20 Ways to Practice Self-Care (Today)

Self-care is so important.

I woke up feeling particularly anxious this morning. Anxiety is something I’ve been dealing with quite often recently. A great deal of it stems from trying to manage tachycardia. If you want to learn more about tachycardia and how it affects me, click here to be directed to my post Living with Tachycardia 101.

With tachycardia you already have an elevated heart rate and when you add anxiety to the mix, your heart rate increases further. So, when I start to feel anxious I focus on grounding myself as much as possible to avoid feeling exhausted and weak.

Today I’m sharing with you some super easy ways to practice self-care!

Some of these ideas are also in my post 7 Super Simple Ways to Curb Anxiety (Tonight)!

  1. Take a long bath

    For added relaxation add some Epsom salt, essential oils, or bubbles!

  2. Make a list of things you’re grateful for

    Sometimes anxiety is caused by lots of negative thoughts and emotions. This combats negative thinking. If you think of reasons to be happy and grateful, it’ll definitely make it harder to be obsessed with what you don’t like or want to change.

  3. Put on a face mask

    These are some of my favorites: Keep Your Cool by Formula 10.0.6, I’m Real Avocado Mask Sheet by Tony Moly, African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask by SheaMoisture.

  4. Spend time with your pet

    Cuddling with animals can reduce stress, according to various studies.

  5. Read your favorite book

    Sometimes getting your mind off of what you’re thinking about can really help to calm anxiety. Mindfully reading a book is a great way to keep your mind busy without your thoughts racing.

  6. Meditate

    Meditation is a great way to calm the mind and body. I used to meditate during anxiety attacks and it helped so much. If you can’t get into sitting in silence and meditating, you can try a guided meditation. They have a wide variety of them on YouTube and apps like Omvana.

  7. Color or draw

    Coloring and drawing are like minor forms of art therapy. They help release pent-up emotions and feelings, while calming you down with repetitive motions and distractions.

  8. Journal

    Thinking about heavy things and need an outlet? Journal. You can find journal prompts all over the internet if you need ideas to get started.

  9. Watch your favorite movie or TV show

    Like I keep saying, distraction is key! If you can get your mind off of what’s bothering you, you’ll start doing better! I like watching animated movies when I’m stressed or anxious.

  10. Diffuse essential oils

    I’ve mentioned how therapeutic essential oils can be when used properly in so many of my other posts. I am obsessed with essential oils. I’m not saying that they can cure anything and everything, but they make living so much easier.

    *If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils and their many uses let me know in the comments below! I’m thinking about making a post about how I use them!*
  11. Have a hot cup of tea

    Hot beverages are calming in general, and beverages without caffeine like herbal teas are extra calming. I like drinking chamomile tea when I’m stressed.

  12. Try yoga

    Yoga has been used for centuries to heal the mind, body, and spirit. It leaves most people feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and content. I love practicing yoga before bed, and right after I wake-up in the morning. Check out Yoga with Adriene.

  13. Take a nap

    Napping is almost like pushing “refresh” for your body. It gives you time to unwind and relax. According to various sleep studies, 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time to nap in the middle of the day.

  14. Light a candle

    A lot like using essential oils, this idea is all about grounding yourself through smell. Lighting a familiar scent can really help pull you out of any funk.

  15. Get some fresh air

    Feel like you need to run from a situation? Feel like you need to clear your head? Go take a walk outside.

  16. Call a friend or family member

    Sometimes you just need to hear a familiar voice to feel less alone. I like calling my grandma when I’m having a bad day and need someone to distract me from what’s going on in my life.

  17. De-clutter your space

    It is a known fact that the more cluttered your space is, the more cluttered your head will be. Take some time to tidy up your space when you’re feeling stressed. It’ll make a real difference.

  18. Wake-up early

    I like to wake-up as the sun is rising and watch it from my bed as it comes up. I can’t see the sun from my window, but I can see the colors in the sky changing, and watch the sunlight touch different parts of my yard as it rises. It’s relaxing and beautiful.

  19. Open your window

    This goes along with needing fresh air. Circulate some fresh air through your home by opening a window. You may even get some natural background noise such as bird chirping, the wind blowing, or (if you live in the city) cars passing.

  20. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

    Water is so important! I drink water around the clock, but crave it especially when I’m anxious! Make yourself a tall glass of ice water, and if you have a straw handy use it! Growing up I learned that drinking through a straw can actually help to regulate your breathing when you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack.

