Personal Growth Journey

In recent years, “self-care” has been a buzzword or phrase that is plastered just about everywhere! Literally, every other Facebook article, blog post, and self-help video is about the importance of self-care. These articles tell us the hows, whys, and whats of self-care that are supposed to help us to lead happier, less stressful lives. I totally get it; do a couple face masks, get a massage, take a weekend getaway, polish your nails, curl up with a glass of wine and a good book whilst taking a night off from your usual work.

Administrators always love to remind stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, teachers to “do something you enjoy” or “spend time with family” during the tough times throughout the school year. I mean after all, bosses have to say encouraging things to keep their employees and acknowledge their pain, right? However, what I’m not quite buying is the whole “self-care yourself through the toxic situation” mindset especially when the to-do list feels absolutely never-ending.

I don’t have a problem with the actual act of being kind to yourself. We should be gentle with ourselves, love ourselves, and most importantly treat ourselves well. We only get one mind and one vessel. It is soooo important to heal ourselves from our every day emotional labor and physical work. There is space for this kind of self-care. Self-care is important and that means something different to everyone. I can’t deny any of that. In fact, I believe all of that.

Here is where the issue lies. The issue lies in settling for a life you don’t want and coping with your choices by practicing “self-care”. If you continue to stay in toxic situations and forcing yourself to be content by going to a weekly yoga class or treating yourself to a massage, you are making a huge mistake. I don’t hate self-care by itself. But, it is absolutely gut-wrenching that people use self care to cope with their lives.

Self-care is not a band-aid for your toxic flesh wound of a relationship, job, or family issue. Self-care is not a remedy for having the life sucked out of you at a job you hate, being unhappy with someone who you have settled for, or continuing to have a relationship with a family member who turns your life upside down every time you speak. Self-care is not any of those things and self-care doesn’t

1. solve issues that exist in your life or

2. breathe life into dead situations that make your life less enjoyable.

Sometimes, self-care isn’t a facial, manicure, or binge watching a show on Netflix. Sometimes self-care actually presents an inconvenience to others and sometimes it makes others uncomfortable. Sometimes, it makes you unavailable for a while. Sometimes self-care is ceasing to feed dead situations. Sometimes self-care is travel.

Sometimes, self-care is walking away.

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Personal Growth Journey

   Growth Mindset Vs Fixed Mindset is Nothing New

We float along in our careers, relationships, and personal matters subconsciously writing a narrative for our lives. We paint our strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and quirks through these stories. Then one day, something happens that totally rattles the foundation of everything we believed that story to be.

Recently, as I gave thought to the shift happening in my life and the long overdue career shift that needs to happen for good, I had a conversation and an epiphany. The conversation was around growth vs. fixed mindset and how we do or do not limit ourselves in everything we do based on our adoption of one or the other. As I started to discuss what growth mindset meant to me, I realized that I have been limiting myself for so long based on the idea that I am not “good” at certain subject areas or things. I had subconsciously floated along with the attitude that I couldn’t do something because I wasn’t good at it. The problem with that attitude is that it implies that in life, we are what we are and we get what we get. It implies that we, as human beings cannot grow, cannot change, cannot learn, and cannot master new things. This simply is not true. 

Knowing about growth mindset and living it are two completely different stories. I have always known the definition of growth mindset, but I have never truly lived it. If for just one week, you adopted a growth mindset about things and changed some of the limits you have placed on yourself, your life could change in measurable ways. However, imagine if we changed many of those limits over the course of our lives. Our lives could be written completely differently. We could be living more abundantly, learning more, growing more, and more quickly finding our purpose through challenging ourselves.

How to Fix your Mindset to Promote Growth

For 10 years, I told myself that I couldn’t pursue a career that had anything to do with science or math because I was never “good” at those subjects. I placed educational and career limits on myself. When I look back and think about where I could be if I allowed myself the space to grow and be fearless in the pursuit of my purpose, my only regret is not truly believing in the power of growth. Growth mindset in action can change your life. Fix your mindset to promote growth by:

  • remembering that it is never too late to do anything
  • having faith that skills and strengths can be learned and developed
  • being willing to put in the effort to see results
  • avoiding thought patterns that tell us we are born with the skillset we will have throughout our lives

I have always been a person who says “if you don’t like something, change it”. One of our truths is that we can change the things about our lives that we don’t love and we are powerful beyond measure. We have the power to paint our lives the way we want them to look, using vivid colors in some areas and neutral tones in others. Love yourself, but also grow yourself. The only limitations are the ones you put on yourself. The sooner you realize that, the more you can accomplish.

