Who are some of your favorite bloggers? I try to follow as many as I can because they have so much wisdom to pass on.That’s what gave me the idea for this interview series. I wanted to glean as much knowledge as I could from those much wiser than me.
This is our fourth installment of Meet the Blogger, all about Steina, a fellow blogger.
Interview questions: Steina
First of all, tell me a little about yourself.
My name is Steina. I grew up in Iceland in the nineties. I would like to think that I was a typical kid except, I had parents who loved me and a baby brother.
Unfortunately, I was bullied quite a lot in my first school and in my second school, it sort of continued because I never knew how to deal with it. People didn’t know a lot about bullying in those days and the consequences that could come from it.
I am recovering after burnout, still dealing with building myself up again after the battle. I nearly lost all faith in myself, my physical strength was nearly gone and I was preparing myself for a long time living on the sofa in depression. But through hard work and self-exploration, I’m on my way to finding myself again.
In February 2017 I was experiencing severe depressive symptoms, difficult thoughts, bad self-esteem and I had no idea why I was feeling that way. I started seeing a psychologist as the situation had started to have a negative impact on my personal and professional life. I was avoiding any social conditions, staying home instead of going out and even consuming too much alcohol in some situations when going out. Which was not something I had ever had a problem with. I was taking more sick days than usual. I often woke up with flu-like symptoms in the morning and even nausea that then settled during the day.
Now I can see that these symptoms go all the way back to 2016 with physical and psychological symptoms. I had been on a journey of trying to find out why I was feeling bad both physically and mentally. Which all lead up to the day I realize with help from a very good Psychologist that I was burned out! I signed in to a treatment program, took 4 months off from work and started working on my health. I went to the gym, I took walks, I took mindfulness lessons, I took a class on how to strengthen my self-esteem and I saw a therapist regularly.
After four months of intense self-work, I managed to start to work part-time again. I took a few months to increase my hours back to full time. In the middle of the process, we made the life-changing decision of moving to another country. It was a major thing to do in the middle of everything I was going through. My husband had to leave 6 months earlier than me and the girls so I was alone with my girls for 6 months while taking care of myself and getting us ready for the move.
Thankfully I had already started the treatment program when we made the decision because I was able to decide how I wanted to react to these changes. There’s no knowing if I could do that before I started the self-work. I made the decision to be positive about this, that this could be a chance for me to see how I could manage life on my own, having never lived on my own before as I moved straight from my parent’s house when my husband and I started living together.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed living on my own. Of course, I had the girls to take care of but I felt so much more independent and everything was somehow easier. And, although I do love my husband very much and I would never leave him I got really scared that this could end our relationship because it felt so good to be on my own. Today, I’m still happily married, my husband is the greatest man any woman could marry. He’s my rock, my world and I love him to bits.
It took a while for us to learn how to live together again and I have to admit I sometimes miss living as a single parent but I also know that in the long run, I wouldn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed it because I knew it was a temporary thing and it gave me all the time in the world to learn about myself, it gave me time to heal and to focus on my journey towards better health.
What is your connection to the blogging and/or mental health community?
Today, I’m mostly blogging about vegan food. I love cooking and I love sharing what I make with others. Blogging combines so many aspects of my interests/talents writing, photography, and cooking. It’s the perfect job for me. I also have a lifestyle page on my webpage where I write about my lifestyle, and also have a few blogs lined up about my journey and my mental health. After going through my journey of healing I feel like I would like to write about it someday on my blog. I have written the outline of the post and hopefully, I will be courageous enough to post it someday.
What is the hardest part of having a successful blog?
The social media world is tough, and what I find difficult is the constant comparison. I also feel like I might be a little too old and not beautiful enough to be working in the blogging field. But what I am learning is that you just have to grow a thick skin to make it. There are so many talented writers out there writing great content and the competition is stiff. What I find hardest is the battle with perfectionism. I always feel like I’ve haven’t done good enough. That my little blog is not good enough and that I am not good enough.
That is something I have been trying to work on. I’m constantly trying to believe in myself and what I’m doing. Sometimes it’s very easy and other days as hard as hell. But I try to plow through each day in the best way I can.
What is the biggest challenge the mental health community faces currently?
People who suffer from mental health issues face a multitude of different problems. And the biggest might not even be their mental health. Being discriminated against, dealing with stigma and misconceptions, fear and prejudice are all things people who suffer from mental issues know all too well.
