Ways to Feel Better Instantly

The past 9 months has been a whole lot more on my plate at once than I’ve had to deal with, probably, than ever before. Two deaths, my dad losing his job (and starting to work for himself!), getting engaged, planning a wedding, finishing university, and trying to cope with the fact that my life will look completely different in two months. I am 100% uncertain regarding just about every important aspect of life in the next year; I don’t know where I’ll be living, where I’ll be working, what I’ll be doing, how often I’ll see my mom, what I will be able to afford, etc. In addition to all this, my personality definitely makes it easy for me to get caught up in stress about the future. This is why I decided to flesh out a list of ways I know that I can start to feel better instantly. If there’s ever been a time I need a list like this, it’s right now!

  1. Close out of all of you tabs on the computer, and actually shut it down/restart it.
    I know I’m not the only one who tends to keep tabs open on their laptop because I plan to read or make some sort of use of it in the future. Having a cluttered computer without actually shutting down or restarting it for a few days just begins to feel like being in a cluttered room. Clearing off my computer makes me feel like I can breathe a little bit better, and go about the things I actually need to do on my computer with more organization.
  2. Clear out your inbox.
    No, seriously. How many emails are in your inbox? How many have you already handled? How many are spam? I just looove going through all my emails and mass-deleting useless ones, or unsubscribing from newsletters or subscription emails. On top of all of that, I couldn’t survive if I didn’t label and archive my emails. If my school sends me an email about graduation, I read it, label it, and archive it. Same with important emails from anything else (especially online shopping receipts and such). Archiving in folders means I know exactly where to look for it later, if I ever need to reference it. It’s like deleting everything without having to worry about losing it.
  3. Clean your room.
    Just do it. Start by putting everything all in once place – a chair, bed, the middle of the floor, etc. Play music. I end up reaching a state of flow at some point and just go until I know I’ve either finished or made some significant progress.
  4. Just do one thing. Then do another.
    Mail that letter. Answer that email. Make that call. Set up that appointment. Doing one thing will help you feel like doing the next thing, and soon enough you feel like you’ve been at least marginally productive.
  5. Chocolate! 
    This is self-explanatory. Treat yourself. Be nice to yourself.
  6. Write it out.
    Here I am, doing just that. Whether it’s a blog post, a journal entry, a letter to a friend, or a list of some kind, getting it put down on paper helps you separate yourself from and organize the things buzzing around your brain.
  7. Hug someone
    This one is science, peole. Oxytocin is released in your blood stream when you hug or shake/hold hands with someone for more than 6 seconds.
  8. Look at baby things.
    Watch youtube videos or browse pictures of baby animals and baby people. This is science, too. Don’t pretend you don’t love doing this.
  9. Stretch.
    Whether you do yoga or just need to stretch out a bit, it feels amazing. Put down your phone, take your eyes off of your computer, step away from the to-do list, and just stretch. There’s no way to doubt that this will make you feel better right away.
  10. Work out.
    It’s okay if it’s just going on a walk! You don’t need to go spend an hour at the gym to gain benefits (both physically and emotionally) from exercising your body. Getting up and going on a short walk outside is worlds better for your sore back than pain killers or further resting. (Also science.)
  11. Look at pretty things
    The specific way I tap into this is browsing and curating my Inspiration Board on Pinterest.
  12. Remember that there are more important things.
    Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that there are more important things than killing yourself over not getting 100% on a school project, or being 15 minutes early to everything. Cut yourself a little slack once in a while, and remember that there are people who love you no matter what. That you’re not going hungry. That you are smart, capable, and special.

If you’ve been feeling like you really need a pick-me-up (who hasn’t at some point during this ridiculous winter?), hopefully some of these ideas help, or at least get you thinking about what makes you feel better.

What kinds of things always seem to brighten your day?

Guys I had a really bad day... I found out that one of my friends got hit by a car and died. I was crying like CRAZY in my first class and everyone stared at me. He was so nice and funny. I'll miss him. And on top of that I have a massive headache, I don't feel well, and I failed two quizzes... I'm so sad :'(

