4 Healthy Habits to Impact Your Mindset

by: Danielle Ternyila

Changing your mindset can be a really hard thing to do, but it is far from impossible. It takes time; it won’t always be easy, but nothing worth it ever will be “easy”.

There are at least some things you can do throughout your day to help change your mindset slowly but surely. By doing things that bring more positivity, focus, and energy into your every day, you can gain the confidence to do anything! The first step towards anything is believing in yourself, and these mindset tricks can help get you there.

Make Your Bed Every Morning

As soon as you crawl out of bed, turn around and make it again. It’s your first task of the day, so it’s sure to give you a huge sense of self-accomplishment immediately. Who wouldn’t want to start their day like this?

Doing so is known to improve your mood, much like some of these other simple habits. Make your bed so you’ll sleep better later, to reduce your stress levels, and improve your productivity. It’s the little things in life, after all.

Say Thank You Instead of Sorry

This is a big flaw we all can struggle with easily. When we make a mistake and get called out on it, our instinct is to apologize, but we’re human and can make mistakes. We are always learning, always growing, so we should be saying “Thank you” to those who catch the mistakes, help us through them, or just point them out. Thank you for your attention on that, thank you for pointing that out, thanks for explaining this.

When we break the habit of diminishing our work by apologizing, we can appreciate all our efforts, achievements, and growth instead of feeling guilty. Saying thank you, or at least learning not to immediately blurt out “I’m sorry!” when something isn’t done right, changes the attitude of the whole conversation. We shouldn’t have to feel like we have to be perfect all the time; just your best is exactly enough, and never apologize for that.

Drink Water First Every Day

Instead of starting the morning with coffee or your favorite tea, drink down a glass of water first, and maybe even add a splash of lemon for extra flavor! After sleeping for 8+ hours (by following the next tip), your body needs to be replenished. It has basically been in fasting mode for those long hours overnight, so you want to nourish it with what’s good for it, like hydration!

Play Your Happy Playlist

If you haven’t already, prep a “happy playlist” on your music app of choice. This should be all of the songs that make you feel good, the ones that lift you up and make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Be it a childhood favorite, some upbeat vibes, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack or bagpipes, music can be a great tool for our mental health, and it’s something we can do daily.

Music can provide more benefits to your mental state than you could think. It is actually linked to having positive effects on the brain and natural chemicals like dopamine, the “happy” hormone! Start playing that feel-good playlist, and find somewhere to fit it into your every day, maybe when you are feeling your most anxious during the day. I listen to my playlist in the car on the commute to work or anytime I need to clean but not feeling it; a quick dose of “Walking on Sunshine” or “Dancing Queen” to get myself excited!

What are you doing every day to improve your mindset? What songs put you in your best mood? Share with us in our private support group on Facebook!

Comfort Zone or Settling?

by: Danielle Ternyila

We lean on comfort zones far too much. We excuse choosing fear over chasing dreams because it’s “out of our comfort zone.” Enough is enough! This is your safe space where you can feel in control, but the best things happen outside of your comfort zone.

Being in control of your life is so important, but when you choose comfort over adventure or your dreams, this space will not be enough. We were born to grow and change, so we need to do exactly that by doing the hard and scary things. Trying anything new and unknown is scary, but you should be more afraid of not knowing.

Just this time last year I was starting a new job in a new industry and field, and it felt so far out of my comfort zone after 3 solid years at my old company. During the time leading up to my first day, it felt like I was taking the most dangerous risk. What if I’m not good at this? What if this is too much for me? Are they sure they want to hire me? Would I fit in? What if no one likes me?

When you do try to get out of your comfort zone, your mind is going to fight that because it wants to stay in that safe place it knows so well. You’re going to think of all the reasons you shouldn’t leave what you know; even if it’s bad, it’s still familiar.

I had developed a routine and comfort in my old job, and as many bad days as there were, it was still “easy.” I knew what I was doing, my job was safe, and I had experienced enough of the bad to know I could get through it. The new job opportunity offered hope and excitement, and yet the biggest thing I saw was uncertainty.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, start a new job too, or do something else that is a bit out of reach, you’re looking at an opportunity to get stronger. Getting out of of your comfort zone is actually a lot like learning a new skill; the more you practice, the easier it gets. You grow, you learn, and gain new confidence in yourself.

After a year in my new job, I don’t have any regrets, and all of those thoughts of self-doubt seem so insignificant today. I can’t believe I was so nervous and how much I had to fight that for what seems so easy today; I have a new and bigger comfort zone now, thanks to facing all these fears.

Next time you start feeling doubt that you can do something, just do it anyway. Accept that you can’t know everything, and the best things happen when you break out of your comfort zone. Take the risk and conquer your fears; you’ll be thankful when you do.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Let’s Not Compare To Them All

by: Danielle Ternyila

Why don’t I have her body? How does she stay so fit? Why do they get to travel so much? How do I get my home be that clean?

Social media can be the devil, especially when we start making comparisons as if we are looking in a mirror. From the outside looking in through an old friend’s social media, for example, it’s easy to assume things are just easier for them when things look good. They don’t post their bad days for you to see, which makes you start thinking worse about yourself.

Nothing looks good on me. I wish I could love the gym. I don’t get to go on vacations. I don’t have the time to clean and make my house look that nice. That’s just not me, I’ll never be like them.

There is no reason you should be doubting yourself by comparing yourself to your friends and influencers. The only real thing you can compare yourself to is the old version of yourself. Look at where you were before: that’s your competition.

Whether I am looking back at my teenage self, college self, or myself 1 year ago, that is where I am making my comparisons. How much have I achieved since then? Am I happier today than I was then? Have I surrounded myself with the right people? Do I take better care of myself? Have I learned from my mistakes and made myself better?

This is the most accurate and only way to measure your growth and the success of your life, through looking at yourself then and now, and of course staying motivated to make “future you” the best version of yourself, not backtracking or staying in place. We all get scared to try new things, which leads to us settling in our comfort zones, be it your job that’s easier to stay at than leave or how you spend your time.

Everyone has a dream of their own: to lose weight or get in shape, make more money, raise a great family, have the best job, own a business, or live in the dream home, for a few examples. None of those can be achieved if you don’t start believing that you can achieve all of these things. The only thing stopping you is yourself when you don’t apply, you don’t show up, and just give up.

Start with a plan and understand what your goals are. Take time to consider how you can get there. I honestly hated the gym when I was up 60 lbs a few years ago, so I prioritized eating healthier and tried new ways to be active so that I could achieve my goal. Every day since, I continue to compare myself to my “past self” and how far I have come. It makes me feel a lot more proud than comparing myself to someone else who has led a completely different life than me.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to looking in the mirror and comparing yourself to the fairest of them all (that’s you!), I have a few questions below to get you thinking positive and living the life you have been lusting after. You deserve it, that’s what you need to believe! You can live your best life, as long as you do your best to achieve that!

You get what you work for, not what you wish for.

  • What is your dream for your future?
  • Why is this important to you? What would it mean to you to achieve this goal?
  • What is holding you back?
    • Time, funds, commitment, knowledge, motivation, support, etc
  • What steps can you take to overcome those challenges?
    • Time management, finance planning or finding free programs, build a support system, join a team, make an inspiration/vision board, educate yourself, ask for help, etc
  • How will you hold yourself accountable?
  • In what way can you measure your success?
    • Monthly or weekly check-in’s, weigh-in’s, goal tracker, etc.

A support system is an important part to any journey! Join our group on Facebook for more inspiration and a positive group of people all doing their best!

The Weightloss Trick the Health Industry Hides Well

by: Danielle Ternyila

There are so countless diets and weight-loss programs that promise you the best results, but they all have the same bottom-line: it only works if you do. Don’t you think it’s odd that there has yet to be a magic weight-loss fix that doesn’t have this clause?

The secret is out! Commitment, discipline, dedication… Mindset is the trick to losing weight, and you have more than enough tools to do it. If you want to see results, the biggest challenge you face is your mind. It doesn’t want to do new or hard things. Your brain likes routine, pattern, and all the addictive junk food chemicals you eat because that’s easy and what it knows, but that’s not what you want; you want results and change.

Losing weight is hard, and I know that because I did it. I lost 60 lbs in a year but that was not without 100% dedication to getting healthy in 2017. I was tired of the health issues I was already dealing with, and if I could at least be healthy and avoid as much additional illnesses as I could, I was finally willing to do that. By the time I powered through, I began seeing improvements in my health; I suffered plantar fasciitis that made it hard to stand and walk, but that has not been an issue in such a long time now!

The mindset was a constant struggle, but I knew that would be the biggest battle. I had to remind myself every day and change the way I thought about my health. Gym visits are as important as work meetings. Junk food cravings that last 20 minutes aren’t worth it. I learned how to detect the excuses I’d make for myself, like not having time, lacking healthy options, not sleeping well, feeling crampy, and so on… Some days I showed up at the gym for a 10 minute ride on the bike, but I was still committed and didn’t give up. On days when I was sick, I did squats at home because I won’t give up on myself. It was a decision I had to make for myself and must continue to decide on every day.

The funny part, if you have a twisted sense of humor, is the correlation between our physical and mental health. When we are doing better physically in good shape and good health, we also feel better mentally. Exercise alone is known to improve so many parts of our health and lessen the likelihood of disease, but the most astounding change I found in losing my weight and creating a healthier lifestyle was the instrumental impact on my anxiety and depression. Prioritizing my health was important to me because I wanted to manage my health as best I could; no longer experiencing chronic panic attacks and sleepless nights has been the greatest gift of all that came from my journey.

If I had known the secret was believing in myself a few years earlier, I could have avoided some serious injuries and rough times. If you have been failing different diets or new fitness routines over and over, start work on your mindset. Inspire and motivate yourself daily, keep your goals and dreams top of mind, and do not go easy on yourself when you wake up wanting to quit. Show up, even if it’s the most half-assed workout of your life. Consistency is key!

