Spice up your sleep routine in 7 easy steps!

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Up until a month ago I used to be the girl that slept until the final second of her alarm before having to bolt out of the door in a flurry and #hot-mess like appearance (often late for work)! That is, until I decided it was time I started #adulting and committed to getting my sh*t sorted and establishing a sleep schedule!

If you’re not a morning person like myself or have a difficult time getting to or staying asleep, this one’s for you: 

Set the mood – Girl, it’s time to get a lil bit romantic up in here with your self-care and sleep regime! From 8pm (or whatever works for you) it’s time to ditch the boyfriend, get in the bath with some Epsom salts, light some candles, chuck on that face mask and jam some meditation (or whatever your white-girl equivalent must-have music may be) to create that perfeeeeect insta-worthy sleep set up before we head off to dream land.

Common things to avoid before catching those Z’s – avoid alcohol and eating before bed. Both of these prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Instead, opt for some warm lemon water or a herbal tea to send you off into that blissful state of relaxation!

Exercise – Opting for some form of low impact exercise prior to bed can aid in relaxation and promote deeper sleep. In other words, this makes you tired enough so that you’ll sleep straight through the night. Not an exercise feen? Activate your mind and grab a pad of paper to write, doodle or draw on! I hear adult colouring books are becoming quite the thing for us Millennial’s?

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Take baby steps – start slowly by waking up earlier than you normally do, like 15 minutes for the first week, 20 minutes the following and so forth until you reach your goal time.

Create and stick to a sleep schedule – even if you don’t fall asleep right away, at least make it a habit to start getting into bed at a set time every night. Mine, is IN BED by 9-9:15 and GIRL GET YO BUTT TO SLEEP BY 9:45 LATEST OR YOU WILL BE SHITTY AF TOMORROW (it works OK).

Stay away from bright lights – electronics, such as your TV and smartphone, produce light that stimulates your brain. Instead of watching Netflix, read for an hour.

Listen to your body/circadian rhythm – this is your body’s clock telling you when to sleep and when to wake-up. Since it’s a part of nature, try camping for a couple of days to get back on-track (maybe not in winter team) or keeping a journal of when you normally go to bed for a week prior to beginning your new sleep regime.

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My key takeaways from trying this: It wasn’t easy, and I still don’t love getting up earlier  or going to bed earlier either,  but all of these activities help me and I feel I am a happier, healthier person both physically and mentally. Since implementing a sleep schedule I’ve been taking better care of myself and that can’t be a bad thing, right?!

Give it a go team and let me know your feedback!

Until next time my loves,

N x

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5 Strategies for Building Assertiveness & Self Confidence Skills Successfully

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2018 started with a bang. We all planned goals to smash and it’s already halfway through the year! Crazy huh? What was mine? To be more confident! Believe it or not – despite being an incredibly loud person I struggled immensely for years (my entire life lol) with self-confidence and assertiveness. Graduating and taking on the corporate world had me quickly learn that this had to change!

So what did I do? I built myself a tool kit!

Boost self-confidence & assertiveness skills by checking out my 5 top tips below: 

Communicate with confidence – it’s all in the body language! Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and conversing with different people is the first and single most important step to increasing assertiveness and self-confidence. #Fakeittillyoumakeit!

Tune into your own emotions – get to the root cause of your self-confidence barriers. Tune into your own emotions and that of others to become aware of your needs and theirs. Personally, I find that creating a list of pros and cons before actioning an idea to be extremely beneficial.

Take charge of difficult situations – learning how to control and navigate difficult situations will boost your self-confidence and communication skills greatly. Tactics like questions, distractions and speaking in a persuasive tone are all important. Listen actively. Don’t strive for conflict but instead aim to reach a common ground. Remember to remain open to suggestion while being confident in your opinion during discussion.

Become a leader – building leadership skills require both determination and effort. Being well organised is key. Create a daily schedule, set goals, prioritise and make a reason for people to listen. Hard work earns respect. A leader is not born overnight.

Public Speaking – Eek! Voluntarily speaking in public you’re kidding right? I know I know… but HOW MANY times do you panic about a presentation at work or Uni? Wouldn’t you rather get the practice in and put your mind at ease? There are SO many useful clubs out there like Toast Masters that can literally TEACH you how to talk to someone. Take it from ya girl here… it helps!

