BECOMING AN EARLY BIRD

Whether you work the morning shift or like watching the sun rise, everyone can benefit from waking up at 6am. These are just the benefits that I personally have noticed, and I’m sure you’ll notice them once you stop hitting the snooze button!

Eat Breakfast

Getting up earlier will push you to eat breakfast first, which is, as many grandmas would say, the most important meal of the day! Breakfast it vital to our daily food intake, and it will stop you from feeling hungry and eating snacks throughout the day. This will also go hand and hand with the next benefit.

Boosted Metabolism

There’s no doubt that waking up early gets your gears moving a lot sooner in the day.  This means that your metabolism will be kickstarted. The morning time is when your metabolism is at it’s peak and it starts weakening later on in the day, so wake up to receive this natural benefit!

Body Healing

Waking up earlier for a slow start also means that you won’t be jumping right out of bed with an aching body. I personally always had lower back pain before letting my body gently wake up with the rest of the world. Adding yoga or pilates to your morning routine also stretches your body so you won’t pull anything or have stiff muscles all day.

Plan the Day

Since you have this extra time, you can plan your day, or go over your plans from the night before. If you don’t do much planning, you can check and make sure you don’t have any appointments set up. *I began using an iOS app named “One List” (Not sure about the availability on Android), and it has helped me a ton during my previous semester of college. To rid of ads and unlock all the themes, it’s $4.99, but very worth it in my opinion! If you want to go paperless, this app is very simplistic and helpful in sorting tasks and their level of difficulty.

More Productive

If you spend time planning your day, you’re more than likely going to follow it which makes you more productive. Even if this doesn’t apply, you’re going to do something when you wake up, no matter how big or small the task may be!

Improves Sleep

Since you will be waking up at 6am, your body will start getting tired earlier. You may find that you become tired around 8pm rather than 12am, and that’s a great thing! It’s easier to wake up early if you go to sleep earlier, which makes you feel like you had the best sleep. Many of us only feel fully rested when we go to bed and sleep in late. However, you can get the same feeling and more!

Energized

The energy in your body will be at an all time high when you give yourself a little time! Forget spending $3 a day on energy drinks and pulling all nighters. They leave you tired, unhealthy, and drains energy faster than you can drink it. If you want to save money and gain time, this is for you!

Easy 8am Classes/Morning Shift

This only applies for those who are in college or work an early morning shift, but nonetheless helpful. If you wake up at 6am, you have two free hours to do what you like. Whether you kick back and enjoy a Netflix show or spend the few hours studying for a test for your 8am course, it makes these early tasks simple.

Better Mental Health

This is in no way inferring that all mental health issues will be eradicated. This just improves mental health and dealing with it. Better sleep and decreased stress are linked to a healthier mind. When you’re more productive and energized you feel great and that everyday is purposeful.

*not sponsored

Start swiping on Hey! VINA today to find a best girlfriend that will keep you accountable on your new goals!

HAPPY NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK!

woman getting her pulse checked

The United States Women’s National Health Week is from May 12th through the 18th this year! Here are a few ways to keep your health in check so that you can continue being the most badass version of yourself:

GET YOUR WELL WOMAN CHECKUP ASAP!

If you haven’t already gone in for your annual checkup, now’s the time to get it scheduled! I don’t know about you, but I’m a borderline hypochondriac so I’ll do anything that’ll reassure me that I’m not nine-months pregnant or that I have a rare, incurable disease. A thorough well-woman checkup will include preventative screenings such as breast examinations and pap smears.

START MOVIN’ AND GROOVIN’

Woman's silhouette running against the sunrise

According to World Health Organization, one in four adults live a sedentary lifestyle. This leaves you susceptible to common diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. The good news is that it’s never too late to adopt a more active lifestyle.

Just recently I started seeing a personal trainer and I’ve never felt so strong in my life. Now, I’m not saying you suddenly have to start doing SoulCycle every week or become a yoga guru, but even just incorporating brisk 15-minute walks into your routine could make all the difference.

ADOPT A HEALTHIER DIET

Did you know your gut can tell you more about your current health state than any other part of your body? Think about it; how often do you deal with bloat or constipation or fatigue? It can even affect your sleep and weight! Bad gut health is a result of consistent bad eating habits (along with a few other factors such as stress levels and hydration). That means the best way to get your gut in check is to have a well-balanced diet. Try to cut back on foods with a high sugar or trans fat content and replace them with more fibrous foods. Maybe even get tested for subtle food allergies you might have.

