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The Art of Being Well-Rounded

lace romper: on sale! // star choker: similar here and here

PASSION, LIFE GOALS, & ACHIEVING BALANCE

There’s a seemingly harmless question we all tend to ask kids that drives me kind of crazy. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Yeah, I know, you’re thinking “Uhh what’s the big deal?” or “This builds motivation, insight, goal-setting!”, and yes I agree to some extent, but hear me out. Why does someone have to be just one thing for their entire life? Kind of boring actually.

The tendency to put our careers in a nice neat little box seems to extend to other areas of our life. Part of this is due to how we as humans process and categorize information (called schematic processing) and perhaps the other part is how society tends to want to keep things very black and white. We love labels. You’re either “girly”, a “tomboy”, a “bookworm”, a “fashionista”, but God forbid you’re all of the above!

Without realizing it, I’ve always kind of embraced a variety of labels. In high school, I got straight-As and read voraciously, but I was also a cheerleader, but also kind of a rebellious teen that loved to party (sorry Mom and Dad!). I loved animals, but I also loved hanging with the boys. I had friends from various cliques that were apparently never supposed to mix (high school is just SO serious).

College came and I had to choose one direct path with one career goal. I opted for psychology because I felt it didn’t totally put me in a box and instead gave me a lot of options and flexibility depending on what I chose to do with it. Then, I decided to become a psychotherapist. And as endlessly interesting as I found it to be, it also kind of stressed me out thinking that I had to be this specific label. And shocker, I was kind of miserable when I was doing it full-time. And I felt guilty for feeling miserable because aren’t you just supposed to have one big passion in life and commit yourself fully to that?

If you really do have one big passion and are totally fulfilled just doing that, good for you, seriously. But what if you have multiple passions and interests? It’s actually pretty unrealistic, given the fact that we change SO much throughout our developmental life stages, to think that people should commit to just one specific life path. And once I realized how unfair that expectation was, I felt relieved. And I decided to do it all. So, I volunteer with animals, I work in fashion part-time, I write this blog, and I still work as a licensed therapist. I wouldn’t feel half as fulfilled if I was doing only one of those things. In fact, I’d feel pretty gypped.

Life is about balance and I’m a big believer in being well-rounded. To me, it’s a bit more authentic and a hell of a lot more interesting. After all, we only have one life to live, so why spend it just doing or “being” one thing? You really can have and be it all. #lifegoals

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mental health, outfits, WELLNESS

I Broke Up With Social Media & Here’s What Happened

palm print sweater: here (and obsessed!) // denim shorts: here (run big, size down)

MY RELATIONSHIP WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

In order to understand the breakup, you first need to understand my relationship with social media because it was a close/tight/committed/dependent one. Like, I could spend aaaaallllllll afternoon, evening and night mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest (I really had all bases covered). It was the first thing I attended to in the morning and the last thing I spent doing at night. It made me late to work, skip skincare and makeup routines, forego scheduled gym sessions, miss out on quality time with friends and family, and my neck wrinkles real pronounced (spending hours with your chin tucked down is not exactly conducive to great posture and youthful looking skin). Couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night? No worries! I’d grab my phone and scroll through Instagram for two hours aka it was really messing with my sleep hygiene. My beloved books and magazines gathered dust on their shelves because why enrich my mind with worthwhile literature when I could check out the avocado toast my best friend’s sister’s college roommate was eating? It really was a pathetic relationship. Maybe the worst one I’ve ever had (and I’ve had some doozies!).

