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 stop procrastinating (ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it)

This week, I managed to do lots o’ yoga, went to the state fair, ate delicious ice cream, and played around with Snapchat at the doctor’s office (follow me at sgreenberg721).

doctors-office-jenis-alpacas-collage

Let’s talk about something work-related. How about procrastination? Ug I can procrastinate with the best of them. In fact, just last night I was sitting at my desk ready to do some work (on an awesome project comin to ya soon!) when I got sucked into The Hills. I spent almost two hours watching episode after episode and researching what every single character (even minor ones who never actually spoke) is doing now. That’s how I discovered the awesomeness of Jilly Hendrix.

I managed to get my work done, but I had to stay up late to do it, and my original plan was to bang it out, then hit the hay. Gah! Can you relate to this?

Procrastinating doesn’t do anyone any good. It just makes the work you have to do that much more unappealing, unbearable, and even tortuous. Yet, we all procrastinate sometimes, so we’re not alone.

The trick is to decide exactly what we’re going to work on for a certain amount of time, and shorten the amount of time we stall on doing that work. How do we do that? As my yoga teacher once said, “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.”

What does that mean? It means that the hardest part of doing work is actually getting ourselves to do it. It’s true. When I was procrastinating last night, I knew that the work I had to do wasn’t hard; actually it was pretty fun and about a topic that revs me up. The hardest part was pulling myself away from The Hills. I got really comfortable in front of my laptop, just Googling away searching for answers about people I don’t know. All I had to do was pause The Hills and do my work. Once I did, I got into a good rhythm and did what I had to do.

That’s the hardest part for most of us–just pulling ourselves away from our laptop, the couch, our friend’s house, the phone, etc. But that’s the most important step. If we can just take that first step–getting ourselves to focus on the work in front of us–then our work becomes easier and we stop procrastinating (for that moment, at least).

Here’s how to get out of procrastination and into action:
1. Whatever procrastinating activity you’re doing–using social media, binge watching, Youtubing the Carpool Karaoke episodes, biting your nails–take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale deeply. Get into your body for a few seconds.

2. Move around. Get up and get a glass of water. Dance to a song that gets you going. Go to the bathroom. Move from your bed to your desk. Getting some blood pumping in your body will wake you up.

3. Turn off the TV show, movie, social media, etc. Just X out of whatever you’re doing that’s keeping you from doing work. Turn it off for now like it’s no big deal.

4. Pick one task you’re going to do. Don’t just say, “Okay, now I have to do work.” WTF does that even mean? If you don’t have a concrete plan or goal in mind, you won’t be able to focus and then you’ll end up procrastinating again. Instead, say, “Okay, I’m going to read one chapter of my book.” Or, “I’m going to pick a topic for my paper.” Giving yourself one task will make your workload feel manageable. And when you finish it, you’ll feel really productive and good about yourself…giving yourself more motivation to keep doing work.

5. Set a timer. I loooove timers. Use your phone or an online timer like this or this. When you use a timer, you don’t feel like you’re chained to your desk forever. You’ll work hard for a given amount of time, then take a break. Then you’ll do it again.

This is the exact process I use to get my own work done. We all procrastinate, and that’s okay. But we have goals, dreams, and obligations. So procrastination can’t take up too much of our time. This process will help you. You got this!

How to get a lot of work done in a peaceful way

Though I refuse to accept it, it seems as though the days are getting shorter. It’s getting darker earlier. Semesters have begun. I’m hanging on to as much summer as I can, but I also want to acknowledge that many of you college girls are back at school, and that many of you post-college girls are getting back into a more structured work routine.

One of my readers (hey lady!) wrote to me and asked for some help with handling the large amount of work and responsibility she’ll have this semester. I know that many of you are facing the same challenge, so I want to speak into that and give you some juicy tips on getting a lot of work/stuff done in a peaceful way.

