15 Healthier Habits To Have After 15 Months

When COVID-19 happened, I found it hard to find a steady routine to live by every day, and it was harder because my then-work schedule would change like a girl changes clothes. Besides, the job was taking its toll on my mental health. But then, after 15 months of the pandemic and year of grad school, I decided that it was time to put the beer and wine aside and get my act together. Yes, I seldom drink now. #Wins

Building healthier habits isn’t the only way to practice self-love. Self-love also requires accepting yourself for who you are, and that includes your flaws as well as opening up to them. Maybe it’s because people weren’t at their best during the pandemic, but self-improvement became a vast movement. Me? I just chose to do it on my own terms, not society’s. Besides, how many people actually say they’re going to ostensibly “improve” themselves and actually do it? The answer is very, very few.

That’s the thing about habits; they’re easy to build and harder to kick. When it comes to health and wellness, they’re actually harder to build and and harder to kick. But it slowly gets better over time. Healthy habits CAN be easy to build and to keep! For me? It took about a week to be less dependent on alcohol. But since getting the app, Fit On, I’m more cognizant of what I choose to put in my body. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a strawberry margarita at your local Mexican restaurant with churros and warm chocolate dip for dessert. That’s just simply depriving yourself of having fun!

Some habits include:

  1. Waking up at 6 a.m. (or any time before 11).
  2. Getting a morning workout in. I do yoga and meditation, preferably outside.
  3. If you can’t work out, just simply stretch.
  4. Shower, if needed or just pat-dry your face
  5. Having coffee or tea (whichever you prefer, just don’t drink too much caffeine!)
  6. Have a protein shake or something healthy for breakfast.
  7. Reading.
  8. Communicating however which way with the people you love, even if it’s just checking in.
  9. Soaking up a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
  10. Taking vitamins.
  11. Dancing around in your room to a killer playlist (I personally adore Lana Del Rey).
  12. Getting dressed.
  13. Taking a walk or run and getting in a certain amount of steps.
  14. Spending time with your sweetie and/or friends.
  15. Drink water! I like mine in a glass with a wedge of lime or lemon to boost my metabolism.

As cliche as this sounds, your body really is the only one you have. Treat it well. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Build good habits for you and only you. If this serves as motivation for you, well, that’s just fantastic!

Good luck, my loves.

xoxo, April

Fashion Diaries: Every Body is a Swimsuit Body | Beauty From Within is IN

When people see me on social media just living “my best life,” they don’t know that my mind is a constant battlefield of insecurity. Right now, as I’m writing this, I feel better because I don’t feel insecure about putting my insecurities out there, hoping that someone out there will understand. I can tell you right now that I am confident that I will inspire someone out there and give someone a big virtual hug (through words — I’m better at writing than I am talking!). After all, no one is put on this Earth to please and constantly kiss people’s asses. I could give people a million reasons to make fun of me: I’m a 25-year-old virgin, I live at home, and I don’t own my own vehicle (correction: I don’t own a vehicle yet…stay tuned on the ‘gram). I’ve even dealt with my fair share of imposter syndrome.

This past Monday, June 7, I was in my round-about driveway laying in the sun when I chose to take pictures of myself… in a bathing suit. I didn’t care if I was wearing a one-piece from SHEIN, what mattered was my state of mind. Before that, I hadn’t worn a bathing suit in years because I had gained a whopping 50 pounds in college. But just the other day, I realized that in college, gaining weight is 100,000% normal as long as you’re happy. Yes, I’ve been pressured to lose weight. I’m not going to lie and say that family members’ words didn’t bother me. What’s terribly f—ed up about that is society, in it of itself, wants people to “look good” instead of just simply being “happy.” In fact, I can look in the mirror and honestly say, “wow, April, you look sexy!” THAT’S what exudes confidence and gives me serotonin.

Moreover, I took this one photo of myself where the lower half of my stomach was prominent and my thigh was gigantic. I then realized, that’s just an angle. And what’s funnier is that “angle” wasn’t even natural. Wait… am I picking apart myself here? April, snap out of it! You look hot! No, I’m not being conceited. No, I am not being cocky. In fact, it took a matter of five days just to get myself like that picture. (My laptop is not letting me load it.) I felt so inspired that I took another bathing suit picture and joked that I was channeling Pamela Anderson!

