You Are You

You Are You

By
Sarah Pichardo

I was reading about a study that shows how baby names can affect future behavior. (Yes, there really is a study about this.) The research revealed that a person’s name can influence where he/she chooses to live, occupation, and even choice of political candidates. Naturally, after reading this, I immediately wanted to figure out how my name has affected me and since the study didn’t have specifics, I did the next best thing – I googled it. I did a search for how people named Sarah where supposed to act, but that didn’t really help.

The whole thing got me thinking, though, about the names we have grown up with that have defined our persons.

Think of those names that you were called when you were younger and perhaps are still being called now. The majority of them are probably parts of your identity that were called out by others – things that people noticed in you and they began to know you as those things, such as smart, athletic, musical, chunky, goofy, lazy, etc.

How have those labels influenced the person you are today? Have they affected the way you look at yourself? Determined the choices you’ve made?

I’ve been called everything under the sun – stubborn and impatient, creative and generous. These have been reinforced throughout the years by others and as time has passed, I have accepted them to be true and have allowed them to define me as a person. Fortunately, these names and labels that I’ve grown up with haven’t been untrue or harmful. I have a close friend who wasn’t so lucky. He grew up in an abusive home, and despite all his best efforts, he was always referred to as stupid and good for nothing. For a while, he allowed those words, those labels, to define him. It wasn’t until after high school, when he joined the military, that he began to peel off the negative labels and live into more positive ones.

Take a minute to weed through the names you’ve been given. Recognize that some negative ones might be true and that those are areas that you need to work on. Also recognize that not all the negative ones may be true. Judgment and name-calling will always be a part of life. There will always be people around the corner telling you that you aren’t smart enough or patient enough or successful enough. But don’t let others opinions of you dictate your future. If your name is going to be a determining factor on how your future shapes out to be, then pick your own labels. Make a conscientious choice to live into the person you want to be.

And remember, you really are more than just a label. In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “You are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges
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Sarah Pichardo is the Creative Director at Family Bridges. When she’s not obsessing over pixels, designs and scripts – or brainstorming plans to take over the world – she’s probably reading a book or overdoing it with the Christmas decorations.
Follow her on…
Twitter: @sarahp726
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahp726

Crossing the Finish Line

Crossing the Finish Line

by
Omaira Gonzalez

My husband and I joined a 5K walk/run. We were pretty excited that we were going to do this together and also that it was for a good cause. However, that day when we woke up the sky was gray, it was cold and raining. Neither of us had much motivation to go out there and run, but we decided to get bundled up and got ready to participate anyway. We headed out there and joined the rest of the many people who, like us, decided not to let the Chicago weather stop them.

This 5K made me reflect on how my husband and I first came together and decided, “Hey let’s get married.” Since then, we joined a marathon called marriage. When we first started this race, it was so exciting! We dreamed of a lifetime of happiness, sunshine and rainbows. We geared up for our race, put on our best running shoes, and made sure we each had our water bottles to keep hydrated from time to time when things felt dry in our relationship. Get ready, get set, go! We were ready! Until the day a gray cloud in the sky called “differences” appeared. I mean, we knew we were different. He is guy and I am girl; we liked different stuff. But I am talking about the kind of “differences” that get under your skin. Funny thing is that they are usually the subtle stuff that always gets to you. For example, you are neat, he is messy; he wants to watch sports all day long, and you, well, not so much; one procrastinates, the other wants it done now; one is a spender and the other wants to save it all; one wants to talk about their feelings and the other one doesn’t listen. While these scenarios may seem silly or perhaps not so silly, it builds up in your relationship, and your race together feels like you are running under gray skies, light showers and sometimes a thunderstorm. You see less of the sun because the cloud of differences is now over your race. This can be very frustrating and discouraging, and you get fatigued in the middle of your race when faced with challenges. You start off very excited and with a goal in mind to cross the finish line. But how do you continue a race when you are not as motivated as you were when you first started?

As my husband and I were entering into our last mile, we became tired and fatigued. The cold weather and rain did not help us at all, and we started to get discouraged. I felt like this last mile was weighing me down, when my husband looked at me and said, “We are almost there, we got this. Let’s cross this finish line together,” and then offered me his arm. I grabbed his arm and found the support I needed to finish our last mile. At that moment it didn’t matter how I was feeling or what kind of weather we were facing. I was just happy that I had him by my side to finish this race as a couple, just like when we first started.

In marriage you will have your differences and your own experience weathering difficulties and unexpected challenges. Yet, in all of my 30 years of marriage, what I have discovered most about staying in this marathon called marriage is that it’s not so much about how to weather the storm, but it’s about how to motivate each other to stay in the race and cross the finish line.

For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges


Omaira Gonzalez is the COO for Family Bridges. Omaira and her husband of 30+ years love adventure, long walks and Broadway shows. With their kids, granddaughter and granddogs, they enjoy great meals and playing board games. But look out–losing is not an option!

The Love of a Mother

The Love of a Mother

By
Savannah Gonzalez

I’ve never seen or understood the depth of a mother’s love until recently. My mom is an amazing woman. Can you believe that I have never seen my mom angry? From the day that she brought me to this world, 32 years ago, I’m yet to see her mad. She never complains about anything. Whenever Mother’s Day, Christmas or even her birthday comes around, she never asks for anything. And all I want to do is shower her with gifts, pampering her with her heart’s desires, yet she always tells me not to get her anything. I always knew my mom was special, but now that I’m a mom, I know realize how much she loves my brother and me.

When my twins were born, I was hit by the famous postpartum depression. Every day I cried. I felt trapped. My mind could not see into the future. It was challenging for me to take care of my babies. My mom, having an incredible job, saw how bad I was doing and she decided to leave her job to be with me full-time, helping me with the children. It was there and then that I realized the great love that a mother can have for her children; the sacrifices a mother makes to care for and protect her children. There is so much that I want to thank my mom for, but the words are not enough. I love her so much, and I thank God for sending me a mom full of love. She inspires me to want to be like her. I want to be a loving mother like her. I do not want my children to worry about me. I want to be there for them when they need help as my mom did with me. I love you, mom.

“A mother cries and laughs; punishes and praises; feels the hurt and the excitement with the accomplishments or disappointments of her children. Being a mother is a demonstration of excess within defined boundaries. She laughs, praises and is elated because she is proud and wants to develop her children’s self-esteem; she cries, punishes and hurts because she wants her children to build character.” Read more about The Art of Being a Mom

For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges

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Savannah Gonzalez is the Creative Content and Project Assistant at Family Bridges. She expresses her creativity most in social media. When she’s not working, she spends most of her time with her husband and twin boys, finding amazing deals at Goodwill, watching movies or serving at her church.

You can follow her on Instagram @savannahperez

The Art of Being a Mom

The Art of Being a Mom

By
Eva Fleming

When my daughter was 13-years old, she started to master the longboard, a kind of board larger than its counterpart the skateboard. She had fun with her friends going downhill, racing and using it as transportation. The year she started coasting the streets with her longboard, our family spent Christmas with my in-laws in Atlanta where the roads are not as flat as they are in Florida; as a matter of fact, they are very “hilly” since the town is located in the foothills of the southern Appalachians Mountains. My daughter was determined to use her longboard in that terrain. Performing one of her tricks, she missed her footing. The poor girl ended up hitting the ground hard and even though she didn’t break any bones her ego took a beating. We bandaged her scrapes and hugged her until the next day where she was once again performing her tricks in the mountainous terrain of her grandparent’s neighborhood.

Being a mom is an art because on the one hand, we are biting our lips as not to implode of anxiety with our children’s latest ventures, on the other, we are speaking life and hope into their ears, so they don’t get discouraged. A mother has the ability to treat the body, soul, and spirit of her children simultaneously without neglecting one for another. A mother lets her children take risks without putting them in danger; allows them to experience frustrations without letting them give up; gives them independence without licentiousness; trust without neglect.

A mother cries and laughs; punishes and praises; feels the hurt and the excitement with the accomplishments or disappointments of her children. Being a mother is a demonstration of excess within defined boundaries. She laughs, praises and is elated because she is proud and wants to develop her children’s self-esteem; she cries, punishes and hurts because she wants her children to build character.

When the voice of one of her children is silenced, the mother stands up for them. She pays for piano lessons so they can develop discipline, patience, and wake up their emotions and she enrolls them in sports so they can learn coordination, control, and teamwork. A mother seeks the success of her children, but not at the expense of the weak. In the process, a mother always teaches compassion without allowing abuse. Her life is not involved in her own needs, but in that of her kids.

