Shutdown or Breakdown: You Need a Break

You’ve been there. So much stress and pressure building up on your shoulders until you’re positive one more day might send you over the edge and two more days will make you unbearably crazy. Three days and you’ll pull an Anna and lay face down in bed until the world is ready to embrace you in gentle arms again.

Exhibit A of a breakdown.

Exhibit A of a breakdown.

The importance of shutting down may seem a little immature, like a misuse of time or unproductive, but it’s actually the opposite of those. By giving your mind and yourself a chance to have fun and relax, you’re healing yourself. You’re refreshing your ideas and getting your energy back. You finally can let loose before getting back to the grind.

Whether this is on a weekend, an evening or your 2 hours in the middle of your day, you need to shut down. Take a break from social media, your phone and anything else that will make you stressed out. Do you. Take a walk, watch a movie, lay in bed, catch up with someone you love or just sit there and breathe.

But I don’t have time. Yes. Yes you do. Don’t say that. I used to over commit myself to so many things before I realized that I wasn’t even having fun doing any of them anymore. That’s what your activities should do. Make you have fun. Let you let go and forget about everything for a while. Do something that you don’t just cross of your check list.

Breaking down is what happens after all of the stress and inability to shut down attacks you. You might feel better afterwards, but shutting down in the first place is going to prevent a hysterical break down. Breaking down leads to a night of tears or anger that doesn’t need to be there if you take care of yourself.

There is a lot of talk of taking care of yourself psychically, but remember to care for your emotional and mental side too. The energizer bunny will still die out of batteries at some point right? We need time to recharge and recuperate before jumping into the next day’s battles.

Do yourself  a favor. if you need to, start small. Snatch an hour out of the day that’s just for you. A time for you to recharge. Whether that’s taking a bath, sitting outside or enjoying an iced coffee while reading your favorite book, do something for your brain. Take a break. I know how much everyone of us deserves it.

Until tomorrow my friends,

Anna Marie

P.S. If you have any advice that works wonders on healing your stretched thin self, please share. I know we could all use ideas to wind down.

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Ten Bridges You Need to Cross

How many posts have you read about the incredible culture and architecture behind beautiful bridges around the world? Take a look for yourself at the hard work behind this beautiful infrastructure.

Ten Bridges You Need to Cross (and then cross off your bucket-list)

1. Millau Viaduct: Tran Valley, France

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

The tallest bridge in the world reaching 343 meters above the base of its structure.

2. The Helix Bridge: Marina Bay, Singapore

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This pedestrian bridge is known for it’s nifty design.

3. Vasco Da Gama Bridge: Lisbon, Portugal

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

4. Pont Du Gard Aqueduct: Gard, France

france

5. Tower Bridge: London, England

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This bridge has become an icon for London.

6. Golden Gate Bridge: San Francisco, United States

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

7. Sydney Harbour Bridge: Sydney, Australia

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This bridge is an iconic structure that opened in 1932. 

8. Ponte Vecchio: Florence, Italy

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This is a medieval bridge that was built with shops alongside it as was common back in the day.

9. Siosepol: Isfahan, Iran

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This beautiful bridge consists of 33 arches on top and bottom.

10. Brooklyn Bridge, New York, United States

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

One of the oldest bridges in the United States.

Now you can go ahead and add these beautiful paths to your bucket-list. Who knew the worlds bridges could be so beautiful?

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

It’s 40 Degrees in Wisconsin and Everyone’s Freaking Out

Today in central Wisconsin, it hit 40 degrees and as soon as I stepped into the sunshine, my entire life changed. Okay, that’s super dramatic, but I really did feel my mood instantly lift and when I realized my face wasn’t hurting because of frigid air and wind, I smiled pretty wide.

Kiss winter goodbye.

Kiss winter goodbye.

