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

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The blog is back.

Everything Travel

I made it through my first year teaching 4th grade. I flew to Asia. I cruised to Mexico. I’ve started another year. I am grateful.

I’m ready to blog again!

I was blogging a few months ago way more regularly and I enjoyed it but I was truthfully in a period where I felt more lost than ever. I stopped feeling gratitude. I stopped feeling positivity. I started feeling self pity and emptiness. So I took time away from blogging to find my passions and to create more time for them. I took time to figure out where I had lost myself.

I talked to so many people in their 20s about that lost feeling and so many could relate to what I felt.

Anyways, I’m totally still a work in progress. I mean aren’t we all?

Im back with a more conversational post just to reintroduce myself; clearer, more grounded, ready to take on the world (quite literally).

While I was away, I went to Asia for 3 weeks (Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand). Travel has always been therapeutic and healing for me. On this trip, I tried so many things I had never done and pushed myself in so many new and different ways. I conquered my fear of heights, I participated in a three and a half hour deep meditation, I reunited with an old friend (hey Kate!).

This post is a hello, an “I’m back”. This post is hope and a “you’re not alone” for those who are feeling extra lost and needing to wander to find themselves.

This feeling isn’t forever.

Sincerely,

Lacey Alanna

The List: Rediscovering Joy as a Working 20 Something

Personal Growth Journey

The other day, I found myself in my car, sitting in the parking lot of a crowded grocery store wondering when life became so routinized. My weeks have become bogged down with work, eating, sleeping, and doing it again. Meanwhile, my weekends have become laundry, cleaning up the mess that has accumulated throughout the week in my tiny room/apartment, meal prep, working out, and catching up on the sleep that I was deprived of during the week. My reality has become doing these things over and over and over and over. It has become so routinized that I have fallen into the rut of  going as far as eliminating things I used to enjoy and replacing them with errands, chores, the busywork of life.

So there I am, in my car having a mini meltdown because I realized that my once joyful and creative life has become an extended business trip. Why do we prioritize things that bring us no joy and that bring little value to our life over things that make us happy? Why do we sacrifice so much of ourselves to get the busywork of life done? I asked myself this question this week and I ventured to find a solution to the rut I had found myself in so many times.

I decided to make a list because lists solve so many problems, right? I made a list of all the things that bring me joy in life like being with my significant other, hanging out with my closest friends, traveling, etc. My list consisted of about 12 items that really brought me sheer and utter happiness. Then I read through the list and checked off the number of things that I experienced on a daily or at least weekly basis. Of the 12 items that bring me the most joy in life, I experienced 3 regularly! THREE! How is that? If this was my truth, how had I gone on so long this way?

My big takeaway from creating the list was that it is so important that we incorporate joy into the everyday, especially when we find ourselves unintentionally eliminating the things that make us happiest because we are “busy”. After looking at the list, I decided that I would gradually try to reintroduce some of the things on my list back into my life. For example, I used to always binge watch shows on Netflix and now I NEVER do. Yes, television is poison and I should be reading books and doing yoga blah blah blah. However, I am a firm believer that everything we love should be enjoyed in moderation.

As 20 somethings, some of us get caught up in careers, money, problems, chores, responsibilities, love, and we forget to do what we love to do for ourselves. I challenge you to make your list! List all the things that bring you the most joy and then see how many you incorporate into your life regularly. You may be a pro at this. You also might be failing miserably at incorporating joy. It’s your job to find out and to rediscover what makes you happiest, then do it.

With that being said…..

 

I’M GOING TO THAILAND! More on that soon.

 

LaceyAlanna

 

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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.