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.

Reflecting on 2019: 13 Journal Prompts and My Answers

Self-Help

If you’ve been a reader of mine since last year, then you’ll probably remember that I published a blog called “Reflecting on 2018: 13 Journal Prompts and My Answers.” It was a pivotal moment for me because that was the very first blog post that I ever created with my friend, photographer, and editor Ray Reyes. 

At the time, I was dealing with some major confusion in my life. I knew that more than anything in the world that I wanted to be a blogger, YouTuber, podcaster, writer, and business owner. BUT, I was in the 9-5 grind. I was unhappy and constantly wondering if I should really take the leap and spend the first year of my life out of college creating a foundation for my wildest dreams.

It was a very scary, stressful, and confusing time. But finally having Ray there to talk and to work with is what gave me the courage that I needed to start becoming the person I wanted to be. That was the very first blog post that we shot together. A year later, we’ve now created and published over 40 blog posts together!

I can’t help but reflect on this time last year. Not only was it the start of a wonderful friendship, but the start of a new year, and the start of my adult life after graduation and moving out of my parents’ house. So much has happened between now and then. So I wanted to do another New Years’ reflection post! I originally started writing these journal prompts just for myself, but I thought it would be a nice Lost Online tradition to publish a blog about my 2019 reflections since then.

So here it is! One year later. This is me Reflecting on 2019: 13 Journal Prompts and My Answers!

Make sure to get out a journal and reflect on your answers for this past year too! It’s such a fun tradition that helps you remember all of the growth that happened, set you up for a positive and productive new year, and think about which areas of your life you want to work on.

2019 was the year of…

Transformation. At the start of the year, I said that 2019 will be the year of creativity. I was in a place where all I wanted to do was make blog posts, take photos, and make online content. I also was really immersing myself in spirituality. In my free time, I was immersed in ayurveda, yoga, meditation, etc. But after the first month or two of 2019, my attention shifted. Sure the blogging and content creation was fun, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to create ebooks, and coach people one-on-one, and hold events. Slowly my attention shifted towards that. I decided that I didn’t just want to be a blogger, but a full-blown business owner. I wanted to lay the foundation for myself for a successful career in the health and wellness industry.

But the reason why I say that it ended up being the year of transformation was because so many things fell apart in 2019 and eventually new opportunities started to come together. Everything from my health, my job, my family life, my relationships, and my confidence was turned upside down. Everything seemed to go wrong and I became very, very depressed. I even decided to start seeing a therapist.

BUT, just after things started to fall apart, better things started to come into fruition. I became very business-focused and stopped pigeon-holing myself as just a blogger; I made connections with friends that light me up more than anything in the world; I started to get more motivated and see my mental state change. Everything was turned upside down, but if it wasn’t for all of that happening, I wouldn’t be HERE right now. I wouldn’t be launching my own business in the new year and FINALLY monetizing my passions.

What went well for me?

  • I got to work with an amazing photographer every week to take the most beautiful and creative photos for Lost Online Blog.
  • I had enough financial freedom to leave my job and pursue my dream.
  • I published over 40 blog posts, some of which deeply resonated with people and helped them.
  • I hit my first 100 blog subscribers.
  • I created a YouTube Channel.
  • I had wonderful one-on-one time with my grandma when I went to visit her. 
  • I started seeing a therapist for the first time in my life who has provided a safe space for me to open up about relationships and past traumas.
  • I found an herbalist and DoTerra Wellness Advocate who has supported me through several health concerns.
  • I finally got the rhinoplasty surgery I’ve been wanting for years and I finally feel comfortable when I look in a mirror.
  • I went on several trips including Zion National Park, Savannah, San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Niagara Falls.
  • I found a business coach which DRASTICALLY helped my mentality and productivity.
  • I finally started creating newsletters.
  • I ended up connecting with women who I love being around and now I’m finally starting to feel like I have support and community.
  • We bought the perfect little house for us.
  • We got a puppy!
  • I got over my fear-based mentality and self-sabotage and am finally launching my business.
  • I learned how to better manage my time.
  • I published several interviews that I’m proud of.
  • I started to build my email list.
  • I joined a book club which I’ve been wanting to do for years.  
  • I started to feel as if I have a community and a tribe of people who are actually interested in the same things as me like wellness, self-help, and self-development.

What did not go well for me?

  • My health and digestive problems got worse.
  • My dad and I lost our jobs on the same day.
  • My family was struggling for months dealing with the job loss and financial worries. 
  • I became super depressed, more than I have been in years.
  • I was in a new city with no friends and felt very alone until November.
  • I was isolating myself and staying home all day which made it harder.
  • I had tension in my relationship caused by a third party person.
  • I struggled with limiting beliefs, self-doubt, and self-sabotage up until very recently.
  • I had another massive hair loss which prompted me to need hair restoration. 
  • I didn’t make as much progress in my business and blog as I hoped because of the depression and isolation.
  • I had a falling out with a good friend.
  • I didn’t know how to manage my time for the better part of the year.
  • I never established a solid morning routine. 
  • I was being forced into buying a house when I wasn’t ready by a third party person.
  • I wasn’t respected in many close relationships which I needed a lot of therapy to get through.
  • I had to work at my kitchen counter and our couch up until October which did not help with productivity. 

How can I change those things that didn’t go well for me?

After looking back at this past year, I learned that a lot of the issues that I was dealing with were mostly emotional and mental because they revolved around being lonely, isolated, and not having friends. This affected my self-confidence like crazy and I became super depressed because I simply had no one to talk to or connect with about the things that I care about.

This caused so much stress and depression symptoms that made me feel like a loser and a failure up until very recently when I was lucky enough to connect with my business coach and a group of young female entrepreneurs that I became very close with. Since meeting them my world has completely changed because I’m no longer isolated and alone. 

I realized that the way I could change these emotional and mental issues I’ve been struggling with is to connect as much as possible by going to events, setting up coffee dates, reaching out to people over Instagram to have a REAL conversation, and joining groups in the community. In the next year, I plan on keeping up that change because it’s such a simple fix that makes me feel like an entirely different person.

What accomplishments did I have?

The biggest accomplishment that I had this past year was that I broke through many of the mental barriers that I had at the start of the year. That happened because I put myself out there and worked on what I care about, but also because I had a sense of community, and help from a business coach and a therapist.

Now, I feel like a changed person. I don’t feel like the “stupid teenager” anymore that I was always told I was when I was growing up. I actually feel confident about myself and my own path in life.

I feel like in the last year all of the ups and downs and all of the work on myself made me grow into the person that I needed to become to make all of my goals and dreams happen.

How did I improve my relationships?

This year I improved my relationships by 1) not forcing the ones that weren’t working out and 2) by connecting with people that were on the same level as me – as in other wellness-centered entrepreneurs. Surrounding myself with the people who were in a similar place as me made me feel understood and supported. And I finally had people to talk to about my interests, not just about drinking like most of the people my age. Also, it helped that I finally stopped forcing the relationships that weren’t working out because we have far different personalities or don’t have anything in common.

Also, now that I’m thinking about it, I realize that getting my own coaches and mentors in different aspects of my life helped me. I finally got professionals and mentors to help with the things that I was struggling with so that I wasn’t trying to force someone close to me to act as my mentor. Previously I would try to have my friends act as my business coach or health coach. I would constantly seek help from people who couldn’t help me with what I was struggling with which strained my relationships. 

What do I wish I had taken more time for?

This year I wish I would have taken more time to do my self-help practices like journaling, doing a daily gratitude practice, meditating, and visualizing. Those things are what refuels me and make me feel better. Unfortunately, living with a significant other, coming into adulthood, and focusing on business pulled my attention away from those things. 

What lessons did I learn in the last year?

The first lesson that comes to mind is the importance of community. Once I finally had a community of my own I realized how beneficial it is for our mental health and wellbeing. I can’t allow myself to be isolated and without that ever again. 

The second lesson that comes to mind is how to manage time. Although I should say how to manage it BETTER because I’m still working on it. With my business coach, I learned how to break down all of the tasks that I want to complete in small weekly steps, so that everything that I want to get done, WILL actually get done. This way I can see progress in my business every single week, instead of my ideas staying stuck in my head and not coming to light. Without learning time management, I would have NEVER seen any progress this year. The blogs, the newsletters, the progress in my ebooks, the IIN homework, and the website changes all got done because I finally learned how to time manage and break things into small steps, not just for my own clients, but for MYSELF!

The third lesson that comes to mind is that I need to stand up for myself and not let people bulldoze me. I’m an adult now and can’t allow random people to control my life. I can’t have people forcing me to buy a house, forcing me to open credit cards, forcing me to be their client, or forcing me to get a dog breed they approve of. In a way, I learned that I’m going to have to be kind of bitchy and assertive with people because some parts of this year have been hell all because I was trying to be polite, nice, and avoid confrontation.

2020 will be the year of …

I’ve decided that 2020 will be the year of fun, financial abundance, and professional growth.

I know that those are three separate things instead of just one word, but I have a reason for it. This past year I was in panic mode about how do I make money, how do I build my brand, and how do I get clients. Although I did have some accomplishments, I stressed myself out WAY too much and it wasn’t a fun experience. I stayed in a lot and isolated myself while I allowed myself to think of the worst possible scenarios. It wasn’t a very FUN year.

So, yes I plan on launching my business, taking on tons of new clients, and finally earning an income doing what I love. However, I plan on having fun at the same time. I plan on making it a point to enjoy myself even while accomplish my life long goals. Because what’s the point of reaching those goals if I have to make myself miserable to do it?

20 Things I want to do in 2020:

  1. Officially launch my business
  2. Take on health coaching clients
  3. Finish at least one ebook 
  4. Finish paperback book
  5. Host events
  6. Create a podcast 
  7. Get better with finances
  8. Journal weekly 
  9. Go to yoga regularly 
  10. Have a Yes Man month
  11. Put out a YouTube favorites video every month
  12. Use Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule
  13. Make IIN binders from all my course material 
  14. Finish 2020 booklist
  15. Get back into shape with the Apple Watch
  16. Wake up earlier
  17. Attend one event/group meetup/or coffee date each week
  18. Create a morning ritual 
  19. Put laundry away each weekend
  20. Heal my gut health

What do I want to manifest in 2020?

  • A total of 30 health coaching clients
  • An email list of over 1,000 people 
  • A finished and printed book
  • A 100th blog post party
  • Financial abundance
  • A healed gut and a full head of hair (my body is STILL recovery seven years later from going on birth control)
  • A trip to Salem, Massachusetts in the fall and a trip to the New Mexcio Hot Air Balloon Festival

This year will be the best year ever because…

I will finally be living the life that I’ve been dreaming I would live for years. I will finally be able to cross those major bucket list items off of like become a business owner, host a podcast, and write a book. AND I will be helping people while I do it! I will be able to support myself while doing what makes me happy!

I will show myself compassion in 2020 by …

Identifying when I’m in a negative thought pattern and being hard on myself and hypercritical of myself. Just identifying when I’m in that state and recognizing that it’s not me and these things aren’t true will greatly help my emotional well being. 

I will also show myself compassion in my weekly journaling session where I will share my wins from the week. This will help me get out of that negative, critical mindset and focus on the progress I’m making instead. 

BONUS: My 2020 Book List

  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
  • Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
  • Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny, by Anthony Robbins
  • The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, by Mel Robbins
  • 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris
  • The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
  • Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Are Meant To Be by Rachel Hollis
  • You Are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza
  • You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferries
  • Unfuck Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life
  • The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success by Amy Morrin
  • Happiless Chokelist by Laura Juntunen
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Mason
  • Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein

Thanks for Coming to Lost Online!

Thanks for coming to Lost Online for my new little tradition of reflecting on the past year and setting my intentions for the new year. I hope you enjoyed this post. But above all, I hope that this inspired you to sit down and answer these journal prompts yourself.

I think that it’s extremely important to reflect on the past year and set your intentions for the future. These moments of transition into a new calendar year is the perfect time to start fresh and transform your life for the better.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments! Did this post inspire you to reflect on 2019? Did you do this same exercise yourself? Or did you come up with your own New Years Reflections? What are they? AND what are your New Year’s Resolutions?!?! I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW! (You guys know how obsessed with self-improvement I am!)

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 by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

Announcement: We’re Homeowners!

Announcements, Lifestyle

I’ll Drink to That

Pop the freaking champagne because after 9 months of house hunting, it finally freaking happened!

On September 12, 2019 Matt and I officially closed on the most perfect house that we could have asked for. With this new change, a heavy weight has finally been lifted off our shoulders, because it’s been a LONG time getting to this point. 

Matt was adamant about us becoming homeowners since the moment we moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., and since then it’s been a huge area of stress that I was not anticipating immediately following graduation, leaving my parents house, looking for a job, and moving in with a significant other for the first time. Because of that, the whole house hunting endeavor was a constant hot button issue.

Now we’re finally settled into our new home and best of all, we can finally breathe. No more house hunting, no more discussions about it, no more stress in our home environment! I’m sure you know what I mean! If you’ve ever gone house hunting before it can feel like the ground is shaking underneath you. You don’t feel stable and at peace in your current home and you’re always going through this exhausting inner battle about whether you should or shouldn’t put an offer in, whether you should even buy a house, how much money you want to spend, and how much work you want to put in. It starts to consume you!

Sitting here now, in our home, I can finally celebrate the fact that we now have our FIRST HOME. (Which I guess makes us grown-ups or something??) On top of that, I can look back at the entire house buying experience and appreciate that it got us to where we are today: in our perfect little home, that checked every box on our list and more. 

From Headaches to Happiness

Now I hate to say this because I feel like I should have known this, but looking at houses and putting offers in is far more stressful than I would have expected! If you’re not familiar with St. Pete, all of the houses here were built between 1900 and 1950 which means “historic charm” surrounds us everywhere we look. BUT that historic charm comes with a huge price: termites, asbestos, odd floor plans, and costly renovations.

On top of that, St. Pete is a city that has completely turned around in the last 10-15 years. The line that I’ve heard more than anything else since moving here is: “Ten years ago, you wouldn’t ever stop in St. Pete.” What went from a city that was run down and plagued with crime has turned into one of the most popular and expensive areas to live around the greater Tampa Bay area. Today it’s filled with street art, kava bars, crystal shops, breweries, restaurants, bars, boutiques, cafes, and boho plant shops.

As you can imagine, it’s wonderful. BUT to be close to an area this popular, a two-bedroom/one-bath in DIRE need of renovations with ZERO closet or storage space, a dated floor plan, termites, and asbestos goes for around $300,000! Even then, most of the homes here go for ABOVE asking price!

On this rather unpleasant journey, Matt and I fell in love with “the one” FOUR SEPARATE TIMES! Four times we found the perfect, charming house that had everything we wanted only to discover heartbreaking news in the inspection. OR, we would end up having our offer (that MATCHED the asking price) denied! This area is so popular, that even with all of those problems in a house, sellers know they will be able to get above asking.

I’m not kidding when I say that I had completely given up hope of finding a home. But just like what always happens whenever you relax, let go of expectations and trust in the universe – it magically worked out.

After 9 months, 4 offers, and about 100 arguments, IT HAPPENED. We’re now the very happy homeowners of a gorgeous home in the city that we love so much. And the best part is, it’s termite- and asbestos-free!

Honey, We’re Home

Now all of the stress and all of the headaches have finally been replaced with excitement! Excitement over renovations, painting, decorating, landscaping, and best of all: getting a pup.

We can finally appreciate the fact that we have our first home and that all of the home rejection was really just REDIRECTION to bring us here.

