You have the power to shift your whole day

First of all, here’s a little reminder to attend my FREE, LIVE call on Wednesday, March 8 at 8pm est. I’m going to teach you how to stay physically and mentally healthy while achieving your personal, academic, and professional goals!

Second of all…I saw Moonlight with my friend May and it was beautiful. I’m so glad it won Best Picture. Omg.

Watching a meaningful film with a friend is something that really fills me up.

When I do things that fill me up, my body feels open, energized, and calm. I feel positive and connected. In that space, I’m motivated to tackle my To Do list, accomplish my goals, and dream big. I feel confident in myself and more trusting that my future will be okay.

On the flip side, when I do things that drain me, like troll social media, watch crappy reality TV (the kind that’s not even entertaining), or try to do too many things at once (like text while writing an email and Skype-chatting a colleague), my body feels tight and tense. In that space, I’m NOT inspired to tackle my To Do list or feel confident in myself. I want to contract, stay in bed, and hide from the world.

What about you? What kinds of things fill you up, aka make you feel energized, inspired, and calm? And what kinds of things deplete you, aka make you feel stagnant and tense?

Paying attention to what drains us v. what fills us up is crucial. It teaches us that we have the power to shift our experience in any given moment. If we’re feeling stagnant, negative, scared, or inferior, and thus not inspired to love ourselves/others, accomplish goals, etc., we can do things to cultivate different feelings–ones that make us feel good and want to participate fully in our lives. Even if outside circumstances or other people try to affect our feelings, we still have the power to choose how to respond to those things and how we let them affect us.

For example, maybe you get a bad grade on an exam. That’s a sh*tty feeling. But if you let that feeling keep you stuck, you don’t feel confident or inspired to take a positive action, like study harder for the next exam, talk to your professor, join a study group, etc. You just want to hide in bed. But when you remember your power to change your feelings and you do something that fills you up, you move through that negative feeling faster and are then able to be proactive about that bad grade. Comforting, right?

This week, I want you to pay attention to how your body feels while you’re working, eating, with friends, getting ready for bed, waking up, etc. Does your body feel calm, tight, open, drained, energized? What kinds of thoughts go through your mind as your doing those things? Are your thoughts chaotic, soft, quiet, loud, all over the place?

Then, ask yourself: Is this how I want to feel right now? If you want to feel differently, then do something that fills you up and makes you feel good. Maybe that looks like having a phone date with a friend, drinking a smoothie, having a dance party, watching a movie, crying–you get the idea.

Remember, you have much more power than you think to shift how you feel in any given moment and change the course of your whole day.

And if you’re ready to feel confident in your own skin and accomplish your goals WITHOUT obsessing about food and your body, then you gotta join me for my live call!

How and why to get psyched about your own life

This weekend, I spent about 40 mins scrolling through the Instagram of a stranger. I discovered this person (who is totally lovely and contributing to the world in a positive way btw) via a blogger I follow..and just got lost in her life online.

When I managed to pull myself away from the computer screen, I realized that I spent so much time experiencing some other girl’s life that I completely neglected mine. Why did I divest myself of my own life in favor of someone else’s on social media? I’m thinking it’s partially because I was trying to forget about the things in my own life that make me feel anxious, stagnant, and inferior. Sometimes it’s easier for me to get lost in a stranger’s shiny Instagram life than deal with my own reality.

But taking an Instagram vacation doesn’t actually resolve anything in my life; it just exacerbates those feelings of anxiety and inferiority. It prolongs the amount of time it will take for me to take action and experience contentment in those areas of my life that are unsettled.

What’s the answer, then?

Get psyched about what you’re doing in your own life.

Why? Because when you’re excited about your life, you feel inspired to get clear on and accomplish your goals–so that you can be the best version of yourself and contribute to the world positively.

Getting psyched about your life also helps you view your life as valuable and worthy. That means you’ll naturally move away from people and activities that drain you/make you feel stagnant and just meh. You’ll begin to spend your time, money, and energy with intention–on things that really matter to you and fill you up.

How do you get psyched about your life? Try this tips!

1. Get quiet. When you remove distractions and outside noise, you can hear your own thoughts, needs, and desires better. Get to know yourself for a few minutes each day. Journal. Take a walk. Stretch. Read. Eat your meals while listening to music instead of watching a show. When you form a closer relationship with yourself, you learn more about what your soul is truly craving (in all areas of your life), and you can take aligned action from there. You’ll realize that just like those Instagram bloggers, you too have an awesome personality, big goals, and a valuable perspective on life

2. Add more fun to your day. It’s easy to focus on the routine and drudgery of our day…which makes us think that our life isn’t exciting at all. Make the boring stuff exciting. Have a 1-minute dance party between work tasks. Listen to an audio book during your commute. Have a phone date with a friend while doing laundry. Wear a hot outfit while running errands. When you have more fun, you feel a little more psyched about your life, and you realize that you have the power to experience life however you choose.