Until next time my loves!

N x

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone – why uncertainty it’s important for personal growth

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Your 20’s are supposed to be some of the most important and shaping years of your life.  Being a woman in her early 20’s the world feels like your oyster! Finishing Uni, landing a new job/career, moving out… it all seems great (and stressful)! If 2018 has taught me anything so far… it is how to adapt to change!

If everything seems ‘too good‘ you’re probably not living life to your full potential. Being ‘too comfortable’ can often lead to boredom or sense of lack of growth/ambition to persue your goals. Many people are often so comfortable that they end up feeling enslaved and tied to the 9-5 grind.

Our own ignorance is greater than us all – as humans, if we think we are not good at something or for it to be threatening we often chose to avoid it. This is because to many the fear of the unknown is something we would rather chose to avoid. However, is this really embracing change? 

Uncertainty is the root of all progress and self-growth – realistically, you have two choices. 1 – remain comfortable and avoid mentally and physically stretching yourself or 2 – push yourself out of your comfort zone and give yourself room to grow.

Uncertainty removes the judgement of others and of ourselves – it’s a fact, we don’t know lovable we are, how attractive we may be or successful we could potentially become. The only way to discover these things is to remain uncertain of them and be open to finding them out through experience. 

Those who believe they know everything in fact knows nothing and are those who are not willing to change a quote by author/ blogger Mark Manson in the ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ and one that ultimately changed my perception on how to view and reflect on situations. It should be clear by now that we cannot learn by not embracing change. The more we question our own beliefs and put ourselves forward to embracing new experiences the more room we have to adapt and grow. You don’t actually know if you’re good or not at something until you try right?

The only way to move forward is to question our own beliefs and actions up till now– having a sense of being open to being wrong and taking responsibility for our actions must exist for any self-growth to take place learn from new experiencea. Before we able to better our values and what is truly important to us we must be placed in a circumstance of uncertainty.

My advice? Embrace uncertainty and grab it by the balls! Stop resenting the past and worrying about the future.  If you want to set one goal this year… focus on living each day at a time and learn to live in the ‘now’.

Take that trip, move countries, move to a new house 4 times like I did (or don’t… it’s a mish!). But seriously, what is the point in remaining in the same place if you simply know within yourself that you are not happy? Stop focusing on what others think and put yourself first for a change. After all, this is YOUR life remember.

We cannot change the way others think or act, but we do have the ability to change how we react to situations.  

At the end of the day… your 20’s are for messing up, living life, learning life and finding out who you are. Good experiences, bad experiences it is ALL a learning curb.

Until next time my loves!

N x

Adrenal Fatigue – Is stress slowing you down & wearing you out?

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Do you feel tired all the time but aren’t sure why? Is consistent stress beginning to take a serious toll on your health? Getting a full night’s sleep but still aren’t waking up feeling fresh? You could be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue!

Check out my guide below on how to ensure your best possible chance of hitting the ground running and getting your adrenal health back on track TODAY!

Firstly… WHAT THE HECK IS ADRENAL FATIGUE OR WHAT ARE ADRENAL GLANDS AT ALL YOU ASK?

The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system, and sit just above your kidneys, producing a range of hormones/chemical messengers known as ‘stress hormones’. These include things such as adrenaline and cortisol, sex hormones e.g. progesterone, hormones that help control blood pressure as well as fluid and salt balance/retention. These two walnut-sized glands have the power to pack a BIG punch when dealing with stress to the mind and body.

The adrenal glands respond to short-term stressors such as intense exercise e.g. HIIT, infections, or re-occurring daily stressors by releasing adrenaline/cortisol into the body which increases heart rate as well as blood pressure and can spikes or dips in insulin and blood sugar levels. This is achieved by creating a direct response to the central nervous system commonly known as ‘fight or flight’.

