≡ Menu

Self-Care Doesn’t Take a Holiday

December is such a weird month for me. It’s always been full of new beginnings and sometimes, terrifying endings. I know that the holidays bring out a lot of emotions for everyone, no matter what’s going on in your life.

I’ve come a long way since I ran away to a new life when I packed my car and drove to Seattle four years ago. 21 years ago, my family and I made a similar journey when we moved from Turkey to the U.S.

At 31 years old, I’m finally feeling like I’ve got a good handle on life. I’ve got a solid career path, a group of friends I can finally trust to be there but also know when I need to be alone. I’m in a healthy relationship (we just passed the 9-month mark, what!). Most importantly, my baby brother and his girlfriend are now living in Seattle.

Life is good.

Life is emotional.

It’s the constant struggle, isn’t it – to feel sad even though you’ve got a lot of things right in your life? “Things could be worse,” we tell ourselves. I tell myself that all the time.

I also allow myself to feel the sadness and anxiety that comes up because they are part of who I am. I need to process feelings to understand where they come from, and maybe, help me become a better person.

That’s the beauty of being human. We can feel conflicting feelings all at once, defining who we are at a given moment by choosing to embrace the positive ones as the negative ones run their course.

I know I’m not alone in this.

We feel guilty at this time of year if we personally cannot live up to the standard to be ever-cheerful and happy and joyful. — Dr. Arthur Hayward, Kaiser Permanente

Whether you’re spending your holidays surrounded by family and friends, or not – remember that self-care doesn’t take a holiday. In fact, it’s more important than ever. What you’re going through matters, whether it’s good or sad. I want you to remember that too.

Here are a few tips for practicing self-care this holiday season.

 

  • Give yourself permission. To take a walk. To take a break. To be a bit selfish. To feel happy. To feel anxious. To feel – period.
  • Take your time. If you’re going home for the holidays, everything can feel rushed. You have to see everyone. You have to rush from house to house, event to event. Where and when you can, take a breather. Maybe spend a little extra time getting ready. Take the longer route from one house to the other. And yes, cancel on events if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You don’t have to be everywhere, all the time. (I know this applies more to social activities versus family obligations.)
  • Hydrate. No, seriously. Water. Don’t forget about it – especially between those glasses of wine at family functions.
  • Laugh. Even if it’s through tears sometimes.
  • Take a walk. Put on your coat (or light jacket), put away your phone, and take a walk around the neighborhood. Don’t forget to take deep breaths.
  • Indulge. Listen to your favorite songs. Put on your favorite holiday movie. Make your favorite treats.
  • Give up expectations. Nothing will be perfect. Something will always go wrong. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself (and others) and try to enjoy the moments.
  • Breathe. This is the most important one. No matter what, remember to breathe.

What are some ways you get through the holiday blues?

 

{ 10 comments }

Welcome to Being Berrak

My blogging journey began on AOL message boards in the late 90s.

Then came a very angsty personal blog on Tripod or AngelFire or GeoCities (I can’t really remember), which was actually the first time I tried to teach myself coding. I was using GIFs before I knew they were called GIFs.

Then there was LiveJournal…and Myspace…and my very first stand-alone blog which was hosted on Yahoo. Sometime in 2008, I found myself in this space, though it didn’t always look like this.

I’ve been constantly evolving as a writer and a person. My personal blog has always been a safe space, even after I dropped my pen name and came out.

You know what happens in someone’s life over the course of 13 years?

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

How to Get an Early Start to Your Day

img_0504

  • Wake up in the middle of the night with painful cramps.
  • Check your phone to see what time it is (1:30 AM) and notice an important email.
  • Unwisely open said email while you’re in an already emotionally raw place after four days of being sick & go into another emotional tailspin.
  • Wonder if you’ll cry yourself to sleep (and actually sleep through your cramps).
  • 2:27 AM – Nope. The cramps are too much.
  • Wonder how early is too early to take a shower without waking up your neighbors.
  • Decide that 5:30 AM is reasonable.
  • Lie back down, contemplating every mistake you’ve ever made while doing the “If I go to sleep now, I’ll get X hours of sleep countdown.”

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Bring on the Holiday Cards

We’re getting close to the end of 2016, which can only mean one thing for some of you: It’s time to mail out those holiday cards! I don’t know about you but I still think there’s something special about getting physical mail and covering my fridge with cards from my friends and family who are scattered across the globe.

Of course, holiday cards aren’t the only thing that warrant creative invitations. My fridge is full of wedding invitations, birth announcements, and “thank you” cards reminding me of special occasions and memories.

