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Lately, Lebanese people have been feeling exhausted (know more here). Mostly mentally, but also physically because the mind automatically impacts the body. Emotional exhaustion is basically losing sleep, fighting off anxiety, analyzing what to do, coming up with Plan Bs, Cs, Ds and Es, and keeping up with a somewhat normal life (maintaining our jobs and for us parents, keeping up with our kids who have no clue about what is happening ). On a personal level, I was recently on the verge of a burn out, which qualifies as the “emotionally exhausted” level. I had to act fast in order to stay strong for my family and not let myself crumble and reach actual burn out.

So, from that experience, here are a few tips on how to quickly get back on your feet when facing emotional exhaustion:

  • Stop everything and get back to bed. Turn off your phone (or divert all calls except the school or nursery for parents), turn on the TV for something light and just sit there with a warm cup of tea/coffee for a few hours. Do not consider this a waste of time! If this is what you need to do to self-care, then do it.
  • Feeling like leaving the house and seeing people is too much? Just don’t. There is nothing wrong with shutting yourself out for as long as you need. Forget about social pressure. Your mind needs it.
  • Cooking is therapy. Dive into meal prep, dough-making and baking. You won’t regret it.
  • Pile up romantic comedies and light reads, and wind down.
  • If you’re into it, start writing a journal. Pour your thoughts on a piece of paper that no one will ever see. There’s something magical about it. If you’re not into writing down your feelings, something as small as a food log might make you happy.
  • Create new self-care habits, like drinking a camomille/ glass of wine before bed, or a new skincare routine. Whatever small thing that makes you happy! 
  • Last but not least, talk to someone! It can be a life coach, a psychologist or even chatting away with those few close friends you’ve made over the years. The ones that understand you and would never ever judge you. Chances are they feel the same.

Any other fast self-care tips during emotional exhaustion? Let us know!

Click here for Self-Care as A Mom!

On one of my typical days, you’ll find me working on my projects, working out at home, running errands and looking frantically among my recipe books for something like “Easy Cake Recipe to make with kids”.

Re-adjusting to nursery and routine has been tough on us lately (check out the reason here). As a result, I’ve been dragging a 2 year-old, fiercely determined to make me feel guilty, to nursery every morning. As a good old mom who falls into a typical trap, I’ve been (as a result of desperation) referring to bribes and lots of promises I have the pressure to keep. One of those promises is to get ingredients so we can bake something nice in the afternoon.  So we have been baking quite a lot lately. However, there’s no question that the recipe should be of the easiest ones out there. Since a toddler is still impulsive and wants to do things themselves (plus, test their limits along the way and show no shame when it comes to tantrums), you need something practical and fast. A long search, a few messy experiences and burnt-on-one-side cakes later, I have found it! A yummy and easy cake recipe to make with kids, with a few steps and a nice outcome!

easy cake recipe to make with kids | breadonbutter

So! Who’s trying this?

A little over a year ago, I took the big decision to quit my full-time job and take the freelance route (you can read more about what I do here).  For most people, freelance life is crazy, careless and risky, but I knew it in my heart that I couldn’t survive in a corporate environment where you had to stay put from 8 to 5. Determined, I set my mind up to it. I decided I could do it. That I could match my income and that it wasn’t impossible. Then I vowed to never think otherwise. If I were to cave into negative thoughts and the influence of conventional people, I would not be where I am today.

FREELANCING AS A MOM

Freelancing as a mom however, is no piece of cake. This summer, I found myself trying to work freelance with a toddler on vacation!  In our family, staying in the city during summer is out of the question. Add to that the fact that Alex had caught all possible viruses during the year, it was time to take a long summer holiday. So at the end of June, we moved to the mountains for 2 months of fresh air and no routine (panic!).

When you become a mom, you Self is put last. You start caring for a tiny human being who has no power and is fully counting on you for survival. Then, this tiny human starts growing and you start finding a balance, but most of the time, you find yourself exhausted and on edge about the smallest little things. You realize that if you don’t actually take care of yourself, your tiny human will end up being cared for less, because you’ll be too exhausted to care for him to perfection. So take on the offers to babysit and head out for an hour or 2 to self-care. Here are 5 ways to save your body and mind:

