How and Why I’m Having a Minimal Christmas

How and Why I’m Having a Minimal Christmas

How I'm Having a Minimal Christmas

The Winter season is one of my favorite times of year. I love the snow, the family, the food, the ambiance. However, often times what comes with all the holiday joy, is the dreaded holiday stress and anxiety.

Reduce Holiday Stress With These 15 Tips

We often feel the need to impress every family member with new and shiny gifts, or maybe an extravagant feast.

This year, I decided to embrace frugality and participate in a minimal Christmas. Gasp! How is that even possible? Don’t you love your family? Don’t they deserve all of the things? Yes they do, but there are more important things than toys and things.

Why?

I have my own beliefs and opinions about this time of year, and I want to share it with you.

I believe that holiday “gift giving” season is often wasteful, superficial, and unnecessary. Phew! I said it. I know it’s a little harsh but hear me out.

Like most of you I’m sure, I love to spoil my loved ones and show them how much I care for them by giving them gifts…to an extent. Gift giving has become extremely materialistic, and excessive. Nowadays we don’t appreciate what we have because we’re constantly receiving shiny new things all the time. We don’t have time to appreciate it.

Excessive holiday gift giving is so wasteful!

Does your mom really need a new television EVERY year? Does the little human in your life really need their 30th baby doll? Or does your aunt (you never talk to) need some stupid gift, because you don’t know her well enough to get her something meaningful? Absolutely not. Think about all the waste and garbage created in your household. Yikes! The holidays are about who you spend it with, not what you gift and receive.

Don’t go into debt spending money for the holidays, it’s just unnecessary. In 10 years, you’ll remember the memories you made with your loved ones, not the gifts you were given. So don’t let the holidays stress you out. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. If all you can give is your love, give your love.

Show your family and friends that you love them by spending quality time with them, laughing, and sharing stories.

How?

For my family, this year I’m limiting one gift for each close family member. I’m trying to make everything myself if I can. I would tell you what I’m making, but that would give away the secret! So shhh… If I’m not making it myself, I’m buying something useful and sustainable.

However, there are a few exceptions. I’m spoiling my boyfriend and dog child with more than one gift.

How do I not buy all of the things?

My boyfriend and I created three guidelines this year that we’re going to follow.

1. One Christmas Eve box filled with new pajamas, and little treats for a cozy movie night together to open and use Christmas Eve.

I’m particularly excited for this one! Most people love a new pair of warm and comfy jammies on Christmas, and what better time to use them…than the Eve of Christmas?! Think about it. You wake up on Christmas morning with new jammies on, open your stockings, and make breakfast together…in your pajamas?! What’s better than that?!

2. One stocking full of small, useful, and necessary gifts to open Christmas morning.

This will more than likely include items that involve daily hygiene and usage. You know, the soaps, the razors, the scrubs, the socks, the coffee mugs…

3. One handmade gift and/or bought gift to open on Christmas morning.

My boyfriend and I originally decided on one handmade gift. I’ll admit it! I went a tad over and bought a little somthin’ somthin’ to go with his handmade gift. My excuse is that it doesn’t fit in the stocking! (WHOOPS) Take the time to make it meaningful, and there will be less room for excess.

And that’s it!

This still may seem excessive to some, but this is a major downgrade from what I’ve usually done in the past. We decided to be more minimal, but also traditional as a compromise. We just couldn’t give up the stockings and little gifts!

How can you be less wasteful this holiday season?

Is it worth it to you?

SaveSave

15 Self Care Tips For Winter Months

15 Self Care Tips For Winter Months

There’s something really special about the winter months that make you want to curl up with a fuzzy blanket, a delicious cup of Joe, and a book.

But then again, winter months for some people can be depressing, cold, and dark.

15 Self Care Tips For Winter Months

It seems like it’s either all fun and sunshine, or dark and depressing. Many people suffering with mental illness have a difficult time through the winter months. I know I do. For some reason it just puts me in a big sticky funk.

Summer is usually filled with unending sunshine and fun times, while winter can be a little less forgiving.

I’m going to give you some self care tips for the upcoming winter months, so you can stay in tip-top shape.

I don’t know about you but self care has become increasingly more important during the winter. It’s freezing, dark, and unforgiving. At least for myself, self care in the winter months is a bit more difficult.

Get some fresh air

Living in Colorado can be a little hectic. The immense amounts of snow and bipolar temperatures can really be exhausting. The mornings are frigid, but this is a good way to wake you up! I know we always have to urge to cuddle up and stay indoors, but getting some fresh air will do you some good.

Keep hydrated

Like many of you, I get my day started with a cup of delicious coffee. As delicious and comforting as coffee is, it’s not the best drink for your body. So I would recommend starting the day with a big glass of water instead. And then of course go straight back to the coffee because how can you not? Just make sure you prioritize water throughout the day first before your daily caffeination.

Moisturize

This one has been a doozy for me lately! I grew up in a very wet place, and after moving to a desert I realized I needed a lot of extra moisture! Especially in the Winter when it’s extra cold and dry. So make sure you moisturize a lot! I personally love Aveeno brand lotion, because it really gets the job done, and it doesn’t have irritating fragrances.

Get dressed and clean yourself up

This is especially important for you lovelies that work from home. To get a great start to the day, wake up and get ready for the day. And if you’re like me, make sure you stay comfortable. I keep my hair out of my face, my makeup nonexistent, and my clothes comfortable and appropriate.

Stretch your muscles

Cold winter months make your muscles tight from scrunching up in order to preserve heat. So release those tight muscles with some stretching, or maybe some yoga? You don’t have to be a yoga expert to do yoga. No need to spend tons of money at a studio…just find a beginner yoga session on YouTube for free, and you can do it in your living room. It’ll feel good to move around a bit, I promise.

Practice gratitude

Something my boyfriend and I like to do is tell each other three things we’re grateful for that day. We make it a priority on the bad days. Read more about gratitude here. To take this further, keep a gratitude journal next to your bed. At night, write down your three things you’re grateful for, or go for gold and write as many as you can think of!

Practice a hobby

You don’t have to be particularly good at anything to have a hobby. No expectations or rules here. Pick up something that you like to do. Don’t put any pressure on yourself, and just go for it! Learn to knit, craft, DIY everything… I know I love to craft, so any chance I get to make something myself, I jump on it. For example, lately I’ve been making my own soap. It’s kind of fun to change up fragrances and colors depending on the season.

Make a playlist

Everyone knows there’s something magical about music and how it can transport you to another place or time. To get you spirits up, put on some happy and confidence boosting tunes.

Healthy eating

Keep your body happy with wholesome, nutritious meals. And of course I don’t mean give up your favorite dessert because you need some soul food too. There’s no way I’m giving up desserts! Moderation is key here, people!

Unplug

Spend some quality time with loved ones, and start ignoring your phone! There are far more valuable things in the world than the latest update on who’s liking whose post! Building strong relationships, and meaningful conversations a far more nourishing, so make that a priority.

Read

Whether you prefer your kindle or book, rest and recharge with some alone time.

Get comfy

Take advantage of the the winter months and break out the bunny slippers! Have no shame! It’s getting cold outside, so is your wardrobe ready for it? Make sure you’re stocked up on coats, scarves, and mittens. Can you ever be too comfortable? Go ahead and treat yourself.

Go minimal

Something really awesome that I’m doing this year is going minimal for this holiday season. Wait. You can do that? Yes, and I might write an entire post about this one because I feel pretty strongly about it.

I grew up in a household where the holidays were always stressful. My family had always been responsible for buying each and everyone a gift, and it produced so much anxiety in myself (but mostly my dad) that it ruined the enjoyment. It ruins what makes holidays special.

Holidays should be about family and friends. Holidays shouldn’t be centered around endless material gifts that no one needs anyway. Don’t get me wrong though. I love to spoil the people I love, but not unnecessarily.

Instead of buying gifts for the sake of buying gifts, make something meaningful for the people you really love.

For example, this year my boyfriend and I are making one gift for each person whom we love in our family. The only one that’s getting unnecessary gifts is our beloved dog child, because she deserves it…obviously.

Make a vision board

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. Have you ever heard of a BHAG? A Big Hairy Audacious Goal? It’s a 10 year plan for your life, it’s action oriented, it’s innovative, and it’s exciting!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you WANT to be? Set your goals high, and think about the steps to get you there! This would be a great idea for a vision board.

Or if that seems a little too intimidating, go for the year! What do you want your year to look like?

Make a winter bucket list

Hoo hoo! What’s better than a short list of fun things to accomplish this season? There are beautiful, interesting, and fun things to do in each season, so make yourself a list and complete it! Mine looks a little like this…

  • Build a snowman
  • Create a Christmas Eve box, more details here.
  • DIY almost all Christmas gifts
  • Bake all of the delicious desserts
  • Read a book
  • Watch the Nutcracker
  • Make tamales and give them to a homeless shelter
  • Deliver homemade cookies to all my relatives
  • Be so fucking grateful I blow up with joy

How are you going to take care of yourself this season?

SaveSave

Mental Illness Is Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

Mental Illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Neither is talking about it.

Let’s get straight to it. Let’s dive into that ugly conversation that no one likes to have. Let’s talk about Mental Illness.

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of!

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 in 5 people above the age of 18 in the United States have some sort of mental illness. 1 in 5! That’s a ton of people. That comes out to 43.4 million adults struggling with mental illness. That’s almost 5 million more people who live in the entire state of California. And you know, CA is really big, so it’s a big deal yeah?

My point?

Mental illness is prevalent, and it’s a real issue for us. Yet everyone so afraid to talk about it. Why are people with mental illness shied away from, and avoided like the plague? Depression and schizophrenia isn’t contagious! People will mental illness need extra care, as do people with physical injuries.

And we need to treat them with the same dignity and respect as everyone else.

More importantly, people with mental illness need to be understood. And how do we start to understand people with mental illness?

We talk about it. It’s simple, really.

Why do we need to understand them? Because the more we understand, the better we can help.

And so, mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is talking about it.

I’ll kick this off with my story. When I became really serious about improving my mental health, and overcoming the pains of my past, I sought out counseling. Yeah, I said it. Counseling with a mental health professional, because that’s totally okay…and necessary.

So long story, short, I was diagnosed with severe depression, PTSD, with some lovely sprinkles of anxiety on top of that. I was also prescribed anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication as needed, and some magic (no nightmare) pills.

So there you have it, all my mental illness out on the table.

Is that the first thing I tell a stranger when I meet them? No, because that’s really awkward. But! I’m also not ashamed to talk about it. Hopefully my willingness to talk about it will encourage others to do so also.

One of the main reasons I believe mental illness is something we avoid is due to the stigma around it. The stigma surrounding mental illness is scary and uncomfortable.

The stigma remains an issue. People with mental illness are keeping it to themselves, because the entire belief about mental illness is completely wrong.

The stigma is full of shit. It’s a complete lack of understanding.

I fully believe once people start listening to the real stories of mental illness, it will become a lot less scary.

Once we understand, we can help.

Are you willing to share your story?

SaveSave

SaveSave

5 Ways Mindfulness Affects Your Brain – Guest Post By Rose-Minded!

5 Ways Mindfulness Affects Your Brain

If you’ve ever wanted to know exactly how mindfulness can benefit mental health, then you need to look at the neural pathways activated in the brain when someone practices mindfulness. Check out the patterns mindful awareness takes as it travels through your brain, and exactly how these areas affect your mental well-being!

