Category Archives: life

The Comparison Struggle

Many of us like to think that we don’t get sucked into the comparison trap. We try to focus on our own lives and happiness but, to be completely honest, that’s a pretty tall order.I used to be much worse about comparison – looking at everyone’s life around me and wishing that I looked like her, or I had her relationship or her job. It drove me absolutely crazy and caused me to constantly beat down on myself or feel that I was a victim because life was simply unfair.

Luckily, with a lot of work and grace, I’ve come a long way from that mindset. I learned that no matter how good someone else’s life looks on the outside, you don’t know what’s really going on behind closed doors. I learned that we all have our own struggles for a reason, that my life is a gift and that I need to appreciate all the beautiful things that I do have, rather than focus on what I think I want.

Nevertheless, comparison is something that is very hard to get away from no matter who you are or how much you enjoy that life that you have. We’re all human and we aren’t blind to everyone else. You may not even be comparing yourself to someone in particular, but simply judging yourself and your life on what society considers “success” and whether or not you’re meeting that standard.

There’s that word: success. What does it even mean anyway?

Even according to Merriam-Webster the definition of success is a little hazy. Why? Because success is not a universal thing to be achieved but something that is individual to each person and situation.

I was having my “quiet time” the other day and came across a passage in James that struck me and got me started on this topic in the first place:

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

James 3:16

To me, this verse means that when you’re focused on envying what others have and trying to be better than other people, you’ll endure a life filled with disorder and pain rather than one of love and joy. Focusing on impressing other people, having the fanciest things or prettiest house, or thinking that dropping two dress sizes will make you happier or more loved is only going to end up with you feeling disappointed.

Yes, it’s hard not to want those things. Sometimes it’s hard to look around and be not only satisfied with but grateful for what you have right now. However, at the end of the day, we have to remember what is really important. What are you going to look back on from your life and remember? When you slipped on that pair of jeans or looked good in that photo? Or are you going to remember the laughter with friends or the peace that came from doing what felt right and good to you?

Whenever you find yourself in one of those moments, whether it’s when you see your friend’s new house, that person’s amazing vacation photos on Instagram, or your coworker kicking butt at her job, take a deep breath and remember this:

You are exactly where you’re meant to be. You have so many things to be grateful for and you are loved just as you are right now.

Do you ever struggle with comparison? How do you focus on yourself and let it go?

What It Means To Live In The Moment

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend of mine at work while we walked across campus and I realized that I was telling her about how I was already worried about things happening over a month from now. She’s the kind of person who just goes with the flow and doesn’t worry about the future, where I’m the type who can’t stop running through scenarios and worrying about how difficult things will be in the future.

Sometimes, I think too much.

Okay, oftentimes I think too much! Does anyone else do this? I did some googling and read a couple articles about how introverts have a tendency to be in their heads and that’s definitely me!

When I was in Keystone on a 3-day field trip with the 7th grade, I had absolutely nothing to think about or worry about except what was happening right then. I didn’t have time to be on my phone, I didn’t have to be anywhere or get any work done. All I had to do was chat with the teachers, keep the kids in line, and enjoy being up in the mountains.

It was lovely.

It was such a peaceful three days that I came back feeling on top of the world.  I wanted to continue that feeling and keep trying to live in the moment, but then life happened. I had work to get done, I had expectations to meet and I started getting back in my head again until I realized what I was doing yesterday.

Yes, it’s hard for me not to think too much or worry about the future, but I’m making it a goal to focus on living in the present moment this summer. Habits are hard to form, but it is possible! Every time I catch myself unnecessarily worrying about the future, I’m going to take a deep breath and focus on what I’m doing now.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:31-34

Sure, it’s important to plan ahead, but worrying is simply living through the worst-case scenario in your mind and bringing up negative feelings. If whatever you’re worried about goes well, then you’ve wasted time that could have been positive. If whatever you’re worried about does go poorly, then you’ve made yourself live it twice.

I’m not going to change overnight, but I am going to try to adjust my thinking. If you worry like I do, let’s do this together! Let’s focus on what’s happening right now – not this afternoon, not tomorrow, not a month or a year from now. Focus on the good things, the things that make you grateful and the things that bring you fun and peace. Take in the sounds, smells, touch and feelings of that moment. Being able to focus on what you can do right now or enjoying the moment is incredibly peaceful and calming. Yes, we will get in our heads again, but it’s worth the effort.

