How to Cope With Failure

How to Cope With Failure

Last week I talked about why failure was important, but I never said that it was easy. 

Failure can leave you to feel down on yourself, mad at the world, empty, sad, and whatever else – but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

You can still choose to be happy, be proud of yourself for other accomplishments, use the energy to work harder, and become better. 

So, how do we do this? How do we cope? 

Process emotions. Failure is hard. It’s normal for it to take a toll on your mental state. It’s okay to be sad about it for a while. So get your feelings out, try to understand why what happened the way it did, and process where you’re at now. 

Rely on your people. You have a support system for a reason. Ask for help, ask someone to listen to you vent, whatever you need. This is what friends and family are for. 

Don’t turn to self hate or doubt. So many people instantly see failure as their fault. Some things are out of your control. But even if it was 100% your fault, you still have done positive things otherwise and deserve to appreciate yourself. Give yourself grace. Try to focus on the things that you do appreciate about yourself.
You are human, failure is normal, you’re not alone, and you will be able to try again. 

Get back up. Fall.. Get back up. Don’t wallow in sorrow, self hatred, anger, fear, embarrassment or whatever else you may be feeling – because choosing to feel this way isn’t going to help you. You can feel sorry for yourself, but until you make the effort to change the situation.. You aren’t going to get better.

Learn from your mistakes. Figure out why things didn’t work the first time (or second/third/tenth time). See what you can do better next time, and then work on those things. Practice makes perfect. 

Put your energy towards doing better. Take the anger (or whatever emotions you’re feeling) and make that the fuel for doing better. Try harder, create something different, or practice until it’s perfect. 

Remember that what’s for you, will not pass you. Some failures lead to the greatest opportunities. Just because you missed the mark with this one thing – doesn’t mean that you’ll never get the chance to do it again. It doesn’t mean that you won’t find something better. Keep your head up.

Wow. I think this is the shortest blog post I’ve ever written! I’m kinda proud of myself. Anyway, I hope these tips helped. If you haven’t already, read my post from Wednesday. I think you’ll be able to (better) connect to what I’ve said today. But that’s all I’ve got! Just keep your head up and remember that you will do great things! xoxo

Why Failure is Important

Why Failure is Important

“You must fail in order to succeed.” This quote is popular for a reason – It’s true. 

Oprah was fired from one of her first jobs in TV. 

JK Rowling pitched Harry Potter to twelve publishers who rejected her. 

Walt Disney was let go because he “lacked creativity”. 

No label would sign Jay-Z. 

Companies have started out of garages. 

There are CEO’s who attempted suicide before starting their multi-million dollar business. 

People who used to live on the streets are huge stars now. 

The point is, it doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed. You get another chance, every single day, to do better than the day before. 

But why is failure actually important? 

I personally believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe you can’t find the reason in the midst of failure, but I guarantee you that something positive comes out of it every time. 

We make choices that lead to experiences, and we don’t know what life would be like without those experiences. So, maybe you’ll never notice what positive came out of a failure – but maybe, without you realizing it, that thing brought you to know someone that you love. Maybe it somehow saved your life. Maybe it allowed you to come up with an idea or opened another opportunity that wouldn’t have originally happened. But I promise you one thing: if you aren’t actively searching for the positives that came from negative experiences, you’ll never see them. 

But let’s talk specifics..

  1. One closed door can open another. Oprah, Walt Disney, Jay-Z and everyone else I mentioned.. They went through the same thing. They were fired or told no. That didn’t stop them, and it doesn’t have to stop you either.   
  1. It teaches you lessons. I’m going to refer to this experience for the rest of the examples – but I was really upset over the last week because I kept getting these terrible cramps when I ran. I finally decided to try out different things. I tried to drink more or less water, eat more or less, go at different times during the day, try different temperatures, but nothing was working. Well, I finally found out that none of those things were the problem – I was simply just running too fast. Now that I’ve learned that, I know to keep a certain pace and I won’t get the cramps anymore.  
  1. Failure makes us stronger and more resilient, we realize what we’re capable of, and it builds our character. Let me tell you, when I started getting cramps every time I ran – I was livid. I’d been running for months! I was upset and confused as to why I was taken back. But, that anger turned into the strength and fuel that pushed me on to figure out why I was having the problem, and then overcome it. It reinforced my commitment to my goals and made me try harder every single time I got out there.
  1. It shows us what we truly care about. Not being able to consistently run a mile was tough – and it brought me back to where I started. It reminded me of how important this goal has been from the beginning. Running is one of the few things that is keeping me in a routine during this quarantine – so this situation reminded me how important it was to keep going and pushing through, no matter how many times I’d failed. 
  1. It allows us to teach and help others. Now, if I ever know someone having the same problem, running with cramps, I can help them. Their circumstances/reasons may be a little different, but I can still walk them through the process and help them eliminate all of the possibilities it may be for them. 
  1. It allows us to have more empathy and understanding. Now, if I see someone having to slow down after about 5 minutes of running, I’m going to understand. I’m going to know the same pain that they’re going through, instead of questioning if they truly need a breather or if they just want to slow down.
  1. It allows us to stop fearing failure. So, I couldn’t run a continuous mile. Was that the end of the world? No. It sucked considering that wasn’t the case before, but worse things could have happened. 

Sometimes failure is embarrassing, saddening, or discouraging. But I promise, worse things can happen than failure. Just remember, failure is only as bad as you allow it to be. If you decide to see it in a positive light, get back up, and try again.. It may be the best thing that ever happens to you.