Let me know if you try out these self-care ideas!

How do you practice self-care? Let me know in the comments below!



The Reality of Taking a Leave (from Uni)

This post is going to be a bit more personal than many of my others. I’ve had a lot on my mind recently and I made this blog with the intention to be 100% open with you all and 100% invested in its success. So here I am, sharing my current reality.
The following is my experience.

If you’ve read my post Living with Tachycardia 101, then you know that I’m currently taking a short break from my studies to deal with some medical problems.

This post is directed to those of you in similar situations, thinking of leaving or having left due to medical illness.

It took me almost a month to make the decision to leave college for a semester, and I still feel uneasy thinking about it. It feels unnatural, being home while my friends are studying and being independent from their parents.

You might lose a great deal of independence.

My independence was a big deal to me. Before I began dealing with tachycardia and the other various symptoms that have popped-up along the way, I was as independent as I could be. I bought my own groceries. I paid for school by myself as much as I could. I set my own schedules at work and school. I didn’t depend on my parents for dinner, a ride anywhere, etc. That changes when you leave, especially when you’re sick.

I came home feeling dependent on my parents. Dependent on their approval especially.

Was I making the right decision? Were they disappointed in me?

It took me a few weeks to realize that I had to do what I thought was best for myself, regardless of the opinions of anyone else.

You could spend a lot of time alone.

If you’re taking a leave of absence for medical reasons, like I am, and you can’t work right away, you’re probably going to be alone the majority of the day every day. My younger brother goes to high school, works sometimes after school, and also has extra curriculars. Both of my parents work during the day. So, I’m left at home by myself at least five days out of the week. At first this seems like an advantage. I know I was excited to be able to rest and relax alone with Netflix and no major responsibilities. But it becomes lonely after a few weeks, and you begin to get tired of being alone.

I keep thinking to myself:

If I were at school, I could call a friend to watch a movie with me.

I could talk to someone face-to-face. 

You’ll probably lose a lot of your support system.

I don’t want to say that you’re losing them because they’re technically still there, but you aren’t. The majority of my support system was composed of college friends, professors, and in some instances even employers. Making the decision to come home, I also had to grapple with the fact that I was leaving all of them behind. The reality is I can’t just pick up a phone and ask my best friend to come over, because she’s miles away in a classroom. I can’t just ask a friend to stay the night because they aren’t a few doors down from me anymore. It’s challenging. I know that they’re still there, but they aren’t within a reachable distance and that makes it so much harder to feel supported. I can’t hug my friends when I’ve had a bad day, because they simply aren’t there.

Don’t get me wrong, my family is a huge part of my support system. But it’s different. It’s so completely different. There’s nothing like watching an old movie with a good friend, being held by them while you cry, or getting milkshakes at midnight because you both feel like your life is in shambles.

You’ll feel like you’re missing out on a lot.

When you leave college behind you also leave behind the culture. I can’t go to the functions on campus because I’m not there. I can’t struggle through midterms with my friends because I’m not taking any. I don’t know any of the happenings on campus and can’t hear any of the new gossip because I no longer work in Student Life. You just feel so out of the loop.

You could struggle with anxiety and/or depression.

This has been a big one for me. Being alone the majority of the time, I’m left with my thoughts. And sometimes that isn’t a good thing.

What the hell is happening to my body? Why am I sick like this? Why is this happening all of a sudden? Will they ever find an answer? Will I have to live like this for the rest of my life?

A lot of the time no one seems to be as concerned as you are, which makes you wonder:

Am I blowing this out of proportion?  

Which leads to:

Did I make the right decision to leave school? 

It’s a downward spiral that leads to intense anxiety. There’s so many what-ifs when you have an undiagnosed illness.

On the other hand, you’ve isolated yourself either in an attempt to manage the anxiety that you’re experiencing, or because, like me, you don’t have access to the public during the day. Isolation leads to depression. You start thinking things like:

Maybe I did something to deserve to feel this way. My friends and family probably feel like I’m a burden. I’m too dependent on my loved ones. Maybe my boyfriend will leave me because I’m so needy. Maybe my friends will stop talking to me because I don’t have school in-common with them. Maybe I should just give up completely. 

You’ll have good days too, even great ones. 

