Truths About Life That Goes Against Societal Norm

Not every woman wants to be a mother.
Why are people shocked when a woman says she doesn’t want to be a mother? Not every woman wants to have a child or raise one and that’s OK. A woman who admits to not wanting children receive the dirtiest confused looks I’ve ever seen. It’s usually followed up with the question “why” or “you’ll change your mind.”

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The Perfect Day

I wake up at 6am and drink 2 cups of coffee.

I workout for 45 minutes then take a shower.

I prepare a light breakfast and eat while reading a book.

Do a DuoLingo lesson in Spanish for 30 minutes.

Listen to a podcast before I start my workday.

Video scripts get written and delivered to clients.

Play in Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro and create stuff I’m proud of.

Eat some more food while watching YouTube or Twitch.

Play video games with a glass of wine.

Read a book for an hour. 

Feeling amazing. That’s the perfect day.

Then go to bed.

This usually happens once or twice a week.

What usually happens…

Most days I wake up around 7am.

Turn on my computer and go to YouTube or Twitch and make a cup of coffee.

Each time I see an email notification, I brace myself for the generic job rejection email, but at least they didn’t ghost me.

I debate on whether or not I want to eat breakfast, skip it, or snack.

Open Google Drive to start writing video scripts, but I get distracted by who knows what.

No podcast. Just watching video game cutscenes to get me motivated to write. Yes, this works for me for some reason. 

Get the scripts done. Workout. Shower.

Scroll through Linkedin and Indeed looking for fulltime jobs during a pandemic when millions are now laid off.

Stress out that my unemployment is running low.

Try to figure out what I should have done and what I need to do with my life.

Debate if I want dinner. Odds are I skip it or snack.

Maybe watch a movie or play video games to calm my mind.

Hop into bed oddly feeling no regret about the day.

I still sleep well.

Every day doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to accomplish X, Y, and Z. Try your hardest to do what you can, but don’t beat yourself up if things remain on your list. The perfect day varies and that’s alright.

 

 

Random Word Challenge: Discouraged

Day four of my random word challenge!

Today’s word is “discouraged.”

If you’ve gone through life never being discouraged by anything, I applaud you. Do you have any advice? 😀

Honestly, I have to remind myself to not be discouraged each time I think of something creative. When it comes to creativity for clients or my job, it’s easy. When things get personal, I’m my own worst critic.

There’s always someone better than you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach yourself and up your game.

It’s easy to find people who are doing better than you, but how you view them makes a difference. I enjoy baking, painting, writing, and design. Whenever I see someone doing better than me in those areas, I can get discouraged, but what good will that do?  If anything, that’ll make me want to quit. Instead, I look at that person and know I’ll be like them someday as long as I keep improving my craft. Use them as motivation instead of being discouraged.

Random Word Challenge (2)

The last thing you want to do is look back and realize the same amount of time you spent self-sabotaging yourself, you could have been elevating your skills. It’s easy to fall into a negative space, but monumental when you can turn it around and use it as a driving force to do better.

Random Word Challenge: Chapters

It’s day three of my random word challenge. If you’re a bit confused, I’m using a random word generator to generate words in alphabetical order. Each day is a new letter and whatever word is generated is the word I write about.

Today’s word is “chapters.”

When I first saw this word, I couldn’t help but think of the chapters of life. I’ve met so many amazing people who have come and gone throughout my life. Whether through death or we drifted apart due to growing older. I’ve also met people who put on the facade of being good but they were narcissists, sociopaths, and downright disgusting people. There are some people I wish I’ve never met, but thinking back, they’ve only helped me get through the following chapters of my life.

Each person I’ve encountered in life is different and I’ve learned from them in some way. I’ve learned what real friendship is, what a user looks like, the subtle art of manipulation, how love feels, how love shouldn’t feel, and how my own personal values, morals, and worth plays a roll in all of my relationships.

I’ve known my closest friends for over 10 years. Although we’re still going strong as friends, we’ve had several chapters come to a close. These chapters include transitioning from teenagers to adults, going through our 20’s, helping each other through intimate relationships, arguing and disconnecting because of a disagreement, and reconnecting.

