Why Are We Still Talking About This?

There are a few things that I’m really over reading about on social media. If I’m reading about it then that means people are ACTUALLY having these irrelevant and unnecessary conversations. I just feel like we should, as a society, be BEYOND these things. Perhaps, I expect too much of humans.

Disclaimer: I must admit that I have great privilege in that most of the time I ask for forgiveness (or not) instead of permission. I’m not expected to wear a uniform to work. I also work in education which really tries hard to NOT be a corporate environment BUT I mean, who are we kidding? A College/University is a business. My clients happen to be 18-22 year olds. Often really great 18-22 years olds who wish me Happy Birthday, make me laugh, and leave me donuts and honeybuns.

The topic that made me itch today was, “Are workout clothes appropriate for work?” REALLY?! The world of athleisure is a thing and people like Hannah Bronfman (major crush) are helping women understand how to step up their athletic wear to make it fashionable and appropriate enough for work. I laughed a great deal when a colleague shared with me a TODAY show segment about athleisure and how they advised women to whip on a strappy heel with their sweatpants. WHAT?!

I think at this point the term athleisure just makes me giggle BUT I take the meaning behind it seriously as a professional woman who floats through the world juggling a nice number of roles and wearing a few different and stylish hats. I’m also a person who does really great work in leggings, t-shirt, and sneakers because I’m not worried about my Spanx rolling, a run in my tights, and my left pinkie toe killing  me in heels as I hustle around a brick campus.

I work and live in one of the most obese states in the US. I’ve always been overweight. I come from a large people and I REALLY enjoy biscuits. Working out makes me feel happier, relieves me of stress, and infuses me with a great deal of energy. I’ve also been known to lose a few pounds. When I work out, it’s an act of prioritizing me over my work, which makes me not resent the amount of time that I devote to my professional life. By taking care of myself, I can provide a better version of Krystal to all of the other stakeholders in my life. I’m better for my bosses, my students, my staff, my friends, my colleagues, and my family. If I’m healthy, that leads to less time out for sick days or doctor’s appointments. I also work in an environment in which, rather I’d always like to or not, I serve as a model for my clients. Modeling the Way is a critical piece of working in Student Affairs and if I can make time to engage in fitness, then perhaps I can serve as encouragement for a overly involved student to do the same. We urge our students to practice self-care and make wellness a part of their life. For many of them this means incorporating physical activity into their day. There’s even a hashtag called #SAFit to encourage folks in my field to include fitness into their packed and often student directed schedules.

All of this sounds pretty great, right? A happy, healthy, motivated, confident, and engaged Krystal is the best Krystal to have on your team. Not the grumpy sloth I become after skipping days of Barre3 or whatever ClassPass adventure on my schedule.

Then why do we keep admonishing people for sporting workout gear to the office? This is actually improving my work and if I’m getting the job done then should we really be hung up on what I wear to the office? What we’ve defined as professional dress, for many reasons, needs to be updated. Many of the women that have adopted athleisure as their work style, talk about it as a way of being comfortable while they work. These clothes help them perform at their self-defined personal best.

Barre3

Here’s the thing, we preach balance and life prioritization, but don’t want to always deal with the reality of what this looks like in practice.

There are times when I could make it to a fitness class in time if I didn’t have to worry about changing clothes or I could make it back to the office in a more timely manner if I didn’t have to take the time to do my entire morning routine for a 2nd time post workout. This is balance/prioritization in practice. If this isn’t acceptable, then I might just forego a workout because I don’t have time to change in a phone booth like Superman.

Yes, I know there are all of these office friendly workouts that people integrate into their day and that’s fantastic.  I’ve done some Barre3 10 minute workouts in the middle of my office but sometimes, you need a good lifting session or some time on the TRX. Unless you have the best office  EVER (if you even have an office) , these things might be super difficult to make happen between your desk and your decorative fichus.

Instead of looking at someone in a dri-fit top and a pair of workout pants as messy, lazy, unprofessional, and disrespectful, what if we looked at this person as just trying to get it all done in the best way they can?  What if we looked at this person as someone who has their priorities in order? What if we looked at this person as working hard to be their best in order to do their best work for and with others? We put athletes up on pedestals and invest billions of dollars in high performance  clothes that we hope will make us look, play, throw, shoot, swing, run, jump, flip, catch, kick, row, box, ski, and swim like they do BUT don’t bring that mess to work! Work, the place where you’re expected to perform like an Olympian for at least 40 hours of your week.

