Facing my Fear…BEING ALONE

These past 10 days have been extremely interesting, fun, difficult, and rewarding….Let me take you back a little bit…

I have never been one that is good with being alone. EVER. I hate to sit in silence, by myself…I just need to be around people. This is a good thing and a bad thing. I am extremely extroverted, love being social and being around others, and adventuring, BUT sometimes I need to sit by myself and learn to love myself without any distractions. These past ten days I visited my best friend from high school, Claire, in San Luis Obispo. The first few days she took off work so we hiked, adventured, and had a blast! Then, Monday rolled around and 6 hours stood there and waited for me…to be alone…by myself…without anyone. Some would be super excited about this, but honestly I was nervous. I’ve never been good at just being alone,, but I was going to learn a lot this week and I was ready to face my fears.

Monday was interesting, I journaled in the morning, prayed that God would bless my week as I sipped some coffee. After that I decided to go down to Avila Beach by myself to a cute coffee shop called Kracken Coffee. I did some work there on my laptop for about 3 hours and then headed back to Claire’s apartment… “that wasn’t so bad,” I thought to myself. As Tuesday rolled around I started to feel uncomfortable with being alone. When I am alone I start to think, I think about everything, especially my body, BUT I knew that I needed to give it up to God, so that is what I did and I want to tell you that this past week He met me in INCREDIBLE ways. When I get stressed, anxious, nervous, or upset I either restrict my food, or I want to eat everything! I started feeling these uncomfortable emotions and started to think about what God was trying to teach my through this quiet time.

I definitely think he was teaching me how to be alone and to give my burdens to him, to stop worrying about my body, food, and myself basically. During the beginning of the week I kept asking God for peace and serenity, which He gave me. I was able to walk around downtown, go to the beach, and read ALONE! Let me tell ya, it wasn’t easy, and I am still learning, but I am beginning to start to understand who I am, what I want, and who I want to be. I didn’t have any distractions, I got to read the books I wanted to read, do the things I wanted to do, and be alone with God….I’ve never really done that before! I have always been a people pleaser, so I tend to do things that everyone else wants to do…but this time…it was just ME!

I listened to music, danced around in the apartment by myself, cooked, read, drew, made a tapestry for Claire and her roommates, went thrifting, and most importantly spent time with God. It was a beautiful experience and now I know how vital it is to spend time practicing self-care.

My favorite God moments :

I had listened to a podcast my mom had sent me about a woman who rescues horses and she set up a therapy camp for troubled kids…it talked about how God speaks to us through animals and I definitely experienced that all week. Every animal that I saw was so peaceful and still right next to me! Like they were all pets!

A lizard let me pet it (crazy I know!)…a squirrel let me take it’s picture up close…baby horses came to me and kissed me…a grown horse actually laid his head on me like he was hugging me!…deer were everywhere…wild turkeys were on the trail that I ran….birds flew and hawks soared overhead…bunnies hopped around….dogs excitedly wagged their tails as I pet them…I met Gantin a huge great dane that was so sweet…and to top it off…I got to ride Cindy, a beautiful horse, on the beach and through trails of vibrant orange flowers! God is SO amazing! If we just listen and open our eyes, He is there, He shows up in mysterious ways. I’ve always been an animal lover, but wow, was it amazing to hear God speaking peace to me through these amazing animals.

It’s been a while since I have been able to hear God’s voice, but it’s probably because I don’t like to sit in silence. How can I hear Him if I’m not quiet? Well, I definitely heard Him in the time that I was silent!! This past week God spoke to me through His creations and reminded how important I am.

He reminded me of the verse, “Therefore I tell you, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR LIFE, what you will eat or drink, or ABOUT YOUR BODY, what you will wear. Is life not MORE IMPORTANT THAN FOOD and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much MORE VALUABLE THAN THEY?.” Matthew 6:25-26

God was specifically telling me NOT to worry about my body!!!! It’s crazy! And He reminded me that he takes care of the birds and other animals, and am I not more important than they are?!!!

God is absolutely incredible and he met me in amazing ways this past week. I pray that if you are like me, that you don’t worry about your body, or what you wear, or what you look like, but remember that you are God’s child and He created you in His image. You are SO IMPORTANT! Take time to sit in silence and hear God’s words, trust me….it WON’T LET YOU DOWN ❤

XOXO

-B

Taking my own advice…

Hey ladies!

