Friday, May 29, 2015

Mindful Friday.

Today has been...well kind of "meh," to put it simply. It hasn't been the worst day I've ever had, but it hasn't been the best.  I woke up this morning feeling beaten up (thank you, P90X), I didn't sleep last night very well, and I wanted to apply to all the jobs today. I only ended up applying to one per diem job that I really don't want. I started to get pretty negative today and down on myself. 

I've been so wrapped up in working as much as possible, saving money (or trying to), and finding a job that sometimes my days just don't turn out as great as I want them to be (something I mentioned in my last Mindful Friday blog post). I'll think, "Well today wasn't particularly bad, but I'm still in the same place and nothing has changed." I'm my own worst enemy. Sometimes I beat myself up really bad. I always forget that it's okay to have a "bad" or "not so great" day. It's okay to not be happy and energetic 24/7. 

It's okay to just veg out and watch The Boxtrolls  (which is completely what I did today when I was fed up with job hunting). Everyone has a bad day and it's totally normal. I put so much pressure on myself, needlessly, to always be happy and pleasant and nice. Sometimes I just can't be any of that. It's sometimes just no longer in my capacity.
Although today was a bit of a bummer, (I searched for jobs for 4 hours and only found one to apply to...among other things.) I am trying to focus on the good. Another "not so great" part of my day is that I've been alone all day and everyone is going out tonight to do something. I have no plans and can't make plans since I work early tomorrow morning. I'm a person who likes to, at least some parts of the day, be around other people. Being alone, most of the time, isn't a great feeling I have.

 Earlier in the day I was focused on the "you're alone" aspect of things as well as the "you'll never find a job" kind of things...but now I have a different mind set. I decided to stop the job search and I also decided to just cut out the negative self-talk that was going on. Instead, I'm now focusing on: "Yeah, you're alone tonight but that means you can blast Netflix tonight while you take a bath!" 

One good thing that came out of the job hunt today was that a friend gave me the company name she works for and said she'd tell her boss about my application when I apply. I also thought about all of the state jobs I've applied to over the last 3 months that are closing soon and that could possibly be calling me in the near future. Finally, I realized that I'm not really alone at all. I have amazing friends and family and a boyfriend who is literally my rock. So there's some good for ya.

This was a bit of a ramble and way longer than I intended, but I really just wanted to share my thoughts and things. Focusing on the good in every situation (and I believe every single situation and circumstance has some good to it) really does help when I start to become pessimistic. It can help make a bad day not be so bad. If you haven't tried it, I definitely recommend you do the next time you're having an off day!

Don't forget to breathe.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Body Image/Body Confidence

The summer is basically here and that means BBQ's, swimsuits, and shorts. For women, (and even men) sometimes the summer can be this looming, daunting thing...just because of the aforementioned reasons. At least, this is partly why summer isn't y favorite season.

Sure I love to hang out with my friends and do summer-like activities, but my body image seems to get in the way of some of those things. I'm sure I'm not the only one, woman or man, who has body image problems/issues...but here are my thoughts and how I currently and plan on viewing my body and myself.

The entire reason I thought to write this blog post was because of what happened yesterday. I had a sort of epiphany (hold the cheese, I know. I'm sorry) Anyway, it was super hot out yesterday and last summer I bought this two piece, high waist-ed swim suit for myself. I only wore it a handful of times last summer because, well I just wasn't confident enough. Instead, I wore swim trunks and a tank-ini with a tea shirt over it at times. So back to yesterday, I wanted to put on my swim suit and sit outside to read. I spent a good 45 minutes trying on swim suit combinations that covered my body the most...then I realized something.


Taken yesterday, no edits.
I mean, really. All of this thought, panic, and anxiety over wearing a swim suit? There's people starving and I choose to worry about this?!  I took a deep breath and just put the swim suit on. To be honest, I didn't feel bubbling with confidence, but I did feel rather proud of myself. I felt like I would do it again and not waste 45 minutes trying to convince myself that I wasn't good enough as I am to wear a two piece swim suit.

If you really think about it, you're only given one body...why not love it. If you don't love it, sure you can alter it with things like diet, exercise or even plastic surgery. I wouldn't say I absolutely love my body in this moment, but I do love certain aspects of my body...and more than this, I know I'm pretty close to saying that I 100% love myself (outside and in), in the very near future.

