What to do when you feel sad

Hello ๐Ÿ‘‹

How have you been lately?

I’ve been busy, but also sad.

It may have to do with me being left for hours home alone before yesterday, yesterday and today.

I have anxiety. I should not be left alone with my thoughts for too long.

So instead, I’m binge watching Gilmore Girls, sharing stories on instagram and hoping someone would say Hi, want to hang out? Pathetic, I know, but I think I’ve been at home too long. The problem is it’s hot outside, and I’m tired all the time. Also I haven’t been sleeping well lately so MIGRAIIIINES.

I drink coffee. Nothing. I exercise. Nothing. I read. Nothing. I do housework. Temporary relief followed by pulled muscles and leg pain.

I think I’ve been going through the motions for a while & I just decided to do something about it. Besides vent here, obviously.

So here are 5 things to do when you feel sad:

1. Hang out with a friend. If no friend is available to hang, call a friend. If your friends are all busy, call your family, preferably the member of the family who isn’t toxic. Someone who will put you in a better mood.

2. Do light housework. If your house is messy, tidy up. Make your bed. Sweep. Do the dishes. If you have the energy, mop or clean the bathrooms.

3. Exercise. Whether it’s a light workout or dancing to music or a walk in the park, get moving. When you feel sad, you tend to feel apathetic and anhedonic (no interest in doing anything). Moving helps your body secrete serotonin, a happy hormone.

4. Switch up your routine. Figure out what time of day are you feeling this sadness. Is it in the morning? Change your morning routine. At night? Change your night-time routine. Afternoon? Find something to do in the afternoon that will put you in a good mood. Incorporate a new routine, because what you’re doing now (for me it’s binge watching Gilmore Girls) is obviously not working for you.

5. Practice mindfulness and gratitude. There are many ways to do this. I’ve talked about mindfulness before, grounding your senses, meditation, listing 3 positives that happened today, mentioning 3 things you’re grateful for today,… Etc.

This is not in the list, because it’s a given, but pray. Whatever you’re going through. However you feel, pray.

This is all I have for now. I think I may try the walk in the park. I may also call my mom and sister. I have a migraine so I’ll wait for the sun to get lower (sunset is at 8 nowadays) before I go (it’s 5:30pm now).

Let me know in the comments what you do when you’re sad.

Likes & dislikes (a totally unnecessary ranking of things many people dislike because why not)

I have a lot of pet peeves (things that annoy me). Seeing hair in a plate totally makes my appetite go away. When people talk while they chew, I can feel my stomach turn.

Here are a list of things that I will rank from disgusting ๐Ÿคฎ to intolerable ๐Ÿ˜ฑ to infuriating ๐Ÿ˜  to “I couldn’t care less” ๐Ÿ™„ to “what’s the big deal?” ๐Ÿ˜’ and finally to “actually, I like this!” ๐Ÿ˜…

Using the above emoticons.

Here we go.

1. Country music: ๐Ÿ™„

I rarely listen to music, but when I do, I don’t listen to country music.

2. Blue cheese: ๐Ÿคฎ

Mold. Fungus. You get the idea.

3. The word moist: ๐Ÿ™„

Words are powerful, yes, but I think the only words that make me cringe are swear words.

4. Cigarettes: ๐Ÿคฎ

They smell revolting. They’re bad for your health. They’re toxic, and the smoke makes me cough and my eyes water. Also, I’m convinced they’re prohibited in Islam.

5. Reality TV: ๐Ÿ˜ 

I think all reality tv is fake. When you know you’re on camera, you act differently. There is no way that reality tv is real. It’s rehearsed and overdramatic and just a waste of time.

6. Loud chewing: ๐Ÿคฎ

Lips smacking. Mouth opening, showing the food inside. The noise makes me want to throw up.

