Happy Thanksgiving: A Message of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving: A Message of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving can be stressful.  There’s holiday traffic, fear of burning the turkey, and of course, praying for the entire day that no two family members end up in a screaming battle.  However, despite all the stress and the negatives that come along with the day, I see it as an opportunity for positivity: in the moments of panic, take a breath and think less of what bad could happen and instead of what good things you had.

I know, sometimes, thinking of the positives isn’t easy but we are all so blessed.  Let’s take one day to think in terms of gratitude instead of anxiety.

I want to share with you all just a few of the things I am so thankful for this Thanksgiving.

 

  • The response to this blog.  I started this blog with no real expectations.  I had no idea if anyone would want to hear my self-care journey, but I felt like I would be an injustice to myself if I didn’t try to tell my story.  The response has been greater than I could have ever imagined. I have been so blessed to have so many of you reach out and tell me how I am impacting your lives and that means the world to me.  I could not be more grateful this Thanksgiving for all you have given me.
  • My support system.  This year has involved making so many hard decisions and just going through the general ups-and-downs of life.  I can say I would not have gotten through those moments without the people I am blessed to call my friends, my family, and my support system.  They pick me up when I’m down. They encourage me to take risks and follow my heart. They are so so special to me.
  • My opportunities. This year may have been a difficult one, at times, but it’s also been my most exciting.  I have gotten to work with two amazing companies in D.C. as an intern, I got to move to Disney World, and I’ve gotten to explore so much by being in leadership for my extracurriculars.  All of my development this year has come from being able to pursue these opportunities and I feel so blessed to have had these chances in my life.
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Disney World, Spring 2018.
  • My homes.  I’ve written on the blog before about feeling like I have multiple places I call home and belong in.  While this can be difficult at times, it is also such a blessing in my life. I close my eyes and I can see three places I truly and distinctly belong: DC, Orlando, and New York.  This is hard, as I always am missing somewhere, but I am so happy to be grounded in these three amazing places.
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There is nothing like coming home to a puppy.
  • My growth.  This one piece of gratitude is probably the most personal of all.  Over the last year, I have grown so much as a person. I have found an inner-strength I did not know I had.  I have grown in my beliefs, my values, and my abilities. I am thankful for all a year can do for a person.

 

I wish in this post I could spend time saying the name of every person I am grateful for, but if I did that, the post would go on for days.  If we stop to think about all the wonderful people in our lives and the little things they do for us, we will be amazed by how much we have to be thankful for.

Today, I will be taking time to sit down and send out some personal messages of gratitude to those whom I am thankful for this season.  I want to give some of the positivity that has been brought into my life back to others.

This Thanksgiving, don’t let the negatives overwhelm you.  Take the time to be grateful and appreciate your life’s blessing.  Let today’s holiday be ruled by positivity.

 

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Finding Time for “Me Time”

Finding Time for “Me Time”

As we enter the holiday season, the hustle and bustle is exciting, but also can be overwhelming.  It feels like there’s always another task to get done, another person to see, and another place to go.  The constant motion is exhausting. In these days more than ever, it’s important to take time to ourselves.  Call it your designated “me time.”

My designated me time is Friday mornings from 10 AM- 12 PM.  During this time, I have no obligations and am free to do what I want.  Sometimes, I’ll watch a television show I’m behind on. Other times, I’ll read some articles I had saved, but hadn’t had time to read.  Then, there are other mornings, like yesterday, where all I want to do is curl up on my couch with my warm drink and think. And for those two hours, I can do that.

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My me time is not at all extravagant– it’s simple and actually, boring.  But, when I cut those two hours out of my week, everything feels off. I feel more stressed out– like I’m constantly running with no end in sight.  Those two hours a week are what center, calm, and refocus me for the coming week.

It’s time to breathe.

I always repeat that self-care is a journey, with successes and failures.  Finding two hours a week to dedicate just to me has been a huge success. However, I want to emphasize that me time doesn’t look the same for everyone.  For some people, their me time will be a walk around the neighborhood. For others, it might be painting or drawing, while there will also be people who elect for meditation as their me time.  

