Stress Fest

I had some enlightened political post planned for today, but instead, I decided it was high time I got a little bit vulnerable with this blog.

The last few weeks I have been under incredible pressure. I have been ridiculously stressed before, but not since university, and even then I handled it in questionable ways.

To set the scene: I have been travelling for the last 6 weeks nonstop. I rolled on to a difficult to please client, with tons of time-sensitive work, and I fly out every Monday morning to see them and fly back late at night on Thursday evenings. When I return home, I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions between spending time with my boyfriend, my family, my friends, and my own personal hobbies like this blog.

Usually, I think of myself as pretty collected. The last few weeks…not so much. The tiniest comment from someone can send me into a full-blown depression spiral (suicidal thoughts, and all), and my anxiety levels are so through the roof that I’ve had a sobbing breakdown almost every Saturday for five weeks straight. We are talking on the floor of the bathroom ugly crying until I can barely breathe and my face is so puffy it looks like I had an allergic reaction to something. So you could say I’ve been rather high strung lately and it has not been pretty (it should be noted that my boyfriend has been extra great these past few weeks and deserves a shoutout).

Believe it or not though, I am actually handling the added stress much better than I have in the past and that’s because of one simple thing: I have not given up on my wellbeing.

In the past, when I’m under this much stress, my diet goes to shit (like gummy bears for dinner), my sleep takes a hit from staying up late trying to distract myself with shitty TV, and my workout schedule becomes just another chore. Although these behaviors felt like they were helping in the moment, ultimately they bit me in the ass HARD. My skin broke out, I was tired all the time, and I felt out of control.

Clearly, I’m no expert but my ONE tip on handling stress is to keep your wellbeing a priority. It is the one thing you can always control and the one thing that may just keep you sane as all the external craziness washes over you. Below, I’ve outlined what I do every single day to mitigate my stress and promote wellbeing. Not all of these will sound appealing to everyone, and maybe they don’t’ even apply to some of you. Everyone has their ‘things’ that help them feel healthy, whole, and in control. As long as you know what yours are and you make the effort to practice them no matter what, then you can’t really go wrong.

  1. You knew this was coming – I workout. 6 days a week, I make an effort to do something active. During the week, these are especially helpful because it helps me expel any negative energy that comes from a stressful day with the client. On Fridays and Saturdays, it is simply about feeling good about my body.
  2. Diet. This one has been harder to control lately as I’ve been travelling so much, but I’ve made a special effort to eat better while on the road. Eating lots of heavy, rich foods just makes me feel tired and slow. I notice a visible difference when I eat lighter, more nutrition dense meals for lunch and dinner. I also limit my desserts as those are usually my kryptonite.
  3. Meditation. This one is a new thing I’ve been doing since the start of 2018. I take ten minutes every day to go through a meditation exercise to regulate my breathing and practice controlling my perception of certain emotions. I use the Headspace app since I’m not practiced enough to guide myself through a meditation and the app has this calming male British voice to walk me through exercises which makes it much easier.
  4. Self Improvement – This takes many forms, but for me, I spend ten to fifteen minutes every single day practicing either my Greek or my Spanish (unfortunately Mandarin is getting left out because Duolingo doesn’t carry it). I also spend a half hour to an hour every day reading or writing. These are things that I’m doing for my own personal growth and that feel especially rewarding because I am doing them solely for my own improvement, not for anyone else.

It’s important to note that while these things help enormously in terms of keeping me feeling like I’m in control, I am still reduced to an insecure pile of tears every Saturday so there is still work to be done. And it’s also significant to note that it’s ok to be overwhelmed sometimes. It’s going to happen. The important thing is that you have an action plan to get on top and get going again.

 

 

stressfeature

Me trying to channel Wonder Woman to cope with my stress PC: Kiki Moussetis (the queen of stress)

 

Advertisements

She’s the Brave One

It’s my sister’s birthday today! I’m sad I can’t be in Chicago to celebrate with her but it’s a Wednesday and we both have lives to live so we celebrated a little bit early. She turns twenty this year which means nothing so I’ve started planning for her twenty-first instead.

In any case, I had to, of course, write a little shout out post to her. I’ve written about my sister and my relationship with her a couple times before, and she’s even been a guest author on my blog so I’ll spare you all the repeats of content and focus in on one of my favorite things about her.