Be warned though. Your doctor might tell you that you’re allergic to garlic and you’ll question everything you know about yourself – not that I’m projecting or anything.

Long story short vinas, a better balanced diet = happy gut = happy you.

KEEP YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN CHECK

A girl reading poetry with a cup of tea

According to Women’s Health, one in five women in the United States (I’m sure it’s similar in other parts of the world) have experienced a mental health condition. Thankfully it’s becoming more acceptable to be open and honest about mental health issues in the workplace, in schools, and even between loved ones.

I personally struggle with depression and anxiety. It’s been a long road getting to a place where I can manage it better, but I still have a long way to go.

So here’s your reminder to be kind to and patient with yourselves vinas. Treat yourself to some “me days” accompanied with some wine (or coffee or tea) and a good book (or your favorite T.V. show). Of course these should not be in placement of treatments provided by a licensed therapist if you choose to seek one.

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

Here’s my last one for you vinas, and it’s an important one. Be sure to practice safe behaviors such as quitting smoking (or not starting), not texting while driving (I ain’t a saint, I struggle with this one too), wearing your seat belts, and using protection.

I want to end on a high note and remind all of you vinas that the first step to loving yourself is taking care of yourself, so please keep these tips in mind year-round.

Even better download the Hey! VINA app today and share these tips with some new life-long friends.

TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: THERAPY

Mental health is still a tricky subject, and there are many people who still think that going to therapy is somehow shameful or something to hide. No way! Therapy and counseling are amazing resources that can be used to your advantage.

Here are just a few things to know about therapy, if you’ve been on the fence about using its resources.

IT HELPS TO TALK IT OUT.

Talk therapy can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to discussing your mental health or anything that’s on your mind. Sometimes, we have clear ideas of how we’re feeling in our head, but when we articulate it into words, it turns out that there’s a completely different reason for why we’re in a funk.

YOUR THERAPIST PROVIDES AN OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE.

Sometimes you need someone completely removed from your life and from the subject that’s bothering you to give you some help. Outside perspectives allow you to see things in a way that maybe you wouldn’t have before, and it can be super helpful if you’re spending too much time in your head or you’re in a close relationship with someone that’s causing you problems.

THERAPISTS WILL GIVE YOU WAYS TO COPE.

One of the main things that therapists do is provide coping mechanisms so you can enact healthy ways of dealing with mental health hiccups (or even just a bad day) when you’re not in your therapist’s office. If you can use these coping mechanisms to your advantage, you’ll hopefully be able to learn more about yourself and what works for you.

IT HELPS TO KNOW YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Just talking to someone and having them provide legitimacy for whatever is bothering you can be a huge weight off your chest. Therapists or counselors will validate the fact that, yes, you’re going through something…and they’ll help you think of ways to combat those feelings.

YOU’LL HAVE TO WORK AT IT, TOO.

Your therapist isn’t there to solve your problems; they are there to help you find ways to work through your problems so when they inevitably rear their head again, you’ll be prepared. It will take work on your part to enact healthy coping mechanisms and practice getting to know what works for you.

Here at Hey! VINA, we’re strong advocates of doing whatever you need to do to ensure that you are your best self.

MENTAL HEALTH CHECK-IN

I don’t mind sharing the fact that I’ve been clinically diagnosed with generalized anxiety and depression. Although I’ve managed my anxiety through medication along with removing things that make me anxious, I still battle depression on a regular basis. Some days I’m the stereotypical can’t-get-out-of-bed-to-adult-today type of depressed and other days I am the I-have-no-friends-and-everyone-is-married-but-me depressed. Either type of depressive feeling sucks! The one cliche that everyone notes is “you are not alone.”

It’s easy to feel alone when you’re facing your own battles and situations. Feeling lonely can make you depressed; being depressed can make you lonely. Unfortunately, our natural instinct is to meld one into the other. Loneliness is not the same as being alone. When you’re alone, there’s literally no one around. When you’re lonely, you’re experiencing a feeling. Regardless of how many people are around, you don’t feel as though you’re connecting with anyone. I have children, so it’s safe to say I’m never alone. However, I do feel lonely when I have no one to talk to about the unnecessary door slamming at 7 a.m.

