Life

Lately 07

We’re almost a quarter way through 2019, and it feels unreal how fast time is flying by. Getting closer to the end of a chapter of your life is bittersweet – you want it to come and you also never want it to come, all at the same time.

I have been busy to say the least! You may have noticed that both my blog and Instagram have been a little quieter than usual, and that is due to the huge workload and other responsibilities that have been consuming most of my time as of late. As a result, making stuff and writing for the blog hasn’t been very high on my to-do list (but I do want to get back into it a little in my one week of holidays coming around soon).

Next week, I’m off for the week on a beautiful river just outside of South Africa and I’m looking so forward to a week of sunshine, sand, paddling, no phone or signal, and spending time with my friends.

Lately, I have been:

listening to: a bunch of music on Spotify, including all the Sabrina Claudio, and Post Malone (always, always, always).

reading: Grit by Angela Duckworth. Just got into this one, and I’ve heard its a goodie, so I’m looking forward to that.

wearing: this body mist from the Body Shop that smells like a garden in a bottle.

using: this face cream from simply bee

writing: lots in my journal to try and keep calm and stay zen. I also wrote for issue 10 of Comeback magazine.

bullet journaling: to stay on top of all my schoolwork

trying my best to: live in the moment, and enjoy every second of my last year of school

all the love

Nabeela x

January in a nutshell

Real talk. It’s been a grand total of 8 school days since my summer holidays ended, but it feels like I’ve been slaving away for years. I’ve found this slightly concerning due to the fact that I still have approximately 107 days (!!!) of school to go, and that’s not counting the total of about 12 weeks throughout the year that make up exam sessions. I guess this is why people keep telling me to pace myself (i.e. don’t turn into little-miss-frantic-study-work-all-night-team-no-sleep 8 days into the game) SO, as much as I would love to write a nice, neat post on staying calm, and being zen, it’s not quite that simple. Namely because I’m still figuring it out too.

Trying to balance all the homework for classes, essays and assignments, and still having time to study and do all the other school-ish responsibilities leaves me feeling like I don’t have time for much (or anything) else. But, despite the fact that the last few days of school have been, well, hard, something I have been getting right (small victories, friends) is making a little time each evening to wind down a little and help my mind calm down. Mostly it involves a few minutes on the Calm app, and reading a few pages of a book, (and not going to lie, some nights I just skip it, using the argument that its 10 minutes extra of sleep). Anyways, let’s see how long I can keep this whole calm thing up, but I would really recommend you try it. If you are forgetful like me, set a recurring reminder on your phone for around your bed time so that it becomes a routine of sorts. Hope it helps!

And if you need me, I’ll probs be in my room, burning too many aromatherapy candles to try and stay calm, whilst going through the 1214363 tasks in my bullet journal.

Nabeela x

New year things

This is going to be quite a year. A year of many lasts and also, many firsts. For one, I’ve got about seven more months of being a minor, and yes, I intend to make the most of my last few months of not being an adult. (It even feels weird to type that word). Also, it’s my last year of high school, which is, of course, bittersweet to say the least. I’m preparing myself for a pretty manic year, but also reminding myself that it’s about 10 months of hard work, and then nearly 3-4 months of rest time. There are lots of big decisions to make this year, but I’m learning to just take each day as it comes, because dwelling on things for too long will most likely just put me in a big panic, and that’s the last thing I need.

So, this year, I want to do lots of meditating, praying and journaling just to keep control over my thoughts and emotions, and I’ll be popping on here to write, because writing is what I love and its important to make time to do things you love, no matter how crazy things feel.

I’ve decided not to set too many crazy goals and resolutions because they often just turn into yet another avenue for me to place unnecessary pressure on myself, and goodness knows that is not a good look. I’m going to try instead to set one or two ‘focuses’ every month just to have something to be mindful of, and see how that goes.

I honestly hope you have the most wonderful year, and that you learn lots about yourself. There will be ups and downs, and you will get through it.

Happy new year, friends.

Nabeela x

On Body-Positivity / Self-Acceptance

Today I’m going to sharing some thoughts about a topic that is really important to me, and affects everyone. Arguably one of the biggest issues that young and old people alike in today’s world, is low self-esteem. With a constant slew of photo-shopped, airbrushed and perfected people in the media being pushed down our throats on a daily basis, it comes at no surprise. Comparing ourselves to a photograph that a professional has spent hours editing and perfecting can be pretty awful. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the sinking feeling of dissatisfaction in ourselves at some point. Firstly, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Your feelings are valid, and you’re not being silly. Next, I’m hear to hopefully teach you some things (with some help of wise and insightful people) that’ll hopefully set you on a path of self-acceptance.