I know it’s been a little bit, but I needed to take my own advice from the past blog post about “burnout” and try to rest, recover, and rejuvenate. I had two speaking gigs for my middle school and my home church. I was so excited to devote my energy to that and bless kids that are in the same situation that I used to be when I was there age. The time I was able to share my story with them was absolutely life-giving! After speaking at both places kids came up to me with big smiles on their faces saying “Thank you for being here, you were our favorite speaker.” That was absolutely amazing to hear and I felt it in the moment that God truly used me to bless them, but for some reason I was struggling with the feelings of inadequacy and unimportance. I know that God used me in their lives, but the lies kept coming in that I could “have done better” or “been better.”

I noticed after the speaking gigs, that I was left me burnout and exhausted. I gave, gave, gave, but I had nothing left in me for myself, so I realized I needed some time to rest in God’s love and grace and recuperate. The rest has been well-needed and the quiet of summer has left me with ample time to think about who I am, who I want to be, and where I am at mentally and physically. To be honest I wasn’t doing mentally well, I was struggling with dreams from binging and purging (dreams I have not had since the eating disorder) that were aroused from stress in my life. My mind is a powerful thing and it can spiral out of control if I don’t take the time to get back on track with affirmations and self care. These past weeks have taught me so much and I am so excited to begin to keep sharing my life experiences and advice with you all.

I saw this quote and it made me smile, “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection, to me, that is the true essence of beauty.”

As I go about this week, I am constantly going to remind myself to be unapologetically me. I hope that you know that you can too! If these past few weeks got you down like they got me and you were left burnout and exhausted, remember that you can be comfortable in your perfect imperfection and you do not need to BE anything for this world. I know that I was struggling with that fact that I wasn’t enough or I needed to BE something amazing for this world, but I am still learning to just be, to be present where I am at, to be happy with my circumstances, and to be comfortable with who I am.

I love you all so much and I hope you are doing well ❤

xoxo

B

Feeling Burnt Out?

Sometimes we don’t feel great, emotionally or physically. We get exhausted because we are so stressed out. It becomes difficult to go through the day without going through the motions. We forget to experience the day…to live in the moment…Sometimes, all we need is something that will strengthen our hearts, minds, and spirits. One daily task that can help us focus on being more balanced throughout the day.

I wanted to share with you guys some habits to start incorporating into your daily routine.  I love practicing these to set me up for a purpose-driven day!

In the morning,

  • Visualize a great day: We can visualize how we want our day to go. Start the morning off with a gratitude list of 3 things and write down this phrase “ I am going to make today an amazing day.” Keep reminding yourself that you said this to make your day amazing!
  • Try not to look at your phone first thing: I’ve noticed that when I pick my phone up first thing in the morning I start my day off stressed out with emails, homework, to-dos, and more work! It is overwhelming. Try lying in your bed for a few minutes to relax and stretch.

During the Day

  • Cheer yourself on: Sometimes during the day I feel myself just dragging along. I am exhausted and burnt out. On days that I am struggling, I try to remind myself how strong I am. I say these words to myself, “You can do this. You are already half way through the day and you can handle anything the rest of this day throws at you.” Remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

Night Time

  • When I am tired and stressed, I absolutely love taking epsom salt baths. I love pampering myself a little bit at the end of the night…it feels so good to unwind before going to bed. Making a cup of tea is also a wonderful way to  destress before you lay your head down and go to sleep. Chamomile or Sleepy Time are my two favorites!

Always remember that you are absolutely beautiful and you are worth so much! Remind yourself that you have so much to offer the world. We are constantly told we aren’t enough, but the truth is God adores you for who you are.

So, “how do you care for yourself?” If you are neglecting time for yourself, (I do it sometimes too), you will find yourself overwhelmed and burnt out. Try to set times for yourself to unwind and destress. You will definitely thank yourself later!

Love you all!

-B

Q & A with christianjewelry.com

Hi guys!! I know it has been a little bit since I have posted, but I want you all to know I haven’t forgotten about you!

I recently received the most beautiful ring with the verse Phillipians 4:6 on it and a “She is Worth More” necklace from Christian Jewelry… I am so inspired by what they are doing for young individuals who want to follow God, so I interviewed their founder and social marketer.