I’m not a medical professional, and always recommend that you speak to a professional regarding your feelings of loneliness or depression. It’s the best thing you can do in the name of self-care. However, I’ll share what’s worked for me in overcoming my loneliness and depression.

WRITE IT OUT

woman writing

Journaling is a popular method for logging a lot of different things, from writing out things you want to manifest to jotting down your feelings throughout the day. Start simple. Use the Notes app on your phone to write down a feeling and the time. Later you can expand on how you felt in that moment and what was occurring. I’m big on technology and apps, and there is one app I highly recommend called MoodNotes (currently available on iOS) by a company called Thriveport. According to its website, “Thriveport’s mission is to create helpful, intuitive, and scientifically sound tools to improve people’s lives.” Try it out.

TRIGGERS

A huge way to analyze and get through a feeling of loneliness or depression is to learn and understand your triggers. If seeing a picture of a normal happy moment triggers a feeling of depression for you, you need to analyze why you reacted that way. One of the reasons it’s so important to keep track of how you feel through the day is to help you find the source of your feelings. Once you learn what triggers certain feelings, you’ll be better able to overcome moments of loneliness and depression. Being able to change your thought patterns around sadness will help you maintain a level of control. We often fall into mental traps by personalizing, blaming, catastrophizing, and so on. Sometimes re-thinking the situation to avoid these traps will help you see a way out.

YOU AREN’T ALONE (REALLY)

Two women on a dock.

The awesome thing that I’ve learned is that I’m really not alone. I’m unique. My situation may seem unique, but I am not alone. And neither are you. The Hey! VINA app shows that there are so many women out there who are looking for support, looking to have fun, and looking to make real connections. There are people that care about you. There are people that want to be around you. You are a good person, regardless of the decisions you’ve made that aren’t. Not everyone judges a book by its cover. You are loved, even if you may not know it yet.

Finding a support system can be a challenge when you’re in a slump where you feel like you don’t deserve one. Always remember, your support system starts with you. Put a smile on your face (Go ahead, I’ll wait. No I don’t care if it’s fake). Pull your shoulders back, and take control of your life and your emotions. You and only you have the power to reclaim your happiness and be everything you want to be.

And you deserve it. That and so much more.

Head over to Hey!VINA to find some genuine connections and start building your support system today.

TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: MENTAL HEALTH

It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel like you have to stay in bed for a couple extra hours when it’s rainy outside. It’s okay to seek help from a therapist, a friend, a parent, a teacher. It’s okay to not be okay. Let’s slash the stigma regarding mental health and remind ourselves that our brains matter!

Mental health and physical health are one and the same; If you’ve broken a leg, you’re not going to be able to participate in a 5k until it’s healed. If your brain is “broken”—or, just not working properly—it’s okay to sit this one out. So, why don’t we view these two in the same light? Why do we prioritize physical health?

Two years ago, I faced many debilitating fears that would not allow me to face my day with 100% ability. I had experienced intrusive thoughts that would constantly linger in my mind, despite trying to tell myself that they were completely irrational.

My mom provided me with a sense of solace when she told me, “If you think something bad is going to happen, it probably won’t happen. And if it does, you’ll at least be prepared and see it coming.” Though these words allowed me to breathe a little more deeply, I didn’t feel fully okay. That’s when I decided to seek help with a therapist. My mom is a social worker, so she was very supportive throughout this process, encouraging me to prioritize my mental health.

Talking to a therapist helped me get some of these weights off of my chest. It’s so special to have someone to vent to and to be completely honest with. After multiple sessions, my therapist decided it’d be a good idea for me to try a mild dosage of an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors).

I started taking the lowest dosage of an SSRI last January, and it has helped me to see more clearly. It has put an end to my crippling anxiety, and I feel more like myself again.

Anxiety and depression are just as real and just as valid as a broken bone. We don’t make people with broken bones take on physical activities, so why should we make people with mental illnesses take on mental activities without seeking help first?

The bottom line is this: it’s okay to not be okay sometimes, but do yourself a favor and get help. It has made my life feel whole again. It could make yours feel the same.

Here at Hey! Vina we support taking mental health days to make sure each vina is reaching her fullest potential!

HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WHEN SUFFERING FROM A MENTAL OR CHRONIC ILLNESS

“We are all a little broken. But last time I checked, broken crayons still color the same.” – Trent Shelton.

