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LONELY

Loneliness

We’ve all been there. We put on a brave face at parties but all women – whether it’s stay at home moms or girls who work a forty hour week and have thousands of Facebook “friends” – we all feel lonely at some point.

Part of what makes us humans is our desire for connection. We are social beings that need human interactions to feel wanted, loved, and appreciated. Not to get too philosophical, but I’m pretty sure that Aristotle guy was on to something when he wrote about it thousands of years ago.  (Google: Humans are social beings – Aristotle)

Loneliness isn’t a situation it’s a feeling. And when I’m feeling lonely (I don’t know about you) I also feel unpopular, unwanted, always wrong and ugly.

There are usually a couple reasons I get the lonelys:

1. Somebody Hurts You –  When the people closest to us hurt us, it cuts deep. And it’s all downhill from there. It starts the cycle of feeling that you can’t trust anyone, nobody understands you, you’ll never have a good friend, and you’ll never really connect with anyone.

2. Embarrassment – If you claim that you don’t get embarrassed, you’re lying. We’ve all been embarrassed at some point. I feel like an isolated weirdo when I’m embarrassed in front of people I respect or love and all I want to do is go under my fuzzy green blanket and sleep for forever.

So, that’s all good and depressing. So, how do you stop feeling lonely? How do you pull yourself out of an isolating funk that just won’t quit? I’ve got a few ideas but I’d love to hear some of yours.

1. Do Unto Others – Whether I want to admit it or not, loneliness is a very selfish feeling. “Nobody loves me.” “I am so alone.” “Nobody wants to be my friend.” One way I’ve found that helps get my happy juices flowing is to do something for somebody else. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Bake cookies for someone, do the dishes for your roommate, donate soup to a homeless shelter. Anything! Get outside yourself. You might be surprised how you feel afterwards.

2. Sing. Sing really, really loud – Don’t even try to pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. (I keep a hairbrush in my car. Can’t sing if you don’t have a mic, right?) Bump up the jams and sing like you’ve got pipes like Aretha Franklin. It’s okay to laugh at yourself. You may even find that you’re smiling by the chorus. Baby, you’re a firework.

3. Time out – Take a deep breath. Heck, take an hour and try to objectively look at why you feel lonely. Realize that you won’t always feel like this. Think about those times you felt truly loved and appreciated. Write them down if the mood strikes you! As Viola Davis says so eloquently in The Help,”You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” I know it’s hard, but try not to forget it.

Side note, it’s okay to cry. I’m pretty sure some scientist said that you are actually getting rid of toxins when you have a good cry. Let it out. Pope John Paul II said, “It’s better to cry than to be angry, because anger hurts others while tears flow silently through the heart and cleanse the soul.” This guy knows what he’s talking about.

I will be the first one to admit that all of these are easier said than done. But just try it. Have other ways to break out of a lonely funk? #BBBLoneliness

CRAYONS

Get Creative!

Think back to when you were a little kid…I know, I know, its like trying to see a pin prick of light when you’re at the bottom of a well…Now ask yourself, what did you spend most of the day doing? Playing. And what did this play entail? Singing, dancing, writing, hunting for treasure…you remember?

Somewhere along the way, time spent daydreaming and playing became less and less, and time spent doing ‘more important‘ things became more and more. That’s not to say that as adults we don’t still get a good dose of fun, but when is the last time you reveled in the joy of pure creativity?

But you cry, “I just stepped out into the big wide world and its stressful! I ain’t got the time!” Staying on top of new job, maybe trying to establish roots in a new city, just really figuring out life…being a successful professional and person requires a lot of energy, a lot of time, and a lot of worry. Some might say let the creative types in the world be creative and leave me to my conventional life.

Before you proceed ask yourself: Am I often stressed out? Do I have a hard time feeling confident? Does my brain feel like a bowl of pudding?

While there are many causes for disgruntlement and even sadness in everyone’s life, part of it might just be that all work and no play is making Jane a very dull girl. Humans are meant to constantly expand their minds and make a creative contribution to the world in one form or another. For each person this takes on a different form, but the bottom line is that creativity make us much more happy and productive people.

Creativity reduces stress — it redirects focus away from the million responsibilities and worries of everyday life. It gives you a chance to kick up your heels and do something genuinely enjoyable, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. Creativity gives you confidence — it allows you to make or do something for the sense of pure satisfaction it brings. It gives you a peace of mind and heart that comes from fulfilling passion, and the conviction that you have enough nerve to do something great. Creativity gives you a healthy mind — it forces you to go outside your routine and challenge all those little neurons to make new connections and learn something new.

Challenge: spend one hour a week doing something creative that challenges your imagination. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a creative person, there is a creative aspect to who you are. Below are a few creative types and suggestions.

