When 2018 first rolled around, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.
2017 had been an amazing year and I already knew that 2018 wouldn’t be able to beat it, but the intensity of these last four months has been beyond even what I imagined.
When I say “intensity” I mean a number of things – the good, the bad, and the ugly, with high speed transitions that other people would describe as a roller coaster but I like to describe as the Canadian spring temperature. Most of it is highly emotional. At the worst point I had a guest that I hadn’t seen since five years ago – anxiety. I’ve only had repetitive periods of anxiety/panic attacks twice in my life – once in 2013, and once in 2018. It didn’t help that these past four months have also been very busy for me in terms of running my side business, studying, helping out at church, and exercising.
So from the middle of April until now I have been taking some time to recover because I know that very soon the busy summer is going to start and I’ll be packed again with no time to deal with all the emotional baggage.
This blog post is going to show you some of the fun things I did that made me happier and hopefully inspire you with some new ideas that you can use to care for yourself if 2018 has been punching you around a bit like it has been doing to me. All these activities are more or less solitary so you don’t have to ask your busy friends to hang out.
1. Visiting a strange store
I decided to go to a bookstore that I’ve wanted to visit for some time but never did because it was so far from me. The Monkey’s Paw at Bloor St W and Landsdowne specializes in old, unusual books.
I was excited to try out their famous vending machine called the Biblio-Mat, which will dispense a random book for $3 (price has increased since the time of the web page).
You buy a token from the nice man working there and then dispense it into the machine.
It makes a sound and then it belches out an old, unusual book for you. Look at this scandalous book that I got!
2. Exploring the city alone
I love people but I’m also an introvert, so being surrounded by people while not having to interact with them is great! This is why I like exploring downtown Toronto by myself. I first discovered how much I loved exploring busy cities when I was in Beijing and carried this hobby back home.
3. Eating cute food at cute places
There were three reputedly cute places that I wanted to go to but only ended up going to one. Peace Treats on Argyle and Ossington has really pretty milkshakes. I got the D.R.E.A.M.
Does it taste as good as it looks? Yes. Yes it does. The girl making the milkshakes was really considerate because I needed to run to a washroom nearby so she held off the cream and waited until I came back to finish making the milkshake so that it wouldn’t melt while I was gone. Part of their profits go to helping poor kids in Canada.
Home is Markham but when I travel abroad I obviously say I’m from Toronto because where the heck is Markham? They played a lot of Drake in there.
Fun fact: eating cute food at cute places is also a hobby developed in Beijing, which has some of the cutest cafes I have ever been to in my life.
4. Going somewhere you’ve been to a long time ago
All my OCAD alumni friends know Manpuku in the Grange. They took me there to eat a long time ago. My lasting memory of it was good food at good prices. This time I went back and I was not disappointed. The food and prices are still great, and the people working there are friendly and prompt. I had some kake udon.
This place is especially great if you’re eating alone. It feels perfectly normal and they have tables for one where you can people-watch.
5. Writing a letter to the BFF
The secret to this activity is using cute stationery. My BFF and I have been long-distancing for so many years in our long friendship that we’ve gotten used to it. Sort of. I still miss spending time with her in person.
6. Trying new solutions to old problems
I have back acne from fencing evidently my traditional wash-and-change method hasn’t helped. I finally decided I was going to buy some soap that is reputedly good for “bacne”. I bought the Pelican Soap For Back (Herbal Citrus). I haven’t started using it yet but when my little break is done and softball season hits (no pun intended), I’m probably going to need it.
Hopefully this means I’ll be able to wear open-back dresses without having to explain to everyone why I have red splotches all over my back (“because I sweat while I stab people”).
7. Learning something new from YouTube
I started modeling my Etsy products so I’m learning how to do contouring with makeup. So far I’ve only managed to get the nose right but it’s a lot of fun just messing around with makeup and taking ridiculous pictures.
Another girl achievement unlocked.
8. Adopting plant babies
I love house plants. I can generally keep them alive even though they don’t always look too healthy. Costco happened to be selling herb plants so I’ve adopted these new babies ❤
I have repotted them into these nice clay pots. I can’t plant them outside because of this serial killer:
But sometimes I put them outside to enjoy the air a bit. This makes them happy.
I hope my babies grow up big and strong. And when they do, I will eat them. ￣ ︶ ￣
I hope that your 2018 has been less intense than mine, but if not, then I hope this blog post has given you some ideas on how to enjoy spending time with yourself. Please pray for me because alas it’s only May and I’m already asking when this year will be over.
Thanks for reading and please do share some of your own fun activities that make you happy in the comments below 🙂