  • See a nutritionist. Forget vanity, looking thin and avoiding people telling you you’ve gained weight. I started seeing Rouba when I had gained a few kilos and stopped feeling like myself. She helped me achieve a healthy lifestyle while still indulging in food. I still go for a monthly check up, because it makes me feel good, it helps me maintain my weight – which became essential for me after seeing how much energy it gave me, how much better I could take care of my child and feel less tired (especially after a sleepless night). Eating better is everything! It is good for your gut which, in turn, is good for you.
  • See a psychologist or life coach. 7 years ago, I met a life coach who changed my vision about life. This is a huge thing to say but it’s true. His advice and statements sticked with me and help me out of situations till now. Since then, I’ve always wanted to see someone regularly. Coming from a psychology background, I always believed in seeing a professional to preserve your mental health. Needless to say, it helps you keep things in perspective, brings you back to earth and gives you tools to survive difficult situations. Mental self-care is related to physical self-care. The body gets tired of fighting the mind sometimes, and gives way to all kinds of diseases and physical unease.
  • Walking or gym or dancing or whatever makes you happy to move. Since forever, my favorite workout has been walking. It helps me meditate and be alone with my thoughts.
  • Take it slow. Not having a hectic life is not wrong. Our society puts so much pressure on having non-stop activities and people to see that we forget how important it is to just slow down. Night in with a book or Netflix on your mind for the 6th night this week? Do it. Let the guilt go.
  • Say no to  things you don’t want to do and to people you don’t want to see. Limit situations where you feel uncomfortable and stressed. You’ll lose people along the way, you’ll maybe fight with your husband, or mom, but with time, they’ll learn your limits and how to respect them. This is maybe one of the things I struggle with the most in my self-care routine. It is so hard to do what keeps you sane without justifying yourself to everyone.

And most importantly, be yourself. Do not let anyone or anything change who you are. That is true self-care!

Any other self-care tips? Comment to let us know!

I don’t know if some of you can relate, but some dishes get me confused as to how I will be serving them and how I prefer to eat them. With or without cheese on top? Do I melt the cheese before or put it on top as a final touch and enjoy a stronger taste? Do I mix the caramelized onions in or do I just let them add a crispy taste with each bite? So confusing, don’t you think?

In August 2012, inspired by many readings and travel photos on the internet, we took the decision to do it. Backpack in the true sense of the term. Choosing the destination was a piece of cake as Sri Lanka had been on my mind for literally a decade. Listening to stories and having Sri Lankan food had been one of my favorite activities for a long time and it was time I saw the real deal. Planning the trip was no trouble at all as there was no planning to be done. Just booking the ticket sufficed.

backpacking | breadonbutter

After carefully organizing our gear and packing the least of things in our backpack, off we went. You can view our whole trip on this link and this link, but now, I want to share what I learnt while backpacking to Sri Lanka.

I knew backpacking was not going to be easy and that there were going to be moments where I’ll be longing for a proper bedroom and shower, but boy did I learn things: about myself, about Jean, and about the world. Basically, I completely changed perspectives.

When you head to the unknown, that’s when you discover what you’re truly capable of. You discover to which lengths you can go, how much you can take – physically and mentally. I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t sometimes cranky and hungry, hot or tired, neither am I going to pretend I wasn’t scared of nature and what I saw. But I learnt my limits and how to overcome those little fears that creep in uselessly.

When we live in a comfort zone, we get used to having everything easy. No insect here to bug you all the time, you rest whenever you feel like it, you don’t have to climb a mountain if you don’t want to. But there, I had to. Not only because I was in the middle of a mountain and couldn’t take the same way back, but also because in my head, I couldn’t not do it. I had to, to prove myself I was strong and in control of my feelings and actions. While we were climbing the famous Ella Rock, known to have the most breathtaking view on top, I reached a point where I literally broke down. The level of hiking difficulty suddenly became too much to bear, but yet again I was so close to the goal. That’s where my mind took over. Had I come so close to the best feeling of being on top of the world, only to stop and go back? Never would I have thought I would continue and get there. But I did, and that’s one of the dearest life lessons I hold on to now. It is actually true that when you feel like giving up, when times become just too tough to bear, the goal is just a few miles away. Never give up, even if you think you can’t move on anymore, the truth is: YOU CAN.

I also learnt to let go of small things and go with the flow, because life is much bigger than the small of you really. I overcame my fears of nature (except cockroaches – go figure) and the unknown and saw how it’s all a matter of mindset.

I learnt about people and different cultures. I saw that people you never even thought of meeting one day would come in your path for a reason, either to show you something or teach you something. I also learnt a lot about my husband, surprising things that made me sure he was the one I could spend the rest of my life with.

Finally, I learnt a lot about myself, what I truly love and what I truly don’t, and about the length I would go to to save something I love or to get it.

And most of all, you learn that life is just: Perspective, perspective, perspective! Switch your perspective and you’ll open the door to complete happiness. I guarantee it 🙂

backpacking | breadonbutter

Have you ever been backpacking? I’d love to hear about it.

 

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