THE BREAKUP

Obviously, it was time to breakup. I needed my freedom, hobbies, and health back. So I cut things off with social media on a random Monday night; I deleted my Twitter and Facebook apps and refused to even consider clicking on the cute little Instagram and Pinterest apps in my phone (Instagram and Pinterest are were my favorite of the bunch, making it harder to completely cut those out of my life). And here’s what happened:

I FOUND MORE TIME

Yes, I found the answer to finding more of that allusive “time” as in “ahh if only there was more time in the day!”. (Rearrange your priorities and tweak your schedule and I promise you’ll find it, too.) For instance, instead of spending the first 30 minutes of being awake laying in bed and checking up on what I could have possibly missed out on during the middle of night (hint: nothing), I get right out of bed and now have ample time to walk my dog, make breakfast and coffee, and put on some makeup. Shoot, I even have time to do my hair some mornings now. Even if you spend 5-10 minutes on social media here and there, it can really add up without realizing it, taking away chunks of time that could be spent doing something more relaxing, productive, fun, (actually) social, etc.

I READ MORE OF EVERYTHING

News articles, psychology journals, fashion magazines, fiction novels and self-help books – you name it, I’ve been reading it. Since I can remember, I’ve always been a voracious reader and consider it one of my very favorite hobbies (next to shopping, of course). Sadly, my obsessive relationship with social media took that away from me, BUT I’m proud to say I’m back to my bookworm ways.

I STAY IN THE MOMENT

When you don’t have your phone to use as a mindless distraction, you’re forced into the moment and therefore can be more present. Have you ever been out to lunch with someone who was on their phone the entire time, not really engaging in conversation or even bothering to look at you? I have, and it doesn’t feel great, but what does feel great is valuing the here and now, your relationships, and actual face time with people (or animals, whatevs 😉 ).

I BECAME DAMN PRODUCTIVE

At work, at home, on the weekends, my productivity is on the rise. This obviously comes easier with more time found in the day, but I think once you start being a little productive, it’s easier to become more and more so. Ya know the whole “an object in motion stays in motion” thing totally applies here. So, instead of going back to sit on the couch to check every nook and cranny of my social media accounts after I’m done say, vacuuming, now, because I don’t have that option, I might go on to do laundry, cook a healthy meal, water the plants, go to the gym (okay, maybe not there quite yet, but you get the point). 

I COMMUNICATE MORE INTENTIONALLY

Sure, Facebook can be great at keeping up with your Great Aunt in Albuquerque, but does it really help foster connections with our loved ones? Since I gave it up, I’ve found myself using my phone more for what it’s original intended use was – actually calling or even texting someone directly to see how their vacation was, what their plans are for the weekend, and to share a bit of what’s going on in my life. I think depending on social media to keep us connected with others creates a false sense of being social, having a support system, and really knowing your friends and family. It only provides a snapshot and doesn’t take the place of having a fulfilling and direct conversation or visit with someone.

I STOPPED COMPARING

You know what happens when you stop comparing your body, sense of style, vacations, relationships, home, and how you’re spending your Friday night to everyone else? You start living for and doing things for you and give yourself a greater chance at really being content with who you are and where you’re at. Now, instead of feeling bad about why I’m not out to eat at the trendy sushi restaurant in the same cute outfit as my friend’s cousin is, I focus on myself and what I actually want to be wearing, feeling, and doing. And damn, it feels good to be selfish.

WE’RE STILL FRIENDS

So after I didn’t go near any social media for quite some time, I started to give more thought into how I wanted to handle it all going forward. I realized this would require shifting my perspective and intentionally scheduling out times to use it if I wanted to, not just because I was in an out of control, habit with it. If I do have the desire to share a picture or scope out what everyone is up to, I set a purposeful intention for it, do it for a very limited amount of time, and be done with it. And you know what I’ve noticed? The less I do it, the less I want to or even think to. After all, who really stays that close to an ex after a breakup?

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Dealing With Stress & Grounding Yourself

crochet top: heredifferent color & more sizes // shorts: on sale heresimilar here

If you read my post on anxiety and either couldn’t totally relate or are looking for more coping skills that can be applied to everyday stress, this one’s for you. Today we’re talking all about grounding yourself and what I especially love about this technique is that pretty much anyone can use it and find it helpful. On the verge of a panic attack? Try grounding yourself. Constantly stressed over office politics? Ground yourself. Prepping for an interview? You guessed it – ground yourself!

