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 :'(

Wednesday Things

Gold Foil Print - Let Go of the Heavy

credit: BrittanyGarnerDesign on Etsy

1. I know I’ve been MIA for about a week or so. This past week, my fiancee’s grandfather was admitted to the hospital, then hospice, and then went home to glory last Friday morning. My weekend has been full of time spent with family and catching up on homework. Both grandparents that I have lost (my Grandaddy in 2008 and my Grammy in this past October) were taken from tragically and suddenly. I still struggle every day with the loss of my grandmother and I’ve never been in a situation where my loved one had been suffering for a year (or any extended amount of time). Being able to find some solace in the fact that at least the pain is over for them now is a new concept to me. I’m so used to being angry and confused in the face of tragedy. I was so grateful for the immense number of family members who are so close to each other coming together to celebrate Grandpa Ervin’s life.

2. The wedding is in 45 days. THE WEDDING IS IN 45 DAYS. And, I have to admit that the panic starting to set in a little bit. Not only did I just realize that I had to like, get some one to make a cake and other details like that, but I’m also starting to second guess things because I’m neurotic right now between school, tragedy, and wedding plans and decisions. No second guessing about the marriage at all, but little things like the guest book I’ve already ordered. Silly (?) things.

Probably the source for most of my panic is this lurking feeling I have like I’m a 6-year-old worrying that no one’s going to come to my party. I can’t have a bachelorette party, either, because my bridesmaids all live in different states (save for my sister/matron of honor!). My mom made the point that at least Luke has a huge family so even if only family shows up, it’ll still be a big party. That both did and didn’t make me feel better.

I don’t know, I just want every thing to be fleshed out and for me to be able to just sit back and enjoy the party. I keep visualizing being at the resort on the honeymoon and the amazing beaches and it’s really what’s holding it all together in my brain right now. I know that no matter what happens, I’ll get to that beach. =]

3. On to good news… Luke’s done with school! He just took his last final for his curriculum for his bachelor’s degree. This is such a wonderful thing in and of itself but also because it means I only have to worry about getting myself through school. No more of those Sunday night “I hate everything” panic attacks… for him, at least. I’ve still got 37 days. Struggling with it. But I’m so close!!

4. I went to a Bed Bath and Beyond registry event last week, and it was a lot of fun, plus I walked away with an amazing goodie bag with some really high-quality kitchen tools, gorgeous crystal candle holders, two pretty nail polishes, and lots more. It got me wondering… can I just like, go to this every year? At different locations? For the free things? How would they know? Am I a terrible person?

5. I’m out of TV shows (as usual), and I’m thinking of either re-watching Gilmore Girls or actually wacth Friends for the first time?

I’m out of things to say. I’m unfocused and uninspired right now. I’ve been so far from the top of my game (no, seriously. I went to the wrong class room for my class today and I also thought it was Thursday instead of Wednesday?)  I’m looking forward to taking more time to clear my mind and take care of myself this week!  =]

How’s life for you??

January + February Goals

Look, I know I’m already week into February, but it has been pretty chaotic for me so far and that is why I’m late to post my goals for the month.

Reflecting back on January, not a whole lot particularly sticks out in my mind. Some bridal expos, lots of vendor interviews, bouncing between being really bored with school and being really overwhelmed with it. Our music for Chorale this semester is really hard but really wonderful.

Aside from my resolutions, I don’t think I ever really listed any specific goals for the month. A lot of my blogger friends do new goals each month, and look back at how they did the month before. Personally, I really like this system! It’s much better than only setting goals annually. It seems more manageable, applicable, and effective. Also, you can spend one month developing one habit, and then move on to another habit the next month. That being said, here are my goals for February!

