How Self-Care Has Never Felt So Critical

Hey reader. Are you seeking solace in words on a screen because you thought you knew the definition of exhausted from your college days until you met the newly popular term ‘adulting?’ You’re living on your own, trying to find your place and your way in a new city, getting used to roommates you made connections with through the very screen you’re viewing this on, too afraid to let them see the mental breakdown that may be encroaching?

Or maybe you moved back home after graduation – to save money? To reground yourself after four maybe too chaotic to admit to your parents years? To be closer to or to help out your family? To who gives a damn because that is where you are right now and that is what you’ll make the best of.

New schedules mean new adjustments – but I’m pretty sure what hasn’t adjusted for most of us is the amount of energy we are exerting in all facets of our lives, without really thinking of the repercussions for our mental, physical, and/or emotional health.

While we had the ability to stretch ourselves in every-which-way direction before, the luxury of getting to sleep away the consequences has, for most of us, faded. The harsh reality of a 5:30 a.m. wake up call (even if brief on the weekends because your internal clock sends you into panic that you’re going to be fired for oversleeping your alarm) coupled with trying to go out (and drink) at the same pace as our pre-21 bodies were used to will take a toll if we’re not careful.

So here is a list of things I’m *attempting* to be more cognizant about in order to focus more on caring for myself. Hopefully you and I both benefit from some little changes that will hopefully make a big difference.*Please interpret this term loosely as I’m trying the best I can here, as I know you all are too.)

  1. Washing my face every morning and every night.  – I have always been a huge proponent of the goodness you feel from washing your face. That deep in your belly, things are going to turn out good for once feeling. Yes, I know how ridiculous this sounds. Yes I know you understand the exact feeling that I am describing. Some get it from a good morning stretch or a solid dance party in the shower, I get it from scrubb-a-dub-dubbing my money-maker (not to be confused with Ludacris’s idiom.) Thanks to my lovely new roommate (hey Tor if you’re reading this), I have been re-convinced of the importance of not being too lazy or too drunk to fall asleep with my mascara on, because let’s be honest a caked on or half-wiped off face ain’t a cute look for the artsy, and maybe slightly shambly, brunch you and your friends have planned for the morning after a good night out.

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    Current face scrub of choice Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser from Ulta Beauty ($5.99)

  2. What I’m putting into my body matters. – Binge drinking is a sad but very real culture that I am sure werking millennials know all too well. If it isn’t a night of dancing and bar hopping down your new city’s strip, it’s Netflix and a wine night in. And if it isn’t happy hour it’s brunch, better if it is accompanied with the word ‘bottomless.’ While we were all nervous and aware of what drinking can do to your body because of the dreaded freshman 15 (or 50) horror stories we had been told, many of us forget how the amount we drink can negatively effect us post-grad. Redefining (and knowing) my limits will not only stop me from potentially embarassing myself outside of a college town where that behavior is expected and laughed along with instead of at, but will also help me from becoming the potato a night after drinking typically turns me into. Water is a great friend whom I should deepen my flirtation and contemplate exclusivity even. *Gasp.* We are extremely lucky and blessed to have access to plenty that is both clean and safe to consume after all. I recently received a Corkcicle bottle as a gift and owning a nice water bottle has significantly increased my desire to stay hydrated.
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    Never find me without my Corkcicle bottle, which keeps cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. ($19.95 and up)

     

  3. Skipping meals just won’t cut it anymore. – Along the lines of realizing that the liquid I’m consuming matters, so does the food because it helps provide me with the energy to get my work done and meet new people and not feel completely and utterly pooped by ‘adulting’ (because if we’re being honest, we’ll all probably feel a little down in the dumps about it from time to time). It is possible to be cost conscious while grocery shopping and still find healthy options to fuel your fire. One meal I never used to think much of was breakfast, but I want to make it an avid point to start my day with a full belly in order to be fully in my right mind. My recent go-to is a smoothie bowl (OJ, frozen fruit of choice, and a whole ripe but not frozen banana topped with fresh fruit, coconut flakes, and a drizzle of honey if I’m feeling fancy.) Keep it simple or become the next insta-famous food guru if you’ve got time to spare.
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Check out some scrumptious smoothie bowl recipes for those more slothful mornings.

