidence that I could handle almost breaking. It was through rebuilding that I found my path again. I’ve got a lot of learning left to do, but I’m happy to say I have spent my life savings at Chapters again. I have remembered why I used to spend most of my time with my Nintendo DS. I’ve managed to get an EA help guy to put an Ultimate Pack of Sims 2 on my computer. I’ve signed up to volunteer with organizations that mean something to me. I’ve just started a new job, I’ve written more parts of my book, I’ve re-read the Inkheart series. I have begun buying dresses again and wearing things most people would not on a daily basis. I’ve started feeling music again, I’ve begun to find myself. A new me, much like the older me from before things got complicated. 

So this is it, here I am, just letting you know that I’m ok. I’m happy, I’m in love with life. 

I know what you are thinking: “Cassey, come on. We want the dirty details”

Well, in one year there were 4 kisses, three Costco size jars of Nutella, one not really date, one accidential date, two new jobs, an indefinite amount of nights spent at the dome, a new love for wine & coffee, zero one night stands, two crushes (short lived), and a Netflix account.

For a year without the societal image of love (a relationship) I learned a whole damn lot about it and I felt more of it than ever before. 

I know what you’re thinking, what now? Will she become a crazy cat lady or will she go looking for love again?

Well I don’t like the idea of owning a cat, and I already am surrounded by love. But as we all should be, I’m open to finding it, if it happens to show up on the journey. Sometimes we just need to change our perspective to see what’s right in front of us. 

My advice (feel free to ignore it, I’m no life expert) is to stop trying. Don’t go looking for love, for a relationship. Just let it come to you. If you try and force it chances are it ain’t happening. The best kind of love, is the kind that you find in the most unexpected place so. The kind that finds you. 

Thank you to everyone who has been here for me on this journey, and for supporting my decisions. You are the light in this life, you are the love that fills my heart and with you I know that I will never be alone. 

If you’re looking for a more detailed description of my year, please feel free to ask me sometime. I’ve got a few interesting stories that love to be told. 

Be happy, simply, 

xo

CL

Why “You Lost Weight” isn’t really a compliment

We all do it. 

We all see someone we know, who has lost weight and think “wow they look incredible!”. We then say “Hey, you look incredible, you lost so much weight.”

Here lies the mistake. 

We are making the facts that they have lost weight and that they look incredible dependant upon each other. As if they are linked. This is wrong. They look incredible, they are incredible no matter what. 

People don’t always intend to lose weight. Weight loss can be a part of illness, physical and mental. Complimenting someone on losing weight, can often act as encouragement, incentive to lose more weight. If someone is suffering from depression, anxiety or an eating disorder that has led to weight loss, comments like “you look great, you lost so much weight” can be damaging to their ability to recover. 

It’s a habit. A bad one, but one we can easily break. Simply say: “you look incredible today” or “I really love that outfit on you” or any other compliment on how wonderful they are inside and out that does not involve weight.

Even if someone chooses to lose the weight, complimenting them on it suggests that there was something wrong with how they were before. If they’re happy about it, tell them “you seem happy, that’s great”. 

Complimenting someone on their weight, is not really a compliment. 

Happy to see Buzzfeed doing a Body Positivity Week featuring many videos such as this one:

Be positive,

xo

CL

Motivation Nation

There are many different approaches to the last few weeks of classes. These are starting to come to light as the end of the year “Oh god that’s due when?” sets in. We have the sleep deprive-rs, the criers, the rip-up-tiny-pieces-of-paper-to-calm-down-ers. You’ll feel it in the air, and see it on the looks of desperation spreading through the faces of students across the nation. Then we have the early morning library table snaggers, the “I exercise to destress”-ers, the chocolate mouth stuffers and the procrastinating Netflix binge watchers.

It’s finals. Continue reading “Motivation Nation”

An open letter: To the ones that always try

We all know the people, the relationship savers, the “clingers”, the passionate, caring, kind people. The people who try their fair share, or maybe even a little bit more in relationships (friendly or romantic). The ones who you may think simply don’t get the hint that you don’t want them around. The people pleaser say heart, that want to have good experiences with everyone. Maybe you are this person, maybe you are the opposite of these people. We all know them too. The ones who only care when it’s convenient, who never text you first. The ones who never keep conversations going, and never initiate meeting up. Either way, this is for you. Continue reading “An open letter: To the ones that always try”

10 Seriously Stessful Times as a University Student

Yesterday, I was so busy running around worrying about immediate problems, tomorrow’s problems, Wednesday’s problems, etc. that I finished my agenda and almost stress barfed (gross I know but accurate). The thing is, we all have those days, those weeks. The important thing to remember is that we are all in this together. Everyone is fighting their own battle as they walk through these university halls. However, we also all face many of the same challenges in everyday life. So I challenge you to think of 10 Seriously Stressful Times that you have and maybe you’ll realize, we all got your back jack: b***** be crazy. Continue reading “10 Seriously Stessful Times as a University Student”

Oh, Monday *sigh*

This morning I woke up early, went to the chiropractor, bussed back to school, ate my first ever Tim’s Breakfast Sandwich (life changing by the way), and a French Vanilla. I then chatted with a good friend for ten minutes and had to go to Spanish class. The rest of my day continues, with a quick lunch, another class, work at the gym, editing videos until 5:30 a quick supper, work at the Crow and Go 6:00 until 9 and then going to the gym from 9-10:30. After this I will spend the rest of my evening finishing my homework and at some point sleeping. Most people I know say I’m crazy, but I like being busy. It does however take a toll on my body and mind. That’s why no matter how much I want to leave work and go to my room and sleep, I am making myself take time to go to the gym.

I spent every spare moment in high school playing sports. When I came to University there was more work, more stress and instead of using exercise to relieve it, I cut it out almost entirely to save time. I thought I was doing my body a favor, when really, I was starving it of release. It’s a method of stress relief for me, and not going would leave me more anxious than the hour and a half there ever could.

This is what is so important, finding things that make you feel good, and doing them, even when it seems impossible. Taking time for yourself everyday is not a privilege or an option, it is a necessity. Nothing in your daily routine is more important than your health. Put yourself first, and everything else will improve along with it.

Find your thing, and go do it (like today)

Happy living,

xo

CL