WHAT IT IS

When we’re anxious, stressed, panicked, etc., it often feels like we are having an out-of-body experience, being flooded by our emotions and thoughts, and generally just feel really overwhelmed and maybe even helpless. This makes reaching a logical, timely and effective solution almost impossible. This is when the idea of “grounding” comes in. It’s a technique to pull yourself back to Planet Earth, shut out the overwhelming thoughts and feelings, and get back to a place where you can effectively cope and deal with whatever it is that’s going on.

HOW TO DO IT

Just like mindful breathing, this grounding technique can be used anywhere and at anytime without bringing attention to yourself. This is because you can do it all in your head (although feel free to do it out loud if you find it more effective 😉 or if writing is your thing, feel free to jot it all down into your favorite notebook. Let’s begin:

  • If doing this in a sitting or standing position, make sure both feet are placed firmly on the ground. If you’re in a laying position, make sure you’re laying flat on your back with your arms placed gently by your side and legs out in front of you.
  • Take a couple of slow, deep breaths and start to take notice of your surroundings, keeping your five senses in mind.
  • Note five things you see around you. This could be the color of the walls, a pencil on the desk, a flower in bloom, etc.
  • Note four things you can touch. The texture of the chair you’re sitting on, the softness of the pillow you’re resting on, your hair, a hard surface, etc.
  • Note three things you can hear. I like to focus on nature if possible for this one: the wind blowing, birds chirping, waves crashing, but cars honking, the murmur of people talking, or a TV on in the background works too.
  • Note two things you can smell. Maybe it’s food, a candle or soap dish nearby, a pencil or how being outside (if applicable) smells.
  • Note one thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like? Coffee? Gum? A sandwich from lunch?

And voila! Your flooding thoughts have hopefully dissipated, you’re feeling calmer and less triggered, and out of your head and therefore more in control.

WHY IT WORKS

Our emotions/feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are all directly linked. So, when our thoughts are running rampant and taking on an overall negative tone, our feelings follow suit. This technique stops this sort of cause-and-effect from happening, puts us (our logical, non-emotionally-reactive side) back in control, and therefore leads to healthier thought patterns and overall improved mood. In moments of anxiety or stress, it’s important to stay present in order to be able to stay focused on effectively coping with the situation at hand. By being grounded, you’re being present.

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Eczema: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

sweater: here & here // fedora: here // gold disc necklace: similar here & on sale!

You may be wondering how there is any good associated with eczema, and we’ll get to that, but first, the bad and the ugly. The bad is an insatiable itchiness, an aggravating tingly-ness, and feeling like I’m covered in needles with an overwhelming urge to crawl out of my skin. Fun, right? And the ugly is an awful, angry pink, red, and purple (sounds pretty, but I can assure you it’s not), rash that likes to appear all over my eyelids and down my nose, around my wrists and inside of my elbows, and smack dab in the middle of my thighs. Oh, and also all over my stomach. Pretty awesome, huh? And to make matters worse, it’s not just a bright, juicy rash, but a super dry and obviously flakey one. I do have photographic evidence of this, but it might traumatize you so much that you won’t dare come back to my blog, so I’ll spare you. Ha.

Now you’re probably really wondering where the good is in all of this grossness, and I promise we’ll get to that, but let’s talk about what eczema is. You’ve probably heard of it before – Kim Kardashian oddly seems to be an ambassador for it?, but maybe you’re not exactly sure what it is. Well it’s pretty simple actually and also frustratingly broad. Eczema is group of medical conditions that result in a skin rash. Yep, that’s it. A skin rash. Pretty frustrating when you consider how widespread the triggers and treatments for rashes really are. And bonus, it’s common to also have asthma and other allergies if you have eczema. And yes, I am one of the lucky ones to have all of the above. If you’d like to go further down the eczema rabbit hole, The National Eczma Association has a ton of interesting (and boring) information on their site.