To bring us the perfect starter house that meets all of our needs and fills us up. A home where I can write this post to you right now and concentrate because I don’t have to hear “Seinfield” playing in the background! A home where we can step outside, be in the sun, and hear the birds throughout the day. A home that’s surrounded by other young couples walking their dogs in the evening. A home that has a huge walk-in closet so Matt no longer has to fight for space. And a home we feel happy in.

Our Must-Haves

You know what’s interesting about house hunting? It’s so difficult and it takes so much time that you actually start to believe that your ideal home doesn’t even exist. That you will NEVER find what you’re looking for and that it’s impossible for you to find a home that’s perfect for you. Even though you’re surrounded by thousands and thousands of homes in your area, the entire house hunting process is enough to make even the most faithful and positive people become closed-minded. That’s exactly what happened to me.

Here were my absolutely must-haves for a home that I convinced myself was impossible to find…

  • A fenced-in yard for our future pup
  • A floor plan that makes sense and doesn’t have long, rectangular rooms
  • A completely renovated kitchen (I was so NOT about to do that myself)
  • A home office for me so that my kitchen counter doesn’t have to be my desk anymore
  • A front porch
  • A block house so we don’t have to worry about asbestos siding or termites
  • Laundry space (some houses we saw did not have a washer and dryer or any room to put them in)
  • Storage space (since most of the houses here were built in the 1910s, most of them don’t have the room and storage space for our lifestyle now)
  • A big enough closet for the both of us
  • And a safe neighborhood – I didn’t care to live in a neighborhood that is referred to as “up-and-coming.” I wanted to be in a neighborhood that I felt very safe comfortable in while walking a dog around by myself. Since many of the areas in St. Pete are still turning around, you’ll find beautiful, safe, charming streets, followed by a specific street that you have to be conscious to avoid.

You’ll notice that my list of “must-haves” was very reasonable. Sure there were still things that I wanted to have, but these were my absolutes and I wasn’t asking for a lot. I think most people would say they want to be in a safe neighborhood and have a floor plan that makes sense, but I was honestly starting to believe that it was impossible to find. That all those houses were snatched up leaving us with only one option: buy a run-down house and remodel the entire thing ourselves.

Added Bonuses:

Of course, the home DID exist and I’m writing to you from inside it right now. I realize how crazy it was thinking that there’s no way a home like this could be possible for us to find in St. Pete. Not only did we get every one of our must-haves, but we also got so much more!

  • A large walk-in closet with plenty of room for both of us. No more fighting over space!
  • A garage where we can store holiday decorations, our suitcases, and tools so that they’re not eating up our living space and indoor storage.
  • A wine fridge, which will be FULLY stocked with J. Lohr Chardonnay for whenever my mom comes to visit.
  • Lots of natural light that floods into the house in the morning.
  • A bar cart that the previous owner let us have which is now stocked and makes us feel super fancy. AND a narrow table in the kitchen she also gave to us that we use a coffee bar! Which means we have a designated space for coffee and drinks! Could there be anything more perfect than that?
  • A sliding barn door on the closet which looks super cool and sounds like a dungeon door every time we close and open it.
  • Dozens of blue jays that fly around our house and make me smile every time I look out the window. 
  • And a corner lot with lots of yard space!

What’s to Come?!

So, what’s to come now that we’re finally in our first home? Well, for starters, several house projects which we’re really looking forward to working on AND a lot of decorating! Since this is my first home, I’m so excited to make it my own and create space that makes me feel energized and happy. Here’s what’s to come!

  • A yard filled to capacity with greenery, wildflowers, and star jasmine
  • Full-on bohemian decorations and plants! I’ve been waiting for this day my whole life to turn a home into my own little boho paradise – carefully re-modeled after my Pinterest Boards.
  • A back patio with strobe lights hanging above the seating area and a fire pit to roast marshmallows.
  • Outdoor games since Matt and his best friend Pat have been very vocal that they need to be able to play backyard games.
  • An updated, completely remodeled bathroom that lucky for us, was miraculously completed by our contractor the day before we moved in! 
  • A dressing room style master closet with a large shoe rack, full-length mirror, and bench to sit down on.
  • A beautiful home office where I can have a designated spot to work on my blog and YouTube and have my future health coaching clients over!! I’m also planning on creating a small altar and meditation space so that I can have a spiritual practice without hearing “Seinfeld” or “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” playing in the background. (Sorry Matt, I love you.)
  • A custom garage door and new driveway (because for some reason one of the previous owners had sealed the garage door shut so you can’t get it open and an oak tree at the front of the property has done a tremendous job ripping up half the driveway!)
  • French doors that open out onto the patio so you don’t have to walk through the garage.

But of course, there’s so much more to come, now that we finally have a home and more than 600 square feet of space. The number one thing that we’re looking forward to is a puppy! I’m hoping that our puppy is just around the corner because I’m so beyond excited to be a dog mom. I’ve been waiting to be a dog mom my entire life! The breeds I’m the most in love with are Keeshonds, Pomskys, and Samoyeds. I’m obsessed with the fluff (:

And BEES! For those of you who don’t know, Matt has been wanting to become a beekeeper for years! I’m sure you can fully expect to hear more about our process of buying bees and learning how to make honey in the next year. I have a feeling it’s going to be a struggle but will be EXTREMELY entertaining. I’m picturing us walking around with smoke in our beekeeper outfits right now. Matt and I have even thought up the name for our future honey business that Matt blurted out to our friend Ray as a joke once, but we LOVE it. I’m not telling you what it is just yet!

Last but not least, getting married (: To all of our friends and family, I just want to say that YES we will get married someday and we will do that when we are ready! We’re already picking up on the not-so-subtle hints that people think we should get married since we have a house now. When we are ready to take that next step, it will happen!

I remember six months into dating Matt, I looked at him as we were leaving a Christmas concert one night and said, “I’m going to marry the sh*t out of you someday.” That has become one of the most memorable quotes and milestones in our relationship. We pretty much knew when we started dating that we were very committed to each other. 

For now, we would just really love to enjoy THIS milestone before jumping to the next one simply because people think that’s what we’re “supposed” to do. Moving and buying a house is already a big project and undertaking, you can bet that I’m not going to throw wedding planning into the mix just yet!

I’m Incredibly Grateful

I’m so incredibly grateful that we’re in this home right now. This is just another example of the Law of Attraction in my life. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent dreaming and doing visitation mediations years ago about having a home in Florida. I can’t tell you how many times I scanned Pinterest staring at houses and decorations. And I can’t tell you how much time I spent thinking about the freedom and happiness it would bring me to have a HOME that I could share with someone. This is just another example of how powerful and real manifestation is.

It also goes to show that when you stop forcing something to happen that you want and finally RELAX and trust in the universe, it will happen! The only thing that you have to do is focus on what you want and it will come to you. But the HOW is the domain of the universe. Trying to force something is not going to work.

The second reason why I feel grateful is that we don’t have to pour ungodly amounts of money into renting anymore. Now we have a home that we can invest in instead of throwing money away. That only is worth celebrating!

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

As always thank you for coming to Lost Online! I hope you enjoyed this peak into our first home! Once our home has come together a bit more, I’ll be sharing how we’re decorating our beautiful bohemian home, where the ideas came from, and where we found our favorite pieces! For now, we’ll be busy getting it all together!

A special shout out to that adorable fur baby, Luka June for deciding she wanted in on our celebration and photoshoot too! Luka is Ray’s dog and another member of a little “Beer Brigade,” as we call it. Ray, Matt, Luka and I spend weekends shooting for the blog, coming up with photo concepts and drinking craft beer! (Well, Luka doesn’t drink the beer). Together, the four of us make up the Beer Brigade!

Lastly, I just want to share that if you’re a Lost Online reader than you’re aware that I often make announcements on the blog like, “The Start of a New Chapter: Why I’m Studying to Become a Certified Health Coach” or “I’m Seeing a Therapist + How I Discovered I Had Depression & Why I’m Thankful For It.” I created this blog post because making announcements is something that I do regularly and because this is a HUGE milestone in my life. I want to enjoy this, I want to share it with my tribe, and I want to sit here and reflect on this milestone in my favorite way – through writing. 

It would make me so sad if there was someone reading who took this post thinking that I created it with the intention of bragging. I’m just over here doing what us bloggers do – writing about our experiences. I’m also sharing this with you because part of my purpose with my blog and coaching practice is to show people that the Law of Attraction is real and to inspire them to incorporate it into their own lives! It’s mind-blowing what manifestation can bring to you. I would LOVE it if my story could inspire you and help you transform your own life.

Before you head out, let me know what you think in the comments! Can you relate to my experience with house hunting? Did this blog post leave you with any thoughts or takeaways? Do you already have a house or are you still daydreaming about your future home someday? What do you want in your future home? Can you think of your own advice for first time home buyers? OR do you have a similar manifestation experience you’d like to share!

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.

15 Reasons To Travel While You’re Young + Thoughts on Traveling & Social Media

Travel

I got the travel bug from my grandmother, who has been to so many countries that she probably wouldn’t be able to count them if she tried. My grandma goes on at least one trip abroad a year and usually comes back with a very odd and very humorous souvenir for us. Every time I talked to my grandma when I was growing up, I was so amazed at how she would casually bring up some incredible trip she took.

I always wanted to be like her. She’s so well-traveled, cultured, and so interesting – and I’m not the only one who thinks that. She’s someone that everyone loves and is intrigued by the second they meet her. I remember after my friend Pat met her for the first time, he turned to me and said one of my favorite quotes of all time, “Heather, your grandma is dope!” She is a dope grandma indeed. 

She’s a lady who does whatever the hell she wants regardless of what other people think. One of my favorite things she’s ever said to me was, “I don’t think I want a boyfriend, that might cramp my style.” If there’s one person I want to be like when I grow up and one person I want to make proud of, it’s her. And one way I plan on doing that is by exploring as much of this miraculous planet as I can, just like her.

With no surprise, my grandma was incredibly supportive of my love for travel. Not only does she pass on her travel stories and experiences to me, but she’s funded several of my trips. She generously took me to Paris for two weeks for my Sweet Sixteen, paid for my month-long graduation trip through Europe, and took a spontaneous and impulsive trip with me to Niagara Falls this summer. 

Today, my grandma’s writing is tattooed on the side of my body. It reads, “A life full of travel and wonders of our planet.” It will remind me for the rest of my life to get out of my bubble and explore the world as much as I can.

Just like my grandma, I want to encourage others to explore too. To put their money towards a plane ticket instead of products. So here are the top reasons why I believe it’s important to travel while you’re young in hopes that I will inspire at least one person to buy a ticket!

1. Travel expands your mind

I know this is the very first thing that people usually say about travel, but you don’t realize how true it is until you’re sitting in some random spot on the other side of the planet having your mind blown. I remember watching an opera in Rome and seeing flamenco dancing in Spain. Those are two experiences that I will never forget because I was utterly amazed seeing this in person. All I could think of was, “WHAT?! This is a thing?! People actually do this?!” It’s incredible seeing someone who’s spent a lifetime perfecting some dance that you would have never even heard of before.

When you travel, especially for an extended period of time or with a group of strangers, you regularly have those moments where you’re shocked by what you’re seeing or how other people interact in different cultures. You experience and learn things that you wouldn’t have otherwise known until you went there yourself.

Sometimes it expands your mind to things that are unpleasant. On my graduation trip, I learned so much about the Holocaust and World War II after visiting Germany and seeing a concentration camp that I would have never have learned unless I had visited Germany and gone on local tours. It’s best to travel while you’re young for this reason because your brain is still developing so you’re still very impressionable. Expanding your worldview during this time is crucial because you’ll be more open-minded than you would be if you started traveling after retirement. It allows you to expand your world-view and shape new opinions before settling into your ways.

2. It gets you out of your comfort zone

When you go on a trip abroad, you encounter language barriers, you get lost, and you have awkward moments when you encounter customs that you aren’t familiar with. It makes you feel out of place and puts you far out of your comfort zone, which is a great thing!

Interestingly enough, something about traveling to a foreign country also makes you more willing to take risks and try things that you wouldn’t if you were at home. I remember what it was like going zip lining in Costa Rica with Matt or going on an ATV tour underneath a volcano. The Heather that lives in Florida and spends most of her time going to the same coffee shop to write every day would NEVER do those things. But whenever I go on a trip, I take advantage of experiences that I otherwise wouldn’t try or wouldn’t want to spend the money on. Travel makes you do things that you normally would hold yourself back from, but THOSE moments are the ones that you remember for the rest of your life and tell at parties (or on your Tinder dates, lol). 

3. You meet life-long friends 

Something about dropping everything and traveling to a foreign country with strangers makes you connect with them on a much deeper level. When you travel to a new country with someone, rely on each other to get around, experience new things together, and spend entire days making memories and opening up about your lives back home, you form a very powerful bond. 

It’s a connection that you wouldn’t have had with that person if you had just met at a coffee shop or a bar back home. You create life-long memories with that person, making you much closer together and creating a relationship that you’ll look back on for the rest of your life. For that reason, I know that whenever I reach out to the girls I went on my trip with that they will always be happy to hear from me and we’ll catch up as if no time had passed.

Case in point, I just got back from visiting Cincinnati last night and while I was there I got to see my Europe travel buddy, Emily. We were attached at the hip the entire time we were abroad and now I consider her to be one of the best friends I’ve ever had. She had just landed from New York City yesterday morning and raced to come visit me for the remaining hours I was still in Cincinnati. When we reunited we ran up to each other on the sidewalk, threw our arms around each other and hugged in the most dramatic, rom-com fashion.

4. Travel helps you discover what you really want

When I left for my month-long trip abroad, I was very unsure of what I wanted, but the week I came back, I could look at my life with such clarity. I’m not exactly sure why this happens. Maybe it’s because travel allows you to step away from your life’s problems and have some space so that you can look at things with fresh eyes when you come back. Or maybe it’s because travel changes you, so you come back a slightly different person than the one who left.

Whichever it is, all I know is that my questions and dilemmas I’d been struggling with for months had been resolved when I got back: Where should I live? What career should I pursue? What do I really want in life? What projects do I want to pursue?

I was also very surprised by the number of other people on my tour who were having some kind of life crisis or question that they were seeking the answer to while we were away. I wasn’t the only one who had been hoping to solve some problem or answer an important question. For example, I remember that a handful of people were very unsure about whether or not they wanted to stay with their significant other. They were trying to figure out if they saw themselves staying with this person long term after they returned home or if it was best to go their separate ways. The trip helped them answer their questions. I remember one of my friends even bought a journal so she could do stream of consciousness journaling about her relationship and that helped her gain so much clarity. If you’d like to learn more about stream of consciousness journaling, checkout my blog post, “Stream of Consciousness Journaling: The Benefits & How to Practice It.”

5. Traveling while you’re young allows you freedom before you get tied down 

Yeah you could travel when you’re older, but you also have to consider that you’ll have a full-time job, extra bills, a mortgage payment, a dog that needs to be cared for, a significant other that doesn’t feel like traveling to the same country as you, kids, etc. I could go on and on with other reasons, but the point is that it won’t be as easy to drop everything and backpack your way through South America when you’re 35 or 40. It’s much easier to travel while you’re young because you’re not tied down to anything, and because it will be so much easier to hop back into your normal life without much of a disruption. For example, coming back from an extended holiday when you’re in your teens or early 20’s will have little to no impact on your career because it’s not already established. It’s expected that you’re still traveling, learning about what you want, and changing during this time.

You also have to consider that if you travel while you’re young, you only have to pay for yourself, not an entire family. It’ll cost far less money and you’ll be FAR more likely to actually do it. Simply put, you’ll never feel as free as you do RIGHT NOW.

