Revel in Your Small Victories

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Happy Tuesday Everyone! Hope yours is off to a good start.

Today I’d like to discuss the importance of reveling in your small victories.

In this busy world we live in, with only 24 hours in a day, it’s difficult to function efficiently without a giant “to-do” list that governs your day-to-day schedule. And one thing that I notice rather often is our tendency to quickly scramble onto the next order of business as we are still in the process of crossing off the last. We rarely take the time to breathe between tasks and celebrate the small victories that we’ve already accomplished!

This should never be taken lightly. It is SO important not to fixate on the things that we have not yet finished, and instead praise ourselves for the things that we have. Take the time to pat yourself on the back for your progress…as ANY progress is better than none. Don’t allow yourself to be frustrated by the outstanding items. See them as a healthy challenge that you will gradually conquer over the course of time…it’s not a race!

Now do not take this message the wrong way: I am not trying to encourage laziness or procrastination. However, I think that it is critical to take the time to feel proud of the things we have accomplished, rather than frazzled by the things we have not yet attended to. If we do not take the time to acknowledge our victories, then we’ll continue to feel that we just cannot keep up.  Now I don’t know about you, but if I felt like I was working hard and tediously, yet getting nowhere…I’d likely end up quitting. Encourage yourself by encouraging yourself. Self-praise and admiration are key.

IN FACT!!! I like to celebrate my own small victories by rewarding myself along the way. The positive reinforcement is healthy and fun. I’ve finished my reading for the day? GREAT! Time to relax and catch up on the last episode of “This is Us”. I just finished with my midterms? FANTASTIC! I’ll finally schedule the nail appointment that I’ve been putting off for so long. Made it into both of my doctor’s appointments in one day! AMAZING! Time for a scoop of Baskin Robbins ice-cream. Personally, I find that rewarding myself for the things I’ve completed rather than scurrying to get crackin’ on the unfinished business, truly motivates me to take on the new tasks with a positive attitude and a refreshed enthusiasm. My efforts and work ethic are enhanced after taking a small breather and reveling in my accomplishments.

SERIOUSLY guys, you will be amazed by the strikingly obvious benefits you’ll experience by simply taking on this ideology. Staying positive, refreshed, and ambitious has never been so easy. Positive self-talk + Personal Rewarding (as a mechanism of positive reinforcement) truly make the biggest difference.

Stay lovely, lovelies.

xx allie

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Always Listen to Your Body

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What’s up guys?! Happy Wednesday!

Lately, I have been itching to discuss an ideology that I’ve been adopting a LOT these days. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

What does it look like to listen to your body? Sometimes, it means not being able to give your 100%, 100% of the time. This is something that I still continue to struggle with, but I’ve been progressively learning to take my personal limits in stride.

As I’ve discussed in my blog posts before, exercising is extremely important to me. Although it’s nice to see physical developments as a result of working out, I appreciate exercising more for the mental benefits it provides. Exercise combats stress and depression, two things that I have been known to struggle with in my life. Devoting 2-3 days to working out per week is essential to my mental wellbeing, and for that reason I refuse to give it up. I regard it as my due diligence to see to it that I get the exercise I need to ensure that I am operating at my most pristine mental capacity. Sometimes however, I am a little too ambitious. I book myself for a workout class at 8am, the morning after being up until 12:30am doing my grad school reading/assignments. On these mornings, it is particularly difficult to wake up and work out. So what do I do? I listen to my body. If my body is saying that sleep is more important than exercise for that day, I turn off my “snooze” button and fall back asleep for another hour. I almost never regret missing my workout for extra zzzz’s. In my personal opinion, it’s a good tradeoff.

If you know me personally, then you probably know that I’m a little bit neurotic when it comes to my school work, which I see as a general reflection of my ambition, perseverance, and motivation. It irks me when I don’t complete the assigned reading before class, or I feel that I have underperformed on a paper or assignment. In the past, I’ve been relatively successful at devoting 110% effort into my school life–even going above and beyond when possible. However lately, I am realizing that this is next to near impossible in grad school. If I were to give 100% in everything I do, then there would never be enough time in a day. It’s about learning to recognize my limits, accept them, and then not beating myself up in the end. In grad school you learn about prioritizing, and you also learn about “scraping by” or just “doing what you need to do”. Point is, I’ve been listening to my body lately and ignoring my guilt. If I’m falling asleep while reading, then I choose sleeping. I’m not going to die if I don’t finish…in fact, it probably won’t matter at all. If I need quality time with friends for the sheer sake of sanity, then you best believe I’m going to make myself get what I need…even at the expense of other tasks. Balance is truly everything….and mental health and sanity is always #1. In fact, I even give myself ‘break days’ during the week, where I promise myself not to even open a book or take out my laptop. It’s important to be present in life, and to continue to enjoy living.…which can often be sacrificed for the sake of education or getting ahead.

Getting sick? Make that your focus. Listen to your body and give it what it needs to get well. If you ignore the signs or symptoms your body is presenting, then you will only suffer for longer. Make time to visit a doctor, allocate 20 minutes to pick up the meds you need from a local CVS, go get that “Cold Buster” from Jamba Juice, or crank out that Chicken Noodle Soup recipe you’ve been pocketing. You might not think you have time for any of this, but the fact is, you don’t have time to NOT do this. Your health is important, and if you are not operating at your best, then nothing you do will be a reflection of your best efforts. Take care of your body, then take care of your other responsibilities.

Your body is smart. You will always know what you need if you are perceptive to its language. Be mindful and aware of what it tells you. Take it into consideration. After all, it is the vessel in which you live. I can think of nothing more important than that.

