Holidays

6 Actionable Tips To Create More Calm & Clarity Now

This is the time of year when sh*t hits the fan.

The time of year when our family and work responsibilities continue to increase, while the number of days til 2017 seem to count down like a ticking time bomb. For many, December 31st feels like an unconscious deadline for our goals, dreams, and well-intentioned thought spirals: What did I do with my year? Did I make the most of my time? Am I where I want to be?

As if to respond, the world of wellness has no shortage of solutions:

  • Meditation mastermind!
  • Vision board craft-a-palooza!
  • Colon cleanse!

But of all the advice, products, and programs that flood my inbox, the ones that stick out the most are the ones that tell me to, “trust your gut.” Two reasons why: 1) “Gut” reminds me of digestive issues and crime scenes from Law & Order. 2) For chronic over-thinkers (like me) it creates more questions than it answers.

When I'm in panic mode, the last thing I want to do is slow down, tune in, and “trust my gut.” But without that pause, my action plan would be a detailed, actionable, roadmap that leads nowhere. As crazy as it sounds, slowing down is the only way to ensure that we take the right actions that align with who we are and where we want to be.

So, in an effort to help you (and I) avoid the holiday frenzy (and ensuing mental breakdown), here are 6 actionable tips to help you slow down and get through the year with more calm & clarity:

1. Separate your thoughts from your feelings

Thoughts and feelings aren’t the same thing. Sounds obvious, but we often jump from one to another so quickly that it seems impossible to separate. For example, “I can’t believe my dog peed on my Christmas tree!” is a thought (true story!) Your ensuing feelings of frustration toward your dog are…you guessed it: a feeling. Knowing the difference in realtime will help you to gain clarity and avoid spiraling down the rabbit hole o’ stress. From there, you’ll be in a better state to take the next right action.

2. Focus on how you want to feel (not what you want to accomplish)

The goal of any goal is the feeling it gives you. For example, wanting to have $1 million isn’t about the cash or what you can buy with it, rather the feeling that those things will give you (whether it’s the joy of buying a unicorn onesie for yourself or the joy of spending it on others).

Instead of waiting to accomplish your goal to get that sensation, why not cut out the middle man and give yourself permission to feel amazing now. You have access to those emotions any time, any place. So, focus on ways you can cultivate those feelings here and now.

3. Do less to do more

Productivity isn’t about how much you do, it’s about doing the right things in the right order.  Take a good, hard, look at your “To-Do” List and ask yourself what’s important and what’s urgent. Often, you’ll find that much of what you’re spending your time on only seems important because it’s urgent. Give yourself permission to move things from your “To Do” List to your “To Don’t” List and only take action on what truly matters to you.

4. Say “no”

No to parties, no to secret Santa, no to anything that feels like a burden. “Obligation” is a fancy word for self-inflicted stress. Silence all the “shoulds,” “it’s safer tos,” and “common sense” that you’ve created. Instead, say “no” kindly and directly. Your future self will thank you.

5. Select one small act of self-care

Now is NOT the time for a major life overhaul. Set yourself up for success by picking one, tiny, act of self-care that you can consistently incorporate into your day. For example, drinking 8 glasses of water, not eating lunch at your desk, or allowing yourself an afternoon candy binge. (No judgments!)

6. Be okay with not being okay

The holidays can suck. That’s okay! Trust that you’ve gotten through similar obstacles before and can do it again. The more you resist the inherent stress of the holidays and wish things to be different, the worse you’ll feel. Instead, remind yourself that “this, too, shall pass” and a fresh start is right around the corner!

20 Things I Wish I Knew in My 20s (but probably wouldn’t have listened to anyway because I was in my 20s)

Today I’m 30! For many people (especially women), it’s a scary time. It’s the moment we realize that life looks nothing like we expected it would. Personally, I’m a glass half-full kinda gal. Instead of focusing on what I’m missing, I’m thinking about the bullets I dodged, the lessons I learned, and the life I’m working to create. My 20s have simultaneously been an incredibly formative time while also being the decade where I’ve made a myriad of mistakes. After all, I’m a work in progress, but there have been some huge takeaways…

The 20 Things I Wish I Knew in My 20s:

  1. Don’t be afraid when reality doesn’t match what you thought it would look like.
    When I was a kid, I thought high school would be exactly like the show “Saved By The Bell.” In reality, nobody was friends with the principal, our lives didn’t revolve around kidnapping our rival’s mascot, and I couldn’t fit in my locker. But more than that, I thought I’d be confident and mature. Similarly, I look at my friends in their 40s, an age where I thought everyone has it together and realize they are still figuring it out, too. Here's why that's a good thing: when you're stagnant, you're dead. Anyone who tells you they have it all figured out is either an idiot, a liar, or hasn’t truly lived. So whatever your perception is of what things “should” look like, let it go.
     

