Alyssa J Freitas

June 21, 2017

How To Banish Negative Self-Talk

Something has been on my mind for a little while now: the power of the mind. Yep. Apparently for me leaving school means I now spend my time thinking about thinking, which seems pretty backwards actually hahaha
Click to check it out now or pin to save for later! We all have periods of negativity in our minds, but what can you do when you are caught in a cycle of negative self-talk? Here are three key steps to help you move on and feel positive sooner
Really though, it is incredible how much power your mind can have over your mood and how you feel. And don't just take my word for it, there are countless Pinterest quotes that affirm this (and you know if it's on Pinterest it MUST be true).

There is no doubt that a positive mental attitude trumps a negative one any day, but what can you do when you are caught in a cycle of negative self-talk?

Unfortunately, this is something that is all too common and I have faced it for some time as well. In fact, the results of this negativity manifested to the point that it served as a true wakeup call for me.

Let me tell you a little story. 


As people, we have a tendency to be concerned with how we look. From our hair to our face to our body, there is a constant pressure to pursue perfection, and I am not immune. About mid-way through college I started to get into fitness, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and running. As much as I would like to say my motivation was wanting to be healthy and take care of my body (and that was an element!), most of my drive stemmed from wanting to be what I considered attractive. Read: thin.

I became more and more fixated on how often I was working out and what I was eating. This came from a place of fear. Fear that if I was not on top of things, I would become fat. Fear that I would not be appealing. Fear that I was not perfect.

I became stronger and developed more stamina, yet I was not satisfied. In fact, I was straight up mean to myself. Criticizing the way I looked, beating myself up when I didn't try "hard enough." It came to the point where my body was overused and I realized that the combination of my personality to go all out in whatever I do and the lies I was telling myself about where my worth stems from were hurting me. I certainly was not doing my mind or self-esteem any favors and my body was getting fed up.

At the same time, the power of my mind has allowed me to do some pretty awesome things. I can push aside fear to have amazing, thrilling experiences. I can focus in on a goal and stay motivated to complete it. I can empathize with others to build strong relationships.

And your mind has these capabilities too! So how can we make sure that the positive wins out over the negative? Here are the three Rs (and yes, I did just create my own mnemonic device) to help you address negative self-talk: recognize, reflect, and redirect.

Recognize when you are caught up in negativity

Believe it or not, we can get so used to our negative dialogue that we don't even realize it's a problem. It just becomes status quo! A way that you can recognize this is by asking yourself if you would ever voice what you are saying internally aloud? Would you say it to a friend? If the answer is a solid "no," you are probably in the no-good, dirty, rotten negative zone. 

Reflect on the "why"

Once you are aware that you are being unkind to yourself, you have to figure out why. Are you attaching your worth to something that actually has nothing to do with your value? Are you focused on something you think will make you feel valuable, but is actually a surface level concern? Are you being too harsh and having expectations that are too high? Determining the root cause of your negativity will allow you to address the real problem of your mindset then and there. My guess is you need a dose of perspective

Redirect, redirect, redirect!

If you're anything like me, your mind must always be occupied. If you have the time to think mean thoughts to yourself, you have the time to work on something (anything!) else. Pick up a book, call a friend, get ahead on that project. By giving your mind a problem to solve and a task to complete, there won't be any room left for that negativity.

When you inevitably find yourself slipping back into that headspace, go back to the reflect phase to remind yourself why your thoughts are bringing you there, and then get the heck out with redirection! Clearly, this will take time and I do not want to in any way minimize the impact and difficulty of dealing with negative thoughts (and there are certainly cases where more specialized work is required). However, the three Rs are a great way to move past negativity and have certainly helped me.

How do you deal with negative self-talk? What methods work best for you?

-AJF
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June 14, 2017

Best YouTube Videos

Confession time. So, a while back (read: 2015) I discussed/bragged about how I don't watch television, except for Downton Abbey (which has sadly ended). Since then, there have been the occasional shows that I have watched, including 13 Reasons Why (why did I ever decide to put myself through that?) and Stranger Things (thanks to Joe). Otherwise I have been fairly consistent with not watching television, unless it's in a social situation.
Check it out now or pin to save for later! YouTube is massive and there is so much content out there. Here are my favorite videos that are helpful, funny, and cool
However, I do this thing that I hate but can't seem to stop. I go on YouTube and will spend an embarrassing amount of time clicking through videos. This wouldn't bother me so much if I actually enjoyed or found the videos valuable, but I end up more frustrated and uninspired than when I started. More than half the time I don't even watch to the end.