6. You won’t regret it

You know that moment when you decide it’s freaking time to clean out your closet? Your clothes are overflowing, you can’t find anything, and you realize it’s that time of year to make some donations? You know how whenever this happens you inevitably find clothes in your closet that still have the tags on them and think, “Uggghhhh, why did I buy this!? That was such a waste of money!” Yeah, that doesn’t happen with travel.

I’ve never heard of anyone having buyer’s remorse over taking a trip. You won’t look back at your photos and memories of your summer abroad and think, “Ugggghhh, why did I do that?” “Why did I move to Paris for three months and work at that bakery? How stupid of me.” That just doesn’t happen. Traveling is one of the very few things in life that people spend their money on that they don’t regret. Sure, you might end up going over budget on your trip and be a little bit annoyed at yourself for spending so much. However, the feeling of regret will never enter your mind.

7. Travel makes you humble

The other reason why you should travel, especially while you’re young, is because it makes you humble. You’ll see people all around the world who are living with less than you and realize what little you need to take care of yourself and to be happy. I learned this lesson on my trip to Costa Rica. After coming back I wrote a blog post about this called “A Lesson in Pura Vida.”

I wrote about how I had noticed that the people in Costa Rica lived in what I can only describe as shacks. Their houses were made of tin and they had very few possessions and modern-day luxuries and conveniences. But they were the happiest and nicest people I have ever met in my life. Seriously! It was like they were all enlightened. They walked around with a huge smile on their face and saying hello to everyone. I could tell that they were happy and relaxed – not chronically stressed out. At the time, I went to a private college, drove an expensive car, lived in a gated community, and nannied for families who made over six figures. Yet none of the people that I was surrounded with were happy to be alive. They were stressed out, bitter, and materialistic. They were driven more by possessions and promotions than by anything else (I’m not claiming to be above this). However, these people in Costa Rica had next to nothing, and they were HAPPY. Very, very happy. That trip was humbling and made me reflect more on what’s important in life. 

The second reason why travel makes you humble is that you realize that you’re not the center of the universe. You’re dropped off at the airport in what sometimes feels like an alternate universe. You don’t understand the language or the way people are interacting with each other. Even though you know intellectually that there’s a wide world out there, you typically don’t think much about the world other than your own small existence. Then in the middle of all of this, you’re attending local tours and learning from someone about their political problems or issues that they face in the community. In these moments, it will hit you just how large the world is and how closed off you had been because these issues weren’t on your radar. For example, I didn’t know anything about the poverty rate in Costa Rica as I was going about my daily life in St. Augustine, Fla. It never occurred to me.

Lastly, if you’re traveling while you’re young you’ll most likely be staying in cheap accommodations, eating less expensive food, and finding experiences within your budget. You’re not rolling into your trip to the south of France in first-class seats, sipping champagne, eating caviar, and staying at 5-star hotels. You haven’t hit that age in life where you think, “Alright, I’m going on a trip. It must be luxurious.” No. You stay in hostels, you share bathrooms, you eat at places that are cheaper to accommodate everyone in your group, and you share cramped spaces on trains, planes, and automobiles. Having to be so accommodating with other people and share space is a humbling experience. 

I think that this is an important lesson to learn and it should be learned as SOON as possible. It’s better to become humble when you’re 20 rather than when you’re 45. It makes you a better person.

8. You’re in great shape

Some people decide that having a career and a family are the first priority to them and that travel is something that can wait until retirement, but I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. Because while you do want to make retirement fun and enjoyable, you also have to consider that you won’t be in as good of shape as you’re in when you’re a teenager or in your 20’s.

Your body can handle walking for miles to sightsee all day, hiking up mountains, getting less sleep, carrying a backpack all day, lugging your suitcase around, etc. The physicality of traveling alone just makes more sense to do while you’re young. And you never know what sort of health problems or limitations you might have in old age. 

9. Traveling empowers you

Before I left for my month-long trip to Europe, I was nervous as all hell. It also didn’t help that every person I talked to said something along the lines of, “Oh my God! Four weeks is SO long! I would never be able to do that. You’re crazy. You’re gonna want to come home by week two!”

I remember the night before I left I sat across from my boyfriend fighting off a panic attack for serval hours and drinking wine trying to calm myself down. The next day I was bawling while I was saying goodbye to Matt outside the airport! I. was. a. mess.

But when I landed in Florida after that month, I came back and thought “Oh my gosh! I freaking did it! That was awesome!” It’s a very powerful thing to see yourself doing something that you once considered to be scary. It helps you realize how much you’re capable of and gives you the confidence to take on new challenges or aspirations. Before I left for my trip, I thought a month would feel like forever and I might want to come home, but when I came home I realized that a month was nothing. I could easily take a trip for two, three, four, or even six months at a time. I realized that the fear that I had was all in my head. I set this limitation for myself that I now realize was completely ridiculous. 

10. You can handle cheap accommodations

I’ve noticed that as you get older, the accommodations that you feel you deserve continue to increase in cost. I know that I was going on a trip to a foreign country right now, I would be perfectly ok in cheaper hotels that my older family members wouldn’t even consider staying in. I don’t feel as if I’m somehow deserving of first-class tickets, 5-star hotels, and a luxurious mattress to sleep on. Those things would be fabulous and I would be appreciative of it, but I feel perfectly ok with slumming it a bit to check countries off of my bucket list.

However, it’s not just that as you get older you feel entitled to better accommodations, your body also needs them. I’m 24 now, and I know that my body can handle sleeping on crappy mattresses and taking a 10-hour plane ride in super small airplane seats. But if I was 70 years old right now, that wouldn’t work. I wouldn’t be able to bounce back as well as I can right now. That’s something you also have to keep in mind.

11. You’ll come back with TONS of stories 

The best part of spending your money on traveling is that you come back with tons of stories and memories that stay with you forever. Half the time they’re stories of something wonderful and exciting that you experienced – like when I learned how to make homemade pasta while I tasted wines in Rome (it was Amazing with a capital A). Or sometimes they’re stories of something bad or scary that happened on your trip – like when two of my friends Martha and Emily had a near-death experience during the riots in Paris after the World Cup Final. But even the “bad” memories end up turning into hilarious stories that you get to share and laugh about when you get back home.

It’s been over a year since I went on my tour and I still find myself saying, “That reminds me! When I was on my trip…” I didn’t even realize how many interesting things happened until I came back and would have conversations with people and it would remind me of some experience that I had in Amsterdam, France, or London. I still love telling the story of what it was like experiencing the World Cup Final while I was in Paris or celebrating my sixteenth birthday in Paris which coincidentally is the same day as the French Independence Day. 

12. You’ll have help

One of the added benefits of traveling while you’re young is that you’ll most likely be able to convince mom and dad or grandma and grandma to help you fund your trip. That’s one of the best parts of traveling while your young because you’re family members are eager to help you out financially so that you can make some memories and have a good time. I’m now past the point where my family is jumping up and down to help me pay for a trip, so take advantage of the help while you can!

On top of that there are tons of tours that are cheaper and cater to teens and young adults with a smaller budget but still want to see as many sights as they possibly can. I personally am in love with the tour company EF Tours. I’ve been on two of their trips so far and have loved every minute of it. They get you to all of the attractions, book your flights and hotels for you, hire a tour guide to take you from place to place, and plan fun excursions. They’re also relatively cheap because they use the same hotels, hostels, tour companies, and local business so frequently that they are able to get everything cheaper than it would be if you went on your own. 

You also have the benefits of student discounts, so remember to bring your ID with you and ask if you can use it wherever you go! These perks make traveling while you’re young much easier because the total cost of the trip will be significantly less than you would pay in the future if you decide to take the same trip. 

13. It makes you more independent 

When you’re younger, if you’re anything like me, you may a bit timid and shy. This means that having to get around for the day in a foreign country by yourself can be a bit nerve-wracking, but those moments of travel are good for you, even if they’re a bit unsettling.

I remember there was one day when I was in Paris and everyone that I was friends with on my tour decided that they wanted to spend the day at Chipotle and relaxing in the hostel. I thought this was absolutely crazy. “We’re in PARIS guys! You can have a burrito bowl when you get home!” So I had no choice but to go off by myself if I wanted to do anything interesting. At first I was completely terrified and scared of being alone. What if I got lost and couldn’t find my way back?! But I ended up walking all around Paris and seeing the entire city. I saw the major attractions and went to places like the oldest bookstore in the city to buy a book and tried the best hot chocolate in Paris. I got pictures EVERYWHERE, ate as many macaroons as I could get my hands on, and ended the night watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle. It ended up working out perfectly because I was able to do so much more that day than I would have done if I was with a group of 5 or 6 girls. And I realized that I’m much more independent and capable than I thought. I was so proud of myself by the end of the day and so fulfilled by getting around a foreign city all by myself that it became one of the most memorable days of the tour. 

14. Travel makes you more accepting of others

Another reason why I believe that it’s vitally important to travel while you’re young is because it makes you much more accepting of other people.

I feel that today, we need this lesson more than ever. There’s been so much hatred in America fueled by the media in recent years. Mostly because media channels learned that they can make money by pinning people against each other and because this last presidential election was “harrible.” Hugely, “biggly,” and catastrophicly “harrible.”

Because of this we’ve become accustomed to getting offended if someone has a different opinion or experience than us and rejecting them. Our country has been in a place where all people do is fight and hate people who are different. It’s especially toxic for all of the younger generations who are impressionable and mimic the behavior they see while growing up. And I’m not just talking about children. I’m talking about the teens and college students (like myself) that watched all the adult figures in their lives turn against each other for a solid year because of this last poisonous election.

My concern is that if THIS is how people feel about other American citizens than what is our perspective of the rest of the world’s population? If we can’t even learn to live in harmony with our neighbors, how do plan on having successful international relations? Today more than ever, I feel it’s important for people to get outside of their own inner circle and learn about the rest of the world. To learn about different cultures and different views, but most importantly learn that we can all be accepting and COEXIST.

I can hear my grandma in my head right now saying her famous line, “Haven’t people ever heard of the word HUMAN?! We’re all HUMAN!”

15. “Life is short and the world is wide.” – Simon Raven

Last but not least on my list of why it’s important to travel while you’re young is that there’s a HUGE world out there and life is short. Not to end on a morbid note, but a long life is not guaranteed to any of us. You have no idea what could happen in the future. I would love it if the universe would grant each and every one of us a long, healthy, and happy life, but it doesn’t work that way. People get sick and accidents happen. It’s best to fill your life with the experiences that you dream of while you can instead of putting things off for a perpetual “someday.” “Someday I’ll rent an RV and travel around the country.” “Someday I’ll see the seven wonders of the world.” “Someday I’ll go to Thailand.”

Someday is not set in stone. Someday is not promised. 

Traveling & Social Media 

Before I wrap up this post, I didn’t feel as if I could close up this week’s blog post without mentioning social media (particularly Instagram) and traveling. It felt irresponsible to share this post without addressing the problem of people traveling solely for getting attention and become famous online.

One of my favorite travel bloggers and Instagram influencers is Aggie, better known as “Travel In Her Shoes.” She’s someone who became very famous for her love of travel. She would travel for months and months at a time before she even was on Instagram and would take photos just for herself. She lived a very traditional life as most of us do for a while. She went to college, graduated, got a corporate job and was MISERABLE. So Aggie and her boyfriend at the time decided that they wanted to live a life of adventure and passion. They bought an old sailboat online, sold all of their possessions, fixed up the boat, and set sail from Mexico to Australia. Their story got picked up and since that day she’s made a career of her traveling and living the life that many of us can only dream of.

But Aggie recently opened up in a social media post this week about a topic that I believe needs to be talked about. Her Instagram post was inspired by a recent Ted Talk given by Joseph Gordon-Levitt on “paying attention” vs. “getting attention.” The talk is called “How Craving Attention Makes You Less Creative.” The Ted Talk is amazing and I HIGHLY recommend watching it as soon as you can. He talks about how (as a result of social media) most people today now view their creativity as a means to GET attention rather than paying attention, enjoying yourself, and collaborating with other creatives.

Aggie shared that traveling used to be very much about paying attention. It was a way to get out of your small little bubble, disconnect with family and friends, find yourself, and fall in love with another country. She admits that now, due to social media and influencers like herself, traveling has become a way to GET attention. “[People] sign up for a sort of their own Truman Show,” as she puts it. They get addicted to waking up each day and getting attention from their followers as they post gorgeous travel photos and share their stories. Because of that, they’re afraid to go back to their normal lives. They’re afraid that if they do, they will be forgotten and won’t receive praise from their online following. And that’s exactly what happened to her. The addiction to keep showing up, traveling, and getting attention is what caused her a falling out with the man she was in love with, getting extremely sick this year, losing her hair, and falling into a depression. Since then, she’s taken a step back and slowed down on traveling and focused on herself more.

I want to talk about this issue because the sad truth is that many people today travel just as a way to get likes and followers. People sign up for trips, buy expensive clothes for their photos, and spend their entire vacation staring at their phone. I can’t say that I’m above this myself. I will admit, my motto was “do it for the gram” for several years there, and my travels were a part of that too. But that’s NOT what travel is about. Travel should be about the reasons I listed above, not to become the next big travel blogger or YouTuber! It defeats the entire purpose of travel. So if you are going to book your next flight, remember that exploring the world is about the reasons I listed above, not about the social media posts that will come as a result. Travel is about PAYING attention, not GETTING attention.

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

As always, thank you for coming to Lost Online! I hope that this post was entertaining and I hope that it inspired someone out there to go on an adventure. If it does, PLEASE reach out to me!

A special shout out to one of my Gram (who is somewhere in Morocco right now living her best life) for being my role model, for passing on her travel bug to me, and helping me to come up with ONE more reason for traveling while you’re young (just because I liked the sound of “15 Reasons” more than “14 Reasons).” Not only is she the source of inspiration for this week’s blog post, but she’s also my #1 supporter and reader. Hi Gram (: I love you very much.

Lastly, please send your thoughts and prayers to my incredible friend and photographer Ray Reyes and his family who lost his father, Edd Reyes, very suddenly last week. You can read Ray’s most amazing, tear jerking words about his father’s life in his Facebook post here. And thank you for your patience as there’s been a delay in getting blog posts published at this time. But as we all know, family is more important.

“Time is the most precious commodity we can share with our loved ones. With time, you can do all you need to do and say all you need to say. But you can’t wait forever, because time has already passed, the time is absolutely now and we have no idea how much time we have in our futures.” – Ray Reyes

Remember to comment your thoughts below. I love hearing from you! Can you think of any other reasons why Lost Online readers should prioritize traveling while they’re young? What are they? Did you have a favorite reason on this list? What was it? Do you have a travel bug too? Where’s your next adventure going to take you? Did this post inspire you to take a trip anytime soon? Do you have a family member that has been influential in your travels too?

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 and Allen Fajardo @alewafeni.

My Holistic Approach to Treating Depression with Herbology & Self Love

Health & Wellness, Self-Help

I made an appointment. I filled out the forms. I was asked personal questions. The health professionals checked my pulse and tongue. By the end of my appointment, the herbalists all reached the same diagnosis: my heart was broken.

Seeing a Western Herbalist?

Years ago if you would have told me that whenever I got sick I would be seeking out the help of an herbalist over a doctor, I don’t think I would have believed you. But sometimes we surprise ourselves like that.

It all started several months back when I ended up getting really sick. I was suffering from tonsillitis that wouldn’t go away, chronic stomach aches every night that lasted hours, and what I thought was my fourth or fifth breast infection. So of course, I went to the doctor. And then another doctor, and then another doctor, and then another and another and another. I had so many appointments, but they always ended up going the same way. The doctor would shoo me out as fast as possible, give me a prescription, and say that they didn’t know what was wrong with me.

