Depression · Mental Health

The Importance of Community and Mental Health

Thank you Mai for letting me use you creation 🙂

I have been having a writer’s block if you want to call it that. I have had a hard time thinking about what I want to write and as much as it has been bugging me, it has also helped me live more in the present moment. The thing is, writing is very therapeutic for me and helps me articulate feelings and experiences. Lately, I have been trying to not be up in my feels and part of me hasn’t felt inspired to create. I just got done mediating and I know it is suppose to help us think less but instead I started thinking about how I know what I want to write about! So, here we are.

This time last year, I was having a really rough time mentally. I was going through a job change, pressures of school, marriage troubles, finance issues and mainly feeling lost and not knowing what I was doing. My husband travels a lot for work and he was gone all the time and I was feeling very lonely. This lonely feeling that I have had for 15 years of being on my own. When my grandparents passed away when I was 15 I felt very alone in my feelings and alone without them. This feeling led to anxiety but more then anything it led to a dark depression. This overwhelming feeling of sadness of not feeling enough, insecure, sad, hut, and just physically blah. This feeling came rushing back and a chain of frustrating events led to me feeling hopeless and tired of fighting. I remember feeling very suicidal that day in September 2019 and was just done running this rat race of feelings. My husband was overseas so the time change meant I couldn’t call him and we were arguing and so I didn’t feel comfortable sharing that at the moment. For some reason, I called my mom even though we didn’t have a close relationship but she out of everyone understands suicide and depression the most. She has struggled a lot with it and so I know that she could relate and get it. We had a great conversation and I actually ended up sharing on social media later that day how I was feeling. I never thought I would share something so worrying and vulnerable on social media. When you are down you don’t want extra attention or questions and people wondering what is going on. You want to hide from the world and you don’t want to be seen in this head space. That was the thing I would hide a lot from the world and people I care about. I used to be super emotional and share my feelings but I started to not feel as comfortable and would close in more. This moment was huge in my story because I look back a year later and I am so thankful I did start sharing. I began sharing on social media when I was struggling with anxiety or depression and used my voice. I started a blog in December to document my mental health struggles but to also link them to mental health topics to help others. The one thing missing since I moved to Georgia almost 5 year ago was having a sense of community. The thing is that it was really hard to make friends in a new state especially being older. I met a few great people but I wanted more and to be involved in more things. Over the last year here are the 3 things that changed my life.

The Yoga Studio

I got a job a a yoga studio and this completely changed everything in my life. I started to meet so many great people who were free and open to being their true selves. I met people who I could share a lot with and ones who have been there for me through a lot of challenging times. I was able to connect to so many great people and started connecting more to myself. I have always loved yoga and having a yoga studio to go to where I know most of the people always felt like home to me. I had that in California and deeply missed it when I moved. Here is an event I went to in December and we did sun salutations and had glow party. This is where my sense of community started and I am forever grateful.

Soulful Sunday

I started to meet like minded people and people who inspired me to be myself. I met two amazing people who had an event called Soulful Sunday which was a safe space to mediate, journal, talk, share, embrace who we are, and the main thing connect. My beautiful friend Sheri is a energy healer and would do Reiki on us and we would pull cards as well. I love spiritual stuff that gives us the opportunity to explore our true nature and be in the moment. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Through this event, I met so many wonderful people and had the opportunity to connect with others on a deep level. I felt comfortable to share when I was down and I even had moments crying and releasing so many built up emotions. My friend Vale is the other person who held the event at her store Wanderess Collections. I met her through this event and we became best friends. I would say that she is one of the people who has helped improve my life here in Georgia. I slowly noticed that I was apart of a community based on me being vulnerable and putting myself out there. Slowly, I was pulling off more layers of my shell and I was stepping into my confidence and living my life. These type of events are so important in mental health because it is necessary to feel connected with others and have a sense of belonging. These type of groups make me feel less alone and feel like I can express myself when I am struggling. We were all there for the same thing and I am truly grateful for all of you!

