THE REALITY OF ANXIETY

Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of anxiety or fear that are strong enough to interfere with ones daily activities. The truth is, anxiety can be debilitating.

Generally, symptoms can include immense stress and the inability to set aside worry and restlessness. To break it down further, anxiety can include physical fatigue, sweating, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts and hyper-vigilance or irritability. Anxiety disorder symptoms excessive worrying, fear, feeling of impending doom, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, and trembling.

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So what’s the reality of anxiety? While it’s different for everyone, any or all of the symptoms above can impact a person’s life and cause them to feel alone, worried, or depressed. While anxiety and anxiety disorders are hard to understand if we’ve never experienced them, we need to make sure we acknowledge them and do our best to understand them. These extreme types of anxiety are mental health issues and should be recognized as such. We should give those struggling unconditional support and encourage them to get the help they need.

Making new friends can help with overcoming social anxiety. Get the Hey! VINA app now to connect with vinas who are there for you.

THIS IS MY STORY: LIVING WITH DEPRESSION AND SEVERE ANXIETY

It’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but there are almost no days where I don’t wake up or go to bed feeling utterly and hopelessly overwhelmed. The feelings can present themselves in different ways, but the root is always the same; have I done enough? Am I ever going to feel like I’ve done enough and how can I get more done? What does the future hold and have I properly prepared for it? Have I done all that I can for those I love, for my coworkers, for the world?! I imagine that it was something similar for Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain.

I think I’ve suffered with depression and severe anxiety since I was 9 or 10 years old. I first sought help when I was a sophomore in high school, but because of a lack of resources, we were told that my condition wasn’t dire enough to warrant getting therapy at that time. The circumstances did eventually become dire a year or two later when I swallowed a bunch of pills. I’m not sure why, but I told a friend and she immediately took me to the nurse’s office. I was sent to a crisis center where they determined that I was at low risk for harming myself again and sent me home with my mother. At this point, therapy became mandatory for a year. I finished therapy and got better, then I went to college and relapsed a bit. My university was a blessing since it had mental health staff on site. I received therapy once a week and for the first time, saw a psychiatrist. I was prescribed Xanax for daily anxiety medication needed for my panic attacks.

With age comes the ability to gain hindsight and wisdom. Now I can say that I’ve always been a highly functioning depressed person. While most people can’t get day-to-day tasks down when depressed, I can now do those and more. Maybe it’s my way of seeking approval… approval from who, you may ask?

There was a time when I focused on receiving my parents’ approval. It was my way of proving that I was worthy of attention. While my parents were always around, they were absent. Early childhood was a back and forth. I describe it to friends now as the best/ worst childhood ever.

It’s true, my brother and I were highly praised and I don’t think I’ve ever doubted that I was loved. I just wasn’t sure that I was seen. Even now, sometimes I feel invisible. That has never gone away. My parents had what would be called a tumultuous relationship. I have no doubt in my mind that they loved each other, probably still love each other, but they didn’t know how to properly convey that love. There was screaming, yelling, hitting, drinking, and—unbeknownst to me in my childish eyes—drugging, and so much more.

We were never left alone, but you can say that at times, it felt lonely. My parents would go on to spend almost my entire lifetime on and off with each other until I was 28 or 29. I’m 31 now.

When I was 9 or 10, that was the turning point for me in which I became super anxious. My parents had a physical altercation and I spent the next few years thinking that one day, I’d come home and my mother would be dead. I remember really loving the song “Love is Blind” by Eve because it was a glimpse into my life.

Nonetheless, being highly functional kept me away from it all. I’d be anxious, but at least I wouldn’t be in the middle of everything. In high school, I think we were homeless once or twice and that added to my anxiety.

I said that with age comes wisdom and after seeing so much, it was easy for me to determine that my parents didn’t need to be together. Times were better for my mother, brother and I when my dad wasn’t around. I didn’t have to live in fear of what I’d come home to. My mom was there both physically and emotionally. Sophomore year when I swallowed those pills, it was after my dad had come back into our lives. While the physically violent nature of their relationship was better, the emotional abuse continued. I wanted out: I wanted off the roller coaster ride of fear, anxiety and invisibility.