Unless you’re super creative and a pro at Photoshop, designing cards that perfectly capture your personality and the mood of your special event can feel like a chore. Most of the websites out there that offer services to create invitations have awesome templates but they each have some kind of restriction. Maybe they have limited colors – or they don’t allow you to request samples before you put in a large order.

Enter Basic Invite. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Making Peace with Being Settled

making-peace-with-being-settled

Sometime last year, I seriously contemplated the idea of selling all of my possessions (except for my books, of course), and truly embracing the nomad life. Shit, I started a nomad conference with my friends because I truly expected to meet them in various parts of the world throughout the year.

The wanderlust was strong, and I was feeling antsy.

My life was going to be an adventure, with Seattle being my home base.

When I had to put Dot down last year, I wasn’t going to get another cat. I wouldn’t take on the responsibility of another pet.

I was going to be spontaneous – ready to get away at a moment’s notice.

imag0289

There would be no need for me to settle down. I didn’t want to put down roots, even as I was finally building solid friendships with people I could actually trust to stay in my life.

Then heartbreak happened.

I felt like a failure as a friend. As a woman. As a partner. As a business owner.

Over and over again.

So, I kept driving. I embraced the road. All I needed was Roxanne, the clothes on my back, my laptop, my camera, and McLovin. Nobody else.

I didn’t want to settle.

But then… [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

IMG_7819I have no strong feelings about Pokémon. When my brother was younger, I took him to see the movies in the theaters, he collected the cards, and I would sometimes play the games with him on his GameBoy color. As he grew older, his interests changed, and Pokémon wasn’t something present in my life.

Fast-forward to summer of 2016. A new app is sweeping the world. It’s augmented reality. It’s nostalgic. It’s fun. I downloaded it because why not? I still don’t have any strong feelings about Pokémon but this app? I’m really enjoying it – so are a lot of other people.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

This Is 31

1916369_10101654351508370_6423696949145916198_n

I turned into a drunk pumpkin at midnight on my birthday. 

It was, by far, the best birthday celebration of my life. My best friend of 16 years flew in from North Carolina. My brother was there (MY BROTHER LIVES HERE NOW). The wonderful guy I’d only been dating for a few weeks was, well, wonderful. I invited my friends to my favorite bar because I knew that I would get overwhelmed if I had another house party.

I built in an escape plan to my own birthday party.

It was pretty spectacular. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Stream of Consciousness: March 15-16, 2016

This is my usual writing face, by the way.

This is my usual writing face, by the way.

A few weeks ago, I came to a realization.

People and experiences come into our lives in the exact moment we need them. They’re not always meant to be around forever. They’re meant to remind us of our strengths and who we are when we’re feeling lost.

I still believe this. Wholeheartedly. I also know closure isn’t always promised, people will continue to make Irish exits out of my life, and it will hurt. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only been in my life for a few weeks or if you were supposed to be by my side at my wedding.

You will hurt me when you decide my life is no longer something you are interested in.

The transient people don’t hurt – obviously. I don’t mourn the disappearance of every person out of my life. We meet people in passing. Maybe we hit it off with them right off the bat but that doesn’t mean they’ll be a constant part of our lives.

I wear my soul and scars out in the open. I don’t wear them as a badge of honor. At this point in my life, as I’m about to turn the corner to 31, it’s more of a time consideration.

Here I am. Here are the things that have contributed to who I am today. Here are the scars that get picked and bleed once in a while. Here’s how I am on a good day, and here’s me on a shitty day. Do you still want to be a part of it?

I don’t know why but in the last year or so, people have decided I am no longer worthy. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

My “Friends” Outrage

sideba

If you don’t already know, I’m obsessed with Friends. I think in Friends references. I will always watch it when I get I chance, and I fully accept that it’s a ridiculous show with flaws.

But I love it with its flaws. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

I made a promise to myself. It’s time to return to your regularly scheduled programming, which means there will be more posts on this blog. The thing is, I have a lot of opinions, thoughts, and randomness that goes through my head and they don’t necessarily all belong on Twitter.

Rather, they deserve to have a proper platform, which means – hello old friend, my dear personal blog – are you ready for my return?

This blog isn’t to add pieces to my writing portfolio. It won’t be polished. It won’t talk about work (that’s for the biz blog). It will at times be frivolous. More often than not, it won’t be super thought provoking. I bet you there will be lots of GIFs, streams of consciousness, broken sentences, and sometimes, grammar rules thrown out the window. This is my safe space (very publicly available safe space). If you’ve only been around for the past 2 years, you’re probably used to the big, huge, life-changing posts full of life lessons and insights. If you’ve been reading my blogs since Myspace days, you…well, you know how random my mind is. I create a ton of polished articles for my clients. I will create thought provoking content for my business blog.

This…is my playground.

Back to the topic at hand, or rather, top of my mind. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }