HOW TO CARE FOR YOURSELF WHILE CARING FOR OTHERS

It’s no secret, I love helping people. I’m often the friend that people turn to when they need a shoulder to cry on or some advice. A lot of times, I was known as “the advice giver” and I love being that person! It explains why my number one trait when I took the Clifton StrengthFinders Assessment was Developer. I see the potential for improvement in people (not in a cocky kind of way, but in an “I want to help you” way) and it’s hard for me to fight the urge to let them talk to me and give them advice.

Lately, I’ve been carrying a lot of other people’s burdens. There’s been a lot going on for family and friends and I want to be there for them with all that I have and help. I’m realizing though, that I can’t sacrifice my own mental state to help someone else because that just doesn’t work. All of this came up when I remembered something my mom said to me recently:

“Everyone always comes to you with their stuff, but who do you take your stuff to?” 

Mom wisdom coming through. She wasn’t wrong in saying that & definitely shook me up a little. Of course, because I wanted to maintain my put-together “I’m fine” self I said, “I have people that I talk to.” Which, isn’t completely a lie. I do tell my best friend most of what I’m going through, but I definitely don’t share everything. It’s super hard for me to open up to people and let down my guard. This isn’t because I don’t trust people, it’s because I’m afraid if I do then people won’t want my help anymore because I won’t seem as strong. I now realize this isn’t the best logic and I shouldn’t let it be a guiding force in how I live my life.

This is particularly important to remember in the current season of life that I am in. I’ve had a lot going on with my dad having multiple foot surgeries and working way out of town so I hardly ever see him, starting Junior year and taking on fifteen credit hours of classes, and learning how to balance everything with working 29 hours a week (I’m used to only working around 20 hours during the school year), and trying to maintain whatever social life I can grab on to while making sure I stay in touch with my friends and family. It’s definitely a busy season, and I’m not at all complaining about it because I often thrive in busyness.

However, I do need to take a step back every now and then and evaluate my own well being. I tend to forget to eat or get enough sleep because I want to just keep on doing all the things I have to do, but that’s not healthy. Plus, while all these things are going on I need to make sure I’m aware of my mental health. I’ve been really anxious lately worrying about school and all of the issues people around me seem to be facing and I’ve kept that to myself. It’s starting to become apparent though by my constant lip biting or picking of every scrap of the blue polish that I had on my nails last week that I need to take a minute to relax. I actually became a bit of a moody monster last week due to it all, so sorry to anyone that I may have sassed or heard me belting songs from my “rainy day vibes” playlist. Special thank you to the person who called me out on it so I could learn to watch it and realize my sass wasn’t helping anyone (although sometimes my sass can be really funny).

All this to say, make sure you don’t forget to care for yourself while caring for others. It’s not selfish, even though that anxious voice in your head might try to tell you otherwise. You can’t fully be there for other people if you’re not at your best and you drive yourself to a breaking point. Have a “you day” where you do some of your favorite things to chill you out. Here are some of my favorites if you need some inspiration:

  1. Take a walk around Target. There are so many cute things to look at! Just make sure you have some money with you because you’ll more than likely end up spending more than you intended on home decor or clothes.
  2.  Drive around with no particular destination and sing some of your favorite songs.
  3. Have a long talk with a friend. I know many of us Millenials don’t remember that phones weren’t made just for texting, but sometimes it’s soothing to hear someone’s actual voice.
  4. If you don’t feel like talking to another person, talk to your pets! They’ll never interrupt or judge you and are great listeners.
  5. Plan something. I’ve been adding so much stuff to my Halloween & Christmas boards on Pinterest. I’ll probably only ever execute one or two of them, but it’s nice to think about. One day I’ll embody my true Pinterest self.
  6. Lay on the ground and stare at the sky. It’s really quite mesmerizing to just watch the world go by. Just don’t stare directly at the sun!
  7. Binge watch something on Netflix, Hulu, or whatever entertainment provider you prefer. It will provide some much needed chill time.
  8. Stretch your body through yoga or do some dancing. Whatever type of exercise you like to do, do it. If your body feels happy then you’ll feel happier.
  9. Eat your favorite food. Everything is fine in moderation, so have that one slice of pizza!
  10. Read a devotional or inspiring book. A little heart help goes a long way.

I could go on forever (thanks to my love of lists) but I’ll stop here for now. Hopefully, some of these can help those of you like me who often forget that it’s just as important to care for yourself as it is to care for those around you. It makes a world of difference!