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I imagine that Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain felt what I feel a lot, being included but not connected. I felt like I was never doing enough, like I was invisible to those most important. That the fear, anxiety and invisibility are unshakeable.

In the years since those dark times, I’ve been able to get off of medication, but the depression and anxiety are still there. What I want people to understand is that by no means do I think my life is lacking or not enjoyable. Most times when I think about it, I really am happy. The problem is, my mind doesn’t turn off and it’s not something that I’m in control of. I’m constantly thinking about the future and how I can become a better person. Please make no mistake, that is what this is, feeling like you’re constantly disturbing others.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about all this in it’s entirety, but in light of recent events, I wanted to share my story. Anxiety and depression are hard. Our minds are powerful tools and we can fall victim to our insecurities or even our own good intentions. Money, large families, nice clothes and great shoes do not solve the tricks of the mind. If you see someone succumbing to the recesses of depression and anxiety, reach out. Listen to them. Force them to talk. Remind them that they are not a burden. They need help to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you need a vina to talk to, reach out here. Also, if you live in the U.S., someone is always there to talk to you at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

THE SURPRISING REASON YOU SHOULD BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR COWORKERS

Having a gig where I like my coworkers is not just an option for me. It’s a must.

Think about it, you spend more time with your coworkers than your families, significant others, and even your children. Why not try and like the company we’re forced to keep?! Or, as the expression goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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I find that more friends I have at work, the better I am at my job. If I make connections, I know who to go to help with a new project when I need information. If I have someone to talk out my frustrations with, I’m less likely to lose it at a meeting and look unprofessional. When I have someone to have lunch with or grab a coffee with, it can break up a particularly stressful day or give me a chance to look at something I’m working on with fresh eyes. After reading an article published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, it seems I’m on to something.

A piece entitled “Health Determined by Social Relationships at Work” found that people who strongly identify with the people in their organization tend to have better health and lower burnout.  This study analyzed 58 studies and over 19,000 people. It’s the first significantly sized analysis focusing on the identification-health relationship. A surprising to the team of researchers (but not so surprising to me!), was that if a research sample contained more women, the identification-health relationship was weaker. Put simply, these results show that women often identify less with their workplace and thus reap less health benefits.

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@BuisnessInsider

While the authors didn’t further explore the reasoning, they surmised that this had to do with the fact that workplaces traditionally have a masculine culture or feel. In my opinion, these findings make a lot of sense. We’re all aware that a pay gap exists between men and women and how women are perceived in the workplace. If you work in a mostly male organization, women are less likely to authentically socialize or they may chose not to socialize at all.

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The team that conducted this research plans to further explore whether the identification-health relationship plays a part in performance and what role leadership plays on this relationship.

The bottom line is the more included you feel at work, the better your health and well being. So start making some friends at work. Invite that quiet co-worker who always wears great shoes to lunch. Ask the co-worker who always has the best ideas in meetings for help with a creative project you’re struggling on. Make small talk by the water cooler. Get to work and make some friends; your health could depend on it!

Looking for more vinas to connect with? Start swiping!

Featured image @PureWow

20 THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE TOMORROW

As November winds to a close, and the holiday season ascends, it’s the perfect time to reflect. The good news is that we’ve almost survived 2017! (And my goodness, what a year it has been!) But while the impending holiday season can bring tremendous joy, the last month of the year also has a way of reminding us what might be missing from our lives.

So, if you start to feel yourself getting lost in those pesky (but very real) holiday blues, look no further than this list! Below we’ve compiled a list of  20 simple things you can do TODAY to make your life TOMORROW better.