When these apparent ‘short-term’ stresses become long-term (from intensive exercise, work, relationships, chronic illness etc.) the adrenal glands may no longer be able to cope, and hormone levels can drop as a result. Put simply, the ‘fight or flight’ response that once upon a time was designed to protect us from predators and not from the low-grade daily stressors we endeavor has tricked our bodies into going into over-drive. We simply are over-loading our bodies with more stress than they are physically and traditionally designed to deal with.

SIGNS YOUR ADRENAL GLANDS NEED SOME #TLC:

Low libido, sex hormone imbalances, compromised immunity or consistent sickness, fatigue (even after 8 hours sleep), sugar cravings, weight gain/ or plateau, the inability to concentrate and declining desire to achieve goals or do things you once enjoyed.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE THE IMPACT OF ADRENAL FATIGUE?

It is essential to listen to your body and give it the correct nutrition and TLC it requires. Choose your daily exercise or movement options wisely e.g. not out of guilt or calorie expenditure.

Restorative exercise is your best friend – a stroll on the beach with an emphasis on being ‘in the moment’. Take enjoyment and interest in sights, smells and sounds of simply being OUTSIDE. You might find that embracing a breath-focused yoga practice is more energising for you now.

Fill your body with the nutrients it needs – nutrition is key to recovery. I more than anyone wish I had learnt this before I reached the stage where that my once Adrenal Fatigue had translated into Chronic Fatigue/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and spent the next two years in excruciating agony and regret. One major thing that REALLY helped me personally was the reduction/ cutting out completely of dairy, gluten, grains and soy (I am not saying this is all necessary for everyone, but it worked for me!)

Adaptogen herbs – restorative herbs such as can also be highly beneficial such as Withania, Rhodiola and Liquorice Root in helping to repair/support the adrenal glands and in stabilising the immune system. Other vital minerals such as Vitamin C, B and magnesium are vital for effective adrenal gland function and are often used to help combat the impact of prolonged stress e.g. high intensity exercise.

Please note – If you feel as if any of the above information resonates with you I would encourage you to speak to a health professional. All information gathered is strictly from my own personal journey and discussions with my own medical professionals/ consultants and is by no means an intervention for seeking professional help.

lastly, don’t let your stress get the better of you…  love your body enough to take care of it. Act now and keep happy and healthy!

Until next time my loves – N x

Easing Back into Exercise – Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them!

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Whether you’re someone coming back from a long-term injury, illness, or have simply just been out of the gym too long – follow my guide to getting back-on-track safe and sound!

  1. Too much too soon: as a rule of thumb, starting at about 50% is ideal. It is important to go away feeling like you could have achieved ‘more’, not as if you are absolutely exhausted with no will to live (yes, this was totally me after my fist session back two weeks ago… #dramaqueen).

For example, opting for a light walk or a stretching session instead of some Instagram fitness-queen’s ‘Top Booty Builder Death Workout’ constantly being marketed to us.

  1. Forgetting about daily movement: to our body, movement, whether it be incidental or not, is still MOVEMENT. It is important to remember this when you’re loading more on top of your daily routine e.g. increasing your gym-workouts, daily tasks e.g. work, cleaning, or running around with the kids.
  2. Unrealistic expectations: always assess how much movement you can comfortably do before adding to your regime. If you can comfortably do 5-10 minutes of walking or even standing, then adding a 2-3-minute walk on top of this is quite an achievement. If you feel as if you are crashing or feeling particularly fatigued remember to consider whether you are doing too much too soon. Is your body physically well enough for this much exercise yet? Ensure you are stable enough first to do so.

If your body is dealing or fighting with something else e.g. feel rundown, stressed or crashed, etc. do not continue to exercise and re-assess when you have fully recovered. It is better to be safe than sorry!

  1. Overloading/stress-loading: never increase the longevity or difficulty of your workouts by more than 10% at a time when first easing back into exercise. Making sure you are comfortable with your current regime is important before you begin training harder.

 For those of you such as myself with high levels of cortisol (stress-hormone) it is important to remember to stick to low-intensity and restorative exercise such as stretching, walking, or light swimming when first starting out. It is important not to shock/ overload the body with too much too soon.