 

Do you struggle with getting stuck in your head?

Do you “think too much?”

 

 

Six Ways To Deal With Anxiety Now

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point or another during their lives. Usually, we have anxiety about what will happen in the future, especially during stressful times like moving or starting a new career, or about what other people think of us, like during public speaking or a review at work. However, for many people, anxiety happens a lot more often than “every once in a while” and anxiety affects how they live their daily lives. Personally, it has been a struggle for me throughout my life and while I’ve worked quite a bit over the past few years to improve my anxiety, it’s not something that simply goes away.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, whether temporary or over the course of a long time, here are some practical tips to help you calm yourself down right now. When you’re in the midst of an anxiety attack or feeling particularly overwhelmed, it can be easy to get caught up in your anxiety and not know what to do or how to handle it. However, keep these concepts near and the more often you can choose one of these when you’re feeling anxious, the more often you’ll be able to handle your anxiety in a better way.

Write it out.

Journaling can have a huge impact on how you deal with your feelings and anxiety. I’m not talking about the diary entries that I wrote in elementary school about who came to my sleepover or what boy I had a crush on,  but really getting out what you’re feeling and thinking about in that moment. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and start with “I’m feeling…” and let it all go. The good, the bad, everything. Just get it out of your head and onto paper. Confronting what’s happening in your head rather than numbing it away can help you move forward. And keep at it – just like with exercise or eating healthy, only journaling once every few weeks won’t help.

Find a friend to talk to about it.

Some people do better talking out their feelings rather than writing them. Not only is this a good way to work through your thoughts, but talking to another person makes you feel less alone and can create a great support system. Make sure to choose someone who will just listen and not try to give you advice without you asking for it. Find someone you trust who you can connect with.

Replace your old coping mechanism.

If you’re anything like me, you have a specific way of numbing your anxiety. For me, it’s eating food. In the moment, it’s calming and enjoyable, but not so much once you’ve realized just how much you’ve eaten when you weren’t even hungry at all. Many people have other coping mechanisms like working out too much, alcohol, over-sleeping, Netflix, etc. If you find your coping mechanism to be destructive, don’t just cut it out cold turkey. Try to slowly switch over to other things like taking a warm bath, fiddling with something like silly putty, doing yoga, stretching, taking a walk, or another one of these grounding techniques.

Unplug from Electronics.

Our computers and phones have become a huge part of our lives and I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. Whether you’re constantly looking at your calendar, your work email, or social media, all of these sources of communication and information can be overwhelming, especially if the calendar makes you anxious about the future or social media sends you into a comparison tailspin. Try setting aside a few hours one day as “no electronics time” and see how you feel at the end. If you love it, try a whole weekend! When I was in Keystone and didn’t have my computer and could barely use my phone, I felt so present and so C A L M. It was fantastic.

Change your diet and exercise routine.

How we treat our bodies can have a huge impact on our anxiety, both what we’re eating and how we move. One thing you can do is to pay attention to what you’re eating since some foods can actually cause anxiety attacks. Try to limit sugar and caffeine and go for plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you’re having a particularly anxious day, choose decaf coffee rather than regular, or head outside for a walk or run.

Surround yourself with positive people.

We all have those friends, family members, or coworkers that can be incredibly negative and complain about everything. Steer clear of those people, especially when your anxiety is at its worst or you’re having a bad day. Find friends who lift you up and have a real passion for life. Not only will they bring you more joy in your own life, but they’ll also serve as an example of how to view your circumstances in a positive light. If you can’t find someone in the moment, grab some headphones and listen to music that will calm you down and help you feel more positive.

Your turn!

What’s your best tip for dealing with anxiety? 

If We Were Having Coffee…

Well, hey there! I know, I know, I start blogging again and then disappear for a week! To my defense, this has been quite a month! I’ve been busy every single weekend (when I do most of my writing) and out of town most of the last week! I’m hoping to get back into a better blogging schedule soon, so stay tuned!