It’s amazing how we go through chapters in life learning little things, but we get the true ah-ha moment once we start reflecting. We may feel as though we ended a chapter, but sometimes we go back to it through memories and realize we’re still learning. After deep reflection, we end the chapter and feel more relief than when we first thought our minds were settled. Amazing how that works.

I’ve done some deep thinking over the past few years. Although I’m continuing with my life, my previous chapters are still there. Some more than others. Those chapters are the ones that are constant reminders to never put myself through something similar. One should never repeat a chapter of their life. Create new ones, but always remember the valuable lessons learned in previous chapters.

Exercise: I Hate it, But it Feels Good

Like many others, my new year’s resolution is to increase my fitness. So far so good, but damn I hate working out. I’ve never liked it but remind myself that I’m not a naturally thin person who can eat whatever I want. If I eat a slice of bread, I’m bloated for at least 48 hours.

As I put my workout clothes on, I pace around my apartment to gather my thoughts or listen to a hype song for motivation. I talk to myself out loud saying, “Get it done!” or “You always feel good after it’s over, so do it.” Every now and then I’ll let out a growl then proceed to laugh at myself because it sounds like a kitten trying to meow for the first time.

The problem is, I have to start the motion. Even if I’m not mentally ready, once I press play to start the warmup and my body begins to move, I gain motivation. Eventually, my mind catches up with my body and I’m dripping with sweat with the urge to workout longer. Despite never wanting to workout, I ALWAYS feel amazing afterward. Bad cravings prior to my workout transform into craving a smoothie. Funny how that works.

I personally enjoy cardio, but my body reacts better to HIIT routines. I’m currently doing Les Mills workouts mixed with P90x for strength training. Choose routines you enjoy so the workout doesn’t seem tedious.

I guess I’m writing this to say hey, it’s hard. Getting in shape isn’t easy, but it’s doable. Hang in there if you’re on a fitness journey. Six months from now, you’ll look back and be glad you didn’t quit.

 

Release Yourself from Expectations

The way we perceive the world is, in part, based upon our expectations. As we get older, we gain life experience and tend to expect certain behaviors, good or bad, from society.

I’ve learned through jobs, friendships, and intimate relationships that I cannot go into them bracing for impact or filled with excitement. I have to go in with zero expectations.

As I was researching essential oils and mental clarity, I discovered the term “shoshin.”

There is a concept in Zen Buddhism known as shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” Shoshin refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject. When you are a true beginner, your mind is empty and open.

This is possibly one of the most important concepts to live by!

I constantly tell myself to go into every setting with an empty cup. If I go into a situation with a full cup, I won’t be present. I would have already walked in with a preconceived idea of what’s going to happen, how I’m going to react, and how things will end. My expectations would mentally prepare me to get rejected, not be heard, and to not get excited. Yes, this can be viewed as self-sabotage, but when you have these experiences multiple times, you brace for impact. There have been times when I’ve built positive expectations and thought of all of the wonderful possibilities only to have it get shot down because I was anticipating a better outcome.

With shoshin, you live your life with an openness which causes less anxiety. Whether you’re going on a date, you want a particular job, or something else you have a yen for, toss it into the universe and go with the flow. Conceive positive thoughts, but don’t fill your mind with the good or bad that may or may not happen. If it’s meant for you and you put the work in, it will come.

Keep your mind open, expect nothing, look for the good in each situation, but most importantly, keep your life moving.

10 Stress Busters to Live a Better Life

It’s hard to combat stress and anxiety in a world that can drive you insane. It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious about situations that make you feel frustrated, nervous and uneasy. When it starts interfering with your daily life, that may indicate a more serious issue.

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Eat a Well Balanced Diet
When it comes to appetite, stress and anxiety can either make you eat more or less. When I’m stressed, all I want to do is eat and sleep the day away. It may be difficult, but you have to continue to fuel your body with a well-balanced diet. Never skip a meal, eat energy-boosting foods and drink plenty of water.

Discover Your Triggers
Something in your life is triggering your stress or anxiety. Family, work, school, relationships, or friends may be the cause. Keep track of when you feel fine and when you become irritable, nervous or experience any other physical symptoms. Try to avoid stressors if possible. Writing in a diary and keeping track of your emotions will also help.