8 Tips to Overcome Fear

8 Tips to Overcome Fear

Let’s make something clear: I’m not talking about overcoming the extreme, mind paralyzing, body shaking, kind of fear. I mean, maybe some of this could apply to those things – but I’m mainly talking about how to overcome the fears that you don’t even realize are there – the fear of taking opportunities.

I’ll throw out some examples so you can get a better idea. 

You want to start a new business. 

You want to ask someone out. 

You want to make a YouTube channel. 

You want to ask your boss for a raise. 

You want to quit your job.

You want to move.

You want to break up with the guy you’ve been dating for 7 years.

It’s the things you’ve wanted to do that you’ve pushed off until a later time, decided it “wasn’t a good idea”, or one of the billion other excuses you’ve made for yourself. Maybe, you even know that it’s a good idea and it’s feasible during this time, but you’re just consciously too scared to start. 

I was almost too afraid to start this blog. I’ve had it for about four months now and I’m already amazed by the opportunities that I’ve been presented because of it. I’m so glad that I got over myself and just did it

With that said, I’m going to relate a lot of these things to my thoughts before starting the blog.

Let’s talk about why we have these fears. 

Failure. I’ve failed at a lot of things. I have so much experience with failure that I could (and will) probably write a post on failure alone. I didn’t want to start the blog because I was too afraid that it was just going to be another thing that I failed at, and I didn’t want to take on the disappointment of letting myself down again.  

Judgment and Rejection. Let’s start by admitting one thing: we all care about what others think. We all want to leave good impressions on people. I was afraid that everyone would think I was weird for starting a blog. I was afraid that people wouldn’t find my advice helpful or they wouldn’t even care to hear it. 

Commitment. I knew that starting a blog was going to take a lot of time (boy, was I right). I also didn’t think that I had the extra time to give. 

For those who don’t know, it takes a long time to reach a good amount of followers before you are an “influencer”, or whatever you want to call it. I was scared that I wasn’t going to pull through when things got hard or it started to feel like it wasn’t worth it.

Uncertainty, change, and losing control. it’s all uncomfortable. If you don’t know, you have to invest money into a blog. I mean not a whole lot, probably just a couple hundred to get the site and a few other technical things, but still.. It’s an investment, especially for a broke college kid. Anyway – I was scared to invest this money and time without knowing how it would affect me, how successful it would be and when, etc. 

Alright, the old fears are out on the table. 

So, let’s talk about what I talked myself through to push past it, and what you need to do to overcome your fears.

Remind yourself of what you’ll lose by ignoring it, or what you’ll gain by doing it. Remembering back to when I was having this conversation with myself, I remember thinking that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to better people’s lives, I wouldn’t get to share the advice that I felt called to give, and I would have felt like I always missed out on something that I truly wanted to do. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to have to question, “what if?”

Think of the *actually possible* worst scenario. Don’t let your anxiety get in the way. Take some deep breaths and genuinely think about the worst thing that could happen. I promise you, that most of you will come to the realization that the outcome wouldn’t be that terrible. So, you fail at something.. Get back up. 

So, people judge you.. They were judging you before you did this, people will judge you no matter what you do. Your opinion of yourself is more important than their opinions of you, I promise. 

Talk to someone encouraging. I have this one friend that would support anyone on any adventure that they could ever dream of. She pushes people out of their comfort zone. She hypes them up so that they believe in themselves and get the courage to just try. – I hope you have a friend like that. If you do, go to them. If not, I’ll be that person for you. 

Know that YOU are in control of YOUR future. To be blunt, no one else is going to do this for you. It’s your future and if you want to be accomplished – you are the one that’s going to have to get you there. You are the only person who can bring yourself the satisfaction of knowing that you got over the fear, put in the work, and did the dang thing to get where you are. 

Just freakin do it. Quit putting it off, quit waiting for the right time, stop waiting for someone to approve or do it with you – get it over with. Start and get excited about it. The sooner you do it, the sooner you feel the success that you want. 

Listen, people are going to judge you, no matter what you are doing! Becky will always have something to say. She will judge you if you go to the gym, she will judge you if you don’t go to the gym. No matter what choices you make – people will have an opinion on them, but again, the only opinion that truly matters is yours

Wanna know why people judge others? Because they are jealous, need something to talk about, or need something to distract them from thinking about their own choices. Just remember, the people who are talking about you – aren’t better than you. 

Last thing.. No one is going to judge you if you are attempting to make a better life for yourself. No one should blame you for wanting to get better in any capacity.. Whether that’s going to the gym to get in shape, going to therapy to get your mental health in check, starting a business (or quitting one) to create a better opportunity.. Whatever it may be, people are most likely going to be proud of you.

Make failure your friend. Failure is good, failure is healthy, failure is common, and failure brings learning. You will be able to get through it. You’ll be able to redeem yourself from anything that you do. Maybe not immediately, but over time, you will.

Give yourself “the future threat”. You probably don’t know what that is, considering I just made that title up. It’s a scenario question. Think about this: You’re 80, sitting on the porch, looking back at your life.. Are you going to be happy that you did or didn’t take the opportunity? You’ll always find out what’s truly important by asking yourself that question. 

That was a lot of writing. I should have told you to grab a snack.. Sorry. I just had a lot to say because fear is such a crippling thing for most people – and it’s something that everyone experiences. 

I hope this was helpful for you guys.. Let me know if any of these tricks work for you and convince you to do the dang thing! xoxo

Recognizing Symptoms of Depression

Recognizing Symptoms of Depression

I wanted to write this post for a couple of reasons. 

First, I want to show you guys that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows since I’ve been able to improve my depression, (again, not cured). There are times where the nap, the journaling, the run, whatever coping method – doesn’t work. 

I want to be completely transparent with you guys. I don’t want to promote positivity and motivation when I don’t feel it myself. I want to be real with you because I recognize that even the happiest person on the planet has their bad days as well. It’s okay. 

Another main reason that I wanted to share this was to inform people on the symptoms of depression. I grew up thinking that you had to be suicidal, self harming, or constantly crying to have depression – and that’s not true. I don’t have issues with any of those things.. Except for a good cry every once in a while, but that’s normal. 

On the flip side, I understand that everyone has different severities of depression. Some people do experience suicidal thoughts, self harm, and the other things you’ve heard. But you can still have depression without these things. 

So without further adieu, here’s what I’ll usually experience..

Lack of motivation. This is the first thing to go, every time. I start to want to lay in bed for the entire day. I’ll tell myself that I’ll get some work done from my bed, which never happens. I’ll sit there on my phone for hours, knowing that I need to get things done, but ignoring it anyway. Then, I’ll sit there knowing that I’m upset with myself, but still not doing anything. 

Tiredness. I’m not sure if it’s the tiredness that causes the depression, or the depression that causes the tiredness. Either way, I get exhausted when I’m depressed. Once I started taking medicine for my depression, I made it a point to quit napping unless it’s absolutely necessary. Most days I don’t need to – but when I’m depressed, I can’t keep my eyes open. I will sleep for a full 8 hours and then still need multiple naps throughout the day. I truly don’t know what causes this.. (So if any of you guys happen to know, shoot me a DM cause I’m interested to learn.) 

Overwhelm. I’m a very busy person. I’m in school, have 2 jobs, and work tirelessly on blog content. I also want to have a social life, be an active member in my sorority, be active on a daily basis, stay clean and organized, and be constantly growing and participating in my faith (which also takes a lot of work). Anyway, there’s more but you get the point. So when I start to realize the million things on my plate, I start to get extremely overwhelmed because all I want to do is lay in bed. Or, on the other hand, I’ve laid in bed for a couple of days and I know it’ll take weeks to catch up.. Either way, I’ll always feel overwhelmed. 

Irritation. The littlest things get on my absolute last nerve. I can literally drop a pen and want to freak out. There’s like a 90% chance that I’ll get irritated with someone over something they’ve said or how they reacted to something I told them. The worst thing about it though, is that it’s like a domino effect. Once I’m irritated about one thing, it’s SO much easier to get irritated about another. That’s why I always preach that mindset matters. 

The other thing about my irritation and anger is that I usually feel like I physically need to get it out.. like I need a punching bag or a super long run, and sometimes that can’t happen in the moment, which only leads me to getting more irritated. 

Withdrawal. Since I’m aware that I get unnecessarily angry when I’m depressed, I make it a point to step back from everyone. I don’t want to react poorly or out of anger, which normally happens if I don’t. I also don’t want to complain or put others in a negative mood just because I’m in one, so I just self-isolate. I’ll just ask people to reschedule plans or revisit a certain conversation later so I can go into it with a clear head and happier heart. 

Feeling stuck. Ever since I was diagnosed with depression, I’ve worked my ass off trying to self reflect and grow and learn how to deal with it. Since I’ve done that, I’m very self aware. I can tell when I’m overreacting, I can tell when I’m being dramatic, I know when I’m wrong.. (you get the point.) So I’ll know that I’m acting that way, but I still feel like I can’t change it.. Which is where I struggle the most in getting better. 

Bad eating habits. I will say that I have gotten better with this over time, but sometimes I still struggle. Honestly, my bad habits can go either way though.. Sometimes I’ll stress eat for comfort, and sometimes I’ll skip meals because I’m too stressed or upset to eat. The one good thing that can come from this though, is that I can recognize when I’m doing it, and work on fixing the problem instead of feeding (or not feeding) the habit. 

Getting sick (sometimes). This varies a lot. Mostly, I feel sick just when I forget to take my medicine. But other symptoms that I’ve experienced are extreme headaches, nausea from over or under eating, my body/bones can feel weak from staying in bed too long, I can get shakes if my anxiety is really bad, etc. But I do want to stress that this usually isn’t the case, maybe aside from the headaches and nausea (those are pretty common for me). 

Degrading myself. When I’m down, it’s sooo easy to beat myself up. “I didn’t accomplish anything today.” “My skin looks terrible.” “I look like I’ve gained 10 pounds.” “I can’t get all of this work done.” “I acted terribly towards her for no reason.” 

All of these things aren’t true. Well, maybe the skin thing is true (lol), I do struggle with acne. BUT – in all reality, I didn’t gain 10 pounds, I CAN get work done, I CAN apologize, and I CAN pull myself out of it.

Alright, I can’t currently think of anything else and it’s 10pm so I’m ready to shut my computer. That’s all I’ve got for you guys. Just remember these few key things..

  1. Just because you experience some of these things (or possibly even all of these things) doesn’t mean that you automatically have depression. Although, if you’re experiencing these things and are unsure, you should definitely check in with a doctor. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. 
  2. Just because you’re not experiencing most of these things, doesn’t mean that you don’t have depression. This is my story, and depression could look completely different to someone else.
  3. Just to further my first two points.. I also have bipolar disorder, OCD, and anxiety. I only listed the symptoms that I associate with depression (for this post), but that doesn’t mean that the other disorders don’t have an influence on the symptoms that I’ve felt/wrote. 
  4. Depression isn’t always just attached to the suicidal, physically emotional, self harming type of people that have been associated with it. The people who are popular, “always having fun”, constantly laughing and smiling – they can have it too. Coming from first hand experience, I know it’s really easy to hide when you feel like you need to. That’s why I always say to check in on your friends. 