Me Time is not one size fits all.

It’s a struggle to find what works for you.  I had tried making my me time going to the gym– while I still go to the gym, I didn’t find this was a calming time for me.  I tried making my me time when I journaled, but I still felt crazed. I struggle with meditation and so, it couldn’t be my relaxant.

It was in trying all these different methods though that I realized what I needed from my me time.  I needed no pressure and no obligation. I needed the ability to be quiet and loud, depending on the day.  I just needed free time.

And, when in doubt, I listen to Billy Joel’s Vienna, a song that I mention very often on this blog.

Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while

 

 

 

Home is Wherever I’m with You

Home is Wherever I’m with You

Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room?  There was just something in you that told you that you didn’t belong here but everyone else did.  If you’ve ever felt that way, you know that it is the most heartbreaking and isolating feeling. You just feel like you don’t belong anywhere.

 

This feeling of belonging is something we constantly are all searching for.  It’s a feeling of love and appreciation and acceptance. It’s feeling like in that moment in time, you are exactly where you need to be.  

 

Sometimes, having multiple friend groups from different parts of our lives can complicate this.  If I belong somewhere, can I still belong where I have been before? Can I belong with my high school friends if I truly belong at Georgetown?

 

Yes.  Each community may love and appreciate us in different ways, but this is so essential for us to be a whole person and to love ourselves.  You can be loved in different ways.

 

Where do I belong?

 

I belong at Georgetown.  The people here are so influential for shaping exactly who I am.  At the newspaper, they push me to grow professionally and to stand strong for what I believe in.  My sorority sisters are a huge aspect of my support system: they cheer and root for me. I belong with people who help and support me to grow.

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Women of The Hoya, Georgetown’s student newspaper.

I belong with my Disney community.  They saw me not for my plans and achievements, but for the love I was willing to give the world.  I belong with people who remind me to show love to the world and remain empathetic, even when I’m scared of being open.  

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Magic Kingdom, April 2018

I belong with my friends from high school debate. These friends have watched me grow from a young and confused teenager to a slightly less confused young adult and have stood by for every phase.  I belong with people who watch me grow and love me anyway.

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Yale Debate tournament, September 2015

I belong with my childhood best friends. They know me for my best and my worst.  They’ve seen my weird phases and even joined in.  I belong with people who don’t judge me, no matter what.

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My 13th birthday, July 2011.

There is not one way to love.  Different people in life will love us in different ways, but each time it is just as valuable and just as important.  That love is a sign that we belong.

 

If you’re reading this and are struggling with feeling like you don’t have a place in this world, please know that isn’t true.  You have so many people who love you and appreciate you and with you belong with. They may not all be located in the same place, but they love and care about you.

 

If you ever feel alone and need someone to talk to you, reach out to me.  

 

In Defense of Procrastination

In Defense of Procrastination

In our world today that values productivity so intensely, you could say there really isn’t room for procrastination.  Everything is about do more tasks in a shorter period of time. Use more lists, try new work methods– do whatever you have to do to get more accomplished.  

 

I commonly fall into the trap that is the quest for infinite productivity.  If I work hard and long enough, maybe, just maybe, I’ll stumble upon the holy grail of efficiency and I won’t need breaks any longer and I won’t struggle with getting tasks done with the hours I am given in a day.

 

Unfortunately, this quest will always be for naught and in the process, you’ll only hurt yourself.  Procrastination has been unnecessarily demonized and expanded to encompass everything that isn’t being explicitly done to further one’s own productivity.  

 

If you feel burnt out but know you have a series of tasks due in the next week, procrastinating your work by taking a break is not a bad thing.  Sometimes, you need to take a break and push the work off for later: it’s the only way you remain sane.

 

This Saturday, I felt overly exhausted after a week of having been sick and pushing through to get all my work done.  I just felt drained. So I didn’t start a paper, but rather I watched This is Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.  I chose not to beat myself up for taking this day off: I needed a day to relax and recharge.  I knew that if I continued to push myself, I would not perform well and my productivity would plummet.