Just yesterday I was in Charlotte, North Carolina enjoying pizza with Jon, thinking to myself how lucky I was to be sitting across the booth from someone so understanding, encouraging, and full of life. That morning we drove almost an hour to the mall to buy lavender-chamomile soap from a store with only one location in the Charlotte area. He didn’t act like it was a chore, and he distracted me from thinking about how I felt. When I started to get anxious about how fast my heart was beating, how dizzy I felt, etc. I just hooked my arm into his and let it come, knowing that if I should fall he would catch me. We got milkshakes at one of our favorite ice cream shops and drove through downtown just so I could look at the big buildings and interesting people.

Your family will always be there for you. 

This morning I called my grandmother because I was beginning to feel discouraged and anxious about how dizzy I’ve been the past few days, and was met with:

You’ve been doing so much better and you’re going to do even better. 

My mother has been my rock through this entire ordeal. When I first decided to come home, she didn’t approve, and sometimes it still seems like she doesn’t, but regardless she’s there for me. She has been to every doctor’s appointment with me, and has been my advocate 99.9%. She looked my cardiologist in the face and said:

As women our symptoms are often brushed off as anxiety. Don’t do that to her. I want you to leave no stone unturned. 

You’ll be just fine.

I’m not there yet, and if you’re reading this you probably aren’t either. But, I’m getting there one day at a time. Someone the other day told me that I was getting better, and I met that with the response:

I’m managing it better. 

And honestly, that’s all that matters.

Take it day by day.

Listen to your body.

Breathe and know that you aren’t alone.

You’ll be just fine. 



Period Tips & Tricks Every Girl Should Know

International Women’s Day was only a few days ago, so here’s to celebrating it now with a post that just screams womanhood!

Alright ladies let’s be honest, getting your period sucks! There’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s completely natural, but why does it have to be so annoying? The cramps! The nausea! The mood swings! When Aunt Flo comes to town sometimes it feels like you just can’t win!

I recently stopped taking birth control, for many reasons, including that it didn’t make dealing with my monster of a period any easier! When you stop taking synthetic hormones, your natural hormones go crazy!

With moontime on my mind, today I’m bringing you some of my favorite tips and tricks to make that time of the month a little bit easier on you, and your uterus!

Hot flashes?

Hot flashes are the worst! Sometimes it feels like you’ve put your entire head inside of an oven! When dealing with really bad hot flashes try this:

  • Try this face mask to “keep your cool.”
  • Wash your hair! It’ll cool down your head if you let your hair dry naturally!


Cramps are one of the most debilitating symptoms that come with having your period! But they don’t have to last forever!

  • Try an over the counter pain reliever like Ibuprofen
  • If that doesn’t work or you don’t like taking medication, try a warm bath! Adding bath salts to your water can also help with any muscle soreness you may be experiencing.

Digestive issues?

Heartburn? Upset stomach? Diarrhea?

  • Try eating a banana! Growing up I was always told to eat a banana when I was on my period and experiencing troublesome tummy issues like diarrhea or constipation. The increase in potassium and magnesium really help!
  • Try ginger for nausea!

Feel icky down there?

  • Try these wipes that leave you feeling fresh after using the bathroom or changing your pad/tampon!


Sleep is so important when you’re menstruating! Your body needs all the rest it can get because it’s going through so much!

  • Try to get at least 8 hours every night!
    • If you’re dealing with insomnia, as many people do on their period, try adding some lavender essential oil into the mix! You can add it to your bath water, diffuse it, or put a few drops on your pillow case!
    • If essential oils aren’t working for you, try hot herbal tea! Some companies even have blends made specifically to increase healthy sleep production! Try chamomile, or my favorite bedtime blend!

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Staying hydrated on your period is just as important as getting good rest! Make sure you’re drinking a healthy amount of water!


Small amounts of these things are okay (half a glass).

Craving sweets?

Try dark chocolate!

  • Dark chocolate is healthier for you than milk chocolate, according to various nutritional studies. (80% dark is suggested)


Avoid salty foods!

  • An increase in salt intake has been correlated with an increase in bloating!

Estrogen headaches?

If you’re on the pill, you know exactly what I’m talking about. When you take placebo pills on birth control, your estrogen levels decrease which can sometimes cause intense headaches that over the counter pain relievers can’t really help.

  • Try soy milk! Soy mimics estrogen in your body!