  2. Don’t be so focused on the future that you ignore what’s in front of you.
    This applies to everything! Don’t future-trip in relationships. Don’t work so hard that you can’t enjoy the little things. Don’t spend so much time “pursuing” happiness that you forget that you have access to it at any moment you choose.
     
  3. Courage is a decision.
    It’s not an emotion, it’s a choice. Your fears can’t shape your life unless you’re happy being unhappy. You don’t need to be “ready” to make a change. You just need to acknowledge your fear and take action anyway.

     
  4. You aren’t too old for a career change.
    No matter how many degrees, time, and money you’ve put into something, it’s a sunk cost. You don’t get it back by sticking out something you don’t love. Don’t listen to your parents. (Sorry, mom!)  You aren’t “playing it safe,” you’re playing it scared. Do you really want to live with regret because you were afraid to pursue your dreams and embrace your potential?

     
  5. You are going to change.
    I was pretty adamant about a lot of things in my 20s. Things I believed to be universal truths. For example, in my early 20s, I thought holistic health was a bunch of witchdoctors prescribing tea. Clearly, a lot has changed. Often, we acknowledge how much we’ve grown and changed, but we think that we won’t change in the future. We assume all our growth has led us to this point where we’ll remain. You’re always evolving. Accept it.

     
  6. Nobody’s opinion is more important than your own.
    Other people’s views are not more relevant than your own. It does not matter if they are older, more successful, or better educated. Their opinion is simply that, an opinion, nothing more. Learn to cultivate self-trust, knowing that what’s right for you is your truth, no matter who disagrees.

     
  7. Nobody is good at life. We’re all learning.
    “#Winning” is not real. It’s not growth or true success. Knowing yourself is. Don’t ignore your flaws, but lean in and get curious. Nobody likes you more just because your Facebook is filled with photoshopped selfies and check-ins at cool places. Your waistline, your resume, and your job don’t make you better at life. Owning your shit and loving yourself because of it is what makes you a winner.

     
  8. You don’t need to know what you want.
    There’s so much pressure to know “what you want to be when you grow up.” Most of us are in careers that have nothing to do with what we studied in school. We’re taught to pick a career and stick with it forever, but that’s an antiquated view. If what you’re doing is making your skin crawl, you probably won’t “grow into it.” Don’t commit to something just because you’re supposed to. It’s fine to play it safe as long as you’re experimenting with things that actually light you up.

     
  9. Everything is “figureoutable.”
    Don’t know how to do something? Google it, Youtube it, find a mentor. My greatest accomplishments are the things I was terrified to do because I didn’t know how. Everything can be figured out, it’s about resourcefulness, not resources.

     
  10. You don’t have to be loved by someone to be lovable.
    Your worth is not dependent on other people acknowledging it. You aren’t more valuable as a person just because you have a partner, more Facebook friends, or any other form of external validation. Until you can self-validate you’ll always feel like you’re lacking.

     
  11. Be aware of what you’re really upset about.
    When it’s hysterical, it’s historical. If you’re going from 0-60 because they forgot to give you extra hot sauce with your order, it’s triggering an old wound that hasn’t been healed. Don’t take it out on the delivery guy. 

     
  12. Communicate as your best self.
    This means a few things: 

    -Stop thinking whoever can shout the loudest is right. 
    -State your needs.
    -
    Don’t avoid conflict just because it feels icky or you think the person won’t like you. Stating your truth and being rejected is better than being loved for someone you are not.  I could go on and on about communication, so I’ll simply say communicate as your best self.
     
  13. Other people’s shit is other people’s shit.
    This one is huge. You aren’t a good friend, lover, or family member by taking responsibility for other people’s problems. The goal is interdependence, not codependence. Support others in a loving way, but allow them to work things out on their own.
     
  14. Don’t try to change people.
    Accept them where they are. Love them for who they are, not for their potential or who you wish they would be. I spent my 20s trying to change others instead of myself. But as the serenity prayer says, “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” My advice: know the difference and don’t take it personally.

     
  15. Acknowledge that this moment won’t last forever (even if it feels like it will).
    Everything in my 20s felt like it lasted forever. Waiting for a guy to call me back, for a promotion, for things to “go my way.” When I was struggling with severe Depression, my best friend gave me a ring that said “gam zeh ya'avor.” Modeled after a magic ring of King Solomon’s, it translates from Hebrew to read, “This too shall pass.” Whenever I was sad, I looked at it and found the strength to continue. (And I tried not to look at it when I was happy!)