Exercise
Exercise helps increase the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. Physical activity allows you to focus on getting through your workout which results in a better mood. For me, it is hard to feel motivated enough to work out, but once I force myself to get up and start moving, the workout takes over and I’m proud I did it.

Talk to Someone
Keeping in feelings is never a good thing. Open up to friends or family that you trust. Simply expressing yourself can relieve stress. Talking to someone can also lead to advice you can utilize. I find this difficult to do for myself because I feel like I’m going to be judged or my feelings will be tossed to the side. Choose who you talk to carefully. Don’t talk to those who are self-centered and wouldn’t care about your thoughts. Choose someone who is empathetic.

Sleep
Stress and anxiety are exhausting on the body. Getting at least eight hours of sleep is important for your body to properly get rest.

Time-Out
Listen to music, go to the movies, take a hot bath, meditate, do yoga or simply go for a walk alone. Do something for yourself! Step away from the stressful moment to mentally breathe and clear your head.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
Avoid the “I need a drink” mentality. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system. This can result in a rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. Sipping on a little alcohol may seem nice, but alcohol stimulates the production of the same hormones that produce stress. A study at the University of Chicago revealed alcohol and stress feed each other.

Keep a Positive Mindset 
If the only thoughts running through your head are negative, your outlook on life will be negative. Our minds can generate so many negative thoughts and scenarios. Positive thinking just means approaching situations in a more positive and productive manner. Self-talk, the little voice in your head, is the most damaging of all. Learning how to shift your thoughts will allow you to cope with stressful situations.

Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Many times stress and anxiety are caused by an individual trying to be perfect or live up to certain expectations. Everyone is different and being perfect isn’t possible. We live in a social media world where everyone only shows the good in life causing a false image of their lifestyle. This causes envy or jealousy. Be the best you can be. Perfection doesn’t exist. Everyone is struggling with something regardless of how pretty that picture is.

You Can’t Control Everything
Being able to accept things that are out of your control will help you manage stress. There are times when you have to stop resisting and embrace the lesson. There are times when you can’t change things and that’s OK. It’s hard, but it needs to be done. Put things into perspective by asking yourself, is it as bad as it could be?

“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein

Though you can use these tips for stress management on your own, if you feel as though your stress and anxiety is unmanageable, please seek professional help or ask others to help you find the support you need.

Utilize the helpful tips above to live a happy and stress-free life that you deserve.

The Constant Game of Regret

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Odds are, you regret more than one thing in your life. Whether it’s a previous relationship, educational choice, job, or that one moment when you should have said yes or no. We’ve all been there. As we live our lives, the constant game of regret is neverending.

Why do we regret so much?

If you’re lucky to live your life without regret, good for you. Many people aren’t that lucky.

Regret can eat at you longer than it should. You start to wonder, “I should have…” or “Why did I say…?” Your imagination starts to create different scenarios with outcomes you’ll never experience. These imagined outcomes fester in your brain and create alternate outcomes that stress you out more.

Constantly wondering “what if” drives us crazy.

Sometimes regret comes years later after you’ve had time to process things or during an evaluation of your life. This form of regret can cause temporary emotions, but since you’re so far removed from it, the imagined outcome doesn’t bother you as much unless the past decision is impacting your present life.

We can’t help but regret certain choices.

I’ve fallen victim to this mental deceit more than I’d like to admit.  I know how to find that one little thing that I could have done better and it annoys me.

Focus on the now.

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”

― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

So what’s the message here? We can’t rewind time. Regret isn’t always delusional. Learn from what you feel was a mistake, but don’t let it mentally destroy you. Sometimes there is an element to learn. To improve.

What’s done is done. It will be hard. Nothing is easy. We experience new things each day. Regret is bound to reappear, but stay focused on the positive outcomes from your choices. There’s always some good that came out of a decision. Whether that positive is large or small, it’s always present.

Regret is part of life. It’s normal. It’s annoying. In the end, it can be enlightening.

 

Open Your Heart

We unknowingly go through life closed off to people, the environment, and social situations. Yes, we interact with people on a daily basis, but are you truly yourself 100 percent of the time?

Life is constantly tossing us challenges and the results will often change us, for the better or worse. Happiness is a state of mind and a choice. Regardless of what challenges you’ve had, it is time to choose happiness. Yes, it can be hard, but it starts with opening your heart.

