This is temporary.

You’re fresh out of college, ready to conquer the world, get your own place, and find a kickass job. This is the American dream that we all worked our butts off for, right?! WRONG.

Remember when adults would tell us to stop wanting to grow up so fast, and enjoy being a kid? Yeah, me too. WHY didn’t we take their advice?! Being an adult seemed so fun and the freedom seemed so exciting. Well, NEWSFLASH, being an adult is not fun, or exciting.

I felt so accomplished and ready for adult life after graduating from Penn State, but I was under the assumption that I would get a good, decent paying job that I really enjoyed! I mean, that is why I went to college in the first place, right? Not so much.

I am currently working a full time job, while in graduate school, and I am living pay check to pay check. You would think that the full time job that I need a college degree for would suffice, but it doesn’t. As I am getting older, and trying to not fail at this adult thing, I am realizing that you have to start at the very bottom of the career ladder before making any kind of decent money. Turns out, you need a degree AND experience in order to advance in my career. I am currently working on the experience part.

My job isn’t the worst. My job is not the best. I work as a child case manager and the job can be very rewarding at times. However, my job is slowly crushing my soul. It is very disheartening and deflating to work your butt off in college for 4+ years, just to work at a job that is extremely underpaid and under appreciated.

To be honest, back in October I quit the job that I am currently in, because I let the feelings of disappointment and anger get in the way of focusing on my career goals. I disliked my job so much, that I began to explore other career options that I didn’t even go to school for. However, I do not regret quitting and taking the time I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. It helped me realize that I am on the career path that I want to be on, and that I need to work hard and climb the career ladder, step by step, to become the therapist that I want to be.

Do I hate waking up every morning to go to a job that I do not love? Absolutely. Will I love waking up every morning to go counsel active military/military families/veterans? ABSOLUTELY. We have to make it happen for ourselves. I have found out that no one is going to apply to their dream job and get it before working very hard for it.

Some words of wisdom for college students and soon-to-be grads:

  1. Do not get discouraged by a job, like I did.
  2. Do not give up on a job because it sucks, like I did. (There seems to be a trend here.)
  3. Remember that your education is only the beginning.
  4. You don’t deserve anything. You need to work hard for what you want.
  5. Nothing worth having comes easy.
  6. Keep your eye on the prize.

For those of you who are like me and are not happy with your current job situation, just remember these three words: This is temporary. By keeping our heads up and focusing on where we want to end up in our lives, rather than letting our current situations deflate us, we can only be successful. Eventually, I will get where I want to be, and so will you!

Sincerely, Olivia 🙂

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

When It Rains, It Pours

I have a question. Why does it seem that when just one thing goes wrong in your day, a snowball effect begins and your whole entire day is turned upside down? I truly want to know this answer. If one thing goes wrong, no big deal, but when it seems like you can not gain control of your day, let’s face it, it sucks!

A few days ago, I experienced one of these days. I woke up, had a smooth morning getting ready for work, grabbed a coffee on my way to the office, and was ready to conquer the day. I was about three quarters of the way done with my day and BAM, problem number 1 occurs. Due to the fact that I work in a mental health agency, I am always working with people. Sometimes, my job can be very challenging, because some clients that I work with do not agree with suggestions I have. On this day, I was confronted by a very angry client because they did not agree with my suggestions. Long story short, supervisors were involved and the situation was turning very negative very fast. I tried not to let this bother me and let it ruin my entire day, so, I chose to go out for dinner and drinks with my boyfriend after work. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, had a great time, and ate awesome food. Driving home I noticed that my tire pressure light has turned on. Bring on problem number 2. I ran over a bolt and now have a flat tire, mind you, the tire is only 4 months old. Internally, I am screaming, but I tried very hard to not lose my cool. So, I take my car to a used tire shop, to only be told that they can not fix my tire until the morning, which meant that I would have to be late to work the next day. Again, internally screaming. About an hour later, I was home on the couch and decided to get a head start on a paper I have due for grad school. I opened my MacBook, turned it on, and here we have problem number 3. My MacBook decided to self-destruct and refused to turn on. So, I decided to take it to Best Buy to have the Geek Squad take a look at it. They informed me that my MacBook has completely kicked the bucket. Turns out my hard drive failed and there was just no saving my laptop. Due to being in graduate school and that I have a 12 paged paper due Sunday, I needed to buy another one and I spent around $900. (UGH!) I drove home like a ticking time bomb, trying to tell myself to not lose my mind. Well folks, the second my body entered my apartment I had a complete and total dramatic meltdown. My poor boyfriend had no choice but to deal with the wrath of me and my day.