Sincerely,

Lacey Alanna

Personal Growth Journey

There’s a lot to be said about gratitude journals. They are effective and work for different people in different ways. I find that when I am extremely anxious and need to wind down before I step foot outside my workplace, writing down a few things I am grateful for can shift my focus a bit. I look at those things and I tell myself that life could be a lot worse. I mean everyone has something that they can be thankful for in one way or another. However, what do you do when gratitude journals don’t do it anymore?  What do you do when your stress level is beyond the point where a gratitude journal even scratches the surface on your anxiety and stress?

I find myself asking these very questions everyday because realistically, we lose control of our stress level sometimes. I find myself looking for other things to take my mind off work, all the work I do, all the work I need to do, being at work, working, and did I mention work? How do we take back control over our lives in ways other than writing down a couple things we are grateful for here and there?

Here are 5 things you can try other than writing in a gratitude journal to take the edge off the anxiety and stress. No guarantees, but it never hurts to try something new.

  1. Do Yoga

My go-to stress and anxiety buster is yoga. When I’m at the end of my rope with the muscle tension caused by daily stress, I run to the nearest yoga class and force myself onto the mat. It isn’t something I do regularly out of a lack of convenience and desire to commit to a membership. However, I recently discovered a cheap online yoga membership and am eager to see how that works out for me. Yoga melts the tension away and allows me to actually wind down and relax after a hard, long workday.

2.  Read a Self-Help Book

I will say it is hard to sit down and read a book with a super busy schedule. However, nightly reading can take the edge off and give you something else to think about and reflect on during stressful times. I particularly love self help books because they relax you while simultaneously making you at least think about improving yourself.

3. Write

I write posts for a blog so I mean…

Even if you think no one else will read what you write, just write something. I literally brain dump into the notes app on my iPhone some nights because there are so many thoughts I have to just evict from my mind. If you aren’t a writer, type. No one ever has to see it. Just stop letting negative thoughts, anxiety, and stress make a comfortable living space out of your brain.

4. Beautify yo’ self

Do your nails, hair, face mask. Doing some sort of self care, even if it is just one thing, can work wonders on your confidence and distract you from the stress. Making yourself look better makes you feel better. We don’t always have the time or money for a full makeover, but doing something, anything can make a small difference. Just try it and you will understand. I bought a gel polish kit and whenever Im feeling meh, I give myself a gel manicure that lasts for two weeks. I decompress and I enjoy my cute nails, making the investment totally worth it.

5.  Meet up with friends or potential friends

I just moved to the Austin area about a year ago and for the longest time, I would make excuses about not having friends.  I would barely leave the house unless it was for work or shopping. Recently, I went to my first happy hour with people I met on the Meetup app and it was like a whole new world opened up to me. There are so many apps, venues, and organizations that allow you to meet like-minded people who also don’t have a ton of local friends. I can’t use the “I don’t have friends” excuse much longer because it’s been a year since I’ve been in the area. Go out, live a little and don’t be afraid of being social. Having friends and a social life can really take a small bite out of the everyday stress bubble we allow ourselves to live in.

Sincerely,

Lacey Alanna

Diary of a 20 Something: Chit Chat about Vlogging, Relocating, and Re-Branding

Diary of a 20 something

I haven’t blogged in so long and that is partly because I’ve been thinking about the re-branding of the blog. I want to be real with people and show readers that so many 20-somethings go through some of the same things and that none of us is alone. Teaching people how to become a slightly better version of themselves is so helpful and necessary, but there also needs to be a space where young women’s concerns, stresses, and just life experiences can be shared and acknowledged. There needs to be a space where young women, especially of color can be like “hey, other people go through this” and “wow, I’m not just living in the twilight zone”, considering the weird things that happen in your 20’s and maybe even 30’s (I’m not there yet so I wouldn’t know).

I still haven’t figured out what that looks like for the blog,  although I do feel like vlogging fits into that space. So, that is something I am exploring at the moment.  However, this week I needed to just write SOMETHING because as content creators, we don’t always have to wait for the perfect post or the perfect time to create and release new content. I also haven’t written anything in a while because I have been fully immersed in teaching 4th grade which has been an interesting and welcome change for me.

Anyways, vlogging is something I’m very interested in. Many people who read and love the blog have asked me to create a YouTube channel because some people just don’t enjoy reading. I totally get it.  However, I am a perfectionist and don’t want to start making videos that aren’t quality as far as aesthetics, content, and just garnering people’s interest. It is the fear of failure sometimes that stops me from going full steam ahead with something. However, I’m taking my time to make an informed decision about whether vlogging is something I want to do and something I have time for realistically.

Where I’m at right now…

Next, I wanted to talk about relocating. I have relocated numerous times, depending on what you consider relocating. I went to college in Pennsylvania, close to Buffalo, NY. Then I moved to Washington, DC after I graduated to experience big city life and be closer to my hometown, Baltimore. I loved DC but it was a bit pretentious and expensive for my taste. However, I find myself missing DC now along with my dc friends and considering it a second home. After 2 years in DC, I decided to move south to Houston, TX for the warmer weather and the lower cost of living. I LOVED Houston and started to meet people and establish a life. Then, I fell in love with a guy who I am currently with (shout out to him and to love and all that stuff) and found myself in San Marcos, TX between Austin and San Antonio.

I must say I have managed to form a love affair with every place I have lived EXCEPT this one. I’m not sure what it is about the Austin area that just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe it is the fact that I haven’t made any friends here or I don’t get out much or that I live in a small college town and the big city is 30 miles away. Not sure, but I know that I am ready to move to a location that is ideal for buying a home and living long term. I have lived many places because I have chosen for my life to be that way, being a single 20 something. Now, I am growing and longing for stability and I think one more relocation is in my near future. Not sure where that will be, but closer to family on the east coast or in the southeast would be ideal. Any suggestions? I totally also want to write a post about my relocations and my experiences living in each of these areas. I believe that the place you live can have a major effect on your overall happiness and your life and plan to discuss that more in detail in a later post. Relocations are something that most 20 somethings either go through with or think about at some point.

My next post will be more structured perhaps, or maybe not but the Diary of a 20 Something will be a series of posts you can find under categories where I will chit chat about life, struggles, thoughts, ideas, plans, and the things that we face every day as we are in the words of SZA, stuck in those 20 somethings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Navigate Feeling Lost in Your 20’s

Personal Growth Journey

All week, I have been planning on writing a travel post about relocation and why I have relocated twice since I graduated from college. That post will definitely come later if people are interested. But, my intuition told me to write this post because of where I am currently. I thought that a post about this weird millenial, quarter-life crisis thing that most people experience in their 20s (and really at any time) would speak to so many people.

Sometimes I tend to get overwhelmed and have a lost feeling when it comes to my career and my life’s work. I literally feel unfulfilled and like there are a million things I should be doing, a million places I could be. But, part of me has no idea what those things are and what those places could be. These are things that I do to help me to navigate those times when I feel like I have no freaking clue about anything! Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by the amount of possibility that life offers compared with the potential I feel that I have. Then I end up feeling defeated and overwhelmed. It happens but this is how I find my way when it seems impossible…

 