Being a mother is an art. Science is based on explanations and predictions. But a mother does not treat her children as an experiment in a laboratory with measures and predictions because each child is different, and so are the circumstances, emotions, and situations. A mother’s answer is “yes and no,” “it depends,” “sometimes,”… but when is it yes and when is it no? A mother knows because she knows her child, the circumstances, the emotions and the situations.
So continue being a mother, a guide, a counselor, a protector, and a lawyer until your children are ready to face the world and unleash their full potential. Acknowledge that your only reward is their inner health, which will become evident when you are no longer there to give them a bandage the days they are doing their tricks on the sidewalks of life.

If you’re like me, you think all mom’s are awesome. Check out this podcast about how they put the WOW in MOM.

For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges

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Eva Fleming is an expert educator and curriculum developer. She has over 25 years of teaching experience and has taught all age groups including, preschool, elementary, middle and high school children and adults. When she’s not teaching, she’s cooking something delicious or driving her children around.

How to Change Your Attitude

How to Change Your Attitude

By
Sarah Pichardo

Sometimes you’re just in a bad mood. You woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Somebody did something that made you mad. You got hangry. You’re having a bad day. And when anybody tries talking to you, they get the look…

It happens. So what can you do to change your attitude, not only for the sake of those around you – but for you? Here are a few ways to turn your attitude around.

Talk to your best friend

Maybe you just need to talk to someone about your feelings. A friend or family member can help you process those feelings, put them into perspective and they can give you some good advice and support. Accept that life sucks sometimes. Reflect on what’s bothering you and get insight into the issue. You’ll feel better.

Be grateful

Nothing can change your negativity like combating it with positivity. Matter of fact, did you know that people who practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, are kinder and have stronger immune systems? See? Science. Take a few minutes to be grateful. List five things that you’re thankful for today. Be as specific as possible.

Listen to Music

Listening to music is yet another way to increase your positive emotions. Science again. Play some music with a low tempo, and you’ll decrease stress and anxiety – two things that may be causing your bad mood.

Exercise

Exercise is good for so many reasons, but one of them is that it improves mood. If you need an emotional lift or need to blow off some steam from a stressful day, a bit of exercise can help. Physical activity releases endorphins which makes you happier, more relaxed and less anxious.

Take a nap

How’d you sleep? Not enough? Are you tired? That can make anybody cranky. A good night’s sleep or even a nice power nap can make a huge difference in your mood.

Pamper Yourself

Get a message, a pedicure, a manicure, a facial, take a hot bath. Not only does it feel good, but they can help release tension, decrease stress and quiets the mind.

You may not be able to change your situation, but you can change your attitude. The next time you’re in a funk, consider these and change your mood for the better. It’s good for your health.

Check out this blog on how attitude can make all the difference. For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges
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Sarah Pichardo is the Creative Director at Family Bridges. When she’s not obsessing over pixels, designs and scripts – or brainstorming plans to take over the world – she’s probably reading a book or overdoing it with the Christmas decorations.
Follow her on…
Twitter: @sarahp726
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahp726

Attitude: It Can Make a World of Difference

Attitude: It Can Make a World of Difference

By
Eva Fleming

Have you ever had a day like the young boy had in the book by Judith Viorst Alexander, The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Alexander’s day was not going well so his attitude started losing altitude early that morning: “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

Our attitudes can be compared to a microphone hooked up to a sound system that announces to the world the state of our soul. If deep within, we fear failure, dread discouragement and criticism, are poorly prepared to handle problems, and have no control over our thought patterns, our attitude is the megaphone that will announce it to the world. Often times we have little to no awareness of how we are reacting so our bad attitudes continue. It is not until we become aware of our attitudes that we understand that the ‘sound system’ is on and everyone can hear what’s deep within us. Think about it, who would like a loud microphone constantly announcing everyone’s inner thoughts for the world to hear? If all we hear is shrills, screams, and flat notes, I think we will get annoyed. Becoming aware of our attitude allows us to mute the ‘speakers’ so we can adopt a different view that can transform our thoughts, which in turn will improve our unfavorable reactions or ‘sounds’ to much more pleasant ones.

Some negative attitudes are helpful. It is appropriate to make those irritating noises for the whole world to hear once in a while. Since it is impossible to choose to have a good attitude every hour of every day, this allowance for the occasional bad attitude ends up being a good tool that can be stored and used when needed. An example of this would be when you find yourself rolling your eyes at a smoker and in so doing you make him feel compelled to stop his destructive behavior around you and your loved ones. In this case, having a bad attitude towards smoke and cigarettes is good for your health and your children’s lungs. But like I said, this type of bad attitude must be used sparingly.

Many of us had parents who instilled in us the right attitudes during our formative years. Yet we are surprised to see that even though we were once positive and perseverant, now we are negative and isolated. During the course of our lives we discovered that in order to belong we had to adapt. One of the most common ways to adapt to our new negative environment is emulating our peer’s attitudes; in other words, we learned how to be negative in order to fit in. But as we grow up emotionally, we come to realize that it might be time to unlearn those attitudes and relearn new ways to react to the world; or make the sounds that come from deep within us much more ‘melodious’.

Every morning when the sun rises, is a new opportunity to start fresh with a new attitude. Since attitude is something that I struggle with daily, adjusting my attitude every day is something I count as a privilege. As a parent, I can show my children every day that the past doesn’t have absolute control on my attitude; I am not held hostage to the failures of yesterday. Today I can come to understand anew that I don’t have to be so hard on myself or others because no one is perfect; that “attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”. I can show them how to be brave as I daily learn to change my attitude one flat note at a time. So when the microphone is turned on, people don’t hear the sounds of a defeated, pathetic attitude but the pleasant sounds of a good attitude even when I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

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Eva Fleming is an expert educator and curriculum developer. She has over 25 years of teaching experience and has taught all age groups including, preschool, elementary, middle and high school children and adults. When she’s not teaching, she’s cooking something delicious or driving her children around.

For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges

How to Get What You Want

How to Get What You Want

By
Sarah Pichardo

Let’s start this little journey off by getting one thing straight. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE, is a mind reader. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known someone since childbirth, or that you are completely in tune with one another, the simple fact is that no one (probably not even you) knows what’s going on in your head all of the time. If you’re expecting someone to read your mind, expect to be utterly disappointed.

So, you want something and you don’t know how to go about getting it? Here are a few things to get you going.

Know what you want

This may seem obvious, but if you don’t know what you want, then it’s just a guessing game for everyone involved. Once you know exactly what it is you want, it’s easier to ask for it.

ASK for what you want

Yes, you have to ASK for it. It may seem obvious to you, but like I said, people aren’t mind readers. Also, this isn’t about demanding something. Your wish isn’t everybody’s command. You really do need to ASK and ask nicely.

Watch your attitude

Speaking of asking nicely, you know that the way you ask for something makes a HUGE difference. Think about the last time someone asked you for something with an attitude. Did you do it? Probably not. If you have an attitude while you’re asking, chances are the other person will just put up a wall and say…

So, watch your ‘tude and put your best foot forward. Like your abuelita always says, “Se cazan más moscas con una gota de miel que con un barril de vinagre”. In other words, ask nicely.

Be clear and specific

When you’re asking for whatever it is that you’re asking for, be clear and specific. Leave no room for interpretation. Keep your sentences short and be ready to answer questions.

Negotiate

Yup. You read that right. Maybe there’s a middle ground you can both agree on. It’s a starting point. You may not always get your way, but a little nudge in the right direction could be good for the both of you. Plus, maybe the middle ground is the better ground.

Use your manners

Regardless of the outcome, end with a thank you.

There you have it. What is it that you want? For laundry to make it into the laundry basket? For your family to have dinner together at the same time with no phones in sight? For you mother-in-law to respect your boundaries? Follow the steps above and let me know how they work out.

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Sarah Pichardo is the Creative Director at Family Bridges. When she’s not obsessing over pixels, designs and scripts – or brainstorming plans to take over the world – she’s probably reading a book or overdoing it with the Christmas decorations.

Follow her on…
Twitter: @sarahp726
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahp726

For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges

When Your Children Aren’t Being Themselves

When Your Children Aren’t Being Themselves

By
Eva Fleming

I live in Florida, where hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th. To survive these six months, every home must have a contingency plan: What are we going to do in case of a hurricane? Where will we go if the storm is a category 4 or 5? What supplies do we need to have stocked (water, candles, medicine, batteries, water bottles, water for bathrooms, generators, etc.)? When should the shutters go up? If it’s necessary to evacuate, what does everyone need to take with them? How are we going to keep our pet safe? It’s necessary to have a plan for keeping our family safe and for preventing as much damage to our home as possible.

Now, imagine that a relationship between a teenager and their parent is like hurricane season. For this reason and during this season, parents need to be prepared with a clear “emergency protocol” plan. During this time, teenagers may be entering a stage of insecurity and hormonal changes that could feel like a category 5 hurricane is whipping around in your home, ripping out the relational foundation you once had with your sweet child.

You’ll find yourself arguing with a little monster – something that’s never happened before. There will be a lack of communication, and you may witness everything you’ve ever taught your child go down the drain. As if all that time of nurturing and hard work in cementing values and teaching them almost everything they know has simply vanished – as though it never happened.
Several factors determine how fast and how hard that approaching storm between parents and adolescent children, especially between mothers and daughters, is going to hit.

  • What are your temperaments like? If you’re volatile and your child takes after you and is also volatile, get ready for a super intense argument. If one of you is calmer than the other, the conversation may go a little smoother.
  • Are there any external situations causing stress on your child?
    Is your child having issues at school? How are their grades? How’s the stability of your relationship with your spouse, ex-spouse, partner? What’s the financial situation of your home and is the stress of any money issues spilling over into your child’s life? Is there a sickness in the family?
  • Do you have boundaries?
    Are there firm boundaries between you, the parent, and your child? Does each one know their place and respect each other?
  • Are there any other triggers?
    Is there something happening your life or extended family’s life that’s serving as some kind of trigger, such as the loss of a parent or a traumatic experience in your life?

Adolescence can be a time of uncertainty for everyone involved. During these times of emotional sensitivity, it’s better and wiser to follow “emergency protocols.” Police officers, firefighters and pilots follow protocols in case of emergencies; they do not let themselves be carried away by emotions. You shouldn’t either. When your child is overtaken by those hormonal demons that take over their bodies every now and again, avoid stepping directly into the eye of the storm. Instead, use your safety precautions and follow the protocol you have prepared. If you do not have these protocols defined and you are the parent of a teenager, it’s time for you to create them. It is worth spending a few hours with your partner making a plan for what to do when your children do unexplainable things. You don’t want to be unprepared for an upcoming storm. It never ends well.

Our children respond much more positively to us when we are not reactive. Fighting over a hairstyle is counterproductive. When your children are beside themselves, ask yourself the following questions: Is it bad for their health? Will it affect their grades? Will it destroy or affect their future? If your answer is no to these three questions, it is best to stop fighting or arguing about the matter. Instead, calmly follow the protocol that you have planned in advance.

For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges

Knowing What You Want in Your Relationship

Knowing What You Want in Your Relationship

By
Dr. Alicia La Hoz

It only takes one minute to make a big difference in your relationship. Let me explain. A few years ago, as I was getting in my car getting ready to head out to work, I remembered that my husband’s birthday was just around the corner. As I was backing out of the driveway, I battled internally on whether or not I should bother to celebrate it. You see, I was a little on the bitter side because on a previous holiday he had failed to be the romantic and get me flowers, a card and make the day special. So I thought to myself, “he didn’t bother, so why should I?” Thankfully, I came to my senses and realized that in doing so I would only accomplish to draw us apart and nothing else. I re-aligned and decided that I would be generous instead.

The decision to turn towards my husband instead of away took only but a minute as I had only just reached the stop sign at the end of my street. I immediately started to entertain ideas of what it would look like to do something special. My heart changed. As I thought of what would be fun to do for my husband, my initial apprehension got washed away and was replaced with anticipation. And all it took was a minute. An intentional minute.

In marriage, the struggle is real. There’s no denying it. Each of us has needs. We want to be valued and loved, and when we don’t feel this from our spouse, we recoil and get all bent out of shape. Except, that instead of saying it like it is, we dance around the issues, we put up walls, we play games and get mad. What if I had just been upfront with my husband and had told him that I was disappointed that he didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day the way I wish he had? What if I would have been very clear about what I wanted? The bitterness would not have created a cozy corner in my heart that could creep up as a dagger to use against him.

If we want to keep our relationships healthy, we need to know what we want, say what we want, and forgive each other with a huge helping of patience and grace.

What do you want?

Do you even know what you want? Take some time to dig deep and ask yourself “What is it that I long for?” We can’t be clear to our spouses about what we need when we don’t know what we need. Go for a jog or a long car ride, take a hot bath, and while you do those things, turn off the noise and let yourself think clearly about what you are searching for.

Ask for what you want.

It doesn’t matter that you have been married for 40 years and you know each other super well. Stop playing mind games. Just say what you want. Be clear, be specific, don’t talk in circles. Say something like, “I’d like for us to go out to dinner at the new Italian restaurant that opened up this Saturday evening.” Don’t misunderstand me, asking for what you want doesn’t guarantee getting what you want; however, it will make it easier to negotiate and move forward.

