After Dinner Tea

Good Evening Dear Reader,

I don’t really know if people read this, but I’d like to pretend I have some readers. I suppose it doesn’t really matter because I love to write, and blogging makes me have a little peace in my day.

I would like to say that I am a tea enthusiast. I love tea, and I’m currently enjoying a cup of “after dinner tea” it has a mix of aniseed, fennel seed, ginger root and a few other ingredients.

Here’s what I love about tea:

When I make myself a cup of tea, I am showing myself love. Making a good cup of tea can take longer than pouring yourself a cup of juice or grabbing a can of soda (for those who drink soda). I boil the water, select the perfect tea for that occasion: ranging from oolong to chai to detox, and steep for a few minutes. I add the appropriate amount of honey and take a whiff.

Something about this process feels special and makes me feel as if I’m doing something special for myself. Every sip fills me with a strange peace. I know I’m a weirdo but that’s something I love and makes me feel loved.

I’ve joined a “tea enthusiasts” meet up on that meetup.com website. There having an event this Saturday and I’m super excited.  It’s $10 and honestly I’m a bit hesitant because funds are a bit tight, but I want to go so badly I might just splurge on myself.

I am feeling pretty good today. I went to a new therapist yesterday and was prescribed an anti-depressant. I’m hesitant because I’ve been feeling pretty good this week and I don’t want that to go away due to the medicine. At the same time I’m worried that this pro-longed happiness is just temporary like the many other times in the past few years. So I’ll be feeling super crappy then feel really good for a period time, be on top of my work, and feel overall good. Then I shortly crash and fall back into the abyss…So I don’t know which would be the outcome.

I’ll probably end up taking it, because I don’t want to be depressed my whole life. I want to be healed, and if medicine, therapy and hopefully a new workout/nutrition plan that I’ll be starting next week (I’ll blog about this later) are the steps to recovery, then I’m more than willing.

I’m overall hopeful.

What I learned today:

1.Tea makes me feel calm and happy

2.I should drink more tea…period.

Beach Fun

Good Morning Dear Reader
For the past week, I’ve been getting out of the house and hanging with friends. I don’t have too many friends because I can be a bit shy, but I do try to hang out with people who at least like me.

Anyway, I’ve been journaling with one and going to the beach with another.

I really hate sand in my shoes. It’s like a super pet peeve of mine but since going to Hawaii, I’ve learned that the beach can be a super relaxing activity to do with others.

The last time I went with my friend Kim, we didn’t even lay on the sand, we were on the grass which was awesome for me.

I put this post to say that sometimes being outdoors can just make you feel awesome. To be honest, since I’ve been going out with friends and spending time outside, I haven’t felt as down as I usually do due to the depression. I’m feeling happier and more at peace.

I don’t know if any of you suffer from depression, but I know how hard it can be to just get out of bed. I’ve been there too many times and I’m not sure if I’m getting better with managing it or if this is one of my “happiness spurts.” Either way, I am fully supportive of going outside. You don’t have to do something expensive, even listening to linkin park as you stroll around the block can lift your spirits.

I’ve discovered that I want my home to be a nest, not a cage. I often feel trapped and confined and that makes me feel like sleeping all day long. I’m trying to make appointments with others and RSVP to events and such so that I can have somewhere to fly to.

I actually missed the workout session I was supposed to go to this morning. Normally I’d lay in bed and feel so guilty about it and my day would be ruined. Now don’t get me wrong, I do feel really guilty (which is a backlash of RSVP) but I somehow don’t feel ruined by it…and this morning I can honestly say I’m feeling okay.

Jay gave me another piece of good advice. I called him one day feeling lower than low and crying (about 2 months ago) and he asked why I was so upset and I told him I had all this pent up emotion from things in my past. Now I’ve known Jay for about 9 years now so he knows my story and he told me that those things have happened in the past. I can’t change them so I have to let them go. Just let it all go.

I am a dweller and he knows this and the concept of “letting go” just doesn’t seem like something I’m capable of. I have been trying since then to let the past go and it works in some instances but not in others. I just have to try and not let the past take hold of my present and corrupt my future.

Also, this month I am working on the mantra “good is good enough.” If you keep waiting for everything to be perfect before you take action, you’ll never take you’re first step. So while at yesterday’s workout session I’ve become interested in becoming a wellness coach. In my mind I am thinking, “I can’t until I’m super healthy” but I’m fighting that negativity and just taking the next step. I’m going to an informational meeting tonight. I hope it goes well.

So, three things that I’ve learned in the pas month to get me here:

1. Be who you want to be today.

2. Let it go

3. Good is good enough.

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RSVP

Hello Dear Reader,

I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the website meetup.com but in the last week I’ve become increasingly interested in this site. Here’s why:

I don’t know about you all, but it is very difficult for me to find the motivation to workout by myself. It is much easier for me to work out if I have a buddy.

What I like about meetup.com is that you can find a group for just about anything or even start your own group. I found an awesome free yoga class in my area that I’m going to try to go to.

When you decide to go to an event, say “Yoga in the Park” you can RSVP for that event if you want to. That RSVP option has become a major help to me. It’s a more concrete commitment, at least for me, and it helps me actually spend time doing the things I am trying to do. It helps me make time for working out, learning languages, and I should totally start one for blogging because sadly I’m not being as faithful as I want to be :(.

Anywho, since signing up, I’ve been to three workout classes in the past 5 days. That’s probably more than I’d do in a month on my own. It’s sad I know…please don’t judge. Overall I love the site and recommend it to everyone.

So a little story:

I went to a Fitness Group Meetup this evening and had an awesome time. Afterwards I spoke with one of the organizers (Jess) about some of my goals.

In this talk I realized that one of my motivations for becoming healthy is my dream to be a doctor. I want to be a doctor with all my heart and soul, but I can’t be a hypocrite and give health advice to others when I myself am unhealthy. Because of this, I am even more determined to get my health on track. I did a wellness evaluation today and I will post the results. I plan on doing it 1-2 a month to keep track. I don’t have a tape measure, but I’ll get one and post that to. I’ve heard by announcing such measurements one can feel even more obligated to get in shape. I’m going to give it a try although I’m a little nervous.

I’m feeling surprisingly motivated this week. I hope it lasts.

Age: 21

Height: 5 Feet, 2.5 inches

Weight: 184.0 aiming for 141

Body Fat %: 43.1 aiming for 20%

Body Water %: 41.1 aiming for 50%

Muscle Mass: 99.5 aiming for 120

Physique Rating: 3 aiming for 6

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate): 1537

Metabolic Age: 64 aiming for 21

Bone Mass: 5.4: This is okay

Visceral Fat: 7: aiming for 4

So what I’ve learned:

1. Making concrete commitments can help you reach your goals.

2. Commitment+Motivation=Success. You can make all the RSVPs, Appointments, and Power Walks with Friends you want but if you don’t have the drive and motivation, you won’t actually keep those commitments.

3. Find out what drives and motivates you. It has to come from within, because if you rely on others for motivation one day you can lose it.

4. Scales can be misleading, and can damage moral. Try measuring your waist. I’ve lost a lot of size but my weight hasn’t changed.

Note: Got my new business cards two weeks ago, I’ve given out two already and I’m feeling awesome about it.

Anime Expo

Good Morning Dear Reader,

So, one SUPER important thing about me is that I love anime! July 4-7 is the anime expo and I’m here for all 4 days.

Overall I’m super excited about going. I just wish I had a costume (yes, I’m one of those people)

The reason why I’m blogging about this is because I’m creating a list of things that make me happy. A toolbox if you will, that way when times get hard, I can open my toolbox and go to work on maintaining happiness.

Okay, maybe that sounds über ridiculous but it’s worth a shot.

Tip for the day or week: make a list of things that make you happy. When sad, refer to that list.

Also, since my group isn’t exactly ready to go (sad face) I’m using the time to get work done (blogging and reading and such)

Lesson of the day: don’t waste any moments!!

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Today’s Highs and Lows

Dear Reader,

So today, I didn’t wake up when I wanted and was barely on time to work. I didn’t focus on what I needed to do and didn’t really accomplish what was on my to do list.

This happens regularly and it gets me down a lot. So much so that I often give up on the day and continue to waste it. I feel like such a failure that I just go to bed and give up…it’s not the best way to live but that’s my life.

I am a perfectionist: if it’s not perfect, I give up on it, and this includes myself.