As I said before, when one thing goes wrong, it seems that it all goes wrong. Even though this day was one of the worst days that I have had in awhile, I allowed my day to weigh me down and encourage me to end the day on a very bad note, which was not helpful, positive, or necessary.

So, what could I have done differently?

I will be honest and say that I absolutely did not practice these ideas on this day. Personally, I struggle with handling and coping with bad days, which is why I wanted to write about this topic! I am going to practice these ideas when future bad days occur, and you can, too!

1. Distract Yourself

Without even realizing it, I distracted myself by planning a spontaneous date with my boyfriend. My mind was completely distracted when I was out for dinner and I was only focusing on the present moment and talking about things that did not involve my day. This is a great way to calm yourself down. If you pick something you love to do, you will be able to distract yourself and genuinely enjoy what you are doing, while also allowing yourself to cool off from a bad day in a healthy way.

2. Recognize the Good

Yes, I had a very crappy day, but was my entire day crappy? Or only some parts of it? What we can do here is recognize what good things happened in our day, even if there weren’t that many. This allows us to train our minds to only focus on the good, which can help us cope with the many crappy days to come down the road. Here are some of the good things that happened during my bad day: Dunkin Donuts made my coffee perfect on my way to work, I was able to eat lunch outside due to the beautiful weather, I went on a date with my boyfriend at one of my favorite restaurants, and lastly, I came home and was greeted by a very excited and adorable dog who loves me very much.

3. Talk to Someone

Talking to someone about your stressful day can be very beneficial. This allows you to vent about your day and also gain some feedback from someone else. They can possibly show you their own perspective on your day, help you calm down, or find ways to make your bad days turn into good days.

4. Write

Sometimes, the things we want to say out loud, we shouldn’t say out loud. When we vent to people, we are still holding back what we really want to say, because we know that what we want to say isn’t nice or appropriate. So, how do we get these feelings and emotions out? We write them. Grab a notebook and just let your words fill up each page. This can be your own personal notebook that no one else see’s. Sometimes we need a place to put all of our anger and frustrations without feeling judged or uncomfortable about what we are saying.

5. Pet an Animal

As I said before, I was greeted by my dog when I got home. After my meltdown, I was laying on my bed and my dog, Murphy, was staring at me wagging his tail. I picked him up and he laid down next to me. This instantly made me feel better because of the love I have for my dog, and because it was relaxing to just pet him and see him so happy!

6. Take a Shower

Cool off, literally! Taking a shower can be very relaxing and allow our minds to escape from reality and just calm down. Using your favorite scented body wash can also help. Personally, I love any kind of sugar cookie scent. It is very warm and comforting and can help calm me down and make me feel much more relaxed.

7. Recognize the Impact

Lastly, even though we need to think back on the positives that happened from the day, I believe it is important to think about how the stressful day made us feel and how it impacted us at the end of the day. As you know, my day escalated and it did not end well. As I write this and think back on how my bad day made an impact on me, I am realizing that it negatively effected me mentally and physically, and also negatively effected others. When I am super stressed, I become very tense and physically uncomfortable. I also repeat the bad day over and over in my head and don’t move past it. Both of these things are not helpful to me. I also had to later apologize to my boyfriend for taking my entire day out on him. When we sit down and think about how badly we are impacted by our bad days, it helps us plan out how to cope better next time, so we can avoid these bad feelings.

No matter how bad we try or how bad we want to, we can not control how our days go. We will all encounter very bad and stressful days. Bad days happen and sometimes we just end up losing our minds. We are only human! However, maybe if we practice these coping skills, we can either eliminate some bad days, or cut the ‘bad day’ to a ‘bad hour’. As the title states, ‘when it rains, it pours’, but how we handle this is completely up to us.

Sincerely, Olivia 🙂

 

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

Positive Thinking = Positive Outcome

Weight gain. It can be devastating. Millions of people struggle with weight and how to lose it. I am definitely one of those people. Anyone who knows me knows my weight is my biggest insecurity. Like many people, I am extremely self-conscious about my appearance. So self-conscious, that it has negatively impacted my life.

Since graduating college, I have gained 43 pounds, which makes my current total weight 218 pounds. I met my boyfriend once I graduated and gained my “happy weight” (or so they call it). In high school I was around an average size, never skinny. In college I was overweight, due to eating out more and drinking alcohol. Now, out of college, I have lost all self-control and am considered morbidly obese. It honestly pains me to even type that out.

As much as I would love to blame my boyfriend for my weight gain, I can’t. I did this to myself and became extremely unhealthy and lost self-discipline. I know many other people who are going through this same exact situation, so I understand that it happens in relationships. However, it doesn’t erase the mental, social, emotional, and physical pain that my weight has caused me. Here are some examples of how weight gain has impacted my life.

  • When getting ready to go somewhere, with my boyfriend or friends, I will not get dressed in front of a mirror. If I have to, I will turn away from it. If I don’t, and I see myself, I will cry because of what I see.
  • I dread going out with my boyfriend or meeting friends out for a drink, because I don’t fit in any of my clothes and can’t dress how I want to anymore. It’s embarrassing.
  • I CONSTANTLY criticize myself and focus on how much I hate how I look and cry over it, daily.
  • I am embarrassed to go to the gym because I view myself as “the fat girl who is pretending like she will ever be thin or in shape.”
  • I avoid seeing and hanging out with people that I’ve known my whole life, because they have never seen me at this weight.
  • This weight has held me back from things I want to do.
  • I despise when someone takes my picture because the second I see it, I know I will hate what I see.

I think we can all agree that my daily thoughts about myself are extremely negative and unhealthy. But, it’s what goes through my mind, and I cannot help it because I am just so sick and tired of not feeling comfortable and happy with myself. These thoughts everyday are very draining and I have noticed that is has affected other people and exhausted them as well.

What I have come to realize, is that weight loss is more mental than physical. (At least for me it is.) These negative thoughts of mine will never assist me in reaching my goals of losing weight and becoming healthier. Here is where the big question comes in: How do we change our mindsets and start to think positively, when we are used to having very pessimistic mindsets?

1. Positive self-talk.
First thing’s first, we need to work on less self-sabotage. Life is already hard on us, so why do it to ourselves? By practicing positive self-talk, we can change our ways of thinking and come to the realization that we deserve to be happy and that we can achieve our personal goals.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others.
With social media telling us what we should look like in order to be attractive, we immediately compare. Unfortunately, it’s normal and we all do it! However, this becomes a problem when comparing ourselves to others is causing a damaged self-esteem. What we are really doing is comparing ourselves to inaccurate information. We all see what others want us to see, not the whole picture. So when you begin to compare yourself to someone else, remember, you do not have all of the information.

3. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.
WE ARE HUMAN! WE MAKE MISTAKES! Do not be upset with yourself if you devour a piece of chocolate cake instead of broccoli, or miss a day at the gym. The most important thing to do when we cheat on a diet or skip a gym session is to jump right back on the wagon the next day. Take these ‘mistakes’ as learning opportunities.

4. Do things you enjoy.
All because you are on a diet or trying to make a lifestyle change, does not mean you have to miss out on girl’s night. Go out and have fun! By not doing the things you enjoy, you are punishing yourself, which will become associated with your diet and have you believing the diet is negative.
Tip: When going out with friends, Google low calorie or low carb drinks so you don’t completely go off a diet! Educate yourself on what is in your favorite drinks!

5. Surround yourself with positivity.
This is crucial! If you have a very positive mindset and have mastered building your self-esteem, DO NOT surround yourself with negative people, because they will counteract the hard work you put into yourself. This also plays into building self-esteem, because we each need to know our worth and what we deserve out of friendships/relationships. Be around those who lift you up!

6. CELEBRATE!
I definitely struggle with this one. When I lose 2 pounds, I seem to always say, “Damn. I only lost 2 pounds this week.” (Many tears usually follow this.) This is a negative way of thinking. Instead, I should be saying, “I DID IT! I lost 2 pounds this week!” There is no reason to be upset by losing a lower number. I get it, we all focus on the big numbers, but we need to set small goals for ourselves that are achievable. When we reach these small goals, we are even closer to the bigger goals. So, celebrate the pounds lost, no matter what the number is!

Next time you are feeling down and negative about your self-image, and start having pessimistic thoughts, come read this blog post again. It will take time to change a mindset that you’ve had for a long time. Have patience. I am still working on this, myself. You can do this and remember, you are not alone.

Sincerely, Olivia ❤

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.