Life · Mental Health

Life After the Pandemic

Image taken from Google

Honestly, I have been having a hard time thinking about what to write lately. Life has been a little crazy for me and for all of us. I know that we are still in a Pandemic but I really wanted to analyze and think about what life is going to be like after all of this. Some states started their self quarantine earlier then others and some are still in it while others are not. It has been interesting to me living in Georgia because we were one of the last states to close and one of the first to reopen. I have a lot of friends in California and they have been dealing with this a lot longer and way more extreme then how it has been here. May is mental health awareness month so I wanted to shed light on the impacts of mental health during this time. To be honest, I really didn’t know how to deal with all of this at first and I was in complete shock and denial. I think we all were in denial. I was surprised with how I handled it because with someone who has anxiety and panic attacks you would think that I would be freaking out. I was actually weirdly calm and thought something was wrong with me. I was reading how people who have anxiety have been more calm during this Pandemic because they are used to dealing with chaos and are almost numb to it. We also feel less alone in feeling anxiety since collectively everyone is feeling similar ways. This doesn’t mean I didn’t care or worry about myself or my loved ones but I knew that I had no control over the situation. I think we can be afraid to surrender to things because we want control but the thing is we never had control, all we had was anxiety. I started hearing from friends who have never discussed their fears with me feeling so worried about all of this and for once I wasn’t the only one always feeling worry. I actually feel like I started to relate with more of my friends on a deeper level because of all of this. Sometimes we want to control the outcome and especially when we don’t know what that outcome will be. Once we are able to give up control, breathe, and let go of our expectations then we can help ease that anxiety and panic. We have all had to learn Zoom and more technology and let me tell you it has been a learning curve for me and I am sure for you!

During this time, I have seen people connect more then ever and come together to help others. Schools, yoga studios, meetings, DJ sets, brunch and any other social activities have turned into Zoom meetings. People are doing more arts and crafts then ever, creating new things, watching a lot of Netflix, reading more, cooking more, connecting more, using social media for free work outs and realizing that we can basically do everything on technology. It is honestly beautiful the way that we have navigated technology to continue life and keep things going. Although, I wonder if after all of this if businesses, schools, teachers, etc; will continue to use technology instead? I am worried that people will still be so fearful of being around one another that they will want to continue keeping a distance. Parents will be worried about their kids friends coming over and everybody will be wearing a mask. I am worried that concerts and feeling free at them will not be the same. I have noticed that everyone has different opinions and ways of handling this Pandemic and that is OKAY! I have noticed some people really came together to help others but I have also noticed a huge judgement zone of rude people. I know under that is fear and some people react when they are angry out of fear, but it really sucks to see people so mean to others.

Also, I wonder what the mental health impact of all of this will be. I know we focus so much on physical health but being isolated from others can be very damaging to someones well being. Some people have had to stay home in terrible abusive situations which I can’t imagine how hard that has been. People use school or work to escape from abuse and now they have been stuck. I wonder the impact this will have on teenagers who didn’t get to go to Prom or walk for graduation. To the kids, who haven’t been able to see their friends and are sitting in front of a screen all day learning things. To the health care workers who are frustrated, angry, tired, and have no idea how long this will go on for or if there work will ever be the same. There are so many people out of jobs and businesses who are barley going to make it. Businesses who have already went bankrupt and people who are already out on the streets from not being able to afford their bills. To the grocery store clerks, who have been dealing with the pressure and stress of all of this.

There were a lot of birthdays not celebrated how we normally would. I know I was super bummed that my 30th birthday was right when this all started. It was not what I expected at all, but there I go again with EXPECTATIONS! Most of my friends weren’t able to join in on the fun because of it and I was super bummed. Then, I started to see weddings being cancelled or rescheduled and I realized me complaining about my 30th birthday wasn’t as upsetting as that probably was. I know that was a difficult decision for people and its sad because it is such an exciting time. Weddings are something you plan for all year and have everything ready and so I can’t imagine the anxiety and sadness assiscated. Another thing, is babyshowers or pregnant mamas. I personally have two people in my life who are pregnant during this and I know it hasn’t been easy. They have had to be extra careful and have to stay home basically. I know it is hard that they can’t have a traditional baby shower and things will be different when they go into labor as well. I think its okay to be sad or mourn these things. These are all such exciting times in our lives and we should be bummed that things are different. I just really hope that going forward that these things will be normal again. I will say, I have loved seeing all the virtual baby showers and especially the drive up celebrations! I have seen people get in their cars and drive by someones house with music and balloons and celebrate them! A new normal I guess.

