Things I Learned at 25

Hi there!

Today is my last day before I turn 26! I thought it might be fun to reflect on all that I learned this past year. It was a challenging year that definitely tested me & taught me about myself. Here’s a few things I learned!

  • I’m more adaptable to change than I thought. I’m a cautious person who has a little bit of fear surrounding change. This year I proved to myself that I can adapt & make it through challenging times.
  • Making memories with loved ones is by far most important to me. Material things don’t mean much compared to spending quality time with my family & friends. Being able to spend time with them now is something I don’t take for granted!
  • Gratitude can get me through the hardest times. I lean heavily on gratitude to manage my anxiety symptoms. Even on my hardest days, I have so much to be grateful for.

These are things that I know I’ll carry into this next year. I’m thankful to be able to celebrate my birthday with loved ones this year, & can’t wait for a summer full of outdoor dining, swimming, & backyard hangouts.

How lucky am I to have so much love in my life?

Another quick note: I’m growing as a person & continuing to grow my little online community. If you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read my words, to engage in my Instagram content, to have inspiring conversations.

I’m looking forward to 26 & all that it brings! I hope you’re having a good week!

Danielle

Reasons to go to Therapy When You Feel Totally Fine

The color of this dress (from Target!) makes me so happy!

“What’s wrong?” “Are you okay?” are a few questions I received when I told family & friends that I was going to therapy. While therapy is wonderful for those who are struggling (& if you are struggling, there is help out there for you!), it can also be amazing when there’s nothing wrong at all. I felt inspired by an Instagram post by Keiko Wolfe, to write a list of reasons why everyone should go to therapy, whether you’re going through something or not!

I’ve previously written about my mental health journey (I’ll link my post here!) & have mentioned more recently that I’m going to school to become a mental health counselor myself. My main reason for being in therapy right now is to be the best therapist I can be, but I’m also working through other things in my sessions. Here are a few reasons why someone might benefit from therapy!

  • To process a big life change
  • To nurture relationships with others (& yourself!)
  • To learn more about yourself
  • To unpack childhood trauma
  • To learn new coping skills

Therapy is so helpful for people who are struggling, but it’s not ONLY for those in a dark place. That is what the stigma surrounding mental health tells us in our society. Regardless of how you feel about therapy or where you are in your mental health journey, I hope you know that you are worthy of living your best life. I’m so happy you’re here!

Danielle

I’m Proud of Myself

This was a difficult year! There is so much to be proud of.

Acknowledging my accomplishments isn’t something that comes easily to me. I’m not sure if it’s something women are conditioned (thanks, patriarchy!) or if it’s something else, but I rarely discuss my accomplishments or things I’m proud of myself for. I wanted to write this post, because there is a lot to be proud of this year. I hope it inspires you to take a moment & to reflect on what you feel most proud of this year.

I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for teaching in the midst of a pandemic. For showing up daily & trying to be the best teacher I can be for my kiddos, even when it’s hard. I’m proud of myself for sticking it out through grad school; through late nights of writing papers & discussion posts, on nights I feel like giving up. (Also for getting an A in my most recent course!) I’m proud of myself for adapting & finding ways to cope with an anxiety disorder that has really been amplified in this pandemic.

I’m proud of myself for how I treat people; I’m mindful of how I make other people feel (although maybe a little too much so sometimes!) & I try my best to make others feel valued. I’m proud that I enjoy learning new things & challenging myself. I’m proud that I lift other people up instead of tearing them down. I’m proud that during a difficult year, I found strength I didn’t know I had.

As we wrap up 2020, there is so much to be proud of. I’m proud of you, for getting through a tough year; for reflecting on priorities & making hard choices, for making sacrifices & showing up. Maybe you suffered a loss, whether that’s a loved one, a job, big plans. There is so much to be proud of yourself for!

Walking into 2021 feeling grateful.

What are you most proud of yourself for?

Thank you so much for being here; for supporting my blog. You inspire me & I couldn’t be more grateful. Have a happy new year!

Love,

Danielle

A Quick Mental Health Check-In

Hi there!

I wanted to just do a quick mental health check in. I hope you’re doing okay & hanging in there! I’m hanging in there but I’ve also just felt like I’m not functioning at my best.