If you want some beautiful jewelry check out christianjewelry.com and use the code Brooke20 to get 20% off!

On to the interview…..

How did you start Christian Jewelry? 

We first started selling just purity rings online. We ordered a small inventory from a supplier in California. We wanted to be unique in the market, so we started to also offer custom engraving on the inside of our purity rings. We never really anticipated the impact this would have on our business and customers. People we able to engrave a custom message, a scripture verse, or a special date which made the rings unique and personal. From there, we branched out into other Christian rings, which then led to necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories and Christian Jewelry was born. Since then, our business has grown into a full lineup of quality Christian jewelry, much of which can be personalized.

 
What was the inspiration for starting your company?
We started ChristianJewelry.com when we realized that many Christians around the world weren’t able to easily purchase inspiring jewelry where they live. We wanted to make sure that Christians worldwide could wear symbols and sayings that showed their faith in Jesus Christ. 
 
Can you tell us a story about how people’s lives have been impacted by your company? 
I think we’re able to see the most impact with our purity rings. We often have parents, pastors, and youth group leaders that call and tell us how they have a group of 60 youth that are going to make a commitment to God before marriage. We love hearing how these youth are making the decision to keep Gods commandments at such a young age. I think it is more inspiring for us than it is them. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.

 

What is your favorite part about working for Christian Jewelry?

I love working for Christian Jewelry because I get to think about and grow my faith in Jesus every day. As a member of the marketing team, I spend a lot of time interacting with our customers on social media and seeing how their faith directs their life decisions. I love knowing that our company is helping people grow and display their love of Jesus too.  

How can I best be praying for you and your company?

We love support from like-minded Christians who believe that their faith isn’t something to hide. I think all Christians need to be prayed for in order to know that their beliefs are important, even when the world tells them otherwise. So, I think the best prayers for our company could be for the Christian world as a whole! Let’s pray for one another and uplift each other and wear our faith proudly! 

Loving Yourself First 

“And if I asked you to name all of the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?”- unknown

I know for me, sometimes it is really hard for me to love myself, I’ll be honest.

I take a glance in the mirror and don’t feel adequate enough, good enough, or just “enough.”

This got me thinking though, if I can love others so deeply and compassionately, what is it that I struggle with in loving myself? As I searched myself and kept questioning my own self love I began to realize that my struggle wasn’t just with my body, it was with my mind. Our minds are mysterious and wonderful things that can control us like no other. On the days that I struggle, I constantly battle with my mind, trying to figure out what is “wrong with me” or how I can “be better.”

Just remember that you could be the most beautiful woman in the world and everyone smiles when they see how you radiate this beauty, but if you don’t know your own worth it doesn’t matter. Every minute you spend doubting your self is a piece of your life that you are wasting. I know I do it, but as I keep learning to love myself and know my worth I try to think of the positive aspects of myself and keep growing in my faith, my walk with God, and I keep reminding myself who I want to be as a person. I don’t want it to just be about my body, I want people to love me for “me” and I want to love myself for “me.”

As I keep growing in life, I am learning to love myself and to be okay with where I am at. One of my favorite quotes is, “Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others’ opinions of me, but what’s important to me is my opinion of myself.” ― C. JoyBell C.

So keep practicing self love! You can do it!

 

Love,

B

 

 

 

3 Ways to Cope With Guilt and Regret After Relapse

While in recovering, relapse is not uncommon. Some days its just one slip up, but other relapses can last months, years even. Sometimes you feel devoted to getting better and other times you are unable to focus on your goals and move forward.

If you slip up and make a mistake, remember that you will be okay. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it was a mistake and you have the power to move forward. For me, my power came from praying to God to heal me and take the burden of guilt and regret from my shoulders so I could continue on the road to recovery. Here are three ways to cope with those feelings of guilt and regret after a relapse.

1. Address the issues:

What’s going on that caused you to relapse? Grab a journal and write down what you think caused you to relapse. Every time you slip up, record it in the journal. By doing this, you will start to notice patterns. I know that for me, stress from school usually made me relapse into my eating disorder behaviors.

2. Talk to a therapist or someone close to you:

Therapists and counselors are great ways to help realize underlying stressors that cause you to relapse. Remember, they are professionals for a reason! My counselor definitely helped me. By talking about your stressors, you can start to understand the feelings of guilt, grief, and frustration. Even calling a friend and telling them you are struggling with something eases a little bit of the stress.