3. Work out. Moving your body makes you feel calm, empowered, and inspired. Move in a way that feels good to you (see tip 1) and do it a few times per week.

4. Tackle your To Do list. Nothing makes us feel more lazy and inferior than procrastinating on our To Do list. Take action by choosing one thing on your list, setting a timer, and doing it. Then, choose another thing. This will make you feel like a boss, motivating you to keep accomplishing your tasks and goals, and feel totally psyched about yourself.

Awesome resources to stay peaceful and productive in December

Like I mentioned last week, December can be such a chaotic month. There’s a lot of pressure to see a bunch of people, squeeze in all of the holiday festivities you can, and let’s not forget the amount of work and deadlines that pile up before the end of the year.

Whew. Just thinking about all of that makes my chest tighten and my thoughts spin.

But there are ways we can slow down and accomplish everything we need to accomplish with peace and ease. And actually, when we slow down, we get more done.

Below are all of the things I’ve been doing/watching/reading/listening to stay calm and productive this month. Pick the things that resonate with you and give them a try!

Listening to…
Spotify’s Acoustic Christmas. I love this playlist because it puts me in the holiday spirit and it’s mellow enough for me to enjoy while working.
Commute with LEVIS playlist by female DJ Jilly Hendrix. This one pumps you up and makes me feel like a boss.
Podcasts: Let it Out and Food Psych are my faves. I’ve also heard great things about Call Your Girlfriend and Lady Lovin‘. I get SO tempted (and give in a lot) to go on Youtube during the day when I’m taking a break from work/eating lunch/procrastinating. But that just gets me so off track and brings me no peace whatsoever. Podcasts help me stay on track, give me positive energy, and entertain me!

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison. OMG read this memoir from Hugh Hefner’s former main gf. She goes deep about what Playboy mansion life was really like and how she empowered herself to get out, work hard, and live an amazing life on her own terms.
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein. Any time you open ANY of Gabby’s books, you’ll feel happier and calmer.
Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel by Lauren Graham. LG hit it out of the park with this one.
Let it Out: A Journey Through Journaling by Katie Dalebout. Awesome book of journaling prompts that connect you to your purpose, calm you down, and help you feel awesome about yourself.

Putting on my face…
This face mask from Lush. My all-time store-bought fave.
Greek yogurt. Duh. My all-time DIY fave. Smear a few tablespoons on your face, leave for 15 mins, wash off gently.
These too: egg/honey, greek yogurt/banana, egg whites.

Rocking body confidence with the Instagrams of…
Tess Holliday
Nourish and Eat
Robin Lawley
Ashley Graham

These resources will give you energy and a sense of calm…so that you can really enjoy this month AND knock out your To Do list.

My FAVORITE tools to release anxiety

As you probably know by now, I’ve dealt with (and still deal with) my fair share of anxiety. Last year, my anxiety became so debilitating that I FINALLY took it seriously and got help. Since then, life has been so much more peaceful.

If you’re struggling with anxiety to any extent–maybe you get anxious when you have a lot on your plate at work or school, maybe you have a hard time just getting out of bed, or anything in between–know that there is hope. You canand will feel more calm and peaceful. Things will get figured out.

To help you move forward in your journey with anxiety, here is a list of my favorite ways to help you manage and release anxious thoughts. When you use these tools and practices, you’ll feel a little lighter and stronger.

1. Water. Drink water all day, especially in the mornings. When you have anxiety, cortisol (the stress hormone) is released in the body. But guess what? You pee out cortisol! Drink a lot of water to prevent all of that cortisol from building up in your body.

2. Words from Eleanor Roosevelt: “With the new day comes new thoughts.” I LOVE this quote because it reminds us that our current thoughts and state of mind is only temporary. As time passes, things get better.

3. Face masks. Doing face masks gives you something really easy, fun, and tangible to focus on. They’re good for you skin and make you feel luxurious. My fave is Catastrophe Cosmetic. Or just plain, full-fat/low-fat Greek yogurt. Smear it on your face. It’s amaze.

