The Ultimate Choice: Loner verses Love

Let’s face it, I’m better at being a loner. Not because I’m selfish but because I’m a giver, to a fault, sacrificing what I want or need so easily to please someone else. Not even telling them, just keeping it all in for fear of rocking a boat I don’t want to rock. I’m not used to chaos, always striven to keep peace and quiet around me as much as I can. I enjoy sitting alone curled up with my laptop or a book. I enjoy setting my bedtime just around me. I believe in happy ever afters but happy ever afters take real, hard work. They take putting yourself in a place of vulnerability which is not an easy feat for me even the slightest bit. Being a loner means I’m only responsible for my own feelings. Being a loner means not having to tell someone else what I need or desire. Being alone allows me the freedom to not have to balance my schedule or routines with anyone else’s. It means not having to say your “I” verbiage bothers me even though I know you probably mean nothing of it. It means not having to admit that I don’t like assuming you want me here, admitting that I want you to tell me you want want me here every day. Being a loner means I don’t have to admit to my insecurities and fears to anyone else. 

But being a loner also means no waking up to your smiling face. It means no first sips of coffee in the morning with you. It means no three to four kisses every time you leave. It means not sitting down at the table for dinner with you and the kids. It takes away the laughter of the kids as they all play hide and seek. Being alone means no duo adventures or date nights. It means trading in what feels good for what has always been comfortable to me in the past. Being a loner means just as the word itself says, it means being alone. 

Being in love takes courage. It takes courage to grow as my routines change, courage to be vulnerable, courage to be honest…courage to love and to allow myself to be loved. 

8 Ways to Clear Your Mind When It’s Feeling Overwhelmed

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a weird thought pattern, like you know there is a turning point ahead or among you but you’re really not sure what it means quite yet? I’m going to be turning thirty-four next week. I’m honestly kind of in a funk about turning thirty-four…even us positive folks get stuck in ruts and ugh moments…mine was lasting a whole week last week (I blame Mercury Retrograde) – it was a rough, emotional week man. This week, feeling freedom from the pull of the retrograde I’m left in wonder and cycling thoughts. I’ve had a lot of changes come into play over the last few months. Some material, some in life routines. I’ve purchased a new car (like new new which is a first for me and a bigger car payment than I admittedly wanted), taken on more responsibility at work, got a boyfriend (a serious boyfriend) and with that he brings two more kids to the table, I’ve been out of what I had established as my ‘norm’ for the past two years…it’s new, it’s exciting, and it’s scary all at the same time. Even good change is messy – a beautiful mess as we figure out what our new normal, our new routines should be. All of this coming into play right before I turn thirty-four. (Can you tell I’m stuck on that whole turning thirty-four thing?) These cycling thoughts leave me realizing how important it is to find my ground again even among the new found chaos (good chaos – but so busy!). Finding this ground for me means sorting my thoughts, allowing time for those thoughts and ideas to process out…discovering what this turning point means.

  1. Meditate
  2. Journal
  3. Do something artistic
  4. Get out in nature
  5. Yoga
  6. Sit alone
  7. Take a run or go for a walk
  8. Make some time for girl time

(In a getting older funk bonus tip): Make a list of all the wonderful things I did in my year thirty-three…get over that ‘I’m not where I want to be phase’ before I turn thirty-four by recognizing and celebrating all the things I have already done and accomplished.

 

How to Get Out of a Bad, Funky Day

Last week was a rough one for me…first I started off with my bicycle breaking, then I ended up with a possible broken nose, then the transmission in my car goes out…should I keep going? It was a week that I started looking up to see if there was a black cloud lingering above my head and was checking my pockets to see if I was carrying ‘bad luck’ in them…I know, you’re probably totally sensing the sarcasm and cynicism in those thoughts right? I have quite a bit of that in my personality  (truth be told haha)…but it’s that sarcasm that sometimes helps me stay positive. I started telling my friends and family they probably shouldn’t even go out to eat with me (because every place I went last week something went wrong…ha, black cloud I’m telling ya!) Well today starts a new week – woohoo – so the bad luck has to be getting weary by now. I found that I allowed myself to get a bit more wound up than I needed to be sometimes last week – I am not perfect y’all – but after I took a step back I was able to chill out quite a bit.  If you allow yourself to stay irritated and down on yourself and life then life is going to stay down, bad luck is going to keep hanging out and you’re going to stay miserable. I get it – things can stack up leaving you all kinds of frustrated and pissed off (Apologizing profusely to all my friends and family that had to listen to me whine and yell) but you’ve gotta shake it off eventually and start forcing those positive vibes back in your life. 

