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Advice

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Have you ever noticed how easy it is to collect clutter? I’m the kind of person who really hates to litter because I know how precious our environment is not only to human survival but generally. I consciously collect the day’s bottles, candy wrappers, receipts and other odds and ends in my handbag so by the end of the day, I always have a lot to offload. It feels like a similar thing is happening in my mind sometimes. A mass of thoughts, often negative, being held onto that I do not need. My favourite place to “offload” is the beach. Going to the beach used to be ritualistic for myself and my family, we went every day before my brothers and I started school and then once that got in the way we went every Sunday without fail. It’s always been an escape to me.
I’ve recently accepted my battle with anxiety and panic disorder (something I hope to share more on once I win it) and a relaxation technique that I’m always advised to try is visualization. I’m sure it’s something you have all heard before (even if referenced in a movie):

“Imagine yourself on a nice relaxing beach… “

Here in the Caribbean, we are blessed enough to not have to imagine. In Barbados, a public beach is almost never further than 30 minutes away by bus. We neglect the most natural relaxation technique. I’d like to share  a few relaxing things to do at the beach, that you could do alone or with a friend:

Swim – I mean, obviously. It’s great exercise and extremely refreshing on a hot day. You should never go swimming at the sea alone, because even the best of swimmers can never predict the volatility of the ocean. Even if you’re not a strong swimmer, just dipping your legs in the water can be extremely relaxing.

Observe – Do you remember what it was like as a child? When the crash of waves were scary, finding blue pieces of glass along the shoreline was the most exciting thing and you could run for hours chasing the edge of the water. Growing up somehow makes you lose that bright-eyed wonder (and all that energy). This is why at the beach I prefer to occasionally just sit and watch the beauty unfold before me. 

Beauty Treatments – Nope, you did not read that wrong. I love to use the soft west coast sand to exfoliate my legs and feet. Simply rub it all over and massage gently, I’m usually wearing coconut oil (natural SPF 4-5) which allows the sand to stick more effectively and give a good scrub. I also like to walk with a leaf of aloe vera to the beach and I use it in my hair as a shampoo/conditioner. This is also the method my father and brothers use to cleanse their dreadlocks. Just make sure you rinse your hair with fresh water after returning home.

Read – This is something I myself need to work on. Reading opens the mind, and is accompanied perfectly by gentle crashing waves and the sound of birds and children’s faint laughter. If you like to read, and have never done it at the beach…. what are you waiting for!? Just remember to bring water and a snack, a nice comfy beach towel/chair and find somewhere shaded!

Soak Up Some Sun – I love my skin when it has that extra radiance of a tan, it makes my feel more confident and look extra defined in photos! I also find it very therapeutic. It’s important to minimize damage to your skin while tanning so make sure to apply SPF 30+ sunscreen or tanning oil, stay hydrated and avoid the most intense sun between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

Dig A Hole – Yeah, I know it sounds silly but you would be surprised how relaxing this or building a sand castle can be! It’s something my brothers and I did a lot as children with the goal of digging the hole deep enough to reach water. It’s actually also an amazing upper body workout!

Thank you so much for reading and I really hope that everyone takes a step back from “life” and uses some of these if not other techniques to relax. You deserve it!

These photos are un-retouched and were taken at Gibbs Beach, Barbados by an old friend Kashif who is based in MD, Unites States. The products I used to achieve this makeup look can be discovered here! 

 

 

Everyone at some point feels blue around holidays, whether it be recent loss or just simply disinterest. Personally, this Christmas season I had a really difficult time even accepting that it was the holidays. Being in a long distance relationship, holidays are very muted for me and I usually spend the time with the people who make it easier – immediate friends and family. Valentine’s Day is a whole other story! Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” A day literally dedicated to celebrating  love – exactly what someone who’s significant other is 2,000 miles away needs! HOWEVER, as much as I love my partner, I love a lot more too and that’s why this year I’m making these my Valentines:

Myself21 years wrapped in a beautiful curly haired package. A student who tries her hardest and never gives up, a woman who aspires to inspire and someone I’m learning every day. Someone who loves to create, who binge watches television shows you probably don’t know exist. Zany at times, introverted at others. I love me and I’m going to start expressing it more! Starting by buying myself something nice this Valentine’s Day!