For those of you who don’t know much about Wisconsin weather, let me give you a taste. I live in dead center Wisconsin where it is the coldest temperatures in the winter. Once you hit mid-October, you know hell is starting to freeze over because you are in it. When December rolls around you are okay with winter but you know your patience is about to be tested as soon as mid-January stabs into your life.

That’s when you are living in frozen hell. You’ll look at your weather app and see the high for the day is -17 and want to cry. Then it gets worse when you look at the “feels like” part of the app where you see -35. The past two winters my town got to -70 with wind chills. You put on two jackets and your warmest hat and gloves but nothing can protect you from the wind biting your face as soon as you step into the cold. Frostbite can take over in five minutes and yet, your college classes won’t be cancelled.

This pleasant temperature can last anywhere from one to two months or more if mother nature really hates us that much. Then as March approaches you know it’s going to play you until you cry. You have a day that hits about 30 degrees and tears of happiness leak from your eyes. It hits 40 and you throw your winter coat in the closet. 50 degrees and everyone breaks out their flip flops.

Summer is on its way.

Summer is on its way.

April is wet and promising as temperatures start climbing and you breathe in the smell of spring air. Once May hits you’re so alive and cheery its unbearable. Summer lasts until September and then it cools off and the cycle begins again.

The moral of this story is how appreciative I am that winter is coming to an end. I am not fond of the cold season but in effort to be positive, I always look forward to the smell of spring and the feel of sunshine. So today, my friends, is a really good day. It is, in my eyes, the first day of spring and the glorious end to another long and cold winter.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Reasons You Need To Love Your Body

Our lives are filled with airbrushed ads, sexual campaigns, new dieting tricks and size zero models. Then people tell us to love ourselves. We think, how. 

In a world that spins on defining beauty, it’s hard to live up to the expectations the media sets for us. That’s why I’m here to add to the voices that need to be turned up. It’s painful to hear how many of my close family and friends bash themselves for the way the look. It’s equally as painful to hear myself chime in with my own insecurities.

Flaws become a contest to see who has it worse or to fish out those compliments that give us some of our self-worth back. Because we lose it way too fast and much to easy.

You should love your body for so many different reasons. So please, do your mind and yourself a favor and believe in what I say.

Your body is a tool. It is a beautiful tool that allows you to do many things. Run, walk, dance, hug, kiss, make love, hold a child, climb a mountain, swim across seas, build incredible projects, fight wars and so much more. You underestimate your body. Don’t do that.

Your body will work with you. Have you ever joined a sport? Did you notice yourself getting better? Your body adapted to the skills you wanted it to learn and that task became easier. The harder you work with your body the more results you see.

You only have one body. You only get one body to use in your lifetime. I’m sure you can think of someone who is missing a part of their body. I can think of a few who have made their lives meaningful and proved that having an ‘imperfect’ body can still get them to inspiring heights.

You need to love your body. Of course exercise is good for your body. Take care of the tool you have and go on a walk and be mindful of what you eat. Coming from a girl who skips runs and enjoys Taco Bell, you don’t have to be perfect to keep your body healthy.

You’re your own worst critic. You judge yourself harsher than you would ever judge another person. You notice every single pimple, freckle and scar. If you could see yourself through someone else’s eyes, you would be shocked to find how they might notice you in a completely different way. Breathe in and find something to love about your body.

Comparing is deadly. There are not two people in this world who have the exact same body, inside and out. Why would you compare an apple to an orange or a banana to a pineapple when they are all just different versions of fruit? That’s what we are. Different versions of human beings.

It’s okay to feel sexy or good about yourself. People think that feeling a certain way about themselves might make others think they are cocky or self-absorbed. When you walk past a mirror and you notice you are having an extra good hair day, rock the rest of your day with that confidence. The best way to improve your self-image is to tell yourself what you love about you.

This fight isn’t easy. We are battling against years of messages installed into our beings. That’s why we need to stand up to recognize what our bodies our for and appreciate our bodies so we can take care of them. If we take care of our bodies, they will be able to hang in there with us.

