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3 Real Tips For Making This Year (or any year) Suck Less

It’s just after 5:00pm in New York City on the first day of 2013 and if you’ve turned on your television, checked your emails, gone online or been to a store today you’ve already heard about people making resolutions or received offers for things to help you with yours. My gmail contained discounts on workout clothes, gym memberships, etc. My Facebook stream was full of declarations, jokes, and questions asking about resolutions. I was even quoted in an article about this topic completely by surprise today! So, I figured, it’s about time I give you my not-a-guru take on it all. It’s full of my usual blatant honesty. Poke fun at me.

I prepared southern slow cooker pork tenderloin and baked brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies today and I’m making sauteed kale and spinach later to go with it. True story. If you’re like me, you’re not really all that domestic. Er, okay…I just hate cooking. I live in a city and browsing seamless web for takeout options is my equivalent of searching a cookbook for recipes. I do cook (not as often as I should) and bake (for some reason, only near the holidays) but yet I don’t find a lot of bliss or enjoyment in it. Sometimes I burn things. Sometimes I curse. However, I usually feel quite accomplished afterwards and there is a certain real joy in that. I’m patting myself on the back over the stove, and suddenly…what is this…I’m smiling?!

So, before you all fall asleep reading the lead up to this first tip, here it is: Do something that makes you feel accomplished. Saying you want to be happier, feel joy or find “happiness” this year is just too damn vague. (There I go with the cursing again). Try knocking things off your to do list, starting a project, destroying mundane tasks that needed to get done 6 months ago, or learning something new that may or may not bore you to the brink of insanity and then…boom! There is a good chance joy will find you just when you’re finally feelin’ proud of yourself. If not, at least you’ve got pork and cookies.

Second tip: Ignore everyone. You just have to. You must tune out the endless stream of chatter that’s coming your way every day from every one. I was having a conversation with a friend of a friend once and somehow we got on weight loss (ugh) and she said to me, “Oh my God, it is SO easy to lose 10 pounds, it really really is.” Even though I liked her hair I wanted to punch her in the face. It doesn’t matter if what people say to you is true or not, you just have to disconnect some times. How is up to you. Read, meditate, nap,  write “Today is awesome and I’m so pretty” over and over on a sheet of paper if you have to. (What? I’ve always never done that.) Whatever you do, just tune every one out for a while and see how much better you’ll feel almost instantly. This tip is like magic.

For the third and final tip, let’s get even more simple. Stop being so selfish. Yes, you. Even the most warm, giving, altruistic person usually leaves someone out. That person is usually themselves. If you help people all the time (this can be as simple as opening doors for strangers, picking up something someone dropped and giving directions to volunteering in shelters and joining the Peace Corps – you saints!) then you may be neglecting yourself a bit. How to fix this? Example: Listen to everyone’s woes? Find someone to tell yours to. The end. If you don’t frequently help your friends, family or strangers but do focus on yourself, maybe it’s time you give a little more of your goodness away. We’re pretty infinite and there is enough time in the day to send a kind text or tell one of your oldest friends how funny, gorgeous, wise and talented you think they are. (Eh hem. *cough cough*) It doesn’t take a scientific study to explain that you’ll feel good when you help someone else feel good. Do it.

I hope you’re feeling more hopeful about 2013 already. If not, here is a photo of me and Jason B.  performing as The Parodivas and pretending to be The Grumpy Cat and Friend. Comment, tweet and share this entry if you’re digging these tips, or at least this photo, as much as I am.

Grumpy Cat, Nailed it!

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8 Things That Are Just Fine With Me

I am giving myself permission to live the life I want to live. Take a look at my list of things that are just fine in my not-a-guru humble opinion, and feel free to add to it in the comments below.

1 – It’s just fine if you don’t leave the house or even get dressed on your day off. Order chicken tikka masala for dinner and watch The Amanda’s on the Style Network. (Ya know, or something like that…*clears throat*) It’s just fine that you won’t see or talk to anyone… except maybe baby-speak to your cat.

2 – It’s just fine if you send everyone to voicemail on your cell phone. You’re awkward on the phone. You never know how to hang up. You get butterflies in your stomach and pace back and forth in your apartment the whole time you’re on a call. It’s just fine. Don’t do this for obvious emergencies, your boss, or when your Grandfather calls though, those are rare and important occasions where it might not be fine.

3 – It’s just fine to be selfish if you admit it and learn from it. “I’m not hanging out with you because I’m all about myself right now. I will be a better person when this phase is over.” Deal. Fine with me! Text me when you’re coming back to brunch.

