Mental Health Update; Chit Chat with me focusing on Social Anxiety

Hey my beauts, I hope you are all doing well! I have been doing really well lately in terms of my blogging channel/collaborations and also… shh… launching a clothing line that will be launched soon when details are discussed and finalized with my stepbrother, go follow him on Instagram at @nateslofstra! Unfortunately, I can not share too many details of this clothing line with you beauts yet, but do not worry! There will be a blog on it coming in the near future for sure! I am super excited to be given this opportunity and can not wait to share more details with you beauts!  So it has been a while since I have done a chit chat with me post on my mental health and given you beauts an update! So my anxiety has been better under control ever since starting my new job, I think it is for sure a more relaxed atmosphere, to say the least, which helps me calm down a lot. One thing that I have noticed that has started to peek up again was my Social Anxiety, unfortunately. One thing I am proud of for myself is that I noticed this right away. I have been very anxious lately when it comes to social events some things may include my eye contact is very limited when speaking to people, I get nervous in big crowds or at parties; again if I am sober this is more evident. I also just get nervous when it comes to just small talk conversations, this really gets me anxious for some odd reason. If you beauts have been keeping up to date in the past following my social anxiety journey, you are familiar that these certain things have been making me nervous over the years. Some of these things in the past include:

  1. talk with individuals one- on- one
  2. maintain eye contact
  3. manage anxious thoughts about what people think of me
  4. tolerating criticism
  5. express more in a job interview
  6. go to a party sober
  7. call people on the phone
  8. return an item to a store
  9. ask someone for help

So as you can see, there were a lot of social situations that would make me feel uneasy and anxious at times, and that is okay. A little recap for you beauts who were not following my social anxiety journey in the past. I attended a social anxiety group every Wednesday for 8 weeks which was two hours long in length. Basically, we worked out of a workbook and did different exposures to help manage and face our fears when it came to social anxiety. I absolutely loved this group, after the 8 weeks, I felt like a completely new person who was exceeding in life day by day. I literally felt on top of the world, that nothing could get in my way. I have to admit, the exposures and facing them head on were not an easy process, but I can proudly check off some things I have mastered on my list which is a great feeling!  I can now pick up the phone, make appointments, order a pizza or just have a simple conversation which in the past, made me super nervous and uncomfortable.  I am now able to speak on the phone with little to no nerves which is a huge step for me!  Another thing that I can cross off my list is that I can return an item to a store and usually ask for help depending on the situation! So there are a few things on my list that I can proudly cross off.  There are however things still on my list that I need a little bit of help with still. One of the biggest things for me would be maintaining eye contact and having one-on-one conversations. I do not know what it is about these but I just feel so uncomfortable!

I made an appointment with my therapist and told her some of the social situations that still made me feel uncomfortable and she recommended right away that I go back to my social anxiety group meetings again. I really liked this idea! I think that sometimes we forget how to manage our anxiety for some situations and it’s okay to get that reminder for sure! I need that extra help again, and I want to work and better myself for 2018 as this is my year. So beauts, I am signed up again for the Social Anxiety Group which will be starting in April of this year. This will be a 9-week program for those who experience a lot of fear and discomfort about social situations. Often this leads to avoidance of certain situations and I did not want that whatsoever. I want to be able to live life to it’s fullest without fearing every social interaction I have. So this will be held every Monday starting in April. I hope to be able to cross more things off of my list for sure which would be fantastic and rewarding.  I will be posting blog posts for every meeting held like I did in the past to help you beauts see the progress and to allow myself to see the progress I am making as well.  I hope these updates will help at least one person who may be suffering like I am. I can not wait to start this journey and process with you beauts again, and keep you up to date!

Remember, 2018 is your year to shine. Take control of it. Notice how you are feeling, and don’t push aside emotions. If you are struggling acknowledge it, and fight it. You are a fighter, and if a quiet shy girl like myself can do it, you can do it as well. You are never alone. Have a great rest of your week! Take care.

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Dear Anxious Girl Afraid to Ask for Help

Dear Anxious Girl Afraid to Ask for Help



Hey my beauts , hope you all are having a wonderful week so far ! I keep forgetting it’s a four day week so pretty much have been confused all week as to what day it is , living on the edge a little bit. As you guys know , I have been doing more inspiring stories lately just because I see people each day who would use a little pick me up here and there. I really enjoy writing these types of blog posts , you can actually find more of the ones that I have completed early on, maybe last year on my blogging page ? I have recently gotten back into the swing of it and some of you have really enjoyed these types of posts. This one is for those who are anxious to admit that something needs to change, that “I” need help and are too afraid to ask for it. 


