Take Care of Yourself

I’ve had a recent epiphany: you have to take care of yourself. Seems kind of silly, duh I need to take care of myself, I want to keep on living. But taking care of yourself goes beyond just eating food, sleeping, and going to work.

In order to truly take care of yourself you need to dig deep. You need to examine your life and your habits. It’s not just about eating food, but eating the right food. What is going to make you feel good? What is going to make you feel energized? What is going to make you feel like the best version of yourself? These questions can and should be applied to nearly everything in your life. How about your relationship with your significant other. Does it make you feel good, energized, and like the best version of yourself? No? Then it’s time to make a change. What about your job, does that make you feel good, energized, and the best version of yourself? No, then changes need to happen.

It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day routine, we lose sight of the big picture. We forget to take a moment to pause and check in with ourselves. We slowly get worn down and before you know it you’re running on empty and just a shadow of the person you would like to be.

The biggest part of the “take care of yourself” epiphany is this: no one else is going to do it for you. Game changer! Seriously, no one else in this world is going to take care of you if you don’t take care of you. Of course you have loving friends and family that help out when they can. They can encourage and try to lift you up when you need a boost. But when it comes to everyday life, no one can be there with you 24/7.  No one can be there to hold your hand every step of the way. They are not going to make sure you wake up at 6am to get in that morning workout. They are not going to grocery shop for you and make you healthy meals. They are not going to stop you from having those last 2 glasses of wine (and you will have a hangover the next day because of it). They are not going to break up with your toxic significant other for you. They are not going to rid you of your negative self talk and your anxiety. No other person can take care of you like you can take care of you!

That is a very powerful realization my friends. Because for so long I put my emphasis on the outside world. When I have a boyfriend I’ll feel better about myself. When I’m thin I’ll feel better. When I have more friends. When I have a better job. But by making all my goals external I was missing the big point. And it’s so clear it’s almost funny that I was missing it. I wanted to feel better about myself. But I was trying to do that by looking for external acceptance and rewards.

What I realize now is that in order to feel better about myself, I simply need to take care of myself! I have to put my needs first. I need to be in tune with my body and my mind to steer my life in the direction I want. Because at the end of the day when I’m laying in bed alone just with my own thoughts I am the only thing that matters. In order to be the best version of myself for my friends and family I need to be the best version of myself, period.

So take care of yourself my friends. You will thank yourself so much for it later.

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How Distance and Relationships Work

I have been with my boyfriend for just about 3.5 years. I love him very much and we’re in this for the long haul. We met in college while we both worked at the same pizza place (I was the counter girl, he was a delivery driver). We spent an amazing 6 months living just minutes from each other. And then we graduated. I moved back home, he stayed nearby school for his job. And we’ve been apart ever since.

I never truly consider us to be in a “long distance relationship.” In my mind long distance meant 5, 6, 7+ hours apart. Long distance meant across the country or in different time zones. Those people had it tough. Those relationships are hard. But for Greg and me? We were just in different states. We saw each other most weekends. We weren’t long distance.

But we aren’t close distance either. And that can wear thin. I have friends who get to see their significant other 5 or more times a week. They cook dinner together after work on a Monday. They go to sporting events on a Wednesday night. They watch Netflix and drink wine on a Tuesday. They kiss their boyfriend goodbye as they leave for work on a Friday morning. Seeing each other and spending time with one another is never an issue.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think that is true, for a time. Because Greg and I have such limited time together (he works Saturdays, so the only day off we have together is Sundays and we also live 2+ hours from each other) we really truly savor every moment we get together. We try to make every Sunday feel special. A walk through the park is a sweet moment. A trip to Home Depot is a fun excursion. Making dinner together is a novelty. Browsing the new arrivals at J.Crew is memorable. Because we get to do all these things together.

Spending time apart has taught Greg and me how important we truly are to one another. No relationship is easy and we’ve had our growing pains. We’ve gone through hard times. But in the end we know how important we are to one another so we continue to make the distance work.

But as we start to close in our 4 years together, the distance is starting to wear on me. Yes, the time we spend together is special because it is limited, but after 3 years of limits, I would like some freedom. The freedom to come home to him at the end of a bad day. The freedom to feel his presence next to me on the couch. The freedom to go to a baseball game on a Thursday night. The freedom to makes plans on a Sunday morning with girlfriends and still be able to hang out with him on Sunday night.

Absence does make the heart grow fonder. But there comes a point when your heart can’t take anymore absence. It needs presence. I’m there. I’m at the point where I crave presence all the time. And I know he does too. But due to extenuating circumstances we can’t be together yet. So we keep trudging along through the distance because it’s the only thing we can do.

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? How did you deal with it?

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When You Feel in Limbo

Lately I’ve been feeling in limbo. I can genuinely say this is the happiest I’ve been in a long time, maybe even in my entire life. I feel confident in my capabilities and my ability to face challenges. I have a solid network of loved ones around me. But still I have this nagging feeling of limbo. That I’m waiting for something, that I’m waiting for my life to take off.

It’s an incredibly frustrating feeling. I feel as though I’ve been working my entire life trying to get to a certain place. Work hard in high school to go to college. Work hard in college to get a good job. Improve your skills and go on interviews to find an even better job. Work on yourself and find happiness as an individual. Meet someone and fall in love. Well I did all those things. I did well in college. I have a job I don’t despise. I am in a loving and committed relationship.

So why do I still feel so blah?

Is it because I have been programmed to continually be striving towards something? Is it because my job isn’t fulfilling enough? Is it because my long distance part of my relationship is wearing thin? Is it because I don’t have a tight-knit friend group here in DC? Is it because I still haven’t fully given up on my perfectionist tendencies?

I cannot fully answer those questions right now. Maybe it’s a combination of all of them. What I do know is that I find myself thinking a lot more about the future. Thoughts like “when I have this in my life, then I’ll feel content” seem to be common. And the this can range from a group of girlfriends, a garden, a home with my boyfriend, a dream vacation, a great wardrobe, a fantastically decorated apartment, another cat, and/or a passion for baking.

I have this idea in my head of what I think my life should look like, what I want my life to look like. I want a cute little cottage home with my boyfriend. I want to garden full of fruits and vegetables. I want to spend time baking and cooking. I want to spend more time in nature. I want to feel connected to my friends. I want to throw dinner parties. I want to spend less time on the internet. I want to help animals. I want to meditate and practice yoga.

I don’t really have any of those things now though and maybe that’s why I feel in limbo. Because I feel as though I am waiting for them. When I have this, then I’ll be content. It’s a dangerous trap to fall into and there can be two solutions. 1. Appreciate what you have right now at the very moment. Again I can say that I am the happiest I have ever been. I should not allow this limbo feeling to take that away from me. I have come so far and I have accomplished so much. I need to acknowledge that and completely revel in it. 2. Work for what you want. If I am feeling unfulfilled in an aspect of my life, I need to actively go out and change it. If I want a closer group of friends, I need to search out those people. If I want to bake, goshdarnit I need to preheat that oven and get to baking! These aspirations are not going to just be handed to me. I won’t turn 26, or 28 or 35 and all of a sudden have that ideal life I’ve been searching for. I need to create it.

So that limbo feeling, it can be pretty awful. It can be a hazy gray over your entire day to day life. And it can be hard to banish. But I know I am going to try!