Catching Up: Big Changes, Kittens, & Growth

I’ve missed blogging so much over the past few months! I had not realized how much joy, reflection, and connection it brought my until I stopped writing. These past few months have flown by. I moved away from the Bay Area to Louisville, KY to begin a PhD program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Louisville. I transitioned from being with my partner all the time to making it work long-distance (plus a three hour time difference). I’ve started building a new community virtually from scratch (again). I also spent a few weeks fostering some ADORABLE kittens to help me feel a little less lonely…

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The kittens were certainly a handful, but they brought me so much joy! ūüôā

All of these changes have been challenging, but I’m surprised by how well I’m doing. I’m an anxious, change-averse person by nature, so I was expecting the first few months in Louisville to be an emotional rollercoaster of stressors. Shockingly enough, I’ve taken most challenges in stride and feel unexpectedly calm and well-balanced. During my four years in college, I was overcommitted, overworked, and overstressed. I¬†chose that lifestyle and it took me all four years to understand the powerful toll it took on my mental and physical health. I was so burnt out by the time I graduated.

I learned a lot about letting go and cutting myself slack during my time in the business world. I worked interdependently and oftentimes I had to let go of issues of problems that arose because they were simply out of my control. Working at startups, I also learned that there is always more that can be done, but that should not mean it should be done. The most helpful piece of advice I received from my first boss (a female CEO and mother to a newborn at the time) was, “why do today what you can do tomorrow.” I remember how strange this sounded to me at the time, but I quickly started to see the wisdom. There is always so much to do, but we also have to decide when to let ourselves take a break and enjoy life a little bit. Even if you absolutely love everything about what you do, we all need time to unwind or do something a little different.

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While my PhD program will certainly be more demanding than undergrad or my past jobs, I can also be more demanding of myself to set boundaries, know my limits, and learn when to say no. Sadly, I’ve said no to writing on this blog for the past few months. I’ve devoted more of my time to reading journal articles, meeting new friends, and FaceTiming with my boyfriend.

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That’s what I’ve needed these past few months and it is more than ok. I am excited to get back into writing here! I have a few new recipes to share, some Ted Talks to post about, and many more ideas to explore with you.

Thanks for sticking around!

Ted Talk Friday: Cracking the Grace Code

I used to associate the word “grace” with a specific religion, but in the past few years I have realized that this is not aways true. Grace is about gratitude, spirituality, and feelings of connection and wholeness, in my opinion, and none of these have to be religious in nature. Living with grace is about gratitude and self-compassion; Anne Barry Jolles’ does an amazing job of explaining how to use grace as a tool and way of being in the world. I hope you enjoy her talk.

 

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What do you think when you hear “grace”?

Ted Talk Friday: The #1 Public Health Issue Doctors Aren’t Talking About

I am on a Lissa Rankin kick! She has such a fresh perspective on wellbeing, and her engaging speaking style makes her so relatable. She does the perfect job of mixing scientific studies, anecdotes, and her own opinion to create a cohesive story. I have recently moved from a community-centered college and my home, where I am surrounded by family, to a totally new city on the West coast. I am consciously working to combat loneliness; I am prioritizing social events and opportunities not just for fun, but also for my health.

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Do you agree? Do you live in a community?

Ted Talk Friday: Good Boundaries Free You

I have found that boundaries are one of the most challenging things to maintain in relationships. We are not taught them, and they are often seen as cold, unkind, or distant. I love this talk because it highlights the real benefits of boundaries and how they can improve both your own life, but also your relationships. Boundaries in work, relationships, and with ourselves are crucial and I think Sarri GilmanSarri GilmanSarri Gilman does a great job explaining that.

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How do you practice good boundaries? Where do you find boundaries the most challenging?