Dear anxious girl afraid to ask for help,

I’ve been there. In fact, some days I am still there. It’s probably one of the hardest things to admit to yourself , to literally sit down and say out loud ” I need help”. I have been in your shoes. I have been where you are all through university, struggling and trying to hide that I had a few dark secrets. It’s pretty easy to hide things that you don’t want to face , trust me , anxiety and I have been playing this game for years . But finally , I did it. Enough was enough. Sure I could’ve  taken that bottle of Tylenol that was spilled all over my bed, sure I could’ve locked my door so my roommate didn’t have to burst in, and sure I could’ve been silent on the phone with my mom. But what would this all have solved? Would this have made life easier, better ? No. In fact , that would have made me selfish and bitter towards life. There’s way too much to live for , I didn’t want anxiety taking that away from me . He wasn’t going to take that away from me . It’s okay to ask for help anxious girl. I was that anxious girl too . 


I know what you’re thinking, ” what will others think of me?“. Your true friends, the ones who hold your hair back when your puking after too much vodka, the ones who let you cry on their shoulder and the ones who encourage you to smile will understand. But what about the rest of the world you may ask? What about them. I bet you they have their own problems going on , maybe even worse than yours. My therapist once told me , ” don’t let anxiety take over your life, it’s okay to admit that changes need to take place“. That is exactly why I participated in a group that took place every Wednesday evening. That is why I would tense up before 6 o’clock hit. And that is why I would be exhausted coming home around 8 o’clock that day. Mentally exhausted because I pushed myself. I admitted to the internet, friends and family , but most importantly to myself that I needed help. And I am okay. Sure I may get anxious here and there, I may have to miss work once a month to see a therapist, I may have to take 3 mandatory pills a day for my anxiety , but I am okay.

Dear anxious girl afraid to ask for help, 

I know you will be okay too . If you need me I am here to talk to. I know you’re scared and I was too. In fact anxious girl, I strongly encourage you to get that help you need today. Don’t let your problems or underlying issues drag behind you all your life. That is no place to live. That’s not living, that is simply getting by. I don’t want you to just get by, I want you to laugh uncontrollably until you pee your pants, I want you to be cheering on your sisters at their talent show , I want you to love life.  At one point I didn’t love life, but admitting I need that help was one of the biggest accomplishments I have ever made. Now that I have asked for help, I am more comfortable asking for help when it comes to other things. When it comes to my eating habits I am getting the help , and guess what. I am okay. I know you can do this , it takes two seconds out of your day to finally listen to yourself. Friends have always told you you’re a good listener right? I heard you’re very good at it, so show me. Show me you can do this and show yourself you can do this . 

My names Alyssa Hotrum, I am 23 years old . I have underlying eating disorders and am diagnosed with general anxiety as well as social anxiety . I admitted this to myself, can you ?

Social anxiety group therapy- session 8 ( last session)

Social anxiety group therapy- session 8 ( last session)

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Hey my beauts! What a bittersweet moment it is. I can not thank you guys enough, my viewers, friends and family for supporting me through this new journey I had taken! For those of you who are not up to date with my social anxiety blogging posts, I will basically just summarise my journey and why I started attending these sessions. I have always been a very anxious person , even when I was little. I remember in elementary school always worrying constantly about homework and my studies. I was then diagnosed with general anxiety disorder within my years of university . I finally exploded and could not take it anymore . I received the help I needed to get back on my two feet , as well as taking medication on the side. My anxiety was under control for a long period of time but spiked back up again a few months ago . I saw my therapist and was inquiring about my anxiety levels as they were peaking again. I did not know if I just got used to my pills or needed a higher dosage. While speaking to my therapist , she had a thought. She handed me a sheet and asked me to rate my anxiety through all these social interactions. I scored a 90 for anxiety rating as my social anxiety levels were extremely high. She recommended that I seek this social anxiety group therapy sessions, but I was completely against it at first. Even the thought of group therapy gave me butterflies …. I would have rather had individualised therapy sessions. She informed me that everyone else in the group was on the same boat I was , suffering as well . I eventually agreed to the group therapy and I am so glad I did ! The first session was brutal , nobody really talked , hence the anxiety , but the instructors were very nice and comforting .

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Now look where I am today ! I made it through 8 sessions and finished my social anxiety treatment program. It’s amazing how far I have come. I notice it completely and so does my friends/ family members. From being so shy where I couldn’t speak on the phone to now being able to order a pizza over the phone is insane. I also can small talk with individuals without my chest tightening up, I am more relaxed while doing so ! The only exposure on my hierarchy that I need to work on is asking for help. I have struggled with this all of my life and it’s not going to be an easy one to work on let’s just say that! However, I made so many improvements over the past 8 weeks on my exposure hierarchy that I am super proud of myself.

So 6:00 hit and I sat down at the table for the last time.  We began our session with taking up homework that we had the previous week. Basically, our homework for last week was to just work on our exposure hierarchy. I had raised my hand and offered to speak to the class. I explained that I had been working on small talk again and stated that I had gone to a bar sober and met one of my friend’s friend there. I was afraid it was going to be very awkward but in reality, it went great and the conversation never died.  I was very proud of myself and so were my instructors! They had stated that I was improving a lot and were happy I was working so hard on my exposures.