Does anyone else have this problem with YouTube? Maybe I just haven't found the right channels or maybe what is discussed on that platform really isn't my cup of tea. If anyone has ANY recommendations (or tips on how to stop wasting time on YouTube) I would really appreciate it.

Anyway, hope is not completely lost because there are some YouTube videos that I do enjoy ;) I'm going to share with you the top videos that have emerged as winners after hours (and hours) of watching YouTube.


This is the video that inspired the post. I was so touched by Mimi's genuine kindness, love, and positivity that I had to share it! 


I've shared Marie's work before and it's worth sharing again. This video has some great tips (what are YOUR big rocks?) and Marie is always entertaining. 



Vlogbrothers is a classic YouTube channel and this video from Hank stood out to me. We all struggle with the idea of "success" and being satisfied with our lives, chasing an end destination that doesn't exist. Hank has a great perspective on this that is a must watch.


Now for a funny one. I absolutely LOVE this Instagram Husband video. Luckily I can confidently say that I have not turned any of my friends and family into a human selfie stick, but I can imagine what it's like and it's hilarious. 


I'm into every single one of Jodi's videos (she is the only YouTuber I feel this way about) and her mantra of "do everything before you're ready" speaks to my ambitious heart.


Jodi also did a Q&A video where she answers a question I posed! It made me feel wicked special :)


Lastly a shameless plug hahaha I have made "scenes of *insert season here*" since the summer of 2016, making this video a full year. This is the longest one I have ever made and I create it more for my personal enjoyment than others' entertainment, but if you have some time and feel like checking it out, take a look!

Please, please, please give me any recommendations you have for YouTube. Your girl is desperate.

-AJF
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June 7, 2017

Move On To The Next Problem

Move on to the next problem. This is the Freitas Family Motto. I can't recall when this was officially instituted, but it is easily an every other day occurrence to hear one of us coaching the other to move along to the next problem because we know that there will always be one.
Click to read the article now, or pin to save for later. Do you often find yourself caught up in issues? Here is how you can instead keep yourself moving forward and on to the next problem
I recently had a series of issues come up, one right after the other that left me feeling frustrated and like the world was conspiring against me. From massive plane delays, to my glasses breaking, to my dress ripping, frustration was engulfing me. I'd love to be able to say that I was easily able to put everything in perspective and recognize that I was lucky to have such small problems, but alas, I found myself hosting a pity party.

Instead, it was a reminder from a non-Freitas (thanks, Joe) that made me stop and realize that it is best to move on to the next problem rather than dwelling on these issues. What good does feeling sorry for yourself do when you could instead be solving the problem or at least putting it out of your mind until it can be dealt with?

Another aspect of this motto that is not explicitly stated is that problems that can be solved by time and money generally aren't that big of a deal. After all, despite air delays I knew that with time I would make it home eventually. With breaking glasses and torn dresses, super glue and needle and thread can solve it. It's the big problems, like health and relationships that we should dedicate our thoughts and energy to.

This idea of not allowing what will end up being small problems in the long run impact your daily life is certainly not new. There is a quote from Violet from Downton Abbey (I love and miss this show so much. In fact, I shared some other Downton wisdom in this post) that also illustrates this mindset:

My dear, all life is a series of problems which we must try and solve, first one and then the next and the next, 

until at last we die.


Although more morbid than the Freitas Family Motto, how true it is! As long as we have issues arising, at least we know we are alive.

Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you feel overwhelmed and frustrated when life is handing you lemons:
  • Is there something I can actively do to address this?
  • Will it matter in the next 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?
  • How can I put this situation into perspective? 
  • Does it need to ruin my day?
  • Who can I ask for help? 
  • What would a trusted advisor tell me to do?
By asking yourself these questions you can see how important it is to simply move on to the next problem without allowing what you are currently facing to take control over you.

How do you deal with issues when they arise? Are you prone to dwelling or good about moving on?
-AJF
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May 31, 2017

Meeting The Parents Etiquette

A little while back I shared a graduation etiquette post I did for Lucy-Claire's blog, Sunny Days and Lovely Ways. Today is another post on etiquette, this time about the sometimes scary and always exciting time of meeting the parents of your significant other.

Click to check it out now or pin to save for later! With something as important as meeting your significant other's parents, you have to know the proper etiquetteI’ve heard meeting your boyfriend’s family is as nerve wrecking as a first date…but I’m going to have to oppose that one. I would say that meeting your significant other’s family is even more scary than heading out on a first date. After all, with a first date if it doesn’t go well you can always move on to the next one, but the family is part of the deal with the person you are seeing. Therefore, it is important to make a great first impression and have a positive experience when you first meet the family. Here are some of the top etiquette tips to ensure that it is a positive experience for all.