Now, I must admit that when I do wear workout clothes to the office I tend to do the following:

  1. Wear an oversized top to cover my bum.
  2. Ensure that what I wear is so fresh and so clean.
  3. Choose items that are black. I don’t rock my most colorful leggings on these days.
  4. Make sure that I’m not too exposed.
  5. If I happen to workout and then go to work, I take grooming items with me to freshen up at my desk or in my car. Deodorant or Dove’s Dry Spray , BeautyCounter’s Rose Water Spray, wipes, and fragrance. The goal is not to show up as a sweaty and smelly mess.
  6. Make sure that I have a light load of meetings post workout.

I know that these 6 items are my own way of contributing to the problem but to be honest, they also just help with my comfort level. I know that some of my friends feel they could never just pop back into the office post workout because of the amount they sweat in the process. I get that and this kit has helped me not be as concerned about this issue. I also would never wear leggings or workout pants without covering the junk in my trunk. I just can’t! No shade to those who do. You have much more confidence in your behind than I do.

I just think we’ve got to effectively design the outcomes of our office culture and be open to the steps that need to be made in order to achieve those outcomes. The tech world has certainly figured this out as my friends who work at Google and Microsoft rock sneakers, t-shirts, and jeans,  but what about everyone else? Do we really need to discount a person’s entire skillset because they wore a pair of sneakers, workout leggings, and a t-shirt to the office?

Stop with all the policing and get back to work. Let people be great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What?! An Extra 24? Hey Februrary.

Feb 1

 

This post is the definition of late. We are 9 days into Black History Month and this post should have been delivered 4 days ago. I just realized that there could be layers to this statement but there’s enough commentary (too much) circulating about blackness after a certain superstar decided to stray from her nonthreatening lyrical roots and get more in touch with her actual roots. As I commented to a friend this morning, “don’t let anyone interrupt your slaying time.” Therefore, I SLAY! Today’s post is about the slayage that has already and will continue to take place in the month of February.

It’s a leap year, y’all! We get that extra 24 hours. I’ve scheduled a nap. How about you?

Oh, and I don’t do Valentine’s Day. I’m not even going to act like I have some higher intellectual view towards the holiday. I’m not in love and I haven’t had an actual Valentine’s Day since I was in college therefore, I’m jealous and it makes me sad. So there! Get out of my face with all of your pink and red shit. Yes, I know, I’m going to spend the day engaged in loving myself and the Lord. Yeah, I got it. 

February Happenings

  1. Launch of The Leadership Studio/ Communication Studio Session
  2. S.A.I.L Success Session
  3. Steve’s Birthday!
  4. JLN Masquerade
  5. NEL Opening Mixer
  6. JLN Board Meeting
  7. Super Bowl
  8. First PREVAIL Planning Team Meeting
  9. NEL Facilitator Training
  10. JLN In Home Meeting
  11. JLN 8th Signing at MCJCH
  12. InTune Alpha Chi Omega @ UGA
  13. Brene Brown & Valentine’s Day
  14. Nashville Emerging Leaders
  15. MOTOWN @ TPAC
  16. Relationships Session on Commons
  17. Dare 2 Be @ Crosspoint
  18. Mavenly + Co visit
  19. Tamara’s Goodbye Brunch
  20. IMPACT @ American University
  21. First draft due of book chapter

Feb 2

February Hopes

  1. Submit NELA Application on 2/15
  2. Continue BossyPants and Leadership Instablog research
  3. 3 posts to PeculiarPearl
  4. Complete S.A.I.L Session 2- Authenticity
  5. Send out Doodle for next if:gathering in March
  6. Complete NLC Homework
  7. Finalize plans for EVOLVE
  8. Begin planning for EVOLVE
  9. Start planning for TEDxVanderbiltUniversity 2016!
  10. Beyoncé Tickets!!! Prayers, please!
  11. Set up meetings with at least 2 past JLN Presidents
  12. Set up a dentist appointment
  13. Finalize 33rd Birthday Trip
  14. Pray for an open heart and mind when it comes to this season of my life. Pray that the Lord will give me the strength to embrace it and not let it lead me to lose my faith or hope in His promises. To constantly seek to be intentionally full of light, love, and laughter.
  15. Sweat at least 30 minutes each day (my fitness motivation is not in a good place)
  16. Leave at least 1 blank night a week
  17. Be in bed by midnight
  18. Buy less stuff (2 sweaters from LOFT, new Spanx, mani and pedi for Masquerade)

