Categories
my life positivity

loner

I like doing things alone better.

I am an only child so that may make more sense… maybe?

Whatever the case may be I’ve never disliked being alone.

However, this is not the case for all.

Rather than asking why others dislike solitude, I thought about why I enjoy being alone!

‘ME TIME’

Don’t get me wrong — I like being social!

But I also enjoy spending time by myself.

Recharge yourself. It’s necessary.

I AM AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN

There is a certain satisfaction in doing something outside of the norm.

We all know it.

Being alone in public tends to be one of those taboo things.

So yeah, if I go to a happy hour alone to journal it is okay to feel confident in your difference!

Just follow through with what feels good for you.

You’ll be amazed by how awesome happiness feels!

APPRECIATE YOURSELF

Something I have learned overtime is that no will be will able to give you love you’re “looking for”.

You have to love yourself.
That’s the only way.
All that good (cliche) bullsh*t.

Hey, I don’t make the rules!

Think about all the joys of solitude, such as no one else to account for or answer to.

It is freeing!

Do you guys like having alone time?
Let me know in the comments below!

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
Everythanggg

~ coffee vibes ~

When it comes to coffee some love it, others hate it.

I’m one of the coffee-loving fanatics.

I am actively cutting back on my caffeine intake. However, that being said, I’ve turned my coffee time into an event, or ritual, of sorts.

Branching outside of your typical at home medium roast black drip-coffee to more elaborate coffee house beverages makes the experience more lavish! Plus no cleaning up or work for you!

However, with the TONS of coffee drink available it can be overwhelming to choose.
Not to mention costly.

I’ve compiled a list of drinks I’ve been grabbing lately. They’re yummy, affordable and versatile — something for everyone!

SAXBYS

GO-GETTER ESPRESSO OVER ICE

I have two ways I will order this depending on what my coffee vibe is at the time.

If I’m feeling average I will opt for the iced espresso and add a splash of almond milk.

I also love cinnamon so if I’m feeling ~spicy~ I’ll mix in cinnamon powder!

If I’m feeling a coffee but not looking for the heaviness of milk or want something a little different I will get the espresso with coconut water.

It might sound strange but it’s good.

Don’t knock it til ya try it.

TIP
I always ask for espresso drinks in the smallest cup.

CHAI COLD BREW

I love chai scent, flavor, Pantone color — all of it!

When Saxbys launched the cold brew line I was super excited to try this one.

Love at first sip.
The keyword being first.

It was a tad too sweet for my liking.

Then I tried it dirty (added shot of espresso) and I was obsessed.

But if you’re looking to keep costs low this isn’t the option.

However, I recently discovered the half-sweet option which keeps the sweetness at bay while delivering just the right amount of caffeine at a decent price.

So if I’m looking for a pick-me-up I’ll get a small chai cold brew half sweet with little almond milk!

I mentioned in this older post that I am “spending the semester with Saxbys” as a Campus Partner!
Saxbys is a bit pricey if you’re accustomed to getting huuuuge low quality iced coffee from other more accessible places. However, the quality of Saxbys is worth it!
I want to help you get the best deals, dawg! I’ve taken it upon myself to sample the menu (food, drinks, snacks, etc.) and let you know what’s worth getting. 🙂

If you download the Saxbys app here you’ll get $3 off your first order!
That’s a free double shot, y’all.

STARBUCKS

DOUBLE SHOT OF ESPRESSO OVER ICE WITH COCONUT MILK

If you order through the Starbucks app (which I highly recommend), it has a fancier name.

I order this baby in a tall cup. I love it.

Lattes at Starbucks can be expensive and this is basically a concentrated coconut milk latte.

I prefer no sugar in my drinks so I do not get this sweetened, however, that is always an option!

ICED LONDON FOG TEA LATTE WITH COCONUT MILK

Yes. I’ve been really into coconut milk lately.

Starbucks’ standard grande London Fog Tea Latte is crafted with 2% milk and 4 pumps of vanilla flavor.

I modified it to a tall cup, 1 pump of vanilla and coconut milk.

The final result was decent! This is for sure an acquired taste.

I believe the traditional way would be 100% times better.

Unfortunately, I am unable to digest dairy. I will retry this one with soy milk!

HERMANS

If you’re really into coffee, check this place out.

Despite their array of espresso beverages, including something with tonic water that I am not sophisticated enough to enjoy, I often opt for black coffee.

The energy of the space is very welcoming. Something about sipping something so familiar in such a warm space is comforting.

I come here to do work, journal, daydream, etc.

It is hit or miss in terms of crowdedness.

If the weather allows I love sitting outdoors.

Red and white lawn chairs are set up along a South Philly street with cars passing by, neighborhood patrons walking their dogs, and all the other aspects of living life.

It may be because I grew up in the city but I find this space to be very pleasant and would recommend everyone sit outside and read a book, or just observe your surroundings.