For those of you that don’t know, my sister suffers from a bit of social anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Sounds like a horrible combination to me, but she bears it like a champ for the most part. The crazy thing is that despite all of those emotional blocks, she is fearless.

First things first, she is studying to become a film director. Most parents I know would have a minor heart attack if their kid wanted to go into film because it’s just not a dependable career (this includes my dad who pleaded repeatedly with her to get a second major at first). Consequently, many kids would be talked out of such a path early on and go on to major in something boring to get a boring job that brings in good money (enter, me).

Not her though, she saw the special features on the Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and said yep, this is the life for me. I’ve always been jealous of people who know exactly what they want to do, but she not only knows, she knows she has chosen a path that is very difficult to succeed on. She knows that to become a star director, there will be a lot of shitty jobs, long day, and bad pay. Or you know, she might submit a film to Sundance next year and become a breakout star at 21. It could happen.

She also never backs down. Ever.

Let’s compare us for a small moment. I have a pretty strong moral code. There are certain things that I just will not let fly and I will call people out on for the most part. However, I do have a threshold where I will flex my morals for my own personal gain. My sister does not. At least not one that I’ve seen. She will defend her views and others with every breath she’s got and no amount of personal gain could make her budge on that.

Her empathy for others is tied to directly to this moral code since she strongly believes that everyone should have equal opportunity and that people with more should help people with less. One of her common habits is eating lunch out in between classes, but if she passes someone on the street begging for food, you can bet she just gave her whole, recently purchased, lunch to that person and would go hungry that day instead. Most people I know would never do that. (Maybe I’m just friends with selfish people haha).

Furthermore, while she sometimes has trouble standing up for herself depending on the scenario, she almost never has trouble standing up for others. She refuses to let people be judged based on their demographics and will absolutely not stand for discrimination. So help anyone who tries to patronize or marginalize a group in conversation. She will RUIN you.

But in the end, it’s not about her witty insults or fiery conversation, it’s about the fact that she is willing to go to the ends of the earth to achieve what she believes in. Doesn’t matter if it’s her passion for film or her passion for others. Most people are like me, we compromise our ideals if there is something in it for us. We obviously have our limits, but we are much quicker to give up abstract beliefs when there is a reward. My sister is not. She will not flex, bend, or break.

There are tons of things I love about my sister – She can always be counted on to sing showtunes with me, she can calm me down literally within seconds, she’s the best writing teacher I’ve ever had, the best debate partner, she has fearless style – and so on. Of course, she also has flaws, but lacking conviction is not one of them and that is perhaps my favorite thing about her.

Happy birthday Kiki! I’m stocking up on sangria for next year!

 

kikisbday2

PC: Our loving mother

 

 

My Mom Knows the Words to Every Disney Song

I know I’ve jumped the gun a bit since Mother’s Day is still a week and a half away but next Wednesday is already reserved for another special post so I’ll just have to talk about how great my mom is a little sooner.

The idea of motherhood is still something I find unbelievable. Not only do mothers grow and support a tiny creature with their own body, they then have to extricate it painfully from their body, and then, of course, support it for the next eighteen years give or take a few. And while western countries are slowly becoming more progressive in terms of divvying up childcare responsibilities, in most parts of the world, mothers do most of the child-rearing work, especially at the beginning. Motherhood requires such selflessness, patience, and nurturing. Therefore, I find it extremely difficult to wrap my mind around this concept since I, on the other hand, can barely keep a damn cactus alive, much less a helpless little human.

Consequently, I believe mothers deserve an ENORMOUS shoutout. And of course, like most people who love their mothers, I think my mom is the BEST. Not only did she put up with, excuse me SHUT DOWN, all of my petty shit, she also made me resilient which might be one of my most important traits. Oh, and she also made me taller than average which I LOVE.

My mom is a very no-nonsense person on the surface. One of her favorite lines to feed me and my sister was “crying doesn’t solve anything”. Sounds harsh, but she’s right, isn’t she? I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen her breakdown, and if she decides to keep a straight face, she’s almost impossible to crack. One of the perks of being a swimmer was that she had to control her yelling since she knew I couldn’t hear her from the water. She doesn’t give in to puppy dog eyes, pouting, screaming, crying, or begging. I hardly got in trouble because all it took was one look from her to make me feel so guilty about whatever line I had toed, that I never did it again.