Accepting your body with all its flaws, and appreciating everything it does for you can lead you to feel so much more confident in your own skin and ultimately bring you more happiness. Also, remember that you are not defined by the way you look.  Appearance isn’t everything. After all, its pretty hard to feel bad about your body once you start thinking about the billions of cells and micro-organisms whose only care and purpose is keeping you alive and healthy.

Now, I definitely don’t consider myself an expert, and body-positivity is definitely something I still struggle with, but I’m learning and slowly making progress, day by day. Patience, dear hearts.

I asked some of my favourite advocates of body-positivity and self-acceptance, to share some advice on becoming more body-positive…

Cari Turner, Get Well Club

“My first tip when it comes to embracing your body and becoming more body positive in general is to stop playing the comparison game. This can be extremely tough as we’re bombarded with images of other people on social media who appear to always look amazing and have everything in their lives sorted out. But this isn’t true – nobody is perfect and what you’re seeing is a carefully curated photo or caption and not the complete reality of that person’s life. So if need be, unfollow accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or that make you want to compare yourself.

Only follow people that inspire, encourage and uplift you. In real life, whenever you feel the need to compare yourself or your body to someone else, remember that you were created to be unique and that there is beauty in diversity. Also, remind yourself of all the amazing things that you can do, like a handstand or a dance or that your body keeps you alive and healthy!

Another tip that I have for embracing your body is that you need to remember that it is a journey. You can’t just decide to be body positive one day and then you’re completely happy with your body for the rest of your life. There will be days when you feel terrible about yourself and others when you’ll feel amazing about your body. It is about making daily (sometimes hourly) choices to accept your body as it is in that moment. It is about remembering all the good things your body helps you to do. It is about reminding yourself that your jiggly arms help you to hug your loved ones or that your freckles are little memories of fun times you’ve had in the sun. It is about embracing your flaws and loving yourself even more because of them.”  – @getwellclub 

Kirsten Kadé, Taste and See

“One of my favourite quotes on this topic is by the lovely Kite sisters, or Beauty Redefined (https://beautyredefined.org): “Having positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good; it is knowing that your body is good regardless of how it looks. It isn’t about thinking you are beautiful, it is knowing you are more than beautiful. It is understanding that your body is an instrument for your use, not an ornament to be admired”

This quote really sums up what learning to like your body, no matter it’s shape or size, is about. When we start to see our worth in more than our clothing size or weight on the scale, we are able to live our lives to the fullest!

 As a nutritionist-to-be, one of my interests is to help others heal their relationship with food. The framework of Intuitive Eating is incredibly useful in healing your relationship with food – so one of my biggest tips is to buy the book, start reading blogposts, following people, and listening to podcasts on this topic. And explore developing a healthy, non-restrictive approach to food.”  – @tasteandseeblog

There is so much learning to be done, and such a long way to go, but I really hope you have found some value in this. If you are truly happy within yourself, very little will get you down. Keep spreading love.

I’ve created this little print-out that you can stick on your wall, just as a tangible reminder.

Nabeela x

{A special thank you to Cari and Kirsten for sharing your wisdom with us}

Seventeen Musings

As we get older, we often overlook our personal growth. Whilst it’s easy to see it in others, it is only upon close introspection that one can notice it in oneself. We often grow up to be very different from how we visualized our future selves when we were younger.

That’s not a good thing or a bad thing. Its just how life is. Maybe you thought you were going to be a doctor, and now, once you’ve been through the education system, you’ve realized that just isn’t for you. Maybe you just wanted to be a princess. (Hey, we can’t all be Meghan Markle, but a girl can dream).

Either way, another trip around the sun means another year of memories, dreams, goals, achievements, failures (in whatever light you choose to view that word), and ultimately, growth. Here are 17 things I’ve learned up until now.

  1. As cliche as it sounds, being comfortable in your own skin and accepting yourself, no matter what stage of life you’re going through, is one of the (if not the) biggest contributing factors to your happiness.
  2. Trust your gut. That thing knows what’s up.
  3. You don’t have to be best friends with every single person you’ll ever meet. And that’s okay. 
  4. Things are not always going to go the way you planned. That is also okay. And a totally normal part of life.
  5. With time, you’ll learn who your true friends are. It’ll be hard, but also worth it.
  6. Don’t underestimate your own strength and the ability of time to heal.
  7.  Sometimes, when you think you’re really going to miss someone, you realize that life goes on and if they’re meant to be in your life, they will be.
  8. If it’s meant for you, it’ll come for you. (Really been living by this this year. It can be hard. But its the truth!)
  9. Just because someone is older than you doesn’t mean they’re right.
  10. It’s okay to have close friends with different opinions. Every debate and discussion doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t really) end with the other person having completely changed their opinion.
  11. If you’re unhappy about something, speak up. Sometimes (but not all the time) that’s all that’s needed to make some change.
  12. Not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay. You weren’t made to be loved by everyone.
  13. Social media is not, I repeat NOT, real life.
  14. The more comfortable you become with yourself, the less power other people’s opinions will have over you.
  15. Happiness doesn’t just come naturally to everyone. And its virtually impossible to explain to someone who’s never experienced it. Be kind. Be patient. Be supportive.
  16. Sometimes, being kind is more important than being right, contrary to what your ego might tell you.
  17. It’s okay to say no to things that just aren’t your thing. It doesn’t make you less cool/teenager-ish/attractive/whatever other rubbish people like to tell us. Just do you. Be yourself. It’s the best thing you can be.

