Tag Archives: Happiness

Easing into 2016

The month of January goes one of two ways:

  1. You throw yourself into New Year’s resolutions, planning, etc.
  2. The holidays and the cold weather have drained you and the thought of resolutions makes you want to crawl into a hole

Typically a new year is a time for you to reflect and create new goals. But why put all this pressure on ourselves to implement these changes up front? Why not create a year of resolutions, aspirations and new fun things you want to experience?

For the last two months, I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin‘s podcast Happier that she does weekly with her sister Elizabeth. Among other pearls of wisdom, each episode starts with a try this at home tip: a digestible idea to help you create better habits. A few, liking setting an alarm for bedtime, resonated with me. They’re also super easy and fun to try.

As I planned for the new year, I remember the podcast, these tips and recognized that a list of lofty resolutions wasn’t going to work for me. Actually, it never has.

So instead, I started focusing on a couple of things that hopefully will male me a little happier and a little healthier. So far for the month of January, I’ve implemented:

  • Packing breakfast and lunch daily
  • Tracking workouts at the gym
  • Walking during one call a day at work
  • Writing blog posts while at the gym (eliminates the pressure to find another time to write)

Now for some ideas I thought were good but aren’t sticking:

  • Getting up 30 minute earlier to do yoga.
  • Going to bed at a consistent time
  • Taking a lunch break to read

small changesI’m not totally giving up on these ideas but need to look at them differently and assess if now is the right timing. For example, instead of a full yoga class in the morning, maybe it’s ten mindful minutes of stretching. These smaller changes do have a bigger impact and absolutely remove the pressure of trying to do too much.

I can only speak for myself here: pressure doesn’t help me but it might work for you. We all need to meet ourselves where we are. Nobody needs more pressure or stress. Certainly, I’m not perfect, but these smaller changes have helped my mood. overall well-being and happiness.

What are your thoughts on New Years resolutions? Any helpful tips to share on how to implement new rituals or habits?

Dancing Through Life

If you live anywhere on the east coast, lately you’ve experienced crazy thunderstorms complete with heavy rain, bright strikes of lightening and overall miserable conditions. It’s hard when it’s gloomy out to keep a positive attitude, much like it’s hard to be happy when life throws you curve balls. How do you keep moving forward when life drags you down?

Recently, I saw a quote that read, “Happiness is a choice, choice it.” Even when life downright sucks and nothing is going right, we all have the ability to choose to be happy. We can make the decision to see the glimmers of hope instead of being negative. I can attest that it is extremely difficult to stay positive, to look at the glass half full. I’ve been trying hard lately to stay positive through some challenging family situations that I could allow to affect my happiness. But what good does that do for anyone involved if I’m miserable?

When things don’t go right, absolutely allow yourself the momentary second (or more) to grieve, be angry, cry or feel bad for yourself. All of those emotions are probably valid and totally normal. But don’t get stuck there! Despite your hard situation, it could always be much worse. The situation that provides the most discomfort will be the one that teaches you the most.

You might have seen my post about Zumba and how it’s changed my life. Dancing and music have amazing benefits to both people’s physical and mental health. Next time life brings you down, find your favorite song and dance it out. You might need a couple of songs to cheer you up but I promise it will. I also suggest singing at the top of your lungs while dancing.

Below is a song from the musical Wicked titled Dancing Through Life. All of the characters face different obstacles but the song, sung by the charming Fiyero, proclaims “It’s just life, so keep dancing through.” Sometimes bad things happens that shake us to our core, but that’s no reason to stop dancing! No one said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.

How Do You Define Success?

Lean In” and Sheryl Sandberg have permeated every news channel, major corporation and magazine cover during the last couple of months. The book has been wildly successful and Sandberg has led an army of mainly women in the charge for equality in the workplace. While her book is very helpful and it’s great companies want to aid women in the work/life balance struggle, “Lean In” is not a gospel for every woman out there.

The work/life balance is such a personal issue for men and women alike that no one prescribed way can be applied to everyone’s situation. In reality, it comes down to how you define success. Is is a c-suite office, a certain pay grade, or having happy, responsible children? I can’t answer that question for you and neither can Sheryl Sandberg. What we can do, as women fighting for a better tomorrow, is lift each other up rather than bring one another down.

acsuccessSuccess is one of those obscure topics like happiness. There’s the dictionary definition but that can’t possibly capture everyone’s feelings on these sometimes lofty out-of-reach ideas. A co-worker recently shared a Harvard Business Review (HRB) article that eloquently addressed the topic of success saying “You have to define what success means to you—understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time.” I experienced this epitome earlier in the week when I made the conscious decision to attend my fitness class instead of staying later at work. As a young professional, my career is top of mind, but since the start of 2014, my health has become a top priority too. Right now, being successful means taking time for myself, whether that is a yoga class or a manicure.

It is easy to define success right now as a single, young professional with no responsibility to anyone but myself. However, I know it will gradually become harder, when I add a significant other and children to the mix. That is why I enjoyed the HBR article so much; it is okay for your definition of success to change as your grow and figure out what you want from this life. I look at others my age and occasionally question their lack of ambition. But who am I to define success for them? I can’t want for others what they don’t want for themselves. We can’t define success for anyone else but ourselves.

I think that having a clear definition of success and sharing it with your board of directors is important. Of course,definesuccess you can change this definition whenever you need to, but keeping it top of mind will help you make tough decisions. If you define success as being home with your children by 6 p.m. three nights a week, write it on a post-it, share it with your team and make it happen! I doubt it will always be easy and sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice, but keeping your definition of success top of mind should help.

How do you define success? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

 

Big Sister, Big Responsibilities

sam babyOver the weekend, we celebrated my sister’s 11th birthday. She is one of the three younger siblings I have and is at a very impressionable age. Both her and my nine-year old brother pay close attention to my actions. For example, they are Temple obsessed as that was their first encounter with a university. Since our age difference is so large, things they see me doing they think they can do too. No Samantha, you cannot shop at Forever 21 just because I do.

Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s because there are so many years between us, but I feel a certain responsibility to my younger siblings, especially my sister. That’s probably a girl thing since we are already sharing clothes. From the minute she was born, I felt the need to protect her, guide her and be there for her. This role as big sister to a little girl has proven both rewarding and challenging at times.

I was thirteen when my sister was born. I instantly became a pro at changing diapers, making bottles and finding the Elmo DVD to calm her down. That’s the great part about being so much older: I had the opportunity to help and learn how to take care of a baby. While the day-to-day tasks proved to be a great learning experience, having a little sister has taught me how to mentor and have more intentional conversations. My sister has such a big personality and a mind of her own, which is awesome. However, reasoning with her and helping her to see the big picture is tricky. The older she has gotten, the more we talk about real life situations like losing friends or schoolwork. I absolutely love being able to have these conversations with her but learned to approach them with caution. My words are like the Bible to her; she takes things literally. It has taught me to be very intentional with my words and actions.

The challenge to being a big sister is that I based my decisions around their happiness, not my own. While sisterthis isn’t always true, it definitely has happened. If I skip yoga, I can pick Samantha up from dance and take her for a manicure before Antonio’s hockey game. With the prospect of moving out becoming real, I’m not sure how I’m going to live more than 30 minutes away from these kids. Then I remember how I went to college, how I still saw them, went to hockey games and the list goes on. Going to college left such an impression on them. I hope is so does moving out, having my own apartment and a good job. I still struggle with the need to be there all the time but the greatest lesson I can teach them is to find your own happiness, to live your own life.

Do you have younger siblings? What kind of impact have they made on your life?

Time to Transition

We’ve all felt them; that pang of guilt, fear, what have you as we shift from young adulthood to full-blown adulthood. While it may not happen all at once, the transition to fully responsible for yourself and your happiness is a rough journey for most. Growing pains seep into all areas of our life: our family, our interpersonal relationships and our professional life.

It seems that creating boundaries with family is typically harder when you’re closer with your family OR when they are more involved in your life. Some of this may be on them for wanting to know every detail or on us for sharing every detail. As I begin the process of moving out, these boundaries with my family are necessary for my survival. Their drama, insecurities and issues are not mine to take on. Everyone repeat after me: the problems of my parents, siblings and extended family are not mine to fix. I will always love my family, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.

20 somethingLooking at interpersonal relationships is probably where the sharpest growing pains are felt for the majority of transitioning adults. You have your group of friends from all parts of your life: childhood, high school, college and beyond. You believe this group of friends will be with you forever. But then life happens and people mature and experience life phases at different speeds. Some friends are married right after college while others go off to graduate school. Just because everyone is at a different phase doesn’t mean friendships have to end. It means everyone needs to keep in perspective that we are experiencing things differently. It is not always easy but is absolutely worth it. Significant others are a whole other ballgame. Bottom line is you need to find someone who will grow with you, who loves you for all you are today and everything you will become tomorrow.

In the workplace, growing pains are felt in a completely different way. For me, almost all of my colleagues are older than me so they’ve experienced this transition already. Some are sympathetic and remember what it felt like to find their first apartment. Others can’t be bothered. In this time of change, it’s important to remain confident (not cocky) at work. You may not have it all figured out (no one does), but you must be willing to learn. Age is just a number; don’t let it or others intimidate you.

Everyone goes through the transition from recent college graduate to adult at different times and at different speeds. The fact remains that this is the time to be selfish, live your life for you and no one else. Find what makes you happy and do it as often as possible. Book that trip, run that 5K, but whatever it is, do it for you and no one else. As always, a Beyonce song is all too appropriate for this phase of our lives. While “Grown Woman” gives off a cocky vibe, the meaning behind the song is a good reminder for all of us struggling with this transition. We are adults and can do whatever we want. Have a listen below and share your thoughts with me!

Motivation Mondays: Sweet Silver Lining

I will admit and completely own that I was a cranky pants this past week. Work is insanely busy which is awesome but also exhausting. I have a bunch of exciting events coming up with my family and friends that require planning, coordinating and purchasing things. I certainly felt like time escaped me this weeks, like running so fast in quick sand and getting no where.

As Friday came and I ended my work week, I thought about what felt like the longest five days of my life. Yes, it was busy. Yes, it was stressful and yes, I felt like there was zero time to get anything done. BUT looking back, there were some sweet silver lining moments:

– The sun shined really bright this week. Maybe not every day, but at least a few.

Layout 1– The girls on my team at work are exceptional and made me feel like a rockstar this week, even after a few learning curve mistakes.

– Someone took the time out of their day to give me constructive feedback that I found very helpful.

– I sat on my couch Saturday night and did absolutely nothing. Hello paradise.

– Nana was the happiest I’ve seen her in months yesterday, with her daughters, grandchildren and a home-cooked meal before her. She was beaming, despite being in a neck brace and having a broken arm.

When you look at these instances, they are truly little moments; no major life-changing events or celebrity sightings. While during the week it was hard to see these moments, looking back, it’s times like these that are the most special and most memorable. No matter how rough your week or how bad your life seems, there’s always a sweet silver lining hidden somewhere. Remember to look for and be grateful for them.

Motivation Mondays: The Devil Wears Prada

Today’s Motivation Monday post is brought to you by Thought Catalog. If you never visited their site, you really should check it out. They post hysterical articles and tons of random lists that are often applicable to the life of a 20 something. Their posts are guaranteed to improve even the worst days.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a Thought Catalog post titled “15 Life Lessons from “The Devil Wears Prada.” Intrigued, I clicked the link, read their list of tips and found that I agreed with all of them. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d absolutely check it out this weekend. The quick summary: Anne Hathaway lands her dream job at Runaway, an iconic fashion magazine. She then meets her boss, Meryl Streep and quickly realizes how demanding and challenging her new position is going to be. While some the antics of Hathaway and Streep are a bit exaggerated, there are some helpful pieces of advice for those starting their careers or working at internships.

My favorite points from Thought Catalog include:

1. Never Show Up To Meetings Unprepared.

– No matter how much you hate your boss, position or the work you’re doing, you must come prepared to meetings, presentations, etc. Not being prepared will ultimately cause you more stress than preparing did.

5. When Things Get Hard, Complaining Gets You Nowhere.

– Sure, there will be days when you’re frustrated, when your boss gives you the most ridiculous project to work on and the list goes on and on. Hopefully, the good days outnumber the bad ones. You can vent for a minute or two, but complaining to your co-workers is a bad decision.

10. Appearance Matters, No Matter What Anyone Says.

– This especially holds true when you work at a fashion magazine, like Hathaway does in the movie. However, regardless of where you work, your overall appearance does matter, from head to toe. You are a professional so the way you dress should convey that.

15. An Amazing Job Isn’t Always A Job That Makes You Happy.

– I’ve seen this happen to a bunch of recent graduates. You think job x is your dream job and is going to make you oh so happy. Then you come to find you hate it. Experience is the best teacher, meaning you won’t know what your dream job is until you start working and trying different things. It’s okay to admit you were wrong; it’s trial and error.

When you’re interning or just starting out, you will be asked to do things that you feel are beneath you. But remember, respect isn’t given, it’s earned. You have to prove yourself…everyone started out the same way. Some days will be better than others and you’ll work well with some bosses and not so well with others. Don’t let one experience define the rest and keep searching until you find what makes you truly happen. Never settle!

Check out the rest of Thought Catalog’s lessons from The Devil Wears Prada here. Share your own advice too!

Of Undisputed Origin

Life Advice from Brilliant Minds

Filter, Please!

Confessions, Ramblings of a Blunt Chick

ChickpeaCards

Handcrafted custom made paper goods

Chit Chat Tracker

Keeping You In Touch, One Story At A Time!

Pint-sized Girl in the Big World

Daily musings from across the pond

Kerry Patricia Creations

Film. Photography. Life.

Unwritten

Fashion & Lifestyle Destination For Millennials

The Official Blog of PPRA

Inspiring Excellence in Public Relations

today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

United We Eat

all for the love of food

Temple PRSSA

The Temple University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America

Jade & The City

Dreaming & scheming my way through the city

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Social is a Lifestyle

Love what you do. Do what you love.

Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

PRactical Politics

A place to share my opinions and thoughts about all things public relations & politics. Look out for the occasional travel post as well!

One Guy's Journey

A place to talk about life, career, and everything in between...

Bake Sales and Boot Camp

Surviving one cupcake at a time!

Confessions of a PR Graduate

Documenting my post-grad journey