  1. Focus on what you have to be grateful for. – Like the whole possible broken nose thing, it was worth it, I had a killer fun day tubing in the river…and I am immensely thankful to my pal for me lending me his car so I wasn’t with no way to work and for the Universe for putting me only 6 miles from his house so I wasn’t stranded along the side of the road when my car decided no more.
  2. Remember that all things are temporary. – Bad times don’t last. Everything has an end cycle. I’m not going to be without a car forever, my nose is going to heal, the wrong food order can be fixed. The sun always comes back out!
  3. Take some time by yourself. – Process the thoughts and emotions you’re having. Let them move through you and out of your mind. Take deep breaths. Slow down and step back to let yourself calm down.
  4. Build a plan to get out of your challenges, troubles, out from under the black cloud. – My first reaction to my car breaking down was freak out mode – it’s quoted to be like $7k to fix everything…step back, write out all my options, build a plan (I’ve decided to go car shopping – it’ll cost more to fix it than it’s worth and I put a heck of a lot of miles on my car). And I’m going to admit to you that it took me a few days to get out of freak out mode…it wasn’t my plan to get a new car until next year sometime.
  5. Get back to positive thoughts. – Write them down and read them aloud to yourself if you have to. Try and list out the possibilities and opportunities that are coming out of your obstacles. For example, buying a new car gives me the opportunity to finance for lower payments and let’s me have the choice to get something with better gas mileage since I drive much more than I used to. Look for the silver linings!

10 Quotes from Maya Angelou to Motivate you to Live a Better Life

Sometimes we need a little kick in the butt. Some words to get us out of our heads and back on track. Being a quote junkie, I find this inspiration by collecting quotes and surrounding myself with them.

  1. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
  2. “My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
  3. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
  4. “Nothing will work unless you do.”
  5. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
  6. “All great achievements take time.”
  7. “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”
  8. “Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.”
  9. “I got my own back.”
  10. “Courage – you develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn’t want to pick up a 100-pound weight without preparing yourself.”

Rid Yourself of Pre-Race Nerves with these 5 Thoughts

Today is race day! Woot! Woot! There’s such a difference between being in a live race verses training on the treadmill or even running outside solo. It’s invigorating. It’s waiting at the starting line anxiously to be let free! With all that said I totally get nervous before every race but let’s be real, what reasons do I really have to be nervous?

  1. Nobody else is paying attention to you. They’re all focused on their own running.
  2. Everyone else is pumped up too. We’re all there for the same main reason (to run! and many times for charity). Soak up that energy from around you!
  3. You really probably are not going to fall…and if you do, heck you have a story to tell now.
  4. Everyone is going to be sweaty and stinky during and after the race…we all look like hell. We just ran in the blazing sun.
  5. Pride. The pride and the sense of accomplishment you have after you get to the finish line…it’s so worth it, every time.

Not up for a live race yet? No worries, check out some of my favorite spots to sign up for virtual races. Virtual races can be done solo, on your own time, and anywhere – Like on a treadmill at the gym when there’s snow on the ground or throw one in on your training schedule to keep it fun.

www.virtualstrides.com

www.virtualpaceseries.com 

www.medalmiles.com

14 Reasons to Eat the Superfood Snack Blueberries

Berry-picking season has begun. I love berries! I’m more of a raspberry and blackberry kind of girl but my son especially loves blueberries. Blueberries are an amazing and tasty Superfood!  They are the perfect low-calorie snack for hot, Summer days.

  1. They help detox the body.
  2. Blueberries contain vitamins, nutrients and minerals that help improve brain function.
  3. They promote digestion and helps prevent constipation.
  4. Blueberries contain compounds that help prevent and fight cancer.
  5. They’re good for the heart and help keep blood pressure under control.
  6. Blueberries are a snack that uplift your spirits. They can act as a natural anti-depressant.
  7. They boost your immune system.
  8. Blueberries are high in fiber and help you stay full and aid in weight loss.
  9. The minerals and vitamins in blueberries help improve and maintain bone health.
  10. Blueberries assist in the promotion of good eye health.
  11. They have been shown to help prevent wrinkles, age spots and acne.
  12. Blueberries are rich in anti-oxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
  13. They are great to snack on after a workout because they help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness.
  14. Blueberries also help promote healthy hair and hair growth.
* Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a medical professional. These are healthy suggestions based solely on personal experiences, personal opinions, and light research.

10 Powerful Life Lessons That Will Make You Happier

I have been thinking of writing a post of this sort for a few years now…well since the year I turned thirty…this coming August I’ll be turning thirty-four…guess I felt I still had some lessons to learn before I was ready to share. I used to think that roadblocks, delays or procrastination were forms of failure. I thought that they were things holding us back from success. Today I sit and I ponder the idea that maybe all of those things get in our way to help us be more prepared for when the opportunity strikes. Take dating for example. I haven’t ever met anyone that doesn’t have a story of heartbreak. Heartbreaks are necessary for our growth, an opportunity to learn more about our ourselves and about what we not only want in our lives (and relationships) but also what we need. I believe that applies in several other areas of our lives as well. The failed business or career dreams that pushed us to learn new skills and new ways to prevail. I’m not the same girl I was twenty years ago, ten years ago, or even a year ago. I’ve evolved with every experience and it’s a beautiful and powerful process and I owe that to the challenges, the delays and the procrastination that gave me the time to absorb the things I needed to become this person. 

  1. Learn to love yourself. – Learn to love yourself fully, unconditionally and fiercely. I know I preach this all of the time but this was one of my greatest lessons. Love yourself the way you love others. You deserve as much love yourself as you give out to others. This doesn’t mean I don’t get disappointed with myself, it doesn’t mean that I think of myself higher than anyone else either. It means that I have to see myself in the perspective that I look at others in. It means that I have to see the good in myself everyday, it means that I have to be accepting of who I am and also take responsibility for the things I want to change and how I want to grow. It means I have to make it a priority to take care of myself – body, soul, mind and heart.
  2. Learn to forgive. – Forgive everything, everyone, every situation. Spite and anger will eat you from the inside out. We’ve all been hurt, we’ve all dated the jerk, we’ve all been slighted or been cut in front of in line, life just sucks sometimes. Sometimes it just has to come down to spitting out the famous phrase, “shit happens” and moving on.
  3. Be patient. – I suck at patience. I want instant gratification just as bad as the rest of you do. I want to awake in the morning and have an empire sitting in front of me. I want the paint on my canvas to dry immediately…but time is something we need to discover possibilities. Time is space, space allows things to grow. Be patient and allow the process to roll out.
  4. Anger is okay sometimes. – Anger can be a motivator – if and only if you learn how to process it effectively and thoroughly. Anger is not a true emotion, it is a reaction to other emotions. You become angry because you are hurt, or scared, or disappointed or whatever. Expose the true root of the anger. Use this to motivate you to make positive changes.
  5. You are responsible for yourself, not anyone else. – For what you do and for how you feel. You want to be happier? Stop blaming it on circumstances in your life…either choose a new perspective or change the circumstances.
  6. Don’t accept the mundane. – Do something you love everyday. Add your twist on everything. Make every moment magical. Love glitter? Carry the damn glitter notebook. Live your life full of color. Shake it off and laugh often.
  7. Take time to be lazy. – I am actually one of those weirdos that likes to stay busy. I don’t know what to do with myself when I don’t have a notebook full of to-do tasks and at least ten projects in motion, but you’ll burn out. I know this from experience (lots of experience) and yes I still struggle with this one but I’m getting better, Netflix helps…
  8. Stand up for yourself. – In all places (respectfully of course) but in all areas of your life. Speak your mind.
  9. Never stop learning. – I believe that we are meant to explore, experience and absorb as much information and wisdom as we can in our lives. Life is supposed to flow, we are not meant to be stagnant.
  10. Take risks. – Make a bucket list. Don’t let fear hold you back from goals, dreams, or telling someone how you feel.

 

How to Stop Making Assumptions About Yourself

You know the saying “assume makes an ass out of you and me”? How many times does this prove true? How many times do you find that your assumptions about a situation or a person turn out wrong? I’ll say 8 out 10 times…sometimes it’s not an assumption, it’s an intuition. But that’s not what I was going to chat about tonight…

Tonight I wanted to talk about how we don’t only make assumptions about situations and other people but we fall into the same trap about ourselves. We assume we’ll react to a certain situation, we assume we can’t accomplish a goal……the assumption we create in our head is manifested by fear isn’t it? Don’t we get to choose how we react in a situation? Don’t we get the chance to make a difference? Don’t we have the power to push past fear and set our minds to reach that goal?

So are assumptions actually blocks we put in place to protect ourselves from disappointment? What if you pushed through those thoughts? What if you took the power back and opened your mind, saw past the blocks we put in place?

Another place we make assumptions is in how other people view us. The best advice I ever read is “what other people think about us is none of our business”… mostly true. Physically, let that shit go. Learn to love yourself and how you look. Love your body, your mind, your heart and your soul. If you love yourself fiercely, then others will too – and more importantly the right people will love you no matter what. If you want to lose weight or get more fit, then do it for yourself and not for anyone else because that really is none of their damn business.

I find myself in thoughts of worrying about what other people think about me and how I make them feel…so I’ve started asking instead of assuming. Asking gives me the power over my mind. It becomes their responsibility to be honest with me.

My challenge to you (and to myself) is when you find you’re making an assumption, stop… do this instead:

  1. Break it down – dissect it. What concerns, thoughts, fears are driving you to this assumption?
  2. Evaluate it – Okay, are these concerns and fears justified by facts? Are they based on previous experiences and can you take steps to change the outcome?
  3. What other possible outcomes are there? Is your assumption built up of ultimate facts?
  4. If it’s proven facts that the outcome will be then it’s not an assumption…if it’s an assumption, take a deep breath and let it go.

5 Spring Cleaning Hacks for the Super Busy

We all know how life can get…crazy, hectic, a mess…When you’re super busy trying to keep your house clean can feel like that final push off the ledge…never enough time to get it all done…but you’re in luck today because I have 5 super hacks from the fabulous Gemma Tyler from www.smartvacuums.co.uk! 

Spring cleaning is one of the most relaxing things you can do, after all, it means that you are giving your home the deep clean it needs so that it is ready for the summer. Of course, many of us are incredibly busy with work and family, so there isn’t always time to get it done in one fell swoop. To help those who are super busy, we have a few top tips to ensure that you get the spring cleaning done, and done well.

#1 One Room at a Time

If you look at the big picture, the whole thing becomes overwhelming, and so the best thing you can do is take it in stages. When you start cleaning, just go for one room at a time. You could focus on cleaning the bathroom on Monday, the kitchen on Tuesday, and so on. Work around your own work/life schedule so that you leave enough time to clean, but also to relax. After all, you don’t want to burn yourself out.

#2 Organise Your Wardrobe

Spring is here, and winter has left until the end of the year, so now is the time to sort your wardrobe out. Take those winter clothes and sort through them. Get rid of the items that you won’t wear again (donate them to charity), and put the rest in the back of your wardrobe, or on the far end, where they can be stored safely and nicely until the cold weather returns. You can also sort through your spring clothing before placing it at the front where it is most accessible.

#3 Declutter

Take the time to declutter each room as you clean. Over the course of a year, we all end up with stuff that shouldn’t be there, and clutter truly can be the worst when it comes to collecting dust and making a room look untidy. Ask yourself if you really want or need an item before placing it in a box and donating it to charity, or putting it back where you found it (after cleaning it). The process of decluttering can leave you feeling lighter and more relaxed as your home starts to look better.

