First, thanks for coming here today. I know it’s been a while since I last posted. I had to change my blogging schedule to make it through the summer holidays. My last post was sharing with you my summer candle collection for 2021.
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I knew going into this summer that I wanted… no scratch that… I NEEDED it to be different. In the past, there were a great many things I hated about summer. I found it challenging to feel happy during this season, and where I live, it’s summer 3-4 months of the year.
This pandemic has changed me. It’s shifted my thinking and forced me to sit with myself. It has forced me to learn how to sit with my feelings. I had a lot of time to ponder about summer, and this year I decided it had to be different. I couldn’t keep hating it. I couldn’t keep hiding from myself. Summer feels like a very exposing season of life. It gets hotter and hotter each year, and clothing seems to become smaller and smaller (or my body gets larger and larger?). Both being possible!
I spent a lot of time thinking about my body image and how I was feeling about myself.
I stopped taking care of myself somewhere along the way, and I started caring about what people thought. I stopped caring about my comfort and started caring about the comfort of others. I felt like my body was responsible for the discomfort of others. So I’d spend my summers covered up. Long sleeve tops, long pants. Anything I could find to hide my body away. I spent so many years feeling so much shame surrounding my body.
After sitting with these thoughts for so long, I started to question myself. The one question that always gets me – “Is this what I would want for my daughter?”. I found myself wondering how I would react if she shared with me that she was feeling this way about her body. I deserve that same compassion that I would give her. And I think that’s something we forget along the way. We deserve the same compassion and kindness that we’d give to someone else, giving back to ourselves.
I made an intentional choice that this summer was going to be different. My daughter is seven and a half, so I know she’s watching me. She’s watching how I dress, how I carry myself, everything. And then, she is going to make opinions and decisions about life based on what she saw.
So I made a decision.
Which is very difficult for me. This summer was going to be different. I wanted my daughter to see me laugh, play, and especially wear the bathing suit. I decided this summer was going to be all about enjoying myself and being happy and comfortable. I made a few summer goals to keep me motivated throughout the entire season.
My summer goals:
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I knew that had to be top of my list. My daughter deserves to see a mom wearing the clothes. So a few months back, I started going through my clothes and keeping only what comfortably fit my body. This involved HUGE messes of clothes thrown all over my bed. I started shopping for clothes that I thought I would love. Slowly, I found my little style and started feeling excited to get ready for the day. My favourite things to wear so far have been dresses. (I wrote a whole post about my favourite summer dresses, all of which I’ve bought and wear daily! Summer Dresses to Save Your Summer) Lately, following through with one of my other summer goals, I’ve been loving tights and tees. Very simple and plain, but for me, comfort is vital. My mental health does so much better when I’m comfortable.
Ｅｍｂｒａｃｅ ｍｏｖｅｍｅｎｔ ｅｖｅｒｙｄａｙ．
When I made this goal, it didn’t matter what kind of movement. And, we’re about halfway through summer as I’m writing this, and I still never made stipulations regarding what type of movement. I started using movement as a tool for my mental health. So, when I felt my mood declining down that slippery slope, I’d quickly turn on a little workout on my phone and force myself out of it. The feeling after the training is incredible, and so I just kept doing it. If my mood were feeling off, I’d embrace some form of movement. Sometimes it’s lifting weights, yoga, stretching, HIIT workouts, Tabata, and more. I use the FitON app and pick based on time intervals, and I close my eyes and pick one. So, wearing tights and tees has meant that I remove an obstacle out of my way completely.
See, before, I wanted to embrace movement, but I also wanted to get ready and not have to shower again later. When I started using it as a tool, I found my mindset shifted. So I get ready for my days now, intending to use that tool.
I’m not sure how long you’ve been reading my blog, but I wrote about my experience running a few years ago – My Top Tip for New Runners.
