Big Girls Cry

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

I make scrapbooks for every year of my life, and though I took a break for a few years, my 2015 was so eventful that I was motivated to pick the hobby up again.

While doing a page of events that occurred around this time last year, I revisited some blog entries I wrote at the same time. One of them features lyrics from the song “Big Girls Cry” by Sia. That song hit me hard at the time because it described exactly what I feared I was becoming – someone who is living a mundane life, bored out of her mind, just surviving and not really living. I’ve been that girl before. But there were extenuating circumstances that made me that way. I don’t want to be that girl again.

post-64.jpgAnd for a while it looked like I was escaping that reality. Sure, there were some days like that, but I had a pretty fun year.

But it’s been more than 3 full months into 2016 now and I think I can safely say that I have become exactly what I feared. Most of my days have been like that, and even more now that I live alone. “I come  home, on my own, check my phone, nothing though, act busy, order in, pay TV, it’s agony.” Replace “order in” with “eat Doritos” and “pay TV” with “Netflix” and that is my life in a nutshell. Continue reading

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Promises To Myself When I’m Alone

BY CHELSEA RICCHIO

All my life I have been scared to live alone. The closest I’ve ever come to it is when I was living in a dorm in first year of university, and I was pretty miserable.

I’ve been scared to be isolated, scared to be the only one responsible for taking care of myself, scared that without someone else helping me along my life will fall into a stagnant rut.

I’m still scared, but what I’ve been doing is no longer working for me, so I decided that I had to change something, kind of like an experiment, and I decided to start with my living situation.

Tomorrow* I move out on my own, but tonight I’d like to take a moment to make a few promises to myself in hopes that this experiment will be a success. Continue reading

Salsa when you feel like it

BY LACHLAN CRAWFORD

I’ve grown to love the very early morning before the sun goes up. Everything is calm in theimages.jpg pre-dawn – waiting poised for another day to start. On early winter mornings after a heavy snow, everything in the street is particularly quiet and still.

Recently, however, on my early morning walk, I experienced the most exciting secret burst of life. As I was trudging through the snow, a storefront in my neighbourhood caught my attention. The business’ night staff was unabashedly blasting salsa music in their brightly-lit store as the surrounding commercial buildings stood empty in the cold dark. I noticed a jovial middle-aged man singing and dancing with a mop as he worked the floors. He noticed me too making my way through the cold dark snow outside and waved for me to join in.

To me, this was a wonderful reminder that there is life within us at all moments. Even joywhen the air is bitingly cold and the world is asleep, there is life happening. There is the same life within me and within all of us, even when we feel drained by the weather or by an attitude that makes us think we can’t do something, or shouldn’t. There is always the energy to be different and to blast the music of your own soul. It’s infectious when you witness it, so don’t be shy and let yourself salsa when you feel like it. You could be making someone out in the cold smile and laugh.


 

LACHLAN CRAWFORD apple pickin

Lachlan is a student of natural medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and a prospective student of contemplative psychotherapy at the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Toronto. She combines her learning from both alternative medicine and buddhist-influenced psychotherapy to develop a new way to address mental health concerns in a truly holistic way- with mind, body and spirit. Her professional interest blossomed out of her own struggles with depression and anxiety, helped greatly by her practices in meditation and ecstatic dance. Lachlan is a spirit, a writer and a traveler who loves the smell of Nag Champa.

For more info on Naturopathic Medicine and Contemplative Psychotherapy, see

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine http://www.ccnm.edu/

Institute for Traditional Medicine http://itmworld.org/?page_id=275

 

Fighting the Winter Blues

BY AYESHA KHALID

As winter progresses, and the days become shorter, many people begin to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, and lethargy. This phenomenon is often referred to as “seasonal affective disorder” or SAD.  If you are experiencing SAD, you may n20140111-175511otice that you have a lack of motivation or are feeling unusually sluggish. This can be particularly challenging for those who already struggle with anxiety or depression. It can also be challenging if you are a student, as you may be finding it difficult to study or write exams. It can be easy to fall into a routine of staying inside a library, oversleeping, and generally being unproductive. To help combat these symptoms, I usually find that taking some time to care for yourself is essential. I admit that I am guilty of spending hours studying without breaks and not stepping outside of my house, but I have found a few things that have helped me manage my stress levels and improve my energy. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Start your day off right.

I find it helpful to start my day with a short meditation – it could even be five minutes long if that’s all the time you have. I usually follow this up with some gentle yoga, maybe for about 15 or 20 minutes. The key is to have a morning that isn’t rushed or stressful – if you can begin with a calm morning, any stress you experience during the rest of the day will be easier to manage, as you will not be as frazzled. Yoga can also help energize you, get your blood pumping, and give you fuel for the rest of the day.

Continue reading

It’s Not Easy Being an Introvert

BY AYESHA KHALID

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be an introvert. When people think of introversion, they often assume it is a synonym for shyness, and that introverts do not like to be around others. Extroverts, on the other hand, are seen as loud, attention-seeking social butterflies. This isn’t always the case. The real difference between the two is that extroverts recharge when they are in social situations, whereas introverts tend to regain energy by being alone, and are drained by too much stimulation. So, as an introvert, if you feel down and tired, you might choose to take a walk alone to gather your thoughts. As an extrovert, you would probably call up your friends to hang out. It isn’t a simple matter of being shy versus outgoing.

The reason I am writing about this is because I often feel pressure to be more extroverted. For a long time, I felt like there was something wrong with me. I felt pressure from other people to “come out of my shell”, as they put it. Be loud! Talk more! Stop being so shy! There have been times when I have tried to do that by attending loud, crowded events. I have to say, I really, truly do not enjoy being around a ton of people milling around in a hot room talking loudly. That is not a fun experience for me. I get really overwhelmed if there is too much noise. It’s kind of like I am experiencing sensory overload and at a certain point I need to leave and go somewhere silent, otherwise, it is too much for my brain to handle.

Continue reading