RECONNECT WITH YOUR FRIEND WHO’S ‘SO CULTURED’ WHEN SHE GETS BACK FROM STUDYING ABROAD

Confession time: I have never had my heart broken by a boy.

Lucky? Perhaps.

But, I’d argue that waving goodbye to your best friend as they travel to the other side of the world for an entire semester or year feels a lot like heartbreak. After our first year of university together, my best vina moved to study abroad and, to put it lightly, it sucked.

Fortunately, she came back and she’s still my BFF. So how did we reconnect after a year apart? Well, it wasn’t easy but I do have a few tips:

DON’T LOSE TOUCH IN THE FIRST PLACE

Admittedly my vina and I didn’t talk anywhere near as much as we did when we lived together (an eight hour time difference will have that effect), but we did keep each other up-to-date with the important stuff. Whether that was over FaceTime or via Snapchat, we made an effort to make each other laugh and that made reconnecting a whole lot easier.

LISTEN

With a whole year of gossip to catch up on it is important to set aside time to listen and share your experiences of the past year without each other. Organize a vina date, a coffee break, or a sleepover – anything that will allow you to listen to each other uninterrupted. Just try not to be jealous when she reminisces on the amazing cultural experiences she went on!

GET NOSTALGIC

Relive the memories you shared with your vina before she left to study abroad. Dig out the photos (the more embarrassing the better), visit the same bars, watch the same films, and laugh for hours on end as if nothing has changed.

MAKE NEW MEMORIES TOGETHER

Start a new boxset, attend a new yoga class, try that new brunch spot, take each other out on dates like you would your S.O. and fall back in love with your friendship by forming new traditions and memories!

WELCOME NEW FRIENDS

Accept that your vina made new friends while studying abroad and give her space to stay in touch with them, too. You might even get to meet them yourself and find out that they’re freakin’ awesome (true story✌)!

My vina may have broke my heart when she left to study abroad, but, if you can conquer long distance, you can conquer the world! 🌎 Are you excited for your abroad friends to come back home?

(Feature image via Free People)

HOW TO HANDLE BEING THE THERAPIST FRIEND

Aaah being the “therapist friend”—isn’t it tough being so wise and calm and all knowing? Lol JK. Ever wonder how it is that every single one of your friends comes to you for advice and guidance? Whether you’re the self-proclaimed therapist or the great responsibility of giving advice was bestowed upon you by the friendship gods, being that friend can get stressful.

Of course, you are always happy to be there for your friends—that’s why they come to you! But it’s important not to internalize this role too much. Allow me to elaborate.

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You know how you can always give the best advice, almost effortlessly to others but you can never seem to listen to your own words? This also goes for encouragement and positivity.

You, the therapist of the group can always make your friends feel better and empowered, but you just can’t do it for yourself. Well—duh!

Yes, it’s important to believe in yourself but you can’t always only rely on yourself, which is what we advice-givers do! I don’t know what it is, but it’s really hard to ask for help and advice sometimes. Personally, I’ll often find myself keeping my problems to myself. For some reason, when you’re the one everyone goes to with their problems, those problems not only add up, but they seem much more important than your own!

Vinas, please don’t minimize your own problems because that is how you start to bottle things up, which leads to way more stress than is necessary!

Since you are the person everyone in the group goes to, you’re probably really good at giving positive vibes and encouragement to everyone but yourself! You know it’s true! Your vina is stressing about life and it’s second nature for you to immediately remind them of how amazing they are and how much they do! Then, you look in the mirror and wonder when you’ll get your own life together.

It’s natural to feel down on yourself sometimes, but being the therapist friend often makes you think you should be able to pull yourself out of your own funk. But sometimes you need someone else to encourage and advise you! That’s why you should really try to communicate with your friends about your problems, so they can provide you with much needed advice and encouragement!

Are you the therapist friend in the group? Don’r know? Then take our quiz and let us know in the comments!

CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE WITH MORE GRATITUDE

Gratitude (noun): a feeling of appreciation or thanks; the state of being grateful

If you’re in a slump, or things just don’t seem to be going your way, it’s hard to imagine being grateful for the situation. We might not like to admit it, but it’s sometimes easier to wallow in self pity than to actually change the things that put us in the pit of despair to begin with. Luckily, although you might now be able to change a situation, you can change how you are situated mentally. The simple act of thinking of & focusing on being thankful and appreciative can change your life! Still sounds out of this world? Here are some tips to bring you back to earth and outside of your own experiences:

DIVE IN

On your next day off- or better yet, on your next busy morning- wake up ready to give. I don’t mean money, or food, or even time- I’m talking attention. Be present in every interaction. Smile at strangers, ask the barista how she’s doing, look the bus driver in the eyes and say “thank you” as you get off. These seemingly simple gestures can brighten some one else’s day (so long as the gestures are genuine). Dedicating thought and energy into how you influence the lives of others just by being thankful for their presence is a great first step to forming a new outlook on life.

USE YOUR WORDS

All too often, we assume people know that we are grateful for them. In fact- it rarely even crosses out mind to let them know since we think it’s so obvious. Chances are they are unaware of how much they really mean to you, so why not let them know? Call up your parent and thank her/him for putting so much time into raising you. Send your vina a text letting her know how grateful you are to have her in your life. Stop a coworker just to say you’re happy to work with someone who does their job so well. You never know how much a person needs your words of encouragement and appreciation.

WRITE IT DOWN

If you don’t have a journal because you’re unsure of what you would put in it, here’s your chance to go buy that cute little notebook from your local book store. Start your entries every day for just one week with three things you are thankful for- this could be anything from the time you spent with your vina, to a gift someone gave you, or maybe you just saw something beautiful that brightened your day. At the end of the week, you will notice that you no longer even need to think  of three “thankful things”- you’ll just immediately appreciate them when they appear.

GET YOUR VINAS ON BOARD

It’s hard to change your attitude and appreciate life if you are surrounded by complainers. Let your vinas, family, and other members of your circle know what you’re up to, and encourage them to also reflect on their lives. By reframing life and experiences as something to be thankful for, you could change the very dynamic of your relationships.

What are you waiting for?? It’s never too late to appreciate! Let us know what you’re thankful for in the comments! 

(Feature image via pinterest)

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR FRIENDS DGAF ABOUT YOUR FITNESS ASPIRATIONS

While scrolling through Instagram you come across a stellar fitness account. You spend a half-hour flicking through their posts about meal plans, workouts and amazing success stories. It gets you so hyped you just want to show someone, so naturally you run to your friends. You think: surely they will appreciate it, and they will probably want to dive into the whole program with you.

Next time you are hanging with your mates you bring up the gram account, and start telling them about all the buddy workouts you found, along with the diet plans that have all the earmarks of gourmet meals. You’re gushing with excitement, but all you get back is,”that’s cool, so what are we doing Saturday night?” A crushing blow. How can they not be as excited as you were? Did they not see the workouts? Weren’t they motivated by the success stories?

The answer is no. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but many of us have to face it. Those friends aren’t always going to understand YOUR fitness goals.

I have come to realize there are many others like myself who struggle with approaching their friends about the whole fitness subject.  It’s hard trying to explain your situation to people if they aren’t now and have never been in it before. Many of us have friends who just seem to be in perfect physical shape already. Or we have friends who show no interest in challenging their bodies; never workout and never want to. No, it seems that when it comes to health, it can be very hard to get others to understand your plight.

Your friends love you though right? Of course they do, they just aren’t going through the same things as you are. So then how do you make them understand? In this case, honesty is the best policy. You must remember it isn’t that your friends don’t care- it’s simply that they don’t understand, and that’s why it is so important for you to make them. Tell them what it is you are going through. Explain to them why it is you have decided to change your lifestyle: maybe you are more sluggish than you used to be. Perhaps you haven’t been feeling well and have traced it to an unhealthy diet. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re excited about working out. Crazy right?

Now I am not so idealistic that I can’t accept that sometimes your friends will still dismiss you. As long as they are supportive of your goals when pertaining  to your body, they are good friends. They themselves might not be into the whole workout or diet thing, but they need to be supportive and understanding if it’s what you want for yourself. If your friends make fun of you for having these goals, or put you down when you talk about your aspirations, then we have a very different case on our hands. Remember what is right for you might now be right for others, but friends will never put you down or make you feel inadequate.

Having trouble finding friends that just don’t get it? Hop on the Hey!VINA app and explore the different fitness communities. Post a link to your favorite partner workout in the comments! 