5 Ways Mindfulness Affects Your Brain

First… What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being aware and non-judgmental of the emotions and bodily sensations you feel in the present moment. It’s relatively easy, all you have to do is pay attention to what emotions you currently feel, and try not to worry about the past or stress about the future! Stay in the moment, focus on what you feel (without being evaluative or judgmental), and just notice it- acknowledge it.

Many people practice Mindful Meditation, or go through a process called Mindfulness Training. Mindfulness is well-known for reducing stress, improving emotion regulation, and preparing emotional intelligence and response for future emotional events/stimuli! It really is the full package when it comes to well-being; many people practice mindful yoga, or just focus on being present while completing yoga, and have great mental and physical outcomes!

5 Ways Mindfulness Affects Your Brain

In order to be fully convinced, I had to research exactly (scientifically) how mindfulness was having an impact on well-being, and where specifically in the brain was it impacting? I was looking for empirical evidence, and what I found definitely supported the mindfulness “craze”. Keep reading below to find out how mindfulness impacts the brain!

1. Threat Reduction

A study conducted by Farb et al. (2010), found that Mindfulness Training actually showed up on neural imaging scans as having an effect on the way we perceive new events and form emotional responses. Before, studies supported the idea that emotions were threats to our well-being, and must be kept under tight control, and regulated rigorously. However now studies, specifically this study on mindfulness, shows that observing your emotions as objects to learn from or just acknowledge, actually improves emotion regulation and reactivity to new events in the future!

2. Metacognition

In the same study (Farb et al. 2010), researchers found that metacognition, or thinking about/paying attention to your own thoughts/thinking patterns, was developed as a skill by practicing mindfulness, and this allows you to see your emotions more objectively from a detached perspective (viewing your thoughts as though you were someone else, non-judgmentally), rather than getting jumbled and confused in the midst of them. An excerpt from the study, “…the reduced deactivation in the insula during dysphoric challenge [sadness] may therefore be associated with increased interoceptive awareness [metacognition].”

3. Depression

Another way this study (Farb et al., 2010) focuses on the impacts of mindfulness training on the brain, is its mention of reduction in depressive-symptoms. Clinical depression is a symptom of a chemical imbalance in the brain, usually being affected by the neurotransmitters serotonin or dopamine, although environmental factors are at play. Rumination (“overthinking”) is a common symptom from depression, and this can be stopped in its tracks with the practice of mindfulness when someone is being exposed to something sad! This is awesome news for therapists because mindfulness definitely seems to aid in the reduction of depression. Symptoms of depression are listed below.

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

(information from NIMH)

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

4. Emotion Suppression Comparison

In another study, Murakami et al. (2015) compared the neural pathways of opposing emotion regulation strategies: mindfulness and emotion suppression. Emotion suppression means you are avoiding the emotion that you feel, usually by pushing it away and pretending you don’t feel it. I was going to try to summarize in my own words what they found, but it’s better if you read it from them:

“However, the different strategies produce distinct patterns of peripheral emotional responses, such that mindfulness is associated with para-sympathetic activity whereas suppression is correlated with sympathetic activity. This pattern could be due to processing differences between the two strategies, which would be expected to reflect different neural bases underlying the two strategies.”

Let me explain now what para-sympathetic and sympathetic mean:

Para-sympathetic: the part of your body that works to keep you at rest, and to help digest food while you’re not in “survival-mode”

Sympathetic: the part of your body that helps recognize stress or danger by going into “fight-or-flight” mode, and your body is usually tense, and digestion slows or stops

This means mindfulness helps with stress reduction, and that’s how it’s done in the brain!

5. Path of Least Resistance

The path mindfulness takes in the brain, compared to the path suppression takes, is one that requires less cognitive effort. This is good for brain functioning and development, because a tired brain isn’t going to work its best or grow to be its brightest! This is also good for long-term results, because an easy path will be more likely to stick in your memory, and you may begin to practice mindfulness without even having to try (Murakami et al., 2015)!

Hopefully now you can be fully convinced of the benefits of mindfulness. By knowing it’s direct impact on brain functions, you can be reassured of it’s validity towards improving mental health and wellness.

If you’d like to read more on mindfulness and how to practice it, check out a previous post of mine: The Mindfulness ‘Craze’ and Mental Health

Scientific Journal References (Studies):

Farb, N. A., Anderson, A. K., Mayberg, H., Bean, J., McKeon, D., & Segal, Z. V. (2010). Minding one’s emotions: Mindfulness training alters the neural expression of sadness. Emotion, 10(1), 25-33. doi:10.1037/a0017151.supp

Murakami, H., Katsunuma, R., Oba, K., Terasawa, Y., Motomura, Y., Mishima, K., &

Moriguchi, Y. (2015). Neural networks for mindfulness and emotion suppression. Plos One, 10(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128005

 

 

Meet the Author

pastedGraphic.png

Kay Uimari

“Kay Uimari is a psychology major and mental health crisis worker on the central coast of California. She blogs in her free time about mental health and self-care, and plays with her puppy Morty. She’s published and sold numerous copies of her mental health journal guides to every-day people as well as therapists, teachers, and more! Kay also has many resources and collaboration opportunities for mental health and lifestyle bloggers.”

Website: www.rose-minded.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kayuimari

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/roseminded

For other mental health or lifestyle bloggers:

www.rose-minded.com/mental-health-bloggers

SaveSave

SaveSave

How Gratitude Improves Mental Health

How Gratitude Improves Your Mental Health

I’m glad to see that the importance of mental health is increasingly becoming more popular. Mental health and physical health go hand in hand, and we need to prioritize both. In this post I’m going to share with you some of the best information that has changed my entire life with just one simple skill. Gratitude!

How Gratitude Improves Mental Health

Why Gratitude?

Like many others on New Year’s Eve, I concocted a beautiful resolution. I decided that my resolution was going to more than a feeble attempt at exercising everyday. I want two things out of life; happiness and health.

What started as a New Year’s resolution, became a new way of life.

I learned gratitude, and that has become the leading cause of my happiness since then. Happiness does not come from loads of money, or fancy material items. It comes from the gratitude towards what you have. The richest person in the world will not be happy unless he or she is grateful for what they have, and how hard they’ve worked. On the reverse, the less fortunate can feel the richest by simply being grateful for what they do have.

With gratitude, anyone can be happy. No matter where you are in life, however much money or materials you have, you can always find happiness through gratitude. Happiness does not happen automatically when you receive a gift. Happiness occurs when you are grateful for that gift.

This is why gratitude is the key to happiness and a healthy mind.

Gratitude Is The Key To Happiness

Gratitude is not something you have to buy, it is a skill you can acquire. Being grateful is one of the easiest trails to happiness, because you can take it with you wherever you go. Stick that baby in your pocket, and pull it out whenever you need it! The really amazing thing about this little trick, is that you can choose to be grateful for anything in any situation. You can choose happiness, and gratitude is how you get there.

Read more about How To Become Grateful

Gratitude Reduces Negative Emotions

Your thoughts have an extremely strong influence on you and your emotions. To put it simply, happy thoughts, happy life. Furthermore, when you spend the majority of your energy thinking happy thoughts, in turn, you spend less energy thinking negative thoughts.

Gratitude shifts your attention to the positive side of life, and releases you from a plethora of negative emotions. This includes but isn’t limited to frustration, jealousy, resentment, and entitlement. Grass is no longer greener on the other side. You start to believe grass is greener where you water it, which is right where you are my friends.

Gratitude Increases Self Esteem

It’s no secret that low self-esteem is associated with negativity. Negative thoughts about yourself, your environment, your abilities, etc. Gratitude increases self-esteem, and reduces social comparisons. When someone’s focus is on themselves and their abilities, they spend less time comparing themselves to others. Gratitude towards yourself allows you to appreciate other people’s accomplishments without enticing jealousy or frustration.

Gratitude Increases Mental Strength

Grateful people are well equipped for difficult obstacles that occur throughout life, and have high levels of resiliency towards adversity. Rather than allowing difficult situations to ruin the day, grateful people are able to take on live’s obstacles with a positive outlook. Once you master gratitude, it’s a skill that will last you a lifetime.

My homework for you is this…start a gratitude journal. Every night before you go to bed, write down three beautiful things that you’re grateful for.

What are you grateful for?

How To Beat Procrastination When You Work From Home

How To Beat Procrastination Especially When You Work From Home

Procrastination can be a day ruiner, especially when you work from home. Like me, working from home can be difficult sometimes. We have so many other things on our plate. We’re not only business owners, but we have families and other obligations.

How To Beat Procrastination Especially When You Work From Home

Often times when you work from home, you feel obligated to keep the household in order too. Something really important to remember people! You work from home, so don’t allow yourself to get distracted with household chores! Work hours are for work, not household duties! I know it’s easy to take a break and start some laundry, but don’t let yourself get distracted for hours. I know I’m guilty of that.

In part I’m writing this post because sometimes I have difficulty staying on task throughout the day. I’m one of those people who thrive under stress, so I work my tail off when it’s required. When I need to “just keep swimming” is when I have a problem with procrastination. I’m going to give you some tips that have helped me beat procrastination.

Create an awesome morning routine

I don’t know about you, but I am all about routine. And I believe a great day starts with a great and productive morning!

Put some upbeat jams on, take a shower, eat a delicious and nutritious breakfast, stretch your legs, and pour yourself your morning cup of joe! Every morning I make myself a delicious cup of coffee to get me going, and reward myself for getting my ass up. You know, because it’s hard sometimes!

Read about Why You Need A Morning Routine

Set yourself up for success

After you’ve taken care of your body, set your work space up for productivity. Everyone’s situation will be different, and you’ll know what’s best for you.

Clean up the space so you have no clutter distractions. For me, this means picking up my room and making my bed. Prepare your computer or your supplies and set them up so that they’re ready to use.

I work from home, and my work space is in my abnormally large bedroom. One side of the room has my bed, clothes, and usual bedroom things. The other side of the room is a big cluster of canvases, paintings, packaging supplies, and an endless supply of art supplies.

This step is crucial for me, because if I don’t set up my work space, I’m tempted to lay in bed all day. You know…Because it’s right there calling my name. So! I put up a huge 8×3 foot table and made that my official business space. I set up my easel with supplies, or I set up my computer space for blogging. This way I have no reason to go back to bed.

Set goals and stick to them

I’m a huge advocate of having goals. Who doesn’t feel amazing after they’ve accomplished something they’ve been working on? Having goals reminds you of where you’re going, and what you’re striving for. Working with no goals can be discouraging because you never feel like you accomplish anything.

Have goals in your life, and take the necessary steps to get yourself there. This will keep you busy and on track. When you don’t complete a task because you were procrastinating, hopefully that will spark a flame in you to work harder next time!

Keep a planner and visual aid

The best way to set goals and to keep them is to write them down. I use a planner that I set goals for every day. I check my planner numerous times a day to keep myself focused and motivated to get work done. Checking items off a list is almost all the reward I need!

(Get a bullet journal, they can be really amazing.)

Similar to a planner, if you need a little extra reminder, try using a visual aid in your work space. It’s much easier to remember your tasks if you can see them. Write notes on stickies in places you’ll find them to motivate you to get to work. Encouraging notes can go really far.

Ask for help

Sometimes the best way to remind yourself to get to work is to have someone else hold you accountable. Ask a friend for a favor. If your goal is to exercise every morning, have your friend check in with you. Or if they’re really motivated, ask them to be your work out buddy. (That’s a friend right there.)

I’ve found that this really works for me. One of my goals is to send a newsletter out every Monday for my blog. I asked my best friend to ask about it if she didn’t receive it. (You know who you are). And you know what? That actually happened once, and then I got straight to work. People feel more responsibility if others are counting on them for something.

