“The Freshman 15”

The 4 years of undergraduate years are when us adolescents do the most growing – socially, academically, internally. Thus, many of us go through a phase of fat-phobia thanks to our societal norms. We’re so deadly afraid of gaining a few pounds that we start counting calories, starving ourselves, eat a bar of ice cream the whole day, workout way too much, and the most harmful – compare our beautiful bodies to other people’s and think that we are not enough.

I took the time I had at home during 2020 to try to heal my relationship with food and my body. I wouldn’t say I’m completely healed, but I do realize that the relationship is so much better than what it was a couple years ago. However, now that I’m in college, I keep getting triggered by the things that people around me continue to say or do. It feels like everyone I meet only cares about the amount of calories in a particular food or how they don’t eat Peanut Butter like I do because they’ll get fat if they do or how they’re going to workout extra tomorrow for all the “bad” stuff they ate today. Can we just get over it? Can we just realize that it does not freaking matter how fat or how skinny you are?

Of course the phase “The Freshman 15” does not help matters AT ALL. Who ever coined this phrase and embedded it into college students’ and their parents’ minds is ridiculous. It is inevitable to put on a few pounds in college. You don’t sleep as much. You can’t always have total control over the food you eat. You may consume alcohol on a weekly basis. It’s inevitable. What this phrase essentially implies is that students should aim to stay skinny in college – no matter what. #bullshit

College is so much freaking pressure y’all. And the way you look should NOT be adding onto that pressure because it doesn’t matter. Clearly, we all need to do some HARD work to heal our relationships with our bodies and foods.

Malls & their Fitting Rooms

Imagine finding a stunning dress at the mall. You’re excitedly putting on this new dress, zipping it up, fixing your hair, and then you look up at yourself in the dirty fitting room mirror. That’s when the eager smile on your face quickly droops into a frown as you notice that this dress was not made for you. You expected it to look one way, but it turned out to look completely different. 

For as long as I can remember, malls often triggered my negative self-body image. I’d sit in the fitting room to try on new clothes and would rip myself apart for looking the way I do. I’d think that it was my fault that the outfit would squeeze my body where it’s not supposed to squeeze and droop loosely where it’s not supposed to droop. 

However, it took me some time (and still does take me a minute) to realize that it is most definitely not my fault. Firstly, there is no way that anyone can look “good” in every single piece of clothing ever made. So, this is really step 1 –  realizing that not everything will look good on me. Step 2 is realizing that it’s actually the companies who make these outfits that are somewhat at fault because it is them who are still stuck in the past and continue to make clothes that try to mimic a woman’s “ideal body type.” The fashion industry has come a long way in trying to be more inclusive of different body types, but there are still major milestones to be met. 

I know it’s unfair to solely blame malls and the companies that make these clothes, but this is just my perspective on how malls make me feel. Instead of placing all of the blame on the clothes itself, some of my negative self-body image is also my fault. My negative self-body image comes from a place of insecurity. Thus, I want to develop a healthy relationship with my body so that I don’t concentrate on the parts of myself I don’t like. In fact, having a healthy relationship with one’s own body means that we are attuned and comfortable with the fact that our bodies are beautifully flawed. I am aware that this is so much more easily said than done. 

Bodies are extraordinary and it doesn’t matter what we look like. In order to feel more comfortable in a fitting room, I first need to be comfortable being who I am within my own skin. 

Falling Off Track in College

Back home I was super disciplined and lowkey had my life figured out. My mornings were something that I took immense pleasure in because they were structured and gave me clarity. I enjoyed waking up to the loud chirping of the birds and the beam of sunlight on my forehead that escaped between the curtains. I adored the moments leading up to drinking my morning cup of coffee as I got ready to journal, meditate, and workout.

Now, as a full-time college student, my mornings have been anything but structured. I really did try to maintain them the first week of college: I woke up at 5:00am every day, got a meditation and a workout in, didn’t skip breakfast – I was doing great at being an adult. However, starting from the second week of college, I just completely lost my structured morning routines – no longer sleeping enough, working out, eating. This has to do with the fact that I am now staying up WAY later than I’m used to because college is not just about academics. It’s also about our social lives and unfortunately for me, social interactions tend to be a lot more fun only post 10:00pm 😉.

I now wake up feeling burnt tf out – not just because I sleep later, but because college is so much work ya’ll. We have to study hard, make our own food, be social creatures, attend club meetings, keep up with extracurriculars, talk to our families, take care of ourselves physically AND mentally. It’s exhausting.

I catch myself feeling so freaking guilty and anxious when I have to skip meditating or working out because time does not allow for it or because my body is just so tired. I started hating on myself for failing to take care of myself. Meditation and exercise were my sources of therapy every day. It was during these allotted periods of time that I could let go of the world and just tap into myself. Therefore, no longer having those moments to myself is anxiety-provoking.

