Change Your Life Through Perspective

Good morning & Happy Monday

Today’s post is one that I am so excited to share with all of you because of the potential it has to make an impact on the quality of your life.  Mental health necessitates maintenance, effort, and attention- just as does physical health.  Take the time to read this post, be intentional about your thoughts and perspectives, and shift the way in which you view the world.

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|| Practice gratitude, everyday ||

I know I have said it before, but this is E V E R Y T H I N G.  There is always something to be thankful for- intact vision and access to the internet are two factors that facilitate your reading this post, both of which are not guaranteed in this world.  Take time every single day to reflect on the reasons you have to be grateful and I promise you, your life will change.  I just ordered The Five Minute Journal, which will force me to take 5 minutes every morning and night to record my reflections.  However, you do NOT need a journal like this to practice gratitude.  Take time on your morning commute or while you drink your first cup of coffee to be intentional about gratitude.  Challenge yourself to reframe your perspective on the aspects of your life that you may feel pretty shitty about- do you hate your job?  Learn to be thankful that you have a job and money to pay the bills.

|| Search for the lesson ||

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  After hearing this phrase throughout my life, the gravity of it’s meaning is finally settling in.  Not a single person in this world has a perfect life- negativity and misfortune are inevitable- but the way you choose to react to situations will impact the trajectory of your future.  We are all human- we make mistakes, we fail, the outcomes we expect don’t always pan out.  I challenge you to search for the lesson in those failures and frame your attitude to be thankful for your new knowledge.  This new knowledge will help you cultivate more meaningful relationships, the qualities to be a better employee, brother, mother, sister, girlfriend; and open the door for new opportunities.   Life is rich with lessons: Make light of the dark.

|| Limit negative self talk ||

Believe in yourself.  Even if you don’t, start to tell yourself that you do and eventually you will.  When you set goals for yourself, have every intention of achieving them and take action.  This is definitely one that I am working on- my goals are so big they scare me sometimes.  Once in a while, an unwelcome voice enters my mental dialogue.  It’s the voice that says “you can’t, you’re being unrealistic, there are a million other people in this world that want what you do, you don’t have the money, you don’t have the means, you aren’t smart enough,” etc.  I am learning to pay this voice no attention.  When you actively focus on your positive qualities and intentions, the empty space that could be occupied with self-deprecating thoughts will narrow in time.

|| Consider the situation of others || 

sonder
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

I LOVE this word and the gravity of its meaning.  Although it can be hard to wrap your head around, every single person in this world has their own story- their own set of struggles and misfortunes.  Everyone is brought up in different environments under different circumstances- some of us were raised by parents that love us.  Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky- they may have been exposed to trauma and abuse.  Some people do not have the means to feed themselves or their families.  Others are caring for a parent or spouse that is undergoing cancer treatments.  Unless you ask, you will likely not know what each person you interact with is going through.  Keep this in perspective and never lose sight of it, even when it’s not easy.  Next time you feel tempted to judge another for their actions, consider the situation they are in and send them light.

|| Stop comparing yourself to everyone else ||

This cuts down on that ugly, negative, energy-consuming, jealousy.  Unless you look to others purely as a source of inspiration, it is not healthy to compare yourself to anyone but the person you were yesterday.  If someone has something you want- a degree, a car, a slim figure, a salary, a family, a handbag, etc.- make an intentional choice to forego those feelings of jealousy, and channel your energy towards achieving a goal.  To compare yourself to the person that has something you want is not only unfair to you, but it consumes your thoughts with negativity and self-pity.  Compare yourself to the person you were yesterday, last month, last year, 5 years ago- what have you achieved?  What have you learned?  Use your accomplishments as fuel to continue achieving the goals you set for yourself.