To combat this today: even though I didn’t finish the reading I needed to complete today, I still did some reading and did some research on jobs. I also packed for my trip to Los Angeles (anime expo is tomorrow lol) and paid a bill.

No it wasn’t everything on my glamorous list but it was worth being proud of. I forgive myself for not doing all that I said I would do, and I will just try harder.

Mantra: “I’m not perfect and that’s okay. I am enough”

I haven’t been posting everyday like I tell myself I will, but instead of beating myself up, I am forgiving.

Also, I’m trying to accomplish today’s goals during the car ride (like writing this blog lol)

Even though I battle with depression, hopelessness isn’t one of my symptoms. I have hope that I can be better and that I can achieve what I set out to do. I have hope of a better tomorrow but my feelings of worthlessness and overwhelming guilt and sadness are an obstacle that I desperately want to overcome.

I don’t know if I’ll be depressed for my whole life, but as long as I always strive for excellence I think I’ll be okay. I try to accomplish something everyday, that way I won’t be so upset about not being the best.

I have to learn that I am imperfectly perfect.

If you, dear reader, have ever been depressed then you’ll understand what I mean when I say that I’ve been falling deeper into the abyss and it’s getting harder to stay in the light.

I don’t know what to do so I’ve become a little frantic. As long as I have hope I’m sure I can stay in the light.

What I’ve been trying to do:

1. Stay out of the house-it bums me out, I do better when I can feel free.

2. Talk to people who really understand where I’m coming from.

3. Push myself to do things that make me happy. A lot of times the only thing I have motivation for is climbing in bed and sleeping all day. But when I try to push myself to go for a walk or have lunch with a friend or write I do feel better. I just have to figure out how to get to the point of doing things that make me happy without so much effort.

4. Just breathe and stop thinking. I am a dweller and I over-analyze things. It’s a bad combo lol so what I try to do is breathe and not think.

I’m just floating today. Neither sinking nor soaring…and that’s okay with me.

P.S. this is an old pic but seeing it makes me happy and I could use a little happiness today so there it is.

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Post-Hawaii

Dear Reader,

So, last week I was in Hawaii and honestly was having too much fun to blog. I know, I’m so bad -_-

Anyway, this is just about my adventures.

Firstly, I’ve learned that when I’m away from home, it’s a lot easier to reach my fitness and self-love goals. After having lunch with a friend (Kim) yesterday, we discovered this little epiphany.

Anyway, on my first day, my friend Jennie picked me up from the airport and she showed me a few sites before my parents flew in.

I’m super in love with Japanese culture. When I found out the majority population in Hawaii is of Asian descent and that Japanese is regularly spoken I told her I was ready to live in Hawaii right then and there.

We had a nice Japanese lunch (takoyaki-fried octopus and onigiri-rice balls) and went around to visit various shops and such.

Another thing about me: when I go to new places, it’s my mission to find a shot glass with the name of the place, a post card, and something with a turtle on it. Example: I took a Shakespeare class in London and found some amazing turtle earrings 😀 I’m super obsessed with turtles. Lol Turtles are so popular in Hawaii, I almost lost my mind with joy.

We took a ton of pictures at the mall because they actually had koi fish there. I was so shocked.

One of my goals for my Hawaii trip was to participate in some self-love activities. Jennie and I are writing a collaborative fan fiction (more on this later) and I really wanted to finish at least a page or two before returning home (I ended up writing like 7). When I write, I feel happy and good about myself. Because of this, I’m trying to write a little everyday. This will not only help with the self-love piece but also help with my depression.

On the ride to the place my family and I were staying at, Jennie and I started brainstorming ideas for our story. This was a huge accomplishment because instead of just a mental idea, our story was verbal and one step closer to being written.

I spent half of my time with my family and the other half with Jennie.

I was able to get a pearl from an oyster which was super amazingly fantastic!

I laid out on the beach with Jennie and swam in the ocean with my little sisters. They’re 12 and 9 and had to save me from being swept away from the ocean…-_- sad but I’m not hating on them lol I just need more practice.

I went to a luau with my family. We had a tasty dinner and enjoyed a chance to witness the Hawaiian cultural dances. We saw fire dances, hula, and I even was taught to weave a headdress from coconut leaves. I threw a spear and drank from a coconut. It was great.