Don’t mind me, just channeling Pam (;

You can make fun of me all you want. No one’s opinion defines me. What matters is how you define yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The Fashion Diaries: What I’ve bought since I’ve been home

Feels like it’s been a hot minute since I posted! But I mainly wanted to give my voice to those who might seem voiceless during this time. That is why I made my Patreon page. For every patron that subscribes, I will donate $1 to Black Lives Matter Boston. In return, you will get free iPhone wallpaper, desktop wallpaper, resume design, cover letter design, and book cover design! Join for $3 or $5 a month!

So let’s hop on to it! 🐰 What have I been buying in my quarantined time? Also, happy first day of SUMMER for those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere!

  1. Yoga Mat

Did you know they sell yoga mats for a cheap price at your local Ocean State Job Lot? I didn’t know either! I’ve had mine for two weeks now and it’s still going strong! It also really helps for my ab workout sessions (and bedtime yoga too!)

2. Kimono

Who doesn’t love a good cover-up? This helps for your sunburn-self at the beach as well as dressing up any black tank top and jeans combination! Also, who doesn’t love a good snake-skin pattern? You can get one at Walmart for under $20!

P.S. don’t mind my messy desk!

3. Fresh new sneakers!

Let’s see, they’re blush-colored and sparkly… could any sneaker be more perfect for me? You can get a pair too at JustFab.com!

4. Steve Madden bag

Yes, my friends, TJ MAXX is FINALLY open! Yay! Yes, I will be using this bag for my graduate classes at Emerson College!

These are only just a few!

Stay tuned for a fashion special!

xoxo,

April 💕🥂

15 Things To Do To Survive Quarantine

It feels like we’ve lived a full year in the past week, doesn’t it? And it’s only March 19th! So another thing happened, Tom Brady is no longer a Patriot, but a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. I promise this post will be less of a “brain dump” and “trying-to-process” post, like Thoughts on the Coronavirus: is 2020 the new 2012? No, we are afraid of fear, itself. The past two weeks have been turbulence of emotions and uncertainty. I just got off a Zoom “tech rehearsal” for my Senior Art Studio class, and I have to say, it’s better than nothing.

But other than that, here are some good tips on how to survive “staying at home” which is now referred to by the CDC as “quarantine.”

  1. Have a Chick Flick marathon!
  2. Have a horror movie marathon!
  3. Get take-out from Chomp
  4. Support artists
  5. Take a virtual tour of Versailles (I did that in person 6 years ago!)
  6. Download a book from NYPL
  7. Take virtual tours of art museums
  8. Start from a stack of books you have in your room already and work your way down! I recommend anything written by Rebecca Serle, especially In Five Years!
  9. Learn how to bake and cook!
  10. Facetime a friend/significant other
  11. Watch anything on Disney+
  12. Stop perusing social media so much! This only gets on your nerves more!
  13. Spend some time with your pets, especially if you have a cat like mine
  14. Do yoga at home
  15. Meditate

Stop Looking For Validation From Others | Evil is in the Ego

For the past week, I’ve found myself saying out loud, “can’t anyone give me enough credit for ______?” Whether that be job hunting, seeking help, and showing up even when others expect you to quit.

My therapist gave me a handout. And that handout was a story called “The Awakening,” author unknown. I’ve read a lot of stories about ostensible “awakenings.” But this one made me want to watch “A Cinderella Story” for about the hundredth time because it reminded me so much of it. Moments prior to this, I was crying because someone told me “can’t you do something that will make people happy?” And this person tried to trick me into saying they didn’t say this. This had me screaming into my pillows on my couch, and you people would have thought I was nuts. That’s the one “question” I knew I was going to get one day, even though I always do my best, despite my anxiety, depression, and PTSD. THOSE AREN’T LIMITATIONS, EITHER. 

What I am learning right at this very moment is that there are people who want you to fail. There are people who want the worst for you. There are people who are going to be jealous of you. There will be people who disapprove of what you do. There will be people who have opinions based on their own insecurities. It’s a rude awakening, indeed. But the fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t matter to you, even the better of us who know better. As the internet philosopher Katy Bellotte says, “Nothing hurts unless you let it–” that was one of the first things I heard her say when I first started watching her videos.