3. Focus on the positive:

Once you have talked about your stressors and emotions, you can process what happened prior to the feelings of acting out with unhealthy coping mechanisms. Use your journal to keep a plan to make sure it won’t happen again. Try to not spend too much time focusing on your mistakes, instead focus on the positive parts of your life. Think about how far you have come in recovery and keep taking steps forward! You can do it!

I believe in you! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

With love,

B

Preventing Relapses 

Hi girlies! So, I wanted to talk about relapsing when it comes to eating disorders. I know that through my recovery from anorexia and bulimia, it was always a “1 step forward 2 steps back” kind of thing…sometimes I would relapse pretty darn bad and other times it would be a thought that I haven’t had in a while like, “You should weigh yourself.” I want to share some warning signs about relapse that my counselor taught me. These will help you notice the eating disorder behaviors before you actually act upon them.

There are 3 zones that I have learned through counseling, the red zone, the yellow zone, and the green zone. The red zone is the most dangerous zone and it ranges to green, which is the safest zone to be in while in recovery.

RED ZONE SIGNS: 

Telling yourself it is okay to do old disordered behaviors

Telling yourself that you don’t need to eat healthy or eat at all

Lying to others about if you ate

Lying about your body image behaviors

Completely avoiding foods

Frequently binging, restricting, or purging

Finding yourself obsessing over your weight, calories, or exercise

YELLOW ZONE SIGNS: 

Feeling slightly anxious some foods

Feeling strong urges to binge, restrict, or purge

Weighing yourself more frequently and feeling unable to stop

Measuring your weight your food more frequently then you should

GREEN ZONE SIGNS:

Sticking to healthy and unrestrictive meal plans

Being okay with trying new foods

Not categorizing foods as “good or bad”

Not skipping meals

Not spending your time consumed with thoughts about food

Not binging, restricting, or purging

These are just a few warning signs to think about when you are about to start doing behaviors  that are not part of your recovery plan. Remember, that these are not 1 size fits all. All eating disorders are different and people handle them differently, but from my experience, thinking before I acted was definitely very helpful.

When I was in the red zone, my counselor taught me to grab a large glass of ice cold water and take slow sips, counting to 10 in between. Somehow, by doing this, my stress and anxiety began to calm down and it prevented me from wanting to binge or purge.

When I didn’t want to eat, I would tell myself, “Think about your life 10 years from now…don’t you want to be a healthy mom, with beautiful children? Well, then girly you gotta eat.”

Be kind when you are talking to yourself and take it one step at a time!

When I felt the urge to weigh myself I would say, “What good is that going to do?” Some days this would help, others I would relapse and weigh myself and feel terrible, but the more and more I told myself I was more important than what I weighed, the less and less I felt the need to weigh myself. I can happily say that I haven’t weighed myself in years. I even tell the doctor that I don’t want to know my weight and guess what??? IT’S SO LIBERATING!!!

Taking healthy steps toward recovery is one of the strongest things you can do…if you feel like you are stuck in a rut in the red zone, make sure to reach out and get help. Going to counseling was one of the best things that I could have ever done.

You can do it! If you have any questions feel free to reach out ❤

With love,

B

5 Tips to Better Mental Health

Considering that next week is National Eating Disorder awareness, I wanted to share a post about having better mental health. I know that when I was struggling, I felt like I was alone. I was scared and didn’t know what to do, but these few tips and tricks actually do help…With much prayer, God was able to grant me a healthy mind to continue living my life to the fullest and following his plan to share my story with all of you!

Just remember that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach to mental health, everyone is different and thinks differently. So, you can tailor these examples to yourself.

Lifestyle and Career Coach Harper Spero states, “There are many ways to get into a routine, but the number one rule is to make it work for you. Just because a routine works for your friend or family member doesn’t mean it’s the best for you to take. Routines help you manage your time better, be more productive, less stressed and feel less overwhelmed.”

Here are a few ways to practice better mental health…

1. Treat yourself with grace and kindness

When you are feeling down and are being really harsh with yourself, ask yourself this question, “Would I treat my best friend, mom, dad, sister, brother etc. the way I am treating myself now?”