For centuries we have been lead to believe that mental health issues are to be dealt with in discreet. That having a mental health issue is some kind of indicator that you, as a person, are flawed, that you have some kind of control over your state of health when in fact, just as with any kind of disease this is something that happens to you and you as a person have no control over it.
Fortunately, a lot has happened and we, as a community, are starting to open our eyes. But, much more needs to happen before we can say that we have been successful.
What are 5 things that many people do not know about you?
-I deal with anxiety every single day.
-Sadly, I am really scared of getting cancer and dying.
-I would love to write and publish a book.
-To be honest, I hate talking on the phone.
-I secretly love to procrastinate and then do everything last minute.
What is your favorite book and why?
Honestly, I don’t read much these days. I used to read a lot before my college years but somehow I haven’t really picked up a serious book since graduation. I have, however, been enjoying light reads and my latest obsessions are books by Gill Simms called “Why Mommy Swears/Drinks/Doesn’t give a….” For a mum these are hilarious and I can’t wait to get my hands on the latest one.
What do you do when you are having a really hard day to lift your spirits?
I sing, one hour of singing is extremely healing for me. So I crank up the radio or find karaoke tunes on Youtube and sing my heart out. A good walk in nature can also do wonders. I also take walks, go alone in nature and just listen to music and try to work out what is making me having a hard day and how I can fix it. It really helps to break it down and define what is making you feel bad, why and what you can do about it. I usually come back feeling much better and with an idea of how to make things easier.
What makes a person brave?
Honesty. Speaking the truth, showing your vulnerability are true marks of bravery.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself and why?
Loyal. If I choose you, you have earned my trust and I will stick by you no matter what. Anxious. I am always anxious, I didn’t always know this feeling had a name but now I do and I also know that these are just feelings that will come and go. I can succeed despite them. Creative. I love creating. I constantly have the need to make something. That’s probably why I have my blog and have had other blogs in the past. They give me an outlet for my creativity.
What is your biggest flaw?
My insecurity. It’s the root of all my problems. My lack of belief in myself, my constant feeling of not being enough. It colors my life in many ways and has stopped me from reaching my full potential in many cases.
What is your greatest strength?
My persistence, my ability to take a step back and look at situations from different angles. I’m hard-working and not afraid to take on a load to get things done. Also, I’m kind and a good listener, I tend to be better at seeing solutions for others than myself. I’m practicing listening to myself, in the same way, I listen to others.
What is your best childhood memory?
Playing with my cousins in the family cabin. We just roamed free in the countryside, playing in streams, climbing in cliffs and didn’t have a care in the world. My great grandmother sometimes cama end told us stories about trolls and elves that made the outdoor play even more fun. There was only one place we weren’t allowed to go and nobody dared to go there.
Where do you envision your blog in 5 years?
In five years I hope that my blog will be successful, maybe written a recipe book and hopefully, my dream of opening a café/sustainable and plastic-free store will have come true.
Where do you see the mental health community in 5 years?
Hopefully a lot more open. That a person suffering from a mental health issue can openly admit it just like someone who has broken their leg. That the health industry will have resources to help and guide people towards better mental health. That the government fully acknowledges that mental health is just as important as physical health and getting help will become easier and a part of the government-funded scheme.
I was fortunate enough to live in Iceland when I needed help and we have a program there called VIRK (e. active) designed to help people getting back to work after an illness or accident. It’s free to use, funded by the Government, various Unions, and through grants and donations. Hopefully, we will see more of these places in the future.
Who do you follow to stay updated on all things blogging and/or mental health? Share their links below!
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About the author
I’m Steina, an adventure-seeking Icelander, mum of two teenage daughters, Emilia (16) and Embla (14), and wife to Björn. We recently moved our entire life to London, hoping to settle down and have a few new adventures in this amazing city.
I’ve always loved trying new things in the kitchen and I thought it would be a great idea to have them all here in one place. For me, my family and others who enjoy making plant-based food. We started our plant-based journey in January 2016 when we decided to try Veganuary. One month later we knew we had made the right decision. Here we are 3 and 1/2 year later still going strong.We do our best to live a long and happy life, to follow our hearts, treat people around us with love and respect and so far it has brought us good things. Oh, and one more thing! A few years ago I discovered minimalism. What a life changing moment that was. So this website will mainly feature some recipes, articles on minimalism, traveling, parenting, budgeting, and life.Here are my social media links: