What I’ve Learned from 2016

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is already coming to an end…it seems as if 2016 just arrived. Yet, when I look back I can see that this past year was filled full with magnificent memories, difficult decisions, exciting experiences and, of course, lessons learned. I want to focus on these lessons because a) I want to use them to help create my resolutions to grow next year and b) I think everyone can apply these things I’ve learned to their lives and future goals. Maybe you’ve learned similar things or perhaps these are new, eye-opening concepts–either way, I hope that they do you as much good as learning them has done me!

  1. Spending time alone is okay

Spending time by yourself, away from others, can actually help you get to know and understand yourself, find new hobbies and see what things you like. First semester of freshman year, I was so worried about spending a Friday night alone or eating by myself in the dining hall for fear I would look like a “loser”. Second semester (spring 2016), I came to find that some of my favorite nights would be taking a break from studying and enjoying a book while I ate alone in the dining hall or cuddling up on the couch to watch my favorite movie. It wasn’t that I was antisocial–I certainly still enjoyed hanging out with people–I just found some alone time was relaxing and enjoyable for myself. Spending time alone does not make you a loser or weird nor does it mean there is something wrong with you, so don’t be afraid to try it out!

2. Selfish vs. Self-Care

Another I thing I learned was the difference between being selfish and taking care of yourself (and no they are NOT the same thing). Being selfish entails you only focusing on you: your desires, your wants and what will bring you personal profit or pleasure. It means you consistently only think of your wants and needs. Self-care on the other hand, is honoring and nurturing your inner desires and needs, in order to fulfill your potential, which benefits ourselves and those around us too. I learned that sometimes that means putting ourselves ahead of others so that once we are taken care of, we are better able to serve, love and help others. I no longer feel guilty for taking care of myself when necessary because if I cannot and do not help myself, then who can I help?

3. To be okay with my decisions

2016 came with some tough choices that I had to make. To be honest, I did, to some degree, regret some and at other times I didn’t at all. But what I learned was not to dwell in the what-ifs and instead, move on with the decision that I made. I couldn’t go back and change what I had done, so it didn’t make sense to continue living in the unchangeable past. Although much easier said than done (and something I am hoping I will get better at in 2017), it is important to come to terms with the decision you made and make the best out of it. Whether you regret it or not, it’s the path you chose; so, go out there, learn from the choice you made and live in the present fully embracing, and being okay with, the decisions you have made. After all, they’re what you got you here today.

4. You have to leave some people behind

This isn’t meant to be cynical or an excuse to be rude and suddenly “drop” people. This is meant in a way to keep healthy relationships in your life. I have learned that some friends and I have just gone our separate ways, through no fault of our own, and that things just aren’t the same. That’s okay! In life, we are constantly maturing, growing and heading down the path that we think is best, and sometimes, people (friends, boyfriends, classmates, colleagues, etc.) aren’t heading in that same direction. Sometimes, you have to say it’s been great and fun, but I need to move on ahead. While this may be hard, you don’t want to spend your time and energy on relationships that don’t mean the same as they once did and aren’t helping you grow. Now, this doesn’t mean that you give up and don’t try to mend a broken relationship or an argument. What this means is this: evaluate the people in your life and the different relationships with them and determine if they are really benefiting you, supporting you and helping you grow to where you want to be. And if the answer is no, know that it’s okay to leave people behind this year and find your group where you belong.

5. It’s okay to show emotions

For those of you who know me, you know that the one thing I hate to do is show emotion, especially sadness/crying. I am the person who refuses to cry and gets upset when I do so in front of others–even at a funeral or memorial service. I used to think it made me look “weak” to show emotions, although, somehow I never saw others as weak for crying or other such things…just myself. Just goes to show how much harder we can be on ourselves. Now, I haven’t had a ton of bawling moments this year; however, I have had my times where a good cry is just what I needed. (Well that and a hot shower, yummy ice cream and movies in bed.) I’m still working on showing that I am upset and crying in front of others, but you know, baby steps. The important thing I have learned from this is that it is healthy and strong to show your emotions and to ask for help. It can bond people and relationships and really help you be happier in life when you can tell other people what’s going on and how you feel. Or at least,be honest with yourself about what you are feeling.

6. Find what you’re passionate about and go for it…no matter what!

The last thing I’ve learned is probably the most important to me, and it drives me every day. Finding a passion isn’t always quick or easy, but when you do find it and make a goal out of it, I’ve learned to take it and run, even if people close to me may not fully support it. For me, I’m passionate about lifting weights, building those strong muscles, and living a very healthy life. (Granted, I’m not always good at it and I hit my roadblocks like anyone else, but I’m still fueled by it!) In 2016, I would be worried about what others thought about my workout in the gym or whether I would get weird looks or talked about when I said no to eating out or dessert because I was aiming to eat clean. Heck, just last week my dad rolled his eyes and in a way “made fun” of me for forgoing bacon and pancakes for healthy protein waffles, eggs and fruit. I’ve learned to not care. Of course, my family means everything to me and I want their support; however, my passion fuels my fire and I’m going to continue working towards my goal, no matter what. As long as you are not doing anything illegal or something that brings harm to you or others, and are passionate and enjoying what you are doing, then keep doing it. It doesn’t matter what your family or friends, or strangers think because ultimately it is all about what drives you, what makes you come alive and strive to improve. Life is too short to worry what others think of you, instead use your time to do exactly what makes you happy!

 

Self-Care Tips and Tricks

Life is hard for all of us sometimes. As much as we would like to think that it’s not or it won’t be for us, that’s just simply not true. There’s ups and downs, highs and lows on the path of life. But, this isn’t meant to discourage you. Life can definitely be great filled with amazing wonders and smooth sailing, but it’s important to realize that everybody has hard times. This is where the importance of self-care comes in. Perhaps you do a great job of caring about others, listening to them and helping them through their issues; however, when it comes to taking care of your self…you fall flat. Sound like you? Many of us may throw the idea and phrase “self-care” around, yet very few actually do a good job of doing it. I think oftentimes we push aside the hard times, the sad feelings and try to put on a 24/7 happy face. Which is not realistic.

While it is important to show compassion and care about other people, it’s also very important to take time for yourself. This isn’t being selfish or focusing only on “me, me, me”. Instead, it is the idea of making sure that you are healthy and happy so that you can then go and make an impact helping others. After all, you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.

I know people get busy, caught up in their job, relationships, deadlines, etc. that they forget to or neglect to take the time for themselves; however, when life just gets too hard, here are some ideas for self-care to help you out.

  1. Take a long, hot shower or bath, dress in comfy clothes and watch your favorite movie.
  2. Go for a run or to the gym or do some yoga…whatever exercise makes you feel the best.
  3. Cuddle–whether that be on the couch or a long hug, it can help!
  4. Treat yourself to your favorite food/dessert–no guilt!
  5. Curl up with a blanket and a good book and get lost for a few hours!
  6. Make a gratitude journal or list of things you are grateful for.
  7. Pray or read the bible.
  8. Go for a long walk, particularly to a scenic area if possible, to clear your head.
  9. Call a family member, relative or friend to chat about anything.
  10. Give yourself an at-home manicure or pedicure.
  11. Have a good laugh, whatever that entails for you!
  12. Do something, anything you love, and do it happily!

This is just a small list, but there are plenty of other ideas out there. Here are 64 ideas from another site I found. The most important thing in all of this is that you actually take the time (30 minutes, a few hours, a day, etc) to help yourself. Life is tough, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be tougher and fight back by caring for number one: your beyoutiful self.

If you have any other ideas of ways that you love to do self-care, comment and share!! Hope these help!

What to do When You’ve Lost Motivation?

We’ve all been there: you’ve simply lost motivation towards something. Maybe the newness wears off or you’ve put in effort with little results or maybe you can’t explain it, but your attitude towards it has changed. All in all it is a very normal thing that can and does happen to many people in different aspects of life. I’m going to be straight up honest with you–I’m sort of living that situation right now and have been over the past few weeks. I still obsess over healthy eating at times so there was a point a few weeks ago that I decided to just give up healthy eating because it was too much and too stressful (which, it’s actually not I overreacted). Or I’ve been feeling plateaued over my workouts that I have been putting effort into so I started losing motivation to work hard and put in the effort. Honestly, even this blog has felt the effects of it. It’s been tougher and tougher to get on here and write blogs even though they are over topics that I could talk for days–and I mean days–about.

So where did this sudden lack of interest, so to speak, come from? Good question because honestly sometimes I don’t know. But I have theories. I think anytime we start something new, whether that be a new job, new class, new hobby, new workout routine, etc., we have that honeymoon effect. It excites us because it switches up our routine and adds a spice to our life; however, very easily, the “new thing” can blend right into the mundane schedule and suddenly lose its appeal it once had. Another possible reason is if you are putting in time, at the gym, the firm, in the kitchen, and not seeing results. This leads to the mindset that what you are doing isn’t worth it or working so you just give up. Or maybe it is working, but the results are not worth the amount of work you put in. Any of these, along with many others, could be possibilities to why you’ve lost motivation. It can be frustrating, I know. You so badly want to accomplish something or reach your goal, but that can be difficult to do when your whole mind and body screams against it. You may feel hopeless and want to give up, but you aren’t and you shouldn’t! I think there is one thing that can help a lot of us to get back on track.

Remember Why You Started! A lot of times people get so caught up in everything around them and what they’re doing that they forget WHY they are doing it, or WHO they are doing it for. Your motivation’s foundation lies exactly in why you started. Then once you answer that question, you can reassess if quitting or giving up will actually help you reach your “why”. For example, I started eating healthy so that my body would be properly fueled, I would feel better and I could live a healthier lifestyle full of energy. Giving up and filling my body with junk would not get me to any of those places that I want to be, so throwing in the towel doesn’t make sense. If you lost motivation to exercise, remember that perhaps you started so that you could run a marathon someday or so that you could be a healthier, better version by challenging yourself–either way quitting exercising will not help you reach the goal that started it all, your WHY.

Now, of course, in remembering your why, make sure your goal still makes you happy. If the reason you started makes you cringe or feel unhappy just thinking about it, then you probably need to reassess your life and goals and make some new ones. If your goal still does make your happy then find ways to remind yourself of why you started everyday. Say you’ve lost motivation to study for your pre-med classes or work every day in your job. If your ultimate goal is to have an executive job which includes your current job as a necessary stepping stone, then put up notes or other things to help remind you that this job will get you where you want to be in the future. Or if you’re tired of studying for your pre-med classes, but the reason you chose this path was to become a pediatrician and help kids, then find videos that inspire you and remind you of this. If the reason you started excites you and makes you happy, then remembering that why will ultimately get you through your slump because that is what you are working for and towards each and every day. 

However, if the motivation still seems lacking, try mixing it up. Add a new workout class into your schedule or ask a friend if they want to do a workout together. See if there are new projects you could take or be a part of that may be outside your normal work. Try a new course at school or join an organization. Try a new hobby or a new aspect of the hobby; for example, I could try to do a post where I blog-switch with another blogger to mix things up. And at the end of it all, don’t feel discouraged. If you love what you are doing and what you are working for, then you will have motivation to do what you are doing and it will be worth it. If you don’t love it or find it not worth it, then find something new to do! Life is too short to live and do things you hate.

Live a life that makes you happy because after all, that is part of being Beyoutifully Healthy!

7 Things I Am Grateful For

Amidst the holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the “show” of it all. The gift giving, pretty decorations, Hallmark movies, holiday magic…you get the idea. And while all of these are absolutely amazing things that help make this season my favorite time of year, it can also feel overwhelming at times. Trying to find the perfect gift, decorate the best, have tons and tons of holiday cheer, make the most of this year and prepare to kick next year’s butt (while still living your normal life, school, job, etc)–this all can lead to life feeling chaotic, hectic, and over-the-top busy. That’s why I want to take this time to make a list of things I am grateful for. It’s a great way to slow down, really remember the reason for the season and the importance of truly living, and take time to feel joyful and grateful.

