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Elk learns to manage her anxious thoughts


Elk

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I have a lot of problems with anxiety.

In fact, even as I write this, I want to run away. I'm afraid to face my real problems, and, often, I escape them by throwing myself into another problem. I think: "Oh, I have to lose weight," or, "Oh, I have to be an artist," or whatever. Then I rarely stick to any of the plans I make - or, if I do, I don't feel as if I've actually accomplished anything. I think that I know why now - because they're not the real problem I'm looking to solve.

 

I used to spend most of my time "wearing masks." Whenever I faced the world, I would do it wearing a mask, or following a script, instead of relating authentically.

 

Now I relate authentically - at least, whenever I can. And it's anxiety-provoking as hell.

 

That's the focus of this challenge, then: to learn manage my anxiety as I start to relate to the world authentically.

 

GOAL 1: Small goals.

This challenge can be anything - whether it's related to fitness, food, drawing, music, general life stuff, whatever. But there's only one of them. By setting a low criterion for success, I will learn to celebrate my successes and build upon them.

Write out one challenge per day, and if I succeed in this challenge, I can consider this day to be a success.

 

 

GOAL 2: Yoga and exercise!

Yoga calms my body and I love it... but I often find myself afraid to do it. Once the mind latches onto the "plan" to do yoga, it morphs it into an obligation, and reprimands me when I fail to meet it.

Either go work out or do yoga each day by following a video. As much as the perfectionist in me hates this: even a ten-minute video will do.

 

GOAL 3: Eat mindfully.

I have a lot of neuroses around food. In fact, my pattern is quite disordered... and I want to fix that. I want to find the simple pleasure in food again. I want to savour it and enjoy it.

I believe that, when we remove our social conditioning and pay attention to what we're eating, our bodies will tell us what we want. This is happening for me already - I've noticed that dairy makes me feel bad, and I seldom want things like ice cream anymore. But I still have a many issues - particularly guilt and self-loathing - around food.

I will explore reducing my sugar and caffeine, noticing how foods make me feel, and what makes me reach for certain foods.

So - each day, aim to eat mindfully. Notice the sensations of the food I am eating, and how it makes me feel.

 

LIFE GOAL: Let's get artsy!

I have always been an artistic person, but chronic mental health problems have made it difficult for me to express myself. Getting back to my artistic self is getting back to my roots, and the act of creation will help me feel confident in the world, instead of like a mere observer.

Do one art-related thing a day. Doodling, practicing piano, whatever!

 

 

 

Alright. I can do this.

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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DAILY GOALS

 

WEEK 1

Monday: Start a nerdfitness challenge! (x)

Tuesday: Go to the gym! (x)

Wednesday: Do a yoga class at the YMCA! ( ) - failed owing to poor time management (turns out I was carrying home a piano when yoga class was on, lolol)

Thursday: Just... be nice to myself. Ask to talk to someone about some worries. (x)

Friday: Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch at work, with no snacking on sweets in between!

Couldn't go to work. x.x Replacement goal: do yoga. (x)

Saturday: Begin reducing caffeine and sugar. Don't go cold turkey!! Cold turkey does not work.

Sunday:

 

WEEK 2:

Monday: Attend a workout at the Y. (x)

Tuesday: Sort out my finances! Go through banking history and find out how much I'm spending on groceries.

Wednesday: Bonus round! Two goals!

