life in transition

I have never felt more like an adult than I have the past few months. Since Bradley and I got engaged, we have had curveballs thrown at us left and right and more hoops to jump through than any other time in our lives.

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Between all of the curveballs and hoops, we are trying to navigate where to live, how to further our education, pay the bills, merge our lives together as soon-to-be newly weds, and plan a wedding from halfway around the world.

Unfortunately, I am a perfectionist; I like to map things out for the future even though most of the time, I have no control over the outcome. I find myself overwhelmed with worry and stress that leaves my entire body exhausted – mentally, physically, and emotionally. We are going through a transition period in our lives and are being forced into making decisions that will domino-affect the rest of our lives. Talk about deja vu from senior year of high school.

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 There are very few things keeping me sane right now, but I feel the need to share ways of coping for those going through similar transitions.

1. Support Network

I am so grateful to have amazing, open-minded, and compassionate friends and family members in my life who have been talking me through my worries. I believe my positive network of friends is one of God’s biggest blessings in getting me through this period of so many unknowns. I am so grateful to have friends living all over the world giving me insight while being consistently supportive of my opinions and validating my feelings. One of the best things to hear from someone is, “Oh yeah, I’ve gone through something like that before. I’ve got your back.”

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2. Eating Well

This truly can’t be stressed enough – when I eat like crap, I feel like crap. I notice anxiety begins creeping back in, turning minor issues into massive issues, and all I want to do is sleep. When I am eating vegetables and plant-based foods more than anything else, I find myself ready to take on an entire army with a celery stick to the tune of “Some That I Want” by Grace Potter. (Thanks, Tangled soundtrack).

Learning how to make natural teas and other drinks has been a fun thing for me to experiment with while living in China – my go-to is boiling chopped ginger root and fresh turmeric in some water, and then adding a teensy bit of maple syrup, cinnamon, and coconut cream! The health benefits of ginger and turmeric are numerous and the syrup, cinnamon, and cream help make the tea a tasty evening treat. Add in a pinch of peppercorn to maximize absorption of all the benefits turmeric has to offer. Check out the links below for a few nuggets of wisdom about ginger and turmeric.

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3. Hobbies/Outlets

For me, going to work and coming home does not fulfill me creatively. I need projects, things to read, and crafts to keep my mind actively challenged. Blogging isn’t necessarily a recent hobby for me, but it is recently consistent (oops); getting my site running has helped increase my motivation to get other things done in my life rather than focusing on all of the things that I cannot control. Accomplishing small, attainable goals during a time of change can take some of the pressure off of the uncontrollable. My more recent hobbies include reading up on health and nutrition – learning ways to nourish my body with the best possible substances and relying on food as my primary way of healing (as seen in point #2). Focusing on the betterment of myself – mind and body – is one way I have helped ease the stress of this transition.

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4. Laughing

I am sure we can all agree that we always feel exponentially better after having a good laugh. It is proven that laughing stimulates serotonin production, which in turn produces more endorphins that help reduce stress – might as well take advantage of our natural-born ability to relieve stress as much as possible! Thankfully for youtube, our generation has instant access to videos upon videos posted for one reason alone  – to make people  laugh. Whether you enjoy videos of pets voiced-over by their owners or of cute babies giggling, there is bound to be something to get you laughing until your abdominals feel like they just held a 30-minute plank.

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5. Meditation

Meditation can mean different things to different people – for some, it’s praying or taking a minute for deep-breathing exercises; sometimes it is literally meditating with crossed legs on the floor, clearing ones thoughts away and focusing only on the breath; and sometimes for me, it just means taking a nap. Whatever your version of meditation might be, take some time each day to remove yourself from the constant hustle-and-bustle to gently breathe and refocus your energy in a more positive and productive way.

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a s h e l l a  x o

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