Forgive generously.

Guess what? Your spouse will irritate you, disappoint you, annoy you, and make you feel very angry at times. You have different personalities, cultural backgrounds, experiences, ways of viewing the world. One of you will arrive on time to places, and the other may always be late. Sure, you can choose to recoil in bitterness and feed the anger, but that will only lead to contempt, which will lead to a lack of intimacy and separation. Or you can choose to forgive and be generous.

It so happened that I ended up getting my husband a bike. Knowing my husband is very cost conscious, I got him a used bike. I did a lot of research and found a guy that refurbished top-of-the-line bikes. The funny thing is that as I researched and called places, I was acting suspiciously to my husband. As soon as the phone rang, I would quickly pick it up. I was walking out of the room to have calls that seemed somewhat secretive. My husband started to become uneasy and entertain thoughts that put him on the alert. The day of his birthday, when I revealed the gift. He laughed in delight. He had become wary about my secretiveness. He also came to understand the value of speaking up and not letting ideas fester.

Assumptions can sabotage the relationships in your life. Recognize what you need, speak up about what you need, and forgive often.

Dr. Alicia La Hoz is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Founder, and Executive Director of Family Bridges. Dr. La Hoz works with the Latino community in the Chicagoland area, where she leads her team in developing and coordinating Family Bridges comprehensive marriage and relationship programs. Away from the office, she spends her time with her two inquisitive children and devoted husband, exploring nature, visiting museums and building lego-masterpieces.

For more tips on relationships, follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges

Surviving a Breakup: Tips from a Self-Affirmed Cat Lady

Surviving a Breakup: Tips from a Self-Affirmed Cat Lady

We all know the scene. Lying listlessly on the couch in your oldest pair of sweatpants, day-old Spaghetti O’s matted to your unwashed hair while you watch Sleepless in Seattle for the 5th time in a row. You’ve just gone through a break up and you’re fairly certain that this is what your future looks like:

And sure, maybe becoming a spandex-clad cat lady/vigilante isn’t the worst fate in the world, but it wasn’t exactly what you had envisioned for your life. If this sounds like you (or someone you know), perhaps you’d benefit from the Cat-Lady-in-Chief’s tips on how to survive a breakup:

Tip #1: Go wash your hair and go outside

It may be hard, but I know from personal experience that you’ll feel better when you’re not inhaling mold spores from the Spaghetti O’s in your hair. In all seriousness, experiencing the type of heartache that coincides with a tough breakup can make it difficult to get out of bed, let alone maintain your basic self-care routines and get out of the house. However, it’s precisely at these moments that maintaining good habits (like exercise and hygiene) and returning to normalcy becomes most important. The temptation to dwell on the pain and ask yourself all of those familiar “what if” questions will only serve to lengthen the healing process.

Tip #2: Give yourself space to grieve

“But wait…you just said to wash my hair and go outside…aren’t you contradicting yourself?” First of all, how dare you question my authority! Second of all, yes. Yes I am…kind of. If you’re at all familiar with being human, you’ve likely noticed that people tend to gravitate towards extremes. While some people would prefer to soak their jammies in tears everyday for the next month, others will be all too eager to bounce back and, as a result, may undermine their very natural (and necessary) response to heartache. Healing is a process. It may take some time to feel like you’re back to 100% again and that’s okay! Allow yourself a reasonable amount of time to own your emotions and process what just happened before trying to move on to the next best thing.

Tip #3: Reconnect with your friends

Do you remember all of those people you used to hang out with before you got into a relationship? Those are called “friends” and now is the time to reconnect with them. When you experience those first pangs of infatuation, it’s normal to want to spend every waking hour with your boo thang and you might have neglected some of your friends in the process. However, if they’re worth their weight in salt, they’ll be happy to have you back in their life and will be there for you in your time of need. Whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself from the people who love you. Now more than ever, you need their encouragement and support.

Tip #4: Treat yourself!

Go to the spa. Get your nails done. Get some tasty food with friends. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel after a nice, relaxing self-care day.

Above all, remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It may be hard to see it now, but pain and sadness are temporary states. And you may find that, at the end of it all, the insights you’ve gained through the experience have made you a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled human being. You’ve got this!

What about you? What’s your go-to break up survival strategy? Leave us a comment below with your best advice!

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