Let me know in the comments below if y’all try any of the drinks I mentioned! What’s your go-to coffee order?

Categories
lifestyle positivity

recent reads

One of my goals entering the new year is to read a new book every month.

I set aside time to read. This is a way I prioritize myself.

I’ve always liked reading.

As a kid I would crush teen romance books.

Now that I’ve matured mentally I’m able to comprehend material heavier than The Fault in Our Stars. I love absorbing knowledge and viewing topics through different lenses.

But wait, let me guess…
“I want to read more but I don’t have the time,”

We’ve all got the same 24 hours.

If you really are driven to do it, you will make the time. It’s simple as that.

The average person has allotments of time throughout the day spent scrolling on their phone. You could read.

I spend a lot of time on public transit. Rather than shuffle through songs until I find one I want to listen to for half the ride, I read.

I made a list of some good stuff I’ve been reading lately for those of you who are interested in expanding your mind. However, while reading these books you must keep an open mind.

These are not your average bedside reads. Well, unless you’re someone like me.

The order of this list is not representative of anything.

MALCOLM GLADWELL IS MY BOY!

During my senior year of high school, I participated in a dual-enrollment program with a local college. During the fall semester, I took Introduction to Sociology.

A reading requirement for the course was Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. This book was my gateway to self-improvement, business-oriented, entrepreneurial reading.

Gladwell’s writing style is easy to read. It’s casual while still maintaining structure.

If you like reading my writing, you’ll probably enjoy his. I take inspiration from his style, as well as a few other authors later mentioned.

OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS
A ‘self-made’ success story is all-encompassing.

In this book, Gladwell explores the background of successful moguls such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Why do some people soar and others fail?

Did you know a Canadian male born in early January is much more likely to become a professional hockey player than a male born during the latter portion of the year?

If not, now you do. For other cool and obscure knowledge, read Outliers.

BLINK: THE POWER OF THINKING WITHOUT THINKING
You’re more equipped than you think you are.

This Gladwell piece dives into “thin-slicing,” better known as a gut feeling.

We have a conscious and subconscious mind both of which are tapped into during the decision making process. What many of us often forget is that our subconscious knows a lot.

More than we realize.

I’m sure you’ve experienced intuitive feelings regarding the character of a person or the elements of a situation that have immediately rubbed you the wrong way. Were you right?

If you’re interested in learning more about how crucial your subconscious is when it comes to quick reactions and decision making I would highly recommend Blink.

TALKING TO STRANGERS:
WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE PEOPLE WE DON’T KNOW…

I have not finished this one yet. I am about a quarter of the way through and I’ve enjoyed it so far. Admittedly I’m not as hooked on this one as I have been on other Gladwell works. However, I started it during a rather hectic time so I do not have a vivid memory of it. I plan to restart the book sometime in the next few months to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.

13 THINGS MENTALLY STRONG PEOPLE DON’T DO by AMY MORIN
Sometimes seemingly self-explanatory information must be reiterated in order for it to fully resonate with you.

Although I said the order of the books is arbitrary, this book, in particular, I would recommend the most. 😋

I may be biased because this was the first self-improvement genre book I dabbled in. Outliers is categorized as business.

Nonetheless, this book quite literally changed my life. Thank you, Amy Morin. I started reading in February 2019 and did not complete it until late May (??) 2019. Something like that. My copy is beat up.

Of all the reads this one took the longest for me. Oh but it’s less than 300 pages…

Yes, part of it is that I get lazy with reading. But also this book is dense with information!

After reading into one of the concepts I would take a break from the book to work on implementing the change in my life.

Although some of the concepts seem self-explanatory, there is something about reading it that makes it resonate and become applicable to you. Once I began to notice improvements, which sometimes took a while because not everyone is perfect, I would begin to dive into the next chapter.

ESSENTIALISM: THE DISCIPLINED PURSUIT OF LESS by GREG McKEOWN
Figure out what core talents you have. Hone them.

As someone who has always prided themselves on their ability to do many things well this read made me rethink strategies.

I, along with others I have recommended the book to, believe the theory of essentialism would only exist in a flawless society where every individual acted highly selfish. ‘Selfish’ meaning they always prioritize themselves.
But we all know that person who cannot say no. Maybe you are that person.

A truly essentialist society, on a large scale, is off the table. However, there are practices within the theories of Essentialism that when applied externally lead to a positive result.

THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK by MARK MANSON
Focus on what matters to you.

While I love Mark Manson’s writing style and delivery, I do not completely agree with all his ides. That being said, the man can argue his point well.

The overall theme of the book is to not give a f*ck about anything more than you have to.

Essentially figuring out what aligns with your personal values and goals then pursuing that life.

Sounds lovely! However, not always practical.

If you’re able to get a bit creative in applying the concepts, there are some really valuable lessons to take away from this read! If you’re into sarcasm, cringe humor and a blunt delivery, check out Manson’s blog or other published works!