On the other hand, and she may kill me for outing her this way, she is a child at heart. Once you crack the surface even a little bit, she’s a total jokester. She’s the reason me and my sister know ALL the words to every Disney song, her sarcasm is off the charts, and she does enjoy the occasional harmless prank. She would tickle me and my sister mercilessly and would make up tons of ridiculous voices when she read us stories.

Despite all of the above traits, there are specific things that my mom did that really turned me into the person I am today. One of the most vivid memories I have is when I was probably about seven or eight and I remember my mom was in the upstairs bathroom getting ready and we were arguing about something – I have no idea what – when I told her I hated her. I remember being LIVID (or as livid as a seven-year-old can be) and shouting that at her. She calmly set down her makeup and walked straight past me down the stairs. I ran after her screaming my head off to tell me what she was doing. She made it all the way to the garage door, I was now crying, and I yelled, “where are you going?”. She turned and told me she was leaving. She said, if I hated her so much, she would leave so she didn’t cause me any more trouble. Oh boy did I backtrack after that. I was practically weeping and pleading that she didn’t go, and that I didn’t mean it. Because of that instance, as well as a few others, I always endeavour to mean what I say and say what I mean.

My mom is also a great study in small talk. I’m only now using some of her techniques, but she was always so great making small talk at the grocery store, with her colleagues, and at parties she didn’t even want to be at. I’ve always admired this about her, and now that I’m older, I realize how important this skill really is. She’s the kind of person that everybody feels comfortable with. I have no idea how she does it, but maybe I can figure it out sooner rather than later.

Probably my favorite characteristic about my mom is how open she always strived to be. For example, at the first signs of puberty, my mom handed me a bunch of books on the subject and told me to come to her with any questions. This technique made sense for me since I was a voracious reader. The part that was amazing though, was that she truly meant it. I was able to ask her anything. Sure, some questions were a little awkward, but she answered every single one and never made me feel judged for asking. And no matter what, she always made it clear that it was much more important to her that I was safe and happy than anything else. When I told her I was ready for sex, she took me to get birth control no questions asked. When I would go out with friends, she told me to call if I drank because she’d rather come pick me up than have me drive myself for fear of her finding out and getting in trouble.

This article is already getting too long, but I could go on about my mom FOREVER. She’s the reason I have such discipline to work out. Her eyes are the coolest shade of gray/blue/green. She makes killer baklava. She loves to watch animated movies with me and my sister. And she ALWAYS picks up the phone when I call her even though I’m the worst and only call her when I’m in transit. I can call her sobbing and she knows when to soothe me and when to tell me to buck up. She’ll stroke my hair so gently it makes me sleepy and when I’m in town she’s my ultimate gym buddy. Happy Early Mother’s Day Mom, I’ll see you tomorrow!

 

23333984_1480069792084513_5746181997728525809_o

Just me, rushing to try and be as cool as my mom. PC: Kiki Moussetis (for both photos)

 

 

 

 

Take a Walk on the Child Side

As of a few months ago, I am twenty-three years old. And even though this age still makes me (relatively) a very young person, I have also left my childhood behind. I work, am financially and emotionally independent, and like to think I contribute in some way to society.

However, even though my days of not paying my own bills are behind me, I don’t completely want to ever abandon the ways of my childhood.

Children, for the most part, have no fear, no judgement, and no pretenses. They also possess a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them until they are forced to focus by school or society. And THOSE are the traits, I’m looking to keep.

When I try new things, I don’t want the fear of failure to be what holds me back. For example, rock climbing has actually really helped with this. I watch the little kids go up these enormous, difficult walls like it’s nothing and part of their success comes down to the fact that they aren’t afraid. So I’ll tell myself – if they can do it, so can I.

The other major attribute has to do with wonder. I am naturally a bit of a cynic, but I would really hate to never be impressed by anything! When I travel, I want to be amazed and awed by great structures and incredible food. I see so many adults just pass things by with a “been there, done that” attitude and I NEVER want to let things pass me by.