I feel tired. I feel good some days & am having terrible anxiety the next. I have happy days with my students & then other days where I get home feeling tense & overwhelmed by the weight of it all.

I haven’t been moving my body or eating nutritious food very often; actually, I’ve been turning to take-out food for comfort. I’ve noticed some weight gain which I’m trying to come to terms with. It’s hard to maintain a positive body image when I’m not taking care of my body very well. I’m working on taking some small steps toward nourishing & moving my body. After all, it does so much for me & I should really take care of it!

This morning, I woke up early enough to cook breakfast, drink matcha, & play with Theo before leaving for work. Those small moments of self-care set the tone for my day.

Even in dark times, I have so much to be grateful for. Here’s a quick list!

I love him 😊
  • John 💕 I’m forever grateful to love & be loved by him. Even in my anxious, irritable moments, he makes me feel so loved.
  • Teaching my students how to be kind human beings.
  • A happy, healthy puppy who greets me with so many kisses every day when I get home!
My baby is getting so big!!

It feels like we’ve been in this pandemic for such a long time; let’s remember to be gentle & kind to ourselves. Weight fluctuates, productivity comes in waves, & some days we just need to order Chinese take-out & binge a show on Netflix (these may or may not be my plans for the evening!)

Sending you a virtual hug,

Danielle

Things I’m Thankful For

This week was hard. On top of going back to school & navigating the craziness that is COVID times, it was also the anniversary of my friend Bekah’s death. I felt my mental health suffering throughout the week; I try to be mindful of when I’m struggling but a sure sign that I am is when my apartment & my car get extra messy. When my anxiety is high or I’m feeling down, chores & cleaning are the last thing I feel like doing. I’m taking this weekend to recharge & take care of myself (also cleaning because it’s pretty bad!)

I had planned on writing about my favorite outfits or an easy makeup look, but found myself feeling unmotivated to film that right now. Those posts are usually fun for me, but I want to again be mindful of my mental health & be transparent about where I’m at right now. I think that vulnerability is so so important, especially right now. I know that there are many others who are struggling; life can feel difficult & heavy some days (or months or years? I’m ready for 2020 to be over with!) Please take care of yourself.

Here are some things that I am so thankful for; things that I clung onto for dear life this week as I navigated an especially difficult week!

I’m so thankful for this sweet puppy who came into our lives at the MOST perfect time!
  • My relationship! I’m not sure how I got so lucky to fall in love with a guy as kind-hearted, loving, & supportive as John, but I’m so happy I did! He always, always knows how to lift me up.
  • Our little family. No matter how hard my day was, or how down I’m feeling, I get to come home to the cutest little family. It’s impossible to feel sad when Theo is suffocating you with his kisses, & Phoebe is snuggled up purring next to you. How did I get so lucky??
  • My parents! I talk to my parents every single day. We always recap our day & compare funny puppy stories; always a highlight of my day.
  • My sister. I’ve said it before but my sister is my absolute best friend! This is the longest we’ve ever been apart (due to COVID we haven’t been together since Christmas) but we talk every day & doing our podcast together brings me a lot of joy. This time apart has made me appreciate our bond even more!
  • My friends! I have the strongest, best friendships with girls who love & support me through anything. Especially during COVID we check on each other & text, especially when we are struggling.
  • Comfy dresses like this one! It even has pockets. So cute, I’m ordering other colors ASAP!

There are plenty of other things I feel thankful for right now, but these things in particular just make me smile so much. No matter how difficult things feel or how bad my day was, these are things that aren’t going away! I hope you find strength in focusing on your gratitude for the little things.

Sending love (& Theo is sending puppy kisses!),

Danielle

Something I’ve Learned During COVID Times

Hi there!

Like so many others, I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions over the last several months. In May, we had to put our dog Luke to sleep really suddenly; it was heartbreaking & left us feeling completely devastated. Even thinking about him now brings me to tears; he was the best, sweetest dog & I miss him SO much. Not long after that, our new pup Theo came into our lives. That grief was still there, but Theo brought so much joy as well. This little puppy came into our lives at the perfect time, bringing so much light into a time of darkness.

My sweet angel boy, Lukey!

