What I Learned From Taking A Year Off Of School

‘Tell me about yourself”. Had I not taken sometime to myself I probably would never be able to answer this question. Taking a year off school really helped me find out who I am – without anorexia. Anorexia really defined who I was, for far too many years, that I failed to discover my purpose, my goals, my values and prevented me from developing new hobbies and interests. My thoughts revolved around food and my image –  not one thing else.

Being in this situation, where you choose to take some time away from school, can be quite pressuring… in the sense that not a lot of people are going to agree with your decision. ESPECIALLY when you're taking a year off to focus on switching into an entire new program. I knew going into my second year of University that I needed to take a break from school – to focus on myself. At the time it was because I had drained myself mentally and physically from suffering from an eating disorder, and really only going to school to get my mind off of it. Truthfully it was a good opportunity to avoid being at home. School was my escape from reality, where I got to spend time with friends and sit in class focusing on the material I was learning, rather than thinking about my body image. I still did think a lot about how I looked in class, but the lectures allowed those thoughts to become fuzzy. This was mostly in my first year of University because late October of second year I was released from my clinic – my birthday to be exact.

WHAT I LEARNED

This past year I was able to really focus on myself and I learned so much now that I had time to actually breathe. Sure it still did involve trial and error like life normally should, but life is going to be a rollercoaster and I am now ready for any challenges it wants to throw at me.

My year so far has included trying new hobbies like practicing yoga (which I want to start doing more of) and kickboxing. I was a able to find a good balance between my lifestyle (friends and work) and my fitness routine. I tried out new things that I NEVER thought I would have done, such as camping (I had a lot of fun and it was not anywhere close to being bad – besides it being freezing cold in the MIDDLE of summer!? My mom was pretty shocked when I told her I was going haha!). I was also able to fall back in love with baking, cooking and creating recipes. Previous to my anorexia I would always be in the kitchen baking something for my family to share, I even would have little restaurant menu’s as a kid and set up a dinner for my parents. Creating recipes was always something I was passionate about. I even found a new career path that meant more to me than a degree I had no idea what I was going to do with.

Not only did this year help me to try new hobbies, it also allowed me to finally start projects of my own that I had been thinking about for a while. I became more driven and set new goals for myself that I am excited to see where they take me. This includes my blog. I have always spent a lot of time online reading blogs on beauty, lifestyle, travel and food that I wanted to start my own – I just had no idea where to start. Luckily, accepting a life without anorexia allowed me to do this… I now had a story to share, and a blog was the perfect option for me.

Over the year my confidence has increased a crazy amount as well, and I am so happy about this. I recently got a new job too, that I was dying to be employed at, a couple months ago. This job allowed me to really build my confidence because it involved interacting with over 500 people a day.

One thing I do need to work on still is stress levels. I find even when I don’t notice it, my body is stressed. I have a extremely poor sleep schedule that I really need to work on (as I write this post at 5:30 AM lol) because my body suffers during the day and eventually it all catches up to me. I just CAN’T nap! My body is too alert and I know I should spend more time practicing yoga, reading, eliminating time spent on my phone and social media and even going for walks in nature to get more Vitamin D. I need to learn to relax sometimes and not force myself to stay awake.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS

The point of this post is not to convince you to take time off from school. The idea is that if your not doing one hundred percent what you love, your not going to ever fulfill that empty space in your life. Personally I believe the most achievements come from doing work you love and enjoy and thus, comes great success.