Storytime: Why my writing is suffering

I slept at midnight last night.

Woke up at 2 am because it was the 27th night of Ramadan.

Such a special night!

It’s 7 am now and I still can’t sleep…

Been tossing and turning in bed from 4 to 6:30 (while oscillating between reading blogs and scrolling instagram).

Then got up and exercised.

Me: works out for 7 minutes… I feel like a fitness guru now.

Now I sit with no electricity (welcome to Lebanon).

I was going to sit at my laptop and either watch a movie (I watched one yesterday too. I know, I’m deviating from my goal of no tv) or work on my writing but my laptop battery doesn’t last for more than 10 minutes unless charging.

Speaking of writing, I look at the blogs I posted the past week and I feel like they were written half-heartedly. Then I see my views dropped this week and I guess you felt it too.

Here’s the thing. I’m not being lazy. It may seem like it but I’m not. I’m physically and emotionally drained and my thoughts are all negative. You don’t want to know what thoughts are on a loop in my head. Trust me.

As part of my plan to not complain, I’m trying not to talk too much, because it comes out as complaining, comdemning, and criticizing. The 3 Cs that ruin every relationship.

How am I doing?

1st of all, nobody cares. Everybody is wrapped up in their own issues to care about how I’m doing.

2nd of all, I will tell you anyway because that is how I am, always desperate to talk about how I feel because it’s how I process things.

Physically, my stomach hurts and it’s bloated, my foot has been hurting for 2 months (considering seeing a doctor to try to fix it but sadly it’s not up to me). I woke up sick yesterday. Not sure if it’s an allergy or a cold (I can never tell). I have no energy during the day but I can’t sleep after dawn sometimes. On the bright side, my migraines are less frequent and I can still walk and talk and do light housework and read and write and hear and see (my efforts to focus on my blessings).

Emotionally, I feel very lonely. My friends aren’t texting me back. I can’t hang out with anyone for various reasons. My husband is emotionally distant because he is overwhelmed about the situation in Lebanon. I’m also overwhelmed about the situation in Lebanon and other countries like Palestine but my reaction is I need more hugs and reassurrance and focus on my pockets of happiness (for example, the weather is good, even though I’m not going outside, and I had coffee for suhour).

Spiritually I was feeling good-ish because I was crushing my goals but I could do better in other areas. Ever since I did a self assessment tracker a few days ago, I lost momentum.

Mentally, I’m reading a lot but not retaining much. My brain is fried because I’m tired. I’m writing but it’s not my best work because I’m tired and I don’t want to be negative. Negative thoughts on a loop. Or I go numb and dissociate. Pockets of happiness that don’t last long enough. Focusing on what I don’t have, like a job and a car and a 2nd child and the ability to go on field trips and travel to different countries. Then I remember the number of people who don’t have enough food to eat and I feel guilty for wanting those things. I have food, shelter, clothes, and so much more. Some people in Lebanon have to go to 6 different organizations to provide them with basic necessities.

Let me try to be more optimistic. Talk about the good stuff. My son is my sunshine. He really is making me smile, even when he frustrates me. His smile lights up my world. His questions blow my mind. He still gets piggy back rides from me and he loves them. His hugs are healing. He is so cute and adorable and I love his personality. I see in him his dad’s confidence and my insecurities meshed in one. We have been slacking on positive affirmations but I’m sure to let him know that he makes me happy every chance I got. I don’t play with him enough, especially during Ramadan because I’m so tired, but he has become so emotionally mature that he literally tells me “I want to spend time with you” and when he says that, I do, even if I’m tired.

Like yesterday, I had to take 2 naps. He kept waking me up because he couldn’t fall asleep. Then eventually I told him to set up Ludo (his new favorite board game) so we can play. He won.

I’ve been going on instagram a lot but not posting much (sharing stories doesn’t count). I no longer feel the need to post everything I do or to make each picture I take instagram worthy. I take pictures and videos for memories.

I wish I could take my son places and give him experiences but my husband has a very sheltered mindset. He won’t even take us for a picnic. He is πŸ’― a homebody and me and my son are suffering because of that. With everything going on, I need to go out and breathe (with my mask on and not in a crowded area obviously).

Anyway, I’ll stop here to avoid going down a rabbit hole of self pity. It’s a sore topic, going out. So simple and basic like eating and drinking to some people, but for me, I must beg for months to be able to go to the seaside (which is literally 5 minutes by car away from my house) for 5 minutes.

