How to Feel Better: A Very Short Guide

How to Feel Better: A Very Short Guide

Finals. Rough Mondays. Rejection. Parking tickets. Spilled coffee. All-nighters. Bad texts.

There are lots of reasons to want to feel better. There are lots of ways to do it.

Some classic pick-me-ups for when you need them most:

  • Wear your favorite sweater. Liking how you look is important. Your best self might wear a Free People sweater. I think mine does. So throw on what makes you feel like a badass.
  • Feel less guilt. For eating things that you enjoy, for splurging a tiny bit on the shoes you’ve been eyeing for months, for skipping yoga this week because you were exhausted, for watching a movie. These are little things people, in the grand scheme of big things. If it makes you feel disproportionately better, doing a small not great thing, I say do it. This life is for being alive.
  • Close your eyes. When all else fails, take a nap. This can be hard because you can feel guilty (see number 2) or stressed or lay there thinking about all the million things you “should” be doing. But who’s to say what you shouldn’t be doing is giving your brain and body a few moments of rest so you can do whatever you were gonna do 67 times faster with 200% more joy? Sleep tight.
  • Drink something. A liquid of choice; whether it be water, chocolate milk, tea, iced caramel latte with skim milk and Splenda or some red wine. Sometimes you just need hydration and a chance to feel yourself breathe and also, sometimes, wine.
  • Clean something. Your room, your desk, your backpack, the whole kitchen, a park, your socks, whatever will make you feel purposeful and intentional and whole and together.
  • Create something. Write, knit, hammer, paint, sew, strategize, level up, craft, code. Whatever you do, when you don’t want to do anything else. These escapes are necessary and important and not a waste of time like the right side of your brain wants to tell you.
  • Watch a thing that is funny. For me it’s The Office or videos of babies laughing. Whatever your secret antidote that reminds you that being alive is not that serious and gives you slight abs– watch that thing.

And when all else fails, eat chocolate. Big chocolate guy.

Read This When You Are Lost

Read This When You Are Lost

I don’t know how people survived before GPS. I use GoogleMaps to get home from work everyday even though it’s the exact same route “just in case.” So the concept of a life uncharted is absolutely terrifying to me. As humans, we have been following maps, stars and trails for eons, it’s what we do. So what happens when there is no set course? That’s called being in your twenties. So this is what to do when your phone dies in the middle of a lifelong road trip.

Look down. Self awareness is the first step to anywhere. Realize where you are at and what you like/dislike/love about it.

Retrace your steps. Realize where you’ve been and pinpoint just when you started to feel this way. Notice what has changed since then and if you want to go back to where you were before or even potentially push on to something even better.

Look up. Picture where you want to go. Dream about it, write about it, pray about it, draw it, think about it. Envision what it looks like, tastes like, feels like. Let the Law of Attraction do its magic.

Take a break. I tend to want to go, go, go when I feel lost but I just end up going around in aimless circles and getting really dizzy. Stepping back to take time to process seems unproductive and frustrating but so is running really fast towards nowhere in particular. Wait it out and one day you’ll wake up on a Tuesday and it will hit you. A new piece to add to the puzzle. Something you really like or love or hate or want to become. You add it to your pile and think about it some more. It can feel stagnant, however, it is anything but. Be intentional about your progress; picky with your direction. If something feels right– follow it, but not just because someone tells you to.

Move forward. Confidently. Inertia can take hold and fear can make the first step look like a cliff. It’s okay to jump sometimes. Intuition is stronger than fear. Trust yourself. Step into your power and know it will be okay because it has been so many times before and you’re not about to start failing now.

If you get lost, don’t panic. This is being alive, and you will inevitably get turned around and off-course a few times. I think getting lost is what happens right before you find something wonderful.

 

 

Shamelessly

Shamelessly

After a night of little-to-no sleep, staring weakly at my mile-long to do list for the day I had a sudden realization– probably brought on by an overdose of caffeinated beverages. I look around myself at college, at all the bright, inspired, motivated, talented, incredible individuals I’m surrounded by, and our dark under-eye circles and heavy backpacks. We brag about tragic sleep schedules, overbooked Google Calendars, and how many all-nighters we pulled this week. It’s almost trendy to be too busy to eat regular meals and sit in the libraries for hours and hours on end without moving. We are wearing exhaustion with pride, a symbol of sacrifice to prove how much we care and how hard we try. We run ourselves ragged and wear ourselves thin to validate our efforts and work ethic.

But there is no shame in self-care. Eating good food is important. Sleeping is important. Doing something that does not involve staring blankly into the blue-lit screen of our laptops is important. We romanticize fatigue, burning ourselves out day by day. Please stop normalizing unhealthy lifestyles and unhappiness. We ain’t shit without our physical and mental health. But balance in a place run rampant with extremes seems impossible a lot of the time. Exhaustion should not be framed as glamorous.

The demands are immense and the pressure is looming. But having limits is important.