Oddly enough, what I said after said person said that unbelievable comment was, “I knew I would never get your approval.” As if I ever really needed it. That goes to show, careful what you say, or it will end up in a blog post, or worse, my memoir. C’mon, there’s even a sticker on my laptop that says that, so you should know by now. I’m not being vindictive, it’s called having self-respect — enough to stand up for yourself and do things for yourself. I once apologized to someone after saying, “I have way too much respect for myself as a woman and a human being to be led on…” Why did I do that? Was it human nature in me to be empathetic? Maybe it was the need for approval after hurting someone? What the hell am I even saying right now? I didn’t validation from someone who led me on! However, and this the human nature part, evil really is in the ego and could make you think you did something wrong when you did, in fact, do something right.

What I’m essentially trying to say is that you can have a support group, but know your boundaries. There are some people who will cross some of those very fine lines. You may or may not have to let people in more. You may or may not have to say “f*** it.” As I said in my very first post, The Art of Communication, self-awareness is key. I learned all this by researching social media posts for RISC. Even social media wants you to be healthy! Who would’ve to think that? Speaking of social media, stop comparing yourself to other people.

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2020: the year people will (hopefully) understand mental health

I’ve been dealing with anxiety and other illnesses my whole life, and it sucks. It sucks because you feel like a burden in addition to feeling judged 24/7. Don’t forget about overthinking, it’s terrible. I’ll admit I’m not as uptight as I used to be about mental health 6 or some years ago, and I wasn’t always a bubbly, confident force to be reckoned with. Mental health is something I learn to navigate, figure out, and educate myself about each and every day. But after 5 years of college, I’ve grown to be fed up about people not understanding mental illness and how much of an impact it can have on someone’s daily life.

After asking the following questions on Instagram, using anxiety as an example. Anxiety, in my opinion, is by far the hardest for other people to understand unless they have it. I posed the question on Instagram: “If you have anxiety, what do you do about it?” Responses varied:

  1. “Journal, listen to music, get outside & talk about it!” — B.C.
  2. “Deep breaths, then unplug from technology for at least an hour, and then exercise!” — Anonymous.

I then asked, “What would you say to people who clearly don’t ‘get it’?” And one person said:

“They don’t have to ‘get it’ but just be respectful of those with anxiety.”

That alone is a perfect response. Is anyone really going to understand anxiety? Or mental illness at large? The answer is “hopefully.” It’s amazing and astonishing how many people can be so ignorant of mental illness. For some people, it’s a hard pill to swallow, and even when they slug it down, it still wouldn’t process. For example, when I have bad days, they’re awful. It’s not like I choose to dive off the deep end. I’ve had people tell me I’m “wasting time” when I’m dealing with something internal when I could be doing something else. That’s unfortunately not how it works. For some, if not a lot of people, mental health can be crippling. It matters just as much as physical health.

What I didn’t realize was that today is Bell Let’s Talk Day. The title of this day alone made me think of the aspect of talking to others. No one should be forced to talk about their mental health. In fact, that violates medical laws. There are some people who don’t even believe in therapy, and that’s okay, too. Everyone has different ways of dealing with mental health. There is no “one way.” Think of the roots of a tree. They sprout in all different directions. Then there are the branches, which do the same. There’s a root cause for why someone may be upset, anxious, depressed — anything! Then you have your whole body which can react in several different ways. Some people can’t get out of bed. Some people choose to isolate themselves. Some people choose to go for a run. Some people immediately get on the phone to book an appointment with a therapist. In the end, it’s up to you what you decide to do.

January was a rough month for everybody, so let us hope that for the rest of 2020, people will learn to understand mental health.

 

“Wait, Let Me Overthink This.” Raise Your Hand If You’ve Ever Been Victimized By Overthinking.

“Thoughts are the seeds of action.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thoughts do not dictate reality, however. In fact, in my opinion, and in my journey through spirituality, our masculine energy (or “the thinker”) makes us crazy! It’s simple: we think too much. We need to learn how to feel and tap more into our feminine energy.

We are now settled (most of us, I hope) into a new decade and year. We are out of the stressful holiday season, and into the new year. As some of you may know, I’ve been practicing ways to further my spirituality. But I have to admit, it scares me at times. I’m not trying to be a psychic, but I’m just saying, as someone with chronic anxiety, it really can be nervewracking. The fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t be so nervewracking that you start to overthink. I was even thinking about the concept of overthinking while I was making ramen and eggs (which tastes DELICIOUS!) I came to realize, you’re basically setting yourself up for self-sabotage.