Now, it’s time to work. 20 days and counting, my friends.

I see it, I want it
I stunt, yeah, little hornet
I dream it, I work hard
I grind ’til I own it… (Beyoncé, Formation)

I’ve updated my January Happenings & Hopes post in case you’d like to see my success rate.

What about you? What’s happening for you during the month of love?

Krystal “I strongly dislike those chalky candy hearts” Clark

 

 

 

Happenings & Hopes: January Edition

Happy New Year!

I spent NYE with new friends eating a delicious dinner at MOTO in The Gulch and drinking a great deal of Champs while having belly laugh inducing conversations and watching Nashville’s award winning fireworks from a supposedly ‘closed’ rooftop lounge. I’ll call it a win.

NYE

The next night I spent jotting in my ban.do Hopes + Dreams notebook about all that I want to happen in 2016. The list is long as I’m not known for brevity or lack of ambition.

Hopes and Dreams

The second item I wrote is that I will commit to writing at least 1 blog post per week. A daily blog is NOT my jam. Batch writing and scheduling posts is not my desired creation process. However, I can prioritize time during each week to crank out 1 meaningful post. I’ve drafted a list of topics for this month and the first week of February. I’ve chosen Thursday as my post day of the week. My hope is that this will lift the rock up off my shoulders that comes with people knowing I have a blog and then realizing that my posts have become few and far between. So, I’ll see you here on Thursday every week.  A new monthly series is Happenings & Hopes where I will detail what’s actually on my plate during the month and what I hope will happen during the month. Those are often two VERY different things.

So, welcome to January:

Happenings –Stuff that’s on the calendar– IT ALL HAPPENENED!!!

  • Junior League of Nashville ’16-’17 Board Retreat! 150 till I’m President Elect which means I’m a year closer to taking on the President role in 2017. Yikes!
  • Barre3 Challenge begins on January 4th! 4 studio classes, 1 online workout, and one yummy recipe-27 days of Barre3 immersion– completed 1 week…:(
  • Co-Facilitation of JLN Goal Setting Training Session
  • University of West Georgia Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Retreat- My first time being hired to create original curriculum and serve as Co-Lead Facilitator!
  • Beginning a Bible Study with lovely friends! We’re using Kelly Minter’s “What is Love?” I’m looking forward to this dive into the Word.
  • AJLI Winter Leadership Retreat in Austin, TX! Can’t wait to meet my President Elect-Elect Sisters!
  • My brothers’ birthday and he’s starting the MBA program at my alma mater, William & Mary!
  • Nashville Emerging Leaders Breakfast
  • College Panhellenic/Interfraternity Council Academy where I’ve been invited to facilitate an original session on Motivation and give an IFC Academy Talk!
  • I’m incredibly excited to begin my involvement with another fantastic training organization in Nashville that will allow me to further explore my budding interest in local politics. More details to come!
  • Oh, and I have a full-time job! We’re launching an new spring program and have some moves to make with campus partners. We’re also reapplying for our TEDxVanderbiltUniversity license and reimagining some of our existing programs.

I have NOTHING to do this month.

