Is this thing still on?

Hello? Anyone there?

It’s funny because one of my goals for after I quit my job was to write more on here. But, that definitely didn’t happen. All that time I thought I would have it totally not there.

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Oh yes, I quit my job at the end of May. I’m officially done with the corporate world. I still can’t believe it. I’m now doing marketing consulting for small businesses full-time through my company, Local Anywhere, while also growing our new fitness initiative, Sweat Local Columbus.

I feel like I have learned a lot in only my short 65 days of being self-employed–and I thought it’d be fun to write about mainly so I have something to look back on and laugh at in a few months or years.

Here are the top ten things I’ve learned since working from home on my own business:

  1. I had to stop saying “yes” to every opportunity. Thankfully, I had the chance to really grow and work on my business for about a year before I went on my own completely to really make sure I had a small list of solid clients. It was because of those clients that I was able to make the jump for my old job. But, as soon as I made the jump, I got a bunch of referrals…met with a bunch of people…and said yes, a lot. Like 3 times in the first week. It was, well, totally overwhelming. And  I became totally overbooked. Luckily, some of the “yes’s” were only short projects, so it didn’t last long. But I still struggle with overbooking myself and becoming overwhelmed easily.
  2. Not every business is right for me. I learned this early on over a year ago when I took on a client that was a lot of money but totally not the right fit. After 3 months of night sweats, dreading our phone calls and texts, I decided I had to break the contract. I met with another potential client recently, and after our meeting, I knew in my gut it wasn’t a good fit. Again, good money, but I wouldn’t be happy and frankly, neither would the client. It’s okay to be a little picky.
  3. I don’t get dressed nearly as much as I thought I would. I had this big idea that I would still shower, do my hair and makeup, and put on normal people clothes. That was a fun idea, that only happens when I have meetings. I still do my hair and makeup for the most part mainly because I see the UPS man every day and I don’t want to scare him, but I live in workout clothes and it’s amazing.
  4. I’ve become more attached to my dog and vice versa. This is not surprising.
  5. I drink coffee everyday. Back in my old working life, I NEVER drank coffee. Ever. I don’t know why, but I can’t start my day now without a cup. It’s my favorite way to start going through emails with a fresh cup in hand.
  6. I thought I was organized before–but this is a whole new world. I always thought I had my shit together at my other jobs, and I probably did. But now my tasks are ALL OVER the place and I have to balance those tasks between 8 clients. It’s been hard to focus in and keep it all together, but I’m learning.
  7. My posture has gotten worse. Need a new office chair, asap.
  8. I eat way more at home. This isn’t surprising, but the main reason is because of point number 3. I don’t get too dolled up too often and going out in public seems like a lot of work.
  9. I work later and harder than I did at my other jobs. Again, not surprising. But I find it interesting how I never have an urge to sneak out for coffee, close up my laptop early, or talk to my dog (coworker) for 15 minutes-hour to kill time. My clients mean a lot to me and I make sure I deliver on my tasks everyday.
  10. I love the flexibility. I love that I can take phone calls all day long without hiding it, I love that I can workout at 8am if I want to, I love that I can gchat with my mom again, I love that I can wear workout clothes, I love that I can go on vacation without prior approval, I love that the money I make is purely in my control. I know that I meant for a work-life like this, and I’m grateful that I finally have that opportunity.

Okay, back to work. It feels good to write out how I feel–so hopefully this is the start of a new weekly series.

Anyone else work from home or for themselves? What surprised you or what have you learned?

It Works! (no, IT doesn’t.)

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I was at lunch today and overheard two girls talking. One was trying to sell the other on becoming a consultant for her wrap company. I have no idea what it’s really called…but you’ve seen the tagline – It works! (maybe that’s the actual name?) Anyway, the seller was telling the potential seller about how much weight she had lost, how much better her clothes fit, and most importantly, how much money she was making.

I so badly wanted to jump into their booth and tell the poor girl that no, it doesn’t work, and no, you will not become a millionaire from selling seran wrap for bellies.