2. Have healthy boundaries and feel free to say “no.” 

You don’t have to say “yes” to everything if it is leaving you overwhelmed and spread thin. I know that for me, I give my time, energy, and a lot of my effort to other people and sometimes I am left feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Make sure to set healthy boundaries to take care of your mental stability.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others 

This is a biggy! The more that you compare yourself to others, the more unhappy you will be. Be you! Embrace who you are and rock it, because you are amazing! No one is like you, so don’t try to be like someone else….you are awesome already!

4. Be present and get outside– In today’s day and age we are all on tablets, computers, laptops, phones, etc, but rarely do we embrace our surroundings. Try this exercise this weekend…Get offline for an hour. Go outside, look up at the sky and embrace the sunshine, or rain…and take 10 deep, slow breaths. I’ve done this for a while now. I go, sit outside and just breathe in the sunshine…it’s a game changer! I feel so much more calm and energized when I get away from all the screens that I use.

5. Prioritize self-care– A few of my favorite ways to practice self-care daily are:

  • Eating healthy to fuel and energize my body
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Taking breaks after completing hard tasks either at work or school
  • Going for a walk- I love walking with my dogs it makes me so happy!
  • Making time for family, friends, and hobbies

 

These are just a few ways to practice some mental health…I hope they are helpful for you!

With love,

B

Happy Valentine’s Day!

“Love yourself as much as you want your soulmate to love you.” -Elizabeth Daniels

Today is about love! Loving your family, your friends, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your pets…and YOURSELF! I wanted to share some love with you by giving you a little list of things that I do to love myself.

1. Make a cup of coffee or tea and sit outside in the sunshine.

2. Take a relaxing Epsom salt bath to soothe achy muscles.

3. Paint your nails…maybe paint them pink or red for the month of February!

4. Write in a journal, I have stacks of journals that are completely full of ideas, thoughts and prayers!

5. Color or draw, this one makes me so happy! I have always loved drawing! Grab some pencils or pens and just let yourself be creative.

6. Go for a walk in a park, look at all the trees and embrace your surroundings.

7. Watch a chick flick…I mean who doesn’t love the Notebook?

8. Cook a healthy meal. I’m in love with making black bean pasta! You can buy it from Whole Foods.

9. Bake a sweet treat…I love making dark chocolate bark or an yummy acai bowl.

10. Sit and read a good book.

These are just a few simple ways to love yourself, especially today!

PS. I have also made a printable affirmation guide for you! So, print it out and pin it on your wall. Use it for the rest of February to love yourself.

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 9.43.05 AM.png

With love,

B

 

The Power of Photoshop

The power of photoshop. It’s very powerful girls, trust me. As a graphic design major I have been taught how to edit, morph, and change pictures into something else. It’s great for logos and designs, but not so great for people. People should never have EVER been photoshopped in the first place. It’s madness if you ask me. I have always wondered who’s idea it was to begin photoshopping women, (and also men.) It just doesn’t make sense to change something beautiful into something so fake. Watch these video and see what photoshop does…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17j5QzF3kqE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hibyAJOSW8U

I just want you all to know that photoshop…it’s almost like magic…you can literally make a girl with red hair, have purple hair…you can make a short girl into a tall girl, you can make a blue-eyed girl have yellow eyes…it’s surreal, but that’s what our society does.

I want to let you know that photoshopped images are all over the media, especially with women. (I’m sure you know this because its everywhere.)  Female models and actresses are called into photoshoots, airbrushed, painted with makeup, then completely edited and altered afterwards. And when I say “altered” I mean altered! They completely change the shape of these women. This is what we are raising little girls with; magazines with photoshopped women that are the “ideal woman.” These little girls aspire to be like these beautiful women, when in all reality they want to be a one dimensional figure on the cover of Vogue.

I’m not saying that models and actresses aren’t pretty…Honestly, they are beautiful! Absolutely beautiful, but they don’t need to be edited! Really! Look at these photos and let me know what you think is more beautiful…personally I love the natural look of these women. Imagine a world where no women wore makeup, they weren’t edited or photoshopped, and we were just real and raw?

How beautiful would the world be?

I challenge you this week to…

  1. Not compare yourself to the women in the magazine
  2. Try to go a day without makeup and see how you feel! Then, maybe try to go for a week! Let your skin breathe for a little.