----( a )   Actually sort out my finances!! Right in the morning, with my cuppa decaf. 8) (x)

----( b ) ~Go to yoga at the YMCA at 7:00pm~

Thursday: Dial in the nutrition a bit. Aim for a healthier breakfast at work, have a salad when I get home, and figure out something healthy for dinner. (x)

Friday: :(

Saturday: :(

Sunday: Go on a hike with the boyfriend! (x)

 

WEEK 3:

Monday: Today the focus is just to hit my other two major goals. Make good food choices, and when I notice that I am failing to pay attention to my food, pull my attention back towards what I'm eating. In the afternoon, do the 30 Day Shred level one before dinner. I love those workouts. (* u *) (wound up doing yoga for cramps instead owing to intensity of feminine curse. still a win in my books) (x)

----->Bonus goal: 10 minutes of meditation. (x)

REST OF THE WEEK: NO GOALS OOPS LOL

 

WEEK 4:

Monday: Go to passport office - find out if I need new passport (since my old one got covered in laundry detergent. x_X;;  At least it smells like a field of lavender). (x)

Tuesday: Talk to the volunteer coordinator at the place I volunteer about how I will be leaving soon. (x)

Wednesday: Since this is a day off, devote time to ~ART~! Also, get my sister to be my guarantor for a new passport. (x)

Thursday: Don't take any baked goods home after work. Bread is okay... but don't eat any of it until the later in the day, when actually hungry! (x)

Friday: Same as Thursday (x)

Saturday: ..D:

Sunday: Bike to see my sister at work and get my passport photo signed by her! x_x; (x)

 

WEEK 5:

Monday: GET PASSPORT PHOTO! And do prep work for upcoming mental health job. (x)

Tuesday:

Wednesday: More prep work for upcoming job. (x)

Thursday: Eat healthily during work. Have my favourite tea biscuit with peanut butter for breakfast, then select whatever unprocessed option for lunch that I can find - a breakfast sandwich without bread, or maybe get the cook to leave a slice of gluten free pizza without cheese! If successful, I'll buy a chia seed kombucha as a reward. ;D

Friday:

Saturday: Re-record vocals for current track

Sunday:

 

WEEK 6

Monday: (x)

Tuesday (x)

Wednesday (x)

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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WORKOUT PLAN

 

WEEK 4: 

Thursday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBPP_izKKSs (x)

Friday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWPpdP4IhEY (x)

Saturday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F8aOQza68E (x)

 

WEEK 5

Sunday: yoga (x)

Monday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYkWDrKlCfE (x)

Tuesday: yoga (x)

Wednesday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT2Oje5ukd4 [oops, that was a link to a j-pop video... lolol]

Thursday: activating morning sequence (x)

Friday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mDyGogsMtQ 

Saturday: (x)

 

WEEK 6

Sunday: ( )

Monday: (x)

Tuesday: 

Wednesday: (x)

Thursday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgPICTHJ_Ug

 

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Alright, today!

-Met my small goal!

-Did work out once!

-Ate pretty mindfully! I listened to my body's hunger and fullness signals - I didn't finish all of my food at breakfast or dinner, and instead of having a big mug of hot chocolate to satisfy my chocolate craving, I was satisfied with a small teacup!

 

I still have to do something artsy though! I think I'll doodle some storyboarding stuff. :>

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Oh boy, I have a lot of anxiety today about food today. :S As I become more mindful about food, I'm starting to really see how it relates to old pain.

 

Last night, as I was lying in bed, I realized that I developed an unhealthy relationship with food - hating myself for eating, binging, etc - as a way of internalizing negative emotions that I was unable to express. So once I start approaching food more mindfully, and actually - God forbid!! - enjoying eating, the old pain comes up.

 

Then, in order to get to sleep, I decided to do something that I used to do a lot to help me sleep... ate a bunch of carbs. But I did it mindfully. And... it didn't work. Nighttime eating used to numb me, but now it doesn't.

 

So that's where I'm at. Things get better but it's tough. i___i

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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I didn't eat very well at work today. :/ Tomorrow's goal: eat a banana and peanut butter for breakfast, and choose a healthy option for lunch!

 

working in a bakery is tough. @.@

 

Think I'll do yoga tonight. Or work out. Later. Yep!

 

And I need to meet my goal of asking someone to talk to me. Gonna be my boyfriend. Most practical choice.

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Your goal #1 is really intriguing!