#4 Clean the Light Fixtures

It’s amazing how much dust and dirt your light fixtures will collect, and when you are organising your cleaning schedule, you simply must remember to take a moment to quickly dust them off. It’s a fast process, and all you need is a dusting cloth to get it done. On top of and around the lampshades, the top of your light switch, all of these places are dust traps. It’s a cleaning task that will only take a moment and leave the air in your home feeling clearer than ever.

#5 Vacuum Little and Often

Getting the vacuum cleaner out is important, as most of the dirt and grime in your house can be found in carpets, rugs, and on your flooring in general. You should try to fit in a little vacuuming three times a week, or once a day if you have multiple pets in the home or high volumes of traffic.

You should also consider investing in a model that has a HEPA filter, as this acts to trap all of the dust and allergens, allowing only clean air to be pushed back out. This means that you have less dust to clean up later – as everything is trapped in the vacuum. It’s the best way to rid your home of dirt and debris quickly and efficiently.

To Conclude

Hopefully, this has helped make your spring cleaning efforts a little easier. After all, it’s not easy running your life and finding time to clean. The best thing to do is to look at the smaller chunks instead of the big picture so that you don’t get overwhelmed, and to take the time to declutter when you can. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be done in a day!

About the Guest Author

Gemma Tyler is a freelance writer and blogger. You can keep up to date by following Gemma on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest. If you are interested in reading more of her vacuum and cleaning related content, be sure to check out her ultimate guides here .

50 Self-Care Focused Hashtags to Follow for Encouragement

I am a big believer of surrounding yourself with inspiration and motivation. Some days we need a little push to get us through the day. Social media has had a huge impact on what we are surrounded by, unfortunately sometimes it can inundate us with negativity but we can take control of it to help skew what we interact with on a daily basis.

  1. Unfollow folks on social media that are constantly posting negativity. 
  2. Limit how much you watch the news. It’s important to stay up to date on what’s happening in the world and in your community but manage how often you’re taking it in. Choose one time per day to watch/read the news.
  3. Control how you are obtaining the news. Focus on using reliable media companies to get your news verses taking it in on social media sites. If you see something on social media, research for a fact filled story to follow up on what you saw.
  4. Express how you are feeling about the negativity you came in contact with. If it was something on the news that hit you hard, sit and write a list of what you can do to make a positive impact in response to it. If it was a negative situation you were involved in, take some time to journal and work through your feelings.
  5. Shift the scales and add more positive posts and images into your social media feeds. Follow inspirational accounts and motivational hashtags.

  1. #selfcare
  2. #selfcarematters
  3. #learningtolovemyself
  4. #selfcarefirst
  5. #selfcaretips
  6. #selfcare101
  7. #selflove
  8. #selflovematters
  9. #selflovefirst
  10. #loveyourself
  11. #selfcaresunday
  12. #selfcareissexy
  13. #selfcareissacred
  14. #selfcareisntselfish
  15. #selfcareeveryday
  16. #selfcareisnotselfish
  17. #selfcareeverydamnday
  18. #selfcareisimportant
  19. #selfcareempowerment
  20. #selfcaredaily
  21. #selfcareiskey
  22. #selfcareritual
  23. #selfcaresaturday
  24. #youdoyou
  25. #putyourselffirst
  26. #sundayselfcare
  27. #youareworthy
  28. #takecareofyou
  29. #selflovery
  30. #selflovejourney
  31. #selfloveproject
  32. #selfloveadvocate
  33. #selflovesunday
  34. #selfloveisdope
  35. #selflovewarrior
  36. #selfloveclub
  37. #selflovemovement
  38. #selflovechallenge
  39. #selfcaretribe
  40. #selflovequotes
  41. #selfloveisthebestlove
  42. #selfcareboss
  43. #selfcarerocks
  44. #selfcarequotes
  45. #selfcarediva
  46. #selfcarewarrior
  47. #selfcarechallenge
  48. #selflovetips
  49. #selfcareday
  50. #selflovetribe