Okay, that’s really it now. You guys have a good rest of the weekend and I’ll talk to you again on Wednesday! 🙂

Improving Depression

Improving Depression

Let me start by saying that I titled this post strategically. I didn’t call it “How to Cure Depression” for a reason. I don’t personally believe that you can cure depression. However, I do believe that you can find ways to improve it. 

Also, keep in mind that this is what worked for me. What worked for me could have no effect on someone else. You need to find what’s right for you

This is just my opinion, I’m not a doctor, but I think that there are different “versions” of depression. Some people are depressed because of a past situation, some people are depressed because they are currently going through something, some people have depression because they have a chemical issue in their brain, and more. 

Well, I’m the one with the chemical issue in my brain.

For example, I’m on medication for depression and have been for a long time now. On a daily basis, I’m pretty happy. Last week, I skipped my medication for one day (by accident). ONE day. For the rest of the week, even after I’d restarted my medication, I had no motivation. I was extremely tired. I didn’t workout or eat right. I was sick. I felt like I was in a fog all over again. Nothing bad or sad had happened to me, I just had a chemical imbalance.  

Anyway, no matter what type of depression you may have, I think that you can at least take a few things away from my personal experience with improvement. So, let’s get into it..

Obviously, the number one thing that helped me was medication, because I have a chemical depression. I don’t know how, but it gives me energy, motivation to do things, keeps me in a positive mood, etc. I’m a huge advocate for being medicated – but if you asked me if everyone with depression should be medicated, I would say no. I believe that it differs between the different variations of depression. But it was the best decision for me.

The second thing that really helped me the most was exercise. Exercise gives you more energy and raises your endorphin levels (I like to call them happy chemicals). Another huge reason that it helped me so much was because it gave me more confidence. I’m confident that I can run 6+ miles, I’m confident in my ability to do hard work, and I’m a lot more body-confident (coming from ground 0, but still). I’m proud of those things. 

Third in line is getting enough sleep. I’ve noticed that (pretty much) every time that I get upset about something, I’m exhausted. That’s why whenever I get upset, I instantly take a nap. About 80 percent of the time, I wake up in a much better mood and have a changed mindset on the issue. 

Fourth, I stay organized. In having depression, anxiety, ocd, and bipolar disorder – I have a lot of thoughts rolling around my head all day. I have a really bad memory and I easily get stressed and overwhelmed. So being able to control something to help this, is really good for me. I have a (rough) schedule every day to keep me in routine. I write down everything I need to remember. I plan out when I will do my work so I don’t get overwhelmed by it. It’s the little things that end up making a huge difference. 

Fifth, I stay productive. For me, the main thing that my depression controls is my motivation levels. So when I take a break from my routine, it’s SO hard for me to get back into it. So I stay in routine and get a LOT of things done. I absolutely love going to sleep knowing that I made my day worth something. It makes me feel like I have a purpose and it allows me to be proud of myself!

Sixth, I stay open and honest with myself and others. I have come to terms with the fact that I have a mental disorder. I give myself grace because I know that having a mental disorder can be hard to live with. You wouldn’t ask someone in a wheelchair to walk, and you can’t ask someone with depression to stay happy. So, I don’t push myself to do things that I don’t feel comfortable with. I tell my friends when I’m not having a good day. I cancel plans. I take time for myself so I can recover as quickly as possible. 

Seventh, I don’t let myself wallow in it. Yes, I have depression, but I don’t allow it to stop me from living a happy life. I take the time to process what I’m going through, journal it out (SO important), brainstorm how to fix it, and then get over it. 

I don’t allow myself to be sorry for myself anymore. Quite honestly, it’s NEVER going to help. I’ve learned that you can be sorry for yourself, but it’s just going to keep you in the same bad place that you started in. 

Lastly, I started to make myself realize the things that I’m blessed with and thankful for. I have a healthy body, a loving and supportive family, an education, a roof over my head, and SO many other things that I used to take for granted. I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t appreciate something until it’s gone. 

Just know that depression doesn’t have to be the end. You don’t have to wake up tomorrow and be sad just because you have depression. It’s all about perspective. Like I said in my Instagram post yesterday: dress it up. You GET to work, you GET to move your body, you GET to hang out with your family.. Be appreciative of those things, and focus on them. Focus on the good.

Have a great week everyone!

30 Day Mental Health Improvement Challenge

30 Day Mental Health Improvement Challenge

Yesterday, I asked on Instagram stories if you guys would want to see a mental health challenge (or something else instead) and I was honestly shocked at the positive response I got! I didn’t think it was going to be as popular as it was.

Maybe you won’t do every single thing on this list, but I encourage you to genuinely treat it like a challenge and dedicate a part of your day to trying new things. Every single number on this list has played a part in changing my life, and I have a good feeling it’ll do the same for you. 😉

Challenge

Day 1. Take a social media detox day. Clear your mind of all the negativity that it brings to you and focus on the (real-life) present. 

Day 2.  Find 3-5 quotes that really resonate with you and empower you. Then, find ways to make yourself physically look at those quotes on a daily basis. Write them on your mirror, post sticky notes around your room, paint them & frame them, put them on your phone screen – up to you.

