Category: how to

7 Honest Ways To Spring Clean Your Life + Mind

What if you could spring clean your life? What if you could clean your mind of unkind thoughts, grudges, and hangups? You sort of can! Click through for 7 tips to get you started!
Don’t you love that fresh, green energy that comes with spring?
Allofasudden it’s 50 degrees, people are wearing shorts, and believing that, yes, anything is possible. It’s enough to make you want to spin around in a field, trilling about the way music sounds.

And if you’re Type-A like me, it’s also the time of year you throw open your windows, drag your rugs out into the sun, and start scrubbing the baseboards with a toothbrush.

What if we applied some of that spring cleaning energy to our hearts and minds? What if we took a proverbial toothbrush to some of our more base thoughts? What if we dragged some of our grudges and assumptions out into the sun?

Here are 7 ways to spring clean your life

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How To Be Less Judgmental + More Empathetic

Are you trying to be less judgmental? It's so hard! But being judgmental affects our careers, our friendships, and our relationships. Click through for how to how to dial it down
 
A few months ago on a flight to warmer locales, a friend and I spent an hour discussing our greatest personal failings.
Over tiny bags of peanuts and plastic cups of Diet Coke we dissected our most disappointing qualities. Luckily (?) we share the same less-than-pleasant tendencies:
1. a tendency to judge others’ “bad decisions”
2. an equal-if-not-greater tendency to lack empathy for the fallout of “bad decisions”
“I hate this about myself but I can’t stop. And I can’t seem to reason my way out of it. I really, deeply believe that life is about choices and if you make the wrong choices, that’s not my problem,” she said.
“I know. I know! Intellectually, I realize that I’ll never know anyone’s back story or why they made those choices. But in practice I’m just SO SURE I’m right. And I’m not, of course. I’m not any more ‘right’ than anyone else. It’s so gross. Like, I need to read a book about how to be more empathetic,” I mumbled through three bags of peanuts.
Of course, we weren’t talking about things that are beyond anyone’s control – we were busy being judgmental assholes about things like credit card debt and drinking Mountain Dew with every meal and bringing 35 items into the 10-item-only express check out.
We landed, enjoyed our trip, and didn’t mention our shared asshole-ery again but it was a conversation that lodged itself deep in my heart + mind. How could I get past my judgmental habit? How could I have empathy for people who annoyed me, disappointed me, took too long in the express lane?

The answer, for me, lies in this phrase + mind shift:

'I'm willing to see that this person did their best.' Click To Tweet

We all have extenuating circumstances and ‘best’ can vary a lot from person to person and day to day. I’ve had days where my personal best was driving 40 miles an hour along the shoulder of the highway, panicking about that orange engine light.
I’ve had days where my personal best was putting on a video for my students and crying in the bathroom and days where my best was wearing yesterday’s clothes and eating Cheetos for breakfast.
And in those moments and days of weakness and misery, I would have loved if others could see that this mess was my best. If I want that for myself, can’t I extend that grace to other people?
I can’t see into that person’s morning or their week or their life. I don’t know what lead them to that express lane with 35 items, but I can make space to acknowledge that maybe this is what their best looks like today. And I can be thankful that (at least today) my best doesn’t look like crying in the bathroom, eating Cheetos.
Do you struggle with being judgmental? How do you get past it?
Photo by Alex wong on Unsplash

How To Get The Love Life You Want

Yup, you CAN get the love life you want. Figure out what you want, find the person who can give it to you, and have fun in the process! // yesandyes.org

If you could build the love life you want from the ground up – what would it look like?

Would it involve dick pics from Tinder?
Cuties who pursue you and then ghost?
Constantly changing the settings on your online dating profile?

Oh, that’s not the romantic life of your dreams? Weird! It’s not mine, either!

Dating and hooking up and long, committed relationships are simultaneously awesome and horrible. More than just about anything else, they’re a source of joy and sadness.

Finding Your Person and then making a happy life with them is an art, not a science, but there are things you can do to the love life you want.

