a pep talk to normalize the outgrowing of things

a lesser known side effect of winter break

A lesser known side effect of the holidays is that it can really bring up stuff you’ve outgrown. It’s something I’ve seen with my students for years. Whether it’s coming home from school or the extra downtime winter break brings, the space between what was and what is and what’s next can become more apparent. It’s very healing to normalize outgrowing friendships, things you used to like, and even old versions of yourself.

First, I want  to acknowledge the period of time between what was and what’s next. It’s sort of this gray in between that can feel uncomfortable, but it’s where all transformation happens. This is such a fantastic place to do so some mentoring because mentors see where you’re at and help you get to where you want to be, even if you have no idea what that is yet. If you feel like you’re outgrowing something then you’re definitely going through a transition whether you recognize it or not.

I also want to specifically talk about outgrowing friendships. I know this can be particularly painful. Sometimes it comes with shame around not having friends from different stages of life or I hear girls feeling guilty around not being as close with people as they used to be. It is way too high of an expectation to have on yourself and on others that as you grow and change they grow and change in the same way as you.  

I definitely even still sometimes mourn friendships that are no longer whether it’s friendships I’ve outgrown or friendships that have outgrown me. I understand it’s hard at times, but I always feel in the end it’s for the highest good. I’d rather find people or situations that really meet me where I’m at rather than compromise my authenticity or my integrity to fit in with something that no longer fits.  

This is all so normal. I know I keep saying it but sometimes we think something is wrong with us or that we’re in a funk, when really it’s just being in an in-between space. If mentoring sounds like it’s something you want in your life, I’m totally here for you. I know any kind of change can cause stress and anxiety, but the right kind of support shifts everything. I feel like my gift is I’m really able to intuitively hear what people mean and guide them towards their own path.

Wishing you comfort in liminal space! 

an easy exercise for shifting stress 

dr. habib sadeghi’s purge emotional writing

Over the summer, I started having sleep issues. I’d fall asleep fine, but wake up in the middle of the night worried. Forget about being able to go back to bed. I knew I needed to do some waking hours work to process feelings and that’s how I found Dr. Sedeghi’s technique in his book The Clarity Cleanse.

Even though there’s Thanksgiving break coming up, it’s still stress season with finals and end of the year projects looming on top of an already wacky year. This practice, called purge emotional writing, helps you move out of worry and overwhelm and into calm and clarity. Bonus: it only takes 12 minutes.

Instructions:

  1. Grab a pen and paper 
  2. Set a timer for 12 minutes 
  3. Write anything and everything. Dr. Sedeghi says to write about anything that’s “disturbing your peace.” I just just go to town with whatever’s in my head. 
  4. After 12 minutes, stop writing, and do not go back and read what you wrote.  
  5. Burn the paper in a safe outdoor space like a driveway or patio. If you’re a college student or live in an apartment, do not burn your paper! Rip up your writing into a teeny, tiny pieces and throw it away outside not in the house. 

A huge part of this exercise is that you do not go back and read what you wrote. You are not trying to ruminate or get into a loop thought. It’s about getting stress out.

Some extra major mentor tips!

  • Do this exercise at the same time everyday. I do it right when I wake up. If you wanted to use it before you go to bed that would be good too. 
  • A timer tip: I play meditation music, ambient sounds, or piano music when I write and set my timer to “stop playing” to signal the end. After 12 minutes instead of a jarring ring or beep, the music just stops playing to let me know it’s time to move on. 
  • After 12 minutes stop writing. You’ve done it. You’ve completed what you need to complete; then immediately burn or throw out the paper. I LOVE this part. I can say whatever I want and burning it really lets it go for me.  It truly gives me freedom to say whatever it is that I need to say. 
  • **extra credit** I think it would be a really great idea to do a meditation after the writing exercise like this grounding practice or an acceptance meditation.

This ritual is PERFECT during finals or if you’re swamped at work. You just kind of spew out all the things you have to get done. Anything weighing heavy on your heart you just let out on the paper. I’ve been doing it every morning and can attest to it’s magic. 