And now, the good. Since being diagnosed with eczema after years of thinking I was maybe experiencing random bouts of heat rashes, but really having no idea what the f*ck was going on, I do know what’s going on now and it forces me to take damn good care of my skin. And here’s how I do just that:

1. INVEST IN GOOD PRODUCTS

Unfortunately, gone are the days of buying sickeningly sweet body lotions, cheap body sprays, and whatever-is-on-sale-at-the-drugstore face washes. Now, I’m forced to do a little more research into the products I’m buying to see how clean and natural the ingredients really are, if they’re fragrant-free and designed for sensitive skin, and if they are good quality. Interestingly enough, I have had horrible reactions with a Neutrogena face wash branded for sensitive skin, but have had great luck with higher quality products from Sephora and Nordstrom (go figure!). However, this doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Organic, cold-pressed oils like jojoba and rosehip have worked really well with my skin, are super affordable, and full of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.


2. TRY OUT SAMPLES

Now before I blow half of my paycheck on fancy skincare and beauty products (shh, don’t tell my husband), I always try samples first. This is a good tip for anyone to ensure you like what you’re about to buy, but essential for someone who suffers from eczema or even just sensitive skin. Nordstrom and Sephora are great about giving you free samples of really any of their products, magazines are chock full of foundation and fragrance swatches, and most department stores will send you free, mini-products of your choice with a beauty purchase. When I go to my dermatologist, I grab two handfuls out of the sample skincare bowl. #noshame

3. COMMIT TO A SKINCARE REGIME

Aside from crappy products waging war on my skin, wearing makeup for too long and not properly washing and moisturizing is a recipe for an eczema outbreak. Therefore, developing and actually following through on an AM and PM skincare routine is essential. For me, this involves a designated makeup remover, balancing face wash, hydrating toner, anti-aging eye cream, and all-in-one face moisturizer. Oh, and of course, sunscreen, because no one likes rashy and sunburnt skin.

4. LET SKIN BREATH

If I sense an outbreak developing on my face, I have to forego makeup unless I want a full-fledged, weeks-long disaster on my hands. Knowing that I have to regularly go without makeup is great motivation for staying committed to my skincare routine and in turn, helps my makeup sit much better on my skin when I do wear it.

5. STAY HYDRATED & MOISTURIZED

Although there really is no known cause for eczema, there is a connection with dehydrated and dry skin. So, I make sure I’m keeping dry skin away in two ways: chugging tons of water literally all day everyday and slathering lotion all over my body as soon as I get out of the shower every morning (tip: applying lotion while your skin is still wet helps really lock in the moisture).

6. EXERCISE & EAT CLEAN

We all know good health starts from within and skincare really is a practice in it. After all, our skin is our body’s largest organ (kinda weird to think about?), so it’s important to take extra good care of it. For me, this looks like daily walks with my dog, weekly yoga and occasional strength-training classes, as well as eating tons of veggies, lean proteins (I don’t touch red meat.), and healthy fats (avocados, coconut oil, nut butters, etc.). I do really notice a difference in my skin when I’m eating super healthy and conversely, notice almost immediate irritation and itchiness after eating a lot of junk (especially cheese, for some sad, sad reason).

Obviously, what works for me may not work for you and vice versa, because eczema, allergies, and skin sensitivities affect everyone differently, but I’m hoping my tips can be tailored to fit your needs. I’d also LOVE to hear how you take care of your skin and any experience with eczema you might have!

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How Not to Get Sucked into Shit Talking

“salty air” sweater: here // denim shorts: here // gold necklaces: here

We’ve all been there. You’re among friends or coworkers or family or maybe just one-on-one with someone who starts talking shit about someone you both know. Maybe the person of interest is a close friend or just a friendly acquaintance. The next thing you know, you’re nodding your head in agreement, adding in your own two cents of gossip and ill-will, and then, you leave the conversation feeling guiltyslimey, and maybe even like a total sucker. You might also feel like you had no control over the content of the conversation nor any power to change its course. BUT, you do have total control, at least in your part that is. We all know we can’t change others, but we can definitely change our own actions and words which will in turn indirectly kind of force the other person(s) to change as well. So, here are my tips on how to avoid getting sucked into shit talking when you really didn’t want to to begin with.

USE HUMOR 

Humor is great for a lot of things. As a stress reliever, a coping skill, a constructive defense mechanism, and for deflecting topics you don’t want to engage in. Say the person you’re stuck in a conversation with starts to get gossipy about a mutual friend in a petty and why-does-this-matter kind of way, use a joke that’s slightly off topic to transition not only the content of the conversation, but the tone of it as well. This can convey the indirect message of “hey, let’s keep this lighthearted”.

USE SELF-DEPRECATION

This is when you practice complete selflessness and throw yourself under the bus. Say the person takes a jab at someone else and if you can relate to the victim (a little dramatic, but you get the point), respond with bringing it back to yourself. This might sound like “Oh, I can’t really talk because I’m guilty of (x) as well!”. Chances are, the person isn’t going to want to directly attack you (which is what they would essentially be doing if they now kept up with that same topic) and will drop it.

USE EMPATHY

Unfortunately, people tend to prey on the weak (whether intentional or unintentional), so it should be fairly easy to utilize empathy when conversations turn to borderline bullying. Saying something like “I hear she’s going through a lot right now so I really feel for her” allies yourself with the victim instead of the shit talker and highlights that you’re choosing not to side with the gossip.

USE DISINTEREST

Nobody likes a bored and disengaged audience, so channel that. People, unless they lack complete awareness, are sensitive to the energy around them. If that energy is giving off a “I could care less about this topic” kind-of vibe, then chances are they will not feel reinforced or validated and drop it. Use closed-off body language (arms crossed, stepping back) and noncommittal responses (“hmm” or “oh really?” in a flat tone) to convey this. Note: this one is even easier if you’re in a group, simply sitting in silence or choosing not to pay attention can send a pretty powerful message sometimes.

GET DIRECT

When all else fails, gently confront the person for shit talking and state your stance on it. “I feel bad talking badly about her so let’s change the subject, k?” is all that it could take. This may evoke the most awkwardness of the tips, but I’d prefer awkwardness over guilt and pettiness any day. 😉

How do you handle a shit talker? Do tell!

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mental health, WELLNESS

Volunteering & Why It’s Powerful

 

ruffle dress: heremaxi version here // wrap choker: similar here (use promo code CANDY for 10% off)

It’s pretty well-known to my family and friends that if they’re making plans for a Saturday morning, I won’t be a part of them. Not because I don’t love a good plan (because I do, like, a lot), but because I have a pretty serious commitment on Saturday mornings and one that I’ve upheld for over four years now. It involves driving over an hour each way and waking up at the crack of dawn if needed. It’s also something I do completely for free. Stumped?

It’s my volunteer work at a marine mammal center.

This is where, on a weekly basis, I clean filthy pens, weigh out pounds and pounds (and pounds!) of frozen fish, and feed starving, injured, and/or sick rescued seals and sea lions in an effort to rehabilitate them and send them back into their ocean home. I have to admit it, it is pretty awesome and it fulfills a longstanding love of animals I have. It’s also not very glamorous and it does mean giving up sleeping in and weekend-long plans.  So why do it? Well other than the obvious “it’s important to give back”, here are a few reasons on why I think volunteering is an invaluable part of life.

THE PEOPLE YOU MEET

I’ve developed some pretty strong friendships with some pretty awesome women I wouldn’t have met without my volunteer work. We come from all walks of life – different home states, different phases of life, different real-life jobs, and different relationship statuses. But one thing we do all have in common? Our strong love of animals and commitment to animal advocacy. Bonding over common values is an excellent way to build close bonds, which in turn can release the hormone, oxytocin, which actually helps us care for others and handle stress better. And honestly, there’s just something about being knee-deep in the trenches of animal poop, blood, vomit, and crises to really create a strong and meaningful bond.

CHANGING THINGS UP

My husband works in finance in a very high-stress, intellectually-stimulating, technical position filled with numbers and dollar signs and major responsibilities. So what does he do for his weekly volunteering? Work that requires quietly swimming around in aquatic tanks cleaning rocks with a brush where the only possible excitement is having a turtle nibble on your fin. This is where volunteering can be an amazing source of stress-relief, self-care, and an improvement of your overall mental health. It’s a chance to stimulate a different part of your brain than the one from your everyday job. Do you sit at a desk all day answering emails and taking phone calls? Try a volunteer position that involves more physical, hands-on activity. And vice-versa.

FINDING & FULFILLING YOUR PASSION(S)

We don’t always get to make what we love into a career. Sometimes, what we love just isn’t a sustainable source of financial stability (if anyone knows how to make taking naps, drinking wine and playing with puppies a legit job – let me know!). Enter: volunteer work. Volunteering in different ways for different organizations allows you to fulfill your passion if you’re not able to make it your full-time job. It also allows you the opportunity to figure out what exactly you’re passionate about. Although it’s still a commitment to take seriously, it’s one that you can more easily pick up and let go of until you find the right fit than you typically can do with a paying job. Not feeling totally fulfilled in the job you have now? Try volunteering for something near and dear to you – it was a game changer for me and makes my life feel way more well-rounded.

STOPPING BOREDOM & STAYING STIMULATED

Whether you are one of the lucky few who doesn’t have to work to make a living, or you’re retired (yay!), volunteering is a great way to prevent boredom and keep your mind stimulated. My mom is retired and stays mentally and socially active by involving herself in multiple organizations with varying degrees of involvement and roles. Which brings up another point, volunteering can give you the opportunity to take on and gain experience in a leadership position that you might not otherwise have.

STEPPING OUTSIDE YOURSELF & YOUR OWN PROBLEMS

A common treatment recommendation for depression, grief, and even anxiety, is volunteering. There’s something incredibly therapeutic about stepping outside of yourself, temporarily separating yourself from your worries and problems, and giving to others in an active and tangible way. Still not convinced? There’s tons of longitudinal studies that show that regularly volunteering can not only help improve your quality of life, but actually prolong it.

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mental health, outfits, WELLNESS

6 Tips on Managing Anxiety

chambray top: similar here & here // crochet shorts: here

While I can usually keep it together on the outside, sometimes anxiety and stress gets the best of me on the inside. For me, this feels like a constantly nagging, antsy feeling, paired with recurring thoughts about the most minute issues to the most depressing ones. It usually revolves around to-do lists and chores, self-reflection, and is rooted in the future, whether near or far. Fortunately, this used to be more of an issue for me than it is now, so I thought I’d share some of the tips and tricks I use. 

EXTERNALIZE IT

Labels are nothing new and unfortunately they’re not going anywhere, but you can at least try to avoid labeling yourself. Instead of thinking of yourself as an “anxious person” or someone who “has anxiety”, try thinking of anxiety as its own entity. Thinking or even saying out loud “Here’s anxiety again! What can I do to get rid of it?” gives you back the power and the mental clarity to tackle the issue logically and somewhat objectively.

ASSESS YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Does anxiety tend to rear its ugly agitated head when you’re with a certain person, at your less-than-fulfilling job, or when you’re trying to fall asleep at night? It’s important to know its triggers so that you can determine if they can be eliminated or at least better managed. For me, quitting an emotionally draining job in a toxic environment was a life changer, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine can be just as helpful.