Get rid of the guilt. We should not feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. It’s our job, evolution has been telling us to do this the whole time. Work hard. Chase dreams. But there is so much life happening right now.

Balance. Develop a morning routine that does not involve social media or energy drinks. Take breaks. Your mind and body will reward you. Self-care should not fall to the wayside during midterms or finals, it should increase. I know– hard to do in college but it’s hard to do any time. Bad habits die hard and so do good habits so begin now. Say no, take a nap, read a book you actually want to read, treat yourself to Netflix without feeling guilty. Do something with the pure rationale that you want to do it, with no ulterior motive or another person to please. Step back when you need to, shamelessly. 

Quotes for Mondays

Quotes for Mondays

I’ve always loved quotes. Maybe actions speak louder than words but the right words can speak pretty damn loud. Thoughts get caught in sentences and centuries later they still speak just as loudly. I love that. Here’s a few of my favorites that get me out of bed in the morning when it’s raining, scribbled onto sticky notes or that I’ve written in the squashed corners of my planner. 

“People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things” Leonardo DaVinci

“If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for the rest of your life, rest in this: you, my beautiful friend are not that powerful.” Lisa Bever

“Find something you’re passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it.” Julia Child

“With freedom, books , flowers and the moon who could not be happy?” Oscar Wilde

“I exist as I am. That is enough” Walt Whitman

“What’s coming will come and we’ll meet it when it does” Hagrid

“There is no passion to be found playing small– in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” Nelson Mandala

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” Roald Dahl

Bloom

Bloom

Last week was a rough week.

An unfortunate, inconvenient series of irritating events that made me wanna crawl into bed and quit everything for 3 months and maybe move to the deciduous forests of upstate Washington. A pile up of being late to too many classes, uncomfortable confrontations with bosses, spilled coffee, rain and at one low point, I kid you not, a campus bus roared past me and blew the hat I was wearing into the road while simultaneously splashing me with cold, swampy, sewage street water. I thought things like only happened during montages in cheap movies with a tragic instrumental playing in the background. And that was only Tuesday.

Some things to remember during bad days, weeks, months, years, etc:

I saw this quote on Pinterest (I know, gag me) that said “There’s nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so.” The pressure to have your life semi-together can sometimes seem overwhelming and nauseating. A bad week does not deem you a failure or a weed. Shit happens. To all of us. A lot of the time.

You’ll bloom again. Last Wednesday I was convinced the Week From Hell™ would probably last forever and I’d die an angsty sophomore in college who really really needs to do laundry. But today is Monday. And I’m still a sophomore in college but perhaps a little less angsty and doing well on my bio quiz (yet to do laundry but). Little victories people.

It’s good to be in a bad mood. Maybe not forever but if you need to listen to aggressive music and be alone for a few hours to sulk and brood– you’re entitled to that privilege, even if you live on one of the most populated campuses in the country in the middle of a city. Allow yourself to feel it all. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Treat yo self. (-Tom Haverford, Parks and Rec star, inspirational being.) There are few activities more therapeutic in the middle of a thunderstorm of a week than doing whatever the heck it is you want to do. Eat good food, buy flowers, watch your favorite show instead of studying, take a nap, WHATEVER YOU WANT. Take the revenge you want out of life.

So it’s Monday. New day, new week. So far no buses have assaulted me– stay tuned for updates. But even if I get stung by a thousand bees in the middle of a hurricane after oversleeping for class with a midterm, there’s always tomorrow.

The Fear of Missing Out

The Fear of Missing Out

I think sometimes as millennials we are perpetually terrified of doing nothing. We constantly update, move, check in, reload, play Pokemon Go (wow so quick with the pop culture references), update again. We fear a lapse in the chaos, a moment of quiet peace where we can pause and think and breathe. We feel guilty for any break in the productivity. We dread that this quiet peace means we are missing something. We even have a nonsensical acronym for this phenomenon: FOMO. The Fear of Missing Out. This fear drives us too often to a state of exhaustion and stress and mini-breakdowns twice a week in our full-time jobs as professional multi-taskers. We forget how good it feels to actually do nothing in a static roar of accomplishments and to-do lists. Too often, I forget that the act of doing nothing is still an act.

This summer is a good time to remember. To stop irrationally fearing “missing out”. To put down the phone or the laptop or the planner and actually actually do simply nothing.  In blazing midday heat or quiet summer dusk. To appreciate and notice and simply be. For better or for worse. To ignore the go go go. Breathe a lot deeper. Notice that you are breathing a lot deeper. Notice everything. Exactly where you are and exactly what you are doing. BE PRESENT. FULLY. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. YOU HEAR ME. This mindfulness turns off that fearful urge and forces us to exist in this actual brief moment in time. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or checking snapchat stories of what we might be missing out on and occasionally, embrace missing out.

bepresent

Here are some things to do instead of doing things:

 

  • Read a classic. Because you want to.
  • The Breathe App (it’s a meditation app, a tad granola but I love this and also it’s free!)
  • Quiet thankful lists.
  • Appreciate wherever the heck you are and whatever the heck you’re doing.
  • Popsicles.
  • Write stuff down. Any stuff. All stuff.
  • Listen. To everything not coming from a speaker or your own vocal chords.
  • Stars.
  • Stretch.
  • Breathe.

