My Entire Rhinoplasty Recovery: Graphic Photos, Daily Notes, Post-Op Visits, Warnings, Advice, & More

Beauty

Warning: This article is meant for people who are very curious about getting a rhinoplasty done and want to know about all of the uncomfortable details of the recovery process. This post is not sugar coated in any way. I’m NOT going to be holding back any information. I’m going to be sharing intimate details about my recovery. You should also know that all of the photos I’m about to share were taken two days after my surgery. If you do not think you can handle viewing images of the recovery from a surgical procedure, please click away. This is the honest truth about what it’s like getting a rhinoplasty.

Hello again, and welcome back to the second blog post in my series all about me getting a rhinoplasty.

In my first blog post about my procedure, I shared with you all of the reasons why I was going under the knife and getting my nose done. If you haven’t read that one yet, check out “Announcement: I’m Getting a Nose Job + Why I’m Getting It Done & What’s to Come.”

This blog post is going to be all about what you’re most curious about: RECOVERY! In this post I’m going to share what it was like throughout each stage of my recovery including: 

  • Immediately after my surgery
  • What supplements and pills I had to take
  • How I had to clean my nose
  • Daily updates for the initial 2 weeks
  • Details about Post-Op visits with my surgeon
  • Updates throughout each week of recovery up to 6 weeks
  • What products helped me through my recovery
  • Update about my nose 3 months and 4 months Post-Op
  • My takeaways from the recovery process

The third post in this series will be all about my results, whether or not I’m happy with my new nose, and a review of my plastic surgeon – Dr. Dean Davis of Davis Facial Plastic Surgery. This post will be coming about approximately 6 months after getting my surgery done on September 9th.

Lastly, I would LOVE to do a rhinoplasty Q&A just like I did with your Microblading questions to cover anything that I might have missed in this post. So send me your questions through email or Instagram and I will answer all of them!

It’s Happening! Preparing for Surgery

It’s finally freaking happening. The week has been creeping up closer and closer to when I would get my surgery done, and it crept up on me way faster than I thought it would. When I first booked my surgery for Sept. 9, 2019, it seemed like a lifetime away. But each week when I would look at my calendar last August, I was shocked at how close the date had been sneaking up on me. Matt and I had been so preoccupied with house hunting, that I had forgotten that this day was just around the corner!

At this point, it’s less than a week away from my surgery and it’s time to get ready! It’s time to start taking the supplements the surgeon gave me, pick up my prescriptions, run errands to get everything the surgeon recommended, and stock up on a whole bunch of soft foods and protein shakes. Matt made sure to get the week off during my surgery, and we’re repeatedly going over the times we have to leave for the surgery, what pills I have to take (and when), what time my surgery ends, and what times my post-op appointments are. It’s as if we’re doing some sort of emergency evacuation drill, preparing for a hurricane, or trying to escape prison. Every day we frantically go over the dates, times, and plans with each other as if our lives depended on it.

We must have read the list of instructions that the surgeon gave me a dozen times. Recovery instructions include things like: 

  • “Discontinue any vitamins, herbal, or dietary supplements”
  • “Discontinue use of aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, ibuprofen…If you need something for discomfort, you may take Tylenol”
  • “Do not remove dressing over your nose after surgery” 
  • “Do not wear glasses for 6 weeks following surgery”
  • “You are restricted from all exercising or any activity that elevates your heart rate for 6 weeks”
  • “Brush your teeth with a small child-size toothbrush to minimize mouth movement”

Most Important Post-Op Care Instructions

  1. To prevent crusting or discomfort, apply saline nasal spray and polysporin to your nostrils 4-5 times a day to keep the area moist and comfortable. First, use 2-3 squirts of saline spray in each nostril. Then, apply the polysporin around the inside of your nostrils and across any external nasal incision lines using a Q-tip. Continue this process until advised otherwise. 
  2. If you see any crusting or dried blood along the incision line, roll a Q-tip saturated with hydrogen peroxide over the incision line until clean, then roll a dry Q-tip over the incision line until dry. Apply polysporin after. You do not want a scab to form on the incision line which could widen the incision or scar line. You will probably only need to do this for a few days after surgery. (Dr. Davis instructed me to use the polysporin for as long as I can to prevent the scarring).
  3. Use an eye pack for the first 48 hours following surgery for 15-20 minutes every waking hour (Dr. Davis said I should be doing this as much as I can, even after the initial 48 hours).
  4. When sleeping keep at a 45-degree angle on at least 2-3 pillows for 6 weeks following the procedure.
  5. Do absolutely nothing but rest and recover during the first 2 weeks.
  6. No exercising, walking, or elevating heart rate for 6 weeks after surgery.
  7. Take your medications and supplements as directed on the bottle until finished unless otherwise instructed.
  8. Do not sneeze through your nose or blow your nose.

Pre-Op Shopping List

  • VitaMedica Recovery Support purchased from surgeon’s office includes Morning and Evening Formula, Bromaline, Arnica, and Probiotic
  • Prescription Medications: Valium, Hydrocodone, Antibiotic, Steroid
  • Gel eye mask
  • Saline nasal spray
  • Polysporin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Q-tips & Tissue
  • Child sized toothbrush
  • Soft foods & protein shakes
  • Neck pillow
  • Gauze
  • Straws

Supplement & Medication Instructions

  • Steroid pack – lasts 6 days and it has the instructions on it
  • Hydrocodone and Valium – Take as needed
  • Antibiotic – Morning, Noon, Night
  • Bromelain – 2 pills 3 times a day
  • Morning Formula Supplement – 3 pills once a day
  • Evening Formula Supplement -3 pills once a day
  • Arnica – 3 tablets 3 times a day, let dissolve under your tongue

Other than all of the errands I have to do to prepare for this surgery, one thing that I also have to do to prepare is go to Davis Facial Plastic Surgery to get a dermal infusion facial done. Apparently I’m also not able to get my face wet for 2 weeks after surgery! The facial is meant to make my skin super clean and cleared out before the surgery and also to limit the breakouts and blackheads the are going to appear during the recovery process with tape on my face for those 2 weeks. The thought of not washing my face for that long is giving me anxiety.

As you could probably imagine, I’m super nervous and terrified about recovery. One of the main reasons I’m so nervous is that I’m scared about getting botched! Which I know is an incredibly irrational fear because my surgeon has done so many thousands and thousands of nose jobs in his life he could do my nose in his sleep. But still, I can’t help but wonder, “What if I’m the one person whose face gets messed up? What if it turns out worse than it was before?”

I’m also nervous about how no one yet knows that I’m getting this procedure, including my family. If you read my blog post, “Put it in the Suggestion Box: I Need an Advice Detox,” I’m sure you understand why. I’ve only told a select few people who are very supportive of me and my decisions. I knew that if I told anyone who is against plastic surgery, I was going to be harassed with fantasies about all of the ways I’m going to die or get botched during the surgery. So I was very selective about who I share this decision with.

All week my mind has been wandering thinking about all of these crazy situations that could happen where my face gets screwed up, or I end up in the hospital from a complication, or I get disowned from my family. It’s been rather unpleasant. Matt has to keep reminding me every day that it’s going to be ok…

The Day Of

The morning of my surgery was scary and nerve-wracking to say the least. We spent about an hour in the waiting room until I was finally called back for pre-op. As you can imagine I had to get undressed, change into hospital gowns, put on an IV, fill out a bunch of forms, etc. I sat there the whole time filled with anxiety.

One of the nurses asked how I was doing and I shared how I felt with her and my fears of making the wrong decision and getting “botched.” 

“Don’t be,” she said to me. “Dr. Davis is amazing at what he does. I’m getting my nose done by him next week.” And just like that I started to relax a bit.

Matt was finally allowed to see me before I went under the knife. He spent the time staring at me, smiling (mostly out of nerves) and holding my hand. Dr. Davis eventually got to the surgery center and came to see me. He told me how confident he felt about the procedure and that everything was going to be fantastic. I also remember feeling so happy that Matt got to meet him beforehand, because at this point I had already seen Dr. Davis several different times, but wanted them to meet. I remember that it seemed weird that I was getting surgery from a doctor Matt hadn’t yet met, so their meeting helped ease my mind too.

The anesthesiologist then came over and talked to me for a while and told me stories about his life, before it was eventually time into the surgery room. I said goodbye to Matt and laid on the hospital bed as they rolled me back to the room. The next several minutes they spent some time getting me ready for the surgery by putting warm blankets on me and moving me onto another bed/table where I would get the surgery would be performed.

When it was time to begin, I hadn’t even seen Dr. Davis again. The anesthesiologist stood by me and said, “You know what happened to the last guy I did this too?” “What,” I said. “He fell asleep,” he said back to me. I faked a laugh and right as I did I turned my head to the side of the room where I saw a bunch of photos of my face taped to the wall. On one side were my before pictures, and on the other were the photos of what I would look like post recovery. In those 2.5 seconds I was out. 

The Beginning of Recovery

I woke up from surgery in what felt exactly like one second later. The first thing I saw was Matt’s face. I hadn’t even realized that I had the surgery. I looked at him and muttered something along the lines of “How the hell did you get back here? You’re not supposed to be back here.” I then proceeded to only call him by his last name and kept telling the nurse that they had to watch out for him because he was “sneaky.” That’s what I remember, but apparently that’s not all that happened.

Apparently I had been awake for AWHILE. I was cranky, super mean and acting drunk as I normally am after waking up from surgery. (From now on I should start warning people about that.) Matt told me how I cursed a lot, was super angry, cranky and impatient, and apparently had a whole conversation with Dr. Davis that I don’t remember. Dr. Davis told me at most post-op appointments that he eventually just left because I was “being fussy.”

Also after waking up from surgery, I only wanted to touch the area that was operated on which meant the nurses and whoever I was with had to hold my arms down to stop me from accidentally hurting myself. That happened too. A lot happened that I don’t remember and I think that’s probably a good thing…

What I do remember is that afterward I was a giant pain for everyone there. The nurse taught Matt how to apply gauze to my face which I was supposed to use for about a week after surgery. The gauze should be applied under the nose because after surgery it’s normal for blood and snot to come out. 

Eventually Matt had to help me get dressed and take me to the bathroom, and it was time to drive home.

Day 1 Notes: 

  • I took a Valium and passed out for an hour or two after we got home which is what the nurses and doctor told me to do. They said it was best that I just relax and fall asleep.
  • I experienced no pain or discomfort until around 3 p.m. I started with having an awareness of the area for several hours before the discomfit started.
  • I’m starting to notice bruising starting around eyes. 
  • My upper teeth are kind of aching.
  • I’m experiencing lots of blood running out of my nose. (Dr. Davis told me before the surgery that he makes it so that any gunk or blood comes OUT the nostrils as opposed to going down your throat and into your stomach. That way the nose looks during recovery will then look better and you’ll feel better.)
  • It’s like I’m experiencing a slight drip of blood all day long from my nose.
  • I’m extremely nervous about my stitch and potential scarring.
  • Matt has been cleaning it with peroxide and ointment each time to it to keep it clean and moist. We’re doing the peroxide, saline, and ointment at the same time to make it easy.
  • Dr. Davis called at 4 p.m. to check on me – He shared with me that the same nerve from inside of nose also runs to the bridge of the mouth and near the teeth. It’s normal or have pain there. He said it’s similar to people who have a heart attack and continue to feel pain in the left arm. There’s nothing causing pain in that area, but the nerve is still there.
  • At night time I didn’t sleep well at all. You have to breathe through the mouth so your mouth dries out very quickly and it would constantly wake me up every 20-30 minutes.
  • I went through tons of water at night.
  • I accidentally stabbed myself in the stitch with the metal straws I’m using to drink water. I can only drink through a straw.
  • It constantly feels like my nose is running, even if nothing is coming out.

Day 2 Notes:

  • Eye bruising is much worse than yesterday. It’s very purple.
  • Starting steroid as directed.
  • I’ve been taking pain meds before I absolutely need them to prevent the pain. I’m afraid if I wait until the pain starts I won’t be able to get out of it.
  • I’m very nervous about Day 2. The nurse and surgeon warned me that days 2 & 3 would not be as easy as Day 1.
  • Nose looks more swollen underneath bandages.
  • Afternoon: Nose swelling has gone down a bit.
  • Eyes are very swollen and can only open up slightly. I’ve been icing eyes constantly since I got home from surgery.
  • The skin around my eyes is extremely red, especially in the areas I’ve been tearing up which has also caused it to get crusty.
  • Matt has been super on top of cleaning my nose, even when I’m not in the mood to do it at all.
  • My nose is throbbing a little bit.
  • I took pain pills slightly early when I started to feel pain coming on.
  • Nose is still dripping blood, so I started to keep Q-tips right next to bed so I can gently remove blood drips when I feel it.
  • Evening: went to sleep and woke up with discomfort and nose throbbing. Slight pain, but not unbearable.

Day 3 Notes:

  • This morning I’m especially nervous. I was told that day 3 could be the worst day of recovery.
  • I have a slight throbbing in my nose once it gets closer to the time when I can take more medication.
  • I spend most of the day napping ever since I came home from surgery.
  • Ray came over to take pictures of me during recovery. It was super nice seeing him and being able to talk to someone in between this. Matt and Ray talk about how impressed they are by how well I’m doing.
  • I don’t really need to have the gauze under nose anymore but I do prefer it just in case. I still have some drops of blood coming out of nose and I always have Q-tips nearby to gently get the drops off.
  • My eyes are more open than they were yesterday.
  • The tickle sensation in my nose is the worst part. It happened 3 times today where I had such an intense tickle in my nose and I felt like I had to sneeze but I couldn’t. You’re allowed to sneeze through mouth but I was so nervous to sneeze wrong that it prevented me from sneezing through my mouth and the tickle sensation kept happening. 
  • I’m eating much more today than other days which is good because I have to get as much food in my stomach as possible for all the pills I need to take.
  • Eating is very hard without being able to breathe through your nose! Thank goodness for Ripple protein shakes. They taste absolutely amazing and I’ve been practically living off of them.
  • I spoke with Dr. Davis again today and had a conversation about the pain medication. I was so terrified that it would feel like my face was run over by a car that I was taking my hydrocodone preventatively (which is apparently NOT what you’re supposed to do)!
  • My bruising is going down around my eyes but my eyelids are still very red and sensitive.
  • My eyes can now open all the way, but my eyelids are still very swollen. Icing my eyes is the only thing that makes them feel better.
  • I decided to go to sleep without gauze under nose tonight to feel a little bit more normal.
  • The past three days I keep saying that I can’t believe I got a nose job. Being in recovery feels surreal and I’m oddly proud of myself for making it through the first few days and having gotten the procedure I’ve been telling myself I wanted for years. 

Day 4 Notes:

  • This morning I woke up with a lot of discomfort and I’m trying to not take as many pain medications after talking with Dr. Davis. I didn’t sleep well at all because it’s very hard to feel comfortable with all of this going on.
  • Luckily, I did wake up with less bruising around my eyes. 
  • I keep icing my eyes and resting in bed, but still felt horrible. I finally took a hydrocodone and Valium and feel better.
  • There’s lots of dripping out of my nose, so much that I’m constantly reaching for a Q-tip. I mean constantly. It never lets up.
  • I’m looking slightly more like myself today and less like I’ve been beat up.
  • This is the first day that Matt is at work since the surgery which means I’m all alone! But luckily I mostly rest and can handle cleaning my nose or getting up to grab some food or a gel eye mask. I am a bit nervous about being home alone though.
  • My eyelids are very sensitive today, so much that even if I gently itch my eyelid it hurts a lot.
  • I switched to extra strength Tylenol today instead of my prescription and was fine.
  • I’m dying to see what my nose like but the only part of my nose that I can sort of tell what it looks like are my nostrils which look much smaller than before. 
  • I spend basically all of my time sleeping or eating so that I could take all these supplements and pills.
  • I’ve been extremely constipated from the pain killer I was talking and started to use Miralax which has finally helped today. I was extremely stopped up and bloated and of course started entertaining how I was going to end up dying or in the hospital because of it. 
  • I slept so poorly over the last several days because of how uncomfortable I’ve been that I keep yawning which stretches out my nostrils and hurts my nose, especially around the stitch.
  • I’m starting to have more blood dripping and getting even more snotty than I was before. I had to put gauze under nose again.
  • The bruises under eyes are turning yellow, but eyelids are still red.
  • I keep having that strong tickling feeling happening in my nose and ended up having sneezing fits which luckily didn’t hurt. 

If there is one thing that I would tell anyone who’s going to get a rhinoplasty or is thinking about it, it’s to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when reaching for your face. It’s day four and I’ve accidentally tapped or bumped my nose at least 12 times already (very lightly, and not hard enough to mess up my nose, but still… that’s sh*t hurts) during recovering from a nose job it’s as if you have no spacial awareness of your face. You’ll scratch your lip and accidentally bump the tip of your nose. You’ll put a straw to your nose and stab your nose with it. You’ll wipe a tear from your eye and hit your nose. I have no idea why it’s happening or what’s going on, but it’s as if I’ve lost all sense of where my nose is located on my face. Part of me thinks it’s because most of my face is numb, especially after taking Valium and hydrocodone, but it happens even when I’m not taking those things.

If there’s one thing I have to remember it’s to move extremely slowly and carefully around my face to make sure that I go to whatever it is I’m … aiming for. 

Day 5 Notes:

  • I have been very restless and uncomfortable at night. I couldn’t sleep at all and when I did, I had bizarre dreams about saving six kittens and also going to my appointment the next day to find out that my surgeon made my nose BIGGER!
  • The stitches inside the nose have been hurting. When they do hurt it feels like a sharp pain, not horribly painful but it definitely doesn’t feel good! 

Post-Op Appointment Notes: I went to Davis Facial Plastic Surgery for my post-op appointment today so the doctor can check up on how I was doing, remove my bandage, and clean my nose. Dr. Davis was very happy with how I was recovering and how each part of my nose was healing.

He said it’s normal to have more swelling and sensitivity at the tip right after surgery, which is why a lot of people think they’re nose looks bigger than before, but he assured me that it will go down.

From what I can tell after he removed my bandages, my nose is finally smooth and straight and I don’t have those odd shadows casting on the cartilage in my nose. It’s straighter for sure!