Something I’ve learned during all of this is that grief, joy, stress, hope, sadness, happiness. These feelings all can and probably SHOULD coexist. That’s what I lean on the most when I’m having a bad day or having trouble coping with everything going on; my feelings are all valid and can coexist. That also means that if things are feeling particularly heavy, I know that at some point there will be light again, whether that’s a FaceTime with a friend or puppy kisses or dinner on the patio with John.

Theo has grown SO much since this picture was taken. His cute little face KILLS me!

Practicing gratitude is something I can’t recommend enough, and I think it’s what gets me through the hard parts. Whether I’m having a bad mental health day where my anxiety is acting up or I’m grieving or just down for whatever reason, when I think of even little things I’m thankful for, it helps.

Allow yourself to feel however you’re feeling. Even emotions that don’t feel as though they can go together can coexist.

I hope you’re hanging in there,

Danielle

Things I do when the weight of the world feels a little too heavy.

These days, we’re all bound to have a day when the world feels a bit heavy. Whether you’re feeling angry with our political climate, anxious over COVID, or just down because you’re lacking a sense of normalcy, your feelings are valid. Our world probably isn’t going back to “normal” anytime soon. Being an empath, I often find myself feeling overwhelmed by the negative emotions of others. I think there is a line between providing emotional support for others, & taking their emotions on yourself. That’s a line that I’m still working on finding. I always say that we can’t control others but we can control our own reactions. Here’s a list of a few of my go-to things to do, when the weight of the world is a little too heavy.

  • Call or text one of my friends, my mom, or my sister.
  • Go for a walk. (John compares me to a houseplant because I NEED sunshine haha)
  • Take a long, luxurious-feeling shower.
  • Put on a favorite song & dance around.
  • Snuggle with my pets.
  • Do something that makes me feel strong & empowered, like a dance workout.
  • Support an organization or cause that I feel passionate about.

These are all really simple things; nothing ground breaking. But I think the most helpful thing to do when you’re feeling discouraged or out of control of things, is to focus on the things you CAN control.

If you’re feeling down today, I hope that you find things you’re able to control to bring a little light back into your day.

Sending light,

Danielle

My Mental Health

When discussing mental health, I like to preface the post with a disclaimer. It’s never my intention for my blog to be triggering to anyone; if you are struggling and need help, please utilize the resources that are linked at the bottom of this page. My hope is that in sharing my experience, I might make one person feel less alone.

Hi friends,

I hope you’re staying safe & healthy! Today I wanted to talk about something that’s incredibly near & dear to me: mental health. Something that’s been really refreshing in all of this uncertainty is that it seems like people are being more open in discussing their mental health. I love reading all of the posts about how people are coping with anxiety during this difficult time, shedding light on mental health issues & helping to end the stigma. Lately, I’ve been loving supporting small businesses that are spreading positivity & hope; that is why I’m SO excited to be collaborating with a company like Borcik Jewelry! I was immediately drawn to the brand, & am honored to get to work with them! This jewelry is beautiful, dainty, & perfect for every day! The best part is that they donate proceeds to TWLOHA, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention & mental health awareness. I’m so inspired by their mission & wanted to share my mental health journey with all of you.

This STUNNING ring is from Borcik Jewelry & it’s called the
Moonlight Mother of Pearl Ring.

Mental health is something that I’m so passionate about! I’ve mentioned that I’m working on my graduate degree in mental health counseling, & plan on seeing clients in just a few short years. It’s my dream to help people through having my own therapy practice one day, & it’s exciting to be making strides toward achieving that goal.

My sophomore year of college was by far the most pivotal year for my mental health. I had been studying mental health in school, but suddenly the things I had read about directly impacted me. A close childhood friend of mine passed away by suicide that year. I remember the day that I found out so clearly; my heart was shattered. She was only 18, & we had been out of touch for a few years.

I found myself having daily panic attacks & feeling so overwhelmed by guilt & grief. I would lay in bed all day instead of going to class, & I used other unhealthy coping mechanisms as well, such as drinking too much alcohol. I realized that I was hurting myself & my friends, (it was probably not so fun taking care of me during that time, thank you & love you guys!) so I decided that I needed professional help; this was not something that I could just sort through on my own. I made an appointment with a therapist for the first time ever, & stopped drinking alcohol until I had a better handle on my emotions. After discussing the feelings of fear & anxiety that I had experienced my whole life, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder; my symptoms were amplified in my current state of extreme grief, but the anxiety disorder had likely always been there.