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We then went into our last session of discussing new information. The instructors started discussing how to maintain our goals for the future. How we should continue to use the strategies we learned and also continue practising them as well. Rather than ending the treatment, we are encouraged to start living your life in a new way, when there really is no end. I am going to practice being assertive and focusing on my hierarchy goals.  We also discussed some of the goals when talking about cognitive behavioural therapy. We need to gain control of our anxiety by using the strategies we have learned over the past weeks to manage it. We need to become our own therapist. Since we now do not have our instructors to help guide and tend to us, we have to be our own coach.  We need to encourage ourselves as if we were speaking to our best friend.

Sometimes, dealing with social anxiety may not always seem effective, this could be for multiple reasons. First, maybe it’s too low of a dosage. Maybe we are not doing enough of our exposures to move past our fears and what makes us nervous. We could not be challenging ourselves enough as well. Another reason could be related to stress. We may be so stressed out or having a bad week that this interferes with our motivation and energy levels, affecting our exposures. Or simply life could get in the way. Often things pop up that may not be all that great, and unfortunately, we can not do much about that. If some things do get in the way of our exposures and trying to better ourselves, that is okay. Let these things happen, it does not mean to get discouraged at all. Let these things happen and when the time is right, you can work and use your strategies.  On the other hand, things may be going as planned and are effective, but what if the fear returns?  We need to sit down and think about what strategies were effective for ourselves, and we need to question ourselves as to why it came back. Sometimes, we only do our exposures occasionally, that leaves room for the fear to creep back in your life as you are not exposing yourselves more. However, there are things we can do to help prevent this from happening. First, continue using both the cognitive and exposure strategies. Second, practice these in different situations so that your exposures become second nature to you. You just have to keep, and eventually, anxiety will begin to decrease over time.

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We were then given some useful and resourceful information based on different articles about social anxiety. I will list them down below for you beauts:

  • “The Shyness & Social Anxiety Workbook: PProven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear” ( by Antony M.M and Swinson R.P. 2008)
  • “10 Simple Solutions to Shyness: How to Overcome Shyness, Social Anxiety and Fear of Public Speaking” (Antony, M.M. 2004)
  • http://www.anxietybc.com

Overall, I am so grateful and proud of the person I have become today. Months ago, I was so shy and uncomfortable for everything, it was absolutely awful. I know I needed to do something for myself and pronto even though I was scared to reach out. It is okay to ask for help and reach out if you want to better yourself. I highly highly recommend this group or some form of social anxiety treatment based groups if you are struggling that I was. I will share with you guys the accomplishments I have done over the last 8 weeks and what was on my hierarchy, to begin with.

Exposure Hierarchy

  1. Talk with individuals one-on-one
  2. maintain eye contact
  3. manage anxious thoughts about what people think  of me
  4. tolerate criticism
  5. express more in a job interview
  6. go to a party sober
  7. call people on the phone
  8. return an item to a store
  9. ask for help

What I have accomplished

  1. speaking with individuals one-on-one such as my boss and meeting new people
  2. have tried maintaining eye contact with people during one-on-one conversations on multiple occasions
  3.  If I embarrass myself, I really do not care so much what people think of me
  4. I can call people on the phone now
  5. I have returned an item to a store
  6. I have gone to two parties sober

What I need to work on- asking for help and job interviews as nothing has come up so far.

At my orientation for the group therapy, we had filled out a sheet in regards to “willingness to change”. I will share with you guys what the instructor and I had discussed based on what I would like to accomplish:

Benefits of overcoming your social anxiety: 

  • more comfortable talking to people
  • be happier
  • pursue job opportunities

Reasons for changing:

  • just finished university and wants to improve future prospects and her state

Specific goals:

  • feel comfortable talking with another person such as her boss, strangers
  • make friends
  • arrange job interviews

Previous attempts:

  • breathing techniques
  • Prozac

I can truly say I am a changed person when looking back on this sheet of paper. Never in a million years did I think I was going to overcome social anxiety, let alone I did not know I actually had it that bad. I am so glad I reached out for help, and I encourage you guys as well. If I can do it, you can. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, I have it, and I am sure others who are reading this have it as well. I will say it once again, anxiety does not define who you are as an individual. I hope you beauts enjoyed reading these sessions in regards to my group therapy meetings, I hope you beauts learned a lot, and thank you for all the love and support you guys gave me. Means the world to me. Be sure to follow my other social media accounts for updates on the latest posts!