     
  16. You don’t need to settle.
    In my culture, single women in their 30s and 40s are cautionary tales. When I was unhappy in a relationship, I was taught to “make it work” lest I wind up alone for the rest of my life. That may be the worst advice I was given. Ever. The truth is that “the good ones” are not a limited commodity. And until you know yourself, you won’t know who is right for you. If I had married a man simply because I was supposed to, I’d already be divorced. The best way to find the right partner is to be the real you, not the you you’re supposed to be.
     
  17. Forgive your past screw-ups.
    I’ve made so many mistakes. For most of my 20s, it was the only way I learned anything. But after learning the lesson, I held onto the pain and guilt instead of surrendering and forgiving myself. Often, we focus on forgiving others instead of forgiving ourselves. And while it can be painful and challenging to have compassion for ourselves, it’s the first step to letting go of your old story and writing a new one. The truth is that you can’t go back in time, but you can focus on what you want to create in the future. For more on how to forgive yourself, click here.

     
  18. Find gratitude for the good, the bad, and the straight up ugly.
    One step past forgiveness is gratitude. While that may sound crazy, it’s the fastest way to accept who you are and where you’ve been. It’s easy to find gratitude for the good things, but being thankful for the painful experiences allows you to embrace your growth and transformation.

     
  19. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    Nobody knows everything. Most of us simply fake it. There’s no weakness in asking for help. Just be sure to ask the right people. Ask the person who has what you want. Your partner, friends, and parents, though convenient, aren’t necessarily the best sources.

     
  20. Find your tribe.
    Just because you were friends as teenagers or in college, doesn’t mean you need to stay as close. As you develop into your true self, you’ll align with people who mirror that. Transition can be lonely, but you’re more likely to find real friends if you're your real self. 

Bonus: I wanted to write so many other things like impulse control and a tirade on poor grammar, but I’ll leave you with this: Nothing good happens after 1 am and nothing good comes from drinking alcohol in the form of a shot. Seriously, nothing.

 

They say that your 20s are for defining and your 30s are for refining. I couldn’t be more excited to see what the next decade brings! So here’s the takeaway: No matter where you are, it’s never too late to learn from your past and embrace your potential. 

Share your story in the Comments Section below!

Why You’re Still Single (Or Unhappy in Your Relationship)

Source:   Cat In The Dark

Ahhh, the modern day relationship- full of gray areas, weird status updates, and non-committal communication. 

What happened to the old-school relationships where people say what they mean and mean what they say?

It seems like finding meaningful relationships is easy for some and impossible for others.

Are some people just lucky?

Does it come down to being in the right place at the right time?

NEWS FLASH: The problem is you.

Don’t be offended, it’s the truth. There’s more to it than “he’s not emotionally available,” or “she’s a b***h.” How we view romantic love is based on how we grew up. Every family and culture has its own norms around love and marriage. These beliefs were designed ages ago, passed down through each generation, and reinforced in you to become your reality. Then, you simply attracted & picked up people and situations that mirrored that reality back to you. 

Let me give you an example: I come from a culture where a woman’s life purpose is to get married. Her hobbies, school, and career are chosen to attract a mate. It reinforces the idea that a partner is what gives her life meaning.

Clearly, that is messed up!

Still, it has tainted the way I’ve viewed love and the men I've chosen to date. To learn about how I screwed up my relationships, click here.

So, back to the topic at hand. In order to understand your hidden beliefs around love, you must become conscious of what limiting beliefs you’ve inherited from them. The following questions will help you to learn more about your relationship patterns, self-esteem, and beliefs about love.

You can only change your reality when you accept that it’s not based in reality.

  1. What was your family’s belief around love & marriage?
  2. How was love expressed in your family?
  3. Were your parents divorced?
  4. Who had the “power” in your family? What does that mean to you?
  5. How did your parents interact with each other?
  6. What are the similarities and differences between you and your parents?
  7. What did verbal and physical affection look like in your family? How do you express love?
  8. Were you given the ability to express yourself at home?

Now I know you just scanned those, but if you really want to be your best self in a healthy relationship, you need to dig deeper. Go back in time and feel it. Hit your journal and daydream about the kind of love you want and the type of person you want to be in that relationship. That does not mean you list all the ways your partner should change. This is about you!

Then, sit in that space. In order to attract the love you seek, you must be able to visualize it as a possible reality. It all comes down to deciding what you want to create in your life and making decisions with that goal in mind.

You are worth it. You deserve it. It’s your job to create it. 

Share your experience with the Community in the Comments section below!