Peace & blessings,

Bailey

 

JUNE BRIGHT SPOTS (MONTHLY FAVORITES)

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I probably say this every month, but June seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. That’s most likely due to the week-long trip. Vacations always make time go by so fast. So, what all went on in June? I went to Baltimore and Pennsylvania, saw Harry Styles (AMAZING BTW), turned 20, worked lots, spent time with friends, and did a lot of pet sitting. It was definitely a jam-packed month that I already know will be one of my favorites of 2018. Let’s get into some of my favorite things from this love of a month!

My Friends & Family – this may seem weird to list as a monthly favorite because I always love the people in my life, but this month I have just felt extra loved. On my birthday I was reminded of how lucky I am to have had so many lovely people support me over my 20 years of life. I’ve been truly blessed by some of the best people in the world and I can’t imagine life without them. My birthday dinner was filled with laughter and love and I could not be more happy with how it went.

Aubrey’s – Speaking of my birthday dinner, I had it at my new favorite restaurant Aubrey’s. I had never heard of Aubrey’s before it came to Johnson City and I have no idea why. It is really good! It’s a nice environment with reasonable prices (easy on a college budget). Plus, I got a free birthday dessert without even having to tell the waitress it was my birthday. They just noticed!

Colourpop’s New Lip Gloss – I’m always a fan of a nice lip gloss and Coloupop’s new line of lip glosses does not disappoint. They’re packed with jojoba oil for ultra moisturizing and the color payoff is incredible. The new brush is also really nice at covering well and just feels nice on the lips. My two favorites as of thus far are Here’s 2 U and Flying Horses.

Harry Styles Tour Merchandise – Of course, I need to take a minute to talk about the Harry Styles concert. How could I have a monthly favorite without it? There’s a whole blog post dedicated to the concert coming soon (cheeky reveal there), so, for now, I’ll just mention the merch. I got the softest sweatshirt I have ever felt thanks to my sister for charging her way through a big crowd to get to the merch table. It’s a vibrant yellow crew neck with “Kiwi” embroidered in black over the right side of the chest and “I’m having your baby” embroidered on the sleeve. I can’t wait for it to get chillier outside and I can wear it all the time. I also loved the tour shirts that were the same yellow shade with “treat people with kindness” printed big across the front. He uses his platform to bring so much positivity and love into the world. That’s a brand I can get behind!

“Magic” by Ben Rector – I. Love. This. Album. It’s filled with incredible songs that will just bring a smile to your face and make you want to get up and dance. I’ve had this album on repeat in my car every time I drive and in my headphones at work. I don’t have the proper words to even describe how great it is, so go do yourself a favor and give it a listen. You can thank me later.

Lush Daddy-O Shampoo – In my ever developing quest to change up my hair color, I recently got my hair dyed more blond. It’s not all blond, as that would require way more upkeep than my curly hair can handle, but it’s a balayage that we brought up higher. To help keep the blond looking its best, I got the Daddy-O purple shampoo from Lush. I’ve used it several times and I love it. I can tell it’s really helping to keep the blond from getting brassy and the smell is incredible. It has a mixture of fresh violet, rose, and bergamot oil that will leave your hair smelling beautiful for several days after you wash it. I actually caught myself at work smelling my hair at my desk two days post-wash because it still smelled amazing. Plus, it’s nice on the curls as well.

What are some things you’ve discovered and are loving this summer?

xx,

Bails

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PRO & CON LIST ABOUT MY LIFE RIGHT NOW

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I love making lists. Lists make things organized, easy to read, and fun! While I was thinking of a different way to write about everything going on in my life right now, I thought why not make a list? It’s good to remember what you’re thankful for & acknowledge what you’re struggling with every now & then. So, here are 3 of my pros & cons that are going on in my life right now.

PROS (things I’m super thankful for that make me smile extra big):

MY JOB – I just love my job. The work that I’m doing pairs perfectly with what I’m learning in classes so I’m getting “real world experience” that I also find extremely enjoyable. Plus, the people that I work for are just the best. They’re some of the funniest & most talented people I know. I’m so thankful for how they continue to pour knowledge into me, lift me up, & bless my life.

GOOD HEALTH – *Knock on wood* I HAVEN’T BEEN SICK SINCE NEW YEARS! This is a huge pro considering my health track record from last year. Two solid months with no significant illness is really good for me. Hopefully, this is a good sign for the rest of the year!