4. FOMO is better than functioning without a full 8 hours. – A fear of missing out is SO normal and SO real. You want to be with all your new friends, catching up with old ones, and following through on the best laid plans. Specifically during the work week, sacrificing beauty rest just isn’t always worth it. If you’re going to start your day fresh faced and with a fresh meal, you might as well feel refreshed at the same time. Obviously making memories is what life is all about, but not being able to keep your eyes open infront of your CEO during your weekly office meetings just isn’t worth it. An early bed time will pay off for a normalized functioning schedule, or as close to normal we can get to, in order to achieve the city socialite status we’ve dreamt of (even in those days where we didn’t get enough sleep to truly enter a REM cycle for dreams.)

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Can’t get your mind to turn off? Try Sleep Pillow Sounds (free with in-app purchases)

Can’t show the world how to properly werk it unless you’re feeling on your ‘A’ game. And worst comes to worst if your skin is breaking out because you’re stressed and you forgot to wash, your bloated because you chose cheeseburgers over a salad because your soul just needed the damn grease patty, or you’re losing sleep because you just can’t figure out for the life of you how you got a job and how to keep it (or how you’re going to get a job and keep it), always remind yourself…

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Why the “I’m fine” Paradox is the Heavyweight Pitfall of Our Culture

In 1901 a scientist theorized that the weight of the human soul was 21 grams. But with all the changes that have happened in the last year of my life I really can’t believe that’s true, it’s got to be heavier. You see, this last year has brought me the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve experienced loss, heartbreak, new adventures, new friendships, successes and failures – physical, mental, and emotional challenges that have, on some days, made me feel like my mind and heart couldn’t weigh less than 1000 tons, and others, lighter than how a piece of dust swirls in the sun from the window panes. 

I can’t go without saying that I truly feel so lucky to have the friends and family that I do. Without them, I could not have faced the darkest days, and would not have gotten out of some of my darkest places. If you’re reading this and you feel you’re one of them – here is my public expression of gratitude, although words will never do justice what you have done for me this year. 
But along with these changes, I have noticed more and more that we are a society of “I’m fine”s. Rather than tell people we are overwhelmed or sad or anxious or depressed, we suck it in, swallow our pride and feelings and thoughts and express in two weightless (but full of depth words) the false idea that nothing burdens our souls. 

I don’t really understand why we don’t or can’t admit to one another when there’s just too much to handle. Why we don’t lean on each other more? Maybe because we’ve been told it’s a faux pas to talk about the deep stuff, maybe because we’ve convinced ourselves surface level is okay, or maybe it’s because of the longstanding stigmas associated with mental illness? But I think that what is stunning about the human race, and about humanity, is that we have the ability to express empathy and sympathy and use language and our bodies and our expressions to show one another how deeply we care. 

When we ask each other how we’re doing, I think we should truly be ready to listen to a raw and honest answer. We should delve into the beauty that is the ever-adaptable human connection. 

So, if you’re reading this and it resonates, I just want you to know it’s fine to not be fine. A lot of the time, I’m not either. It’s fine to say it aloud – to me, to your friends, to your family, to even admit it blindly and attempt to sort through it on the Internet (like this werking gal is trying to do), but most importantly to yourself. Personal recognition that your mental health has taken a backseat or has taken a blow exudes far greater strength than stifling your emotions out of fear of judgment (or if you are an anxious little annie like me, for fear of inconveniencing someone else with your problems). 

I’m trying to recognize that I must show myself the same sympathy and compassion I try my best to show others. Breaking the “I’m fine” paradox and starting the conversation is the first step to better self-love, to lightening the weight of my soul, even just for a little. 

So here’s my admittance – there are a lot of days I’m not always so fine and while that statement feels so heavy, hopefully it’s the beginning of being more internally cognizant of when it’s time to share what’s weighing me down. I hope that by doing so, this encourages others to do the same. 

Here’s to growing with all of you in love, and to watching it grow inside you and within myself. Here’s to not always being fine, but learning to be a better person, lover, and friend from it.  