On another day, Jennie and I went to a cute local cafe and just wrote. It was so peaceful and I felt like I was the queen of my world. ^_^

Most days I woke up an went for a 1 mile walk before doing some crunches, jumping jacks, and squats. I pushed myself and felt great. Every morning I had fruit, yogurt and a small bowl of cereal for breakfast. I talked with my family and felt closer than ever to them.

I took a ton of pictures and tasted many different foods.

Overall it was a dream vacation for me.

What I learned about that is:

1. Identify activities that make you truly happy.

2. Taking baby steps towards your goals can be really helpful. Mini goals add up to major goals 🙂

3. Having a friend to make appointments with can help you keep appointments. So I made appointments with Jennie to just write and we kept those appointments. Through each other we were able to take steps toward our individual goals.

4. Take pictures of things that make you smile so that you can look back on them and smile again ^_^

5. Sometimes when it comes to fitness goals, you have to just not think and do it. It doesn’t have to be you running a marathon, but do a little something everyday and be proud.

6. Taking pictures and just enjoying the outside and all it’s wonders can be uplifting. Just enjoying the blueness of the ocean or the coolness of the breeze or even the feel of grass beneath you or the rain on your skin can really make you feel alive. Of course pictures can never truly capture the world’s beauty but at least a picture can ignite the memory of what you felt when you appreciated nature. My pictures fill me with so much feeling because during those moments prior to taking the picture, I allowed the world to make an impression on my heart.

Okay obviously we can’t all just go on vacation and I can’t just live a self-love and fulfilling life only when I’m away from home. I have to cultivate what I learned and did there into my life here in San Diego. I was so at peace even though there were a few stressful times. The stress didn’t stress me out and I was able to maintain a peace. What is true for all of us, dear reader, is that we all need to find ways to cultivate peace in our lives.

Things that I’m working on:

1. Implementing what I learned in Hawaii here at home.

2. Continuing to show myself love and compassion.

3. Giving myself positive affirmations.

4. Learning to count on myself an conversely being there for myself. So if I say, “Shannon, tomorrow we are going to get up early and blog” I need to work on keeping the commitments I make to myself.

5. Learning to take time to feel but not letting my feelings interfere with my needs and responsibilities

Since I’ve been back I feel as if I’ve lost that peace…and I want it back. I want to have peace when I’m at home, not just when I’m away from home. Unfortunately I don’t know how to maintain that peace but I am working on finding out how. So that’s where I am today.

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Kidney Stones

Hello Dear Reader,

So Monday evening I had experienced intense side pain that lasted for six hours. Around 11:30 pm, my boyfriend took me to the emergency room. About 7:30 am the doctors discovered that I have a kidney stone. It’s not very big but of course that information has driven me to the internet.

Being on bed rest has given me few options. I sleep, do homework and browse the internet. There’s always TV but it makes me a zombie so I try to avoid it.

If anyone out there has kidney stones, here are some of the websites I’ve looked up:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000135.htm

http://www.wikihow.com/Cope-With-Kidney-Stones

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/25/information-you-need-to-know-about-kidney-stones.aspx

Well I hope that helps,

Sincerely,

Shannon (Toni) M.

Get Outside

ImageThere are a few things you can do to improve your environmental wellness. Let me tell you a story then I’ll give you some tips.

BACKGROUND:

Despite being inside all day everyday, I love being outside. I love laying on the grass and I love the feeling of freedom that comes with being outside. Recently I’ve been taking my best friends advice on being who I want to be today.

Who do I want to be?

I want to be a person who feels free. I want to be a person who goes to the park just to take in the scenery. The only thing holding me back is me. So I’ve been taking that initiative and taking pictures along the way, so pardon the pictures.

Note: This is from the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. It’s so amazing there.

As promised here are some tips:

-Go for a walk. Even if you don’t have a whole lot of time, just a 5-10 min walk outside can make you feel so much better.

-Take pictures. If you have a camera or a camera phone, sometimes taking pictures of pretty things I see makes me feel incredible.

-Find some grass to lay on. Period-it just feels awesome. (Note: Don’t do this if you’re allergic to grass.

-Clean your room. Environment doesn’t necessarily mean outside. Just cleaning your room can make you feel better. 

Side note: My accomplishment of the day (yesterday) was cleaning my bedroom and I not only felt super proud of myself, but just to be able to see the floor was awesome. Just kidding (not really -__-).