The other part of this is the continued learning. Kids don’t know anything yet, consequently, they are learning all the time. Once you become an adult, you get good at a few things and it’s not necessary to learn all the time. But I’m convinced that’s how your brain dies. Dramatic, I know, but if you never learn anything new, your brain can never make new connections and you won’t continue to grow. It’s almost like you’re dying from boredom very slowly, and that sounds like the worst way to go.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that life can get more and more monotonous, but only if you let it. It’s really easy to slip into a routine, get really good at that routine, and never wander outside it. I’ve talked about this in a different post, but doing what I just described scares the absolute shit out of me. I am TERRIFIED of becoming complacent, and I believe part of avoiding it is to preserve some so-called ‘childish’ traits for as long as possible. Obviously, this also works as a great excuse to sing disney songs at the top of my lungs until my dying day.

 

childsidefeature

Me and my mama after my baptism. Don’t hang me for the quality, taking a photo of a photo is not the best.

 

 

Where is Your Passport?

I was going to write about my personal travel bucket list this week, but a few days ago a colleague brought an extremely troubling statistic to my attention. He told me that only 10% of Americans have valid passports. I was confounded by this and immediately looked it up. That’s way too low, right? Weel turns out that even though the number isn’t quite as dire as 10%, there are still only 41% of Americans that have valid passports. Not horrible, but definitely not great. That means that out of 325 million people nearly 170 million of them don’t have a passport and have thus probably never been outside the country.

I recognize that I may find this surprising because I grew up relatively privileged, with a passport since birth so that I could travel to Greece to visit my dad’s side of the family. I used to think that the people who didn’t travel simply didn’t because they were too scared or too unsure about how to plan or afford it. And while I do understand that there are financial and emotional burdens to undertake in getting a passport and in overseas travel, I also know that those obstacles only account for a fraction of the 170 million who don’t have passports. This number has to include people who don’t even have a base desire to go anywhere outside their home country and that is unimaginable for me.

Obviously, I am a travel nut. I love to see new places, experience new things, and explore different cultures. I think an inordinate amount about dropping everything to become a travel blogger and am constantly updating my bucket list (and by ‘updating’, I mean ‘adding to it’). It is incomprehensible to me that there are people out there who have no desire to see other places. Even my most homebody type friends have at least one far away place they’d love to see someday.

The reason I believe this is important to discuss because I learned some of my most important lessons about myself and about the world from travelling. Travelling to different places is an exercise in perseverance, and most importantly, in empathy. Depending on the place you’re going, there are certain obstacles to overcome: language, transportation, etc. which all enhance problem-solving and personal creativity by figuring out ways to survive that you wouldn’t normally have to use at home. However, the more important skill, in my opinion, is the practice of empathy. It is easy to sit at home, watch the news, and believe everything you see about the rest of the world. But it is quite another to actually travel to a place, and experience it for yourself.

For example, for many people, all they know about countries like Afghanistan are that they are war-torn terrorist hotbeds. But if you look at travel blogs and videos from people who have visited, they will rave about the food or the kindness of the people. I truly believe every single place on this planet has SOMETHING to offer and it’s a terrible waste that there are so many people out there who have no desire to experience something new.

I am probably at a loss with this concept because I don’t really know too many people who do not have a passport. I know I sound like a spoiled brat, but I honestly can’t imagine having never experienced anything outside my own country. If you or someone you know doesn’t’ have a passport,  I would love to know what their reasons are for not having one or for not travelling. Since nearly 60% of Americans don’t have one, there’s gotta be a reason, right?

 

passportfeature

Me in Peru exactly a year ago where your passport is needed for everything as it’s your only form of ID

 

How To Live with Your Boyfriend

I’ve lived with other people. My first year of college I had a roommate and seven suitemates, in my second year of college I shared a closet-sized room with the nicest girl ever, and my final year of college I got an apartment with one of my best friends.

But then I lived alone for a year, and I ended up LOVING it. I got to be very selfish and live exactly the way I wanted with nobody to answer to. Alas, that couldn’t last forever, and I moved in with my boyfriend about six months ago. Nobody tells you that living with your romantic partner is a hell of a lot different than just living with a roommate.