Now, in defense of the wrap seller, I have never tried the wraps, nor have I done a ton of research. But along with the wraps, I also know that people are buying every tea, drink, powder, waist trainer, pill, sandwich, etc. that claims “GET SKINNY FAST!” While these solutions may work temporarily, they won’t give you the long-term results you want.

You know how I know none of these work? Because I know there is only one thing that does work to lose weight and get healthy–

A healthy diet and exercise. 

That, my friends, works.

Nothing worth working for comes easy and it’s the same for a healthy body. Sorry to bring the bad news today. Please, I’m begging you, stop pouring your money into “quick” fixes that don’t work, and start investing in your health. Buy more vegetables. Buy a gym membership. Buy a class pass. Go on a walk. Go on a run. Hike up a mountain. Start somewhere.

Just move your body and eat real food.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan

 

And while you’re at it–Register for Sweat Local Columbus, a 5k and expo on July 30!

YOLO – The Year of Travel

Ryan and I have been talking about 2016 basically since we met. Not that we knew the exact year of 2016 would be a big year for us, but we did know that we had big plans to travel and make some big changes in our lives. 2016 just so happens to be that year. The purpose of this post isn’t to boast about what we have going on–my hope is to inspire you to stop talking and start doing (beyond traveling).

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I’m fully invested in the idea of “If it doesn’t make you happy, get rid of it.” I’ve purged my closet, items in our house, freelance clients, some work opportunities, etc. I’ve come around to the idea that shopping and buying new things is an immediate emotional reaction, but not something that will last and sustain my happiness. So while I still love to buy things here and there, I’ve majorly cut back on the old habit that got me into some nice credit card debt in college.

We’ve saved our money, not a ton, but enough. We have purposely decided not to have kids anytime soon. We have tried to simplify, but also take on challenging projects that make us better and provide some extra income. We are cutting out going to concerts, eating out at fancy places, and buying unnecessary items. These small changes are making a big difference.

We have deemed this year the Year of Travel, and YOLO (“you only live once” for my lingo-challenged readers). For us, this is a big deal. In the past, we’ve come up with excuses to not do things (money, time, our dog, work, etc), but this time, we let go of the excuses and said “F it, we just need to go.”

We are both dreamers. Neither of us have traveled much, though we both have major wanderlust. We like to talk about things we want to do later in life and places we want to see. We’ve just changed the narrative a little to, “why not now?” instead of “later in life.”

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So in two weeks we’ll be heading to the Cayman Islands with my whole family (my husband, mom, dad, bro, his wife, and nephew). It’s a trip for my mom’s 60th birthday, and while traveling with your fam may not seem totally YOLO, for me it totally is. Our family has never truly taken a family vacation (usually golf shows or trips to see Grandma) so this is a big deal. Ryan and I plan to take full advantage of all the water sports and experiences that we can. Maybe I’ll even let him jump off a cliff (I hear there aren’t many in Cayman so hoping there’s a small one to fill his desire).

A few months later, we’ll be heading to Nashville for a long weekend to see my best friend, her husband, and their baby. I was so proud of my husband last night when I told him that flights were super cheap on Southwest and that the sale was ending soon. He was totally cool with deciding right then and there to book the trip–something two years ago he never would have done. He would’ve wanted to think about it, talk about it, then inevitably, probably not do it because we’ve then talked ourselves out of it.

The big grand finale of the year comes in September when we try our luck with the Irish and head to Ireland. This is a dream trip that I have always wanted to take and I couldn’t be more excited for it. We may pop over to Scotland for a day or two while we’re there…but we’re doing something I’m not usually comfortable with–going in without an agenda. We want to drink beer, see the sights, but most importantly, mix and mingle with the locals. We want to feel fully enveloped in the culture. Experience new things. Get uncomfortable. Learn something. Come back with an Irish accent.

While three planned trips may not seem like much to some, for us, it is. It’s out of our comfort zone to leave this much and to spend this much money. But like I said, 2016 is going to be a big year. Beyond traveling, we have a lot of other exciting things happening…but more on that in another post.

Take some chances. Stop thinking so much and start doing. Stop talking about it. F it. Just do it. Go. Explore. Grow.

 

Cheers.

Random Ramblings

A goal of mine for the new year is to post more consistently on this little site. I always struggle with just what to post so I thought I’d stop thinking so hard about it, and write about the random thoughts and questions that I have as we start 2016.

  1. Why don’t people pronounce the H in words? Huge, human…I know there are others. It drives me ca-razy. trump
  2. Speaking of the above guy, are we really going to let Donald Trump be a presidential candidate? I’m not a political person, but I also am not a stupid person. Like really, America?
  3. Speaking of not being political, Obama’s new gun plan does not take away your guns. So chill out, people. Also, I totally thought you had to have a background check before you could own a gun…and the fact that that wasn’t case BLOWS MY MIND. Not just anyone should be able to own a gun, and I’m ok with making it a safer process. Okay, now I’m done with my political, but not really political rant…
  4. Anyone else at this time of year want to buy ALL THE THINGS? I don’t know if it’s the new year and the feeling of a fresh start…but I’m ready to buy a new wardrobe, new makeup, redo our entire house’s decor, start a new meal plan, and get a new hairstyle. download
  5. Anyone else struggle with always wanting to buy local but then realizing Amazon makes life SO much easier? For example: we used to buy our dog food from a local shop not too far from our house. It was always a pain because we would realize like a day or two before we’d run out that we needed to pick up a bag. So one day I checked on Amazon and found that the same bag of food was $15 less than what we were paying and would be delivered for free in 1-2 days after ordering! I always try to buy local, but sometimes, convenience wins.
  6. My husband and I are traveling out of the country twice this year and I am SO EXCITED, but I’m also already dreading leaving my dog. This is why I can’t have kids. Like, the thought of him thinking we are never coming back and someone else giving him love makes my heart hurt. #crazydoglady
  7. What ever happened to Robyn, LFO, and O-Town?
  8. We just signed up for Netflix and I cannot wait for tomorrow night to Netflix and Chill, literally. I’m avoiding all the spoilers to Making a Murderer until I have a chance to get caught up.
  9. I strongly believe that if you hurt an animal, you should be charged just like you would if you hurt a human. Thankfully, we’re getting closer to true justice for animals who are victims of abuse.
  10. In a little over 2 months I’ll be here:
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    credit: www.fivestareventscayman.com 

    And to help me get ready, I’m doing Orangetheory Fitness Columbus Weight Loss Challenge that starts on Monday.

Random enough? Cheers to 2016!

 

My Favorite Workout Gear

Oh haii, everyone! I know you all missed me. The change in seasons has inspired me to get back on the Corks and Kale wagon and start writing again. Now on to the good stuff…

When people ask me what gym I belong to, I usually laugh out of embarrassment because at one point 2 months ago, I technically had FIVE gym memberships. They weren’t all monthly memberships, some were just 10-class passes–but still, if I wanted to workout, I could chose from 5 different studios. All of my memberships were studios that held classes. I cancelled my rec center membership a few months ago when I finally had a moment of clarity that I hate open gyms.

Currently, I have three studio memberships (one I don’t pay for because I teach spinning classes there so I’m able to take other classes for free). I belong to Orangetheory Fitness, PAI Yoga & Fitness (where I teach), and Fair Trade Yoga Studios. I’m probably going to buy more classes to Harbor Yoga just because I absolutely LOVE them…but right now can’t justify it due to the fact that I have TWO other yoga studios I can attend. I previously had a membership also with System of Strength–which is still one of the best workouts in town in my opinion–but again, couldn’t justify it with my new-found love for Orangetheory.

Since I go to a lot of different workouts throughout the week, I had to create a workout wardrobe that worked for more than just one type of class. You’ll see I tend to favor sweat wicking materials because I sweat a lot, and looser tops with support. These are my favorites:

Bend Active loose 614 tank
I was apprehensive about buying this tank because I tend to sweat a lot and I was worried this wouldn’t wick it away. I was wrong. This tank it nice and and loose, but stays in place when I’m doing yoga. It also does a good job dealing with the sweat.

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Lululemon Rebel Runner Crop
I have these crops in 3 different styles/colors. I love the fabric as it’s made to sweat in, and I also love all the zippers. These are great to run, spin, yoga, anything in. I will say that the inner thigh pills a little for me from spinning/running (but lulu told me that would happen). These are still my go to workout pants. I also like higher rise and these definitely fit the bill.

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Lululemon All Sport Bra
I am not small chested. Sports bras are the most important thing to get right when it comes to working out for me. If I don’t feel supported, my workout will suffer. This bra, while listed as medium support, is the best sports bra I’ve ever worn. I hate the feeling of the VS bras with cups built in and I don’t like high support bras because I feel like I’m suffocating. This bra provides lots of support while still letting me breathe. I run, spin, yoga…do it all in this one. I have it in 4 colors.

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Athleta Enduro No-Show Sock by Balega International
I need socks that have a little tab in the back because I always end up with blisters on my heels. These sock prevent that and stay in place while moving around. I used to buy cheap thin socks, but buying decent socks really does make a difference.
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Old Navy Compression Tank
I promise that this tank looks better in person than in this photo. It’s so unflattering here but I think it’s super flattering on. The extra support of the built in bra is always appreciated, and the elastic at the bottom makes it my go to top for yoga. The material is also great for sweat so it’s good in really any class.

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What are your favorites?

Things I’m Loving Lately – Round 3

Life has been BUSY lately. In the best way possible…but man, it’s hard to find time to even sit down and talk to my husband these days. We’re working on it. In the midst of the summer busyness, it’s time for another round of Things I’m Loving Lately!

Summer – I’m seeing all these posts from people who are saying, “I’m so ready for boots and pumpkin spice lattes!” and I just want to punch them in the face. Are you crazy?! Summer has only been here for 5 minutes (at least in Ohio). Let’s not wish it away, please. Between concerts, pedal wagon fun, happy hours, golfing, walks outside, I’m not ready for summer to go anywhere just yet. So, please stop wishing it away!

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Golf – Last summer we didn’t play golf very much. For me, that means we played around 5-7 times. This year, I am already over the 10 round mark and I’m loving it. Not only am I seeing more improvements in my game, but I’m finding the joy in golf that I lost when I played in college (also the reason why I didn’t play so much in the past few years). Golf is fun again and I look forward to being out there on the course.

Acupuncture – I talked about my acupuncture experience some in this post, and my love for it has only grown. I was having a really awful day, my body was stressed, my stomach a mess, my head was in so much pain, and my hands and feet were super swollen. I made an emergency appointment with Tessa, and 2 hours and about 100 needles later, I felt SO MUCH relief. My swelling went away, headache gone, and I felt like I could breathe again. I can’t praise acupuncture enough. If you are considering it…just do it. I swear you won’t regret it.

Tacos – No one needs a taco emoji more than me. Anyone else eating tacos like 4 nights a week? No? Just us? Give me a soft taco shell (corn please), veggies, and some sort of filling (tempeh, black beans, tofu, chickpeas) and hot sauce or salsa and I’m satisfied. When we don’t know what else to do for dinner….tacos to the rescue!

Bend Active apparel – This company was started in Columbus and I recently just discovered how wonderful their fabrics are. I’ve worn the tops and leggings to spinning, yoga, and even running and I have nothing but good things to say about the quality. I also love their mantra:

BE FLEXIBLE – Adapt to any circumstance.
BE STRONG – Have the power and confidence to succeed.
BE RESILIENT – Posses the ability to recover even under the most stressful conditions

And, this top is the best for 614 peeps:

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What are you loving lately?

Trophy Hunting, and Why it is the Most Cowardly Thing Humans Do

This blog has been quiet over the last few weeks because I just haven’t thought of anything that is worthy of a post. But then this happened, and I couldn’t stay quiet.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

By now you’ve heard about the idiot dentist, Walter Palmer, who is a trophy hunter, who hunted and killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. Not only did he kill him, but he and three others lured the lion out of the sanctuary, shot it with a bow and arrow, and then followed the injured lion until they could shoot him. They then skinned and beheaded Cecil. Just typing this brings tears to my eyes.