Get your ass up and work for at least 10 minutes

I’ve mentioned this before in my How To Find Motivation When You Have Depression blog, and I’ll say it again. Sometimes the hardest part of procrastination is just getting started. Most often once you’ve gotten started, you feel the push you need to keep going.

So I’ll challenge you to force yourself to work really hard for 10 minutes, and see how far that takes you. You might find yourself working for hours. Or you might need a break because today’s hard. I totally get it. You know what’s best for yourself.

But I bet you’ll feel better because you got something accomplished?!

This brings me to my last tip.

Reward yourself afterwards

You deserve a reward dammit! You work hard, and you give everything your best! You’re probably as hard on yourself, as I am on myself. Which is worrisome, because I feel like I never give myself a break.

But I know that I deserve a little somthin’ somthin’ for how hard I work. You do too. After you’ve accomplished your tasks for the day, give yourself a reward. That may be a book reading session, playing on your phone, eating that delicious dessert that’s been staring at you all day….or whatever seems fitting.

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you don’t deserve rewards or breaks. Treating yourself to breaks and treats will keep you motivated and far more productive, I promise.

On an end note I’ll share a secret with you. In my entire college career, I probably had a total of five all-nighters. You know why? Because I value sleep like it’s gold, and I know that I will be far more productive with a good night’s sleep. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but I know that my all-nighters produced shit for work.

Productivity and efficiency come with rewards and breaks. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and really reward yourself for your hard work. You deserve it!

Procrastination problems? Me too!

Tell me about it in the comments!

Was this helpful?

How Wearing Less Makeup Has Made Me More Confident

How Wearing Less Makeup Has Made Me More Confident

This post is for the girls and women who think they NEED makeup

How wearing less makeup has made me more confident!

You slept in, and you’re running late. You’ve thrown some dry shampoo on your scalp, brushed your teeth and gotten dressed. Now you’re ready for work, right? WRONG! Next you spend AT LEAST 15 minutes in front of the mirror smearing on foundation, drawing on eyeliner, and brushing on mascara.

Why?

Is it because it makes you feel put together and polished? Or is it because you cannot leave the house without it? Does your natural face make you think you look sick or tired?

Society can be ugly

I always thought that, and in fact I’ve been told so many times I can’t count. Here are a few examples.

One day I went to high school and wore no makeup. It was devastating to be asked the question, “Are you sick?”

“NO! This is just my real face, dickwad!” That boy who asked me that, was so used to seeing me with a perfect Barbie face that my natural face looked sick. And it’s not only high school boys who notice.

Working as a teller a few years ago, an older woman asked why I wasn’t wearing makeup, and told me I looked tired.

Umm, “I don’t look tired, and I’m wearing none because I don’t want to, and I’m trying to love my natural face, bitch!”

Can you relate?

People think it’s their responsibility to police your beauty routine. You won’t ask for it, but they’ll give it you anyway. It’s alright though. It’s not really their business, so ignore them. You don’t exist in this world to look good for others. Don’t let people make you feel that way.

Imagine how different the world would be if no one wore makeup, and everyone accepted their face as it was.

Impossible?

Maybe. But it can be true for you. It’s possible to love your natural face. It’s possible to feel confident in your skin. Sometimes it just takes practice. For me, lots of practice!

My Makeup Journey

I started wearing daily makeup in 6th grade. In my adult opinion, this is way too young. By 7th grade, I didn’t go a single day without makeup. Not even Sundays where I was only seen by my parents. When I became a junior in high school, I began to wear less, but never zero. Throughout college, I wore very little.

Now I’m almost 25, and I wear makeup maybe once a week, and on special occasions. Like I said; practice, practice, practice!!!

The Reason I Quit Wearing So Much Makeup

The society we live in, convinces young girls and women that they need piles of makeup, plastic surgery, and Instagram filters to be beautiful. There is so much emphasis on physical appearance, and it’s extremely damaging to the self-esteem.

I didn’t want to live like that anymore. What I wanted was to love my natural face, and feel confident as myself!  I wanted to spend less on makeup, and more time doing what I loved. Like spending time with friends and family, experiencing new things, and living my damn life!

Every weekend morning when my boyfriend and I go out and run errands, I think about how much time I would lose if I spent those two hours getting ready instead. I would either lose my precious sleep, or I would skip out on brunch with friends.

Which is more important to you? For me, sleep, brunch with friends, running errands is far more important to me than looking like a fucking Barbie doll.

I’m not saying that wearing makeup is bad. I’m saying that wearing makeup to hide your insecurities is bad. Ask yourself why you wear makeup. If you wear makeup because it’s fun, but you don’t need it, fine. But if you wear it because you can’t stand what you look like without it, let me help you.

I promise you, you don’t need makeup to be loved or to feel beautiful.

What I Gained From Wearing Less Makeup

Wearing less makeup has improved my skin

This is kind of a given, but let me tell you again. The less shit you put on your face, the clearer your face will look. The more shit you put on your face, the more you’ll want to cover it up…with more shit. It’s kind of a dangerous cycle.

Also, the more you wear makeup to conceal flaws, the less you’ll accept your true natural face. Your natural face has flaws, and that’s okay.

Wearing less makeup has saved me money

Let’s be honest. Makeup is expensive, and when you want quality stuff that is better for your skin, you pay out the wazoo for it. If you saved the money you spent on makeup, what could you buy?

A spa day? New computer? A new wardrobe? Me too.

Wearing less makeup has encouraged me to accept my natural skin

I don’t try to look like the perfect Barbie doll, therefore I don’t expect to look like one. I realize I’m a normal woman, with hormonal changes, and blemishes just like everyone else. That’s okay.

Wearing less makeup has made me more comfortable in public

I’ve become comfortable in public rocking my natural face, because I don’t live for anyone else but me. It’s not your job to look good for everyone else, and they shouldn’t expect it. Women often believe that being beautiful is the rent we pay to live in the world. You have no rent to pay, and you owe the world nothing but your true and natural self.

Wearing less makeup has improved my confidence

I have become comfortable in my natural skin, and I don’t hate my skin anymore. Therefore, I feel more confident in my natural skin. I don’t see blemishes as the enemy, I see them as a part of life. No longer do I feel the need to hide my face behind makeup, and I don’t feel ugly and uncomfortable without it. I’m beginning to love myself the way I am naturally, and you should too.

Now Get Started!

Decrease the amount of makeup you wear until you feel comfortable, and love your natural self.

If You’re Feeling Motivated!

I have a challenge for you. Go 7 days without makeup. Record how you feel and what you’re thinking in a journal.

Check in with me, and let me know how it goes!

Email me, or share in the comments!

How To Support Loved Ones With Mental Illness

How To Support Loved Ones With Mental Illness

How to support loved ones with mental illness.

Supporting loved ones who have mental illness can be a struggle, but they will appreciate it more than you will ever know. Often times, the supporter becomes an anchor and one of the most important aspects of the loved ones life.

I’m going to go through a few tips to help you support your loved one.

A little about me

I’ve lived with depression and anxiety for quite some time now. The majority of that time I spent believing that I would battle my depression on my own. I believed that I could never truly be happy with someone because they would never understand me. I’ve always believed I’m a difficult person to love.

I was wrong.

I am lovable, and I do deserve love. Over the past two years I’ve learned to trust others, and really let people in. I believe the advice I’m going to share with you has aided in that progress.

Here, I will give you a few pieces of advice on supporting your loved one who has mental illness. Coming from personal experience, I would say these ten tips have been the most helpful to me.

I encourage you to prioritize your relationship and practice these. Relationships become a hell of a lot stronger with open, honest communication.

Read more on improving communication here…

1. Listen

Listen to the best of your abilities! This is kind of a no brainer, but I’d like to dive deeper. There are two things I want you to keep in mind. Actively listen, and listen to understand them…not to reply with a solution.

It’s easy to provide your loved one with a solution, but that’s not always helpful. Sometimes you just want to talk about it, and there’s not always a quick fix.

First, I want you to actively listen to them while their talking. This means that you’re giving them eye contact, nodding you head, and encouraging them to keep going with the occasional (mhmm). When you find a break in the conversation, respond thoughtfully to their comment, and show empathy. Ask questions, and offer help.

The second thing I want you to do, is to fully listen and understand what they’re communicating. I want you to listen for the sake of understanding them. Like I said before, listen to understand, don’t listen to give them a quick fix.

BAD EXAMPLE:

Loved one says, “I’m feeling really sad lately, and I never want to get out of bed.”

You say, “It’s all in your head, we all feel like that sometimes.”

GOOD EXAMPLE:

Loved one says, “I’m feeling really sad lately, and I never want to get out of bed.”

You reply, “I’m sorry to hear that. If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.”

2. Educate yourself

When someone has a cold, you know how to care for them. People are educated on physical injuries and prioritize them over mental illness. The world has neglected to teach us about mental illness and how to help those who are sick.

One of the most important things you can do for someone with mental illness is to educate yourself on their illness. Educate yourself so you can fully understand what they’re experiencing. Absorb as much information as possible so you better understand how they live their life. Consider how they feel, how they behave, what their triggers are, and symptoms of their illness.

The more you know about what they’re going through, the better you can support and help them.

3. Accept them

Be a good person! Understand that your loved one is a unique and beautiful human being, like all of us. Everyone has their flaws and issues. Love them on good days, and bad days. Love them when you’re laughing, and love them when you’re arguing. Don’t ever try to change them or judge them. Accept them as they are every day.

4. Support them

Offer yourself to be at their aid whenever possible. Be open and honest with them. Give them reassurance when they need it. They might need it everyday until they start trusting you fully. Be their anchor, and be the wholesome hug they need. Be the ear that listens, and be the shoulder to cry on. Whenever you can relieve them from stress, do so.

What to do when you’re having a bad day.

5. Don’t take it personally

When your loved one is having a difficult day, don’t blame yourself. They may be more irritable or less talkative, but know that it’s not you. Don’t take it personally when they want to spend time alone, or when they don’t want to talk. Their issues have nothing to do with you, and they don’t always want to share what they have going on in their heads. We often feel like a burden, so please reassure us that we’re not being a burden.

6. Give them space

Alone time is necessary for recharge, sometimes crucial. Let them take a little time and self reflect. Ask your loved one how much space they need and for how long. The space gives you both time to think, reflect, and recharge.

Personally, I like my boyfriend to sit next to me while we both enjoy something separately. He usually watches TV, while I knit or “play” on Pinterest. We don’t talk, and he waits until I’m ready to start socializing. Usually our conversation starts with, “Look what I found on Pinterest!” (Because Pinterest is life…obviously).

I (and many others with mental illness) often get overwhelmed with people and daily activities. So we like a little space sometimes.

7. Share your positivity

People with mental illness have a difficult time seeing the positive side of life. People with depression especially could use some happy reminders throughout the day. The more you practice positivity with them, the more positive they become (hopefully). A positive life is a happy life.

How to live a more positive life.

8. Make them laugh

Something that my boyfriend is really good at, is making me laugh when I’m upset. Making light hearted jokes with me while I’m crying really lightens the mood. I find myself laughing through my teary ugly cry face, and that makes me laugh more. I’ve found that humor can really change a situation into something fun. Surprisingly, humor makes me grateful?

When humor made us grateful

On one particularly horrible day, it was winter, I had a stomach flu, and my boyfriend just received some pretty bad news.

While waiting for his meeting to end, I ended up driving to the nearest gas station to throw up and buy a Sprite.