I wear this ring as a reminder to myself that vulnerability is a strength; that’s not something that always comes easily to me but I’m working on it.

A lot of feelings of shame came along with my diagnosis, & even the act of going to my bi-weekly appointments made me feel so embarrassed. I had been taught to view going to therapy & getting help as a weakness. Little did I know, it would become such a strength! Once I came to terms with having an anxiety disorder, I decided to be as open about it as possible with people I trusted. That helped me normalize it, & eventually those feelings of shame faded away. I’ll always have an anxiety disorder, but therapy taught me ways to cope that I continue to use to manage my symptoms. That along with my amazing support system helps me so much every day!

Getting help with your mental health when you feel overwhelmed (or even if everything is going fine & you just want to go to therapy!) is nothing to feel ashamed of. It’s a form of self care, & learning new ways of coping will benefit you SO MUCH.

Is my mental health perfect every single day? Definitely not, but I feel the happiest & most free that I’ve ever felt!

Society still has a stigma surrounding mental health, so we can sometimes feel ashamed when trying to work on our own. Why is it, that we brag to all of our friends if we’ve been going to the gym, but we don’t tell a single soul that we’re going to therapy? Mental health is just as important (even more at times!) than physical health. Talking about our mental health struggles will only continue to shed light & help others.

Thank you for letting me share this vulnerable part of me. It’s scary to put my mental health struggles out there, but I hope it makes you feel a little less alone.

I hope you’ll take a moment today & check in with your mental health. If you’re struggling, or maybe just curious & want to learn more about mental health, please visit the websites I have linked down below. Knowledge truly is power, & educating yourself on what you need to be healthy is so powerful. Please go check out the other beautiful jewelry that Borcik Jewelry creates; this company is so deserving of all of the support in the world!

Take care of yourself, body & mind!

Danielle

NAMI-National Alliance of Mental Illness

TWLOHA-To Write Love on Her Arms

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Information

Your Feelings Are Valid.

Hi there,

Yesterday & today, my stomach has been in knots. I’ve been holding back tears. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel frustrated. I feel overwhelmed.

I wanted to sit down & share these feelings because I haven’t been allowing myself to feel these things. I’ve been pushing them away, because I have it better than so many others & it could be so much worse. I’m guessing some of you may have been pushing some feelings down, too.

I talk a lot about validating my own feelings & the feelings of others, but I haven’t been practicing what I preach lately. I’ve bottled up my feelings because I felt like I didn’t have the right to feel that way. I’m supposed to feel thankful & positive, right? It’s okay if that’s not how I felt yesterday, or how I’m feeling today. Because it’s not. So this is me, giving myself permission to feel sad, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed. I give myself permission to feel however I’m feeling, & you should too!

If you had to postpone your wedding & feel devastated, your feelings are valid. If you had to cancel a trip you’ve been dreaming about & feel angry, your feelings are valid. If you might be facing unemployment & you’re scared, your feelings are valid. If you’re frustrated at the thought of your whole life being disrupted, your feelings are valid. Yes, there are many people right now who are struggling to meet their basic needs & to survive. There are people who are facing unimaginable challenges, & my heart & thoughts are with them. If we are privileged enough to meet our needs, I think we should come together to help them in any way that we can. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t space for how I feel too. There is space for your struggles & feelings as well.

Once we give ourselves the permission & space to feel however we’re feeling, it’s easier to let the light in. We can sort through each feeling, sit with it awhile, & then find a way to overcome it. That’s what I’m choosing to do. I chose to sit with those anxious thoughts & overwhelming feelings yesterday, & then I threw on a bright floral dress & walked my dog in the sunshine to lift my spirits. It feels empowering to take care of myself right now. That is how I will overcome this heavy weight in my chest. That is how I will get through every day during this weird, scary time. That is how I will let the light in.

These are strange times & they can feel really dark, really heavy. Be extra gentle with yourself right now & give yourself time to process. Don’t forget to let that light in.

Sending you all of the healthy, positive vibes,

Danielle

It felt so good to get outside with my best bud & my frizzy hair! Dress linked here!
I had to include this one too because LOOK AT THIS SMILING PUP!