It’s so easy to associate work and responsibility with stress and overwhelm. We assume that when we have a lot to do, we’ll be running around like crazy, won’t have any time for ourselves, and that life will just suck. And know what’s sick about this? Our culture supports that! Our culture created this idea that we HAVE to be stressed out when we have a lot of work on our plate. We give stress and overwhelm a purpose, as if to say that if we’re not stressed out and overwhelmed, then we’re not working hard enough.

What are the consequences of that way of thinking? We run ourselves into the ground. We get sick and really anxious. Our grades or work may actually suffer. We don’t enjoy life. We cry a lot. We turn to binge-eating or to alcohol just to get some relief.

But there really is a different way to get all of our work done, even during those really crazy semesters/periods of life. We can do our work in a peaceful, gentle way so that our physical, emotional, and mental health are protected.

Here’s how to do it!

1. Adopt this perspective: The reality of getting all your work done is always better than how you envision it in your mind. I remember sitting in class on the first day of every semester and having a silent meltdown. I looked at all of my syllabi and would get so scared of all of the work ahead of me. My thoughts did some major future-tripping, making me think that I would never see my family or friends or have any time to myself. But as I got into the semester and banged out each assignment, I realized that I was just doing my work. I could work for part of the day, then see a friend. Then come back and do some more work. No drama. The reality of doing all of our work really is much less dramatic and intense than how our brains tell us it’s going to be.

2. Break down big tasks into super small tasks. When you’re faced with a bunch of assignments and projects that make you nervous, go through each one and break them down into small tasks that are really easy to do. Ex. If you have to write a paper, break that down into tiny steps. One step may be to brainstorm for 20 mins about a topic and by the end of the session, have three ideas. The next step may be to email or talk to your professor and get feedback on your ideas. The next step may be to find one scholarly source. And keep going. One step at a time. And then be really proud of yourself for doing each step, no matter how small. View each task as a win for you.

3. Use a planner. You know how much I love the Plan Better Live Better Planner. But using any planner will help you put all of those smaller tasks, deadlines, etc. on paper instead of just letting them float around in your head and stress you out. When your thoughts are spinning and you’re getting overwhelmed, write out EVERYTHING you have to do (personal, academic, etc.), then schedule them in your planner. Again, break them down into small tasks. Then, pick a time/day to do each of those tasks and put them in your schedule. Now they’re out of your mind and on paper, so you don’t need to stress out.

4. Your work gets done when you actually do it, not when you’re stressing about it. An influx of assignments or commitments is triggering. But when you hook into those feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, the work becomes really intimidating, which can lead to procrastination and/or the perpetuation of more fear around your work. Accept whatever feelings come up. It’s totally natural and normal to feel those emotions when you have a lot on your plate. And the best way to feel calm about your work is to actually get it done. Take the emotion out of your workload. Break it down into those small tasks. Set a timer for yourself and just do it. The more you get into action with your work, the more peaceful you’ll feel.

5. Create a peaceful environment for yourself. When you’re doing your work, make your surroundings very comforting. Drink tea in your favorite mug. Wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket. Listen to music that puts you at ease. Have a glass of water with you. Pull up an inspiring quote/pic on social media to put you at ease and to remind you to keep going. Speak really sweetly to yourself while working: “You’re doing great. I love you. I’m so proud of you.”

6. Soothe your morning anxiety. If you experience anxiety about school and/or your workload when you wake up in the mornings (like me!), I have you covered. Read my blog post here.

The start of a new semester or new season in life can be scary. We have more work to do and we’re on a pretty tight schedule. Use these tips to help you. You got this!

Free/cheap ways to have fun, kick out FOMO, and feel awesome about your life.

Not to sound like an old, out of touch lady, but it’s easy to look at our generation and think that we’re a little obsessed with living the coolest, most exciting life ever. For the most part, that’s a good thing. We want to make the most of our lives, make an impact on the world, and experience everything we can.

