Happy Wednesday everyone, I hope you are having a great week! Well I am officially back with new content for you guys starting now and I am so excited to share everything I have been working on. 2019 is shaping up to be an amazing year! I decided to start things off with talking about what I have been up to this past month and my focus on taking the time I needed to work through some personal issues, improve my self care and quite frankly really find a way to relax and manage my anxiety.
I reached out to Torrid, a brand that was an important part of my self love journey to see if they would partner with me on sharing this special message and thankfully they agreed. So while this post is sponsored by them, all opinions expressed are my own and always will be.
In my opinion, January can be a difficult month for most people for a number of different reasons. There is so much pressure to change with just a flip of the switch. I mean do you really feel that differently on January 1st then you do on December 31st? And what if you don’t want to change anything? I stopped setting New Year’s resolutions when I finally accepted that I was likely never going to be thin. Because the reality was for most of my life, my New Year’s resolution was to loose weight, get thin and finally be happy. But when you are staring age 40 in the face and you realize that you haven’t been living but existing it can be a hard pill to swallow. Since then I focused on learning how to be happy as I was and to start living.
If you are someone that believes in setting resolutions or goals then you absolutely do you! I will be here to support you and be your biggest cheerleader! But if you are someone who feels the pressure of the stereotypical societal pressures that come with this time of year then also know that I am here for you. In the end, no one should ever feel pressured to do something they don’t want to. For me that means saying screw you to diet culture, joining the gym, setting goals immediately, planning my blog calendar for the next year, pulling a Marie Kondo on my life and anything else that comes with a timeline.
As a classic over achiever and people pleaser, I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed at everything I do and I ALWAYS over estimate what I can reasonably accomplish. My anxiety really came to the fore front when I was in my early 30’s and I was working my way up the corporate ladder and was still obsessive about being thin. I then developed a severe long term case of insomnia that was caused by sleep apnea and after about 8 months of not sleeping, I had a break down. I was so physically and mentally exhausted that I couldn’t function like I was used to. And while the sleep apnea was a large contributor to my insomnia, lurking beneath was my undiagnosed anxiety that I had probably had for most of life.
This was a huge wake up call for me. For the first time in my life I couldn’t just push through and I didn’t know how to cope with that. My doctor forced me to go on a modified work schedule which was terrifying to me and I got some much needed therapy. And in complete transparency I do take medication to help me manage my anxiety. I was ashamed of this for a long time because I was self reliant, I had learned at a young age to never depend on anyone but myself. And I certainly had a hard time letting people in. But now I know that there is nothing wrong with it and if it helps me then that is all that matters.
Learning to say no and to ask for help has been the harder part of the journey for me. I still struggle daily with the idea that I may disappoint someone and I know I can overreact to a situation very easily. I am sensitive and emotional and I will let my mind take me to the worst possible scenario. Logically I know that I am doing it but I can’t seem to control it. What I have learned is to recognize when it is happening and know that when it gets really bad, I need to take a self care break. So that is what I did. I kept low key hours at the office, I didn’t do a photo shoot for 6 weeks and I didn’t post to social media every day.
What self care means is going to be different for each one of us. But what is important is finding ways, no matter how small or big to fit it into our busy lives. Whether its taking a half hour a week for a quiet bath; reading a magazine or book for 15 minutes each evening that is purely for pleasure and not tied to school or work; getting a pedicure, a massage, a facial; having date night with your significant other, girls night; binge watching your favourite TV show; listening to music; meditating; yoga; working out etc. I mean the list could go on…
I found that what works for me is quiet time to myself. I spend all day every day surrounded by people and dealing with clients. I have learned that I quite like my solitude. I love my house, it is a place of comfort and calm for me and there are weekends where I will consciously choose to hibernate. I stock up the fridge, cook some great food, live in my lounge wear and take naps. And then I catch up on my favourite TV shows. I like TV because it is an escape for me, I can completely shut everything out and focus on nothing.
Something else I have realized over time is that I am a thinker. I like to process and ponder my feelings, it’s not surprising to find me looking like I am lost in space as I get completely caught up in my train of thought or working through something. And sometimes I just like to provide myself with positive reinforcement. But most importantly I allow myself to dream, to think about goals I want to achieve, what might be possible and ultimately letting myself believe that I am worthy of all these things.