Day 3. Read a self-growth book. Not kidding, doing this alone literally changed my life. The reason that I started this blog is because of a self-growth book that I randomly decided to read. The two that I really recommend are both by Rachel Hollis – Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing. 

Day 4. Follow inspirational people on social media. (No, that’s not just the cute aesthetic bloggers. It’s the people that share content that will genuinely inspire and empower you.)  After I started reading Rachel’s books, I started following her on Instagram – and then every time she posted something, I saw something positive, encouraging, and real on social media. Find a community like that. 

Day 5. Eat clean for the day. Try to figure out the effect that it has on you – not to look a certain way, but to see how it changes your mood, your energy levels, your confidence, etc. I actually encourage you to do this for about a week, just because it’ll give you a better sense of the changes. 

Day 6. Start a gratitude journal. Everyday, write down 3 things you are thankful for. You can also write down what you’re excited or happy about, just make it something positive.

 

Day 7. Write down your accomplishments. Write down what you contribute to the world. Write down what you love about yourself. Write down anything that will give you a sense of pride or allow you to see yourself in a positive light. 

Day 8. Take a walk or do some yoga alone. Doing this will give you time to be productive, but it will also allow you to dedicate time toward self-reflection. Go into it with an open mind. 

Day 9. Make a “feel-good” playlist. Add the songs that can change your mood instantly, give you confidence, make you excited, and pump you up with energy.

Day 10. Write down your life goals. What do you want your future to look like? No dreams are too big – write them down. I want a big freakin house, a pool in my backyard, quarterly vacations – and a nice salary. Is that a lot? Yeah. Is it still possible? Yeah. 

Day 11. Call one of your best friends and have a deep talk with them. Be each other’s therapists.

Day 12. Have a self-care day. Take the bubble bath, do the face mask, exfoliate, paint your nails – whatever you need to do to feel good about yourself for the day. 

Day 13. Find a good podcast to listen to – something wholesome. Not Call Her Daddy. Sorry.

Day 14. Write down what you’re struggling with. Why? What can you do to make it better? 

Day 15. Take a day to be super productive. Take 10 things you have to do and just knock them all out. It’ll give you a sense of hard work, pride, and accomplishment once you’re done.

Day 16. Have a photoshoot. Take pictures that make you feel beautiful and give you confidence. 

Day 17. Focus on your sleep. Sleep has a huge effect on my mental health. Sleeping is one of the first things that I do when I realize that my mood is off – and it works pretty much every time. 

Day 18. Go through your social media and delete all of the people who aren’t serving your positivity. For example – The ex, the people you graduated with and don’t like, the girls you stalk only because they’re pretty, and the boy that played you last year.. You get the point. 

Day 19. (If you aren’t a Christian, you can apply this to whatever religion you believe in.) Do a devotional, read your bible, pray, watch an online sermon, etc. 

Day 20. Find a hobby that you can lean on when you’re bored or having a bad day. For example, mine’s (obviously) blog-related things. 

Day 21. Create a go-to list for when you’re having a bad day. For example, my go-to’s are journaling, sleep, and distracting. Distracting can be a variety of things but usually is

something like YouTube or a funny movie – just something to get myself laughing. 

Day 22. Clean and organize your living space. It’ll get your body moving for a while and your mind will also feel de-cluttered when you’re done.  

Day 23. Forgive someone that you’ve held a grudge with. It doesn’t have to be to their face, but at least mentally forgive someone so you can move on. 

Day 24. Go exploring. Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone and be proud of yourself for doing it. 

Day 25. Get a haircut. Go blonder. Go red if you want. Do a self tan. Do something to give yourself a slightly new look and a confidence boost. 

Day 26. Watch the sunrise or sunset. Have some reflection time. 

Day 27. Create a daily routine of things you’d like to do. Mine is: wake up, eat, write down my goals & gratitude for the day, pray, clean, take my meds/pre, get ready for the gym and go, shower.. And then I start my day. I write this down every morning and check the list off as I go.

Day 28. Do something nice for yourself. Buy yourself flowers, treat yourself to a nice dinner, get a new bathing suit.. Something that will make you feel happy for the day. 

Day 29. If you truly struggle with mental health – write down what future events you’re excited for. I know a lot of people with mental health issues that don’t know if they’ll want to make it through tomorrow – let alone the next 6 months or 10 years. And for those people, it’s important to hold on to the small glimpses of excitement. For example, I’m excited to get (a socially distanced) breakfast with my friends on Monday. I’m excited for a real job, getting married, buying my first house, having kids, taking family vacations, and watching my kids do all the same things. 

Day 30. Reflect on what you’ve learned throughout this month and try to keep doing the things that really made a significant change for you. 

Hope you guys enjoy the challenge! Post pictures and tag me on Instagram @thesopblog if you decide to try any of these things out. 🙂 Happy Saturday!

6 Unhealthy “Self Care” Claims

6 Unhealthy “Self Care” Claims

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of self care. It’s SO important. You are the most important person in your life, so you should treat yourself as such.

I’m writing this post because I think society has programmed in our heads that “self care” can be an excuse for things that you just want to do – not things that are actually good for you.

I’m not saying that you should never do these things. They aren’t bad things – they just aren’t true self care.

Here’s my rule for actual self care: If you can do this thing for yourself with 100% confidence that you won’t regret it in the future – it’s self care. But if it’s only going to feel good in the moment, it’s not.

That’s the problem with the things I’ve listed below. They’ll make you feel good in the moment, no doubt – but they won’t make you feel good in the next day, week, or month. Trust me, I’ve done all of these things, so I would know – but I think you’ll agree.