Think of the people who have no food to eat, I keep reminding myself. I hope one day I get to go out more. I’m trying to manifest that in my life, whether by a miracle of my husband letting me drive (I have a license but little practice), or if my family start going out again and my dad takes me.

I normally avoid going into personal details but I’m explaining myself (which is also something I’m trying not to do) as to why my writing isn’t up to my standards lately.

Also, are you enjoying the daily reminder? Or should I make it a weekly reminder and put several reminders in 1 post? Your feedback is very much needed and appreciated.

Finally, the Ramadan series are on pause because, although I’m still watching animated islamic YouTube videos, I’m not getting inspired to put a spin on them.

If you have any questions or suggestions for me, please share them in the comments.

New month, New challenge: Day 4

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where I share the challenge of the day on the same day that I do it so that you can do it with me if you want!

I’m having trouble sleeping lately. Struggling with my inner demons and whatnot. I want to be a better person. I want to be tolerant and forgiving and understanding and patient and calm and collected, but I can’t do that when I feel like I can’t be myself. My sensitivity and my talkativeness and need for affection are frowned upon, and it feels pretty lonely in my heart. I just wish I could hang out with someone who understood me, who accepted me just the way I was. Suppressing my emotions is affecting my sleep and diet and I keep going through rabbit holes of escapism. Now that I let that out…

Today’s challenge is:

Try something new. Like a new recipe, a new tv show, new restaurant… you decide.

This is in alignment with yesterday’s kindness challenge. I was supposed to bake something for someone but I didn’t feel like it. Plus, I didn’t leave the house yesterday. I bought a chocolate chip cookie mix from the store today. I usually bake things from scratch, but I’m fasting and I’m tired, hence the box mix.

Expectations
Versus Reality. What do you think? I still haven’t tasted them since I’m fasting but I can’t wait!

I also made atayef for the 1st time ever (it’s an arabic dessert) because every Tuesday my son has cooking class on school and obviously I’m the one that has to do the cooking. It’s actually a simple recipe.

You put 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, and some baking powder.
You can put syrup, honey or chocolate spread on it.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

What new thing will you try today? Let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to like and share with your friends and family so they can do the challenge too.

New month, New challenge: Day 1

Hello and welcome to my blog! As you know, I’ve been doing challenges on the 21 days challenge app, and I was going to start the declutter challenge ao that I’d be doing 2 challenges (kindness and declutter). I decided to postpone the declutter challenge a few days, or maybe a week.

I’m still doing the no junk food challenge (it finished yesterday but I still have a few unfinished days so I’m waiting until I’m able to do what they say). I’m also doing an art challenge with my 6 year old. He and I actually created that challenge together. Art is how we bond now. That and board games.

Happy May!

It’s a new month and to me that signals a new beginning. To me, Mondays signal the beginning of a new week (sorry but I kind of like Monday) and the beginning of a new month or a new season or a new year all excite me.

There’s always much to be grateful for if you look hard enough. I’m not putting my head in the sand because Lebanon is in the dumps, and it hurts. I watched a livestream yesterday discussing the situation in Lebanon and a correspondant said:

I have been to war zones and I have never seen a country die slowly like Lebanon. I have never seen a country lose hope and go into anxiety and depression like in lebanon, and I’ve seen a lot.

So I need to be positive to function. My son is already suffering from staying at home most of the time and not going to school. I need to look after my mental health for my sake and for the sake of those who must tolerate me when I’m in anxiety and depression land.

I do this in a lot of ways. Reading, writing, coloring, playing games on my phone, watching tv shows and movies (although too much of the latter makes me unproductive and more depressed). Another way I take care of my mental health is through focusing on my goals, and what better way than doing challenges that help me work on my self improvement in a fun way.

I just started the new year, new you challenge, even though it’s not a new year but it is a new month, and in addition to my focus on spiritual things (I printed out a plannar just for that and I’m using it), and trying to perform random uncalculated acts of kindness whenever I can, I have this challenge to keep me motivated!

Unlike the other challenges where I’d post after doing the entire challenge, I’m going to take you through this challenge day by day in case you want to do it with me.

Today’s challenge is:

Print a positive quote and put it on your wallet or mirror so you can see it every day.

I actually have many printed quotes available so I’m going to choose one and put it on the fridge.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

How to say I love you in 21 different ways

Hello and welcome to my blog! As you know, I’ve been really kern on doing 21 day challenges lately, and it has motivated me a great deal. I’m actually currently doing 4 challenges.

