Valentines day is coming up and for some reason this can be an emotional holiday for a lot of us. Maybe it’s because your single or maybe its because your relationship isn’t going as you had planned. However, what may be true for a lot of people is that Valentines day can make you wonder WHY things are going the way that they are. Its a day that can, for no GOOD reason, bring out the self- esteem issues in many. Whether it be body-image issues, anxiety about yourself, or depression about being lonely. Valentine’s day has a way of getting to a lot of people. So, whether or not you think Valentines day is a silly holiday please take a second to read this blog collaboration on Mental Health This Valentines Day.
    I teamed up with fellow Chicago blogger Jessa who is known for her Dollface Diaries blog (For link to her blog go to the bottom of the page). We decided not to talk about the consumerism of Valentines day but rather the most important yet unspoken part, self-love. Jessa shares her journey with self-love and body image and I know so many of you will relate to this.
Now lets hear what Jessa has to say:
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@itsjustjessa on Insagram
1) When did you first realize that you may have some issues with your mental health? 
“I don’t think I realized I had an issue until probably my junior year of college.  I feel like that’s when body image issues and the idea of body dysmorphia became a real topic. I would constantly pick apart my body all through high school and college, and even skip meals if I didn’t like the number I saw on the scale. It’s something I still battle today, and I think I will struggle with for the rest of my life.”
2) When you realized how did you start moving in a positive direction and begin to learn to cope with it? 
“It’s a battle every day for sure. I think the fact that bloggers and content creators are constantly preaching to love yourself no matter your size really helps, but my instinct to compare myself to others and that want for my body to be smaller/thinner/more tone will never go away.  How I cope with it is by working out and eating healthy and doing things I love.  I know if I fuel my body in a way that makes me happy and healthy I will start to accept the way it looks.”
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@itsjustjessa Instagram
3) When you are having a hard day what are some of your self-love practices?
“When I’m having a particularly hard day I love to go take a fitness class Yoga, barre and pilates are my favorites, and there are particular instructors that host such amazing classes that make me feel so positive and empowered by the end, I also think it’s a great way to take an hour and focus on something other than your stress. if I can’t find time for a class, then I love to read a good book in a bubble bath.”
4) What made you realize you are worthy of loving yourself? 
“I don’t know if I can pinpoint an exact ah-ha moment, I think over the last few years I’ve really started to realize it with the help of my amazing support system.  I have surrounded myself with so many beautiful and confident people, and they inspire me to love myself. I think blogging has also helped me find confidence, taking pictures on the street and posting pictures of myself daily on the internet can be terrifying.  But I go through those pictures and it really makes you realize what you see in the mirror isn’t always reality.  Beauty comes from confidence and passion, it’s not just what’s on the outside.”
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@itsjustjessa Instagram
5) What is advice youd give to other girls (and guys) with body image issues? 
“My advice to others is to be yourself and be proud.  Just because you don’t look like all those influencers online doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful.  What makes you beautiful is that you are unique and you are you.  I also think using fashion to express yourself is the best way to push your boundaries and be yourself.”
6) What is one thing you wish you could go back and tell to yourself when you were struggling?
“I think my advice to younger me would be to focus on being healthy and find what you’re passionate about.  I let myself spiral, especially in college, it was a vicious cycle of hating my body and not being motivated to workout or be healthy, and just drinking and partying.  When I started really focusing on my health and finding activities I was passionate about like aerial silks and blogging that’s when I really started getting away from all the negativity in my life and replacing it with positive influences.”
     You can follow Jessa on Instagram at @itsjustjessa, the link listed below is her blog (which is fabulous BTW), and you can follow me on instagram at @alisonschulthesz . Let us know what you think.
     To go read my answers to Jessa’s questions click the link below to head over to her blog
     I talk a ton about my anxiety, how I deal with it, and I also hit topics of self-love.
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