Next on the reading list is The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin. I started it Tuesday and I’m enjoying it so far.

Baby is thicc.

After that in the queue is Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi.

Let me know if you guys read, or have read, any of the books I mentioned in the comments below! What are you reading next??

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
fashion

01.2020 fashion favorites

DISCLAIMER: Most stuff is from Nordstrom Rack. I am not sponsored. But I should be.

Hey guys! At the start of the month, I picked up new fashion accessories! I also received some stuff over the holidays. 

Thank you to everyone. I love you all. 😌

Needless to say, this month I have had a fun time trying out all sorts of new (to me) products! 

staple basics

I have a worn-to-death pair of black high-waisted Topshop jeans with slits in the knees. Super cute. Love them. 

Those babies were worth every penny! I’ve worn them to death for the past 3 years.

However, they’re ready for retirement. 

But ladies, we all know how difficult is it to find those perfect jeans…

After the holidays, during the killer sales, I went on the hunt for a new pair. 

‘In the Black’ Levi Mile High Super Skinny Denim

I stumbled upon Levi Mile High Super Skinny distressed black jeans. They are super flattering with the perfect stretch/structure ratio. They feature a chic single-knee slit and raw hem ankles, adding a little sass! 😉

They fit true to size. Andddd if you eat a little too much you can hide your open top button with a belt super easily! 😋

Retail price of $98.00. (They’re on sale on Levi’s site for $69.00 currently through the link above!)
I snagged them at Century 21 for $29.99. Yup! – over 60% off.

Over the summer I picked up a cute v-neck crop top by Free People in white. I wore it to death. It is very similar to this one available at Urban Outfitters by Out From Under.

Absolute repurchase!  

In late December when Urban Outfitters was running a sale on bralettes I picked up three new ones. All are seamless material and I am obsessed! 

I love layering them under shirts or sweaters in place of a bra! The seamless material is fitted so it holds your body in place. 

They are easy to wear on days when you’re busy running around and want to be comfortable without looking sloppy. 

10/10 would recommend.

shoes

I picked up these versatile Jeffrey Campbell Hydra Platform Waterproof Chelsea Boots in matte black. I wear them just about every day. 

I truly feel like I can conquer the world in these shoes. 

That feeling is amplified by my being able to walk in the rain.  

Their retail value is $55.00 – 60.00.
I paid $34.00!

Nordstrom Rack is the shit!
HOLLA! 😎

accessories

Aside from rings, I have never been a big jewelry gal. When I was in high school and early college, I had a necklace and rings I wore all day, every day. 

However, now I like earrings. ☺️😋

This month I’ve been wearing mini sterling silver hoops constantly. 

I’ve taken notice of a lot of others wearing hoops so it must be a trend at the moment. Feed into fast fashion and grab yourself a set!
I got mine for around $19.00 at Target.  

I dislike cold weather greatly. 

For years I have been telling my grandmom I plan to move somewhere that doesn’t experience frigid winters. However, I still have a degree to complete in Philadelphia so I made the rational decision to invest in quality cold-weather accessories.

Free People makes a scarf blanket. Unfortunately it’s sold out on Nordstrom Rack at the moment but you can check out other colors here.
Yes, a blanket that is socially acceptable to wear in public, guys! 

It’s 100% wool and incredibly warm. I love it! 

It retails for $48.00. I paid $21.00 at Nordstrom Rack.

activewear

I was gifted a black pair of Lingswallow leggings from Amazon for Christmas by my lovely aunt. ☺️

These leggings are amazing! They are double banded and keep you feeling very secure. I was shocked by how well they perform during workouts!

I hate the feeling of loose-fitting leggings that make you self conscious while doing burpees at the gym, ya know? Not these. And they’re affordable! 

I ordered myself another pair in a dark purpley-gray color. I plan to order more soon! 

I tried out a bunch of beauty products and everyday essentials I wanted to share but this post will be way too long! Another time. 😉

What are your January fashion favorites? Let me know in the comments! 

Thank y’all for reading! 

Talk soon, 
Alex

Categories
lifestyle

morning routine – winter 2020

Hello everyone! Welcome to another post where I talk about myself.

hehe ☺️ –>

Recently while doing brand research (exciting things coming) I came across a quote by online marketing guru, Neil Patel which read,

“Building a brand isn’t about feeding your ego. It’s about giving yourself more opportunities to help and connect with people in your industry.” 

“Hell yeah it is,” was the immediate thought that came to mind. 
This dude put my thoughts into the words I haven’t been able to gather!

As I mentioned I was doing research on branding, which is what led me to this quote. A key point I have learned through my journey is that to be your best self you have to invest in yourself

Each person has a unique set of needs that are critical to thriving in life. These needs link back to Abraham Maslow’s psychological theory, Hierarchy of Needs

Essentially the theory entertains the idea that each person must meet their specific needs to operate optimally. 

One of my needs is stimulation. These needs can be met in infinite ways. 

To meet my need for stimulation there are goals I set to achieve each day. These small, attainable goals build confidence and are proven to encourage people to achieve more goals. 

Getting in at least 30 minutes of activity (walking, lifting, running, shopping, etc).

 Completing at least one personal task (journaling, reading, meditating, etc). 

Interacting with individuals who push me to think outside the box. 

There are a lot of things I set out to do in a day. That is because I know prioritizing my time properly will benefit me in infinite ways. 

In the past (and even sometime now) I spent many, many days running around (both literally and figuratively) like a crazy person. Yet at the end of the day, I completed nothing. I may have worked a bit on quite a few tasks, but nothing is finished.

The determining factor is how we choose to delegate our 24 hours. 
We all have the same 1440 minutes to be our best selves daily. 

Time management to the minute can be incredibly helpful for planning your day. Especially if you’re new to actually following a schedule, like me. ☺️

MORNING ROUTINE

4:40am – 5:10am

I know this is early and that sucks. But something that makes it a bit more enticing is pairing the thing you dislike (waking up early) with something you enjoy (ex. coffee)!

Another help has been an app I downloaded in December called Sleep Cycle. The app runs overnight and monitors your sleep cycle (duuh). It is able to track the various levels of sleep (REM sleep, light sleep) and wakes you up while you’re in your lightest sleep level.

This is meant to promote a more satisfying, refreshing and pleasant morning.  Which I can attest to.

5:15am – 5:20am

Depending upon when I am in my lightest level of sleep I have woken up, made my bed and am brewing a cup of coffee by 5:15am. While my coffee is brewing I check in with my physical self to see if I’m hungry. If so, I will snack on a few rice cakes with PB or a mini bowl of granola with my morning coffee.

5:30am

how does activewear NOT get wrinkled???

Once my caffeine supply is restocked, I go back to my room and get ready for the gym, or whatever workout, I have planned. 

I lay out my gym attire the evening before so that in the morning I just have to go through the motions. There are quite a few articles I came across which encourage sleeping in your gym clothes. It allows you to spend the least amount of time getting ready in the AM. Interesting.

5:30am – 6:05am

This is my time. I spend this time doing something I enjoy, whether that be reading, journaling or meditating. 

I do my best to ensure I do those three things each day. However, framing my morning with enjoyment leads to a better mindset for the day. 

6:05am – 6:10am

During this time I prep to leave for the gym. Brush my teeth. Gather my lifting gloves. Tie my shoes. All that good stuff. 

6:10am – 8:00am

GET SWOLE

swole, adjective: fit, muscular

I don’t work out this entire time. It is also factoring in the commute to and from the gym. 

My workout for the day will be something like a strength training circuit, a group class or yoga stretching — whatever gets me moving.

8:05am – 8:20am

By this point in the morning, I am back home and sipping on a vegan protein shake. Right now I’m enjoying ON Gold Standard Plant-Based Protein in vanilla. 

Since I have a newfound spirituality, I read over my astrological data for the day during this time. I find it to be an amazing way to get myself into a clear mindset for the day to come. 

After I’m done reading my witchcraft mumbo-jumbo, I jump in the shower.

Depending on what the rest of my day is structured like I will do my hair and makeup accordingly. A day at work is going to require a bit more aesthetic prep than a brainstorming day. 

By the time my meetings, classes, phone calls or whatever else begins I have devoted a solid few hours to things that make me happy. 

Do you guys have a morning routine? 
Let me know in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading. Talk soon. 
Alex

Categories
positivity

finding the silver lining

Call me a hopeless romantic — or a person who took control of their life — but I love finding silver linings. Having the ability to accept that certain situations in life are outside of your control is the key to inner peace and true happiness. Or so I’ve found. My worldview used to be much different than it is now. I largely attribute this positive change to my ability to search for whatever positivity lies in a heap of negativity. Even if you have difficulty finding something, you maintain the hope that something will be found.

The concept of “silver linings” has always been present in my mind. I have developed the ability to look at something that can be perceived so poorly by others, find the hope within and do my best to strive towards it. This was not always the case — I have chosen to view life this way.

Silver lining graphic

Perception differs from person to person. Two individuals can experience the exact same event, yet exhibit completely different responses. This is because external factors play a large role in the development of our perception. However, what is important to remember is that perception and reality do not always coincide.

David Eagleman explains this disconnect between perception and reality in the simplest way. Look in the mirror. Move your eyes to the left, to the right, then back to the left. You never see your eyes move.

Although there is no evidence of gaps in your perception, critical parts of the experience have been edited out such as the visual experience of your eyes moving side to side.

An individual’s perception of the world is composed of previous experiences, expectations, context clues and other outside stimuli. Although these external factors are able to influence the way an individual views a situation, it is not the determining factor. Perception is able to be altered.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m doing pretty well for where I’ve been. Early on in life, I was repeatedly faced with incredibly trying circumstances that many other people in my situation may have let consume them. Being an angsty and misunderstood youth, I often wondered why this — for lack of better term — BULLSHIT was assigned to me.

I stole a bobblehead from pre-K once and I returned it the next day, okay! WTF, world?!

I am not attempting to compare tragedies in life, but just to give you a synopsis of a few major ones so you know I’m not bullshitting this post…
I am legally an orphan in the state of Pennsylvania. I spent a portion of my childhood living in an unstable, toxic home environment. I have less than five immediate family members. And I was displaced from my childhood home, allowed only a few hours to gather my belongs, losing most of my irreplaceable childhood memories, aside from what I could fit into a cardboard box. And, fun fact, that home is now a settlement used to facilitate the re-integration of individuals with criminal backgrounds.

I think it goes without saying, but that shit SUCKED. However, here I am — still standing! Despite December trying to kill me. Much of my sanity I attribute to humor. In life, you must be able to laugh at yourself and the situations you encounter. Otherwise, you will be miserable and bitter. Believe me, I’ve been there. This is where searching for the silver lining will help you maintain your mental facilities! Seeing as I do not know what is plaguing you, I am going to tell you about the positive aspects I have found from the sucky circumstances I mentioned above.

Although it sucks not having your biological parents on this earth to see you flourish into the best version of yourself, I WOULD NOT be who I am without what I have experienced. I know I would not have been able to: attend my (at the time) dream school; have such a compelling personal essay topic; or apply to seven colleges and universities for free. Another positive aspect that is rather f*cked up but true is that whoever has the ~honor~ of ending up with me won’t have to deal with in-laws! Plus because of my incredibly small (relevant) family, when I eventually write and publish my book there won’t be many people to offend!☺️☺️☺️

These events also taught me crucial life skills some people do not develop until much later in life, if at all, such as: dealing with loss, becoming accountable for yourself, facilitating communication, and altering perspective.

If there is one thing you take away from my tangent here, look for the positive aspects in negative situations. It’s going to be hard at first, and I am not going to lie and say it becomes easier — you just become better at finding the needle in the haystack of nonsense. Remember to laugh at your failures, shortcomings and unfortunate situations! Do not fixate on or become consumed with negativity. For more tips on that, check out an older post of mine, eliminating negativity.

As always, thank you for reading.

Talk to yall soon,
Alex

Categories
positivity

are you an imposter?

The topic of imposter syndrome has been incredibly relevant in my life within the past few weeks. Not saying my feelings are unique, but I had no idea a name for this feeling existed and was shared by so many people! In short — imposter syndrome refers to one not believing they are as capable, or competent, as others perceive them to be. Imposters fear being exposed as a fraud or phony.

Uh, guilty.

Living in the digital age with social media depicting the perfect lives of others, it is easy to get sucked into the delusions thrust upon us. However, keep in mind someone may be looking at you, aspiring to live your life. Okay, maybe you’re thinking, “Me? No way.”
Aside from social media, the demeanor in which you carry yourself sets the stage for how others perceive you. People may look at you and think, “Wow! They’ve got it together,” meanwhile you’re in your head thinking, “don’t mess up, don’t mess up.”

A few weeks ago I asked you guys to send me topic suggestions on Instagram. A friend of mine from college, Emma, is the amazing individual who requested this. I only mention this because she is one of the people I credit with my mental health journey. Emma, bless her soul, met me when I was a silly freshman in college going through sorority recruitment. The stars aligned — I was recruited to the same sorority and we were paired as big and little sisters.
Emma took that role seriously. She was one of the first people in my life to tell me things I didn’t want to hear. She brought me to terms with realities I did not want to acknowledge whether it came to boys, social drama, life before college or everything else you can imagine. Emma is someone I have always admired when it comes to juggling the nonsense life brings, and so being requested this topic from her made me reflect that much more. I feel like an imposter writing this! Haha.

Although an oversaturated phrase, “Fake it til you make it,” still holds true. Maintaining a positive, affirming mindset is incredibly healthy. Imagine how you speak about yourself to others. Many imposters “suffer from chronic self-doubt” that roots in low self-confidence. Those who lack self-efficacy, viewing themselves as individuals not capable of great things, speak lowly of themselves. How do you expect someone to believe in you when you don’t even believe in yourself?

Individuals practicing a healthy mindset are more likely to share accomplishments and engage in other confident behaviors. The laws of energy say similar energies stick together, which is why it can feel like when one bad thing happens more follow. We are allowing that negative energy to dominate and attract like forces (other negatives). However, if we rechannel the negative into positive, we will attract better energy into our lives.

Struggling with self-doubt can be even more difficult when those closest to you are not the most helpful at building you up. Friends and family, although they carry so much love, are not always the best at expressing it. Over the years I have been working on affirming myself rather than seeking affirmation from others. When you take control of your happiness, it is liberating! I wrote more about this on a blog a few weeks ago, if you’re interested in some tips for eliminating negativity. Prioritizing time to explore my passions allows me to grow into my best self, which shows through to others.