Ted Talk Friday: Balancing our Adams

Most of the Ted Talks I post are about fifteen minutes long, but here is a shorter talk that still packs quite the punch. David Brooks gives a great five minute talk on two types of virtues; the dichotomy he describes between Adam I and Adam II really rang true for me. I constantly catch myself caught up in my Adam I virtues–striving to get into this or that program or wanting to get a certain grade. While Adam I certainly has a role in our lives, it is important to respect and nurture the virtues of Adam II in order to live a truly rich, fulfilling life. I plan to do a more in-depth post on this in the future, but for now…here is the amazing 5 minute Ted Talk!

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Can you think of moments where one Adam takes over in your life? How do you handle those moments?

On Being Nice

I am lucky in that I am not often confronted by individuals who are simply¬†mean. I typically pretend that those people do not exist, but every once in a while I get a very ugly wake up call. This past weekend I was studying at the local public library. As I packed up my things and began browsing the DVD collection by the check-out desk, I couldn’t help but overhear a terrible conversation. A library patron was indignantly (and loudly) attacking the librarian saying she was “sighing” and had “such an attitude.” And she¬†went on and on. It was 4:40pm and the library closes at 5pm.

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While I did not see the full interaction, I did see the entire scene of the patron criticizing the librarian for a solid five minutes straight at a volume that seemed to echo throughout the library. I work part-time in retail, and I know first-hand how humiliating these experiences can be. She was trapped behind the desk; she couldn’t say anything in response as the employee, yet had to stand there and listen. I know I would have been in tears after those five minutes.

These are the moments when it is important to remember we are all human; maybe the librarian had a bad day, maybe she was exhausted and waiting the twenty minutes until closing time, or maybe she is just a grumpy person, but none of these things make it acceptable for someone to treat her so poorly. We owe respect and kindness to everyone.

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While this was not a momentous event by any means, it represents a microcosm of something that I find deeply important: treat others the way you want to be treated. Be nice. Be thoughtful. Be compassionate. It is easy to get caught up in the moment at frustrating times like this, but taking a step back and acting with compassion will always lead to a better outcome for everyone involved.

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What is your take on kindness? How do you practice compassion, even when you’re frustrated?

 

 

Ted Talk Friday: Emotional First Aid

I LOVE the idea of emotional first aid. It sounds bizarre, but this Ted Talk does a great job of explaining the importance of practicing self-care from a young age. In mental health, we often focus on treatment and solving problems once they begin. Unfortunately, this does not allow us to¬†prevent issues. The vast differences in how we treat mental vs. physical illness is striking. If we learn how to take better care of ourselves, cope more effectively, and provide a space to discuss mental wellbeing, we can both prevent potential crises and increase mental wellbeing overall–sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the talk!

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What do you think of mental first aid? Can you imagine a world where we give mental health the same priority as physical health?

Ted Talk Friday: Givers and Takers

Adam Grant is an amazing researcher and writer; I loved his book “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success”. The book is basically an extended version of his talk that I’ve posted here today. This is a great introduction into the world of behavioral economics. Grant does a great job of sharing the basic types of people and explaining altruism, and how you can use the information to your advantage in the workplace or in everyday life. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do!

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Do you think you are a giver, a taker, or a matcher? Why?

Ted Talk Friday: Self-Compassion

This might be my favorite Ted Talk of all time. When I watched this talk, it literally brought tears to my eyes. I think the concept of self-compassion is not always taken seriously–people think it is a light hearted idea not based in science. Self-compassion is so much deeper than being easy on yourself; it is a mindset of forgiveness and self-love. It is¬†completely life-changing. It has really changed the way I treat myself in times of stress or failure. If you like this talk, I highly recommend you read Kristin Neff’s book¬†Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself¬†to learn more.

“The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion” by Kristin Neff

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Do you practice self-compassion? Do you treat yourself like you would treat a close friend?

Ted Talk Friday: Radical Self-Love

I am starting a new series: Ted Talk Fridays! I absolutely love Ted Talks, but know that sometimes there are just too many options and choosing one can feel overwhelming. I am planning to post one of my favorite Ted Talks to the blog every Friday. I hope you enjoy!

Today’s Ted Talk is “Radical Self-Love” by Gala Darling

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What do you think of radical self love? What are some steps you might take to put her ideas into action?