The Beach
My escape. I’ve honestly been neglecting my love for the water! As a child growing up, I made it to the beach with my parents every single week and every day when school was out. I guess as with everything, life got in the way and now I only find time to go to the beach maybe once a month with a few friends. This Valentine’s day and month, I’m going to make an extra effort to visit one of my first loves – the beach! 

My Family

Enter cheesy vacation photo from 2007! Although my brothers and I haven’t always been close, they have always been in my life and there for me and so I want to make sure I fully appreciate them by mentioning them. My parents as well always have my back, my mother especially who is my best friend. Thank you for everything, Hinds’! This Valentine’s Day I’m going to buy some small gifts for my family members just to show them they’re appreciated.

My Friends

It’s impossible for me to use a photo or call names to represent all the people I appreciate and love in my life. I know they know who they are and how much they mean to me! For Valentine’s Day I’m spending some time with two of my friends who recently got out of relationships, because I know how hard it can be to be alone on a day celebrating togetherness.

Netflix

Every night I fall asleep next to you and you’re always there in the morning to remind me “Are you still watching….?”.  Thank you for never letting me down. Maybe I’ll do a blog post on all my favourite Netflix shows, leave a comment if you’d be interested! For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to finish an entire season of a Supernatural on Netflix.

Essentially what I’m trying to get across with this post is that although very often holidays may make it feel important to have someone to share them with, you are enough. Loving yourself unconditionally and surrounding yourself with all the things that make you happy should be your goal this Valentine’s Day, with or without a significant other! Enjoy your day loves! ♥ 

These are a few of my favourite Instagram accounts (photography/style). All by talented young Bajan creatives!

scenesofbarbados / kylebabb – Kyle’s photography is amazing and he runs both two accounts with separate aesthetics so well! definitely one of my favourite photographers, and such a nice guy!

kingkesia – fashion designer, fashion blogger and overall mystical melanin goddess Kesia’s account flawlessly showcases her modeling, art and design and gives me extreme hair lust!

zoeallamby – follow Zoe’s lovely instagram to see travel, natural hair tutorials and beauty inspiration!
alxdrjames – beautiful event and scenic photography, I find this page very calming + you should check out his hilarious vlogs

shalainajoy – this young, talented photographer’s page always leaves me hungry! she takes really flawless up-close photos and captures Barbados really well
bvsed_3a – I love how raw and honest each of Alex’s photos are, really proving that a photo speaks a thousand words

kweenkamilah – beautifully real photos accompanied by inspiring quotes, basically a melanin enriched “Faces of Barbados”

krisirie – Kristen’s feed is beautiful and so is her voice, I love following her adventures (listen to All My Lovin’ on Soundcloud here)

shaneleacock – beautiful scenery and lovely ladies, this one almost didn’t make the list because you’re probably following him already.

theoxora – this post would be nothing without a little self-promotion! follow my instagram to keep up with new Island Myst blog posts and for extra fashion, beauty and lifestyle tips along with my every day adventures!

Thank you so much for reading! These are only 10 of many wonderful pages that I follow so if this post is received well I may continue it as a series, let me know what you think in the comments!

 

 

I know this isn’t an OOTD, or a product review – but, I felt as if it was something touchy that I’m not afraid to speak out about. Situations, people and the relationships that you form with them are all volatile. The time, place or emotional states cannot always be optimal for a healthy relationship to grow into what you had hoped it to be. It’s difficult, putting all your trust in someone that you may have loved to then have it thrown out to the curb and a door slammed in your face. Maybe it was you, maybe it was them – regardless, getting over someone emotionally and physically is always tough. Personally, I’ve been through major breakups and I’ve struggled with the state of alienation from society as a result of them. This post is not to tell you my story, but rather to help you shape yours.

Firstly, you need to focus on you. How do I feel? What do I want? Trying to read the mixed signals from someone you have recently ended a relationship with can be the most exhausting, nerve-wracking thing ever. Naturally, you allow the thought of that person to consume you. How do they feel? What did I do wrong? Specifically in a situation where you did not initiate the ending of the relationship, the sudden displacement in your life caused by disinterest, mistrust or simple bad timing can entrap you so easily. Look at it like this: No longer are you held back by the restrictions of a relationship. You have time. Discover new interests, travel, explore. Being single, even if temporarily, can be extremely liberating. If you called it quits, there had to be a reason why. Stand by your view, focus on yourself before you allow your previous lover or anyone new into your life again.
Surround yourself with people and things who make you happy. There are situations where you might feel like the person you just lost or let go of was the only light in your life, the only person to make a day worth getting out of bed. You’re wrong. I reiterate, focus on you. Find a crappy new television show (I recommend the painfully cliché New Girl), take walks to the beach or the park, pick up photography – there is so much out there to enjoy on your own, that will assist you in growing as an individual.

