The personal development junkie in me loves the idea of challenges, especially smaller ones like 30 days. However, the lazy introvert in me doesn't really love a challenge when I actually have to do it. I think I need to challenge myself more in 2019 and stop falling back into old habits, so I thought trying a new 30 day challenge each month (12 in total) would be a great idea!
I haven't planned out my entire year yet. I thought I would plan a month ahead and write down some ideas of challenges I'd like to try. Then, as the year goes on, I can decide when the month gets a little closer what challenge I'd like to do. For example, I'd like to try 30 days without TV, but think it might be better suited for summer months.
Here are some ideas for 30 day challenges if you are interested in joining me!
1. Dry January or 30 days without alcohol
Many people already do this. It is easy to overindulge during the holidays so after New Year's Eve is the perfect time to take a break from alcohol. I definitely love ordering a fun cocktail while out to dinner with friends or having a drink to relax in the evenings. However, I do notice that I have a harder time getting up the next morning and aren't as productive. There are so many other benefits from taking a break from drinking. I did this challenge about a year ago and I felt great after a few weeks!
2. 30 days without television
I LOVE TV, especially reality tv shows. I can binge Vanderpump Rules, Housewives, Below Deck, or Teen Mom forever. Yet, I know that there are much more productive and healthier activities I could be doing each evening.
3. 30 days of no sugar
Yikes, this will also be a hard one! I love sugar and sweets but I know sometimes it makes me feel sick and it isn't the best for my health. I don't think I will go so far as to avoid EVERYTHING with added sugar, but just avoid sweets for a month to see if I can!
4. 30 days of stretching
I am a freelance writer, so that means I am sitting at my computer all day long. I do sometimes get up to stretch, but not as often as I should. I am also not very flexible. I would like to challenge myself to stretch more often and I think it would also help my back pain.
5. 30 days of exercise
I am not much of an exerciser. I am naturally thin so I don't need to work out hard to lose weight. Yet, I know I feel better when I work out and it is so good for you. I love doing Tone It Up videos on YouTube or taking walks and I know I could do that for 30 days in a row.
6. 30 days of no spending or shopping
I LOVE online shopping. I definitely spend more than I should at times and I need to save more money for my upcoming wedding/honeymoon and paying off vacations. It will definitely do me some good to avoid spending money on myself except necessities for 30 days and perhaps longer.
What other challenges would you add to this list? There are so many different ideas out there! I can't wait for you to follow along on my journey!
If you enjoyed this article, please SHARE with a friend who would be interested in trying a 30 day challenge!
I think most people can agree that they would love to work from home. There are definitely pros and cons to freelancing and working from home, but overall I love it, especially since I am a highly sensitive person. Studies have shown that open office concepts are a nightmare for HSPs, who get overwhelmed by things like lights, sounds, and stress. So, being able to work in your home, your sanctuary, can be amazing.
Cons of Working From Home:
Of course there will be downsides. For me, as an INFJ, I sometimes do miss the camaraderie and social situations that come from working with others face-to-face. I don't really get free lunch from the boss or get to go for social hour with my co-workers. This can make working at home feel lonely at times.
Another con is that when you work from home, you often are a freelancer. This isn't the case for everyone, but as a freelance writer, I don't get benefits, paid time off, health insurance, money into a retirement fund by an employer, etc. But for me, the flexibility of my schedule and working from home is more important to me than benefits.
Another funny thing about being a freelancer and working from home is that many people think you don't work all day! This always boggles my mind... how do they think I bought a house, pay my bills, etc.? Yes, I have more flexibility in the time I can take off, I can bring my laptop and work elsewhere, I can clean or run errands during the day, but that doesn't mean I don't work as hard as you do in an office. Sometimes I am probably more motivated without so many distractions from others.
Pros of Working From Home:
Let's get into the pros. Right now, I do have a set schedule where I generally work 10 am - 6 pm per weekday. However, I am allowed to work other hours and take days off whenever I need to. I absolutely love this flexibility! I have also had other jobs where I didn't even have a set time I had to work. There is nothing better than being able to make appointments during the week when places are less busy.
I know that I feel less stress and anxiety because of my working situation. I am able to work in a place I am comfortable, which really helps out if I am not feeling well one day or am feeling particularly anxious. I can essentially head to work in my pajamas if I want to.
How You Can Start Working From Home Too!
If you are a highly sensitive person and really want to work from home, here are my suggestions (I've been freelancing for about 8 years now, but keep in mind, I was not always able to do it full-time and pay the bills completely by working from home like I am now!):
Do you work from home too? What are your pros and cons? Or are you looking for a work from home job?
If you found this article interesting, please SHARE with your friends who are also HSPs!
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I've been reading "The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World" by Nancy Colier. In fact, last night I was reading in bed, with tears streaming down my face. Not because the book is inherently sad, but because it made me realize how often we all use our phones and ignore each other.
It made me think about my childhood, before phones and Internet were so prevalent in society. I was super creative. I was always writing, drawing, or reading. I was an only child, so I was often making up stories about my stuffed animals alone in my room. I wasn't bored. I was happy doing all of this stuff.