  1. Getting fixated on results: it’s important to remember that your fitness will not magically come back overnight. Taking a step back and taking a rest day is OKAY and IMPORTANT so that you feel rested and well enough to progress on those days that you DO train to ensure sufficient results over time. It’s also okay to do less that day if you’re not up to it. Do not feel guilty if your body is asking you to change your regime slightly!
  2. Not listening to your body: look after yourself when working out! Keep hydrated, take adequate rest periods and warm up and cool down smartly. To those of you suffering from CFS, Adrenal Fatigue, or dealing with heavily depleted energy levels it is important to remember that you are prone to faster fatigue and dehydration and to act accordingly and listen your body.
  3. You are only human: time for the truth. There is going to be PLENTY of times your mental and physical health will be tested when in the process of recovery. Ensure you are doing the right amount of exercise for where you feel is comfortable in your journey. There is a big difference between doing the right amount of exercise for your body’s physical capabilities compared with what you mentally think you want or SHOULD be doing.

Side note – I am writing this from my own personal experience from my journey back to health and rehabilitation into restorative – exercise. Please remember to seek medical/ professional guidance before beginning any exercise regime post – injury or illness.

Please remember – everyone’s journey is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.  Ultimately, nobody knows your body better than YOURSELF. Trust the process and remember… restorative exercise can still be fun! It has taken me over a year and a half of stopping/ starting back and I am only just beginning to find balance between my mental/physical ability of what I can actually do.

YOU ARE ONLY HUMAN and that’s ok!

Until next time my loves,

N x

 

The non-food reasons you’re constantly craving…

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Cravings. We all have them at one time or another, and while a lot of it can largely be mitigated by building your diet around a foundation of good quality protein, fat and fibre, with the addition of some unrefined carbohydrates, for whatever reason sometimes even this is not enough to withstand the temptation to snack on something you wouldn’t otherwise grab. Not only is it distracting to be thinking about food, cravings do in fact reduce cognitive ability– affecting our ability to recall information.

Why is it that sometimes your energy and appetite is well supported by your diet, and other times they are not? Well, first – it’s not all about the food (obviously!) Here are other reasons for an increase in cravings that are often overlooked.

  1. Lack of sleep: this is one that we can all attest to: a bad night’s sleep makes it more difficult…

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Prioritising Self-Care: 5 Ways to Avoid Burnout

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Ahh burnout! A downward spiral of depleted energy levels, constant ER visits and a sense of guilt I will never forget. This was all too real for me when I reached my lowest point in my journey. The feeling of BURNOUT was all too real!

Rebuilding my life has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done and continue to do. However, the years since being at my lowest have been some of the most rewarding!

Below are 5 effective burnout prevention strategies  to help you slow down and prevent the process of burning out:

1. Finding the Root Cause

Figuring out the root cause of what it is that might be draining your energy levels is the first and single most important step to reducing the on-set of burnout.  Do you feel drained? stressed, or overwhelmed? Do you feel as if you don’t get enough time to yourself between work, family, business responsibilities, etc? Once you figure out what is causing the problem, it is only then that you can give your body what it needs.

Remember – the most important steps to recovery are: Getting enough sleep, relaxation, giving yourself a break, meditation, balance and exercise. These are all essential to a healthy life work-life balance!

2. Putting Yoursel First – Learning to say ‘No’ 

Often we may find ourselves feeling guilty for missing plans or taking time out for ourselves when we feel overwhelmed or fatigued. You WILL feel guilty sometimes – that’s just life. Keep in mind, that your health is your biggest asset! Your family, friends and loved ones deserve a happy and healthy you. Overall, a good tactic of joining in when you can and learning to take time-out or say ‘no’ when you can’t can make ALL the difference.  Be sure to remember – you were made to be healthy and happy. Do not over-exert yourself for those who would not return the favour.

3. Rethink What It Means to Be Selfish

Selfishness is common to be compared with self-neglect. When we neglect self-care, it is easy to lose our health and happiness, become angry or upset and lose our sense of rational thinking.

Correct self-care regimes such as prioritising sleep, correct nutrition and investing time in what we enjoy gives us a sense of energy, joy, and a desire to share the happiness of life with those close to us

Important things to consider when devising your self-care regime:

What gives your life a sense of accomplishment, relaxation, fun, connectedness, expression, or fulfilment in simply being present? What do you do regularly that gives you a sense of self-pride and creativity? Before you can care for others, you need to be happy and make self-care a priority.

