Toxic Positivity: Embracing the Lows

As I sipped my morning coffee, I scrolled through my Instagram feed and stories.

Procrastinating, I thought about starting a new routine, what I had to do today, and all of the things I’ve put on the back burner.

To be honest, I haven’t felt like doing any of it.

Highs and lows are a normal part of everyday life- from bustling with energy to feeling like staying in bed until noon.  Perhaps it’s the weather or maybe the moon cycle, but I’ve been on the “low” end of the spectrum this past week.  Apparently, I’m not the only one.

Just when I needed it, a friend of mine shared her feelings for the day, frustrated with people who encourage her to “think positive!” and to “stop complaining.”  No matter what the day, she fearlessly expresses her emotions, pretty or not- and that authenticity is something the world needs to see.

Sharing where we are mentally is not complaining.  It’s exercising our humanness.

When we deny our feelings and our unpleasant emotions, we are simply burying them, only to resurface later.  Our emotions, our stories, and our ups and downs aren’t meant to be hidden- they’re meant to be dealt with.

“Good vibes only!” and “be happy!” are cute and all, but what are we supposed to do with the bad vibes?  The depression?  The anger?  The fear?  Are we supposed to cover it up with pastel prints and add some sparkle?  Do we continue to mask the discomfort to please someone else?

Of course not.

Toxic positivity usually isn’t about the person who is going through the emotion- but it does has everything to do with the people who encourage them to “smile!” or to “be grateful!”  Why?  It makes them more comfortable.

We can be grateful and still be sad.

We can have a bad day and be excited for tomorrow.

How we feel at the moment doesn’t determine how we will feel the next.

Perhaps there are people who are naturally sunshine and rainbows, but my guess is most of us aren’t.  I embrace my moods.  I can see light through the dark.  I don’t have to package up my pain into a smile and a facade; because there is something powerful we can do with discomfort.

Although I do believe it’s a waste of time to tell someone to “just be positive,” I don’t think being in a slump is a negative thing.  Our moods help us to determine what is going right and what is going wrong in our lives.  When things change, they make room for something different.  If we no longer are going in a certain direction, we are given a choice to alter our path.

If we can use our problems and turn them into potential, whether it’s a learning opportunity or a new idea, the world may start embracing the negative- because that is when true change happens.

 

More Meditation, Less Medication

0In this day and age, there seems to be a pill for everything.  Not only are people running to their doctors for relief, the providers themselves are over-prescribing, patients are misusing their prescriptions, and often times, they become addicted to their medication.

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common disorders, which are treated by a variety of medications- some addictive, some not.  Although antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills can be helpful, they don’t solve the biggest problem- the root cause of the discomfort.

Researchers and a growing number health care professionals are encouraging patients to practice meditation in addition to their medical treatment and therapy.  Although many disorders are a chemical imbalance, most don’t consider how meditation can help re-wire their brain.

What if treatment facilities and doctors prescribed more meditation, and less medication?

I’ve had anxiety throughout my life, which is something I’ve never been treated for.  My social anxiety was so terrible growing up that it caused me to eat lunch in the library when I didn’t know who to sit with, skip classes or school events, and, as soon as I began college, I started drinking heavily to self medicate.  I may not have taken pills to relieve my discomfort, but I drank my worries away so I wasn’t aware of my surroundings.

I eventually went to therapy and tried antidepressants to keep my depression in check.  I didn’t take the medicine long enough to know whether or not it helped me- life situations had improved and I was abstinent from alcohol- but I also added something else to my life:

Mindfulness and meditation.

Between therapy, group support, and meditation, my anxiety and depression have been alleviated. I learned that spending more time inward was the solution to my issues.  If you break down depression and anxiety, it’s quite simple:

Depression is living in the past, and anxiety is living in the future.

Living in the present is being happy.

Whether you choose to medicate or not, consider adding meditation to your daily routine.  There are many apps that can get you started if you’re a newbie to the practice, such as Calm and Headspace, and even a variety of YouTube videos to guide you along your way.  Meditation has changed my life, and I know it can change yours, too.

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Sunday Self Care: The Importance of Taking a Mental Health Day

We are a society always on the move.

We go to work, fill our schedules, and tend to the everyday tasks required to be productive and responsible people. More often than not, “self care” isn’t on those to-do lists.

Today, self care is #1 on my list.

It’s Sunday, and my alarm went off at 7AM. As I heard rain falling outside my window, I began resenting the things I had planned for the morning. I couldn’t remember the last day I got to spend simply caring for myself. I looked around my room and spotted the book I was reading and thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to just stay home to read and journal all day?”

So that’s what I’m going to do.

It’s important to stop and pause when we begin to feel restless or irritable. The two questions you need to ask yourself are:

Why am I feeling this way?

What have I done to care for myself?

You’ll probably find a correlation between the two answers; and it’s likely you’re caring for others better than you’re caring for yourself, whether it’s your family, your job, or other responsibilities. When your intuition tells you it’s okay to just stay home, say no, or relax, listen to your inner voice. It’s a gentle tap on the shoulder to remind yourself that it’s okay to sit still and take a break.

Self care Sunday is a perfect way to reset for the new week and to recharge your batteries. Whether you choose to do some yoga, enjoy a long meditation, enjoy a sea salt bath, or go for a walk in the park, these moments to yourself are crucial to living a happy, balanced life.

You’re the only one who truly knows what you need, so I hope you can take some time out for self care today, too.

Living a High Vibe Life

I have a secret for you.

This morning I woke up with anxiety. Yes, every now and I still wake up uncertain about the day and wonder where my path will lead. However, now I know how to flip my thinking and realize how beautiful life is.

There’s no reason to worry- everything is happening in perfect and divine order.