Hopes — Stuff that’s in my head and heart but if I’m not careful won’t make it’s way onto the Priority List

  • Purchase new personal business cards
  • Published blog post on a site I love dearly–Checking in on this piece
  • Holiday Thank You Cards
  • Eat out once per day and not three –> grocery shop–I lost count of the days and by the amount of receipts in my wallet from Panera, I’m not sure this worked out perfectly. I will say that I cooked more than usual this month which is a bit nuts considering that I was out of town 12 days.
  • Plan 2 friend moments
  • Engage in Sunday outfit planning for the week–whatever was hanging around once I finished packing was up for grabs
  • Finish at least 1 incomplete or untouched book already on my bookshelf–Nope!
  • Write a plan to tackle a piece of debt
  • Finish Season 1 and start Season 2 of Homeland
  • Begin planning 33rd Birthday trip for April
  • Finish developing the first and second session of S.A.I.L
  • Leave at least 1 blank night a week
  • Be in bed by midnight
  • Buy less stuff (Kate Spade bag w/gift card, mani/pedi/wax, Tom Ford Lipstick, Le Pens, Champagne, Hat, Wallet, Planner)
  • Marie Kondo my closet –Purses=Check!, Shoes= Check! Hats=Check!
  • To reach out to people when I think about them and not just shrug off the urge.-Ick! Yes, there were times when I did so and other times during which I put it on the backburner and never moved it back to the front of my mind.
  • To really use all that I learned during our mid-year reviews to be a better Director of my office and supervisor of my team.–uh, sure. Gosh, I have a staff member that’s decided to take advantage of another great opportunity and I think we had a great conversation about this change.
  • Pray for an open heart and mind when it comes to this season of my life. Pray that the Lord will give me the strength to embrace it and not let it lead me to lose my faith or hope in His promises. To constantly seek to be intentionally full of light, love, and laughter.– I really did the best I could with what I have. I didn’t dwell too much on my singleness this month, probably because I was running like a madwoman on the hamster wheel of life, and this also why I continue to run. I did have someone tell me that they just can’t ever see me being angry –gosh, I’ve got them fooled!
Some additional January Wins:
  • Announced as a Fellow for New Leaders’ Council
  • Solidified an opportunity to contribute a piece to an upcoming book for college students
  • Successfully designed and co-facilitated my first for hire retreat curriculum for the University of West Georgia
  • Met an incredible group of PE and PEE at AJLI Winter Leadership Conference in Austin, TX
  • Nominated for a Nashville Emerging Leader Award
  • A beautiful surprise shoutout for being a Panhellenic woman and  the first African American President of the Junior League of Nashville at CPC Academy
  • Nailed down 2 additional speaking/facilitation gigs for 2016

Can’t wait to let y’all know how all this went down or didn’t go down in February.

This may seem like A  LOT to some folks, but y’all, I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that He puts on my plate. Everything that I’m doing means something to me and is helping me be more of who I already am in this world–because that’s all I want–to be as ME as I can possibly be in this world without any apprehension.

These posts also serve as an accountability tool. You’ve unknowingly signed up to be my accountability partners. Thanks y’all, you’re so good to me. Breaking things up into monthly patterns will help me work towards the bigger picture without being too overwhelmed.

Now, I’m going to carve out time to put my Hopes on my calendar along with my Happenings.

What about you? What are your Happenings & Hopes for this month?

Can’t wait to see y’all each Thursday!

Krystal “Fighters Gotta Fight” Clark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 21-June 21 Goals

Perhaps I should have posted these at the beginning of May but as I think Lara Casey would attest to there is really nothing special about the first of the month. It’s a day that we’ve socially constructed to mean the beginning or starting point but who says you can’t start on the 21st? Throw away nonessential rules!

Nashville Bucket List –My list of things to do in my favorite city this summer. I envy those people who say things like, ” I summer in The Hamptons.” You know folks got bank when seasons become verbs. I haven’t reached baller status so for now #isummerinNashville.

Fruit Name

Update my Retirement Plan–I’m 32 and it’s never too early to get this party started. I have great employer matching benefits and I want to make sure that I’m taking full advantage of every opportunity to save for retirement.

Restaurant Crawl– Dinner at Lockeland Table and I still have 2 reservations to secure for a dinner date and a group brunch. I’m also working on a visit to Biscuit Love.

Sunday Gratitude Time– I have a ton of Thank You Notes and Love Letters to write to special folks in my life. Time to get it started! –Fruitful Summer!

Mail God

Summer Reading List– Diving into Spinster by Kate Bolick and Do Over by Jon Acuff

The Nashville Zoo

The Peach Truck

Fitness Goals

Use my Fit Factory Nashville Groupon. I purchased a months worth of classes. Can’t let that $39.00 go down the drain. IP

Yoga on the Field!