If I worked in a bakery, I think it would probably be forced to close within a month or so. :o

Best wishes with your quest!

balance in mind ... body in motion ... making inertia my bitch

Lv.2 warmonkey | 2 STR, 3 STA, 3 DEX, 5 CON, 4 WIS, 2 CHA

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Your goal #1 is really intriguing!

If I worked in a bakery, I think it would probably be forced to close within a month or so. :o

Best wishes with your quest!

Thanks! Just through trial and error, I've really found that starting with small goals works much better. When I set the bar too high, I just get so stressed out trying to meet my goals. It's less effective and not worth the pressure.

 

Hahaha, yeah! Whenever I'm there, all of my healthy intentions seem to exit the building. :tongue: Thankfully I'm only there a couple days of the week.

 

And thanks! I'll check yours out too!

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Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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So, my anxiety has been terrible. Like debilitating. It's funny... as I introduce more mindfulness to my life, I'm starting to find the places that are really causing me a lot of stress, and they're coming out. I think it's got to get worse before it gets better - I want to dismantle those old, anxiety-producing modes of though and replace them with healthy ones.

 

I think it might be time to switch to decaf and cut out the sugar. :/ For my mental health, yo.

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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So, my anxiety has been terrible. Like debilitating. It's funny... as I introduce more mindfulness to my life, I'm starting to find the places that are really causing me a lot of stress, and they're coming out. I think it's got to get worse before it gets better - I want to dismantle those old, anxiety-producing modes of though and replace them with healthy ones.

My minister used to call this "linking." Once we get to the source of the stress, we can start to understand that we don't need it any more... and then we can release it or even reprogram the trigger. Those habits are powerful, but a mental practice of stillness and self-observation helps to overcome them. Just as you're doing. ðŸ‘ðŸ¼

balance in mind ... body in motion ... making inertia my bitch

Lv.2 warmonkey | 2 STR, 3 STA, 3 DEX, 5 CON, 4 WIS, 2 CHA

Challenges: Current | Previous

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My minister used to call this "linking." Once we get to the source of the stress, we can start to understand that we don't need it any more... and then we can release it or even reprogram the trigger. Those habits are powerful, but a mental practice of stillness and self-observation helps to overcome them. Just as you're doing.

Wow, I really like that. That's a really useful way of thinking about it, and it definitely rings true. It's encouraging to know that what I've been experiencing is actually... you know, a recognized thing!

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Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Well, that's been week one! It really did not go as planned... having a whole bunch of panic attacks and spending most of the weekend recovering from that sorta put a halt on things. x_x That's okay, though... a lot of things clicked into place in this period of time, and I believe I've developed new insight into myself that will make things better from here.

 

Weirdly, I've found myself suddenly motivated to meditate, so I did 10 minutes yesterday and 10 today. It's kinda weird, because I had no intention of going that direction with the mindfulness thing, but it just felt... right.

 

Anyways, next week, I'm going to attempt to check in with reference to my goals each day.

 

Today I:

1. Didn't even set a small goal - oops!

2. Didn't work out or do yoga... I guess I could still get a really short sequence in, but... you know.

3. Was mindful about food! Starting to lower caffeine intake (which is surprisingly difficult! I am actually hella addicted to caffeine!) And I chose to eat oatmeal instead of eggos, and I ate a reasonable lunch at work. Yay!

4. Shoot, didn't do anything artsy either. Oy. x.x I'm just so tired right now. Oh well, I can play a little bit at least!

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Sometimes progress takes a different form than we anticipated. It sounds like you're seeing some progress with the introspection and meditation. Bravo to you for rolling with it last week!

Great job on the food! I feel you on caffeine withdrawal. About once every year or two, I go cold turkey off of my beloved diet coke for a while, and it is really rough. I've been cutting back a bit now because I don't like the idea that I'm an addict (I totally am, I just don't like the idea). :o

I like how you've taken the "oops" part in stride, celebrated the successes, and given yourself some slack where needed. This seems particularly healthy in your quest. Kind of a paradox, I suppose. :)

I hope you're having a great day!

balance in mind ... body in motion ... making inertia my bitch

Lv.2 warmonkey | 2 STR, 3 STA, 3 DEX, 5 CON, 4 WIS, 2 CHA

Challenges: Current | Previous

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TODAY:

Small goal achieved.