However, this makes me think: What's so wrong with being just healthy and happy?  I mean, really. We all put all of this pressure on ourselves sometimes (or even all the time) to have the "perfect" body and look a "perfect" way in different areas in our lives. When we search for things that may be so unattainable, going to complete extremes in order to look "perfect," which can affect our health in a negative way. We're all different and we all have different bodies, lifestyles, families, and so on.

What's wrong with the body you have? 

What's wrong with not being "perfect," what ever that means?

Body image is something I've always struggled with. Growing up, no one really bullied me for being over or under weight...really nothing about my body. However, some family members would often comment on a choice of clothing, saying I looked, "pregnant" or "frumpy." I think this is where some of my body image issues started. It sounds simple and innocent. I mean, what family doesn't criticize their children for one reason or another. It mostly came out of love or was said in a joking manner, but I do think some issues stem from this simple thing.

Sometimes I think, "God, your thighs are fat, and your stomach...and your arms jiggle, and you have cellulite, and acne, and...." The list goes on when I think negatively about my body. I have to admit, I used to be a lot worse to myself than I am now.

 Now I may think, "You have cellulite...but who the hell cares? You're curvy and your make-up is on point today!" Your body image is really all in your head. Don't get me wrong, I really do have cellulite and acne and all of those imperfect things...but the way I see it, those things are okay. I will probably always have cellulite and acne, so I try to focus on the things I like in myself and I also try not to compare myself to others.

Sometimes I'll see a girl who has flawless looking skin or has a really nice body (Don't pretend all you gals out there haven't looked at other girls. You know it.) and I'll start to think negatively about how I look. This accomplishes literally nothing. It doesn't help you feel better about yourself, it doesn't help you improve your body image, and it does nothing for your confidence.

Here's my advice: Don't compare yourself to others. You're absolutely beautiful/handsome just the
way you are. Those people in the media, on magazines, and television? They're all an illusion to sell you something. No one really looks "perfect." So stop chasing something that simply does not exist.

You're exactly how and where you should be. As long as you feel healthy and happy, the rest is just bullshit.

So go and put on a swim suit or a dress you've always wanted to wear. Take off your shirt when you go into the pool (men only, unless you have some really awesome friends who don't care about your nude nah-nahs.). Just TRY something outside of the comfort zone your body image has caged you into. Putting on that swim suit yesterday was one of the most empowering things I've done for myself (besides graduating college, obviously) in a very long time. Do it. You'll thank yourself.

Someone who really inspired me to write about this is actually a Youtuber called, Melanie Murphy. A lot of her videos focus on body confidence and body image. She just seems like an amazing person.  Not to mention, she's gorgeous. She needs to move to NJ from Ireland so we can be best friends, duh.

 But seriously, her videos are awesome and I recommend watching when you're feeling down about the way you look. It's what I do.

I hoped this helped someone out there who has similar issues with their body image and body confidence. I'm really proud of this post : )
Leave a comment if you wish, I always write back.

Don't forget to breathe.



I wanted to write a blog about yoga...but I'm not an expert "Yogi," or whatever you want to call it. I've been doing yoga for about two years now and, to be honest, I don't do it every single day. There's times where I'm too tired or just don't have the time to fully commit to a yoga practice. However, as of recently, I've fallen back in love with yoga.

I'm not the most flexible, most athletic, or most fit person...but yoga really helps me feel better; body and mind. For me, yoga isn't about getting into the "perfect" pose you may see on a magazine cover or something. It means exploring and finding what feels the best for your own body, where it is, in
whatever moment you're in. Since I've started yoga, I have almost no back pain. In fact, back pain was the reason I decided to try out yoga in the first place. I've even started to notice small differences in my knee pain as well. It's amazing!

Yoga is NOT, by any means, an "easy" work out. It so isn't. I think the longest yoga work out I've done has been about 45 minutes, and that's with breaks in between hard poses. Yoga reminds me to be gentle with myself and the thoughts I have about myself. For example, I may think, "God, Dana. You can't even get into this pose. What's wrong with you?!" But then, I'll gently remind myself that I get better every time I step onto my yoga mat. There's nothing wrong with not being able to have the "perfect" tree pose (or any other pose...tree is just particularly difficult for me).