Opening your heart starts from within. It will allow you to eliminate sadness and unforgiving thoughts of others and ourselves. Absorbing positivity will generate a sense of mental freedom and clarity.

Appreciate who you are and be yourself. Many people wander the earth without knowing who they are. Do you? Are you simply going through the paces of life like a robot? Stop and take a moment to discover your true self.

Be open to receiving anything and everything. It’s great to be independent, but even the most independent person needs help. Instead of rejecting help, take it. Take some of the weight off of your shoulders. Accepting help will not devalue your independence or strength.

Open your heart to past mistakes, accept them, learn from them and move into the future with newfound knowledge. The past can eat at us. Don’t lose sight of who you are now and how you can better yourself.

Do something you love every day. For me, it’s writing. It is sometimes hard for me to organize my thoughts because my brain is constantly churning. Writing helps me focus my thoughts and express myself. Sometimes, reading my own words is therapeutic.

Natural Energy Boosters to Beat Exhaustion

Most of us are overworked and exhausted all the time. Either we don’t get enough sleep or still feel tired after eight hours. We are surrounded by energy zappers. Whether they are visible, hidden or randomly smacking us in the face, it can put a strain on our lives.  Since we are programmed to “go, go, go,” chugging coffee or sugar-packed energy drinks may be your first choice, but there are several natural energy boosters.

Stand Up
Many of us work at a desk and find ourselves sitting for hours in front of a computer screen. We often eat our lunch at our desk and only get up to use the restroom or attend a meeting. You’re probably feeling tired right now. Perk up by standing at your desk. Simply standing can reduce stress and fatigue. Standing has also been proven to boost productivity levels. Of course, you don’t have to stand for the full eight-hour shift. Standing for 20 minutes can increase blood flow and allow you to stretch your muscles.

Take a Walk
When feeling exhausted, your first thought may be to take a nap. Instead, take a walk. Even if you can only step away for five minutes, simply walking to the water cooler or walking to a restroom further down the hall is beneficial. So step away for a minute even if it is to go nowhere.

Increase Your B12 Intake
If you’re B12 deficient, one of the first signs is fatigue. B12 is a complex vitamin that cannot be stored in the body. You need to either take a supplement or eat B12 rich foods on a daily basis. B12 helps keep your thyroid functioning and your red blood cells healthy.

Stay Hydrated
Water is a no-brainer. Instead of drinking tons of coffee, try plain water or add a few squeezes of lemon for flavor. Green tea is a great alternative. Many fruits and vegetables also contain water. If you aren’t sure about the amount of water you should drink a day, divide your body weight by two. That is the number of ounces you should drink per day.

Make Your Own Energy Drink
There are a lot of energy drinks on the market, but many of them are packed with sugar and other unnatural ingredients. Try one of these simple electrolyte-packed natural energy boosters for a long-lasting natural boost.

Reduce Your Carb Intake
Carbs are delicious, but they can do damage to your energy levels. Simple carbs like cookies, donuts and processed foods are guaranteed to make you feel sluggish. Simple carbs may give you a temporary boost by spiking your blood sugar, but you will crash once it falls. Eat whole-grain, low-glycemic carbs. Your body will take longer to digest these carbs allowing a more leveled energy increase instead of a crash and burn effect.

Sit Up
Slouching can cause bent arteries and the restriction of blood flow. Slouching also makes your muscles work harder when your bones should be doing the work. Simply switching up your posture can give immediate relief. Many of us never notice we are sitting with our shoulders and neck forward arching our backs. Try sitting upright with your shoulders back and neck shifted up.

Socialize and Be Active
You got enough sleep, you didn’t work hard, but you still feel exhausted. Hang out with a high-energy friend. Sometimes a change in your environment can uplift and revitalize your mind and body. If you have a friend who enjoys going to the gym or for a hike, hang with them. Physical activity is one of the best natural energy boosters. You’ll feel great during and after your outing.

Magnesium
It’s important to eat magnesium-rich foods or a high-quality supplement. Our bodies do not produce magnesium on its own, so it is important to get the proper daily amount. Adults should take no more than 300-350 mg a day. Magnesium helps manage muscle and nerve function as well as energy production.

Incorporate one or all of these natural energy boosters and you’ll feel a difference in your energy and overall mood.