I want to leave you with these wise words that really resonate with me and the kind of life I’m working to build.

“i have what i have and i am happy. i’ve lost what i’ve lost and i am still happy.” – outlook / Rupi Kaur 

Nabeela x

Mountain Musings

There’s nothing that changes one’s perspective quite like spending a few days in the mountains sans cellphone signal and civilization. It’s a breathe of fresh air – literally. Drinking river water and falling asleep to the under the watchful eyes of shooting stars can be more beneficial than one might think going into it.

I learned a few things on my trip to the mountains. The first thing being, after a day of hiking, anything tastes good. And white flip flops and dust? Not a good idea.

But more than that, I learnt that once we lose connection with our phones (which seem to be an appendage nowadays), we gain connection with people. With nature. With ourselves. Without the constant distraction of push notifications and Instagram feeds, I found myself lost in long, deep, meaningful conversation with people, something that’s hard to come by in the busy city.

I learned that simply just spending time in nature is meditation in itself. It’s so healing and relaxing to live in harmony with the natural world for once, and not try to fight against it.

Lastly, I learned to appreciate the comforts of home. I certainly take basic things like toilets and my bed for granted far too often.

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It’s true what they say. Sometimes, the best way to find yourself is to get lost. Preferably in nature.

Nabeela x

Have a Happier Exam Session

Exams are undoubtedly the most stressful time of the year in any student’s life. The pressure is on and the nerves are set. Believe it or not, exams have been pretty bearable for me this time around (1 week in and all is well). They don’t have the be awful.

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01. /  Organize

Although it may seem obvious, having a structured study plan helps to ease the nerves immensely because you know you’re on track and its easy to see what you need to do each day. Writing a to-do list every day when I get home has been helping me so much to clearly see what I need to achieve before the end of the day.

02. / Move 

I haven’t stopped any of my usual exercises and it’s been such a great way to relieve stress and relax. If you’re usually very active and you stop completely, chances are that you’re not going to feel very good, or at ease. So be sure to make time to move those muscles.

03. / Eat well

Eating healthily and drinking lots of water helps you to have a clearer mind and a happier body. Try some healthy snack options instead of chips and sweets (which’ll make you feel sluggish and unenergetic). Here are some snacks to try:

  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • Cucumber cubes and feta
  • Banana and peanut butter smoothie
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit

04. / Sleep 

I know all too well how easy it is to come home early and think there’s so much time to do the things that need to be done, and put it off until later, but the afternoon turns into night real quick. Rather space your work out over the day rather than staying up too late and missing out on sleep.

05. / Unwind

Make sure that you still take time to relax, do things you enjoy and follow your self-care rituals. Its so important in order to stay happy and healthy during this time.

All the best to everyone writing!

Nabeela x

On Chasing Perfection

Today, after listening to a highly insightful episode of the podcast, Stuff Mom Never Told You, I started thinking about chasing perfection – something I often ponder over. You’ve heard it all before. How social media, and Instagram in particular is detrimental to self-esteem and mental health due to the curated, perfect nature of the content shared. But after hearing some scary statistics, it opened my mind even further to just how big the problem is.

Don’t get me wrong. Instagram is a wonderful tool. Without it, there are some opportunities I would never have had. However, its become only too easy to gloss over someone’s feed – with perfectly cohesive, magazine-worthy snaps of themselves dancing around in pretty pink dresses at sunset or sipping yet another latte from the coolest spot in town – to believe that they have it all going. To think that their life is perfect. And then comes the dangerous part. The part where we start comparing ourselves to the person in the photo. Our own lives seem dull and uninteresting in comparison…

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One of my favourite hashtags is #HonestInstagram.  A much needed movement of online vulnerability and honesty. The truth is, Instagram is NOT (and I repeat NOT) real life. It really isn’t. What is shared is usually the most glamorous, impressive, glossy parts of the sharer’s life. Not the raw, real stuff that actually happens most of the time.

At the end of the day, we’re all just humans trying to figure out this thing called life. No one is perfect. Everyone screws up. By being more present and being aware of these facts, you may find more peace and unshakable happiness. Disconnect sometimes. Allow yourself to do stuff just for the sake of it, and not to document and share everything with the world.

