Category: life advice

A 4-Step, Airtight Plan To Feel Better

Want to feel better? Getting out of a slump, getting past a bad mood, almost anything can be cure (at least temporarily) with these 4 steps >>
We all go through rough spots.

We didn’t get into that school.
They hired someone else.
The repairs are going to cost more than we expected.
That cutie isn’t returning our texts.

Just like everyone else, I’ve had bumps in my proverbial road. I didn’t get into the first graduate school I applied to. I’ve been laid off. I’ve been dumped. I have made very, very questionable decisions about my hair.
After many a struggle,  I’ve developed a (nearly) fool proof plan to feel better when I’m down in the dumps.

4 steps to feel better

Step 1: Get sweaty for an hour

Run stairs. Have a one-person dance party. Weed the garden. Ride your bike. Have a roll in the hay with your lovah. Do something physical and strenuous.

Step 2: Get wet 

Water heals me. Take a long shower (and maybe have a good cry – crying doesn’t count in the shower!) Go swimming in a lake/pool/river/the ocean. Have a long soak in your tub accompanied by some Morcheeba.

Step 3: Take a nap 

Like, a proper one. Under the covers, no jeans, curtains closed.

Step 4: Consume some caffeine 

Life feels better and happier when I’m caffeinated.

I’m not sure why this particular series of things makes me feel so much better. Life (and all the challenges that that occasionally accompany it) seems so much nicer when I’ve got endorphins in my veins and I’m clean, rested, and have a latte in hand.

Do you have a few specific things you do when you feel down? I mean, in addition to drinking wine out of a robot mug and watching Ron Swanson clips on Youtube, HYPOTHETICALLY.

P.S. If you need 1-on-1 support and accountability around feeling better, I can do that!
photo by pineapples // cc

Things That Are Simultaneously Reassuring + Depressing: Life Is A Numbers Game

Are you trying to follow your dreams? Looking for inspiration? This is the real talk pep talk you need: life is a numbers game.
You know when you’re young, you hear adults say things that strike you as terribly jaded?
This is my relationship with the phrase “Life is a numbers game.”
A high school counselor told me this when I was applying for colleges. A family member opined about this when I was interviewing for internships. A dude friend tried to cheer me up with this after a so-bad-I’m-cancelling-my-Okcupid-membership date.
And I huffily climbed upon my idealistic high horse and shrilled “True love will find me when I’m least expecting it! I’m a good person and good things will come my way! I believe that life holds great things for me!”
That’s great! And maybe it’s true!
It’s also a lot more likely that good things will come my way when I try really hard and put myself in the path of lots of (potentially) great things.
This is not to say that you (or I) won’t encounter magic and love and good fortune.
And it’s not to say that you should go out with every.single.person who asks or apply to every single job on Craigslist.
The more apartments you look at, the more likely you are to find one you like.
The more more schools you apply to, the more likely you are to get in.
The more newspapers/magazines you pitch, the more likely you are to get published.
The more dates you go on, the more likely you are to find someone.
The more jobs you apply for, the more likely you are to get hired.

I think so.

P.S. Life has big plans for you.

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

If It Doesn’t Feel Right, You Should Stop Doing It.

How often have you plowed ahead even when something doesn't feel right? Click through to tips on following your intuition, maintaining your boundaries, and being honest about your needs.
How often have you plowed ahead even when something doesn’t feel right? We’ve all done it. And I imagine we’ve all experienced the negative consequences. Today Dr. Danielle Dowling gives us the remind we all probably need.

“It doesn’t feel right.”
Hold up.
Pause right there.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it: this is a significant place to be.
Powerful even. Definitely worth noting.

Yet we steamroll through these feelings as if they were inconsequential.
Or inconvenient even.

We think we don’t have time for something to “not feel right.”
The job needs to get done;
the task complete;
the relationship hauled forward, already.

Rationalization run amuck,
we feed ourselves very sensible, very logical reasons why we “should.”

It sounds like this…..

I’ll do it to make them happy.
But it’s good money.

It will make me look good.
But it’s a great opportunity.
I should just agree + avoid confrontation.
But I am all they have. If I don’t do it, who will?
But they’re expecting me to and I don’t want to disappoint them.

No. You. Shouldn’t.

Because it doesn’t feel right.
Bam. That’s it. Nothing more.

All that rationalization can over-complicate the decision making process.

Your gut instincts are one of the most powerful natural resources you have.
They will tell you how you feel long before you can articulate it.
Honor this information.