I know this all sound scary to think about but this is the reality of the situation. It is really really hard for so many people and for others it hasn’t been hard at all. I want to give my love and support to all of those who have struggled during this time and will continue to struggle because of this. I really get scared to think about the mental health impact this will have on millions of people. I really believe people are experiencing depression, panic, and anxiety for the first time ever.

Personally, I had a lot of ups and downs during this time but I was very grateful to get so much time at home with my Husband. He is always traveling for work and never gets a break and so it was very nice having him home finally. We are fortunate that we were able to stay home and have the means to do so. Honestly, it has been so good for our marriage and has strengtened our bond. It has allowed us that quality time together that we usually don’t ever get. I am sure the same goes for you! I think either some couples have either had enough of each other or this is exactly what they needed. I have enjoyed slowing down and just hanging out at home. I know others haven’t had that luxary and it has been harder depending on where you live as well.

My point of all of this is that it really makes you think if life will ever be the same or if zoom calls and gloves and masks will be a new normal? I wonder if kids will ever have a regular school day again and if traveling will ever be the same. I wonder if parents are going to have to teach their kids more instead of teachers? Will parents have to work from home if schools are closed? Will there be activities for after school for all the kids that need that interaction with other kids? This really should make us all aware that we do not have any control and at any moment anything can happen and change. I know it can be so hard to go with the flow but this shows us that things are out of our control. Yes, it is up to us to stay safe and stay home but are we in control of anything else? Nope. Humans need each other and need physical touch so I really hope that eventually we can be hugging and hanging out again.

I hope eventually we will see smiles on peoples faces and not covered by a mask. I hope that we can go travel the world and be with loved ones. I hope that people continue to check in on others, keep connecting, creating, loving, and taking a step back and staying present. We are so used to being super busy and constantly moving that we never take time to just sit at home. I encourage you that even when things get busy again to come back to the moment of being with yourself and remembering whats important. Also, I think we should continue keeping in touch with people and checking on people. I think that this reminded us of what is important, what lasts, and what doesn’t. All of the bars, travels, events, and fun are not everything. These are fun things that we are lucky to be able to do and have but as you can see it can be taken away at any moment. So focus on your relationships and nurting those 🙂

The one thing I will say, is no matter your thoughts on this subject PLEASE be kind to others. You have no idea what someone is dealing with and so let them do what they are going to do. We can not control others and it is not our job to do so. There is a way to say things to someone to show you care instead of accusing them or attacking their character.

I want to know your thoughts…what do you think life will be after this and how have you handled it?

Love & Light,

Tuscany

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End of the year

The year in retrospect and manifesting 2020

2019…. Wow, what a year! Honestly, it felt like three different years in one because of how much has happened. Not only are we closing off a year but also an entire DECADE which makes me think about even more experiences and things that have happened in the past 10 years. For me, this is my last New Year’s celebration as 29, because in a few months I will be the big 30! I honestly don’t feel that age and long ago I would say wow 30 is old, but now that I approach it, I feel like the 30s will be the best times of my life. The ’20s are such a rollercoaster because you are growing, learning, evolving, and trying to figure out who you are and who you want to be. For me, this past decade has been CRAZY, to say the least. I want to focus on this past year though because it is crazy how much can happen in a full year. I honestly believe some years test you more than others to help you grow, and other years feel easier. I have noticed that how it goes in cycles because life is always giving you what you need in order to keep growing.

2019 started off very negative, like New Year’s Day was terrible but I will keep those details to myself. In the first part of 2019, I left a job that was draining the life out of me and I finally got the confidence or finally had enough where I quit. It was very hard on me for many reasons but needed to be done because it went on way too long. Then, I transitioned into a new job that quickly challenged me in ways I was never challenged before, and I learned a lot. I was still going through school and constantly feeling stressed and anxious because of how much I had going on, and felt like I was way too overwhelmed with how much I had on my plate. I always had this much on my plate ever since I was 16, but after years of working full time, or two, three jobs, and going to school…while trying to maintain other aspects of your life, and heal in many ways….it really starts to catch up with you and comes crashing down hard. In March, I decided to get off my antidepressants and try to go on with life without all the medications. At the time, I was on 4 different meds for depression and anxiety and I will say that it saved me in so many ways, and helped me have a “normal” life and be able to get out of bed in the morning. Let me just say, getting off the antidepressants was one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I have done. I was having brain zaps (hard to explain but for those of you who’ve been through it- you know), mood swings, nausea, constant sweating, panic attacks, hard time sleeping, hard time connecting with others, lack of patience, wanting to stay in bed, and more. Sounds terrible right? This went on for two months while I was trying to learn a fast pace new job, do well in school, nurture my marriage, take care of my high energy dog, manage a household, and still try to remain in touch with friends and family.

I noticed how hard this was on my friends and family who wanted to see me, speak to me on the phone, or just wanted me to be “fun” and be able to go to events or travels with them. As fun as that all sounds, when I am not feeling “fun” or myself it was felt impossible to face anyone. Instead, I just kept a lot to myself and battled these feelings alone. Thankfully, I do have an amazing therapist who was helping me through it and my Husband. I am not saying that my friends and family weren’t there for me, I just think it is hard to understand what someone is truly going through unless you have experienced it yourself, and I had a hard time going to them when I needed a friend. My husband travels all the time for work so it was extra hard on me this year compared to the rest. He has traveled since the beginning of our relationship, but for some reason this year was hard because of how emotionally down I was. When he was gone, I wouldn’t be able to sleep and I would feel so alone so it was very difficult. I have Milo which thank god because he was definitely my emotional support dog, but he also drove me nuts and it was very difficult dealing with his energy on my own.

Reflection:

This year was the year I learned boundaries and something I have always struggled with but have needed to learn for AWHILE now. Boundaries with family and friends to start taking control of my life. I am a people pleaser and an empath and I constantly would hear my family drama and it would affect me very hard.  I am the type who worries about everybody around me and when I hear things aren’t going well then, I get all worked up, panic attacks, and lose sleep over it. I would constantly listen to the drama from people and get sucked up into it. For someone who deals with heavy anxiety and depression it started to become way too much for me. (I know I was having my own drama and struggles and am not perfect-but when you are constantly put in the middle of things- it becomes draining) I learned I had to cut these conversations to a minimum, speak up and tell people my boundaries, and slowly distance myself away from the negative. My life has been filled with a lot of drama and I am to the point where I am just done with it, and I only want people in my life who lift me up and who I know are truly genuine. Also, I had to start accepting people for who they are and not let their choices or things they say affect me (especially if I still wanted to continue a relationship with them). I started to really notice the ones who were draining my energy and this is when the boundaries started. This did not go well with some people who do not like boundaries and who were used to me dealing with this, and being the emotional sponge while not giving me the same respect in return.

I had a really dark moment in September that some of you might have saw on social media. I sprained my ankle the day my husband left for 3 weeks for a work trip and had to handle my dog myself. While, going to school, starting a new job (working from home), and then I got really sick with the flu for a week. I felt so helpless and weak and I am not the best at asking for help when I need it. Instead, I isolate and try to handle what I can but by the end of that I get so anxious, depressed, and in a state of mind, that is dark. My suicidal thoughts came back, something I haven’t felt since a month before I moved to Georgia. At the moment I just felt like what is the point? I can’t do this anymore! I look back now and I feel kind of crazy for feeling that way but this is what depression is yall. It comes on quick and intense and dark thoughts come into the brain that is very hard to shut off. This was also stemmed from previous emotions and feelings of being alone, helpless, and weak from my teens and twenties. I am thankful I reached out for help and quickly saw who was truly there for me. If you are dealing with suicidal thoughts: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline #: 1-800-273-8255 and they are open 24/7!

This is my semicolon tattoo: My story is not over & it just beginning

It truly makes me emotional thinking back at this dark time, but I think it was meant to happen to open my eyes to how strong I am. I have overcome way harder things, like WAY harder! I’ve had near death experiences, abuse, great loss, and so much more. This was a wake-up call, to start living in the present, love myself, start using my resources, and to start focusing on the good and know that “This too shall pass”.

Afterwards, I started to spend more time alone and started to journal, meditating, read a lot of self-help books, therapy, and went on the path to learn to love myself. I started noticing the people who were slowly slipping away, and the ones who were getting closer to me. The ones who have always been there and haven’t left my side, and the ones I reconnected with after years of not talking who started to really show up for me.  Then I started to connect with amazing souls in Georgia and started getting back into yoga which has really helped my overall well being and confidence.

I also saw a lot of change this year in friendships and a lot of long-time bonds start to drift away. That is the thing about this age is we are growing, changing, learning, and evolving and so life is bound to separate some of us and it is okay to let go of these attachments. If you have to hold onto something super hard just to keep it because of a past with them then that might mean it is time to let go, and let life go its course. My sister always told me by the time you are 30 you will have a lot less friends, but a few ones you can for sure count on. She was right! I was always a social butterfly and loved having so many friends and people around. I always wanted to be liked and to be “fun” so when I do not feel as “fun” it is hard to be in these social situations. I honestly still love having all sorts of different friends, but as long as they are the right people and are good for my mental health, and people I can be my true self with and not be judged for who I am.

I started to realize I kept looking back at the past and holding on so tight to these memories, friendships, relationships, places, and just everything. I was holding so tight and it was making me feel isolated and alone in Georgia. As soon as I started to slowly let the past be the past, and focus on the present in Georgia then my life started to get better. It is okay to still be connected and close with those people from the past, all I am saying is try to make new connections and focus on the present. When we constantly focus on what we don’t have then we stop seeing what is right in front of us. I have decided to focus more on what I do have and start focusing on me.

The thing is, we get in relationships or get married and we almost depend on that other person for our happiness. This will quickly backfire in any relationship (even friendships). We focus so much on the approval from others, being loved, seen, acknowledged, appreciated, etc. When we don’t feel that, we quickly start thinking someone must be wrong with us, did we do something wrong? For me, this starts spiral affect and has put me in a dark depression where I isolate myself away from everyone. The only way to be truly happy is when we truly love ourselves FIRST. If we can’t love ourselves then how in the heck is anyone else suppose to love us? When we can truly make ourselves happy and not need this outside validation because we are already showing up for ourselves and filling our own cup then we are fulfilled. Then, when the relationships, family, friends, or whoever start to fill the cup then it is just adding onto the cup that is already filled and we overflow with joy and can really create long lasting relationships, and continue the one with ourselves.

Journal Prompts to end 2019:

-Things that hurt me this year

-Strengths I have gained this year

-Things I have accomplished

-People who really lifted me up, & what did they do?

-People who really brought me down, & why?

Setting Intentions for 2020:

-Goals for 2020

-Things to get done in 2020

-Places I want to travel to

-A new hobby I wanna learn

-Things I want to work on personally

-Dreams I have

-Type of people I want in my life this year, and always

You can make any type of list you want but here are some of the ones I do for inspiration. You can even make a playlist of the moods you want to feel, draw, or even make a vision board! I love vision boards because I actually made one last year and kept it up on my desk so I could visually see it every day.

Vision Boards:

-Posterboard or whatever you want to use to put things on

-Magazine, pictures, crafts

-Scissors, tape, and whatever other tools you might need

This was my vision board from the beginning of 2019

Why are setting goals & intentions so important?

I believe setting goals, intentions, and reflecting is so important because you help make a plan for your life. You are also able to see how much you’ve accomplished and can be truly proud of yourself. Sometimes we focus so much on saying goodbye to a year and being so ready for it to be over. Let this year, or any year be another chapter in your life of lessons you’ve learned. Every situation and every set back are leading you to something wonderful. Everything truly happens for a reason! I believe having a fresh year is like a fresh start, and another chance to do something you may have been wanting to do but still haven’t crossed it off the list. It is NEVER too late, so just do it…BUT DON’T BE HARD ON YOURSELF if you aren’t there yet. Be patient and loving to yourself, and proud of how far you’ve made it in this world.

The end of 2019
The first part of 2019

End of a Decade

I did want to say I cannot believe we are ending a decade and so I did want to comment a little bit on this. I started this decade very weak, naive, and wanted to be loved and wanted…and did not have a purpose. I was seeking out love in the wrong places and drowning my pain with drinking, non stop partying, wrong crowds, and not taking care of my health. I was in the hospital for stomach ulcers at age 20 from so much stress built up, and not taking good care of myself. I had the time of my life at 21 and made memories with my group of girls that I will never forget. I went through a very hard heartbreak with someone I was on and off with since middle school. This was something that was very rough on me, and took a huge physical and mental toll on me. I had some very tough times and when I turned 25 I had a very very rough time. I got into a horrible near death accident and that kicked my butt in gear to move across the country to Georgia. It was a chain of events and a constant cycle of feeling broken, unloved, unhappy, weak, worthless, and alone. I am thankful that the universe kicked me in gear because moving was the best thing that could have happened to me. I reconnected with my dad after spending 10 years away from each other. I got a brand new car after having so many “hooptys” as we call it (haha LORIANA). I got into a University and am now a senior, and going to get my bachelors degree in Psychology soon. I started therapy and working on myself finally! I met my Husband and had the most beautiful wedding. I gained an amazing family from my Husband and have made such great memories. I own a house!! For so long, wanting to have a place to call my own and to finally feel grounded somewhere…actually happened! I never thought I would find a healthy love or a place to call my own. My life was always constantly changing and chaotic that it seemed I could never fully catch a break, or catch up. I have so much to be proud of and if it wasn’t for all of these difficult experiences then I do not think I would be as grateful and aware as I am today. I am ending this decade smart, confident, strong, wise, open, inspired, grateful, accepting, brave, blessed, bright, dedicated, compassionate, committed, caring, determined, LOVED, I HAVE A PURPOSE, and I am a women who will never give up!

Goodbye 2019

I will say I am very proud of myself for how much I have overcome in a decade, and in this last year. I have learned that “This too shall pass,” because it always does. At the moment, it feels so overwhelming and feels like you can’t handle it…but YOU CAN! I will continue to work on myself and grow, learn, and overcome whatever is thrown my way. I am thankful for the hard lessons this year was trying to teach me, but when all is said is done, I finally truly love myself. I can look in the mirror and just really say WOW, you are amazing. I know what I deserve and what I am capable of and I have learned to not stay in situations just because you’re comfortable or you feel you don’t deserve more. Make as many changes to your life that you need to because this is YOUR LIFE. DO THINGS FOR YOU! Do not let the judgment of others or your own self-criticism hold you back from changing careers if your miserable, not doing school because you don’t feel smart enough, not starting a family because you’re worried you won’t be able to handle it, or not truly living your life. I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of the amazing people in my life near and far who have been there for me, and have loved me no matter what. I see you and I appreciate you so much! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my blog, and I truly hope this helps and inspires you. I am always here if anyone needs to talk! Sending love and light to everyone, and have a safe and great New Year!! BRING IT ON 2020 I AM READY!

Love & light,

Tuscany

Uncategorized

My First Blog Post: The Winter Solstice Celebration 2019

Hello beautiful souls! Thank you for reading my very first blog post wooo! I wanted to kick off my blog by sharing an amazing experience I had last night at my yoga studio. So what is the Winter Solstice? The Winter Solstice symbolizes death and rebirth-new beginnings and fresh starts. It is the shortest day/longest night of the year. We are ending 2019 but also a DECADE! The event took place at my yoga studio called Ember Yoga and it was led by a wonderful teacher Marie. I had no idea what to expect because this was my first time ever attending a solstice event. There was a room with people putting glow and the dark body paint on because the yoga room had black lamps so we could flow and glow. The studio was filled with many people and the room started to fill up as the time got closer. The event starts and we are given a piece of paper and told to write on one side things we want to let go and that no longer serve us. On the other side, we write things we want for 2020 and what we want to feel, be, or accomplish. Setting intentions and getting clear about what we want to see happen. Then, we rip the paper up in pieces and throw it away!

The room gets dark and surrounding me are many yogis and everybody is glowing. The music starts and the energy was so strong and powerful. Here we go, time for 108 Sun Salutations. The reason for 108 is because it is a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga, and traditionally mala beads come on a string with 108 beads, and the 108 beads turn like the planets around the sun. Basically, we just kept moving through these with no breaks and flowed through the salutations. I felt like I did a million push-ups and my arms were about to give out, and my head started spinning halfway. WOW, this is physically challenging and did not expect it to be this hard. I pushed myself to keep going and to breathe through movements, and all of a sudden all sorts of emotions came up from the past year and decade. I felt my body releasing the pain, sadness, doubt, anxiety, and every emotion that I have experienced. I took a moment in a child’s pose because WOW my arms were already shaking. I gave myself a few moments but got up and kept going because I told myself, “TUSCANY YOU ARE STRONG, YOU ARE CAPABLE, YOU HAVE MADE IT THROUGH SO MUCH THIS YEAR, AND DECADE, SO KEEP GOING!” I chanted this through my head and I completed it! We laid in Savasana, which is the best pose because you are basically lying down and relaxing the body and mind. We had a good amount of time in this and as we start to meditate I start balling my eyes out. All of these emotions came up and I could not stop crying. I let it flow and let it out because all that was stored in my body and clearly releasing, and I realized this is the point. Towards the end, the tears ended and I had a huge smile on my face.

I smiled because I completed such a challenging class but also because I made it through a challenging year, and DECADE! I am so proud of myself for all that I have made it through, and it is just making me stronger and wiser. I am so excited for 2020 and I truly feel like this next year will be a great one. I am grateful for the yoga studio for helping me heal, release, breathe, focus, love, stretch, connect, and for helping me manage my anxiety and depression.

I would love to hear your experiences with a solstice event, yoga, meditation, or anything you might want to let go of in 2019 that no longer serves you. I highly recommend doing the writing exercise on a piece of paper and writing what no longer serves you, and what you hope for in 2020. Thank you for reading and I look forward to sharing more stories with you. I appreciate you taking the time to read. Please subscribe below and share it with your friends and family. Namaste<3

Love & Light,

Tuscany

Winter Solstice @ Ember Yoga 2019
Marie led a beautiful class
108 Sun Salutations