Retail Therapy – I love getting new things just as much as the next girl, I promise. But unless you have a never ending financial budget, you’ll probably regret spending $300 dollars on a Tuesday because you failed your biology exam. Letting yourself run out of gas or starve for the rest of the week isn’t self care – but it is something you’ll regret.

Eating – When I was severely depressed, this was my go to. Eating and watching some Netflix was my favorite way to relax and get my mind off things. I’d always tell myself that I had a long day so I deserved it. But did I deserve feeling upset with myself 10 minutes after? Did I deserve hating the way my jeans fit? No. Is that what happened anyway? Every freaking time.

Over Exercising – Remember how I just told you that I hated myself about 10 minutes after I ate something I knew was bad for me? Wanna guess what happened next? I’d tell myself that my body needs a run to make me feel better about myself. I’d run every calorie out but the running still never cancelled out how I felt mentally. I didn’t deserve to do that to myself. Neither do you.

Isolating for Rest – Again, something I always did in the peak of my depression. (I was so tired all the time. I would sleep a regular 8 hours, but then I’d literally need another 4 hour nap just to stay awake for the rest of the day.) Yes, I got to sleep, but I missed out on doing a lot of things with my friends. I missed out on getting a lot of things done that I needed to do. I always complained about how boring I was and that I needed to get out more.. And I felt the same way everyday – until I got medicated and adapted a healthier lifestyle to not need a four hour nap every day!

Drinking the Wine – Ladies. I know it’s good. I know. But it’s not good for you. And let’s be honest, one glass turns into four real quick. That’s all I’ll need to say about this one.

Ignoring Responsibilities – If you’ve had a bad day, or you’re extremely busy and overwhelmed, and you just need a break – I get it. I feel you. But there’s a difference between taking a break and straight up ignoring what you’re supposed to be doing. If you have a deadline that you’re ignoring – you’re still gonna have to do the work! Even if there isn’t a deadline, you’re still missing out on the things that you need to be doing to be successful, happy, healthy – whatever the case may be. It’s okay to take breaks, but that’s all it should be.

Self care isn’t an excuse to not be your best. It’s doing things for yourself to become your best. Let yourself take a break and recharge. Let doing nice things for yourself act as motivation to do the things that you need to do. Just don’t do these things because you’ve had a bad day or because you’re upset with yourself – get to the root of the problem and fix it instead. Most of all, don’t do the things you know you’ll regret tomorrow.

I think I’ve finally done enough preaching. Before you read this post, did you guys see these things as self care or did you see them the same way? Let me know!

Have a great week! 🙂

5 Ways to Track and Assess Your Mental Health

5 Ways to Track and Assess Your Mental Health

Stability and Consistency: Those two concepts became my best friends when I finally started working on self improvement, and I think they’re especially important for anyone with a mental health disorder. With that said, overtime I just realized that I functioned best when I was in a routine and frequently checking in on myself!

So, why track your mental health? I started tracking my MH to see if there were factors that triggered a certain response. For example: I now firmly know that skipping the gym causes a depressive response for me. I’ve also learned that if I don’t sleep or eat enough, I’ll experience bipolar symptoms like extreme stress and anxiety, and occasionally sporadic and unwarranted anger.

* Just to preface before we get into the different tips/examples, it really doesn’t matter how or where you keep track of the content – just do whatever works for you! You can even switch it up between the different concepts. I usually rotate between Word, journals, planners, and calendars.

1. Habit Tracker

Habit trackers are multi-functional. You can use them to keep/start good habits or get rid of the bad ones, or both! (For the demonstration, I’ll do both, but I usually just do the good ones.) This is a good tool because it reminds you of your daily priorities and goals, and it shows where you need to improve. Personally, it’s also a motivator because I don’t like writing ‘N’ in any of the spaces 😉

2. Plan/Track Weekly Wellness 

I feel like this is mostly self explanatory, but setting time aside to catch up with yourself and focus solely on your wellness is super important – especially if you have a busy schedule! Everyones examples can look different, depending on exercise preferences and how much time can be dedicated. All of these ideas are pretty adaptable, like church for example. If I don’t have time to physically go to church on Sunday morning, I’ll watch a service or YouTube video on my laptop. But here’s an average week..

3. Priority Plans and Reflections

As you can see in my previous example, priority plans and reflections are in the weekly schedule. It’s important to frequently think about your goals and priorities so you can be intentional with the way you spend your time, and be happier in the long run! Reflection is also essential to reassess what’s working and what you’ll need to work on for the next week. I usually write about a page, but here’s a shorter example..

Priority Plan

Specific: Have dinner with Abie to catch up, take a break from Netflix to cut distractions from my busy school week 

Overall: Go to the gym 5 times, eat pretty well, homework needs to be done by 10 

Reflection

Had a really good week. Got an A on my exam, ate really well, made it to the gym 6 times, had a fun date night on Thursday, and stayed off of Netflix like I wanted! If I had to improve anything, I would have went to bed a little bit earlier during the week because I was exhausted from being so busy. 

4. Daily Summary

Aside from the weekly reflections and priority plans, I give short daily summaries. Just jot down a sentence or two about how you felt, if you stayed in check with habits/priorities, and any current events – just enough to jog your memory for the final weekly reflection. 

Monday: Went to the dermatologist, had a really productive day, feel energized and accomplished.

Tuesday: Stomach is hurting today. I didn’t eat good this morning, which set the rest of the day downhill. Went to the gym and almost got sick. 

Wednesday: Babysat, got my homework done, hung out with my friends, ate better than yesterday.. Feeling better. 