As someone who was diagnosed with several mental and chronic illnesses, I have felt myself to be alone, and I am alone still. I have spent most of my life hinting at things, foreshadowing that I was struggling to make friends because of my illnesses. Loneliness comes from the inability to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding views which others seem to find inadmissible.

I voyaged my way into forming friendships that felt right to me. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to form healthy friendships throughout the years, despite my health issues. Below are the steps I followed to form long-lasting friendships. 

ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE

Whether you are introverted or extroverted, learn to accept your personality despite what you are going through. You may get caught up with your health, especially after your diagnosis, and that may make you neglect who you are or how you interact with people.

It is normal for someone who has recently been diagnosed with an illness to lose friends. You must understand that people deal with different challenges on a daily basis. Friends may not entirely comprehend what you are going through, affecting your self-esteem and causing you to critique yourself. Please don’t listen to that voice — the inner critic — in your head that says you aren’t good enough. You are here alive today because you have a purpose. Your diagnosis is just part of who you are, and it isn’t entirely you. Think of yourself as a gemstone; they are imperfect, but they absorb light and radiate color spectrums. Try to turn tragedy into a magical mystery. It isn’t easy but it is worth a try.

ACCEPT YOUR DIAGNOSIS

Before a person can accept a diagnosis, they initially may need to grieve. You must allow yourself to feel pain and disappointment about your life not being the same anymore. Cry and try to talk about it to the ones closest to you. Understand that some of these people may dismiss you or your feelings about your situation, but that doesn’t necessarily define the path your life is taking. Accept that, when you have to come into terms with your diagnosis, you will inevitably be vulnerable. People may say or insinuate things about you that aren’t true — try to trust your intuition about this.

CONSIDER ADOPTING A PET

Pets are noble companions. It may be a good idea to consider adopting a pet, especially if you have been struggling to form friendships with people. They are loyal, and you can always count on them during the good and bad times.

CONTRIBUTE IN SOCIETY + PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE

This is a time for you to consider volunteering in your community! This may expose you to different people and working environments outside of your comfort zone. Volunteering helped me meet different people and people with similar health issues and make new friends.

Volunteer work is not only done to improve your resume; you will learn skills that not only become vital in the workplace, but are also necessary for life. Exploring new places makes you become more self-aware about your surroundings and yourself. Your health issues are a part of your life, however, as previously stated, your health issues do not completely define who you are. 

JOIN MENTAL AND CHRONIC ILLNESS SUPPORT GROUPS

One of the hardest things that I had to deal with after being diagnosed with an illness was educating myself and understanding the emotional aspects of having to deal with such an ordeal. Joining mental and chronic illness support groups either online or in your community can help you process and grieve over your diagnosis. Support groups have always been my safe haven for asking all sorts of questions regarding the illnesses I have been diagnosed with. There are admins and moderators in certain online support groups to help control and manage the group and the tone in which people use to communicate with each other.

Unfortunately, trolls can be found anywhere online these days, but luckily most online support groups, especially Facebook support groups, are private. This means that whatever you decide to post in those groups is only seen by people who are within the group. 

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

If you have issues forming meaningful relationships or friendships, it may be difficult to express your feelings with people without feeling judged. Chances are, you might not be the only one who has had that issue. If you feel lonely and want to speak to someone, you could kindly request people to speak to you in private, which may easily help you make online friends. The same applies to support groups in your area. The only difference is, you get to meet with people on a weekly basis and discuss issues you might be facing.

Trust me, this acts as a form of talk therapy, and getting resources from such platforms helped me expand my knowledge about my illnesses. Most importantly, you’ll get to learn that you are not alone in your suffering. Feeling a sense of community is quite important. In fact, I consider it to be a basic human need.

It is imperative that a vina always remembers to take care of herself, especially when she is ill. If things feel wrong, learn to not pursue them. Learn to listen to your body and your intuition. If your body needs rest, then allow yourself to rest. Trust your own process and your body because nobody is you and that is your power. Articulate yourself in a respectful manner, and learn not to drown in other people’s opinions. Do not be a people-pleaser; learn to please yourself, because you come first. Never speak poorly about yourself, and do not listen to your inner critic, for it is your worst enemy.

Be more self-aware and kind to yourself. Let go of things you have no control over, and let your life unfold into the beauty and terror, and all that comes in between. Always learn from bad experiences, trust yourself, and most importantly, believe in yourself.  Love all the people in your life, and know when to walk away if a relationship fails. Some people will be toxic and narcissistic, others will love you for who you truly are. Unfortunately, meeting new people isn’t easy but if you know your own worth, no one can ever make you doubt yourself. Never lower your standards just so you can have people in your life. This is the hardest lesson I had to learn when I was forming new relationships. 

