Can you Thrive through the Holidays?

I wanted to write a holiday “survival”-esque blog post  based on the mental health check-in I did with my virtual wellness community. I saw a dramatic response that most people are struggling this time of year and not necessarily feeling merry and bright. So I took to the internet to see what others have done. Every article that I read for inspiration and research said how to “survive” the holidays. I understand that it is supposed to be a joyous time but also is a difficult time for a lot of people. But is that really the standard we want to set for ourselves? Merely surviving?

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There is often a battle happening inside of me. The darkness vs. the light. Usually the LIGHT wins. I’m not sure exactly what has programmed me to be this way but I know that my life and my holiday season is about much more than just surviving. Sometimes, some days, some seasons,  that is really all you can do. I completely understand that especially looking back to the days in my past I was full of grief and heartbreak. But I think to stay fixed in a mentality that surviving is what you are consistently doing is a serious disservice to yourself, others and our world as a whole.

I do want to give you some tips and reminders to take care of yourself just a little bit more this holiday season. If that means survival for your circumstance then that is what you can call it. But as I was watching another episode of Red Table Talk (if you haven’t watched head to Facebook right now and get on it) with Kid Cudi on mental health and a few things stuck out to me. Jada Pinkett Smith shared that sometimes all you can do is lean on something that “keeps your head above water.” I totally agree. But you can’t live there. You can’t stay there. She also said in the episode, “testimony is so much more powerful than advice.” I agree. So here is my testimony.

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Joking. Kinda. Here’s more of what helps me thrive…

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What is it really like to have ADHD and anxiety?

Why are you thinking so much? Did you take your medicine?

You’re in a great mood, why are you worrying about that?

Why can’t you focus? Use some self control.. Come on.

But you really should be starting this now instead….after you send that email and check on that load of laundry. Oh look, you forgot about that you started yesterday. What should you really be doing right now?

It’s not that it won’t let you focus, it lets you focus on 75 things at once. That’s normal, right?

When you finally get that focus channeled, there is no stopping you. It may be hours dedicated to one task or project.

When you lose the passion and excitement for the task, it’s hard to recreate that type of focus.

When you don’t feel passionate about something, you will do it but it has some strange soul sucking quality to it. Don’t they feel that too?

When you feel nervous about the smallest thing, even though it has no relevance to the situation.

When your room or your house is a mess you literally feel sick to your stomach, and your eyes and brain are darting around the room endlessly.  If you just clean it you’ll feel better.

When you don’t want to have a plan, you’re a free spirit. But you need a plan. You need the steps to follow.  You’re nervous with one and you’re helpless without one.
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Single, Taken, Heartbreakin: Why we all need Self-Love

Valentine’s Day seems to be a day we obsess over being in love and more so being lonely. I have friends who hate Valentine’s day whether they are in a relationship or single. But love is so much more than the feeling that people share in a romantic partnership. How can you love yourself a little more today? Are you sick of hearing about self-love? Are you confused by what people even mean by that term? I don’t care if you’re married, divorced, or a baby right out of the womb- we all deserve our own affection, attention and adoration. Self-love is a necessary component to being fulfilled, challenged and whole. Ultimately, you loving yourself shapes a better world for all of us. What should you remember to ensure you’re practicing self-love today and everyday?

It’s not selfish– People are typically hesitant to take time for themselves. “I’m too busy.” We pour ourselves fully into our jobs, families, lovers and hobbies so that at the end of the day what is left over for us? Nada. It’s not selfish to put yourself first in fact, that is the only way to ensure you are the greatest lover, teacher, friend, daughter, mother, or  coworker possible. You cannot pour from an empty cup. The first step towards loving yourself fully is realizing it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

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Stereotype Me, I Dare You

                As promised I am back with my weekly thoughts. I started reading “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle two days ago and I can’t put it down. Every free second I have I have been gobbling it up. But I promised myself that I would write and the power of now makes me want to get these thoughts out immediately. In recent news and media, especially in America, there has been an overwhelming amount of stereotyping and blatant racism, sexism, and discrimination. Both in the political campaign for President of the United States and everyday affairs with riots, protests, and a whirlwind of media attention directed toward the police force and their treatment of criminals, particularly African American people. Now, more than ever, I am disgusted by the fact that people strongly  protest against these injustices toward the group they identify with while simultaneously insulting or stereotyping another group of people in the process. This happens across the boards in our world. It is not socially acceptable to call someone  fat, overweight or too heavy but it is socially acceptable to call someone too skinny, skin and bones, tell someone they need to eat or criticize them for their obsession with bodybuilding or being fit. It’s not acceptable to call someone uneducated, ignorant, or stupid but it is acceptable to call someone a nerd or a weirdo for being intelligent or highly interested in a certain subject matter. Why do we deem some discrimination okay? Why is it socially acceptable to judge certain people but looked at as politically incorrect, cruel, and evil spirited to judge others?

          When I look back at my life, I realize that I have a tendency to associate with groups that are often stereotyped. First and foremost we are all stereotyped by gender, that is inevitable. In my lifetime I have received stereotypes  for being “too smart” or “a nerd” as a child. Once I grew into my looks, got rid of my braces, glasses and unibrow and barely grew into my lanky body I was then stereotyped for being “pretty” and “skinny”. When deciding on a university, I landed on my dream definition of the college experience but was then stereotyped for going to a  “party school” where I studied to become a teacher which is a career that is highly misunderstood and publicly chastised. To make matters worse I joined a sorority and entered into one of the most stereotyped organizations I can think of. After that I decided to veer from the beaten path of American culture and  move abroad after graduate school. I became stereotyped as a “backpacker” or someone who needed to “find themselves.” Life lead me into an opportunity to turn my passion for health and fitness into a career in a network marketing company and I began my journey as a young entrepreneur building a following and business predominately through social media. Yet again, network marketing companies are a group that are highly misunderstood and blatantly stereotyped.  Now let me rephrase that paragraph, and show you not how others decided to categorize me but how I, in fact, see it myself.

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