7. Mushrooms: ๐Ÿ˜…

I used to only eat the canned mushrooms, but once I tasted fresh mushrooms, I fell in love. They’re good with pasta, chicken, meat, and salad. But they’re really expensive in this economic crisis we’re going through in Lebanon.

8. Astrology: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I feel strongly against anything that goes against Islam. Of course, for non muslims, to each their own, but when muslims read and believe in astrology, as if fate and God mean nothing, it makes me feel really self righteous. Nevertheless, I must remember not everyone has the same islamic background as me, so many people are unaware that astrology is involved with witchcraft and the devils trying to listen in on the angels in the sky.

9. Early mornings: ๐Ÿ˜…

I’m an early riser, not 5am but more like 8 or 9am,sometimes 7. Sometimes I have trouble going back to sleep after Fajr (dawn) prayer, like today, because I’m anxious to do something specific or have a lot on my mind. When I wake up at 10am,I feel groggy and disoriented amd grumpy the whole day. Besides, I’m more productive when I wake up early.

10. Hair in the drain: ๐Ÿคฎ

Just yuck. Especially if it’s not my hair. In my house, I put this thing on top of the drain to catch the hair before it gets clogged and disgusting.

11. Republicans: ๐Ÿ˜ 

The only thing I hate more than injustice is flaunting injustice and being proud to be racist and rude arrogant and…๐Ÿ‘€ I mean, everyone has the freedom of political opinion but… Come on!

12. Waiting: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I don’t like it when someone wastes my time and keeps me waiting. I got used to it, because people in Lebanon are fashionably late, but it still annoys me. If there is a long queue to get something I want, for FREE, I wouldn’t stand in that queue.

13. A tall glass of cold dairy milk: ๐Ÿ˜…

Yum. I mean, with a peanut butter and jam toast. Heaven on earth. I’m not even going to start on those who drink almond milk. I mean God created cows, sheep, and goats, so you could squeeze an almond?! Anyway, you do you. I like my milk from a cow.

14. Sleeping warm: ๐Ÿ˜…

I can’t sleep without covering, no matter how hot it is. In fact, I usually get cold while sleeping in hot weather, with the AC off.

15. Silence: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Awkward. Deafening. Especially in an argument. Yell at me but don’t give me the silent treatment. In social gatherings, silence makes me want to lie in a hole ๐Ÿ•ณ especially when everyone is looking at me.

16. Bad weather: ๐Ÿ˜’

I like sunshine and I like rain. I think there’s no such thing as bad weather, except hurricanes and tsunamis and avalanches.

17. Small talk: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

The reason why I have social anxiety. I’m not interested in shopping and gossip and makeup. I’m not good at finding people’s favorite color and favorite number. I’m not good at giving personal information without giving TMI, so I just sit quietly and hope nobody knows what’s going on inside my head.

18. Raw tomatoes: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I can’t. I can tolerate it in a salad, occasionally, but to actually cut a tomato and eat it next to something. No. The skin on the tomato wierds my teeth out.

19. The dentist: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I admit, I haven’t been to the dentist in 3 years. I know I need to go, but the smell. The sound of that zing thing. Having my mouth opened and afraid I’ll swallow my tongue or choke on my saliva, or have my tongue cut by that zing thing if I move my tongue the wrong way. It’s all too much.

20. Cilantro: ๐Ÿ™„

I mean I use it in my cooking, but I don’t crave it.

21. Traffic: ๐Ÿ˜’

Yes, traffic is annoying, and I’ve never driven in traffic before. Maybe if I did, I’d switch this to intolerable, but as long as the AC is on in the car and I’m not running late, traffic doesn’t really bother me. I just don’t see how people actually get into fights over traffic. Some people go into RAGE over traffic.

That’s all I have. I totally took this idea from Connor Franta. He made a video on Youtube about just this. I edited the ranking a bit, but I thought it was fun to state my opinion of things nobody really cares what I think of anyway.

How would you rank these things?

What does it mean to “relax”?