Begin the Barre3 Anywhere Challenge on June 1. The first challenge was the best fitness experience ever for me and I’m looking forward to getting it done again.

– Pick 3 new recipes from Soul Food Love and Oh Gussie! to prepare.

Professional Goals

Present at the National Conference for College Women Student Leadership at my alma mater, University of Maryland, College Park.

Participate in Mid-Level Managers’ Institute taking place right here in Nashville. So thankful to have been selected for this PD experience.

-Hold action oriented meetings for PREVAIL and TEDxVanderbiltUniversity

– Transfer Student Recruitment for EVOLVE

Summer Leadership Challenge! First 3 challenges.

Peculiar Pearl Goals

3 Posts per week

Build instagram following over @peculiar_pearl

Get new business cards

Develop a Business Plan

Email Rachel about training with Liz

– Craft Key messages/services

Orientation at Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Faith Goals

Continue working through the Wholeheartedly Devotional

Attend the Belonging Co.

– Continue seeking and praying about a Bible Study/Small Group

I think that might be enough. I’m excited and tired –is there a word for that?

Krystal

Own Your Weekend

Hey!

I have realized that I do so much during the week post work that I’m often exhausted during the weekend. Though I love post 5pm opportunities M-F, I’ve got to reclaim the power of Saturday and Sunday. After lots of time running on the hamster wheel of catch up when it came to work, spending sunny days in my office checking things off my to-do list that were not addressed  due to manufactured crises, useless meetings, social media distractions, colleague conversations, or impromptu and lengthy counseling sessions with the students, I decided that I could no longer subject myself to such torture aka weekend deprivation. The weekend belongs to me and should not belong to my occupation. A weekend side hustle is fine and being on campus to tailgate and cheer on the football team are acceptable but this whole “overachiever” business just needed to cease. Whatever I get done at the end of the day is ENOUGH! The world will keep spinning whether or not I rewrite the Student Leader Survey.

After engaging in intense, needed, and rejuvenating couch time on Friday night and Saturday during which I watched Rush and Walk the Line and went to bed early (Don’t be jelly!) I planned to make Sunday an external day. When I first moved to Nashville in 2011, I was hellbent on seeing this city in all its loveliness. Everything and everyone was new and I had to experience every delicious, melodic, and Christ filled part of it while I whirled around town on solo missions and prolific friend dates. If you need some help with friend dating, holla at your girl. I got that game on lock. I decided that it’s time to get back in the action. Music City is growing at a rapid pace and I’ve gotten behind on touring the list of wonders that make this place the “it” city.

Sunday’s Agenda

– Church at Church of the City in East Nashville

Barista Parlor for brunch in East Nashville

Barre3 Nashville in the Park in Public Square Park

I think my three basic elements were covered: A good Word, A good plate, and A good workout–my mind, body, and soul were well fed this fine Sunday.

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Ephesians 3:20 –“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” — His power goes beyond anything we can even fathom. His power saves us and sends us. He is able to do so much more because His power is at work within us. We have to step into God’s power. We walk around feeling like we are in control and we have the ultimate power over our lives BUT we don’t and we have to stop living at that level. “Most Christians salute the sovereignty of God but believe in the sovereignty of man.” —R.C. Sproul –How true is this? We claim that God is at the center of our lives and that we are placing everything in His hands but in actuality we are holding on to it tightly in our palms in fear of letting it go. Pastor Matt told us to think about the relationship in our life that we feel will never be healed and give it to God. Pray about it and watch Him work. Because God’s power is  working within us and it sends us to spread the good Word, we also have to be cognizant of how we can capitalize on his power in our everyday lives. How can you use the word in your workplace, the place you workout, during your volunteer efforts in the community, or when you meet a stranger in the check-out line. I realize that having The Bible in my office and scriptures posted in my office, and when I proclaim, “God is good” or “Give it to God”  or when I’m blaring my Christian Spotify playlist that I’m spreading His word in a way that allows others to tap into that place within themselves even for just a moment. I’m not being pushy, I’m just being present. I crave control but everyday I must remind myself that ultimately, I am not in control. He is God and I am not. Done. His power saves us and sends us. Those are the truths I need to hold on to all day, every day.

