College Seniors: We’re Terrified

We are all just FREAKING OUT.

I don’t know if I could ever accurately describe what it feels like to be a senior in college.

I know that the hours of good sleep I get averages about maybe 15 hours a week.

I know that even though my head hits the pillow at 10 p.m., I fight my thoughts until I’m so exhausted my brain hurts too much to fall asleep.

By the time I wake up, I feel more exhausted then I did the day before.

I’m a full-time student with a 15-credit load who is in class 4 hours a day, works 5-8 hours a day and does homework for 2 hours every night on top of applying for jobs who say you’re under-qualified and inexperienced.

Even though I’ve worked three jobs in the field with two internships and a college degree.

I don’t even know where I’m going to be living in a month and a half let alone where I’ll be working.

And who is going to take a chance on a girl who has clawed her way to even have a shot at her dreams.

As a senior, you realize that the 16 years of schooling you’ve done, every single thing you know about routine, every system you are familiar with– it’s all about to change.

You are told you have to take a job you won’t love because we have to start somewhere.

We are told that the real world is awful and ruthless.

We have spent the last four years loving our peers and freedom and now it’s time to leave.

I have talked with other seniors about the countless panic attacks and breakdowns we’ve had in the past months.

Because when you’re told your entire life where to go and what to do- it’s terrifying to be thrown into a pit of self-doubt where your entire life is judged on a piece of paper and a 10 minute interview.

And we have to keep our head above water and tell ourselves to enjoy this last semester because our days are numbered.

We are all terrified and panicking.

We are all screaming with excitement to start our lives.

We just can’t tell you how or when they will start.

Seniors, I heard something from an older man who has been in our shoes and it is so simple it hurts. Don’t rush.

Easier said then done when we have been drilled to soar above expectations but remember to breathe. The right opportunity will come when it needs to.

Keep your head up and your heart strong.

Anna Marie

 

 

 

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You Need to Sink Into Nature

Travel Tuesday takes a twist into appreciating nature wherever your adventure leads. 

When on the verge of self-implosion, I step into a place that offers much more than a beautiful view and I sink into it.

I will close my eyes and take in what it is to sink into nature.

The rustle of leaves as the wind whispers through shaken stems forms a language that calms the heart, mind and soul.

A gentle breeze lightly kisses your skin to take away the heat that comes with the warm sunshine on your shoulders. Nature knows the pain you feel and it fills those cracks with the shrill of birds singing and the smell of new leaves springing from their homes.

Breathe out, breathe in. The faint smell of flowers is overwhelmed by the earthly scents that flood all five senses. Maybe you’re standing by a lake and can hear the light trickle of water moving and smell the fish and seaweed that lie beneath the glittering surface.

Perhaps you’re caught in the wind on the ocean and can almost taste the salt on your lips. You slowly squish your toes into the sandy beach, feeling each grain of crushed rock smooth the skin you walk on. The ocean waves slowly crash against the shore. They stretch and reach for you, maybe just getting far enough to wash your feet, pulling your worries and self-doubt into the vast blue.

forestThere you stand in the midst of a thousand trees. A forest filled with cracking trunks and bending limbs. Rodents rustle rapidly through the brush and climb heights we consider feats. The sun rays slice through the branches that shelter us, if only to wash our face with light and hope. White noise hushes your thoughts as each leaf high fives it’s partner and the forest dances as one.

What you hear, what you see, what you feel has erupted what you have been holding inside of you. You loosen your grip on what you can’t change or let go piece by piece.  A calmness settles in that whispers you’ll be okay and you once again feel the hug of sunshine and earth surrounding you.

Nature can heal you if you sink into everything it has to offer.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

I’m a Damn Butterfly 

When ranting to my best friend about life’s challenges and uproars, we usually start throwing out insane expressions to make us laugh off our frustrations. Lately, we both have had a lot of changes get thrown into our laps and had a long conversation about how we were just trying to make it through the next day without crumbling into glitter dust. We felt like cringing at whatever life’s next blow might be even though we both knew we deserved something good to happen.

We’ve been in a super fragile and sensitive place. To emphasize, we cleverly announced how fed up we felt. “I feel like slamming my head against a tree”  in which she responded “Me too and then please let it fall on me. Lift if off when life is normal again”.  We laughed over our creative words and talked about how we would propel each other through these times.

As the conversation progressed, I said “I’m a damn butterfly.” I was referring to how fragile and overlooked the little winged creature is.