Don’t come empty handed 

Whenever you are welcomed to someone’s home it is good to bring a hostess gift. From a candle to a plate of cookies, a small gesture can go a long way. Make sure to ask your significant other if any of his family members have allergies you should be aware of. If you are not meeting at his home, it is still kind to bring a small gift for the parents, like a bouquet of flowers.

Dress like the more modest version of yourself 

While it is important to be yourself when meeting his family, it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution with elements like the length of your skirt of the amount of cleavage you reveal. You never want an inappropriate outfit to distract from what you are saying or your personality. For some ideas of what to wear you can look at this article from WhoWhatWear.

To read the rest of the post, head on over to Lucy-Claire's blog! And for more etiquette posts you can head over here

What are your best tips for meeting the parents? Any funny stories?


-AJF
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May 24, 2017

How To Be A REAL Minimalist

For maximum enjoyment, read this tongue in cheek. *Note: you can generally identify a minimalist based on their large felt hat that they will wear with every outfit. They are a minimalist, after all, and so only have one hat* 
Click to check this out now or pin to save for later! Ever wonder what it takes to be a real minimalist? This satire piece will tell you all about it
Minimalism. Simplicity. Living more life with less stuff.

White walls. White sheets. White phones. White space.

Cohesive. Coordinated.

Mindful. Meditative.

So you want to learn about minimalism? Let's start where it matters most: your Instagram. Here are some screenshots of what you should be aiming for:

What do we see? Artfully arranged possessions on white backgrounds. Clear spaces with one, far away subject. Whitewash everything. Lighten all photos. When you post to Instagram, make sure you write a simple caption then use a ton of ..d....o.....t.......s.... followed by MANY hidden hashtags. People need to be able to find your photos, after all. You're a minimalist, but you want the maximum amount of likes.

What else is important for a minimalist? Your closet. Your closet is key. Arrange it by color. This won't be too difficult because you will also clean out. Does that top "spark joy?" If not, toss it (after thanking it for its service, of course). All that is left is a pile of black sweaters and oversized blouses. Welcome to your monochromatic capsule wardrobe. You will no longer have to think about what to wear because you only have one option. Your life has been dramatically improved.

Now how about your home? That's easy. If an item doesn't serve a purpose, get rid of it. If it does serve a purpose, see if you can eliminate the need. For example, how about tossing all of your drinking glasses? You can always bend your head down to the faucet. This will allow you to display everything in your kitchen on open shelves because now all you own is a bowl and a spork (so much better than having a spoon AND a fork). Your life has been simplified and even problems that you didn't think related to your kitchen have been magically solved.

*Have an empty Instagram like the photo* Let's talk about your digital life. I bet it's cluttered. I bet you have too many apps. Too many notifications popping up. It's time for a digital detox. Turn off your notifications. Only look at your phone 3.7 times throughout the day for 11.29 minutes. That's how the real minimalists do it. Spend your time on important things.

Oh, and speaking of spending, you can ONLY spend on experiences, not things. Unless those things are plants, marble covered notebooks, and string lights. Then you absolutely must buy them, preferably from overpriced Etsy shops. This will make you feel calm and good about supporting small artists (if you're a minimalist, there will undoubtedly also be hipster tendencies in your behavior).

Another important aspect of being a minimalist is to create time for yourself and to keep your calendar clear for the things that really add value to your life. Say no to nearly everything.

Is it actually necessary for you to work on that project for your job?
Let's go with "no."

And how about spending time on your taxes?
That isn't really a reflection of the values of your life.

Clear your calendar for self care and wellness. Actually, keep a minimalist bullet journal instead. That's such a better, less time consuming way to track your schedule than a calendar.

Before I forget, when it does come to your workspace, all you need is a computer (and it must be a Mac) and a glass with a leaf in it. That is one glass you're allowed to keep.

That is all you need to know to be a minimalist. But of course, as you learn more about this lifestyle from podcasts and YouTube videos and blog posts like this, you should be sure to like and subscribe and check back next week for even MORE tips.

-AJF
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My inspiration for this post came from a combination of my own constant searching for more information about minimalism and the realization that there isn't just one way to be a "minimalist" (and that the most popular advice and images don't actually get at the heart of the reason for owning less). Plus, I just had a really good time making fun of myself and others so-called minimalists out there on the web. Hopefully this gave you a good laugh!