 

how to get people to like you

advice for people pleasers

A few weeks ago, I read a blog by one of my favorite psychologists on people pleasing (something I see a lot in my private practice) and **boom** she struck a major chord. I find that when you’re a sensitive empathetic person, you’re able to pick up on the needs of other people and if you want that other person to like you, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be what everyone needs.

As a recovering people pleaser, I understand this and it’s more than just being overly nice. It’s when you:

  • Make yourself very available
  • Do what everyone else wants to do
  • Feel bad saying no
  • Take responsibility for how other people feel
  • Are an over-giver

A big breakthrough I had about people pleasing is that it’s a control mechanism. People pleasers are secret control freaks. You try to control how people feel about you, but really all it does is make you resentful, burdened, and unhappy. 

People pleasing can happen when you hang how you feel about yourself on how other people feel about you. I don’t know about you, but I for sure, don’t want my perception of myself to hang in the hands of someone else. It takes away all of my personal power. How I feel about myself is my responsibility. Seeing people pleasing as a control issue really helped me shift it. You assess where you have control and where you don’t. 

Two things that help with this:

Ask yourself why? When you make plans or are going to do anything for anyone else, ask yourself why? If it’s to get them to like you or not be upset with you, maybe that’s not a good reason. 

Second thing I think about:

What parts of myself am I giving up to fit in or to be friends with this other person? Now there was always compromise when it comes to any kind of relationship, but there can be over compromise where you become less of yourself. I want to hang out with people who want me to be full of myself and not like in an arrogant way, but want to be full of my authenticity. This is how you get people to like you. People like you when you’re being your full self. They like you when you’re authentic.

I don’t like when my sweet, lovely, people pleasing, friends try to appease a situation. I like it when they’re being themselves. My mentor Gabby Bernstein says when you shine, you give other people permission to shine. If you have an opinion or boundary, it inspires me to be able to do the same thing and then you can be friends with other people on a more authentic, grounded level. 

I totally get the community is a necessary human instinct part of our lives and that when we feel like we’re not in community it can feel really really uncomfortable. Being authentic is going to attract the right people into your life and that is how you’re going to build a really strong community of support. 

When it comes to how to get people to like you the answer is stop people pleasing, figure out your own boundaries, cultivate a full sense of self, and make friends that are attracted to that version of you. This is a big life lesson too. You’re not going to do it all in one day.  Start with the why. Why do you do the things you do? See if it’s to control someone’s perception of you and then maybe ask yourself what do you really want to do. What do you want for dinner? What time do you want to hang out? How do you want to spend your time? How do you want to make yourself available? Take some the power back to being full of your truest self.

a grounding practice

a meditation for when you want to feel calm

Any overthinkers out there? This is the pep-talk for you. When there’s a lot going on in your mind and the world, grounding is an exercise that centers you for peace and calm.

Ever walk into a room to grab something and can’t remember what you went in for? Do you lose your keys? Shampoo your hair twice? Loop thoughts? These are signs of being ungrounded. Sometimes it’s also a response to anxiety. I gave a big talk once that meant a lot to me. I got up to the podium and totally started to panic. I couldn’t feel my legs. I felt very untethered; a big sign of being ungrounded.

Today’s pep talk is a grounding meditation to center your mind and body and root you into the present moment. This is an important part of my wellness practice and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


 

monthly goal setting worksheet

monthly mentor ritual for clarity

Feel mentally scattered, disorganized or overwhelmed? My mind felt cluttered until I started doing a monthly goal setting ritual and the secret here is that it also doubles as a productivity hack. When we acknowledge endings and have practices around them, we’re able to move forward with clarity and efficiency. Plus, I’ve done half of the work for you by creating a downloadable goal setting worksheet. Happy reflecting!!

 

 

**bonus** here’s separate print out to write just your goals on. Put it in a place you look regularly! I

has covid made us awkward?

the social atrophy of 2020.