So there we were, a whole jumbled angry sick mess, sitting in the car. I’m doing everything I can to reassure him, and barely succeeding.

We stopped and looked at us together. We saw what a huge mess we were. We laughed, and cried. We laughed at how funny we looked going through such a rough day. One mess holding up the other mess. It was funny…how much of a hot mess we both were.

We realized in that moment that no matter how shitty life can be, we will always be there for each other. We found humor in our shitty situation and became grateful. Cool, huh?

9. Offer extra love

When either my boyfriend or I are having a bad day, we ask for some extra love. When I’m having a bad depression day, I’ll ask him for some extra love. With this he reminds me that he’s there for me.

Being able to ask for extra love, and offering extra love really strengthens the communication between the two.

Prepare your care package!  How to make a care package.

10. Be patient

Mental illness is not something that is cured overnight. It takes time to fully understand someone and their illness, so don’t rush it. Recovery and maintenance of mental illness is an ongoing battle. Some days are better than others, and recovery is not linear. Be ready for bad days, and be ready to support them when it happens.

People with mental illness want to be loved and understood. When you take the time to love someone and support them when they need it, your relationship will grow and strengthen. Maintaining a healthy connection will come with time, practice, and love.

The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. 

Have you or a loved one struggled with mental illness?

What have you done to support them?

Share and comment!

SaveSave

SaveSave

How To Be Body Positive

How To Be Body Positive

how to be body positive

Body positivity. Lets talk about the one thing no one teaches you as a young person. Body positive. From my experience, this is one of the most difficult things I’ve tried to teach myself. I still struggle with it every day. You know that opposite feeling you get, when you want to love your body but you hate it too?Or you know what to say to yourself, but you don’t believe it?

That stops today. We are going to be body positive together, starting now.

In today’s blog post I’m going to challenge you to live by the rules I’ve listed below. Let us do it together!

Be more than a body

Despite popular belief, you are more than just a body. Yes, you have a body, but you also have so many other things about you that matter so much more. You have your dreams and your passions. You have what your provide for your family. You’re a friend, and a family member, and a colleague.

You were not put on this earth for the eyes of others. You were put on this earth to live your life the way you want. Your worth does not depend on what your body looks like.

Read more on following your passion here…

Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own

In our society it’s difficult to avoid the airbrushed, photoshopped, perfect bodies and faces we see everyday. Most importantly, don’t compare yourself to unachievable beauty. You will always come out feeling discouraged.

Just because someone is beautiful, it does not mean that it takes away from your own beauty. They are beautiful, and so are you.

Think of it this way. A willow tree doesn’t compare itself to a pine tree. Although they are very different, they are both beautiful. The willow tree doesn’t wish to be the pine tree, because it knows it’s worth and purpose.

Loving your body ONLY when it’s in perfect shape is like loving your kids ONLY when they behave

Do not have conditions on your self love. Love yourself unconditionally, and you will love yourself everyday, with every perceived flaw. You deserve love no matter what you look like.

Health isn’t just about what you eat, it’s also about you say and think

Physical health is important, but physical health does not equal mental health. Health is not having a perfect body, and hating yourself at the same time.

Read more about mental health here…

Losing weight does not cure negative body image

Negative body image is something that stays with you no matter how much you weigh, or what you look like. If you hate your body, you will always find something to hate about yourself. Once you lose the ten pounds you wanted, you’re going to find an area on your body that’s still not perfect. It’s a never ending cycle.

Exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it

Does this one seem a little backwards from popular belief? But also exactly what it needs to be? Maybe it’s just me, but working out has always been in conjunction with me wanting to change my body. I sure as hell never went to the gym thinking that I’m there because I love my body. But it’s the right way of thinking, isn’t it? Being physically healthy is a key ingredient to living a long and happy life. Often times though, people are punishing themselves at the gym. Not loving themselves.

There is no wrong way to have a body

You were born with an extremely unique set of genes that have been passed onto you from generations. You are your mother and your father. There are a gazillion (it’s a number) different combinations of bodies out there, and yours is exactly what it needs to be. A body is a body. It’s very simple. You weren’t made incorrectly, therefore there is no wrong way to have a body. Every part of your body is what makes you unique, not wrong or ugly. 

Beauty is not what people say is beautiful. Beauty is what you already are.

What’s beautiful is who and what you are naturally. There is no one type of beauty. There is beauty in every person and living creature. You are beautiful because you are you.

Be whoever the hell you want to be. There is no wrong way to be yourself.

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend

Imagine yourself in front of a mirror. What are you thinking? If you’re saying things to yourself that you wouldn’t  and couldn’t utter to your best friend…take it back. You deserve the same respect you give your best friend.

You would tell your best friend that she’s beautiful including all her perceived flaws, and you wouldn’t be lying. Because she is beautiful, and so are you.

Life is too short to spend another day at war with yourself

To reiterate, there is so much more to life than your appearance. Don’t waste another minute hating yourself, and wishing you were someone else. Spend your life doing what you love. Be unapologetically you.

Think about all the energy you put into being at war with yourself. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to celebrate and love yourself no matter what? Think about the peace you would feel. Hold onto that and don’t let it go.

I’ll keep you accountable, if you hold me accountable.

What’s your story?

Share with me in the comments!

SaveSave

SaveSave

Why You Should Follow Your Passion – My Art Journey

Why You Should Follow Your Passion – My Art Journey

follow your passion

We all have that thing that we love. You know that one thing that really gives you bliss? You need to follow that and incorporate it into your life somehow.

Some of us love art, others love the outdoors. Some of us love solving problems, and inventing new and interesting gadgets. Whatever it is that you love, do that.

You will be happy, I promise

It’s not always the right choice to simply pick up, leave your job, and make a huge career change. But I am saying that if you can incorporate your passion into what you do everyday, you will be far more happy with your life.

And! More power to you if you can make your passion your career! You know that saying that says something like, “If you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life.” ??

It may sound cheesy or impossible, but it’s true. With one exception!

If you’re really passionate about something, and want to do it full time… it’s going to take a lot of work! But the great thing about that is, is that the work is enjoyable!

My passion for art

Just recently I began working towards a life where I could practice my passion everyday. Towards the end of my college days, I decided to pursue art again. I gave up on art for a few years because I was convinced I could never make a living from it.

I decided to enjoy my life, and make art again. Just for fun. What started out as “just fun” turned into my full blown career goal!

I’ve been artistic my whole life. I seriously considered going to an art college, and ended up giving up on the idea. Towards the end of college, the only thing that really made me happy was making art.

My loved ones could see that, and actually started encouraging me to pursue it.

So I did.

I’m proof that it’s possible

Here I am today, calling myself a painter and a blogger. I can say that in 100% truth, I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Ever in my life. 

It’s probably a combination of the lovely family and friends I surround myself with, and my career choice. Nonetheless, I’m happy and I’m going to give this everything I’ve got.

I’m so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such amazingly encouraging family and friends. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

So there’s my shortened version of “following your passion” success. I may not be making all the money in the world, or buying fancy cars, but I love waking up every single morning to do what I do best. 

You see, I have two passions. I have a passion for creating, and I have a passion for helping people. My Bachelors degree is in Psychology (helping people), and art (creating). It’s absolutely perfect isn’t it? And you know how I got there?

Read about my At Home Art Therapy technique, here.

I just followed my heart, and I trusted that I would end up somewhere I wanted to be.

I will warn you that it’s pretty scary. You won’t be sure where you’ll end up, and life may become a little uncertain. At least in my case, my life is very uncertain, but I’m exactly where I want to be. What I do know for certain is that I’m happy, and I will do whatever it takes to make this dream of mine come true.

Sounds pretty fucking great right?

It is, and I encourage you to do the same.

How to find your passion

Not sure how to get started? Follow these steps.

  • Write down all your natural abilities in a list.
  • Then, write all of your interests on another list.
  • Circle the common interests, and make a new list.
  • Write down what you want to accomplish in your life.
  • Write down what you want to be remembered for.

Without worry, self doubt, and money constraints… How do you imagine your best self? What do you dream to do? How do you want to look? What do you want to be doing every day? How do you want to be remembered?

Do you imagine yourself with lots of money? Do you imagine yourself in a career that you’ve never thought possible? Think career, hobbies, lifestyle, family, friends, children, and pets.

How do you imagine your best ideal self in ten years? How would you get there? Make the necessary steps to obtain your goal. Start doing that.

Forget what everyone else expects of you

If you’re thinking of all the obstacles in your way, know that you will run into a lot of obstacles throughout your journey. You will. Everyone does. Don’t let that deter you from your dreams. Remember how happy you can be if you push yourself to do what you love? Focus on that, and do a little bit of that every day.

Also remember it’s not a race. Not one bit. I know it feels like it sometimes, but what’s important is that you do it. What’s not important is how fast you do it, how much money you make doing it, or other people’s opinions.

The more you love what you do, the less you will need others to approve. Because it’s not about them, right? It’s about you.

And if it’s about you and how you feel, their opinions shouldn’t matter. You don’t need to prove to anyone that you can do it. You need to do it for you, because it makes you happy, dammit.

What’s your passion?

Share with me in the comments!

The Day I Gave The Little I Had

The day I gave the little I had

the day I gave

A little background…

A few years ago I was really struggling. I was smack dab in the middle of getting my bachelors degree. I was working full time at a bank, and my plate was overflowing with homework and obligations. Needless to say, I was pretty stressed out. I was being paid barely enough to get by. Like most college students, I was living off of ramen and coffee. On top of that, I was forced into moving into a new home, and my friends graciously offered their houses to me for the summer.

I was low on money. I was low on confidence and I was low on strength. 

One morning after volunteering for an event my psychology class held, I went to buy some groceries. I spent a fraction of the little money I had.

I bought two bags worth of cheap groceries to get me by for the next two weeks. At this time in my life it was difficult to spend money on food because I had so many more important things to spend money on. I needed to buy textbooks, parking passes for school, and gas for my car. I needed to feed my dog.

The one thing I could spend less on was food for me, because I could eat less food, (or at least really cheap food). Was I hungry? Yes, but I was surviving. I don’t recommend doing this if you have a choice, but I’ll eat less before I start rationing my dogs food. Pups gotta eat, you know?

So I left the grocery store and started driving.

When I learned a valuable lesson…

I stopped at a red light, and I looked to my left and saw a homeless woman, begging. I didn’t have any cash to give her, but I did have groceries, so I rolled down my window and offered my groceries.

This poor woman achingly got to her feet, took my groceries, and thanked me. She hadn’t had breakfast yet that day. It was past lunch time.

The light turned green, I rolled up my window and drove away.

I remember distinctly what she looked like. She was wearing tattered clothing and shoes. She had few teeth and her skin was tanned into leather from the sun, and she had one small bag with her that held her few belongings.

That’s all she had.

Here come the tears…

Unexpectedly, I started to cry. I was ugly crying so hard I couldn’t see through my tears. I pulled over, and complete sorrow took over me.

How did I get so lucky? I am so incredibly fortunate. I have everything I could ever want and need. I’m going to school, and I have a full time job. I have a car and a dog that I’m able to take care of and pay for. I have friends willing to house me during my times of need.

This woman had nothing.

She was so thin I could see her bones through her baggy tattered clothes.

She had nothing, and I had everything.

I had enough food to keep me alive, and had a dad that would save the day if I asked him. I was getting an education to better my life.

And she didn’t have breakfast.

I became far more grateful that day.

Although that summer was a time in my life where I had less than I wanted, I still had everything.

I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life that day.

No matter how much you’ve lost, there will always be someone that is grateful with less. 

No matter how bad you think you have it, you have so much to be grateful for.

Be so fucking grateful that you explode from the happiness. Wherever you are in life, however much money you have…always be grateful for what you do have.

Read more on happiness here…

The most honorable and gracious thing you can do, is to give to someone who has less…even when you have little to give.

What have you done to give?

What are your thoughts?

Share in the comments!

SaveSave

How To Be A Better Communicator

How To Be A Better Communicator

How to be a better communicator!

How To Be A Better Communicator!

Because we care about our loved ones and the relationships we have with them, yes?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own experiences and others’, is that communication is paramount. Communication is one of the most important parts of any relationship. And on the same note, communication is one of the most difficult aspects of a relationship.

In my opinion, lack of communication or poor communication is the main cause of conflict in relationships. There is so much to learn about communication, but I’m here to tell you how to be a better communicator.

These tips can be used with any type of relationship, and I encourage you to use these with everyone. Your partner, family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and strangers. All these relationships will benefit from better communication.

Remain Calm at All Times During Communication

This is sort of a no-brainer, but it’s often very difficult. Remaining calm will allow everyone involved to communicate more clearly. Raising your voice will only start a competition of who can yell louder. Raising your voice may lead to hurtful words. Then, it becomes a competition of who can be the nastiest to the other.

Have you ever had a conversation get so out of control you said something you didn’t mean? I have, and I regret it. You can always apologize, but you can never take back what you say.

Remaining calm is the number one rule in communication.

No Calling Names

Piggy-backing off of what I just said, do not allow yourself get out of control and call someone a name.

It’s hurtful and distasteful. Just don’t do it.

When you call someone a bad name, it says something about your character, not theirs. You should always be able to contain your anger and frustration when communicating with someone. Calling names also influences the other to say something hurtful back.

This brings us to the next tip.

Don’t Place Blame

Placing blame doesn’t solve the issue, it redirects the attention from the issue to the person. When people are being blamed for something, they tend to take on the defensive. No one likes being told that they’re wrong. The person being blamed may not even believe they did anything wrong, and so the conflict ensues.

While taking one of my psych classes, I learned something really helpful.

Instead of placing blame, just communicate how you feel and how whatever they said effected you. Try it with me!

WRONG: You are so inconsiderate for being late all the time!

RIGHT: I feel anxious and frustrated when you’re late. It makes me feel like you don’t care about my obligations.

Dang that’s good! But can you see how much more helpful the second option was?

The wrong way to communicate how you feel is getting frustrated, raising your voice, and placing blame. People are much more likely to listen to you and do what you say, if you’re calm. Also, it tells them how it affects you. If the other person cares about you, they will listen.

Tell Them How You Feel

Now this may seem obvious, but people often either don’t say it or don’t know how to express it. I say this because whoever you’re communicating with cannot read your mind.

I repeat. No one can read your mind.

You can’t assume that your partner or whoever knows what you’re thinking. People are not always aware of how their actions affect the ones around them. It’s obvious to you! But not always obvious to them. So tell them how you feel, and why.

This makes life a lot more complicated.

Don’t Be Afraid to Tell Them What You Want

Similar to the previous piece, tell people what you want. When you tell people what you want, they have a clear understanding of what you expect. When you don’t communicate this, they may not know. Also, again, assuming that they know what you want isn’t helpful. Remember they can’t read your mind.

It’s good for you because you get what you want sooner. It’s helpful for them because they don’t have to guess what you want by trial and error.

Easy right?

Give Love to Receive Love

There are very few things in this world, that the only way to receive something, is to give it away.

It sounds like it should be the opposite right? But it’s not. The more love you give, the more love you receive. You feel the love by sharing it, and the universe gives it back to you in return. You create more love by giving it away.

So when you’re having a hard time communicating with someone, remember that you love them. So just love them. Just because you’re fighting or in a disagreement with someone, doesn’t mean you stop loving them.

When you miscommunicate and fight with someone, don’t withhold the love to make a point or keep your pride. Let your pride down, and just love them.

Listen to Understand, Don’t Listen to Reply

And last but not least, listen to understand, don’t listen to reply. This tip is my favorite. I feel that this tip cannot be achieved without some of the previous tips, so I placed it at the bottom.

If you take away one thing from this blog post, take this tip with you.

Listen to understand the person you’re talking to. Do not listen so that you can come back with something to say in return. When you listen to understand, you have a chance to understand that person. That’s the whole point of miscommunication right? To understand the other person? But when you’re trying to make a point, you are listening to make a comeback. You skip understanding them, because you’re busy thinking about what you’ll say back.

It’s really not complicated, but this happens all the time!

Think about it logically. You’re trying to come to an agreement. You’re disagreeing because you have differing opinions. The other person will not simply do as you say because you think it’s right. They think (whatever they’re thinking) because they think they’re right.

This is where listening to understand the other person comes in. You can only compromise when everyone’s opinion is on the table. If you don’t listen, you’re just blurting out your side of the story. No one likes people who don’t listen.

It’s a common mistake. I’ve done it too many times to count. I’m sure you have too.

What you can do about it, is pay attention to your thinking when you’re having an argument. Listen to the other person when they’re talking. Wait your turn, and reply. Reply with understanding….like…. “I understand what you mean, and I’m sorry I made you feel that way….This is what it was like for me…blah blah blah.”

If only every conversation was so easy, right?!

All I can ask of you is to try your best! So get out there and communicate like a pro!

Have any of these tips helped you?

Have you tried any of them?

How did it go?

Advice For My Younger Self – But Everyone Needs To Hear

Advice For My Younger Self – But Everyone Needs To Hear!

 

advice for my younger self

 

Don’t you wish sometimes you could go back in time, and give yourself some encouraging words of wisdom? I know I do. I know that we all go through difficult times as children or adolescents. For those of you who didn’t hear this as a child or young person… I’ll tell you now.

Advice For My Younger Self

 

“You are really beautiful, don’t let anyone tell you different. Even yourself.”

“You don’t need the approval of your peers.”

“You are smart, dedicated, and you can be anyone you want.”

“Life can be really shitty right now, but it will get so much better.”

“Giving up early will take away your amazing future.”

“You are worth so much more than you believe.”

“Your body belongs to you, and no one else.” 

“No matter what anyone tells you, you are perfect the way you are.” 

“You will achieve great things.”

“Ride out this storm, and you’ll be able to handle anything. I promise you that.”

“You are so much stronger than you believe.”

“You deserve so much more than you let yourself have.”

So let yourself have it!

I’ll tell you a short story.

My junior year of high school I started receiving counseling for issues at home. It wasn’t the best counseling experience I’ve ever had, but I took advantage of what I had at the time.

The resources in rural Alaska are limited, so you take what you can get.

I took away something really special from those sessions. Through counseling I decided that someday, I would become the person I needed at that age. I wanted to become the strong, intelligent woman I always wanted in my life.

This is essentially why I decided to study Psychology. I wasn’t very familiar with it at the time, but I wanted to learn about people. I wanted to know why people think and act the way they do. I wanted to understand addiction and disease. I wanted to learn how to be that person I always needed.

And I did.

I spent five years studying psychology, in hopes of graduating with a whole lot of new skills and knowledge. And I did.

In a way, I used my psychology degree as a form of counseling. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but that’s exactly what it became. It was my own way of understanding what happened to me.

Really shitty things happen sometimes, but they happen. Your only option is to deal with your obstacles. You have no other choice. You either let life pull you down, or you rise above adversity.

When I was a child and young adult, what I really needed was really good advice. I needed a passionate mentor to help guide me through my obstacles. I needed love and encouragement. Through the adversity I experienced, I’ve blossomed into exactly what I needed as a child.

But It’s Not Easy!

Don’t let me fool you though. It’s been a grotesquely long, difficult journey. And it’s not over yet! Every day is a struggle, but life is worth it.

Life is so incredibly worth it! ***repeat, repeat, repeat!!!

I have so much love and compassion for the young woman I used to be. I had no idea how amazing life could be. I had no idea how amazing I would become. How amazing I will continue to be.

Every day I wake up with an opportunity to start fresh and learn something new. Life can be so rewarding if you make it!

The unsavory things that happen to us are simply reminders of how strong we are.

Take every experience you receive and learn something from it. Grow from it. Become better from it. 

Be the inspiration you needed when you were younger.

SaveSave

Anxiety – Reduce Anxiety in 10 Ways!

Reduce Your Anxiety – 10 Ways!

reduce anxiety

Here are 10 ways I reduce my own anxiety!

  • Create a manageable routine

Create a plan for the day. Set goals for yourself. It’s extremely rewarding organizing a plan, and keeping up with daily tasks. Anxiety can often set you apart from your goals, so I would advise setting manageable goals. List your daily activities, and list everything that you would like to accomplish. My anxiety tends to get out of control if I don’t have a plan in place. I know that I need structure in my day, and a planner to keep me on track.

  • Exercise

Instead of worrying your mind into oblivion, you can worry about how you’ll get through your work out. Exercise keeps your mind busy on things that are in the present. Anxiety often keeps your mind in the past or future. To combat this, keep yourself in the present with exercising. It’s hard to focus on all your anxieties when you’re gasping for air, or keeping dumbbells from smashing your feet. Eh?

Plus it’s all scientific and stuff. By that I mean, your body releases endorphins when you raise your heart rate. Endorphins make you happy! If you’re not up for a hard core gym work out, just go for a walk around the neighborhood to clear your head. It works for me!

  • Write about it

Holy crap, this saved my life a few times. Okay, maybe not SAVED my life, but it helped a ton.

I’ll tell you a short story.

I flew to visit my dad for the holidays and I brought my dog along with me. For those of you who haven’t flown with an animal before, I’ll warn you, it’s a tad stressful. Or for me, I thought I was going to die, but mostly, I thought my dog was going to die. There’s prep work that goes into it including vet visits, certificates, planning, and some extra cash.

This is what happened

My fur baby was part of my checked baggage.

So every time I got on the plane, my anxiety would flare uncontrollably. Is she on the plane? Is she okay? She hasn’t gone to the bathroom in hours. She’s probably really sad and stressed out. She has no idea what’s going on. She thinks I’ve abandoned her. All hell breaks loose in my mind.

When you fly with an animal, a flight person will give you a scrap of paper saying that your animal is safe and on the plane. Naturally, I had WAY TOO MUCH anxiety to wait for them to come to me, so I would kind of freak out and call an attendant over as soon as possible.

Flying home, it got worse. My flight was cancelled, and everything was delayed after that.

When I finally got on that plane, I was hysterical. My anxiety was so bad I felt like I was going to blow up!

I was trying to conceal my crying and cringing, and almost vomiting from the happy couple sitting beside me.

In that situation I had zero control over what was happening to my dog. I didn’t trust that she was okay. She was probably freaking out, and I sure as hell was.

I WAS FREAKING OUT.

So what did I do? I started writing. Do what you can to calm down, and wait it out. Is there anything else I could’ve done? I got the little piece of paper saying my dog was okay. I wasn’t able to see her, feed her, or take her outside. My only option was to wait it out.

So short story, long, my sweet fur baby survived and I did too. But I almost didn’t make it.

Can any of you relate?

The point of this long story

So the point of this story is for me to tell you how I consoled myself.

I took out my laptop, hid my face and tears, and started typing. Just typing. Like a journal entry. I just started typing how I was feeling, and what was going on. After a few pages of angry, and booger filled tissues, I started to calm down. Did I fully stop freaking out until I saw my dog? No.

But I did what I could, with what I had at that time. 