First the Internet came along. I became obsessed. I always wanted to be on my computer playing The Sims, talking to my friends on AIM, or doing whatever else I was doing. I honestly don't really remember, which makes all the time I spent on it even that more depressing.
I also remember when Facebook and smartphones came along. While I was on board with phones from the start, I do remember not wanting to join Facebook. Finally my friends wore me down. Even in high school and college, I thought that once I was graduated, Facebook wouldn't be a place I would want to spend my time anymore. Boy was I wrong.
Now with smartphones, you can literally be somewhere else wherever you are. You don't have to deal with reality. You don't have to deal with boredom. So many nights my fiance and I are in the same room, but both engulfed in our phones. I know we aren't alone. Phones are always in sight when people get together. We are really never one-on-one anymore. There is always seemingly something better to do or someone more interesting to talk to, which honestly makes me cry if I think too much about it. It makes me feel horrible when I realize how many times I've done this to others because it also makes me feel ignored and unvalued when other people do it to me.
I don't think smartphones, the Internet, and technology as a whole are evil. There are so many positives to connecting with others and having so much information at our fingertips. We just have to remember that we own the devices; they do not own us. There are so many times I've tried to "detox" from social media and my phone and break after hours or days. Why does it have such a pull on us?
It isn't new news anymore that our smartphones are literally making us anxious and depressed. From comparing ourselves to others online, stalking our exes, always feeling "on" and available, there are so many reasons we are literally giving ourselves anxious and depressed feelings from using this technology. We need a break.
It is especially important for highly sensitive people to re-evaluate their relationship with their phones and social media. We feel so deeply and can pick up energy from others based on what we read. To protect ourselves, we have to be careful about what we fill our minds with. Not to mention, we are very creative and being sucked into your phone can push down those creative juices.
There are times I want to get rid of social media for good. I don't know if I ever will, but I know I will keep making a conscious effort to put my phone away when I am with others and I will try to be "bored" more often. There are so many other things to do besides play on your phone and I think we all forget that sometimes.
What do you think? Do you feel addicted to your phone? Do you think it makes you anxious, depressed or boring?
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When I was growing up, I always thought people were either shy or outgoing. Later in life, I realized that most people are either introverts or extroverts and this greatly affects our lives and how we handle different things.
I truly believe that introverts and extroverts can be great friends, get along really well and balance each other out, but sometimes it can be a challenging relationship. Sometimes introverts and extroverts just can't understand each other. Since most highly sensitive people are introverts (myself included), I thought I would share some thoughts on how introverts and extroverts can get along peacefully:
1. Aim to understand each other. Know that introverts regain their energy by spending quiet time along. Know that extroverts regain energy by spending time with others and likely hate being alone. Be respectful that you both handle situations differently. Ask questions respectfully if you don't understand why the other person is reacting a certain way to something.
2. Take care of yourself. If you are an introvert who is attending a weekend party bash, do a few things to make yourself more comfortable. Sneak away for a few minutes if you need a break. Go to bed early if you'd like and don't let anyone make you feel bad for doing so. Enlist in a buddy who understand you to help you get through the hard times of the weekend or a bad mood.
3. Try new things. If you're an extrovert, try spending a day with your introvert friend at a coffee shop. If you're an introvert, try going to a party with your outgoing friend. Compromise when making plans... you never know, you might find a new hobby or get to know your friend better.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you have a friend who is the exact opposite of you? Share your story below!
By: Nabilah Safa (@nabilahs88)
They were laughing at me. Again. I didn’t understand why.
“Oh stop being so sensitive, Nabilah, we’re just kidding.”
I felt my cheeks warm up as I tried to hold back tears. I wasn’t stupid. I knew they were making fun of me.
Sensitive. That word would follow me around my whole life.
I always felt like it was a bad thing to be sensitive and was continuously told that I needed to “toughen up.”
I would realize later that all my years through school I was not just being picked on, but bullied by the popular kids. I had a few friends who were like me: quiet, smart, and loved books.
Books saved my life. I was able to escape into different worlds, learn about different people, and sometimes find characters who were just like me: shy and sensitive.
I think another thing that made me an easy target to be picked on is I was nice. I simply couldn’t understand why people were unkind to one another (I still don’t understand), so even when people said mean things to me I’d simply stay quiet and ignore. One time in high school I finally confronted the girl who always felt the need to say some sort of cruel remark and simply asked her why she felt the need to say those things to me. She didn’t answer. Later my uncle picked me up from school and I pointed her out and he told me it was probably because she felt insecure about herself, and to not be angry with her but rather to try and understand that she was probably going through her own issues. Looking back I feel bad for her really, realizing now that must have been the way she coped, being mean to others because she felt bad about herself.
College was easier though, I found more like-minded people there and most people were there because they were excited to learn. I had great professors who encouraged me to come out of my shell a little bit and I realized that being a sensitive person was not necessarily a bad thing. Being sensitive meant that I understood people a lot better than most. I’d always been able to sense when someone felt sad or upset and now that I wasn’t so afraid to approach people, I was able to make friends more easily.