But I also think those goals (ha, or should I say, #goals) create a lot of pressure and inferiority. It’s easy to feel bad about our own lives if we’re not traveling around the world, going to awesome parties, writing a super lucrative blog, going to music festivals, buying photogenic Starbucks drinks, sweating it out at Barre class, etc.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything we think we “should” do with our time. Then we’re never able to really connect with ourselves and figure out what we actually want to do with our time (and money–a lot of that sh*t costs $$$). And then that feeling of inferiority or FOMO (fear of missing out) sharpens.

But there are ways to still do the things that our generation loves to do without spending a lot of money and without letting FOMO take over.

Below is a list of free or cheap things you can do to live a cool, exciting life (FOMO, bye.) that give you the freedom and space to be more intentional with your money and time (authenticity, hi.):

1. Have happy hour at a friend’s house. Ask one of your friends who has a nice porch/deck/outside situation if you (and other friends if you want) can come over and share some drinks and snacks. Have everyone bring something, drink, food, proper glasses, cute appetizer plates, etc. Play music. My drink recommendation? Skinnygirl. Skinnygirl margaritas and wines are available at most liquor stores and are pretty cheap.

2. Do a facial steam and mask. I do this all. the. time. In fact, I did it last night. Boil a large pot of water. Pour water into a large bowl. Drape a towel over your head and the bowl, with your head about 10 inches away from the water. Stay there for 10 mins. Let the steam soften and detoxify your skin. When you’re done, use a toner to clean any dirt/makeup that came off. While your skin is still damp, smear on a face mask. I LOVE the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask from LUSH.

3. Plan a phone date with a friend. I had two phone dates with friends this week. I stayed in both nights and spent my time catching up with them. Maintaining out-of-state friendships take work, and phone dates are free!

4. Bake something. You don’t even have to go out and buy ingredients. I’m told that MyFridgeFood shows you what you can make with exactly what you have at home. Then you can share your baked goods with others, get compliments from friends, AND post on social media. Brills.

5. Write thank-you notes. This is a great thing to do one evening if you keep putting it off. Also, write a random thank you note to a friend or family member, just to thank them for being in your life. This is a beautiful practice of gratitude, and when you’re in that space, you draw more good things to you.

6. Plan out the rest of your week. Doing this puts me at ease immediately. Schedule all of the work/personal things you HAVE to do, then include the other goals you want to accomplish. I highly recommend this planner.

7. Put together new outfits. Go on Pinterest or fashion/DIY blogs. Then go into your closet/dresser and put new outfit combinations together. Turn on some music. This is fun and it makes you realize that you actually do have things to wear.

8. Volunteer somewhere. I gotta work on this myself. But I love volunteering because it gets you out of your head and forces you to focus on how much power you have to help others.

9. Use Starbucks hacks. Instead of a latte, order a misto. It tastes the same and saves you a dollar or more. Last week, I ordered a misto with a pump of vanilla. Way cheaper than a vanilla latte. Also, go with a friend, order a venti frappuccino, and ask for an extra cup. This saves you two or more bucks. And the baristas KNOW that Sbux prices are cray. They won’t give you pushback.

10. Do yoga with friends in your living room. If you or one of your friends is a yogi, ask them to lead you in a yoga routine. Turn on some bumpin music. One of my dreams is to design a customized yoga routine for each of my friends with music that reminds me of them. I designed something for one of my friends, but I never actually delivered it (I still remember, Erin!).

There are tons more ways you can engage with life without spending a ton of money and without getting caught up in feeling like you have to do everything we Millennials “should” be doing. You can be you, while kicking out FOMO, and while saving $$$. And everything in my list is social media-worthy. Win-win-win.

How To Reconnect To Yourself After Being Out Of Your Regular Routine

Whew, I’m sitting here at my laptop listening to Michelle Branch and recovering from a very busy week and weekend. A few things I did: went to a baseball game, made cupcakes for my bff at 1am, and made said cupcakes into a#drakeoncake.