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email address- alyssahotrum@outlook.com

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Social Anxiety Group Therapy Session 7

Social Anxiety Group Therapy Session 7

Processed with MOLDIVHey beauts! I know I know , where have I been with my updated social anxiety group therapy sessions ? I sadly did not make it to my 6th session because it was a very long and bad day I was having ! I was actually surprised that I only missed one session out of my 8… that’s a record for me and I am very proud of that ! I have worked hard these past 7 weeks and have really pushed myself in my group therapy sessions , obviously attending them and trying to push myself further out of my comfort zone . I have learnt so much these past weeks it has literally been insane !! This week was super challenging for me , mostly because the exposures are getting more challenging and they are really trying to test your anxiety levels . I was not nervous whatsoever I was more excited this time .. why might you ask ? Because this is my second last therapy session ! Can you believe it ?! Where has the time gone ? I literally thought that this therapy was going to be a long 8 weeks , but it literally has flown by .

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We started off this session by taking up some homework that we had from the week before . We were working on assertiveness and the ability to speak our mind or say “no”. I had been working a bit on this over the week and actually practiced this exposure once . My boss is very flexible with my hours and on st pattys day , she asked if I wanted to work til 5:30 or she could even do 4. I was assertive and asked if she could do 4 instead which was hard for me because I am too nice to go home early! I feel bad for some reason . Meanwhile, this suggestion was completely fine and she said that was perfectly okay. Being assertive is not really all that bad after all !  Saying no on the other hand, will be a completely different story . We then had to go over any exposures on our exposure hierarchy we have been working on. I raised my hand ( huge improvement), and stated that I had attended a party sober . Yes may seem a little funny and ridiculous but for me ,that’s a big deal . I am always afraid that when I am sober attending a party , I will not know what to say to people or be completely awkward. I always usually ensure that I had a couple drinks before I attend a party , so this was on my list. I went to a st pattys day party at my friends and literally went sober with my best friend. I knew it was time to push myself. I basically initiated some conversations and really pushed myself when I got to the party . Yes I was completely out of my comfort zone . Did I keep going ? Absolutely . My best friend stated that she could notice a huge difference in me right away . She could not believe how much I was socializing with people and not under the influence of alcohol at the time ,  not until later at least ! I did it . I managed to force my anxiety out of the way and actually enjoyed myself , sparking conversations left right and centre .

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For today’s session, we went on to discuss the dreaded interviews and interview techniques as well as skills. I literally hate interviews. I think a lot of people develop anxiety over them, I know I do! This was on my exposure hierarchy but obviously, I could not work on this one as I had no potential interviews coming up! When you are discussing potential pre-interview skills, it is helpful to use your anxiety thought record, and predict what will happen. It is important to plan ahead for the interview such as learning about the organization, what are your strengths and weaknesses and so forth. When talking about your weaknesses, this can be super tricky. It is important to try to gear more towards behavioural skills as opposed to different characteristics.

One thing to keep in mind when preparing yourself, is to remember that it is okay to regroup your thoughts during the interview. Nobody is perfect. When it comes to interviews, the interviewer knows for a fact that you are nervous and that it is normal. So breathe.  It is also important to practice deep breathing before the interview and practice positive self-talk. Using coping statements such as “ you are going to do great!“, or ” you have done good in interviews before“, will help you out tremendously. When it comes to the actual interview time it is important to be punctual. Arriving at least 15 minutes earlier as opposed to arriving right on time is better and makes you look better as well. It is important to ask questions at the end of your interview, this shows that you are interested and your listening skills are on key. When it comes to the post interview, it is also important to send an email thanking the interviewer. It is also important to write down your interview questions that you were asked just to review them for later on down the road. You can question yourself, what went good? As well as what could I have done differently?

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After discussing about interviews, we went onto the topic of public speaking. As soon as the instructor said this my heart sank. I was literally thinking, great. What exposure and activity are we going to have to do?  We had to do an in class speech by ourselves. We were given 4 smarties, and depending on the colour you had to answer certain questions about yourself. We were required to speak for exactly 2 minutes, timed, and we had the choice of standing in front of the class, standing at your seat or sitting down. I actually surprised the hell out of myself and went first. I could feel my heart drop as I stated that I would like to stand in front of the room. I knew damn well my anxiety was not going to win this exposure that it was time to face one of my biggest fears, public speaking. Even though it was only for two minutes, it literally seemed like 10. I think the most anxiety provoking thing about it was that I did not really have time to prepare my answers. We basically got our smarties, had to look on the board for our 4 questions, and begin. I always have had a fear of not knowing what to say when put on the spot. But boy did I ever surprise myself. I am actually getting teary eyed typing this because I can not explain to you how proud I am of myself and how proud I was in that moment. Even though I paused sometimes to gather my thoughts, I was shaking, my heart was about to burst, and my smarties were melting in my hands, I was okay. I did it. I started with, “Hi, I am Alyssa, I am 23 years old and so forth“. Before I knew it the timer went off, what a relief that was. I told everyone my smarties were melted and one girl replied, “don’t worry, they taste better that way“. I love my group. I have gotten so comfortable around them and it is sad knowing this is my second last session. I am so fortunate to have been given this opportunity, to challenge a demon that has been hanging around for far too long. My anxiety does not define me. Sure he may make me feel uncomfortable, seem shy in certain situations, and awkward in others, but I am still Alyssa.