 

 

in and out ppl

Voices

Voices

Our entire lives are narrated by a voice in our head that sounds kind of like us. Sometimes its quieter than others, sometimes you might forget to notice that it’s there. The voice that notices. The voice that dictates. The voice that compares and contrasts our appearances, our accomplishments, our tragic flaws and faults with everyone that surrounds us. She/he has a lot to say and to be perfectly honest she/he is kind of a piece of crap. From the moment we open our eyes to the moment we close them we are narrated by this loud obnoxious attention-seeking voice screaming, screaming, screaming obscenities into our subconscious. You’re not good enough. He’s smarter than you are. These shorts make you look like a giant ice cream cone. She’s more easy to talk to than you are. Body goals. Hair goals. Relationship goals. Outfit goals. Life goals. Why aren’t you trying harder? Why aren’t you better? Do better. Try harder. Not enough. Not ever enough.

9 times out of 10 this voice is not nice to other people and it’s definitely not nice to us. And while a nice serving of self-awareness and constructive criticism works wonders, there’s a point where the voice takes over, shrieking demands we as humans can never meet. And it does not shut up. It gets louder and louder and louder until you can’t hear the music anymore. Before you fall asleep. When you walk into a room of strangers. After you get a test grade back. When you’re scrolling through Facebook. Penetrating our thoughts and holding our potential for ransom.

Talk back. Maybe quietly at first, but firmly, wholly. (also disclaimer: talking to yourself out loud in public not necessarily advised but you do you.) Stop tolerating disrespect, especially from yourself. We are our toughest critics. If we wouldn’t say it to someone else why do we say it to ourselves? We are all doing the best we can. That nagging, never pleased, always longing, incessant voice is not your own. It sounds a little like you. But the pitch is a bit off.

Please love yo’self. Heck, LIKE yourself. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. The universe has a lot of great things. You’re one of them. Trees make air for you to inhale, the world has been brought perfectly together so you may exist. Shut off the voice screeching in your ear.

We’re stuck with ourselves our whole lives. We might as well make the most of it people. We will be good at a lot of stuff. We will suck at a lot of others. But we must love indefinitely without criteria. “In a society that profits from self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” Think about how many industries could not exist without our frenzy of self-loathing, critical inner-voice-screaming ways. An economy based around getting thinner, stronger, smarter, richer, prettier. When is it ever enough? Odds are we probably won’t be live-changingly happier after we lose 10 pounds or make more money or get a new car. The greed drives on and the voice gets louder. Get brave. Get tired of it. Maybe even get a little lazy. This constant voice consumes our energy. Energy that could be of much better use if we love who we are and choose to help starving children or tell our friends thank you for existing or creating something bright and colorful instead of obsessively staring into a dirty mirror or imagining a theoretical line graph of what we would change about ourselves. In a competitive world we think of this voice as the force behind the will to improve. The tough love we need to compete successfully. But this voice is reaching a fever pitch and we’re not winning. We should not have to fight ourselves.  Look how much more powerful you are when you and your mind are on the same side. Imagine if we obsessed about the things we loved about ourselves instead of what we hate. Imagine how much better other people will treat you when you stop treating yourself like that. Yes, it is important to keep ourselves in check; be humble, realize our mistakes, learn a lot all the time but draw the line. Draw the line between constructive criticisms and just loud noise. Take what is valid and throw rest of that shiz away.

Loving yourself can come off a little Pinterest-esque but this is more than just Oprah talking. Studies suggest that those who have higher self-compassion are less at risk for developing depression or anxiety, as reported by the New York Times. Research also shows that loving yourself can help you become more optimistic, and students who place their self-worth on internal habits like moral values are less stressed and tend to perform better academically. Did you hear that in the back Type As? A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that recently divorced people who spoke compassionately toward themselves were happier and more fulfilled during the months following the divorce than those who spoke with self-criticism.

Fun fact: Self worth is vital to your happiness. “If you don’t feel good about you, its hard to feel good about anything else.” –Mandy Hale. It’s not selfish. It’s not self-centered. It’s not arrogance. It’s not narcissism. It’s valid and important and changes worlds.

When we lash out or hurt others it’s usually because of our own wobbly insecurity, that contaminated voice taking hold. From the roots of our evolution we choose: fight or flight. People who like themselves don’t feel the need to tell others how much they hate them or how fat they look in that dress. People who like themselves don’t seek the satisfaction of bringing others down. Do it for yourself. Do it for the rest of us. Change the tone, free yourself from that voice. You should go and love yourself. (–Justin Bieber, yeah we all saw that coming)selflove2.png