 

Further, we lose our way when we don’t occasionally push something off.

 

A friend recently asked me if I’m doing what I love right now.  Am I giving myself to what I’m passionate about or am I just on the hamster wheel of life?  When we don’t take breaks and give ourselves room to breathe, we lose sight of what we love.  We always are thinking of the next task and looking forward that we miss the opportunity to experience the present moments.

Procrastination does not have to be a demon in one’s life that stops you from doing what’s important.  Rather, it’s a tool to accomplishing tasks while taking care of yourself.

 

You are not a robot.  You are not an energizer bunny.  You are a person who deserves your own time.  You are not behind. You are right on-time. You are doing just fine, even when you take a few hours off.

 

Lessons from Writer’s Block

Lessons from Writer’s Block

I’ve started four different blog posts tonight, but none of them are finished.  Tonight, I am struggling to find the words to say as ideas swim around in my head.  I’m suffering from writer’s block.

Throughout my life, I’ve periodically suffered from writer’s block.  As a kid, writing was my greatest escape and then… I would lose my words.  Suddenly, writing would not be a refuge, but a nightmare. In college, I’ve rarely taken time to write creatively, but when I’ve tried to journal, I have found myself unable to say anything.

I usually lose my words when I get stressed out.  This is the time when I am craving the escape and joy that comes along with writing, but I can’t seem to reach the words to communicate the ideas I have in my head.  They all sit on the tip of my tongue, but as I try to put them to paper, they all disappear.

I usually beat myself up when I get writer’s block.  How can I be incapable of doing something I love so much? Why do I struggle so much in these times of stress with the one activity that should come naturally to me?  How can I be so stupid to call myself a writer but have no words?  How can I be so stupid, in general?

We’ve all been there.  We bully ourselves because we didn’t meet an expectation we set for ourselves.  We define ourselves by our ability to do one task and one task alone.  And in these moments, we see ourselves as failures.

We are so much more than that though.  I am not just a blog, but a person with struggles and experiences.  My intelligence is far more than just the blog posts I publish and yet, I allow my inability to write to completely discount myself.

I want to change the way I talk to myself and view myself.  This isn’t an easy task, but it’s essential on my self-care journey. Today, I’m telling myself that it’s okay to struggle.  It’s okay that I missed a day of posting on the blog.  It’s okay that I can’t find the words to describe all that I’m feeling right now.

I am allowed to struggle and it doesn’t mean I’m stupid or unworthy of love or respect.  

It means I’m human and that’s okay.

What Do You Say to Taking Chances?

What Do You Say to Taking Chances?

I’ll admit, I like to play things safe.  I like to know the outcome before I throw the dice.  I don’t leap without looking. Everything in my life is perfectly planned out well in advance and I’m prepared for every situation.

Life doesn’t always stick to our plans though– it has its own ideas of what we should be doing.  

Sometimes, we have to be willing to throw the plans away and let life lead the way.

That’s what I learned one year ago, when on a whim, I applied for the Disney College Program.  I’ve often been asked why I applied– the answer is I don’t know. The summer before I applied, I told my parents I could never apply because it didn’t fit in my perfect plan I had for my college years and yet, when I sat down at my laptop last October and applied, that perfect plan didn’t seem to matter for a moment.

I never thought that I would get into the Disney College Program and then, I did.  I had three days to decide whether or not to continue on my planned road or to get off the beaten track.  Being someone who does not like risk, I can say that I shocked everyone, including me, when I made the decision to take a semester off of Georgetown to move to Orlando to intern with Disney.

I will always be grateful that I took that huge leap of faith.  Disney pushed me to be uncomfortable and try something completely new.  I had never worked a job like I did at Disney, I had never been so far away from my family, and I had never been in a city before where I knew absolutely no one.  This discomfort pushed me to grow as a person and I walked out in May with such a sense of clarity on who I was, what I wanted in my future, and what was important to me.

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It takes people to make the dream a reality -Walt Disney

None of that growth would have happened if I hadn’t taken the original risk of applying to this program and then choosing to pursue it.  I gained so many great experiences and an amazing support system while in Disney, and it is almost insane to think now that none of that would have happened if I had done what I usually do and stuck to the plan.  It had been a dream of mine forever, but I assumed it could only be just that: a dream.