Stay kind to yourself through positive affirmations and other forms of self-love. Try your best not to compare your life to others, because you never know who is comparing theirs to you saying, “I wish.” Keep in mind that everyone is a little bit crazy. Some just camouflage it better than others.

Thank y’all for reading.
Talk soon,
Alex

Categories
Everythanggg

eliminating negativity

This week I asked on an Instagram poll what topic you would rather me ramble about: Eliminating Negativity or Imposter Syndrome.
Y’all spoke and I listened. Here I am delivering.
If you’re reading this on the day it is posted — Happy Turkey Day!


With the change of the seasons, the sun setting in the early afternoon, and obligatory family time creeping up, it becomes easier to fall into less productive habits and mindsets. Succumbing to these obstructive behaviors may feel more comfortable in the moment, but they are digressions along the path. These small defeats you allow yourself, like napping when you planned to work out or scrolling on Instagram when you should be finishing an assignment, maybe easier, but that doesn’t make them the right choice.

Eliminating negativity from my life has aided me in choosing the most advantageous options available to me, even when it is not the easiest or most appealing. Something a mentor has instilled within me, along with a wildly sarcastic sense of humor, is the truth that “you cannot control the situation, you can only control your reaction.” Although you may not be able to control the types of energy being directed at you, you are able to convert that energy once it is received. Imagine… You’re at work; your boss is in a mood and takes it out in microaggressions towards you.

The cause of your boss’ disgruntled attitude was most likely caused by an external force. Maybe a traffic jam on the commute into the office or an incorrect coffee order — nonetheless, he/she is allowing something other than themselves to dictate their emotions. More importantly, he/she is being overpowered by a failure outside of their control.

Now the question is — how do you avoid falling into the same negative feedback loop? **

I have found that eliminating any negativity I was allowing into my life has helped me to better focus on my goals and make the choices to work towards them.

** The “negative feedback loop” is a concept which Adrienne Finch discusses often in her podcast, Self-Made CEO. The idea essentially says we are responsible for the energy we attract into our lives. If we fail something and allow that failure to build the believe we truly cannot overcome a challenge, we fall victim to more opportunities that highlight our shortcomings. Thank you so much to Adrienne who took the time to reply to my DM and further define this concept!!

– WITHDRAWAL FROM TOXICITY –

This requires being very honest with yourself. Evaluate what you are devoting your energy to (x), then think about how it makes you feel to have spent time doing x. If you do not feel good about having spent your time doing it, don’t do it anymore. Time is the most valuable thing a person is able to offer, which is why I make a point to thank each of you for reading my posts each week. None of you have to be reading this right now, however, you are and I appreciate it. Anyhow, you should only spend your time doing things which make you happy. This may feel selfish at first, but just remember society has ingrained in us that being selfish is bad.

This is not necessarily true when it comes to the 24-hours we each have in a day. Every minute of those hours we allot to something. These are the literal moments that make us. It’s important to spend a good amount of them doing things which make us happy, in order to allow ourselves to be fulfilled — enlightening us to reach our full potentials.

Removing the toxic people, or things, in your life does not have to be permanent. Once you feel you are better equipped to deal with those things, you can integrate them back into life. However, for now, it’s most beneficial to distance yourself from negativity so you are able to grow stronger. This may be a very difficult task, especially when the people feeding you negative energy are your family members or close friends. However, I have found communication is a very powerful tool. Explain to them you are working on you (as cliche as they may sound), which for you, means prioritizing more alone time.

They will either respect your mature decision to better yourself and allow you to distance without being hurt, OR they’ll think you’re a weirdo and begin distancing themselves from you. The end result is the same — more time for you. 🙂

– IMPLEMENT POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY – 

The idea is to focus on building your strengths rather than fixing your flaws. “Resilience is the ability to bounce back in spite of adversity.” Overcoming limitations are the situations that strengthen the courage, conviction and other personality traits of impactful leaders.

I have been fortunate enough to find forms of de-stressing and mental relaxation which work for me relatively easily. Unfortunately, each method does not work for everyone and you may need to experiment with a few different techniques.

I have found podcasts to be incredible for my mental health. There are quite a few meditation / intention setting focused ones on Spotify. I really enjoy Sleep Cove and Mindful in Minutes: Mindful Morning! I have also rediscovered my love for reading. My excuse was “I don’t have the time.” But guess what, an extra hour isn’t just going to appear. If I really want to read more, I have to make the time. And so I did. Then between reading more frequently and blogging, I realized how much I love writing. I’m actually taking an advanced writing course in the spring, which I’m super pumped about! 🤓

As mentioned above, I began to withdrawal from toxic people I was allowing in my life and started to focus on what really makes me happy, then pursuing it (reading, writing, thinking creatively, sleeping, etc.) Find what you enjoy, that makes you feel good and is along the path towards your goals. Then do it.

– MAKE YOUR BED –

Seriously, listen to me: If you do not already, be sure to make your bed each morning.
You will leave your house and go about your day knowing you have accomplished something. You will be coming home to a neat bed, rather than a disheveled mess of blankets and pillows. It feels so good, believe me. Especially after a long day. This trick ties in with implementing positive psychology, as well. You are praising small victories, which builds and reinforces self-efficacy and confidence.

– BE GRATEFUL –

giphy

This is pretty straightforward, but take time each day to remember what you are grateful for. There is always something. Be specific in what you’re reflecting on, which will instill the habit of looking for small things. You can take this time whenever you’d like (morning, afternoon, evening), but try to do it around the same time each day to better build the habit.

I take time in the morning while I am preparing my cup of coffee. The smell of coffee grounds is one of my favorite morning scents, along with bacon. Once my coffee is brewing I will spend the time thinking about how lucky I am to be alive — some people did not wake up. Although this may sounds incredibly lame, it is true. As humans, we must realize our mortality in order to embrace life. That’s just my way of doing it. I also reflect on the specific small wins of the day before, then prioritize my goals for the current day. This is an amazing way for me to organize my thoughts while my mind is getting set up, which helps to solidify ideas. Or so I’ve found. ☺️

Okay, I think this post is long enough. If you’re interested in knowing more about anything I mentioned, feel free to reach out to me! Once again, thank you for spending the time reading my work.

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Sources:
Brendtro, L. K., Brokenleg, M., & Steve, V. B. (2005). The circle of courage and positive psychology. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 14(3), 130-136. Retrieved from http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/214193531?accountid=14270

Categories
positivity

three tips for starting a new chapter in life

You are the author of your own life, whether you accept it or not. Independent writers, such as yourself, have the creative freedom to create whatever they want to play out in their pieces. One of the many attractive qualities of writing are the various styles and types — a single text may include more than one writing style! A new chapter can begin whenever you choose.

Since realizing my role as author of my path, I have begun to break down my life into short-stories. For me, this has been the best way to prioritize what changes need to be made and work towards that progress.

Throughout 2019 I have expanded that collection by quite a few works, haha! The [theoretical] writing process of each new addition aides me in furthering my character development. But what we haven’t talked about yet is that all this brainstorming, planning and writing is hard!

I want to share a few tips and tricks I have discovered along the process thus far. I want to help those who truly are looking to restart life on their terms by sharing my personal trials and tribulations.

— THE FIVE-SECOND RULE —
No, not the one having to do with dropping food.

We spend way too much time wondering, what if about so many things in life, when we have the power to figure out what if it did. The next time we want to make a change but something seems to be holding you back, count backwards from five then do it.

I have really been loving listening to podcast series lately, which is how I discovered this concept created by Mel Robbins. The Self-Made CEO, one of my go-to series at the moment, discusses this rule often and argues incredibly valid points. We often hesitate to make a decision which leads to overthinking and overanalyzing the situation. The longer we wait to make a decision, the less authentic that final decision becomes. When we make a decision out of fear (over thinking, over analyzing, over complicating, etc) we are not necessarily making the best choice for ourselves; we are making the choice which is most comfortable for us.

How does it work?
When you are ready to make a change but do not have the motivation in the moment, countdown from five then do it.
Go read. Go to the gym. Dust your room. Take a walk.
Whatever it may be, do it.

Remember it is okay to fail. Doing something when you do not feel the motivation is really difficult. Use the failure to better yourself for next time.
Tomorrow morning, you are going to wake up early. Count down then get out of bed and take on the day!

— SIGNAL CHANGE —
“You taught others how to treat you. Reteach them.” – Costar Astrology

Generally speaking, most people have to be told to do things. This is why call to action buttons (email, phone, website) are so important. They tell people what to do next! New York best-selling author, Donald Miller, stresses this in his book “Building a StoryBrand”.

How does it work?
If you want other people to understand you are rebranding yourself, you must make it simple and clear. I have found being direct with close people in my life to be most helpful because it adds the aspect of accountability.

For example, if you tell your roommate you are going to exercise four times a week but you do not, your roommate is likely to ask you about the goal you mentioned earlier in the week. I am a self-motivated individual, however, I do find having someone hold me accountable for my goals to be a major help. Especially at the beginning of your journey!

— CONSISTENCY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOING HARD —
Consistency = Change

It doesn’t matter if you work your butt off in the gym on Monday morning if it only happens once that week. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You will see more results if you work moderately for 20 minutes each day, than if you work yourself to death for an hour and a half once a week.

I have found implementing routines to be helpful in establishing consistency! Planning out my day the night before is what I found to be the best for optimizing my time. Another plus to implementing changes into your routine is the 21/90 rule.