After experiencing that for many months in a row, I finally decided to change my methods. I decided to instead go to Traditions Herbal Clinic in St. Petersburg, Fla. I enjoyed my experience and their holistic approach at Traditions so much that when I started to experience depression, getting in for an appointment was my top priority. No way was I going to take random depression pills. Nope. I had already tried that once before when I was a teenager.

I am not at all saying that taking pills is wrong and I know that for some people it is extremely helpful, especially for those who suffer from clinical depression. But pills don’t work for me and I’ve found that they tend to only create weird side effects for me. Plus, being so involved in self-help, health, and wellness, seeing a traditional doctor and going on pills was not at all what I wanted to do. Instead, I was going to go to the Herbal Clinic and go about healthily treating depression by trying to heal from the inside out, not cover up the depression with a band-aid.

My Holistic Approach to Treating Depression

If you’ve never been to an herbal clinic before, it’s the exact opposite experience of seeing a traditional doctor. The approach at herbal clinics is to get to the root of the problem, rather than treat a symptom. The herbalist will sit with you for an hour or more discussing EVERYTHING from your mental health to digestion. They also use very traditional methods that have been used for centuries before we had people in lab coats with medical degrees throwing pills around like candy on Halloween. At the Traditions Herbal Clinic in St. Pete, they specifically use a mixture of Western and Chinese Herbalism. In each visit, they will examine your pulse in nine different places on each wrist to get an idea of how the organs are functioning, and they do a tongue examination. 

The way the appointment works when you go to the student clinic is you sit with them for about an hour and go over everything with them. They write down their thoughts and theories on what’s going on with your body, then one of the owners comes in to make sure it’s correct and to see if they have any other recommendations or additions. The owners include Dr. Bob Linde, AP, DOM, RH(AHG) and Renee Crozier, RH(AHG). (You could choose to see the owners themselves, however, it does cost more money.) I saw Allison for my appointment and then Renee who specializes in cancer care and traditional healing.

After you see both the student and the owner and discuss your health history, systems, diet, lifestyle, digestion, etc., they put together a very specific herbal formula for you and create a wellness plan. The formula and wellness plan that they put together have very specific recommendations that are supposed to help you to heal physically, spiritually, AND mentally. This is exactly the approach that I wanted to take to treating depression. I wanted to sit with someone who talked to me rather than shooed me out of the office and I wanted to be put on a holistic formula rather than with pharmaceutical drugs that only address a symptom. I also decided to begin regular therapy. Which, if you’re interested in hearing about that, make sure to read my last post, “I’m Seeing a Therapist + How I Discovered I Had Depression & Why I’m Thankful For It.”

My Appointment

Disclaimer: I just want to say that the people at Tradition’s Herbal Clinic are extremely knowledgeable in traditional healing and herbalism, so I know I’m not doing their hypothesis justice by trying to explain it myself. But I will try the best I can!

The day I went in for my appointment I filled out all the paperwork and health history information. After that, Allison took my paperwork with her to review for a few minutes and then we started. She asked me all sorts of questions related to what I wrote down, discussed my symptoms with me, checked my pulse and tongue, and even asked me very personal questions about my lifestyle and relationships. Renee then joined us about mid-way through the appointment. 

About an hour and fifteen minutes, both Renee and Allison had come to a conclusion that I’ve never heard before from any kind of doctor or health appointment I’ve had: they concluded that I was suffering from a broken heart.

They shared with me that just as we have PHYSICAL organs like the heart and the brain, we also have SPIRITUAL ones. We have a physical heart just as we have a spiritual heart and they’re both connected. Meaning that when we’re having problems in the body they can manifest as mental issues and vice versa.

In my case, they believed that I have a broken heart, and because of outside influences and comments that I had stored in my memory and internalized, I had also developed awful self-talk. All of this sadness and negativity was building up in my heart and my mind creating depression and symptoms in my physical body. They believed that if I didn’t get a hold on it and heal myself that those mental issues could later manifest in the body and create serious diseases as I age, such as coronary artery disease.

Herbalist Recommendations & Wellness Plan

To heal my body and my heart, Renee and Allison recommended I drink loose leaf tea twice a day that they made for me later that night. The tea is made from a mixture of eight different herbs including schizandra berry, tulsi, eose, hawthorn berry, hibiscus, and passion flower. They also wanted me to take a flower essence tincture three times a day by placing four drops of the essence under my tongue. Aside from their formula they would create for me, Renee and Allison wanted me to be taking Probiotics REGULARLY (not just when the mood strikes) as well as magnesium and vitamin D supplements.

Above all, they wanted me to work on my mindset, my self-talk, and learn to love myself. (Easier said than done, right?) Their suggestions for this were to get three different books that they felt could help me the most, but they wanted me to listen to audiobooks because I remember better when I hear something rather than read it. Two of the three audiobooks they recommended included, “The Four Agreements,” and “The Fifth Agreement,” both by Miguel Ruiz. They believed that I would benefit if I learned to adopt the agreements: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and do your best.

They also believed that I could gain some insight from these books by learning about HOW we make agreements with ourselves and internalize beliefs. They also thought that it would help me learn about how humans spew emotional poison onto others creating more unhappiness on an individual scale which has a ripple effect out into the rest of the world.

The last audiobook they wanted me to listen to is “You Can Heal Your Life,” by Louise Hay. This one is about how our limiting beliefs and ideas are often the cause of illness and how we can change our thinking to improve the quality of our lives. 

Lastly, Renee and Allison wanted me to talk to myself. Also not something I was expecting to hear! They wanted me to talk to myself out loud and in my mind giving myself compliments or saying affirmations. The hope this that though me doing this regularly, my mindset will start to shift and become more loving and compassionate towards myself rather than being an invisible bully that follows me all day.

Those are my herbalist’s recommendations for helping with the depression that I’ve been experiencing from all the stress and big life changes over the last year. From here on I’m supposed to follow their recommendations for the next month until my second appointment. Then I’ll have a follow-up appointment where I’ll go back to meet with Allison and Renee and they’ll examine me again to provide new recommendations to incorporate and to discuss my next round of healing with a second herbal formula. 

My Self-Love Challenge

Because I have an entire month left of taking their advice before the next appointment, I thought it would be nice to make this month a time of serious self-love. Because not only do I want to go into that next appointment having made progress and taking their suggestions seriously, but I also want to see if shifting your mindset is even possible in the first place. I know it must be possible because all the books and blogs talk about it, but I’ve always been so skeptical about whether I could do it myself. Could I REALLY shift my mindset and get rid of my negative self-talk? I hope so. 

So I decided to layout a month-long self-love routine for myself that will help me heal in more ways that one. Here’s my month-long self-love practice!

Morning and Nighttime Skincare Routine – This one may seem very random, but when I got stuck in my rut I was extremely lazy and unmotivated. Throughout all my life I have always had a pretty involved skincare routine complete with oil, a cleansing, a toner, a serum, moisturizer, eye cream, and SPF. But when I felt so low, I could hardly bring myself to wash my face. Now, I’m making it a point to focus on my skin again first thing in the morning and at the end of the day as well. 

Moisturize – I recently came back with all of these gorgeous lotions and body products from my super spontaneous trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake. So as part of my self-love practice, I will also make it a point to moisturize after a shower. As much as I hate the idea that people think self-love and self-care is PAMPERING because it’s NOT, I’ve been completely neglecting those things after I started to feel low. Adopting this simple act of pampering is just one way that I’m showing love and appreciation for myself by taking those few moments just to make myself feel good on the outside, which I believe can also make you feel good on the inside. 

Self Love Reflection – Next I’m incorporating a self-love reflection into the day whether it’s through stream of consciousness journaling or quietly reflecting on something that I love about myself or that I’m proud of. The point is to help me get rid of the negative self-talk by slowly replacing it with happier and more pleasant thoughts that lift me up. 

Affirmations – I’ll admit I’m super new to affirmations. I hadn’t come across any affirmations that spoke to me and I NEVER remembered to do them. But to me, it seemed too weird walking around my apartment throughout the day telling myself compliments as Allison recommended. I decided that as my way of “talking to myself” as she suggested, I would find a list of affirmations and I would say them aloud to myself and meditate on them. This way has been working well for me because I don’t have to think up what I want to say. I instead pick an affirmation for the day and repeat that affirmation until I feel like it’s sinking in. If I’m feeling extra motivated I will read through a list of affirmations or pick several. But either way I pick one affirmation for the day, repeat it for several minutes in the morning, and then make it a point to remind myself the affirmation throughout the day by writing it down in the morning and keeping it close by.

My absolute favorite list of affirmations that I discovered came from Peaceful Banyan Tree in an article titled, “20 Powerful Affirmations of All Time.” I LOVE this list because it covers positive thinking, health, confidence, self-worth, happiness, letting go, money, success, stress, and today. It hits on all of the areas that bring us full-body health and wellness. For that reason, this list has resonated with me and helped me choose my morning affirmation with ease.

  • I am able to find positivity in every situation.
  • I create only positive thoughts and radiate positivity.
  • I am getting stronger and healthier every day.
  • I am taking good care of my mental and physical health.
  • I am becoming a better version of myself every day.
  • I am confident to overcome any hurdles.
  • I know my self-worth and I am worthy of the best.
  • I believe in myself.
  • I am overflowing with happiness, joy, and satisfaction.
  • I choose happiness over doubt and fear.
  • I forgive myself and everyone else for all the mistakes.
  • I choose to release hurt and resentment.
  • I am a money magnet and attract money easily.
  • The universe is creating opportunities for me to earn more and more money.
  • I see success and abundance everywhere.
  • I am becoming more and more successful every day.
  • Every breath I take fills my soul with calmness and ease.
  • I am at peace now.
  • Today is the most beautiful day.
  • Today I lay the foundation for a wonderful future.

If you’d like some more ideas, make sure to check out my “Mantras” board on Pinterest @LostOnlineBlog.

Pray – After doing my morning affirmation, I decided that I would end with a prayer. I ask the universe to help me take the affirmation into the day, and for help in healing and becoming my highest self. I don’t have a script and what I say tends to vary each day. I always speak from the heart and say whatever feels good at the moment. This is my favorite part of my daily ritual because it makes me feel so at peace.

Supplements and Herbs – For the longest time I completely stopped taking my supplements or I would take them very randomly. But the thing is with supplements you have to take them for an extended period to actually receive and notice the benefit of it. For example, when I started taking biotin for my hair and nails, I didn’t notice how much it helped until at least three months later. Now, as part of my self-love practice, I’m making my supplements and my herbs one of my top priorities along with my formula from Tradition’s Herbal Clinic.

Audio Books – In the afternoon or evening that’s when I’ll be incorporating the audiobooks that were recommended to me. Whether it’s at the gym, in the afternoon when I’m done working, or as I’m getting ready for bed, this is where I’ll take the time to absorb all of that knowledge that my herbalists believe will help. So far I’ve listened to “The Four Agreements” and part of “The Fifth Agreement.” I like them so far because the advice is so simple, but I can see how if you adopt The Four Agreements you could be free from all of the dramas that cause us so much pain, and also have greater self-love. 

Gratitude – At this point, you all are very familiar with how much I believe in my gratitude practice, so I won’t rehash all the benefits again. You can check out my blog post, “My Daily Gratitude Practice,” or “Stream of Consciousness Journaling: The Benefits & How to Practice It.” But it should come as no surprise that when I started to feel so low that I could hardly get myself moving for the day, so of course I didn’t end up sticking to this ritual either. So I’m making it a point to reinstate gratitude in my day. 

Read – Whenever I fall into a funk, I always tend to start numbing with Netflix, which always makes me feel so much worse in the end. I feel as if I’m unproductive and lazy and like I didn’t accomplish anything important. I decided that as part of my self-love ritual I would stop watching shows and instead read in bed every night, not just when the mood strikes. I’m so happy that I’ve adopted this one because I already had so many great conversations with people over our shared love for the book that I’m reading right now: “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

Meditate – Last but not least is meditation. I’ve been following along with the happiness series on the Headspace app lately and it’s helped me to find some peace and serenity right before I go to bed and fall asleep. I’m such a night owl that usually the moment my head hits the pillow I’m 100% awake, but whenever I meditate before bed that’s not the case. I’ve adopted this last habit because not only will it help me feel a sense of calmness in my mind, but it will also help me to take care of myself by falling asleep at a reasonable hour and be able to wake up earlier than usual. 

How is it going?

It’s now been two weeks since I went to the herbal clinic and got my formula. I’ve been taking it every day aside from the days when I was in Pennsylvania and Ontario because I didn’t want to lose it or be questioned about my brown paper bag of herbs at the airport. I don’t know if the formula is what’s helping or if it’s a combination of self-love practices, supplements, herbs, and books.

I do feel much better than I did before though. I have finally pulled myself out of my latest funk and I’m hoping I’ll keep feeling this way for at least a few weeks. I think what is actually helping me the most is that I LOVE trying out wellness practices and products, so I don’t know if it’s their suggestions exactly, or if I’m just so excited to now be going to therapy and to get to test out all of these recommendations and share my experience. 

I have been feeling incredibly proud of myself though because I didn’t think I would be able to take so many recommendations from someone and incorporate it into my life with such ease. I mean really, I have a hard enough following my dentists one simple piece of advice – floss. But I really want to get better, so I’ve been doing everything! 

Lastly, I just wanted to share that this is how I’m treating my depression right now. I’m seeing a therapist, seeing an herbalist, and adopting self-love. I hope that you find some nuggets of wisdom in here that might help you, however, I’m not suggesting that EVERYONE treat depression by repeating affirmations or taking probiotics. Some people do need medication and some people have serious clinical depression and suicidal thoughts that an herbalist is not equipped to fix. If you’re suffering from depression I HIGHLY suggest that you see a doctor and a therapist. Just keep in mind that these things like rituals, books, and supplements can serve a purpose too, and I believe that trying a mixture of traditional and holistic recommendations will help you heal the fastest. 

Thank you for coming to Lost Online!

As always, thank you for reading and make sure to let me know you’re thoughts in the comments! I’m particularly interested to hear what people think about this post and how I’m going about healing myself. 

What are your thoughts about this post? Did you get any ideas from it? Have you had depression before? How did you go about treating it? What worked for you? Do you believe in going using a mixture of traditional and herbal treatments or do you believe one is better than the other?

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.

Announcement: I’m Seeing a Therapist + How I Discovered I Had Depression & Why I’m THANKFUL For It

Announcements, Self-Help

This week’s blog post is a bit different for me. If you’ve read Lost Online for a while, then you’re probably familiar with the fact that’ll I’ll occasionally write about announcements in my life like starting at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition – but never have I shared an announcement THIS personal. 

I’ve debated about sharing this so many times with mental illness being such a sensitive and personal topic but finally decided that keeping this a secret wouldn’t feel authentic. Because I am so passionate about self-help and wellness I really feel called to share my decision with you about seeing a therapist. Keeping such a big decision private (as someone who preaches self-help and wellness each and every week) just isn’t me. I like being honest on my website, even if it’s not always the cool thing to do. 

Very recently, after realizing that I had depression which wasn’t planning on leaving my side anytime soon, I decided to start seeing a therapist. For the first time in my life, I didn’t just entertain the idea or talk about it. I finally picked up my phone, actually made a call, and booked my first ever therapy appointment – a huge step that I wasn’t sure I would ever take. Since that day I keep giving myself mental praise, “Hell yeah, I actually f*cking did it. I took the first freaking step!” It’s not very often I feel proud of myself, but today I am. Up until this point, the idea of seeing a therapist seemed as terrifying to me as much as swimming with a Great White shark. 

So I wanted to come here today, as I normally do, to talk about what prompted me to finally start seeing a therapist NOW in hopes that it will inspire someone else who may be going through something similar and just needs to hear that they’re not alone.