4. Journal or legal pad. Freewriting/brain dumps really help ease anxiety because they get everything out of your head and onto paper. When you externalize your thoughts, you begin to dismantle their power over you. Your anxious thoughts aren’t you. Journaling helps you see that.

5. Timers. I love Medivate and Marinara Timer because they keep me focused at work. When I get more work done instead of trolling Youtube, I feel powerful and calm, definitely not anxious.

6. Exercise. Oh my gosh this is a big one. When you move your body, you release stagnant energy and cortisol. You also tire out your body, which helps you sleep better. And your thoughts soften. Exercising is crucial. This is one of my fave workouts to do at home.

7. Therapy. Find a good therapist and stick with it. My therapist is bomb.

8. Self touch. Duh, masturbation is a big stress-reliever, so I encourage it. But other than that, try gently pressing on your bare stomach with your hand in the morning or night while you’re lying in bed. Skin-to-skin touch is very soothing.

9. Plan Better Live Better Planner. I know I talk about this a lot. When you get stuff done, you feel productive, which makes you feel powerful and less stressed out. This planner helps you remember and schedule everything you have to do–in a peaceful way!

10. Comforting books, blogs, and podcasts. I’m loooving Let it Out: A Journey Through Journaling; Food Psych; Mind Body Musings; Girl and the Good.

That’s my easing anxiety toolkit for now! I’m always adding things, so expect another toolkit comin’ your way.

How to start meditating (some of my best meditating tips!)

If I’m being totally honest, I’m not great at meditating regularly. It’s hard for me to stick to a specific time/place/method. I get lazy, distracted, or annoyed with the whole thing. Can you relate?

We’re always told how amazing meditating is (and it is!), but it’s so easy to fall off track when we decide to “start a meditating practice.” So let’s take some pressure off of ourselves and be easy about meditating so that we can actually experience the benefits (i.e. increased calm, stronger connection to our intuition).

Here are my tips on how to start meditating without dreading it or worrying about whether you fall off track:

1. Just start. If you’re stalling on meditating, lean on this beautiful sutra: Start and the pressure will be off. I wrote about it here!

2. Just show up. This is another mantra that I love. It means that it doesn’t matter how “good” of a meditator you are, whether you’re doing it right, or whether you’ll be able to keep it up. It means that you’ve already succeeded simply by sitting down to meditate. You’ve already won just by doing it, by meditating!

3. Remember: It’s a GOOD sign if your thoughts are all over the place. If you’re meditating and your thoughts just won’t get quiet, that’s actually good. It means that your mind and body are working through and releasing stuff. It means you’re a good meditator, not a bad one.

4. Return to your breath. The goal isn’t for us to have a perfectly quiet meditation (see above). The goal is for us to RETURN to our breath whenever we lose focus and get caught up in our thoughts. When you notice yourself getting caught up in your thoughts, breathe a little deeper and bring your attention back to your breath. Do it as often as you need to while meditating. Meditating is all about the return to the breath.

5. Meditate any time, anywhere. If you have a specific place you like to meditate, that’s great. But you can also meditate in a bathroom stall, on a friend’s couch after everyone has gone to bed, or in a parking lot in your car while stalling before a date. You can meditate anywhere where you can close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes. We don’t have to meditate in the same place at the same time every day. We can do it anywhere and reap the benefits.

6. Form your own meditation practice and own it. Meditating looks different for everyone. A quick Google search will show you that there are tons of ways to meditate. Experiment with different methods, or just close your eyes and breathe deeply right now. You’ll find your meditating groove, and it will probably change as you change. Know that you’re meditating in the right way for you if it’s making you feel a shift of some kind.

If you’d like to explore meditation, take the pressure off of yourself to meditate the “right” way. Use my tips and see where your meditation journey takes you!

Do you feel anxious in the morning? Here are 4 tools to help!

Is there a worse sound than your alarm going off in the morning? Is there a worse feeling than being pummeled by your mental To Do list seconds after you open your eyes? Stress, fear, and anxiety attack immediately. Your schedule for the day is intense and scary. All you want to do is stay in bed and watch Netflix.

I feel you, babe. I dreaded waking up in the mornings because thoughts of my workload hit me hard and made me nauseous. In fact, every time my alarm went off, my stomach cringed and twisted. I wanted nothing more than to dive into my parents’ bed so that they could comfort me.

Feeling anxious in the morning, or morning anxiety, is totally normal and totally okay. I STILL get hit with anxiety in the morning. Our cortisol (the stress hormone) level is at its highest in the mornings, so feeling pangs of anxiety when we first wake up is totally natural. Yes, it sucks. But we need to acknowledge anxiety when we feel it. Then, we can take action to move though it and feel calmer before we start the day.

Here are some tools that you can use in the mornings to move through anxiety and get in a happy, peaceful state before you head to campus for the day:

  1. Say comforting things to yourself. Before you even open your eyes, say sweet, beautiful, and comforting things to yourself. This allows you to acknowledge you’re anxiety and gently release it. After your alarm goes off, take 1 minute with your eyes closed to say the following (or a version of the following): “I love you. You feel anxious right now. That’s okay. You’re safe. Everything will be okay. You’re doing great. You’re doing your best. Everything will get done. Everything always gets done. I love you.”
  2. Drink room-temperature water. After several hours of sleep, your body needs to be hydrated…and you can do it while still in bed. Have a glass of water on your nightstand (or the bookshelf you’re using as a nightstand) so that you can drink it as soon as you wake up. Don’t drink cold/ice water, as that can shock your system and stress your body (the exact opposite thing we’re trying to do here). Room temperature water hydrates your body without the shock. Drinking water also gives your mind something to think about other than your busy day ahead.
  3. Touch yourself and breathe. You can do this in bed, too. I’m not saying to masturbate (though what an amazing stress-reliever), but I want you to put your hands lovingly on your body and take deep breaths. Every single morning, before I get out of bed, I put my hand on my stomach under my shirt, on my skin, apply a little pressure and breathe deeply. This action instantly soothes me and connects me to my body, which gives me a little space from my whirring thoughts. Think of yourself as an innocent child who needs to be soothed. Maybe you wrap your arms around yourself. Stroke your cheek and up and down your arms. Massage your hands. The gentler you are with yourself and the more you breathe, the faster the anxiety goes away. Promise.
  4. Do something fun. When you’re in a state of anxiety, your brain is busy trying to help you deal. But having fun calms your mind so that your clear and creative thoughts come through. Before you check your email or get dressed, do something fun for 5-10 mins. Read a few pages of a funny book (Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Ellen are some of my faves), watch a funny video (Jimmy Fallon, this Portlandia sketch, Ellen, parts of Seinfeld episodes), have a dance party or listen to music that brings you joy, read a blog that you love…like mine 😉
  5. Look good. When you envision yourself rocking your day, I’m assuming you don’t see a woman in a stained, oversized shirt and leggings with holes in them. You probably envision yourself in a nice outfit with your hair and makeup done, right? Looking your best makes you feel confident and powerful. Plus, going through the motions of doing your hair, makeup, etc. can take your mind off of your anxious thoughts.

Morning anxiety and the subsequent symptoms (nausea, rapid heartbeat, trembling, nervousness, stomach pain) will still hit you some mornings. But it doesn’t have to control you or dictate how the rest of your day goes. Use any of the above tools to shift out of that anxiety gently so that your body and mind calm down and you can go out and rock your day like the happy college girl you are.

If you need clarification on any of these tools, hit reply and let’s talk. I know morning anxiety intimately and can help you design a beautiful morning routine that makes you feel happy and peaceful.

Why I touch myself every morning

Ow ow!

Okay this post is not an ode to masturbation (though what a stress reliever, right?). This post is dedicated to the most effective tool I’ve discovered for relieving anxiety…aside from a sexy DIY-job.

My anxiety is the most intense first thing in the morning. As soon as I wake up, my stomach tightens. I feel nauseous. I want to stay in bed and hide from the world. Maybe you can relate?

Well, I’ve discovered a tool that will IMMEDIATELY put you at ease.

During those first few moments after waking up, when my anxiety is intense and overwhelming, I put my hand firmly on my stomach, like under my shirt, on my skin. I spread my fingers wide and press (lightly) on my stomach.

This simple action forces me to shift slightly out of my anxious thoughts and center into the present moment. It reminds me that while my thoughts are whirring and going crazy, my body can be still and calm. It reminds me that my thoughts don’t HAVE to affect my body. I can be still while my thoughts do their thing and eventually pass. When I press on my bare stomach, I feel soothed. My nausea lifts. My thoughts slow down.

The pressing-my-hand-on-my-bare-stomach thing has transformed my mornings. I used to go to bed dreading the idea of waking up because I knew my anxiety would hit me hard as soon as I opened my eyes. But now, I almost (ALMOST) enjoy waking up because it feels super freakin’ good to press my hand on my stomach.

Y’all need to try this. Lift up your shirts and do it NOW (or at an appropriate time).

When do you feel the most anxious in your day?