Once I've reminded myself of this, I can carry on this same notion of 'being gentle with myself,' throughout the rest of my day. For instance, if I'm in a social situation and am embarrassed just by my own awkward-self, I try to remind myself that I'm perfectly fine the way I am, awkwardness and all.

In fact, my boyfriend even says that's kind of why he loves me.
Now everybody at once: 1, 2, 3..."Awwwwwwwwwwh."

I'm not religious, by any means. It's not to say that having a religion/faith/organization/etc. isn't a good thing-- I believe it can be for some people.  Although I don't have a set, organized religion that I follow, I do believe in spirituality. Yoga helps me to connect to that spiritual-side, especially in those quiet or resting moments where I can really sink into a pose or focus on my breath. 

Sometimes it can be something as simple as placing my hands together at my heart, closing my eyes, and breathing deeply. Sometimes when I do this, I feel better connected and grounded to this crazy thing we call life. I feel calmer, more motivated, and even happier. I feel like I'm right where I'm supposed to be when I finish a yoga practice; that I'm better equipped to live life in the moment. 

Yoga also reminds me to be mindful. The entire practice seems to be focused around being aware of the ground beneath your feet (and at times, hands), feeling the blood pump through your heart, feeling your breath move through you and help guide your practice. All of these things are encouraging in order to be more mindful, both in yoga practice and outside of it. 

For example, even if I come into contact with a rude person in my day, I remind myself that there has to be a reason that person is that way. It probably isn't anything I've done and nothing I can control, but he or she is carrying an invisible load on their back that no one else can see. Of course I get annoyed at rude people, I'm only human. However, I try to remind myself to be mindful of what that person may be going through. It helps with how I choose to react to that person.

Yoga sometimes can make a bad day turn into a good one. Or at the very least, it can help make a bad day not suck quite as much. My mood can sometimes dramatically improve when I do yoga. I like to
do yoga first thing in the morning, not a heavy or particularly long session, but yoga nonetheless. It helps wake me up and get my body and mind moving, ready to start the day. It can even do the opposite of this, help me to relax so I can get to sleep. I always have loved doing a relaxation/unwinding/ etc. yoga practice before bed, especially if I'm stressed out or anxious. Not only am I better able to fall asleep, but the sleep is deeper and more restful.

Speaking about anxiety, yoga is amazingggg for anxiety. As I said before, it helps to connect me to my breath and push away any negative thoughts, especially those that are aimed at myself. I find my anxiety likes to do that a lot, give my brain thoughts that deal with: shame, guilt, belittling, doubt, etc...and those thoughts are all aimed at my abilities to do certain tasks in life. I know none of them are true, but sometimes it's hard to remember that when the anxiety-monster is in full swing. Yoga definitely helps my brain calm down and I don't feel as panicked when I'm able to breathe, I mean really breathe

Goals For Myself
Again, I'm not a professional "yogi" or "yoga-master." In fact, some of the things yoga can express at times, like sticking out your tongue and breathing like a lion (it's a real thing, google it), is just too weird for me. But for the most part, I absolutely love what yoga has done for my life.  One day, I'd love to be able to do really cool yoga poses like a wheel barrel pose or even some inversion poses.
I'm just not there yet, and that's okay. Hell, I'd be happy if I could get my feet all the way to the mat when I practice downward facing dog. My main goal for yoga is to just keep at it. To not forget how good it makes me feel when I'm doing it and when I'm finished.

Here are some yoga videos I love:

There's a lot more, but Youtube is an amazing resource for anyone interested in yoga. Just type whatever yoga routine you want, chances are, there's a video for it!

Don't forget to breathe.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mindful Friday.

I'm thinking of doing a new thing on here called, "Mindful Friday." I'm not sure if it'll be every Friday or just any day I feel like posting about mindfulness, but eh, here we go.

I found this quote on Pintrest:

I've been so wrapped up in working, saving money, student loans, finding a 'real job,' and so on...Some times the worry starts to consume me and I get anxious about...well, LIFE. There are certain times I can do tons of  yoga, contemplative thinking (or whatever ya wanna call it), or meditation...and the worry just never subsides. 

Anxiety does that, I'm-not-going-to-listen-to-what-you-tell-me-to-do-thing, ya know. I think a lot of my problem has to do with how much pressure I put on myself. 