We have to continue to work on our anxiety hierarchy form that we work on each week.I am not too sure what I am going to work on this week but stay tuned to find out for my last session! I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post on my updated sessions. Please subscribe and follow my social media accounts to stay informed!

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Much love xo.

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Biggest Lifestyle changes I’ve made 2017

Biggest Lifestyle changes I’ve made 2017


Hey beauts ! Hope you all are having a wonderful week so far , mine is going alright I can’t complain whatsoever. Let’s talk about that wicked snow storm yesterday though , that was crazy ! I still made it to the gym however , I couldn’t believe it was still open ! I literally took that chance and risked it , literally waiting for them to close and send everyone home. Luckily that didn’t happen and I was able to get my leg workout in … thank god!  Actually , this blog post today has a bit to do about the gym to be honest ! This post I have actually been inspired to do recently as I have noticed quite a few changes in how I am feeling each day in regards to my mindset and physical changes in my body. This post today is about different lifestyle changes that I have made recently over the past two months . I know what you guys are thinking … lyss … it’s only been two months this isn’t really a lifestyle change yet ! I am quite determined to keep these changes persistent however , which is my long term goal ! I wanted to share with you guys some of my secrets and decisions I have made to help live a healthier lifestyle . So shall we get right into it then or what ?

Eating breakfast every day 

This step is absolutely huge for me and I can say I am super proud of myself for accomplishing this step . From someone who suffered from eating disorders for a long period of time , I can proudly say that I am not skipping breakfast anymore. I mostly skipped breakfast in regards to my eating disorders and because I would not be hungry getting up super early for work. I have heard over and over again , ” breakfast is the most important meal of the day“, and it’s true . Breakfast is such an important meal and fuels your body for the beginning of the day. I got up one morning and decided , “ hey let’s try this out … I know it’s 6 am but what’s the harm“. This was around the time when I joined the gym . Now , I actually eat breakfast at 6 am every single day , aside from the weekend . I usually make a bunch of different breakfasts to munch on each morning! Some of these include : oatmeal , smoothie bowls and yogurt with granola . I will post down below the ingredients to each breakfast meal for you beauts !


Yogurt with granola

  • granola clusters
  • plain Greek yogurt or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Chia seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Fruit such as bananas, raspberries and blueberries

Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup of quick minute oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Fruit
  • 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter

Smoothie bowl

  • As much almond milk as desired
  • Fruit ( variety)
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pinch of shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • Bits of granola clusters

Voila ! You have yourself a bunch of delish breakfast meals for you beauts to try out ! I absolutely love eating these in the morning , they provide my body with the proper energy needed each day. The only meal that took me a while to get used to was the plain Greek yogurt, I am not a huge fan of the taste but once fruit is added , it makes a huge difference!

Exercising each day 

This step is big , I find that if I do not exercise now I am a bit miserable and not feeling my best . I love how I have incorporated fitness into my daily routine now which makes me feel unreal . I usually work around 8-5 each day so I plan to go to my gym around 8 at night when it is the least busiest . It took me a while to motivate myself to use the gym and join one . Being a person who suffers from social anxiety … it’s not an easy step that’s for sure. It took me a bit to find the right gym to join and also to feel the most comfortable at . I knew for a fact I was not going to like a co-ed gym , just because I would feel more comfortable working out at an all girls gym. I also did not want a gym that was extremely busy either , my gym is perfect. I have managed to gather enough courage to go to the gym by myself , which I now prefer. I have also made a gym schedule which hangs on my fridge letting me know what muscle group to work on each day . Today is arms and cardio ! Wish me luck !

Drinking more water 

This was extremely  hard for me and not an easy step whatsoever . So I gave up pop guys ! Well not completely and entirely ! The only time I drink it is for a chase for a night out with my alcohol ... that’s it ! How proud are you of me ?! I was literally addicted to pop and I mean addicted. I love the burn when it goes down your throat and would probably drink pop every single day . It was bad , and I would drink coke which was the worst kind ever . But now when I wake up I have my coffee or tea and then I go straight away to work on my bottle of water . I am not 100% sure how much water I drink daily , I just usually go by my water bottle which is a fairly good size ! I drink two of these before lunch and two after lunch , then one at the gym ! So I am getting a fair amount of water in which is unreal and I am proud of myself ! I have noticed a huge different in my acne as well after drinking lots of water and staying away from the sugary drinks! My face has cleared up a whole ton which I am super happy about . I also am not as bloated during the day at all , which I used to always be and it was an awful feeling .

Doing therapy and bettering myself mentally 


I am so proud of myself for attending therapy every Wednesday . I have noticed such an improvement every single week and even writing this out I am smiling . I am so much more confident when it comes to socializing with people and to think a therapy group caused this and has benefited me a ton . I personally think the exposures has helped out a lot which is wonderful but they were not the easiest let me tell you that ! When I actually sit back and think about where I am today I am so proud . It takes courage to recognize you need help and need that extra therapy to get back on your feet and that’s okay. This group has completely pushed me out of my comfort zone and I remember telling my therapist, ” I will not do group therapy ” I would rather do individualised therapy . I was so afraid that it would be just like the movies and that I would absolutely hate going … more like dread it . I am excited going to therapy now that I have joined my group therapy for social anxiety . I am proud to tell the instructors what I have been working on and to let them know the difference I am seeing and feeling … it’s incredible . I highly recommend taking part in a group therapy if you are struggling with social anxiety like I am . I have benefited so much and I am still constantly learning each week . This is only an 8 week course which is great , and you could choose whether you wanted to go in the evenings or the mornings ! I am glad that I am bettering myself mentally and taking care of my mental health. I was so sick of this getting in the way of life that something needed to be done, best decision I have ever made. 

Blogging more and putting aside time for you hobbies 


As you guys have guessed it one of my favourite things to do in my spare time is blog . I absolutely love taking the time to share my thoughts and feelings with you beauts ! There was however, a chunk of time where I kind of pushed blogging to the side and didn’t really contribute to it for a while . This was when I was in a rut and going through a lot of things , I was not inspired and was not feeling my best . Now that I have started back up with blogging I can not stop! I think it annoys my boyfriend at times when I am constantly sitting on my computer typing away and not spending quality time with him ! Haha ! But hey it’s what I like doing . Of course I balance my blogging with other things in life but I do make sure I put the time aside for my blogging . I find that this is an extremely important thing to do when trying to be happy and live a more content life. You need to do you. If you love shopping then put time aside to shop, if you love reading then read your favourite book each night before you go to bed.  I know for a fact this has affected me positively and I feel inspired all the time these days to keep writing and come up with more things for you guys ! I have to remind myself , ” hey lyss.,.. you just uploaded a blog yesterday relax“. Way too funny but I am not complaining .

Getting enough sleep and having a routine


I know this is a given but it is so crucial . I recently have developed a sleep routine now which I follow every single night . I usually always go to bed around 10- 10:30 each night considering I am up at around 6 each day ! I find that getting to bed a little earlier helps me out for the morning and being able to function and be able to get up ! I also make sure that I am following the same routine ie:

  •  brush teeth
  •  wash face
  •  climb into bed
  • spray pillow with lavender mist
  • apply night face cream
  • Put on Chapstick
  • Apply lavender cream on hands
  • Turn on humidifier and fan

Goodnight ! Sleep tight !

Well I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post ! Those are basically the biggest changes I have made in regards to bettering my health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Are there any different ways you beauts have changed your lifestyles? If so comment below and let me know ! Make sure to follow all my other social media pages to keep updated with everything !

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Much love xo 

Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 5

Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 5

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Hello my beauts, I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend so far, I know I sure am! This week has been a great week so far, been feeling very positive lately which is super refreshing and nice. I can’t believe we are already on week 5…. what the hell, where did the time go? This Wednesday was a rather interesting one.As you guys are well aware, we are getting way more into it now. I am not talking about just discussing what social anxiety is, but rather actually facing our fears and doing more group exercises, which I obviously love…not. We started off this group therapy with taking up some of the take-home homework that we were assigned. I decided to raise my hand and share what I had been working on with the group, which is a huge step for me. Like I had mentioned in my previous blog post, we had to work on our active listening skills as well as more exposures on our hierarchy list. For my active listening homework, I have been working on engaging in more one on one conversations but using skills such as; eye contact, being more open, smiling.. I have been constantly talking to my two bosses (the mom and the dad who I nanny for) on a daily basis, just trying to consistently be involved in some sort of small talk. There were a couple of things that I noticed which had interfered with my active listening involvement, some of these included: very hard to keep eye contact with the individual, and I was often rehearsing what I was going to say in return. Overall, however, the outcome was extremely good. I noticed that I am capable of small talk, but next time, I am going to continue to work on trying to ask more questions when engaging in conversations.

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For the next take-home assignment, I had shared the next exposure that I had been working on which was speaking on the phone. After the previous Wednesday, I knew I had to cab home, which was extremely nerve racking for me considering a phone call was involved and I had to contribute to small talk in the cab. I am constantly nervous that I am going to stumble on my words while talking on the phone or I will say something absolutely stupid. However, the phone call went smoothly and I did it. I did stumble a bit on my words and mucked up the address where I needed to be picked up at. But you know what? All he did on the phone was correct me and that was it. It was not the end of the world. I also used coping statements while in that moment such as, “look, this guy doesn’t even know you and chances are, you are probably never going to see him again. People make mistakes on the phone, it’s okay“. Guess what guys, I actually managed to calm myself down after that little incident and for once in my life, I did not let that ruin the rest of my night like I would have before joining and participating in this group therapy. Chances are, I would’ve held on to that stupid incident for a while but for the first time, I completely dropped it. I was so proud of myself and even my instructors were amazed at my accomplishment. That felt great.  I learned that I am capable of speaking on the phone and that communicating over the phone really is not that big of a deal.