Ever since I can remember, people always told me to relax. Too excited, relax. Too angry, relax. Stressed out over exams, relax. But what does it mean to relax? And why is it such a hard state to reach?

What does it mean to relax? Take a break? Be at peace?

Are those people who are described as “chill” or “laid back” considered relaxed? Should you be relaxed all the time or just some of the time?

As someone who has anxiety, I’m not familiar with the feeling of being relaxed. Even when I’m reading a book or watching a movie, I’m on edge to know what will happen.

I worry about tomorrow. I reminisce about yesterday. I try to be mindful, but it’s a struggle. Sometimes I’m able to have a few moments of absolute peace and contentment and I just sit and look at my loved ones and feel so lucky, until a few moments later, my train of thought is crashed by anxiety train, bringing with it doubt, fear, insecurity and overanalyzing every micromovement as a sign that I am not happy and that I was delusional to think I could be a good person.

Back to the main question, what does it mean to relax?

I searched “relax” on pinterest and came up with several things.

In other words, here are some things I don’t find relaxing:

1. A bath with essential oils, candles and a book!

I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, because if those things work for you, good for you. But for me, that’s the instagram version of relax. You know, set up the scene, take pictures, then put everything away. Don’t tell me you actually read books in the bath! Won’t the book get wet? Besides, I tried taking a bath before and got so bored. I shower with lavender and coconut oil so yes the essential oils in the shampoo do have a relaxation effect because they smell and feel good, but I don’t find baths relaxing at all, and a candle in the bath is not so practical.

2. Reading in front of nature or in front of a fire!

Sorry, but, you either focus on the book or the scenery. Sitting by the fire while talking to a friend is relaxing. I did that once. It was nice. But I tried going to the park and reading, and I don’t recommend. I kept getting distracted by the trees and flowers. I find nature in itself relaxing, and reading in itself helps me feel productive and less stressed. But together, it’s too confusing for me.

Now to the things I do find relaxing:

1. Yoga:

Maybe it’s the stretching, or the yoga tune on the application I use, but it works. I rarely do yoga nowadays, (I go through phases), but it really helps, especially on the days I don’t feel like exercising.

2. Reading

On the couch, at a table, completely focused and immersed in a book, no props or instagram settings, just me and a book and my imagination.

3. Looking at a body of water:

Feel better now? For me, it’s watching the waves at the beach, or if you live near a lake, or a river, or the ocean, looking at a body of water is like natural meditation.

4. Trees:

I mentioned above how trees and books don’t mix, and not just because books are made of paper which are made from trees cut down, but also because in order to be mindful, you must not multitask. You need to give your full focus on the relaxing activity. Watch the branches as they sway, listen to the breeze, the birds chirping, the feel of the breeze on your face. Inhale the pure oxygen. The farthest you can be away from pollution is when you’re closest to trees, because they literally purify the air.

5. Mind your diet:

There are certain foods that increase stress and foods that decrease stress. I’m always advised to cut down on caffeine because it increases stress and agitation, but I haven’t brought myself to even cutting down to 1 cup instead of 2 cups a day. However, I eat oats sometimes, and avocado (but rarely) so I guess I have some work to do?

There are many other things you can do to relax, like doing your nails, going for a walk, inviting friends over, taking a nap, coloring, or going to the gym.Basically, relaxing is something you do to feel it. You practice mindfulness to feel mindful, which helps decrease stress and anxiety and helps you feel relaxed. It’s a practice, not a state of mind. Nobody can be relaxed all the time. Chill people are usually lazy, but anxious people can be lazy too.

I just felt that it was an important reminder, with everything going out of control in the world, to focus on what you can control, and relax. If taking a bath with scented candles and a book does that for you, go for it! Just remember that relaxation doesn’t come to you. If you’re feeling anxious, do something to relax. After all, when you’re happy and relaxed, so will everyone around you be. And you will be happier and make others around you happier. It beats yelling all day and getting mentally exhausted from being irritated about everything and everyone.