 

Life’s best experiences happen when we don’t expect them and aren’t ready.  They require us to put down the to-do lists and life plans (yes, I actually had a document entitled life plan on my computer that mapped out the next five years of my life).  They ask that we have faith that everything will work out just fine. They only happen if we stop trying to plan the future and accept the unknown.

 

All we need for them to happen is a little bit of faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.

 

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Who would have thought where my path would lead would be Walt Disney World? 
Finding Your Way Forward from a Friendship Break-Up

Finding Your Way Forward from a Friendship Break-Up

You thought you had a friend forever, but lately, you’ve been feeling otherwise.  Maybe you’ve been gradually growing apart from your friend or maybe you had a bad fight that’s making you question this friendship.  Whatever happened, you’re suddenly sad and confused and missing your support system. We’ve all been there. It’s a friendship break-up.

Society doesn’t treat friendship break-ups like it does romantic break-ups.  When you end a relationship, it’s ok to stay in bed for a week and eat nothing but chocolate.  When you end up a friendship, you’re supposed to keep moving like nothing is wrong even though you’re struggling because you’re missing an integral part of your support system.  I’ve been there.

 It’s not easy to get through.  Friends are the people we share everything with, from our screaming rants to our achievements and joys to our bitter break-downs.  We open up to them and show them us at our core, our most vulnerable.  When a friend chooses to walk away after having truly seen you, it feels like you’re going to fall apart entirely.  You won’t.  

Friendship break-ups hurt so much, but they are survivable.  I know how you feel and I have gotten through those low moments when suddenly, your whole world is changing.

So what do I do to get through my friendship breakups?

  • Take some time alone.  It’s ok if all you want to do is cry because you miss your friend.  Go ahead and cry.  Don’t be afraid to grieve your friendship.  Your friendship meant a lot to you– that doesn’t change over night.  Let yourself experience the hurt, don’t push it under the carpet– you’ll only end up feeling all those emotions later.  Take the time alone to process how you’re feeling and what you want to do going forward.  Maybe, you want to try to make up your friend or maybe, you just want to move on. Take the time you need to think it through and know that whatever decision you make, it will be okay.

 

  • Talk to another friend. Talking to a friend helps give some perspective.  I always try to talk to two different people: one who knows me and the friend who I’m having issues with and one who doesn’t know the other person.  Having the perspective of someone who knows me on my own and in reference to the friendship always helps me find clarity.   Additionally, whenever I go through a friendship break-up, I feel like I lost everyone, even if it’s only one person leaving my life.  Talking to friends reminds me that I’m not alone and I have people who love and support me still in my life.
  • Do a ‘self-care’ activity.  No matter how bad I feel, I feel better with a face mask on.  So, when I feel down- I do a face mask. Do something small that makes you happy- whether it’s baking cookies, painting your nails, or going to a yoga class.   It might seem silly, but when you feel down, you need to remind yourself that you deserve good treatment and are worthy of love from others and yourself.
  • When in doubt, Netflix binge. I’ve never had an emotional problem that can’t be better by watching Netflix.  My go-to show when I’m feeling down is Gilmore Girls. I always feel like Rory and Lorelai get where I’m at and that’s comforting.  I’m also a big fan of binging Disney movies and bad romantic comedies. Find what makes you feel good.

gilmore girls

  • Sleep. A recurring problem you’ll hear about on this blog is my tendency to cut hours of sleep in order to get more things done in a day.  This might be good for my academics, but it’s not so good for my emotional health. Everything feels better with some sleep- it gives you time process and heal.

 

Those are my five tips for getting through a friendship break-up but like always, it isn’t one size fits all.  Every friendship is different and every end is also different. No matter your situation, make sure you’re taking time for yourself and your feelings. Most importantly, remember:

Your friendship ending does not mean you are not a good or deserving person.  It means this specific friendship doesn’t work at this point in your life. It says nothing about the type of person you are.