Being a self proclaimed hermit, I was super excited when Torrid came out with their new lounge wear collection this past fall. Lounge wear has been a huge trend in the last year as we look for pieces that are comfortable and cozy but still acceptable to wear out of the house to run an errand. And I will fully admit that I have gone to the drug store in my PJs that are clearly meant to be PJs (I mean you are not going to hide the bright pink characters on my pants if you tried lol). When I am shopping for lounge wear my key focus is quality fabrics. I want them to be durable, soft, and practical. Think french terry, brushed hacci, fine jersey knits. I also like nice details like a little bit of lace, pockets, a comfy elastic waistband etc. The other thing that I look for is pieces that can mix and match with each other or other pieces in my wardrobe.
For this post I decided to do 2 looks that ended up being 3 lol because well, that’s how I roll. I will let you in on a little secret. I received these items and I wasn’t shooting them till the next week. But we were getting a snow storm and I had planned a weekend of hibernation. When I took them out of the package I was so impressed with how soft they were and how good they fit that I totally wanted to wear them right away. But I have a rule that I don’t wear things I am going to shoot for the blog in real life until after I have shot them because you know the likelihood that I would get it dirty is pretty high. I was able to resist and not wear something but let me tell you it was really tough!
The first look is your classic cardigan and pants with a cropped tank. Because I am always so hot I really like to dress in layers, even around the house. These pants are perfect to lounge in and they have pockets. I am wearing the size 6 because I wanted them to be loose. A challenge for me is always the back rise on pants not being long enough and I was really happy that these ones came right up to my waist.
The cropped tank for me replaces having to wear a bra which I personally hate wearing when I want to relax. I am wearing the size 5 in this and I actually found it a little big, I would size down next time for a little more support. I thought the polka dots were a cute subtle print. The long length swing cardigan is perfection, this is something I would totally wear out with a pair of leggings and a tank. It is a good weight that makes it wearable all year round and a generous fit. This pieces comes in split sizes and I am wearing the size 5/6.
I selected this matching tunic thinking that I could wear it with the pants as a top but when I received it I realized that it fit more like a sleep shirt and so I decided to wear it on its own. The grey cardigan would also be the perfect layer over this. I got a size 6 because I wanted it to fit loose but this is actually quite big, so overall I would say your normal size is okay to still achieve a comfy relaxed fit. I am not a huge fan of slippers but these grey cable knit ones were too cute to resist. And they are surprisingly super comfy and wide feet/ankle friendly. They also have grips on the bottom to keep you from slipping on floors.
My absolute favourite thing to wear when lounging is a cami and shorts. This mauve set is incredibly soft and feels amazing against your skin. I love the cute ruffle detail on the shorts and the fact that the straps on the cami are adjustable. I am wearing a size 5 in the cami and I could have sized down. I got a size 6 in the shorts because again I wanted them to be loose but I could have sized down on these too. My only complaint? I don’t like the hemline on the cami – I feel like it takes away from the shorts and the ruffle hem.
I paired this set with this luxurious sweater that is fuzzy and made of this super cool feather yarn. I couldn’t stop touching it, I loved the texture so much! I am wearing a size 5 in this and the fit is perfect. This is also a piece that I would easily pair with jeans and a t-shirt. And I mean can we talk about these socks for a minute? Knee high socks have been a big trend this year as well but I have always been hesitant to try them because I didn’t think they would fit my calf because of my lipedema. So let me tell you I was so excited when these ones did! They are very warm and cozy and perfect for a cold Canadian winter.
Overall I am really impressed with the quality and selection of pieces that Torrid has to offer, I really feel like they put a lot of thought and effort into launching this collection and are offering a wide assortment of options to suit everyone’s needs. I want everyone to know that I am personally doing much better and the time I took was exactly what I needed. I hope sharing my story helps in some small way. If you have your own struggles, please know that you are not alone. Now who wants to come and lounge with me?
Special thanks to Rebecca of Rebecca Northcott Photography for capturing these images.
Shop the blue look here:
Cardigan by TORRID | Pants by TORRID | Crop Tank by TORRID | Tunic by TORRID | Slippers by TORRID |
Shop the mauve look here:
Cardigan by TORRID | Shorts by TORRID | Cami by TORRID | Socks by TORRID |