When you live with a roommate you basically just live separate lives within a common space. Of course, you hang out, divide some chores, and lay some ground rules to keep the peace, but you don’t create a life together. So since living with my boyfriend, I’ve learned quite a few things:

  1. We have different levels of cleanliness. It’s not like one of us is a neat freak and the other is a slob, but we both have our quirks and we had to reconcile those so as not to drive the other up a wall. For example, Michael HATES when the dish soap sits on the counter, it HAS to be put away. And I can’t stand leaving dishes in the sink overnight so everything has to be washed before I go to bed no matter who got it dirty. Once we figured out these differences, we have both made an effort to accommodate the other. They aren’t big things, they are just different habits to make.
  2. Next set of rules I noticed were boundaries, or in our case, the lack thereof. However, it did dawn on me that other couples might have stronger senses of shame so this is a crucial one to figure out. For example, for us, it’s not an issue for both of us to be in the bathroom getting ready at the same time, or if someone is showering and someone is going to the bathroom it’s fine. On the other hand, we both usually prefer to take phone calls privately so we’ll go to a separate room and close the door. Or if I’m taking a bath, I prefer solitude. Knocking is preferred in cases like those but figuring out when you need some privacy, in general, will be a big deal when cohabitating.
  3. In the same vein, it was SUPER important for us to figure out how to give each other enough alone time. I, especially, need a lot of alone time and being able to communicate was a struggle at first because I would feel guilty for asking for time by myself when I had just spent the whole week travelling for work or something. We had many a discussion about this and basically, as long as we’re super transparent about what either of us is feeling, we are good to go. And when I say transparent I mean ‘Hey, I need about three hours of alone time today’. It may sound clinical, but it does the trick.
  4. A smaller, but surprisingly significant part of living together is splitting up chores. With roommates, it’s pretty easy because you basically just look after your own shit and spend a day every two weeks cleaning the whole apartment. With a significant other, you share all of those responsibilities and the problems arise when one person feels like they do more than the other. To avoid this, we found it was helpful to have our own ‘jobs’. For instance, when I’m home, I pretty much always am responsible for the laundry. Michael handles the dishwasher. I clean the bathrooms, and he cleans the floors and kitchen (don’t feel bad for me, I HATE mopping so much more than scrubbing toilets). If I cook, Michael cleans up and vice versa. If we both do our jobs, neither one of us feels like we’re stuck with all the housework.
  5. Last but not least: you can’t hide your gross parts anymore. If one of you is sick, you both are living with it. On the bright side, this means you always have someone to take care of you or help you out. If you’ve got a cold, the other can pick up some medicine. If you’ve got a horrible kink in your neck, the other can try and massage it out. And if you’ve got a weird bump on your back, the other can check for skin cancer. The point is, my relationship has lost any sense of glamour it may have once had because we’re both comfortable enough to show each other our uncomfortable sides.

To me, living together is one of the potential biggest hurdles in a long-term relationship. I mean, if you can’t cohabitate, good luck making it for the long haul. There have definitely been annoyances, fights, and teary discussions trying to figure all this stuff out. But despite the bad, and the ugly, moving in with my boyfriend was one of the best decisions.

 

livingtogetherfeature

Me and my man cross-country skiing PC: Megan Lawson

 

 

Moving to Canada: Take 5

It’s been a minute since I last wrote about my move. It was at the end of January and I was finally feeling pretty positive about my relocation. I had started to make some friends, and my work life was getting increasingly busier. So busy, in fact, that I hadn’t had any time to reflect on how I was really feeling.

It’s nearing the end of six months and I’ve finally had a slow weekend to relax and think a little bit. I think I’ve started to settle into a rhythm here in Calgary.  Work has picked up a ton which keeps me busy (and keeps my stress levels engaged). I travel almost every single week, so I guess it’s a good thing I have such cheap rent now since I hardly spend time in my apartment during the week.

I’ve also really been trying to work on those friendships I started back in January. Since originally just going climbing with a couple girls a few times a week, I’ve done a ski weekend, and had some double dinner dates thrown in for good measure. I’ve gotten loads better at downhill skiing as well as steadily progressing on rock climbing, and actually look forward to being outdoors (shocking, I know).

All in all, I am starting to feel good about my life here. But that is just it – I feel good, but not great. I don’t believe this is any fault of the people I’ve met, the city itself, or even underlying homesickness. I believe it’s my own unrest that is leaving me dissatisfied.

I was talking to a friend earlier in the week and we were discussing how most people in our friend group always need to feel like we’re moving forward and part of that feeling is physically moving locations at every available opportunity. I’m particularly guilty of this (7 places in 5 years), but I can’t figure out where it stems from. I fear to stay in any place longer than a year and view part of my success synonymously with changing locations. And now that I’m past the halfway point in my lease in Calgary, I’m starting to feel myself growing restless.

Where do I go from here? I’ve conquered my fear of moving to a new city in a new country and building a life from scratch, and part of me craves doing it all over again. The other part of me simply fears growing complacent by staying in one place for too long and becoming comfortable. One of my favourite ways to challenge myself is by moving to new places and I’m terrified of ever growing too attached to a place out of convenience.

So my new questions for myself are as follows: why do I feel the need to move around? And if I don’t move, how can I still find ways to push myself?

Does anyone else feel like their success depends on moving around? Or feel afraid of staying in one place for too long and becoming too comfortable to move again? Let me know!

 

canada5feature

PC: The talented Megan Lawson

 

How to Get People to Take You Seriously

I work at a consulting company that is about 80% male and 90% consultants with over a decade of experience. In my work, I have to go in and run discussions with CEO’s, CFO’s and IT directors who are almost always male and around my father’s age.

When I first started working here, the demographics I described above really got to my head. I felt like I had no place at the table since I was so young. How could I possibly tell these 50-year-old men how to run a business project? And how could I possibly do that task with any amount of credibility backing me up? How the hell could I get people to take ME seriously?

To be honest, it took a while to get there. I was unsure of myself for a long time at the start. But lately, I feel like I’ve really been hitting my stride. And I think my confidence boils down to a few simple things that I remember every time I go to work:

First off, this is my JOB. I have shit to do. Things have to get done. A client has hired my company, and by proxy, ME, to do a job for them and I can’t let my own insecurities get in the way of completing a task at hand. If there’s one thing I’ve always been good at, it’s been getting things done efficiently. It’s like a sink or swim situation: if I don’t do a good job, I’ll get fired, so I better figure it out.

Secondly, I know my stuff. I didn’t at first, obviously. But I took the learning process seriously. I took notes meticulously, I studied, and I practiced. I realized it doesn’t matter how much experience you have, there will always be a learning curve for any job. There will always be new cultures and new information to study. What matters is how fast you retain and apply what you learn. Now that I’ve done my due diligence, I can walk into a room and feel confident that I can back up what I’m saying.

The next attribute was luckily something I already possessed: being articulate. I don’t know if it was from all the books I read or my grammar obsessed mother correcting my speaking all the time, but either way, I speak clearly, concisely, and with purpose. In my opinion, a common fault of consultants (and salespeople) is talking too much and saying very little. I have a more straightforward approach to conversation and I’m able to convey my point clearly without coming across too harshly and that approach earns me a lot of respect when others are constantly beating around the bush.

I won’t lie, I’m nervous almost every single time I have to go in to see a client or have a heavy conversation with my boss. I have to write out a bunch of lists of points to cover and literally psych myself up beforehand (this includes practicing conversations in the mirror with myself). However, each time, I remember that I really do have things to back me up. I get things done, I learn fast, and I have a lot of poise.

Every time I walk into a room, I have to remember that no matter how old or how male the other people in the room are, I have a lot to lean on in my own arsenal. I learned over time that the more I feel like I’m at a disadvantage, the more confidence I have to exude in the room. And you know what? Faking it until you make it really DOES work.

seriouslyfeature.jpg

In other news, I’m still looking for suggestions on what to focus my blog on. I want to focus on maybe three to five major areas so let me know if you have any favorite articles of mine or if there’s a topic you’d love to see me write more about!

What do YOU want to see?

I’ve been writing a blog post every week for a year now. I’ve written almost 60 posts on this site, and I think it’s about time I ask what it is YOU want me to write about.

Maybe you think I suck and should stop writing, but I’m not here for the haters. There are a couple hundred people that do view my blogs every week and I would like to hear what is the most fun for them to read about.

I started this blog so I could have a little hobby and practice my writing (since it turns out I actually love to write), but as a result, I’ve just kind of written whatever struck my fancy that week and I’d like to hone in on a few topics that I love and that matter to the people who read my blogs. I’ve hit on a lot: travel, beauty, organization, goals, politics, fitness, sex, and relationships.

So what should I keep writing about? YOU tell ME! I could keep on writing about any of these topics but I want to make sure I’m adding something new and unique to the online world rather than the same old same old. If you’ve ever truly enjoyed even ONE of my posts, now is the time to let me know what you think I should stick to!

On the other hand, if you think there are enough blogs out there, then just stuff it and unfollow me. I started this because I enjoy writing, not because I’m trying to clog your timeline with blog posts. Through this process, I’ve learned a ton about writing, website creation, SEO, and marketing. It’s not like this space is some big deal, but it’s been amazing for me to explore certain topics and learn a few new skills. I want to continue but I just need YOUR help in figuring out a new direction for this creation! Please comment, send me a message, an email, or anything with suggestions on what topics you love reading from me!

 

revampfeature

PC: The ever remarkable Clara Yu

 

How to Vomit in Your Own Hands

Great title, right? Unfortunately, on my trip to Mexico, I got intimately familiar with what getting sick on the road is like.

Those who know me know that I hardly ever get sick. Like, I barely even get the common cold. Consequently, I’ve been lucky enough to evade any travel sickness for quite a while now, so I guess it was only a matter of time before it caught up with me.

On my trip to Mexico last month, I had a slight bit of food poisoning. And when I say slight, I actually mean 24 hours of being violently ill. As the title would suggest, it was not the most glamorous affair, but I did learn a few things.

First off, I learned what food poisoning feels like (or at least, I think I do). We never could trace back my sickness to exactly what had upset my stomach but the symptoms were all there. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Graphic, I know, but bear with me. When you eat something that your stomach deems unacceptable, your body completely rejects it and tries to rid itself of the substance however it can, hence the unpleasant symptoms. For me, the nauseous feeling was intensified because it was hot and muggy, and when the sickness actually hit me, we were on perhaps the roughest bus ride I’ve ever been on, and thus my nausea could no longer be contained, and I threw up what little I had eaten that day, into my own two hands.

This brings me to the second thing: you should always travel prepared. I’m not saying you need to be like Mary Poppins and pull a whole hospital out of your bag, but you should always take a couple of key items, whether or not you commonly get sick. First and foremost: TISSUES/NAPKINS. I got in the habit of carrying napkins around with me when I was in Shanghai for a year because many places do not provide toilet paper in public bathrooms. Thank goodness the habit stuck, because I had some napkins in my bag to help me clean myself up while I was still on the bus.

Another great item is disinfecting wipes. I say wipes because a bottle is just extra liquid for your TSA approved bag, and also because on the whole, I am against hand sanitizer. I think it’s silly, it kills the immune system, and it dries out my hands, so I am NOT a fan. HOWEVER, if you throw up in your own hands, or do something equally disgusting, it might be nice to have a couple stashed nearby so you can at least feel semi clean until you get yourself to a real bathroom with real soap.

Lastly, bring some standard meds with you. We’re talking painkillers, Alka Seltzers, and any and all manner of indigestion drugs you think is applicable. When you’ve got food poisoning, there aren’t many drugs that can help at the moment, but they will help mild discomfort and might help after the fact as well.

While I was sick, I did a couple of important things — Once we got back to our hotel room, I immediately stripped to my underwear and got a cold washcloth to keep myself from overheating. My amazing boyfriend went out to get me some more cold water, coca cola, and plan crackers (or tortilla chips in Mexico’s case). The Coca-Cola I mixed with water to drink to settle my stomach. Ginger ale is ideal for this, but Coke is a reliable brand pretty much everywhere in the world. The plain crackers were so that my body wasn’t running on empty, but they are also such a mild food that they wouldn’t irritate my stomach any further.

By far the worst thing about food poisoning is that no matter how badly you try and take away the nausea, your body will insist on ridding itself of whatever you ate/drank and you have to let it run its course. At the start, I would try and prevent the vomit for as long as possible, but there was no way around it. Once I let myself be sick whenever I could feel it rising, things progressed a lot faster. Eventually, your body will be spent and there will be nothing else to get rid of. I was able to go to sleep and woke up the next morning feeling weak, but markedly better.

To recover, you must still be gentle. I continued to sip only water or coke mixed with water, and only ate plain foods the next day. The day after, however, I was able to eat and drink normally.

Being sick on the road is perhaps one of the worst things that can happen. Luckily, I was only down for 12 hours, had someone to take care of me, and we were staying in a hotel instead of a hostel so it could’ve been much worse. I remember the epidemic that swept my Shanghai study abroad group that put the majority of us down during what was supposed to be a field trip to Yunnan province. I escaped then, but I wasn’t able to escape forever.

Have you ever gotten sick while traveling? How did you handle it? I hope I don’t make a habit of this, but being prepared never hurt anyone!

gettingsickwhiletravelingfeature