What inspires me

Hello ๐Ÿ‘‹ everyone,

How have you been?

I’ve been off the blog for 3 days because I was processing.

I kept thinking about what to post but I didn’t have any inspiration. I was consumed by what I was going through.

Anyway, I’m usually inspired to write about my experiences, but only after I process them. Or I process while I write. Sometimes, when you’re going through so much at the same time, it gets difficult to process your feelings and emotions and deduce what you learned from the experience. Also, during these 3 days, I temporarily deleted instagram, just so I don’t accidently vent on there, or get sucked into its vortex of scrolling and comparing my life to the highlight reel of others.

I can’t quite tell you what I’ve learned so far, except that nobody on instagram cares if you just disappear into thin air, because to them you’re not a real person, and also that it’s good to have someone you can share your thoughts with, someone that helps you process, someone you can trust with your secrets and will help you grow, no matter how painful growth is.

That brought me to another thought, what inspires me to write?

Well, I already told you the 1st one:

1. My experiences:

After I process them, or while I process them. I feel like we are defined by how we react to the actions done to us, and the chain of reaction that either results in growth or self destruction is called experience, as long as we learn from it. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we take responsibility for our actions and don’t play the victim, but also stand up for ourselves and don’t let others control us.

2. Friends:

Whether it’s a nice conversation about casual topics, or a deep conversation about parenting styles and childhood trauma, talking to a friend helps me get out of my head and see things from a different perspective. Also, when my friends read my blogs and give me feedback, that inspires me to write more. Sometimes I get suggestions to write about certain topics.

3. Family:

Spending time with family helps me feel gratitude for what I have, it helps me be on my phone less, and it helps me recharge so I can write with fresh energy.

4. Music:

I know many people say music is forbidden in Islam, but I asked about it, and the opinion I decided to follow was that motivational songs (the ones about hope and courage and getting over adversity) are not forbidden, but it’s better to listen to islamic songs about God so you can remember to mention Allah always. I have a love hate relationship with music. Motivational songs inspire me and help me do housework, especially the bathrooms where I can’t mention God’s name, but also they get stuck in my head for months and I end up singing instead of saying athkar. So I try to listen to podcasts instead, but I’m not always in the right mindset to sponge the wisdom of podcasts. That being said, I haven’t listened to music for a while because I’m trying to say athkar instead.

5. Podcasts:

The best way to listen to a podcast is to take notes, but I don’t have time for that. As I mentioned above, I listen to podcasts while I clean the bathrooms, so it’s a bit tricky to take notes. Plus, I get restless or bored if I’m listening without doing something. I’m always multitasking, except when I’m writing. One podcast I recommend is Pick The Brain podcast.

6. YouTube videos:

I watch psychology videos like psychtogo and islamic reminders like freequraneducation and they really help me reflect and inspire me to write.

7. Instagram and Pinterest:

The reason why I didn’t say social media as a whole, is because although I have facebook and twitter, I don’t use them, and as a visual person, Instagram and Pinterest provide direct inspiration whether it is through memes, motivational quotes, tips and tricks, etc…

8. Google:

A lot of times, when I’m lost or confused about something, I google it. I don’t always recommend this method, but many times, I get some pretty good answers. Google also helps me when I have to research for a blog post.

9. Nature:

Being in nature makes me feel at peace. The beauty of flowers, trees, sunshine, the breeze. I finally took my son to the park yesterday after 4 months of it being closed due to covid, and it was much needed. The pictures I took were inspiration enough.

10. Books:

Bookworm alert! I’ve read 30 books (that I own) in the past 11 months. I also borrowed 5 books from my sisters and read them. Some books inspire me, like feeling good and crucial confrontations which are self help books. I’m also inspired by novels. Sometimes a sentence stands out to me and I get an aha moment.