When I hear something a few times from my students and friends, I know there’s a theme brewing and that’s exactly how I feel about today’s pep talk on social anxiety.  As humans we are hardwired for connection. Even the most introverted of us still wants friends, but now hanging out with people comes with a new set of anxieties mixed with being out a practice being with people.

We are all going through a collective experience, meaning we are all going through this Covid-19 2020. It’s happening to the entire planet so even if you feel alone, you’re to some degree, not the only one affected. 

Ever heard of social atrophy? Just like muscle atrophy, or decline in strength, the same thing can happen to your social skills too. Hanging out with people is like working out your social muscle. When you interact with people, you’re practicing your social skills. You build that muscle. If you were in a quarantine situation, if you’re not going to classes that are in person, if you’re a post-grad and work is now all remote, or maybe you’re looking for a job on the computer all day, you are having a social atrophy moment.  

Be really gentle with yourself. When you’re not with people you’re not practicing being social so when you finally see someone in person it’s going to be like using muscles you haven’t used in a while. Imagine going to the gym after not working out for a while.  Usually, you’re sore the next day. Some of the “after hanging out with people social anxiety” is like emotional soreness. You haven’t worked out muscles in a while and experience soreness. Also, hanging out once with people on the weekend and then your back by yourself for the rest of the week is not enough practice. As humans we’re used to getting a lot more social interaction then for a few hours a week. 

So what can we do? This is not my favorite advice, but it’s still good: you have to accept the awkward weirdness everyone is going through including yourself. It’s all about giving it grace and space.

A practical tip: recognize what your own boundaries are around covid and hanging out with people and respect those boundaries. Learn about the boundaries the people you’re hanging out with have and respect those boundaries too. When there’s clear communication around that, it can make hanging out with people a little bit easier. It’s a really weird time to be on planet earth right now. 

Connection is so important to human beings. Social interaction sends signals to your brain that you belong and that you’re in community so when you’re in an isolated state it could be sending signals that you don’t belong in you’re not in community. Be really gentle with yourself. Humans need human interaction. 

First Semester Sophomores PSA!

Advice to first semester sophomores right now. There’s something I’ve made up known as the freshman year second semester phenomenon that I believe to be true. It’s when you see people for who they really are in the second semester of your freshman year. First semester everyone shows you their best selves, but by second semester you can kind of see who people are on the inside. Everyone’s masks come off and you can’t pretend to be anything other than who you are. This is an important part of the freshman year friendship discernment experience. If anyone was a freshman during the covid-19 situation you might not have reached the important second semester freshman year phenomenon. I’m finding that a lot of my first semester sophomores are kind of learning this stuff now. I know that campus and classes all look really different. It’s just having a lot of grace and space for yourself. Your mantra can be: I give myself space and I give myself grace. Sending everyone a big hug! 


 

the antidote for overwhelm

self-care tips for students and recent grads

When you first go away to college, and also this happens in your early 20’s, sometimes you’re painted a picture that these years are going to be the best time of your lives, but, like most situations that involve a lot of growth, it honestly has a lot of ups and downs. One minute you absolutely love it and the next minute you can’t believe you’re squeezed into a shoebox-sized room with a stranger you don’t know as a roommate. 

A few years ago, I mentored several girls at different schools who were pre-med at the time. They were totally stressed out by the workload. I thought it was synchronistic to see students dealing with the same issue at once. It made me pay more attention. I remember I was always asking them what they had been doing to have a little fun and the answer was always nothing. When we’re really busy, stressed, or anxious the idea of indulging in something fun can seem unproductive and undeserved, but usually it’s exactly what you need. When I feel my world getting really heavy, I ask myself:

What sounds fun?

I don’t ask it in a sarcastic way where I’m like a vacation sounds fun or a million dollars. I’m really asking, what can I do to take care of myself in this moment? What would be something that could add levity to what I have going on? The goal is to try to get to your know your inner needs! 