Dr. Davis also cleaned out the inside of my nose with a machine that suctions out the snot and blood, trimmed the stitches that were sticking out, and removed the nasal stents (which I didn’t get to see because I was in pain). Apparently they were super big and gnarly. According to Matt they were several inches long, completely covered in snot and blood, and look like they were also filled with liquid. I will literally never forget the look of horror that I saw on his face when I opened my eyes. I wish I had a picture of him!

The only thing the doctor was kind of bummed about was the amount of bruising that I have. Apparently I have more bruising than most of his patients which he said is a point of pride for him that his patients have very minimal bruising. But look at me… I’m as white as a ghost, so I don’t think he should beat himself up about that.

After that, Dr. Davis cleaned the top of my nose, showed it to me in a mirror and then covered it with a neutral colored tape very strategically. The way he applies tape is meant to prevent swelling in the upper parts of the nose and instead direct any swelling to the tissue at the tip of the nose.

  • My deviated septum has been corrected and is healing nicely. 
  • He let us know that we were doing everything right and Matt was doing a FABULOUS job cleaning my stitches for me (he has to do it because I couldn’t get up in there).
  • I should come back in 6 days for another post-op appointment where the doctor will clean my nose out again.
  • Now that I have the stents out and bandages removed, I will probably be getting extra snotty.

Day 5 Notes Continued: 

  • Recovery hasn’t been super comfortable up until now but I’m very surprised at how well it’s going. I’ve been able to get up and do more today. It’s nice to not be on bed rest anymore.
  • Experiencing an extremely stuffy and runny nose, which sucks because I learned that I won’t be able to blow my nose for 3-4 weeks! Blowing my nose could mess up the cartilage and undo all of the work from surgery and cause asymmetry. This part is driving me crazy and feels super gross, especially because there’s usually blood mixed in with it. It’s such a gross feeling to have all of that going on and not be able to blow your nose and get rid of that uncomfortable feeling. 
  • Stitches are uncomfortable probably because Dr. Davis was pretty rough with them.
  • Recovery is starting to feel more rough than previous days because I’m not spending all day sleeping.
  • Experiencing constipation from pain pills.
  • The stitches hurt and my face aches a bit.
  • I really want to do to sleep but I’m having a hard time.

Day 6 Notes:

  • Today, I woke up extremely early and haven’t been able to fall back asleep, just like all the other mornings since the surgery.
  • I’m extremely stuffy and blood is still coming out. Finally I had to stuff pieces of tissues up my nostrils so I didn’t have to constantly wipe my nose.
  • Still constipated from the pain pills.
  • The redness around my eyes has started fading but underneath it, my eyes are still very yellow from the bruising. 
  • The bandges are gone and I only have tape on my nose. It’s very hard to tell what my nose will look like so that’s been frustrating me. 
  • Finally went to the bathroom, cue the confetti.
  • My nose is running CONSTANTLY. It’s also super stuffy that I can’t breathe. It’s a really crappy feeling because it’s like having a sinus infection but being forbidden to blow your nose. Make it stop!!!
  • Lucky for me even though I still feel gross and have tape on my face, I’m feeling more like myself again and had the energy to write all day.
  • I took Tylenol in the morning but then never had to take it again. But at 3:30 pm, Matt made me laugh hard three separate times (which he knows he shouldn’t be  doing). Whenever I smile or laugh I have to sort of hold my nostrils closer together to limit stretching of the stitches and it hurts pretty bad.
  • I finally called Dr. Davis to ask about facial expressions. I’m a HUGE worrier and was afraid that having laughed and smiled I would somehow offset my nose and screw up my recovery. He assured me that I wouldn’t. Dr. Davis also told me that the tip of the nose where the stitches are will be sensitive for a while so it’s normal for it to be painful right now. He also told me that the tip of the nose will be harder for 3-4 months after the surgery while it’s still healing. Because of this, many patients say that smiling feels weird to them even months afterwards, and say that it feels like there’s something different going on with their upper lip.
  • As far as my nose being crazy stuffy and runny, Dr. Davis told me that in surgery he makes it so that everything comes OUT of your nose as opposed to going down your throat. Unfortunately, it feels like I’m drowning in snot. I’ve been using Q-tips to wipe away whatever is coming out of my nostrils and clean inside a little bit (which I’m not actually supposed to do). I shouldn’t be putting anything up my nose, but I’m being careful to be super gentle. It’s the only thing I can do to make it feel somewhat clean and less gross.

Day 7 Notes:

  • Last night, I woke up at least 6 times with an extremely dry throat from breathing through my mouth. In the morning, I accidentally woke up on my right side even though I was still elevated. I should be laying completely flat on my back so that one side doesn’t swell up more than the other and offset the cartilage and cause me to have a crooked nose. It’s extremely hard to do when I only sleep on my side or on my stomach. 
  • The stitches are hurting.
  • I tried to clean the snot out of my nose which only made my nose hurt even worse, so I’m taking Tylenol today.
  • The bruising around eyes is getting better, especially the parts that were super red.
  • I can’t get any air through my right nostril which is causing me to have constant  unrealistic fears I won’t ever be able to breathe through it.
  • I’m also having fears my nose is still big, which Dr. Davis warned me I would worry about because the swelling makes the nose look so much bigger. Right now, I’m mostly concerned about profile, and whether that’s still too big. I constantly find myself going to the bathroom to examine my nose and try to make out the size under the tape.
  • I much prefer the day right after the surgery when I was just drugged up and sleeping to this stage of the recovery when I’m up and about, feeling gross all day, and panicking about the outcome.
  • There’s been less dripping and grossness compared to yesterday and the stitches don’t hurt AS bad.
  • The biggest problem right now to me is how much I just want to move my freaking body. I’ve been on bed rest all week and it’s getting SO old. There’s really nothing I can do but stay home and rest. I wish so badly to just stretch or go for a walk. But stretching would cause blood to rush to my face (which could ruin my results) and walking would raise my heart rate (which could also ruin the results).
  • I also can’t breathe through my nose when I’m eating so I always have to catch my breath after swallowing something. Whenever I eat I feel like Mac on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” when he’s wheezing and eating at the same time.
  • The dissolvable stitches on the tip of my nose seem to be sticking out more. 

I also wanted to share that this week I’ve been having lots of feelings of being so ugly and so hideous from recovery that I spent all week thinking of every possible way I could make myself feel pretty after surgery. Looking like a zombie has me thinking that I need to shop for clothes, get botox injections, get a personal trainer, get fillers, do a boudoir shoot, etc.. This recovery has escalated all of my insecurities this week and made them so much worse. I’m finding that I’m more critical of my body than I ever have been and hyper focused on how to look better.

This is something that my friend who had a rhinoplasty also warned me about. Unfortunately, at the time of the recovery, I completely forgot about what she told me. But I think this is something that’s so important to share, because if you’re thinking about getting plastic surgery, then you’re probably more critical of your body too and have insecurities that you’re struggling with. Please know that right after surgery, it’s going to feel worse than before. You won’t feel like yourself and you’ll look like a zombie on “The Walking Dead.” It’s just part of the recovery and it’s not permanent!

Day 8 Notes:

  • Today I woke up super uncomfortable and my nose was hurting, but once I took Tylenol it was fine. The left side still felt sore and achy though even after I took Tylenol. Once it wears off, the left side of nose hurts much more and I’ll occasionally feel pain in one specific spot.
  • The tape on my face is getting grosser each day. It’s getting sticky and is disintegrating from the oil on my face.
  • The bruising is still yellow and I still have some red spots around eyes. The stitches on the tip of my nose also seem to be sticking out more now that the little wound is healing.
  • Something interesting that happened was that today is the first time since post-op that the Face ID on my phone worked.
  • My nose isn’t as stuffy anymore today and I don’t need to constantly keep tissue or Q-tips right next to me like I was before.
  • I’m feeling better too. This is actually the first day that I felt well enough to sit at the kitchen counter and write all day and not have to lay in bed or on the couch! I can also laugh a little bit more without being in pain.
  • I generally feel better, but I still look gross and I can’t help but be bothered that the tape is peeling and getting much worse all day long. It doesn’t help that it’s so itchy underneath the tape too. I actually have to use a bobby pin to itch under the tape at the spot where it’s bothering me and have had to keep it next to me all day so I can keep scratching that’s driving me crazy.
  • At the end of the day, Matt helped with washing my hair in the shower this time instead of the sink, works out MUCH BETTER. My face and tape might be gross, but thank goodness for the clean hair.
  • I’ve experienced horrible heartburn every night for the last 3 nights probably because of all the pills and the limited, salty diet. It’s keeping me up and making me even more restless. It ended up keeping me up again tonight too.

Day 9 Notes:

  • Today I had to put extra tape over the tape that Dr. Davis put on at the post-op appointment. It was sort of disintegrating and getting really sticky from the oil on my face because I can’t wash it, which caused it to peel significantly around my cheeks closer to my mouth whenever I smiled.
  • It’s still itching under the tape on the right side of my face a lot, so that bobby pin stays by my side all day long. The itching has actually gotten worse since yesterday.
  • Some of the stitches look like they’re sticking out a little bit more than yesterday. I don’t know if they’re coming apart or starting to deteriorate or something as I’m healing more. Maybe my body and skin are pushing them out as I’m healing? I don’t know, is that a thing?
  • I can tell that the swelling has gone down significantly since the previous week. My nose looks smaller than it did yesterday and it’s starting to look cuter.
  • The bruises (especially the yellow ones) are still there but they’re getting closer to fading away. There’s no signs of any black or blue bruising left, just a few red spots around my eyes. My pores are starting to get clogged and lots of blackheads are popping up.
  • The tip of my nose feels almost entirely numb. I haven’t really touched the tip of my nose and really felt it until today and I was surprised by what little feeling I have in that spot. I can hardly feel any sensations there at all.
  • The left side still hurts a bit more, but only if I tap on it or touch it (even lightly) but it’s getting better. You might be thinking, “Why the fuck are you touching your nose when you’re still healing, Heather?” I can’t help it! I’m just so curious! 

Today is the first day where I actually can say I feel good and feel normal, which means that this is the part that my doctor and nurses kept warning me about. I feel pretty normal now, BUT that doesn’t mean I’m ok do things as normal. I’m still technically on Dr. Davis’s “Princess Time,” where I’m not supposed to be doing ANYTHING for two weeks. It’s just difficult to remember things like don’t bend down or don’t lean forward. But, I’m not really in pain or anything, so that’s what’s important. At this point, the recovery feels more inconvenient and annoying, so I would say to anyone wanting a rhinoplasty you can handle it.

I am still of course staying home and mostly sitting down and resting, but I do get things for myself now without struggling. I’m still just taking it as easy as possible by not cleaning the apartment, for example. But I am sitting up and working on my laptop during the day. I’m feeling well enough to where Matt and I were able to invite one of our best friends over tonight to hang out. Even though I still have tape on my nose, we knew he didn’t care and wouldn’t judge me. I didn’t care either, it felt so nice to talk and have human interaction again!! I’ve been trapped inside all alone for days now!

So far, only a handful of people have seen me (Matt, Pat, Ray, Dr. Davis, and the nurses) they all have said how blown away they are by how normal I look and that I look “great.” I personally think great is a strong word, BUT I see their point. They all said that they were expecting me to look more bruised and bandaged and basically like a zombie for weeks so it’s impressive how quickly I’m recovering. 

In other good news, I was able to give Matt a kiss for the first time in nine days! AND, I’m now able to laugh, smile, and yawn without the stitches hurting and needing to take Tylenol.

Day 10 Notes:

  • The yellow bruises faded significantly and I only have two very small red spots still on my face from bruising.
  • My nose is much more cleared up, although I still am breathing through my mouth. I haven’t had to keep Q-tips by me at all, just one tissue that I use occasionally.
  • A few spots are still a bit tender, but so much better than before. Now if I feel uncomfortable at all, I only have to take one Tylenol.
  • The tape is now super gross and I can’t freaking wait to get it off tomorrow. The oil on my face is causing the top of the tape to disintegrate leaving only the underneath, sticky part of it. I tried to put more tape over it several times so it would look less gross and be less sticky, but it’s not working. I seriously cannot wait to get this tape of and to wash my face!!!!
  • I’m pretty much feeling normal today and was able to do work at the kitchen counter all day. If it weren’t for having to breathe through my mouth and the numbness at the tip of my nose, I probably would feel the same as I always do.
  • I did forget to mention that whenever I lean forward or start to bend over even a little bit, there’s a very odd sensation in the tip of my nose. It’s similar to like a pounding feeling where I can feel my heartbeat, but also like I can feel the blood rush to the area. Even just a slight leaning forward makes it happen. But I think it’s a good thing because it reminds me to be careful and not bend over.
  • By the end of the day my nose is feeling incredibly weird. As if there’s this pressure. It’s like a combination of tingling, numbness, and pressure. I have no idea how to describe it other than that. It doesn’t hurt, but I’m very aware of my nose and feel it constantly. I also accidentally bumped my nose at night, which didn’t feel great or help at all! 
  • Little milestone of the day: I’m now finally able to drink things without using a straw!

Day 11 Notes:

I had crippling anxiety since last night at 7:30 and laid awake in a horrible state of panic until 7:30 a.m.! I was literally wide awake all night. Finally I fell sleep at 7:30 a.m., but then woke up at noon with the same anxiety! That has never happened to me in my life. I think it’s from not being able to do things, being stuck inside, and major life changes that are causing anxiety. Plus I’m trying to land an opportunity which is causing me additional stress. Normally when I feel like this though I run, but I can’t exercise for 6 weeks after surgery!

  • Because I have to breathe through my mouth even while I’m eating, I’ve been constantly burping from air in my stomach. As of today, I’m officially sick of it.

Post- Op Appointment Notes:

At the beginning of my appointment, I opened up to them about the anxiety which they said is incredibly normal and is experienced by most cosmetic surgery patients, ESPECIALLY those who get a nose job. Apparently, it’s from the steroids.

What happens is the steroids have you feeling really good at first when you just got the surgery done so you’re excited about this change. You get to take care of the nose and have a little routine. All of this means that you feel normal and pretty good. Then around day 11 or 12, you come down from the steroids and have a crash which causes a major mood change. On top of that you’re stuck inside and unable to do anything or move AND unable to see the final result so it’s a lot to go through. All of those factors cause you to have a very high highs and then a very strong crash and mood swings.

My nurse tells me that they hear this same complaint from everyone. She also shares with me that they had my “nose brother” in that day (which is what they call the people who get the same surgery as you on the same day as you) and he was going through ALL of the same things I was.

  • Today is my next appointment where I get the tape off – thank goodness. It’s all I can think about. Once the tape came off, Dr. Davis said that everything was absolutely 100% perfect.
  • This means that I’m officially seeing my new nose for the first time! It looks SO good and for the first time I can see that all of the flaws that I talked about in my first rhinoplasty blog are all corrected (including the cartilage that used to stick out when I smiled) bumps, and the width. The only problem is that the tip is very round at the moment. It’s such a relief to finally see it and know that all of those worries I had about getting botched or it turned out bad are gone for good!
  • I was also told that I can finally wash my face and hair again normally and most importantly, get out of the house!
  • I also admitted that I had woken up on my side, used Q-tips when I was told to not attempt to clean the inside of my own nose, and accidentally bumped it. I thought Dr. Davis would be shocked or upset with me but he was not surprised by this at all. Apparently I’m not the first patient he’s had who wasn’t PERFECT. Who knew? And here I was beating myself up about it.

Dr. Davis once again explained why I should absolutely NOT exercise or elevate my heart rate at all. Apparently it could completely damage the results by off-setting the nose, causing swelling that would screw up results, and even deviate the septum again. I keep saying that I completely understand that I can’t work out, but it seems he and the nurse are the most worried about patients exercising during recovery. Even if I just go for a walk it could entirely screw up the work they did. However, after 6 weeks, everything is settled so even if it swells from exercise, it will go back to normal and not cause any long term damage. Swelling and bloating in my face and nose will still happen when I exercise after the 6 week mark, but it will go away rather quickly and not cause any long term damage because the nose is already set then.

  • Dr. Davis also talked to me about how it’s important that I avoid sun and absolutely stay elevated while sleeping.
  • He shared that my nose will continue to get smaller in the next 3 months and after that it will “refine” for up to a year.
  • Lastly, Dr. Davis said to come back for another appointment in 10-12 days. 

Day 11 Notes Continued: 

  • It’s cool because Matt’s work is directly across from Davis Facial Plastic Surgery so as I’m writing notes from today I’m waiting for him to come out and check out the nose for the first time! Update: He likes it!
  • Surprisingly, I have no acne even though I just had my face covered for over 10 days. I also only have two small blue bruises on the tops of cheeks when the tape came off which I was able to cover up with 2 dots of concealer. So lucky for me, I’m finally able to get out of the house and run an errand today!
  • My nose still has that odd tingling and numbing sensation all the time that makes it feel like I have a Frankenstein nose. It doesn’t hurt, but it just feels bizarre. 
  • I’m finally getting close to the end of taking the countless pills I have to take everyday. It’s crazy having to take a handful of pills every 6 hours for 11 days. I’m looking forward to not having to remember it and seeing that I’m getting closer to the end of the bottles. 
  • In the evening I feel similar to when I have a cold – like I’m stuffy, low on energy, and like my nose is swollen and big as if I’ve been blowing my nose all day.
  • One thing I’m really happy about is that I was able to wash my face and my nose for the first time! It feels so good to have a clean nose again! I did have to be super gentle around my nose though and barely touch my skin. When I did, the skin on nose felt super rough. 
  • Physically, my entire body is not feeling good. I even have this horrible knot that’s been growing in my calf from laying down and not doing anything for the last 11 days. I had to spend the rest of the night using a hot compress on my calves to try to loosen it up. 

Day 12 Notes:

  • I took Z-quil last night and was able to actually go to sleep AND wake up at 8 a.m., so I finally am feeling like I’m more normal and on schedule again. 
  • Brusises are still lingering, but definitely fading.
  • Nose still very much swollen and probably will be for many weeks/months.
  • Experiencing hot flashes throughout the day.
  • I’m a little congested but I was finally about to move the tissue boxes to their normal places in the apartment and not need them by me at all times. I was able to move our bathroom trashcan back into the bathroom and not have it next to the bed. Until now I constantly had a tissue box and a trash can with me at all times because my nose was constantly dripping. I’m finally at the point where my day isn’t consumed with caring for my nose. I was even able to clean up the apartment and go about my day the way I normally would.