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Be thankful for the big things and the small things.  Take time every day to remind yourself of these blessings.  Allow yourself to be human and make mistakes but learn from those mistakes and use those lessons as motivation to achieve.  Consider the factors that influence others’ behavior.  Love yourself and be patient with yourself.  Set goals and achieve them.  Then set more goals.  Be intentional and present.  Always be the best version of you. Cheers to being positive and living your best life! xx 

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Preparing for Change

Happy Monday!  Today is a big day for me- day one of my first level II fieldwork at a special services school district.  For the next three months, I will have the opportunity to apply everything I learned about occupational therapy with a pediatric population.  After that- another three months working at a residential neurorehab facility.  I am craving a routine after a routine-less summer and am experiencing a mix of emotions, but I am excited to begin this last chapter on the path to adulthood 😉

Change is something I try to embrace but I will admit- it’s hard for me.  The anxiety leading up to the change is what does me in- but then I always find a happy, new normal.  Within the last year, I’ve experienced a lot of change- my best friend moved across the country, my family moved from the home we built in Hunterdon County, NJ to a house in New Hope, PA; I finished the academic portion of graduate school, and I no longer work as an instructor at JW Tumbles- a job I held and loved for over seven years.  Moving boxes, hugs, a few shed tears, demolition, paint, and sawdust (my family is remodeling our new house)- I am finally starting to settle into a new routine and see beauty in the change.

One of the more adaptive ways I manage stress and anxiety is to organize.  I’m not sure if its a type-A thing or a me thing but having a clean and organized physical space helps me emulate that same mental state.  It’s almost like nesting- except without the baby.  So this past week, to prepare for a big change and quiet the anxious mental chatter, I organized my closet.  For this week’s post, I am sharing some of my tried and true tips to help organize and maintain a clean closet.

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| Use the same hangers |

This makes a surprisingly big difference in the appearance of your closet as it reduces visual clutter and increases uniformity.  I like these black, velvet, non-slip hangers for pants, shirts and dresses; and these wooden hangers with clips for skirts, shorts, and strapless dresses.  I tagged both items from Walmart but they can also be purchased at any Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Home Goods.

| Organize clothing by length |

This will not only help you find specific items you are looking for when getting dressed each morning, but it can also help you visualize what you have enough of/ what you need to stock up on.  For example, I have all of my shirts hung on the top rack of my closet organized in the following categories- long sleeve, short sleeve, and sleeveless.  I have more than enough long sleeve shirts, but very few short sleeves so next time I go shopping, I have a better idea of what I need.  My dresses are organized by length and sleeve- all of my short dresses are hung in order from long sleeve to sleeveless.  I do the same for my maxi dresses, then I hang all of my strapless dresses together.    It sounds excessive but all it requires is a few minutes of rearranging hangers- super simple.

| Organize clothing by color |

Within each section based on length, each item is organized in rainbow order.  I start with black, then brown, then gray/ivory/white (darkest to lightest), then continue with the colors of the rainbow.  If you do anything to organize your closet, I would suggest putting the time in to do this.  I never have to search for anything in my closet because I always know exactly where it is based on the color of the item I’m looking for.  For my jeans, I continue with the ombre theme- darkest to lightest.  My dark wash jeans are hung to the left, then medium wash, then light wash, then white.  I have some patterned work pants and khakis/chinos that I hang to the left of all of my jeans.

| Organize shoes by type |

One of the perks of moving into the new house was a major closet upgrade- I am able to organize each type of shoe on a different shelf.  I like these stackable, white shoes shelves from Target.  Here are the categories that work best for me: sneakers, boots, flat closed-toed shoes, flat sandals, and heels.  If you don’t have enough room in your closet, you can still throw the shoes in labeled tubs to stay organized.  Within each shoe type, I also organize them by color because I have the space and I am slightly insane 😉 but this is definitely not necessary.

| Keep your closet current | 

If you haven’t worn it in a year, ask yourself why and initiate the appropriate next step.  About four times a year, at the start of each season- I like to go through my closet and do a quick assessment.  If something is dirty and the dry cleaner can’t save it, if it has holes, if you would be embarrassed to give it away- toss it.  Some bins accept clothing to be scrapped and recycled so search for something like that in your town.  For the items that are in good condition- you can either choose to donate them or sell them.