Did go for workout!

Ate mindfully - was in a situation with a lot of candy and had very little candy.

Art... well, I played around on the keyboard! Yay!

 

Sometimes progress takes a different form than we anticipated. It sounds like you're seeing some progress with the introspection and meditation. Bravo to you for rolling with it last week!

Great job on the food! I feel you on caffeine withdrawal. About once every year or two, I go cold turkey off of my beloved diet coke for a while, and it is really rough. I've been cutting back a bit now because I don't like the idea that I'm an addict (I totally am, I just don't like the idea). :o

I like how you've taken the "oops" part in stride, celebrated the successes, and given yourself some slack where needed. This seems particularly healthy in your quest. Kind of a paradox, I suppose. :)

I hope you're having a great day!

Thanks! Yeah, at this point, I'm just thinking that this challenge will be a success if I finish it. Giving myself slack does not come naturally, but it's starting to feel more comfortable for me. If I'm going to achieve any health or fitness goals, I want to do it in a way that makes me feel good - especially because I seem to degenerate into a heap of anxiety when I'm continuously mean to myself!

 

Caffeine addicts unite! Yeah, I was actually surprised by how uncomfortable it was! Lots of headaches and I was grumpy with everyone. :P It's better now though.

 

Thanks. You too! :D

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Congrats on your day! And yeah, don't be mean to yourself. I'm sure you wouldn't be like that to someone else!

I feel ya with the headache and the grumpy. One time when I went off caffeine, I slept like 20 hours straight the first day. This wasn't an "Oh, I feel so relaxed and healthy now that all that evil caffeine is out of my bloodstream!" sleep... Oh, no... It was a "what the crap where am I my eyes won't open I can't lift my head where did the time go I couldn't leave this bed if my house were on fire" sleep. :o:D

Glad for you that you got through the rough part!

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balance in mind ... body in motion ... making inertia my bitch

Lv.2 warmonkey | 2 STR, 3 STA, 3 DEX, 5 CON, 4 WIS, 2 CHA

Challenges: Current | Previous

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Today:

Small goal: Wow, I completely forgot! x.x I thought I set a goal that was art-related and did that instead. I gotta start reminding myself of my daily goal in the morning!

 

Exercise: 1 hour of biking along a beautiful trail, plus 30 minutes of yoga before bed! Killed it. 8)

 

Mindful eating: Great success! I did not eat my healthiest today - 5 chocolate-covered jujubes with breakfast (who even does that???), 6 sticks of green tea pocky and three Swedish berries later in the day, and an iced (decaf!) Americano with mocha syrup. :tongue: I usually don't even like candy very much! But I was feeling kinda emotional about the daunting task of figuring out what the heck I'm gonna do in my present post-university aimless state. : P

Still, as I ate these things, I was mindful of what I was doing and where the urge to emotionally eat was coming from. Which was super liberating!! My usual eating pattern with unhealthy food is to detach and mindlessly mow through it, because I don't want to think about what I'm eating. But by actually appreciating the food I was eating, even though it was unhealthy, I found myself not feeling deprived and making healthier choices for my other meals.

 

Art: Yeah! Played around with music a bit - even though it didn't really yield anything. Also, thinking about it my planned video is pretty ambitious, so I think that I'll shift to something more manageable for now. I thought up a cool art project that's challenging enough to be motivating, but simple enough that it'll help me get my feet wet (drawing some crustaceans that represent elements of the unconscious - gettin' all Jungian up in here). I also thought of a way to transform my glass desk into a light-table so that I can trace over my sketches.

 

So yeah! 3/4! Yay!