  1. Revisit Life Goals: When you feel lost, it is super helpful to revisit your life goals. What have you done lately to push yourself to reach those goals? What things are you doing today to help you reach those goals? What will you do this week to help you reach those goals? This motivates me in every way to get up and go do something that really contributes to accomplishing a goal. In the grand scheme of things, you have a lot to accomplish and a lot to be passionate about. Once you have written down your life goals, you have more direction for your life than you think. Most of the things you do should be related to reaching those goals in some way. Read them, internalize them, and make moves.
  2. Find Inspiration: When you feel like you lack direction, listen to a podcast, watch a Youtube video, read a personal growth blog or book. You should be dedicating some time each day to this. I find myself feeling the most lost when I haven’t invested time into myself and my personal growth. Invest in yourself so that you have passion and dedication to give to everything in your life. A lack of direction causes a lack of passion and that is something that begins to diminish your ability to reach the goals you have set for yourself. My personal favorite Youtubers are KalynNicholson, LavendaireLifestyle, and AmbrosiaMalbrough. I love listening to GaryVee on IG or his Podcast. There also several other Podcasts I love and listen to regularly for inspiration in addition to the books I read.
  3. Do Something You Love: Doing something engaging that you love and that ideally helps you to reach a life goal is an integral part of maintaining direction in your life. I love to write and so I find that posting to the blog actually makes me feel full and accomplished, even though I shy away from posting when I’m having a tough time navigating life. Do something that brings you energy and good vibrations. Do something that reminds you what you love and guides you back to what you want to ultimately accomplish in life.
  4. Remind yourself that YOU are in control: It is SO important to remember that we are in control of our own lives (God ultimately, but he gave us free will). If you are stuck, it is because you made a decision to be that way. We are not victims of our circumstances but creators of our reality. It is important to realize that if we want to be somewhere else, we can.  You can choose to do anything, be anything, go anywhere. Don’t choose to let it overwhelm you. Let it inspire you and motivate you to go in a direction and if you hate it, go a different way.
  5. Get in touch with your spirituality: My faith in god has allowed me to be able to meditate, engage in dialogue, and have some direction in and about my work. Having a spiritual place to go to regroup and reorganize the feelings you have about the purpose for your life has been absolutely life-changing for me. Find a spiritual place that works for you and lean into that when you are lost. Put your life into perspective. Ask yourself why you are here, now? Rewrite your life goals if you have to. Find a place that continuously pushes you back to your life’s purpose.

 

These are ways that I navigate through the times when I feel lost and uninspired. There are so many times when we go through those feelings of comparing ourselves to other 20 somethings, making difficult decisions that actually seem impossible, and just getting overwhelmed because we feel like we aren’t where we should be. Acknowledge those feelings, then let those feelings of anxiety die. Feed your purpose and your passions so much that they thrive.

 

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Letting Go Of Society’s Timelines for Your Life

Personal Growth Journey

There have been many moments where I have thought about my age and immediately started panicking about the fact that I haven’t accomplished something or reflecting on some insignificant measure of success. There have been times where I have literally given myself undue anxiety about the fact that I don’t own property (if you own property, that’s actually great).  Society measures success by a list of standards and most of those standards make a person LOOK successful rather than truly telling me anything about that person. What is success anyways? I’ve discussed in a previous post that we define our own success and are responsible for creating our standards of success for ourselves as individuals.

However, defining our success can be difficult when society has created timelines for nearly everything that we do in our lives from getting married to owning a home and even having children. Society literally says we should have our own business by a certain age, only switch careers before a certain age, and refuse to take risks if the timing isn’t perfect. I also published a post previously about refusing to limit yourself based on the ideas that you believe are “realistic”. Free your mind of the box that someone has labeled “For women younger than 30” or “For people who are over 50” or even “For people who have money, house, car, etc.”.

I’m beyond tired of people creating rules for when things should happen in other people’s lives and it isn’t going to stop. But what we can do is create our own rules and choose to live by a unique standard that truly inspires others. Your timeline may not fit everyone else’s because your story is unlike anyone else’s so do what suits YOU. Keep writing your own story and living your own truth while creating your own standards and timeline for success.

If you know me personally, you know that I look much younger than my actual age. In my career, my reality has been that people have underestimated my experience and skill set because of their perception of my age and what they feel that my experience should be. That is unfair because it impacts my career mobility if I am not highly communicative about my abilities and experience (even while displaying those abilities in the workplace). I say that to demonstrate that we can’t push our “should be” mentality on other people. We can’t go around placing things in boxes because they are operating on a different timeline from what society has taught us to expect.