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After all this message and beautiful worship I headed over to Barista Parlor for brunch and what I found to be a really cool atmosphere. It was gorgeous outside and the sun hit the Barista Parlor sign perfectly. I ordered The Huntsmen with Bacon and a Hot Chocolate. The cornbread was EVERYTHING!!! #cornbreadcoma –The place is cool and a perfect hipster destination. It’s one of those places that you question whether or not you’re actually cool enough to be in the room. Luckily, I think my hair makes me 10 times cooler than most people in the room ;). KIDDING! People told me that the Baristas were a bit pretentious but I found them to be adorably sweet. The decor was curated in an intentional way that makes the place look vintage and modern all at the same time. I enjoyed sitting and writing with addictive music in the background.

—COSTUME CHANGE—

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All we needed was a mat, water, and a towel for a great workout. We got sweet goodie bags too :).

All we needed was a mat, water, and a towel for a great workout. We got sweet goodie bags too :).

Off to Barre3 Nashville in the Park at Public Square Park to find my edge and embrace those muscle changing shakes. I loved the weather and the workout, but most of all I love the team that make up this studio. Strong women who are beautiful inside and out without any pretense whatsoever. The mic was dropped when it didn’t work and the show went on while we all did crescent lunge under the most beautiful blue sky. The studio is co-owned by two powerhouse women and they have golden hiring fingers. All of the instructors make me happy and I never thought how great it would be for me to find a sense of belonging at the place in which I workout. Barre3 is a great fitness movement for women and I’m an avid supporter.

Called my mom on the way back home (I call my mom every Sunday. If I don’t, the police will be at my door. NOT KIDDING!) and that was a perfect end to my day. She made me laugh extra hard and made me extra proud for the work she’s doing at my home church. I know that He’s using her in the best way. She’s so great with kids and I know that’s where her brain and heart need to be focused. She did pretty well with me and my bro. We are so blessed to have had a mother who challenged and supported us. Kids need that so much. My mom was never my friend, she was my mom and THAT made ALL the difference.

I think I did a pretty stellar job of Owning My Weekend. Next weekend, I’ll be in Kansas City at AJLI’s ODI representing the Junior League of Nashville. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

It was nice to get back into the city and commit to adventuring around town to new places. I can’t let my week claim all of my energy and passing the time by slumping around my apartment just ain’t gonna cut it. Taking time to get some adult things done is fine BUT I’m only 31 and there’s no need to miss all this sunshine and leaf changing color time. Time to get back in the game.

How are you Owning Your Weekend?

Thanks for reading!

Lata Y’all.

College Ready or Not?: Come Back to Calm.

How do you rid your life of stress?

I don’t think I really thought about this until I was in college.  However, I was handed stress on a shiny antique silver platter quite swiftly as a first-year student.

To cope, I took “field trips” to Colonial Williamsburg to get away from all the noise. I found that running DOG Street brought me needed happiness and spending time on the elliptical machine and lifting weights made life a bit sweeter.

I can’t neglect sharing that when I was younger,I made my life “calm” by drinking alcohol. Going out and getting beyond the capacity for clear memories seemed to be the easiest way to release it all and to just forget all of my, in hindsight, first-world problems.

No judgment, if that’s where you find yourself at some point this year, but please know that your calm is not at the bottom of a bottle. If you’re going to drink, do it responsibly. Surround yourself with people that care about you. Don’t drive.  Recognize your limits. Work hard to ensure that alcohol does not become your only means of stress relief.

College brings a continuum of angst composed of grades, relationships, rejection, unmet expectations, homesickness, the realization that your professional aspirations ain’t always what they seem, speedy change, roommate woes, time management, financial crises, and peer pressure, etc. I’m not trying to frighten you at all. This is a moment of real talk. Like most things in life, college ain’t all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns.

stress break up

I strongly encourage you as you venture into your first-year of college to begin figuring out those activities/items/people that bring you back to calm and  work to keep those things a part of your burgeoning college schedule.

– If you enjoy the gym, look up the facility hours and block off  time to workout. If you’re a runner, inquire about the best routes on campus or the neighborhood in which your school is located. If you want to run in a group, inquire at the rec center about groups already in existence or chat with your hall mates about starting a group.