5. Targets

This last section is geared toward my people with mental health issues, but the terms can be easily changed! Basically, you just want to write down whatever you struggle with. For me, it’s depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Keeping track of this information can help me decide if my medicine is affecting me, how the disorders affect me, etc.

Here’s the main idea, up to interpretation: 

1. Write down what you struggle with. 

2. Pick 3 colors symbolizing how you’ll feel: good, bad, and okay. (I use green, red, and orange.) 

3. Highlight how you felt that day, and give a sentence as to why. 

Monday 

Anxiety: Had a presentation, nervous all day 

Depression: Nothing to be sad about!

Bipolar: Irritable all day because of extra stress  

Tuesday 

Anxiety: Had a relaxing day

Depression: All is good 🙂

Bipolar: No noticeable mood changes

Wednesday

Anxiety: Thought of getting out of bed is feeling uncomfortable today

Depression: Feeling extremely unmotivated today for no reason. 

Bipolar: Was really happy yesterday, not sure what the change is. 

So, there are my strategies for tracking and assessing your mental health. You can obviously take or leave any of these exercises! I know that keeping track of them all can be a lot, but if you are looking to stabilize yourself or troubleshoot any negative feelings, these ideas will be perfect for you!

Okay, that’s all for this post! If you can’t tell, I’m extremely organized, so I’ll hopefully share some similar tips soon. Happy Wednesday 🙂 

Simple Ways To Set Up Social Media To Improve Mental Health

Simple Ways To Set Up Social Media To Improve Mental Health

Let’s all just admit one thing: Social media does have an influence on us. Maybe you don’t realize it, or can’t explain it, but it does. So, if we’re going to let our online presence impact our lives.. Let’s make it positive!

The first thing you should realize is that you are in control of what you consume. You control what’s in your feed, what you watch, what you listen to, what you read – even if you’re not the one posting it. You’re also in control of how much content you’re consuming by spending time on social media. 

So, since you’re in control.. Here’s my advice for you.

Cut out the negative. I know that this sounds obvious, but it’s not. You have to dig deep and figure out what’s truly negative. This means considering what’s naturally triggering, what’s unconsciously upsetting you, the things that are hard to even personally admit but still upset you, and more. (This should include cutting out the sad music, movies, quotes – etc.)

You also have to have a hard conversation with yourself about who is negative for you. Should you still be following your ex? What about Megan, the two faced girl in your third class? Should you be following the people who portray to live the fantasy life on Instagram? Does that make you feel good about yourself? It’s questions like these that you have to ask – and you have to be genuine and honest with yourself. But the most important part is that you have to actually gain the courage to unfollow the negatives.

Bring in the positive. This was the step that helped me the most. I found role models that shared positive messages through social media, followed pages with good quotes, watched funny movies on Netflix, listened to empowering podcasts, and more. 

When I created the blog Instagram, I found a new community of people that love to share positive quotes and empowering messages! I found people who are open with their struggles and transparent with their progress and mental health, which made me feel so much better about what I was going through. 

Now, I know not everyone wants to create a second Instagram for that sole purpose – but you can still seek out a few people to follow and learn from!

Find something that interests you, and follow it. For me, I’ve always really liked makeup! In the height of my depression, I probably watched a million YouTube videos. Jaclyn Hill, KathleenLights, Bretman Rock, James Charles, Jackie Aina – I love them all! It was something fun to watch and a good mental escape. This was obviously a personal interest, but you can adapt it to anything. The main point is, if you’re focusing on something that you like, you aren’t thinking about the negatives.

Use Pinterest. This is going to sound like a sponsored post, but I really just have an obsession. I swear, some of the greatest things that I’ve learned have come from this platform. I mainly like to look at quotes. I know it seems silly, but I’ve come to so many realizations, just because of a few words attached to a picture on the internet. Yet I promise that if you try to do some deep thinking and application when you’re searching through, you’ll learn something.  

Even aside of looking through quotes, Pinterest is helpful for so many things! If you want to find healthy recipes, new workouts, new ways to practice self-care, different ways to organize – I mean they’ve got literally everything. You’ll always be able to find blogs, quotes, photos, how to’s, guidelines, and more – on whatever topic you’re searching for. (PS – while you’re at it, follow @thesopblog on Pinterest 😉) 

Find apps that empower you to feel positive and productive. (I’ll be honest, this isn’t a step that I personally take, but I know it’s popular with a lot of other women). You can find apps that will send positive affirmations through your notifications, or email, or even text. There’s an app called Shine that’s pretty popular for that. I did some quick research and found a good list of apps geared toward mental health improvement including Happify, Grateful, Talkspace, and Happy Not Perfect. So, if that seems like your kind of thing – check them out!  

Journal Online. Okay, so I know this isn’t a form of popular social media, but I still think it would help bring a lot of improvement to your mental health.. And it’s still technology related. 

So, I mean this is pretty self explanatory. Just pull up Word, write a note on your computer, or even freaking text yourself. (I personally use https://www.my-diary.org/hl/en for computer journaling). Once you’ve found a platform, let it out! I can honestly say that I’ve never walked away from journaling feeling worse than when I started. 

*You obviously don’t have to journal online. You can even switch it up if you want. I know that a lot of people prefer to write, including myself, but there are some perks to online journaling. Most people type faster than they write, you don’t waste paper, and you can easily look back and find what you wrote. 