CHECK YOURSELF

In psychology, this is referred to as “reality checking” and it’s a technique I use all of the time. Once you’ve identified where anxiety is coming from, ask yourself “Will this matter a year from now?”, “six months?”, “a week?”. Chances are you can say “No” to at least one of those questions and thus allow yourself to look at the issue realistically and for what it really is. Will it matter in six months from now if the laundry doesn’t get done today? I’m going to go with no, so let it go.

MAKE LISTS

Sometimes life just really is stressful and full of obligations, responsibilities, and seemingly endless tasks. So don’t underestimate the power of lists and calendars. Seriously, who can keep deadlines and schedules and to-dos and dates all in their head? Get it out and write it all down. I schedule laundry and walking my dog into my calendar and constantly keep to-do, grocery, and packing lists in the Notes app of my phone. A little excessive? Maybe. Super helpful and mind-easing? Hell yeah.

SAY F*CK IT & TREAT YOURSELF 

Sometimes we just need a break and anxiety needs to be told to f*ck off. Challenge yourself to do this, because anxiety will try everything in its power to not let you. If I notice my stress levels spiking or anxiety creeping in and I’ve assessed that the issues will in fact not matter one way or another in a week, I treat myself. For me, this can mean getting a pedicure, watching guilty pressures on TV, reading a book, eating the biggest bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos I can find, cuddling with my dog, etc. This may seem oversimplified, but it’s actually pretty crucial. Here’s why: the more we flood our brain with anxious thoughts and experience regular levels of spiked cortisol (the stress hormone), the more it becomes our everyday norm. Conversely, if you force daily doses of relaxation, selfcare and positive thoughts into your routine and therefore your brain, this will be your normal and therefore easier to maintain.

KNOW WHEN TO GET HELP 

Obviously, we’re all different: how we experience stress, what our triggers are, what’s helpful and what’s not. It can be pretty dang difficult to figure all of that out on your own…*enter* a mental health professional. This is a great resource for finding a therapist or even support group when life starts to become a little too unmanageable. I have no shame in saying that I’ve used personal therapy on and off for years…and I’ll even say I’m a better me because of it.

Do you guys want to hear more on anxiety? I’ve noticed it becoming a pretty widespread topic as people are opening up about it more and more. I could really go on and on about it (i.e. how stress and anxiety can look similar but are different, how to destress, the psychology behind it all), but realize it may not be as interesting to everyone else 😉

 

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The Importance of Thinking Good Thoughts

lacy bralette: here & more colors here // tank dress: Bella Luxxsimilar here & here (& on sale!)

Although I try to be a pretty positive, easygoing person, I sometimes struggle with maintaining a steady stream of good thoughts (shout out to Anxiety and PMS!). Now this might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Here are a few reasons why, as well as tips on making positive thinking a habit:

  • Inward Criticism Fosters Outward Criticism Ever notice that when you’re being self-critical that it’s easy to also be critical of others and have an overall negative outlook? Well, our thoughts dictate our emotions and behaviors (and vice versa!) so it’s important to keep them in check. If you can’t catch your negative thoughts, try catching yourself saying a rude remark or acting a little less optimistic than usual and chances are you’ll find your thoughts are sounding similar.
  • Beauty Comes From Within Okay this sounds like a cheesy, yeah-I’ve-heard-that-a-million-times point, but it’s pretty damn true if you think about it. When you’re constantly flooding yourself with negative thoughts and emotions, your stress levels are spiking, which can result in multiple signs of aging (wrinkles, sallow skin, frown lines, etc.). Conversely, have you ever met someone who has such a positive outlook on life that they seem like they’re actual glowing and therefore everyone tends to gravitate towards them? Be that person.
  • Treat Yourself As You Would Your Best Friend We are so freaking hard on ourselves. We second-guess, scrutinize every little flaw, and beat ourselves up, but would we do this to our best friend? (Hint: The answer should be ‘NO!’) So, why do it to yourself? The next time you catch yourself being less than nice to your lovely little self, ask the question “Would I treat my best friend like this?”
  • Fake It Okay so we all have our off days and sometimes life can throw us a pretty sucky curveball, but if you’re having a difficult time turning your negative thoughts into positive ones, fake it. Whether you gush over yourself in the mirror, plaster a forced smile on your face for 60 seconds, or pay a compliment to a stranger, if you act happy and positive, your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will soon jump on board. It’s science, actually.