But Cecil isn’t the first victim of heartless horrible people. This happens all the time. Cecil was an icon for Zimbabwe so this is getting national news…which is great because people are obviously outraged. However, you don’t hear about the other hundred upon hundred of trophy hunters who kills innocent animals all over the world. Last year, 1,004 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone, and more than 25,000 elephants were killed by poachers across Africa.

Rhinos are having their horns chopped off, elephants are having their ivory tusks and hooves cut off, and lions, tigers, polar bears, bears, and countless other animals are being killed so their heads can be hung on some asshole’s wall. This isn’t just happening on land, it’s also happening the water. Sea lions, sharks, dolphins, fish, whales all fall victim to this. There are only 3,000 tigers left in the wild. There is ONE white rhino left in the WORLD. At the turn of the century, there were an estimated 200,000 Asian elephants. Today there are probably no more than 35,000 to 40,000 left in the wild.

I have no other way to describe these people who willingly go and hunt these precious animals other than as cowardly assholes.

This is a huge issue. We are looking at complete mass extinction way too soon. And for no other reason than human selfishness. If you don’t think this affects you, do some research. Nature makes the world go around, and we are killing nature and its inhabitants every single day.

Americans are the biggest problem when it comes to trophy hunting. Sure, there are some hunters who are not Americans, but we make up the vast majority of the problem. Thankfully, there are only a couple of airlines left that will allow the transportation of animals trophies back to the US, making it harder and less enticing for people to go overseas to kill. But, that isn’t stopping a lot of people.

And while I don’t support deer hunting here in the US, I do understand that it won’t lead to a mass extinction. I still think it’s wrong, especially when there are places people can go where they PAY to kill a deer within a controlled and caged environment. I’m not making this up. That’s like paying to go to the zoo and kill helpless animals who have no where to run. It’s disgusting.

And, on an entirely different note, we are killing animals who hurt humans…even though the humans were in the animal’s environment. Don’t we have self-defense laws? Why shouldn’t these animals have the same? Take the story of the boy who was attacked by a bear in the Smoky Mountains. Yes, I feel awful for the boy as he had severe damage done, but then officials went out and killed the bear….but they killed the wrong one! So then, they went out and killed another bear…eventually identifying it as the bear that attacked the kid. So, two bears were killed because they attacked a person who was in the bears home. Makes sense, right?

I saw a TV show during Shark Week that was on while I was at bar (so I couldn’t hear the TV) where humans were capturing sharks and drilling with a drill into it’s fins. Drilling. Now, I don’t know what their reasoning was, but I can’t imagine that the shark/dolphin/whale appreciates being drilled into.

I know I’ve gotten a little off topic, but my whole point is this–Humans have absolutely no right to kill or harm these innocent animals. They deserve to live on this earth too. They make this earth better while we destroy it everyday. To those that are trophy hunters, I hope you get eaten by the next lion that you go after, or trampled by the next elephant you try to track.

These animals deserve rights to. Want to help? Here’s what you can do:

  • Talk about it. This is an issue that gets ignored all the time. It shouldn’t be ignored. Talk about it. Start conversations. Voice your opinion. It’s conversations that lead to action.
  • If you see something, say something. These kinds of things don’t just happen overseas. Animals are being illegally killed (I personally don’t think it matters if it’s legal or not) all the time in the US. Speak up. We have to be the voice.
  • Donate to an organization who works to fight to protect against animal poaching.

We can’t just sit back and let this happen. We can’t just feel bad for the animals. We have to do something, say something, change something.

Goals from the New Year Half Way Checkpoint

How is it July? I’m pretty sure we just celebrated New Year’s Eve, right? At the beginning of the year, like any other list maker, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish this year. Not necessarily resolutions, but just goals and things that I wanted to cross off. Here is how my list started.