I don't expect my life to be perfectly laid out; life just doesn't work that way. But I do want things to start moving into a more adult-hood-like direction. This means getting the 'real job' and moving out and thinking about future-y things. 

It's extremely terrifying. 

When I saw this quote, it really reminded me to focus on what matters in life. Being mindful is difficult for me, but thinking about things with a purpose in mind seems to help. I know things will work out in the end, I really do. My anxiety-doubtful-mind doesn't seem to agree with that notion all the time. Life just doesn't happen, you have to be an active participant in order to see change. However, once you've done the participating-bit, you kind of have to sit back and wait for the pieces to all fall into place. You really can't speed it up any way, and you can't change how those pieces fit at times.  

I think this post was rather rambly. I apologize. I'm just doing a bit of reflecting, as ya do at times.

Don't forget to breathe.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Timeline Tuesday....On a Wednesday.

I didn't think I would like posting them, but I find them easy and psh, let's face it, looking at random GIFS is just fun. Am I right? No? Is it just me? Ah, well.

My last "Timeline Tuesday" can be found here, if interested.

Now, without further interruption:
Here's a series of things I did today/events that happened with a ton of GIFS to go along!

Woke up at 8 AM (I was planning to sleep until 9:30).

Did some yoga.

Texted my love-bug.

Made breakfast and packed lunch for work.
(^Actual breakfast, as pictured^)

Ate said breakfast.

Washed my make-up brushes.

Drove to work  and jammed out to Josh Groban on the way (You can so jam to Josh).

Got frustrated at customers/cut my hand on a rack of clothes.

Got home from work and ate dinner.
(Sadly, dinner was not pizza)

Did some laundry.
(If only laundry were this cool. Am I right, though?)

Checked my email/paid some bills.
(Bye, bye money)

Made a banner for my blog...Screwed up my blog and had to re-do HTML things.

Watched Buffy with my love-bug.
(We watched this actual episode, Oooo 90's prom, Buffy.)

Caught up on my Youtube subscriptions.

Planned out some more blogs.


(I understand this GIF is a bath. Don't type 'shower GIF' into tumblr. Ever.)

Read a bit before bed.
This was so exciting lame. The end.

I'm GIF-ed out. I hope you enjoyed.
Don't forget to breathe.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Hey, all. So lately I have been trying to focus on myself and my body/mind more. I thought I share some recent health-lifestyle-wellness-things.

Before I get into the specifics...I GRADUATED! 

I may write a whole other blog post about that entire day and what life is like now that it's been nearly a week since I've graduated, but for now I just wanted to put it out there! I'm extremely happy about it and it's really inspired me to keep prove to myself that I can do so much more! Hence, the healthy-wellness thing.

Now on to the actual blog : D

I am by no means perfect and I really, I mean REALLY love food. Before I graduated, I was eating pretty badly even though I knew it makes me feel sluggish and tired. It was a combo of stress and celebration. I reverted back to eating deep-fried, overly processed, "yummy" foods. However, the night of graduation I decided to eat slightly better, and I've pretty much kept up with that notion. I'm
going to be completely honest, though: I'm not perfect and I'm by no means a health-nut. I don't believe in completely eliminating foods I love from my diet forever just because they're unhealthy.  What I do is limit myself a little bit, though.
If I want something 'bad for me' I'll try to have a smaller portion of it...though sometimes I just want a bowl of ice cream with all the toppings. I'll eat it and I won't feel guilty. Life shouldn't be obsessing over what to eat and not eat. A lot of joy comes from food, why would you want to not have that joy?! I just know that when I eat healthier, I have more energy and I'm more motivated as a whole. 

What I try to do, TRY, is eat as whole of foods as I can get. I'll choose healthier options of food when I can. Some examples: using a lettuce leaf as a wrap instead of white bread (it's actually really good!), cutting out excess sugar or salt when ever possible, limiting soda/soft drinks, and so on. I actually really love healthy foods, but again, I don't believe in depriving yourself of foods you like and want to eat. I find when  I do that, I'll binge on that food whenever I get the opportunity--which is worse than just having a little bit of it when you want. 

I've been drinking LOADS of water, lately. It helps that the weather has been getting warmer and my body just needs the hydration. In the past, I had always tried to drink water. The standard 8 glasses a day just never really happened for me. However, over the past month I've really committed myself to drinking more water. 