The lesson to be learned here. Do everything you can, with what you have, at that time. There are many things in life we cannot control, but there are things to help us ease the anxiety that comes along with it.

  • Reason with yourself

This one is one of the more difficult ones, and I often find that talking it out with a friend helps. So you have anxiety. You might be thinking something bad is going to happen, but will that bad thing actually happen? Probably not. It’s easy to tell ourselves after the fact, but in the moment…we’re going to die! I know how it feels.

If you’re able, try to have an objective conversation with yourself. Are these walls really closing in on me? Is there actually no more air in the room? Will my entire life crumble from one mistake? Probably not. Unless you’re in space, in which case I would really pay attention to your surroundings.

If talking to yourself doesn’t work, talk to a trusted friend or loved one. People on the outside of the anxiety are really good at the reasoning.

  • Learn to say no

We know what triggers our anxiety, and we know what doesn’t. Learning to say no can be extremely calming.

For example, if you’re introverted, don’t force yourself to be an extrovert because you “have to”.

It’s funny actually, you don’t have to do everything everyone else does. Strange right?

There is nothing wrong with saying no. Do what’s best for yourself, and do what makes you comfortable. You don’t have to force yourself into uncomfortable situations just because you feel obligated. Your friends and family will understand.

  • Cuddle your pet

Oh baby! This one’s my favorite! Anytime I’m feeling extra anxious, there is no better time to cuddle my fur baby. Everything seems to just float away with a quick belly rub, or warm fuzzy purrrrr….. Your pets will always be there for you, and they want you to be as happy as they are.

  • Spend time with loved ones

Spend time with people you love. Surround yourself with people that you’re comfortable with. Take up all your time with people you can be silly with. Life is too short to waste time with people who make you feel uncomfortable or anxious.

Avoid the bad, cling to the good.

  • Smell the good smells

The right essential oils or candle can be very calming. Get yourself an essential oil diffuser and feel the anxiety melt away. Breathe in the good, breathe out the bad. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

  • Breathe dammit!

Meditation can be frustrating at first, but with practice you can really make progress. Our anxious minds have a difficult time staying focused on any single thing. I know how that feels! Our mind is racing a million miles a minute, and you expect us to be calm?! Yes.

You breathe…a thought passes your mind, and another, and another, you breathe out. Meditation helps you focus on breathing, being aware of your thoughts, and releasing them without frustration. That’s the key! Meditation isn’t for erasing what’s in your mind.

  • Be proactive about bedtime

Take a hot bath. Indulge in complete comfort.

Put on your bunny slippers and the cozy pants!

Brew yourself a cup of tea.

Set the ambiance by lighting some candles.

Turn off your electronics.

Read a book, and fall asleep. Easy peasy!

If you have difficulty easing your mind, try meditation. Focus on breathing and counting. When you lose track of the breathing, calmly start counting and breathing again. Just continue with your practice.

Breathe in 1, 2, 3, breathe out 1, 2, 3. Do that until you’re comfortable. Breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathe out 1, 2, 3, 4. Breathe and count.

I’m not going to lie to you. Sometimes this doesn’t work for me. Sometimes I spend hours breathing and failing to fall asleep.

But like I mentioned before, do what you can, with what you have right now.

No one can ask any more of you.

Anxiety is really tough, but I promise you… you are a hell of a lot stronger. 

Let me know how it goes, friends!

An Open Letter To My Depression

An Open Letter To My Depression

open letter to my depression

F*CK YOU

Fuck you. Seriously. I didn’t ask for this. Who do you think you are? Coming in here and latching onto me like I don’t have other things going on. I have friends, and family, and a life.

Show some respect, and exist the room quietly. I’m sorry, but you’re just that person no one likes. Don’t make it more awkward by sticking around, keeping small talk, and hovering over me like I’m your only friend at the party.

Do you get a kick out of this? Do you like making people miserable? Do you get off on that? Because that’s sick. You should be ashamed of yourself.

It’s Not Really Your Fault

Despite all the shitty things you say to me, it’s not your fault actually. You were gifted to me. It’s your job. Me being the hopeless ignorant child I was, I had it coming. I didn’t know who you were. We became best friends early on. We became close, you know, because misery loves company or some bullshit like that.

I should’ve broken up with you a long time ago. I guess I wasn’t ready? I needed some time to figure some shit out before I let you go.

It’s Time To Let Go

But now I’m annoyed. You’re like the obsessed ex-boyfriend that just won’t let go. You linger. You call, and I hit ignore. You text me an embarrassing amount of times, and I don’t reply. I should block you, but in a sick twisted way I kind of like the attention.

Every encounter with you is miserable, but you remind me of how incredibly fucking strong I am. So thanks for reminding me of how much I’m worth, and how much I deserve.

In a way I like constantly rejecting you, because it shows me how much I love myself. I’m too good for you. I’m too happy for you, and I have too much to accomplish in my life. You hold me back, and I’m ready for separation.

But know this, I’ll never forget you. And I thank you for making me stronger. Because how do you know how strong you are until you’ve been tested?

But We’re Not Done Yet

I know you’ll visit me now and again. I know you’ll be stalking me you fucking creeper. I know this isn’t over, but remember that I’m chipping you off bit by bit. I wash off your stink every morning. I don’t even feel bad. No regrets over here. I’ll be glad to be rid of you someday. But it is not this day.

Today you’re still the faint fog lingering around me like an unsavory aura. On the bad days, it’s suffocating, and difficult to see through. On the good days I can barely see you. It’s like you’re not even there, and eventually, you won’t be.

Someday Will Be Goodbye Old Friend

Eventually, I’ll see you as an old friend. I’ll wave at you as you pass and consume some other poor soul. I’ll smile at that other person with grace and understanding. I can’t offer them a solution, but I can offer them an experienced ear to listen.

For The Friends Of People With Depression

And for those of you who were gifted with that shiny depression shield, I’ll ask you a favor. Listen, and try to understand. Help out your fellow human and accept them as they are. Everyone needs a little love. Pass on the love.

Why You Need A Gratitude Journal

Why You Need A Gratitude Journal

gratitude journal

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.

 

How grateful are you? That may not be a question you’re often asked. It’s just kind of assumed right? “I have gratitude!” Well just to solidify that…

The More Grateful You Are, The Happier You’ll Be

I’m a firm believer in the idea that the more grateful you are, the happier you can be. Positivity and gratitude was a total game changer for me. Because who doesn’t want to be happy and positive and grateful for shit?

I decided a while ago that I have complete control over my own happiness. Something that got me there was my gratitude. It’s very simple. It takes a little work, but you can really change your world if you want to. The more you are grateful for, the more things you have to be happy about.

I find that nowadays people take everything for granted, or at least that’s how it seems. And there is so much to be grateful for. Like damn, we have everything we could ever need, and that’s doesn’t seem to be good enough.

Bottom line, look at how much the world offers you all the time. Appreciate the people who take time out of their day to improve yours. That’s really special, and don’t ever take that for granted.

My Journey To Gratitude

So, my mother wasn’t well equipped to be a mother, and that kind of sucked for me. Although I don’t wish how I was treated upon anyone, I would never wish for another upbringing.

Why, you ask?

I can’t take back the past and change who I came from. There’s no point dwelling on that. And, if I had a different upbringing, I wouldn’t be the strong resilient woman I am today. I’m grateful for that.

I describe my mother as a bad role model. She taught me how NOT to do everything. She showed me how NOT to treat people. She showed me how NOT to talk to people. She showed me how NOT to live my life.

Granted, it took me a while before I figured that out. What I did (instead of being salty about it my whole life), was I started to become grateful for what I did have. I did have a lot of things I learned from her. Whether it was a hard lesson learned or not, a lesson learned nonetheless.

So I took that, and I ran with it!

You Can’t Change Your Past, And That’s Okay

A huge part of becoming happy again was learning gratitude. I figure since I can’t change my past, I’ll change how I think about it. I’ll change my future. You forgive what bad happened to you, and you become grateful for what you do have. Sounds pretty fucking easy, and it can be!

Now I can’t help you with everything, but I can show you how to be grateful. I promise if you really want to change your life, you will. I have all the faith in the world in you! I know that if I can do it, you can too!

So the first time I made a grateful for list, I went all out! I listed everything my mind could muster up. I ended up writing like ten pages worth of things to be grateful for, (because there is a ton to be grateful for!) Sometimes you just need to remind yourself.

Then you make a habit out of it. Before you know it, you’ll be grateful all day, everyday.

Be Ridiculously Fucking Grateful

That’s how you should be. Ridiculously fucking grateful. Because life is short. Why waste your life complaining about what you don’t have? Spend your time thinking about what you DO have!

You don’t need a ton of money, fancy cars, tons of friends, expensive clothing, or a mansion to be happy. All you need is to be grateful. “What? It’s that easy? There’s no way!”

Well, there you have it folks. Be fucking grateful, and you’ll find you have a ton to be happy about.

I’ve practiced this for so damn long that I can’t even journal about why I’m pissed off. I’ll tell you something kind of funny.

Now I Can’t Be Ungrateful

I was kind of pissed off the other day. I mean, we all have those days right? Things and people getting on our nerves and such?

How I figure out my shit

Well something that I’ve done to help calm my nerves and mind, is to write. I’ll take my computer somewhere and I’ll type angrily until I feel better. Everything goes. (Insert every swear word in CAPS here) It releases the bad vibes onto my computer instead of people.

What happened instead

So I got my computer and started typing. I was expecting to mildly abuse my computer with my angry typing fingers, but instead something else happened. I listed why I was upset, and then I started talking about how fucking grateful I was for everything. What the fuck? I wanted to be angry, but I just resolved my issues instead. By being grateful. Who knew? Strange right?

So it’s taken me a while to get to this point, and I’m not saying that I’ll cure all your future angry outbursts. However, I can tell you how much I’ve changed by just being grateful. Damn. Quick solution. You’re welcome friends!

So I challenge you to start a grateful for list.

How To Make A Gratitude Journal

First, grab a cute journal. Check!

Then list everything that you could possibly be grateful for. Friends, family, lessons learned, education, happiness, health, books, knowledge, your favorite food, your home, coffee (because yum!), the sun, the grass, your favorite smell, movies, the air you breathe? I could go on forever.

You may not have your dream job, your favorite car, or a house in the hills, but you sure as hell have things to be grateful for. So write them down.

Practice gratitude everyday. After you’ve covered everything you can think of, read my blog post about Three Good Things. This is how you practice gratitude every day.

Eventually you’ll start looking for the good in your life,  and the difficult situations will be a lot less hard.

To get started, buy yourself a cute little journal to record all your happy thoughts in.

This will be your gratitude journal. Use it, and let the gratitude and happiness flow!

SaveSave

SaveSave

Forgiveness – It’s For You, Not Them

Forgiveness is for you, not them.

forgiveness

My story of forgiveness

My icky, sticky road to forgiveness. Feel free to skip this and get to the good stuff if you can’t help yourself!

I’m going to share with you something very personal. I had sort of an epiphany moment one night while bullshitting with my roommates.

For all my life I was upset and resentful towards my biological parents. To put it simply… abuse, neglect, abandonment, alcoholism, and drug addiction. They didn’t ask for forgiveness, nor do they deserve it, but I need my peace. ‘Nuff said.

So with all those wonderful little gifts that were given to me, I couldn’t help but believe…

If my biological parents can’t love me, how on earth can anyone else love me?

Epiphany moment! TA DA!

The people in my life that DO love me, aren’t related to me by blood. So this must mean I’m actually really lovable, because they don’t HAVE to love me. They choose to love me, for me! (Because I’m awesome) Isn’t that better anyway? (In a sick, twisted sort of way) Haha, but anyway…

Through this realization, I learned a lot all at once. I learned that I am lovable, and I do deserve love. I gained self awareness, and self-esteem by switching my mindset. This also gave me the strength to forgive my biological parents. I feel sorry for them, and I also feel compassion for them.

Why? Because I refuse to let them weigh me down anymore. I forgive them because I want to be at peace, and I want to let go of all the ill feelings they created. I don’t want all those bad beliefs to linger and spill over into other relationships. I’m going to be happy, dammit! And I deserve nothing less!

Forgiveness frees you, and brings you peace. I’m a walking example of that.

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness, by definition, is the conscious and voluntary decision to release yourself from ill feelings and resentment from another that has caused you harm in any way. Note this does not mean forgetting and excusing actions of the other person. Forgiving someone also means letting go of the ill feelings, regardless if the other person asked for forgiveness, or even deserves it.

Kind of harsh right? Hell no!

This brings us to our next conversation. Who is forgiveness for?

Who is forgiveness for?

Forgiveness is for you, and only you.

I know it’s tempting to expect an apology from someone, but that will only keep you frustrated. Don’t expect an apology! If the person thinks you deserve an apology and has the courage to do so, they will give you an apology!

Sometimes people don’t realize they’ve hurt you.

This is when you speak up and tell them! They can’t read your mind! Don’t be afraid to share your feelings. What are you afraid of?

Are you afraid of them not listening to your feelings, dismissing them, or making fun of you? Fuck them. You don’t need people like that in your life. Only keep people in your life that care about you. It’s very simple.

So who is forgiveness for? Forgiveness is for people who want to let go of the bad feelings left there by others.

Don’t do it for them, do it for yourself and you will have peace.

Why we need to forgive

Some people don’t ask for forgiveness. Others don’t deserve forgiveness. That’s okay.

We forgive for ourselves right?

You need to learn to forgive others so you can live as happily and as healthy as possible. Forgiveness allows you to be aware of the situation, and let it go.

We all know bottling up feelings is harmful right? Do yourself a favor and cauterize the wound before it festers and creates a bigger problem.

This brings us to when we should forgive people.

When should we forgive?

Right away!

The sooner you forgive someone, the sooner you can move on.

I know this ones hard, but just suck it up and do it!

How do we forgive?

Forgiving someone is difficult, and especially when they don’t deserve it. But remember, we forgive to give ourselves peace.

We have zero control over others and their actions. Let go of what you can’t control.

What you can control is how you react to people and their actions. For example…

Someone does something shitty to you. *it hurts and we’re aware of that*

When they apologize, or don’t. *remember that they treat you that way (perhaps) because they’ve been treated that way*

I feel some compassion coming on…

Just like us, they have the option to be shitty or not. We don’t cause their actions, so DON’T believe that they’re being shitty because YOU deserve it. You don’t deserve people being shitty to you, and they don’t deserve it either.

Start the chain reaction, and kill harm with kindness. Stop harm in it’s tracks, and don’t let it gain momentum.

The quicker you forgive, the quicker you can feel peace.

This is where you make the decision to distance yourself from them, or keep them close. You are the best judge of what’s best for you. Make good decisions for yourself.

Remember you are the one responsible for your own happiness. Let yourself have it!

So what’s your story?

Have you forgiven someone that didn’t give you an apology?

Share with me in the comments!

Art Therapy At Home – Self Care And Healing

Art Therapy At Home – Self Care And Healing

So what is Art Therapy?

It may sound pretty straight forward to some of us, but for those of us who want more information…

Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that utilizes the creative process of making art to improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

So how does it work?

This creative artistic process can help people alleviate issues, manage behavior and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self esteem and awareness of the body and mind.

You don’t need to be a professional or talented artist to partake in the fun! Anyone can participate in art therapy, and anyone can enjoy it!

What’s really fantastic about art therapy is that it can be tailored to each individual, and can be varied depending on each person’s interests. And if art isn’t something that interests you, there is also music and dance therapy.

The therapy part comes in when a professional guides and interprets the art you create. To manage emotions and increase self esteem, therapists often use talk therapy in conjunction with the art making. If you’re not interested in actually going to a therapist, try this at  home version to help yourself.

How I Use Art Therapy At Home

Since I’m a painter, I love doing art therapy. I use specific techniques in art therapy for a variety of reasons. I use it as a sort of meditative painting to get myself started for days of painting, and to get my creative juices flowing. This prep work helps me center myself, gain awareness of my emotions, and loosen up my creative hand.

I’m going to share with you my own little form of art therapy I do at home!

This is not professional practice because I lack the actual therapist! But that’s okay, it’s still very calming and healing.

While I was in therapy recently, my wonderful counselor recommended this practice.

Depending on what you like as far as art medium, this will vary with each person.

How To – Art Therapy At Home

First, put calming music on that would be beneficial for meditation. This is also when I turn on an essential oil diffuser to really set the mood for success. I really like jasmine or lavender!

Second, gather all your art supplies and surround yourself with them. This is also when I prep my canvas or paper. Using a plate or other round object, I trace a circle on the paper to create a guide for a mandala.

A mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism. A mandala is often used for meditation, and is said to represent the universe and life as a whole.

You don’t have to use a mandala as a guide, but I particularly like the cyclical shape, and orbital direction of the painting after I’m finished.

Third, sit in a comfortable position. Take a few minutes to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and gain awareness of what you’re feeling at this moment.

Are you feeling calm and collected? Are your feeling frustrated and anxious? Really listen to what your body and mind is telling you.

Fourth, set all judgement aside and pick up your brush, pen, or your favorite utensil. Start by adding the medium to the page. Create what you’re feeling. It doesn’t have to be anything or any particular object, but it can be if you want. It can be abstract, expressionist, or realistic.

Why We Love Art Therapy

The purpose of this is to create awareness, mindfulness, peace, and calm. I can’t provide a therapist for you, but I can provide a little something that I do to center myself.

Remember, do not place judgement on yourself or your creation. This is purely for your enjoyment and mindfulness practice.

“But Jordan, I don’t have art supplies and creative mind! I know I’ll just embarrass or frustrate myself!”

I totally know how you feel. I’ll take care of you!

An Easier Version!

Now! If this all seems a little out of your comfort zone, I have something else for you!

If you’re not up for creating your own piece of art, color in one that’s already made for you! I know not all of you are artists like me, so I found something completely stress free for you to try!

Adult coloring books are the thing for you! They are just as enjoyable, equally as calming, and super fun!

ANYONE can do this! I’ve taken the time to find what you need. Thank me later! This Mandala Coloring Book comes with everything you need to get started!

 


What are your thoughts?

Share with me how it goes in the comments!

How To Improve Your Body Image

How To Improve Your Body Image

Ways To Improve Body Image

What do you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror? What are you saying to yourself?

Do you feel content, beautiful, and confident? Do you tell yourself that you’re grateful for your body, and what it does for you?

Or do you focus on your flaws, weight, and skin color? Do you compare yourself to the Instagram model that is the epitome of perfection? Because she is damn beautiful. But guess what? So are you. You are equally as beautiful and worthy of love.

I know that I’m guilty of comparing myself to others, but I’m going to share with you what I’ve done to help myself stop.

Avoid hurtful media 

Avoiding the media is nearly impossible, but you have a say in what you give your attention to. Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with the media’s expectations of appearance. Don’t buy into it! The entire business thrives on our insecurity! If one day everyone woke up happy with their appearance, they would go out of business.

Understand that there are infinite varieties of beauty, and the media’s representation is not the only one. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others on magazines or social media, find something else to give your attention to.

Seek out media that reinforces a positive body image

Instagram is a great place to find thousands of body positive people! I love following beautiful individuals on Instagram who celebrate their bodies, and love themselves for who they are. They respect their bodies, and don’t judge themselves by their size, color, or appearance. I especially love the proud women who show their natural skin and hair. It’s incredibly inspiring.

Avoid conversation about appearance 

As a society we spend so much of our time and effort on appearance. There are a gazillion (that’s a number) and one other things to talk about. Think of all the characteristics you have to offer that don’t include your appearance.

Your job, your family, friends, your contribution to your community, your influence on others. It’s a huge list, right? Putting too much emphasis on your appearance will devalue all of the other great things about you. Talk about what you’ve accomplished rather than your appearance.

Eat mindfully, not obsessively

Eating mindfully means being intentional with the food that you’re consuming. Provide your body what it needs by feeding it healthy, nutritious, wholesome food. Obsessing about the number of calories you consume, or being prisoner to diets, is horrible for your health. Not to mention it is zero fun!

Please take care of yourself and don’t punish yourself for eating what you love. Moderation is key with everything. If you love chocolate, eat the damn chocolate! You know, just don’t eat an entire gallon because it’s probably not good for you. Or splurge on pizza once in a while, because how can you love without it?

Live by this one rule

Don’t say anything to yourself, that you wouldn’t say to your best friend. This is so incredibly important! You wouldn’t bad mouth your friend, so don’t do it to yourself. Think about this for a second. If you talked to your best friend the way you talk to yourself…would they still be your friend? I hope so, but if not, change the way you talk to yourself.

Instead of criticizing your body, focus on how beautiful and unique you are.

Create an awesome affirmation, or a few!

Say it with me, “I love and respect my body for what it is right now.” “I am equally as beautiful as everyone else.” “My worth isn’t defined by my weight. I define my worth and I am worthy.” “Body, I promise to love and cherish you always. I am sorry for ever being cruel to you and ask for forgiveness.” Repeat, repeat, repeat…and repeat some more.

Write down your favorite body positive affirmations, and pin them up somewhere you can see them every day. I challenge you to speak these affirmations out loud to yourself, every day until you believe them. It might take a week, a month, or a year. I promise you it’s worth it.

Keep yourself busy with what you love

You are unique, interesting, smart, and talented! Share all of those wonderful things with the world! No one has that special thing that you have, so I want you to celebrate it, perfect it, and share it!

Get lost in what makes you happy. The outdoors, art, music, volunteering, whatever gets you there! The more you focus on what you have to offer, the less you can worry about your appearance.

Have you struggled with a positive body image?

What have you done to improve your body image?

Share with me in the comments!

How To Make A Self Care Package

How To Make A Self Care Package

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

Call me a grandma, but I love to stay in, cozy up in a blanket with a cup of tea, and read. There is nothing more soothing and repairing than a self care day. Whether you’re extra stressed from work, or you just need to pamper yourself, you need self care days!

The amazing thing about self care packages is that you can personalize them to your unique needs! I recommend bringing together a few things that never fail at making you feel fantastic.

Below is a list of my 5 top self care package essentials! Feel free to tweak and exchange whatever you like. Just make sure ultimate relaxation is your top priority!

How To Make The Best Self Care Package Ever!

#1 Comfort Clothing

To make a great self care package, you have to start with ultimate comfort. There is nothing better than going home after a long day and putting on your favorite pajamas.

My favorite pajamas include, soft polar bear pajama pants, a loose comfy t-shirt, and my favorite pair of slippers.

This pair of slippers I received as a gift years ago, and I absolutely love them! They keep your feet comfortable, cozy, and warm. They are essential for the colder months!

#2 A Warm Cozy Coffee/Tea Mug

No self care package is complete without a cozy coffee or tea mug. Warm yourself from the inside out. Collect a beautiful mug that you will love using all day, every day.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am the tea queen. I love tea, and I love coffee. One of my favorite parts of the day is making myself a delicious cup of coffee in the morning before work. I would not survive very happily without it, so I make its priority.