SCHOOL – I’m really proud of myself for staying on top of things this semester. I have been working really hard to keep school my first priority (sometimes I let work get in the way because I think I’m ready to be a full-blown businesswoman adult) & I haven’t slipped up so far. My dedication is being reflected in my grades which makes me super happy.

CONS (things I’m struggling with & trusting that God is working on something through):

I MISS TWO OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE – this has probably been the biggest struggles recently. My Dory (we call each other Squishy & Dory from Finding Nemo) has been off in Australia kicking butt & taking names. I’m super proud of everything that she’s doing & know she’s having a great experience, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss being able to see, call, & text her. I am, however thankful for Snapchat keeping our convos (although brief) alive. I can’t wait to reunite in May & go on many Summer adventures. Preston is also still living in Montana and although we text every single day, I cannot wait for him to move back to Tennessee. It’s really hard when you can’t see some of your favorite people in person. I just really wish they were both here. I know through this God is testing my patience in the waiting  & strength.

FINALS ARE IN ONE MONTH – Where has time gone? It just hit me how close finals are & I don’t think I’m ready for them to be so soon. They come at the end of every semester, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how fast each semester goes by. Godspeed & go Bucs to all my fellow ETSU students in this one month we have left.

MY DOG ISN’T DOING TOO WELL – It’s a hard reality I have had to try & grasp. My dog is dying. He’s 14 years old so this shouldn’t be unexpected. Nevertheless, it absolutely breaks my heart. He’s started not being able to stand and just falls randomly & cries. I know once he’s gone he’ll be with his dad (my uncle Bobby) in heaven but it’s still hard to grasp he’ll be gone. Especially with my best friends not being around I’m beginning to sink into a feeling of loneliness knowing my Buddy will likely be gone soon too.

What are some things your thankful for or could use some prayer about right now?

xx,

Bails

 

 

 

2017 in Review (A short story on why I’m really glad it’s over)

Wow. That’s the first word that pops into my head when realizing that 2017 is nearly finished. Though, I can’t say I am necessarily sad to see it go. 2017 was rough. It wasn’t rough just for me, but it seemed to be a difficult year for those around me and people all across the globe. From political debates (which I refuse to get involved in) to horrible acts of violence, God seems to be testing us in 2017. Here’s 2017 from my perspective.

It started out like any normal year. I was starting my second semester of college, working a part-time retail job, and kicking off the new year with my parents and sister by watching the ball drop on TV while sat next to the Christmas tree that would stay up until late February. I started my second semester of college and was eager to begin taking classes other than gen-eds!

The semester went on and I was adjusted to a new schedule. February rolled by with nothing big happening (at least it must not have had anything significant because I don’t remember it now).

March came and that’s when my health decided to take a turn. I got the flu. I had managed to avoid having the flu for my entire life up until this point. My sister and mom got it first and seeing as I was the one who had to take care of them it really came as no surprise when I got it and joined the party shortly after. It conveniently decided to come the week before Spring Break, meaning I had to go two weeks before I could get caught up on any of the work I had missed. We still managed to have some fun over Spring Break and took a family trip to Charleston, SC and Folly Beach. A lot of my childhood memories come from sunset walks along the Folly shore collecting sand dollars, so it was nice to go back and reminisce (do I sound like an old lady right now, or what?).

April and May flew by as the spring semester came to an end. My favorite class, that whole semester, had to be Multimedia Productions. It was my first step into the world I had chosen for my major and I fell in love.

June was a crazy month. It started with becoming an official communications intern at First Christian Church – Johnson City. I spent a good amount of Summer working, but I was happy to do it because I was learning so much about the field I’m studying! June 20th came and I said hello to my 19th year of life! It was a good birthday; I worked so a bunch of us at work went to lunch together to celebrate at my favorite restaurant, Cootie Brown’s. A week after my birthday we packed up and left for a family vacation to Washington DC. This was my first time visiting our nation’s capital and it was pretty cool!   We walked a lot, saw the monuments, visited Arlington National Cemetary, lots of museum visits, and if you want to know more about it check out my travel post! From DC we headed to Pennsylvania to visit family and meet my cousin’s second little boy, Noah, for the first time. It was a great visit with family but definitely not long enough.

July was a bit of a dark period. It was dark because I pretty much lived with the lights off because I was always sick. I had two sinus infections, back to back. The doctors said I am probably developing seasonal allergies and that is why I got so sick, but being the worrier I am I convinced myself I was dying. I managed to work through it and continue my life close to normal just carrying around a lot of Excedrin (for the constant sinus headaches) and tissues!