The Build-Up

It’s been nine months since I first moved to St. Petersburg, Fla. with my boyfriend Matt. I could still remember how excited and thrilled I was that I finally graduated from college and was about to start a life with my partner. It was such an exciting time, picking out the decor, signing a lease, grocery shopping together! I was finally growing up and I could not wait. My entire life I looked forward to the day when all this would happen – when my life would start, when I’d have someone to come home to, when I’d finally be FREE to live as I please. I know it sounds crazy, but I honestly thought that once I moved out and had my own place life would be WONDERFUL. It would be perfect. It would be filled with travel, love, beauty, money, friends, adventure, rainbows, and unicorns. LOL. That’s not what happened. 

Here’s what actually happened: Since I first moved to this coast to sunny St. Pete, nothing happened as I expected. There’s been so many big life changes, decisions, and challenges that I didn’t see coming for the life of me. For the first time ever I was in a new town trying to make a life for myself without family or school providing some structure and support. I was alone having to make friends as an adult (which is surprisingly difficult). I’ve tried so many times to make friends with people only to be canceled on and stood up again and again.

I had to get used to a whole other family that’s now in my life with their own opinions and oh so many expectations. I’ve had to deal with WAY more family drama than you would expect both in my family and Matt’s. I’ve been pressured into buying a house before I was ready, with NO ONE around me respecting my feelings. I then fell in love with a house and had that dream taken away after we discovered a disturbing termite infestation and had to resend our offer. 

I felt real financial stress for the first time. I’ve felt the pressure to find a job while being asked every single day, “So did you find a job yet? How’s the job hunt going?” (Apparently, when you are job hunting, it’s the only thing you’re allowed to discuss with people.) I’ve been spewed so much unwarranted advice about job hunting from people who haven’t looked for a job in 20 years. 

I then had months of sleepless nights struggling with the decision to leave my full-time job to pursue what I wanted. Then, I got let go from another job, followed by months of working at home from my kitchen counter leading to a very isolated lifestyle because there’s no “blogger office” you can go into to hang out with people.

That’s not even including the health problems, friend drama, and family issues that are way too private to share online. But the biggest challenge of all – I can’t make one decision in life without someone feeling the need to intervene and share their two cents with me. Wherever I want to live, whichever house I live in, whichever dog I get, SOMEONE has an issue with it. I really believed that once I was on my own that I would be magically liberated from the opinions and judgment of others.

If this is what everyone meant by, “Wait until you get into the real world,” I finally understand what they mean.

That transition period from college to adulthood is extremely overwhelming, and then you throw in health problems, a new city, a new family, and financial stress and it’s no wonder I’ve been so anxious and depressed over the last nine months. There’s been A LOT going on, and those are just the bullet points. 

It reminds me of a quote I just saw on Instagram today that said, “Being an adult is just saying, ‘But things will slow down a bit again’ to yourself until you die.” I think that sentence wraps up the last nine months of my life perfectly. 

How I Discovered That I Had Depression 

All of that brings me to these past few months when I’ve felt so low, so defeated, so disrespected, so helpless that I just felt like, “What’s the point?” “Why even get up early, get a bunch of work done when life keeps handing me one shit sandwich after another?”

My depression stayed while the excitement, motivation, and inspiration fell away. I ended up spending way too many days over the last few months in sweat pants, greasy hair, exhausted for no apparent reason, not feeling like myself at all. So many days I felt lazy, unmotivated with overwhelming sadness or sometimes not feeling anything at all. Sometimes even just getting out of bed in the morning felt like going to war. It seemed impossible. What’s worse is that staying in bed turned into a vicious cycle where I felt guilty and disgusted with myself for not working and getting more done.

Once I was up, I couldn’t even bring myself to take care of myself, do work, eat well, or go to the gym. Some days I would binge on junk food for comfort, other days I wouldn’t eat a thing. Because of how low I felt, I isolated myself more and would hardly leave the apartment. 

It was about nine months of lead up and slowly feeling worse and worse until one day I realized: I don’t think this is normal. This doesn’t seem to be one of my typical “ruts” that might last a few days. It seems more serious than that. 

But I still wasn’t 100% convinced that I was experiencing depression. I thought that in order to be depressed you had to have suicidal thoughts or actions, which I don’t. I still want to live and continue to grow, I still have hopes, dreams, and aspirations, but I still felt terrible and sad most days. So, I became more and more curious about whether or not that’s what I’ve been experiencing. 

This eventually led me to into a google-searching black hole one night. I started looking up articles about how to tell if you have depression and found a long collection of articles that all had similar titles. Most of them said, “30 symptoms of depression,” “20 ways to tell if you have depression,” “12 secret symptoms of depression,” “15 little known side effects of depression.” You get the idea. Well, it turns out, I had ALL of the symptoms and “secret” side effects of depression, aside from one – bed sores.

It turns out that I had depression all along, and just didn’t realize it. It wasn’t until I had every symptom and checked with Google before I finally realized that’s what was going on. It was difficult to finally admit to myself that that’s what I’m going through, especially being someone who’s so immersed in self-help and wellness. I would love nothing more than to “fix” myself and be a perfect, shiny, glimmering example of health, happiness, self-love, and positivity for you. It also was somewhat of a relief though, because there have been too many times when Matt asks me for the third time in one night, “What’s wrong?” Followed by me saying, “I’m tired,” because I honestly don’t know what to say. 

Finally Seeking Help

There have been many times I should have seen a therapist throughout my life, but I never went through with it. I was way too scared to finally take the leap and I had so many irrational fears about what might happen if I actually DID see a therapist. I was afraid of being labeled or being viewed as a freak who couldn’t get their life together. I was scared that I might hear people say to me, “What the f*ck would you have to be depressed about?” Especially if it was my family saying those things. It would make me feel so guilty when they’ve worked so hard to give me the life that I have now. Seeing a therapist seemed almost unfair or even wrong. However, what terrified me the most was the thought of sitting across from a stranger and crying for an hour about my deepest and most personal issues. The thought of that still makes me cringe.

Even though I know SO many people who see therapists and talk about how much it’s helped them through depression, anxiety, family problems, and trauma, I couldn’t bring myself to do it for the longest time. Which only meant that the longer I put it off, the more I built it up in my mind and the scarier it seemed. 

But now here I am, a self-help and wellness blogger that spends days experiencing overwhelming sadness and not being able to get out of bed. I’ve read all the books, listened to all the podcasts, tried all the supplements, adopted all of the self-care rituals, and here I am – experiencing depression. It was that thought that FINALLY made me pick up my phone one day and seek out a therapist. There comes a point when if you experience depression, you can’t leave it up to random authors to play the role of your therapist for you, you need to actually talk with someone. 

So here I am at the start of my own therapy journey and I just had my consultation appointment today (as I’m writing this). After making that initial phone call and setting up my appointment, my fears surprisingly went away and were replaced with an emotion that I was NOT at all expecting: excitement. It appears that all of the overthinking that I did about whether I should or shouldn’t see a therapist for years made that initial phone call scarier than actually sitting down with someone. 

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of overthinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.” – unknown

Viewing Depression in a Positive Light 

Now that I’m finally taking a leap of faith and moving forward with a therapist I’m feeling very hopeful about what’s to come. It’s allowed me to reflect on the last 9 months without being so triggered by it and think about the advice that I wish I could give myself when I first moved to St. Petersburg. I put together three main takeaways that I want to share with you today so that it may reach someone else who needs need to hear this too.

1. Life goes in phases

There will be moments when you feel on top of the world and there will be moments when you’re feeling down. You’ll have the best days of your life, but there will still be the worst days. But as much as it sucks when you’re hurting and life keeps kicking you when you’re down, those times are necessary. It would be impossible to feel on top of the world all the time or else you wouldn’t appreciate it. If everything went your way you wouldn’t realize how special it was and would take it for granted. 

That’s why it’s important to honor the highs and the lows equally. To feel happy and grateful when things are going well and to trust that everything is working in your greatest favor when they are not. 

2. It’s always darkest before dawn

Just as I shared in my latest blog post, “How to Recognize Universal Signs, things falling apart of “bad” things happening is a good thing. A lot of the time, it’s actually the universe working in your favor. I believe that many of the good things that happen to us would be brought into fruition without something falling apart. Just like how you wouldn’t have met your soulmate unless you broke up with that douchebag you used to date in college!

I’m going to go ahead and quote myself for a minute, in case you haven’t read the last blog post yet.

“We can’t expand, fulfill our purpose, or become our highest selves if everything is going well and if everything was EASY. We can’t continue to improve and learn important lessons if everything is rainbows and unicorns all the time. We’d be way too comfortable. And if there’s one thing that I know in this world, it’s that you can’t grow inside your comfort zone…Challenges happen because it’s the universe pushing you to level up.” – Heather Ione Clark

It reminds me of one of my absolute favorite quotes in the world, from author J.K. Rowling: “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” If it wasn’t for her challenges, the world would have never been blessed with the magical, wizarding world of Harry Potter!

But just as much as I believe that challenging times happen to us so that we can reach our soul’s purpose, I also believe that the rough periods are happening to us for another reason. We all have lessons that we’re meant to learn in this lifetime so that we can evolve and become our highest selves. Even though it’s much easier to take the victim mentality, instead look at it from the perspective of, “What can I learn from this?”

When I take this healthier and more positive perspective, I’m able to understand that this depression I’ve been experiencing is happening for a greater purpose – it will help me to grow, finally address traumas that I haven’t let go of, and it will help me to inspire others to seek help too. 

3. It’s ok to not be ok

It’s ok if you’re not always feeling “#blessed” like how you are in your Instagram captions. Let’s be honest, we all have crap days and years that don’t quite go how we imagined they would. And that’s ok. I don’t think I’ve met one person who didn’t struggle with some trauma, whether it be a broken relationship with a parent, a sexual assault, or an eating disorder. We all have our things.

When I first decided to see a therapist, I debated not sharing this with you. I didn’t want to admit that even I feel the need to see a therapist. Because I’m a self-help and wellness writer, I should be 100% ok, right? False. Even your super hot personal trainer eats cake sometimes. We’re all human here. 

But I’m sharing this because although this blog is all about self-help, health, and wellness, I’m not claiming to be PERFECT. I’m not claiming to have it all figured out. This is about my journey, my advice that I learn along the way, and above all – transparency. Sharing the not so gram-able moments about my life in hopes to help someone else. Because I know other young women just like me share the same challenges, and I want them to know that it’s ok to NOT be ok. 

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

I really hope you enjoyed this week’s post and it helped you to reflect on your own experience. Lastly, I just want to say that if you’re having a similar experience as me, don’t be afraid to make the call. Those few minutes it takes to call someone are scarier than actually sitting down and talking things out. Trust me, you will be so happy and so proud of yourself that you took the first step. 

“At any given moment we have two choices: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” – Abraham Maslow

As always, let me know what you think in the comments! Have you recently taken the first step to see a therapist? Do you currently see a therapist? Looking back at the time of your life when you decided to seek help, what are some of your own takeaways? What advice would you give to others who are going through a hard time? Do you believe that “bad” things happen for a reason? Do you believe that we’re meant to learn something from moments like this? Even if you don’t AND even if you haven’t seen a therapist, let me know your thoughts 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.

How To Recognize Universal Signs

manifestation, Spirituality

I came across a funny meme the other day on social media that said: “When you’re waiting to hear back from the universe about that big request you just made…” With a bunch of pictures of a guy not doing anything and staring blankly into the distance while sitting at his kitchen table, on a bench, or standing on the street. I’m not really one for memes anymore, but this one had me dying of laughter the moment I saw it. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve prayed and asked for something and sat around twirling my thumbs waiting for the universe to bless me instantaneously. But of course, it doesn’t work like that!

As you already know from my recent blog post, “How I Transformed my Life with the Law of Attraction: My 8 Powerful Manifestation Techniques and What I Learned From It,” I’m a HUGE believer in the Law of Attraction. I’ve used it to manifest trips, money, material possessions, my partner and the work that I’m doing now.

However, many people have NOT had this same experience. Why? Because we live in a time of instant gratification. We can heat up our food in 45 seconds, summon our favorite TV show with the click of a button, tweet our thoughts out to the entire world whenever the mood strikes. We’ve become so freaking spoiled and so used to getting WHATEVER we want IMMEDIATELY when we want it. Which means that when many people are trying to manifest their dream life with prayers and visualization, they expect even those things to happen immediately too. (Trust me, I’m not above this myself.)

We expect our magical and mysterious universe to have “freaky fast delivery” as if it’s a damn Jimmy Johns restaurant chain. The biggest mistake that people make is they give up on their dreams before they even have a chance to manifest because we’ve become so ridiculously impatient – and that is where recognizing universal signs comes into play.

If you’re a spiritual person just like I am, and you’re trying to manifest something or have a prayer answered, you’re going to want to get used to noticing the signs that the universe is giving you. Not only will it give you hope that everything you ask for is coming your way so you don’t lose faith, but it also helps you find peace in the meantime. That way, you won’t end up like that meme.

Even though the universe might not answer our prayers in 45 seconds, it does always stay in touch with us. In fact, universal signs, synchronicities and coincidences are around us everywhere we look. They’re surrounding us constantly, to the point that we don’t even notice them. Because we’re surrounded by the magic of the universe throughout our entire lives that you could say we’re like fish in water. A fish doesn’t know that it’s in water, because water is ALL that it knows. 

Although it’s impossible to recognize every single sign, and every single action the universe is putting into motion to help us evolve, it is possible to exercise your ability to recognize signs and get better at it. I will say that I’m no expert on the universe because I don’t believe that any of us are. However, I have exercised that muscle over the last six years and have learned to spot little moments in the day that show me that the universe is on my side and everything is working out in my favor. 

Here are the top TEN universal signs that I’ve learned to spot and how you can recognize them in your life too! And if you have any signs that you’ve discovered in your life be sure to comment below and let me know what they are!

1. Meaningful coincidences

The number one universal sign that I’ve learned to spot is meaningful coincidences.

Psychologist Carl Jung was the first person who introduced this concept calling these occurrences “synchronicities,” “meaningful coincidences,” or “a-causal parallelism.” However, this phenomenon has actually been known for thousands of years by our ancestors before modern science came around and we all became skeptics who couldn’t believe something unless we could see it, feel it, study it and prove it. 

Jung introduced this concept in the 1920’s and then went on to write books and papers about the subject, describing it as “the underlying cosmic intelligence that synchronizes people, places and events into a meaningful order,” and “the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer.”

This concept also gained popularity thanks to one of my all-time favorite books, “The Celestine Prophecy.” This book is a New Age spirituality book, where the main character goes through an epic adventure and journey through Peru to discover and understand nine spiritual insights required to reach enlightenment which all stems from a moment in his life when he starts to recognize instances of synchronicity. 

“Have you ever had a hunch or intuition concerning something you wanted to do? Some course you wanted to take in your life? And wondered how it might happen? And then, after you had half forgotten about it and focused on other things, you suddenly met someone or read something or went somewhere that led to the very opportunity you envisioned?”

-James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy

Everyone has these experiences. However, highly sensitive people are more likely to experience such coincidences since we are more tuned to and aware of what’s going on around us. I’ve been noticing this happen to me ever since I was in middle school. I’ll be thinking of someone when suddenly they’ll call me, or I’ll be thinking of a movie and then turn to the TV and it’s on, or I’ll be going around working through the day to suddenly realize that someone else has been making the same stops to all the businesses that I have. 

If you’re hoping to start picking up on universal signs, start with this one. Become more aware of your environment, the people, the conversations you have. Then, begin by opening up a note on your phone or carrying a small notebook with you and jotting down the coincidences you see happening. Devoting your attention to that moment enough to write about it and remember it will strengthen your ability to notice synchronicity wherever you go. 