To cope with these newfound emotions due to the sudden change of routine and lifestyle I had to constantly remind myself of the following:

  1. Not everything can be planned for. Life is unpredictable and I cannot control every single situation.
  2. Sleep is just as important as meditation/exercise, so it’s okay if I skip a day or two if that means I get some extra hours of sleep in.
  3. I do not work out to look a certain way. I work out because of the way it makes me feel – internally. Don’t get caught up in this superficial BS that most college students are hung up on.
  4. The days I stayed up late to go party or meet up with people are filled with good memories! So don’t feel guilty for wanting to make the most of college and create amazing memories.

For any of you folks who may also be feeling something similar, just know that we’ll get through it. We’ll reflect back on our undergrad years and think “Damn, we squeezed the living life out of every opportunity that came our way and we worked our butts off, and we also had an immense amount of fun while doing so.”

6 Months of Using the Five Minute Journal

I completed my first Five Minute Journal recently and I can’t help but feel a bit proud of myself. I’ve never been able to make a consistent habit of journaling up until this point.

The fact that the Five Minute Journal only takes five minutes or less to complete made it so much easier for me to incorporate into my morning/night routines. There were, of course, still days when I forgot to journal, but I still kept up with the practice for 6 months!

Here are 2 examples of my early entries that brought a smile to my face 🙂

As I reflected on my entries, I noticed some common themes.

  1. I’ve started to love my body a lot more. One of my biggest insecurities has always been my body, so reading the entries and seeing how my self-body image has been improving brought me so much joy.
  2. I am the happiest and least anxious when I am with family, friends, and nature. I never realized that this was such a big deal for me until I re-read the entries. I can now intentionally carve out time to be with my closest people and go out in nature as often as I can so that I can have some mental peace.
  3. My job makes me so anxious. I should write and state affirmations to myself to enable me to think past the negativity and focus on the things that I can control.

I think the important part about journalling, which I only recently understood, is that it doesn’t really help (at least for me) in the moment. Sometimes it may feel like a burden or a hassle to sit down and write. Journaling is so much more effective when we take that minute or two to go back and read our entries because we literally see our evolution on the pages. I saw how I changed my perception of my body, for example, as I kept reading through the entries. Journalling provides subtle, yet drastic effects and I think that’s why so many people are always stressing the importance of it.

Reflecting on My First Week of College

It has been nearly a week since college started, which means it has been a week since I left home and moved into my own apartment (I share it with 3 other girls, so it’s not like I’m entirely alone). I wanted to take the time to be vulnerable and share some of the ups and downs that I’ve had this week as a result of this change. 

First off, my college is only 20 minutes away from my home (thank God!), so it’s easy for me to go back home regularly and meet my family (homesickness is real ya’ll!). However, it’s the whole idea of transitioning into adulthood and learning to live on my own that has been scary. 

My high school calculus teacher actually sent me this article a couple days ago and I think it perfectly encapsulates everything that I’ve been feeling recently. 

College is drastically different from high school. There isn’t a set schedule everyday. You don’t meet the same people everyday. And if you live on your own, you have to make sure you feed yourself because your parents are no longer hounding you to take care of yourself. 

I’ve always been independent, but at the same time, I’m a HUGE homebody. Therefore, this week has been extremely stressful, anxiety-provoking, and very lonely. However, there were also moments of joy, laughter, and fulfillment. 

It’s hard being an adolescent. It’s hard trying to flutter through our daily lives and constantly wonder what is going to happen next. Will we be loved by our friends? Will we do well academically? Are we being validated? It’s hard, but that’s the point. There’s beauty in trying to find our way through both the internal and external struggles. Some days were so freaking hard when I was alone and didn’t have my brother nagging me to watch Netflix or my Mom yelling at me for something or my family eagerly waiting for me to play Catan with them. But it’s important to remember that we are social creatures and we need nurturing relationships with people (aside from our family). These relationships will be found in college. We just have to be patient and be willing to accept the change. 

I’m going to end this post by repeating what Lisa Sugarman said: 

“So, I’ll say the exact same thing to you that I said to my own daughters when they went off to school. Give it some time, be patient, and remember that putting yourself out there and taking risks can be the one thing that changes everything.”

The Movie That Made Me Feel All the Feels

Shershaah is a Hindi-language movie released in August 2021. It’s based on the TRUE story of Captain Vikram Batra who fought courageously in the 1999 Kargil War for India.

