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This Summer, Get Your Life Back Together

This summer is all about big and scary changes for me. What about you? What areas in your life — mental, financial, relationships with siblings or spouses, diet, etc. — need the most improvement? What makes you frustrated or unhappy is the area that needs the most work. Let summer 2013 be all about making healthy steps forward, not backward.

1. Mental Health 

Do you wish you had someone to talk to in confidence? Do you feel depressed, angry, hopeless or frustrated and not sure how to get out of this mess? Gather up your courage and locate a mental health professional. Focus on practical methods of therapy that will help you to focus immediately on the major issues and he or she will guide you to make the necessary changes in life.

  • Find a therapist at therapists.psychologytoday.com and enter your zip code.
  • Choose someone that specializes in areas you need work on (eg: anxiety or substance abuse, marriage counseling) and that accepts your insurance or offers a sliding fee scale — one of the most common reasons for putting off seeing a therapist is the thought that one cannot afford it — not true!
  • Make an appointment for next week.

2. Physical Health

Feel sluggish all the time, tired, and winded going up a few flights of stairs? Recently gained weight? Never exercise? It’s time to change.

  • Start small — 3 times a week for about 30 minutes.
  • Make it easy — take a walk after dinner. No purchases required to get fit.
  • Make it fun — involve your friends/family. Play tennis, play tag with kids, go to the beach and walk along the shore, go swimming, take Zumba, etc. Find something you like.
  • Make it last — attach the habit of exercising with something you already do everyday. Drive past a gym on the way home from work? Keep your gym clothes in your car and head there immediately before going home. Need to watch a certain show every night? Exercise during that program.

3. Spiritual Health

  • If you are religious and have been slacking on going to your church/temple/place of worship, it’s time to recommit. It’s a great place to feel a sense of community and faith like nowhere else and feel like you’re part of a bigger whole, which is comforting. Also, start reading your passages and reflecting silently, too. How can you be a better Christian/Jewish/Buddhist/etc. person today? Can you volunteer, help someone, read a new passage, pray, be closer to nature?
  • If not religious, you can still work on your spiritual health. Practice saying a mantra everyday that makes you feel empowered. Or go to a quiet place of nature and reflect silently.Take steps everyday to remain positive in your life and believe in the magick/karma/The Secret. Meditate. Do yoga. Feel more in tune with your body & soul. Align yourself — become more balanced.

4. Diet/Nutrition

  • This is an important step. Diet has a profound impact on the way we feel, think, and our ability to perform/function in our daily lives. Take this summer to practice eating habits that make you feel better. Journal what you eat, at what time, and how hungry you were. Note how it makes you feel after eating and what emotion you were feeling. Note trends in how you feel hours later or the next day, too — especially if you eat a lot of carbs (sluggish, tired, bloated). Change your habits one meal at a time and become more conscious of the calories you consume — though you don’t have to count them, it’s a good idea if you want to lose weight.
  • Eat cleaner, local, organic foods — search for local farmers markets in your area.
  • Eat more vegetables. Every meal. And try a new veggie once a week or so.
  • Drink water, not calories. An easy way to lose weight and feel better is to drink more water and replace sodas/juices/etc. with water.

5. Social Life/Happiness/Relationships

This is an important one to work on. Ask yourself honestly: How can you be a better…daughter, mother, son, father, wife, husband, friend, relative?

  • What relationships in your life are fading and need TLC? Who can you call that will brighten their face? Catch up with old friends.
  • Ditch the toxic people in your life, as well. If you feel negative when you’re around, make bad decisions like drink/smoke, or if they treat you badly, ditch them. Life is too short to hang around with awful friends. You can always make new friends that align with your goals. Seek them out.
  • Do something that makes you happy everyday. Even if it’s a little bit selfish. If you are not happy everyday, than what is the point of living — seek help if you are feeling depressed, and seek ways to bring happiness into your life on a constant basis.
  • Make an effort to be social, friendly, and confident — even if you don’t feel like it, fake it. It will get easier, I promise.

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If this article helped or inspired you in any way please let me know what you will be working on this summer. I have my own list and I’d like to see what you will be up to.

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11 Tips for How to Be Productive Right Now

keepcalmgsd

You may be mindlessly searching the internet, looking for ways to be productive, asking yourself, “what is something productive i can do right now?” You might have a huge list of things that need to be taken care of but you are overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, and annoyed at your insane level of procrastination  But that will get you nowhere. You can read all the blogs on the internet about productivity and you won’t learn about how to be productive right now without actually GSD.

The hardest part of being productive is getting started. I love the acronym GSD because it’s a quick reminder to “Get Shit Done.” This is based off the popular and less vulgar term GTD which stands for “Getting Things Done”, a term from time management guru David Allen (and from the book of the same name).

The battle for focus is fierce, but you can GSD right now.