4. Recharge Regularly

We are faced in a society where ‘rushing or rushing syndrome’ is an ever-increasing problem. Neglecting your self-care for a few weeks, months or sometimes years can easily result in burn-out. Common symptoms are physically illness, anxiety or depression, exhaustion, or simply finding you do not enjoy life as much as you used too. You may often find yourself tapped out in the middle of a long day. What do you do – reach for that second cup of coffee? Wrong. It’s time to put yourself and hit power-save.

5. Bringing Back Basics

What do I mean by basics? Sleeping, hydration, correct nutrition and learning to let go. Learning to let go of less than important things is VITAL to putting yourself first. This may be that extracurricular activity you took up without really thinking, an extra job or project you thought would make you happy. You may not even realise that this is draining you until it is too late. Unnecessarily checking that Facebook, Tinder (if you use it) and Instagram 200 times a day… it all adds up to over-loading your mind.

KEY TAKEAWAY:

Overall, as individuals we each have a unique set of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional pillars that hold us together (consider these hormones). Remembering to take care of all of these can be draining in itself – but it MUST be done. If you truly want to be happy and healthy – being by looking at YOURSELF before OTHERS.

Take care and until next time my loves!

N x

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Reduce Stress and Increase Positivity

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We all know the incredible power of our subconscious and the impact it can have on our health, right? But just how important is this really?

Ever-increasing demands of living in the 21st century and inability for our body and CNS (central-nervous system) to cope with day-to-day stressors/expectations has led to an ever-increasing amount of stress-related illnesses to sky-rocket.

‘Burnout’ is quickly becoming a one-way-ticket to a generation of declining health. Workplace wellness practices are at an all time high.

But just how effective are these really? Between our responsibility to family, jobs and everything else there is a lot on everyone’s plate and it is no suprise that our health takes a seat on the back-burner. To add more pressure, your full effort and attention are often required in all you do.

It is time for us to take control back for ourselves and change the things that we CAN control like the way we deal and RESPOND to these day-to-day life-stessors.

Here are my 10 top tips to turn around a negative mind-set, reduce stress levels and teach you to prioritize when feeling overwhelmed:

1. Surround yourself with positive people
Everyday life we are surrounded by a variety of people. Some of the people we deal with on a daily basis are a joy to be around and their loving presence nurtures and encourages us. Others may have a negative effect and as a result draining us of our energy, making us feel tired and exhausted. Our well-being can be easily influenced by those around us. Surrounding ourselves with positive people creates room to welcome nurturing and renewed energy allowing for a supportive and healing environment that fosters self-love, growth and ability to care deeper for those around us.

2. Learn to live in the ‘now’
Reducing the feeling of overwhelm can be as simple as pausing, taking a break and revisiting the situation. You are not your thoughts. So why do we let them determine how we feel? Life unfolds in the present. So often we let this slip away. Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace quotes “We’re living in a world that contributes in a major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration and distraction. Living in the ‘now’ is the first foundation of learning to be mindful. Mindfulness is defined as ‘living in the present moment and being with your thoughts as they are right in that moment’. This involves not thinking about the past or future. Put simply, – it is about learning to appreciate and deal with what is happening directly in front of you.

3. Write it down!
Journaling is a great way to get things off your chest. Personally, every day I ensure I write down 3 things that I am grateful for. Since doing this I have noticed a severe increase in happiness and positivity. Do this before you go to bed or just upon waking in the morning for 30 days… you will be amazed at the results!

4. Laugh it out, lighten up and smile!
Seriously … don’t take yourself too seriously! Studies have shown that laughing not only is good for the soul… it’s good for your mental and physical health also!

5. Don’t sit around doing nothing… keep busy!
Personally, I have always been reminded that negativity can often be associated with a lack of purpose or a sense of boredom. Now, you may or not agree with this statement. However, many studies have shown that keeping the mind busy gives us a sense of purpose and ambition which has the ability to flood our body with endorphines.

6. EXERCISE!
We are often surprised at just how many ways our body can hold stress. Exercise, even a stretch or walk in the fresh air can reduce mental or physical stress, release endorphins and send your body flooding with feel-good hormones.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
Letting go of “what if’s” can make all the difference and save you A LOT of stress and worry. Learning to quiet the mind and the best way to replace a negative mindset is to learn the art of meditation. Meditation is more than just relaxation; it is a shift in consciousness. Only when we can move from the limited view of our mind that we will really discover a true source of happiness.

8. Don’t dwell on the negativity of others
As woman – (and some men of course!) it is often in our nature to get caught up in other people’s emotions or issues and forget to put ourselves first. This is dangerous waters. Be kind to yourself and remember to treat yourselves with the same respect as you would others.

9. Give yourself a damn break from that computer/ social media!
In a world dominated by social media it is often hard to imagine life without it. Sharing every detail of our lives has become as much of a routine as breathing. But there are some SERIOUS benefits about a social media detox. How much time do we waste in a day checking Instgram,Facebook, or keeping up with the latest memes? It’s time to try something new to boost creativity. Take the time out and give painting, drawing, or even reading a go … you may even enjoy it!

10. The power of breath
We all breath subconsciously whether you like it or not you’re doing it right now. The effects of inhalation and exhalation extend far beyond the physical exchange of air in and out of the body. Energy is produced through a process of combustion when oxygen combines with a fuel. So, in short, the way your breath can control how your body copes with energy production and how it fights off stress. In short… remembering to BREATH CORRECTLY IS IMPORTANT!

Overall, it takes 30 days to break a habit. Yes, negative thinking IS just as bad IF NOT WORSE than cheating on your diet before bikini season! Negativity = stress and we are no help to ourselves or anyone else when we are stressed or fighting against our own subconscious.

Take care of yourselves my loves – until next time.

N x

Who am I and why on earth am I blogging?!

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Hello all!

For those of you that don’t know me personally – I am Natalia!

I am a 21-year-old Marketing Executive, foodie, blond haired, animal loving girl from the North Shore, Auckland New Zealand. Originally from Poland, I first moved here when I was 4 years old with my parents and brother.

All of you may be asking… why start a blog?

Well! Honestly, it has always been a #bucketlist goal of mine. I LOVE to write you see. Probably comes with the being a Comms student and talking right?

More importantly, I have been struggling with Chronic illness for the last four years and want to let others know about my story. I want other people who are in their early 20’s, younger. or older to know that it IS possible to get back on your feet and that you shouldn’t give up just because you get ‘labelled’ as being ‘sick’.

I spent months telling myself that I would never be the fit little exercise-fanatic that I used to be, jealous of all my friends going to parties every weekend and having fun… the parties I was invited to! #FOMO was all too real.

For those of you who are wondering what I am talking about exactly – this is my story.

In 2015 after suffering multiple episodes of glandular fever and unexplained viruses, multiple hospital trips, specialist appointments, and countless prescriptions for pills with no diagnosis as to what they were treating – I was finally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or more technically known as Fibromyalgia.

The good news? It is now 2 years later, and I am 100x better than I was! What was the cure you ask? Well, that’s the thing with Fibro – there is no cure – it is with you lifelong.

BUT for someone who was once bedridden for 8 months straight – I think I am doing well if I do say so myself! I have an amazing job, an amazing group of friends, I completed uni as well as juggling internships and working part-time. Now all of this was by no means easy and to tell you how and what I did would be another novel and a half.

This will all come in time. What I will say is – trust the process. Generic I know… but it is 100% true. I am the most impatient person ever and having to literally just sit back and let my body ‘do its thing’ is devious and a challenge. Skipping social events because you physically do not have the strength to walk or stand is another thing but the mental challenge it bears is something much greater.

What I am saying is – Everyone is a #warrior. MINDSET is EVERYTHING as I have learnt first-hand from my own experience. We all have SOMETHING that we are going through. Your best friend, mother, neighbour, aunt. Everyone has something they are dealing with. Big or small.

It’s okay not to always be 100% ok and life is quite literally a ‘learning process’.

Trust in this process my loves – you are all incredible and do not let anyone tell you any different ❤

#Wegotthis.