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Wednesday Things

  1. So, I’m in the process of applying to grad school. I love the idea of having a Master’s degree to impress everyone and make more money and be qualified to do more than I can now. Sounds great! But? Considering the fact that I may or may not have had a mini-breakdown when confronted with my first writing assignment (1-page writing assignment), maybe not grad school. I’m still applying, though. I can make up my mind to accept their acceptance after I know if I even get in.
  2. Speaking of grad school, does anyone else feel this way?: Sometimes, it seems like a really big deal to be graduating with my bachelor’s. A lot of people in my fiancee’s family don’t have one, I hear a lot of students talk about how they are coming back to school because they reached a point where they couldn’t continue professionally without one, and there are a lot of reasons people choose to continue with their lives in different directions than obtaining a degree. Other times, a bachelor’s degree doesn’t feel like it’s worth much anymore; the job market is so much more competitive and a lot more people are having to resort to going back to school or attending grad school just to keep a job. I don’t know.
  3. This semester, I am seriously having a hard time just relating to anyone new I’ve met this semester. In both groups I’ve been separated into so far, it’s felt like I’m speaking a different language than everyone else. In my Laughter class, my group mates were really, really quiet and I also got the feeling that our senses of humor are significantly different.
  4. I FINALLY got my Lorna Jane Move, Nourish, Believe Planner after numerous delivery delays due to recent weather (it took an entire extra week). Even though it came just one week into the semester, I felt super anxious about not being able to put all my syllabi into my planner. I know this is more of a psychological issue than an actual one, but it’s still necessary to my well-being.
  5. I just realized this is the last semester I’ll ever have to put all of my syllabi into one planner. Ah! Yay!
  6. I’m out of TV shows! I’ve finished Sherlock, House of Cards, Doctor Who, Parks and Rec… Survivor is over. I can only go week-by-week (gasp! no binge-watching?) with Community, Parenthood, Agents of SHIELD, and Arrow. Also? I’m out of time to binge-watch shows, I guess… Now that school is taking up so much of my time again. Sadface.
  7. This semester, I am very unlucky and somehow ended up with four 4-credit, writing-intensive courses. It sounds like it may be a lot of moderately-sized writing projects, which is both good and bad: Good, because it means I don’t end up with one 20-page paper to put together all at once. Bad, because it means I have a lot of small assignments to keep track of.
  8. We had a great meeting with the wedding coordinator at the location where I’m getting married and having my reception. We were able to flesh out a few more details and had a great talk. I feel so lucky that the events coordinator is a friend of my mom’s and she is just lovely – energetic, involved, supportive – everything and more that we need her to be.
  9. Does anyone get into food kicks? I definitely do. Like, I’ll find one thing I like and just eat it all day every day for a week or two, and then I’ll get over it. This past summer, it was greek yogurt veggie dip and raw red peppers. For a while it was yummy gluten-free granola. Then sushi. Right now, it’s yellow veggie curry. I’ve been to the same place by my university for lunch every day so far this week. Some may say it’s a problem. I say whatever. I love food.
  10. Confession: right now, I’m in my Laughter class. I don’t really feel like I connect with my assigned group, but so far in class today, we’ve just been watching a Bill Cosby stand-up video. It’s been an hour. I have no idea how long it goes, but I hope it takes up the whole class time, even though I don’t think it’s funny, just so I don’t actually have to do anything like talk or think or pay attention today. Pssshhhh.
  11. I’ve been obsessed with motivational articles, quotes, Pinterest pins, etc. Anything I can process. I think I just know that I really really need it and part of me is continually searching for the motivational tool that’s going to magically make me turn into the most proactive and organized morning person ever. One can dream.

Be Truthful, Gentle, and Fearless

The title of this post is a quote from Gandhi. It’s a quote I saw on Pinterest at some point not too long ago, and it instantly inspired me. As most quotes do, this left me feeling introspective about what exactly these words meant to me. My interpretation and meaning may not be the same as yours, but that’s fine. That’s how these things work.

Truthfulness, to me, has a lot to do with vulnerability. I’m not always good at that. Acting and theatre were a huge part of my childhood and growing up. It’s no coincidence that I am comfortable with using acting as a safety net. Throughout my life, I’ve made it through social situations and meeting new people and surviving group projects by being a person that I knew would do well in the situation at hand. This has always left me feeling disconnected and distant from a lot of people I’ve met in my life. I still pick up on times that I’m doing it. It’s just this past year that I’ve really been feeling progress towards being myself regardless of what situations I find myself in. It’s made a big difference, and I’m really proud of myself for learning how to be truthful to myself. This may not have made much sense, but that’s okay.

Gentleness is often construed as an unhelpful quality, and we are told that we have to be tough to “make it” or that we need to pretend like nothing gets under our skin. Not caring has become regarded as being so  “cool” and nonchalant. Not caring has been praised, preached, and pretended. While there is certainly  something to be said about being resilient, I think there is an aversion or maybe even a stigma to caring too much about anything these days. In reality, what I really admire is people caring a whole darn lot. It’s brave. It’s inspiring. It’s passionate.

And, fearlessness? Where can that even fall into my normal life – I’m not a soldier or a missionary or a cutthroat journalist or a revolutionary.

I’m not used to thinking that fearlessness has ever really been a concept that I can play into my own life, especially not day-to-day. Sure, there may be plenty of things I’m scared of (disappointing people I love, intimidating professors, and the classic show-up-to-class-and-there’s-an-exam-I-knew-nothing-about nightmare), but what am I really fearful of? I think, at least at this point in my life, the things I really feel fearful about seem to be more abstract and unknown and undefined (maybe the abstract and unknown is scary itself).

My life is on the edge of, well, a lot. 2014 is one big, challenging, and momentous year for me. This year, I will be (somehow) making it through a semester with four 4-credit, writing-intensive courses; I will be graduating; I will be getting married (and planning the whole thing); I will be moving out of my parents’ place; I will be getting a new job (or two?); I will be apartment hunting in the fall for a second place for me to move to this year. The list can go on as long as I let it. There’s a lot that’s coming at me, whether I feel ready for it or not.

This past year, I’ve tried to become more open to being uncomfortable and being outside of my comfort zone. Looking at what I’ve been through in college, and the year ahead of me, I’m starting to think that life is just one big challenge of our comfort zones and limitations. In 2015, I’m sure there will be a whole slew of new decisions for me to make and things for me to adjust to. And the same in 2016. It’ll probably never end. Knowing this, accepting it, and standing up tall to face the challenge (even if I don’t “feel ready”) is what fearlessness means to me.

...

Falling Together

Here I am, sitting in a quiet living room, browsing Pinterest (because for real, though – my life is now all Pinterest. Shameless Pinterest), and I come across a photoset that I have seen before:

pictures to take before the ceremony without breaking tradition. so cute.

These are photos from grooms and brides having pictures taken together before the wedding, but without seeing eachother. I’ve known for a while that this is something I want for my own wedding, but then I pictured Luke and I in these photos. And here I am, sitting in a quiet living room, and maybe I kinda sorta started tearing up out of emotion and excitement for the first time about everything.

Oh, and do you guys remember this last post where I said I hoped the right choices (especially for venues) would be as clear as day and that I would fall in love with one that was somehow miraculously available on only one of the two dates we’ve been considering? IT HAPPENED. I am feeling so crazy and happy that it actually happened like that! The venue I’m looking at for my reception is one that I really loved when I was looking with my sister for her wedding in 2010. It was the first reception venue I called, and when I told the lady this, she promptly began offering education about things to look for, consider, and ask when it comes to shopping around for reception venues. This immediately made me excited and that I could trust this group of people. They’ve been consistently available to contact, promptly respond to my emails, and very helpful with getting everything to fit into my budget.

Other places I have toured have either been much too expensive, or the girls working with me just weren’t personable or made me feel awkward, or they were unenthusiastic about, well, my wedding (which feels really selfish to say, but for real – my wedding means their business, and being excited and enthusiastic for others is #1 for customer service and even just generally connecting with others).

This morning, I met with a reception venue that was all of the above. Feeling a little discouraged, I drove down the road to the church I am hoping to get married in. I was worried it would be too weird or awkwardly set up, but when I walked into the quiet and empty sanctuary, I just sighed. The room was big, but probably not too big; I know this church does great backdrops for the stage with fabric and lighting; although the carpet color isn’t part of my colors (navy, spring green, and white), it was a muted purple, which fits into the combination so well and was actually a color I had considered using. When I walked down the center aisle to the front of the stage to consider the stairs up to it, everything felt surreal. I felt as if I were a ghost bride, looking at the ghostly, empty seats of my ghost guests, and that all of this would be fleshed out, colorful, alive, and breathing in a few months. As I was leaving the building, I looked out a completely glass wall to a beautiful back yard of the church: a creek with a bridge, lots of trees, and even a gazebo. Perfect for taking pictures.

Is it weird that the carpeting is possibly the one thing about either venue that makes me feel super anxious? I want to say that this is because it is the only thing about venues you can’t change, but that isn’t true. There’s lots of other things about venues you can’t change. Maybe it’s because there’s so much that could be wrong with it – the pattern, color, texture, stains, etc. I don’t know. Weird neurosis, I guess.

I’m usually very good about tuning into my intuition and gut feelings about decisions, and I think that this skill is going to be absolutely key throughout my wedding planning process. Listening to my intuition, staying calm and breathing, and keeping an open mind. I’m so stupidly excited (obviously). I also have an appointment for my first time shopping for bridal gowns, and I’m unbelievably eager to spend time with my mom and my sister, and to just see what there is to see. Going in with no expectations or demands, I can keep my mind and options open, and my stress low.

The big things – the wheres – seem to be falling together. Once I can get a grasp on these big things, I feel that I have a foundation on which to lay each brick and detail. I know it’s within my control to make this process a harried and stressful experience, or a calm and fun experience. I have that control over my responses to the process.

And I choose to have an absolute ball while planning the biggest party of my life.