You’re worth so much more than the number of followers you have and how many likes and comments you get on your photos. Never forget that…

Nabeela x

Offline

I’ve always admired people who have the will power to have “offline days”. As bad as it sounds, it can be extremely difficult to disconnect ourselves from the hustle and bustle that is constant online. We don’t want to miss out on a thing.

Social media gives us a rush that is described by some as a “runners high”.

That rush of joy we feel when someone retweets, follows or likes what we’ve posted is what some think is happiness, but to me, I think it can take away the ability to look for happiness in less materialistic and superficial places.

I’m not at all shooting down the internet. I’m so grateful for how much my blog and personal brand have grown thanks to the exposure I’ve received on Instagram.

All I’m saying is that we need to know where to draw the line.

We find ourselves starting to live for the media. We have this idea of what life should look like and find ourselves constantly comparing our own lives to the beautifully curated feeds we see on Instagram and Pinterest. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure I’m not alone on that one.  Its that constant, unrealistic benchmark that we have set for ourselves and that society has set for us. Emphasis on unrealistic.

I’ve heard people at school say things like “She has such a busy social life! Have you seen her Instagram?” or “Her Instagram has all these photos of her hiking up all these cool mountains. But she’s so clever. When does she study?” Hello? Earth to us all? Instagram is not real life!

I recently listened to a podcast where I heard something very interesting. The hosts were discussing how Instagram has been called ‘visual crack’. Its so easy to get sucked in and spend hours looking at curated photos and then feeling depressed about own, less perfect-looking lives in comparison.

We’ve become obsessed with likes, comments and follows.

Let’s try and change up our barometer for joy.

Let’s go back to the old days where we got joy from spending time in nature or with family, and not only from a retweet.

My personal challenge for 2017 is to have a ‘offline Sunday’ as far as possible. The email can wait.

I challenge you too, to see if you can stay offline for a bit. Even if its just for an hour or two a day where you unplug and connect with yourself and others in a different kind of way.

See how carefree and happy it’ll make you.

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I’ve seen these truth-filled words all over the web, so I created this illustration. All the elements were done by hand first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nabeela x

 

 

 

 

Simple

Hello

Minimalism. That’s what’s on my mind at the moment. Every little thing about it interests me. The simplicity that radiates from it all is what really attracts me. I am find myself constantly downsizing. My clothes, papers, craft stash, accounts I follow and mailers I’m signed up to. I find myself constantly cleaning up and clearing out. Its as if all I want to do is get rid of the things that drain the calm and peace from my mental and physical space.

I’m young. I’m only in high school, which means I obviously don’t live in my own house. The only space I have that is completely mine is my bedroom. There are other spaces in the house that I share with my siblings and the rest of my family, but my room is mine alone. I love that. I love knowing that I can do what I want in and with that space, and it won’t really affect anyone else. I feel like excess stuff detracts from the calm. Extra papers, old clothes, unused lotions, unworn jewellery, they all just add to the clutter. I don’t hoard things at all. As soon as I don’t need something anymore, I get rid of it.  A part of me has always been a minimalist. Now I just know what to call that part.

Minimalism is something strange too. The thing that makes it strange is the fact that its so difficult to define it. I’ve been doing research, reading lots about it and listening to TEDTalks and podcats about topics like simplicity, stillness and ‘less is more’. The funny thing is that sources contradict themselves. One article I read gave tips to becoming minimalist. One of them was something along the lines of “Remove everything hanging on your walls as far as possible.” Another one said “People seem to think minimalism is about having less. It’s not. It’s about having enough to make you happy and no more.” This baffled me at first. I was trying to understand a concept and I couldn’t fine a place or person that would explain it to me. Then, I realised its because actually, minimalism has a different meaning to everyone. To some, its all about possessions. To others, its about living a life that you enjoy fully and wholeheartedly. It all depends on you.

I decided to think about what minimalism actually means to me. It means simple. Only hanging onto possessions that make me happy. Thinking before I buy something. Being mindful of what I say, think, do, taste, hear, smell and see. Only keeping the necessary things in my life. Not letting unpleasant or negative people get to me. That’s what minimalism is to me. Its exciting. To have a goal that doesn’t revolve around money or things. Its like having a saving-up list, except instead of saving up money, you just have to learn more and more about yourself to be happy. I find myself finding more joy in the simple little things that are now pleasures to me. Sunday morning runs around the block, weekend ice-cream cones, getting into bed and just thinking, ocean air, comfy shoes.

A really good TEDTalk I listened to recently, which I highly recommend is called Less Stuff, More Happiness by Graham Hill. It’s a very old one, but it’s still very relevant and I love it.

Stay happy.

Nabeela

(Yes, I will be signing off my posts like this instead now. Its my name and it feels more genuine)

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