I never knew there was a term and what it meant until much later. Being able to research 'Highly Sensitive Person' and realizing I’m not the only one out there, and then later taking a personality test online and finding out I’m an INFP put everything into perspective. Did you know that only 4% of the population is an INFP? It made me realize that there weren’t very many people that had my same personality and that was why I had trouble understanding other people’s actions, and why they had trouble understanding me. It also made sense being “the mediator” of the population why I respond to situations the way I do, like trying to help people.
I’ve started to understand more and more why being sensitive is a strength, not a weakness. Why it makes me unique, and how I can use it to fuel my passions in life and not be ashamed or feel bad if someone calls me “too sensitive.” Instead, I’ll take that as a compliment.
When Nabilah is not writing, she is probably watching Netflix, or wanting to bake cookies. She loves her job helping people as a caregiver during the day. You can read more of her writings about living with bipolar disorder and anxiety on her blog: livingwithmybipolarlife.blogspot.com. You can also follow her on Instagram @nabilahs88
If you've been following my blog for a while, you may know that I have been dealing with anxiety for most of my life. I still have anxiety from time to time and am always looking for natural ways to deal with it. As I started creating books and planners and realized my love for it, I wanted to create a workbook/journal specifically for anxiety to help myself & others too.
This workbook has over 30 questions and journaling prompts. The pages repeat several times so you can go back and see how you have progressed while using this workbook. I hope that this workbook helps you to journal more and relieves some of your daily stress and anxiety. Remember, you're not alone! Anxiety comes up for most people at some point in their lives. You have the strength you need within. Let this workbook help you.
Click here to buy it on Amazon!
Be honest, how often do you look at your computer and your phone? For most of us, we stare at the screens all day (if you need a break, go back in my blog posts and check out my technology detox challenge!). But, if you just need a little happy reminder, try downloading one of these cute computer and phone backgrounds! Feel free to share. :)
I've always loved quotes. I used to cut out quotes from magazines or print them from the web and post them on my walls of my bedroom. I love looking up lyrics or finding new quotes online. I love pinning new ones to my Pinterest page or adding them to my vision boards.
Quotes can help you learn something new or help you feel less alone. Mantras are very similar. I love mantras because they are like little positive quotes I can repeat throughout the day to help me with whatever I'm dealing with. Whether you're dealing with anxiety or just a little stress, a positive mantra can help lift your mood and change the direction of your thoughts and actions.
Here are some mantras to help keep a positive attitude:
I've always loved planners and journals. There's something so special about getting a brand new planner or journal and writing in it for the first time.
I truly believe that finding your magic starts with believing in yourself. Planning your daily life and staying positive can help you get there faster. So I decided to create my own!
This planner and journal contain a year's worth of pages to help you. Whether you begin on New Year's Day or somewhere in the middle of the year, you have a whole year of planning, journaling and even doodling to do!
Each page includes a place for the date and questions to get you motivated, organized and thinking positively each day! I hope this planner and journal inspires you to be your best self, keeps you organized, makes you think, and helps you find your magic aka being the best, most sparkly version of yourself!
Click here to order now!
As a highly sensitive person, I’ve dealt with anxiety for the greater part of my life; if you’re reading this I get the sense you have too! I have to be real with you; sometimes I am good at coping and other times I’ve struggled when I don’t have a plan or my go-to's to help me cope. I’ve learned a few tricks over the past few years for coping with anxiety in public, and they may help you too!
Pop your headphones in and put on music, a podcast or audiobook and drown out the noise of the world. Headphones help distract you from conversations happening around you that may cause tension or anxiety. We’ve all been there on the subway or waiting in a doctor’s office where you hear a conversation between two people that may cause some anxiety and stress, and you carry around that anxiety for the rest of the day, no fun!
Take medication or a supplement:
For those of us who find it hard to leave the house because our anxiety is provoked by specific public places (grocery store, mall or concert), it may be necessary for some anxious HSPs to take anxiety medication. While I don’t take anti-anxiety medication, I do take a small dose of a beta blocker when going to larger events and places I know my anxiety will pop up. The beta blocker helps to keep my heart rate and blood pressure at a regular rate, which keeps me relaxed.
Have a plan:
For anxious people like myself, the best way to help manage anxiety is to know what I am getting myself into. For example, I am going to a musical with friends; I want to know how to get there, reserve parking in advance, bring snacks, know when the show starts and ends, and communicate in advance whether or not I will be going to dinner after. Having a plan and knowing the details of your outing will calm anxious thoughts and help to avoid last minute disasters!
Take a breath:
If you find yourself at an event and you are completely overwhelmed about to have a panic attack, step away from the event by going outside or to the restroom- anywhere you can breathe and collect yourself will help. Sometimes we HSPs just get overwhelmed with what is going around us even if it is a fun event like a concert or a play that the anxiety will just hit us. Know it is okay for you to take a few minutes to yourself and return when you feel ready to do so.
These are just a few things that help me navigate going to public outings as an HSP with anxiety. I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
Amanda Shea is the founder of Voices of Mental Health. She is a mental and self-care advocate, conscious content creator, and business owner. She is a regular contributor to Boston Green Blog. Amanda resides in the Greater Boston area with her partner, Casey, and pups, Bernadette and Teddy.