4 – It’s just fine not to commit to things that make you feel nervous or unhappy. You hate horror movies but everyone is going Friday night? You hate doing shots but the bartender gave you two free ones? Everyone is taking their kid to the new Mommy & Me Bikram class and you’d rather shave your head? Just say no, it’s fine. There is only so much time in life and you don’t have to spend it doing things you don’t like.

5 – It’s just fine to try new things and fail after telling everyone all about them. I’M GOING TO PAINT MURALS! I’M TAKING UP FLAMENCO DANCING! I’M MAKING MY OWN TOOTHPASTE NOW! Whatever it is, try it and share it with your groupies. It’s OK to be excited about something even if it doesn’t work out. If anyone gives you a hard time about it, first, question whether or not they’re truly a good friend, and second, remind them that you try new things and that makes you an adventurous person. “Top that!” – Teen Witch, 1989

6 – It’s just fine to care a lot about your money and be thrifty and careful with it. I’m a little bit cheap too, I admit that. However, I’m currently really proud of myself for getting close to paying off some long-standing large debts, little by little. I think it’s just fine if I check my bank accounts constantly to remind myself of my progress. Go me!

7 – It’s just fine if you are sometimes not the…uh…nicest person. Snarky Facebook comment? Bitchy comment to your unsuspecting partner/soul mate/one-night-stand over morning coffee? It happens. Just apologize and move on.  Pretending you weren’t mean or rude is…well, not as fine.

8 – It’s just fine if you grow up and realize you have some forgiving to do. Either for yourself, your family or friends and people in your past. You can do it. It’s never too late to let go of the thoughts and memories that no longer serve you on your path to awesome. “Relax, relate, release!” – A Different World

Now tell me, what is just fine according to YOU? Comment below!

Exciting News!

It’s time to share some exciting news. I am occasionally a Guest Blogger around the interwebs and my favorite place to do that is over on the highly inspirational internet “happy place,” The Whirling Blog.

The exciting news is that TWB was just named #1 on Spa Week’s list of “10 People and Blogs You Should Be Following Now.” Top of the list is a great spot to be in and I’m honored to be a part of it all. Click on the links below to see how I whirled…

  • My first entry for TWB is right here. (Spoiler alert: It’s about ridiculous thoughts in our own heads and what to do about ’em.)
 
  • Click here for my 2nd contribution…(Spoiler alert: There is a picture of chocolate…and permission to eat it.)
 
  • Last but certainly not least, click here for the interview my musical comedy partner and I did for the blog! 
 

Please enjoy yourself over there but do come back here and leave a comment. I’d absolutely love to hear what you think! 

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Let’s Start Talking About It

Sometimes everything is just not ok. You’re going through something tough, have been recently hurt or disappointed, or just feel angry or alone. However, you don’t want to seem ungrateful for the good things in your life, it’s not all doom and gloom. Maybe you’ve got a stellar best friend, a steady paycheck or a pint of your favorite ice cream in the freezer.  Maybe you had enough cash for a new shirt and you were complimented by a stranger. You may have so many things, big and small, to be utterly grateful for that you can’t count them all on your fingers and toes, but still have just as many reasons to feel down. To worry. To be upset. To find yourself depressed.

Up’s and down’s. That’s life, right? Or, is it? The life that I often see around me tends to be wildly exaggerated one way or the other. Folks are either spewing sunshine like they’ve never seen a grey cloud or crying out for help to heal the pain. Everything in the middle seems to get lost or kept quiet. It’s hard to be subtle with our feelings, so when you’re in between the good and the bad, maybe you just don’t know what to say or who to say it to. You might not want to worry your family, trouble your friends or spend that extra hour with your therapist. Maybe you’re just like me.

So, here’s what I’m doing about it.

I’m telling you, yes you, right now: I am not always ok. I’m not abundantly happy right at this exact moment. My list of things to be grateful for is growing by the minute – and you’d never guess anything was wrong by my Facebook and Twitter feeds. But at the same time, I’ve got my reasons to be sad. No reason is too big or too small here. I’m telling you like this because this is the iamnotyourguru blog, where imperfection is celebrated and honesty is everything.

I am now inviting you to tell me. You can be anonymous, or not, and say anything you want about what is bringing you down or what you’d like to change. It can be anything, and I’ll respond. Why? Because you’re going to be helping me too. You’ll be showing me that I am not alone, and that it’s courageous, not crazy, to set up a blog dedicated to complaining and airing your worries. A blog entry where it’s ok to vent, to not be strong, to not share your light. A blog that is not about how wonderful life can be if we allow love in or find gratitude. I, for one, am full of love and gratitude enough already, but I still cry sometimes.

There it is. I hope you’re with me. 

Photo Credit Unknown

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