I’m trying to develop healthy positive habits and the 21 days challenge app is really motivating me. I’m currently doing a positive mindset challenge, fix your sleep schedule challenge, home workout challenge, and a no junk food challenge.

The couples challenge I was doing ended (yesterday was the last day). However, sadly, this is the only challenge I didn’t complete. The thing is, you can’t force someone to do a challenge with you, but I wanted to work on my marriage because there’s always room for improvement. The problem is, my husband hates romantic gestures and deep conversations.

The boxes I ticked in this challenge were mostly things I shared with myself on my notes. Some of the things I did with my husband, like telling him “I love you” unexpectedly and thanking him for things he did. But these are things I do anyway, so I don’t feel any different. If anything, I feel disappointed that I couldn’t do all these things.

Nevertheless, I tried, and that’s what matters, and during the 21 days, we weren’t fighting much, mostly because I was trying to make the challenge work, but towards the end, I kind of gave up on trying these things.

I still decided to share them because chances are your spouse or partner is receptive to these gestures of affection.

I did 14 things out of 21

21 ways to say “I love you” without saying it:

These challenges will help you build a solid relationship and be more loving, kind, and thoughtful towards your spouse or partner.

1. Make a list of things you love about your partner

2. Plan a surprise date night.

3. Tell your partner you love them at an unexpected time.

4. Share a fear you have about your relationship.

5. Share a good memory you have about your partner.

6. Send your partner a romantic morning text/audio.

7. Thank your partner for something today.

8. Surprise your partner with something good.

9. Share a goal you have for your relationship.

10. Give your partner a compliment.

11. Plan a weekend getaway.

12. Look at old pictures together.

13. Reminisce about when you first met.

14. Make a bucket list together.

15. Pick a random word and start a deep conversation with your partner.

16. Do a puzzle together.

17. Write a love letter to your partner and hide it for them to find later.

18. Do something your partner enjoys doing together.

19. Make their favourite treat.

20. Tell your partner something you remember they like.

21. Give your partner a hug when they’re not expecting it.

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

Motivational Monday: Do more things that bring you joy

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m one of those few people who love Mondays. They signify a new week and a new beginning, but I know that sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to kickstart your week.

I usually start the week excited but my excitement plummets on Tuesday. I give myself a pep talk on Wednesday. On Thursday I can’t wait for the weekend. Friday is my only me day so obviously I love FriYays. Saturday is family day (my favorite day of the week) and Sunday is a cheap imitation of Saturday.

So for anyone who needs some Monday motivation, I found some spring themed motivation on Canva.

Bloom where you are planted
Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring. Make sure to find joy in the smallest of things in your life.
Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.

Also, a reminder in these difficult times to do more things that bring you joy.

Watch the sun go down. Do yoga. Watch your favorite tv show. Shower. Clean and tidy your surroundings. Read a chapter from a book. I did all these today and it did wonders for my mood. It’s 9pm and the battle of bedtime shall begin now. Wish me luck.

Update: My son went to bed at 10:15 but is still awake.

I did a 21 day happiness challenge

Hello and welcome to my blog! Yesterday I finished a 21 day happiness challenge and I’m telling you, I’m loving these challenges! They are really helping me with my self esteem and they are a creative way of self care for me.

πŸ’― Recommended.

My 21 day happiness challenge

Day 1

Listen to your favorite song. I listened to “All night by R5”

A little bit of love will change your life
She said I’m outta my head, I’m going outta my mind
And when I’m out on the edge will you save me, save me
Can we live for the moment, can you live for tonight
Can we forget what was broken and say say say we’ll be
All right
‘Cause even if we change we’ll always be the same
All night
I promise if you stay we’ll never fade away
All night

All night by R5

Day 2

Spend less time on your phone.

I was doing the social media detox simultaneously so this wasn’t so hard.

Day 3

Exercise.

I was really struggling to motivate myself that day and this was the motivation I needed.

Day 4

Cook the dinner.

In Lebanon, lunch is dinner and dinner is lunch, so I made a peanut butter and chocolate spread sandwich.

Day 5

Hug someone you love.

This was harder than you’d think. I’m a hugger, but hello! We’re in the middle of a pandemic. I’m not seeing any friends and I’m not hugging any of my family, except for my husband and son who live with me. My husband was in a “don’t hug me” mood so I only got to hug my son.

Day 6

Watch a funny movie.

I did this on day 7 because day 6 my son was attached to my hip and the movie I wanted to watch was on my laptop and the speakers are ruined on my laptop so I had to use my earphones and it’s not good for kids to use earphones (so I’ve heard).