Gratitude is not only good for the soul, but also very healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. People who take the time daily to express gratitude experience more positive emotions, are happier, sleep better, express more compassion, and have more energy. These are just a few of the many benefits found from research studies. If you’re sitting over there thinking, adding another thing to do, such as expressing gratitude, is only intensifying my overwhelmingly busy schedule, don’t freak out! Daily gratitude can take as little time as 5 minutes. This could be as simple as listing, out loud or in your head, 3-5 things you’re grateful for every day on your morning commute or discussing these ideas with your family over dinner. It also doesn’t have to include big, life-changing moments (although those certainly should be added to the list when and after they occur) because for most of us, those moments don’t happen daily. Instead, think of the little things such as you went out for ice cream with friends, or you went on a 30 minute run that left you feeling awesome for the rest of the day or even you spent all day watching movies and cuddling with your pet and/or significant other.

One of the most common ways of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal and write in it every night for 5 minutes. This is something I tried to pick up many times before in the past and always have fallen away from unintentionally. To round out the end of 2016 and start 2017 off right, I am really focusing on making my gratitude journal a daily habit every night before I go to bed. This helps me reflect on my day and even if crappy things happened (it is life after all), I realize I still have so much to be grateful for. If journaling isn’t your thing, you could start a blog, a gratitude jar, or just be open about your gratitude daily. However you choose, expressing gratitude daily can certainly change your life.

Here is a short list I have come up with about things I am thankful for every day.

Reading Books

Over Thanksgiving and Christmas break so far, I have had the chance to read some amazing books. You know, the kind that you get lost in the story and never want to put down? I don’t always have a lot of time for leisurely reading, but I am sure grateful for the opportunity when it does arise

My Cat

As crazy as I know he is, I really enjoy those precious moments with him. Whether that be curling up on the couch (sadly, not often), petting him, watching him sleep and snore adorably, walking him (yes, we walk our cat) or just being with him. We’ve had him for 14 years now and he has a lot of health issues, so every moment I get to spend with him is awesome.

Hallmark Movies

Okay before you go crazy mad, it’s not the movies specifically, but the memories I associate with them. After Thanksgiving, my house turns into Hallmark movie central, despite their predictable endings and cheesiness. My mom, dad and I all lay around on couches and chairs, snuggled up by the fire while watching these movies. We point out and laugh at some of the inconsistencies and predictable endings, but in the end we love each movie we get to spend time together watching. For that, I’m grateful.

God

All of these other things I am thankful for, wouldn’t be possible or with me without God. For me and my life, God is who I put my faith and trust in, giving my life to Him. I am grateful that he sent his only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my (and all) sins so that I could live a life knowing God and his love. Without my relationship with God, I would be a very different person today and I am so thankful for everything God has, is and will do in my life.

My Family

My family is my rock. Some people dread going home for the holidays or spending time with their parents, but I live for it! I love spending time cooking, eating, hanging out, talking, and just being with my family. They have supported me more than I could’ve imagined through so many stages of life and I know I can count on them for anything. Seriously, words cannot describe how grateful I truly am for them.

My Health

While my health isn’t perfect (and currently I’m actually sick, can you say irony?), it certainly is something to be thankful for. I don’t have any major illness, disease, or complication and my body is healthy enough to allow me to workout and enjoy life. I am struggling with parts of my health and getting back to being healthy (more on that in a later post), I am thankful that I am able to live free and be healthy.

Opportunities

Lastly, this may seem generic, and it kinda is, but I have had some great opportunities over my life, specifically in the past few years. I have had the opportunity to play collegiate volleyball as well attend a great University where I can continue to grow in my learning. I have traveled to some awesome places such as Maui, Disney and Hot Springs and I got to watch my absolutely favorite television show, THE BIG BANG THEORY, being filmed live. I have also had support and been able to start this blog, something I never thought would happen. These are just a few to name, but each and every opportunity that comes my way, I am grateful for the ability to use it to grow and live fully.

So that’s just a small list of every day things I am grateful for in life. I have my gratitude journal on top of this as well as I am trying to find something joyful and good in every situation and in the little things. It may be hard to commit to, but I am really working on appreciating life’s every day gifts, small or big, and how they can and will positively impact my life.

What are you thankful for? How do you practice expressing gratitude in your own life?