2. Familiar faces and names 

This next one is also mentioned in “The Celestine Prophecy” as well and is considered to be another meaningful coincidence. Have you ever been walking around and noticed someone that looked extremely familiar to you or had the same name as a close friend? When the universe is sending you signs, you might start to notice that everyone walking around in public has a familiarity to them, even if you’ve never seen them before in your entire life.

When I started picking up universal signs I saw this constantly. Walking around, everyone seemed to resemble someone that I knew. There were countless times where I would meet someone new and they seemed so familiar to me as if I had met them before. It was a feeling of deja vu, but it was always with other people. I wouldn’t experience deja vu at any other point, but when I would see random people walking around, I would feel it. At one point, I even went to a book club meeting to discover that three of the women there were named Kelly (my mom’s name), Penny (my grandma’s name on my mother’s side), and Joanne (my grandma’s name on my father’s side). 

If you’re waiting for a “sign” from the universe, you’re trying to manifest something, or you’re in a transition period of your life, you’ll most likely notice this in the people in your environment. You’ll hear the same names, see the same faces and recognize people with the same body language of someone you love.

I personally believe that this happens because when you’re in the right vibrational frequency to manifest and you’re connected to the higher power (whatever that is for you) you start to pick up on the fact that we are all one. We are all connected on a cosmic level and everywhere you go, people will feel like a long-lost friend. 

3. Messages through song

If you’re super lucky, you’ll experience messages through song, which is one of my favorite universal signs because it’s so clear and unambiguous. You’ll be thinking about something that you want to do or maybe something that’s worrying you, and suddenly a song will come on with the exact messages you needed to hear. 

I will never forget one day in the car when I was thinking about something that I wanted to do, and a song came on that answered every doubt and every worry that I had, and was so accurate to my situation that it was like I was having a conversation with someone about what I was thinking.

Many people would choose to ignore when this is happening, but when you’re waiting for something to happen or asking for a sign from the universe, it will answer you through your environment and music is one of the easiest ways to communicate that to you because you’re already listening. If this does happen to you, make sure to listen carefully to the lyrics and replay the song to make sure you clearly comprehended the message. 

4. Your inner dialog

The next way the universe will send you signs and try to guide you is through your own voice. You know that voice inside your head that tells you you have to do laundry, or go to the bank, or pick up more toothpaste, or talks non stop when you’re trying to figure out what to wear in the morning? That’s the voice I’m talking about. We all have that inner voice and that inner monologue, BUT sometimes it’s not exactly ours.

If you take the time to meditate, get still, and silence your mind, you may be lucky enough to hear a message in your voice. Some people call this their higher self, the universe, God, or spirit guides. It’s how we channel messages from a higher power when we need a sense of direction. Many people have experienced this voice tell them to take some action and some have even said that it’s predicted their future.

When this happens, we’re simply channeling information from something outside of ourselves. If you’re new to this, I wouldn’t think too much about it though. Come into meditation for several minutes and ask a question out loud or in your head that you want the answer to. If you’re like me, your brain might want to start thinking about the answer or the solution, but don’t allow your thoughts to wander. Focus on your breath or do a full-body scan, and eventually, you may notice little words of wisdom, advice, or insights suddenly popping into your mind. They’re different for everyone, but I find that the messages are often very short, maybe only a few words in length, and they won’t be thought out. There will be no reasoning behind them, and they will simply appear in your head. 

You may also notice this happening even when you’re not trying to channel it through meditation. Sometimes that voice pops in your head as you’re going about your day, or maybe when you’re going through a difficult time, or in a state of flow. It’s often hard to recognize as a download because it comes to you in your own voice, but those messages are important to pay attention to. 

5. Your visualizations appearing

Another universal sign to look out for is your visualizations appearing in front of you. This one is really similar to manifestation, which we associate with getting something that you want in life. However, for this universal sign, you will notice visualizations that you’ve been thinking about appearing in your surrounding environment. Maybe you keep having this vivid visualization of a park, or the sky, or a tree, or a body of water and suddenly, you’ll notice that exact same image you’ve been seeing in your head actually show up in your environment.

The first time this has ever happened to me it was so surprising because I was thinking about this same image for weeks and thinking that I wanted to make it a book cover someday. Suddenly, I saw the image I’d been holding in my mind in real life. Also at this exact same moment, that’s when I was receiving a message through song that I’ve mentioned before.

If you’re looking for comfort and universal signs, make sure to look beyond yourself and pay close attention to the nature that surrounds you. 

6. A feeling of home

Another universal sign that you’ll find when you’re in alignment is a feeling of being home, being complete, being content, or at peace. It’s so incredibly comforting and relaxing because it’s a feeling of being exactly where you need to be. Your mind isn’t racing, you’re not anxious and you feel relaxed. You may feel this way when walking through nature, or walking through the halls of a business you’re interviewing at, or on a plane going somewhere, or after you’ve done your spiritual practice. That feeling of being at home, even when you’re NOT actually at home, is the feeling of being in alignment and being at the right vibrational frequency to receive.

When you do have this feeling, it’s often accompanied by coincidence and synchronicities surrounding you. Let’s say you have this feeling when you first walk into a coffee shop. You may start to notice that someone else in that coffee shop has the same breed of dog that you do, there’s a picture on the wall of something that relates to your childhood, and the barista has the same name as your mom. Or maybe your favorite song will come on or the person sitting at a table is reading a book that you’re read before or have been meaning to read.

Whenever that happens to me, I always feel so at peace and happy and overwhelmed with the possibilities and the mystery of the universe. Make sure to savor each of those feelings that you’re having and each one of those coincidences and use that as an opportunity to practice gratitude or visualization. At that moment, you are in the exact right frequency you need to be in and the universe is showing you through every aspect of your environment that you’re in alignment and you’re exactly where you need to be.

7. Timing

Timing is one universal sign that we all LOVE given how impatient we’ve become because it’s when things are happening to us in a way that’s so convenient. It’s when things are flowing so effortlessly and naturally without us trying to make it happen. It’s just like when you get in your car to go to an appointment and magically catch every single green light between your house and your doctor’s office. This could happen to you throughout the day in a bunch of little ways, or it could happen to you around big life events.

Let’s say you meet someone at a coffee shop who’s looking for a person just like you to fill an open position, you two get to talking, and by the following week, you’ve landed a position at a dream job. It wasn’t forced in any way. You didn’t have to fight for the employer’s attention. You simply met someone, acted like yourself, went on an interview and found that there was such compatibility between you and the employer. It all worked out flawlessly. Even people who don’t believe in universal signs and a magical universe that has our backs will find themselves chatting everyone up about how “everything happens for a reason.” You’ll notice the universal sign of timing when everything is flowing naturally without resistance. Even if you don’t exactly have what you want YET, the universe is clearly setting things up in your favor.

8. Your personal signs

Once you have strengthened your ability to recognize universal signs, you’ll start to see signs that are unique to you. We all have own very own symbols that keep showing up especially when we are more enlightened and connected to the higher power. That’s the universe sending you your very own message.

It took me a few years before I figured out what my signs are and before that, I didn’t even notice that we could have signs unique to us that continue to show up throughout our lives. Eventually, after years of practicing the law of attraction and spirituality, I started to notice that I would always see yellow butterflies, hawks, shooting stars, and cardinals whenever I was in alignment and before I started to receive the things that I wanted. I would notice this especially after I did my spiritual practice and visualization. When I was outside, or even if I just looked out my window, I would see all of these things. I also noticed that if I put myself in a state of flow and used my creativity more than normal, I see shooting stars constantly. 

You may also notice difference animals appearing in front of you regularly. Maybe you’ve never seen a woodpecker and now you see one all the time. Whenever you see something in your environment out of the ordinary that sticks out to you, take the time to reflect on it, and maybe even look up the meaning of certain symbols that you’re seeing. 

9. Repeating numbers 

The most common universal sign that people talk about is repeating numbers, particularly sets of three repeating numbers. Many people call these angel numbers and believe it’s their guardian angels trying to communicate with them. I like to think that it’s the universe or my higher self. Whatever you call it, seeing repeating numbers follow you around is a good thing. It’s how a higher power that often sends us warnings, comfort, and hope. 

Seeing repeating numbers could have a unique meaning to you, but generally, meanings already apply to each number. The more repeating numbers you see in your environment, the more the universe wants you to hear the message. Similarly, the more numbers you see repeating together means the stronger it is. For example, seeing the number 7777777, is a stronger and more powerful message than 77 or 777. Also, seeing two numbers that repeat together, such as 4141, also have their own unique meaning. You can often look at the meaning behind each of the two numbers and combine them to determine what the larger message is. Here are the general meanings of repeating numbers below:

  • 111 – Your intentions are manifesting quickly.
  • 222 – Relax and trust that you’re on the right path. This number also represents partnerships or connections and could mean that you’ve found your soulmate. 
  • 333 – You’re being helped with something that you’re working on.
  • 444 – You’re being guided through whatever you’re focusing on. You’re protected.
  • 555 – Huge changes are coming your way. A major transition is coming, the more 5’s the more impactful it is.
  • 666 – Your thoughts need refocusing. Don’t be dragged too far into the worldly illusion and focusing too much on material things.
  • 777 – Luck is on your side. The universe is congratulating you for your right choices. 
  • 888 – Financial abundance is coming. You’re progressing well. You’re coming into your power.
  • 999 – You’re being nudged to finish something that you have yet to complete.
  • 1111 – You’re on the right path. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re becoming enlightened
  • 000 – Represents a fresh start and new beginnings. It’s also a reminder that you create your own destiny.

Looking at the meaning of different numbers now makes a lot of sense. I remember when I decided to leave my full-time job to pursue content creation, I was seeing 11:11, 222, 7777, and 555 everywhere I went, even though I didn’t understand what those numbers meant. Now, I can see that I was receiving the message that I was on the right path, I should relax and trust that path. The universe was also congratulating me on taking that step and letting me know that major changes awaited me. 

Pay close attention too if you’re driving around or going about your day and suddenly you start to see 1111 or 222 everywhere you go. Seeing a number regularly means that you have to pay attention to it. It’s not a coincidence seeing your bill at a cafe was $5.55, you looked at your clock when it was 5:55 pm, you have to take exit 55, and you go to a friends house where the address is 55. 

You’re meant to infer a message from it. Different numbers also mean different things to everyone, so 222 might be something different for me than it does for you, and that’s ok. The important thing is that you’re paying attention. 

10. Things falling apart

This last one is a little bit bigger and not nearly as comforting as the other signs, but I absolutely HAD to mention this one because it’s so important – things falling apart or “bad” things happening to you. I saved this one for last because it’s the one universal sign that I’ve noticed that isn’t fun at all, however, it’s so necessary and it mustn’t be passed off as a sh*tty day. 

If you’re a spiritual person, then you probably react the same way that I do when something bad happens to me. I think, “How on earth could THIS be happening to ME? I’m a good person, I’m spiritual, I try my best, I’m pursuing a dream even though it’s hard as all hell. Why would this terrible thing be happening to ME? I listen to the universe and follow my dharma and THIS is how it repays me?” I immediately fall into a victim mentality. But after this happened to me for pretty much all of 2019, I’ve finally learned to understand that even the sh*tty things that happen to us are universal signs. They’re the universe playing tough love on us and working in our favor.

Why? Because we can’t expand, fulfill our purpose, or become our highest selves if everything is going well and if everything was EASY. We can’t continue to improve and learn important lessons if everything is rainbows and unicorns all the time. We’d be way too comfortable. And if there’s one thing that I know in this world, it’s that you can’t grow inside your comfort zone. 

Challenges happen because it’s the universe pushing you to level up. This happened to me a few different times this year. Something really bad had to happen to me to push me to do something that I’ve been talking about since I was a teenager! I kept talking and talking and talking about how I was going to do these THREE different things for a very long time. And it took something “bad” happening to me and something falling apart in my life to finally push me to take action. It showed me that things fall apart to make room for something better. 

Think about it, hasn’t there been a time when you felt so horrible and devastated that something happened (like breaking up with an ex, but years later you look back on it and think “Thank God that happened to me! I needed that to happen in order to __(fill in the blank)__.” Things have to dissolve, breakaway, and fall apart in order for something new to come into fruition. Just like how there couldn’t be life without death. So while those other nine signs might be easy and fun to spot, remember to keep this last one in mind. 

Thank you for coming to Lost Online!

I really hope this post was helpful and allows you to spot universal signs in your life with a little bit more ease. Don’t get too distracted by spotting the signs or spend all day waiting for them to show up and give you that inner comfort, but do pay attention to your surroundings. Know that there’s something bigger beyond all of us that is carefully working to bring us closer to accomplishing what we came into this lifetime to create. Have faith. 

As always, let me know what you think in the comments! Have you spotted these universal signs in your life too? What are some examples? Do you have any other universal signs that you’ve recognized that I didn’t include on this list? What are they? What did you learn from them?

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 We Self Sabotage & How to Recognize The Signs

Self-Help

Take a good, long look at the main image for this post. It’s definitely visually interesting and catches your eye for sure, but it’s more than just a cool picture. If you look closely in the background, you will be able to see some of the examples of how I personally self-sabotage. Like the crumpled and empty bag of chips: the go-to food that I binge on when I really want to feel like garbage. Or the Apple Watch left on the charger when I’ve given up on working out. Or the Amazon boxes representing how I often online shop to make myself feel better (even though I always end up feeling guilty afterwards).

I write about self-sabotage because I have become so familiar with it. I’ve walked through life hand and hand with self-sabotage for a VERY long time without even realizing it. It wasn’t until the last two years when I really started to understand what self-sabotage was and the impact that it had on my life. Since then, I’ve become much more aware of how to recognize the signs of self-sabotage before it starts to control me.

So, what is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage is deciding what you want and then doing everything that you can to make sure that it doesn’t happen for you. It’s knowing exactly what you need to improve yourself and make yourself happier, but not doing it. It’s staying in your comfort zone because it’s safe and familiar even though you want to change your life. Self-sabotage is always VERY sneaky and can easily go unnoticed as it often takes the shape of prostration or perfectionism, which means that most of the time we don’t even realize that we’re doing it.

Although it might be hard to spot, it’s the absolute worst place you could be in. Self-sabotage is like putting yourself in a prison and taking away your opportunity to grow and explore in virtually every way. It interferes with every aspect of your life and as a result, it keeps you from accomplishing life-long goals. 

Self-sabotage is pretty straight forward: you want one thing, but you do the exact opposite in efforts to keep yourself from making progress. It could be binge-watching Netflix and eating junk food even though you want more than anything to be in shape. Or it could be waiting years for the “perfect” moment to start a blog or a business.

It’s something that you do subconsciously every day to the point where it becomes automatic. But the problem isn’t just that one night you decided to reach for ice cream and cookies out of comfort. The problem is that slowly those little moments build up over time and drastically change your life. Those hundreds of days of unhealthy eating and bingeing become an extra 50 pounds. That choosing to never leave your job and start a business means never being the entrepreneur you’ve always dreamed you’d be. The very real danger of self-sabotage is that someday you could look back on your life disappointed and discontent. You’ll look back and know that you never did get in shape, write that book, build that business, travel the world, or learn another language and wonder why.

So, why then? Why would we sabotage our OWN efforts throughout our lives and prevent the very things from happening that we want most? Well, it’s not that we’re masochists that want to see ourselves suffer for the joy of it.

What causes self-sabotage?

I recently started reading the book The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz which helped to give me some insight about what causes self-sabotage in the first place. Bare with me until the end, because I swear this comes full circle. 

