My past behind me like a ponytail (and other mantras that get me through the hard times)

The subject line of this post is from my absolute favorite Drake song. I love this line because it reminds me to take life a little less seriously and to stop beating myself up for choices I made in the past–so that I can focus on my goals in the present. Also it makes me want to whip my ponytail around in a sassy way. Oh Drake, you get me.

Aside from the above Drake lyric, I use lots of mantras and sayings to help me move through moments of discomfort.

Mantras help stop our thoughts in their tracks–so that we create new neural pathways in our brain that help us create more peace and happiness in our lives. Essentially, the negative thoughts we have on repeat in our brains are like bad habits, and mantras help us break them. Here are some of my favorite mantras. Use these and feel better!

  • The person next to me isn’t attainable; only my best possible self is attainable. (my yoga teacher said that once)
  • I accept the things I cannot change. (from the Serenity Prayer)
  • I love myself more than obsessing about this past/future situation/person.
  • What if we decided to never wonder about what could have happened? We’re missing what’s happening when we do. (from Grace Smith)
  • I can see peace instead of this (from Gabrielle Bernstein)
  • I am safe.

These mantras/sayings give me so much comfort throughout the day.

Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing

We’ve talked about FOMO here before. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I’m one of those people who tend to measure the worth of what they’re doing based on what their friends/family/people on social media are doing.

Decisions tend to be tortuous for me because I’m always wondering what other people have decided so that I can make up my mind. Even simple things, like deciding how to spend a weeknight, can turn into a mental back-and-forth of what my friends/acquaintances are doing and how what I’m doing measures up. For example, if I choose to take a long walk in the evening, I might wonder if I should be taking a kickboxing class, going out for drinks, working on my business, joining a club sports team, going on a date, or putting in extra time at work instead. I tend to assume that everyone else’s choices are better than mine.

I often find myself thinking: Why is it so easy for my friends to just be cool with and focused on what they’re doing, and I’m always wondering whether I’m keeping up, fitting in, and not getting left behind? Why can’t I just do my own thing and be cool with that?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m living for my friends/family/social media acquaintances…or me.

Can you relate to this? Do you constantly question your choices, or make choices based on what other people are doing? It’s exhausting! And I’ve discovered that making decisions based on other people leads to the following things:

  • Living in the past (harboring resentment, keeping old, uncomfortable situations alive when they should’ve been dead years ago) while everyone else is moving forward, accomplishing goals, having new experiences
  • Disconnecting from your true self, desires, and beliefs, leading to confusion and doubt about what goals you should really focus on
  • Feeling disappointed when your friends seemingly forget about you to live their own lives. (they haven’t forgotten about you–they just don’t factor you in to the significant degree that you factor them in…because they’re doing what they want!)
  • Constant worry and anxiety, no lasting peace and ease.

Whew, that’s a pretty tiring way to live. And the hard truth is…in our quest to keep up, live the best life ever, and make decisions based on what our friends are doing, we actually end up living a rather empty, boring life that keeps us small. We don’t take risks or go for our dreams because we’re too busy worrying about other people’s goals and dreams, and making sure that we’re not getting left behind.

What’s the answer to living a full, exciting life that’s true to ourselves?

You must reconnect to you.

I’m still working on this, but expect more tips on how to stop worrying about what other people are doing, and start focusing on you.

My fave products, podcasts, and songs

Confession. I’m feeling kind of empty and still right now, and I’m working on taking The Happy College Girl in a new direction. Instead of writing a coaching-oriented blog as per usual, I thought I’d just give you a rundown of what I’ve been listening to and doing for the past few weeks.

Stuff I use and like:
Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Golden Peach. Someone at Sephora recommended this to me and I LOVE it. I put it on my cheeks, eyelids, cupid’s bow, under my nose, and on my chest and shoulders. It makes my skin shimmer, makes me look more put together and polished, and helps my very pale skin look good in pictures. This is becoming pretty much the only makeup I put on now.

Milk Makeup Flex Concealer in Fair. This stuff is easy to put on and lasts for hours and hours. It makes my face look bright and fresh, and gives me natural-looking coverage on my acne/blemishes.

Speaking of acne/blemishes…Dandelion Root by Nature’s Way. I take 9 of these babies every day for my skin, as per the recommendation of my family’s naturopath. My skin and I are going through a thing. It’s frustrating and I hate it. Trying to stay peaceful…also because stress contributes to skin craziness.

Invisible Shield daily sunscreen by Glossier. As I said above, I have very pale skin, so I’m suuuper conscious of wearing sunscreen, hats, limiting time in the sun, etc. Obvi we all do this in the warmer months, but we also need to protect our skin from UV and infrared light all year round. This sunscreen’s light, gel-like formula goes on so easily and doesn’t mess up any makeup or do anything weird to my moisturizer. I just put it on my face and arms before I leave the house and my skin is protected. Plus, the creator of Glossier, Emily Weiss, was on an episode of The Hills. She was the “super intern” from NYC whaaaat.

Stuff I listen to and like:
Kesha’s Praying is giving me the feels. It’s so nice to hear her actual, raw voice. She’s back!

The Lady Lovin’ podcast kicks ass. I binged on it during my recent drive to and from home. Those girls just make me feel happy and inspired. They talk about boys, beauty, health/wellness, feminism, food, sex, and so much more. You gotta listen!

Holy crap and Summer Innanen’s latest podcast episode with feminist marketing consultant Kelly Diels CHANGED MY LIFE. These girls talk about how some online female lifestyle brands co-opt female empowerment (mostly with innocent intentions) to make money, exert control, and promote a specific feminine ideal (ahem, white, thin, pretty), instead of leading and actually creating change in the world, as they say they’re doing in their marketing. This episode is helping me look at The Happy College Girl with a much more critical, social justice-oriented eye. Wowza.

P.S. Kelly Diels talks about how black feminist writers bell hooks and Audre Lorde arguably invented the idea of “self-care.” White women (myself included) talk SO much about how self-care impacts our lives and the world, but that very idea was pretty much invented by bell hooks and Audre Lorde to help sustain other black women, feminists, LGBTQ folks, and other marginalized populations in their fight for equality. Mind. Blown. So. Humbled.

Let’s end this blog on that high, awakening note, okay? Just recapping all of the stuff I’ve been using/listening to has me inspired!

Beat procrastination with this tip!

Isn’t procrastination the worst? Maybe we’re stalling on a work or school assignment, running a boring/tedious errand, doing something around the house, working out, or calling someone back. When we avoid something, it festers and hangs over our head, getting bigger and scarier every minute we do something else (um like watch clips of RHONY and Watch What Happens Live) instead of what we should really be doing. Ick just thinking about procrastination makes me nauseous because I get so freaked out by the tasks that I procrastinate on that just get even more overwhelming. Gah!

Today, for example, I did some typical things: cleaning, laundry, organizing, etc. But I was avoiding working out. I kept watching clips of reality TV and doing stuff around the house instead. My body wanted to workout, but I couldn’t decide whether to take a walk, do yoga, lift weights, whatever…and I stayed in that indecisive, procrastinating place for most of the day. Then, a lesson from the amazing Gabrielle Bernstein (via Yogi Bhajan) came to me:

When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off.

This lesson offers so much peace because it reminds us that when we have a goal or task in front of us, all we have to do is take one simple step: start. We don’t have to worry about what the “what ifs” or how things will turn out or how we’ll feel during the process. When we just start, we’ll feel a sense of relief. That task, project, or goal immediately becomes less scary and more manageable.

As soon as I thought of that message–start and the pressure will be off–I got off of my bed, put on my workout shoes, grabbed some music, and took a walk around my neighborhood. I started, didn’t worry about whether I was doing the “right” workout or what workout I would do tomorrow, and now I feel great that I accomplished something I wanted to do today!

Other ways you can start so that the pressure will be off:

  • Set your timer for 5 mins and pick up the clothes on your floor. Just getting into that mode of cleaning/decluttering can give you energy to vacuum, wash your sheets, clean your bathroom, etc.
  • Take a shower to shift your energy. Showering helps us feel refreshed, renewed–feelings that energize us to accomplish something/get started on a task or project.
  • Make a weekly master To Do list. Grab a pen and paper and write down everything you need to do this week. Just getting stuff down on paper makes you feel more organized and motivated. Then, pick one of those tasks, set a timer, and do it!
  • If you’re trying to stop binge eating, the next time you binge, take a deep breath (even if you’re in the middle of chewing), go into the kitchen, and have a glass of water. These simple actions shift you out of binge eating mode and into a more peaceful state so that you’re less likely to continue your binge.

Let procrastination ease away–just by starting.

Why You Should Celebrate Your Birthday Everyday

I celebrated my birthday a couple of weeks ago with many friends and quesadillas. It was great!

When I woke up on my birthday, I felt so excited, special, and happy, and felt that way all day. All of the texts, FB messages, calls, and gifts I received made me feel great. In that space of feeling special and like my life mattered, my anxiety about other areas of my life decreased. My typically anxious, nervous thoughts shifted into something much more peaceful. I noticed that I was telling myself: everything is going to be okay, you can do anything, you’re much stronger than you think you are, you can handle anything. Cool, right?

Do you have those moments on your birthday too? There’s something about acknowledging the day you were born and became part of this world–and having others acknowledge that too–that makes us feel special, important, and confident.

That’s why I think we should create more of those moments in our lives. We shouldn’t have to wait once a year to feel special; we can create that feeling every day, which then motivates us to live kick-ass, super productive lives.

Unfortunately, society conditions us to downplay our special-ness and enslave ourselves (especially the ladies) to self-deprecation. But how far has that really gotten us?

Our world is no more productive or peaceful with people being afraid to acknowledge their attributes, worth, and special-ness. For example, in the area of body image, people, institutions, and thought systems that make people feel ashamed if their bodies look different from the social ideal–for the purpose of motivating them to make “healthier” choices–don’t actually motivate those people at all. When we feel bad about ourselves, we don’t have the motivation or sense of self worth to make positive changes in our lives–we just crawl deeper into our hole of shame and wither away, commit acts of violence on others, etc. We have to tell ourselves that we matter–as we are NOW. Only from that space do we have the sense of self-worth and motivation to elevate our lives and the lives of others.

So, my beautiful friend, you have my permission to feel special and lovable all the time. You have my permission to feel like it’s your birthday every day!

When we feel special and important, we want to get out into the world and do good work. That’s what our world needs right now.

How to surrender your desires and take guided action

As a hardworking, ambitious, and amazing college or post-college girl, you have a lot of goals and desires. And sometimes, it’s super confusing to know how exactly to get what we want, or achieve what we want to achieve. For example, if you want to have a more fulfilling romantic life, where do you start? Do you sign up for a dating app? Which one? Do you break up with your current partner? Or work to create what you want within the relationship? Similar questions come up when we think about our career. If you want a more fulfilling professional life, do you quit your current job and start a blog? Do you switch your major? Do you go for internship in your desired industry? Do you do a bunch of informational interviews?

Regardless of the area of your life that’s confusing you right now, questions, confusion, and mental back-and-forth always come up.

But what if there was an easier way to achieve your goals and get what you want? What if you could relax a bit, take guided, peaceful action, and have a little more fun, too? Good news–that’s totally possible!

I’ve been reading Gabby Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back and it is rocking my world. In my life, I’m working on surrendering money and love, and so far, I feel more peaceful and hopeful. Good things are on their way.

Surrendering our goals doesn’t mean we relinquish our power or stop working hard. Surrender simply gives us space from all of that mental chaos that drains our energy and makes decision-making hard and ineffective. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental chaos in a certain area(s) of your life, I invite you to surrender it and clear the path for a peaceful, guided way to achieve your goals. Use my tips below!

1. Connect with God/The Universe/your intuition more often. Surrender requires us to get quiet and connected with ourselves so that we can hear the higher guidance that’s waiting for us. Instead of waking up, rolling over, and checking Snapchat (um, me), sit up in bed, close your eyes, and take ten deep breaths through your nose and out your mouth. Do the same thing in the middle of the day. Try to go to a private place (like a bathroom stall), and just breathe deeply. Before you go to sleep at night, take those deep breaths again. Breathing floods our brains with oxygen and connects us with our bodies and inner voice–all things that make our intuition louder. Plus, connecting with a higher presence makes us feel more protected, which helps us open up to new ideas that our “logical” brains may deem stupid, scary, or impossible.

2. Get clear on how you want to feel in your desire/goal. How do you want to feel when you’re in that new romantic relationship? Connected? Loved? Excited? Passionate? How do you want to feel in that new job? Focused? Relaxed? Stimulated? We get so caught up in how we’ll actually get that new boyfriend or professional achievement, but that just creates mental chaos and actually drives away those things. Instead, try embodying how you want to feel when you reach your desire or goal. Experiencing connection and passion, for example, in your life NOW actually draws more of those things to you. Like attracts like! Plus, focusing on how you want to feel is often easier than worrying about how you’re actually going to get that thing.

3. Pray/say a mantra throughout the day. Whenever you freak out about that goal, desire, or area of your life, ask your intuition/God for help. Try saying: Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say, and to whom?  Just say this whenever you get a pang of worry, fear, or anxiety throughout the day, and experience the calm that sets in. And if calm doesn’t set in, trust that you’re moving towards a sense of calm, along with your desires.

Just give surrender a try. It makes life easier, richer, and more fun.

Pack These Essentials for a Peaceful Road Trip

Recently, I (with my amazing parents and a U-Haul in tow) drove six hours to my new-ish place of residence. Leading up to my move, I’ve been pretty anxious about whether I’m making the right decision, what others will think, and all of those questions that our brain comes up with!

So to make my car ride down to my new place a little more peaceful and not so anxiety-ridden, I packed a few essential things:

1. Lots of water. Water moves excess cortisol (the stress hormone) through our bodies. The more you drink, the more you get rid of the cortisol that’s making you anxious and experience symptoms like increased heart rate and short breathing.

2. Calming podcasts and audio books. During my drive, I listened to The Universe Has Your Back and a few episodes of the Kate and Mike Podcast. They kept my thoughts focused on positive, self-development things and gave me some great tools to practice in my life when I reached my destination.

3. Deep breathing. It’s so easy to forget to breathe! And when we’re anxious and thinking about the past or future, our breath gets really shallow…which just makes the anxiety worse. Every 30 mins or so, I made a point to take 10 deep breaths through my nose and out my mouth. This returned me to the present moment (where true peace lies) and helped my body calm down. Set a timer on your phone to take breathing breaks, or make a point to take deep breaths when a podcast ends or you finish one chapter of your audio book.

The best part of my peaceful road trip packing list? All of these things are cheap and/or free!

How to Handle and Release Sadness

For the record, it’s totally okay to feel sad…or any emotion, for that matter. But we don’t want to dwell in sadness forever, because that can lead to us missing out on life or making certain changes in our lives that would make us feel better.

Here are some tips (that I use too!) to help you move through sadness, feel better, and make positive changes in your life:

1. Know that it’s okay to feel sad. We live in a society that tends to shame us for feeling anything but happy and “okay” so that we can be productive members of the world. We tend not to talk about deep, “dark” emotions…which doesn’t exactly help us move through them; silencing those emotions can actually make them fester. So, tell yourself, “I’m sad right now and that’s okay.” Or, “I feel sad right now and that’s the right way to feel.” I learned this from the amazing Alison Leipzig.

2. Be gentle with yourself. You’re already sad, so don’t make it worse by being mad at yourself for feeling that way. Instead, treat and speak to yourself with gentleness. Treat yourself like you’re caring for a very sweet child (or an adorable pet!). Take a shower. Go to bed early. Tell yourself that you love yourself (“I know you’re sad, and I love you so much”). Drink some water or tea. Listen to music that relaxes you (y’all know how much I love Malibu). Have a phone date with a friend.

3. Feel your feelings. Releasing sadness–truly releasing it and not just putting a band-aid on it–requires you to actually feel your sadness. Let yourself cry or mope around for a little while. Journal about how you feel. Talk to one of your friends. Meditate for 5 minutes. Hang out with your sadness. Don’t push it away or think/talk/eat/shop/work over it. When you do that, the sadness never actually goes away, and in fact, it gets worse. Don’t be afraid of it. Just feel sad.

4. Do small, productive things. It’s crucial to feel your sadness, and it’s also crucial to not dwell in it forever. Doing small, productive things can help you take positive action in your life without sadness taking over and debilitating you (though it is okay to let the sadness take over for a little while). When I’m sad, I clean my bedroom so that it’s more peaceful and sanctuary-like. I make my bed, organize my clothes, and light a candle. Sometimes I make a smoothie to have for breakfast the next morning. Other small, productive things include returning emails, paying a bill, putting gas in your car, or doing the dishes.

Bottom line? It’s okay to feel sad, and it’s crucial that you know sadness is temporary. There are things you can do to help release your sadness, and you also have to trust that your sadness will pass, and life will go on.

Weight Loss Does NOT Have To Be Your Goal This Summer

When I was in high school and college, I would always freak out at the start of summer because I felt too big and disgusting to wear summer clothes and bathing suits. My goal for the season would be to work out as much as possible and go on some “diet,” whether that was cutting out sugar, going vegan, eating like a Parisian or Mediterranean woman, or some other type of food manipulation. I wouldn’t work out or alter my food to increase my sense of well-being or overall health. I did it to get thinner.

After only a few days or weeks, I would feel so deprived that I would hide in my house, binge eat like crazy, feel even more disgusting, and usher in an entire summer of food and body chaos. Sound familiar?

If you tend to freak out at the thought of getting into your summer clothes or if you set weight loss goals for the summer, then I want you to know that there’s a different way to feel good in your body and take care of your health. Aaand fun fact–I created it here!

Real talk. Setting weight loss goals for the summer probably hasn’t worked for you…because you keep setting them every year. Also, you’re reading this blog post, so you’re probably looking for another way to live a fulfilling life without having to deal with body and food chaos! That’s why I created The Body Confidence Workshop.

You can TOTALLY live a kick-ass, happy life where you feel peaceful and confident in your own body, and maintain your health at the same time.

End your body and food chaos once and for all. Grab my workshop (and free gift!) right here.

How to Stop Hating Your Body

I’m crazy excited because my Body Confidence workshop is now FOR SALE! 

If you’re tired of hating your body and going to crazytown around food then this workshop will help you, babe.

I’ll teach you everything you need to know about getting confident in the body you have NOW, taking care of your health, and creating a kick-ass life for yourself!

Aaaand when you buy the workshop, you’ll get an extra gift to help you clear out those negative body image thoughts that circulate in your head all day long, make you feel like crap, and drive you to binge eat, overeat, and restrict.

It IS possible to feel great in your own skin WHILE taking care of your health. I’mma show you how. To get the workshop and free gift, click here!