Use your judgement for the items you choose to sell- for example, I sell my designer purses, shoes, or brand-name exercise clothes and jeans because I know they are in good condition and I can get some money for them.  I use an app called Mercari to post these items for sale.  I have had a lot of luck selling Lululemon clothes, Michael Kors handbags, jewelry, designer watches, and Ugg boots.  It is simple and user friendly- you choose who pays for shipping, list your items at the price you wish to sell them, print a prepaid shipping label, and drop it off at your nearest FedEx or post office.  I have friends who have also had luck listing items for sale on sites like Poshmark and Ebay.  In addition to listing items online, I have had some luck selling clothing and shoes at Plato’s Closet.  Search for a location near you, bring the items you want to sell, and they will offer you money for a certain number of items that fit their current inventory needs.  You can choose what to do with the clothing they do not accept.  This is the super easy way to sell the items you no longer want because it all happens in an hour or two- you don’t have to go through the hassle of taking photos, listing each individual item, and waiting for a buyer to purchase.

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Here are some photos of my own closet:

Below is a picture of my (much smaller) closet from our old house to show you that these tips apply to closets of all shapes and sizes!

I hope this post gives you inspiration to organize your own closet and serves as a resource to you in the process.  Here’s to hoping I don’t do anything too embarrassing on my first day of fieldwork 😉 I hope you all have a wonderful week- happy organizing!  If you get a chance to utilize any of these tips- I would love for you to share! xx

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Secrets to Happiness

Hi guys!  It’s Monday again- day one of the work week and we’re already counting down the days until the weekend.  I am guilty of succumbing to the occasional case of the Monday blues- who isn’t?    However, I like the idea of beginning each week with something fresh and positive to set the tone for the week ahead.  This is one of the reasons I chose to update the blog with a weekly post, every Monday.  Those of you who know me might better understand the meaning behind the name of my blog, Through Rose-Colored Glasses.  I see the best in people, view the glass half full, and tend to have a positive perspective on life in general.  I’m here today to share some of my own tips for maintaining a rose-tinted perspective, even during tougher times.

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| Practice gratitude |

This is a biggie.  In my opinion, the happiest people are those who are genuinely grateful.  Take time every day to remind yourself of the things that are going well.  The big things and the seemingly insignificant things- they all matter.  Did you have a delicious cup of coffee this morning?  That’s a reason to take a moment to be thankful.  It’s easy to get caught up in the daily noise of life, but this shift in attitude can make a world of difference for your mood.  If you can’t think of anything to be thankful for in the present moment, put on a song that brings you back to a fun moment in your life or take a look at some photos from a fabulous vacation with your girlfriends- I find that I am most thankful reflecting on nostalgic moments.  Everyone in my life knows how much I love to take pictures- I treasure their way of reminding me how good I have it.

| A clutter-free space= a clutter-free mind |

I truly believe this.  When your environment is cluttered and disorganized, so is your mind.  When I am stressed, I organize.  My friends and family know this- during the week leading up to the start of a new school year, my Mom used to find me knee deep in the contents of my closet because naturally, it was time to reorganize.  It’s an adaptive way to deal with stress, although I understand not everyone is as crazy as me 🙂 My advice is to focus on one small space at a time to tackle (i.e. kitchen junk drawer)- toss what needs to be tossed, donate the items with a little life still left in them, and find a home for the items you choose to keep.  During this process, keep in mind that stuff doesn’t make you happy- experiences and fulfilling relationships do. I plan to do an organization series as this is a passion of mine so stay tuned for more tips!

| Make time for you |

Everyone needs a break to focus on you and only you.  This one doesn’t need much explaining but everyone needs a reminder to be selfish once in a while- especially those of you who fulfill the caretaker role.  Some of my go-to’s: Go for a walk, sip on a cappuccino at a cute coffee shop, get a mani-pedi when it’s in the budget, take a bubble bath, or arrange some fresh flowers in a pretty vase for my bedroom.  Identify what helps you unwind and indulge a little!