This is a huge difference between my life today and my life before. I wasn’t the type of person to naturally smile through challenges, look for the positives when things got hard, and I definitely didn’t step outside of myself when I was stressed.

Today I’m able to live a high vibe life no matter what the circumstances.

As I stroll through the Public Garden on my way to lunch, I’m in awe of all the beauty around me. I watched children play among the ducklings, smiled at strangers, and hummed to my iTunes as I crossed over to Newbury Street.

It’s amazing how the simple pleasures can bring the most joy.

Maintaining a high vibration allows abundance to flow, both spiritually and monetarily. When you’re able to look at the good in the world around you and focus on your blessings, it attracts even more likeminded people, opportunities, and joy.

Even when the world seems dark, you have the chance to be the light.

Gemini New Moon Intentions: Everything is About to Change

This New Moon is special.

It’s time to stop and smell the roses- for life is beautiful.  Society is what makes life stressful.  Not life itself.  We all have the power to live the life we love- the problem is, most people don’t realize this.

Falling under the sign of Gemini, associated with communication and the conscious mind, today’s June 13th New Moon at 3:43PM EST is the beginning, and the end, of the rest of your life.

Sounds kind of drastic, doesn’t it?

Honestly, not really.

These changes are internal.

Remember how you used to hold back as a kid, second guessed the things you said, or avoided creativity for the fear of what others may think?  Well, everything is about to change.

Big projects will come to fruition, you’ll gain confidence to use your voice, and things that used to scare you won’t any longer.

You’ll stop numbing your feelings and start using them as strengths.  You’ll use your struggles as lessons, and you’ll stop making the same mistakes twice.

Rushing will be a thing of the past, because you’ll start to recognize that what’s for you will not pass you.  Missing the train, rejection from a job, getting dumped by your boyfriend- these are all for reasons.

There is something bigger and better for you on the horizon.

So, sit back, and relax for once- with clear intentions, hard work, and clear communication, you will make your mark.

Just wait.  Trust the process.  Life is about to become even more beautiful.

A Short Response to Mental Health Awareness

I have heard a lot of thoughts regarding the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain this past week.  The most common is, “they had everything” or “their lives looked so wonderful.”

I have a lot of feelings about this.

Those with depression aren’t necessarily the ones venting on Facebook or complaining at work.  They’re not the ones who have bad luck, draw the wrong cards, or seem down and out.  Those with depression are often the people who smile, entertain, write, inspire, and laugh- all to cope.  They put on a face of strength.  They try to block out the bad.  But, sometimes, it’s all too much.

Happiness doesn’t come through wealth, vacations, relationships, or fame. Happiness is within your soul.

Without being fulfilled on the inside, the outside does not matter.  I started my blog after getting help in 2016, and I am happy to say I did not let my pride, reputation, or others sway me into avoiding it or sharing my story.  Instead, I learned that vulnerability only benefits others.  I don’t care if people judge me for sharing- if I can help one person, it’s worth it.

The world will not be the same without these two individuals who were both such inspirations and role models to me.  I can only hope they are finally at peace.

Boldly Facing the Future

Just when I was feeling a little off balanced, the death of Kate Spade put my life back into perspective.

One week ago today I cut my hair, feeling fresh, nostalgic, and ready for the summer.  However, part of that act gave me that same old feeling I had four years ago prior to moving to New York City.  It was a positive feeling- but another of pain.  It made me question my decisions, wonder if I made a mistake by leaving, and feel guilty for everything that went wrong these past four years.

Then, I stopped.

Everything happens for a reason.

Had I not left New York City in July 2016, things may have turned out much differently- and much worse.  Looking back and reflecting on my life, and the life of Kate Spade, I want to express the importance of getting help, self care, and mental health awareness.

I moved to New York as if the city were a band-aid; the magical cure.  I would step into a new life, forgetting old wounds, childhood pain, and inner struggles.  Instead, all of my wounds burst open- but I had another chance.

I chose to step back, take a break, and get help.

I started my blog 6 days after moving to Boston, which is a manifestation of my own journey, lessons, and appreciation for life.  I am beyond grateful to the people who have supported me on my journey and believed in me when I stopped believing in myself.  I haven’t been perfect since coming to Boston, but life has been much better than the Kristin I left behind in 2016.

So, here I am, downtown Boston- with new glasses, a new haircut, and a new perspective. No longer afraid to face the challenges of life, I can say with confidence:

Life is beautiful.

Travel Zen

…is an oxy moron, because I have no chill when it comes to travel.  I don’t know what travel zen is, but if someone can help me figure it out, I’d love to know.

I am still catching my breath after my connection between Boston and Denver. Naturally, I had to land at JFK of all places- a city where my aggression comes out in full force.  I had a 15 minute layover in New York thanks to a fog delay, so I ran as fast as I could to the shuttle to get from Terminal A to C.

It was a headache.

I messaged my friend Brett to let him know it was possible I would have to take a later flight.  Thankfully, I got a hold of him to let him know I made it with just a minute to spare.  He’s leaving work early to come get me, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t messing up his schedule, either.

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I don’t know how people do it.  I have two friends who work for Accenture as consultants, and they travel every single week.  I WOULD PULL MY HAIR OUT.  Although I tried to take deep breaths and remember “everything happens for a reason,” I still have no zen when it comes to logistics.

Journaling, music, and holding my Fluorite stone seemed to help calm me down once I got settled on flight #2.  Now that I’m en route, I feel much better, though I doubt the people I pushed past in the airport would believe me.

On another note, I’m stoked to spend a few days out west- we’re hiking in Boulder this weekend, exploring downtown Denver, relaxing, and of course dining out!  It will be a great getaway.

What are some of the ways you chill yourself out while traveling?  Trust me, I need some tips other than Xanax.