  1. Travel more. Go out of state at least 3 times.
    Check (after this weekend). This year we’ve been to Las Vegas, Indianapolis, and we are headed to Nashville this weekend. We will also be going to Florida for Christmas.
  2. Make yoga a habit. Go more than once a week.
    Check (almost). I’ve been going almost once a week. I think there have been a few weeks where I didn’t make it at all, but I’ve been working hard at fitting in one yoga class a week in addition to spinning and weight training, and I can definitely tell the work is paying off. I can now do this! 
  3. Do a DIY project for our new home.
    Check! We built two vegetable gardens (as seen in the above photo) and made some of our own art for inside the house.
  4. Give more to charity/volunteer more. 
    No check. I did volunteer to pour beer at a charity event–but that’s not the kind of volunteerism I was going for when I made this list. I’ll work on it.
  5. Visit a local winery or brewery and do a tour. 
    No check. We are hoping to go to a local distillery in the next month or so for a tour, though so I think that counts!
  6. Shop less. Buy more pieces that are timeless.
    Umm…no check. I am definitely shopping less–but definitely still buying cheap pieces that will only last a season or two. It’s much easier for me to buy 5 shirts that are under $20 rather than 1 shirt that is $80 and will last me awhile. I’ll keep working on it.
  7. Teach Rogue to be a better off-leash dog.
    We are getting there. And when I say we, I mean I’m getting better. He’s run away from us (me) 3 times when he’s been off leash and I think I had a mini heart attack each time. Not fun. So, yes, I am very anxious when we leave the door open because he could escape at any minute, and yes I still panic when I leave him with other people because he could escape from them as well. But, he’s listening more and hasn’t tried to make a run for it for awhile. We are learning together. 
  8. Save money for trip to Europe in 2016.
    Check…not fully saved but we are working on it. I really really want to take a trip next year to Ireland with Ryan. He’s on board, but being the financially responsible guy he is, wants to make sure we save rather than putting it on a credit card (my solution!!). So, we are saving every week. And I’m sure that will be bumped up even more in the next few months. It’ll be worth it though. Gotta control my impulse purchases!

So, mid-way through the year I think I’m doing okay on my goals. What goals/resolutions did you make at the beginning of the year?

Treating My Allergies and Joint Pain Naturally

I’ve dealt with allergies my entire life. I was the kid who had a permanent white line on her nose from rubbing it so much. I also spent the majority of my childhood outside, so my parents and allergist tried every treatment possible to keep the misery at bay. I’ve tried all sorts of pills, shots, nasal sprays, neti-pots, honey, humidifiers, dehumidifiers…you name it, I’ve tried it.

I’m allergic to the outdoors and animals only in the warmer months, so October-March I rarely have any issues. Once the pollen started to fall this year, I was yet again miserable. After having dinner with my friend Allie and chatting about our miserable noses, she told me about how acupuncture has changed her life. Without asking any questions or doing research on acupuncture, I immediately made an appointment.

After making my appointment, I decided to do a little research as to what I was getting myself into. I learned that acupuncture helps with A LOT of things, including joint pain/arthritis. I’ve had joint pain off an on throughout the years, but in the last year, it’s been very consistent. I’ve been tested for lots of autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid (RA) arthritis and they all came back negative. Now, that doesn’t mean a whole lot as RA is hard to diagnose (both my mother and my grandmother have RA), but stil means we don’t really know what’s going on with my body.

At my appointment, I explained both my allergies and joint pain issues to Tessa. She immediately asked about my gluten intake. Now, I’ve tried to cut out gluten before when all the other cool kids were doing it, but I just love my bread so much I eventually fell back into a pile of wheat. But, after Tessa explained that gluten has a strong effect on joint pain, allergies, skin rashes, and acne, I was convinced to jump back on the gluten-free wagon.

After that, the acupuncture and cupping began.

Don’t ask me to explain what cupping does. Tessa explained it in great detail and I just ended up nodding and going along with it. All I know is that Jennifer Aniston does it, so I figure it must be good for me. None of this hurt at all, though I did have some cupping marks on my back for a few days. I also had needles sticking out of my toes, head, face, and fingers.

The whole appointment took a little less than 2 hours. I was mostly relaxed (even though seeing all those needles sticking out of me freaked me out a little bit) and never felt uncomfortable. After a little over a week, my allergies have been completely under control and my joint pain totally gone. Also within this week, I’ve totally cut out gluten (in addition to being vegetarian) and have started taking a Chinese supplement, Yu Ping Feng San.

I currently feel great. I know it’s only been a week, but I also know that during the summer I’m used to having bad allergy days on a regular basis, and my joint pain has been flaring up every 3-4 days prior to this treatment. I’m going to go back for another appointment next week and continue with the herbs and gluten-free diet. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to feel better.

Have you ever tried acupuncture or cupping?

The Effects of Being an (Anxious) Extrovert

It’s no secret that I’m an extrovert. I would much rather be with a group of people than by myself. I can’t even drive in my car without talking to someone on the phone. I think social situations are when I’m at my best. I have no problem with public speaking or being with people I don’t know very well, and I enjoy having my husband around me pretty much all the time.

There are some things I like to do by myself. Shopping is the main one. I like to get in, go where I want, buy what I want, and not have to worry about someone else’s thoughts or schedule. I also like to workout by myself most of the time. I like going to classes, not to the gym, to workout alone. I need someone (the instructor) to tell me what to do when I workout, but I don’t want to go with a group of friends. Sometimes I don’t mind having a girlfriend with me, but I also appreciate the time I have alone in a workout class to just be with my thoughts and sweat.

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But, in general, I’m not good at being alone. I remember when I was a kid, my parents would be out of town on a lot of weekends for work, and while some kids would love the chance to be alone and stay up all night, I would ask as many friends as I could to come stay the night.

This has transferred into my present life–and has coupled with the anxiety that I have grown to have as well. My husband was out of the country in Japan and China for work a few months ago. It was miserable. For me, not him. The first few days were the worst. I went shopping, bought myself flowers and dark chocolate pretzels, and stayed with my parents. Not exactly the most mature set of things I could have done, but I knew it was going to be a rough start. As the week went on, I tried to embrace the loneliness. I had endless conversations with my dog, didn’t make the bed, wore my oldest clothes to sleep in, and ate lots of chocolate pretzels. The week got better, but it wasn’t easy.

Pair the loneliness with my anxiety and you have a bomb about to explode. I’m the queen of coming up with stories in my head that are…horrible. For example, I will convince myself that I left a candle on and the house is going to burn down…or that Ryan isn’t returning my texts/calls because he’s dead on the side of the road. It’s pretty awful and sometimes can be paralyzing to me.

The other downside of being an anxious extrovert is that I’m constantly worried that I have offended someone or said the wrong thing. I replay conversations over and over and over in my head just to be sure that I didn’t say the wrong thing. While I love surrounding myself with people and being as social as possible, the after effects are exhausting.

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So, what have I done to combat this desire to want to be with people and this anxiety I feel when alone or after a social setting?

  1. I’ve tried to be alone more often–and while alone, I’ve resisted the urge to text or call anyone. Nowadays, it’s so easy to not feel alone when you’re diving deep into the social media traps. However, I’ve found that can make me feel worse than better. I’ve become more mindful and appreciate my time by myself in the little place that I get it.
  2. Tried meditation. This is really new to me. It all started with a yoga class. The instructor made us sit still and meditate for 3 min intervals, 3 times. Each time we focused on something different (our bodies, our breathing, our thoughts). This not only challenged me to be alone with my thoughts but also helped with my overall anxiety. Quieting your mind is really hard, but really powerful.
  3. Learn that I can’t control everything. There is a very good chance that my husband is in a meeting or has his phone on silent rather than in a horrific accident like I convince myself to believe.
  4. Continue to surround myself with positive people. Negativity attracts negativity. If I’m surrounding myself with people who lift me up, not only does it make my extroverted self happy, it also helps ease my worries afterwards. I’ve cut out some negativity in my life and it’s made a huge difference.
  5. Embraced myself. For so long I would think that maybe I was too outgoing or too outspoken…which is why much of my anxiety has appeared. Now, I’ve realized that it’s okay to be me. I know I’ll never be the girl to take a vacation by herself, and that’s okay. It’s okay if I say the wrong thing at the wrong time and it’s okay that I’d rather be with someone else than by myself. It’s also okay to be uncomfortable trying new things (spending more time alone) and it’s also okay if not every single person like me. I like me and so do the people that really matter in my life.

The lovely pictures are from the good people at Death to the Stock Photo.