The truth is, you don’t “have to.” (Really, you don’t)
Just because you think you “should” doesn’t mean you should.

And most times when you do something “for the money”
you suffocate your soul. Which, quite frankly, is a drag + uncomfortable in the long run.

Doing what feels right will always make you feel bright + turned on.
Doing what feels right is simple.
Direct. Uncomplicated.

What feels right will not, however, be instantly popular. Click To Tweet

The world pays attention and you teach us how to treat you.
If you are always caving in to the “shoulds” + consistently abandoning your gut instincts,
you teach us to expect you to fold and we’ll lean on you for “more.”

If you hold your boundaries and do only what feels right;
you give us the opportunity to set our grumbling aside + lean in with admiration + respect.

How often have you gone against your intuition?  What happened?

P.S. Two words that will make you happier, calmer, and more certain.

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

Goal-making Made Gorgeous

This post is actually from last year, but I thought it could be particularly helpful during this time of resolution-making and goal setting!

If you have been reading Yes and Yes for any amount of time, you probably know that Making The Lists and Accomplishing All The Things are practically my favorite hobbies.  In addition to eating cheese, dressing animals in outfits and traveling the world.

Of course, I have a never-ending, constantly-evolving list of yearly goals, but since it’s a piece of notebook paper taped to the wall, it’s less than inspiring.  And while I know the rest of the Internet loves nothing so much as aspirational Pinterest accounts and vision boards, that stuff just isn’t quite my style.

Enter: Wall O’ Goals. 

Visually engaging.  Reminder-ful.  Cuter than notebook paper taped to the wall.

Here’s how I made it!

1.  Shuffle through Flickr Creative Commons and find gorgeous images that match my goals.
2.  In Picmonkey crop, resize and add text to my photos.  I used Impact font in white, faded 13% because I’m nothing if not a total effing hipster.
3. Drop my edited images into a Google doc and print said document on cardstock.
4.  Purchase adorably tiny bulldog clips.
5.  Map out a grid on the wall, pound in some nails, hang goals.
6.  Look at artfully arranged goals every day and start to actually accomplish them.

And!  If you’re feeling really ambitious, once you’ve accomplished something you can write about the process on the back of the card and bind your finished cards into a little book.  Lovely!

How do you stay on track with your goals?

How To Give Great Gifts To Just About Anyone

How do you give great gifts? Well, it's not just about giving them something from their gift list! Click through for gift ideas nobody else has thought of and gift-giving tips that will help with anniversaries and birthdays, too!In addition to championship level cheese-eating and Thriller-dancing, I like to think that I know how to give great gifts.

I am totally the friend who makes note of the salt and pepper shakers you liked so much at that restaurant, finds a pair and then gives them to you for your birthday three years later. (And devotedly hopes that you remember that you liked them and aren’t kind of creeped out by my insane memory)

How do you give great gifts?

You give amazing gifts by listening

The truly awesome gift does not come off of Christmas Wish List. It’s the thing that your friend mentioned in passing several times or that you always see them fawning over when you’re out shopping. It’s the sort of thing that they mention liking but can’t justify purchasing when there are bills to be paid and cars that need repairs. It’s the sort of thing that you know will bring them joy.

You buy awesome gifts by shopping year round

But I’m sure you already know this, right? Riiiiight? Waiting to shop until it’s holiday season is wicked stressful. Wading through seas of women in cat sweatshirts? Not how I want to spend my winter weekends.

So if gift giving inspiration strikes you in August, buy the gift then, for Pete’s sake! If you’re on a summer road trip and your friend is coveting some turquoise in New Mexico, buy the necklace and stash it till Christmas. Aren’t you the clever one?

You get personal

Now, I’m not one to sneeze in the face of pillar candles or a basket of scented bath things, buuuuut I also wouldn’t shriek “Wow! You know me so well!” to the giver of these gifts. Give the people in your life something that shows them you know who they are and what they’re about – an aerial map of a city where they used to live or an artist’s sketch of their childhood home.

Or what about one of those custom-made photo albums that have the photos printed on the page? Or Indian cooking classes for your friend who spent a year in Mumbai? Or tickets to a reading with their favorite author?

You resist the urge to give them gifts that you’d like

I know it’s incredibly tempting to give your lovely but fashion-challenged cousin a gift card to Forever 21. Or give your technologically backward grandma a digital camera.

But gift giving isn’t about you and the life you think these people are missing. It’s about giving them something that they want, something that will make them happy. So you best not be buying me a hair straightener or a Williams Sonoma gift card because they will gather dust and lead me to question our friendship.