11. Movies: Those inspirational movies that are really dramatic, where the hero stands up for justice no matter what, or someone overcomes adversity despite having no legs. Those movies inspire me to keep going no matter how much I fail, whether it’s in writing or in parenting or in life in general. Because life’s hard, and we all have problems, so we could use a little motion picture motivation to not give up. Bonus points for a little comedy, to remind me not to take myself, or life, too seriously.

12. God (faith): Last but not least, my faith is what keeps me going on my darkest days. When my views are plummeting, my faith reminds me that I’m not writing for attention, but to make a difference, even if one person reads my blogs and decides not to give up, or to work on self improvement, or to get closer to God to attain inner peace, then I have fulfilled my purpose. My faith is what gets me up in the morning on the days I don’t have the will to live, because I have a duty as a Muslim to raise my son, take care of my household, be good to my parents, read God’s words and spread his teaching while trying to implement them. I wasn’t born to eat, sleep, repeat. I was born to motivate and inspire, to work on myself and grow.

I hope these helped you in some way.

What inspires you to get up in the morning? To write ๐Ÿ“ or create in any other way, whether it’s drawing or baking or just going to work?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Emotionally hungover

Are you familiar with the term “emotionally hungover”? It’s when you got drunk on your emotions (overwhelmed by them), then vented something really personal to one or more people (in my case, instagram), then blacked out (felt instant relief upon venting), only to wake up the next day groggy, heavy, and full of regret, and a pounding headache.

Just so you know, I have never had an alcoholic beverage, but people in movies always seem to be drinking and getting drunk, so I have an idea what it’s like theoretically.

Don’t bother checking my instagram. I deleted the story I’m talking about. Only people mean enough to screenshot it, pass it around and mock me behind my back have it.

I think I made up the term emotionally hungover. Hold on. It’s a real term, urban, but real!

Emotional hangover:
The feeling you wake up with in the morning after an emotional breakdown from the night before. This feeling is sometimes a result from an argument, a deep sadness, an unfortunate loss, a break-up, drama, strong feelings of regret, conflicting emotions, etc.
Typically the night before, you have trouble sleeping – you may even be physically tired yet remain mentally awake – which might involve tossing and turning all night long, a constant vigilance of the clock, and attempts to read or watch TV to try and sleep quicker.
Instead of sleeping away your sadness and waking up refreshed, the feelings come back to make you feel bad, maybe even worse. Now that you’ve had time to dwell on the situation and ponder your own feelings, repeating those feelings again the next day makes it sting a bit more.
Sometimes an emotional hangover is followed by ambivalence(conflicting emotions), stress, more drama, and/or just a really bad mood.
This is bad especially if you aren’t a morning person. Usually this feeling comes to you when you least expect it: when someone mentions the situation to you, when you go online to check your mail, listen to some music, on your way to work/school, etc.

Anyway, I’m not further venting. This is a post to give tips on how to get over an emotional hangover, and if possible, prevent it? I just wish I had the ability to keep everything in, or at least let it out disguised, or not to the whole world. I wish I was secretive. Life would have been so much easier. How many times do you vent about something, only to regret it later?

I read several times about the difference between venting and complaining, and technically, I don’t vent. I complain, and I need to stop.

Hereโ€™s the thing. I never thought of myself as someone who complains a lot, until 6 years ago, when someone pointed it out to me. The thing is, I don’t think I ever learned how to process my emotions. Anytime I felt anything negative, as a teenager, I’d vent to my dad, cry, feel better, move on. When that stopped working, or when there was something I couldn’t vent to my dad about, I’d vent to a friend, or friends. Oh if only I had the power to make everyone I know forget all my secrets and things I vented to them about…

But the world doesn’t work that way. Once you say something, you can’t take it back, especially if you say it on the internet. Now that I think about it, I think most of my communications have become on the internet: texting, sending voice messages, and occasional voice or video calls. It’s as if I don’t know how to communicate face to face anymore. That’s an exaggeration. But I much prefer texting to calling nowadays.

Back to the solution, how to get over an emotional hangover:

Well I don’t know. I was hoping you could tell me! Just kidding, of course I researched it. Now that I mentioned Google, I wish Google would forget everything it knows about me too.

The solution is

Self care everyday

Not so simple or easy, according to talkspace.

1. Eat a healthy meal

It’s like this solution is laughing at me in my face. My situation with healthy eating is “the struggle is real”. Everything that happens in my life, when I look for a solution, they say eat healthy. Like, yeah okay I’ll just chew on this celery and hope for the best. Anyone interested in becoming my diet coach? All you need to do it watch me all day and snatch junk food from my hands before it gets to my mouth, and make me eat salad and fruits (preferably prepare them for me too).

2. Exercise

Another sarcastic laugh. Ha. Sorry I’m a bit cynical today because I’ve been trying to make exercising daily a habit for a long time. How come my sisters and mom were able to do it but not me? I either don’t have the right motivation or, I don’t know, I’m out of excuses.

3. Journal it

Unfortunately, I feed on feedback. My blog and instagram are my journal. At least I could have put the instagram story “close friends” only, so I’d regret 7 people seeing it instead of 21, out of which only 1 person reacted to my story, leaving me feeling like the others didn’t care about my demise, or were disgusted by my openness. Actually, I do write journal thoughts in my notes sometimes, label them “personal” and don’t show them to anyone, or maybe show them to one person. I need to get the need for constant feedback out of my system, because it masks my need for approval. Ugh, I can’t talk about a simple thing without going into psychological lingo.

4. Spend time with loved ones

This one actually works for me. As much as I get overwhelmed when I don’t get me time, in general being with my husband and son brings me joy, sometimes irritation, but mainly joy. I feel incredibly lucky. When I visit my parents, my phone usage goes from 5 hours a day to 2 hours. They say spend time with people who make you forget to look at your phone, and in this digital age, I think that’s important.

5. Get creative

No problem there. Writing is my form of creativity. Oops. I see the problem. My problem is I vent too much through typing, but I’m really good at it. Maybe try to vent without mentioning what happened? Get creative about it. I’m practically advising myself at this point. I can also draw but I don’t like to. I only do it when my son begs me to.

So that’s it, I guess. I think maybe I got too much into enneagrams, because it says that people with my enneagram type tend to:

Withhold themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity.

Maybe I forget that I have the power to change, to not succumb to my bad habits. I’m so self aware but so reluctant to change myself. I say I try, but do I really?

I know that nobody is perfect, and I know that I open up too much. I guess I need to learn how to process my emotions without complaining.

Just a quick clarification on the differences between venting and complaining, before I wrap up this blog.

Whereas venting is an acknowledgement of YOUR emotion around a subject, complaining is pretty passive and it’s usually never going to come to a resolution until this person stops doing whatever you’re unable to handle. One is an expression of emotion that moves you forward or at least through.

I hope this blog benefitted you.

Do you ever get emotionally hungover?

Do you have any bad habits you want to break or good habits you want to build?
Let me know in the comments.

List of TV shows to binge watch

I’m a book person, and I don’t normally encourage binge watching, because too much TV is bad for your health.

However, I wanted to share my favorite TV shows that I binge watched (all of them are my favorites). They belong to different genres so you may like some but not others.

1. F. R. I. E. N. D. S.

2. Desperate Housewives

3. The Mentalist

4. House M. D.

5. Teen Wolf

6. The Good Doctor (I only watched season 1)

7. Pretty Little Liars

8. Smallville (I only watched seasons 1, 2 and 3)

9. The Vampire Diaries (I just finished season 1)

10. Revenge

I am going to take a break from TV shows and maybe watch 1 movie once a week, because I’ve been getting daily migraines for a week and my watching 1 to 5 episodes a day may have contributed to that.