  • Smile! Smile lines are better than frown lines. They are a sign of a life well spent, so totally worth it.
  • Work out! It’s always hard to start the work out but I find that’s once I’m in it and after I feel amazing. I sweated out some toxins and set myself up to sleep like a baby. You’ll wake up well rested and on your way to that six pack you’re determined to get.

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  • Write a to do list. Feeling overwhelmed can be really stressful. It’s the feeling of having too much to do and not enough time. When you write it all down, it’s easier to see what’s urgent and what can wait to be done tomorrow. It also keeps the thoughts from swirling around in your head.
  • Sometimes, a situation is bothering me but I can’t put my finger on why. Writing out the situation factually helps me get to the root of the emotion and come up with a plan on what to do next.

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  • Vent! Telling a friend or trusted confidant why you’re upset can be super therapeutic. Sometimes you just need to get it out. Letting something fester can make the feeling of annoyance or anger worse. At times, it can even intensify it. Get it off your chest today so it doesn’t ruin your tomorrow.
  • Jam out! Putting on some music and dancing around the house always makes me feel better. It’s an instant mood lifter for me. It also counts towards my exercise goal according to my Apple watch. Two birds, one stone!

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  • Take a bath – Grab your favorite bath salts or bath bomb and take a soak. This will relax your muscles and your mind and guarantee a good night’s sleep. Who else wants to wake up well rested?!
  • Have some me time. Spending time doing something I love is a great way to unplug. I find it helps me ground myself in what’s most important to me and I’m able to be more attentive to others the next day.

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  • Try your hand at a new recipe and pack your lunch. Being creative in the kitchen is one of my favorite things. It helps me laugh at myself and/ or focus on something other than the every day struggles. If you’re lucky, it’s great and you can pack your leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
  • Clean your room/ change your bedding. I have to be honest, a clean room is hard to come by for me. In the moment, and even when I lay down after, the good feeling can be fleeting. But once you wake up from a good night’s sleep, you’ll see why it was necessary.
  • Set your outfit out for the next. Pre-planning in any way possible makes tomorrow easier. Planning your outfit today engages your creativity today and your shows your style muscle tomorrow. Bonus, it’ll make your more much easier and your may even get out the door quicker.

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  • Clean out your closet and donate. Getting rid of old clothes is a great way to take stock of what you have as well as give to those less fortunate. You’ll have a closet full of your favorite things and some extra confidence for doing a nice thing. Bonus, you get to shop to replace what you’ve donated
  • Volunteer! There are tons of organizations that need your help. Volunteering is not only a good way to give back but you can also make friends and sometimes even love connections. No matter what the outcome, you’ll feel a confidence boost knowing that you helped someone in need.
  • Get to work early, so you can leave early another day. Have a big event tomorrow evening? Go to work early today. Rushing to something after work always makes me anxious. Get in early today so you can leave early tomorrow.

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  • Plan something fun! I find myself to be just a bit more giddy when I have something to look forward to. Whether its’ a dinner party tomorrow or a vacation for the future, it’ll provide you that good anticipation.
  • Reminisce– Remembering a fun time you had is an amazing way to create warm and fuzzies.

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  • Video chat a friend. As we get older and our lives change, it can be hard to get in-person time. Why not take advantage of technology. Video chat is one of the greatest inventions. Many of my friends live in places not easily traveled to. Add a hectic work schedule and various other responsibilities and it can be almost impossible to see each other. Video chat is a great way to stay connected.
  • Start a hobby or re-engage in an old one. Learning something new or engaging in something you forgot about is a good way to promote good feelings that will last through to tomorrow and beyond.

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  • Start saving for a splurge. Winter is coming so I know there will be a pair of boots that I’ll be wanting. Since I have expensive tastes, I know they will cost me a fortunate. If you can relate, do what I did and start saving! When you’re able to have those boots, the feeling will be worth it
  • Be in good company! There are people in our worlds that we know when we hang with them, the world is better place. Find that person and spend some time. You’ll bask in the afterglow of a fun time not just tomorrow but probably for days to come.

