5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Just two weeks ago, the legendary groundhog sent news of an extended winter. The shadow was cast, and many of us sank deeper into our covers. With dark evenings and cold winds accompanying our every day, the winter can be a daunting beast. February, in particular, is a tough month to get through with little warmth in sight.

Despite this, there are ways to shake aside our blues and find some light in the fog. As a post-grad freshly lectured on the importance of taking control of one’s life, I have accrued a few tips on keeping the winter blues at bay.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Worst & Best Year of My Life: A Comeback Story

After college, everyone is going to tell you that life is hard. The real world can be tough. To just have faith. That you’re worth more than your mindless desk job or your asshole ex-boyfriend or your student debt. And all of that is true. So, so true. Listen to those people.

But what they won't tell you is that when the joy of graduation has worn away, when you're loosed upon this crazy world, you might gaze into the rest of eternity and wonder what the hell you're supposed to do now. You might be scared to death. And you might have to wait a while to really feel worth a damn again. It may take a month, six months, two years, five.

How to Handle Criticism Like A Pro

However, it’s also very important to realize that criticism is something that should actually be embraced, because it can be used to our advantage in so many ways. So while I can pretend to know what my classmates would say and then feel insecure about it, what actually matters most is telling the story that’s in my heart so that I can encourage you to be able to do the same. In my experience as a writer, I’ve come to find that the following three methods can easily turn you into a feedback-receiving pro, no matter what field you’ve chosen to go into.

Weight Loss and Worthiness, Part II

I was in fifth grade the first time I denied myself food to lose weight. It started because a boy I really liked asked me to dance at a school event one Friday night. I found out the next day that he had been paid to do so and him and his friends had an array of inside jokes involving how many fat rolls they could count on my stomach. I vowed to never eat a thing containing sugar ever again.

Weight Loss and Worthiness, Part I

I have tried to write about this topic at least a half a dozen times in the last three years, but every time I do something inside of me freezes up. I don’t like to talk about weight loss. Not over coffee, not in a blog post, not even inside the safety of my counselor’s office. I have talked about it in all those settings before, but every time I do I feel like I’m getting repeatedly punched in the gut afterward. I feel exposed and vulnerable in a way that is unique to discussing physical appearance. I always fear coming across as superficial and insensitive if I am completely candid.

On Public Words of Lessons Learned and Private Lose Your Shit Moments

A couple of weeks ago—two days after sitting on cactus-covered mountains in Phoenix and journaling words of life and growth in the desert—I lost my shit. You know these type of lose-your-shit moments: the one where Truth and Reason go on an overnight trip without you, leaving you alone at home with all these crazy, irrational thoughts—thoughts that you KNOW aren’t true, but thoughts that you decide to throw a rager with anyways.

This Is Temporary

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?

Returning to the Desert: When Life Feels Dry and Despairing

I have friends who are in the desert right now. Life feels dry; hope feels impossible. Every day is the same, wandering through an endless stretch of sand and rocks without a clear sense of direction, the sun beating down without reprieve. As the infinitely-wise sociologist and author Brené Brown writes, “Despair is a spiritual condition. It’s the belief that tomorrow will be just like today.” The desert feels so much like a place of despair, a place of death.

What You Can Learn from Chance Encounters

Despite my desire to be productive and quiet, I allowed myself a moment to listen. Several minutes later, and I was able to gain a few nuggets of wisdom from this man. His genuine need to be heard was warranted, as I walked away with new insights. Though nothing was entirely new, hearing simple reminders from an older person made them somewhat fresh. I was reminded that life flies by, that stressing out about things out of your control only lengthens the misery, and that being there for other people is a mutually beneficial practice.

So, Tell Me About Yourself: A 3 Point Strategy to Answering This Interview Question

What I wasn’t prepared for, and one that I had only partially thought about, was talking about just me. Or at least, that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. It really is something that most of us tend to gloss over when prepping for an interview when so many companies are looking at your personality, or sales numbers, or what internship you did last summer (and yes, you should have an internship under your belt by the time you graduate).

After a multitude of interviews, reading several LinkedIn articles, and consulting with some former professors and bosses, here is a solid way to answer the question, “Tell me about yourself?”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: When It's the New Year and Everything Is Different

I couldn’t bind up other people’s problems and make everything okay. I just couldn’t. I learned that I am not superman; I can’t save people. I learned that sometimes people choose to be unhealthy, that they choose to be in dangerous situations, but that I don’t have to support bad choices. I learned that I can walk away. Sometimes walking away means that you lose a friend, but it often means that you gain some clarity and peace. I learned that I can’t please everyone because in the words of Brené Brown I’m not “the jackass whisperer.”

You Knelt Beside My Hope Torn Apart

“It’s called real life, and it’s cracked and fragile.”

Real life seems to be awfully cracked and fragile lately.

I have friends who are hurting—friends mourning the unexpected death of family, friends grieving the loss of friendships, friends fearing potential layoffs, friends aching from loneliness or a feeling of not measuring up to their peers. So many people in my life seem to be carrying with them their own fanny pack of hurts these days.