  1. Ask for help more often. 
    This is going to be really important. My wedding is going to include a lot of personalization and DIY projects and such. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and even if I didn’t I would need a ton of help pulling a whole wedding together. Fortunately, I have a wonderful community of people supporting my family and we’re all going to orchestrate an amazing day. Even aside from the wedding things, I need to be okay asking for help more often when it comes to school projects, asking for time to sit and focus on schoolwork rather than having to entertain, asking for grace for when I slip up. This month, I really need to try and better understand that I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.
  2. Practice flexibility
    Again, this is very much intended for all sorts of wedding ideas and concepts. However, it’s also important to practice this in my life in general. I’ve never been particularly spectacular at being flexible and taking time to think before reacting to news or a change. Also, money is tight, and practicing flexibility to adjust to more of penny-pinching will be really helpful.
  3. Make a habit of working out regularly and making healthier choices
    I feel like this is almost an obligatory inclusion in every list of goals. Also? I weighed myself for the first time in a long time and I definitely do not weigh what I thought I weighed – which is awesome on one hand because it’s exactly the motivation I needed to actually get back to my healthier and more active habits.
  4. Do a better job keeping up with school
    This one really doesn’t need any further explanation. I have a lot of assignments to get done every week, and I just have to do them.
  5. Really rest more
    I lay around and relax all the time, but I don’t spend enough time actually resting. I mean meditating, getting to sleep earlier, reading books, remembering to breathe – the beneficial relaxation. The kind of relaxation that isn’t continually watching just one more episode of Netflix in bed before actually going to sleep, or hitting the snooze until it’s the absolute latest I can get up and get ready for the day.
  6. Keep trying to be more gentle with myself
    Stop getting angry at myself easily, take breaks when I need to, remember to say no to things I can’t handle taking on right now, not holding myself to unrealistic goals consistently (like never letting my room get messy at all?), not beating myself up about silly little things, and trying to let myself better shrug off negativity.
  7. Learn to be my own hero
    This has been my mantra since one of my absolute favorite ladies said it on Twitter. Instead of always daydreaming about that girl I wish I were or dream of becoming one day, I’m working on realizing that I’m already completely who I who I want to be, and I just need to let that show more often. I already ran 3 miles in a blizzard this week – there’s nothing else I can’t do. I can make myself workout as much as I’d like. I can buckle down and get my schoolwork done. I can be kind to every person I meet. I can dress as nice as I’d like every day. I can plan a wedding. I can make friends. I can encourage others. I can already do everything I wish I could do.

Even though some of these goals are are kind of vague and aren’t “measurable” (for instance, losing X number of pounds, achieving a certain GPA, accomplishing a specific task), they’re all really important, and maintainable (or at least practicable). Every day is just a process to be better.

She believed.

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.

Wednesday Things

Photo Credit to Ashley Meunchen

Photo Credit to Ashley Meunchen

  1. Well, after a rough weekend of unbearable coldness in MI (seriously, including wind chill it got down to -38 F!), today is the first official day of my last semester of undergrad! Once the emails from professors started pouring into my inbox, I started feeling immediately anxious, but now I feel pretty…. not excited… ready, maybe? This may be due to the simple fact that I have a lot to look forward to once this semester ends (graduation, wedding, vaycay, etc), but whatever the reason, I’m glad for it.
  2. I made a thing! Look here: Luke & Haley It’s just a mushy, 30-second photo slideshow made through a brilliantly easy-to-use site, but I think it’s just super sweet. I also got my wedding website set up. More details will be added as they are hammered out.
  3. I’m finally done with my required core courses for my minor. I get all classes I picked for fun (and one writing intensive course for my major). One of my classes this semester is called “Laughter, as a Modality for Healing,” with a professor known for his chillness. Seriously. How can this be not fun?
  4. In one of my classes today, the professor spent some time letting students talk about what exciting things they did over break and places they went, etc. Someone went kayaking in the Pacific. A couple people went to Disney World. Someone went to Texas. Some auditioned for really important things. I wanted to raise my hand and just say “I watched 3 different shows from beginning to end over break. That’s an accomplishment, right?”
  5. My two most “academic” classes (Psychology of Emotion and Child Development) are both in this amazing, cozy lecture halls with all Lazy Boys and a thousand outlets. Child Development is my only AM class, too! So, my only morning class for my last semester is surprisingly not dreadful, if only for this classrom.  So, so much excitement.  Here’s a photo:
  6. Television! I watched all of House of Cards over break, and I already can’t wait for the next season to be released. Also? SHERLOCK. If you haven’t jumped on the Sherlock bandwagon yet, you really need to. On Sunday, I saw a post on Tumblr that said “The Sherlock Fandom, one week ago, was on hiatus. In one week, we will be on hiatus again.” Weird, but true. If you aren’t familiar, each season is just three 90-minute episodes. Brilliant, beautiful episodes. It’s done my Moffat, who writes Doctor Who, so you know it’s just all such amazing goodness.
  7. I don’t really think I have much for you this week. I could come up with fluff to make it to 10 bullets, but I don’t want to.