 

  • Performer: Act! Community theater anyone? Dance! Ballroom, Latin, Tap, like a crazy person! Tell a story! Read up on some tall tales.
  • Musician: Sing! By yourself, in a quartet, in a choir, heck even karaoke. Play! A new instrument, pick up an old one.
  • Artists: Write! a poem, a story, in a journal, on a tree. Create! A drawing, painting, sculpture, anything really.
  • Academic: Learn!  A new language. A new interest. Visit (or listen to)! A lecture, a class, a planetarium, a museum. Tackle! A crossword puzzle, a book.
  • Tactile Artist: Cook! Garden! Knit!

And this is just the beginning of creative possibilities. What is your favorite way to play?

COLLEGETOCAREER (1)

Being The Newbie

Right when we finally reach the top, life always finds a way to bring us back down to the bottom. In 8th grade we were on top of the middle school food chain… and then we became freshmen in high school. We went from being seniors in high school to freshmen in college and finally we became seniors in college.

We spend the last weeks packing up our dorms or apartments thinking we’re done. Sure, those grueling, anticipating homework-filled weeks have come to a close, but once again we’re on the brink of being the newbie; and regardless of your introverted or extroverted personality being the newbie is scary – that drastic of a change is scary. At the beginning of this next chapter lies a slew of emotions: fear, uncertainty, excitement, sadness. Like everyone else who has ever walked across a stage to receive the golden ticket into the real world, we face challenges of how to present ourselves professionally, how to be taken seriously in a world where Gen Y is automatically perceived as entitled and lazy, how to make friends in the workplace.

So what can we do? Lying in bed accompanied by the ever-soothing Ben & Jerry’s Phish food watching 30 Rock reruns is not an option. As our oh-so-encouraging mothers would say, we must seize the day.

How do we do that?

1) Don’t panic. As overwhelming as this process is, it’s part of growing up. Take comfort in the fact that nearly everyone in the world has once felt like this. Get excited and be pumped; you’re about to the plunge into adulthood.

2) Never be afraid to ask. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in college is to not be afraid to ask for help – help on assignment, to get a job, crafting a cover letter or resume. Having the courage to admit to yourself that you can’t do this alone is admirable. Ask a coworker to go out to lunch. If you’re overwhelmed, ask a coworker about his/her story.

3) Surround yourself with solid friends. Because let’s be real, we can’t do this on our own. We need uplifting, encouraging loving people by our sides.

4) Get a hobby. It’s easy to drown in stress and anxiety. We need to time relax, so we’re better able to think clearly and perform well in the workplace.

5) Breathe. Every person you’re trying to impress has been in the same place you currently are. Breathing helps us to slow down and lets us keep ourselves in line and thinking straight.

Many of these habits were taken from Lindsey Pollak’s Getting From College to Career. – an excellent resource for recent college graduates.

BLACKFRIDAY

Black Friday

All right, America. I think we have reached a new low. This year Black Friday deals started at 8pm… Thanksgiving day! Last year, the door busters started at 10pm. Does anyone see a problem with this or a growing trend that is only bound to get worse?

Let’s break this down. 8 pm on Thanksgiving evening. Families are at the height of their food comas, barely sipping down their evening coffee. Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters had to face leaving their families earlier than ever to ensure the couponing queens of getting their anticipated deals.

This bugs me. And it should.

Our Christmas crazed society needs to calm down. Seriously and really – sit down, breathe, take a moment to realize what actually matters during the months of November through January (and all year) and calm down.

Stories cycled around the Internet and in the news 72 hours prior to Black Friday spotlighting the die-hard shoppers who were camped out in front of Best Buys throughout the country. They set up tents, PS3s, TVs, and anything else that would entertain them until doors opened Thanksgiving evening.

Really?

Your discounted Samsung Galaxy S III won’t fulfill as you as much as you might think it will. The silky robe you’ve been eyeing for months will be there tomorrow. Put away the Target ads and grab a piece of pumpkin pie.

As we enter and exit college, we millennials have a responsibility. The millennials who are going to become wives and mothers, husbands and fathers, must set a good example for their spouses and children more than ever during these holiday seasons.

People die on Black Friday. People are trampled. Employees are yelled at. And this year was no exception. A YouTube video surfaced from Black Friday morning at a Kansas Victoria Secret showing hundreds of people crowded around the storefront prior to opening. People were nudging and trying to bypass the security guards. All to get some ‘Pink’ sweats. The employee was tearing up threatening to not open the store because ‘it was scary.’

No gift is worth that. Something worth everything is spending the evening with the people who woke up at the crack of dawn in preparation for the meal you just devoured. And admit it, it was the most tender bird you have ever eaten. Offer to take clean-up duty, get your parents dessert, and don’t forget hugs and thank you’s.

Those little things, the little acts of kindness, will make whomever you were going to give that Samsung Galaxy S III much, much happier.

As an inspirational quote found on Pinterest once said…

“Never get tired of doing little things for others; sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.”