Why are you questioning what’s already right in front of you?

Now, I am addressing why I can’t ever seem to “make up my mind” about my career, until just recently. And by “recently” I mean last week. Here’s the thing, though: I’ve always known I wanted to work with domestic violence victims, which is what I’m doing. There. I know what I want, I just needed to stop overthinking. In fact, just writing this post brought me back down to reality. Everything is fine. Repeat after me, everything is fine. Inhale, exhale. AND JUST BE GRATEFUL. Write it down, do something because you are doing great. You don’t even need a psychic to tell you that.

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Moreover, I am fulfilled completely as-is. Don’t question whether or not the universe has your back or not. You also need to have your own back. That isn’t to say other people won’t, but trust me, you’re good!

xoxo

April 💕

The Year Of The Rat, The Year Of 4, The Year Of ACTION | New Age Morning Rituals and Reads

Happy New Year, everybody! Here we are in the… new roaring twenties? This year came in like a lion for sure, especially with Gronk being a co-host with Steve Harvey on FOX’s NYE special — boy, is that guy a party animal!

I’ve preached on Instagram to not be “all-talk” about yours/mine/our goals for 2020. I can’t stand when people are “all-talk” and no do or action. My Enneagram type is 4, which is coincidentally my number for this year as well as 2020 in numerology. According to a little something I also shared on Instagram, Enneagram 4’s are the artist who will not only bring the action to the new year but to actually act. Here’s the key to resolutions: your “new year” will be the same as the last if you don’t change your habits. As I’ve also preached in Conquering Anxiety And Achieving Well-Being, Overall, you can bitch and moan or you can freakin DO SOMETHING!!! Change and manifestation don’t work unless you do. The (in)famous New Years Resolutions similarly don’t work unless you do.

With that being said, I took some inspiration from The Gem Goddess on YouTube and created my own little morning routine. Even though I have been doing this said routine for two mornings thus far, I remind you that it does not take much time to develop a habitual routine. Moreover, I light a vanilla-scented candle (you can use any scented candle — that just happens to be my favorite scent). I also light vanilla incense and use it until it comes to a stub. I then take my red, polka-dotted journal and jot down my intentions for the day and to what and whom I am grateful. The trick is to say your intentions in the present tense; that way, you can write your intentions as if you already have them, which is KEY in manifestation.  I then meditate on my intentions with the sounds of Inspirabel, high-vibrational music that will also increase your vibrations. Classical music has a way of “doing that.” I recommend listening to it with headphones, or you could also listen to a guided meditation. If you don’t have heat in your room, wrap yourself in a soft, weighted blanket. Comfort is also key. Like I said, I did this for two days and it WORKS!

It also helps if you have some tea to calm your anxious nerves (especially if you haven’t taken your meds yet), or some coffee to wake you up. I know, those two do sound contradictory. I personally have one cup of coffee, then make myself a cup of green tea. In 2019, and in the years before that, I went a little crazy on my coffee intake, but not this year! It’s just not good for you! Speaking of which, I’m not going to drink alcohol unless it’s on a holiday, special occasion, or when I go out to a restaurant to eat. This will do wonders for your body, as well as your mental health.

Another thing: READ MORE! Take a couple of hours to stay off of your phone to read. This January, I am reading Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson, and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. This won’t be easy considering I’m taking a course in British Literature this semester, but I always find a way. 😉

 

 

 

 

Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review

In Beyonce’s 2013 Pepsi commercial, she says at the end, “embrace your past.” This phrase didn’t ring 100% true to me until this year — the end of the decade. I’m not going to do a year in review simply because it’s the end of the 2010s and into the 2020s. Everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve become, everything I could be, happened all in this decade.

2010: My dad was fighting cancer, and I’ve learned how to live with his illness, resultantly. This meant learning how to sacrifice. This was also the year I was introduced to social media.

2011: This is the year I broke. Not only was I dealing with a four-month diagnosis of mono, but also with depression and being bullied severely.

2012: I was accepted to my top-choice private school at the beginning of January and at the end of the year, I had my first boyfriend and heartbreak within exactly two weeks!