Cupcakes collage

My week has been so exhausting because I’ve been out of my regular routine. I’ve been going out a lot more than I usually do on weeknights (ahem, dating whatttt), which totally threw off my evening, bedtime, and morning routines. Of course, the reasons why my routine has been thrown off are good and fun, but still a little anxiety-producing. When I’m out of my routine, especially several days in a row, here’s what happens: my hunger cues are dulled and hard to hear, I get really tired, I can’t focus as well on my work, and my thoughts are so scatterbrained.

It’s pretty easy to get thrown off of our regular routines, especially since summer is here and we get more invitations to go out, go on vacation, etc. And it’s awesome to do things and go out. But all of that action impacts us physically and emotionally, which then affects our ability to slay at work, enjoy relationships, experience calm, and enjoy our lives.

So to keep yourself calm, happy, and able to have as much fun as possible in your life, you have to connect back to yourself. Here are several ways to do that:

  • Eat every 4-5 hours. FACT: When we’re hungry, our anxiety level increases. If you’re on a date that goes long, out with friends, on a day trip, etc., make sure you eat, even if you don’t feel super hungry. Put something in your stomach every 4-5 hours to keep your emotions and thoughts steady and easy.
  • Drink lots o’ water. FACT: You pee out cortisol, the stress hormone. It’s easy for cortisol to build up in our body when we’re with people who stimulate us or are enjoying an action-packed day. So wherever you go, make sure you drink water a lot.
  • Do self-care when you get home. Turn on some music and veg. Do aleg drain. Take a hot shower. Read. Do a face mask. Paint your nails. Gently stretch your body. Take a walk. Listen to a podcast. Giving yourself attention will calm you down and slow down those whirring thoughts.
  • SLEEP. When you return from your activities, prioritize sleep. Sleep will make you feel like yourself again. Your body will regenerate its cells and life just feels easier when you’re well rested.
  • Be with your peeps. If you’ve been out with new people or in new surroundings, it’s so comforting to be with people who you feel totally yourself around and who make you feel safe and cozy. Hang with your fam. Have a phone date with a friend. Be with people who you can just bewith.
  • Pick one tangible task and do it. Sometimes when we’re busy having fun and being out of our routine, we put off work tasks or stuff we have to do at home (um, totally me this week). So when you get home, pick one task, set a timer, and do it. Maybe you write a blog post, research something for 20 mins, pay your bills, wash your sheets. Pick something tangible and measurable, and do it. Being productive makes you feel calm and powerful.
  • Say NO. If your body and mind need a little more time to calm down and recharge, then turn down an invite. Be honest and tell people that you need some time for yourself, then tell them when you’re free, or tell them that you’ll contact them when you’re free. Alerting your boundaries to others is a very sacred act.

I want you to have so much fun this summer (and always). And in order to do that, you have to take care of yourself!

How to accomplish your summer goals/To Do list with peace and ease

I’m just got back from a trip to Spain and oh how I miss it! My flight home was weepy, as I deeply missed my friends and the magic of Spain, but I had an empty seat next to me, so I got to stretch out and watch lots of Audrey Hepburn movies. Not too shabs.

Coming home from Spain

Now that we’re entering the end of May, I think that most of us are thinking about summer. While summer is filled with wonderful things, it also makes us a little anxious because we tend to set a lot of goals and create a big list of things to get done. But we often don’t know where to start and get overwhelmed by everything we want to do. Our goals/To Do list gets so big and scary that we don’t take action on anything…which just makes us feel worse.

When I was in college (and after college), I stressed out a lot during the summer. I was usually trying to do well in a job or internship while figuring out what job/internship I should get next, establish a meditation and workout routine and actually stick to it, plan my birthday amidst a ton of family events, set goals for the fall semester, find ways to make extra cash, and more. Sometimes I would get so overwhelmed by everything I had and wanted to do that it was really hard to even START doing any of these things. And by the end of the summer, I felt lazy, stupid, and like a baby, which of course didn’t make me want to take action on any of my fall goals/To Do list items.