Stay beautiful, stay in tune.

xx allie

Friday the 13th: October Faves

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 Happy Friday the 13th fellas! Of all the days in October (aside from Halloween, of course), this has to be my favorite. Why?

  1. It’s October (my absolute favorite month)
  2. It’s Friday (tgif, duh)
  3. It’s payday (shopping anyone?)
  4. It’s an inherently spooky day (because it’s Friday, the 13th)

When you think about it, entire movies were created based around this particular day. So if you’re trying to tell me it’s not a big deal…then think again. So now that we’re officially (almost) halfway through the month, the countdown to Halloween officially begins! I thought it might be fitting to discuss a few noteworthy Halloween/October/Fall activities that are always fun around this time of year. Adulting sucks—but planning your month out with fun events surely always makes it better.

If you can commit to at least a few of these fun favorites, I can PROMISE your month will instantly be better:

  • Pumpkin Patch it Up: Guys…not kidding, if you don’t attend a pumpkin patch in the fall, then did you really even live through it? Pumpkin patches are so much fun because you get to walk through hay to select the perfect pumpkin (based on your own personal preferences), watch adorable kids/babies get excited over the games/’rides’, make your way through a corn maze, eat traditional fall foods (pumpkin pie, corn on the cob, etc.), and my personal fave…play with all of the animals in the petting-zoo! It’s never too expensive to attend…and yet you can often be entertained for hours. Plus—you can carve your pumpkin afterwards!
  • See Scary Movies: If you’re not a wimp (shout-out to all of my best friends), then definitely take advantage of the scary movies that come out in theaters around this time of year. Buy popcorn and chocolate (especially if it’s October), and take on a scary thriller. There’s no better way to get in the mood for Halloween than to immerse yourself in the throws of an intense film. I’ve got my eye out for “Jigsaw” this year….
  • Bake Halloween Treats: So I’m definitely not the best at baking….but there’s something special about fall baking in particular—especially if you can make adorable little ghosts, goblins, ghouls, skeletons, mummies, and witches out of sugar. Click here for a number of fantastic recipes. Better Crocker knows where it’s at.
  • Halloween Horror Nights [HHN]: As an adult, it just doesn’t feel as acceptable to go trick-or-treating anymore. When I first realized this a few years back, I was immediately saddened that Halloween was going to lose its pizzaz. Then, I discovered HHN. Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate way to celebrate Halloween. Not only do you get to embark on your favorite rides, but you also get to explore a number of themed haunted houses, and continue to be spooked by crazed costumed individuals with real-working chainsaws. Sounds like my kind of night. Basically, you’re guaranteed a lot of laughs, and a lot of fun. These tickets can be expensive, so be sure to check the calendar for discount days!
  • Haunted Houses: If you’re lucky, then chances are you’ll be able to find haunted houses in your area. Take advantage of these. They usually aren’t very expensive, and are always pretty fun when you don’t know what to expect. Plus, it’s pretty impressive to see all of the work that goes into creating the perfect haunted house. The makeup, the decorations, the acting….so cool!
  • Starbucks Drinks: Calories don’t count in October, I promise. I take every opportunity during the month to visit my local Starbucks and indulge on pumpkin spiced lattes, salted caramel mochas, and the like. It’s basically like Halloween in a cup, and like Halloween on your tastebuds. You just can’t lose.
  • October Nails: If you can swing it, go get themed nails. It’s so much fun to have little ghosts and skeletons on your fingers or toes. It’s a constant reminder of the fun time of year, and a cute little distraction to all who notice it.

 Alright guys, so that’s it for my Friday the 13th blog post. Be careful not to run into any black cats today, or break any mirrors…

HAPPY OCTOBER!

Xx allie

Shaken

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All day today I have felt shaken. I simply cannot get the vision of Sunday night’s catastrophe out of my head…and yet I was not even there. Thankfully, I did not attend that concert. Thankfully, no one that I personally know was hurt. But tonight I lay in my bed thinking about the many thousands of people who lost someone dear to them unexpectedly on that night. I wonder how many people will cry themselves to sleep, grieving over the loss of their son or daughter, their husband or wife, their cousin or best friend. Nobody could have foreseen the events of that night that left us all in disbelief. Nobody can undo it. My heart breaks to know this.

As I studied today in a public place, I felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety as I imagined how it would feel if suddenly I were challenged with the daunting task of running for my life amidst an avalanche of bullets. A feeling of panic overcame my entire body as I stewed in fear at the thought of its possibility. To think that at any moment one could be caught off guard and introduced to the stark contrast of life and death.

There is nothing in this world that will remedy the tragedy that occurred on Sunday in Las Vegas. But when tragedies of this sort happen, it is important that we do the only thing that we know how–look for the light.

There were many heroes that rose to the occasion when those bullets were fired. Incredible people jumped in front of bullets to save others they did not know. On that night, we saw the sinister act of one highly disturbed person. But in contrast, we also bore witness to the truly compassionate nature that resides within the very same species. We were reminded, albeit traumatically, of the extremely divergent conditions of the human mind. The devastation that can result from that of a deeply troubled mind, versus the heroic altruism that comes from the same network of neuronal connections.

We wonder what caused such a psychotic break. What compelled this man to follow-through with the deadliest recorded mass shooting in US history? The sickly part is that we may never know. We may never determine what caused him to snap. This shakes us even more.

But if we can learn anything from this tragedy, let it be this: spread kindness. 

We cannot know what people are going through behind the scenes. We cannot know how our interaction with a stranger might affect their decisions–and how those decisions might affect others. We cannot truly know even the people that we think we know. The best defense against this act of violence is just simply to spread kindness. It doesn’t take much, but it makes all the difference. Do something to make someone’s day. Start a chain reaction. Show the world what us humans are really made of.

#prayforvegas

xx allie