PEOPLE SKILLS: CONQUER YOUR FEARS

Start new conversations wherever you are. You would be amazed at how small talk or simple conversations with strangers can easily turn into intellectually-stimulating conversations. Approach life as a learning curve because there is not one specific way that people can go about meeting each other. I met all my friends in different ways. Some of my friends were my classmates in college, others were some that I met randomly by politely speaking to them in restaurants or other public places. Most of them I met in bookstores, because I love reading, and I very well consider myself a book lover.

You are still the same person before your diagnosis. Nothing has changed much about you, you just managed to get help from health professionals and that is what a diagnosis represents. It doesn’t symbolize your hopes and dreams, nor does it represent your personality. Go out there and learn more about this world and find people that make you happy.

SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION

There was a point in my life where I got so many diagnoses that I was self-harming and I eventually contemplated suicide. I had no friends about me, I was devastatingly lonely. I couldn’t articulate myself well, my speech was always hazy and my shoulders were constantly dropping. I not only considered my body as a burden, but I felt like a heavy burden to my own parents because of all the medical bills and my failure to form noble companionships with people. I didn’t know that this was far from the truth back then.

My acts of self-harm were an expression of my pain. I tried to use my own body as a container for my own rage because of my health issues. I felt lonely, and I sometimes do still feel lonely. What I failed to do was talk to someone that could hear me out. I failed to recognize that ruminating about death was simply me internally screaming for help and wanting the pain to end.

I wanted to live, I loved life, but I hated the responsibility that was posed upon me by my health issues. My health issues made it so difficult for me to function in society. I was constantly on the phone calling a counselor on a suicidal line, in the hopes of getting help. I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to meet people but I had no idea about how I should start meeting people.

My parents talked me out of it, and so did the counselors I spoke to on the phone. If you are in any way suicidal, remember that you are worth it. Find a safe haven or someone who can help you. The inner critic is just playing mind games with you; find people who can talk you out of it. You will get through this and you will have friends one day. 

If you are having these internal thoughts and are thinking of harming yourself, put your safety first and reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

TRY ONLINE WEBSITES AND APPS

If you have issues meeting new people in your area, or if you’ve been too ill to go out, it would be a wonderful idea to consider using online websites or apps like Hey! VINA to meet new people. When I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), I was constantly in a psychiatric ward and that resulted in me losing a lot of friends and struggling to form friendships. I used the Hey! VINA app to meet new women where I lived, and, using my gut instincts, I made new friends and overcame some of my social anxiety. Go ahead and try it!

Sending love, light, joy, and blessings your way. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind together by connecting on Hey! VINA. There, you are never alone in your mental health journey.

WAYS TO PICK YOURSELF UP AFTER A GOOD CRY

You’re in your room, your eyes are puffy and you just got done crying harder than you ever thought possible. Let me be the first to tell you: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this picture. In fact, you should be proud that you were brave enough to let yourself express all that emotion! Below are a couple of caring and healing actions you can take once you’re ready to move forward from that freeing cry sesh.

YOU ARE THE BOSS OF YOU

Once you have allowed yourself to calm down, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are the boss of your life and your emotions. Being hurt is okay, so is being sad or scared, but it is ultimately up to you to pick yourself up and push yourself forward. Remember: you are a boss babe, and you are capable of outshining all of the stars put together. This is probably the most crucial step, in my opinion, because a vina’s power comes from loving and believing in herself!

INDULGE A LITTLE

Granted, it’s never okay to eat your feelings, but we’re talking about a little indulgement. There’s nothing like dipping into your favorite snack for a little pick-me-up after spending so much energy being sad and down. Or perhaps your idea of this includes splurging on that aged brie from Trader Joe’s you’ve been eyeing all week. If there was ever a time to indulge a little, this would be it!