Just Your Best Facebook group is open to new friends who want to meet like-minded individuals ready to change their mindset and conquer their health goals. Feel free to pop in and be a fly on the wall or jump into the conversations and inspiration!

Practice Gratitude Year-Round

by: Danielle Ternyila

Time and time again this simple method of gratitude has gotten me through the hardest days. I try my best to practice gratitude every day, but especially on the worst days. You know, those days or sometimes weeks when you just dont want to get out of bed in the morning, the day lags on miserably, or perhaps you’re most stressed at night as you recap your awful day. Maybe it’s just winter in general and the cold!

Instead of giving into those negative vibes, remind yourself of all the good. Ask yourself, “Well if this isn’t particularly going well, what is doing me good?” If you can’t think of a single thing or person you’re thankful for, for any reason whatsoever, then you aren’t trying hard enough.

Reflection is so important for us and our growth, especially mentally. Gratitude grounds us and finds the light in the darkest places. Next time you’re stressed, start listing what you are thankful for that day, including the driver who moved over for you when you were rushing to work, the woman who held the door when your hands were full, or that you had a filling breakfast.

Be thankful that you woke up early on the weekend and could spend more time enjoying your coffee or get ahead on your day. Be grateful if you slept in and got rest you needed. It’s like looking at a half-filled glass of water. Is it half full or half empty? You decide.

Ways to Implement Gratitude in your Life:

Journal! Take a moment each night to list 3 to 5 things you’re thankful for. Doing this will reinforce gratitude and keep you thinking in the future about what you’re thankful for!

Redirect Negative Thoughts! When you’re feeling particularly negative, pause to think about what you are grateful for instead, like an opportunity you’ve been given, a lesson you may be learning from a challenge, or the person you can lean on through it.

Thank Others! Make it a point to thank someone every day. Not only will you feel good, but it will reinforce gratitude in others as well, making those around you feel appreciated too.

By practicing gratitude regularly, you will learn to appreciate the little things, which will help in balancing your mental health in the long run. The longer you practice this, the easier it will be to recognize the little wins throughout your day.

Achieve Your Health Goals Like a Pro

by: Danielle Ternyila

I wish I was the kind of person that meal prepped. I wish I liked salads and healthy foods. I wish I could afford organic ingredients. I wish I had time to cook better meals. I wish there was enough time to go to the gym.

No, you’re not the only one thinking these things and struggling to take back your health for reasons like these. These wishes sound so hopeless, but telling your self any of this is NOT going to make things happen for you. Your health should be your number one priority, above anything else you do, and there is no reason you can’t.

No one is born to meal prep or cook specialty meals. Those people who do, though, actively choose to live that life. They don’t wish for things to happen, they make them happen. And if you have been struggling to get past the wishing and daydreaming, start acting.

We’ve all heard it in so many ways: actions speak louder than words. This is true even in achieving your goals. Telling yourself you can’t do it with these petty wishes and “Debbie Downer” thoughts will never will it to life. You set yourself up for failure every time you talk down about yourself, whether it is in the privacy of your mind, your car, or in a rant to a friend.

The only thing standing in the way of achieving your goals is the excuses you allow yourself to believe. At the end of the day, it is all just that. You don’t like salad is an excuse to eat bad instead. You don’t have time is an excuse to get out of 30 minutes at the gym. You can’t meal prep “right” so you stick to your old unhealthy habits.

Make the decision to follow your dreams. Do what you need to do make them a reality. Go the extra mile, put in the time even when you think you can’t, and tell your mind to “shut up” every time it tells you another excuse.

You can’t just wish for it. You have to work for it. And it never gets easier, you just get stronger!

9 Ways I Gain Control of My Anxiety

by: Terry Ternyila

One thing that most people don’t know about me is that I suffer from anxiety. For as far back as I can
remember, I struggled with it daily, and it is still something I must actively fight to control, even as an adult today and parent of adult children.

I struggle with anxiety with new situations, driving to places, going to the doctors or appointments,
meetings at work, and social anxiety for parties and events. When I was younger this would keep me
from attending certain events or parties. I would be riddled with stress for days before going for a
procedure or appointment for something. And I would just dread if I had something to do at work that needed to be presented in a group. Over the years I have learned practices that I have put in place to ease my stress and anxiety in situations.

One of the biggest things that helps me is being organized and planning. Below are some tips that I have developed for myself over the years.

1. Make a list.

I always start out each day with a list of things I have to do for the day or even for the week, reminders for any appointments, calls I need to make, or places I need to go. This helps me prepare for the week, looking at what I have coming so I have what I need to do. The more prepared I feel, the less stressed I am.

2. Tackle the things that stress me out the most first.

If I keep putting it off, the stress grows with each passing hour or day that I don’t do it. It becomes a dark cloud over my head, so I get it off my list first and feel so relieved. Usually its phone calls and scheduling appointments that I stress about most.

3. Save important info to your phone.

Keeping important information available on my phone has become such a life saver; I make lists of medication history, healthy history, or symptoms so they are easy to access at an appointment, and I can also remember what I need to discuss, even track symptoms to see when something started.