Almost always when I ask myself that question, it’s usually something really small that I can do to add some relaxation, levity, or joy to whatever it is I’m spinning through at the time.  Some of the things that come up for me when I ask myself what sounds fun is to: 

  • go for a walk
  • call a friend 
  • move my body
  • grab a coffee 

It’s never something that’s over complicated or too crazy, but here’s where the mentoring comes in: you have to ask yourself the question then ACTUALLY go do the thing. It’s easy to get stuck in whatever’s going on and don’t do the thing that will make us feel better. If what sounds fun is a mentoring session (and trust me they are fun!!),  you have to put in the time to actually schedule and go to a session. If what sounds fun is stretching your body then you need to actually get on your yoga mat. You deserve to treat yourself well. You deserve to have fun. We’re here on this planet to be of service and purposeful and you can’t do that if you’re not allowing yourself the joy of being alive. Even if you’re going through a time, you are totally worthy and deserving of moments of joy throughout your day. Fun is a form of self-care. What sounds fun is a way to take care of your inner self. Secret bonus, joy makes  tackle your to-do list or get through anything hard a lot easier.

How to Stop Anxiety Before it Starts

10 tips for Managing Anxiety from a Mind Body Perspective

Sometimes anxiety can feel like a mystery and the more I study it, the more I see that it’s often a perfect storm of many factors.  As a sensitive person, I’ve found myself in anxiety until I started addressing it through a mind, body perspective. It’s also how I work in 1:1 sessions with success as well.

First, there’s a difference between stress and anxiety. Stress, for me, is when you’re having a reaction to a situation. For example, you’re stressed before a test, you take the test, and then you don’t feel stress after. You’re dreading having a hard conversation, you have it, and you feel relief after. The stress goes away when the situation resolves itself.

Anxiety is a little bit different. It can be excessive worry especially when there’s no stressor involved. I know that a lot of my anxiety comes from worrying about things that will probably never happen and then I get in what I call an anxiety loop where I keep looping the same fear fantasy in my head over and over again. Anxiety is really common and sometimes we get in a loop because it feels really protective. Worry can feel like we are being productive in managing and protecting ourselves.

How does all this anxiety stuff start anyway? The short answer is I don’t really know. We are studying it more and more and learning about anxiety, the brain, even your gut biome, and how hormones can affect anxiety. There are so many different factors that go into anxiety. When I’m anxious, it’s usually from a perfect storm of factors so I look at the solution by combining mind, body, soul, practices. 

 

Here are my 10 tips! 

  • Am I dehydrated? 

The first thing I do when I feel anxiety creeping up behind me is I ask myself am I dehydrated? I know that’s super simple, but what you eat and drink affects how you feel. I’m not saying that water cures everything, but check in with what you’ve consumed during the day. Have you had a lot of sugar? Did you drink alcohol? All of this contributes to your body’s biological responses and it could be causing anxiety. 

  • Stop, drop, and feel your feelings 

Anxiety sometimes can come from resisting feeling emotions. In acknowledging what’s coming up for you, you can allow your feelings to move through you. When we push our feelings down, they pop up in a place you don’t expect. Here’s the meditation I use when I need to slow down and feel my feels. 

  • Share what’s up with someone you trust

Having someone hold space for you is very healing and allows you to be supported. Sharing what’s up for you with someone safe, comforting, and kind can help you process uncomfortable feelings. 

  • Supplements

I always think it’s important to consider your vitamin levels. Studies have shown that vitamin B, vitamin D, and magnesium levels can all affect your mood so when I’m feeling anxiety come on I made sure I’m taking my supplements. This is something also to bring up to your doctor. 

  • Put down your phone 

Sometimes when we’re getting anxious, we might want to use our phones as a way to numb out and avoid feelings feels. This is also an important tip if your phone is the source of your anxiety. Taking a phone break allows you to be more in the present moment and in your body. 

  • Sunlight 

Sunlight is an underrated mood booster! It’s so important for your circadian rhythm and it’s a source of vitamin D.  On a practical level, getting out of wherever you’ve been sitting for too long can be just like an instantaneous way to help you start to shift your mood. 