Feeling down?

Try out some exercise!

  • If you don’t feel like going to the gym there are other alternatives that also increase those feel-good endorphins in your body such as swimming and yoga!

Overall, just take extra time for yourself!

What do you usually do to alleviate symptoms of PMS?

Let me know in the comments below!


DIY Comfort Kit

What is a Comfort Kit?

A Comfort Kit is a collection of readily available items that help ease tension, decrease stress, and stop anxiety in its tracks!

Comfort Kits are great to have around when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, angry, sad, or even sick!

Let’s get started!

First you’re going to want to grab a box, basket, or set aside an easily accessible space.

When I first built my Comfort Kit I used a small cardboard box because it was all I had at the time, and it worked wonderfully! However, after moving into my room back home from college, I decided to clear a space on the bookcase next to my bed for this instead!

Next, brainstorm ideas for what to put in your kit! Items that you find calming, grounding, make you happy, etc. are all great things to include.

I chose to focus on items that ground me and make me happy for my Comfort Kit.IMG_8788


These are the items I included in my Comfort Kit:

  1. Ginger candy *

    • I love the way these taste and they don’t really expire! They are great to use for nausea so I also use them when I’m sick.
  2. Coloring books *

  3. Colored pencils and markers

  4. Head massage wand *

    • My mom bought me a wire head massage wand for Christmas and I absolutely don’t know how I ever lived without it. I use it when I’m stressed, overwhelmed, and for headaches!
  5. Journal

    • I like to journal when I’m feeling really stressed or worried. Sometimes it seems like you just have so much on your mind and you can’t figure out what you need to focus on first, and journaling really helps me figure that out.
  6. Slime *

    • I feel like a child for playing with this goop, but who really cares? If you’ve been on Instagram at all since the beginning of 2017, then you know that slime videos are trending. At first I didn’t really understand their popularity. I mean, what’s so special about flubber? But then I tried some out and I completely get it! It’s so fun to play with! I went to Sassy & Chic DIY Boutique in my hometown and bought two different colors of glittery galaxy slime made for children by children. My favorite right now is the purple slime.
  7. Essential oils *

    • Essential oils are a great alternative to using candles, in my opinion. If you live in a dorm or other building where burning candles is prohibited, you should really consider purchasing an oil diffuser. They smell just as good as your average candle, if not better, and there’s no fire hazard involved! I like to use lavender oil for headaches, anger, anxiety, and in epsom salt baths when I am sick or have sore muscles!
  8. Yoga mat

    • Yoga has been known in many cultures to help heal both the mind and body. It’s a good form of exercise that isn’t strenuous, and that most everyone can do. I’ve even visited senior centers that use “chair yoga” as exercise and life enrichment for their residents. Check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube!
  9. Buddha Board Mini

    • “Based on the Zen concept of living in the moment, simply paint on the surface with water and your creation will come to life in bold design. Then, as the water slowly evaporates, your art will magically disappear leaving you with a clean slate and a clear mind – ready to create a whole new masterpiece.” – Barnes and Noble
    • I like to use the Buddha Board as an alternative to journaling and coloring.
  10. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

    • “One rainy afternoon, while riding a city bus, Gretchen Rubin asked herself, “What do I want from life, anyway?” She answered, “I want to be happy”—yet she spent no time thinking about her happiness. In a flash, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. The result? One of the most thoughtful and engaging works on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of interest in the subject.”- gretchenrubin.com
  11. The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock

    • Most of all, ask yourself. Questioning attitudes and morals, putting deeply held beliefs to the test, this provocative bestseller is a deceptively simple tool for self-discovery. Covering love, money, sex, ethics, technology, and more, it may be the only publication that challenges— and possibly changes—the way we view and live in the world, without offering a single opinion of its own.” –thebookofquestions.com
  12. How to be Happy (A Creative Workbook) by Lee Crutchley *

    • “This book cannot fix you, and it cannot make you happy. The good news is that no other book on the internet can either, but you already know that. Because you know, deep down, that no self-help book can make you happy. Just like you know, deep down, that you can. Maybe you haven’t discovered that yet, or maybe you’ve forgotten, but you know more than you think about your own happiness. This creative and practical book will help you draw, write, discover, and remember those things that make you feel happy…or at least less sad.”-leecrutchley.co.ukIMG_8796
  13. 52 Things to Try Once in Your Life by Lynn Gordon