I said this and then I realized that it was the most accurate description possible.

I am a damn butterfly for a few reasons.

1. Change: I’m going through a lot of change in my life. I’m going through my own kind of metamorphisis that is making me into a new person. A stronger, more capable woman. Someone who can trust herself to get through the most screwed up situations.

2. Fragile: I cry in comedies now. I tear up when someone says something really kind. I’m so emotionally exhausted that I am super sensitive to everything happening around me. I wouldn’t choose this but when you’re feeling raw and scathed… You’re left feeling a tad vulnerable.

3. Beautiful: that’s right. I am beautiful. I laugh and I share love. I have really great days and I know what I want and what I have to offer the world. I am confident in who I am becoming and I don’t want to change that. 

4. Flying: I wish I could really fly but metaphorically speaking, I am just learning to navigate a new sky with wings that are a little bit weaker. But the more I practice, the stronger they will become and the more familiar the sky will be. There will be storms and winds but they always pass.

5. Grace: I will handle my situations with grace and kindness. I will be gentle and never let the way others treat me affect how I treat someone else.

Sometimes, really crappy things happen to the least deserving of people. I am positive that everyone reading this can relate to the effects that can have on you.

It makes you a damn butterfly. A fragile, beautiful creature getting used to new wings and learning to fly.

Until tomorrow, let’s raise those pretty little wings to the winds.

Anna Marie

Sorry, You’re Never Going to “Find Yourself”

Do you find yourself often thinking or saying to others I just need to find myself or I finally feel like I’m starting to find myself? 

I was having a conversation with one of my biggest inspirations last night and in the midst of talking about life I told her that I feel like this year I finally felt like I was starting to find myself.

She stopped me right there and taught me a very important lesson.

She told me that I am never going to find myself. Here’s why. 

How can you find yourself when every day you change a little more and every year you feel different from the person you were before? You can’t.

By the time you find who you were a year ago, you’re already going to have to look for the person you are today. It’s a never ending chase that you just can’t win.

Let me repeat, you are NEVER going to find yourself. Do you know what you can do though?

You can learn about yourself continuously. You may figure out certain things you need right now and what you want for yourself at this time but honey, that’s going to change as the days go by. You aren’t always going to want the same thing and you aren’t always going to want it as bad as something else.

You’re going to get confused as hell and question everything you have ever done. You’re going to change your mind about the future and wonder what the hell you’re doing. Sometimes everything will fall into place and make a world of sense to you and sometimes nothing will make any sense anymore.

In effort to search so viciously for ourselves, we can actually destroy ourselves. We question the people around us and cut some of them off or push them away. We get so frustrated that we don’t know who we are so we start to think we’re the only ones who don’t have a grip on our life. The consequences? Fear and the gut wrenching feeling of being alone.

It’s not just you, it’s 90% of the population.

So what can you do?

Stop panicking. Just breathe my friend. What are you really stressing out about? Are you scared for the future? Did something happen to make you question yourself? You’re a smart person who may not ever figure it out and that’s okay.

You need to know that you cannot control everything that comes your way. You can’t help a lot of feelings that happen or a lot of incidents that occur in your days. Let go of that aspect of control. Know that if you are constantly trying to control everything around you, you’re going to be way more stressed out than you need to be. Embrace that you can’t know everything and the unknown is going to happen.

Live right now instead of constantly thinking of the future. If you enjoy someone’s presence, hang out with them more. If you know that going on a walk will make you happy today, go for it. Start doing what makes you happy today and make that happiness go towards your future. It all starts with keeping what makes you happy close to your heart.

Learn about yourself daily. Know that you can never fully find yourself when you are constantly going through changes. Instead, learn something about yourself through circumstance, tragedy and happiness. Learn through it all and slowly find out what you want right now so you can start to build an idea of what you want in the future.

Who is surrounding you? They say that the five people you hang out with the most will show you the person you are becoming. Do you like that idea? Love those around you and make sure they will push you to be better.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you found something valuable in these words.

Just remember, you are never going to find yourself when you are searching too hard and changing so much. So do what you love and love everything around you. Hold on to that and your future will play out favorably. 

Until Next Time,

Anna Marie

Finals: I’m Too Tired to Think of a Clever Title

My fingers are dragging over the keyboard. My eyelids are in slow motion. My body is screaming nap time but my mind is whispering the final assignments that are due in a few days. Finals week, this battle has been hell. I will not let you win but you can throw a hefty left hook. I just need a minute to catch my breath.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Yes.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Yes.