Also, the only thing I collect are coffee mugs. To me, they’re more than a delicious liquid vessel, they’re a crucial piece of my every day comfort. You can say I’m obsessed, it’s okay.

This hand warmer mug is perfect for self care days! The mug wraps around your hand like a little hug! These mugs are perfect!

#3 A Cozy Blanket And A Plushy!

Now I didn’t say that this self care package was something you had to share with anyone! Don’t be embarrassed to reach the ultimate level of comfort! Curl up under a fuzzy blanket and give yourself something to cuddle!

I personally love the snuggle up in cozy fleece blankets. I have this cute little fleece throw that was given to me as a gift and I will never part with it!

Everyone needs a plushy blanket like this!

#4 An Essential Oil Diffuser

This piece of your self care package is super important! Essential oils can be very healing for the mind, body and spirit. I recommend you invest in a small but powerful essential oil diffuser. They are cheap, and they promote such great feelings.

Different essential oils promote different feelings. Essential oil blends are very popular too. For any ailment, I guarantee there is an oil blend you can find to help.

My all time favorite scent is jasmine. I use jasmine and lavender to promote calm and peace of mind. For a more energizing scent, I like to use citrus scents such as lime, lemon, and grapefruit.

This essential oil humidifier is perfect for at home serenity!

#5 A Great Book

Clearing your mind and taking yourself somewhere new an interesting is key! A fun and cheap way to get away is to read a book. Whether you love fantasy, fiction, non-fiction, or even comics, this is a great way to take your mind off the every day stresses of life.

I love reading fantasy and fiction. The last series I read was The 5th Wave series of three books. Ahh! It was so good. If you’ve seen The 5th Wave movie and loved it, definitely buy the series to read! You won’t be disappointed!

What do you do to repair and recharge?

Share with me in the comments!

Toxic Relationships-How To Protect Yourself

Toxic Relationships – How To Protect Yourself

Below I will share with you a simplified version of my childhood, and what I’ve done to protect myself from the toxic relationship that has sprouted from that time.

What I’m about to talk about isn’t easy to express, but it is necessary. I hope that my story and advise will provide you with the confidence you need to protect yourself.

If you have a toxic relationship in your life, and you’re wondering what to do about it, let me share a little of my experience with you.

Let us first talk about what a toxic relationship consists of.

What exactly is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is characterized by behaviors of the toxic partner, that are emotionally and often physically damaging to the other partner. A toxic relationship damages self-esteem, creates insecurity, selfishness, dominance, and control.

A healthy relationship is the opposite. A healthy relationship promotes self-esteem and good energy. This type of relationship involves compassion, love, care, understanding, and is utmost an emotionally and physical safe place.

For more information about types of toxic relationships and how to know if you’re involved in one, visit this website.

Mommy Dearest

According to popular belief, mothers are undeniably the caretakers of our society. (This isn’t to say dads aren’t amazing parents-go dads!) Mothers are caring, nurturing, loving beings who unconditionally love their children.

Or so they should.

This is not the case with everyone. I, for example do not have that nurturing relationship with my mother. To say that this is painful, would be an understatement.

My Story

From the moment of my conception, I have persisted through many challenges, and at birth I came into a world of uncertainty, abuse, and neglect.

It was at the age of 3 when I was introduced to one of the best relationships of my life, my stepdad (whom I call Dad). Go dads!

Although I’m eternally grateful for what he’s done for me, he could not protect me from the abuse that I endured until the age of 18 when I moved out.

My mother is an alcoholic. It’s a common term, but far more painful than I can express. Her use of drugs and alcohol caused her to abuse and neglect her only child. Me.

Learning What’s Right And What’s Wrong

When I was young, I didn’t understand that it was alcohol forcing my mother’s hand. Instead, I attributed all the physical and emotional abuse to myself, and my failure as a daughter. She hates me, so I must hate myself. She doesn’t give me love, so I don’t deserve love. This relationship is conditional, therefore there is no such thing as unconditional love. The list goes on.

You can imagine the lack of self-esteem, confidence, and the type of body image I had.

When I grew older, I started to realize what was really happening. This occurred around the age of 12, which was the start of my rebellion. My dad asked me, “Do you understand why she pushes your buttons? She wants you to fight back. If you fight back, she can punish you. She has no other reason to.”

I was a good kid, but I was always in trouble. I never seemed to do anything right, and no matter how hard I tried, my mother was never happy.

My dad saved my life. If it hadn’t been for him, I’m not sure if I would be here today to tell you all this.

Although I had one amazing (actually the best ever) parent, my main concern was still the danger that haunted us both.

The Difficult Truth

Living with an alcoholic is sort of like living with an elephant in your living room. An elephant is really an understatement, let’s say instead, really pissed off bull. It’s loud, messy, and dangerous. You have to tiptoe around the house in hopes that you don’t wake the bull. You live in fear.

Ironically, the physical abuse didn’t hurt me nearly as much as the emotional abuse. Physical scars stay with you, but you forget about them. Emotional scars are persistent. These type of injuries stay with you long after the abuse is over, and influence your every move.

The Bright Side

Luckily, there are things you can do about it. First and foremost, if you’re able, avoid toxic relationships in the first place! There is no need to learn from experience with this one, so ditch those toxic people! Repairing damage is far more difficult than avoiding danger entirely.

This is what I’ve done.

Distance Yourself From The Bull

This one is really obvious, but difficult. The first step to protecting yourself from toxic relationships is to get far, far away from them.

When you burn your hand, you take your hand out of the fire. Then, you don’t put it back in. Now this is a bit extreme, because with people, we give them second chances.

When you become close to someone, inevitably you also become vulnerable. Therefore, you may get hurt, but don’t hurt yourself over and over and over again. Do what’s best for yourself.

Take yourself out of the damaging situation as soon as possible. It will be far more worth it in the long run.

Set Boundaries

This step is for those toxic individuals who remain in your life. Whether we choose to keep them in our life, or we have no choice, you still have control over yourself.

You can choose to set boundaries to protect yourself from people. Some examples include:

Talking only when necessary.

Visiting only during family holidays.

Making contact only when necessary.

Setting rules for communicating and being together.

Do what’s best for yourself, and don’t force yourself to be uncomfortable to appease others.

How I Set Boundaries

Personally, I can’t bring myself to cut my mother off entirely. Therefore I set boundaries for myself and for her.

I keep communication to a minimum. When she’s drunk, I tell her nicely that I’m busy, and I can’t talk now. It’s very simple. When I physically see her (which is maybe once a year) I prepare myself, set my boundaries, and create a plan for escape.

Choose when contact happens, and cut it off once I become uncomfortable.

I don’t apologize, because I’m doing what’s best for myself. It may hurt her feelings at times, but I’m protecting myself.

Rebuild, and Relearn

If you have endured a toxic relationship, or are in one currently, do this.

Rebuild what you want to improve. Often times, toxic relationships change the way we see ourselves and the world. Rebuild trust with people, rebuild your self-esteem, rebuild your confidence, and rebuild your independence.

Relearn that you are loved, you are lovable, and you can love. Teach yourself that healthy relationships are possible, and that you aren’t doomed for failure. A healthy relationship starts with two healthy individuals, and grows into a healthy partnership. Remember that.

Don’t allow the past to weigh down your future.

What have you done to protect yourself from toxic relationships?

Share with me in the comments!

How To Live A Positive Life

How To Live A Positive Life

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

You Can Choose To Be Positive

I believe every situation can be seen negatively or positively. You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react.

Instead of allowing negative situations to weigh you down, I challenge you to look at it in a positive light. You can choose to be negative, or you can choose to be positive.

I promise you that living life in the positive light will make you so much happier.

Negative Nancy

We all have that friend. Let’s call her “Negative Nancy”. We love Nancy, but we also can’t stand to be around her for too long. She’s so negative! Nancy always has something bad going on in her life, and she never gets a break. It seems like she’s not grateful for anything.

And don’t get me started on her one-up game. You know, you say something, and she negates what you say by telling you she’s dealing with something worse? Gosh I despise that.

Us positive people try to look on the bright side of things, and let Nancy know that you’re there for her. But no amount of listening, advise, or help will change her mind.

It’s quite sad really.

I’ve spent a significant amount of time in my life living on the negative side of things. And guess what? I was miserable. Who wants to live their life unhappy? It’s not fun, and it’s painful.

So if you are a negative Nancy, or would just like to push yourself towards happiness, keep reading.

Change your mindset, Change your life

Let’s be honest for a second. I’m not saying that every minute of every day will rainbows and butterflies. We all have bad days, and it’s appropriate to be upset. But living your life in the dumps is only blocking you from your full potential. Change your mindset, change your life.

Let me provide you with a few examples…

Negative: “I have to walk all the way up this hill to go to school.”

Positive: “I’m grateful that I have healthy legs to take me up this hill, so I can be educated.”

Negative: “I can’t believe I have to wait in line at the grocery store, there are never enough employees working here!”

Positive: “I’m glad that I’m wealthy enough to buy the groceries me and my family need.”

Negative: “I hate driving in traffic to go to work!”

Positive: “I’m lucky enough to have a car to take me to the job that supports me.”

Change your negative into a positive

When I found myself complaining, I would stop, and change it into a positive.

The other day, I was being particularly salty about life, and I had a pretty bad day. I was upset all day and when my boyfriend got home, I told him all about it…

Negative Version:

  • I didn’t work out this morning, I’m so lazy.
  • I took a nap today because I was so exhausted. I’m ashamed because I got less work done.
  • I ate unhealthy, and I shouldn’t have because I’m supposed to be eating healthy.
  • The paintings I made were terrible, and I didn’t make any solid work.
  • I only made ‘x’ amount of sales this month, I wish I had more or done more.

Whoa! Stop right there Nancy!

Sheesh, sounds like I’ve been pretty hard on myself all day right?

This is when my boyfriend responds with, “Now turn all of those negatives into positives.”

(We remind each other to do this when we’re having a bad day).

Positive Version:

  • I’ve worked out every other day this week, I deserve a day off.
  • Catching up on much needed sleep was great, because my body obviously needed it.
  • I ate delicious food today, and it’s okay not to eat like a rabbit all the time.
  • I got to practice new techniques, and explore new ideas today with my paintings.
  • I’ve sold ‘x’ amount of paintings this month, and I’ve worked hard for that. I’ll sell more.

Easy right? Well not all the time, but with practice it will come more naturally.

If this advise isn’t enough for you, let me give you a little something else. I’ve found something you can take home with you, enjoy, and enjoy over again.

Jordan, “I want to be happy now, DAMMIT!”

I’ve got just the thing for you.

A Bedside Read

Now, if you want a quick, fun, and helpful read, read this book.

How To Be Happy, Dammit! Written by Karen Salmansohn. This book is a “cynic’s guide to spiritual happiness”!

I absolutely love this book! This book is different. It’s easy to read, it’s colorful, and it does not sugar coat anything!

Seriously, I’ve read this book three times to remind myself of all the pearls of wisdom inside.

Before you know it you’ll be that annoyingly positive person AND YOU’LL LOVE IT! People will flock to you because your energy will be contagious! Your friends won’t be able to help themselves; they’ll have to be positive too.

If they don’t, share this post with them and hopefully we can change the world together!

Remember that sadness and negativity loves company, but also remember that happiness and positivity are contagious!

 

Be that positive happiness magnet!

What do you do to keep yourself positive?

Share with me in the comments!