In the earlier parts of “The Four Agreements,” Ruiz discusses how we as children, from the moment we are born, we are domesticated just like animals. We don’t grow up having the opportunity to choose what we want to believe. We are told what to believe. We are taken under the wing of our parents, teachers, neighbors, or church, and taught the beliefs of the adults around us. We are taught the beliefs, the stories, and the opinions of our community and how we should view the world.

We were taught the names of everything based on the language of the adults in our lives; we were taught what we should believe about history; how we should dress; what we should eat; what holidays we should celebrate and how we should celebrate them; how we should connect with a higher power; what political party to affiliate with; and above all – how to behave. Then we were rewarded or punished based on how “good” we were. The reward is the attention that we receive from other people when we make them happy. We are rewarded many times throughout the day and punished many times throughout the day. But the reward feels good so we keep doing what’s expected of us.

For example, if you were a good girl or boy all year round, you got a stocking at Christmas filled with toys. If you played baseball and got home runs, your parents clapped excitedly with pride in their eyes. But just as you were rewarded for being “good,” you were also punished for being “bad.” The punishment was receiving anger and disappointment or even worse – being ignored. Like if you told your devoted Catholic parents that you didn’t want to go to church. This happened at any time, for any reason, in countless little moments throughout our upbringing. 

As children, we try to please mom and dad, our teaches, our peers, or the church and so we start acting out of fear of being punished which usually manifests as rejection. Eventually, we become a copy of mom’s beliefs, dad’s beliefs, teacher’s beliefs, society’s beliefs, and friends’ beliefs. And we believe things like: women are supposed to be caretakers, men are supposed to be breadwinners, you have to be successful in life by making a six-figure income, you have to be beautiful and grow your hair out for boys to like you, you must go to college, travel is a waste of money, etc. 

As children we couldn’t choose our values, morals, and beliefs, we could only agree with the information that was passed on to us – we could only make an agreement. We agree with that information, we store it, we embody it and that information slowly becomes a belief system that controls our entire lives. Eventually, the domestication is so successful that we don’t need anyone to domesticate us. We do it ourselves. It becomes automatic that we do certain things in life, behave a certain way, dress a certain way because that’s what makes other people approve.

As Ruiz puts it, “The human mind is like a fertile ground where seeds are continually being planted. The seeds are opinions, ideas, and concepts. You plant a seed, a thought, and it grows.”

During this domestication process as children, our family and the people around us gave their opinions about us without even thinking or understanding the impact that their words could have. They planted a seed in our minds and it grew. We believed theses opinions and lived in fear of the opinions because they meant that we were not good enough. If you don’t believe me, talk to any woman who was told as a 13-year-old-girl by some boy at school that she was hideous and unattractive. Ask her how that impacted her. Ask any therapist if what people say to us as we’re growing up causes us to develop an opinion about ourselves. Of course, it does.

Words are powerful. They have the ability to drastically change a person’s opinion about the world and about themselves, especially when that person is a child or a teenager. They internalize everything that happens to them – their entire perspective and life story is based on it. 

But it’s not just what children hear about them that plants seeds. We also are affected by the negative thoughts that parents or other adults have about themselves or others as we are growing up. For example, if the women in your family are self-conscious about their looks and their weight and talk about it around you a lot, this will give you ideas about what makes a person’s body perfect or ugly. Hearing negative things about how people look or how they should look better creates an idea about what YOU should look like to be accepted.

Why do we self-sabotage?

This is how self-sabotage starts to come into play. Ruiz put it so well in “The Four Agreements” when he wrote…

“During the process of domestication, we form an image of what perfection is in order to try to be good enough. We create an image of how we should be in order to be accepted by everybody. We especially try to please the ones who love us, like Mom and Dad, big brothers and sisters, the priests and the teacher. Trying to be good enough for them, we create an image of perception, but we don’t fit this image. We create this image, but this image is not real. We are never going to be perfect from this point of view…Not being perfect, we reject ourselves. And the level of self-rejection depends upon how effective the adults were in breaking our integrity. After domestication is no longer about being good enough for anyone else. We are not good enough for ourselves because we don’t fit with our image of perfection. We cannot forgive ourselves for not being what we wish to be, or rather what we believe we should be. We cannot forgive ourselves for not being perfect.”

That is why we self-sabotage. Through our environment, we heard hundreds of thousands of other people’s ideas, standards, conversations, comments, and compliments and we develop our own idea about how we should be to be perfect. We got lost in all of the outside beliefs and we got the idea that we were NOT that. That we are flawed and unworthy. And that as much as we want to be happy, healthy, vibrant, loved, fulfilled – we don’t deserve it.

For that reason, we sabotage our own efforts. Who are we to deserve to be healthy and happy? Who are we to have all of our dreams come true? We don’t deserve it. We’re not ___(fill in the blank)___ enough. So we get in our own way. We prevent ourselves from growing, improving, and moving forward because we don’t see ourselves as the perfect person who is truly deserving of those accomplishments. We self sabotage slowly over many years, and sometimes even a lifetime, preventing the very things from happening that we want the most.

However, as toxic as self-sabotage can be, it’s also 100% preventable. It’s never too late to realize what we’re doing and make changes. It’s never too late to become a better version of ourselves and get out of our own way. The other great thing about self-sabotage is that once you realize that you’re doing it, it’s easy to stop. You realize how your subconscious mind is controlling your life and you become aware enough to make better choices. Suddenly it seems ridiculous that you would ever consider doing those things to yourself.

Recognizing Self Sabotage 

With that in mind, I put together a list of 11 ways that we self-sabotage so that next time you’re doing these things without thinking you can catch yourself in the act and make a change. You can decide at that moment to avoid the self-destructive and sabotaging behavior and instead choose to operate from a place of self-worth and self-respect. Take a look …

1. Procrastination

Of course, I had to mention procrastination first because it’s something that we are all incredibly guilty of. It’s also something that you can do disguised as something productive. I remember whenever I had to work on a super important project in school, suddenly THAT was the time I felt motivated to spend an hour and a half at the gym or to remove EVERYTHING from my closet Marie Kondo style, donate half my clothes, and then reorganize. But no way would I want to do those things at any other point. One of my absolute favorite parts of the book You Are A Badass,” by Jen Sincero is from her chapter “Procrastination, Perfection, and a Polish Beer Garden,” where she writes… 

“Procrastination is one of the most popular forms of self-sabotage because it’s so easy. There are so many fun things you can do in order to procrastinate, and there’s no lack of other people who are totally psyched to procrastinate with you. And while it can be super fun in the moment, eventually the naughtiness buzz wears off and you’re sitting there a few years later, feeling like a loser, wondering why the hell you still haven’t gotten your act together. And why other people you know are getting big fat promotions at their jobs or taking trips around the world or talking about the latest orphanage they’ve opened in Cambodia on NPR.”

Remember that next time you find yourself putting off something that you have to do for your number one dream in life and suddenly that naughtiness buzz won’t feel so good anymore. 

2. Hesitation

The second most popular way that we self-sabotage is by something that seems 100% harmless, and it’s hesitation. Like hesitating to start the business that you want and thinking it over for months, if not years, weighing the risks in your head again and again. Hesitating to book that two-month trip to Southeast Asia you’ve been saying you were going to do since you were 14. Hesitating to pay for that program that you know will help you level up in your career. Hesitating to create that Match.com profile when you’ve been single for years and all you want is to find someone you could spend your life with.

In a way, hesitation is very similar to procrastination but it’s your brain’s way of trying to protect you because that thing that you want to do for your own growth, expansion, and happiness is foreign. And your brain HATES anything unfamiliar. It’s much easier and appears much more pleasant to stay in your comfort zone and not do that thing, but you know that the only person it’s hurting is you. Anyone who has grown mentally, physically, or spiritually will tell you that it wasn’t comfortable, but it was worth it. 

3. Perfectionism 

Perfectionism, my number one favorite way to self-sabotage. I’m so guilty of needing everything to be flawless in order to move forward, especially when it comes to my website and my brand. If something is not completely perfect in my mind, it’s garbage. Like right now, it kills me that my website is not absolutely professional and flawless in my eyes.

But the truth is, “perfect” is a made-up concept, and every single person’s idea of perfect is entirely different based on their own experiences, opinions, and preferences. I know this because I once showed my resume to over 20 people before I sent it off to employers and not a single one of them agreed on what makes a “perfect” resume. They all had entirely different opinions on wording, formatting, or content. After months of showing it to each one of my professors, several women at the career center, my peers, and professionals in the industry, I finally understood for the first time that perfect is bullsh*t. Every single person has a different idea about what perfect is and that made-up idea of our own concept of perfection is completely unattainable. Needing something to be flawless does nothing at the end of the day but keep you in place and prevent you from moving forward because there will always be something that you need to improve.

DONE is far better than perfect. By getting something DONE rather than trying to make it perfect you are getting out of your own way and taking the first step towards accomplishing your bigger goals in life. Twenty YouTube videos published is far better than spending months creating one “perfect” video. A month of showing up to the gym but not having your “best” workouts is far better than killing it in the gym once. It’s far better to focus on getting things done and on making incremental improvements over time.

4. Setting unrealistic goals 

Another way that we sabotage ourselves is by setting goals and deadlines that are nearly impossible to achieve. Like setting a goal to build your entire website in one weekend, apply to 25 jobs, finish the book you just started last night, finish a project, and go vegan. We set goals that are so difficult to accomplish in such a short time period that we are bound to fail – further proving to ourselves that we do in fact suck and don’t deserve the things that would make us happy.

I do this one to myself so often, it should be called pulling a Heather. I love to put so much on my plate that it’s impossible to keep up with. But this one can easily go unnoticed too because it can be disguised as being motivated. It can appear that we’re just “go-getters” that want to be successful. Maybe some people can accomplish all of those things in a short period of time. Some people do in fact work well under pressure. But it’s a clear sign of self-sabotage if you find yourself setting big goals for yourself left and right and then being unable to follow through with any of them. 

5. Negative self-talk

Do you know that little voice in your head that tells you terrible things about yourself and is hypercritical of everything you do? That’s your negative self-talk. And while it may seem harmless because it lives inside your head and isn’t noticed by anyone else, it is truly harmful. Negative self-talk will subtly undermine everything that you’re trying to do. It convinces you that you’re not talented enough, smart enough and pretty enough, and prevents you from reaching your potential by convincing yourself that you’re not good enough to do it. That you might as well not even try. This form of self-sabotage is especially sneaky because it could cause all of the other forms on this list: hesitation, perfectionism, comparison, EVERYTHING.

My favorite writer and number one girl crush, Elizabeth Gilbert, wrote in her book “Eat Pray Love,” “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control. Drop everything else but that. Because if you can’t learn to master your thinking, you’re in deep trouble forever.”

6. Self-comparison 

Self-comparison is one form of self-sabotage that is SUPER hard for anyone to avoid when we live in a time where we have social media and have access to everyone else’s highlights and accomplishments 24/7. Comparing yourself to someone else is allowing yourself to get so wrapped up in someone else’s life that it makes you blind to your own progress, accomplishments, or highlights.

I do this to myself all the time. I compare myself to the women that I admire the most in the world who all have created successful blogs, books, and podcasts. Many of them even became millionaires simply making a career for themselves sharing what they’re passionate about. For example, I’ll catch myself comparing my own journey with my blog to the life of Jenna Kutcher (one of the most successful bloggers in the world). I’ll compare how many posts I’ve written, how my website looks, or how big of a following I have, while completely becoming blind to the fact that I’m improving as a content creator EVERY WEEK. 

The problem with self-comparison is that someone else’s perfection is an illusion and we have no clue about the challenges or rejection that person had to face to get where they are or what they have today. So focusing on someone else’s comparison is nothing but a big waste of time. Because not only do people not share their hardships but comparing yourself to someone else does nothing but drain you and fuel the negative self-talk. That energy would be spent so much better by working on yourself.

Next time you catch yourself comparing yourself to another person, refocus your energy to how you can improve yourself. Catch yourself comparing your body to someone else’s body? Put your sneakers on and your AirPods in and go to the gym. Find yourself comparing yourself to someone who just published a book? Start writing YOURS or brainstorm ideas or start learning how to self publish. Stop sabotaging and start DOING. 

7. Not trusting yourself 

This form of self-sabotage stems from the fact that we’ve all been consuming information since the day we were born and hearing other people’s opinions and beliefs whether we want to or not. So it can be the most difficult thing in the world to trust YOURSELF. It’s so easy to trust your parents, neighbors, co-workers, and friends opinions about how you should live but it’s not easy to trust ourselves. 

It’s unfortunate that we are the one person who understands our values, needs, and beliefs more than anyone else, yet we’ve been programmed to distrust our own abilities and our own instincts. Our own thoughts are useless while we get hung up on others. This is extremely self-sabotaging because even though you may know that college is not the right path for you, or that your dream is to move across the world, or that you’ve found your soul mate, you don’t trust that instinct and do the exact opposite. You end up living in a house that’s not right for you, but your parents approve of it. You end up going to college when you’ve always wanted to go to cosmetology school. Or you end up living in the middle of nowhere when you’ve known your entire life you want to live in a big city. Not trusting yourself and your own feelings, you end up creating your life for other people. And while they may be pleased and you have to listen to fewer passive-aggressive comments around the holidays, you’ll end up being miserable.

The biggest regret that people have on their deathbed is that they lived for other people and did what they were “supposed” to do rather than what they wanted to do. They didn’t trust in their own feelings, opinions, and beliefs enough to create the life that they imagined for themselves. 

8. Not doing it 

Playing off of number seven, the next big way that people sabotage themselves is by just not doing it. By not doing it, I mean giving up altogether because you’re afraid of the outcome if you really were to go for it – whatever “it” is. It’s being so worried about what could happen, doubting your own abilities, or comparing yourself to others to the point where you throw your hands in the air and say, “F*ck it! I might as well not even try.” “I might as well not even try to open up my own massage studio because it will be terrible and no one will come and I don’t know how to start my own business anyways.”

Instead, you hold yourself back all together. This one is incredibly sad because whenever someone adopts this mindset, it’s so obvious that they don’t believe in themselves enough and they fear and comparison control their life. Their faith in themselves is so low that they don’t even bother chasing their biggest dream, or getting in shape, or trying to improve themselves. When I think of this form of self-sabotage I keep hearing Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh in my head saying, “Why bother?”

9. Not creating time

Another very subtle way that people sabotage themselves is simply not creating time for something. You may expect yourself to succeed in making life changes but you don’t designate any time or mental space to accomplish them. You say you want to write a book, but you NEVER set time aside for writing days. Or you say that you’re going to learn a new skill but you never create time in the day to practice. That’s why one of the easiest ways to get yourself to do something is not by making a to-do list or setting a goal, it’s by putting it on your calendar. We all know that one person who’s been saying that they were going to learn __(fill in the blank)___ for years, but they never actually do it. Or that one person who always says they’re going to run a half marathon, but never trains. By not creating any time to actually accomplish goals, you become that person who’s all talk and no action. 

10. Self-generating stress

This next one is very similar to setting unrealistic goals, but in this one, we purposefully stress ourselves out. It’s where you turn into a bit of a masochist and intentionally put tons of stress on yourself. Growing up, I knew plenty of people who did this. I went to schools where virtually everyone was an overachiever who took mostly AP classes, popped Adderall like candy, and wanted to get into Ivy League schools. I knew so many people who had to be taking all AP classes, and play Varsity sports and be in multiple school clubs (which they had to be the president of). I watched so many of my peers put so much stress and pressure on themselves that they lived on the edge of a nervous breakdown at all times.