– Perhaps you played a sport in high school but aren’t able to or decided not to be a collegiate athlete. Check out intramurals or club sports. This is a great way to keep playing a sport you love but it’ll often be less of a commitment.

– If shopping is your outlet, then please be responsible about it.  I’d advise you to look for things that calm you that are also inexpensive and even better if it’s FREE. You don’t want to replace one stressor with another like money woes. It’s totally not worth it.

– Maybe you’re into “field trips” like me. What are places on/off campus that you can escape? Perhaps there’s an independent movie theatre nearby where you can engage in “escape by cinema”? A local park? A cool coffee shop? A place where you can let your guard down and just enjoy the space. Get off campus. Breathe new oxygen. See what’s popping outside the bubble. 

stress

– Sitting in front of the TV or computer can certainly bring you calm. Stop forcing social. Put on your favorite loungewear, grab some snacks, and chill out with familiar characters.

– Read your favorite book. I know, I know. No one has time to read for pleasure in college BUT when life gets hectic, make the time. Get back to words that make you feel whole.

– Hang with your besties. Be with those that remind you that there’s a bigger story in this world in which you play a critical role.  Having a strong support system can be key to relieving stress.

– Perhaps you’re into playing and/or listening to music. Check out your school’s music department for possible practice spaces. I’ve never been on a college campus that doesn’t have at least 2 public pianos for students to play at their leisure.

– I now know that writing is a great way for me to come back to center. This space helps me release a ton of stuff. Start a blog, public or private, and get yourself a great notebook to journal your thoughts.

– Engage in a life audit. Why are you doing everything that you’re doing? Is it valuable? Do you actually enjoy it? Has it become a burden? Do you really want to spend time in college with this particular group of people? Is this experience adding energy or depleting energy from your life? Sometimes, we just need to get back to the essentials and say a strong “No” to many of the items we have on our to-do list. Remember, the word “no” is a complete sentence. People would rather you give a strong no than a weak yes.

say no

– Go to those that know you best. For me, that’s God and then my family. Speak to Him, read His word, spend time in His house.  Call your family and laugh at all that they are and absorb their love through the phone.

So, how do you come back to calm?  What are those things that give you your wings?

A wonderful part of my job is that I think for some of my students, I’ve become a person that helps them find their calm. We engage in some ultra real talk–like some, get clear, get rid of all that unnecessary crazy talk— and lots of snort filled laughter.  Look for staff members on campus who want to help. Talk to your RA and/or Orientation Leader, student organization advisor, or a faculty member with whom you’ve made a good connection.

Sometimes your stress can become bigger  than a trip to the gym or the local movie theatre can cure. I strongly encourage to seek out your college Counseling Center should you feel that your normal tactics aren’t doing the trick. Never feel alone. If you’re nervous about making an appointment or walking over to the Counseling Center ask a staff member to help you and most of the time they will make a referral and even walk you to the building. I pinkie promise you that students use the Counseling Center on  your college campus. Never feel ashamed. You’re taking care of yourself and that is to be applauded and not maligned. Make yourself a priority. 

Regardless of how you choose to obtain calm, don’t hold stress in and don’t act like it doesn’t exist. You’re human and you get stressed out. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you real.

Lata Y’all! Enjoy the season my first-year friends.

What are you doing in the next 1,001 days?

I took some time today to update my 101 in 1,001. I still don’t have 101 things on my list. I need to think more outside the box or just take notice of those times throughout the day when I go, “Wow, I wish I could do that.”

Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post and Thrive, inspired me when she stated that one can easily complete a task by simply taking it off your to-do list. Magic! There are times when I put things on a list and then after a while I wonder, “What was I thinking? That doesn’t matter.” Instead of still working to get it done or just keeping it on the list and feeling like a failure, Arianna just says “Get rid of it.” Done and Done. On to the next!

This list all started with Design Darling. I read over her new list to borrow a few ideas. Check out her blog and her cute boutique. She’s lovely.

https://peculiarpearl.wordpress.com/101-in-1001/ –Check it out! Any suggestions?

Later Y’all.