how “should” stress ruins relaxing (and what to do about it)

Ever try to relax and then tell yourself all the things you should be doing instead? I should be studying. I should be doing my laundry. I should be out with friends. This definitely ruins relaxing and I’ve seen it spike during the pandemic when we don’t have clear boundaries between all of our activities. Today’s pep talk, I share a quick tip for get out of the “shoulds” when it comes to downtime.

more mentoring: 

stack stress support

productivity pep talk

blursday remedy

ritualizing your routine 

favorite pep talks

ICYMI: my current favs

It’s Spring here in the Northeast and if you’re getting outside more and wanted to something to listen to I’m sharing my current fav pep talks!


 

 

 

 

if you want to be yourself with friends:

if you want to understand yourself more:

if you want to relax:

**bonus** I know I said 3, but hey, this is my space and I want to include a pep talk on dating!

if you’re wondering if they like you:

a pep talk on productivity

pandemic productivity

“I can’t get motivated.”

“I’m not being productive.”

Have you felt that lately? There are so many pandemic related reasons for burnout right now, but one hypothesis I have for a lack of drive is how we view our value. We’re used to measuring success based on productivity, but in a virtual school/work world it looks a lot different and it’s thrown us off. In this pep talk, I chat productivity, the effect of assigning output to our worth, and a mentor shift to help with motivation.

The word “productivity” popped up in my conversations lately and it stood out to me. It’s not a theme I usually hear. Normally with my students, I get a lot of, “I have so much to do, I don’t know where to start!” or “I have a lot to accomplish and not a lot of time!” It’s not typically an issue of motivation so I sat with myself to figure out what’s going on. 

My hypothesis is that we’re so used to output being tied to our self worth, but in this pandemic world, we can’t measure our success based on what we got done in a day the same way we used to and it’s had consequences. We used productivity as a measurement of success and for many, that looks a lot different right now. 

 

 

 

What I’ve mentored my students to do when a pandemic productivity problem comes up is to shift thinking about productivity to purpose. Instead of assessing your worth is based on what you can get done in a day, focus on where you find meaning. 

This mindset change can be really helpful especially as girls graduate and go out into the workforce. You can evaluate who you are based on your inner world and not look to the external all the time with how many things you got crossed off a list or how late you stayed at work. Measuring success without considering your inner world, is not completely fulfilling. To sum up my biggest pandemic productivity tip: when you feel unproductive think about purpose. 

if I could only give one piece of advice to college students this would be it

unexpected advice for college students (no matter what grade you’re in)

Today’s pep talk is a clip from my ‘ask me anything’ episode! Someone submitted: if you could only give one piece of advice to college students what would it be? What I share is something I remind my students of often and even feel it’s most important for upperclassmen to keep in mind! It can be easy to forget the bigger picture when you’re going through your day-to-day and that’s why this little mind shift can have a big impact.

how to get closer to your friends (and yourself)

3 questions to ask instead of, “how are you?”

Ever have someone ask you how you’re doing and respond, “I’m good. How are you?” without giving it an ounce of thought?


I think we do this for two reasons: 

1. we’re not sure if the person asking really wants to hear how we’re actually doing
2. we have no idea how we feel (maybe the biggest reason) 

That’s why I’m sharing 3 questions to ask instead of, “How are you?” I love these because they’re clear to the person you’re asking that you really care. They’re creative so they make you think and they’re quick!

I even recommend doing these as an inner practice/ritual so you can get to know yourself. It’s important to figure out how you feel because it affects every relationship you have. Supporting your inner life supports your outer world. Also when we share our feelings with our friends and give them space to share theirs, it creates a deeper connection, which many of us old souls really look for. Let’s get on to the questions: 

what’s your weather report?

I love asking my students this. It’s something I learned during my teaching practicum in my Master’s program. You describe your mood based on the weather. If you’re grumpy, maybe you’re cloudy. Happy is sunny. Get creative. Maybe you’re in-between or feeling blah, then you’re partly cloudy. It’s fun to think about your mood in terms of weather. Feel free to get descriptive. For example, I’m very tired right now and I would describe my weather report as foggy ha!

 what sounds fun? 

I suggest asking yourself this one often because it can help you get in touch with your needs. Sometimes fun can feel really elusive especially when life gets heavy, but levity is a super healer. What’s a small way you can add joy to your life? When you ask yourself, “What sounds fun?” would it be fun to take a walk, call a friend, have a dance party, make a dessert? The options are endless and it’s really the antidote to overwhelm. I have a whole podcast on this technique that you can get here if you want to dive deeper. 

what’s your rose and what’s your thorn?

I guess that’s technically two questions (ha!), but my best friend and I texted each other this all the time. Your rose is your high of the day and your thorn is your low. I love this one because it’s like a little reflection. You’re able to take an inventory of your day.  

Figuring out how we feel is a form of self-reflection and is important because it helps us feel and process feelings, build our inner relationship to ourselves, and help us understand ourselves in a way that improves our relationship to our outer world. When we bring these questions to our friendships, it’s a way to connect, see how people are really doing, and share your inner life with someone else. If you’re looking to build a relationship with yourself and a deeper one with the people in your life these questions are a great place to start. 

ritualizing your routines

inner practices for mental wellness

Do you do something every day to honor your inner self?

I, for sure, did not in high school and college, but now I rely heavily on them for my mental wellness and share these strategies with my students to help move through anxiety and stress. They’ve become a student favorite because they yield big results.

For me, an inner practice is a daily action intended to cultivate the relationship you have with yourself. Nurturing your inner world totally supports your outer world because how you feel about yourself impacts everything in your life. 

After having a hard time sleeping over the summer, I recommitted even more by ritualizing my routine. According to business coach, Erica Keswin rituals take an everyday habit and turn it magical by giving it meaning. She also shared the 3 P’s of rituals: 

rituals give us a sense of psychological safety

a connection to purpose

which leads to improved performance 

When we make our inner practices a ritual, we take it to the next level. The psychological safety is you doing it all the time. The purpose is the meaning you give it, whether it’s time to feel your feelings or time for self exploration. The last part is it improves performance because when you take time to really support your inner world it’s going to have a total effect on how you see your outer world. 

An inner practice I’ve ritualized is Purge Emotional Writing from Dr. Habib Sadeghi. I do it every day in the morning and the meaning behind it is the intention get out my feelings (hello sensitivity) so I can be clear for my day. The final part is the improved performance. I can tell when I miss a day of my ritual because I feel more anxious. Another practice I’ve ritualized is meditating between the end of my work day and the start of my personal life. 

Here are some inner practice tips and tricks:

printable pdf

I’m not kidding when I say that this has been a major game changer in my own life and something that I help my students with all the time. By the way, you can ritualize mentorship as well! Sending you all a lot of love in the week ahead!

confidence vs competence

pep talk on feeling good enough

I’ve seen a confidence theme come up recently with my students and it always starts out with the same two words: 

I can’t.

I can’t apply to that college.

I can’t be friends with them.

I can’t apply to that job. 

I can’t try out for that group. 

Does any of this sound familiar? Telling ourselves we can’t do something can feel protective then we don’t need to put ourselves out there. No need to take a chance or set yourself up for possible rejection. As a reframe to this issue, I always ask myself: 

Do I have a confidence issue or a competence issue?

99.9999% of the time what’s being described as a competence issue (I’m not good enough. I can’t do it) is really just a confidence issue. I’ll be with a totally capable, wonderful, student and they tell me that they can’t do something, but in reality they’re totally capable of doing the exact thing that they tell me they can’t do. It’s not about becoming more competent; it’s about building up confidence. 

An example I see a lot is the confidence to apply to colleges and  jobs. I’ll  be with someone who is smart and amazing inside out, and they tell me all about the college/jobs they’re not going to apply to. Yet, what I see is someone with all the qualifications needed for whatever they’re telling me they can’t do. It doesn’t guarantee that we get into every college or get every job interview. Confidence is about resilience, trust in ourselves, and the ability to be in the unknown. I also have faith that every outcome is for the highest good. 

If you’ve been telling yourself you “can’t” a lot lately take a deep breath, ask yourself: are you have a confidence issue or a competence issue? If it’s a confidence issues, I encourage you with that clarity to make a move!


 

pep talks on navigating the unknown

being human in the in-between

In the last half of 2020, I started signing off my weekly newsletter with something I wished for everyone during the week. It became one of my favorite practices so I went back and collected the themes as they’re what I wish for you all in 2021:⁣


big dreams ⁣
clarity ⁣
calm ⁣
gentle guidance ⁣
comfort in liminal space ⁣
a deep sense of inner peace ⁣
connection ⁣
fomo freeness ⁣
ease ⁣
softness ⁣

and most of all lots of health.

I am rooting into these words more than ever. If January is already feeling long, here are some tips on navigating liminal space: the time between what was and what’s next.

a pep talk on holiday fomo

A side effect of social media I’ve see consistently in my private practice is FOMO (fear of missing out). It always seems to amp up over holidays heavy in expectation like New Year’s Eve. It’s so easy to look at social media, see what people are up to, and compare it to what you’ve got going on. In today’s pep talk, I’m sharing what totally changed my perspective on Holiday FOMO. This is always one of my most popular pep talks because it is so universally felt!

Holiday Fomo is when you see other people celebrate any holiday and it makes you feel like you’re missing out or doing it wrong. Social media has taken it to the next level too. We check out of her own life, to check into someone else’s. and then we compare. I find that this spikes during the holidays especially like New Year’s Eve or like 4th of July which is the New Year’s Eve of the summer.

If you’re in a situation where you’re having some Holiday Fomo, here’s what I always remind myself:  

Where you are is exactly where you’re meant to be.

You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re not in the wrong place. You’re not missing out. Wherever you are is where you’re meant to be. My yoga teacher Amy during our training had a different quote posted every time we met. One quote I always still think about is by Hafiz which said:

This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.

Whenever I’m in a FOMO space I think about that quote. It takes away any of the pressure that I’m doing the wrong thing or that my plans are not good enough. This also opens the opportunity to think about how to make the best of whatever situation you’re in.  What are the positives? If you’re feeling holiday FOMO creep in, remember that wherever you are is exactly where you’re meant to be and then jump off social media. People never show you the full picture of what’s going on anyway. You are where you’re meant to be. 

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 write 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.