Speak Out and Ask for Help | World Mental Health Day

Speak Out and Ask for Help | World Mental Health Day

While today is “officially” World Mental Health Day,  to be frank, everyday should be so. As much as physical health has always been recognized as important, I think society today has made great strides in eliminating the stigma against mental health.

But in my perspective, I don’t see mental health and physical health as a black and white dynamic. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, mental health and physical health go very hand in hand.

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Some people regard eating disorders as a very physical thing: in fact many insurance companies delegate which of their clients is eligible to get coverage for their recovery treatment purely based on weight. If their client maintains that they have an eating disorder, however they are a certain low weight, they will not be insured. Some people depict anorexia, bulimia, and all disordered eating in the in between with skinniness where you can see the bones and no muscle. And soon as we gain weight, we are deemed as “recovered.”

However, disordered eating carries more than the physical manifestation. Actually, I think it is more than the physical. Disordered eating takes on a whole psychological battle: internalizing your worth through food, exercise, and body image. So even if you are at a physically “healthy” weight, your thoughts are still unhealthy and damaging.

And although very depressing, sometimes these thoughts will never be gone. There isn’t necessarily something as full, complete recovery where you can live a life drastically different and with no fear of food. There will always be lingering thoughts – sometimes felt more severely than other times – and so recovery means something greater than completely eliminating those thoughts but rather, knowing how to handle them when they do pop up because they do.

Mental health is  viewed in society as something that is treated once and will never come back. No, just as much as a physical fever or cold, we get sick frequently. And that’s we have doctors and medicine because we know that we don’t just get sick once in our lifetime, but dozens and dozens of times. Very much so, mental health problems are not something that just passes by, but rather with each time, will make you a stronger person and more ready to handle it the next time it comes, because it will come again.

So on behalf of World Mental Health Day, prioritize your health: both physical and mental. And always always know asking for help does not make you any less of person, but actually brings and shows the humanity in you. We as humans require help and support to grow into stronger forms of ourselves. There is always someone out there that sincerely cares for your health. You are never alone.

xoxo,

Stephanie

life is precious

life is precious

In the wake of Kate Spade’s passing, I wanted to drop my two cents on mental health.

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Mental health has always been a delicate topic to discuss on: I’ve realized this when naive freshman me signed up to conduct a school-wide investigation on mental health for the high school newspaper. At the time, I was not familiar with mental health besides clinical depression. And even clinical depression for me was manifested in a severe way to a close family friend at my church.

After seeing depression inflict my family friend in both a mental but physical way, my freshman self  did not realize that mental health could easily be concealed. Interviewing students across campus, I was shocked that physical health did not necessarily lend itself to mental health. Indeed, to me, Kate Spade and her brand represented bright colors, happiness, bubbly designs and playful prints. But to hear of the passing of a visionary person who I assumed embodied those characteristics due to depression and anxiety revealed me that I and our society have still much to learn about on mental health.

Assuredly, I am someone who falls victim to putting up a persona despite conflicting internal conditions. The strain of having to keep up with such “performance” hit an all-time low this past winter. For a bit over a month, I was constantly downhearted and unhappy. A day wouldn’t pass without a breakdown and staring blankly at the wall. It was difficult time, made even more difficult because I couldn’t exactly place a finger as to why I was feeling the way I was. All I knew at that time was that I was unhappy, unfulfilled, and couldn’t be bothered to do anything.

The whole time I tried my hardest to keep my usual persona: bright, inquisitive, and optimistic. I tried even harder to appear resilient to not only others but to myself as well. And it worked for most, most people don’t know that I had such time this winter. Only my close friends and family are aware and I am infinitely grateful to them. I was and still thankful for those who were perceptive and realized that this Stephanie was unwell. They were all understanding, loving, and most of all patient as I slowly recovered.

While mental health, like any health in general, is a battle overcome by the individual alone, the brunt of that battle can be shared by many. The encouraging nudges and constant comforting words helped me come back to a healthier and stronger self.

To everyone, our lives are precious. Every single one. I pray that you remember and practice this truth.

There’s one quote from my mental health investigation from freshmen year that still stands out to me this day. From my Latin teacher: “Why is there a stigma attached with a psychological illness or disease—in a literal sense, ‘dis-ease,’ un-ease, or not feeling at ease—but not to the physical ailment?”

Allow yourself to come back to ease. And you are not alone – you are surrounded by so much love and support. Tell those who you trust that you are not at ease and in need of their encouragement and help. You are loved and your life is precious. Please remember that.

If you find yourself in crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

Sending much love,

Stephanie

 

 

You know what’s good for the soul? — JOURNALING

You know what’s good for the soul? — JOURNALING

As much as Avolicious is about keeping your physical body healthy and happy, I think discussing our mental body is just as important.

I’ve been keeping a diary ever since I was little. My parents, ever since I started to write, have armed with journal and pencil to write in my diary. Now of course, back in those days, it was just a way for me to practice my handwriting. During elementary and to be honest, early middle school, I didn’t write in my diary at all.

However, I started writing in my diary (I call it now journaling instead) at the middle/end of eighth grade.

And let me tell you, journaling has been so therapeutic to me. Being able to write down all your worries, concerns, thoughts, epiphanies, reflections is such a powerful way to cleanse your mind but to also get some organization and clarity in your life. Seeing your thoughts that used to be jumbled up in your head all laid down on paper refreshes you in ways that only you can experience if you actually do it.

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Here are a few of my tips for you to start journaling:

 

ONE// Don’t force it

There are definitely days when you can write a whole novel in your journal. But then there are days when you just don’t feel like journaling. Especially when I was in a funk in the beginning this summer, I really had no energy to journal.

I think the problem that I faced in elementary school that led me to quit journaling was that it became a burden. The burden of having to journal everyday. And for some reason or another, the human mind, when something becomes a burden, we have less of an urge to actually do it.

So my number one tip for you, is to don’t force it. Journaling works the best when everything just flows out. You want those thoughts and feelings that you are journaling to be in its purest and rawest form. Don’t force it. Period.

 

TWO// Pick a journal and a few pens that you’ll enjoy writing in

Maybe it’s because I’m a stationery junkie, but writing in a great journal with a smooth pen makes all the difference for me. Yes, it’s expensive, but think of it as buying high-end fitness gear. A lot of people who buy Lululemon for their exercise clothes always justify that at the end, they wear their Lululemon clothes the longest and that Lululemon pieces actually motivate them to go to the gym. In the same regard, your journal and pen are going to influence whether you feel motivated or not.

My current favorite is a 0.38 black MUJI pen (yes, I am that picky) and a Moleskine.

 

THREE// There are no rules in journaling

This is another important advice. There are no right’s and no wrong’s in journaling. Whatever feels right to you, is correct. Sometimes I just full on rant. With no paragraph breaks, I just fill up the whole page. Other times, I draw or do bullet points.

Sometimes even, I’m not even journaling. I lay out my goals, my schedule for the coming days, my eating log – my journal becomes my everything and anything. The dumbest thing to do when you start journaling is to be so careful and so wary about writing something “wrong” that you never get into the joy of journaling.

 

So there you have it! If you have any more questions in journaling, while I am by no means am I an expert, please email/comment me!

Have you journaled before?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Glass half-full? Or glass half-empty? | Positive Mindset

Glass half-full? Or glass half-empty? | Positive Mindset

The first day back from spring break, I had golf try-outs.

Now, I’m NOTHING NOTHING compared to Serena (she is a goddess at golf, but she’s way too humble to brag or talk about it, so I’ll do it for her: her handicap is an 8!!! An 8!!!).

However, ever since I’ve been a little kid, I’ve always wanted to learn and do golf. My dad is an avid golf fan and he goes out with his friends or coworkers pretty much every weekend. He always expressed interest for my mom and me to join him to golf. As much as he loved golfing with his friends, he’s always wanted to play with his family.

So after having a horrible experience with crew (it’s a very respectable sport, but it just wasn’t the sport for me), I had nothing to do for spring term. I decided to try out golf.

I started playing golf seriously last summer, so summer of 2016. I had weekly lessons and my dad and I would go out to the driving range several times a week. But being that I was away at boarding school and busy with school work, I could only practice golf intensely during school breaks.

So with a lack of sufficient experience, I was a wreck and full of nerves and anxiety leading to the golf tryouts. However, if there is one thing I learned from golf try-outs, it’s having a positive mindset.

I used to play tennis before (yeah, as you can see, I’ve had my fair share of many sports but I was never able to stick to a sport since I was so horrible at it haha. One of the reasons I fell in love with running – not much skill needed). One thing about tennis that I miss is the mental game. You have to have a strong mental game. Period.

I remember during tennis matches between each point, while waiting for the serve or before my serve, I would tell myself “Stephanie, you can do this. You can do this. Have confidence. Have faith. You can do this.”

And this sort of mental pep talk does wonders. It really does. Playing with a positive and confident mindset has a huge difference than playing with a negative and discouraging mindset.

Instead of regretting and grumbling of a bad shot, changing my mindset to “Okay, make the next shot the best you can,” has changed the outcome of my golf game drastically.

So in short, LIVE WITH CONFIDENCE. CARRY YOURSELF WITH CONFIDENCE.

Remember to always to have the glass half-full perspective. You’ll find yourself surprised of the positive outcomes that will come out of it.

How strong is your mental game?

xoxo,

Stephanie