Real-life Captain Vikram Batra

The beauty of this film is that there is no “extraness.” It’s all true (including the romantic scenes)! The film also does not preach intense patriotism as if they’re forcing it on us, which I appreciated as many films about soldiers and wars tend to always sideline to that idea instead of focusing on the courage and valor of the soldiers.

I watched this film a couple weeks ago and I’m still getting goosebumps and palpitations thinking about it, which is incredibly unusual for me. It’s the fact that it was a true story based on a real-life person with such an incredible personality that left me with a lasting impact. I felt so empowered and simultaneously felt so much love, anger, and sadness throughout the course of this 2 hour film. The movie did a phenomenal job of showing us that soldiers have families and loved ones, who they leave behind to fight daily to protect every single person in their nation.

Tears just bursted out of my eyes when they ended the movie with this dialogue:

The song below has been throwing me off so much as well. I’ve been listening to it on repeat during my car rides or walks because of how bittersweet the lyrics are. The lyrics essentially translate to “When you’ve finally gotten to be with the love of your life, how do you say goodbye so soon? How do you tell him just to stay a little while longer, especially if he’s leaving for a long time to serve the nation?”

It does not matter if you don’t know the language, but I highly recommend every single person watches this film. It has made me appreciate life a bit more and understand that we have an immense responsibility to better the nation because millions of soldiers are risking their lives every day to protect us.

Update on Catapult #4

I made the decision to catapult into the world of meditation on July 5th, 2021.

Here’s what I wrote on that day:

“So, I am going to TRY to do the Isha Kriya meditation at least once every day and we’ll see if I am able to keep this up for 3 months. 

My goal in catapulting myself into the world of meditation is to learn to think and feel broader than the boundaries set by my mind and body. I don’t think meditation will “cure” my anxious thoughts, but I do think it will help me become more aware and better at coping with them.”


Oh boy, I most definitely did not meditate once every day. Some days I straight up just forgot. Other days I got incredibly anxious that I’d have to sit down for 15 minutes and possibly fall off schedule, so I prioritized work over meditation (which is so terribly wrong because mental health comes before anything else!). There was also a week in July where I went to Florida for vacation and so, I did not make the time to meditate even though I had more than enough time to do so!

However, I have been a lot more regular with my meditation since the last couple of weeks (though I still have missed a few days).

Here are some of the things that I’ve discovered during the course of my super early meditative practice:

  1. My most effective meditations have been during the mornings. One day last week, I meditated at 5:30am and it was so freaking beautiful. Nature was in the phase of transforming to the daylight, but it was still trying to hide away from the light for as long as possible. And I just felt all of that energy as I sat down to meditate. Most days, I’ve been meditating at anywhere between 6:00-8:00am. I found that when I try to meditate at night, it is still a nice feeling, but I zone out a lot more easily compared to when I do it in the morning.
  2. The meditation that I practice is Sadhguru’s Isha Kriya (linked below). This is broken up into 3 stages: breath work, sound, and music. During the breath work stage, you have to inhale when Sadhguru repeats “I am not the body” and exhale when he says “I am not even the mind.” This keeps tripping me up because at times I catch myself thinking “If I’m neither the body or mind, then what the hell am I?” I’d appreciate any answers for this question!!
  3. I do think that I notice my anxious periods a lot more quickly after having done this meditation for a couple weeks now. However, I don’t know how to detach or stop myself from continuing to have those anxiety symptoms once I notice them. So, I guess I’m still working on that.

All in all, I am so far away from even tapping into a glimpse of what regular practice of meditation offers. However, the fact that I’m able to wake my ass up and take 15 minutes to sit in stillness in this fast-paced world already feels like a huge accomplished feat, so I’m going to cherish that.

I will continue to catapult into meditation and hopefully, one day will reach that point of ultimate enlightenment (will obviously keep ya’ll updated) 🙂

Chewing Gum and Anxiety

I hear my heartbeat in my ears and feel as though I’m not getting enough air to breathe in and out. My chest tightens and my throat closes. Sweat develops in my armpits, forming embarrassing sweat stains on my tshirts. Repeating: You’re okay. Just breathe. does nothing to alleviate my symptoms. 

This is when I remember to open up my backpack and grab a piece of EXTRA peppermint gum. I start chewing, and almost immediately my chest and throat open up. I no longer feel like I’m fighting to simply breathe. My heart is still rapidly beating, but it’s no longer pulsing in my ears and preventing me from focusing on the task at hand. 