(Image via pintrest

HOW TO RESPOND TO A SOCIAL IDENTITY THREAT

The current socio-political climate in the US has created an “anything goes” mentality that has unveiled some devastating consequences. It seems as though “social identity threats”-or attacks on a person’s social identity, whether it be race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.- are more and more common… almost expected nowadays. While many people fear these attacks and wish to ignore such exchanges, these moments of extreme tension can become learning opportunities depending on how they are handled.

In an article for Psych Today,  Dr. Oscar Holmes IV speaks about social identity threats and  ways in which people cope with them. Whether an identity threat happens at home, work, school, or out in public, it is important to understand productive ways to react. Here are a few typical ways people respond and how they can be helpful of hurtful depending on the situation:

IGNORE IT

This can feel like the easiest way to deal with ignorance and disrespect. While ignoring a social identity threat might be preferred in situations where the threat was not necessarily intended, it is important for these attacks to be adressed. Nothing will change is it is not addressed. While there are some things not worth getting mad over, there are other instances in which ignoring a social identity threat- whether to your  identity or someone else’s- makes the problem worse rather than making it disappear. Pick and chose your battles, but don’t forget to fight.

DEROGATION

Derogation is when a person verbally attacks the attacker. While this may feel like the sweetest form of justice, and you believe the person really deserved the sass, this response burns more bridges than it creates. If we truly wish to change the climate in which social identity threats run rampant, we cannot contribute to the list of threats just because we have been threatened.

POSITICE DISTINCTIVENESS

Deemed the “most proactive of the identity-protection responses”, positive distinctiveness is when a person engages their attacker in conversation, highlighting what is good about the identity that has been threatened. While this may seem intimidating, this response has the most potential for growth and change. Especially when an identity attack comes from a place of ignorance. Sometimes a person just needs to be informed of their bias.

SEEK ASSISTANCE

When your social identity is being threatened by someone you know, it can be helpful to seek assistance from other people who are involved or who know the identity attacker. This can lessen the feeling of anxiety that surround the idea of confrontation- especially for something as personal as your identity. Having outside parties involved will also force the person who threatened your identity to see that intolerance and ignorance are serious issues that will not overlooked.

If you observe identity threatening behavior in public, be the assistance a person seeks. Whether it be diffusing the attacker or supporting the targeted person, do not be silent and passive to bigotry. Often times, it takes a simple act of courage and bravery to spark a chain effect by which we all support and protect each others identities.

These are just some of the ways in which people respond to social identity threats- you can find the rest of the article here. Social identity threats don’t look like they’re going away any time soon, so be prepared to respond and defend yourself and others. 

Have advice for people caught in a situation where their social identity is being threatened? Share with us in the comments! 

(Image via pintrest)

 

 

 

 

5 TED TALKS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

When you’re feeling down, unsure, or just looking for some inspiration, submerging yourself in the words and wisdom of others can help. Here are some TED talks that are sure to get your gears moving, thoughts brewing, and maybe even ignite a flame of change:

“YOUR BODY LANGUAGE SHAPES WHO YOU ARE”

In this talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy speaks about how our body language speaks for itself- and is often times more powerful than actual words. This is a great talk to listen to before a job interview, presentation, or even a date. Understanding how your signals are perceived by others is the first step to making a great first impression. In the words of Amy Cuddy- confidence is all about “faking it until you make it”.

“BRING ON THE FEMALE SUPERHEROES!”

In this bittersweet talk about the absence of female superheroes, Christopher Bell speaks about how even his amazing, talented,  and confident daughter is damaged by a lack of female role models. This call to action will force you to reconsider superhero consumerism, and help you become more critical of the media we so often digest without thought.

“THE DANGER OF A SINGLE STORY”

You know this is a good one if even Beyonce had to use it. This powerful message, brought to you by writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, addresses the repercussions of placing people in a predetermined box based on gender, nationality, race, etc. If you like this one, also check out “What does my headscarf mean to you?” by Yassmin Abdel-Magied- another woman challenging preconceptions, and proving there is more to a woman than what you can see.