For those who are in college good luck. For those who aren’t, I’m sure you have felt another comparable, stressful situation. I didn’t think much of finals when I was a freshman and I didn’t think college was too difficult until I got into my major and realized all of the work that has been demanded from me.

Today is the day that positivity needs to be carved into my skull. The days I lose motivation and the grey skies win over my mood. The days that textbooks seem a thousand pages thicker and words seem much too difficult to string into a coherent essay. The days I drag myself around in an attempt to be functional. Man, I am burned out. College is hard. It’s not a new revelation I’ve made, but it deserves to be said.

So for those of you who need to hear it, you can do it. You are almost there. You have a few days left and if you keep up the pace and push yourself until that last minute of that last exam, you will be so proud of yourself. It will be worth it. Take a deep breath and keep trucking. You are almost done. Then you can scream to the skies and let the sunshine hit your face.

Think of summer. Think of how great it will be to enjoy the summer knowing you pushed yourself to the last possible hour of the Spring Semester of 2015. You will jump in the air and time will freeze in your happiness. Okay, maybe not quite that blissful, but you can grab a glass of wine and watch Netflix without feeling guilty for the first time in months.

The simplest pleasures. They are quite worth it. Keep pushing.

Until next time,

Anna Marie

Good Morning, a Note For You

Good morning sunshine and thank you for reading! ❤

I know that your day just started. Whether you are lying in bed with one eye still closed, squinting into the light that is seeping through your window blinds or drinking your morning coffee with your PJs still on, good morning. That’s what it is going to be. That is what you should want it to be.

Right now, you have no idea what kind of mood might hit you. You’re still basking in the warmth of your dreams and thinking about what is happening in your life today. You don’t know yet if you’re day is going to be memorable or average. Can you really choose?

I don’t know, sometimes I feel like I could argue either way. But here is the truth. This morning might lead to a day full of happiness that you will treasure for years to come, or it might bring news that you never even knew you were dreading. You can either excite yourself for the days that might bring the most sunshine or always expect the rain clouds.

But let me tell you this. You, mister or missy, are important. You mean something to someone in your world right now and that person loves you. They cherish your smile and can’t wait for the next time you get to make more memories together. Someone out there, the person or people that you are picturing right now, they want to see you. They need you to bring them joy.They want to share their day with you or gossip about the latest happenings. They want to sing obnoxious songs with the windows rolled down and hear that they’re doing okay in life.

We all just need to hear that we’re doing okay, that we’re doing great.

If you don’t feel like you’re okay, you will be. Believe me. It may take time, it may take another person, it may take an adventure, but you are doing okay. Everyone one of us has had something bad happen and every one of us has learned to overcome something. Everyone of us has wondered what is next for ourselves and everyone has second guessed our decisions. It’s okay. It’s normal.

For you, understand that your presence is one that can not be duplicated. No amount of magic could ever cast the light you do on the people who surround you. No one could ever tell you how to shine that light and no one could ever replicate the grace in which you do. That brightness is special, YOU are special.

Recognize one thing this morning. Recognize how much you mean to those around you and realize how important you are to someone. You, my friend, are so incredibly loved. Feel that warmth that you feel when you wake up in the morning when you are in your cocoon of blankets. Feel it and keep it with you for the rest of your day. No one can ruin this day for you. You are going to make it yours.

Be yourself in every second of your day and let yourself be known to those around you. They’ll find you just as lovely as those people who know how much you are worth. That worth is evergreen.

Good morning and good day,

Anna Marie

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.

Stressed Out? You’re Not Alone

They say that if you do something one thousand times, you’re an expert at it. Ladies and gentlemen, I am an expert at becoming stressed. I’ve been feeling a little bit a pressure lately and knew that writing about stress might, in fact, help me cure it.

If you’re like me, you have the super power of knowing when you are stressed out. Therefore, you probably have recognized that when you’re stuck there, it just takes time to unravel your knot of to-do’s swimming in your brain.

Not to fear, I’ve been there.

As a self-proclaimed adult, my life can get way too cluttered with feeble attempts to build a nice life resume. I started becoming way too obsessed with what I needed to do rather than what I wanted to do to make my time spent on earth worthwhile. I knew what would make me a good candidate for jobs after I graduated and I got lost in that mindset.

The first step to becoming a less stressed person is knowing what situations make you stressed out. I figured out that my tendency to bite off too much is the main reason why I have been a little overwhelmed on and off the past few years.

This can truly be the hardest part. Sometimes, it’s hard to not blame your stress on something that’s right in front of you or that just happened. For example, when I was feeling a lot of pressure yesterday it was because I thought I had a ton errands to catch up on when in reality I did a really good job of getting everything I needed done. After sitting down and taking a big ole loud breath, I realized that I was more stressed out because I haven’t had much time to hang out with my friends. This made me a little lonely and crabby and therefore I got stressed out because of it.

The reason your stressed can sometimes be hidden beneath all of the little things you think are making you upset. Once you do figure out the core of the stress, it’s time to breathe.

Step two is to know what makes you feel better when you are stressed out. Do you like to be alone and think it through? Maybe distracting yourself with music or TV works best? Perhaps you are like me and want to talk about it with someone and then move on to a nice distraction.

Do you know what makes you feel relaxed? Good, now do that. If you can’t or don’t have time, take a few breaths and plan out the next chance you will have to do what makes you feel better.

The worst part about being stressed out is not knowing what it is at the time and not knowing how to counteract it. But once you figure those two crucial things out, you will know how you work better and how to help yourself in the best way.

Let’s hope this post gave a little more comfort than stressing you out even more.

Breathe in, breathe out and conquer the world. 

Until next week!

Anna Marie

Self Implosion is a Real Thing

Oh the beauty of free time. Without it, we all may crash and burn or otherwise lose our minds.

To this day, I struggle a little bit with taking out personal time when I could be doing something productive. I used to really feel like I was wasting my time until I realized that if I don’t take a step back and slow down, I would self implode. It’s a real thing you guys and its called a mental breakdown. That’s why finding how much time you need to just shut down for a little while could really help you change your mood from tired and crabby to focused and calm.

I’m sure everyone has experienced that hectic day where you work or go to class all day long and when you get home you have to make supper or do homework or start on laundry. By the time you crawl underneath the blankets, you realize that you didn’t take one moment to even think about something you enjoy.

Walking through the campus nature reserve. 2015.

Walking through the campus nature reserve. 2015.

I used to get caught up in this way too much. I truly thrive off of other people’s energies and I do like to stay occupied. Knowing this about myself, I would jam pack my schedule and join as many activities as possible to have fun and keep me busy. However, once I did this for quite a long time, I realized how toxic it was becoming.

When you are stuck in a routine that demands commitment and you bite off way more than you can chew, important things in your life begin to feel the effects of that. Last semester, I would be so worn out that I wouldn’t feel like making time for friends and I started mixing up my priorities. I didn’t study as much but began worrying about my work schedules more and more. I wasn’t running as much as I used to and I was a lot touchier than I used to be. My relationships with my friends were dwindling and I didn’t even have the energy to call them up. It wasn’t until I had a break over the holidays that I realized what was missing.

Having some time to yourself during the day is so important. For a person who thrives off of building relationships with others, I still need at least an hour or two every day to just sink into my thoughts and not worry about others. I’ll spend it reading, writing on Inspired She Lives, watching Netflix or even cleaning up the apartment. Anything that calms me down and let’s me forget about everyone and everything else for a little while. I realized that being alone is crucial to my sanity. Although, it also depends where I am alone.

Some people love the calm atmosphere of coffee shops or the quietness of a library to relax in but my ideal alone space is somewhere in my apartment. When I think about quieting my mind, I can’t be around anyone else except for my one and only boyfriend. Sometimes, I find that even the right places can’t stop my mind from roaring through the check list that is life. That’s why it’s so important to detach yourself.

Reading and coffee makes life an indie song. 2015.

Reading and coffee makes life an indie song. 2015.

When I just can’t take it anymore, I do one of three things. I take a bath in complete silence, put my phone on night mode and stick it where I can’t see it, or go for a walk. It all depends on what the situation. Clear minds are what are going to help you through a tough day and without taking a little time to breathe, you may start to realize that you’re suffocating your own happiness.

Maybe it won’t be as bad as you think. If you are way too busy for your own good then force yourself to take a break. Even if you have a lot of free time, set aside one hour for you to do something you enjoy. This time can be used for anything but make it worth it. Making one hour yours can really make you feel a lot happier going into the rest of the day. At least, it’s worked for me so far.

How do you guys de-stress and un-mess? Share your secrets because we all know how much they’re needed!

Until next time,

Anna Marie