Feel that winter wind blow cold

It’s dark by five o’clock in the evening.

You can’t walk anywhere without your toes starting to freeze.

The air outside fills your lungs with a sharp pain.

Family and friends have returned home and you’re left by yourself.

The bustle of the holidays and of last second to do lists suddenly slows.

And you’re left feeling empty. 

Does this sound familiar to you? It’s certainly been my reality for the last little while. Coming back to work at the beginning of this new year with little to do and even less to look forward to has certainly been a fallout that has hit me harder than I ever expected. I’ve definitely always been prone to some unhappier feelings at this time of year, I’m just not sure they have ever hit me so hard. I was so busy and had so much to look forward to every day during December that coming back to January and finding things at a slow pace both at work and in my personal life was a major letdown. And it was one that really sunk in a little deeper than I ever should have let it.

So why share all this? Well, as always, this blog is an honest reflection of my journey in life to be healthier and happier. I would be a complete fraud if I only showed the good times. My life is not all motivational speeches and delicious eats. It’s a mixture of ups and downs, and feelings that are felt deeply, whether they are positive or negative. It’s important that I share this, not only for myself, but for those of you who might feel it too. I want you to know that you are not alone.

I think often times when we see someone thriving after struggling with mental illness for some time, it can be easy to dismiss that issue as something that happened in the past. But more ad more I’m beginning to understand what happened to me is a larger part of who I am and not simply a singular event. I may not be that bad now, maybe not ever again because I’ve learned better coping mechanisms and I’ve learned to seek out help when I need it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still there. Coming to understand things this way has actually been helpful, it’s allowing me to really comprehend the darker times when they come without much warning and explanation.

For those of you who follow this blog, you may have noticed the lack of post last week and the delay in this one as well. There was supposed to be a post last Sunday. It was supposed to be all poutine pizza and lightsaber battles but then Blue Monday came early for me. I spent the weekend in a misery that I couldn’t quite put a name to.

It’s just the weather. It’s the time of year. It’s because you spent too much time alone this week. 

These suggestions from my mother didn’t add up in my head to equal the immense amount of pain I was in. I couldn’t see them cumulating in a desperate desire to not exist, and it was that inability to link a direct cause to the effect that made me angry. Because if I didn’t understand where it was coming from, how could I do anything about it?

It took some time but eventually I came to see that my mom was right. I couldn’t find a direct cause because there was no singular thing making me feel that way, it was a combination of factors. Just as I started this post; the weather, the darkness, the lack of plans, and the letdown from being so busy for so long, had led to major crash. For me, this time of year is especially difficult because I find it harder to get out and do things which gives my mind too much idle time.

Recognizing all this is great and important, you should try and stay in touch with your feelings and the way they affect you. But it’s also important to recognize that there are things that you can do. So what does that look like?

Well here’s what I did; I allowed my parents to force me out of the house last Sunday even when I wanted to stay in bed. A few hours of shopping, movies, and a late lunch date gave me the chance to get out of my head for a little while. It didn’t instantly make things better but it forced me out of the corner of my mind I had crawled into. From there, I had the mental strength to go into work on Monday morning with a brave face. We had staff training on Indigenous Culture that ended up being more helpful than I could have ever imagined. I was able to release some of my negative energy, and I was given some useful tools from their teachings that would help me move forward.

You see, when teaching some of the stories behind the medicine wheel, the facilitator noted that at the different times in their creation stories they were given the gifts they needed at that specific time. This idea allowed me to reflect on my journey through mental illness and mental health in a new way; along each step of the way I’ve been given the gifts I needed. Sometimes was therapy or weekly trips home to be with my parents, most recently it was the chance to be part of an organization that truly meant something to me and gave meaning to the work I put into my schooling. And now, the gift I needed was the clarity to be open with myself about what was going on and how this part of me is always there. It’s not just something I experienced once upon a time ago, it’s a piece of me.

Emotionally, I was able to open up and really allow myself to feel what my mind wanted me to. I was able to acknowledge the unhappiness and trauma. I began to understand that too much idle time was not good for me and that I would have to do something to change that or to manage my reactions when stuck in that situation.

On the practical side I made plans; I busied myself at work, I made a date with friends and family to visit them at home, I had Matt take a night off so we could spend some time together. I opened up to my boss about what was going on and was able to get some support at work to make things better moving forward. Lastly, I did a crazy spontaneous thing and booked a three day vacation to Disney World with my best friend.