-If you have a car, go for a drive. This helps a lot of people. Personally I like to walk and look at stuff. 

-Recycle. This makes some people crazy happy. I am not one of those people…I do it for the money and I’m not ashamed. (hey, at least it gets done)

That’s all I have for now. I hope it was helpful. Sometimes if you choose one or two or more of these, you can feel so much better.

Accomplishment of the day: I went for a 3 minute walk, took some pictures, and laid on the grass for 5 minutes. 

 

 

 

Step 1: Wake up Earlier

Maybe some of you are early birds, maybe some are night owls.

I am kind of a morning bird whose fallen from grace. Let me share a little background info about me then I’ll give you some tips.

BACKGROUND:

I used to wake up at 6 and maybe even 5 in the morning when I was in high school. I loved it because those 2-3 hours was “Shannon Time”. My mom, stepdad and sisters were all asleep and I could do what I wanted (sing in the shower, draw, write etc.) uninterrupted.

One thing that you should know about me is that I suffer from Depression. Honestly that does make it harder to become healthy but I’m trying really hard to work through it.

High school was a time where my depression was “active”. By this I mean I channeled all of my sadness and feelings of unworthiness into solitary creative skills. I danced (which can be very solitary surprisingly), I drew all the time, and I was constantly writing.

When I left home I thought that I would leave the depression behind and go on to live a better life. I was certainly wrong. It’s not that I’m feeling worse than I did in high school, in fact competitively I live a much “happier” life. However the past and my reactions to emotional stimuli are holding me back.

I am sad, frustrated and ready for action. I don’t want to be this way forever so I’m taking actions steps.

Today’s Mantra: Day by day and step by step, I will be where I want to be.

Step 1: wake up earlier every morning.

TIPS FOR WAKING UP EARLIER:

-First and foremost, you won’t wake up early if you don’t have a good reason to. Make a commitment in the morning that will really motivate you to get up.

My Reason: To blog an have time to update my social media accounts.

-Make a plan with a friend to call them early in the morning. If they don’t answer, leave a message while getting out of bed to do so. (This will work better if you have a friend who also really want to wake up earlier)

-Place your alarm clock across the room. (This can be helpful on those days you really want to sleep in)

-Create a morning playlist. Push play as soon as your alarm goes off. (This can be super energizing music to get you on your feet)

-Drink lots of water before bed. Hold it until your desired time you want to wake up. Then turn on the shower or some music to keep you from climbing back into bed.

These are things that have worked in the past. I’ll definitely look up some Iyer ways and add them to the list.

I also encourage you writing in a journal to mark you successes (and failures).

Today’s success: woke up at 7am instead of 8. Woo!

Sincerely,

Shannon M.

Health is a Lifestyle

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m Shannon 🙂 you can call me Toni or Shannon.

First let me say that I am not a super model. I don’t eat healthy everyday and I don’t exercise as much as I should. I struggle everyday to make the right choices concerning my health. If this sounds like you, please keep reading.

Despite my unhealthy lifestyle, I am passionate about health. I want to be a doctor someday and nobody wants to take advice about health from someone who is unhealthy so I’m working on becoming healthy and living a healthy lifestyle today.

Let me be frank. As much as we’d all like to think there is a simple way to instantly be healthy, that’s just not true. I’ve tried diet pill after diet pill and I’m only 21 -_-. I wish there was a “get thin quick” solution but the reality is that there isn’t.

But that’s okay.

Just like life, health is a journey. It is a way of life-a lifestyle. I am simple sharing my story and my struggles with you.

My best friend Jay told me that “Be who you want to be today” and today I am taking his advice. I want to be healthy, I want to blog about my journey, I want to be someone who strives for excellence and that’s who I am going to be starting today.

I’m not here to lecture you or to promise you anything. I want to create a space of support and share some of the things that I’ve learned about health. Maybe in some small way I can help you and in turn help myself. I’ve been reading tons of health magazines, looking up plenty of dieting tips, and researching some healthy ways of improving your health. It’d be selfish to keep what I’ve learned to myself so if you’ll let me, dear reader, I would like to share with you.

I hope that you will join me and that we can assist each other on this health journey together. 🙂

Sincerely,

Shannon M.

Maria O' Mai

Freelance Writer

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