Forget the pressure to make your social media perfect. I know that this is easier said than done.. (Trust me, I’m still working on taking my own advice here.) –  Just remember that you don’t have to take 50 pictures or spend 20 minutes on editing, just to post on Instagram. You’re not required to have a full face of makeup. You don’t have to get the perfect angle to make you look skinny, or take half your clothes off to feel pretty. We all need to work on making social media a little more casual. 🤗

I just have to say it: Care how much time you spend on your phone. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Yeah I want to spend 3 or 4 hours on social media every day for the rest of my life”? Probably not, but it’s still a reality for a lot of people. With that said, let me tell you, spending the majority of your life on social media is not going to fulfill you. If you take away 1 thing from this post, let it be that. Fill your time with actually living life, instead of watching someone else’s on social media. 

Find ways to actually monitor your time on social media. I’m sure there are many more options than the few I’m about to list, but here are a few that I switch between..

  1. I delete the apps off of my phone and stay off them. – I use this when I’m extremely busy and don’t want to waste time.
  2. I delete the apps off my phone but allow myself to use them on my iPad. – I do this when I want to be more conscious/intentional about how I use social media, even if i’m not too busy.
  3. I set a timer for how long I’ll allow myself to use them.
  4. I only let myself use them until or after a certain time. – For example, I can only use them until 11pm or I can only use them after I finish my homework. 

Alright, that’s all I have for this week! Be intentional with how you use your social media, and be conscious of how much time you spend on it. ❤️ See you next week 🙂

My Mental Health Experience

My Mental Health Experience

I hate that it’s called a mental health disorder. I feel like it springs on an instant belief that something is wrong with someone.. That’s not the case. 

Before

Before I told anyone my diagnosis, most of my friends saw me as ‘normal’, so they were pretty shocked. I have high-functioning mental disorders, which basically means that I may seem to get by pretty normally, but I still struggle with them. This has been more hurtful than helpful in a way. I always felt like I should never have a reason to complain, so I internalized things, rather than just telling people what was going on. 

I was diagnosed with anxiety, severe depression, and bipolar disorder. Even I was kinda surprised. The reason I even went to the psychiatrist in the first place was because I thought I had ADD. I laugh about it now.. Think about going to the doctor for ADD and then getting that news. I laughed in the poor lady’s face when she told me. Not because I didn’t believe it, but because it was such extreme news to hear.. especially when I thought I had a different problem. 

Before I received the news, I had a completely different outlook on mental health. I basically thought that people were only diagnosed with something if it was extremely detrimental to their well being. 

I’d never wanted to hurt myself or anyone else. I’d never had a panic attack so bad that I wasn’t able to breathe through it. I’d never randomly crashed my car or taken a bottle of pills. I never thought my feelings were valid only because I hadn’t experienced things that people with severe cases have. 

I didn’t realize how much these struggles differed between the people that have disorders.

Depression. I had extreme self confidence issues. I found it hard to get out of bed most days. In the worst part of my depression, I could sleep an entire 8 hours, but I’d still need a 4 hour nap during the day. I obsessed over small problems. I also let other people treat me like crap. I remember months ago when I finally started feeling good again, I was legitimately trying to remember if that’s what happiness felt like because it’d been years. You can be depressed for literally no reason, which (in my experience) makes it worse, because you feel like you’re torturing yourself for no reason – but you can’t stop it. I had depression even though I had great parents, friends, grades, etc. 

Anxiety. I got anxious for no reason. I knew there was nothing to worry about, but I couldn’t help it. I would get sick for the entire day before a presentation. I’d check my bag 3 times just to make sure I didn’t forget something every time I went to class. I wouldn’t go shopping by myself. I’d sit and stare at my phone until someone texted me back if I was nervous about what they’d reply. Driving used to scare the living crap out of me, especially when I moved to a bigger city. Caffeine made things worse.. my heart almost raced out of my chest and I was constantly shaking. 

Bipolar disorder. I had weeks where I felt super productive. I was in the gym constantly, I would finish like 5 assignments a day, I felt like I was on an adrenaline high. Then, I had weeks where I’d spiral into a deep depression for a reason that I wouldn’t be able to describe. I couldn’t stay awake, I would be scared to get out of bed (yes, literal fear), I’d feel really sick from my body staying in a constant stress mode, etc. — There are 2 types of bipolar disorders, type 1 and 2. (I have type 2.) People who have type 1 are more likely to experience manic episodes and their cycle of emotions are shorter. Type 2 episodes are usually depressive and last around 2 weeks or more.

Now

I really can’t understand why I thought what I went through was normal. I also don’t understand why I allowed myself to feel that way for so long, but I got through it. Medicine was a great addition, but it wasn’t the thing that cured me. I had to make a decision everyday: Do I want to stick to the routine of feeling tired, lazy, and sad – or do I want to put in the extra effort and choose to make myself happy?

It took a lot of reflection, reading, journaling, listening to others, (and more) to get where I am today. I’ll probably explain all of that in a future post – but for now, just know that doing all of those things was the largest contributor to any “success” I’ve had. 

I don’t want people to read this post and assume that I’m cured. Yes, my life is a lot better now, but it’s still so far from perfect. I still have 3 disorders. I still have weeks where I feel like I’m in a rut, I still get anxiety during presentations (even on meds), and I still easily get triggered to be sad, angry, or upset – and so many other things. 

I still have to work 5x harder than others just to feel good or ‘normal’. I’ve just gotten a lot better at realizing, understanding, and expressing my feelings. Changing my mindset to wanting to be happy has made the difference. No routine is perfect, but I learned what *mostly* works for me 🙂

*If you find yourself struggling and want to talk to someone who gets it, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can find all of my socials in the “ABOUT” section, my DM’s are always open!