How to get the love life you want

Know who you are + what you want

Now, knowing who you are is easier said than done and that process really deserves a blog post onto itself (this one might help you get started.) Once you’ve got that figured out, life (and dating) gets about a million times easier. Before you dive headlong into dating, think about the sort of relationship you’re looking for at this point in your life.

Do you want to date a series of interesting people? Are you looking for something that’s exclusive but low-pressure? A summer fling? Your future spouse? All of these are perfectly acceptable!

Your romantic life will be a lot more enjoyable if you know what you want and then date accordingly. (re: don’t try to force a summer fling to be a life-long commitment and don’t pretend you’re interested in girlfriending when you really just want something fun and open.)

Be honest about who you are + what you want

I met my husband online, pulling him in with the very honest headline ‘I will go camping with you, but I’m totally not watching football.’ A lot of guys probably avoided me because I sounded like a bitchy, non-sports-watcher. My guy hates watching football and thinks I’m hilarious.

When you’re honest about who you are – online or off – you create a self-selecting group of suitors. When you water yourself down and try to appeal to everyone, you get lost in a sea of sameness and your perfect someone can’t find you.

It’s equally important to be really honest about what you’re looking for. I know it’s tempting to play yourself off as a Super Breezy Laid Back Girl Who’s Not Looking For Anything Serious (and if that’s who you really are – awesome! also: how do you do that?)

But if you’re looking for a boyfriend or you want to get married in the next few years, check those effing boxes in your online dating profile.

Be specific about what you’re looking for in a partner

Has anyone ever told you you’re ‘aiming too high’?

Dude, you are allowed to ask for more in a partner than ‘cute, nice, funny.’ You are allowed to want someone who has a job they like, takes care of themselves physically and emotionally, loves their family, has an active social life, isn’t saddled with five figure credit card debt and knows how to communicate.

At the risk of getting all rhyme-y and life-coach-y on you, you have to name it to claim it. It’s hard to find what you want if you don’t know what it looks like. Get out a notebook and give yourself over to fantasy. Make a list of alllll the qualities your perfect partner would have.

Go light on the superficial stuff (“blonde with a six pack”) and heavy on how this partner would make you feel (“would support my dreams of world travel and tell me I’m funny at least twice a week.”)

Respectfully, gently ending relationships that aren’t working

You know what’s The Actual Worst? The Slow Fade. Worse yet? When someone simply stops responding to your texts or emails after you’ve gone on multiple dates. Gross. We’re better than that, right?

When you realize someone isn’t Your Person, respect them enough to tell them so. Don’t drag it out for another three months while you try to convince yourself that you like them. Don’t act like a jerk till they dump you. Here’s a great post on how to end a relationship in a classy manner.

Figure out how you feel about monogamy + communicate those feelings

One of the hardest times in any relationship is around the third-fifth date when things are heading in the Bedroom Direction but have not yet headed in the What Are We Doing Direction. Like, are you officially dating? Is this person your boyfriend or girlfriend? Do they still have an dating profile up online?

If you’re someone who appreciates monogamy here’s a little speech you can give, pre-bedroom activity.

So we’ve been hanging out for a bit now and while I’m not looking for a super serious, Facebook-official thing, I’m not comfortable sleeping with more than one person and I’m not really comfortable sharing sexual partners. I like to limit myself to people I actually, you know, like. And I like you. If that doesn’t sound like something you’re into, no worries, I just wanted to be open with you about where I’m at.

(and then you need to actually not sleep with them if they’re sleeping with other people.)

Appreciate your solid, committed relationship + partner

I know how easy it is to take your partnership for granted. It’s so, so easy to only look cute when you have to be seen in public and to be your snippiest, least awesome self when you’re at home with your person. Let’s not.

Let’s schedule in those all-important date nights, find cuter versions of our hang-around-the-house clothes, sing our partner’s praises at dinner parties and make their coffee how they like. It matters and it makes a difference.

Maintain your friendships + hobbies

Those regular date nights you schedule with your partner? Make them with your friends, too. And all that cool stuff you did before you guys got serious? The dance classes, the road trips, the book club? Keep doing ’em. Your relationship should be the icing on the cake – not the whole cake.