“WHY WOMEN SHOULD TELL THE STORIES OF HUMANITY”

Jude Kelly, a theater director from Britain, discusses how humanity is told through the voices of men, while the stories of women are seen as just that- stories for women. She raises the question: why are men’s experiences taken as truth- as the “human experience”- and women’s experiences are belittled or erased. Her talk highlights how including women’s perspectives in the narration of the human experience does not require erasing the experiences of men, but rather equal representation and respect when it comes to sharing such stories.

“WHAT WILL YOU TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS ABOUT 2016?”

Chinaka Hodge delivers a powerful spoken word piece that will send chills down your spine and bring tears to your eyes. She will bring your attention to an empty hole in your stomach, and fill it with hope of the future- but only if we are aware, accountable, and aspiring to make tomorrow better than yesterday.

Did you find these talks helpful? Share them with your vinas, and post a link to YOUR fave TED talk in the comments!

UM… WHAT ARE SPINPLEXES AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Psychology Today recently released an interesting article on getting what you want, where they coined the term “spinplex.” The term relates to the word “spin,” as in, distorting facts to form a bias to certain deets. A spinplex, therefore, is a combo of these persuasive arguments that target a specific purpose. We see this alllll the time in the media. So how do we recognize, utilize, and escape from the effects of spinplexes?

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(Photo via Oh Happy Day!)

NOTICE BIASED LANGUAGE IN OTHERS

I’m not saying to notice a biased argument, rather observe the connotations of the words that are being used to describe something. For example, “angry” has a negative connotation, but “adamant” sheds a positive light. In doing this, you can better understand the speaker’s agenda, and separate out fact from spin. AKA you can form your own opinion on the facts that are being presented to you, and not be influenced by the connotations of the descriptive words.

EFFECTIVELY UTILIZE YOUR OWN LANGUAGE

Something else to pay attention to is when you yourself are creating spinplexes. For example, when you are giving a pep talk or attempting to persuade someone of something, which words are you using? One way to use spin most effectively as a persuasion tactic is to become self-gullible. This means that you are persuaded by yourself, thus making the argument more authentic. Be careful though! Just because you convinced yourself that something is true does not mean that it is.

CREATE COUNTER SPINPLEXES

This is a great exercise to give weight to the other side, no matter what you believe.  When people use a judgement word, silently tell yourself the opposite judgement, for example if someone uses the word “pushover”, whisper “helpful” to yourself. The word you’re using does not have to be the label you believe is true, but this exercise creates a more balanced scale, and reveals the multiplicity of judgement and opinion possible, which in turn allows for the understanding of various worldviews.

What do you think of this new term? Have you noticed spinplexes coming from others or even yourself? Discuss with a vina and comment below! 

(Featured Image via Bloguettes

 

HOW TO POWER THROUGH SENIORITIS (EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT IN SCHOOL)

It isn’t easy combatting the lack of motivation that sets in when you are so close to graduating. You have spent years in the game, pulling all nighters for projects; skipped parties to write papers (granted they should have been done weeks ago), and skipped that big ABC (anything but clothes) party to be studious!  You worked tirelessly to study for the multitude of finals professors cram in at the very end of each semester, and now you are just completely burnt out. Your motto went from “I got this, just you watch me” to “future tomorrow, nap now.” Ah yes, sneaky senioritis has shown its ugly face. The question now is, with time running out, how are you supposed to fight back?

Firstly, be sure you are keeping a harmonic balance between work and play. We all know there is such a thing as having too much fun. It’s quite easy to get carried away and make your school years all about social status, thus letting your studies slip away. However, it can be  as equally harmful to put too much focus into your studies while never allowing yourself and your brain a night off.

It’s absolutely true that we attend school to learn about historic events, proper grammar and the periodic table. Then we go off to college to focus on a major- a particular subject, or two, that creates the foundation for what it is we would like to do for a living. Without the Yin and Yang that is schoolwork and socializing, one can find it all too easy to lose motivation. Sometimes, senioritis hits so hard because you find that you have spent so much of your time on school work that you have completely cut ties with you social side. Thus the saying: “too much of anything isn’t a good thing.”

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Never forget how important those studies are though. They are the core reason for why you went to the trouble of going to college in the first place. I think we can all hatch up a story or two about someone we knew who went to college, but never seemed to be there for the diploma. Surely some people attend school solely for the “perks,” but don’t let yourself be one of these people. You will find it to be a very costly endeavor.

Even if you’re not in school anymore, you might find yourself just OVER. IT. Maybe you’re feeling unmotivated at work, slacking on your relationships, and/or feeling uninspired by hobbies that used to bring you tons of happiness. We all get in slumps, and this form of “senioritis” can be combatted just like the kind you experienced in school.

Remember what all your hard work has been for – you didn’t get yourself into this for nothing, at least I don’t think you did. You didn’t take on the students loans and the years of stress just to say “I’m tired,” and throw it all away. You started this to finish it, to get that little scrap of paper and have it framed for your wall. You did this to give yourself, your significant other, your parents and your children a better life. Remember YOUR life truly begins when you graduate and it beings hard and fast, so take charge of your future today, and save the nap for tomorrow.

Call up some of your vinas and plan a group study session to help with the perfect balance of social time and study time! Let us know some of your best remedies for senioritis in the comments!

(Photos via alexandra galbreath photography on pintrest)

HOW TO PREP FOR A FRIEND MOVING AWAY

About a year and a half ago, my fiancé and I packed up a moving van and relocated a thousand miles across the country – away from our families and friends. We were leaving some of the best friends in the world behind, and it was really tough moving to a city where we would know no one.
However, moving away from a friend does not have to mean the end of your friendship! It’s easier than ever to stay in touch. For some friends, it might even feel like you never left. Know that long distance friendships are definitely possible, and a friend moving away doesn’t have to be as miserable as it sounds.

GET HER A MEMORABLE GIFT

If your vina is moving away, consider getting her a picture frame with a photo of the two of you. This will help decorate her new home and remind her of the awesome vinas that she’ll always have. Even if you are the one moving, consider giving a few of your vinas a similar memento to remember the good times you had. You could even have a going away party with all of your friends as one last hurrah, plus you’ll all remember it forever.

MAKE PLANS TO SEE EACH OTHER

If one of you is moving just a few hours away, consider making plans every other month to see each other. If you’re moving across the country, make plans to visit within the year. Having long distance friends is the perfect opportunity to meet up for a vacation! Meet each other halfway in a new city, and you will have fun both catching up and exploring. Before the big move, set a time frame for your next trip to see each other. Instead of being sad that your friend is gone, you will have a future date to be excited about.

KEEP IN TOUCH

With social media, it’s so easy to stay connected. Try to connect with your vina once a week or once a month to see what she’s been up to. Schedule weekly FaceTime dates or send daily Snapchats. Even consider being pen pals and communicating via handwritten letters.  It’s always exciting to get something other than bills in the mail, and it’s a great way to stay in touch.
If you’re not great at keeping in touch but don’t want to lose your friend, set up reminders on your phone to reach out and say hi. Your friend will appreciate the familiar face (or voice or text). Keep as many of the same habits as you can with your vina – it will make the transition less scary.
Big friendship moves are always sad, but just because you’re moving away from a friend, doesn’t mean you will lose them. Hang out with your vina as much as possible before she goes, and just remember that it won’t be the last time you see her.
How have you and your vina coped with distance? Let us know in the comments!
 

 (Featured image via  Herschel Supply Co.)

MAKING MATCHES THAT LAST

So you’ve been on Hey! VINA for a bit. You put time and effort into your profile. You swipe and match with purpose. You’ve even met up with a few potential vinas. But alas, you still haven’t made any forever friends, and you’re feeling defeated.

Don’t worry! This is totally normal. And above all else, it has nothing to do with you. Making friends can sometimes feel like dating, and you don’t fall madly in love with every person you go on a date with, do you?

Good things take time, and developing meaningful friendships is a great thing. So patience is key and so is persistence. The more you put yourself out there, the greater your chances are of meeting the perfect vina for you. Because everyone deserves their own vina success story.

But if you really are feeling burnt out, step back from the app. Take a weekend to recharge, take care of yourself, and spend some Q.T. with your pre-existing vinas.

These gals just get you. And they can remind you of all the qualities you look for in a true vina. Your mom, sisters and high school/college friends are always good options. Think about what makes these relationships so amazing, and consider how you can translate that into something new.

But after this hiatus, hop right back on Hey! VINA. There is someone really wonderful waiting to get coffee, talk about the madness of life, and laugh until they cry with you by their side. You’ve just got to keep searching.

(Featured image via uloop.com