Chewing gum is my go-to method for ensuring my anxiety does not spiral out of control. When I began to notice how my habit of chewing gum and anxiety were linked together, I did some quick research and found that there’s actually science that backs up this idea:

  • “A study out of Swinburne University found that people who chew gum while multitasking under stress had lower cortisol levels, reduced levels of stress and anxiety, and increased levels of alertness and performance. Another found that chewing gum can improve a negative mood, and increase levels of peace and calm.” – Inc.com
  • “The ancient Greeks and Mayans chewed on tree resin, while the first “chewing gum” was made in the 1800s from a type of rubber known as chicle (yup, the same stuff Chiclets were named after!). While today’s gum tastes a lot better, the ancient Greeks and Mayans may have been on to something— studies suggest the ancient chewers may have felt less stress than their non-gum-chewing counterparts” – Greatist

Keeping this evidence and my own personal experience in mind, it’s crucial to understand that gum does NOT cure anxiety – it only provides temporary relief. Additionally, just because this works for me and for some others, does NOT mean that it will have the same effects on you. 

Identifying a mechanism to help yourself bounce out of the anxious period – whether that be chewing gum, cold showers, running, etc. – can greatly improve your work ethic, mood, and enable you to attempt to remain in the present moment. 

Other mechanisms that help my anxiety (but are not as immediately accessible as chewing gum):

  • Walks in nature
  • Long showers
  • Driving with music or a podcast
  • Working out and sweating A LOT
  • Watching a movie with my family 
  • Writing/Blogging

Catapult #4

Isha Kriya Meditation

Life has been a whirlwind these past few months – especially since I’ve started my job as a medical scribe. My anxiety has peaked in ways never before, to the point where I struggle to sleep and work.

There have also been a lot of other things that I’ve been trying to complete. But as a perfectionist, I never feel satisfied and always feel like there is more to do, which inevitably leaves me feeling even more disappointed and fatigued.

I realized that I have immense ambitions that are underway and am excited about, but at the same time, I am identifying myself with these ambitions. More specifically, I am identifying myself with my thoughts.

Additionally, I’ve begun working out regularly for the past year and have started to eat more healthily in hopes of attaining my fitness goals. However, in this process, I’ve also started to identify with my body.

In essence, when we identify ourselves with our bodies and minds, we limit ourselves from experiencing life for what it is. This is still a concept that I’m trying to grasp because it still seems so unreal and existential, which is why I decided to embark on the Isha Kriya Meditation journey.

Sadhguru recommends that people do this meditation either twice a day for 48 days or once a day for 90 days. However, my life is so unpredictable at the moment and I don’t want to restrict myself with certain “deadlines” because that will simply cause me more anxiety.

So, I am going to TRY to do the Isha Kriya meditation at least once every day and we’ll see if I am able to keep this up for 3 months.

My goal in catapulting myself into the world of meditation is to learn to think and feel broader than the boundaries set by my mind and body. I don’t think meditation will “cure” my anxious thoughts, but I do think it will help me become more aware and better at coping with them.

I encourage you all to try this with me because then maybe we can connect together and discuss our spiritual findings after the 90 days are up 🙂

Creative Living is Extraordinary

This was a refreshing and encouraging read. 

Quick Synopsis: Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the importance of creative living. The importance of chasing curiosity, not wallowing in failure, and recognizing that creative living is the only way to live. 

The most interesting part of this book was when Gilbert talked about her idea to write a book about the Amazon jungle. The idea just came to her and she was ecstatic and completely imbibed in the process of writing that book. However, unexpected events in her life came in the way and hindered the completion of that book. Years later, Gilbert meets one of her author friends, who shares a book idea that she got. The friend repeats the same plot and idea that Gilbert had had with her Amazon jungle story. HOW INSANE! 

We often think that ideas are our own. After reading this book, I realize that ideas do not belong to us – we do not create them. Ideas are alive entities and they find that one right person who will bring them to life. 

That’s exactly what happened with Gilbert. The idea of the Amazon jungle novel chose Gilbert initially, but when it realized that Gilbert would no longer be able to birth it to life, it chose a different human to do the job. What an incredible finding! 

I often get scared that someone will do something before me. I have ideas and projects in mind, so I worry that someone will beat me to it. I will proceed to internalize it if someone does beat me to it. 

Note to self after finishing this book: Someone has already done something that you wanted to do because there are only so many things to be done. But no one has done that something the way that you will or have done that something – and this, is the beauty of our human existence. 

It’s okay if the same idea that found us traveled away from us and found someone else to fulfill it. We need to realize that either we were not fully ready to do justice for that project or that we can still keep going with the idea and do it in our own way (that is, only if we are still extraordinarily passionate about it). 

All in all, this was an incredibly thought-provoking book that made me reframe the way I’ve thought about life. It’s also provided me with some answers on how to handle my envy of others. 

I would definitely recommend this for anyone who feels as though they are “stuck,” have no purpose, jealous, or just want to learn how to notice the signs that the Universe continues to bombard us with everyday.