How does it work?
If you commit to a goal for 21 days it will become a habit. Continuing that habit for 90 (total) days will integrate it into your lifestyle.
Remember failure is not worth beating yourself up over. Grow from it.
Realize your faults and weaknesses, embrace them then improve.

I hope these three tips help you along your journey! I have found these to be the most important insights I’ve yet to discover when it comes to beginning a new chapter of life. If you’re new here or missed my past blog about lessons I’ve learned throughout life so far and ways in which I have started over, you can check it out here! If you have any tips or tricks please share in the comments below!

As always, thank you for reading. I appreciate each moment spent on my work.

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
my life positivity

becoming overwhelmed

If you were to ask anyone who personally knows me they would describe my life as “hectic” or “chaotic” — no doubt in my mind! My life, just like everyone else’s, is complicated. As I mentioned in my first post, I have experienced many significant changes in my life within the past few months. And to be completely honest, I was very overwhelmed at first. I had a mini freak out, took a breath then realized: This is a normal response!  

Just like many other people I have a natural tendency to shut down when I begin to feel overwhelmed. My shoulders rise to my ears and my heart rate increases. At times when I’m really stressed out I even experience dizziness. These physical responses coupled with the intense mental strain causes everything, in that moment, to seem as though it’s too much to handle. This is exactly what happened to me when I tried to imagine what life was throwing at me. 

Life is a roller coaster! For the sake of this metaphor, this car has a lot more than one seat. Adrenaline junkie or not, everyone consciously choose to run the ride with each decision they make. Unfortunately, the part that sucks is that it’s your job to repair the ride when it breaks down. Too often we are distracted living within our own worlds that we forget the choices we make affect not only us, but those around us…

While the easiest option was to remain stagnant and be upset about the situation, this was not an option for me. So what did I do? I was forced to come to terms with the fact that the situation I was in was the result of choices I consciously made. Once I understood that, it was time to roll up my sleeves and attempt to repair this thing… and did I mention my tool skills were limited??

I devoted every ounce of my being to getting the ride back on track. With tenacious effort and mentoring from my amazing support system I was able to get the ride operating! Aside from feeling accomplished for repairing the mechanism, I refined my utilitarian skills. These skills allow me to be proactive in repairing minor issues before they cause a major malfunction. 

When it comes to my support system, I largely attribute my character development to my godmother. This woman is wise beyond her years and more than willing to share her philosophies with those who will listen. She is one of the most sensible people I know — making her one of the only people I truly listen to. I largely accredit her for my methods of dealing with stressful situations. Similarly to my aunt, I want to share my tips with those of you who are willing to listen. 

Pause and observe the situation.

I feel as though it is important to feel your emotions rather than suppress and hide them away in an attempt to forget them. You are allowed to freak out… but only for five minutes. 

No actually — Set a timer on how long you’re going to mope. Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to feel the stress and anxiety of being overwhelmed. Then move on and get over it! 

Emotional repression is actually damaging to your physical health! Countless studies show “feeling bad is good,” however, put a time limit on the negativity and prepare yourself to conquer the world. 

haha relevant

Take control.

I am a list person — I love making lists! Creating a physical representation of what you need to accomplish (…a list…) has been proven to help build mental strength. 

Feel free to flip flop this with feeling the emotions too! My typical process is making the list then freaking out over how much I have to do… then breaking it down and getting sh*t done!

One step at a time.

steps

Forreal though, deal with everything in small pieces. The inspiration for this post came to me  while I was (attempting to) clean and organize my bedroom. I tend to look at the chaotic wreck that is my room, imagine what I could be doing with the space then flopping onto my bed because I have no idea where to even begin cleaning, haha. 

As you can imagine, this is not a productive method. What do I do? Clean one part of the room at a time. I started with my tallest dresser, organizing my skincare routine, hair accessories and assorted decor until it was aesthetically appealing to me and I was content with my efforts. This same method can be applied to life; each action is a step you are taking towards a goal. 

Take a break.

Like most humans, I enjoy immediate gratification and the feeling of accomplishment accompanied with it. However, immediate gratification is a fleeting feeling; creating lasting happiness is a process. It is OKAY to not get everything done at once, so long as you are making progress along the way. Your physical body heals itself while you’re resting. The same applies to your brain — you have to allow yourself time to relax and unwind. 

It took me a little over five months to figure out what I now know. Although I may sound like I know what I’m talking about — I don’t. I am still learning, just like you. However, you have been fortunate and stumbled upon my tips to help you expedite your progress. 😉

Thanks for reading!

Talk to ya’ll soon,
Alex

References:
http://www.chopratreatmentcenter.com/blog/2017/04/26/heal-suppressed-emotional-pain/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-therapy/201009/emotional-acceptance-why-feeling-bad-is-good
https://www.fastcompany.com/3063392/how-writing-to-do-lists-helps-your-brain-even-when-you-dont-comple