This morning I woke up with anxiety, just as I did yesterday, but it was much more subtle. It wasn’t as crippling and I could push through and go about my day. But then I noticed something odd happening – the anxiety slowly built up until it eventually turned into an anxiety attack that literally made me feel like I was dying. The only way I could break the anxiety attack was by taking the medication that was prescribed to me. Even that only helped a little bit. I can only hope that this anxiety will pass in the next few days. 

I do want to mention that having anxiety to this extent makes you feel for people with anxiety disorders. Because this anxiety is a side effect of taking steroids, it’s something internal that I can’t control. No amount of deep breathing or meditation can overcome the anxiety throughout my body. I can imagine this is exactly how people with anxiety disorders feel and I’m sure it’s incredibly frustrating when people would say things like, “Oh, you should just meditate!” There’s no way that something like that could make this consuming anxiety in every cell of my body go away. This anxiety isn’t fed by my thoughts or fears, it’s just there. It just comes out of nowhere and fills my entire body with a feeling so terrible that I can’t even put it into words. There’s nothing I can do to stop it from coming or getting worse. I just have to let it run its course.

  • Toward the end of the day Matt and I decided to start cleaning out our closest which is overflowing with things we never wear. I put everything on the bed Marie Kondo style and started purging, putting on clothes to see if they even fit, and organizing them into sell/donate/keep. Eventually I realized that I was moving a lot and my heart rate was up and I was getting warm. I could tell I was doing too much and over extending myself. If Dr. Davis saw me he would be telling me to sit the f*ck down because I’m still on “princess time.” I had Matt move the rest of my massive pile into the living room to work on tomorrow. I was so happy that we did that though, it felt good to clean and organize because decluttering is something I love to do whenever I’m having a bunch of anxiety (also because I watched all of “Tiny House Nation,” “How to Live Mortgage Free,” and the “Minimalism” documentary during my recovery time).
  • Thank goodness for Z-quil, because without it I would have been up all night again.

Day 13 Notes:

  • It’s my last day of antibiotics!
  • I feel basically back to normal, so I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not normal yet.
  • Mother Nature decided to give me a little surprise this morning on top of everything else, which I’m not happy about.
  • I also was able to put a full face of make-up on! So I look much better, however it’s odd because putting my makeup on actually accented my nose and made me notice how much bigger it looks. I think it was because I thought putting my make-up on had me expecting that I look “normal” and like myself again, but when your nose is swollen and big, it doesn’t quite work. 
  • What is left of the bruises on my face are very, very, very stubborn. I keep going to sleep thinking, “Ok, tomorrow they’ll be gone.” And then they aren’t! Today, I noticed that they’re turning darker and more blue and are showing through my makeup. It probably doesn’t help that I have super light skin.
  • I spent the whole morning out and about doing things like light walking or standing around, but I was still worried that I shouldn’t be doing “anything at all.” Even if I walk a little bit, I get paranoid that I’m going to screw up my nose and cause damage that could only be fixed by MORE surgery. It’s so stressful.

Luckily for me, the anxiety hasn’t hit me today. It probably helps because Matt’s home today and we’re staying busy by doing things we’ve been meaning to do like cleaning and errands. We ended up being busy from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

As I’m writing these notes, we have A LOT going on in our lives right now. I can finally mention it now that my announcement was posted, but we closed on our first house, three days after my surgery! So we ended up spending the entire day running errands, cleaning up, and doing little odd projects because immediately when my 6 week recovery is finished, our lease ends on our apartment and we have to be moved into our home. In the meantime we need TONS of things for the house AND we’re in the process of getting the bathroom remodeled. So we’re constantly making trips to home improvement stores and picking out every little detail we want in our bathroom. If it’s not done by the day we move in, I don’t know what we’ll do!

Anyways, I noticed that this morning when we were doings things like getting breakfast and doing some errands, I felt very normal. But slowly, by the time evening came around I was beginning to feel crappy. My entire body started to ache more and more and I was becoming more exhausted by the hour.

What I’m experiencing now with my recovery is basically the same feeling you would experience when you’re catching a cold. Plus, I’m still congested and my nose feels big and swollen. I don’t believe I’m coming down with anything, because if I was I would have tons of sinus issues and a cough already. I bet I was just not a recovered as I felt today when I woke up and started over extending myself. Even though I didn’t do tons of physical activity, I was still up and about, going from store to store, and getting a bunch of things done at home, without getting to rest at all. Even if I’m not doing a lot of physical activity, spending all day on my feet is a bad idea. It just goes to show that surgery is a big deal and takes a toll on your body, even if it’s a quick, easy, and low risk surgery. I probably shouldn’t have kept as busy as I did all day. But, it’s hard to not do anything when you’re in the process of moving!

  • Today I found myself constantly bending over to grab something or doing something I probably shouldn’t have, thinking to myself, “Oh, it’ll be fine.” Which in reality I know is 100% not fine.
  • Another thing that I have to remind myself is to not touch my face or nose. Whenever I feel really crappy, my body naturally wants to massage the top of my nose between my eyes with my finger tips, or put my head into my hands, or press on my sinuses if I feel sick or exhausted, but I can’t do any of those things. The things that I normally do to comfort myself only makes me feel worse right now.
  • I still have to just barely touch my nose with my fingertips when I wash my face. So much that it just feels like I’m just tickling my skin. Any pressure on my nose AT ALL would feel terrible.
  • By the end of today at 9 p.m. I ended up taking one of my extra strength Tylenol again because my nose was a bit uncomfortable, especially if I yawned.
  • The main takeaway from today is that I’m at the point where I’m very much on the verge of being normal and I’m getting annoyed with having to baby myself. Knowing that I’m not physically able to go for a long walk, or clean up, or lift things is hard to wrap my head around. The good news is that tomorrow I’ll have finally reached the first two weeks and will start feeling better and better. 

Day 14 Notes:

  • Woke up feeling very good and normal.
  • I ended up spending the whole day out with Matt again. As the day went on I kept feeling worse and worse, just like yesterday. My nose kept feeling more stuffy, my nose was running constantly, I kept sniffing, and I felt dripping in the back of my throat. Finally we realized that Matt and I might actually be coming down with a cold!! It’s the absolute WORST time to get sick, since I can’t blow my nose another one or TWO weeks! I’m so bummed out that I’m starting to get sick right as I was getting better from the surgery. Also because I get chronic sinus infections, which sometimes end up lasting up to 2 or 3 months at a time (not kidding).
  • Still experiencing anxiety. I’ll occasionally end up on the verge of an anxiety attack that happens without any warning or trigger. Although the anxiety is slowly getting better, it still happens. The anxiety is so strong and overwhelming that I started carrying Alazropam in case it happens while I’m in public or gets so bad that I can’t get control of it. 
  • Physically my nose hasn’t hurt or bothered me once today.
  • Tip of nose appears to be less swollen today.
  • Bruising is still hanging on for dear life.

Day 15 Notes:

I was only planning on doing daily notes until the two week mark, but since I had to call the office today and talk to the nurse, I thought I should pass on information that they shared…

  • I explained to the nurse that I caught a cold, and since I was a child my colds turn into chronic sinus infections that can last up to two or three months at a time. I was worried about what to do if I had to blow my nose and I was afraid that this would impact my results if I ended up sneezing or needing to blow my nose. She said that I should try to hold out as long as possible because Dr. Davis gives people the go ahead to blow their nose around 3.5 weeks. BUT if I absolutely need too, I should only blow my nose in the shower and without manipulating the outside of my nose. I have to let the stream loosen up the mucus naturally and make the inside of my nose moist so I won’t need to use a lot of pressure to blow my nose. She said I also should make sure that I’m using my saline 24/7 to keep the inside of my nose from drying out and to help the mucus come out .
  • Another thing that she also warned me about is that in the next week I might have scabbing on the inside of my nose start to come out. It could either fall out of the front of my nose along with the ends of the stitches or down the back of my throat along with mucus. She warned me that it’s absolutely disgusting, but she didn’t want me to be surprised when it happened. 
  • Other than that I still have bruises.
  • Now that it’s no longer the weekend I don’t have to be out running errands with Matt today, I plan on spending the day in bed working on the blog and getting some rest.

Week 3 Notes:

  • Some yellow bruises STILL hanging around.
  • I’m getting really, really tired of sleeping elevated and find myself cheating a bit by slightly turning over on my side to get comfortable.

Post- Op Appointment Notes: The nurse and Dr. Davis both said everything looked like it was healing perfectly, which is wonderful news! Dr. Davis describes a rhinoplasty as a moving target. You have to constantly check in on it to make sure that the recovery is moving in the right direction. 

My nose is leaning left today though. This could happen because the nose could heal slightly differently on each side or because a certain side could be more swollen for various reasons like if I slept on one side more. That’s why some days my nose looks perfectly straight, some days it leans to the left, and some days it leans to the right. Dr. Davis also told me that in the future (around week 4 or 5)  I might have to do nose “exercises” which he calls them. This is just when I gently hold the tip of my nose over to the opposite side it’s leaning and hold it there (with no pressure) for 30 seconds to one minute. This helps train the nose so that it heals perfectly straight.

Dr. Davis also said that he could tell I was being good by not exercising or elevating my heart rate. If I had, my nose would have been much more swollen today. But my swelling has gone down a good amount since my surgery. The other good news that I got is that I can FINALLY blow my nose (in the shower) as long as I don’t move or manipulate the outside of my nose. There’s not as much of a risk now of me displacing the cartilage as long as I’m super gentle about it and do it the way the nurse described. He also reminded me that although the tip of my nose is very hard and stiff, it will shrink and relax over time.

Then at the end of my appointment, Dr. Davis did something crazy where he put on glasses with a flashlight on them, got out some medical tools, and went up into my nose to remove the boogers. I can’t even tell you how horrifying and bizarre that was to see what’s really hiding up inside your nose! But he had to do that because your nose gets so congested from a rhinoplasty, and otherwise, what’s stuck up there wouldn’t come out for weeks!

Week 4 Notes: 

  • My bruises are gone !!!!!! FINALLY!
  • I’m still super congested.
  • I’m now beyond annoyed with having to sleep at a 45 degree angle still. I haven’t slept normally and comfortably in so long.
  • It’s still very difficult to remind myself that I’m not healed and still in recovery. Things that I could normally do without a problem I have to be very cautious to not go overboard. 
  • I’m having tons of sneezing and allergies! And this fun thing keeps happening all day, where whenever I sneeze (even though it’s through my mouth) it loosens everything up and there goes the next 10 minutes that I have to spend blowing my nose and attempting to clean it out. 
  • My stitches are still hanging around on the inside of the nose.
  • I feel basically normal again, so much that this week I got to go to Cincinnati for a long weekend and be a tourist! That problem is no longer happening where I slowly feel worse throughout the day. I was able to walk around a bit, see different stores and museums, and go to the Blink Festival without feeling bad at the end of the day. 

Week 5 Notes:

  • It’s the end of week 5 and I’m an OVER sleeping elevated. At this point I cheat constantly. For as long as I can remember, I have only ever been able to sleep on my sides or on my stomach, so 5+ weeks of not sleeping well has really caught up to me and affected my mood.
  • Another development in the recovery is that the inside of my nose is extremely itchy all the time.

Post-Op Appointment Notes: I’m not exactly at week 6 right now, because I’m at the end of week five, but today is my 6-week post op appointment to check in with my recovery again. 

Dr. Davis was mostly checking to see how the bones feel and how the light trail looked on my nose. He said everything is perfect. I’m especially excited about noticing my “light trail” on my nose today since I can see that it’s perfectly straight! Because I used to model so much, I was familiar with how my light trail was screwed up before. It would always look crooked and there were bumps and imperfections in my bones and cartilage that would cause the light trail to be choppy and have a bunch of shadows. It’s the little things like that which make a huge difference in people’s appearance. Also because my nose is so straight today, he told me that I didn’t have to do the exercises that we talked about during our last appointment.

Dr. Davis also informed me that I can now go back to being normal again and working out again. He just wanted me to understand that it is still not entirely healed. According to him, my nose is 80% healed so if he punched me and broke my nose it would require 20% less pressure. 

He also shared that it’s normal for my nose to feel very itchy and have symptoms like allergies. My nose will still be extremely stiff for up to 6 months and maybe even a year or a year and a half. Dr. Davis says that the length of recovery is the worst part of a rhinoplasty because the healing process is so dragged out. It takes a VERY long time for the tip of the nose to relax.

The one thing that is a bit concerning about my healing is that my nose is much more shallow in the center while the top of my nose closer to my brows is wider. It’s more shallow than normal so Dr. Davis said he’s going to keep an eye on that. He shared with me that during the surgery he did cartilage grafting on that part of my nose. To do this, he basically took little broken pieces of cartilage and placed them along that part of my nose so it would blend together. However this shouldn’t be a problem with the healing and can actually be a good thing.

Dr. Davis informed me that when the tip of the nose starts to relax, some of the volume is pushed back up the nose along the cartilage and creates a more even look. (This always happens, it’s just the way it heals). For that reason, if my cartilage was thicker in the center of my nose and matched the bridge of my nose now, it could actually become a problem later because that will only get bigger when the tip of the nose relaxes.

Moving forward, he informed me that there’s tons of “tricks” they can do to correct any issues in healing like mine to ensure the nose recovers with the look we’re going for. For example, he could do a steroid injection on the tip of my nose at 6 months if it’s super tight and still not relaxing or shrinking. This will speed that process up. Then if the center is still shallow, he can do an injection that he described to me as a “bone paste.” It’s essentially a permanent filler that will harden along the cartilage to even it out so it’s perfectly smooth. 

When I asked him about why I still had stitches inside of my nose that weren’t disintegrating, he said that he uses 2 types of stitches – one of them dissolves like what he used on my septum and those are gone. The other kind he uses are semi-permanent and will stay in my nose for close to a year to keep it in place so it heels properly. However, many other surgeons use permanent stitches inside the nose that never come out. For that reason, when he does revision rhinoplastys he tends to come across small pieces of blue and purple stitches. 

Two rules that he gave me were to avoid the sun and NOT wear glasses unless they are completely pushed up to the top of my nose and not sliding down. If I wore glasses any lower if could mess up the cartilage or create indents in my skin because my face and nose still are slightly swollen.

Dr. Davis also said I could work out again now because I work out “like a normal person.” The only problems he has with people working out past the 6-week mark is when it comes to athletes. It’s ok to go back to the gym at 6 weeks, however an athlete’s idea of “going back to the gym” is problematic and can still ruin the results. The key is exercise in MODERATION. Training for triathlons, running marathons or half marathons, double or triple exercises a day, or doing obstacle courses is not considered to be a moderate exercise. The average workout with some weights, jogging, and conditioning is ok. 

When it comes to working out, he also warned me that it may make my nose appear swollen and bigger again. Even more interesting than that, so could my diet and lifestyle! He said that if I went out one night ate a bunch of greasy and salty fast food and drank more, then I would see swelling too. I thought that was odd, but I guess it makes sense. 

During this appointment, I asked him LOTS of questions repeatedly like, “Is it ok if I work out?” It was like I was afraid the answer would change and I had to be absolutely sure. Over and over he told me I was completely able to go back to my normal life after week six. But I’m not the only patient that gets paranoid like this during their post-op appointments. Dr. Davis told me, “the problem is that I create sort of emotionally handicapped people when it comes to their nose.” He wants people to take recovery seriously so he overwhelms them with guidelines and rules of what to do and what not to do because he knows that people will be relaxed, and cheat, and get sloppy or slack off here and there. He has to create a bit of a panic so people are careful and he can protect his work. Unfortunately, by the end of the six weeks people are so scared about ruining their results that it takes them a few weeks to calm down and relax again.

Week 6 Notes:

  • I finally made it through week 6 and thank goodness! It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time either because we’re moving and the next 48 hours is going to be chaotic.
  • The itching went away for the most part.
  • I finally feel like I’m more normal now.
  • The only time my nose hurts is if I touch the tip of it, it’s tender and I can feel the stitches a bit. The tip of the nose is still very hard, but the swelling has gone down a ton.
  • I’m now sleeping on my side again which feels so amazing, I can’t even tell you. I still avoid sleeping on my stomach though, because it would hurt anyways and I really don’t want to push it. 
  • I’m so happy to get back to normal life, my blog has lost a lot of steam during my recovery and I haven’t been in the mindset to create during the last 6 weeks. I felt terrible, I wasn’t sleeping well, and I had tons of bruises that make me not want to leave the house. It feels so good to be out and just be a normal human being again, not a patient.

3 Months Post Surgery Notes:

  • The tip of my nose is still very hard but it has shrunk.
  • My nose doesn’t hurt at all anymore, but the inside of my nostrils is still incredibly itchy.
  • The semi-permanent stitches are still in and are just as thick and pointing as they were 3 months ago and I’m worried that they will never go away.
  • I’m still avoiding wearing regular glasses or sunglasses so there aren’t indents on my nose but I don’t care all that much because it feels uncomfortable and hurts when I wear glasses anyways.

3 Month Post-Op Appointment Notes: My nose is healing just fine, but today it is turning left a little bit. Dr. Davis wants me to be hyper aware of my nose and whether it’s straight or leaning each day. If it is leaning, I should do the exercise he taught me to help stretch out the side that’s shortened. He also told me that at the 6 month appointment, he may do a few things to it like injections if he finds that my nose needs it. For now we just have to let the tip loosen up and wait for some of the volume to disperse around my cartilage.

4 Months Post Surgery Notes:

  • The tip of my nose feels much more normal again. It seemed to happen all at once. One day I just touched my nose and it didn’t feel hard and stiff anymore. I’m also able to move my nose back and forth if I have tickle or anything like that.
  • My stitches inside my nose have been disintegrating more and more in the last month which makes me really happy to see. As these little things correct themselves, it’s nice to have my nose slowly take up less energy and space in my mind. For years (and especially during the recovery) my nose and how I felt about it was always at the front of my mind.
  • My nose is still slightly swollen and round at the tip which you mostly see from the profile now, but not straight on. 
  • I am now finally exercising regularly now that I’m not scared of ruining my nose and now that life has finally calmed now. It feels SO good!
  • The one thing that still irritates me is how itchy the inside of my nostrils are. That part still never went away!

Takeaways From My Rhinoplasty Recovery

There you have it. That was my full recovery experience. And trust me, I know that was a lot. But I wrote this post specifically for the women that I’ve talked to who also want to get a rhinoplasty done. It’s written so you can understand exactly how my day to day went, how I felt mentally and physically throughout the entire experience, and what I learned along the way. The whole point was to create this post to help people understand what they can expect from this procedure ahead of time. That way, if you’re about to go under the knife, it would be less scary because you’ll be mentally prepared for the next 6 weeks.

That being said, I know that was a lot of information, so I want to leave you with a few takeaways that I feel are the most important lessons from my recovery. 

Takeaway 1: The physical part of recovery is easy. 

It may surprise you when I say this, but recovery went much better than I thought it would in many ways, BUT it also was much worse than I thought it would be at the same time. When I went into this I was expecting so much physical pain and thought that I would even experience regret for putting myself through this. But it turns out that the recovery was MUCH harder mentally and emotionally than it was physically.

For 6 weeks, I felt like a zombie and wasn’t myself. I felt extremeley emotional and depressed during recovery and started to get upset with myself because I wasn’t getting a lot done professionally. I was cooped up and not doing much of anything because I couldn’t risk ruining my results. During that time I took notes on mainly physical things because that’s what I set out to capture, but I was shocked that the hardest part of this all was my mentality. Going through 6 weeks of recovery, seeing yourself bruised and swollen, not being able to go outside, not being able to move or behave normally, or even sleep normally made those 6 weeks feel like 12. To anyone interested in getting a rhinoplasty, be very aware that this process is challenging mentally and emotionally too. Make sure that you have TONS of support and are in a good headspace going into this procedure. 

Takeaway 2: You’ll need someone’s help! 

I can honestly say that I would have never ever ever been able to do this surgery alone. Matt took care of me every moment of every day for virtually 2 weeks straight. He washed my hair, he gave me my pills, he fed me, he helped me get comfortable, he cleaned my stitches, and he ran errands for me. If it wasn’t for Matt, I would have been screwed. I wouldn’t have been able to take care of myself if I had lived alone.

I know that many women are very adamant that they don’t need help after cosmetic surgery and even make the decision to be alone all week after a rhinoplasty. I have no idea how they would do that, and I don’t recommend that to anyone. But I will say that one of the best things that came out of this experience is that it brought Matt and I even closer together. We both felt that it helped us grow as a couple since one of us had to take care of the other. I remember that Matt seemed oddly happy at random times when he would be cleaning my stitches or helping me get comfortable and would express to me that he liked how intimate the experience was. It reminded me of what it was like moving in together for the first time and us being brought even closer together and knowing each other on a deeper level. 

Takeaway 3: The hardest part is not doing anything

The next takeaway that I want to stress is when recovering from this type of surgery, you have to be very committed to your healing by being super low-key. Which means you can’t do anything that could risk causing damage like putting a tight shirt over your head, going for a walk, leaning down to pick something out – but the biggest one… you can’t work out!

NEVER has my body ever felt more stiff and terrible in my life. I had knots so big that my calves would sometimes have a spasm. It was amazing just how quickly your body can go downhill in a few weeks of being bedridden. So to any ATHLETES out there wanting to get a nose job, listen up! There will be no CrossFit, no marathons, no races, no triathlons, no obstacle course, no bike rides, no hiking, not even walking. And even then, once you get through the initial 6 weeks, you still have to take it easy and not work out the way that you’re used to. I’ll admit, I’m a pretty lazy person and a natural home body, and I struggled with this the most. This part of the recovery is not something that you can slack on unless you want to have to get a revision rhinoplasty. 

Takeaway 4: Don’t close on a house 3 days after your surgery

In fact, don’t make any other big life changes that could distract you from your healing. Moving and getting surgery are stressful enough on their own, but to do them at the same time is a whole other beast. I wasn’t able to help out in lifting, moving, house projects, etc. Yet, all of that still had to get done, which meant that the things I could do I had to do very slowly and very carefully. The rest of it Matt had to take care of with the help of his dad and his best friend.

We also had an instance where someone (who shall remain nameless) took photos of him closing on the house without me being in them. I had so much anger and rage inside of me that I can’t even describe it to you. There also was the matter of dealing with a bathroom renovation and having to go pick out every detail in the store while still healing. That’s why I had so many days with Matt where I came home feeling sick and exhausted. I still had to be out on my feet all day making difficult decisions and going from store to store so that out bathroom could be completed on the weekend my recovery was coming to an end and we were moving into our new home.

I personally think that any additional stress you put on yourself at this time makes the recovery so much more difficult. So if you’re also getting a rhinoplasty, don’t schedule it before a big trip, before a big move or any other deadline. Avoid anything that will make you feel tense and anxious, including certain people or activities. Give yourself the freedom to heal in peace. You will be so happy that you did.

Thank you for coming to Lost Online!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and took something away from it that will either help you going into surgery or help you understand what people go through when recovering from a cosmetic procedure like this one. I want to talk about this experience as openly and honestly as possible so that cosmetic procedures don’t have to feel so taboo or secretive any more.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the next blogs in this series including my RESULTS and a Q&A from all of my readers, followers, and friends. If you have any questions yourself please reach out to me over email or Instagram @heather.ione and I will respond to you as fast as I can!

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

Fear is a Compass: Everything You Want is on the Other Side of Fear

Self-Help

Fear. I know it all too well. And I’m willing to bet that you do too because every single one of us is terrified of something.

And it SUCKS, right? Don’t you just hate feeling scared? In my opinion, there’s nothing more unpleasant than the feeling of fear. Because when you’re afraid of something, your mind decides to play this little game where it comes up with a million possible outcomes of all of the different ways you’re going to fail, or suck, or disappoint, or even die! You get caught up in the perpetual loop of all the worst possible outcomes, and before you know it, there’s no possible outcome in your mind otherthan the worst-case scenario. 

The thought, “I want to quit my job to start a business,” turns into, “Oh my gosh, I’ll end up running out of money, I’ll be broke, I’ll end up homeless, my friends and family will disown me, I’ll have no one, I’ll be filled with regret for the rest of my life, I’ll get sick and die alone, no one will even remember that I was here, etc.”

Before you know it, a simple thought of quitting your job has turned into this loop that you’ve been stuck in with all of the possible, horrible outcomes that could end up happening to you.

In this blog post, I’m going to change your mind about fear for good. I’m going to convince you why fear is actually your best friend and why you should follow it as if it were a compass! Most importantly, I’m going to teach you how you can let go of fear’s hold on you so you can move forward and do the things that make you happy – without getting trapped in that fearful loop in your head.

Disclaimer: I just want to let you know that I’m not talking about rational fears. I’m not telling you to walk down an alley alone at night because the thought of doing so scares you. I’m not telling you to drive fast and furiously down the highway weaving through cars because it sounds scary. I don’t want anyone being reckless because of my blog posts.

Today, I’m talking about those icky, unpleasant fears that cause you anxiety as you’re going about your everyday life and hold you back from pursuing the things that make you happy. Things like starting a business or traveling the world. 

You know what I’m talking about, right? These fears:

  • “What will people think of me if I ___(insert your dream here)___?” 
  • “What if I fail?”
  • “What if I disappoint my parents?”
  • “What if I can’t get a job because I took a sabbatical and no one will ever want to hire me again?”
  • “What if I lose all my money?”
  • “What if this is a huge mistake?”
  • “What if I die alone?”
  • “What if I regret this decision?”
  • “What if they think I’m a fraud?”
  • “What if I don’t amount to anything?”

I’m talking about the fears that center around failure, rejection, and loneliness because those fears often require us to follow our hearts and go against what society or family tells us we’re “supposed to” do. I’m talking about the fears that we allow to control our day and the direction of our lives.

But first, Fear is Fabulous.

Now, because we ALLOW fear to control us and prevent us from moving forward, fear gets a bad rap. I hate it, you hate it, and it makes us feel terrible. BUT, fear is actually a fabulous thing for two reasons.

Reason Number One: It’s how our brain and biology keeps us safe from real danger.

When we are scared, everything that happens in our body occurs to keep us from getting hurt and keep us alive. The adrenal glands flood the body with adrenaline; the pupils dilate so we can take in more light and see more of our surroundings; our heart rate increases so that more blood gets to our muscles; we breathe faster to take in more oxygen; the blood flow decreases in our frontal lobe as adrenaline in the amygdala allows us to react purely on INSTINCT rather than through planning and logic.

It’s amazing when you break it down and think about how many things happen in the body in such a short moment to keep us from getting hurt when there’s a very real danger present. So really, fear is an incredible thing! We’re so lucky to have it! Fear serves a purpose and isn’t evil or bad in any way. If we didn’t have it, humans wouldn’t have made it this far in history. I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post to you and you wouldn’t be reading it. So stop and take a moment to feel thankful that we even have this ability to feel fear.

Now, the reason why we tend to hate fear so much is that fewer PHYSICAL threats are happening to humans today. As we’ve evolved so many of the “threats” we encounter became more personal. That fear is still there, working in the exact same way, but now it comes up in times when we’re really not in danger. Like when we’re about to have a difficult conversation, when we’re able to speak in public, when our boss starts sending us passive-aggressive emails, or when we’re thinking of an approaching deadline.

That alone could be an entirely different blog post topic, but the reason why we’re here today is that fear also shows up to put the brakes on when it comes to pursuing our dreams… which brings me to my second reason.

Reason Number Two: Fear is like a compass pointing us in the direction of what we most want to (and have to) do in this lifetime.

The second reason why fear is fabulous is that it works like a compass, only instead of pointing north, it points you in the direction of what you want the most. Think about it for a moment – What terrifies you the most? I’m not asking what your worst nightmare is, here. I’m asking, what would scare you the most TO DO right now?

Many people think of things like starting their own business, writing a book, moving abroad, taking time off to travel, starting a project or hobby. It’s funny how the thing that we’re absolutely terrified of doing is actually the one thing that we want to do the most.

When I ask myself what I’m most terrified of, it’s pursuing my life-long dreams and everything that I’ve been wanting to do for as long as I could remember. Things like writing a book, starting a podcast, and starting my business. The things that I most want to do that would bring me the most joy, are simultaneously the things that scare the crap out of me and make me want to numb myself with a Netflix binge.

But this is again a GOOD thing. By noticing what scares you the most and causes you to get stuck in the fearful loop in your head, you’re able to clearly see what you want to do most and what you should be doing with your life. Once we learn to embrace that fear and use it as fuel, it allows us to move forward through uncertainty where we can truly grow. 

Everything You Want is on the Other Side of Fear

Moral of the story – fear isn’t a bad thing; allowing ourselves to be controlled by it is. But luckily for us, we have complete control over that. We can acknowledge the fear and move forward regardless of if it makes us uncomfortable. As difficult as that may be, it helps to remember all of the times when you stepped forward into fear throughout your life and did what you wanted to do anyway.

Haven’t you had some of those times? The times when you’ve taken a risk when you lost everything, where you pursued what you wanted to do over what felt comfortable? Think of some of them right now. Maybe it was the time back in high school where you pushed yourself to join the drama club even though it scared you. Maybe it was a time at your work where you asked to lead a project even though you were scared and doubted your capability. And aren’t you so freaking thankful that you did those things? They were pivotal moments in your life when you came into your own and took what you wanted in life. Your life changed for the better because of it.

You can do it again.

I believe that one of the reasons why people have so much stress and anxiety is because we’re not doing the things we want to do the most. We get trapped by our fear and bottle up our dreams year after year because we’re afraid they’ll lead us to rejection and failure if we pursued them. 

From my experience, stepping forward into fear to do what you love and pursue a dream is the best antidepressant in the world. Yes, there’s going to be uncertainty and there’s going to be confusion. But isn’t dealing with a little uncertainty worth it if you can be happy and have mental health?

If you allow fear to be a cage for you, rather than a compass, I promise you that your life is not going to be nearly as beautiful, enriching, and satisfying. And eventually, you’re going to look back filled with regret. 

So let me ask you a question from Mastin Kipp, the man who’s “Fear Fallacy” lecture inspired this blog post today…

“What if the quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with?”

-Mastin Kipp

I think this question sums everything up perfectly because the quality of our lives is directly related to how much uncertainty we have in it. It’s not about that ONE time that we choose to step out of our comfort zone, the real breakthrough happens when we learn to do this every day. When we learn to embrace uncertainty and risk and do the things that we want to anyways. It has to become a habit.

Think about this way: none of us really have CONTROL over anything. We can follow society’s and parents’ rules flawlessly, but what does that really do for us? Even if I did everything that I was “supposed to” do, I could still find out tomorrow that I have cancer and only have three months to live. The idea that we can control everything is make-believe. It doesn’t matter if you count your calories every day, wake up at 7 a.m. on the dot every morning, work out for exactly 40 minutes, spend your life slowly working up the corporate ladder, and always remember to send thank you notes after your birthday. Those things might make us FEEL in control, but in reality, we’re not.

So let’s embrace uncertainty anyways, and let go of this idea that if we stay inside our comfort zone life will be PERFECT. We’ll all be so much happier if we chose to embrace the uncertainty and step forward into fear because everything that we want is on the other side of it – a better relationship, a more fulfilling career, the vacation of our dreams, friends that are in alignment with us, and above all true HAPPINESS.

As I said on my “20 Facts About Me,” I’m a firm believer that the more you throw yourself outside of your comfort zone, the happier you will be.

Let go of fear’s hold on you

Now, you and I both know that me saying, “follow fear like a compass” or “throw yourself outside of your comfort zone,” is easier said than done. So, I’m going to share six tips with you that will help you to break the hold fear has over you.

Before we begin, you just have to get clear on what you’re most afraid of. Think about that thing that you really want to do, but you feel like if you do it people will be disappointed, or you’ll be unlovable, or you’ll be lost and confused. I know you have that one thing. Most of us have about five things. I’m sure you’ll have no difficulty in recalling what it is, but just in case this is something that you often fantasize about at work and stay up at night thinking about. 

Now, get out a notebook and write them down. Write down a bullet-pointed list of those 1-5 different things you’re scared to do. Then use the next six exercises to help you step forward into fear.

1. Ask yourself, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen?

One exercise that often helps is to imagine the absolute worst-case scenario and let it play out. But this time, instead of letting it play out in your head, say it OUT LOUD. I love this trick because when you let a terrible fantasy play out to completion and you actually SPEAK it out loud you realize just how far- fetched it is and just how unrealistic that worst-case scenario actually is.

It’s an exercise that my therapist had me do, and once I did it, I realized how ridiculous it was that me starting a blog and health coaching business would play out in my head until I would end up having to take a horrible job that I hated OR end up homeless. I literally felt as if me pursuing this dream was going to cause me to become homeless, and I believed it. UNTIL I shared all of this out loud. It suddenly occurred to me, the mind is SO DRAMATIC.

Because our mind tends to build things up. Every day, every week, and every year, we think about this thing until our minds turn it into a catastrophe. Eventually, we can’t even see just how distorted our perspective really is. We don’t even notice just how large we let this scenario become in our minds. Speaking the words brings it back into perspective. 

2. Ask yourself, is that really going to happen? 

Now ask yourself, “Ok, is that really going to happen?” No. Most of the things we spend our time worrying about NEVER happens.

I can confidently say that EVERY and ALL of the worst-case scenarios I’ve played out in my mind has never happened to me. Not once. 

Which reminds me, I was in a book club meeting one day at the yoga studio when one of the women told me that she calls worrying “borrowing trouble.” How true is that? Every day we let our minds go absolutely crazy with horrible things that could happen and all we’re doing is just borrowing trouble or borrowing anxiety from a future that’s not even going to play out.

Again, make sure to speak these words aloud to ground yourself in reality and get yourself out of that fearful loop in your mind. Tell yourself “No, ___(fill in the blank with worst-case scenario)___ is not actually going to happen.

“No, I’m not actually going to end up homeless.”

“No, the plane is not actually going to go down.”

“No, all of my friends and family won’t disown me.”

“No, I’m not going to lose all my money.”

3. Ask yourself, what will most likely happen if it doesn’t work out?

Now that you’ve made it clear that the worst-case scenario isn’t actually going to happen to you, ask yourself this question: “If things don’t go according to plan or don’t work out, what will most likely happen?”

When I asked myself this question, I realized that the answer was really simple. I was terrified that in starting a business, I would end up homeless, but what would most likely happen is that I would need extra money so I would get a part-time job. That’s not that bad! It’s simple. Life wouldn’t go according to plan, so I would simply come up with an easy fix to help me get through that early stage of having to find clients!

When you ask yourself this question, you’ll find that the real answer isn’t this dramatic, catastrophic event that’s going to turn your life upside down. It’s manageable. It’s not ideal, but it’s going to be ok.

4. When you find yourself reverting to the worst-case scenario, ask yourself this…

I know it’s really hard to break the habit of thinking about the worst-case scenario, so when you find yourself slipping, go through the first three exercises again OR ask yourself this hypothetical question:

Let’s just pretend that the terrible catastrophe actually DOES happen. What would be worse, the bad thing happening or dying with regret?

What would be worse for you? What would you rather happen? Personally, I would rather have something bad happen to me than not even try to live my life how I want to live it. When I first did this exercise with my therapist, I said that the worst-case scenario for me would be getting stuck in a job I’m miserable with because I failed as a business owner. But I would still take that outcome over having not even tried. 

5. Reflect on all of the times when you stepped forward into fear

For this exercise, I want you to do some more self-reflection. Get out that journal again or open up a document on your computer. Now, jot down all of the moments in your life when you were scared to do something, but you did it anyway because you knew it would help you grow and make you happy. 

Examples could be moving away to college, going on a retreat, traveling abroad, taking on a project you felt under-qualified for, asking the person you’re currently dating to go on a date, reaching out to your role model, starting a new hobby like skydiving, beekeeping, dancing, or pottery, getting out of a bad relationship, etc. 

When you’re done with the list, write a few sentences or bullet points about WHY you’re happy that you did each one of those things. Share about all of the personal growth that you made because you took the leap. Reflecting on similar instances will help you to put this new fear of yours into perspective.

Some of my own examples include taking a month-long trip through Europe with a group of strangers, asking for the account executive position on the Flagler College Smoke and Tobacco-Free campaign, and quitting my job to become a blogger and health coach. These things all scared the hell out of me at the time but have been some of the moments of my life that brought me the most personal growth and happiness.

Don’t rush this exercise. Reflect on it for as long as you need to take in just how beneficial those moments were for you. Remember, the quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.

6. Try Mel Robbins Five Second Rule

So now you’ve reflected on what you’re most afraid to do and learned how and why to not let fear put you in a cage, but rather act as a COMPASS. But still, it’s hard to remember these things in your daily life, right? You can read every popular self-help book and journal every night but still find yourself holding back when you wake up in the morning and go about your day. What do you do then?

The answer is Mel Robbins, and her five-second rule. First of all, if you haven’t heard of Mel Robbins, you have to look her up. She’s an international best-selling author, motivational speaker with one of the top Ted Talks of all time, co-founder and CEO of 143 Studios, and now has her own talk show. She sets an incredible example for everyone on how you can step into fear, turn your life around, and become a success. And she did it all with a simple life hack, which she calls “The Five-Second Rule.”

The Five Second Rule works like this – “if you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds or your brain will kill it.” The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal you have to commit and react immediately.

Whenever you feel yourself hesitating before doing something, whether it be applying for a job, booking your trip, going to the gym, waking up in the morning, count backward from five and them react immediately. Say to yourself, “5-4-3-2-1” and then GO.

Move toward action.

Why? Because as Mel Robbins describes it on her website, there is a window of time that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. That window is only about five seconds. 

If you don’t take action on your instinct to change within those five seconds you will stay stagnant, you won’t change, and your life will not transform in the way that you want it to. Because of that little fearful loop we talked about in the beginning. If you allow yourself time to hesitate, your brain will start to play that game where it comes up with all the terrible things that are going to happen to you and all of the worst-case scenarios. Because the brain wants to PROTECT you, and if you want something new that is foreign to your brain, it perceives it as a risk and immediately tries to stop you.

Like I said before, this instinct is amazing, it has kept us alive for thousands of years and we’re lucky to have it. However, we don’t need that fear holding us back when we’re applying for jobs, going on a trip, or starting a business – it’s not life or death here. 

But if you do that one simple trick by reacting immediately and not allowing that nightmare to begin playing out in your mind, you can prevent your mind from working against you and your personal goals. You can start the momentum before the mind starts to craft excuses.

This also helps because you’re NEVER going to feel like it. You’re never going to suddenly feel like doing all these things that are good for you or the things that terrify you. You have to make yourself do it, and make yourself do it QUICKLY. Otherwise, you won’t move forward. You’ll remain stuck in the cage of fear instead of allowing it to point you towards the next chapter of your life.

Takeaways

Before I head out and wrap up this post today, I wanted to leave you with a few takeaways to keep in mind.

1. Fear is normal, it’s OK to be afraid. It’s MORE than ok to be afraid. Don’t shame yourself for being scared of something. Being scared is the brain’s way of keeping you safe, and it’s a survival instinct that exists inside of ALL of us. It’s not unique to you and you’re not weak for having it.

2. However… don’t let fear CONTROL your life. Don’t let fear be the reason why you never __(fill in the blank)__. Because everything you want is one the other side of fear: better health, better relationships, a fulfilling career, happiness, life experience, memories you will cherish, personal growth, and more. 

3. Fear is a compass showing you where to go. The thing you are most terrified of is the thing that you want more than anything in the world. UNLESS you’re in mortal danger. You still need common sense! I’m not saying that if you’re walking around alone at night and the thought of walking down a dark, secluded alley scares you that you should do it. But the thing you’re most scared to do is the exact path that you need to take in your life.

4. The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with. The more you remain in your comfort zone, the less happy you will be. The more you throw yourself outside of your comfort zone, the more you are slowly becoming the version of yourself you always dreamed you could be.

5. Do the written and verbal exercises I’ve outlined above to get rid of the hold that fear has over you. By realizing that your worst-case scenario is NOT going to happen you’ll be able to relinquish the hold it has over you. You’ll realize it was all in your mind. Do it every day if you have to. You must regularly remind yourself of how dramatic your mind can be while you’re trying to pursue your dreams.

6. Use the five-second rule. Use it to get up in the morning, to go to the gym, to start your website, to write a blog, to make a call, to put together a media kit, to write a book, to cook dinner. Use it all the time, but especially when it comes to the things you’re scared of. It’s a simple trick that will help you to bypass that fearful loop in your head altogether.

7. When all is said and done, when you learn to step forward into fear, you’ll wonder why you waited so long. You’ll find yourself thinking, “Huh, that wasn’t that bad,” or “that wasn’t that scary.” It will give you the confidence to pursue more of what you want in the future and become the highest version of yourself. 

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

As always, thanks for coming to Lost Online. I hope that this post helped you to break the hold that fear has on you and FINALLY decide to live your life on your own terms. Without being held back by a barrage of negative thoughts, fears, and worst-case scenarios.

Remember to let me know your thoughts on the way out! What takeaways did you get from this post? Did you agree that fear is a compass? Is fear a compass for you, or is it currently a cage? Did you try these exercises I suggested? Which ones helped you get rid of the hold fear has on you and step FORWARD into fear? Are there any other suggestions that you would give to others to stop fear from controlling their lives? Let me know in the comments!

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online! 

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

I Want To Start a Blog But… 14 Limiting Beliefs of New Bloggers + How to Overcome Them

Digital Dilemma, Self-Help

If you’re reading this blog post today, I take it that you would also like to be a blogger yourself. But you can’t bring yourself to do it for whatever reason. Trust me, I’m not a stranger to the number of excuses you create for yourself when you’re afraid to take the leap and follow your dream, especially when part of your dream involves blogging. I wanted to be a blogger every single day for over FIVE YEARS before I finally launched this website. And in those five years, I think I came up with every excuse in the world as to why I couldn’t do it.

While blogging may look like tons of fun as a reader, it can be SUPER intimidating at first to start your own blog. Part of the reason is that there’s so much that you have to learn if you want to be a “successful” blogger. But the main reason why I think it’s so intimidating to take it up is that you have to be vulnerable in a very public way. You’re not just sharing a photo of yourself online with a quick caption. You have to write from the heart and share details of yourself that maybe no one even knows about you (at least if you want to be a personal blogger). 

Maybe you’re in that same place right now, that place I was in for five years coming up with every excuse I could think of to prevent me from embarrassing myself in front of everyone I knew by creating a site and sharing the real me. So this blog is for you: the person out there who desperately wants to be a blogger or even a YouTuber and is scared out of their mind to take the leap and just do it. These are the top 14 limiting beliefs of first-time bloggers, followed by my advice at the end on how to overcome them. Let’s get into it!

1. I’m too late

If you’re like me, one of the top excuses for holding yourself back could be, “But I’m too late!” I get it, it’s almost 2020 and it seems like everyone and their mother has a blog at this point. So how could we possibly be successful when we’re just starting, right? Here’s the thing, I do believe that content creators who started blogs and YouTube Channels YEARS ago, did have such an advantage. Not many people were doing it back then. There wasn’t this crazy amount of content like there is now. It was far easier to stand out, get noticed, get engagement, and attract followers and subscribers. The people who started blogging back when no one understood it were smart.

However, just because you didn’t start back then, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful if you’re just starting now. That’s like saying you can’t possibly open up a successful business NOW because you’re too late. Why start a restaurant or a coffee shop now when McDonalds and Starbucks already exists, right? No. You would never say that.

Here’s the thing: yes there are super successful bloggers out there who have gone on to create podcasts, books, and businesses left and right, but being a new blogger has one major advantage that those big-time bloggers don’t have. Have you noticed that in the last couple of years there’s this disgust and animosity towards influencers? People everywhere went from LOVING influencers to HATING them almost instantly and blaming them for body image issues, pressure for likes, and low self-esteem. I think part of this is because of jealousy: people wish they were one of the lucky few who get to live a cushy life just for posting about themselves online. But the main reason I think this happened is because people lost touch with influencers and bloggers. They grew too big, developed a perfect brand, and posted ads online weekly. Not to mention their life always looks SO freaking perfect. The average person doesn’t connect with that anymore.

People are sick of “influencers” and big-time bloggers. They want something real, authentic, and fresh. That’s where you come in. Starting a blog NOW isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually good because you’ve been on social media for several years at this point. Your friends and followers know you, they like you, and they see you as a REAL person. Just because you’re not a popular blogger right now, doesn’t mean that people won’t be attracted to what you have to say. You’ll be starting in a new wave of influencers that people trust and connect with more.

2. I don’t know ___(fill in the blank)___

“But Heather! I don’t know jack sh*t about SEO, or designing graphics, or getting readers, or utilizing Pinterest, or building an email list!”

I always say that building a website is very much like starting a business. You have to learn all of these odd things that you never even thought you would have to do. You have to learn how to write, design graphics, create new web pages, get more readers, build a social media following, learn to code, learn SEO (search engine optimization), create automated emails, and so much more. It’s a whole thing. But guess what? No one knew any of that crap before starting a blog. It’s impossible to know how to do any of those things without ever having done them before! You can’t possibly know how to do SEO or code when you’ve never done it or been taught it before. 

Let me fill you in on a secret, I don’t know most of that crap either. It’s embarrassing how little I know about that side of blogging. I’m two years into this and I still have SO much to learn and master. I just write because I want to! I finally stopped telling myself that I had to know everything there was to know about blogging before I created my website because that mindset is bullsh*t. It’s beyond ridiculous that we tell ourselves we have to be a genius at something before we’ve even begun. You learn those things as you go. You learn them on the job. 

I actually just connected with two different women last week who are going to teach me SEO, automated emails, and how to create ebooks. I’m still learning! But the fact that I’m HERE, showing up, and writing every week proves to people that I want to learn and makes them want to help me! These things take time, but you will find help and learn these things eventually. 

3. I don’t have a photographer 

One of the big reasons why I wouldn’t let myself start a blog for so long is because I didn’t have a photographer. All of the “successful” bloggers have FLAWLESS photos that seem never-ending. The concepts are incredible, they have tons of props and outfits, and they regularly stage photos for things like holidays. For that reason, the photography aspect of blogging could be the most intimidating. People like photos and they expect high-quality now.

But this is another limiting belief of new bloggers because we expect that of ourselves right off the bat. We expect the website to look incredible, even when it’s brand spanking new and we have no experience. But I can say with absolute certainty that you will find a photographer eventually. 

How am I so sure? Well, there’s this magical thing called synchronicity! It’s when the universe lines people, places, and things up that appear as simple coincidences but are all happening for a reason. I just so happened to meet my friend and photographer, Ray Reyes, through a photographer that I used to work with in St. Augustine who simply wanted to see Ray and I work together. Ray was looking to get out of a creative funk, and I was looking for help with my website. When we met up for coffee, neither one of us knew how close we would become or how much we would end up helping each other out over the last year. And as you might know by now, I’m a believer in the Law of Attraction. I believe that if you’re working on your passion, thinking about it, and dreaming about it, the universe will draw exactly what you need to you like a magnet. That’s exactly what I believe happened with Ray and me. Neither one of us went searching for the other, we ending up connecting accidentally and it’s been a creative match made in heaven. (I’m picturing him reading this right now and laughing at me).

If you’re not into a spiritual explanation, think about it like this. When you’re a creative person who is working on projects like blogs and talking about them with other people, you will start to meet people who share the same interests as you or want to help you. Creatives LOVE collaborating and helping each other. After all, no one follows their artistic passions to make money. Hell no. Any creator will tell you that they do it just because they love it. I’m just now starting to build up a network of other creatives and entrepreneurs so that we can support each other, collaborate, and help each other grow. It didn’t happen overnight, but it will happen for you in time. So don’t panic if you don’t have someone like a photographer to help you before you’ve even built a website. Build the site, start writing, keep an open mind, and network with people. You’ll have help soon. 

In the meantime, use things like Canva to create graphics or use websites that allow you to use photos for free. Whatever you do don’t EVER pick some random image off Google to slap on your blog. There are actually people that post photos of Google and wait for bloggers to steal them and use on their own websites, JUST so they could sue them. I recently read a story about a woman who was sued $9,000 because she used a random photo of a pepper on her blog post.

4. It’s scary! What will people think of me?

If you’re reading this blog post today, there’s a good chance that one of the reasons you’re holding yourself back from creating your blog (or even YouTube Channel) is because you’re scared about what other people will think of you. I understand this fear more than you could know. This is a very real and reasonable fear. When you’re first starting a blog, it’s awkward as all hell. You create this website for the first time and all of your friends, family, and followers go look at it and wonder, “What the hell is this? Why do they have a blog all of the sudden?” Or “Oh God, not ANOTHER blogger.”

Not only is blogging something that is blasting you out of your comfort zone but if it’s a personal blog, then it also forces you to open up and be vulnerable on a very public platform. A platform that any co-worker, friend, neighbor, or acquaintance can find. After the first several personal, introspective blog posts, you might even be left with a vulnerability hangover – that rush of shame and regret after opening up and sharing your weaknesses with others. But just like anything else in the world, it gets easier the more you do it.

Hell, I shared pictures of my face after a chemical peel where I was shedding my skin like a snake! Check out my blog post, The Jessner Chemical Peel, if you’re interested in learning about my chemical peel experience, results, and recommendations. Or hey! Remember that time when I opened up about how I’d been experiencing depression for all of 2019 even WHILE being a self-help blogger. Make sure to check out that blog, “I’m Seeing a Therapist + How I Discovered I Had Depression & Why I’m Thankful For It,” If you’d like to learn about that.

When I first started Lost Online, I used to only share posts about social media and was scared to open up and show the real, unfiltered ME. I was so afraid of people knowing the real me – The real Heather who struggles with self-sabotage, lost my hair at 19 from birth control, and believes in things like universal signs and the Law of Attraction. Now, look how far I’ve come! I would have never in a million years imagined that I could talk about those things so publicly. I was so scared that people would learn all of this information about me and end up thinking, “This girl is f*cking weird.” But you know, if they do think that, they don’t tell me. The only messages I receive are positive ones.

The point is, anything is new and scary, foreign, and uncomfortable in the beginning, but with each post, you gain more and more confidence. You find your voice, you discover what you’re passionate about, and you even start to get messages from people sharing how inspiring you are to them! As I’m writing this, I just got an email from someone who wanted to reach out and tell me that my blog is “amazeballs.” So don’t be scared of what other people think! There are millions of people out there who share the same beliefs, interests, and hobbies as you do. THOSE people will become your readers. And if your blog is not someone’s cup of tea, they won’t read it! 

5. I can’t make money blogging

Another major limiting belief that holds people back from starting a blog is that they have NO idea how to make money doing it. I’m sure you’re familiar with that recurring thought that pops up into your head saying, “Why should I start a blog now? I have no idea how I’m going to earn an income from this.” I have a few points I want you to takeaway to stop this thought from eating away at you.

First things first, you don’t have to. You don’t have to make money doing this. You can simply start a blog just because you want to and just because it’s fun. It doesn’t have to be anything more than that. It’s important to understand that this can just be a hobby. You shouldn’t feel pressure to be the next Jenna Kutcher because you’re starting a blog. The important thing is that you like it and it brings you joy. Just as the book “Big Magic” taught me, our creative projects don’t have to pay our bills.

The second point you should take away is that there are several ways to make money as a blogger, you’ll just have to discover which ones you want to do. You can email companies asking for sponsored posts, you could partner with brands and create campaigns, you could create a product line, you could sell ebooks, you could earn money through advertisements on your website, or you could use your website to attract clients (depending on what you write about or what business you have). And if you’re struggling with the financial side of it like I am, hire a business coach to help you take the next steps and earn some money! Because if you do want to earn a living doing this work, it’s more than possible. 

6. I don’t know what I would write about 

One common limiting belief that I hear from other women who want to start blogging is one that I also struggled with for those five years before I started Lost Online: “I have no idea what to write about.” That belief is what made me start several blogs that went nowhere because I was trying to be someone else. 

I was trying to write posts that I thought people expected of young women, which were the beauty-related posts. I remember the first blog I ever wrote back in my sophomore year of college was a teeth whitening recipe! At the time I only knew of beauty bloggers and YouTubers, there wasn’t this big self-help and spirituality wave of bloggers that I see now… or maybe I just didn’t know there was. This belief of mine that I had to be a beauty blogger in order to blog kept me from discovering what I really cared to write about. 

Until one day walking around my college campus, I finally had enough. I was sick of wasting time telling myself that I couldn’t do something I had dreamed about for five years, that I asked myself one simple question: “What could I write about for a year straight and never get bored?” Instantly I answered, “Digital media and the effects it has on the developing mind.” I had gotten “Lost Online” and wanted to help other people navigate the challenges that come from spending most of our time scrolling online.

I started writing about that, and before I knew it, I was starting to write more personal posts and get into the self-help realm. Now my blog has become about self-help and wellness to help people navigate all of the challenges that come with our modern-day lifestyle. But that wouldn’t have happened unless I had started writing about SOMETHING that I cared about, even if that wasn’t going to be the concept I stuck with forever. And guess what? You won’t stick with that concept forever! Your blog is a reflection of you and it’s going to change as you grow. So don’t get too focused on what you think you should be writing about, and just write. Write about what you care about right now, and it will all come together.

7. I don’t know where to learn about blogging

The most stressful thing about blogging is that there’s no blogging and content creation school to go to where people teach your SEO, coding, graphic design, how to make online ads, how to build an email list, how to create a sales funnel, a trailer for yourself, products, a podcast, ebooks, how to network with other other creatives, etc. It can feel like you’re all alone. You’re surrounded by this sea of questions and meanwhile, every blogger that you know of is getting brand sponsorships, clients, and creating massive amounts of content. Let me know in the comments if you agree!

I went to school for advertising, public relations, and communications and I was never taught ANY of those things. Sure I was taught about the IMPORTANCE of SEO, email lists, social media ads, and newsletters, but did any of my classes teach me how to do those things? Nope. It can be a lot to learn on your own. But don’t freak out. (We can’t have both of us freaking out at the same time.)

There are a couple of ways I’ve learned to help me through all of the confusion and stress that comes up when trying to start a blog and a business. One thing that I started doing was listening to podcasts. Yes, videos and articles can help you learn about blogging, but podcasts are BETTER. The reason being is that there are podcasts where the hosts do nothing but interview bloggers on how they found success and made money doing what they love. In one podcast you can learn all about how someone found success, hear about the technical side of blogging, and get step by step breakdown of how that person became a full-time blogger. 

The next thing that’s been incredibly helpful with this limiting belief is networking. I recently went to a Mastermind in Tampa where I met about a dozen women who are all entrepreneurs, authors, bloggers, health coaches, etc. I was surrounded by these women who all wanted to create a career for themselves doing what they love and be their own boss. They were incredible women and of course, they all had their own limiting beliefs, struggles, weaknesses, etc. And what we all realized that weekend was how much we could all help each other. We all have skills that someone else needs help in. I ended up connecting with all of them on Instagram and now I have coffee dates with a few of the girls to learn more about how we can support each other in our dreams and help each other with the tasks that we struggle with. I HIGHLY encourage you to go to events like this and meet people. You’ll find so much support and connection and be able to learn about things in person and ask in-depth questions. 

The last thing that’s helped me with this limiting belief is hiring a business coach. By hiring a coach, I now have someone to teach me how to do things like create ebooks or automated emails AND to break these things into baby steps so that it all gets done and doesn’t seem so scary and intimidating. My business coach also has a network of women who she can turn to ask questions and get resources that I need if we’re ever stumped.

8. I don’t know what to call it

Isn’t it funny how when you want to do something like start a blog, you can spend weeks obsessing about a name when in reality there are FAR more important things you should focus on? It’s kind of like whenever I had a test while I was growing up, I would suddenly get the urge to work out or clean my room whenever it was time to study. Obsessing over the name is just another fun way that our brains discover as a way to procrastinate. It’s something that we can blame for having not started when the real thing that’s holding us back is fear. 

Yes, the blog name is important, but it’s not THAT important. I drove myself crazy trying to come up with names for years. I was so caught up on it without realizing that the name could be changed at any time. The blog name is NOT set in stone, especially if you’re brand new! So don’t let that small detail prevent you from moving forward. If you know what you want to write about, spend a day (ONE day) brainstorming ideas. And if it’s a personal blog, don’t be afraid to have your name be the name of your website! It’s your personal brand and personal blog, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

9. I’m not a good writer

I’ve heard several different women share with me at this point that they fear they’re not good enough of a writer to have their own blog. They find their writing embarrassing and usually think back to their high school English paper grades which instilled this belief that they don’t know how to write. But to those people I always say, “I don’t think I’m a good writer either!”

Sure, I got A’s and B’s on papers when I was growing up, but I wouldn’t consider myself particularly GOOD at writing, especially when it comes to creative writing. I’d say my writing is “decent” or “ok.” Yet anyone who reads my blog tells me that I’m a great writer. I always find it funny when I get that feedback from people because I’m pretty sure my old English teachers would cry if they read my blog. I don’t always use correct grammar, I have no idea how to do AP style, I curse frequently, I write “lol” in posts, and I often start sentences with words like “and,” “but,” or “because.” 

So there you have it, I don’t think I’m a good writer and I don’t think you have to be a “good” writer either. To write a blog, you just have to be able to write conversationally. That’s why people like my writing. It’s not because I’m JK Rowling. It’s because my writing is real, it’s easy to read, and it’s the same words that would come out of my mouth if you and I were talking about this over coffee instead of you reading this. You don’t have to be a fabulous writer to pursue this, you only have to be able to write conversationally and ENJOY writing.

10. I’m not interesting enough

One thing that really held me back from pursuing any form of content creation is that I thought that I wasn’t interesting enough. And if you haven’t started a blog yet, there’s a good chance that you might feel this way too. That you’re somehow boring or ordinary and that people won’t want to hear what you have to say. So let’s shut this limiting belief done immediately. YOU ARE INTERESTING. I promise.

It doesn’t matter if rude people called you basic, or boring, or lame while you were growing up. It doesn’t matter what that one person who’s just too cool for you has to say. You are interesting. To readers out there, you’re one of the most interesting people on the planet. You may not have a solid group around you who cares about the same topics you do or is as excited about them as you are, but your future readers will be. And they’ll think you’re amazing for having started a blog and written about a topic that they care about too. 

I used to think that I had to look a certain way for people to be interested in me or care about what I had to say. I thought I’d have to have bright colored hair, tons of tattoos and piercings, and a hipster wardrobe for people to think I was interesting and want to read something I had written. These are all limiting beliefs. None of it is true. No one is going to be thinking, “This girl (or guy) isn’t interesting enough to write a blog.” People will connect with you because of your personality and passions. What matters is that you write about what you care about, create helpful content, and come up with interesting concepts. 

11. There’s already people who blog about the same thing

I think there’s a good chance that this could be the number one limiting belief of new bloggers. Because if you want to start a blog, I bet you can think of several other bloggers who write about the exact same things that you want to write about.

Yes, everything has already been done before, BUT it hasn’t been done by you. Everything has already been said before, BUT it hasn’t been said by you. While other people may be writing the same thing as you and have found success and subscribers, the way that you relay your message and share your story will resonate with people differently. You’re going to attract people that resonate with you as a person, who may not connect with the other bloggers who are out there now.

If you’re still not convinced, think about it this way: There are thousands, if not millions of self-help and wellness bloggers out there, and yet here you are on MY website. You could have gone anywhere, but at this point, you probably subscribe to my blog, relate to me and my story, and enjoy the way that I write. Something about my blog resonates with YOU. But I’m sure you could find similar blogs out there about this same topic. There are plenty of readers to go around.

12. I have to take a course first 

I’ve noticed that with people who want to be in wellness or content creation there’s this limiting belief that we never know enough information to start. We undervalue ourselves so much and think that we just need one more class, one more certificate, or one more program to finally start. Before I started Lost Online, I got into my head that I had to take an SEO course, a coding course, a writing course, and a photography course to start blogging – Which is all 110% FALSE. 

You are smart. You have everything you need right now to create a WordPress website and start writing about what you care about. You don’t need another certificate or program to try to prove your worth to you. It’s just a fancy and expensive way that we self-sabotage, undervalue ourselves, and procrastinate. If you’re waiting to start a blog until you finish an extra course or program, know that it’s not going to suddenly give you the courage to spread your wings and do what you want to do.

If there’s a program that you’re dying to be in and you genuinely want to do like the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) was for me, then do it. But if you’re telling yourself that you can’t start blogging because you need a certificate first, you’re mistaken. That certificate is just a way to put off starting today. 

13. What if it never amounts to anything?

Of course, no list of limiting beliefs is complete without the fear of crashing and burning, right? Another top limiting belief that new bloggers have is the overwhelming feeling that they’re going to be unsuccessful and that the entire blog would be nothing but a humiliating waste of time if you can’t generate enough traffic or make money eventually.

Let me tell you, I would rather pursue my dream and “fail” by not making money at it than to not pursue it at all. Sure it seems trendy and cool to be “a blogger” and make money off of your own website and social media platforms, but it doesn’t HAVE to amount to anything. Your blog doesn’t have to reach 20 million readers and generate enough income to pay your bills. What’s important is that you like it and you have a good time doing it!

No one will judge you if you don’t become an incredibly popular, full-time blogger. Why? Because you’re the only one who’s setting those expectations for yourself. And if I’m being completely honest, people will have no idea whether it’s considered to be “successful” or not. They’ll assume that as long as the blog is going, you’re kicking *ss at it! So who cares if nothing big ever comes out of it as long as it makes you happy and you like doing it?

14. I need a huge readership to earn money as a blogger

And last but not least, the ever so popular myth that you have to have a giant readership to make money as a blogger. Not true. Remember what I said before about how people don’t connect with mega-influencers anymore? People are attracted to PEOPLE! They’re going to buy products and read posts from someone they like, resonate with, and admire now more-so than the established influencers. And in 2019 and 2020, BRANDS KNOW THIS. More companies are shifting their focus and working with “micro-influencers.” Micro-influencers are people with a following of several hundred or several thousand followers. The reason being that these followers know and trust the influencer more. It’s a carefully curated group of followers with similar interests as you. 

You no longer need a huge following to earn money as a blogger. You need a small, loyal fanbase. These people are far more likely to listen to what you have to say, care about you, trust you, and want to support you. They’re more likely to buy your products, become your clients, read your posts, etc. So let go of this belief that you have to be a super famous blogger to make a living!

My Top Advice for Beginner Bloggers: 

I hope you enjoyed my top 14 limiting beliefs of new bloggers, and learned how to work through each belief to finally move forward and built the website you’ve been wanting to for so long. I created this post today because I’ve heard so many girls say to me, “I wish I could start a blog, but…” followed by their limiting belief. It makes me sad whenever I hear girls share their beliefs with me that it’s too late, or they don’t know something, or they don’t know how to make money. Because I don’t have all the answers either, but here I am writing a blog. And I want so badly to help them gain the confidence that they need to finally take the leap and start their own blog. I’m hoping that the advice I shared above helped get rid of those beliefs that keep us paralyzed from even starting on our dreams.

Now that you have some more confidence back and don’t feel so intimidated about blogging, I wanted to leave you with my TOP pieces of advice for starting your blog. This advice is designed for the person who is ready to take the leap and create their website so you can go into it with the right mindset. 

1. Just start and get used to it

If you really want to start a blog but keep holding yourself back, I encourage you to go to WordPress, or Squarespace, or Wix right now, and just START a website. Because oftentimes just starting the website and picking a domain and template is the hardest part. Kind of like how getting dressed for the gym is harder than actually going to the gym. It seems like a bigger deal than it is, but once you get started it’s fun and you don’t mind it!

Just start the website now, for yourself (not for anyone else). Start it without any expectations and without any plan to share it with people. Just build the website and start writing in it FOR YOU so you can at least get used to it. That’s the best piece of advice I could give you. Why? Because you don’t know if you even like blogging yet! You haven’t even played around with it, found your tone, or uncovered your core concept. Just build the site without any expectations, write something, and see what you think. Get used to having a blog and get used to writing. Don’t try to go full steam ahead and try to be the best blogger in the world immediately. Because the truth is that you might hate doing it. The first blog I started smacked me with the realization that blogging was a lot of work and required a lot of time to write, and I wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t want to do extra writing at that point in my life and I didn’t even know who I was enough to write to an audience. By the time I started Lost Online I felt ready and was super excited to sit down and write regular blog posts. So just start the blog and see what happens. Because you may enjoy it, or honestly you may hate it. But you won’t know until you try.

2. Don’t share it right away!

I see this same mistake again and again and again in my Instagram feed. So often people start a blog, write the “About Me” page, share it ALL OVER social media, write ONE blog post, and never touch it again. It makes me cringe when people do that. 

There was a time when I counted eight different girls from my school who all started a blog in the same semester, none of whom published more than two blogs. And that’s fine! They didn’t like it! But why blast it out to everyone you know on social media when you don’t even know if you really want to have a blog and put in the work? 

Just because you created a website, doesn’t mean you have to share it with everyone immediately. I built several websites before this one and they went nowhere because I wasn’t committed to them and hadn’t found my voice or my core concept. I’m so glad that I didn’t subject everyone to all of my trial run blogs before I made this one. Because if I did, I don’t think people would have taken this website seriously. Even when I had Lost Online, I didn’t share it publicly until I had the blog for nine months and published over a dozen blog posts on it. 

I highly recommend doing this same thing and waiting until you have about 10 posts up before you share it with everyone you know online. It makes it FAR less awkward. When you share a blog with a good amount of content on it for the first time, it actually impresses people. It shows that you cared and you put a lot of thought and work into it and your followers will be excited and interested in it.

Taking that time to put some thought into it, find your voice, practice writing, and put some touches on the website is what will set you apart from the girls who get eye rolls for starting a blog and makes you a girl who gets subscribers.

3. View your blog as a hobby and/or portfolio

As I mentioned before, I wanted to start a blog for years before I started this one. My big issue with starting it was I had no idea how to become “successful” and I was putting WAY too much pressure on my blogs from the beginning. I was expecting my websites to be flawless and look like Jenna Kutcher’s. I was expecting myself to have massive engagement right away and brand sponsors left and right.

Then I ended up taking a digital media class in college where my professor felt so strongly about the importance of having a blog as a communication major. She told us that employers love to see that communications students have a blog for many different reasons. It helps them get to know YOU, what you care about, and what kind of person you are beyond a LinkedIn Profile, it also acts as a portfolio, and best of all it shows that you’re a hard worker. She told us over and over again that semester that having a blog is the best thing you can to do help you get a job after graduation. For employers, it shows that you’re somebody who come backs every single week to write an article without anyone telling you to. That one habit proves that you’re committed, that you’re a hard worker, and that you have a project to do in your free time (you’re not just another college student who spends all their free time drinking).

When my professor shared that piece of knowledge with me, that was the exact advice I needed. It was the perfect logic so that I could trick my brain and get out of this mindset that I had to be successful at blogging. Instead, I started to approach blogging as a portfolio and a hobby. I was working on a project that would make me hirable after graduation and I discovered that I loved writing for pleasure and hitting that gorgeous blue “Publish” button whenever I could. 

So if you’re brand new to blogging, my advice to you is the same that my professor gave me back in college. Create a blog as a portfolio and a hobby, not as a way to become the next superstar blogger. It’ll take the pressure off you and allow you to have fun in the beginning and get into the habit of writing.

Side Note: I also don’t want to forget that my digital media professor was right! My blog did help me land jobs after college. I put my blog on my resume, LinkedIn, and Indeed and every interview that I went to the interviewer told me that they read my blog and that they were impressed with it. They also would always say, “Oh I loved that blog that you wrote about…” It was a great conversation starter and they were obviously impressed. It also helped me connect with employers on personal topics like spirituality, self-help, and social media use so I’ve had deeper conversations during job interviews because of it.

4. Give yourself some grace

My next piece of advice to you, and probably the most important piece of advice, is to give yourself some grace. Know that no one has ever known how to do this work right off the bat. Blogging is a completely unique and brand new career path, and sadly there’s no blogger school that you can attend to learn everything that you need to know. 

So before you get yourself in a frenzy and try to do it all at once (before you pull a Heather) understand that starting a blog is one massive learning process. You have to learn how to design graphics, get readers, utilize SEO, get engagement on social media, create automated emails, create a downloadable freebie, etc. It’s no small task. So give yourself some grace and know that it’s going to take a LONG time before you figure it all out. The best thing you can do is relax about it, take your time, and know that it will all get done eventually.

5. Wherever you are in the process, that’s completely fine

Whether you haven’t started your blog yet, started a blog and didn’t do anything with it, or have had a blog going for years – that’s completely fine. Don’t get wrapped up in where someone else is at with their website or where you think you should be with it. Be proud of whatever stage you’re at! 

Maybe you just figured out your name for the site, or just created a WordPress or Squarespace account, or started building your site, or if you just posted your first blog or your 100th blog – be proud of where you are in your blogging journey. Because I promise you, someone is looking at you right now wishing that they were as far ahead as you. So celebrate every single one of those tiny milestones because each one of them is amazing and is progress towards your long-term goals.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

My last final piece of advice before I wrap up this post today is to not be afraid to ask for help with your website. The longer you have a blog the more work you’ll realize that it is. It’s like starting up a business. No one can do it on their own. That’s why all of the “successful,” full-time bloggers have an entire team of people behind them. So when the time comes, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. 

You can do this by hiring an intern or a business coach, hiring a creative from Upwork, hiring a social media strategist, networking with other content creators and learning how you can help each other, and attending masterminds and conferences. You won’t be able to do this all on your own forever, so don’t be afraid to ask for help ESPECIALLY if you find yourself getting burnt out or really loathing one part of blogging. For example, I can’t stand creating Pinterest graphics, so my coach and I are working on finding someone to create Pinterest graphics and captions for me. You want to make sure that this type of work is fun, exciting, and energizing for you because if you’re hating parts of it and getting burnt out, you’re going to either give up or lose readers because they’ll be able to tell when you’re not enjoying the process.

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

As always, thank you so much for coming to Lost Online. I know exactly what it’s to be on the other side of starting a blog and having your mind filled with limiting beliefs as to why you can’t do it. My only wish is that someone out there read this and finally broke through that fear-based mindset and started their very own blog. Let me know if you do! I would LOVE to hear from you. 

Before you head out, remember to let me know your thoughts in the comments! Do you want to start a blog? How long have you been wanting to start a blog? What do you want your blog to be about? Did any of these limiting beliefs sound familiar to you? Are there any limiting beliefs that you have that I didn’t mention above? Which piece of advice helped you the most? If you could come up with your own advice for new bloggers, what would it be?

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto

Why I Quit my Full-Time Job to Eat, Sleep, Blog, Repeat

Lifestyle

Yep, that’s right. I quit my stable, full-time, job to become a blogger! You must think I’m batsh*t crazy. Maybe I am. Like I’ve said on my Home Page, I’m one of those crazy nut-jobs who believes you should do what makes you happy over what makes you fit in because our time on earth should be spent doing the things that fill us up and make our souls shine. It should be spent fulfilling our life’s purpose.

Too often people live their lives for a paycheck. They’re so scared to not have stability, or a 401k, or a healthy retirement fund. And I get all of that! Trust me, I panic about all of those things at least once a day. Because the thought of not having control and that fear-based mindset we have about old age, finances, and retirement, is scary.

And you know what’s even scarier than that? The thought of disappointing other people. That’s truly what holds people back the most in life. Because even if YOU know that you would happy quitting your corporate job to move out west, live in a tiny house, and raise some chickens (that was literally the first random example that popped into my head), you know that it would bother your family or friends. You know there would be people who question you and argue your decision even if it has absolutely nothing to do with them.

There’s all of this external pressure to be a certain way from the people in our lives and society at large. The thought of giving up the lifestyle that you’ve had your entire life could be paralyzing. But that fear-based mentality is what traps people in a lifestyle they’re actually miserable in for most of their lives. It may give them a cozy retirement, a Mercedes Benz, designer bags, and fewer rude comments from family, but in the end, it costs them their happiness.

That was the main reason for leaving my full-time job behind. I never wanted that to happen to me. But even still, I know that there are people who question this decision. And I also know that there are other people out there who need some inspiration and motivation. People who aren’t fulfilled with the life they’re leading and need to know that there’s someone else out there who knows how they feel. This is why I left my job to become a blogger…

1. You only get one life

The thing that terrifies me a million times more than finances or disappointing people is realizing at the end of my life that I wasted it. That I spent my life consumed with being the person that I thought I should be rather than being the person I’ve been dreaming of becoming since I was a little kid. There would be nothing in the world that could fill me with as much regret than choosing to NOT live my life on my terms. For that reason, even if I completely fail as a blogger and don’t amount to anything, I’ll still be happy that I did it. I will never regret this decision because I know that I had to at least TRY to give myself peace of mind. Not trying would be a decision that would haunt me, and it would always leave me wondering, “Why didn’t I at least go for it? Why did I hold myself back?”

2. This has always been my dream

Ever since I was a teenager I wanted to create content for a living. I dreamed of creating blog posts and YouTube videos so much that I didn’t even see myself doing anything else. Even though I would tell people my “plan” after college, I never truly believed what I was telling them. While I might have always shared that I was going into public relations, I honestly didn’t see myself living that life and going through with it. But I always saw myself doing this.

Call me crazy, but I believe that there’s a deeper, spiritual reason for this. I believe that if you have these life-long aspirations, they’re not meaningless. I think that we have these dreams ingrained in us because it’s what we are meant to do in this lifetime. If you spend your time fantasizing about a certain life or accomplishment for years and years, it’s your soul’s purpose to do that. These things aren’t random.

The day that I first heard someone explain this is the day that I realized it didn’t make sense for me to do ANYTHING else. It seemed absurd to continue living my life doing any other work but this. To work 40 hours a week doing something that made me unhappy while ignoring that internal voice that told me every day, “This isn’t what you want to do, Heather!” I bet you have your own dream like this. Maybe it has to do with your career, or maybe it’s something else like booking a trip. But whatever that nagging dream is for you that bugs you in the same way as those little devil and angel characters that appear on people’s shoulders in movies, you are meant to do it! Why else would you spend 1 or 2 or 5 or 10 years dreaming about that thing? It’s not random, it’s your soul’s mission.

3. To build a foundation for myself

I know some people probably think I’m insane for leaving a job to start a blog and become a health coach. I continually heard the suggestion that I should wait a year, or a least a couple of years before leaving my job to pursue my dream, that way I would save some money, get a raise, and earn a promotion. That is the option that makes the most sense financially and the option that our society considers to be smart and appropriate. But I left when I did because I knew the importance of starting early.

It makes much more sense to start working on your life-long goal SOONER rather than later. Why? Because overnight success takes TEN YEARS. Overnight success happens by working at something little by little every day, week, month, and year. These things take time. A lot of time, I should add. 

So I knew that if my end goal was to be a writer, blogger, speaker, and YouTuber within the self-help and wellness industry, it’s going to be a LONG time before I get there. It’s going to take building a solid foundation for myself first. The very early stages of following your dream are the most important and they set the stage for everything that’s to come by preparing you and teaching you vital lessons along the way. For that reason, I knew that for me it just made more sense to start while I was younger.

I also had to consider that my dream was much different than most people. My life-long dream requires years of building a personal brand, attracting a following, and developing my core message. It involved me getting sponsors, networking with other health and wellness professions that could help me in the future, and developing multiple streams of income. When your goal is to become a successful author and blogger, the path to success is not as cut and dry as “get a 40 hour a week job, stay for 10 years and then start your business.” If I was to become a successful author, I’m going to have to most likely endure years of showing up weekly and putting in the work before anything big happens. For that reason, I knew that I couldn’t put off until tomorrow what I can work on today. 

4. I’m not corporate

Another reason why I quit my job to pursue my dream is that I knew ever since I was very young that if I had a traditional, corporate job I would be miserable. It simply wasn’t me. Being in a corporate setting doesn’t seem to mesh with my personality.

For example, I’m someone who likes to have tattoos, and wears flowy bohemian pants, and wears lots of rings. Whenever I’m in my professional attire and show up to work I feel like I’m being fake. Or like I’m wearing a costume all day. I feel like a 4-year-old girl who put on her mother’s heels and is playing grown-up. I don’t think I could spend the rest of my life working a corporate job mainly because I don’t think I’d be able to handle feeling fake and not being myself for 40 hours a week. I don’t want to wait until 6 p.m. to kick off my black, work-appropriate, closed-toe shoes to finally be myself. I couldn’t stand feeling restricted and uncomfortable for that much time every day.

On top of that, I also don’t like to talk about the same things that my older co-workers always wanted to discuss at any job I’ve had. The conversation always seemed too boring and cookie-cutter for me. I’m someone that likes to talk about health and wellness, going fragrance-free, traveling the world, seeing therapists, journaling, and pursuing your dreams. I don’t want to hear about what you ate for dinner with your kids last night and what car your wife drives! I want to hear about what books you read! I want to hear about your life-long dreams and your side hustle! I want to hear about what bodyworkers you see or what trip you plan on taking next.

I always knew that I just didn’t fit in with the 9-5 life or co-workers. I was the girl who wore a giant tigers eye necklace to work, who used essential oils at her desk, who did acro-yoga on the weekends, and who blogged about self-help. I’m the odd one in the office. 

5. To feel like I make a difference 

It’s very difficult for me to work at something when I don’t feel like it matters. For example, if I had to work a 12-hour shift at Subway making sandwiches, I would probably scream. All I would be able to think about is how it doesn’t matter whether I’m there or not. I need to feel as if what I’m doing makes a difference in the world.

In school, it was easy to do things that I didn’t believe mattered because school was school, and I absolutely had to be there. I knew I had to show up and pay attention in class and I knew that I had to get random part-time jobs along the way. But when it comes to working after graduation, I feel myself spending an entire day at a traditional job thinking to myself, “Why am I doing this? How is this job even making a difference in the world? Is this really what I spent two decades of my life preparing for?”

However when I worked on campaigns that had messages I believed in, and when I worked at coffee shops and had meaningful conversations, or when I got to spend the day writing – I felt content. I felt like I had a good day because I enjoyed myself and did what I felt made an impact on the world, no matter how small or large. I was happy with how I spent my day because to me it felt productive and mattered. But working a job where customers are nasty to me or all I do is make more money for someone else, I can’t do that. I need to feel as if I’m adding value to the world and spreading messages that help people live happy, healthy, and meaningful lives. Otherwise, what’s the point?

6. To say goodbye to Groundhog Day

You know that Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day” where his character is caught in a time loop and he’s repeatedly living the same day over and over? To me, that’s what the 40-hour corporate work week feels like. Even though my calendar says it’s a different day of the week. It all feels the same. And it’s excruciating.

I know I can’t be the only one who hates groundhog day! If there’s not variety and spontaneity in my life, I’m deeply unhappy. Because of that, my work performance suffers. It’s always happened to me for as long as I could remember. If there’s not variety, change, or progress, I feel miserable. For some reason, I get it in my head that life is only ever going to be like that. I feel as if every day will be the same for the rest of my life.

I know it’s crazy but I have an especially difficult time with it than most people and I find myself fantasizing about doing something drastic like joining the Peace Corps or moving abroad to learn Spanish. When I was working full-time I spent half my days seriously contemplating moving to Malaga, Spain for 9 months. I was about to drop everything, move to Spain, learn Spanish, and stay with a family the entire time. Before that, my previous groundhog day panic almost caused me to move to Hawaii and build a tiny house. I have a ROUGH time being tied down to a schedule. I wanted to work for myself because that way I could live life on my own terms and chose to do whatever I wanted that day and make spontaneous decisions. I could take a trip without asking for permission. I could get Christmas Eve off without a boss treating me like they’re doing me a HUUUGE favor. I could say goodbye to Groundhog Day and spend my existence however I wanted.

7. I loathe fear tactics 

I will be honest, I’ve had very bad luck in the past with previous supervisors or managers and for that reason, I’ve been told that my experience is out of the ordinary. So maybe you won’t be able to relate to this one. The majority of people that I’ve worked for (not all of them) used fear tactics as a way to motivate people. I was once told after working a job for 2 months, “I need you to prove your worth to me or else…” They were trailing off to imply that I may be fired if I couldn’t prove that my position mattered and made an impact on the company. I also have heard bosses proclaim to an entire room of employees how unhappy they were with performance and how “things are going to change around here.” Leaving everyone standing in a circle with a scared look in their eyes wondering if they’re going to be the one who gets fired. 

I don’t know about you but I’m DEEPLY against motivating people through fear and think that this part of our work culture needs to stop. We all know that people are far more motivated and productive when they are HAPPY with where they work and when they feel as if their management cares about them and respects them. People work better through being incentivized and motivated positively. Not to mention they are more loyal employees who will stay at the company longer.

However, the main reason why I loathe fear tactics is that I’ve noticed throughout every job that if a manager is using fear tactics I get so nervous and focused on what they think of me that I end up performing worse. I make errors, I mess up, I miss things that they told me to do, and I don’t meet their expectations. I get so scared that I turn into an idiot. My mental energy becomes so focused on what they think of me that I’m unable to do my job which only makes them more unhappy and makes me even more nervous. I hate working for anyone who makes me feel that way. Who fills me up with dread to the point where I’m unable to even do a good job in the first place. Whether I do become successful at this or end up getting another job in the future, I will NEVER be able to be at a company that makes it a point to scare the sh*t out of their employees every Monday morning meeting.

8. I crave freedom

If you read my previous blog post, “15 Reason to Travel While You’re Young,” then you know about how I have a serious travel bug that was passed on to me from my grandmother. I dream of traveling to as many countries and cities as I can. I want to see all of the major sites, I want to travel around our entire country someday, I want to breathe in the fresh air at all of the natural parks, and I want to swim underneath as many waterfalls as I can. That’s my dream. I crave freedom and travel and booking that next adventure. For that reason, I want to build a career for myself that allows me that freedom. One where I don’t have to stress out about asking my boss for permission to take my vacation days.

I want a career that allows me that extra time to cross things off my bucket list. Because that’s what I care about more than anything else. Living a life that is exciting, adventurous, and fulfilling. For me that means the freedom to travel, or as my grandma’s handwriting tattooed on my side reads, “A life full of travel and wonders of our planet.”

9. I don’t want to spend my life making other people rich

There’s a famous quote from Tony Gaskins Jr. that I always think of whenever I have fears about pursuing my dream and wonder if I should have just kept a traditional job instead. The quote is, “If you don’t build your own dream someone else will hire you to help build theirs.” How true is that? If I don’t have the courage and faith in myself to create a business doing what I love, someone will hire me for a measly salary to build their vision. And who says that their dream is more important than mine? And why should I have so much more faith in someone else’s dream than my own?

From where I stand, there’s pretty much those two paths in life: either you follow that epic dream you have for yourself and build your own career, or you work for someone else and make all of their life goals and aspirations happen. And there’s so much greed that no matter how much work you put in, the management, the CEO, the board of the company will always want MORE, MORE, MORE. That’s corporate America for you. To me, starting to build my brand was a way to add some real value to the world, accomplish my soul’s mission, and escape the toxic environment of corporate America (where people are treated like robots meant to make money for the 1%, not like human beings).

10. My introverted personality

This point may seem like the most insignificant and random point on my list of reasons why I left my full-time job, but in reality, I think it was the number one reason. It may not seem like it with how much I share about myself on my blog and YouTube Channel or social media, but I’m actually very introverted. And if you know me personally then I’m sure you’re very familiar with how much of an introvert I am.

As much as I love traveling the world, meeting new people, and being spontaneous, I’m also a homebody. Part of the reason is that I’m an old soul, as I talked about in my recent blog post “An Old Soul Trapped in a Young Body.” But mostly, I’m just a very introverted person. I feel better when I spend most of my time alone. I feel exhausted, drained, uncomfortable, and stressed out when I’m surrounded by groups of people for extended periods of time. I can only take it for so long.

When I was working a full-time job I was extremely overwhelmed being around people 40 hours a week, and then coming home and spending every other waking hour with my boyfriend. The only time I had alone was when I was showering! (I nearly ripped Matt’s head off one day when he flirtatiously suggested we shower together. How dare you try to take my ten minutes a day to myself!) I felt like I was never able to relax and recharge. 

That’s why I knew I had to build a career for myself where I was able to spend most of my time as an introvert. I could still meet up with other creatives, network with other wellness warriors, go to conferences and meet clients, but I wouldn’t be with people 100% of the time. Because as an introvert, I need that space to myself. Sadly, most of the corporate jobs don’t allow people to be introverted. There’s a really interesting Ted Talk by Susan Cain called “The Power of Introverts” about how our world is set up for extroverts and about how introverts offer skills and talents that could add so much value to the world if only we allowed our introverts to be themselves. I highly suggest listening to it, whether or not you’re an introvert OR an extrovert.

11. But above all, to create a life doing what I LOVE

My final point, “to create a life doing what I love.” Oh, you must think I’m so cliche and ridiculous, but hear me out. For the longest time, the American Dream was about equality of opportunity. It was the idea that any goals or aspirations could be achieved by any American regardless of gender, age, or color. We did this through the 40-hour workweek. Americans showed up and worked harder and harder knowing that with hard work and motivation they could create a comfortable, happy, and healthy life for their family and future generations. But then, something interesting happened. The American Dream changed.

It became one that was focused on material goods and keeping up with the Joneses. It happened for a variety of reasons, but that’s far from the point. As our culture changed, so did the American Dream. It became far more focused on appearances, material goods, and social status. It became less about working hard for the dream that our family could have opportunity, education, and stability and more about what car is parked in the driveway. And with this shift in ideology, any concept of creating a life doing what you loved vanished.

We became obsessed with working so that we could earn more, spend more, and keep up with appearances. Consequently, we all filled ourselves with stress and anxiety, spent the day at jobs we hated and blew our money on consumer products. Now we have millions of people across the country wondering: “What’s wrong with me? I got a high paying job, I’m earning six figures, I bought my dream car, I have a big house. Why am I unhappy?”

Hmmm… maybe it’s because we’ve built our entire lives around things that are outside of ourselves. The idea of looking inward and creating a life based on what we want and what would make us happy seems so far fetched, foreign, and unrealistic. The people who claim do it are viewed as unicorns and are thought to have gotten lucky.

But now, people all across the world are starting to wake up. To realize that this idea that was hammered into our heads is just ONE template on how to live. Just because the generations before us found financial success through a traditional 40 hour work week and a boss that they couldn’t stand, doesn’t mean that that’s the ONLY way to live. It’s just ONE way to live. It doesn’t mean that creating a life doing what you like is impossible. And the people who are viewed as unicorns are the few who woke up decades ago and decided to do what they wanted regardless of what other people thought.

I’m one of those people that the majority of society still deems as unrealistic and crazy. I know that with hard work and motivation I could find success not just in a 40-hour workweek at a corporate job, but even by creating a life doing what I love. And I would much rather work hard at creating a life that I love. One that fills me up and makes me happy with the work that I do. Not one that just pays the bills and buys me a fancy car at the sacrifice of my own dreams.

Thank you for coming to Lost Online!

As always, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post about why I left my full-time job to pursue blogging and NOW health coaching! I decided to share my reasons for leaving my traditional job behind because I know the battle that goes on in your head when trying to decide whether or not to take the leap into the great unknown and pursue your life-long dreams. And I know that there are many other people out there who are currently dealing with this mental battle and weighing the pros and cons every day in their heads on the way to work. I want you to know that you’re not alone and you’re not insane for wanting to break free of what you’ve been told you SHOULD do throughout your life. Only YOU know what’s best for you.

I also want to acknowledge that I know not everyone can up and leave their job behind to pursue their interests. I know that many people have mouths to feed, high mortgage payments, high medical bills, and student loans that make it impossible to leave their job. To those people, I want to say that I understand that it’s not as simple as this blog post may make it seem. What I will suggest for you is to figure out a way to incorporate your side hustle into the schedule EVERY DAY. No matter who you are, you do have time somewhere in your schedule. The important thing is to at least take action and move the needle forward each and every week so that you are always getting one step closer to making your side hustle your full-time career. Figure out ONE thing that you can do each day to help you move forward and make progress, and if you’re having a hard time, hire a business coach! It’s ok to ask for help.

Before you head out, let me know what you think in the comments! Did you ever leave your full-time job behind to pursue your dream? Are you thinking about doing it yourself? What are some of your reasons for focusing all of your energy on your own goals? What’s your biggest, craziest, wildest dream? Is there a way you can bring it into fruition while keeping your 9-5?

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that”+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

Stream of Consciousness Journaling: The Benefits & How to Practice It + INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY

Self-Help

Did you know that 99% of life’s greatest problems could be solved with stream of consciousness journaling?

Ok, I made that up. But in case you didn’t know this about me, I’m a huge fan of stream of consciousness journaling. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. Journaling has gotten me through my worst days, helped me to realize my passion in life, gave me the courage to be myself, and strengthened my spirituality.

That’s why I’m a huge advocate for using stream of consciousness journaling for self-help and self-discovery. It’s why I mention it in many of my blog posts, talk about it on social media, and recommend it to those who reach out to me for advice.

However, as someone who wants to spend all day everyday writing, I was surprised by how few people actually practice stream of consciousness journaling or know what it is! WHAT? Does not everyone spend hours a day writing? What do they do with their time? So today I wanted to explain what you need to know about stream of consciousness journaling and why this simple activity is so beneficial. I’ll also talk about how to incorporate stream of consciousness journaling into your life for those who are curious about it and are interested in starting.

I really wish that more people would regularly do stream of consciousness journaling. It’s a freeing, introspective, and therapeutic method that helps you work through life’s challenges and improve every aspect of your life for a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness. It may not solve 99% of life’s problems but I honestly believe that if more people implemented this simple act into their daily routine, the world would be a much better place.

Make sure to stay until the very end of the post to learn how you could win my Gratitude Journal Giveaway!

What is stream of consciousness journaling?

What stream of consciousness isn’t is a narrative, a story, or a diary. It’s not meant for you to provide a timeline or create an autobiography. It’s not a description of your day.

Stream of consciousness journaling is when you write whatever is in your head, completely unfiltered. You write every thought just as is, exactly how it’s flowing through your mind. Curse words, improper grammar, subject changes and all. You write about anything and everything that’s going through your mind. You don’t plan it, you don’t wonder what you should write next. You pick a topic, like something that’s bothering you, and you write down everything.

It’s meant to be very messy. You don’t worry at all about spelling, grammar, or run-on sentences, because it’s probably the only type of writing that’s not meant to be read. It’s an exercise, it’s a therapeutic method. And if you’re doing it correctly, trust me, you will NEVER want to read it. You’re brain-dumping all of the emotions, all the stressors, the challenges, the problems, the insecurities, and the things you don’t want people to know about you and putting them on paper to clear your mind.

It’s not like any other writing because there’s no structure and there are no rules – no editing, no five-paragraph format, not even an intro or a conclusion. It’s your brain! It doesn’t follow rules! And that’s why the most important thing to remember is to not be critical of it or worry about how it reads because it will never be read! That’s why it’s so freeing.

PRO TIP: Relax about it.

It’s not weird! Stop thinking it’s weird!

I noticed that the one thing that turns people away from journaling is that they associate writing down their thoughts in a journal with a 14-year-old girl writing in her pink “diary” about the boy she has a crush on and the girl she doesn’t like a school. It seems adolescent or immature. It seems like something that isn’t socially acceptable. But it’s not a diary. Trust me, I had diaries as a kid. (Not that there’s anything wrong with having a diary.)

Stream of consciousness journaling is a therapeutic technique that is beneficial for anyone and everyone no matter what their age or gender. However, you won’t reap those benefits unless you calm down and stop judging yourself for doing it. The first few times you do it may be weird, because you’ve never seen your own thoughts on paper before, but it does get easier and it starts to feel more natural and more freeing the more you practice it.

The very real benefits of stream of consciousness journaling

Why is it beneficial? The reason why I preach about stream of consciousness journaling all the time is that I’ve seen so many benefits from it, particularly when I started to do it regularly. By making it a part of my nightly routine I saw that it started to change my mood and my mindset so I felt happier all day, even when I wasn’t journaling. It allowed me to put the challenges and the negativity down on paper instead of carrying it with me. That’s why after making it a part of my daily life, I believe in it wholeheartedly and think that the world would be a much happier and better place if everyone adopted this simple activity.

Here are the top 11 reasons why stream of consciousness journaling is beneficial in hopes that it will inspire you to start today…

1. It allows you to purge

The number one benefit that everyone can agree on about stream of consciousness journaling is that it gets everything down on paper or your computer so those thoughts don’t keep circling in your head. It allows you to take a load off and to get rid of the baggage that distracts you from feeling content and at peace. I didn’t even know how cluttered and chaotic my mind was until I started journaling and noticed how much calmer and clearer my mind was afterward. I didn’t realize how much the thoughts and stressors had been building up and weighing on me until they were finally gone. I had gotten so used to the stress little by little that I couldn’t remember life without it.

2. It stops thoughts from amplifying

You know how when something is bothering you or stressing you out, your mind does this exciting thing where it continues to amplify the problem? You’ll be bothered by something that’s happened to you and suddenly your mind can make it a hundred times worse by building up the problem, thinking of all of the other bad things that could happen, thinking about how other people will think and feel, etc. Your mind goes from worrying about that passive-aggressive thing your boss said to suddenly convincing you that you could be fired, wondering what would happen if you got fired, stressing about bills, thinking about how you would feel, thinking about how a job loss could ruin your reputation, thinking about what your partner will think of you, or thinking about how you should act around your boss. The problem snowballs from one stressor into a full-blown life crisis in a matter of 15 minutes.

What stream of consciousness journaling does is it stops those thoughts from circling and amplifying in your mind. It prevents them from blowing up into something that ruins your day and your happiness with pointless worrying. It also makes you realize how extraordinarily unrealistic those thoughts can be once you actually write it down. That way it makes the problem more manageable and grounds you again instead of keeping you sucked into that miserable anxiety loop.

3. It helps you solve a problem

Stream of consciousness journaling is also incredibly beneficial for problem-solving and helping you make better decisions. And don’t we all need help with that! One way that it does this is by removing that clutter in your mind and preventing the negativity from amplifying, so you’re actually able to figure out a problem or what your next step should be because it removes those distractions. You have space to figure out what to do and come up with solutions.

Often times we’re also unable to figure out the root of a problem. There’s so much going on in our minds that you don’t really know what’s going on. There have been countless times where I’ve had life-changing epiphanies because writing about a problem allows me to peel back the layers and find out what’s really going on deep down in my subconscious mind. This journaling allows you to discover how certain circumstances have been triggered that reminds you of an event or person from your past. What journaling has taught me that your mind is kind of like an onion, and onions have layers. You have to peel back plenty of layers on the top to get to the center of the problem and figure out what’s really bothering you. (If you didn’t get that Shrek reference, I don’t know if we can be friends).

Lastly, stream of consciousness journaling helps you solve problems by discovering what’s actually best for YOU. One of the major lessons I learned in my senior year of college and after graduating college is that everyone and their mother thinks that they are an expert on what is best for me. Everyone seems to think they know the perfect place for me to live, the perfect way to go about finding a job, the perfect career path, the best way to invest money, the best freaking house that I should buy, the best time to get a pet, etc. Everyone has a major opinion about how you, and I, and everyone else should be living our best life.

But here’s the thing, only YOU know what is best for YOU. Other people may have ideas and opinions based on their own experience, but just because something works for another person and makes sense for their life, doesn’t mean that it makes sense to you. Stream of consciousness journaling helps you separate the outside opinions and uncover what makes the most sense for you.

4. It reduces stress

Immediately after stream of consciousness journaling, I always notice an incredible sense of relief. Do you know how you get a runner’s high after a nice long run where you feel refreshed, happy, and uplifted? That’s sort of how I feel after a long journaling session where I release any of the drama, stresses, or insecurities that I’ve been dealing with. By the end of an hour of a long writing session, I feel an enormous sense of relief. It clears why mind and relaxes me so I can feel happy and free of stress.

However, it’s not just immediately after journaling where you’re able to feel this sense of release. By incorporating it into your daily routine and releasing that stress each and every time, you’ll notice that over time you’ll be less anxious in general. You’re incorporating a therapeutic exercise into your life and you’re dealing with your problems in a healthy way so you can be happier, more relaxed, and more fulfilled all the time. I started to notice this feeling after about a month of journaling for half an hour to an hour each night and then following it with mediation. Side Note: Journaling also made meditation much easier so I started to feel the benefits from that practice as well.

5. It helps with self-discovery

One of the most interesting benefits to me about stream of consciousness journaling is how much it helps with self-discovery. I’ve always been an incredibly introspective person, but even I am blown away by how much you can learn more about yourself simply by writing down your thoughts. Engaging in regular self-reflection brings up things that you didn’t even realize about yourself. These could even be things that you thought about your whole life but haven’t been able to figure out.

I’ve spent many nights learning new things about myself that I’ve never noticed before or have been stumped on for years. The most significant one that comes to mind is how I learned of my passion and life’s purpose through journaling. I answered a prompt late one night and used stream of consciousness journaling, as I always do, and suddenly it hit me that my passion was self-help and wellness. At the exact moment, I was laying in bed surrounded by a pile of self-help books that were all highlighted and stuffed with notes. I listened to self-help podcasts, read self-help books for years, and envied the self-help writers that I knew of. But somehow it never occured to me that that’s what I wanted to do. My passion and purpose had been hiding right underneath my nose my whole life.

There are many nights when journaling did not lead to an epiphany, but there were also many nights when it did. Through exploring a new topic or answering a prompt that might not even stick out to you, it can pull information out that you may have ignored or kept buried for weeks, months, even years.

6. It improves mood

You’ll notice that when you get into the habit of journaling every day, you will slowly start to see a shift in your overall mood. You’re engaging in deep introspection that helps you learn about your self-sabotaging patterns, toxic relationships, dreams, hobbies, and past – which is not only rewarding, but also uplifting. After journaling for weeks or even months you’ll start to notice that you’re feeling content and more positive, and if you’re anything like me, you may notice that you no longer feel like you’re in a fog.

You begin to feel free from the things that weighed on your mind before and your mindset slowly starts to change for the better. I know I’m making big statements here, but after spending an hour of journaling each day for months, I saw this change myself. When you dedicate that much time to your mental health and wellness, you do begin to feel much happier and positive. All it takes is committing to it.

7. It helps you to become mindful

After journaling for such a long period of time, the self-reflection helps you to be more mindful. It helps you go about your day with intention and focus rather than letting the day pass you by in a blur of scrolling or stress. It makes each activity you do more thoughtful. It also alerts you to the behaviors or habits that you have that don’t support your health and happiness so you can make better choices throughout the day. Choices like not engaging with a negative person, using your free time wisely, taking care of your body, and saying goodbye to self-sabotaging habits.

8. It strengthens personal discipline

If you choose to start journaling as part of your morning or nighttime routine, you’re strengthening your personal discipline. You’re choosing to set aside time every day whether you’re in the mood to or not to engage in a healthy behavior. That alone strengthens your personal discipline, but you’ll notice that it soon starts to bleed into other areas of your life. By making yourself engage in one healthy behavior, before you know it you’re choosing to eat better, or exercise more, or go outside, or use social media with intention. Making one decision that contributes to your health, happiness, and growth inspires you to make those decisions elsewhere. Again, this is one of those changes that I didn’t notice until weeks of practicing stream of consciousness journaling regularly. A benefit like this doesn’t happen until you’ve committed to making it a ritual instead of an occasional activity.

9. It unlocks your creativity

I believe that purging all those stressors or insecurities through writing and freeing up your mind from the drama gives it more room to be creative. When I started incorporating stream of consciousness journaling into my life, I noticed that I suddenly had more ideas than I knew what to do with. That I was inspired more often and that I wanted to write even more. It’s actually when I put in a month of stream of consciousness journaling that I started to get serious about my blog and wanted to pursue writing as a career. I even started to branch out and write about topics that I don’t typically write about. It unlocked creativity and inspiration within me that I didn’t even realize existed.

10. It allows you to explore and strengthen your spirituality

I won’t dive too deeply into this because this isn’t a spirituality post, but I do want to touch on this subject. I’m Buddhist and believe that we’re all on our own journey and are experiencing this life to learn, grow, and become enlightened in some way. And I believe that self-discovery and self-help work allows you to do that. When I continued to do stream of consciousness journaling I started to evolve and to connect with a higher power like I never had before.

You may not have the same spirituality as me, but every spirituality or religion that exists encourages introspection and self-growth. No matter what you believe, journaling can help you to become a better version of yourself, strengthen your faith, and connect with a higher power.

I believe this happens through deep introspection, but also because once you’re free of stress, anxiety, and the problems amplifying in your mind, and you start to become mindful and it becomes easier tap into spirituality – just as journaling helped me unlock my creativity. Through stream of consciousness journaling, your mind is able to focus on more introspective and soulful pursuits rather than being distracted.

Through journaling I came to profound realizations that I used to read about in books, but had never fully understood because my mind was too busy. For example, I was able to comprehend how everything and everyone is connected, that we must let go of our stories to become our highest selves, that coincidences and universal signs happen all around me, and that each experience (even painful ones) are helping me to evolve and become the person that I was brought to this planet to be. It also helped me become aware of divine intervention and trust that the universe has my back, because through writing I could reflect on how circumstance, people, and events are slowly shaping me to become the person that I’ve always wanted to be.

11. It improves your writing

Don’t let the stream of consciousness technique fool you. Just because stream of consciousness journaling isn’t necessarily formal writing, with proper spelling, structure, and grammar, that doesn’t mean that it won’t help you to become a better writer. After I put in hours of journaling, I started to realize that I began to find my voice. My writing became even more conversational, vulnerable, snarky, and honest. I found my own style that didn’t conform to what I had learned in school my whole life. But just as Pablo Picasso once said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

The other way that it helps with writing is by forcing yourself to write every day, no matter what it is, writing anything becomes easier. When you write any paper, blog post, report, depiction, etc. it’s so much easier to do because you’ve been using those muscles regularly. You become a better writer even accidentally because you’ve been practicing each day, even if it didn’t feel like you were.

Ok, I get it, but what do I write about?

The biggest issue that people tend to have about this type of writing is that they don’t know what to write about. Many people struggle about what to write because the vast majority of people don’t write unless they have to for work or for school when there’s someone telling them what, when, and how to write. But the beauty of stream of consciousness writing is you can write about anything. You can write about your family, relationships, stressors, your day, traumas, your bucket list, your perfect day, your dreams, your goals, etc. You can write about anything that you feel pulled to write about that day.

I personally like to write about whatever is stressing me out or weighing on my mind. Whatever is bothering me that day is what I’m writing about, and by doing that I feel like I’m liberated from all those negative thoughts once I write them down. I’m not a huge fan of journal prompts because they don’t offer me that same benefit which is purging the clutter and chaos in my mind, but occasionally I use them to help me with self-discovery on the days when I feel like being more introspective.

But prompts can still be incredibly beneficial, especially if you’re new to journaling. One of my followers and readers I talked to about stream of consciousness journaling was overwhelmed when I told him that you can write about anything and said that he needed more direction to get into journaling. So if you are having a difficult time figuring out what to write, consider picking a prompt first to get you warmed up. You can still do stream of consciousness journaling and “brain dump” even if you’re using a prompt for inspiration. Writing about anything could seem intimidating and this type of writing can be particularly difficult to get used to if you’ve never journaled before. Luckily there is no shortage of journal prompts available to you.

If you’d like to check out journal prompts, head over to my “Self-Discovery” Pinterest Board. I regularly pin prompts to help you with introspection, self-love, discipline, and motivation, so you can always use that as a resource. For now, here are some of my favorite prompts to help get your writing flowing today…

30 Journal Prompts to get you started

  1. How are you… really?
  2. Something I thought a lot about as a child was…
  3. One thing that I really need to work on is…
  4. Describe one thing that you are the proudest of yourself for.
  5. Describe one person that you admire the most today and why.
  6. The quality I admire most in others is…
  7. When I was little I wanted to be…
  8. What would you do if you won the lottery?
  9. What would you do if you knew for certain that you wouldn’t fail?
  10. If I could be a go-to person for anything it would be…
  11. One thing that I am the most passionate about is…
  12. Who are you the most envious of and why?
  13. When people first meet me, I hope they feel…
  14. What do you need more of in your life?
  15. What skills do you wish you had the most?
  16. What do you love about yourself?
  17. What are your priorities at the moment?
  18. The last time that I truly felt alive was…
  19. What hobbies would you love to try?
  20. What can you do to take better care of yourself?
  21. At the end of my life, the legacy that I want to leave is…
  22. Where do you see yourself in six months? A year? 5 years? 10 years?
  23. How can you feel more fulfilled in your life?
  24. Set 3 short term goals and 3 long term goals for yourself and write why you chose them.
  25. What are your 5 favorite ways to relax and fill you up?
  26. What limiting beliefs are holding you back from fulfilling your dream life?
  27. What actions can you take to simplify your life?
  28. What does happiness mean to you?
  29. What is your dream job?
  30. If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you be and why?

Bonus: End with Gratitude

Now, if you really want to see the maximum benefits from journaling as I talked about above, I recommend ending each and every stream of consciousness journaling practice with gratitude. There are countless testimonials, studies and experiments that prove that incorporating gratitude into your daily life can improve your mental and emotional state and help you become more successful. That’s why thousands of successful people, celebrities, influencers, and change makers swear by a daily gratitude practice and owe their accomplishments to their simple gratitude ritual.

Even Oprah has a daily gratitude practice and swears that her daily gratitude journal has brought her the most joy, allowed her to keep up the stamina to build her empire, and attract a fan base that completely aligns with her message. Her gratitude practice is simply writing down 5 things that she feels grateful for each and every day – even if it’s something incredibly simple. Today, there are thousands of articles and videos that you can find online where successful people share their gratitude practice and open up about how it impacted their life and allowed them to be happier. Each practice may be slightly different, but it proves that incorporating gratitude practice or a gratitude journal into your routine improves your life in more ways than one.

My gratitude practice

Personally I’ve found that jotting down 3, 5, or 10 things that I’m grateful for is not enough for me. Writing down a bullet point isn’t enough to bring me that overwhelming sense of gratitude that has the potential to change my mindset and my life. Many people swear that their bullet journal changed their life, but I’ve had no success with it. Instead, I incorporate gratitude in my own way. At the end of each journaling session, I pick one thing that I’m grateful for that day and write about it in detail. It could be an insightful conversation with a stranger, or my partner, or an accomplishment – but whatever it is I write at least a paragraph about it. I write about what it is I’m grateful for and why I feel so happy to have this thing in my life. By writing in detail about one thing in particular it helps me feel a heightened sense of gratitude and completely shifts my mindset towards a positive one. It’s impossible to feel crappy after I finish my own gratitude practice.

It’s GIVEAWAY Time!

Since I’m such a huge believer in practicing journaling and gratitude each and every day and I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for months, I decided it would be the perfect opportunity for another Instagram Giveaway! I will be giving away a beautiful and super colorful daily gratitude journal to one lucky winner on my Instagram @heather.ione. It’s a gorgeous and lightweight journal that you can take with you anywhere to make it nice and easier to get yourself into your own daily gratitude practice! Make sure to head over there today to see how you could this beautiful little book, that I completely fell in love with because it 100% reminds me of my favorite book, Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

I really hope that you enjoyed learning about stream of consciousness writing, the benefits, and how to incorporate it in your daily life. And I hope that you can take something away from it that will be beneficial to you. I’ve seen this simple ritual impact my life like nothing else before. I swear by stream of consciousness journaling and I believe in its ability to improve our mental stage and make us happier. It’s a topic that I’ve been wanting to write about for many months on the blog in hopes that it could help others and inspire them to start journaling too.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments! Was this post helpful to you? Did you learn anything? Do you do stream of consciousness journaling? Did you see any benefits of your own? If so, what were they? And do you have your own gratitude practice?

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Photo Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

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