Vale, Dawn, Sheri

Rare Beauty Community Chats

February came along and I was still blogging and sharing a lot about mental health on social media and in conversations. Selena Gomez is my inspiration and someone who I consider my biggest role model. She is the reason why I wanted to start being more open about my struggles and not feel embarrassed for having so many feelings. She started a beauty line called Rare Beauty and the mission is “To shape conversations around beauty, self-acceptance, and mental health. We want to help people get more access to support and services, and help people feel more authentically connected to one another and less alone in the world.” I was instantly excited for this brand because I support anything Selena does because I know anything she does she puts in her whole heart and is genuine about it. They posted about an opportunity to share our story with them about what makes us Rare to have the opportunity to be involved in the Rare Beauty line. This was pre-covid and so I had no idea what to expect if I did get picked. The thing is, most things I have submitted to have thousands of submissions and I really did not think I would get picked. Selena’s fan base is huge and I thought the regular fans that she knows would get picked. The thing is, I doubted myself and was comparing myself to others instead of thinking that who I am is enough to be seen.

I never should have doubted myself because my story was picked and Rare Beauty reached out to me. I could not believe it and lets be real I am still in shock! They invited me to be apart of a Rare Community Chat which would be a zoom meeting with the Rare Beauty team and others who submitted their stories. The team was so nice, natural, authentic, and engaging that it was so easy to open up right off the bat. I was so nervous and thought it would feel like some type of Hollywood thing but it was the complete opposite. I was able to discuss mental health challenges and be vulnerable about who I truly am. I heard so many amazing stories from others and it is amazing how easily we all connected and we still stay in touch. A few months later, I was asked to film a video of myself up to five minutes saying what makes me Rare and my story. I was on vacation when they emailed me and needed it right away and I was scrambling and so nervous! I had the most intense anxiety all day because I wanted it to be perfect. I finally let go and just took some breaths and remembered to be myself. I sent it in but had no idea what to expect from it. Shortly after, I was invited to another Rare Community Chat and the others on the call would be the Rare Beauty team and the others who sent in their videos of what makes them rare.

I remember it was a Monday and I was suppose to go to yoga and almost didn’t make it on the call. Someone from the Rare Beauty team said I don’t want to miss the call and I had this weird gut feeling that something exciting was going to happen. I AM SO GLAD I DID NOT MISS THAT CALL! Selena Gomez hopped on the call!! I almost started crying and really did not know how to act. We were all in shock, honestly! She was so real and genuine and exactly how I pictured her. I was called on first and I thought I would be to nervous to talk but she is so real it was like talking to a good friend. I was able to talk about how I am getting through quarantine and what I am doing to help my mental health during this time. We all talked for over an hour and I was able to hear so many beautiful stories from the other individuals. It was such a real and great conversation and I feel like we could have talked for days. I love conversations that have depth and vulnerability. Especially during this time, where a lot of people are isolated and feel like they are losing hope we need these moments to stay connected.

Today, the promo video went out and it was so surreal to see my face in it for millions of people to see. It is beyond that though, of course I get star struck and excited about this stuff but I had an epiphany. A year ago, I was a turtle in their shell and I was feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere and was feeling completely lost. When I started being vulnerable this opened doors to so many opportunities and opened my heart to a community of great people. I started to realize that I am attracting all of these people by being myself. My story was chosen because of who I am and these people include me because of who I am. I don’t feel ashamed of my weaknesses anymore and I have learned to fully embrace them and love every single part of me. I have realized that this is all apart of my story and I wouldn’t have had these opportunities if I didn’t open the door to being vulnerable. How wild is it that people can actually love us for who we truly are and we can truly be set free and happy by being who we are. We let go of any shame, guilt, fear, anxieties, and doubt that associate themselves with not being who we truly are at the core.

If more people embraced who they were instead of hiding behind these perfect filters on Instagram and perfect images of what you think we want to see, then I truly think more people would connect and people would become happier. Connection is so important and it is why quarantining is so difficult and almost deter-mental to mental health. Humans are meant to connect with others and feel physical touch and feel seen and loved. For someone who struggles with depression and feeling lonely being in that situation can be very hard on me. I am so grateful for the Rare Community and all of the communities I am apart of now. I am so excited for what this company is doing and I really do think they are going to make a huge impact. They already have made an impact on me and the other people of the community. We all stay in touch over messages and we always uplift each other on posts and check in. I have never met these people in person but I feel like I have known them for ages.