But when I come back, I plan on either finishing The Vampire Diaries or starting on the long list of shows I’m dying to watch.

1. Medium

2. Ghost Whisperer

3. New Girl

4. The O. C.

5. One Tree Hill

6. Girl Meets World

7. Grey’s Anatomy

Are you binge watching anything lately?

Have you binge watched any of these shows?

How to stay focused

It took a lot of focus to keep my mind rolling on the key points of this blog. I began to think to myself, how do I stay focused?

1. To do lists

I can’t say this enough. When I write a to do list as soon as I wake up, I have a general idea how my day is going to play out. Of course, a lot of things may happen unexpectedly, but in general, I usually get 80 to ๐Ÿ’ฏ of my tasks done, unless I’m really exhausted or I go out when I hadn’t planned to go out. It’s hard to stay focused all the time, and following a to do list everyday can be tedious. So once in a while, I leave 3 days to do list free, usually the weekends, so I can just go with the flow and not worry if I’m being productive enough or not.

2. Prioritize

Depending on my mood and energy levels, I decide if this day my focus will be on housework, reading, writing, spending time with my son, or socializing (aka calling my family).

3. Do the tasks that need the most focus when you are most energetic

If you’re a morning person, that would be early mornings. If you’re a night owl, that would be in the evening.

4. Eat healthy

I struggle with this a lot, but I know that there are certain foods that enhance cognitive function, like walnuts and almonds, or fish. Foods high in added sugars make you groggy and unfocused.

5. Balance between activities that use your body and those that use your mind

You cannot be inside your head all the time. Reading and writing uses a lot of mental energy. When I feel mentally overwhelmed, I get up and do a light workout or go for a short walk. Moving distracts your mind and helps recirculate your blood.

That’s all I have for now. I hope my tips help. There are more tips, like don’t multitask and sleep 7 to 8 hours a day and do activities that destress you because stress decreases cognitive functions, including the ability to focus.

How do you stay focused?

10 habits I need to stop

I’ve been working on self improvement ever since I got married. Although sometimes I feel I’m making progress, there are days when I feel utterly hopeless and I’m convinced that I can’t change and that I’m not fit to be a wife or a mom or a housewife. I know the feeling is temporary but since it lasts for days, and sometimes weeks, it feels like it’ll go on forever. I literally have written down a list of my flaws, but this isn’t the list.

This is a list of habits I need to stop:

1. Staying on my phone for an hour or two after I go to bed, even after my hand hurts from holding the phone.

2. Explaining my actions to people.

3. Seeking validation in everything I do, and getting depressed when I don’t get that validation.

4. Taking everything personally against me.

5. Going into too much detail when I’m talking, even after I notice the other person got bored.

6. Over reacting to every single stressor of my day to day life.

7. Going into despair and calling myself a bad mom and convincing myself I can’t change everytime I lose my patience.

8. Making up scenarios in my head and believing them as true because of a look someone gave or a word they said.

9. Taking out my anger on everyone around me and saying hurtful things and then regretting them later.

10. Venting and oversharing when I’m feeling down.

What are some things you’d like to change about yourself?

Top 5 books to read for self improvement and happiness

I read a lot. You probably know this by now. I started reading rewrites of novels at the age of 10 (which are smaller versions of the original novel) and I advanced into novels by the age of 14. I stopped reading at 17 because I got busy with university, but then when I was 20, a friend of mine took me to Antoine bookstore and going there opened my eyes to self help books. The 1st self help book I read was The Positive You. After that, I spent years buying self help books, thinking they would fix me. Then I stopped when I got married at 22, and I went back to novels almost 3 years ago (I was 25) because there were no self help books at the library. In August 2019, I started reading feeling good and it gave me the thirst for self help books again. I downloaded an app that allowed me to read any book for free, and I read crucial confrontations and 4 other books that were not self help books, but then corona pandemic started and the app is not free anymore and I don’t have time anyway so I uninstalled it. In this economy, I don’t know when I’ll be able to get my hands on another self help book. I actually have about 10 self help books as pdfs on my phone and laptop, but I prefer paperbacks to ebooks so I haven’t read them yet, but I’ll get to them one day.