I had begun using running as a coping tool, and the benefits were massive. My body was so strong, and my endurance was higher than ever. I’ve also had to come to terms with that season of my life is over, and that’s okay. I started using small full-body workouts to balance my moods during this summer season, and I’m thrilled I did. I’m feeling mighty, and I like not being out of breath. On average, it seems I work out 2-3 times a day. If an exercise doesn’t feel good for my body, then I don’t do it. I’m looking at this as a celebration. I take time out of my day to celebrate movement and all that my body does for me every day. This has improved my range in motion so much, and my arthritis hasn’t been flaring up as much. It has helped me.
ᴇᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ꜰᴏᴏᴅ.
This one was significant to me, especially when I started to envision my daughter and the info she might be receiving from me. So, I made it a priority to eat in front of her. To indulge in the burgers and fries and nourish my body with salads and veggies. I’ve been working on celebrating food and what it does for my brain and body. I’ve spent a lot of time researching how food affects our brain, and I started making it a priority to fuel my brain with good healthy food. And this time, it’s not because I want to lose weight. It’s simply because my brain and body deserve it. They deserve the proper nutrition and fuel to function at their best. So, I’ve been eating the food. I’ve been fueling my body and my brain. My days feel so much better, let me tell you!
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Yes, I have curly hair, and I straighten it ALL THE TIME. But, this summer, I wanted my daughter to see me love me exactly how I was. So, I’ve been leaving my curls out. Even if they are a little frizzy. I’ve been letting me be me, and it feels fucking fantastic. Ｓｏｒｒｙ ｆｏｒ ｓｗｅａｒｉｎｇ．I’m just really trying to stress to you how awesome it feels just to exist and let myself be. If you don’t already do this, then I highly urge you to because it feels fantastic.
Side note – A little story for you before we go further into my summer goals – The first day I left my curls out, my daughter was so shocked when she saw me in the morning. Her exact words – “Holy moly, Mom, you’re hair looks beautiful!”
This summer has been about honouring and embracing my brain and body. I’ve spent a lot of time being angry about my diagnosis and being mad that I have to take medication, and I wanted to enjoy the season so much.
Let me give you a little backstory here. Therapy has been recommended to me for years. I spent years being terrified to say anything out loud. I was scared that someone would take my children away. I was afraid that people would think I was “crazy.” I was just petrified. But, I got to space where I was more scared to stay still. I became more afraid to stay the same person and repeat the same patterns with my children. I wanted to be a better person, wife, and mom. And maybe that’s how I knew it was time to start therapy. I got to a place that I wasn’t afraid to say it out loud anymore. I’ve had only a handful of sessions as of yet, but there’s a few things I’m enjoying right off the bat that I think are worth talking about.
I always worried about being judged. (Yes, anxiety – I see you.)
I always worried about talking that much. I’m not very good at maintaining flowing conversations, and … let’s face it… it gets awkward.
I was apprehensive about talking about things that were always “off-limits.” Lots of things in my life I felt like they were just things we weren’t talking about. Like the elephant in the room – but apparently, I was the only one who could ever see it? Hmmm . . .not even sure that makes sense.
I haven’t felt any of this! My therapist is so sweet and gentle, and I have found that I love talking during therapy. When do I ever get a whole hour to talk about whatever I want? I’ve enjoyed exploring different areas in my memories. It has left me feeling quite emotional or easily triggered, but I’m sure that’s fairly normal. Well, and what is normal anyway. Putting together conversation is usually quite exhausting for me, but I’ve found it comes easily during therapy. I can see how it will help me sort through things in my mind. I have a standing appointment every two weeks, Mondays at 5 pm. (Oh, the best part, it’s all over video chat! I don’t even have to worry about finding child care.)
Being a Mom with three little kids, finding childcare is always an obstacle. So this is a massive bonus for me.
ₗₐᵤgₕ ₐₙd ₛₘᵢₗₑ ₘₒᵣₑ.