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Now, moving onto the new stuff. We started off with some exercises straight away which literally I was like…. dear god shoot me. We had to be partnered up and sit across from each other. I was with the same partner who I had interviewed the previous Wednesday before which was nice. We then had to stare at our partner for 45 seconds from the shoulders up. I was literally like get the f*** out of here. I HATED this exposure, mostly because I hate making eye contact. It for sure put me out of my comfort zone and I actually started laughing during it because I was so uncomfortable and felt so awkward. Finally, the 45 seconds passed and the instructor had asked how it went. I was thinking the whole time what if I have something in my teeth, or my makeup is smudged or I have something on my face and that is what they are staring at. Anywho, overall I am glad we did this experiment, it really did make me feel awkward but I do need that exposure to overcome my fear. We also had to do something similar to speed dating. Again with our partner, we had to engage in small talk about a topic that the instructors assigned us and talk with that individual until they said switch. From then, we had to move onto the next person where a new topic was assigned. This exposure honestly went very well. My worst fear when it comes to small talk is that I will run out of things to say or there will be that awkward silence…. am I right?! Surprisingly, I did not run out of things to talk about and every single conversation went smoothly.

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While engaging in the small talk conversations, I was trying to be an open listener and incorporate smiling and eye contact. This went very well and overall I was very pleased.  After doing these two exposures, we then moved onto the content that we were learning for today and that actually had to deal with small talk and how to start conversations. There are many different places where you can engage in small talk and expose yourself to these situations. Some of these places may include:

  • elevator
  • sales clerk
  • grocery store lineup
  • dentist office/doctor office
  • gym
  • coffee shop

There are three things to keep in mind when trying to start a conversation or needing that extra help. The first is you can try to start the conversation with asking a question such as, “Do you happen to know the time?”. Second, you can give someone a compliment such as “I love the sweater you are wearing!”. Lastly, you can make an observation such as ” I think it may start to rain soon“. These are all different ways that you can start a conversation.

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There are also different topics to choose from such as talking about: movies, weather, vacation, sports and so forth. Usually, when I am talking to my bosses, I am having a lot of conversations about the boys who I nanny and about their behaviour. I always keep in mind that when having a conversation, it is a two-way street. They can not be the only ones engaging in the convo, but I have to contribute as well. Some other tips that I need to take into consideration include:

  1. engaging and using your active and open listening skills
  2. showing interest in the conversation
  3. when it comes to compliments, give or take
  4. questions help to show more interest
  5. keep in mind important details

Of course starting a conversation is important too, but so is ending it. In this group therapy session, we were taught different ways to indicate when a conversation is coming to an end. You can notice when there seems little more to say, or you can simply make a statement such as, “nice talking to you, hope to see you again soon“. Often time we are so overwhelmed about how to leave certain situations so it is helpful being provided some tips and tricks.

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For our take-home assignment, we again have to focus on working on our exposures, so stay tuned to see in my next blog post what I have been working on! Also, we are instructed to socialize and have a conversation with a stranger…. will I do it? Or not?

Stay tuned beauts!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post on my 5th session. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my progress. I can honestly see such a big improvement with myself and it’s an amazing feeling. I am proud of myself.

Be sure to follow my other social media accounts to stay updated with the latest blogs!

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Much love xo.

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Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 4

Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 4

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Happy Hump day everyone! Wow…. I am on a roll today with these blog posts, mostly I give credit to this amazing and unreal coffee getting me through! So I know some of you have been wondering how my last Wednesday session went at my social anxiety group therapy. Honestly, it was a struggle going to this meeting that time. It was a very long day and the thought came into my head, “meh lyss….come on… you can miss just one!?”. In reality guys, you can’t. I mean sure if you really have an emergency or something which is totally acceptable but it’s so crucial going to every single one of these meetings, you literally learn something new every single time. I am so glad that I pushed myself to go. I knew for a fact that I was going to have days like this where I really did not feel like going and then your brain explodes with excuses why it’s okay. So.. shall we jump right into it?