Feature image @backspaceforward.tumblr.com

IT’S OKAY YOU DIDN’T STICK TO YOUR 2017 RESOLUTIONS AND HERE’S WHY

Full, disclosure, I don’t believe in making resolutions. I’m more into making goals for the year ahead. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, resolutions are usually things we want to change cold turkey when the new year starts – stop drinking coffee, start working out all the time, etc. Setting goals for the year however, allows you to be more realistic about big (or small) lifestyle changes in reasonable amounts of time.

And I have a confession, even with “just making goals”, I’m not even halfway through my list yet. A week or two ago, I was shaming myself for not being further along, but then I remembered something someone told me once, “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.” 😉 Okay, I’m sort of kidding. But the point is, we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up for falling a little behind.

This year, my goals came with huge financial implications. I wanted to travel more, take some classes, and hit some exercise milestones. But life threw me some curve balls. I had just come home from my first vacation when I found out I needed to have emergency surgery. Not only was that rough on my emotional and physical state – but my bank account was looking pretttttttty sad.

I think when we’re making our resolutions for the year, we forget to account for all the things that inevitably come up while we’re just living our lives. In addition, we often don’t account for how much we, as people, can change in a year. And because we’re always changing, our goals and the direction of our lives can and will change, too.

Significant things can happen in a span of one whole year that can change the entire trajectory of our lives. I challenge you to sit and think about one thing that happened in the last six months that was totally unexpected? Did you get engaged? We’re you asked to be a bridesmaid in a dear friend’s wedding? Offered an important job? Whatever it was, it happened and it might not have been on your list.

So why is okay that you didn’t stick to your 2017 resolutions? Because you’re growing and learning. Those unexpected things that came up, whether good or bad, are propelling you closer to your destiny. Everything happens for a reason, and anytime you’re diverted from your plan, is a time for a divine lesson in preparation for your future. Besides, life isn’t as fun when everything goes exactly how we planned. Life likes to keep us on our toes. I encourage you, the next time you make resolutions, leave one blank for the unexpected and get excited because that is one resolution that you’re guaranteed to keep!

What were your 2017 resolutions? How ya doing on those? Tell us in the comments below!

(Feature image via Urban Outfitters)

SINGLE AND LOVING IT

Here’s the thing, I truly believe that singleness is not only a gift but an important stage in your life. Peep what my favorite parts of being single are below.

TIME FOR PERSONAL GROWTH

Being single has allowed me to grow in so many ways that I wouldn’t have wanted to burden a partner with. I just recently turned thirty. As I look back to the things I’ve learned in my twenties and reflect on the future, I know I have some more growing to do. I have some things that I just think would be easier to deal with on my own, things I don’t want to bring into a relationship. I truly believe that this time alone is my time for exponential growth as a person.

FREEEEEEDOM

I love my freedom. I don’t have to answer to no man! When you’re single, your primary focus is you. You don’t have to check in with anyone or coordinate your weekend plans. There’s no relationship obligations! You can do what you want, when you want.

WORK/LIFE BALANCE IS EASIER TO MAINTAIN

You don’t have to have fully grasped balancing. A majority of my coworkers are married with children. While we have a pro-working-women culture, they often times express that “doing it all” can be exhausting. They frequently balance their career ambition with their husband’s in order to make sure the kids are taken care of. They need to be home by a certain time and usually can’t do impromptu drinks after work. If asked, they say it’s all worth it but I’m thankful I’m not there yet. I often tell them, I don’t know how you do it!

MORE TIME FOR FRIENDS!

The best part about being single, unlimited vina time! Hanging out with your vinas is always fun and when you’re single, you can hang out with them wherever and whenever.

Why do you love being single? Tell us in the comments! Also, did you know you can find more single babes to hang out with in our Single Ladies community in Hey! VINA!

(Feature image via Pinterest)

HOW TO ROCK A PHONE/VIDEO INTERVIEW

In the age of technology, phone and video interviews are becoming more prevalent. In the essence of time, many managers, myself included, do phone screenings before even scheduling an in-person interview. Here’s what you need to know and how to prepare for your virtual meeting:

BE PREPARED

Recently, I did a phone interview and the candidate seemed as if they didn’t know I was calling at that appointed time. In addition, she didn’t even seem excited to speak with me. She then put me on hold while she found a quiet place to speak. Most managers are fine with being put on hold, but make sure when you ask, you’re polite. 

GET DRESSED AND DO YOUR MAKEUP

4388dd262dc0a070e6cb18b95a78eb11.jpgI’m a big believer in look good/ feel good. It’s even proven in science. For a video call, it is important to look composed and professional (even if you are just at home on your couch). In the case of of the phone, nope they can’t see you but you can see you, and that still counts.

PRACTICE

The basics of interviewing still apply here. As for any interview, practice makes perfect. Send your vina a list of questions and ask her to randomly call you- if you can answer them on the spot, you’ll do great when the actual interview comes around.  

KNOW YOUR RESUME

No one wants to here you stutter or see you look down repeatedly as you go through your work history. If you are asking a potential employer to take you seriously, make sure you know what information you have given them inside and out!

EXERCISE PROPER PHONE/VIDEO ETIQUETTE

Answer with a professional greeting when you answer the phone. “Hey” is not an appropriate way to address a hiring manager. They are not your friend. I know it’s natural and often unexpected but try your best not to yawn. If you do have to yawn during video, make sure you cover your mouth. Politeness is rewarded. Please and thank you become even more important during audio or video interviews as you’re not in the same room with the hiring manager. Guaranteed these things will put you ahead because talking on the phone is a lost art. I’m always super impressed by someone who has good phone etiquette. 

WATCH YOUR TONE

This one pertains mostly to phone interviews, but can apply to video as well. Remember, when someone can not see your face while you speak, certain emotions come across as negative. For instance, when I’m intrigued, my voice hits an octave that portrays to friends that I’m upset. A good tip: don’t react immediately to what the hiring manager is asking you. Take a deep breath first and then answer. 

BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS

For a phone, be in a quiet place with no background noise. If on video, pick a background that isn’t distracting. This is not the time to display your favorite “Where’s Waldo” art installation. 

Phone and video interviews are only going to become more frequently used in the future so make sure you’re prepared and use the tips above. Have any advice for fellow callers? Let us know in the comments! 

(featured imaged via pintrest)

5 WAYS TO SHOW YOUR GIRL GANG YOU ❤️ THEM

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, my girl gang is my lifeline. There are more than a few times I want to scream from the rooftops, she’s my best friend!

The older I get, the more I realize that strong, female friends are important. As I age and lose people, I’ve become more aware how important it is to show those you love how much you appreciate them. It’s not only important to them, but will make you feel great too. But how do we do this without breaking the bank?

SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE YOUR FRIEND

While social media can cause a lot of confusion, it can also be a tool for good. On birthdays, I make sure to find a great photo with a great story. I tag the friend and write a kick-ass caption alluding to the memory and wishing them a wonderful birthday.

Sometimes , I just find an old picture that sparks a memory and post that. It doesn’t have to be a birthday or a special occasion. In fact, I think the best posts are the unexpected ones.

GET TO THE POST OFFICE

I love cards! I generally buy blank cards and get all sappy with words. Not so good with words? Draw a picture or copy a poem they’d appreciate. A stamp costs $.49. If you’re an employee in certain office buildings, they’ll even mail through USPS for free.

EVER HEARD OF KNOCK KNOCK STUFF?

I heard about Knock Knock because a friend used these books to show me love. Under the section“fill in the love,” you can purchase books with titles like, “Why You’re So Awesome” or “Why You Make Me Smile.” They usually have 50 pages and are fill-in-the-blanks. Not only are they fun to complete, but pretty affordable, too, at only $10.

PICK UP THE PHONE

Talking on the phone is a lost art. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear someone’s voice. Don’t want to hold the phone to your ear? FaceTime works wonders. With FaceTime, you get a name and a beautiful face.

