Surviving The Holidays

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It’s that time of the year where it can be stress-inducing or fun times with family/friends. Some people look forward to the holidays while others look for an exit. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, the holidays either gives you feelings of intense joy or misery. No fear because I’m going to help you with surviving the holidays. Take a look at my six steps below to have the best holiday ever! As always, let me know your thoughts and share your tips with others to help them improve their holiday as well.

Time Limit

If there is a particular family member who pushes your buttons or you can only handle them in small doses, then you need to set a limit on how long you will stay. You can schedule prior engagements around family time so you can give a heads up that you will be leaving early. For example, you can let the family know ahead of time that you will stay one to two hours. This way, people won’t be surprised once you head out of the outing. You will create a win/win situation. You get to hang out with family, but you don’t have to stay longer than required. Great way to keep your mental health in check while getting that family time in for the holidays.

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Self-Care

One thing people tend to forget about is self-care during the holidays. It’s essential to listen to your mind and body during this time. If your body is tired, it’s best to get that much-needed rest. Remember the old saying health is wealth. If you aren’t feeling your best, you won’t be interested in spending time with friends/family. Of course, the holidays adds even more stress that you don’t need. Start to use some self-care tools such as journaling,  spa, meditation, etc. The point is to get centered and feel great, so you can be your best while enjoying the holiday season.

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Significant Other/Children

One of the biggest reasons people dread being around family is annoying questions about children and a partner. I get these questions often, and I brush it off. It took me a while to get to that point, but no worries if you haven’t reached this level yet. People are naturally curious and nosy. Once you reach a certain age, people expect these things to have occurred. Remember doing something in your own time is okay. It’s nobody business why something hasn’t happened yet. Just because everyone has done it,  doesn’t mean something is wrong if you haven’t. Don’t even engage when these conversations come up. I noticed that the more you focus on it, the more people would poke at you. Once you ignore people, they tend to leave you alone. If you find that doesn’t work, let this person or people know if they don’t back off, then you will limit your interactions with them. Once folks see you mean business, that should get them to back away. If not, these are people you need to move away from your life.

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Budgeting

When it comes to Christmas people, tend to go all out. At the same time, it’s important to remember your life outside of Christmas. Don’t go broke playing Christmas as your bills aren’t interested in the gifts you brought for others. The bills are still due regardless of the holidays coming up. If you have to set limits for how much you can comfortably spend, speak up about it. The true meaning of the season is the thought, not the amount of the gift. If it’s going to cause you financial hardship, it’s not worth it. Let people know upfront about your budget requirements. The folks who love you won’t mind if you require a cap on the gifts this year. If anyone does give you grief, that’s someone to take off your list. You don’t need ungrateful people in your life.

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Creating New Traditions

One of my favorite things about the holidays is existing and creating new traditions. As we age-previous traditions may lose its luster or it doesn’t hold the same significance. The great thing about the holiday is you can always create a new tradition. You see more instances of Friendsgiving is becoming more popular is a result of new traditions. People also have ugly sweater parties and girls night in Christmas pajamas. It’s another way to get into the holiday spirit while creating a new tradition that can get passed down. I created new traditions myself. I ask friends to come over to help me decorate for Christmas, and I wear Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve while wrapping last-minute gifts, and I have my friends (myself included) wear ugly sweaters during our gift exchange. These little joys help to get me in the holiday mood and avoid being a Scrooge. Helping to create traditions has helped me with learning to appreciate Christmas more than I have. As a child, you focus on the gifts, but as an adult, it’s more important to spend these precious moments with loved ones.

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Cherish The Moments

I saved the best for last. I know the holidays can be a drag, but remember, it’s a blessing to have folks who get on your nerves. I know a few of you of said, “What,” but hear me out. Some people have nowhere to go on the holidays. That could be due to circumstances or life in general. The beauty of you having friends/family is that you can change things for the better at any time. These moments you can’t get back. There are no rewinds or do-overs in this life. If a simple sorry or I forgive can change the outcome, then let it. It’s not worth going through another holiday being upset with each other. Love a little more, and spread good holiday cheer. If you need encouragement, volunteer at a soup kitchen this holiday season. That would quickly help you to put things into perspective. Enjoy your time with your family, especially if you only see them once a year. That’s even more of a reason to cherish every moment.

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Do you think any of these tips will help? What are some tips you use to survive the holidays? Share your thoughts below.

 

 

Protect Your Energy

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Being an empath can be incredibly exhausting. I feel other people’s energy, and if the vibe isn’t right, it throws me completely off. I have been meticulous lately about who I let in my life. I don’t want to be in a situation where my energy is draining, or I feel uncomfortable around someone. I never want to make people feel uncomfortable, even if that’s my current emotion. Fast forward to recently; I started to date again. I know the dreaded dating scene. However, I’m going into it with a fresh perspective. I have a clear mindset of what I’m looking for in a mate. Previously I said I was looking for XYZ, but my potential suitors didn’t fit that match. That was my fault and not theirs.

I have an issue with saying no to people. My biggest fear is making someone feel like I don’t care for them or for them to feel useless. When it comes at the expense of your sanity, it’s hardly worth the effort. Saying no isn’t selfish, but saying yes to everything is. Think about it for a second. If you answer yes, even when you aren’t in the mood or not feeling the environment, who is hurt by this? Anything that directly impacts your mental health is not worth the effort.

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You aren’t meant to be everyone’s cup of tea and vice versa. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. You can meet someone and instantly develop a connection, and for other people, it doesn’t exist at all. That doesn’t mean that something is wrong. All it means is that the two of you didn’t hit it off. Why force something that’s not working? I have never understood that way of thinking. Protect your energy and peace. If someone doesn’t understand this, then that person shouldn’t be in your life. The worst thing to be is misunderstood, and having someone not trying to understand you is even worst.

It’s a better use of time to spend it with like-minded people or people who have your best interest. Time and energy are very sacred pieces of yourself. Share life’s experiences with people who want to understand and have a place in your heart. Don’t hold onto temporary people as you will end up hurting yourself in the end.

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What are some ways that you practice protecting your energy/peace?

Dating Challenges

Getting back to dating after years of single hood can be somewhat of a challenge especially if you spent many years coming and going as you please. Once you’re in a relationship those dynamics quickly change and you have to embrace having a partner in your life. I felt vigorous about writing this post because I am currently experiencing this now. One of my dating prospects stated that he was concerned about my ability to include someone in my life. I have been independent for so long that it’s something he will keep in the back of his mind. Honestly, I was a bit shocked to hear this, but at the same time, I appreciate the sincerity. It was time for me to reflect on how I am presenting myself and what I could be saying as well. The messages that I’m putting across could be giving mixed signals that I didn’t anticipate. I would be saying I’m available and unavailable at the same time. That is not what I want, so I need to make some changes in this area. I had to set down with myself and examine what I could be exuding out to others.

The first mixed signal I was giving off was not wanting to give up on my current routine. I am a creature of habit. I would get off work, do my typical after work rituals and be okay with that. However, when you’re dating it is essential to learn to compromise. That is the first example of compromising that many people miss entirely. If you can’t compromise with making time to meet up for dates, then it’s not a good indication of starting a relationship. In my mind, I would instead make time when I’m not exhausted from work as I want to make a good impression. The other person doesn’t view it that way and thinks I’m not interested in dating. I prefer to plan dates on the weekend and days when I don’t have to work. On those days I’m more alert and present. Now I understand that this doesn’t come across the way I think it should. It’s a better idea to explain a little more about your thought process. Some jobs are more demanding than others so maybe dates during the week won’t work. It’s best to communicate and find ways to compromise that works best for everyone. Otherwise, people will come up with their own opinions, and it can impact a potential relationship.

Another mixed signal is that my plate is full in life and that I don’t have room for a partner. When my dates ask what my interests are I thought it was a great thing that I have so many things that I like. To my surprise, I come across as having too much going on and not enough room for a relationship. I even had one guy tell me that I come across as too independent and he doesn’t know what role a man could play in my life. I had male friends tell me that men like to feel needed and if that doesn’t occur they typically will not entertain a relationship. Now that I’ve been made aware of it I try my best to make sure to state that I want to incorporate my hobbies and interest with my partner. That way potential suitors don’t feel left out and that I don’t want to intertwine my life with theirs. Dating is all about could you see yourself potentially with someone, and if they aren’t presenting themselves as a candidate, it’s a turnoff. In the future, I need to be more mindful of what I’m saying as not to scare off my soulmate.

The last mixed signal is related to communication styles and being adaptive to them. In my current job, I talk a lot and often for the whole day. Of course, once I get home, I want to take a break and not be on the phone. Depending on the day I had I will want to talk more than other days. However, when you’re dating someone or trying to get to know someone communication is essential. The problem I have is at times I don’t want to be on the phone for hours. I struggle with trying to get someone to understand that because they take it as I’m not interested in them. Then I’ll try to speak with them anyway when I didn’t want to talk, and it sets a wrong impression. I try to explain why but sometimes they believe I’m making excuses not to communicate.

Another thing is adapting to the need for video chatting. I noticed many guys love to do it, but it’s cumbersome at times. Who wants to hold the phone for hours? I get it especially with online dating people want to make sure they aren’t involved in a catfish situation. However, there should be a compromise between video chat, texting and phone calls. Depending on someone’s day it can be easier to use another form of communication. I feel that I adapt pretty well to other people’s communication style even though I don’t always feel the same in return. I need to do a better job of explaining the nature of my career, so guys don’t think I’m blowing them off. I may have experienced a long day at work, and I feel like being in a mood to text only, and then tomorrow we can video chat. I have to do a better job of setting expectations around communication and compromising more often.

Dating already comes with its’ set of challenges as you learn to adapt to the other person’s expectations. You also have to be open and honest about what you’re expecting as well. Communication is vital as it solves about 90% of the problems that people face today. To overcome challenges, you must pay attention when they come up and correct them. Even though to you it may not be a bad thing but it comes across differently to other people. Be mindful of what you’re putting out there and if that has anything to do with the results that you’re experiencing. If you notice that the results in dating are less than stellar, then its time to self reflect. You could be doing things without even realizes it, and that could be hurting your chances for a relationship.

What are some of your dating challenges and how did you overcome them?

The Downfall of People Pleasing

I discussed the importance of self-care and self-love openly on this blog page. Honestly, at times I feel like a fraud because I’m not living up to the truth that I preach. One issue is that I tend to second-guess myself and scrutinized everything. I’m so concerned with making mistakes that not only do I still make them but they are worse than I could even imagine. The reason for this stress is due to my issue of people pleasing.  I get so worried about what my family may think or believe. I know it doesn’t matter what others say and it’s important to live your life for you. Trust me I get it, and I heard all those reasons before. However, when you’re always in your head none of that matters. You believe that no matter what decision you make it’s still the wrong one. If my choices are going to cause harm to those around me, then it’s best to avoid the risk. That is a horrible way to live and not the best way to view things.

I wish that I could say that I don’t care what family thinks of me, but it’s not true. I get down on myself because I want to be happier in life. Delighted people don’t focus on the opinions of others. Their primary objective is to ensure their happiness supersedes everything else around them. I can’t wait for that to me as I’m continuously struggling with this daily. The next few paragraphs are an open letter to myself about how I’m going to not only love myself more but how I will implement these changes. I hope that reading this will help others out there learn to do the same.

Thkeya what can I say we have been on this beautiful journey called life together for the past 33 years. You have made such a positive impact on the lives of so many around you. The sad part is nobody understands the pain that you deal with on the daily. You go from happiness to sadness as the wind blows. All of this nonsense is due to you not being happy within yourself. Your wants and needs have fallen to the wayside to help those in need. Especially if it pertains to your family, you will go above and beyond to help them. There’s nothing wrong with being there for them but what about you? Are your desires not of great importance? At some point, you have to take a break from saving the world and focus on you. Since you’re responsible and reliable, your family will often overlook being there for you. They don’t believe that you need assistance. Therefore, it’s hardly granted or asked.

You’re still human at the end of the day and not a superhero. You need to take your cape off to rest and regroup for your mental wellbeing. I know you’re worried because every time you do you feel like you’re selfish. In the famous words of  Iyanla Vanzant, “It’s selfish not to put yourself first.” I understand hearing all this is a lot for you. You’re most likely furious with me for even bringing this up. I don’t care what you want to hear because you need to listen to this. If you don’t make changes NOW, it will have dire consequences for you. Resentment is close to creeping in, and that’s a horrible sign. Some changes need to occur, and I’m begging you to make them sooner than later.

Of course, I would never leave you with all this to unpack and not try to help you implement changes ASAP. The first solution is to continue with therapy. I know it’s scary and you felt like you can do all this on your own. Well, therapy will help with these new demons that are coming to the surface. You need the proper tools to help deal with the range of emotions that you’re experiencing. I know you want to say you got this, but it’s a more prominent sign of strength to say I need help. Anyone who puts you down about this decision doesn’t need to be in your life period. You will gain more confidence, and that radiance that is inside will be shining out even more.

The second solution is following your heart and trust your instincts more. You know what’s best for you so stop doubting yourself. It’s exceptionally frustrating to watch you go over and over a decision when you got this. Kill the self-doubt and follow your first mind. It’s boring not taking risks anyway. The third solution is to stop waiting for a mythical time in the future to do something. The best time to do it is NOW! If you hold on for a great time to happen in life then literally nothing will ever occur. That’s not how life works. You don’t get to follow down this smooth path with rose petals. It’s bumpy, messy, confusing and filled with heartache along the way. The best you can do is pray for a perfect outcome and figure it out if it doesn’t happen. The fourth and final solution is to stop caring about what others have to say. I don’t care if it’s your 4th cousin twice removed let that negative energy go. I know it feels like you ‘re getting picked on and that’s why you take it to heart. Stop allowing it to affect you and see how quickly those opinions dissipate. The reason why they are so prevalent is due to you giving it attention. Once people know that you aren’t breathing life into their views, then there’s no reason to share them.

That was a lot to handle so take a few deep breaths. Meditate and get yourself ready to tackle these solutions head-on. The best way to implement these changes is to start small and work your way down. As you get through the first solution, then the next will be much easier to follow. I want the best for you, and I can’t see you hurting anymore. Please do yourself a favor and choose happiness always. Like Anthony Hopkins said, “None of us is getting out of here alive.” Based on that notion living in true happiness is the only way to go.

I love you, and I’m very proud of you. I choose you forever and always without question nor hesitation.

Xoxo

Me, Myself and I

US: How the Messages Correlate to Society

I’m writing this post about some of the themes I noticed from the new Jordan Peele movie, “US.” There will be some spoilers in this post. Come back here after you see the movie as I don’t want to spoil the movie for you. Great now that we got the pleasantries out the way let’s get to the post. One major theme of the film was that Adelaide explained a traumatic event as a child by meeting her doppelganger. Of course, this terrified her, and as the viewer, we believed she escaped and made it back to her parents. Later in the film, it’s revealed that Adelaide and Red (tethered doppelganger) switched places in childhood. Red went to the surface, and Adelaide stayed down below in the tunnels.

Essentially Red stole Adelaide’s life and every day since Adelaide along with the other tethered has been plotting their revenge. It further explains why Red fought so hard to defend her life and her family. Before this revelation, it came across as a Mom protecting her children. However, knowing that Red stole Adelaide’s life, it puts a different spin on it. Red vehemently was defending her spot because she didn’t want to go back living among the “others.” Adelaide reminds Red of where she once was and where she doesn’t want to be. I felt this directly correlates to what is happening with the immigration issue in the US.

Some folks within the dominant group don’t want people of color in as it minimizes their existence. They feel like they have to fight at all cost to protect themselves. Due to the number of people of color increasing and the dominant society is decreasing. Therein lies a power-shift! The oppressor is now becoming the oppressed which is a position they don’t like. Everything in their power in terms of laws or other means are created to keep the “others” out. It’s fine until the threat of self-preservation is near. Once this occurs, it’s all about survival of the fittest. I ultimately believe that Red was selfish in this regard. She didn’t care about her family. She was only looking out for self and didn’t want the “others” to have their time in the spotlight.

Another major theme I noticed has to do with the husband Gabe and the daughter Zora. Both of them were preoccupied with technology and keeping up with the Joneses. Zora was so caught up in her phone that she wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around her. When the tethered family was in the driveway, her mom asked for her phone. She said Mom I’m not on it when Red wanted to call the police for assistance. Zora wasn’t present for the current situation. Her only concern was that her phone was outside of her possession. To further illustrate my point while on the beach Zora barely interacted with anyone. Again she had her head in the sand literally and glued into her phone. I felt this strongly spoke to what we are experiencing now with social media. Some people don’t have social skills nor how to even communicate outside of social media.

People are using technology as a way to replace human interaction which is why once they do come in contact with others; it doesn’t go well. The husband Gabe was trying to keep up with his friend. He mentioned in the movie that his friend purchased a new car and a boat to mess with him. He doesn’t appear to have a knack for the boat, but it’s view as a status symbol. That if he has the boat he “made” it and he’s now apart of the upper-class society. I got to thinking about the emphasis we place on material items to fit in. We need to be more grateful for what we have instead of what we don’t. The grass isn’t always greener and whichever side is getting the most water will consistently appear to be more green.

There is a ton more of symbolism that I picked up from the movie which could make this post even longer. The ones I mentioned above spoke out to me as I got them right away while watching the film. The movie made me think about some of my current life choices and if I am making them for me or someone else. I am indeed an independent thinker like I believe or I am subconsciously following behind other people. I often time second guess myself, and I take a long time to settle on big decisions. I am worried that I’m going to disappoint my family somehow or think they will not approve of my choices.

I want to go with my gut instinct, but then I brush it off as not being realistic. I can make a last minute decision, and things will turn out completely fine. Other times when I took forever to make a decision it turned out to be a disaster. I believe it had to do with the fact that I overthought it too much and I didn’t view all of my options as I should’ve. It is essential to listen to what you want and not others. Nobody is living this life from day to day but you. If anyone has an issue with what you say or do, that’s their problem. You only get one life, so it’s best to live it up; however you see fit.

What are some of your thoughts after watching the movie US? What do you feel the filmmakers were trying to convey with the messages in the film? Were there things that stood out to you? Why or Why not?