You give wonderful gifts by embracing the power of the small gift

For her 30th birthday, I gave my BFF a novelty eraser and $5. And she loved it! Really! But before you decide that you don’t ever want to be my friend, you should know that the eraser looked like a delete button (we’re both Internet-obsessed) and the five dollars was
a) brand new from the bank
b) featured a home-made sticker

c) was a payoff on a long held bet/inside joke.

And I’m pretty sure that the BFF was more touched by my $6 worth of presents than the various picture frames/gift cards/novelty socks that she got.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

You consider the gift of non-stuff

If you are attempting to give a gift to someone over the age of 26 who has a ‘real job,’ there’s a pretty good chance that if they want something? They just buy it. And really, who needs another decorative bowl/set of cuff links/DVD?

Non-stuff is more memorable and it doesn’t need dusting. Good non-stuff gifts include airplane tickets, gift certificates for spa services, a night at a Bed and Breakfast, classes or lessons, tickets to a sporting event or concert or donating to a cause that’s important to them. Added bonus: easy to wrap! 

If you don’t know what to get someone, ask their best friend

If you’re an aunt or parent or spouse and you truly have no idea what to get someone for the holidays, just ask their best friend. More likely than not, the BFF knows what your niece/girlfriend/wife has had her eye on! And then you can buy it and delight her with your thoughtfulness!

Now I want to hear from you! What’s your best gift-giving tip?

P.S. 23 life-improving gifts you should just buy for your damn self

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

You’re Awesome. So Then What?

We’ve discussed the fact that I’m in L-O-V-E with my friends.

I make an active effort to surround myself with people who fill me up and inspire me. Because I spend nearly seven days a week in the company of people I’d describe as “awesome,” I’ve had a few realizations about what that word means and how (if at all) being a great, cool human affects the rest of your life.

How awesome someone is and how awesome they think they are have very little to do with each other
My friends are smart, funny, kind, accomplished, interesting, good looking. They do fun, crazy things with their spare time, they have jobs they love and lives that excite them. And yet! Some of these people wouldn’t describe themselves using such glowing terms. They’d probably drop in a few words like “neurotic, chubby, broke, adrift.”

To which I usually cry “We don’t talk like that in this house! I’m only friends with great people and I’m friends with you!”

I’ve also encountered people (as we all do) who I wouldn’t necessarily describe as awesome. While said people probably have good qualities, I haven’t seen ’em. But it doesn’t matter! They’re pretty sure they’re awesome even as they dodge calls from Grandma and steal co-workers’ lunches from the fridge.

Even on-top-of-it, awesome people have their own insecurities and struggles. And people who don’t really meet your criteria of awesome? Well, maybe they’ve got their own criteria.

How awesome someone is and their relationship status have very little to do with each other

As noted above, I know a lot of great people. And some of these people are single. Some of them are joyfully single, some would like very much to find their proverbial lobster. Some of these fantastic people are dating people that are, perhaps, less awesome but the relationship is happy and fulfilling for both parties. (sidenote: does anyone ever really think anyone is good enough for their friends? because I rarely do!) Sometimes fantastic people date and cancel out each other and everything gets yell-y and uncomfortable.

And we all know at least one needy, immature, bad-decision making person who somehow snags a great partner. Forpetesake, Rush Limbaugh’s been married four times!

If you’re awesome and unhappily single, don’t worry. It’s not you. You’ll find somebody. If you’re awesome and in an unhappy relationship, decide if you want to work it out or leave; your amazing-ness won’t necessarily protect you from the lumps and bumps of life. If you’re awesome and you have a great partner, go high five them.

How awesome someone is and whether they’d be a good person to work for/with have very little to do with each other
The personality traits that make someone fun to be around are not always the traits that make someone a good employer/employee/co-worker. I love surrounding myself with people who are funny, adventurous, curious, and a just a little bit risk take-y. These are not the qualities I look for in an intern. I want someone who is smart, hard working, follows directions well, takes initiative, and is crazy reliable. Of course, those are nice traits in a friend as well, but I’m less concerned if my friends can figure out how to use Hootsuite.

When you’re thinking about working with a friend, realize that their ability to bring life to any party or talk you through a breakup might not always translate to pulling their weight on group projects or getting you revisions in a timely manner. And if that friendship is important to you, maybe you just shouldn’t work together.

Would you describe yourself as awesome? How does that affect (or not affect) other aspects of your life?

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