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I honestly was not nervous whatsoever this time, literally no nerves at all which I found so surreal. I sat down in a different chair this time and quietly waited for 6 o’clock to hit. There was the same amount of people there as last time and everyone just kept to themselves until the session started. We began with doing some mindful thinking and breathing like the last few sessions. I rather enjoyed it more this time because we had to close our eyes and listen to a girl on an app speak to us and calm us. I actually have this app on my phone and can honestly say I really do love it. There is something about listening to other people speak to calm me down as opposed to listening to my own thoughts. If you guys are interested in downloading the app it is called, “Stop, Breathe and Think“. I remember clear as day, the first time I ever tried this app, I chose “trying to feel more thankful & grateful for things” (you can choose what you want to work on). After listening to the lady and finishing with the mindful breathing, I sent this huge text message to my aunt saying everything I was grateful about towards her, I will never forget that!

So after the breathing was done, I was feeling extremely relaxed and we started getting into the session. We always start by taking up homework that we had to do that week. Of course, I get called upon, but now when I am getting called upon… I really am not tensing up that much as opposed to what I usually would do.  We were working on exposures that week and I decided to focus on trying to incorporate more “small talk” with my boss or the mom I nanny for. I had looked at my hierarchy of exposures and basically came to the conclusion that alot of my fears have to do with having a conversation with someone whether it be via face to face or over the phone. I decided to give it a go. I remember that week trying extremely hard to push myself and initiate some of the conversations that I had with my boss. Prior to this exposure, I really tried to keep our conversations really basic and would hope they would finish like that so I would not have to talk as much. I started pushing myself with little questions and conversation starters such as, “how was your week or your weekend?”, “what did you do on the weekend?”, “how were the boys this morning” and so forth. This sparked some nice conversations between the two of us which was good for a change. The mom knows that I am taking part in my social anxiety therapy group sessions, so every Thursday she asks how my session went the night before. Of course, I do not have the balls to say “oh hey I am doing my exposure on you“, so I basically just tell her I am onto exposures now and so forth.

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I continued to try to initiate small talk with the mom every single day. I tried hard to push myself to go that extra mile and stayed in the anxiety-provoking situation. I shared this current exposure with the rest of the group and shared that after the week it really felt “natural” to have conversations with my boss. I also informed the group that I really am capable of having small talk with someone, and that I am very hard on myself. This is accurate for someone struggling with anxiety, we are so hard on ourselves and just need to step back and say, “I can do this“.  We then went around the room where others had shared their current exposures as well. After doing this, we went right into what we were going to learn that day and what was “skill building“.  The instructors asked several questions and read out several statements to us, asking if any related to us at all. One particularly stood out to me and I informed the instructors.

“I am just shy,  but others say I appear snobby or better than others”.

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“I am just shy,  but others say I appear snobby or better than others”. This literally was me to a T. I then shared my story with the group how in my first year of residence, I hardly spoke to people on my floor because I didn’t know anyone and was super shy. I remember hearing that some people on my floor literally thought I was a stuck-up bitch for not socialising with them which was extremely hurtful considering I am so far from that! Often I do feel judged when it comes to my shyness and that is one of the reasons why I am attending this program, to work on it. We then began to talk about skills to help us communicate better and help us with our listening skills, some of these include:

  • looking  more interested by making more eye contact
  • more involvement by asking for clarity
  • staying with the conversation
  • a response that is honest and supportive
  • being open and showing awareness
  • do not worry about being perfect

Often there are certain things that I found that interfere with my attempts to listen to someone. I often rehearse everything that I am going to say back to the individual who I am engaging in a conversation with, this can distract me from actually listening to the person. Being an anxious individual, I come off as a closed listener. I try to avoid eye contact at all costs, usually, my hands are wrapped around my stomach or crossed in front of me, I sometimes sit hunched over, or I even have a serious face. So…. taking that into consideration it may come off to others that I am not actually listening to them within the conversation. This week, I have been trying to be more of an open listener. I have been trying to: make more eye contact with others, lean forward, sitting up straight, smiling, and having my arms placed at my side.

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For our take-home homework, we had to record down on a sheet different ways we showed active listening. I will let you guys know in my next blog how that went and if I actually pushed myself to engage more so stay tuned! We also had to continue doing some more exposures as well.

Lastly, with the remaining few minutes of the session, we had to get into partners. From there, we had to literally interview each other and ask personal based questions to get a better understanding of that individual and their interests. Some of the questions I asked my partner were:

  1. do you have any pets? What are their names?
  2. how do you exercise?
  3. favourite movie and type of music?
  4. tell me about your education.
  5. where do you work? etc…

So we had to take around 10 minutes to ask these questions to each other and write down the answers. After this, we had to share and address to the group who your partner was sharing their answers out loud and introducing them. I will admit, I was pretty nervous for this. I hate anything to do with partner work and I also found it extremely awkward when my partner was introducing me for some reason. I do not usually like being the centre of attention, so I think that had something to do with it. But hey I did it. That was a beneficial exercise to get to know everyone a tad bit better, which was awesome.

Well I hope you guys enjoyed this update on my therapy! As you can see it’s going great so far and I am slowly opening up more and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Be sure to follow my other social media accounts to be up to date with my blogs!

snapchat-alyssahotrum

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Much love xo.

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