Another pro tip: Keep shopping lists on the Alexa app so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it when you stop at the store. Just let her know what needs to go on the list in the moment, then look back while you’re doing your grocery shopping.

4. Be Prepared.

This goes for most everything I do; I think of the situation, whether it’s a work meeting or vacation, then I prepare and organize myself so I can feel confident from the start that I have everything I need – items, information, research…whatever I could possibly need.

5. Arrive early.

This is huge for me. I always give myself plenty of time and leave earlier than I need to. I have found that if I am rushed or nervous about being late, it will fuel that anxiety and it will snowball into something worse. I have plenty of time to find where I have to go and allow for a few wrong turns, and I have time to walk around looking for the office or room, even the bathroom if that’s a concern! Sometimes it gives me a few minutes to collect myself before walking in.

6. Talk it through.

I tend to give things more stress than they deserve, so I have found that I like to think it thru and ask myself “what is the worst thing that can happen?” This usually puts it in perspective in my head. Once you realize that the worst case is really not a big deal and can be easily addressed, you tend to calm down a bit.

7. Admitting your issues to others.

Growing up there was a lot less talking about feeling than today. Now there are so many more discussions and Facebook groups with people going through the same thing. I think we have all realized that what we are feeling is a lot more common than you think. So saying to someone, “Sorry I just have so much anxiety at these things” or “I am just very nervous doing this” helps bond with others that may be feeling the same way or understand what you are feeling at that moment.

8. Don’t borrow stress.

This one sounds a little weird, but I have learned that I would be so worried about getting something right in a situation where it is not my place to make sure it’s right. If I am going somewhere or doing something, and it’s not my job or my place to take care of events, don’t stress about it. If it’s not my job to take care of it, then I don’t need to stress about it for someone else, such as when my husband is planning something and I take on the stress for him.

9. Communicate your needs to your partner.

This may seem like a no brainer, but you don’t realize that we do things and never explain why we do them, so the more my husband or children know about my stress, the more they can assist in making sure I can do what I need to enjoy ourselves.

My husband is not built like me and doesn’t need these things in place, but he respects that I do. He knows both of us will have a much better time if I just have a few things in place to keep me feeling calm. Instead of just telling him I hate to be late, I explain that when I am running late it give me more anxiety, and I can’t calm down or shake the feeling for the rest of the night. Instead of him blowing it off, he understands and makes every effort to make sure I am comfortable.

Everyone is different and these may not help everyone. You need to learn what techniques you can
bring to your every-day that would help you minimize the anxiety in your life. You will enjoy
more and sleep better for sure.

Dad Said Anything Is Possible, And I Believed Him

by: Danielle Ternyila

I grew up on daydreams of success, fairytales I wrote myself, and many “life lessons” from Dad (AKA Super Dad). Be the bigger person, learn from your mistakes, respect your elders and our veterans… Then there was one of our favorite childhood lessons that came with real-life role play at every fast food drive-thru trip with “Who wants to be the distribution manager?” He taught us that a distribution manager determined when products are distributed, where to, and how much, and he even have us kids interviewing for the position to distribute our meals around the car.

The most important lesson, however, has been that anything is possible with hard work and determination. He shares this golden nugget of knowledge endlessly, but actions speak louder than words.

My life started with watching him work tireless third-shifts in warehouses; fast forward to when us kiddo’s were graduating high school, he became general manager of a warehouse for a company he loves. Watching this story unfold over the course of my life, seeing him climb the ladder from the bottom to the top, has served as the greatest example of how to succeed, be it in your career, family, relationships, or anything else that is thrown your way.

As his child, I got a front row seat to his growth from 1994 to today. Otherwise, I’ve heard so many stories of the early days, like how he managed his own thriving landscaping business out of high school and into his early twenties before an injury caused him to go blind for several months. In true “Super Dad” fashion this didn’t cause him to give up and lose hope. Essentially it made him stronger, even though it set him back and forced him to completely change his career path.

Anything is possible, and I know this because I see Super Dad continue to make literally anything possible. When you have an issue, the first call you make is to Dad. He always has the solution to any obstacle or the answer to any problem because at the end of the day, he will make anything happen.

Like when you get bumped from your 6am flight in Atlantic City to Orlando with 9 hours until the next flight. No problem. With 1 phone call, Super Dad will fly down the turnpike and get you back up to Newark airport, where he has already called and confirmed a seat for you on their 10am flight.

At 1am at age 17 you took the wrong train into the city instead of home. From 45 miles away, Dad will talk you through navigating New York Penn Station, how to find the right train and get new tickets, and will stay on the phone until 3am when you board. And because Super Dad only goes above and beyond, he even met me at the parking lot when I finally made it to New Jersey to make sure I got to my car safe.

Watching Super Dad rise up to every challenge has made me stronger and more resilient. I could not have had a greater role model to guide the way for me, and it has made me a happier person. I’ve learned to chase my dreams, never give up, and live the fullest life. I would day Super Dad is his alter ego, but that would imply that sometimes he actually returns to his average Clark Kent state, which he never seems to do. He is always wearing his cape mentally. He faces any challenge head-on the way Superman would, and this has taught me how to put my own super costume on (mentally, of course!) when I need to because anything is possible.

When I finished writing my first novel, someone told me, “You can’t really publish a book because you’re only 14.” Maybe they were right, but with my dad’s encouragement and support, I went on to publish that book anyway at age 15.

On our annual family camping trip in 2019, I saw, “Doubles Horseshoes Tournament” on the activities list. Having never tossed a shoe in my life, I told everyone I was going to win. No one believed me, but Dad was sure to remind me that anything is possible (although in this particular instance, I think it was more mocking). Nonetheless, I practiced throughout the week until the event, then Super Dad and I promptly took our titles as champions.

When I was off to college, I heard a lot of doubts about pursuing an arts degree. Even Dad was unsure of what careers would be in store for me with a BA in Writing Arts, so it was my turn to remind him that anything was possible. I took a job right after college and have been following my passions since, learning more and even educating myself more along the way to get to where I want to be. Now he has no doubts of my degree, and rumor has it, he has been known to brag about this from time to time.

An annual Father’s Day is hardly enough to celebrate the incredible dad only three of us in this world have been privileged to have, but I don’t think there will ever be enough ways to thank him for all he has given me and every phone call he answers. After all, when in doubt, just call Dad!

Jill of All Trades, Mastering Your Path

by: Joanna Eaton

Remember that saying our parents would go on about, “you’ll never work a day in your life if you do what you love”? It always felt somewhat unreachable, especially when the people saying so tended to come home from work every day looking more and more drained each year. Also, as a creative person, I grew up hearing the phrase “starving artist” and how I should be “realistic” in choosing a career path, and although my parents have always been supportive when it came to following my interests, looking at making money in unconventional and atypical ways was uncharted territory; even so, I was eager to explore.

As early as the third grade, I was quietly purchasing “inventory,” consisting mainly of cute erasers and pencils from the school store and selling them at a marked up price during free time in my class. My classmate, Patrick, helped me by telling our other classmates they could buy off of me. It turned out that selling in class isn’t allowed, our teacher put a stop to it within a couple days. That thrill of how easy it was to get inventory and flip it so fast remained. This is the first time I really fanned my entrepreneurial flame.

Navigating Through the Working World

My real journey into the working world began in the backroom of Target while I was in college. This provided plenty of lessons in time management as well as patience. Once college was over I took on a night crew stocker position down the road at Costco while doing mornings at Target. After a while I dropped Target when I was able to secure the coveted morning stocking shift at Costco. After doing really well with that for a while I had the opportunity to move into the deli, which was a pay raise but came with a fairly irregular schedule and a lot more responsibility. There were a lot of hard, stinky nights that I pushed through, wondering when I might figure something else out. I wasn’t meant to be cleaning hot chicken ovens and being scolded by managers for running out of stock in the hot case for 2 minutes while my back screams for a break and my mouth for a sip of water.

After 3 years of hard work at Costco, it was time to leave. During my last year there I had increasing back problems, my arms had burn scars and my face had been burned by oven steam. It was time to get a job that respected my mind & body. Costco is definitely a good opportunity on paper as I was able to save & invest a lot of money as well as have access to really great insurance coverage, but they really make you put a lot of yourself into work to get it!

Armed with my savings and determination to find a better way, I gave over two weeks’ notice and l left Costco without anything lined up, despite what I told everyone there. Even though making that decision felt risky to me, I knew I had been really good about saving that money and would be okay if I didn’t find anything for a while. I used my savings to live on and continue paying bills while looking for anything but retail. I landed interviews for everything from Delta airlines flight attendant to a marketing associate for a direct marketing/ pyramid scheme selling Xfinity. I took the marketing role without knowing what kind of business they really were. I bought the nice businesswear required and worked long hours in a cult-like brainwashing environment. I was made to feel like I had the power to do well in this job, but that I was never working hard enough; if you didn’t have sleepless nights, came in early and stayed late, you didn’t really ‘want’ to be successful there.

Once I figured out what was going on I arranged a meeting to tell them I was quitting and another person working there was quitting the same day as me. He showed me the “Devil Corp” documentary on YouTube with the word “Juice” (a common thing said there) as the thumbnail. It outlined the inner workings of the shady business we were in and I was so glad that I didn’t waste any more time there. I tried out a couple positions in different fields including being a LifeTouch photographer, but nothing could get me to shake the feeling that “this job isn’t going to take me anywhere”.

Taking a Chance and Trusting Yourself

After some time with no work again I saw my boyfriend’s workplace was hiring in the embroidery department. I didn’t know anything about embroidery, I don’t really even use sewing machines, but I know I am a fast learner! Other than that, I had helped them out here and there when they needed an extra set of hands, so I already had a good rapport with them.

When I was looking at the job posting, I’ll admit I was in the local bar with my man. With a bit of liquid courage and his permission to potentially be his co-worker, I literally said “fuck it” and submitted my Indeed application to them. One follow-up email later, I landed an interview and they were willing to take a chance on me.

I started soon after and they had me learning embroidery under the 2 other girls there. Other than that, they had me also doing merch order fulfillment for a popular crime podcast. Not only did I catch them up on orders, I reorganized and did stock inventory, which they had never done before.

Just as I was almost comfortable with the embroidery machine, COVID-19 struck. With us being a 5 minute walk away and most other employees working from home or not coming in, my boyfriend and I decided to keep going to work. We knew the business was likely not to survive if we didn’t keep showing up and we needed to keep earning regular income. I was pretty nervous though; with only a couple months under my belt, I was the only person in the building that could run the embroidery machine. Without being prompted, I repeatedly used my own free time to learn and understand the inner workings of embroidery and how I could improve. If you’re familiar, the original Pokemon theme song was 100 percent the mood during this time!

With fairly limited resources concerning commercial machines like ours, I had to do a substantial amount of experimenting and research. After lots of practice, I had a great handle on the machine, and I began to turn my attention to digitizing. This is the process of getting an art file ready for production in a way that the embroidery machine understands. Being able to learn this side of embroidery helps to give us better control of the process and a more precise outcome for each job. After a surprisingly large learning curve in the program, I started having a lot of success with it. My boss armed me with a work computer and was open to ordering new types of supplies in order to evolve the end-quality of our work. Many happy customers later, I officially became the embroidery manager. Once things calmed down a bit with covid, one of the girls came back to our section being reorganized(which she had admittedly expected would happen) and a massive workload that has only grown in size since.

Now we have an additional embroidery machine, on track to hire more people for embroidery and get another machine. Our boss is even going to be adding onto our building to expand, so there’s lots of excitement coming within the next couple months. To think, just over a year ago, we were uncertain if the business would survive! 

Mastering my Destiny

We ended up moving out of our small apartment that was a 5-minute walk to work, to now having a house with a 40-minute commute. This puts a bit of a strain on our personal time as we yearn to find a way to have passive income from our property somehow. Even a side business of my own with extra cash flow would be really incredible, something I could run at home and see where it goes! 

Other than day dreaming about setting up my own business, I’ve always been interested in creating identities for other businesses! I have a friend who makes her own all-natural salve/ moisturizer; I told her years ago if she decided to start selling it (because this shit is amazing) I would make her logo and help her with content, etc for free. Recently she finally took me up on it and it was a really fun process! Working together to create her logo for (@bee_._natural) and producing content made me realize it was something I wanted to do more of, and maybe while this might not be a sole business model for me, I could give back to brands I am inspired by and want to support. Ideally I would like to do this a couple times a year to design a logo that becomes a symbol of their own hard work & progress. To be part of that startup’s origin story as they hone in on their branding and connect with their market is so exciting!

As I grow older and expose myself to different environments, podcasts and people from different walks of life, I find myself intuitively leaning into the activities and opportunities that feel right. When I say “feel right”, I’m talking about that good-ole gut feeling. Despite the popular phrase “go with your gut,” I feel like I never “really” got it until recently. I always let logic and ideals lead me and trusted in what people said, only to be left disappointed or drained from activities and opportunities. For instance, I have always LOVED taking photographs. I started with film as a little girl that we’d take to the store to develop and moved to digital once I could sometime in middle school. Friends and family definitely identified me as a photographer and always asked for me to take photos for them and I would–of literally anything they asked.

Being a natural-born people pleaser, I always said yes, even if I didn’t feel like it. Eventually I raised my prices to make sure I was being properly compensated and noticed a drop in people coming to me for my high-value, yet affordable services. Even so, there would be people coming to me to do portraits, which is arguably one of the things I like to capture the least. Once I realized the anxiety they brought me and that it wasn’t even about the money, I slowly began saying no to them. This helped me preserve my joy for photography and freed up my time to practice with product photography, which it turns out I enjoy a lot more.

Don’t Quit Your Daydreams

Being an artist, continuing to explore new mediums is essential for me to feel challenged and find inspiration for other projects! Just like how I excitedly dove into the embroidery and garment decoration industry at my current job, I am ready for another challenge! This time, a few months from now, I will be receiving a shipment with a laser cutting machine! With this tech, my goal is to learn the machine and art file program  in time to make Christmas presents for my family. That’s a small window of about 1-2 months time to learn the basics. To accelerate myself toward that goal, I am currently taking initiative to look up everything I can, as well as gathering/ preparing product materials to hit the ground running come September! I haven’t quite settled on a name, but I simmered down my list to 5 cool possibilities, so there will be an update soon once I settle on the best one! It should be something that sets the tone for what kind of business I want it to evolve into without boxing me into just one area of customization, as I will be a one-stop shop for businesses in the future!

To bring it back to the reason for writing this article in the first place, you CAN do what you love, but it will require work. Whether or not the work is worth it for you is for you to decide! I cannot tell you how many people I witnessed say they don’t want a 9-5 and they want to work for themselves, but never take the steps toward that goal. It’s like they are just pacing at the line between being taken care of with regular schedules and guaranteed paychecks and the other side where they have to be the Jack (or Jill) of all trades, having a schedule that ebbs and flows with your actions within the business.

