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!!
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 –
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.
Hi guys! I am going to be the hundredth person to say this but I cannot believe 2019 is coming to an end. October went by ~scary~ fast. (ba dum tss) Come on, I had to!!
In all seriousness, October moved quickly. Throughout the month I rediscovered a lot of old go-to’s which is always awesome for a college student on a budget. But I did pick up a few new items which I have been rocking hardcore.
If you want to know more about the stuff I’ve been loving for the month of October, read on!
Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know what I’m going to say. Those of you who don’t already follow me: you are missing out! I have been LOVING my Free People Teddy Bear Peacoat. I’m not sure what the actual color is called but it’s an off-white, cream color — super versatile!
I picked this baby up at Nordstrom Rack on 17th and Chestnut for a BARGAIN. The regular price was $150, but after the markdown I paid just under $70! That is wild for a warm, stylish FREE PEOPLE jacket.
Aside from the color I got, there were two other options: hunter green and burnt orange. I would have bought them all if that was practical, however, it is not.
This month I have started to dabble in fashion DIY. Nothing super drastic — I have not learned to sew yet, but we’re working on it!! Nonetheless, I’ve been messing around with a pair of sharp scissors cropping just about every sweatshirt I own and distressing old pairs of jeans.
I unearthed an older pair of dark wash Gap jeans. I love (most) Gap jeans. They really make the booty pop, ya know. But anyway, sometimes you need to kind of grow into your clothes and so I bought the jeans a few seasons ago but really never loved them on me.
All the snacks I have been eating recently must be doing something for me because the fit of these jeans is now perfect! (Shoutout to Oreos and cinnamon raisin bagels, woot woot)
After cutting some tasteful slits, roughing the seems up a bit with an old nail buffing block (get creative with what you’ve got!!) and distressing the ankles, they turned into my new fave pants.
As I mentioned, jeans aren’t the only things I’ve been cutting up. Cropped sweatshirts are my new jam.
I always lusted after the cute ones you can buy but I thought, “I can cut jeans. I can cut sweatshirts too! This is what Youtube tutorials were created for.” From there, I have never looked back.
A family friend asked me if every sweatshirt I own is cropped. No, dude. I have two that are not, FYI. Let’s be honest, if I’m at home I am probably wearing a cropped hoodie. They’re sooo cozy!! How can you blame me?!
AND the best part is that you don’t get too warm since it allows better airflow (duh). Throw on some leggings, cozy socks and you’re all set to be the most comfy person in the house.
Grab your scissors and get cutting. I’d recommend starting with older stuff you don’t care as much about incase there are any technical difficulties. 😋
I’ve been cycling through my makeup collection which, unfortunately, was placed on the backburner since summer was so freaking hot! Nonetheless, I rediscovered two L’Oreal face products I have really been enjoying: Magic BB Anti-Redness and True Match Concealer in fair/light N 1-2-3.
Both products are great. Dare I say holy grails??! Super blendable, buildable coverage. Honestly, I dig the entire L’Oreal True Match line. 10/10 would recommend.
Those of you present in the tri-state area during October probably took notice it was rather wet month, which makes my hair sad. 😔
One of the reasons I dislike rainy days so much is because my hair can get super frizzy then I am totally fed up with it. The other reason is because after 21-years of living I have yet to get myself a pair of rain boots which would keep my feet dry and cozy.
One of those two problems have been solved by a $14.00 bottle of mousse from Target! About a month ago I picked up Kristin Ess Instant Lift Volumizing Mousse on a whim. I was looking for a product to add more body to my hair. I had used a curl cream by the brand previously and enjoyed it, so why not give something else a go? I am not disappointed.
The mousse does its job of adding volume, thickness and hold. However, another bonus is that it does an awesome job of combating frizz! I typically apply a generous amount of mousse to my hair while it is wet. I have found flipping my head upside down and scrunching the mousse closer to my roots, specifically towards the back of the head, really adds that extra oomph. This technique, sometimes paired with a tousled blow-dry, yields the best results for me.
At the start of the month I decided to implement some new habits, one of which is attending networking events more regularly. These events are an amazing way to meet new people, exchange ideas and build my network. I’ve come to the realization that if I want others to take me seriously, I have to first take myself seriously. Ya girl got business cards. They’re awesome. I’m happy.
Alex Swanson, Freelance Content Creator, 2020.
But anyway, If you follow me on social media (if you don’t you are really missing out) you may be aware I attended a social media panel hosted by Gather: Social Media Group earlier in the month.
My friend and former colleague, Camille Mola, spoke on the panel along with four other amazing women. These boss ladies discussed how they have built, and continue to grow, their presence on social media and all that jazz. Everyone shared wonderful knowledge; it was amazing. Awesome, insightful, beautiful boss babe Camille (in the killer white booties above) also has a blog. You should go check it out after this post. ☺️
Although I was not a panelist, I spoke a lot. Probably more than an audience member should have but hey, that’s me. And in my defense, it kind of became an open forum!!
I guess the panelist didn’t mind too much because I, along with four other audience members, were gifted “INFLUENCER: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media” by Brittany Hennessy.
If you are anyone who is interested in gaining traction as a content creator (…”influencer”…), get on this book! It is written from the perspective of a scout. Brittany Hennessy founded her own influencer development company. In this book she is telling you exactly what the people who have money to give you to promote their products or brands want to see.
Another lifestyle adjustment I have been working towards during this month is drinking water. Those of you who know me personally are probably thinking, “Alex, what?? You drink tons of water — it’s super annoying..” While this may be true, I do not drink as much water as I should! Especially in relation to the amount of coffee I consume. (I am trying to cut back but it’s so difficult. I have been drinking coffee since I was about 8 years old? My gram would have me fix her cup each day after work and obviously I had to taste it to make sure it was perfect. Based on that factual evidence, gram is the root of my coffee addiction. Love you anyway.)
Drinking more water was something I was aware I should work on, but it wasn’t until Adrienne Finch told me in an episode of Self-Made CEO that should really try harder that I actually started doing it. Transitioning us perfectly into podcasts!
Okay, real talk, podcasts intimidated me. They still do! I’ve wanted to get into them for the longest time but I had no idea where to start. I am one of those people who gets a bit overwhelmed when there are too many things to choose from. Then I end up procrastinating the choice altogether. I know I am not alone with this one, haha.
However, my want to get involved with podcasts finally outweighed my fear of entering that new world. One of my favorite Youtubers from back in the day, Kenzie Elizabeth, launched a podcast series, IYSM. So I found it on Spotify, saw an episode title which jumped out to me and hit play. From there I eased my way into other suggested podcasts. Now here we are. I’m hooked!
If you’re looking for one to start out with, an OG Youtuber, Lauren Elizabeth, just launched a series. It would be a great one to start with since there are currently four episodes live. Give MOOD a listen!
Lauren is an awesome boss woman and I aspire to be like her.
I am big into dental hygiene.
After I brush my teeth, I want the inside of my cheeks to burn when I smile.
Although I love the dentist and I’m a super freak when it comes to teeth, I never fed into the mouthwash gimmick. Until now. Crest Pro-Health Intense Mouthwash has totally changed my life. It is scary looking, which I love. And this stuff gets the job DONE.
I find oral hygiene to be similar to exercising — it sucks in the moment but afterwards you feel great. Yeah, this sh*t is going to burn. Keep swishing.
I get a lot of questions and comments about my teeth, so if you guys would be interested in hearing more about that stuff, let me know in the comments below!
If you’ve stuck around this far, thank you for reading. Time is the most valuable thing a person can give and I appreciate each moment given my work. ☺️