But this summer,  I want you to do and experience everything you want. And here’s how you’re going to do it:

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

This is a sutra (an ancient rule/guideline) from a really cool yogi named Yogi Bhajan, who created the 5 Sutras of the Aquarian Age.

I love this sutra because it’s such a gentle reminder that all we have to do to relieve the overwhelm of our summer To Do list/goals is to just START doing stuff. As soon as we get into action, even just a little, we will feel better. We’ll feel calmer because we’re actually being productive and doing work. We’ll also realize that once we take action on something, it’s not as scary as we thought, which gives us confidence to keep going. Plus, as we start on our goals/tasks, we’ll get clarity about which ones are really important and necessary right now, and which ones aren’t. As Marie Forleo says, clarity comes from engagement, not thought.

Here’s how to put this sutra into action in your life:
1. Write out everything you have to/want to do this summer.
2. Pick a task.
3. Set a timer for 20 mins and do it. Also try the Pomodoro technique for extra productivity.
4. Trust that when you START, you will be guided and protected. You don’t need to worry about how things will turn out or what will happen in the future. You’ve STARTED, which is all you have to do. You’ll be guided from there.
4. Repeat all summer!

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

Want to meditate this summer? Do a little research on meditation, set a timer, and do it. Then do it again. Need to find an internship for the fall? START by revising your resume, researching opportunities, and conducting informational interviews. Want to start dating? START by setting up an online profile, having a friend set you up, etc. Ready to clean out your room? START by doing a little at a time. These are all just examples of how you can START on your goals/To Do list, feel calm, and get a boost of confidence to keep you going!

10 easy ways to take care of your mind and body during finals (and other times of extreme stress)

How was your week? Some of what I did this week included: VOTING, watching Lemonade with my friend May (we are changed forever), putting my legs up a wall, making a honey/yogurt/lemon/salt face mask, and rebounding like a queen. And I had a great conversation with the amazing girl behind As We Stumble Along!

Lemonade and legs

I know that many of you are knee-deep in (or about to be) in final exams, final papers, and final projects. Whew, I know how stressful that is. During my final semester of undergrad, I would wake up in the mornings in panic-mode and had to call my Mom to help calm me down. And I would often hit the food hard (i.e. binge eating) just to deal with the stress. By the end of finals, I was relieved, but so exhausted, sick, and disoriented that it took me days to recover, enjoy post-finals life, and take action on other goals (i.e. rocking my summer internship, job hunting, etc.)

And for you post-college folks, I know that y’all experience times of extreme stress at work, in relationships, with your health/body, and trying to balance everything you have to do be an adult. I get it.

It’s easy to let your mental and physical health take a backseat to all of the work you have to do/worry about during stressful times. But I want to give you lots of easy things you can do to support your body and mind while you do all of your work… so that you can be as productive as possible and have the energy to have fun in your life and focus on other goals you want to accomplish.

Here are 10 easy ways to take care of your mind and body during finals/times of extreme stress:

1. Fall asleep to a meditation/hypnosis recording. This is an easy way to relax your brain while you sleep, even if you’re just getting a few hours of sleep per night. Put in your earbuds and just let the words and sounds of these recordings work on you.

2. Eat full meals. Most of us don’t eat enough food, even if we’re not trying to manipulate our body. Our culture just doesn’t support taking time for meals. But when you eat full meals, your anxiety level goes down and your body can work hard for you. You’ll have more energy to do work and feel calm while doing it. So for every meal, try to get in 4-5 foods per meal (ex. breakfast: scrambled egg with cheese, toast, yogurt, fruit–that’s five foods).

3. Do face masks. I could evangelize about these. Face masks (homemade orstore-bought) keep your skin happy and calm while you do other things, like study, do laundry, send emails, or just chill out. P.S. doing them with friends and taking pics is very fun. These are some of my fave homemade masks.