I want you to think intentionally this week about the things that you want to accomplish, why, and when. I want you to reflect on your whys and be sure that they fulfill you and not just other people’s standards of success. Then pat yourself on the back for what you have accomplished already because it is a lot more than you think and there is no timeline except the one that society has created FOR you without your permission. Yeah, no thanks.

 

Lacey Alanna

 

 

How To Be A Realist Without Placing Limits on Yourself

Personal Growth Journey

During my career transition journey, I have found myself placing so many limits on myself, labeling it as realism. People often get confused about the differences between being a realist and placing limits on yourself. This misunderstanding is easy to have because the two are so closely related. However, it is SO important that we know the difference between the two so that we can live a life that fulfills us in the most amazing ways.

I don’t measure my success by other people’s standards and I don’t compare myself to others intentionally or as much as I used to in the past. Comparing myself less and doing fewer things just to make others happy with my choices was a huge part of my personal growth journey. However, I first began to notice that I was placing major limits on myself when my boyfriend told me not to take small opportunities when I knew I was worth more and to have the patience to wait for bigger and better. This was so enlightening for me and really empowered me to reach for bigger and better. I realized that I am enough and that there is no harm in shooting for opportunities that seem like a bit of a reach.

Planning for the launch of my vintage boutique has also made me realize that I have habitually placed limits on my potential. I found myself afraid to make certain decisions, postponing the launch over and over again because I am afraid of failure. I’ve looked at other boutique owners and thought that I wasn’t going to be as lucky to have such a successful business. I have succeeded to convince myself that I am not “them”. These are times when it is important to recognize that you can be realistic without ruling things out and placing limits on your potential or abilities.

So what is the difference between being a realist and placing limits on yourself?

When you are a simply a realist without placing limits on yourself, you make decisions based on a mixture of fact and intuition. You are “realistic” in your decision making but you don’t box yourself into a certain job or life. When you place limits on yourself, you allow negative self talk to convince you to go one way over another. When you place limits on yourself, your mind places a box around you and within it lie your abilities and your potential.

After realizing that I was placing limits on my potential, I realized that I was living carefully, inside certain boxes, on eggshells trying not to break any rules. I have moved away from that limited mindset by taking a shot at opportunities or activities that I may not have before. I have practiced envisioning myself doing things I may not have previously. Your mind can be your worst enemy or your greatest ally but I think you have to make that choice.

If you leave this post with nothing else, leave refusing to place limits on your potential. Live life intentionally but STAY OPEN. Don’t box yourself in and stick to the limits that your mind places on you to do things, avoid things, look, or live a certain way. Most importantly, step a little bit outside of your comfort zone from time to time. You might love it. If you hate it, you go back and try something else.

Thanks for reading!

Lacey Alanna

 

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Career Update: What I’m Doing Now & My Lack of Inspiration

My Journey

Lately, I’ve been struggling with a lack of inspiration in my work. I want to be open about the fact that SURPRISE: I’ve returned to teaching for now. Also, I’m currently working on shopping for inventory for my online vintage boutique, which I am so excited about launching this year. I’m developing my blog and my brand in my off time. I’m so excited about journeying through personal growth and in that same space, exploring entrepreneurship and developing my own passions!

With all that going on, I’m facing some roadblocks in my creativity. Have you ever just felt uninspired and in a creativity rut? Ever felt like you were so bogged down by everyday struggles that you lost the fire that you had for your passions? I have felt just that lately. Feeling stuck and longing for guidance from intuition for next steps is a common thing. You are NOT alone and those feelings are valid. However, I believe so deeply in the work I’m doing. I have so much more to accomplish.

There are so many blog posts and articles on a lack of inspiration. I think that this is common among content creators, but there are so many things that you can do to get out of the rut and get back to work. The key is re-centering yourself, reflecting on your thoughts, and meditating to clear your head space. These are all things I’ve been working on to clear my own head space and create some amazing content for the site.

In the coming weeks, I will be talking about why I went back to teaching, minimalism,  and how to seek calm in the everyday.  Please comment with what you might be interested in seeing on the blog about personal growth and living a meaningful and intentional life.

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Thanks for reading!

Lacey Alanna

 

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