The truth is, if you’re REALLY going for it and want to be productive, you might not even need to do everything yourself! Websites like Fiverr and UpWork are great places to hire talented people with different backgrounds to do one-off or repetitive tasks for you and open up your time for the things you need to do yourself. So when it comes to mastering your path, you can remember you still aren’t alone; there is an incredible amount of resources available to those trying to find and improve your niche! They will come in the form of books, blogs like this one, podcasts, free webinars, online classes; there are so many!

I hope these experiences can help spur motivation and summon some creative thinking as you explore the potential to monetize on the things that come naturally to you. I am eager to write additional articles that will help prepare you and propel you forward, mind, body and spirit!

My Weight-loss Journey: Overcoming the Mental Battles

By my senior year of college, I came to realize I had spent the last 3 years putting on the “Freshman 15” with every semester that went by. I no longer owned any jeans that fit, I had to say goodbye to a lot of old clothes, and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt “good.” The year started with my ending a toxic relationship with a bad man who made me feel like I would never be “skinny,” and no one else would want me, but even after realizing I’d rather be alone my whole life than be with him, I still could never shake the thoughts that had been drilled into my head for so long: I was weak, and I would never change. Measuring at 4-foot-11-inches tall, I may have been “big” according to the scale, but at the same time, I felt small and defenseless, which was not the mindset I needed.

I had tried so many fad diets over the years to lose the weight, but it either didn’t work, didn’t stick, or the weight came right back because I didn’t  stay consistent. Either way, I had no idea what I was doing, but one late night as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, “I may be small, but I don’t need to be weak.” For that split second, the thought crossed my mind that I did not need to lose weight. I needed to get stronger, and I could do that if I just tried.

When I woke up the next morning, I went to my mom right away and told her I was going to the gym. Being my biggest supporter, she got dressed and came with me to sign myself up for a membership, and I started to sweat. Unlike any other time I thought “I can do it,” I followed through. I didn’t let the thought pass, I didn’t wait for a Monday, and I didn’t even really have a plan. I just knew I couldn’t give up, or I would be the same as I was yesterday.

From that morning on to the end of the year, I found time every single day to make it to the gym, whether it was a 10-minute workout before class or an hour at the end of the day. Slowly but surely, it became routine. I didn’t give up on that thought, although that is not to say I believed in myself every day. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing in the gym, and of course I did not feel I could belong there when everyone else seemed so confident and fit around me.

On the days my mom came, I felt courageous enough with a buddy to try new equipment and different workouts, and on the days I was alone, I told myself stories on the treadmill of how all these strong people around me started somewhere too, and maybe how they also looked down to their feet once before and could not see them either.

My weightloss journey doesn’t start nor end here, but the fall of 2016 was a monumental moment for me in which I realized I didn’t have to believe everything I thought. In fact, I can choose what I believe, so I chose to believe the good thoughts instead of the bad.

I made it to the gym every day, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve by planning ahead, but life changed as I kicked off New Years Day in 2017 with a flight to London for my study abroad program. I was active every day walking all over the city, but I gained back all I had lost so far with my daily pub meals and countless beers. However, when I got back on track in March 2017, I lost it all again and then some, ultimately losing 60 pounds in 365 days. Just like in the beginning, all I needed was that belief that I could do it.

It all comes down to mindset; I learned to believe in myself because no one could do that for me. I asked for help when I knew I needed it, bringing my mom or other friends with me to the gym to keep me going. I wasn’t perfect every day, but I didn’t let 1 bad day define the next, nor would I punish myself if I fell off course.

No matter what, the most important thing is to keep going. When everything seems to be failing or you start to lose hope in yourself, choose to keep going anyway. Don’t give up, because that won’t speed up the process.

Remember: A little progress each day adds up to big results. It doesn’t happen in a day, but with the right mindset, you can and will achieve the results you set out to.

How I Mended My Relationship With the Scale

by: Terry Ternyila

For years I was obsessed with the scale and my weight. I would weigh myself every day, and it would become one of the most toxic relationships I had, or at least that is what it felt like, looking to the scale for approval every morning. I would get frustrated and upset with myself, which would eventually lead to completely derailing whatever fad diet I was on at the time.

I still weigh myself every day but not to focus on my weight; I focus on my health. I have learned that the scale is a tool to help me, not to judge me. In the past few years my journey with food has changed so much, picking foods that fuel my body now and make me feel good, learning which foods I should avoid or eat in moderation.

Every morning I step on the scale first thing to see what effects yesterday’s eating had on me. This is not to judge myself for what I consumed the day before but rather to identify which foods work best for me. I used to think if you just eat healthy foods you will lose weight and feel good, but that’s not the case. I also thought one bad day of eating would cause me to put the weight back on, but it is the daily bad eating habits that will.

I also use the scale to keep me focused; now if I see the weight go up a bit, it is a reminder to go back to the basics, and usually within a day or so, I will see the scale settle down where I expect it to be. If I notice it’s trending up, I need to check in with myself to see what I am eating that is different.