August was when school started again! I was looking forward to this semester as I was beginning some upper-level classes and getting away from the gen-eds. I started a class (Survey of Promotion) that would make me fall deeply in love with my major and realize just how amazing God’s plan is for each one of us.

September was a month filled with school. Finding the rhythm of a new semester and finding a balance between work and school.

October was a challenging month. It started out pretty silent (which is no fun because if you know me well you’ll know I talk a lot and fast) because of tonsilitis. I was up for a promotion at my retail job and trying to juggle the extra hours there, being paid for my internship and fitting in all of my hours there, and not letting my grades slip. It is always a challenge for me to not overwhelm myself because I enjoy staying busy, but also sometimes don’t realize how close I am to actually breaking myself.

November was the calm before the storm. Thanksgiving was a fun day with family and lots of good food, and I didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving! Black Friday came and it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be. The real fun came the week after that.

December was a test of my sanity, strength, and a lot of other things that right now I cannot think of words for. We found out that the company I worked for (Charming Charlie) was closing 97 stores and filing for bankruptcy. This came out of nowhere and shook all of us to the core. Not to mention this also came the week before the most stressful time of year for college students….finals week. To say it was a rough couple of weeks is an understatement. I was worried about money and all sorts of adult things that I’d never worried about before! It was all very overwhelming. I managed to put it on the backburner to focus on finals and actually pulled up my astronomy 2 grade by two letter grades! Then, First Christian Church – Johnson City offered me a permanent job transitioning from intern to communications assistant! To say I was excited doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This year God tested my trust. There was a lot of waiting and uncertainties in 2017, and he knew that I needed to learn to trust him more. I am prone to worrying but it never fails that my worrying becomes pointless in God’s perfect plan.

I also learned that it is okay to open up to people when I’m struggling. I tend to pride myself on being known as a smiley, happy person, but the truth is we can’t always be that all the time. It’s okay to not always be okay. My mom said to me, “everyone always dumps there problems on to you and you listen, but does anyone let you do that?” That day I realized I need to be more transparent in order to maintain my own mental health.

2017 was a year of challenges and growth. I am thankful for the experiences I’ve gained. I can’t say I’m necessarily sad to see this year go, but I have a sense of optimism about 2018. I feel like this next year is going to be one of the best ones yet and I am excited to see what is in store for everyone.

Goodbye 2017.

x,

Bailey

In Memory of My Sunshine

May 6, 2010. That was the day that my life changed. That was the day that God decided it was time for my uncle Bobby to come home. I can remember it like it was yesterday. My mom picked me up like any normal school day and the whole ride home I was thinking about how I had to get ready for dance class later that night. It was a seemingly average. warm Spring day. However, I got home and noticed something was wrong because my dad was home. That was a rarity seeing as dad always worked until 7 or 8 at night and it was just the afternoon. I said hi to him then immediately began to barrel up the stairs saying “I’m gonna get ready far dance!!” But then I heard him say wait. He had my sister and I sit down on the couches and then he began to tear up and choked out the words, “your Uncle Bobby has passed away.”

When I think about those words I feel the same burning behind my eyes and in the pit of my throat that I felt that day. Of course at the time I was just 12 years old and did not know what to think. What do you mean? He can’t be dead. He had just had a simple foot surgery a few days ago and was doing fine. I had just talked to him on the phone a few nights ago.

This can’t be real.

That phrase was what I lived by throughout the days following. We had to pack our bags and make the drive up to Pennsylvania where he lived. We got there and spent the next few days planning the funeral and going through things in his house. We spent a lot of time in his house. The whole time I was there the feeling of “this isn’t real” lived within me. I was constantly expecting for him to come out of his bedroom or around the corner with that huge smile on his face that he always had around us. But, he never did.

I had already seen his big smile and had a great big hug from him for the last time and I didn’t even know it. I would love to go back in time and cherish those last few moments. I would make sure he knew how loved and important he was to me, and so many others I know. He made sure there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t know how beautiful or important or loved I was. I hope he knew how important he was to me. He was my sunshine and light in the dark.

I know he’s watching over me now, but it just isn’t the same. It never will be and that saddens me. I know that he is dancing with God in heaven free of pain and beaming down on me from above. A lot has happened in my life recently that I have wanted to tell him or wish he could’ve been here for. I edited an entire yearbook, I got an internship, I was a lead in a play, I did my senior dance recital, I graduated high school, I started college at ETSU, I got my first (paid) job, and I recently completed my first year of college. A lot more has happened since he’s been gone, but those are just some of the highlights. I know he was shining his light down on me through it all.

Don’t forget to tell people how much they mean to you. Don’t wait to tell someone how you feel because you never know when they may be gone from your life. Never let your sunshine get dull because they didn’t know how much they meant. Everyone matters and everyone should be loved the way my uncle loved others. I just hope he knew how much others loved him.

 

xx,

Bailey

(If there are any grammatical errors I’m sorry. It was hard enough just to write this and I don’t want to have to read it again.)

Easter Bliss

As you may already know, I am really big in to holidays. Easter is no exception to my holiday love! How could you not enjoy a day to celebrate the fact that a savior came down to this earth, endured our pain, and paid the ultimate price so that we could have eternal life. Just thinking about what Jesus did puts me in awe! It truly is an extraordinary thing to celebrate and remember.

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Remembering the meaning of Easter added in with bunnies, eggs, and lots of pastel colors makes this a great holiday. I know it falls around a hectic time for most students, but Easter is a great day to take a step away from the stress of school and life. It’s a day where we get to remember that we are forgiven forever and that’s a really positive thing to realize if you think about it. Not to mention the best candy in the world comes out around Easter! Yes, I am talking about Cadbury Crème Eggs. My love for them is very real and it takes a lot of self control not to eat as many as I possibly can in the limited amount of time that they are available.

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Make sure you take some time this Easter to remember that you were created with purpose, and no matter what happens you will always have forgiveness and love. Have fun and take a minute to relax from the stresses of upcoming finals! Dye some eggs, eat lots of candy, and spend time with the ones you love. These things will make your Easter positively wonderful!

xx,

Bailey

Life as an Over-Worrier

If you could go back in time and see me when I was in elementary/middle school you would not recognize me. The most likely reason for that being you probably wouldn’t have noticed me at all. That’s right, I was the shy kid! I never spoke up in class, did not talk to anyone that wasn’t my friend, and I definitely never wanted to be the center of attention. You remember those images on Facebook where you used to tag your friends as “the sporty one” or “the one who always makes you laugh”? I was always tagged as “the quiet one.” This was all because of this thing that lives inside my head that I like to call “the over-worrier.”

Some people would probably refer to this feeling as a type of anxiety, but it is something I deal with where this little voice pops up in my head during everyday situations and starts making me think about the “what if’s.” In fact they’re happening right now as I am writing this post. What if people think I’m weird because I deal with this? What if people don’t understand what I’m going through? What if this scares people away? What if people don’t like my blog? Those are the types of questions that float around my head in any given situation. It happens a lot and when I was younger I definitely let “the over-worrier” take control of me. I didn’t talk to a lot in front of a big group of people because I was worried that I would say something wrong or stupid that would make people not like me. This made people think I was shy, but I actually really wanted to make lots of friends and talk to people! I was just too busy worrying about what to say that I never got to say anything.

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Thankfully, in high school (especially junior & senior year) I started gaining the power to fight back against the “over-worrier.” I decided I wasn’t going to miss out on so much anymore because I was too busy worrying about it. So what if I say something stupid or someone doesn’t like what I’m wearing? I have a creator that made me in his image and thinks I’m pretty cool. He put me on this planet with a purpose and that alone is enough to not let the worrying stop me from fulfilling his plan for me.

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I began talking to new people more and making new friends; which was something that always used to terrify me because of worrying about what people who didn’t know me would think of me. I joined the greeter team at church last year, and that has been a tremendous help to overcoming the worrying that comes with meeting new people. Within a few months of being a greeter I became a team leader and find “the over-worrier” becoming a lot quieter. It can be a really good thing to get out of your comfort zone every now and then; you might even discover something that makes you really happy!

“The over-worrier” is someone who I still deal with on a daily basis, but I am trying my best not to let it overcome me and control all my decisions. I have managed to overcome a lot of battles with worrying and will continue to do so with the strength of lord with me.  If you found this post to be relatable I would love to talk about it with you! I also have a lot more stories of dealing with over-worrying, so if you’d like to read more let me know.

Have a lovely week!

xx,

Bailey

(featured photo by the incredibly talented and super rad Peter Nelson)