  • Grounding 

Grounding is a technique that connects you to the earth as a way to co-regulate with nature. This can be putting your feet in grass, touching a tree, or meditating outside. I like to lie in the grass and allow myself to meditate in nature. 

  • Surround yourself with supportive people 

Humans are herd creatures. We are not meant to be isolated.  Surrounding yourself with supportive people is important to our mental wellness. If you feel like you’re struggling in the support department here are some additional tools: 

fitting in for old souls

finding your tribe 

mentor minute with Megan McDowell 

  • Break a sweat 

Moving your body can change how you feel from the inside out. Whether it’s taking a walk, doing 10 jumping jacks, or going to yoga something is better than nothing. I like going to dance because it makes me focus on something other than my thoughts. Moving your body is an important way to maintain mind, body, balance. Bonus if you can break a sweat outside! 

  • Talk to your mentors 

When you feel anxiety coming on, it’s the perfect time to set up a session with your mentor or therapist. Your friends sometimes don’t know it at all even if they’re a good source of support, especially when you’re in high school, college, or post grad. I know that in my worst anxiety that mentors have been transformational and I don’t feel like I would have gotten through it without them.

These are the 10 things I think about when I feel anxiety coming on as a way to build back my foundation for feeling better. I know anxiety can be very uncomfortable and I’m sending everyone so much love! 

are you an old soul?

fitting in for old souls: a mentor checklist

 

 

do you relate? check out this podcast on fitting for old souls:


 

fitting in for old souls

post grad, college, and high school mentorship for old souls in young bodies

Anyone ever called you an old soul? 

An old soul, for me, is someone who is really wise, deep, and self-reflective. They tend to be introspective, not only about themselves, but about the world. Typically they’re the people you turn to when you need advice. I find a lot of old souls can be very empathetic or pick up on the feelings of others. Let me tell you, my private practice is full of old soul empaths and I LOVE it! 

but, I’m just going to come out and say it, I think old souls sometimes have a harder time fitting in during their younger years.

When you’re deep and introspective about yourself, about the world, and about others, especially when you’re young, not everyone wants to meet you there. Whenever I’m chatting about fitting in with an old soul client this is what I say:

Who are you trying to fit in with? Are the people you’re looking to hang out with really your people? If you have to be inauthentic in order to fit in, is that really where you want to be? If you’re an old soul, it’s probably a no-go. I think some of the loneliest people out there are the people who give up parts of themselves in order to be a part of a group. 

Glennon Doyle in her book Untamed writes,

“Listen every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job throughout your entire life is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.” 

What she means is not that you don’t honor commitments, compromise, or don’t respect other people. It’s that you have to be true and honest with yourself. 

It’s okay to not fit in. You actually don’t want to fit in everywhere. Contrary to what social media makes it look like, it’s not always the more friends the better. I find, especially for old soul students, it’s better to have a few friends you can rely on, and you can be yourself with than to be in a group where you have to put on a mask. 

If you’re saying, “Okay, Maggie, that’s great but I have no friends right now and I’m not feeling good about it.” I hear you. I feel you. I see you. I’m with you. This is tip two: Go to figure out the things that you like to do. 

Do you like working with kids? 

Do you enjoy playing music?

Do you enjoy art? 

Do you enjoy dance?

Do you enjoy reading?

Go do the activities you enjoy people and make it your mission to meet people there. You just have to allow yourself to  be open to making friends wherever you go. For example, you might really love working with kids and get an opportunity to tutor. Can you have a soul connection with the kids that you tutor and also maybe find other people that are tutoring and make a connection with them as well? You already have something big in common with the thing you like to do.

Need more ideas of how to make friends? Check out this podcast:

The focus for old soul fitting in is that soul connection.  I know for myself, I found a lot of belonging by going to the things that interested me regardless of who I thought was going to be there. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve gone to alone and left with a friend because the subject matter was something we had in common.  It takes a little more finessing for an old soul to fit in, but it is so worth it to have a few friends that get you on a deep level!