Feeling a Great Deal of Feelings

I got the idea to start this blog from my mother who told me that if I thought I had something to say, I should find a way to share it with the world. (Hey Mom – since you’re probably one of the few people reading this, this is public admittance that you were right!) 

While I don’t necessarily know that my thoughts are all that crucial to share, I might as well combine my knack for gabbing with an interest in writing. My hopes for this blog are that I work through some of the trials and tribulations of officially becoming a slave to the Man for the rest of my life, while sprucing up my cynicism with a bit of humor for anyone who likes me enough to give this a read. Topics to come: fashion, food, exercise, and whatever else my tip-tipping little fingers can ramble about across your computer screens. Until then… here are my feelings on feeling. 

Limbo: “An uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.” (Also known as a really awesome bar mitzvah game I always tried and failed to win.) 

This is my condition. Limbo is me. I am Limbo. We have recently, in the last three weeks to be exact, become close – so much so that I have taken up residence with Limbo, cried over Limbo, yelled at, and laughed with Limbo. Limbo has become my significant other, and dare I say, my friend. But pretty soon, (nine days but who’s counting really?) Limbo and I will go through a break-up, or maybe a break by Ross Geller standards. This tragic separation is because the grand and terrifying ominous “G” word is fast approaching – graduation. 

You see, for the last three weeks I have felt as though I am too old to be at school, to participate in the debauchery of college town antics, and too young to be comfortable in situations where pleasantries exchanged about children’s sporting events and pet bodily functions while in stuffy suits and panty hose are the unspoken, but strictly held to, social-code. And this feeling of not belonging in any world, of the unknown hypotheticals that have racked my brain for weeks, that is a feeling that has caused a lot of feelings, that is a relationship with Limbo that has quickly went from a naive honeymooner to absolutely trapped in a matter of days. 

It’s hard to put into words how I’ve felt over the past few weeks – excitement and joy and pride and being absolutely scared shitless all in one to put it simply. As a psychology major, I have slaved over theories that have consistently confirmed nervousness and anxiety are very different things. So, I feel it is safe to say that I know I am nervous about the future because it feels unpredictable. My whole life I have been a traditional classroom student, where the months between August and June were spent behind a desk and summer offered a break for sun, socializing, and seeing the world outside of institution walls. But living in Limbo means this isn’t the case anymore – cue anxiety. I am so anxious in fact, that rather than studying the 483 notecards that are necessary to know in order to meet the qualifications for graduation, I am writing this post. I am so crippled by the fear of what is to come that I have reached an inability for productivity whatsoever.

 

How do you say goodbye to everyone you have felt comfortable with, to the people who have shaped you into the person you’re okay with looking at in the mirror today? How do you possibly say goodbye to that person in the mirror as you step into the deep-dark hole that is the working world in which the only way out is retirement or death (or I guess whichever you reach first?) How do you make new friends and how do you make sure the old ones remember how much you mean to them and them to you? How do people get past this feeling? See what I mean… anxiety is a real head-bitch-in-charge, lose your footing and lose your head, temptress.

 

But then I remember – I am not alone. Whether it be my friends who followed ‘traditional’ paths and went to four-year institutions, or my friends who sought other paths and have recently found themselves back on the doorsteps of their family homes, unsure and feeling unwell, we have all taken up residence in Limbo. And the recognition of this eases that chest-aching, stomach churning, lack of sleep anxiety back down to nervousness. I am nervous that I will not meet the expectations set forth by myself or those who have watched me grow over the last four (or more) years. I am nervous that I may not be doing exactly what I was put on this earth for right now (and really nervous that I still don’t know what that reason is), but I have zero – and I mean zero – fear that my friends and now roommates in Limbo will impact the world. The Millennial generation has goodness in our hearts and an unwavering faith in the success of the underdog through all hate, bigotry, violence, and small-mindedness that we have seen come from our world, and yet still we have a tenacity to keep on keeping on.

 

So Limbo is where we are. Limbo is where we live. And it’s a scary, unknown world out there, but for those of you reading and feeling the same feelings, I’m glad to know I have you here with me – take my hand, lean back, and we’ll go under the stick together.