No Malls And No Problems

No Malls And No Problems

*This post contains affiliate links, i get a small percentage of commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase from the link, thank you for supporting Leslie Nichole.*

How is it already the middle of November?! Where have I been all of 2017, I feel like the only thing I’ve accomplished this year is gaining 15 pounds. That’ll definitely have to come off in 2018.

I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself so let’s enjoy the rest of 2017. I hope the next month 1/2 everything you want; you get. Stay focused and kick some butt into 2018.

My favorite holiday is coming up; not only does December hold Christmas but it’s also my birthday month! I like eating birthday cake by the Christmas lights, the lights are so soothing to me. Low light has become a favorite of mine, especially during my night time routine.

Time is running out to find everyone the perfect Christmas presents but there is no need to sweat it. I’m sharing a few of the online shops I bought from this year, to keep from having to go out to the mall.

Crowds give me horrible anxiety especially since all of these bad things are happening in the world. However, I was able to get everyone on my list something I know they’ll love sent right to me. In the words of Heather Land “I’d rather drive a speed boat through a sewage pond” than to have to walk around the mall “I ain’t doing it”.

 

Each and every person on your list is different so variety is going to be what you want. This year I went with Personalized Jewelry, cards for the friend I have that loves them. She can use them all year around as I made her thank you cards and blank cards. A few of my friends are TruDog lovers so I didn’t really skip them I just got their pooches something to love, which will make my friends happy in return. I got my cousins goodies from Ashley Brooke Designs because I love love love her shop! I want everything in it.

I wanted to do it a little different this year and think outside of the box. I am so pleased with my purchases and I know they’ll love them too. You can check out the Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals in advance to plan your purchases.

I don’t want to give away what I’ve bought my friends and family for Christmas but here are a few of my favorites!
PersJewel, name necklace, Personalized jewelry Buy Destiny Candles Now Summer New Arrivals

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A Tiny Solution

A Tiny Solution

One thing about me is that I like close spaces, they make me feel safe. I was in a tornado when I was three years along (along with my mother & brother) that almost killed us.

Being three years old this shook me to my little core; I spent the night at my grandparents house for about 6 years after that dreadful night. I simply didn’t trust to be in the home I shared with my family. It was a brand new home but still on the same land the tornado hit. My little brain couldn’t comprehend that I would be safe that the tornado was just a fluke.

Looking back on things that tornado helped shape me into the person I am. I think that is where my anxiety started, and that be so? I was only three. I wouldn’t spend the night with anyone and my mom said at night I’d pace until my grandma picked me up.

What is weird though is I’m not scared of the dark, I love storms, rain is one of my favorite things ever, and I feel peaceful on rainy days.

I can’t explain how excited I was to see a tv show on HGtv that showcased these tiny houses. I thought they were so adorable! After binge watching the show for a few hours (don’t judge) I decided I will have a tiny house.

I think it would be a fun little place to live and I would feel comfortable, so let the savings begin!

I’ve got a design in mind but want it to be at least 800sq ft – not the 670sq ft that is pictured. I really love the design of the house with its levels and the lounge upstairs, Quin will love looking at the birds and other wildlife animals all day.

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Self Care 101

Self Care 101

Self care has become very important to me over the last few months. I’ve been going none stop since August (which is why there aren’t a lot of posts yet; I am in a busy rut that will hopefully pass in the next month or so) so I need a variety of ways to relax and de-stress.

I have horrible anxiety yet i decided to take a retail job I thought was going to be part time that is actually full time along with a part time freelance business and a part time insurance receptionist job.

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What is self care?
Self care is the care provided by you for yourself. It is the importance of knowing what you need and doing activities that help nurture you. Self care is a way of treating yourself, kind of the way you treat others.

What are ways you can practice self care:

  • Take a bath
  • Try yoga
  • Bake up a new recipe
  • Try doing a 15 minute meditation
  • Do something creative
  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk (without your phone)
  • Turn off your phone for an hour or so
  • Get a manicure/pedicure
  • Take a little nap to recharge
  • Watch your favorite movie
  • Binge on a bowl of ice cream
  • Buy yourself a new outfit
  • Note 10 things you are grateful for in that moment
  • Buy yourself flowers (flowers always put me in a good mood. The colors are so pretty to look at)
  • Call your bestie and have a lunch date
  • Get rid of 2 things you don’t use anymore
  • Repeat positive affirmations (I love doing this every morning myself)

I love taking a bath with one of Lush’s new bubble bars, it helps me relax at the moment and it makes my skin feel so soft, which makes me feel great all day or night. On days I need to give my endlessly wondering mind I will read a book (I’ve been reading self help books lately. That and freelancing books to up my game) to give my brain something else to focus on other than my not so great decisions.

