Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) aka winter blues, seasonal depression or whatever you want to call it, is a disorder that affects people who usually have a normal mental health during the majority of the year with the exception to when seasons change or at particular times of the year (usually winter). SAD can affect your mood, sleep, appetite and energy levels, and overall take a toll on your body and every aspect of your life. When winter hits you may feel like an entirely different person. You can feel hopeless, sad, tense, stressed, lose interest in things you usually love. Although this can also affect people in the summer, usually SAD affects those in the fall or winter when the days become shorter (and colder in some cases).
It's that time of year again and I have some up with a different way to gift your family for the holidays.  Often people are very stressed this time of year and are hardly taking care of the person who matters most, themselves.  Give the gift of relaxation for your family and friends this year! What am I saying? Give your friends little customized Bath Oils and Bath Salts!
By now, you all know I went through a slight anxiety crisis this summer.  It was a fucking nightmare filled with ups and downs, skin breakouts and a slight depression.  Like guys, it was a weird summer, I actually peed myself.  My anxiety was so bad I had nightmares that made me pee myself.  I would wake up chocking from the fear of something happening to me or my family. One night, it was so bad, I had to wake up Andrew because I genuinely thought it was the end for me.  He googled the symptoms, calmed me down and reassured me I was just having another fear/panic attack.
It’s almost 2018 and usually around this time of year we start to make resolutions and promises to ourselves on how we want to improve in the new year. Often times we rarely stick to these because they aren’t always realistic. Instead of setting a goal that’s out of reach, how about setting a goal to work on yourself and improve your mindfulness and day-to-day routine to make you healthier and happier? Here are some ideas to get you started…
On May 6th, 2017 I quit my job.... I was working as a professional waitress, like I did it for 14 years. I was so good at what I did that a customer of mine at the restaurant I was working nominated me for a White Hat Award and I received second place in all of Calgary. The day I found out I won, one of my bosses told me. He is genuinely such a kind guy and I was so pumped to hear from him that I was being recognized for my hard work. But life isn't all roses and rainbows, and it was in that moment, right fucking then, that I knew I needed to get out. My managers and shift leader didn't even recognize that I had won an award. They made no eye contact. Nothing. Sure they may have said congrats, but I can tell when people mean it and they sure as hell didn't.
It all started with light headedness, then I would have hot flashes, then I would feel like I was chocking, and all of a sudden my heart would pound so hard I thought I was having a heart attack (my first panic attack was so bad I had to ask my neighbour for help because I literally thought I was going to die ). Heart palpitations, pains in my chest, hyperventilating, paranoia, over digesting.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn't even take my vitamins without having a panic attack. I was hot-ass-mess, ask Andrew. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in North America with every one in four people in Canada alone living with it. I’m one of those Canadians who live with it and let me tell you, there’s no worse feeling than experiencing the above and wondering: “What the hell is wrong with me?”
On August 6th, I decided to come off birth control. A decision that wasn’t made lightly, but one that I’m so glad I made. At the time I was going through all sorts of ups and downs, and my body was almost screaming to me: “Maria, let me loose of the pill!!” So what led me to this decision? Well prior to going on the pill, I would hardly get a single zit (okay, maybe one a month near my period). However, I started to have hormonal breakouts. I was also having a series of other symptoms like heart palpitations, mood swings (sorry Andrew!) and difficulties even getting out of bed in the morning. My body temperature changed and I was constantly really hot all the time. I was losing weight, was constantly bloated, and on top of that, had an inconsistent period. That’s when I started to do some research and consulted my doctor on what was going on, only to find out it was related to me being on birth control and some hidden anxiety and adrenal fatigue (but we will get to that later).

Morning lovelies, I thought I would start this open letter to everyone who fears letting go with a quote from J. K. Rowling.

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” 

Typically I write these blog posts for my audience, and hope to shed light on real-life situations and problems but this post is different.  I am also writing it for myself.  Last week I hit a breaking point, - well it actually might have been while I was at a drag show when I started to bawl harder then I have ever cried while the man sung along to Celine Dion's "I am Alive" - I felt heavy, more heavy than I have ever felt.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  All I wanted to do was hug the person I miss most.  But I could not.  I had to make the situation I was in better, by myself, and for me.

So I began to think about everything going on around me and I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness but there was a space in my heart that was filled with darkness and misconception.  A place I try not to think about very often... hence why I never address things - things in the the darkness - , or talk about them.  That is why I decided to write this for myself, because at that point in time I wish I had something like this to read to make everything better, or go away for a few minutes.


The keys to goal setting are in Organization

"We become what we think about, we are all self made, but only the successful will admit it."

Hello everyone! Every day I am asked "Maria, how the fuck do you do it"?  Typically I answer by saying, "I guess it is in my blood to hustle."  Hours spent thinking about it and I realized that since I was young I developed habits to success! Before we jump into my 5 tips I would just like to quickly get very cheesy with you guys. As you read the list below you may realize that I do not mention one of the most important things to organization, and success...........

In order to succeed, and stay organized you have to believe in yourself.  You have to learn to train your mind to believe in yourself more than anyone ever could.  The power of believing is the strongest gift you could have.  If you are reading this and know that you do not believe in yourself then let me tell you this.  YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. Try your hardest, sweat your balls off, never give up, because I swear something amazing is destined for you.

Sharing the love with all of you again on this Beautiful Wednesday morning.  Talented Calgary (YYC) based photographer @jasonbephoto welcomed me and my photo shoot with opens arms two weeks ago, as we invaded his home, and basically cook over his living room. Nothing would be the same without gorgeous + edgy make-up artist, @sofnotsoph, talented hair stylist @k8ferg, and our handy man dan on the lights @andrewjcamacho.  Thank you all so much for working with my crazy self, and for making me feel as comfortable as possible!

Photo Credit: Lux Media Group

"The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself"

It has been awhile folks, but I am back with an important topic; learning to love yourself + self confidence.  For years and years I would tell myself, and people around me that I was strong. I don't know if I did this because I thought I was, or because I was confusing the word strong for something else.  Maybe I was confused because for years I was strong; I was ripped, I had tree trunk muscles legs, and I had the pain tolerance of The Hulk.  I guess what I decided to believe is that when I was young (and I believe this to be the same for a lot of people) I was taught that being strong means you are strong.

Definition of strong - at the age of around 13-16:

  1. You can take on the world, defend yourself, and not be walked all over.
  2. Lift really heavy things, and carry your dad.
Well hello friends, about time I write about this motivation topic is it not? I mean after all it is my most asked question "Maria, how the hell do you do it? How have you not crashed from being so tired, and involved ALL THE TIME?" Is what I am asked a lot.  I guess I just got used to it but the more I thought about it I realized I am a product of my two biggest motivators.

My parents.  

*Yep, now I am crying*.  These two goof balls came to this country with nothing, and I mean that honestly.

My. Parents. Had. Nothing.