Finding the foods that are triggers for my body to store fat and knowing which foods have a negative effect on me has been some of the best lessons I have learned. I track this through journaling what I eat daily and observing my body changes. I know which foods will make me feel “bloated,” so I don’t necessarily gain weight but clothes are tight and I feel gross. I note which foods trigger my body weight to creep up, as well as how the foods make me feel.

Implementing small changes in my daily routine based on learning my food triggers has made a big impact for me. I have found that certain dairy will make me feel bloated, so I changed my French vanilla creamer in my morning coffee to almond milk, and I feel so much better. Limiting my cheese intake is hard for me since it’s a favorite protein of mine; I make sure to pick the right cheese for me when I do want that snack, not indulging too often, and I’m honestly able to enjoy it so much more.

I have learned my trigger foods that make me gain weight if I consume too much. I am also a chocolate addict…one of my guilty pleasures for sure! If I eat dark chocolate, it does not affect my weight, but if I indulge in milk chocolate, it will trigger my body and some weight gain, especially if I consume too much. I know for my husband that one of his triggers is certain nuts, go figure. I would have never thought nuts would affect someone that way, and nuts do not affect me that way, so I find it’s a good go-to snack when I am craving something salty… Add a little of my dark chocolate to it, and it’s a great cravings crusher without the guilt.

Scales have come a long way. They have so many more features to them now. My scale tracks my hydration percentage, so this helps me see if I have slacked off in my hydration, which affects my weight as well. I can also link my scale to the My Fitness Pal app, so I can link my food journal with my weight and look back at patterns and trends.

Be sure to use all the tools you have at your disposal to help you:

• Use a kitchen scale for a week measuring all the food you consume will check in with your portion sizes
• Find an app to journal your food intake to see how many calories you are consuming
• Use your scale to track your reaction to foods and see when you gain weight or feel bloated
• Invest in a Fitbit or Garmin to keep yourself moving.

Remember, this is a long game…you have your whole life to figure it out, so don’t put stress on having to reach all these goals in a week or a month. As long as you are making progress every day to feel healthy and happy, you are on the right track.

Free Cardio, It’s a Mindset

Somewhere along my fitness journey, I coined the term “free cardio,” and it really stuck. It probably doesn’t make much sense, but to me it does, and it has become something I live by. It is a mindset that gives me more energy during the day and makes me feel happier, even when I’m doing stuff I really don’t want to do (like bending over to dig all the dog toys out from under the couch – again!)

Did you know by simply standing that you could burn at least 100 calories per hour? That’s so easy, so imagine how much you can do when you start moving too! Free cardio is about celebrating and enjoying anything that gets you moving, because no matter if it’s something small that takes 20 seconds or something you dread that might take an hour, your body is moving more than you were expecting.

I’ll try my best to write a definition, but it all comes down to mindset.. Hopefully when you find yourself active during the day, you think more positively and feel happy in whatever you’re doing because you are burning calories, no matter how it may be!

Free Cardio (n.) – Unexpected activity requiring the body to move to complete a minor or undesirable task, yet remains physical activity nonetheless

Hey mom, I’ll take the trash out for you while I am here, you know I love free cardio!

Examples:

Did the kids bring home some extra dirty clothes today?

Laundry = free cardio!

Standing up, switching the wash, folding clothes all gets your body moving, so instead of thinking about how aggravating it is to wash all the clothes, maybe when you’d certainly rather be watching the latest episode of the Bachelor or something, remember your body is moving more, and that’s a good thing!

Forget to order eggs in your grocery pick-up?

Get back in the car and drive over to the corner store to grab them! Who cares if you are going out of your way? You weren’t expecting to walk around the store today, but now you get to burn a few unexpected calories!

Need to check the mail box?

It seems so silly, but especially during a pandemic when we are all so used to staying in, it could feel like a chore to walk out and grab the mail. Instead of another item on your honey-do list, think of it as free cardio!

Whatever it is you find yourself doing, be proud of yourself for moving! It can be so easy to get stuck in your seat and not get active, so be grateful for every excuse you have to get up! It’s a Mindset. When you find the good, even in something as boring as vacuuming the house, cleaning under the kids’ beds, or scooping dog 💩, you will feel good too!

Mind over matter – you can choose to be tired, agitated, or just simply “over it”, or you can choose to accept what needs to be done and find the plus side! There is something good in every thing, even if it just knowing you got your body moving a little extra!

Looking to enjoy your free cardio? Check out some unique ways below to have fun with friends and family, while also getting a workout in simultaneously!

Shopping: peruse the mall or outlets with your loved ones for a fun day out, and there’s no rule that you HAVE to shop when you walk around the stores 😉 it’s okay to be in it just for the free cardio!

Dog Walks: Spoil your pup and get some exercise next time the weather is nice

Flea Markets & Yard Sales: don’t just drive by – Park the car and add a few steps to your fitbit exploring some old goodies along the way

Visit a park or playground: the family will all have fun, and you’ll probably spend most of the trip on your feet!

Charades: who remembers this game? Next game night, have everyone on their toes while they guess what you’re doing while you’re getting that free cardio in too

What activities do you enjoy doing, or have found joy in doing? Honestly, a good dance party while cleaning the bathrooms really changes the tone!