    • “Shuffle up your life a bit with outrageous suggestions that are bound to bring a renewed sense of adventure into anyone’s life.  They make a wonderful gift for your friend who’s becoming a stick in the mud as they inspire activities that may break them out of their crusty old mold to really make the most of daily life experiences.”- Perpetual Kid
  14. 14,000 Things to be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer *

    • “Something to be happy about: This mesmerizing bestseller is revised and updated. Originally published 25 years ago (happy anniversary!) from a list that Barbara Ann Kipfer started making as a child, it’s the book that marries obsession with happiness. And it now has 4,000 fresh and more current reasons to be happy.”- Barnes and Noble

I keep a big comfy chair next to my Comfort Kit, and a warm plush blanket. This way, when I need some extra comfort or warmth while enjoying my kit, I can cuddle up right there no problem. I also keep an essential oil diffuser in that same corner of my room, so that I can use essential oils from my kit when I need to.

There you have it, your very own DIY Comfort Kit!

Let me know what you put in your kits!

Share a photo with the hashtag #livingwithspunk on Instagram!

Feel free to share your ideas with me down below in the comments!

** Favorite things in my kit!


7 Super Simple Ways to Curb Anxiety (Tonight)


Let’s talk about anxiety, that uncomfortable feeling that starts in your gut, gives you cold and clammy hands, and makes you feel like you’re drowning in air. Everyone has dealt with anxiety at some point in their life, whether situational or generalized.

Situational anxiety– caused by new and uncomfortable situations, and changing events

Generalized anxiety– chronic, excessive, exaggerated worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry

Anxiety can be terrifying and sometimes long-lasting. However, it’s important to remember that it’s temporary and usually not life threatening.

I’ve compiled a list of 7 techniques that I’ve used to help deal with anxiety in the past.

1. Take a warm bath

Sometimes after a long, stressful day, we just need to take time to relax and decompress. I like to do this by taking a warm bath. Feeling sore? Add some Epsom salts to soak your muscles. Feeling overwhelmed? Try a bath in the dark with sweet smelling candles to calm your senses. Feeling sluggish? Try a bath bomb like these ones from Lush Cosmetics.

2. Drink something warm

Hot or warm drinks like tea, coffee, milk, and even water can be really soothing. Think of when you were little, did your mom ever make you warm milk before bed? Mine always made me a warm cup of chai tea when I was sick, and growing up with the mindset that warm tea can cure almost anything, I still use it to heal my mind and body today. My favorite de-stress drink is a warm cup of chamomile tea.

3. Put on warm socks

When we experience anxiety, especially intense anxiety, we’re usually left with cold and clammy hands and feet. A simple change in temperature can not only help with this super annoying symptom, but can also help provide comfort overall. The first thing I do when I feel anxiety coming on is pull on a warm and fuzzy pair of colorful socks. The brighter the better!

4. Color

Distractions are ideal when you feel an anxiety attack coming on. Grab some colored pencils, pens, or markers and a coloring book for some relaxing, distracting, and fun coloring. My friend gifted me a Supernatural coloring book for Christmas and I can’t tell you how wonderful it’s been to have around when I start to feel anxious or panicky.

5. Journal

Sometimes anxiety stems from pent-up emotions. Worried about something but don’t feel comfortable talking about it with someone? Journal it! It can be really helpful to write what’s bothering you, if you can’t talk about it. Just put it on paper and get it out of your head! Plus it’s really empowering to be able to go back and read about how you felt and know you overcame it!

6. Try out essential oils

My favorite essential oil right now is called Peace and Calming and is from a wonderful company called Young Living. Essential oils aren’t for everyone, but when you like them you love them! I use lavender oil for pretty much everything from headaches to anxiety, to a remedy for nausea, and everything in between! You can purchase them online or in-store. Most people use them in diffusers that spread the scent around the room, but you can also use some oils on your skin! I would suggest researching different options if it’s something you think you’d be interested in.

7. The rule of 15

If all else fails and you find yourself in the middle of a full-blown panic attack, remember that they can only last between 15 and 20 minutes. I learned this from my grandmother when I was younger and I can’t tell you how many times it has helped me out!

I hope these tips and tricks for dealing with anxiety help you as much as they’ve helped me! Good luck and happy self-caring!