4. Use the Pomodoro technique when doing work. This is a productivity method that involves setting a timer for 25 mins to do work, taking a 5 min break, then doing work for another 25 mins, followed by another 5-min break, and doing this four times total. This WORKS. I’ve been using it all week and have really stayed on task. There are a ton of free online Pomodoro timers out there. I’ve been using this one.

5. Rebound/dance and jump around. Rebounding refers to jumping on a mini trampoline (pic above). It’s a form of exercise that gets the lymphatic system moving. The lymphatic system carries nutrients to the cells while carrying away waste. If you don’t move the body, the lymph nodes get stuck and tension and waste just sit in your body. So if you have one, take a short study/work break and jump on a mini trampoline while listening to music. Or have a quick dance party that involves a bit of jumping. This movement will refresh your body, rid it of waste, and make you feel more creative.

6. Take a walk with a friend. In grad school, one of my friends and I would work separately at our desks for a period of time, then take a walk outside. Then we’d go back to work for a while, and take another walk together. This was so nice because it motivated us to be hyper-focused on our work, then lighten things up by laughing and being outside, which refreshed us when we got back to our desks. Try this with one of your friends!

7. Drink lots of water. Our bodies pee out cortisol, the stress hormone. We need cortisol to be alert and do things, but when we have an excess of cortisol, our anxiety level really goes up. So when we drink water, we release stress from our bodies and calm down. I carried a Klean Kanteen with me all through college. I also drink a glass of water when I wake up in the morning, as our cortisol level is high in the mornings.

8. Use a mantra. Y’all know how much I love mantras. Here’s the one I used ALL THE TIME in college: Everything always gets done. It always brought me comfort.

9. Put your legs against the wall. This is a fun and gentle stretch for the hamstrings. Lie on your back with your butt touching a wall. Extend your legs vertically and prop them against the wall. Lie there and just chill out for 3-4 mins. Pic above.

10. Hide in the bathroom and meditate. I did this all the time in grad school. Before going into class or when I felt overwhelmed, I would go into a bathroom stall, sit on the toilet (or just stand), close my eyes and breath deeply for 2-4 mins. This helped me get space from my whirring thoughts so I could think clearly. It made me feel calm, strong, and protected. Definitely do this between classes, before taking an exam, before going into a meeting, etc.

Whew, there you go! These tips will keep you calm and healthy so that you can do your best work possible and have energy to enjoy your life AND keep accomplishing goals that are important to you.

How to control your thoughts so you can get work done and be happy: Part 1

Several times last summer, I woke up feeling such intense anxiety that I couldn’t get out of bed. I sobbed for hours–about choices I had to make in the future and the choices I made in the past–before I mustered up enough energy and confidence to actually leave my bed and get dressed.

On one particularly anxious morning, still in bed and crying in mom’s arms, I decided to use a tip from The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (this is amaze btw) and write down all of the thoughts that were going through my brain. Right there in bed, I wrote a list of everything I was thinking…and found relief.

As I created my bulleted list of thoughts, I began to calm down. I began to externalize my thoughts–get them out of my head, into words and sentences, and onto a piece of paper. When they were written out, my thoughts had less control over me; they were less scary and anxiety-producing. I was able to actually be productive. I made it to my therapy appointment, reviewed job listings, replied to emails, ate food, and did laundry.

This exercise gave me the relief I needed to get out of bed and on with my day. And whenever I got anxious, upset, or uncomfortable, I just added those thoughts to my list, and was returned back to a more peaceful state so I could get stuff done and feel calm while doing it. This is possible for you, too.

Here’s what I want you to do this week:

  1. Set a timer to go off every hour on the hour.
  2. Have a piece of paper or your phone/laptop ready.
  3. When the timer goes off, write down all of the fearful, anxious, or upsetting thoughts that came up for you in the past hour. Create a bulleted list of your thoughts.
  4. If a particularly loud thought comes up before your timer goes off, add it to your list. You don’t have to wait for the timer.