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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TODAY:

 

Small goal(s)

Did look at my finances! This turned out to be a rather nerve-wracking and sobering experience. I'm super thrifty with groceries, though, so that's good to know! However, it does present me with the stark reality that I need a job. So I'm going to start learning to code so I have something to keep me going before grad school - tech is a growing industry, after all! Then, instead of going to yoga as planned, I hung out with the boyfriend at his office learning some coding stuff. This was a worthwhile adjustment. :)

 

Yoga and exercise!

Does biking count? >.> half marks!

 

Mindful eating

I am RAVENOUS right now. D: I think it's PMS... that week before my period always brings out crazy hunger. And I'm eating stuff I normally don't like that much, either. I think the new permissiveness around food is a contributing factor. Oh well! I'm going to focus on approaching more healthy food, listening to my body, and keeping fit. I trust that my body will adjust properly, and that as I take my note of the unpleasant sensations when I eat too much of an unhealthy food, I will find myself gravitating towards healthy stuff.

Still, eating cheerios as I type this. llololol

 

Art stuffs

Did play on the keyboard a bit, and doodled! It was a busy day, so I'm proud that I found time. :3

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

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Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Oh dear, it's been a couple of days. :S I started writing this post yesterday and then just went for a nap instead of finishing it!

 

YESTERDAY'S YESTERDAY (August 6th)

1. Small goal - eat better at work - met.

2. Mindfully - noticed myself eating very fast.

3. Went for a run!

4. didn't do much art?

 

YESTERDAY: (August 7th)

1. Small goal - did not set

2. Mindfully ate sort of?

3. no work out

4. did piano set up desk wheeeee

 

A couple of days of sort of falling off track... but that's okay. I find myself starting to think about other goals I may be able to accomplish, but I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself. The whole point of this small-goals thing is to take it slow and make sure to give myself credit for every success. Still, I haven't even been sticking to my (modest) goals, and that feels bad and makes me doubt myself. When I reflect, though, I still think that I've been doing pretty well.

 

It turns out that learning to handle anxiety is kind of messy, and a lot of buried fears and emotions have been bubbling to the surface in the past two weeks. Last night, after a couple of days of finding myself drifting back into autopilot, and eating really quickly (out of what I realized what hidden anger), I really... exploded. I became clear on how old hurts have been affecting my daily life. These create fear and resentment, bogging me down in negative emotions that make it more difficult to achieve my goals. And, worse than that, they impact my ability to fully engage with the people I love, because I'm so afraid of being hurt again.

 

wait so what does this even have to do with fitness lololol?

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Mental fitness is certainly a part of overall fitness, and it looks like you're still making progress on something just about every day - but I wonder if having so many unrelated goals going on in the same challenge has pushed too much change on you at once?

Your note about finances reminds me that I've put off my taxes until I really can't anymore and I must make some time for that today. Thanks for saving my bacon. ;)

I hope you're enjoying your weekend!

balance in mind ... body in motion ... making inertia my bitch

Lv.2 warmonkey | 2 STR, 3 STA, 3 DEX, 5 CON, 4 WIS, 2 CHA

Challenges: Current | Previous

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Mental fitness is certainly a part of overall fitness, and it looks like you're still making progress on something just about every day - but I wonder if having so many unrelated goals going on in the same challenge has pushed too much change on you at once?

Your note about finances reminds me that I've put off my taxes until I really can't anymore and I must make some time for that today. Thanks for saving my bacon. ;)

I hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Hmm, that's a really good point! I hadn't considered that. Maybe I should narrow in on health and fitness can make my goals more concrete. :D

 

Haha, no worries! Procrastination power. ;D

 

Thank you! And thanks for posting - your messages really help keep me on track.

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Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

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These have been an exhausting couple of weeks, albeit very productive ones in terms of mental health. The truth of the matter is, my mental health should take precedence above everything else. I forget that sometimes. When I start doing well, I revert to a pattern of assuming that everything in life should come as naturally to me as it does to most people. But that's just not how it works for me, or for anyone else with a neurological profile similar to mine. I have bipolar disorder, with a nice heaping spoonful of anxiety perched on top, and learning to navigate the world with these challenges has, by necessity, been the major goal in my life for a long time.