My purpose of this post was to encourage you to be yourself and put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to share your story. The right ones will want to hear it and will uplift you when you do. The wrong ones will dismiss you, make you feel less then, make fun of you, and make you want to get back under your shell. We will constantly be tested by these people but remember the ones who love you for who you are and hold onto them. I can say that I am the happiest I have ever been and I feel so loved. I still have moments of anxiety and I still am working through some things but I know that I have made it so far. It now doesn’t matter where I live because I know I have a sense of community and I know that I can meet people who are great because I am willing to put myself out there and be myself. I literally manifested this all into my life by taking the first step and sharing my hard moments. Each one of you are rare, amazing, and loved. Be proud of your story because that is what makes you YOU and that is something nobody else has.

The first community chat
The second community chat
Selena Gomez & I ❤
From Rare Beauty’s Instagram

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and I hope this will encourage you to take that chance and be who you truly are! If you are struggling with mental health click on my resources tab for more and contact a professional. I love you all xoxo

Light and Love,

Tuscany

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Self-Care

Self-care During A Pandemic

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

I can’t believe what is going on in the world right now and 2020 has already been such a weird year. Most of us went into 2020 with New Year resolutions and goals with the excitement of a fresh slate to conquer anything. Obviously, none of us expected this pandemic to happen and most of us are really struggling with it. My hope for this post is to give you some self-care and self-love tips that you can use right now and carry with you afterwards in everyday life.

We are so used to staying busy with going out, being around friends/family, having a routine, and constantly being on the go. It is necessary for us to be productive and be on the go so we can financially afford to support ourselves and for our overall mental health. We love to plan ahead and know what the future holds or else it can cause some panic and anxiety. A lot of us are planners and love to have our weekend planned out, from going to brunch with friends or going to a concert. We are social creatures and we need others and crave that human touch. A lot of us do not have extra money saved up and we basically live pay check to pay check. Some of us are working still and are on the front lines like healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, and any essential businesses. Some people do long distance with a loved one and can’t travel to go see them. People have had to cancel their weddings, birthdays, and other important events. Some people have low immune systems and are terrified of getting sick. Some people are working for the airline and still having to travel with the worry of getting sick. Some people are new business owners and are terrified of losing their dream and their financial income. Some people have grandparents or parents who they love dearly and are terrified of them getting sick and the possibility of their immune system not being strong enough to handle the COVID-19 outbreak. A lot of mothers and parents are now home 24/7 with their children and are going mentally insane with everything. To the parents who are used to sending their kids to school and relying on the teachers to teach them and the school to feed them, they now have to think of things to occupy their children and have enough money to feed them. A lot of people have lost their jobs or are nervous they won’t have a job when this is all over. There are a lot of people who are currently at home alone and are struggling with depression. There are people who are already dealing with suicidal thoughts and now they are adding all this stress with wondering if they can afford things, and the fact of them being alone in their own head terrifies them. There are SO many fears right now and this is just a short list of them and the people struggling. There is so much unknown right now and it is leading to a lot of fear, worry, panic, depression, and isolation. I want you all to know that we recognize you and that it is okay to feel this way right now, but know that it will pass. Here are some tips that have helped me manage rough times and I hope these can help right now, and always.


Mental Health

For any of you already struggling with mental health issues I am sure this is just adding more stress onto you. I encourage you to talk to a therapist if you can. I know there a lot of therapist who will talk to you over the phone or even on Zoom. This can be great to have some extra support right now and someone to vent to. If you are struggling with suicide call: 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They are there 24/7 and you can easily call them from your phone. If you are on medication remember to keep up with that and know that it is okay if you need to start medication right now during this. Writing in a journal can be great way to get your thoughts down on paper and release them. I encourage you to stay connected with people and get outdoors if you can.