Here are some examples from me:

  • I will never be in a happy, fulfilling relationship.
  • Things feel hopeless.
  • What if all of my friends alienate me?
  • Everyone else can be independent and I can’t because I’m so in my head.
  • I am lazy and full of fear.
  • If I was thinner/prettier/smarter/quieter/more interesting and talented, this guy would like me.

Whew okay that was really vulnerable for me. But I want to be real with you so that you feel comfortable with naming and calling out your fearful thoughts, too.

So start tracking your thoughts! Next I’ll show you how to release them so that you can get back to your awesome life.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to be productive even when you’re super emotional and want to do nothing

I’m writing this blog while feeling very emotional. Honestly, all I want to do is watch a movie, eat homemade popcorn drenched in olive oil and covered with sea salt (try it. it’s amaze), and forget about the world and people and responsibilities and my feelings.

I KNOW you can relate to this–feeling so overwhelmed by sadness, heartbreak, fear, anxiety, etc. that doing anything other than staying in bed feels impossible and tortuous.

It’s totally okay, my love. It really is okay to feel that way. And it really is okay to stay in bed and not do anything.

You still have stuff to do, though. Work and school and deadlines and errands and your dreams still need your attention. And when that stuff piles up because you’ve been in bed overwhelmed by your feelings, you start to feel EVEN WORSE. Doing work feels even more impossible and scary.

But everything will be okay. I’m going to teach you a step-by-step process to still get stuff done during a period of intense emotion and not wanting to leave your bed.

Here’s my step-by-step process:

1. Tell yourself that everything you’re feeling is okay and right. This will help you accept your feelings and experience a little peace around them. If you feel heartbroken, tell yourself that it is totally okay and fine and right and normal to feel that way. Don’t beat yourself up or fight against how you feel. Accept your feelings. They are yours. They can hang out with you. Say to yourself, “I feel really sad/anxious/mad/lonely and that’s okay.”

2. Pick a finite, concrete task, set a timer, and do it. Here’s where productivity comes in. Out of all of the responsibilities looming over you, pick something simple to do. Give yourself a set amount of time to do it. Set a timer. Then do the task. Maybe this looks like setting the timer for 20 mins and responding to emails. Or reading one chapter of a book. Or freewriting about a paper topic for 15 mins. Or doing one load of laundry. Or writing a blog post(!).

3. Tell yourself that you can feel as emotional as you want after the task is done. If feelings start to bubble up while you’re working on the task you’ve chosen, it’s okay. Tell yourself that after you do this task, you’ll return to bed/Netflix/ice cream and can feel as emotional as you want. Say, “After I finish this chapter, I can be as sad as I want. But I’m working on this chapter right now.” Then when you finish your chosen task, go back to bed and feel yo’ feels.

4. Repeat this process many times. Do these steps everyday, throughout the day. Alternate indulging your feelings (staying in bed, watching TV, doing nothing, crying/screaming) with getting work done (finite, simple tasks).

This is the exact process I used when building and launching The Happy College Girl Summit over the summer. Every day, I alternated between bawling my eyes out because of anxiety and heartbreak, and doing work–emailing guest speakers, conducting interviews, and developing promotional materials. And the summit got done and was awesome!

So when you’re in a period of intense emotion (regardless of however long it lasts), use this process. It will help you move through that emotion while still getting sh*t done and being your bad-ass self.

How to get through finals week while staying sane

Wowza, can you believe it’s December?! Cray. The beginning of December means one thing. I’m not referring to anything Christmas-y. I’m talking about FINALS. Dun dun dun.

Finals week is the worst. Cue the emotional breakdowns, sleep deprivation, constant stress, and binge eating-all in the name of getting good grades, right? WRONG.

It’s TOTALLY possible to have a happy body and mind, and get good grades during finals week. I’m gonna show you how!

Sign up for my FREE 7-day video training series called Rock Your Exams: How to get good grades without freaking out, burning out, or getting sick. 

I want to help you have the most peace and productivity as possible during finals week. Click here now!