SPEND SOME QUALITY TIME

The most precious thing we can give our girl gang is our time. You can always get back money, but time, time you’ll never get back, which is why it’s the ultimate gift.

Most of your friends know your schedule. They know what you’re juggling because they are juggling too. Because they know you, when you give your time in spite of all the other things that are begging for your attention, they’ll really appreciate the quality time.

How do you show appreciation for your girl gang? Let us know in the comments below, and join the community on Hey! VINA on the app store. 

ATTITUDE AND ATTIRE: WHY YOU FEEL GOOD WHEN YOU LOOK GOOD

I had brunch with a friend recently, and after we were done we spent a good amount of time picking out her outfit for a date that evening. As she pulled shirt after shirt out of her closet, I kept asking her how she felt wearing each one. I told her that in the right ensemble, she’d feel more confident.

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(Photo courtesy of Theberry.com)

I was speaking from experience. I can attest that when I’ve put together an outfit I love, my voice is stronger, my thoughts are clearer, and my smile is bigger. I can rule the world. I have to say, it works adversely as well and honestly –I’ve used this tactic as a weapon. If I’m publicly speaking or I have a big meeting, I put on something that I feel amazing in. I also make sure that my hair is styled and my makeup is on point. I notice that I am more confident, and that others respond more positively towards me. But why is this? Why do we feel good when we look good?

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(Photo courtesy of Extrapetite.com)

 

Studies conducted at Penn State show that there is a correlation between clothing and mood. Putting on something nice when you’re feeling down can actually make you feel better. I have often commented to myself or friends, “well at least I look good” when things are going wrong, because I have at least put together something that I am proud of.

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So the next time you’re in a crummy mood because you have to run boring errands, dress up a bit. Have a big date that you’re nervous about? Spend an extra ten minutes on your makeup. Interviewing for your dream job? Buy those pants that make you feel like the interviewer will hire you on the spot. Look good, feel good is a thing. You don’t need to dress up for others. Dress up for yourself! Building yourself up is never something to shy away from, so feel free to use it to your advantage.

What are your thoughts on feel good look good? What else lifts you up when you’re down, or is an instant confidence booster? Comment below and meet other good-lookin’ vinas on Hey! VINA. 

(Photo courtesy of Rue Magazine)

 

WHY MY ADULT BFFS ARE SO IMPORTANT TO ME

Living in a city is hard. They’re fast paced, unrelenting, and sometimes downright cruel. Yet, cities are the place where most of our careers flourish,  we find our niche (and ourselves), and grow into the adults we’re meant to be. I would argue, like this article I recently read, that none of these things are possible, city or not, without your best friend.

I remember in middle school when we wrote notes (really showing my age here) and we’d sign them with BFFL (“best friends for life”), and BFF (“best friends forever”).

While I’m no longer signing texts “best friends forever,” I can honestly say that I still have best friends now as an adult, and I know these relationships will last for life.

Maia Dickinson really makes me think about my friendships and their importance in a completely different way. She talks about learning the importance of intimacy, when and how to be honest, “the art of unconditional support,” and the ability to lean on someone for support in difficult situations.

If you can learn to be a great friend, you’ve set yourself up for a lifetime of great relationships.

From this, we can argue that adult friendship is our first adult relationship. Dickinson goes on to say she’s learned companionship, compromise, compatibility, and complacency, all from her adult friendships.

She’s really onto something here. My adult friendships have taught me all these things and more. I’d even go as far to say I wouldn’t  be who I am or where I am today without my adult best friends. I’ve learned that adult friendship is the building block for any great relationship. If you can learn to be a great friend, you’ve set yourself up for a lifetime of great relationships.

Do you have an adult best friend? Share this with her and tag her in the comments below! Still looking for one? Download Hey! VINA on the app store and get ready to meet your new bestie. 

(Feature image via @curlswithapromise)