Yoga & Meditation

This has helped me SO much in the last few weeks and in general. Yoga can be a great way to recenter and disconnect from the news and social media. If your new to yoga then this is a great time to start and in the comfort of your own home. If you don’t have a yoga mat then you can use a towel! There are so many free online classes right now that people are offering and I would definitely take advantage of it. Lately, I have been setting up my guest room with candles, Himalayan salt lamp, essential oil diffuser, and pillows and a blanket. If you can, you can make a little spot in your house so zen that you will feel like you are in an actual yoga class- or even better sometimes! Yoga is a great way to learn how to take deep breaths, relax your shoulders, and just be in the present moment. We are so used to constantly being on the go and moving that we hardly have time to check in with our thoughts. It can be difficult for a lot of people to stay still and really be in the moment. This can be a great time to practice this and feel safe in doing so. A lot of us are sitting on the couch and probably feel sore and blah from laying around, so yoga can be a great way to stretch out and move your body. I also love that there are so many live classes because you are doing the classes with others and so it helps you feel connected. Meditation is so important because it can really help recenter you and you can release any fear or worry you might be having.

  • Yoga with Adriene (Free on You-tube)
  • Lululemon work outs (Free on You-tube)
  • Check in with your local yoga instructors and see if they are offering any live classes right now. A lot of my favorite instructors have been teaching virtually and it has been amazing!
  • Tone it up (App-Free for 30 days and then after $12/month)
  • Ember Yoga (This is the yoga studio I work out and they are now offering live classes- check out their website)
  • Insight Timer (Meditation app)

Social Media

I know most of us are very attached to social media and with all this time on our hands we are scrolling more then ever. People are posting their opinions, some facts, fears, how they are enjoying this time, etc. This can be very hard on your overall mental health and it can sometimes cause more harm then good. If you are stuck inside and you are seeing people really enjoying this time then it can lead to anger. When we are constantly seeing sad things on social media then it can lead to feeling helpless and fear for our own life. We usually want to be in control of every situation and when we can’t control others then that can be very frustrating. I have really loved seeing the positive side of social media where people are sharing work outs, recipes, self-help tips, work out challenges, live concerts, and sharing different organizations or people to donate to right now. If you are really struggling mentally, then I would say take a quick break from social media and focus on the present. It is easy for me to get caught up in social media and I’ve had to really be more aware what I post lately. The last thing I want to do is make anyone upset or seem insensitive to other peoples situations. I think it is important now more then ever to really spread more positive messages on social media and to reach out to others who might be struggling. Although, know that it is okay if you are enjoying this time at home and you need to worry about yourself. Sometimes, I feel guilty because I have been enjoying this time because my Husband is finally home and I am lucky enough to have a back yard, rough over my head, food, and still have income coming in. I know that I have to see the positive because I struggle with depression and I don’t want to go down that path right now, or ever. If you are upset because you are sitting in your house complying and others are not, that is completely valid and I would urge you to send them a private message but be kind and do not lead with anger. Lets spread love and awareness but be kind the way you come about it. I am noticing a lot of anger coming out of fear and it is separating loved ones, and if anything we need to come together more then ever right now. Please be kind! Know that every state has different things in place and everyone has a different circumstance.


Face-time and Phone Calls

I have loved seeing so many people face-timing others and connecting with their friends. Most of us are social creatures and we are not used to being away from friends or family. Some of us live alone and are really struggling right now, and so it is very important to stay connected. Some people really struggle with even getting on the phone when they are depressed, so have compassion for those people and maybe send them a sweet text to check in on them. I have seen a lot of group face-times and even some people doing surprise birthday parties virtually. I have seeing A LOT of people go on Instagram live and staying connected. If being social is something you really need then this is a great time to catch up with your friends and family! Another great thing would be to go old school and mail someone a card or letter. I love writing cards and its such a great feeling receiving one!


Physical Health

This should always be important and a priority but with everything going on it should be even more important. I personally have hardly been drinking alcohol during this time because it doesn’t make me feel good, and when I am already anxious it can lead to more anxiety. I have a weak immune system and I get sick easily so it is important for me right now to stay healthy and strong. I have been making celery juice in the morning and fresh ginger, lemon ,and turmeric shots! This has been a great time to cook a ton of recipes and make healthy meals at home. Use this time to learn a new recipe and take a break from eating out. I’ve been making sure to go on walks in my neighborhood so I can physically feel good. When we look at screens for too long and are isolated inside it can be very hard on our body and mind. I encourage you to take vitamins and be very kind to your body right now.


