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woman with blonde hair wearing a pink top and a green skirt standing confidently in her room smiling at the camera

Being in lockdown has undoubtedly had a massive impact on our wellbeing, our self-esteem and for me, my body image. At first, I was really thrown off by the pandemic. I was concerned for my health and those around me, overwhelmed by the amount of panic and suffering that occurred across the globe, and I really struggled with the massive shifts in my day-to-day routine. I didn't know what this meant for me, my future, my health, and my plans for staying in the UK. Since I live in London and my family lives in Canada, I felt helpless. 

I coped with all of this in a number of ways. I've had many crying sessions. I've taken a lot of naps. I've eaten so many snacks. And I've woke up with the same thoughts every morning "this, again?" I've learned to take each day as it comes and adjust my schedule to my daily needs. 

One thing I struggled with in the beginning of lockdown was my body image. I was spending more time scrolling on Instagram, comparing myself to other people, more time looking in the mirror, and tonnes of time alone with my thoughts. This all started to affect my self-esteem. But then I started to realize that I didn't want to spend this entire lockdown feeling this way. I began to see that everything I was feeling was normal and in that moment, I accepted myself. I forgave myself for doing whatever I needed to do to get by. And if that meant snacks and naps, then so be it. I decided to be kinder and more gently with myself during this time. What we're all experiencing is a crisis and I shouldn't blame myself for feeling all kinds of emotions and needing to comfort myself in the ways I know how. 

Over time, I began to re-build my body confidence and I now feel like I love myself even more than I did pre-lockdown. Today I wanted to share what has helped me increase my body confidence during lockdown. Scroll to the end for the YouTube video! Yes — a video! It's been years. 

1. Forgiveness 

Negative body image can stem from not accepting the way we look and wishing we looked like someone else. I've learned that in order to treat myself with more love and kindness, I needed to forgive myself for the negative thoughts I've had towards my body and accept myself for who I am today. I'm all for making positive changes and aspiring to reach a level of health and wellbeing, but I've learned that before doing that, I must accept what I look like right now. By reaching a state of body neutrality, I can move forward towards body positivity. 

2. If it doesn't fit, put it away

Once I started lockdown and working remotely, my outfit choices changed significantly. I stopped wearing a bra (how awesome is this?!) and I stopped wearing jeans and belts. I didn't feel inspired to put any colour into my outfits or put the usual amount of effort in because I didn't see the point if I was just staying in my room. In the beginning, I couldn't even emotionally handle considering trying on my jeans. In the event that that didn't fit how they used to, I knew this would affect my self-esteem. By only wearing clothes that fit me, and not putting pressure on myself to dress exactly how I used to, I found this really helped me feel more comfortable in my skin. 

3. Curate your social feeds

As per my screen time reports, I've definitely doubled up my social media scrolling times. And in the beginning of lockdown, this really took a hit on my self-confidence. I began comparing myself and getting really emotionally attached to how many likes and follows I was getting. Over time, I decided to unfollow people who promoted weight loss, diets, and obsessive workout culture. I then followed people who inspire me to love myself as I am and promote positive body image.

4. Get into your body 

When I think negatively about my body, I tend to see my body as something that is separate to me. It's something over there that I don't like. But when I actually look at myself, touch my body, and move my body, I feel more ownership of this vehicle. And when I feel ownership, I feel closer to my body and want to show it more love. Some of my favourite ways to get into my body are through dance, yoga, meditation, running, walking, and self-massage. 

5. Dress up for you 

In the beginning of lockdown, I didn't feel like dress up nicely to go nowhere. Yet, as weeks passed, I missed playing in my closet, doing my hair and make-up, and taking cute pics. Even though I had nowhere to go, I started doing this again and I really enjoyed it. Getting dressed up for me reminds me that I had nobody to impress but myself and all that matters is how I view myself, not what others think. Taking pictures also helps me to have factual evidence of what I look like, so it can destroy the distorted image I have in my head. 

6. Eat the cookies, but with love 

We all experience cravings from time to time and they're sometimes met with a lot of guilt and shame. Instead of either restricting myself from having certain foods or eating snacks while feeling guilty and shameful, I decided to allow myself to have these simple pleasures. I then practice eating the snacks slowly, with love and joy, and feeling happy about eating something I was really wanting. While we're under tremendous stress with this pandemic, we don't need added pressure to be perfect. 

7. Talk about it 

When I ruminate on the same negative thoughts around my body image, they can become all-consuming. Once I started sharing my concerns with friends, many of them related to me. All of us are undergoing many of the same emotions and experiences in lockdown and sharing this with friends and family helps take the weight of my chest. I instantly feel lighter once I get the thoughts out of my mind and onto paper or a conversation with a friend. Once I began to clear my mind of these thoughts, I could then focus on other things. Like projects, crafts, recipes, exercise, yoga, and gardening. As I focused on all these other aspects of my life, I began to spend less time focused on what I look like. 