 

For me, one of the interesting things about having a mental illness is that the unhealthy thought patterns that arise owing to irregular brain chemistry seem to become a part of my ordinary thought processes. The negative thoughts that arise during depressive episodes become unpleasant habits of thought that continue to pull me back towards depression. The grandiosity of mania continues to influence my world philosophy and creative approach (in a way that I actually quite like). And my tendency towards anxiety makes it difficult to separate myself from the notion that the world is much more dangerous than it is.

 

Maybe I should make this a mental health blog post lololol.

 

Anyways, throughout this challenge, repressed thoughts and emotions, which have been coloured by the influence of my depression and anxiety before being hastily stuffed into the recesses of the subconscious for future-Elk to deal with, have been emerging. Guess that means I'm future-Elk now. Well, this future-Elk is ready to take on these guys! Repressed emotions ain't nothin' for an airbender like me! 8D

 

giphy.gif

 

I'm in a better place than when this challenge started. Which means that now it's time to get back to that whole "fitness" thing that is apparently relevant on a forum called "nerdfitness!"

 

So... yeah. Gonna do a 30 Day Shred workout today. I really enjoy the workouts, and they're what I've used in the past (read: before I became hella anxious around anything involving fitness) to become fit. I did level one on Saturday, and I felt so good after! :D I'll probably aim to do one tomorrow as well, unless my body is like, "HOLY JEEZ GIRL YOU NEED SOME YOGA"

 

My boyfriend and I have resolved to make this a "healthy week," which started yesterday and thus far has been very positive. The idea is that we want to start making healthier choices, so we're starting with one healthy week to see how much better we feel. It's nice, because it's much easier to make healthy choices when you have someone with you to be like, "Um, no, you shouldn't make cookies."

 

Yay! :D

 

tl;dr: woohoo for mental health progress, now let's do some fitness

Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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Woohoo is right - you go, girl! I hope you had a blast!

Also, that's really cool that your boyfriend is doing this healthy week together with you. Company on the path can make the path so much more enjoyable!

balance in mind ... body in motion ... making inertia my bitch

Lv.2 warmonkey | 2 STR, 3 STA, 3 DEX, 5 CON, 4 WIS, 2 CHA

Challenges: Current | Previous

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<lady-related problems>

i am cramping so much and bleeding so much. o.o! I've never felt sick from menstruation like this before. All I want is to stay in bedAnd like, it's not even "Oh, I feel bad, I should rest," as is usually the case. I actually I just want to rest.

 

So... feeling a bit anemic today. Hopefully it's better tomorrow, though, since I made a point to eat a lot of iron today! Beef, spinach, kale, cheerios, hemp hearts... should be good, I think! Much better than my usual approach to period grossness, which had always been coffee and chocolate!

 

No workout, unfortunately. I just can't do it - even walking makes me dizzy. :/ I did ten minutes of meditation, though, which is the closest I'm gonna get to yoga today. x_x

 

</lady-related problems>

 

As I'm lowering the caffeine, I'm beginning to find I don't enjoy coffee that much anymore. I always thought I was the sort of person that "just loved the taste" of coffee, but maybe that's not as true as I once thought! Some mornings the thought, "Maybe I'll have tea instead" has flickered across my mind - which is very foreign! So tomorrow I will start my day with tea.

 

Woohoo is right - you go, girl! I hope you had a blast!
Also, that's really cool that your boyfriend is doing this healthy week together with you. Company on the path can make the path so much more enjoyable!

Thanks! :D

Yeah, it's actually been really fun so far! Plus it makes me happy to see him becoming more interested in his own health. :)

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Airbending Druid~

 

 

 

 

------o| Current Challenge |o------

 

 

Previous challenges: 1 2 3 4

 

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