Tackle the to-do list

Do you have a long list of things you’ve been putting off because you are so busy all the time? This can be a great time to go through your list or even make a list of things you want to get done. This can be a great time to organize your closet, file your taxes, clean the entire house (LOL), get rid of clothes to donate, work on the house, mow your lawn, write down some goals or dreams you have, write a book, read a book, work on your business plan, or anything else you have been needing to get done.


Spa Day at Home

How amazing does this sound!? This can be for men and women! Come on Men this is your time to relax and spend time with your girlfriend/wife and wind down.

  • Put a robe on or something comfy
  • Take an Epson salt bath with lavender
  • Face masks!
  • Cut some cucumber and put it on your eyes and lay down
  • Hair masks (you can even use lavender oil and coconut oil)
  • Spa music (Spotify, Insight Timer App)
  • Give each other massages

Get Creative

My best friend sent me a list of things she wants to learn and do. This is the time to learn the piano, a recipe, make a tik-tok, write a poem, paint, do a puzzle, sing, and tap into the creative side. I always miss being a kid and always doing something creative. I always felt so happy and content doing this, and as you get older we forget to do these things and we get caught up with being social and normal life demands. Use this time to finally try something you’ve been wanting to do and just be a kid again!


Give back

Do you know an elderly, disabled, or even a single mom who can’t go out to the store right now and get essentials? If you are healthy I encourage you to reach out to people, post on Facebook, text your neighbors and see if anyone needs extra assistance. Not only does this help someone else but it will also make you feel better for doing something good for someone. Right now a lot of Hospitals need face masks so you can get creative and make one if you know how to sew, or if you have one and don’t need it please donate to a local Hospital. If you are in a good financial situation help out local businesses and buy gift cards to use at a later time, or shop on their online store. You can donate food to local Food Banks because they really could use extra food to help people in need right now. Feeding America is a great source for food banks as well. You can volunteer remotely! I found an organization called Alone that you can have a companionship with the elderly remotely! You can also volunteer for the Crisis Hotline. You can donate blood with the Red Cross because there is a huge need for it right now.

Relax and do nothing

For some people this will be the only time off they will ever have and normally never get this time at home. My Husband is always traveling and working on the go. It can be difficult because we spend a lot of time apart and he always has a lot of projects he needs to get done at the house. I have really enjoyed being able to spend time with him and I really don’t know the next time we will get this much time. If you have hated seeing all these posts about work-outs and being productive and your sitting there eating a tub of ice cream and watching Netflix- THAT IS OKAY! Use this time to really catch up on sleep, rest, and take it easy! This is something that is essential and be thankful you have some time to really just chill. Do not compare your life to others and know that everyone’s journey is different.


Spread love

Most importantly, spread love to everyone right now and to yourself. Have compassion for yourself and know that you are doing the best you can do. Right now, a lot of people are struggling and have a lot of fears and so it is important to be aware and to spread positive messages and kindness. I know this can get annoying to see when you are feeling super down to see people being positive. I would always get so annoyed with my dad when he would say “THINK POSITIVE, BLAH BLAH,” when I was feeling super down and I just wanted him to be with me in my feelings and acknowledge them. Sometimes you just want to feel your feelings and be upset! That is OK! Just remember to not take it out on others and know that we are all in this together. I encourage you to start positive things on social media and see if there is anyway you can help others. It’s also okay if you are feeling happy right now and are enjoying this time! It is different for everyone so just have compassion for everyone. SPREAD LOVE NOT HATE 🙂

I hope this can help and I would love to hear some ways that help you! Please reach out if you have any questions or need any extra support. We are in this together and know this is temporary. If anything this is teaching us so much and resetting us. This is an opportunity to really look inward and heal yourself. This is a reminder that anything can happen so it is important to focus on what you can control and that is your thoughts. Self-care and Self-love are essential in everyday and maybe you will take what your learning during this time to life after the Pandemic.

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