The difficult thing about this form of self-sabotage is that it also can be disguised as being motivated and hard working. But the problem with this form of self-sabotage is that you’re always living in a state of stress, unhappiness and being overwhelmed. You can’t even relax and be proud of yourself for accomplishing one thing because you immediately have something else to focus on that stresses you out. It’s similar to whenever it was finals week in school and you have 6 or 7 exams to take. You get incredibly stressed out about your math exam and focus all of your energy on it the night before, but once it’s over all you have is a temporary moment of relief before you begin stressing out and panicking about your AP Psych final the next day.

The major issues that I see with this form of self-sabotage are that it makes you unhappy and sucks all of the joy and contentment out of life. You become so consumed with filling up your life with the stress that there’s no time or moment of quiet reflection and pride for your accomplishments, there’s only room for being overwhelmed. The other problem that these so-called “overachievers” fail to realize is that by constantly piling on more stress, more projects, more goals, and more meetings, it prevents you from actually doing something WELL. You may get things done, usually in a panic and in a hurry, but was it really your best work? Sure you read 10 books this week, but did you really comprehend them? 

11. Focusing on low priority tasks

The final way that we sabotage our own efforts is by working on low priority tasks and avoiding high priority tasks leaving them undone. This is another way that I personally self-sabotage. It’s kind of like when you write an entire to-do list and then do all the super easy ones first that only take two minutes, but days later you still didn’t do the most important things.

This form of self-sabotage prevents you from leveling up and doing the things that really set you apart and make you happy. The things that might not have been easy or comfortable, but create the most growth. Those items are the things that make the difference between being the person that you want to be and the person who held themselves back through self-sabotage and settled for a life that was comfortable but mediocre. 

How do you put an end to self-sabotaging behaviors? 

At this point, I’m willing to bet you found several examples of self-sabotage that you do. You might have even realized that you self-sabotage more than you realized. However, the good thing about self-sabotage is that it’s a bad habit that CAN be broken. All it takes is awareness and a little bit of time. 

You’ve read through many common examples of self-sabotage and now understand where those destructive behaviors come from, so you’ll be able to catch yourself doing them and make a change. You can decide at that moment to avoid the self-destructive and sabotaging behaviors and instead choose to operate from a place of self-love.

It won’t happen right away, and this process could take several weeks or even months to break, but I believe it can be done. It just takes making SMALL changes in behaviors. It takes noticing that you’re procrastinating filling up your gas tank and making the decision to do it right now. Or realizing that you haven’t given yourself time to finish a project and clearing up a few weekends to make it happen. You’ll start to recognize those behaviors and over time those bad habits will be replaced with ones that HELP you rather than HURT you. 

To start, I recommend identifying the areas of self-sabotage that you do and pick one thing at a time that you want to work on. Because trying to make massive changes all at once isn’t realistic and will only lead to failure. You can’t possibly break every single self-sabotaging behavior that you’ve accumulated throughout your life all at once. 

Instead, pick one small thing to work on at a time and that will help you to create larger transformations in your life. It could be any one of the things that I’ve mentioned above – like procrastination or setting unrealistic goals or perfectionism, or it could be another form of self-sabotage that you discovered about yourself like disorganization. 

Although it may be difficult to work on banishing self-sabotage over the next few months, imagine how much your life would improve if you did. Imagine how much it could help you to get the body of your dreams, build your business, learn something new, or perform better at work all because you learn to let go of those behaviors that weren’t serving you. You may not be able to go back in time and change the past and all of that information you absorbed during domestication or your self-proclaimed idea of perfection, but you could change your future.

Lastly, I recommend telling yourself that you’re worthy. We are bombarded with so many ideas about how we SHOULD be that it can be so easy to believe that we aren’t good enough. In order to completely get rid of self-sabotage, you have to address the root of the problem, otherwise, your subconscious may just get more creative with how to sabotage you. Remind yourself each and every day that you are worthy of everything that you’ve ever wanted: health, happiness, success, and love. I personally do this by picking one mantra in the morning that I repeat to myself throughout the day and that helps me to work on my self-talk and self-worth. You can choose to work on it however you want, as long as you DO address it. Your bad *ss future self will thank you.

Thank you for coming to Lost Online!

As always, let me know what you think in the comments! Did you realize find any of these forms of self-sabotage that spoke to you? Were you more guilty of self-sabotaging behaviors than you realize? Share ONE way you self-sabotage and how you’re planning on working on it over the next few weeks! Also, have you ever read, “The Four Agreements?” What are you thoughts on the book? Or was there any particular part of this post that helped you? I would love nothing more than to hear from you!

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 Interview Top Hair Stylist & Blogger Kourtnee Jinright (The Colour Chemist) – Hair Care, Managing Anxiety & Depression, and Following Your Passion

Beauty, Interviews, Self-Help

I’m super excited about this blog post today because I’m interviewing one of my absolute favorite people, and the HIGHLY talented hair stylist, Kourtnee Jinright.

If you know of Kourtnee already then you probably know her at “The Colour Chemist.” Three years ago I sat in her salon chair as she took me from my natural reddish-brown hair to full-blown platinum blonde. (I was going through something back then!) Since then, she’s grown so much both personally and professionally and it’s been so exciting to watch her journey!

Kourtnee is now the top stylist at a brand new salon in St. Augustine, Florida, ZA Salon, she’s a Kerastase Ambassador, and most importantly she makes a living following her passion. She’s built a following on social media channels by educating other women about hair, inspiring other women to chase their dreams and opening up about her struggle with anxiety and depression.

In a world of filters and pretend online relationships, Kourtnee is so authentic. She’s not afraid to be goofy, or vulnerable, or to share her experience. But what I love about Kourtnee more than anything is how supportive she is – how she fiercely encourages the women in her life as they try to follow their passion too. Not only is she someone I look up to, but she’s also a Lost Online reader and a friend. And when I asked her to do this interview she was over the moon!

Here are Kourtnee’s answers to my burning questions about everything from following your passion, to hair, to self-growth, and conscious technology use! I hope you enjoy!

Hair & Beauty

Q: I’ve been following you for many years now and I’ve also sat in your salon chair, so I know how you absolutely adore Kerastase and that you’re also an ambassador for Kerastase! What is it about the brand that you love? What makes you believe in the brand enough to use on your own hair and your clients?

A: I am so in love with Kerastase and its ability to transform the hair. Kerastase is known for taking your hair and giving you your goal hair. My hair was destroyed about 1 ½ years ago and I can’t even begin to tell you how much it changed my hair. It’s unbelievable. I ventured out and used other brands for 8 months on my clients’ hair and their hair drastically changed. When I told some of my clients that I was going back to Kerastase, they about died of happiness inside. It is worth every penny. I cannot sell you anything I don’t believe in, it’s not in my blood to do so.. I am an awful liar so if I’m in love with something, I really, truly mean it. I love the education Kerastase gives and how luxurious it is. It’s based in Paris, France. They are always changing the technology and revamping their brand to be the best of the best at ALL times. My goal is to teach with Kerastase. What a dream! 🙂

Q: Most women I know would kill to have long, thick, gorgeous hair – BUT most of us have also made the mistake of damaging it through improper hair care and dying. What’s your advice for people trying to grow hair out and improve the health of their hair?

A: The best advice I can give you is to be on a proper hair care regiment. I cannot stress enough how important this is for everyone. While a lot of products may feel great on the outside, it can actually cause buildup on the inside and you’ll remain stagnant. If you are trying to grow out your hair, I recommend the Kerastase’ Extensioniste line to improve the health and length. If you’re in need to seek more information, please DM me through Instagram at @thecolourchemist.

Q: How do you keep your hair healthy? Do you use any special products, supplements, or care practices? 

A: Keeping your hair healthy is the same as keeping your skin or body healthy. I have found that Kerastase products help almost every issue. Vitamins are always a go-to, however eating healthy/staying active ensures that your hair is growing at the appropriate rate. One thing I have clients say is, “I know I need a haircut, but I want it to grow longer so I’ll pass on it today.” Did you know by doing that your split ends will grow up the shaft and create more damage to your hair? In the long run, you’ll have to cut off more hair because of this. I understand no one WANTS to cut their hair when they’re growing it out, but trust me that this method WORKS.

Q: What do you suggest for split end remedies?

A: Split ends are a nightmare, right? We all have them after a while. I recommend getting a haircut every 4-8 weeks depending on the haircut you have now. If you put any heat on your hair, I would suggest on getting my favorite heat protection from Kerastase which is Serum Therapiste. This dual pump not only give you 450 degree heat protection, but also is a repair serum. It has plant stem cells to resurrect the hair back to its natural state over time. If you do not put heat on your hair, try using the Ciment Thermique from Kerastase. Say goodbye to spit ends with their number one product! 

Q: What hair trends do you think we’ll be seeing this coming season?

A: The shag is in as of right now, a lot of ‘lived in’ looks are coming back. People are wanting more of a natural look with low maintenance. Texture is another thing that everyone is searching for. Extensions are also HUGE right now. It’s a vibe, let me tell you. 😉

Following Your Passion

Q: I wanted to say congratulations on becoming the TOP STYLIST at Za Salon! I’ve seen you come so far over the last few years and grow so much in your career! I’ve been watching all of your videos about the salon opening and it’s been really cool to be able to see the process of setting up the space and promoting it. I can tell you’re incredibly passionate about it. I’m curious, what makes Za Salon special? What sets it apart from the experience you’d have at another salon?

A: Thank you so much! I appreciate the kind words. 🙂 When you walk into Za Salon you will enter a luxurious space. You will be offered champagne, wine, french press Kookaburra coffee, tea, water, or beer. We go above and beyond to make sure that your experience is like nothing you’ve ever had. We also have snacks followed along with a cold hand towel with essential oils to cool you off with this Florida heat. While our associates are giving you a nice massage on your scalp, you will also be offered a complimentary hand massage. This salon has a lot of great energy and it is very calm. The owner of Za Salon is Patty Meradith and I can confidently say hands down say she has built the number 1 salon in St. Augustine. The opportunity that she gives us on education to expand our horizons is out of this world. I am so thankful that Patty offered me the position as well as giving me windows of growth. She is also a barber which is badass!

Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a hairstylist?

A: I NEVER thought in a million years that I would be a hairstylist. I got out of high school and knew that college wasn’t for me. I needed to do something that didn’t require too much schooling. My dad made the suggestion and I remember looking at him with an appalled look. My answer was, ‘I REFUSE to work at hair cuttery!’ My dad looked at me and chuckled. He was like, ‘Kourtnee, you can work in a salon…’ My dad raised me and I was LUCKY if I got conditioner. I would receive suave and get a haircut twice a year so I didn’t know what else was out there. I went to cosmetology school knowing that this is a smart backup plan if I didn’t love it. Turns out it’s my passion! I’m so grateful that my dad had said something to me when he did or I wouldn’t have found an interest in it. The universe works in mysterious ways. 

Q: Did you receive support from friends and family in the beginning? Or did you feel pressure to prove that you could be successful in a creative industry?

A: When I first started, I didn’t want to practice on any of my friends because I knew their cuts/color wouldn’t be perfect. I didn’t want to ruin my reputation. It took me an hour just to shave my father’s hair. I was so nervous and insecure at the time. St. Augustine is a small town and I was always worried/felt pressure that people would write bad reviews about me. However, I am human and still to this day I make mistakes. Every day is another day full of growth and opportunity. If you make a mistake, take that as a lesson and try harder next time. 

Q: What was the biggest challenge that you faced pursuing this career?

A: My biggest challenge in this career was figuring out where my route was. I knew with being a hairstylist, this would come with a lot of fear and growth. About a year ago, I was in a dark place. I was in a situation where I wasn’t being heard, and I was at a standstill with my growth. I was being held back while being taken advantage of. I made the decision to go from a salon that was commission to booth rental. Being in a salon, you’re an employee and the owner is in control of color, products, your schedule, pricing,  etc. Being in booth rental, you are your own boss. While this might seem super cool, this was actually TERRIFYING. I had NO idea what direction to go to but I had no other choice but to think quick, make moves, and do what was best for not only my clients, but for ME. I was my own boss for about 8 months and even though it was GREAT, I found that I lost motivation. I recommend that if you’re someone who needs accountability, then being in a salon is meant for you. If you are okay being solo, then booth rental is a great option. Either way there is no wrong route. It’s just finding what brings out the best in you. I am finally at a point in my career where I have all the growth that I could ask for. This challenge made me the stylist I am today. 

Photos by Autumn Dozier @autumn.dozier.

Q: What’s your advice for women/men who want to go into hair?

A: My advice going into hair school would be to go in with an open mind. Focus solely on JUST what you went to school for. Do not feed into the drama, do not take things personally, you WILL mess up but just focus. You can get so wrapped up in what others say and think of you and it’s NOT worth it. Have patience and know that you will learn everything you need to know when you are finished with cosmetology school. I had girls that were very rude to me and  I look back at it now and laugh. They aren’t even in the industry anymore. So just remember if something like that comes around, go back to the mindset of why you are there. 

Q: I saw that this past year you started a blog as well! What inspired you to start your blog and put your knowledge and experience about hair and fashion into writing?

A: I started a blog because I wanted to reach out to other people around the world than just St. Augustine. Once I feel myself getting bored, I’m onto another idea. This was so great, however I am at a pause with blogging at the moment because I’m transitioning into a new salon and moving forward with Kerastase. My girlfriend is an amazing writer and speaker. She motivated me to write out all the things that I am passionate about. She gave me great advice on how to move forward with it. She has always told me that I would reach so many other stylists/guests if I wrote it down and she was right. I am not the best writer, but every day I am trying my best for it to become a strength. I wanted the blog to not only be about hair, but to include fashion and lifestyle. 

Q: How do you stay inspired to create almost every single day? Creating every single day seems like it could get overwhelming from time to time. 

A: Being a hairdresser has its pros and cons for sure. I work four full days a week now because I found that if decompress in those three days, I can give my 100% to each and every client that comes through the door. It’s not easy when you have 4-12 clients a day coming in with different energy while still trying to maintain your own. I can for the most part leave work at work, but sometimes when your clients go through tough times you feel for them. Sometimes it comes home with you. I balance all of this out with self care. I go to therapy, I do yoga, I read, write, eat healthy, spend time alone, rest, spend time with loved ones, and meditate. This isn’t just a job where you do hair. This requires every ounce of energy that you have. Once your tank is on empty, you have to fill it back up with your self care. Some stylists can go and work 6 days a week and that’s great! For me, being an introvert/extrovert… I have to decompress a little more than others and that is OKAY! I’m perfectly okay knowing that my mental health is more important than the money. 

Q: One of the reasons why I absolutely love to follow you is because all of the hilarious memes you share about the perspective of hair stylists! It’s actually been very eye opening and showed me some of the dumb things that we say to stylists without even realizing it. If there’s anything that you wish you could tell your clients completely unfiltered, what would it be?

A: I love memes! Meme culture can reach all different age groups which I love! It’s a good way to have content and it’s totally relatable. I wanted to post memes on the regular because I feel that it’s not all serious. We want you to know that we understand your struggles too! There are a few things that us hairstylists wish we could say, but sometimes people might take it the wrong way. When we don’t talk, it’s not because we don’t want to… it’s because your head naturally moves a lot while talking. This makes it harder for us to foil/cut/ install extensions. 

Self-Growth

Q: As a fellow self-growth and self-improvement junkie (: what practices have you incorporated in your life that have helped you with personal development and accomplishing your goals?

A: I noticed that I cut out all the people who didn’t help me grow. It was a really tough thing to do and it may sound harsh but the people I cut out, didn’t do anything for me. They were in my way and taking time out of my life that I just didn’t want to entertain anymore. I had to overcome some fears. Another couple of things that I have done are waking up earlier in the morning to clean a little and get a fresh start to my day. I have weekly workout routines, I got a planner, I go outside my comfort zone, always challenging myself, I have been listening more, doing the hobbies that I love to do. I talk and write to myself A LOT.