The one product that has helped me accomplish this is a water bottle by the brand, 'Pogo.' It measures how much you drink and makes it soooo easy to get water into your body. Before I got this bottle, I had a different one that only held 30 oz and had no measuring to it. This is way better. I got mine at Target for around 8 bucks.

 I aim to drink at least 2 full bottles per day, but have gone as far as drinking 4 and a half per day. I keep this by my bed so first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, I can drink at least the equivalent of a full glass of water. It helps get my body moving and I can't believe something so simple has made me feel so great! It clears your skin and energizes you and so much more. Try it! 

I'm one of those people who dreads the idea of getting up and moving. I'd rather stay in bed or on the couch, veg out, watch some YouTube, or read. However, once I'm done exercising, I feel so much better. I'll either feel like I've done something great for my body and I can sleep well that night, or I'll feel relaxed and more calm--more ready to conquer the day. 

Besides doing P90X, I've re-found my love of yoga. I try to do it in the morning because it really helps me wake up in the morning. If I don't have time in the morning, I'll do yoga, a more intense one, after dinner. 

Yoga is hard. Especially when you haven't done it in a while. It's a practice and if you only do it once in a while, it's even harder. I really want to continue to do it every day and hopefully my body will become strong enough to one day do an actual inversion. That's the goal I'm setting for myself. It's on the internet now so I HAVE to commit. Some really non-intimidating yoga for all levels can be found on Youtube. My favorite 'yogi' right now is Adriene Louise. Her videos aren't too long and she makes yoga fun and do-able. Here's her channel: Yoga with Adriene!

I've written previous posts about my anxiety and plan to write another soon about techniques that help me with my anxiety. However, for now I'll share some recent things I've been doing/thinking in order to be the healthiest I can in my own head-space. One thing that's really helped me has been to be productive and proactive. For example, if I know I have to get something done by a certain date, I won't wait until the last minute. When I do this, I feel like I worry less and obsess less over the things I need to get done and possible things that could go wrong. For example, I recently bought new eyeglasses. I just decided I did not want to be blind anymore so I just made the appointment. Now that I can see once again, I feel less anxious about possible eye problems, getting into a car accident
because I couldn't see well at night while driving, and the other obsessive/anxiety-ridden thoughts I would have had--They aren't there,

Another thing I've been doing is trying to stay in the moment. It could be something as simple as thinking to myself, "You're in a chair right now, watching T.V., dinner is cooking and you're going to eat soon..." I know it sounds crazy, but when my anxiety starts to give me those stupid-annoying-obsessive-spiraling thoughts, it really helps me to refocus. After I do it for a few moments, I feel a lot calmer and my anxiety about what ever it was, is pretty much gone.

I've spoken about this before, but I'll speak about it again: Taking a break and just breathing is the best thing for anxiety. I understand that it doesn't always work for everyone because everyone experiences anxiety differently, but it helps me nearly every time I feel myself into anxiety or having thoughts brought on by anxiety. It goes into being mindful about yourself, knowing yourself well enough to know when your limit is about to be hit. Whenever I feel myself reaching my limit, I step away from what ever it is that is making me anxious. If I can't step away, physically, I'll take a break to breathe. Just having a few deep breaths and counting them, slowly, really helps.

Other Things
Now that I have the time, I like to read a lot more! It's exciting because I'm about to finish a book. WHAT. I never finish books. Start them? Yes. But never finish. Right now I'm reading a book called, "It's Kind of a Funny Story," by Ned Vizzini. It's really good. It's about a 15 year old kid who struggles with mental health issues. I recommend! If you want to see what other books I've read or want to read, check out my Goodreads page here!

I've also been drinking a lot of tea! I always go back and forth between drinking coffee, not liking how it makes me feel, and then switching back to tea. Right now, I'm on a tea-kick. My sister got me this really awesome loose-leaf tea. It's black tea with these blue-flower-looking-things and it tastes amazing! I also have a new, yellow submarine tea diffuser. (picture from my Instagram @dana.coll)

Finally, I've been trying to not take life so seriously. Life is full of all of these twists and turns and no one of us really have a clue as to what we're doing, do we? Staying present, enjoying the moments that make me happy (no matter how big or small), and loving the people I choose to spend my tie with---all things that have helped to de-stress and make my daily life much more enjoyable. 

Anyway, I hope this blog helped someone and don't forget to breathe!