Love your body! Word on the street is it can do some pretty incredible things.

Anna

10 Castles to Fit Your Fairy-tale

Today’s travel inspired post is about exploring 10 beautiful castles around the world. Without further ado, here it is!

10 Castles to Fit Your Fairy-tale

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

NeuschwansteinCastle

Google Images

2. Chateau de Chambord, France

chateau

Google Images

3. Castle Howard, Yorkshire

Google Images

Google Images

4. Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria

Google Images

Google Images

5. Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

Google Images.

Google Images.

6. Castillo de Coca, Spain

Google Images

Google Images

7. Windsor Castle, England

Google Images

Google Images

8. Bodiam Castle, England

Google Images

Google Images

9. Moritzburg Castle, Germany

Google Images

Google Images

10. Malbork Castle, Poland

Google Images

Google Images

Enjoy the day dreams that come with these enchanting pieces of architecture.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Your College Bucket-List From a Soon to be Senior

It’s true when they tell you college is the time of your life. You are thrown out of the nest and start to grow your own wings. You experience the stress of finals at 4 am and the doubt of being able to graduate in four years. College is the best experience and do you know what else is true? It flies by way too fast.

Coming from a soon to be college senior, there are so many things I did throughout the past few years at my university that I hope and pray freshman will do as well. So here are ten things I couldn’t have left college without doing.

THE COLLEGE BUCKET LIST

1. Meet people every year and don’t stop making new friends. College is a lot bigger than your high school and your friends will come and go, just make sure you hold on to the good ones. Be open to people you haven’t talked to before.

2015. February.

2015. February.

2. Go to a sporting event that you know has the loudest pride fan section. At my school, it’s hockey. The cheering section for every other sport sucks but when it comes to chanting for our hockey team, we go wild. There are chants, taunts and horrible sportsmanship but it is one of the most fun ways to spend a weekend night. 

3. Join a club, even if you only go to one meeting. Joining a student org not only gives you the opportunity to meet new friends, it also gives you opportunities to volunteer, become an intern or at the very least some free food (sometimes). Even if you don’t stick with it, it’s good to have at least tried something out.

4. Join an intramural, if only for a semester. I don’t care how bad you suck at sports, intramurals are such a good time. You can play in the fun league and meet so many nice people and make lots of great memories.

5. Try to get at least 3 teachers to remember your name by the end of your college career. This isn’t as easy as you would think, especially as an underclassman taking general education courses. Going into the last few semesters made me realize that a letter of recommendation from a professor would look really good on a job application so sit in the front of the class for once and talk a little.

2012.

2012.

6. Live in the dorms… and then live off campus. Living in the dorms are so much fun. You get to know your community and get offered tons of free programs. There is never nothing to do in a dorm. Living off campus provides you with learning opportunities and a place to call your own. You learn a lot.

7. Travel. Either study abroad or traveling on your own, now is the time to go if you can afford to. Even if it’s just for spring break, take advantage of the free time you have while you are in college. Once you graduate and start your career, your traveling is going to be much more limited.

Cancun. 2013.

Cancun. 2013.

8. Take advantage of anything that’s FREE! You get so many college perks it’s ridiculous. Free concerts, movies, comedians, fitness classes,craft-nights, etc. Our campus even gives you free condoms so find out what’s free and take advantage of that!

9. Say yes more than you say no. One of the greatest ways to make memories is to say yes when people ask you to do things. Walk through a park, coffee at a cozy shop, study date at McDonald’s, whatever it is, do it. You will not regret the quirky memories that come from those nights.

10. Take a class for fun. This sounds so ridiculous to take a class for fun but trust me, since you have general courses you are required to take, it will be easy. You have options in so many different broad areas so pick something you need to graduate that you know will give you a good time.

One of the most important things to remember about college is why you are there. Don’t get lost in the atmosphere all the time because you do want to graduate with a degree. You are in college to learn, grow and prepare yourself for your future career in the real world. Bask in that.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie