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How I'm Working on Judgment & Why Maybe You Should Too

I'd like to start this post out with a question... do y'all ever notice themes in your life? I don't mean like phases we go through, like that one Summer when I was subconsciously buying any and everything coral colored, or when we get really into a new hobby and everything starts being about that hobby for a while, until it's not again.

I mean more like have you ever been just a few days in to a week, and noticed that more than one person has brought up a particular subject at random to you. And then you start seeing this subject in ads on the internet, or hearing about it on the radio. For instance, this week a lot of topic of conversation has been children. Seems like every conversation I find myself in recently, ends up with that discussion. That's a coincidence. What would turn it into a theme (for me, anyway), is starting to see it and hear it other places than just my conversations.

Well, I have had many, many themes in my life, and I've always believed that's the universe's way of pointing you in some direction. I feel like the older I get, the more apparent these themes come to me, and the better I'm able to listen.

All of this brings me to the topic of this post. Judgment. I was driving to work the other day listening to my favorite podcast (Happier, with Gretchen Rubin-GO LISTEN!) and she and her sister were talking about how sometimes people can take on extra stress during very stressful times of their lives, and while some would think it's crazy, it's actually a form of coping. So while I was listening to this podcast, the thought that came to my mind wasn't that people are crazy for doing this, but that others are so judgmental of what people choose to do in their own lives. Needless to say, later in the podcast Gretchen verbalized that very thought, and I felt relief that I wasn't the only one who noticed.

Fast forward a couple of days, and I'm in a session with one of my more positive clients-she's always happy, always cultivating gratitude, always very easy-going. Long story short, the judgment theme reared it's ugly head during this hour with her.

A few more days pass, and I'm spending the weekend with some friends, when I start noticing myself picking apart things that I just don't agree with or understand. Things that I would never do. But due to my attention being captured lately with the idea of judgment, I was able to quickly reframe my thinking, and hopefully, not allow anyone to be aware of my judgments.

So this theme popping up lately, inspired a post for me and for you too, hopefully. Although I think I definitely have been trying not to judge, it's something that we all do. I think for me, it's so difficult because when I think of someone being judgmental, I always think of people who aren't accepting of other religions, other sexualities, other beliefs. Then I think to myself, "well I'm not judgmental! I'm so open-minded! That's not me!"

But the truth is, we are ALL judgmental at times. Unfortunately, it's just how we are built. So like I said, I definitely think it's something I'm becoming more aware of, but still an area I need to really pay attention to.

Something that really heightened my own judgments in life I think, was my own personal growth. I won't get into the nitty gritty here, but when I was younger- we'll say high school to early twenties- I wasn't the best version of me, we'll just say that.

But as I got older and started learning from my mistakes, practicing the theories I was learning in school, and really grasping self-awareness, I made huge changes. I became a much better version of me. But I think along with this new me came a little bit of sanctimony. Because I was living my life in a much more honest and kind way, I have found that anyone who maybe isn't where I am growth-wise I can look down on. Basically, if I wouldn't do it, they shouldn't do it either.

What's weird is I've never felt this way when working with my clients. There is absolutely no judging going on there. This is how I knew that my area of judgment is just another that I need to grow in.

So to further my growth and make a conscious effort to change my tendency to judge, I've decided to create some ideas of ways I can measure and make immediate changes to my own judgments.

If you find that this is an area you might also need to work on, (I suspect you do), maybe you can try some of these ideas as well.

  • I think the first thing is working on your own self-awareness. Admitting that you have an area that could use some improvement is vital to even being able to change or grow. 

  • Next, I'm going to use the other coincidence popping up in my life lately-kids. When I find myself starting to judge I might start my thoughts with acknowledging that this person was once a small child, growing and learning from his/her environment. What happened in his or her life then, that maybe influences the choices they're making today? Humanizing never hurts.

  • Lowering my expectations. I'm the worst for expecting people to do or say certain things, and then being completely disappointed when this doesn't happen. Maybe asking myself- "why are you expecting them to live your life?"

  • Practicing gratitude. Instead of thinking or believing that this person is whatever harsh judgment I've stated in my mind, maybe instead thinking only of the gratefulness I have for how far I've come, and trust my own choices. 

  • Learning how to listen. I think one of my biggest issues with judgment is that really fuzzy line that lies between it and honesty. I pride myself in honesty, but sometimes that makes me too harsh. I'd like to move forward with the idea that I can still be a good listener and friend, without having to agree.

  • Lastly maybe watching how I'm judging my own self. I don't know about y'all, but I'm my own worst critic. If I do anything my own self that I think doesn't align with what I value or what I would like to be, my self-talk can be very harsh.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. How are you when it comes to judging? Did you judge the fact that I wore plain black flip-flops with this clearly dressy attire? Cause guess what? I did.

Fun fact: I had on black wedges with this outfit that broke literally right as I stepped out of the car at this location. I said screw it, and took the pictures anyway, but the whole time I've been posting them I've been judging the way it looks. See? That's exactly what I'm talking about.

If you judged my shoes, it's okay. I can laugh at myself. But I'd love to hear if you've found ways of improving in this area.

Also, I plan to post again in a couple of days with the new Tarte palette I got, because I leave for a cruise this weekend and will be MIA for 9 days!! So if you like those palette reviews, be on the lookout for that.

Thanks as always for reading!

October 2018 Goals

Happy October!! 

First of all, it was 83 degrees today here in Ohio, and that has me in a FANTASTIC mood. Also, I really love fresh starts and new beginnings, so the beginning of a new month and the start of a season is the best, in my opinion.

I've got a busy October coming...

We are headed to Cedar Point this weekend,  I leave for my cruise next weekend, then of course I return the weekend after that, and then it's the last weekend of the month. I have a feeling October is going to fly right on by me.

I would like to get back in the habit of setting monthly goals, and reviewing them the next month like I used to. I started to write them today in my journal, but decided I'd blog them instead, in case anyone needs some motivation for the month!

And yes, these are still pictures from my beach vacation...but the burnt orange dress is kind of Octobery...right?! No? oh well.

Okay, so here are my goals for the month! I may add to them as the month goes, but I will never subtract. If I add, I'll put them in the comment section.

  1. Read 3 books
  •  I just started one this weekend, so I'm thinking I will finish it by the cruise, finish another on the cruise, and have time for one more.

     2.  Finish studying my guide
  • I'm more than halfway through now, and would like to schedule my test sometime in November. (I'm studying to get my independent license in drug addiction).

     3.  Buy a rug for the living room
  • I have literally went to buy a rug about a gazillion times and backed out, deciding to spend my money elsewhere. I'm so bad about decorating. We've lived in our home over a year and I literally have done nothing decor-wise to it.

     4.  Get my closet organized/cleaned
  • I know Matthew set a goal to get my closet finished (he's building it by hand), so my goal will be to get all of my clothes and accessories in there and organized.

     5.  Go to a Fall festival
  • This is something I actually really love about Fall, and I'm kind of worried I will miss out on it due to my busy schedule. The last week in October will be my goal date for this one.

     6.  Get right back on track with eating after my cruise
  • I'm the worst about taking a vacation and actually eating okay on the vacation, but then lagging when it comes to getting back into a more strict routine. I really want to get home from my cruise and jump right into the TIU Fall challenge that'll be still going on.

     7.  Buy 3 more Christmas presents
  • I'm trying to space my Christmas shopping out more this year, so we will see if October is early enough to not feel rushed!

     8.  Finish decorating my office for Fall
  • All I really need for this is something to go on top of my bookshelf and some wall hangings. Aiming for mid-October.

     9.  Cheat less on weekends with bad food
  • The weekends...ugh. The lack of structure makes me so lax on my routine. Maybe my goal should be keep the same schedule on the weekends that I do throughout the week...

    10.  Call my mom at least once, just to say hi
  • Okay, so I'm really guilty about only calling my mom if I need advice. And then once I get what I need, if she starts to talk about her own stuff, I can't hear it because I'm ready for action according to whatever she's told me. So this is a good goal to start out with. 

Okay, so those are my October goals! Ideally I will do an update at the beginning of November. Maybe I should've put that on my goal list...

I encourage you to take some time and make your goals for the month. It makes me feel super accomplished, even if I only get one!

Oh, I almost forgot ~I found this quote today and loved it, so I wanted to share!

October is about trees revealing colors they've hidden all year. People have an October as well. 

Tips for Relieving Anxiety That Comes at Night

I've never been someone who suffers from anxiety, or who has panic attacks, or who is just generally a bundle of nerves. I've had specific kinds of anxiety, (test anxiety for example), but this is a healthy anxiety, nothing debilitating.

In the last few years or so however, I've started developing more anxious symptoms, I'm assuming that are a result of the field I work in. When you work with the mentally ill all day, it can wear on you to say the least.

What I've noticed is that when I am particularly anxious about something, it always seems to be at night. Either I won't be able to fall asleep, or I'll wake up continuously throughout the night, unable to get back to sleep for some time.

I would consider this a step up from my past, considering I've had night terrors my whole life, so I think my brain has finally stopped those and just succumbed to forcing me out of my slumber.

Regardless, when this happened the night before last, for some reason I blanked on how to help myself, and ended up getting maybe two hours of sleep that night. On my way to work the next morning I was listening to a health related podcast, and it sparked the thought that I need to make a list of all the things I know that can help with night anxiety.

Hopefully if this is something you suffer from as well, the following tips are something you can try the next time you just can't sleep.

The first thing I would say is get out of bed. If you're laying there for any longer than 10 minutes, get up. You aren't doing yourself any favors just letting your mind go crazy.

Once you're out of bed, distract your brain. Color, read, draw. You eventually need to solve the           
problem that is causing the anxiety, but at night when you need sleep isn't the time to do that. So until you have the time, use distraction. 

If getting out of bed might prove to be too difficult a task, maybe instead try a guided relaxation audio or video instead. The other night I was struggling with anxiety, and took a bubble bath, lit some candles, and put on an 18 minute guided relaxation meditation. Took my anxiety from an 8 to a 4. 

Next, I would suggest trying 1 or 2 ideas that are more for my instant gratification people. 

Rescue remedy is a good idea. If you haven't heard of rescue remedy, it's a healthy, clinically proven blend that you can take during moments of extreme stress or anxiety. It comes as a spray, drops...they make it for kids and animals. They also have them specifically blended for certain situations. Bachflower.com is a good place to start if you're interested, but you can purchase off of amazon. 

Another good idea for those who prefer more of an "instant relief" feeling is almond milk with nutmeg. Almond milk is good for you, obviously, and nutmeg is a natural sedative so there's that!

The final two tips I would suggest are for people who might be a little more advanced, or a little more interested in different techniques. 

First, there's PMR (progressive muscle relaxation). This is where you learn to basically tighten and release all the muscles in your body from head to toe, in order to let go of tension and allow your body to physically relax. I used to do this with my kiddos when I worked in foster care, and they always really enjoyed it. You can search for any PMR script, or even youtube that as well. 

Then there's EFT tapping. EFT stands for emotional freedom techniques and it's a type of tapping you do to your own body using your fingers on certain points to help your body use it's healing properties. I know that sounds crazy, but it's used widely in the therapeutic community and I personally find it helpful. You can also youtube this or check out the website thetappingsolution.com for more information. 

Lastly, I would like to suggest making your bedroom your sanctuary, and having a nighttime routine that you really enjoy, as this will get your mind in a good space and produce a feeling of calm prior to even laying down. Maybe this consists of lighting candles, or utilizing essential oils, putting lotion on, doing a face mask, reading, journaling, meditating. Just a slow-down routine that you look forward to could maybe be preventative measures to help if you have frequent nighttime anxiety.

Well, that's it for my tips to help with anxious thoughts at night! I hope if you're having trouble in this area that you've stumbled across this at the right time, and it helped. Sweet dreams!! xxo

Myrtle Beach Vacay

I've been going to Myrtle Beach with my best friend since we were in high school,  and it's a tradition I like to try keep up with every Summer. Although, as I'm getting older I've been thinking about trying to go to a new beach each Summer instead, but we'll see.

I typically stay at the same place each Summer, which is Ocean Creek Resort in North Myrtle. Last year we rented a beach house so we didn't stay there, and there have been a couple of times that we've stayed at a hotel, but for the most part, I've stayed at Ocean Creek. There are 3 big reasons I really like this resort:

  • It's a gated community, so I always feel safe.
  • It's right across from Barefoot Landing which is one of my favorite places to shop.
  • To the right of the beach area behind the resort is all beach houses. So as long as you're willing to walk 100 yards you basically have an entire beach to yourself. 

I typically create an itinerary before we go, and it usually has the same places on it, but I still enjoy them every year. I thought since I am so fond of Myrtle Beach, that I'd share what I enjoy doing down there, and maybe if y'all go visit and you haven't been to any of these places you can put them on your list. 

The first place we visited was Murrells Inlet. It's about a 30 minute drive from Myrtle Beach, but if you're looking for a local place with good music, drinks, and beautiful views, this is it. It costs about 5 dollars for parking, and stretched behind the buildings is a boardwalk that takes you from one bar to the next. They all have outdoor areas that overlook this beautiful marsh, and almost all of them are playing live music. 

There's also a 1/2 mile wooden boardwalk that you can walk on that goes out and over the marsh, which has spectacular scenery. Between the music, and the birds swooping in and out of the water, it's just a really good vibe area. 

There's also Brookgreen Gardens in this area, but it was closed when we got there so we didn't get to check it out. They're supposed to be beautiful as well.

Next, we went to Barefoot Landing, which is a very popular shopping and dining destination that has a 27 acre lake attached. This is the shopping center that is right across from the resort we stay at. It has a lot of cute boutiques, and they recently added a new restaurant named LuLu's. 

This was our first time eating at LuLu's and I would HIGHLY recommend it. It's a restaurant/bar feel, maybe could be compared to Buffalo Wild Wings? It has a very open floor plan, and they leave all the doors and windows open so you can smell the salt air, which I really like. Their outdoor seating is right beside the lake too, which is cool. They also had live music, and they have someone that comes around and takes your picture while you're eating, kind of like on a cruise ship, if you've ever been cruising. 

We snuck off to Barefoot to get milkshakes from Johnny Rockets on almost every night of our stay, that could be a good and bad thing with it being so close 🙈

Another stop on our list is Broadway at the Beach, which is very similar to Barefoot, but I would say bigger. It has a lot of shopping and eating similarly to Barefoot, but it also has more attractions. They've got escape games, a jet boat you can ride, movies, an aquarium, golf, wax museum, wonder works, zipline, an area where you can hold baby tigers, bars, and a lot more. I think it's the number one attraction in Myrtle Beach, if I remember correctly. 

Next on my list is probably my favorite, which is Downtown Conway. It's also about a 30 minute drive from the beach, but in my opinion totally worth it. It's a cute, historic town, that's very quiet, and kind of dream like. There's little boutiques all over, and restaurants, and live music. My absolute favorite part though, is the Riverwalk.

The riverwalk is a wooden path that goes along the Waccamaw River. It's an absolutely stunning view on it's own, but you also come across rustic wooden buildings, marinas, an old inn, and eventually an arboretum. It seemed like the PERFECT place for a proposal to me, but that may just be because there was absolutely no one out there, so it was just Matthew and I walking hand in hand along this super romantic river at sunset. CUE THE VIOLINS.

I've always said that I love Myrtle Beach but could never live there, but I tell you what, I 100% could live at Conway. That place was charming and magical, to say the least. 

The last few places I wanted to mention are the Outlets, (you've got to do those), I always get really good deals on my Kate Spade purses there.

Also, the boardwalk down by the strip. I'm not a huge fan of the strip, it's a lot of loud, obnoxious, teenagers, walking up and down, or driving up and down, looking for attention. But behind the strip, in between the shops and the ocean is a boardwalk, which I love to walk. You can walk all the way to the rides and the ferris wheel, or you can just stop and look out at the ocean. It also allows you to enter the shops on that side from the back, so you can go in without having to deal with the chaos of the strip. My favorite place to go into off of here is the Gay Dolphin, btw. 

Lastly, I wanted to mention that you HAVE to do dinner and a show. I'm a huge fan of the Dixie Stampede, Medievel Times, and Pirate's Voyage. 

Pirate's Voyage is my favorite, with all the mermaids and the sea lion they bring out. 💗 They all have different themes, but they all put on a great show, and your 3 course meal is included in the price. The crowd gets to interact with the show as well, which I always really like. 

So that's it for my itinerary, hopefully I gave you some suggestions you aren't familiar with. I have to say, creating this two weeks after our vacay might not have been the best idea, I'm having MAJOR post-vacation feels 😭

Thanks for reading!!