Secondly, stay away from social media. If you’re in a  situation where things ended on a bad note, the last thing you need to see is someone you care so much about in a photo with someone else or have to read their “IDFWU” tweets and “single life” Instagram captions. It’s not petty to unfriend them on Facebook, to unfollow on Twitter. Removing yourself from the upheaval of social media is good for you, especially in a time of vulnerability when you’re trying to place focus on your own emotions.

Let time do its job. Time heals, but you have to let it. It’s difficult to wait out all the surges of confusing emotions but it’s the only proven cure for heartbreak. I read once, right after a difficult breakup, that it takes twice as long as your relationship with someone to get over them. I remember panicking, after being in that relationship for three years, thinking “How am I going to survive six years of this?” It took a lot less than six years, and I went through confusion, anger, depression, exhaustion, more anger and then finally acceptance.

Accept. If you can change the situation to work in your favour, go for it. If it’s out of your control – then just accept it and move forward.

I know I’m no major advice guru, but I thought I’d share my opinions on how to get through a break-up. I’m a good listener so if you feel the need to vent, you can Direct Message me @IslandMYST. Have a great day and thank you for reading!

Warning, this post is a little more advice-y than usual. After a long summer of eating junk food and watching Netflix, going back to school can be a huge drag. I remember the summer that I discovered Tumblr, I lost contact with most of my friends and basically became this creepy hermit. Then one summer I worked in a stressful environment at a summer camp and got horrible acne scarring and I remember being so afraid to go back to school looking like that. Insecurities about gaining or losing weight, having breakouts or just having to see people after a while can cause a bunch of anxiety about going back to school. This September, I’m starting my first year of university at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus so I know all too well the jitters of starting your education in a whole new environment. I recently had my orientation and academic counselling at the university and it was so daunting just to see how many new students were in my faculty alone and how few of them were familiar faces. Today, I bring to you some tips that I am going to try to follow to make the transition from Summer more bearable.

  • Smile – I know, this is the first tip in every self-help article and you’re tired of hearing it. You don’t want to smile, you have to endure hours of classes, annoying teachers and wake up before 11 AM. Sometimes When I’m feeling down, I look in the mirror and I fake a smile until it looks real and by that time, it usually is real. Charles Darwin wrote that “The free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it” and I have to agree!
  • Entertain Yourself – Read a book (I suggest the Divergent series by Veronica Roth), start a new TV series (BBC’s Doctor Who and Sherlock are amazing) or find a hobby. I chose blogging as a hobby so as I’m sitting here typing this, I’m following my own advice. Writing this article is occupying myself so that I don’t have to think about school starting next week. Of course, all in moderation. You still need time for your actual responsibilities.
  • Talk to Someone – Anyone. A friend, older sibling, someone who took the same courses you’re taking or even a stranger on Omegle. Meet someone doing the same major as you. You can even leave me a message on the blog’s Facebook. Just expressing how you feel often makes you feel better. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone, write down how you feel in a journal.
  • Organize – I don’t know about you, but it always makes me feel better to move stuff around, place labels and sort through old stuff. Tidy up some old school stuff from last year, throw away what you don’t need. Create a work environment where you can study. Get rid of old clothes. It’s exhausting sometimes but so rewarding. Finish off with a cup of tea and an episode of your favourite series in your new space. 
  • Work It Out – Go for an early morning jog/walk, drink a yummy natural smoothie and feel accomplished. Not only will it boost your confidence for back-to-school but you’ll actually feel better and have more energy.
  • Dress to Impress – There’s nothing that builds up my confidence more than a good outfit. Wear your favourite shoes, try a beanie, get a fancy new bag that goes with everything. It’s the small details that most people overlook that can make it for you.
It’s okay to be nervous, to not know anyone and to feel like you’re being flooded with university jargon – that’s the whole point of the experience! I hope this helped someone, I’m not an advice guru and I’m going through the same anxiety so these are just my personal quick-fixes.