Get the love life you want by: realizing that fashion, bodies, hobbies change. Intelligence, personality, ethics rarely do

It’s a forgone conclusion that we judge people by their looks and it’s incredibly easy to scroll through someone’s online dating profile, check out their favorite bands/books/movies, note their skinny jeans and mentally prepare to marry them. It’s also easy to think that because you both love traveling and snowboarding that you’re a match made in Boulder.

I’m not saying you’re wrong. I am saying that the likelihood that you’ll still be obsessed with Chuck Klosterman and carving the fresh powder when you’re 65 is pretty low.

Perhaps we should all give a bit more consideration to the person who remembers their sister’s birthday, listens when you tell them about your day, and stands up for their beliefs, even when it’s inconvenient.

Sometimes the best person for you doesn’t come wrapped in a perfectly chiseled, plaid-wearing bow. Sometimes they’re wearing athletic sandals. Maybe they have a goatee. And we’re adults so we can decide not to be hung up on silly things like that.

Give yourself a break from dating if you need it

Few of us make good decisions when we’re broken-hearted or overwhelmed and freshly single one night stands rarely end well.

When I’ve gone through bad breakups, I put myself on a three-month dating hiatus and the same can be said for dating overwhelm. Deactivate the account, delete the app, and go enjoy your friends and some fresh air. All those profiles will still be there when you come back.

But tell me, how’s your love life? What do you do to keep it happy and healthy?

P.S. If you have a habit of dating unsuitable people, this might help. And it’s free!

Photo by Dương Hữu on Unsplash

8 Steps To (Finally) Get Serious About Your Professional Life

Simple, non-intimidating career tips and professional advice you can use, starting today. Click through for 8 ways to make your work life better, easier, and more successful! >> yesandyes.org

As you guys have probably guessed, I’m serrrrrrious about my professional life. As evidenced here.
Not everyone needs to be (or should be!) a nose-to-the-grindstone, I-find-worth-through-work sort of human. But for me, building a career + life I love, from scratch, on my own terms through my own hard work has brought me a level of confidence and comfort unlike anything else. Yes! Even more than the comfort I feel while eating carbs and watching Parks and Rec!

If you want to get serious about your professional life, these 8 steps will help!

1. Update your resume

When you’re gainfully employed, it’s easy to let your resume gather dust. But keeping it current and impressive is a great exercise in self-esteem and measuring how far you’ve come. Make things fancy with these resume templates.

2. Set up a LinkedIn account

What? Yes. I can hear you rolling your eyes from all the way over here but I know several people who have been headhunted off of LinkedIn. For exciting jobs that they’d never have thought to apply for! It can’t hurt and it’ll probably help. Also: are we friends on LinkedIn?

3. Google yourself and delete/hide/block accordingly

We’ve all posted questionable photos, written bad idea blog posts, or left less-than-awesome comments signed with our full name. Why not have a google and then delete as needed? And be a bit wiser from here on out? (I’m looking at you, 24-year-old self).

4. Think about where you want to be in five years

And if that feels overwhelming – where do you want to be three years from now? Give yourself the time and space to consider where you’d like your career to go.

Do you want more money? More vacation time? Do you want to switch careers? Would you like to be self-employed? So many of us get caught up in the day-to-day, it’s hard to find the time for big picture imaginings. Five years from now, you’ll be glad you gave yourself this time to think about it.

5. Find a professional mentor

Being a mentor is, hands down, one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made and, oh, how I’d like to find one of my own.

It’s a bit hard to find a blogging mentor (because I’ve been doing for aaaages) but I’d love to find a super experienced writer or marketer or creative to take me under their wing. You too? Maybe we should check out this organization.

6. Learn a new, beneficial skill

I bet you know exaaaaactly which skills you should be learning and you’ve been avoiding them because of the high learning curve (me, too.)

Google analytics, social media, that new data entry software, a bit of bookkeeping – what is it? Carve out 20 minutes a day to devote to it and before you know it, you’ll be able to add another line to your resume.

7. Stop gossiping at work

Is it incredibly tempting to talk about how the cutie in accounting just broke up with his girlfriend? Or how you saw Betty in marketing out and hammered on Saturday? Of course it is! Is it kind or professional or a good idea? Of course it’s not. Next time you feel yourself getting drawn into gossip, pause.

8. If you hate your job, do something about it

You will spend years of your life at work. It’s probably best if you don’t hate it, right? We can’t all have our dream jobs (and even dream jobs include conference calls and invoices) but you should at least have a job you don’t actively hate.

Talk to friends who have careers that interest you and find out how they got there, what they do, and what they like about it.

If you know what field you’d like to work in, do some job shadowing and informational interviews. Look into education options. Figure out if you hate your career or just this specific job. And then take steps accordingly.

While you’re doing that, know that you can love your life even if you hate your job.

Where are you at professionally? How do you feel about your job? What are you doing to better your career? Leave tips in the comments!

P.S. My story of how I went from a minimum wage newspaper intern to a professional blogger and How to beat self-employment burnout.

photo credit: roman drits // cc

8 ways to show your home you love + respect it

This isn't a post of decorating tips. It's a list of ways to make your space safer, calmer, and more supportive of the daily life you want! Click through to find out how you can do that >> yesandyes.org
Guys, can we get really hippie for a minute? (lights incense, crosses legs and sits on the floor)

Most of us spend the majority of our time in our homes. We eat here, sleep here, share secrets here, fall in and out of love here. When we have a living space that makes us feel safe and supported, just about everything in life goes smoother. We’re on time to things, we’re well-rested, we even spend less money going out because we actually like being at home!

Now, there are lots of lovely, decor-based things you can do to make your space feel amazing (here are my favorite ways to decorate on the cheap). It’s just as important to make your space safe and uncluttered and make sure you understand your rights as a tenant.

Here are 8 ways to show your home you love + respect it! 

1. Make sure your space is really, actually safe

Do you have a deadbolt? Do you have a safety chain on your door? Do you have a peephole? Do you have a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector? Do they really work? Do you have a non-slip mat in your shower? Are your knives sharp? (Not because you’re going to use them to protect yourself but because dull knives are more dangerous)

Do you know a few of your neighbors? Do you know where the nearest urgent care/emergency room/police station is? It sounds alarmist and mom-like, but it’s all super important!

2. Clean out your fridge at least once a month

It’ll keep things from getting to gross, it’ll help your fridge run better (thus lowering your utility bill), and it’ll give you a clue to the foods you keep buying and not eating. I’m looking at you, kale.

It would also be nice to spring for some of those fancy glass storage containers. You don’t have to worry about them leaching chemicals into your food and since they’re clear you’ll never be to lazy to open them and see what’s inside.

3. Turn over your mattress and sofa cushions

Obvious. Easy. And yet I always forget to do it.

4. Clean out your closet

It’s demoralizing to paw through tons of clothes you hate every morning. Who needs to be reminded of bad dates and old jobs via blazers and mini skirts? I certainly don’t. Let’s make a pact to pare down to just the things we know + love + wear regularly (and we all know that’s about 20% of our wardrobe.)

Then let’s slowly, carefully fill in holes in our wardrobe with things we lovelovelove. Not just something that’s okay, or something that’s on sale, or something that we got as a gift.

5. Get renter’s insurance

I haaaaaate the concept of insurance. I always thought “Whatever. Instead of having insurance, I’ll just put the money that I’d be paying for an insurance plan into a separate account and then if I need it, I’ll have it.”
Then my friend’s apartment building burned down. Now I have renter’s insurance. Also, if something is lost or stolen while you’re traveling, sometimes it’s covered by your renter’s insurance.

6. Actually read your lease + know your rights

I’m sure I read my lease before I signed it but at the moment, I couldn’t tell you where my copy is, how much notice I have to give before moving, and if I need to paint my accent walls back to white before I move out.It’s also important to know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

I’ve had to reference MN renters rights and responsibilities website more times than I care to count and even call their hotline before (because no, I’m totally not covering the cost of that damage we both know was here when I moved in.) Just give the site a once over to make sure you’re not getting screwed.

7. Make a copy of your keys and give them to a trusted friend

Because it’s a million times easier to walk to a coffee shop and wait for your friend than it is to call a locksmith.

8. Stock your kitchen with the makings of a few easy, cheap meals

I’m always buying fancy, weird produce for a complicated recipe, forgetting about it while it rots, and eating popcorn for dinner. I bet I’d be better off if I kept some frozen peas and rice on hand for sweet pea risotto or used up my can of chickpeas on this casserole. Of course, fancy soups and steam-in-the-bag frozen vegetables are always good, too.

How do you go about maintaining + managing your home? Leave your favorite tips + tricks in the comments!

P.S. How to thrift amazing home goods and 4 Things You Always Find At Thrift Stores + Cool DIYs to Make With ‘Em

photo credit: zara walker // cc

8 ways To Get Serious About Your Health

Want to get serious about your health? Not just diet and exercise, but your actual health? Click through for 9 ideas to get started! // yesandyes.orgWhen you turn 30, the warranty on your body runs  out.

Instead of eating Cheetos for breakfast and falling asleep without brushing our teeth, we need to eat Actual Vegetables.
And occasionally move our bodies.
And understand our health insurance plans.

Whaaaaat?! So boring and un-fun!

That may be true, but it’s also true that getting dentures and osteoporosis at 45 is boring and un-fun.

8 ways to get serious about your health

1. Get your teeth checked

Don’t have dental insurance?  Check out this list of dental schools that offer free or very affordable services.  If you don’t want student hands in your mouth, you can frequently find Groupons for teeth cleanings and dental x-rays.
I got a $300 cleaning and x-ray for $60!  I know teeth-cleaning isn’t a particularly sexy or fun way to spend money, but you know what’s really awful?  Root canals.  That you have to get when you go years between checkups.

2. Get a basic physical

If you’re like me, there are probably a few things that have bugging you. What’s the deal with that mole? Why does my hip click when I hike? And why can’t I sleep through the night? Because you drink coffee at 7 pm, Sarah. This is what your insurance is for: staying healthy and catching problems before they get too big.

3. Get a pelvic exam and pap smear

But you already knew that, right? And while you’re at it, get tested for STDs and get the HPV vaccine if you qualify.

4. If you wear glasses or contacts, get your eyes checked

I only do this once every two or three years, but I love that moment I pop in new contacts and allofasudden I can see the leaves at the top of every tree! If this isn’t covered by your insurance, you can get cheap exams at America’s Best, cheap contacts from 1800contacts, and frames + lenses for $100 from both Warby Parker and Eyefly. (I speak from experience!)

5. Give yourself regular breast exams.

Again, you already knew that, right?

6. Reassess your fitness routine

You don’t need six-packs abs or Michelle Obama-caliber arms to be healthy. But you really should do something active, several times week. And lifting weights? It prevents osteoporosis and just generally makes you feel like a badass.

Commit to finding something – anything! – that’s active and heart rate increasing that you genuinely enjoy doing. It doesn’t even have to be “exercise”! It could be 20-minute dance parties in your living room, playing hockey with your friends, shoveling all the sidewalks on your block, or leg wrestling with your roommates every night.

7. If you have serious mental health issues, look into them

If you regularly feel depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed – know that you don’t have to feel like that and you’re not alone. If you’re comfortable with medication, talk to your physician.

See if your health insurance covers therapy. If it doesn’t or if you can’t afford it, look into support groups (either in real life or online) and check out sliding-fee therapists.

8. If you don’t have health insurance – please, please, please get some

Medical debt is one of the leading causes of debt. While health insurance won’t completely protect you from incurring medical debt, having insurance makes it much, much less likely.

Also, you’re now legally required to have it. And it’s probably less expensive than you think! I use Health Partners and pay about $130 a month. If you absolutely can’t afford health insurance, this blog post is incredibly useful.

Tell me in the comments!  What do you do to stay on top of your health and personal care?

P.S. 9 ways to love moving your body

Photo by Anda Ambrosini on Unsplash