My first YouTube video in years:

As lockdown restrictions ease up, please remember to be kind and gentle with yourself. Remember these tips and especially if you're re-entering your workplace, only wear clothes that fit you and make you feel confident. I am hopeful we will come out of this situation stronger, more united and much kinder to ourselves. 

What are you doing to be kinder to yourself during lockdown? 

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I like to have a plan. 

To some degree, we all do. Humans are change and risk averse. As much as I have faith in the universe and the journey that life is taking me on, I still struggle with believing everything will work out. 

My need to control everything around me has backfired many times. The more in-control I try to be, the less I actually control. Because change is the only constant in life, I’m learning that control itself is an illusion. How could I possibly have control when there is a circus dancing around me? 

I mentioned in my last post that I am heading into a summer of uncertainties that will have a big effect on my life. This alone has made me feel out of control — as there are so many factors that are literally outside my command centre. Add on top of that a global health pandemic and economic uncertainty abound, I put my hands up. 

Even this photoshoot had a 'plan'. My idea was to choose a word for 2020 and dress accordingly. When my friend Sabina of Vita and Moda took these photos — many weeks before social distancing was a thing — I thought my word was freedom. I wanted to look and feel more vulnerable than I typically do — hence the sheer dress. I think more than anything I want to feel free. And the more I thought about this word, the more it felt done to me. I realized I am free. I set myself free. 


It wasn’t until this week — which brought more and more hints at the overbearing uncertainty of my life — that I had to sit down and do some emotional healing and soul searching. It was during my meditation and crying sesh that the word surrender came to me. At first, my natural tendency to control kicked in. And then reality (and the fact that too many things are now out of my control) kicked in. And then I dropped my walls. The ones that were so narrowly caving in on me day by day. I felt a sense of relief.

There is a space between action and reaction. I realize that what I can choose is how I react to where life brings me. It is in this space that I found healing and light. Openness and faith. When I surrender my need to control everything, I am giving leverage to my higher self. That part of me that acts out of love over fear and supports my utmost biggest dreams. 

I can’t control everything. I can’t decide exactly what my life will look like. If the current circumstances have taught me anything, it is that I can and must live presently and take small actions each day to move in the direction I want — a direction towards living and loving bigger than ever before. I can have faith. I can trust that as long as I live in a way that feeds my soul, I will always be in the ‘right’ place. 

What helps me is to know that there is a bigger plan, a higher purpose, for me and for all of us. When I turn my focus to something beyond little old me, I feel connected to the wider world and humanity. 

I’ve learned that I need to love myself more than anyone else. It is through self-love that I can feel strong enough within myself to let everything else go. I can relinquish control. I can be my own queen and sit on my throne. And it’s my throne. It’s the front seat of the rollercoaster of my life.

I’m buckled up and I won’t look back.

Have a poem:

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In this week’s edition of ‘What is my purpose?’: I’ve been confronting a lot of big picture life stuff. I have some big decisions to make this summer. Some are out of my control (hello expiring Visa) and some aren’t. Regardless of what happens with that, I am reaching a point where I’ve taken a huge leap of faith, I’ve given myself time and space to get to know myself, and now I am beginning to make sense of this new found knowledge. 

I’ve gotten real with myself. I’ve become more honest. I’m living my life the way I want to. In the process, I’m learning what I will tolerate and won’t — and how to communicate that. I’m learning that being direct with people in a way that is truthful and kind doesn’t take away from the warm and gentle person I aspire to be. It doesn’t take away from me being loving and compassionate. It doesn’t take away anything and actually gives me peace and more space in my heart to be able to love in a bigger way.

For so much of my life, I lived it for everyone else. Take my first relationship for example, where I was so desperate for love and attention that I sacrificed my happiness, my friendships, my time and dignity just to feel loved. I lied to him, to everyone around me, and most of all to myself. I wasn’t honest about what I wanted because frankly, I didn’t feel worthy of it. I could barely even close my eyes and dream of what I truly wanted because it was so blurred. My self-worth was so low that I couldn’t see a life where I was in a happy, healthy relationship, let alone living the dreams I couldn’t even picture at the time.

I’ve always believed there’s no such thing as bad people or anyone that intentionally wants to harm other people. We all approach life from our own frame of reference and everyone carries some form of conditioning, trauma, fears, and self-doubt that collides with other people’s conditioning, trauma, fears and self-doubt.

My trusting nature truly comes from a place of optimism and love — of knowing that deep down, everyone is born into this world with a loving heart. I still believe this. But, I’ve also been hurt enough times by people to know that we are also human — with a spectrum of emotions and animalistic tendencies. Straight up: we make mistakes. I do too.

I’ve been reflecting lately on how I’ve changed in the past year and a half. One of the major changes is that I’ve become a more honest and direct person. Moving to a city like London alone has definitely caused me to alter this way of thinking. It was the only way I’d survive.

I’m learning to accept that I can be direct and voice my opinion with people, set boundaries, and be honest, and I can still believe in our inherent good nature. Everyone deserves the opportunity to start with a blank slate to build a foundation of trust upon. And trusting people doesn’t make me gullible just as much as being direct and setting clear boundaries doesn’t make me a mean person.

The general theme of my life right now has fluctuated between getting real with myself and others, asking for and working hard for what I want to achieve professionally and personally, still dealing with feelings of guilt around all of the above, and just trying to survive the day to day. Things like managing getting to work clothed, bathed, with snacks, and navigating my commute, balancing after work activities, working on my goals and personal to-do lists, my finances and paying bills on time, keeping in contact with my friends and family in Canada, growing my friendships here in London, as well as dating and looking for a relationship. When I write it out like this, I now realize why I am always tired. And why I have graduated from drinking coffee for fun to drinking coffee to wake up. *insert sweat bead emoji*

I’m not alone — we all have a lot going on. But I’m enjoying myself. I genuinely love my life. I’m not perfect. I fall more times than my social media would ever admit. And on this honesty journey, I want to begin sharing more of that person — the everyday lady just trying to juggle all the balls. 


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The magic of twin-ship

I’ve been sitting on posting these photos for seven months now. Mostly because I couldn't find the words to describe this lady right here and the bond we share. For those who know, you know who this is. Everyone else: Meet my (fraternal) twin sister, Lisa! When she came to visit me in London last June, I forced nudged her to do a photoshoot with me. And this is what we came out with. 

Being twins, we have so many photos together as babies and kids, but we actually don’t have that many together as adults. Before I moved, she was my primary blog photographer and spent most of the time behind the camera. I’m so happy she was willing to be on the other side this time around. Photoshoots can be scary but like most things in life, Lisa will do them if I prove that I didn’t die doing it first. This one we faced together. 

This wasn’t a regular photoshoot and these aren’t just photos. To me, they evoke emotions — ones we proudly show on our faces — and not just the calm and happy ones. They tell a story of our twinness and the many ways we co-exist in the world. From the cuddly to the sassy, to the unbreakable hand-holding and the pretending to be civilized outside a cafĂ© photo, I hope you get a sense of what we’re truly like, not just through my words, but through the images too. 

This visit was incredibly special to me. Lisa is the most important person in my life; She’s my best friend and partner for life. If there was a geographical equivalent to the love I have for Lisa, London would be it. Spending time with the person I love most in the city I love the most was, well, a love explosion, if you will.

The lovefest lasted until the moment I had to unhinge my arms from her waist at the airport departures gate. Being a twin is not easy. On the one hand, Lisa and I (I’ll refer to us as “we” moving forward) get to experience a rare bond that only 3.3 per cent of people do. Being a twin is vastly different from having sisters or brothers, and lightyears different from being an only child. Only twins truly understand the bond we have, although not all twins remain close throughout their lifetime.

We’re in the ‘close forever’ box

We have had the immense pleasure and joy of being very close since babies. The love, friendship, and twin-ship (if you will) that we have is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever experienced. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her and I can always rely on her just the same. There’s been a lot of research done on twins. We’ve learned that twins bond to each other in the way non-twin children bond to their parents. So, when twins separate, they feel the same difficulties that non-twin children feel when they move out of their parents’ home. 

Twins living in different cities

We’ve not lived in the same city for two years now. When we first moved away from each other (Lisa moved away for school), we spent the first few months crying a lot while spending every moment we could on Facetime, mostly while the camera watched us do our everyday tasks (like a baby monitor of sorts).

It was really, really, hard

Living in the dark underbelly of the metaphorical rainbow twin-ship bridge exposed how close our relationship is. We’ve never existed without each other. It’s no wonder we didn’t really know how. And this is why ripping the twin separation band-aid was equally painful and crucial to our growth as people — and as twins. 

Moving to London 

This has been my dream for many years. I had to make many sacrifices to come here and live out this dream, and my family and friends back home have had to do the same. Lisa has been so supportive. Even though it was my choice to move here, she has had to suffer the pain of us being apart. Despite this, she’s always cheered me on and has put me above her own feelings and desires of wanting me home.  

We can feel the distance 

When I packed up my life to move to London, I wasn’t worried about the challenges that would come my way. I was mostly worried about how we would deal with being so far away. The timezone is one thing but being so physically far away is a hard one to swallow. As twins, we aren’t telepathic but we do have a strong energetic connection and we can feel the distance between us. 

How have we survived? 

Some days we do and sometimes we don’t. We have a strict FaceTime schedule. While I always know what she is up to and we get to see each-other’s face every day, I am missing out on the little things. Whether it’s doing groceries or cleaning the house, everything was easier when we did it together, and we made it fun. Seeing her face when I come home from work and her “bothering me” asking how my day is like a dog who’s greeted it’s owner at the door. These are the things I miss the most. 


Because of you, I am 

Lisa gives me life and she inspires me to be better. When life knocks me out, she is the reason I can keep going. The bond we share is forever. It’s infinite. It’s rare. I’m grateful to get to experience the magic of twin-ship.
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