There are so many ways you can self care for yourself, anything that makes you happy and sets your mind at ease. We all need to take a little break from the madness that this loud life has to offer us.

Who Is Your Alter Ego?

Who Is Your Alter Ego?

I found a piece of myself a few days ago that caught me off guard. I’ve been working a lot lately so I’m tired, grumpy without coffee, and a little moody.

This is where I did something my normally bubbly self wouldn’t do, I snapped on someone. Before I knew it words came spewing from my mouth; I felt a little embarrassed but at the same time pleased with myself.

If you know me then you know I’m kind of like a timid puppy, scared of my surroundings, uncomfortable with confrontation. I’m an introvert but seems like I’m an extrovert because I try very very hard to keep my social anxiety hidden (I thought it was a good idea to take a job at the mall) so I can try to live a normal life.

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After hours dealing with loud noises, snarky candle sniffers, and the urge to bite my nails down to my fingers I take at least 2 hours to simmer when I get home.

I don’t have any days off between the three jobs I am juggling. I think I have an alter ego (I’m naming her Nichole & I’m going to keep her) though, she came about the day she gave the overly pain in the ass lady a piece of my mind. I usually apologize after I say something rude or say nothing at all. I had left work and was pursing the mall which I am fairly new to (all 300 stores!) when I decided to pop into one of my favorite stores to indulge a little.

Having anxiety I don’t like to be touched and I am strange about my personal space, like for real if I can feel your breath on me – your too close!

 

To be fair I asked her to back up a little but she was blabbing away on her cellphone so I politely repeated myself but when she looked at me and shouted “I am on the phone here!” Out of nowhere I heard myself say “yes I see your on the phone, everyone hears your on the phone because we all hear your conversation! Your standing so close to me I feel your every word brushing the back of my neck” before I could say another word she stormed off. I don’t do that, I am a quiet, polite, people pleaser!

I did have at least 4 people tell me thank you that she was obnoxious and couldn’t seem to chew gum with her mouth closed.

I think I will hang onto Nichole for times I need a little more.. something.. she seems to get the job done effortlessly. When I called my mom she was as shocked as I was, I’m telling ya, that’s not me!

Do you have an alter ego? Just a little something that pops out now and again but gets things handled. I hope I’m not the only one! Haha.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

When I was 8, all I wanted for Christmas was a Rollerblade Barbie. And when I found her sitting next to my stocking on Christmas morning, I was thrilled. I felt like it was the perfect day, and contentedly played with my Barbie until later that afternoon. I went to my friends’ house and we compared notes on our Christmas hauls. She had gotten a Rollerblade Barbie too. She’d also gotten her own roller blades, and sparkling pink knee pads, not to mention Roller Barbie’s boyfriend Ken and a pack of Barbie dresses.

And suddenly my Christmas wish come true… felt a lot less magical.

We learn from a young age to compare ourselves to others. It’s not always harmful. Often, it’s our greatest motivator to grow and develop. But unchecked, comparison can also undermine joy and wallop our emotional wellbeing.

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Comparison Drives Social Dynamics on Every Level

The complicated problems of social comparison come early in evolution. A landmark study at Emory University gauged capuchin monkeys’ reaction to unfair treatment by feeding them different treats. When the staple food was cucumber across the board, all of the monkeys were content with their share. However, as soon as some lucky monkeys started getting nice, sweet grapes, the remaining subjects (who were able to view the discrepancy) started to despise their cucumbers, even tossing them back into the researchers’ faces.

Mark Twain said that comparison is the death of joy. It’s easy to see real-world illustrations of this, far beyond the behavior of children and monkeys. It’s one of the major tensions of the workforce, of political conflict, of family relationships. Over and over again, science has verified this correlation: grateful people are happy. Envious people are unhappy. But how can we make ourselves be those happy grateful people instead of the green-eyed grumps?

Modern America Is The Perfect Environment for Comparison

Our modern media-saturated world makes comparison more inevitable than ever. In fact, we can pick our poison for vicarious living and quickly watch our own lives pale in comparison. Feeling good about your financial status? Watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians and kiss your satisfaction over your nest egg goodbye. Looking for love? Watch The Bachelorette and see one girl choose between a dozen handsome suitors. All it takes is a few minutes of television for us to kickstart envy’s vindictive reign over our emotions.

It gets even more alarming when it’s not just Hollywood that’s putting our lives to shame. Real people on Instagram are always doing life better than you. Their kids are better dressed, their meals are more beautiful, and they’re traveling to more exotic and exciting locales than you’ve ever experienced in your life.

Here in America, one of the richest nations in the world, in a time when our quality of life puts royal luxury of the Tudor era to shame… we feel cheated.

Scarcity Culture

Researcher Brene Brown points out an interesting thing that exacerbates the problem of social comparison. She calls it scarcity culture. Although we have more leisure time, more health, and more opportunities for growth and wealth than any other period of time, we never feel like it’s enough.

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ … We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of. We don’t have enough exercise. We don’t have enough work. We don’t have enough profits. We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness. We don’t have enough weekends. Of course, we don’t have enough money – ever.”

This scarcity culture makes comparison especially scary because we believe that each of these resources that we don’t have “enough” of has a fixed value. If someone else has it, then we have less of it available to us. If they have more money, then we have less. If he has more dating prospects, then he’s taking mine. If her children are perfect, mine are less so.

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Practical Tips for Avoiding the Social Comparison Trap

In a way, comparison is a necessary ingredient of being part of a society. It pushes us to succeed. But it can also be the pitchfork at our backs spurring us into anxiety, and depression.

So, next time you find yourself scrolling through your newsfeed and feeling woefully inadequate when compared with your acquaintances who have perfect careers, marriages, and kids, remember this:

1. Every person is such a complex and unique mix of memories and attributes and factors, we can never get a direct comparison. You are too unique to stand side by side with someone else and find that you are similar in all things, except for this one specific thing wherein you fall short. It’s never true. You have your own set of unique strengths and weaknesses. For everything that you envy in others, there’s something of yours that they wish they had.
2. You’re comparing your weaknesses to others’ strengths.
3. You’re judging off of inaccurate information. Reality shows are not reality. And those glossy photos on Instagram are not telling the whole story.

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Here are some helpful tips to curtail comparison in your own life:

  • Be patient with your own imperfections. We’re all works in progress.
  • Love genuinely so that you can rejoice in others’ accomplishments.
  • Practice gratitude. Do small things that remind you of your own assets and blessings.
  • Watch the words of your internal dialogue. They affect us more than we realize. Be wary of anything that includes “I should” or “better than me.” As this article states, the words we say and think have a powerful mental effect – either making us feel stuck where we are, or empowering us to move forward. This is also something our children learn from us, so guard your words.
  • Stop looking. If it’s killing you to see that perfect Insta feed, shut it out of your life.
  • Compare with yourself instead of with others. The only person you should compare yourself to is who you were yesterday.
  • Serve others. In most religions, we’re taught that the only reason that we have good things is because they’re given by God. We’re also taught that the purpose for those good things is so that we can help others. Whether or not you’re religious, it’s a smart principle. Practice gratitude for your gifts by sharing them. It will help you realize how much you have.
  • Be kind to other people. It’s a habit. Being more compassionate towards others can help you learn to be more compassionate towards yourself. We often think that it’s the opposite, but it’s not true. Soon, you should be able to be your own friend. What would you tell a beloved sister in the exact same situation as you? You’d probably be much more encouraging to her than you are to yourself.

 

 

Guarding Yourself Against the Worst Effects of Mental Illness

Guarding Yourself Against the Worst Effects of Mental Illness

People who suffer from mental illness will find that many mental disorders have a horrible knack of getting into every crevice of a person’s life. Pretty soon, disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar can chip away at a person’s sense of self and make accomplishing even the most basic tasks in day-to-day life feel like enormous mountains to climb. This is because most mental disorders operate by keeping you in a condition that makes those same disorders flourish.

If you are feeling depressed, depression often makes people act in ways that prolongs that same depression. For this reason, it is important for people who live with specific mental disorders to build habits that help them protect themselves from the worst effects of mental illness, so that they can mitigate these effects until the mental illness is something that no longer impairs their life, because they have learned to deal with it.