How do you keep those good thoughts flowing?

Photography: Bobbi Rose // Shop Small: Beach & Beverly

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mental health, outfits, STYLE, WELLNESS

have less, but the best

hat: similar here (& on sale!)here, & here // shirt dress: in black, similar here & here

 Now I’m not one to always follow trends (although, admittedly, sometimes I jump into them wholeheartedly), but the whole “quality over quantity” thing is something I’ve been on board with for awhile. It’s not really anything new, there’s even books written on the topic, but I just really love the minimalist concept and apply it to pretty much every facet of my life: friendships, clothes, home items, time with my husband, vacations…you get the point. There’s something to be said about de-cluttering your entire life and only holding onto and therefore truly cherishing the things, people, and activities that really serve you.

There’s a technique in psychology that encourages you to ask yourself “how does this serve you?” I absolutely love this and use it often. It’ll get you thinking about the things, habits, and people in your life, why you hang onto them, and foster motivation for change if needed.

We’ve all had the “friend” who’s just completely draining or the closet packed full of meh clothes that causes us to exclaim every morning: “I have nothing to wear!” as your husband sits there judging you silently, or in my case not so silently. I remember in high school and well into college shopping at stores with the primary goal of seeing how much stuff I could get for x amount of dollars only to wear the items once or twice. Boy, has my outlook on this changed drastically. Now, I buy an item or two that might be pricier, but that I truly love/has a purpose in my life that I know I will use/wear/admire for years and years to come. I also curb impulsiveness and unnecessary spending by giving myself time to think about the purchase before making it (what a concept, eh?) and/or waiting for it to go on sale. Pro tip: If an item already is on sale – great! – but ask yourself honestly, would you want this (shirt, book, corkscrew, etc.) if it weren’t on sale? If the answer is no, walk away!

How do you tidy up your life?

photography: Bobbi Rose // shop the look locally: Beach & Beverly

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outfits, WELLNESS

New Year New You: Resolutions or Bust?

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wrap top & skirt / more sizes & prints here & here

Now I’ve usually always loved the idea of making one or several resolutions with each new year. And some have actually really panned out for me. For instance, one year I committed to getting more involved with animal advocacy work (my true passion) and I did: I became a weekly animal care volunteer for a marine mammal center and will be celebrating my four year anniversary with the organization next month. Others have been less successful: develop a habitual workout routine (yawn), eat clean and healthy (yawn, yawn, yawn), get ready each and every day (haven’t worn makeup all week and am currently sitting in my pajamas in the middle of the day) and commit to a skincare regime am and pm (still working on this one…).

This year has been a bit different. I’ve noticed a lot more people talking about making intentions rather than resolutions and have heard even more people resolving to not make any resolutions or intentions #NewYearSameAwesomeMe to which I’ve found myself gravitating a bit more towards. But then, I’ve also heard the resolution “be more positive” come up in multiple conversations and this one really resonates with me. Who couldn’t use more positivity in their life?! Psychologically speaking, positive thinking breeds positive results so I’m all for a shift in perspective.

BUT, here we are. 11 days into 2017 and I’m still undecided on the whole make a resolution to better yourself, or just an intention to be more positive, or be okay with yourself. So maybe I’ll just combine them all and resolve to be okay with not knowing what my plan for the new year is because in this day in age of glorified busyness I think taking it day by day, being present in the moment, and just being okay with all of it is pretty invaluable.

So what do you think? Resolution, intention or bust?