This was a massive part of my summer goals for a better living list. I wanted to ensure I was spending my summer present and aware. I wanted to ensure that I was engaging and not just sitting there quietly waiting for the next season of life. Again, we’re about halfway through summer, and I have been doing this. I have been laughing way more and not allowing the little things to bother me as much. I just wanted to have more fun this summer and enjoy myself more. But genuinely. I wanted to spend time doing things I loved and have that energy surrounding me. I wanted to put myself first and be here this summer.
This goal requires a tremendous amount of effort in staying focused and present, but it’s been worth it.
I’m happier outside. Even simply doing nothing but sitting. I love the feeling of the sun touching my skin. It feels so calm and cozy to my whole body. This was important to me and something I’ve prioritized a lot. If you’ve been following my journey for a while, then you know how much I love camping. If not, then now you do! Catch my post sharing my favourite camping hacks!
This year we made the big purchase of a camper trailer. We LOVE it! We’ve been tenting for the last four years, so this is a hot welcome. It’s not fancy or brand new. It’s 18.5 feet long, and we have enough room for all 5 of us plus Rooster, so it works great. We also paid for a seasonal spot at a gorgeous RV park. (Netley Creek Golf)
So the trailer stays there, and we stay there whenever we want. It feels so relaxing being there. We have spent a lot of time there so far, and I assume that will only continue. Well, until October 15. That’s when the camping season is over for the year. I’ve found a lot of peace in just watching the sky. I’ve noticed many storms rolling in and taken a lot of time to appreciate the beauty Mother Nature lets us witness. I’ve also taken a lot more pictures of the sky. I always post them in my stories on IG, so give me a follow if you like sky pics! (@thoughtswithn)
I wanted to write more, but more quality writing. Not just any kind of writing. My writing career is getting started, and I’m excited and grateful. I’ve been providing freelance writing services for the last few months. I’m enjoying the projects I’ve been working on.
I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t love before. I’m just not a touchy-feely kind of love person, and I feel like my kids miss out sometimes. I’m not that lovey-dovey gushy mushy kind of Mom, and sometimes I think it must be nice to have that. I made it a goal to connect more with the people in my life—mom, Dad, husband, etc. I just wanted to fully work on being present in my relationships and giving that person my entire focus. I can confirm this is much harder than I had initially thought! However, I’ve been enjoying my time. I work hard to create small meaningful moments with everyone every day. Sometimes it’s a little message, sometimes a bit longer of a hug, but I’m working hard on it.
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My skin is prone to freckles, and I’ve already had four non-cancerous moles removed. When I realized I wanted to be a better role model for my daughter, I knew right away I had to set a better example for skincare. I’m still not even 100% on it, but one thing I did start doing was using face sunscreen. I also use a foundation that has SPF in it. However, I’m still learning about general skincare, so I’m not a pro.
Ｄｒｉｎｋ ｍｏｒｅ ｗａｔｅｒ．
The benefits of drinking water are so excellent and probably don’t even need to be listed here. It’s pretty well known that water is incredible! I’ve made it a habit always to have my water bottle right beside me.
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I wanted to start doing this more. I usually get afraid of feelings. They make me feel very anxious, and then I struggle with intrusive thoughts. I’ve been practicing just sitting in my chair outside and letting the feelings sort of… wash over me. Sometimes it’s a bit uncomfortable, but the feeling at the end is worth it. It’s nice not to be running from your mind. It feels peaceful to no longer fear being alone with myself. It has taken a lot of work, and it’s something I have to practice continuously. I hope one day it will feel more normal.
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I felt like I was at a bit of a standstill in my writing/blogging career. (See – notice I’m calling it a career now. I’m trying to start taking myself more seriously.) I think it’s important always to be learning and expanding our minds. So I signed up for an SEO course and will try to fix up my blog a bit! I’ve also been doing some reading surrounding food and mental health. It’s imperative to me to be continuously learning and growing. (I previously shared blogging courses I loved if you wanted to check out 7 Blogging Courses to Take During Quarantine).
I went into this summer being determined, determined to have growth and learn.
This was going to be MY summer. So far, so good.
Do you have summer goals? How are you doing with them?
Love Always, Enn