Always get plenty of sleep
One powerful way that different types of mental illness are able to break down a person is by disrupting their sleeping habits. It is crucial for a person to get an ample amount of sleep, in order to maintain good physical and mental health. However, this need is amplified when a person needs to keep themselves in a strong state of mind to deal with the effects of a disorder like depression or generalized anxiety.

For this reason, always make sure to get plenty of sleep and make a point to schedule your days to leave time for healthy sleep. Having a friend, partner, or family member hold you to this sleep schedule can make each day easier, or at least not start you off with a disadvantage, when it comes to dealing with a mental disorder.

Notice your behavior patterns
The thing about many types of mental illness is that the effects of many disorders are hard to recognize when you are in the midst of them. A person with bipolar 2 doesn’t feel they are being irrational when they have extreme reactions to a mild situation because the emotions that they are feeling are very real. However, even though these emotions are real, it is important for a person to take steps that help them recognize patterns of destructive or irrational behavior. This helps them avoid engaging in dangerous behavior that is going to tear apart other good habits that they’ve built.

Try to reduce stressful situations
Mental disorders often have triggers that causes the worst symptoms of them to surface, in the same way that poor air quality might trigger a child with asthma. These sorts of triggers can vary, greatly, depending on the individual person, especially if the mental disorder has its roots in a traumatic incident (such as PTSD). However, one general trigger that can spark a bad episode of depression or anxiety is stress.

For this reason, it is important to avoid needlessly stressful situations. That isn’t to say that you should try to shut down any situation that is stressful, as that would be an unrealistic way to live life, and things like losing a job or going through a divorce are sometimes outside of our control. Instead, you should develop strategies to determine whether a situation is high-risk, and to keep you from engaging in behavior that sparks further conflict.

Learn breathing techniques
The key to coping with mental illness until it doesn’t have much of an effect on your life is to expand a toolbox of mechanisms that make each obstacle easier and easier, until you have mastered mitigating the disorder. One of the most important of these tools is breathing techniques. According a Harvard Medical School study in 2016, breath control is able to “quell” a person’s stress responses.

To develop breathing techniques that are effective, you can practice by finding a good place to sit or lie down, and then taking normal breaths. Once you are comfortable, start to take deep breaths in through your nose (slowly), and then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Put your whole body into breathing, as well, by rising your chest and stomach as you breathe in.

I’m late, I’m late!

I’m late, I’m late!

I have been trying to reevaluate my lifestyle lately. I work at an insurance agency two days a week and i freelance four days a week. I am one of those people who has to be doing something rather it be working, creating, reading, etc, you get the idea.

As with the extra free time i had i thought it would be nice to get a little part time job just to pass some of that extra free time i had aquired. I was browsing around the huge mall directory at stores that may have an opening. I stumbled upon Yankee Candle and thought to myself “i could sell candles a few hours a week, why not give it a try and fill out the app”. The next day i got a call for an interview for the following day. I was dreading it because interviews aren’t my specialty so i tried to look nice and use my manners.

I wasn’t antsy or uncomfortable at all, as a matter of fact the manager and i talked like we’d known each other for our entire lives. My anxiety level dropped 60% and i was comfortable. The meeting was brief, about 10 minutes or so. I got a call the next day and was hired.

I love all three of my jobs, wouldn’t change a thing – even though i have no days off between the three and i have to jump on freelance work after a shift at either job or before the candle shop depending on that schedule.

When i was hired at Yankee Candle i applied for part time, in the interview i was told the previous manager and his entire staff quit because they thought the store was going to close. Sooo, my part time turned into full time with no less than 30hrs weekly.

I love every minute i am going full speed ahead at either one of the three and thank God for mocha’s, Lush with their bubble bars and bath bombs, also shout out to lavender epsom salt. Hah, these things are keeping my tired body as happy as it can get.

I am going to schedule in walks either in the mornings or the evening for a little “me” time. Being so busy i haven’t been making the best lunch or dinner decisions which are catching up to me. I figure the fresh air will do me good and it’ll help melt those extra calories away. I found out i am hypoglycemic and it scared me as diabetes runs in my family. Eek!

I am also looking for self help kind of books (like “You Are A Badass” or “Big Magic”). If you have recommendations please drop them in the comments!

source: @girlbebrave