| Reflect and prioritize |

Mental chatter- that persistent and perpetual stream of consciousness reminding you of the things you need to get done, the friends you forgot to call back, the appointments you have to make. It keeps you up at night and adds stress to your busy day.  First-listen.  Then- write. it. down. I am a to-do list connoisseur and if you’re not already, I hope to convert you.  As a visual learner, writing things down helps my brain make sense of all that chatter, and helps me prioritize each task.  Nothing is more satisfying than checking each item off your list.  To-do lists got me through the didactic portion of grad school, developed my time-management skills, and contribute to my happiness, one check at a time.

| Surround yourself with love |

Spend time with the people the support you, cheer you on, and lift your spirits.  A strong support system is so important.  Reflect on how the people in your life make you feel- appreciate those who love and support you and reevaluate relationships with people who bring you down.

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I’m so thankful for those of you who the take time to read my posts- your support means the world! Here are some photos of the things, places, and people in my life that make me happy.

A delicious cappuccino | Scout’s Coffee Bar + Mercantile

Fresh cut flowers | Even better- hydrangeas

A Jersey Shore sunrise | Cape May, NJ

The Orchid House | Duke Farms

Mark | My boyfriend and best friend

More flowers | Mark’s Mom’s garden

Black raspberry ice cream | Moo Hope Ice Cream 

The change of seasons | Leonard J. Buck Garden

Iced coffee with a view | The Stone Bean

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I would love to hear from you- what are your favorite things to do to unwind?  Happy Monday and cheers to a great week ahead! xx

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Making Lemonade

Happy Monday my friends!  I think it’s important to start each week on a positive note- so for this week’s post I am sharing how I made lemonade out of life’s lemons (and some photos of the precious Jersey Shore town, Ocean Grove)

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Lemons

As many of you know, I am approaching my final step of graduate school to become an occupational therapist.  Before I can sit for my board exam and get my license to practice, I have to complete six months of full time fieldwork.  FYI- fieldwork is just another word for a fellowship, rotation, clinical, or residency. My first choice (and many of my classmates) was to begin fieldwork back in June- immediately following the academic portion of school. Unfortunately, many of us were not secured placements for our preferred timeframe due to circumstances out of our (and our fieldwork coordinator’s) control, so fieldwork will start for us at the end of September.  Following the initial disappointment, I am thankful to have had time off this summer to relax and go on vacation.

I can’t deny though, these past few weeks have been encumbered with anxiety about my approaching start date and concerns that I am forgetting all that I’ve learned these past two years.

Lemonade

After a stressful couple of weeks, pep talks from my friends and family, and a completely reorganized bathroom and jewelry drawer (I organize when I am stressed), I thought about what I can and can’t change, then made the conscious decision to shift my perspective and enjoy the rest of my summer.  So this week, I drove back and forth to Ocean Grove, NJ to spend two gorgeous days on the beach, solo. It was so refreshing and just what I needed to get my groove back. The beach is my happy place- I listened to a few podcasts, read a book, swam in the ocean, and admired all that Ocean Grove, NJ has to offer.

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What to check out on your next trip to Ocean Grove:

| Tent City |

These porch-clad, awning-adorned, canvas tents in the center of town are home to some lucky summer renters.  There’s a hefty waiting list to snag one of these precious pieces of real-estate.  Each one tells its own little story- make sure to check out the gorgeous window boxes, striped awnings, and pastel colored porch decor.

| Ocean Pathway |

Take a stroll down either side of this pair of parallel one-way streets to the beach.  Both are lined with gorgeous victorian homes, perfectly manicured lawns, and charming B&Bs.  

 | Burbelmaiers |

Stop here for a delicious lunch and a view of all the action.  They are known for their savory mini-pies.

| Nagel’s |

Treat yourself to an ice-cream cone and walk along the Main Avenue to get your shopping fix! 

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Here are some of my photos of this sweet little town:

I hope you all have been able to enjoy your summer so far.  I would love to hear your best lemonade recipes to make good use of life’s lemons 😉 Here’s to a productive and positive week ahead. Cheers! xx

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