Today, I thought I’d catch you up on what’s going on in my life by having a virtual coffee date. While I’d love to get coffee with each and every one of you, this will just have to do!
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…

… that I got to go on an overnight field trip last week! The 7th-grade class went to Keystone Science School for three days last week and because they have so many girls in the grade they needed an extra female chaperone. I was asked if I could go and help out and, of course, I said yes! Although I was a little nervous, it turned out to be a LOT of fun. I loved getting to meet most of the kids and watch them interact (oh, Middle School…) as well as get to know the 7th-grade faculty. Spending three days in the mountains didn’t hurt either!


If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…

… that when I got home from Keystone I took a shower, repacked my bag, and then headed out on my next adventure! My friend, Maddie, and I got an Air BnB near Vallecito Lake, CO and made a road trip out of Memorial Day weekend. We drove to Colorado Springs on Friday night, then headed out early that morning. Over the weekend we saw some beautiful views driving across Colorado, went hiking, ate s’mores, relaxed at the yurt, went to an event at a local vineyard, and enjoyed lake life!


If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…

… that while I thought the yurt was cute and I loved being in the woods, I would not recommend the bathroom situation. It was basically a metal screen and a compost toilet… I survived for a couple days but it wasn’t exactly my favorite part of the trip. But you have to try everything once, right?!


If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…

… that I realized during my two trips how many times I think to myself, “I wonder how/what/when….” and then never actually look up the answer. Don’t you ever think of a question you have about something but then never look up the answer? While we were driving, I decided to start actually writing down some of these questions. Some are funnier than others… but at least now I have them written down so I can look them up!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…

… that I am SO EXCITED FOR SUMMER! This is the last week of school for the students and while I don’t actually get summers off (we have a LOT to do during the summer!) we do get shortened hours and most of us use our vacation days during this time since things were too busy during the year to use them. I’m hoping to do more hiking, writing, meeting people, and maybe even a few fun things like going to the driving range, batting cages, or even sailing!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…

… that I’m not following a workout program! I know, so unlike me, right?! Right now I’m just going with the flow and doing what I feel like and I have to admit – six days off while traveling was kind of nice! Although I was not quite as excited about it during those driving days… However, I think after a few weeks of just going with the flow I’m ready to push myself again! I’m thinking of trying out a new program from Beachbody called Shift Shop when it comes out in July but I need something to do in June!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…

… that I’ve been horrible about going to church on Sundays. The last time I went was Easter, and it’s not just because I’ve been busy! I really need to get back into the habit. I have to admit, it was much easier to go in Chicago because I knew I’d see my friends there and they were expecting me. I tried joining a small group but it was disorganized and kind of fell apart. I need to find something new!

 

Your turn!

Tell us something that’s going on in your life!

All The Posts I Didn’t Write

Did you know that many bloggers will start a blog post or write down an idea and then never finish writing? Did you know that many of us have a small stockpile of unfinished posts sitting on our computers or in our drafts that never came to fruition?

Sometimes this stockpile is where I go when I need an idea for a post, but most of the time they sit there, unfinished because I lost the train of thought or inspiration for the post. Today, I thought it would be fun to share with you the titles of all those posts (mind you, these go back to late 2014) as well as to see if there’s something, in particular, you’d want to know more about.

A side note: this list is also really just a small section of all the posts I didn’t write since many were deleted! I’d often go back and delete ones that I’d changed my mind about or didn’t like after looking back over them.

All The Posts I Didn’t Write:

Ordered from most recent to a long, long time ago… 

Get Out Of The Starting Gate

What It Means To Live In The Moment

Your Thoughts Aren’t Always True

Real Tips To Improve Self Esteem

Why I Put My Life On The Internet

Create Your Vibrant Life 4-Week Group

I’m A REAL Life Coach!!!

Learning How To Set Boundaries

Do More, Be More

On Monetizing Your Fitness Blog

Calorie Counting Is Out

Exercise Guilt

The Gift of Singleness

Calligraphy for Beginners

When God Tells You To Slow Down, Listen

ChaLEAN Extreme Review

Asking For Help

Cookbook Review: Fixate

Creating A Day Of Rest

How Do You Refuel?

FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out

Most of these posts will never see the light of day, but a few of them I may go back and see if I can become reinspired to write them or something similar. However, I’d also like your opinion!

If you had to choose one or two of these topics, which would you most want to read more about?