Love you all! I’m looking forward to being busy again. Three days straight of being snowed into my house was brutal. At least now that school’s started I have a reason to like, put on real clothes and look decent and stuff. Always a good thing.

Holiday Catch-Up

I’ve been a busy, busy girl lately. Because it’s the holiday season, and particularly this week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, my work knows no schools are in session so they just decided to schedule me just about every day until school does start again. I’m not happy with a lot of my work situation currently, for many reasons. Because my fiancee lives so far away from the restaurant I work at, I know I’ll have to leave once I get married; I thought that knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel would help make frustrations at work more bearable but, in actuality, it does the opposite. With only a couple months to go, I find myself thinking “what am I putting up with this for? Why don’t I just quit early?” Honestly, though, I have friends here. I’m looking forward to my last day to go get married and have people go out with me after work to say goodbye and such. One of my coworkers I was venting to suggests that I just leave now, and find someplace like Applebees to just fling burgers out for cash for a month or two until I get married. This is a perfectly valid plan, but I’m still torn because I love the people where I’m at. I’ll leave the settling for someplace like Applebees until after the wedding until I can find myself a big girl job that actually utilizes my degree or something.

Wedding planning feels a bit like working out right now. I took a break for a couple days from the routine I had been doing, which was just doing something productive and wedding-related everyday. Now that I took the break, it’s hard for me to get back into my routine. Especially because I have the big, fun parts done with and now it’s all details, specific schedules, and guest lists. It’s also hard for me to get time with my mom to sit and power through these things because she’s traveling to see family while I stay home and work, and when she’s home it feels like she and are only ever home at opposite times. Once school starts up and we get settled into routine again, I’m looking forward to having a mom date.

I know very well that I have a lot on my plate this semester. Besides work and wedding planning, I have 17 credits this next semester, and grad school applications to tackle. I’m trying to remind myself everyday not to get angry with myself over little things, and that my attitude is my choice and choosing to be happy makes all the difference. The time I have up until the wedding is going to teach me a lot and challenge me in lots of different ways. Time for my stress management training to actually come in handy!

Right now I’m just trying to catch up on basic tasks and write an essay for my grad school app, and pirating with my man in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag until I have to go to work. 

Stress and Resilience

(First of all, I may or may not be writing this post as a break from cramming information into my head for a final that is in one hour because if I don’t I just might explode.)

I can’t even believe this semester has passed so quickly. I feel like I’ve worked ridiculously hard to get through it and also feel like I didn’t really even do anything. It’s hard to believe that my first and last year in my university’s Chorale is halfway through, and even harder to believe that I have ONE SEMESTER LEFT of my undergraduate education ever. 

This is awesome and scary. I have lots of things coming up and I can’t even imagine what 2014 is really going to be like for me. I now have to get started on actually fleshing out my “career plan,” including applying to graduate programs and myomassaology institutes and dealing with whatever becomes of my personal life. It’s all exciting, and it’s all daunting. 

But isn’t that at least a little bit of what keeps us going, as humans? Being excited and scared at the same time – what else would motivate us to do anything? This is a condition I need to become better at embracing. I want to. Technically, this “good stress” is termed “eustress.” Did you know that people who perceive stress as a good thing/positive motivator actually had no physiologically harmful reaction to stress? All that adrenaline stuff, the cortisol and narrowing of veins and rising of blood pressure and increase of heart rate and all sorts of hormonal reactions and autonomic nervous system stuff either doesn’t happen or doesn’t negatively affect you if you embrace what stress can do for your life.

More easily said than done, I know, but it’s a great concept. It’s possible to make stress healthy for you. My favorite resource of this information is this TEDtalk by Kelly McGonigal. In it, there is a quote that I just absolutely adore and want plastered all over everything I own:

“When you choose to see stress as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And, when you choose to connect with others through that stress, you create resilience.”

 

Just something about the idea of “the biology of courage” is terribly poetic. Resilience is a fundamental concept in my studies as a Wellness Promotion and Personal Development major. It is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty; it is toughness; it is elasticity. I strive to be resilient. So many times in my life I have claimed myself a victim of the consequences of stress and fear and depression and anxiety – if I can crack the whip and make my physiology work for me, and not allow myself to claim helplessness in the face of stress, then I don’t know what can stand in my way. 

 

One of my final projects for an 8-credit monster class. Appendices A-T (should have even more – I left out a couple things). Finally complete!