2013: A whirlwind of things happened this year. I got my license, and I became cold-blooded — something I am not proud of. But I did discover Vine and Instagram!

2014: Began looking at colleges, did [insert an Ivy League school’s pre-college summer program] and hated it. I then started working at the hospital where my dad was treated. I also had appendicitis… who knew I would ever need surgery?

2015: Left high school behind (meaning I graduated… 8th in my class🤓). I also started college.

2016: I moved to Rhode Island two days before my twentieth birthday, and I started writing and editing for The Odyssey. In October, I went through a bad breakup. I also started writing for Her Culture. Did I mention I also started this blog!?

2017: Okay, just read ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es) where I made two bold decisions: 1) to get a diagnosis and 2) to transfer and start over at RWU.

2018: I interned at Rhode Island Monthly, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. For more, read Here’s To The Best Summer Of My Life: A Reflection.

2019: Easy. I wrote a thesis on Docupoetics, got into Title IX advocacy, and met my love (hi, Steve! And THANK YOU, Bumble!).

I’m just going to talk about the year 2019 a little bit more in-depth. 2019 was more about learning my worth as a human being, so much more than I thought I ever would learn. Learning about who you are is one thing, but your worth is another. You can say who you are in a thirty-second elevator pitch, but you shouldn’t even have to explain your worth. I learned not to take any sh*t from sheep from different farms. I found that I am not only creative, but I am seriously courageous and surely resilient. That’s not something you can put in an Instagram bio. Speaking of bios, I went from writing “I run what you run in 10 years in 2 days” meaning I went from an immature, sub-tweeting high school track star to saying “#supportsurvivors” [of sexual assault]. With that being said, I found a career.

Coming to peace with your past is like Beyonce looking at all her past music video outfits in the dancing mirrors. I don’t know what it’s like to be in a music video, but I sure know what it’s like to see yourself in the mirror and look at how much you’ve changed in ten years’ time. Coming to peace with your past is all about moving on, learning from your mistakes and ultimately accepting them. That’s not to say there won’t be regrets. But whoever said, “will it matter in 5-10 years?” was so right.

So I say this: here’s to a new decade of life and blessings. Here’s to a decade of keeping your worth at the forefront of your wind. Here’s to a decade of more blog posts, and who knows? Maybe I’ll have a novel published at this time and I’ll be a leader of social justice. No more settling for less than you deserve, being treated as less than you are and keeping journal pages clean and full of words left unsaid.

Happy New Year! 🥂

 

 

 

 

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: April’s Guide to Surviving Finals Week

Taking a break from writing a paper, and currently wrapped up in the stress of finals week. Finals week can be tough, especially when there’s a lot to do. I only have two written finals, but this paper for African Literature has my eyes red and puffy and my stomach in knots. I feel like that acne commercial with Emma Roberts: “I stress out then I break out… then I stress out even more!” Unintentionally said finals week can make your skin break out like no other. 🎶So, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why: FINALS WEEK IS GOING TO BE OKAY!🎶

  1.  Let it all out when you need to do so. By that, I mean cry. Crying is healthy. It doesn’t help when it’s all bottled up.
  2. Don’t leave things to the last minute.
  3. Drink WATER 💦 no one can live on just coffee.
  4. With that being said, eat your nutrients. I’m not talking about fatty foods but get some stirfry, eggs, or sushi. Don’t skip a meal — it’s not good for you!
  5. Book a meeting with your therapist or counselor, if you have one.
  6. If you have a job on campus, I’m sure your supervisor won’t mind if you take an hour off to do final projects.
  7. Take your medications and/or vitamins.
  8. Go to your school’s tutoring center if you have last-minute finals questions.
  9. Take Reading Days to your full advantage and STUDY.
  10. Take care of your skin. I use KORRES Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening Sleeping Facial.
  11. Clear a little space in your dorm/room/apartment (no matter where you live while going to school). Studies have shown that having a cluttered room increases anxiety.
  12. Reward yourself with a glass of white/red wine after finals, a day with your sweetheart, or a much-needed nap. You deserve it all!

If you’re stressing about grades, just know that they really are just grades, but you WILL pass finals, I garauntee you.

Here’s some inspirational quotes that’ll hopefully lift your spirits:

Good luck!

xoxo

April 💕