So, obviously my exact plan of action isn’t going to work for everyone and it might not even be possible for some of you. But I hope that it at least provides some ideas. Whether it’s taking yourself out for coffee, heading to the movies for a few hours, or facing the cold to get some fresh air, I hope you’re able to find ways to pull you out of those January blues. Remember; it’s okay to take a day and to feel your misery, as long as you don’t allow yourself to stay there forever. Create a plan, see what works, and slowly but surely things will get better. If you can’t run away to Disney World, bring the magic to yourself instead.

I encourage you all, if you’re struggling right now, to take a moment to step back and really look at your situation. Don’t just push it down. Don’t ignore the feelings, don’t pretend they don’t exist. It will not do you any good in the long run. Get yourself the help you need. There is help out there and it looks different for everyone. There is no shame in admitting that something is wrong, it’s one of the strongest things you can ever do.


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Well, we made it through the first week of 2018; I don’t know about anyone else but it sort of felt like things were moving in slow motion. But now that I’ve had some time to settle into this new year it is time to finally blog about health and weight loss again. It seems in the absence of posts there has also been an absence of effort on my part. I knew when I started working full time I would find it harder to keep up with the healthy routines I had started back when I had nothing but time on my hands. I told myself all those steps I was getting by giving tours and running around for my duties as office coordinator were enough to keep me on a level playing field. I was hitting 20,000 steps some days so surely that should have been enough to counteract the fact that I wasn’t traditionally working out anymore. Maybe it would have been had I not stopped being mindful of what I was eating.

The occasional dinner out turned to frequent takeout orders and running out to grab something for lunch rather than bringing a full and healthy meal. I slowly but surely sabotaged myself, and I let it happen by using the excuse that it was just a busy month. But the truth is I’ve been slacking off since August.

I know this post may come as a bit of surprise after just posting about body love last week but just because I’m trying to change things does not mean I can’t have body confidence too. It means I recognize what a healthier lifestyle did to not only empower me but to help me. I’ve noticed some negative changes about my health that don’t centre around my weight gain or the size of my pants. Mostly it’s back pain that has come back to consistently bother me after having disappeared during those months of working out, and there’s a lethargic feeling that I’m sure comes from all the crap I’m eating.

I’m going to be very blunt about this: I’m not stepping on a scale. It was months ago that I read that number in the 180s and I know I’m not there anymore but I’m not going to drive that nail into my own coffin. I’m not a failure for gaining some weight back. I had more important things to focus on and at the time finding balance wasn’t really an option. Now that I’m comfortable in my job (and only working one) it’s time to focus up again and I’m going to do so by building a strong foundation and I am going to do that without beating myself up.

The disappointed and frustrated girl in me wants desperately to put on some hard workout and force myself back into those good habits. I want to eat nothing but chicken and broccoli for the next week just to try and get back what I lost… or in this case lose what I gained. But I know that plan is foolish, I know it will just backfire and I’ll likely end up digging this ditch even deeper. Pushing yourself too hard out of the gate will make you hate something and if you hate something you won’t do it.

So I’m going to start small with a basic foundation that will be the first step back to the awesome healthier life I was living before. In creating this foundation for myself I’ve decided to focus on things I know have helped ease me in before. This comes in three different sections: workouts, meals, and limitations. So lets explore them, shall we?


  • Darebee’s Foundation Program to start
  • Using my fitbit every day to track steps
  • Aim for 10,000 steps 5x a week
  • Start swimming again in the morning at least 2x a week


  • Resume meal prepping to curb impulsive takeout orders
  • Fruits and veggies every damn day
  • Limited snacks, even when they’re ‘healthy’ snacks
  • Weight watchers old point system to help guide me
  • Tracking / writing everything down


  • Picking up lunch at work will only be for special occasions
  • Eating out is limited to twice a month
  • No more chocolate, chips, etc. in the house

So there’s the new game plan. I did so well at the beginning of last year and while the changes were slow they were steady. I felt a lot better about myself and I also felt a lot better physically. Lately I’ve been feeling weighed down and I know my eating habits and lack of activity has something to do with that. So it’s back to the base of things. It’ll be a slow start once again but I’m going to stick with it. If anyone has any advice to pass along, I’d be happy to hear it!

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