TREAT YOURSELF

Do you have a face mask that you have been saving for just the right moment? This is it. This is the moment. After giving yourself a pep talk and eating to your heart’s content, rejuvenate with a regimen of your choice! Whether it is a face, lip, or hair mask, do something that will make you feel energized and like you are ready for what’s next. Go the extra mile and throw some bath salts or bubbles in that bad boy! The point of this step is to feel fresh and new—like you just wiped off all the tears and the self-doubt from your life and are ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

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Photograph by Paramount Home Entertainment

BUST OUT YOUR FAVE FEEL-GOOD FILMS/TUNES

It has been scientifically proven that when you fill your brain up with happy things while you’re sad, it has a positive effect on you! It may be tempting to wallow in your own sadness and watch all the saddest movies or listen to “In My Feels” radio, but you must push past the sad and get into the happy. My go to right now? “Thank U, Next” By baby girl Ariana Grande! Make yourself a playlist pre-breakdown so you are prepared! Another way to rid the blues? Watch some feel-good movies. This includes something with an overall positive message, a plot where the strong female lead makes a big comeback, or something straight up funny. Did anyone say “Mean Girls?”

This list is a very small amount of things you can do to pick yourself back up after a good ugly-cry session. The world may seem like it is just not going right for you at the moment, but you have the world at your feet; but first, let’s get you through this bad day. You got this girl.

Lean in to your community of kickass vinas on Hey! VINA who are ready to love and support every piece of you. 

WHAT IS HAPPINESS TO YOU?

Happiness: How do you define it? I don’t mean, “ Hey Siri, what is the definition of happiness?” I mean when you think of happiness, what pops in your head? Is it hot cocoa on a cold day, or is it hanging out with family and friends? For all my taken ladies, maybe it’s being in the arms of your lover! For my single vinas, maybe it’s Channing Tatum’s rock-hard “Magic Mike” abs. Happiness is different for everyone and is not usually any one thing. No matter what form it comes in, we need to realize when it comes knocking and embrace it.

My happiness? The little things. Of course, getting published one day would make me happy, but the real happiness? The kind that stays with you in the toughest of times? They are born through any one of my five senses and live on in your heart as mere mental moments, like the sound bites that life provides in the most subtle ways. Happiness is the sound of my little sister’s laugh, her smile, the look in her eyes when she discovers something new. It’s looking in the mirror and seeing something worth loving, putting together a cute outfit that I didn’t steal from Instagram. It’s the taste of success big and small, the feeling of petting my cat, Pepper. Happiness comes in many shapes and sizes, and sometimes I don’t even know it’s happiness coming to say hello until the moment has come and gone. However, I appreciate it all the same.

Happiness isn’t something to be chased, because it is all around you, sitting in plain sight, hanging around in places called opportunities. All we need to do is reach out and grab them.

About two years ago, I had broken up with my boyfriend of six months, and my 18-year-old heart was pretty bent out of shape. It didn’t have much to do with him, but rather me questioning why I wasn’t allowed to be happy; Why couldn’t I simply have a man to be there and make me smile? Quite frankly, I wanted to be someone’s world, and that’s when the light bulb lit up, and I realized that my happiness was right in front of me. I didn’t reside in a man. It was about the moments in front of me that happened every single day. I had to learn to appreciate the little things and let them fill me up with the joy and love that I deserved and from that.

So after all of this, let me ask you: what does happiness mean to you?

Share your happiness with the people you love – get on the Hey! VINA app to find vinas that share your “joy language.” 

 

5 SIGNS YOUR BEST FRIENDS MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST THING FOR YOUR HEALTH

It’s a universal truth – even the healthiest relationships have issues. No matter how long you’ve been best pals, there will always be a degree of complications. But more importantly, not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. The best way to identify a person that may be damaging your mental health is to pay attention to the red flags. You know that nervous feeling in your stomach – the one that kind of feels like a knot? Yeah, those feelings shouldn’t be the foundation of your friendships. It’s important to be self-aware; know what kind of friend you want to be and what kind of friend is best for you.

Ignoring these signs will only increase your stress levels, and put further strain on your mental and physical stability. Here are five toxic behaviors you should look out for in friendships, and anyone you get close to.

THEY ARGUE WITH YOU

It’s healthy to have a small argument here and there. It’s human nature, people disagree. And hearing new opinions and being open to new perspectives is perfectly normal. But there is a fine line between a difference in opinion, and every word you say being ammo for an argument. If you argue until the point of feeling emotionally exhausted, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the friendship.

THEY REACT POORLY TO CRITICISM

A healthy friendship should be centered on growth. We need to be open and willing to hear the hard truths about ourselves. It puts a lot of pressure on a friendship, and your own mental health when you become sour over criticism. Best friends are intended to help you in every step of your journey. There is no growth if we choose to ignore feedback. So if your pal gets instantly defensive at any sign of constructive criticism, they likely have some personal insecurities they need to work on before they can truly be a give-and-take friend.

 

THEY CODDLE YOU

Similar to rejecting criticism, this one is more about sugar coating opinions just to spare feelings. Over time the constant holding back will build up and either implode, or make your friend bitter from keeping quiet and hurt you in the process. Once trust is lost, it can be nearly impossible to regain. If you think your friend may be coddling you, this calls for real reflection and an honest discussion with your bestie!

friends

THEY’RE JEALOUS OF YOU

Jealousy will poison a friendship real quick. But it’s actually not uncommon for these feelings to arise. There are countless reasons why jealousy occurs. It can be over materialistic things, success, or even envy between mutual friends. It’s normal to feel a bit of jealousy, but it’s important to change those negative feelings into positive vibes. A true friend will be genuinely happy for your success, and hype you up to help you realize you deserve to be your best self! This will only happen if both friends are equally supportive of each other. The jealous friend will often have something missing in their own life, or an insecurity that they know you don’t have, but it’s important to remember that it’s not your job to fill that void. You should never have to dim your own light because your friend isn’t shining bright enough.

THEY TAKE AND YOU GIVE

Treating your friends to a meal or offering emotional support are little ways of saying how much you love and appreciate them, but this isn’t always reciprocated. We live in a world where we see relationships as a transaction. When we give something out, we often expect something in return. Especially when it’s a piece of ourselves like our affection, time, or knowledge. This in itself is a toxic way of thinking, but it definitely happens. Although, there is a point when reciprocity is essential to a friendship. It can be emotionally straining to be the friend who is continuously supportive but never receives that same support back. Like anything else, give and take needs to be balanced. When it becomes one-sided, the giver will eventually break. Don’t let it get to the point where you are taken advantage of and only used for what you can give to the friendship.

Whether you can work it out, or end up growing apart, take care of your mental health, vinas! Every relationship you have in your life is there for a reason, but not every relationship is meant to last a lifetime.

Find a friendship that will help you grow in love, support, and kindness on Hey! VINA today!

WHAT TO DO WHEN POLITICS ARE KILLING OUR VIBES

You know the feeling. You’re at your favorite restaurant after a hard day of work, about to sit down to a killer meal when your political obsessed friend starts in with their latest opinion piece. The minute they open their mouth with the ideal variation of decreasing health care in America, your other friend slaps back with why medical needs are not justified monetarily enough already. Before you know it, the whole table is in a politics standoff ready for a battle to the death. Personally, I just sit back and enjoy my food while everyone else’s gets cold. Here are a few tips to keep you from stabbing your dinner dates with your fork.

REMEMBER YOUR ZEN

It’s impolite to just get up and walk away from a conversation, no matter how badly you want to; mentally escaping is much easier. When conversations start to get heated or controversial and you just need to get away, go to a safe place in your head. Think of something that makes you feel all warm and cozy. Snuggling up with your pup last Saturday, or last week when you went for coffee with your vina and met a cute guy.  Mentally visualizing a serene space can help cool you off and collect your thoughts before your head spins out of control. You are not obligated to hash out politics just because someone comes at you with a loaded question. Instead, politely change the subject or let the other person know that this is your personal time and you are officially hitting the “politics free zone” button.

good vibes

MAKE YOUR INTENTIONS CLEAR

When the topic of politics comes up, make your intentions clear. Whether you want to take a stance on a topic or would just rather keep your opinions to yourself, let people know. When people know that you have a specific opinion or idea, but aren’t trying to challenge theirs, it sets your boundary and keeps the conversation civilized. You are entitled to your opinion, but sometimes you just don’t wanna share it, which is totally valid!

Bottom line is: your vibes should never be killed by politics. Matters of the world we live in and the people we live among are incredibly important, and something we should all be involved in, but there is a time and place. And there is SO much more to life. Why not chat about the ’80s movie you saw for the first time last night, or a recipe you just found for making your own frozen yogurt, or a puppy dressed like Santa Claus?! The possibilities are endless! You have to let people know when they’re crossing the line of your politics limit! Setting some boundaries and keeping yourself together goes a long way. And when all else fails, you can always make an elaborate, unrelated exclamation about something completely random.

Looking for a vina to talk anything but politics with? Start swiping at Hey! VINA.