Day 7

Call a friend.

Done on day 14. I called a friend of mine who lives abroad and we talked for 2 hours! We hadn’t talked in 2 months!

Day 8

Dance like nobody’s watching.

I did this on day 9 because on day 8 I wasn’t able to. I danced to Boom Boom by Justice crew

Day 9

Go out into nature and be an explorer for a day.

I live in the city and the only park in my area is closed due to COVID-19, but on day 18, I took a walk with my son and looked at spring flowers.

Day 10

Buy a gift for someone you love.

I didn’t leave the house that day so I couldn’t do it, but I came back to it on day 21. I bought a toothbrush for my husband. I know that sounds like nothing, but gifts don’t have to be grand gestures. I saw he needed a new tooth brush and surprised him with it when he was out. I knew he would go ages with the old toothbrush if I didn’t.

Day 11

Try yoga.

I hadn’t done yoga in a while, but I did it that day. It felt good. I should do yoga more often.

Day 12

Go to bed and wake up early.

I went to bed at 10:30pm the night before (as opposed to my usual midnight sleeping) and I woke up at 8am (instead of 9am).

Day 13

Read something inspiring.

I read from chapter 4 of The 7 habits of highly effective people and also from What are you optimistic about about how technology is bringing people together through blogs.

Day 14

Meditate for 10 min.

Done. I’ve been meditating 3 times a week all month this month. Try Serenity app for free guided meditations.

Day 15

Plan a future vacation.

Does dreaming about going to Turkey and booking an airbnb count?

Day 16

Try a new recipe or cook your favorite meal.

I cooked one of my favorite meals, okra, on day 17.

Day 17

Watch the sunset.

I did this on day 18. It was windy and foggy and the sun was barely visible but I saw it. I also watch the sunset often but this was a good reminder as I don’t do it everyday.

Day 18

Connect with an old friend.

I didnt know who to talk to. Several university friends came to mind. I picked one of them and texted her. She texted back. It was nice.

Day 19

Tell people how much they mean to you.

I wrote a blog post to you, my readers.

Day 20

Try something new.

I made a business account on pinterest for my author page on Amazon. It’s still empty of pins though. I still have a lot of work to do.

Day 21

Go for a walk outside.

It was raining yesterday but I did it anyway. I went at a time that it wasn’t raining, but it was cold and windy. I basically went to the supermarket and back.

The whole point of this challenge was to do things that made me happy, by focusing on things within my circle of influence. Circumstances aren’t great in Lebanon at the moment, and as helpless as I feel towards the economic and political situation, I can’t let this all drag me down into depression.

I hope things get better soon in Lebanon and in the whole world. So many other countries are struggling with poverty and war and famine and other things. I hope to be the change I wish to see in the world and I can’t be that change if I’m drowning in depression.

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

Transformation Tuesday: My self improvement journey from 2016

Hello and welcome to my blog! It has been some rollercoaster, this self improvement journey I’ve been on since 2016. Sometimes I feel like I’ve learned a lot and matured so much, but mostly, I feel just the same.

So what has changed from 2016 till 2021?

I’m still struggling with my negative thoughts, anxiety, my temper, etc.

Am I the parent I wanted to be? No

I yell a lot…

But I apologize a lot too.

I cry a lot…

But I smile a lot too.

I need a lot of alone time…

But I spend a lot more time with my son too.

I still have anxiety…

But I’ve developed some coping mechanisms, like coloring, meditation, yoga, exercise, drinking water, deep breathes, learning how to vent instead of complain, etc.

Today I’ll share with you the results of a self-improvement quiz I did on Mindtools.com in 2016. I tried to do the quiz again a week ago but the quizzes have changed so much that I can’t do the same exact quiz anymore. Nonetheless, here are the results from 2016:

  • Personal mastery 6/10: I need to learn to deal with negative thinking and improve my self-confidence.
  • Time management 18/20
  • Communication skills 11/15: I need to practice active listening and learn conflict resolution.
  • Problem solving and decision making 7/15: I need to learn root cause analysis
  • Leadership and management 11/15: I need to learn how to motivate people effectively.

I’m not very good at judging myself, but I believe I still struggle with negative thinking but now I realize when I’m doing it.

I recently did a self-confidence challenge and that helped boost my self confidence but I still have a long way to go.

I believe my time management skills are a bit rusty. Reading from The 7 habits of highly effective people in December helped me but I need to go back to the book again. I just feel so overwhelmed right now that I keep pushing reading aside. I’m spending more time with my son and reading blogs and watching movies and tv shows instead.