After that long backstory, here are the top 5 self help books I’ve read that I ๐Ÿ’ฏ recommend for you to read and if you can, keep to reread again later:

1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I read this book years ago and it stuck in my head. I actually own this book and I keep planning to reread it but new books keep coming up. This book, as far as I remember, explains the habit loop and why it’s hard to break bad habits and provides methods to make healthy habits. I think it’s important to read this book because everything we do comes down to habits. It’s the little habits that make or break a person, tiny habits done day in and day out make you lose weight or build a career or whatever it is you want to do.

2. The Positive You and The Positive Us by Anita Papas

These are concise books written by a Lebanese and they provide a manual on how to be an optimistic person with yourself 1st and then with others. I read these 8 years ago and then reread them 2 years ago and I think in this difficult time, I need to reread them again.

3. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns

This one took me a long time to finish. I was going through a bout of depression and it is filled with worksheets and things you need to try. It’s not a novel like book about someone just relating their experiences. It is written by a psychologist (or is it psychiatrist?) and has detailed methods to overcome depression. I definitely need to reread this soon.

4. Crucial confrontations

I read this as an ebook from the application I was using. I had so many other ebooks on my bookshelf but sadly I wasn’t able to read them. I also had a lot of parts of the book highlighted for future reference. This book helped me realize that I was confronting a lot of my issues passive aggresively, and gives a detailed methodology in contronting people who have authority over you, like your boss, or your husband, and how to deal with colleagues and employees. I wish I had the book as a paperback. I would definitely reread it. This book has a prequel called Crucial Conversations, which I would also love to read.

5. Emotional equations by Chip Conley

This book is about a CEO and the struggles he faced and what he learned. It teaches you how to process your emotions and act accordingly in order to be happy. I lost this book and I feel horrible about it because I desperately feel like I need to reread it during these times.

There are a lot more books I’ve read and recommend, but these are the top 5. I’m the type of person who considers every new book I read my new favorite book, unless I hate it, in which case I don’t read past the 1st 2 chapters. I also recommend “You are what you did” and all of Pablo Quelho’s books. I recommend “100 reasons to be happy” and much more. Basically these are all books aimed at self improvement and dealing with the stresses of life, but they are useless if you’re just going to read and not apply any of them.

There is also a long list of books I’d love to read, self help and otherwise, but being stuck at home with a husband and son doesn’t leave much me time. I’m being busy all day then spending 2 hours in bed reading, writing and scrolling.

Do you have any book recommendations for me?

10 things that make me happy

I just read a blog post by my friend Betul with this title and she recommended whoever wants to write their own list, so I couldn’t resist.

So here is my list:

1. The beach

Watching the waves come ago, especially during a sunset, is natural meditation for me.

2. Chocolate

This is my comfort food when I’m stressed out, especially dark chocolate or chocolate with nuts.

3. My son’s laugh

It’s the most beautiful sound in the world

4. Flowers

All the colors and types of flowers ๐Ÿ’

My favorite scent is white lilies.

5. Rainbows

There is something about a rainbow that brings me joy

6. Reading

Whether it’s blogs or books or ebooks.

7. Writing

For me, writing has become as essential as eating and drinking.

8. Rain

The sound of the rain, the raindrops on the window, the flash of the lightening and the rumble of the thunder. It’s a mood.

9. Spending time with my loved ones

Being with people who make you forget about your phone is priceless, whether they are friends or family.

10. Quraan

Last but not least, when I read God’s words out loud with tajweed and actually feel them while acknoledging the meaning, it transforms me.

What are the top 10 things that make you happy?

Comment below

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