I still have a problem actively listening because since the pandemic began a year ago, I haven’t had much practice.

I read the book Crucial Confrontations a year ago and it helped me with conflict resolution but I think I need to reread it to fully implement the teachings. I still go into fight or flight mode when conflict arises and I still get all caught up with the story in my head.

My husband seems to think I’m too scared to make decisions. I’m not. I’m scared of being too impulsive and making the wrong decision because I didn’t think things through and I’m also scared of being blamed for making the wrong decision.

I don’t know how well I’m doing at motivating people. Only those who read my blogs and deal with me personally can judge my motivation skills.

I took a rate my life quiz today, because I was feeling sad because I see all these posts of people going out and about on instagram and I’m stuck at home for several reasons, one of which is COVID-19, another is because my son has his online classes in the afternoon, and also because my husband is a homebody and rarely ever takes us out.

Anyway, I did the quiz because deep down I know I lead a good life and I’m very blessed and I shouldn’t compare my life to others and I needed a reminder of my blessings. Here is what I got:

All in all, everything is going fine but my mind, finances and health need some attention and socially I’m a hermit*

Have you ever done a self assessment?

Do you assess your life every few years?

*Hermit: A recluse; someone who lives alone and shuns human companionship. (ironic because I crave human connection yet find it overwhelming at the same time)

Poetry Friday: Pockets of sunshine

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m feeling extremely happy this morning. I don’t know how to explain it (the poem below explains my feelings), but I felt this way yesterday too.

I played Ludo and Uno with my son several times yesterday and just admired how he talks and plays and I let go of the neurotic side of me for a bit and I was so happy. Then the moment I tried to read blogs, my son switched to annoying mode and the happiness was gone. Then someone else ruined my mood further and I sulked the evening away.

I even woke up at dawn crabby and went back to bed, not wanting to be productive. Then I woke up at 8am, in a bad mood, but 5 minutes later, my son woke up and he was in a really good mood because he saw what was for breakfast and was so happy for the surprise, so he said.

This instantly put me in a good mood and I’ve been in a good mood ever since. My birds are tweeting. I had my coffee and enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve never been happier.

That’s how it is with me. When I’m happy, I’m on top of the world, and when I’m sad, I’m in the trenches. I know something or someone may come along at any moment and spoil my mood, but I’m riding this high for 2 hours and counting. I was even in such a good mood that I drew my son an astronaut and a rocket (if you’ve read my previous blogs, you know how much I don’t enjoy drawing).

I am only sharing my happiness here on the blog because you are my safe space. The situation in Lebanon is worsening but right now, I’m safe at home, with my adorable son, and I will enjoy this feeling for as long as I can. It’ll probably end when I have to convince my son to finish his breakfast (he eats in intervals) and to do his homework (he hates homework).

Pockets of sunshine

I got pockets of sunshine
Up my sleeve
I use them when I try
To be happy

When I’m living in the moment
And my heart feels so full
I just slow down and own it
Because it feels so good

Don’t feel the need to share
I’m living without a care
For a minute or two
Because pretty soon

I’ll be wrapped up in anxiety
And weighed down by depression
My thoughts will get the best of me
And they’ll come out in aggression

So when I have a moment of joy
With myself, my husband or boy
I will keep it to myself
Won’t tell anybody else

Nobody needs to know
When I heal, I grow
I can count on my fingers the times I didn’t feel inferior
These pockets of sunshine are ethereal*

I gaurd them with my heart, try to lock them with a key
But like a butterfly, they tend to come and go
So I cherish every moment as they come to me
Embracing all the highs and treading** through the lows

  • *ethereal means extremely delicate and light in a way that seems not to be of this world.
    ** treading means walking on or along.

I hope you enjoyed this poem. Another poem will be posted tonight (I wrote it a few days ago and scheduled it for tonight) so stay tuned.

Click here to read more of my poems.

Motivational Monday: Quotes and Life Lessons from Jay Shetty

Hello πŸ‘‹ reader and welcome to my blog! Today I’m going to share quotes from my 2nd favorite motivational speaker, Jay Shetty. I follow him on YouTube and instagram and listen to his talks. They’re like a guided meditation. So insightful. Enjoy.

Here is one of my favorite videos of his on YouTube:

Do you find it motivating to read quotes or listen to motivational talks?

For me, the most effective motivational talks are videos, then podcasts, then written quotes.