  1. GSD right in the morning. Wake up, get dressed and all that, and then go straight to work. Work first, play later.
  2. Do your worst, most dreaded task first. Get it done first, and it will feel like pushing a huge boulder down a mountain.
  3. Unless your work requires it, disable your internet connection and work offline.
  4. Or move entirely away from the computer.
  5. Blast your favorite music (epic movie soundtracks work great for monumental tasks) and GSD.
  6. Work for 5 minutes. Just five fucking minutes, dude. If you want, take a break after. But most likely you will have gotten the hardest part over with (starting) and will continue easily.
  7. I swear by Evernote — if you are distracted by a link, thought, image, video, etc. just copy and paste in an Evernote page and it saves instantly. Go back to it later.
  8. I make to-do lists on Evernote, too.
  9. Promise yourself something to look forward to (like watching that funny video) after you finish say an hour of that project. It’s good to take breaks. Just get back to work right after.
  10. Sometimes it’s easier to just work for the 2-3 hours full speed, no breaks. Then reward yourself with a sweet lunch or a smoke, whatever tips your hat. Think of this tip as “college finals” mode and you’ll get it.
  11. If you have a huge project ahead of you and you are distracting yourself from starting it because it’s so damn hard to start, spend time just chunking it down: take the boulder and turn it into rocks, and then pebbles. Then take that first step, that first pebble and start it.

What productive things did you just do, or are about to do after reading this article? Share any of your GSD tips!

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Brainstorm Your 2013 Goals Before the Ball Drops

ResolutionsSo, the end of the year holidays are upon us, and I am left laying in bed or day-dreaming in my commute to work about next year. The year 2013, where we will all gain another year under our belt and hopefully work on our goals. Have you given any thought about the new year? If not, it’s time to start, before you’re left in January 1, 2013 wondering how to make your life not suck.

  • Start small. Most people fail at new year’s resolutions because they dream too big, and have unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished in a year. Yes, you must challenge yourself out of the status quo — but do not start out too big or you will just stare out the window, too overwhelmed to begin. Think of your overall goal and pick one aspect, that is workable in your life for one year, and start there.
  • Write in the present. A great trick to shifting your attitude that YES, you CAN do this, is to write your goal as if you are already doing that thing. For example, don’t say, “I want to lose weight next year.” Instead, say, “I am 50 pounds thinner and I feel healthy and more able to do things I love with my children.” Reading the first sentence feels scary, because not only is it an undefined goal (how much weight? what is the deadline? why do you want to do this?, etc), but it doesn’t feel attainable at the moment. When you read the second sentence, you actually feel happy imagining your life through that sentence and can begin shifting your attitude to realizing that very goal. More important, the second sentence tells you non-physical reasons to lose that weight, to be healthier and to play with your children. You feel that motivation stirring you because you have identified WHY you want this goal.
  • Once you figure out the WHAT and the WHY, you can begin chunking your goal into smaller and smaller pieces. These will become action steps for you to work on in regular intervals from monthly tasks, to weekly tasks — as small as what you can do TOMORROW for your goal.
  • Don’t make resolutions. No one sticks to those past Valentine’s Day. Consider these contracts or promises to yourself that you must keep.
  • Find someone to keep you accountable. It can be anyone, even an online buddy from a forum. I love subreddits to find great support and to find lots of information about basically anything.
  • Reflect and re-evaluate every week. Not so good this week? Figure out now what you need to to and change, even if it’s just one thing you focus on each week. Soon, you will see yourself gradually making progress.
  • Accept that you’re going to slip up, fall off the wagon, or lose track altogether. The important part is when you realize it and get yourself back on track. That’s why you re-evaluate, weekly.
  • Be thankful for what you have, everyday. Being thankful for things changes your attitude from negative to positive, and makes you take a look at all the luxuries you possess. I’ll take a wild guess and assume you have: a place to live, a bed to sleep on, heat and/or ac or fan, food and a fridge, a stove to cook food, shoes, a coat, maybe a job, maybe a family, a cell phone, internet connection and computer, money to buy things you like, a car. You’d be amazed at how many people in this world do not even have clean water, let alone any of this stuff.
  • Spend time each week reading something that is somehow related to your goals or inspirational in some way. You do not have to purchase books, support your local library.
  • There’s an app for that. If you have a smartphone, I bet there is an app that can help you keep track of your goals. Try Mint for money-tracking, and My Fitness Pal app for calorie/meal and exercise tracking.

Here is a brief, work-in-progress list of my goals for 2013. Maybe we share the same goals?

  • Lose 50 pounds by June 4, my birthday, which is a teeny bit over 2 pounds per week: I will be 50 pounds lighter and will have established a healthy eating and exercise routine for lasting health. Figure out by January 5 my method of exercise (gym or home? walk around block etc). I will reward myself by buying a new outfit (jeans, shirt, shoes).
  • Promote self as freelance writer on Fiverr and Freelancer and find long-term work to provide me with enough money for rent each month: I will earn enough money for rent each month with my freelance writing.
  • Save at least 10% of all paychecks in savings account not to be touched.
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3 Ways to Immediately Live a More Fulfilling Life

westie painting leftoversHave you ever thought to yourself, “there must be more to this life?”

There is. You just have to figure out what it is.

Stop living your life absentmindedly, going through the motions, and self-medicating with food, alcohol, or illegal drugs. Stop hating your life each morning, swearing under your breath as you brush your teeth. Stop yelling at your spouse or kids because you are so stressed at work and stop being disgusted with yourself. The time to act is now. Grab a pen and piece of paper, and find out what you need in your life to be happier.

1. Do what you love. Stop what you don’t.

There’s no point wasting your time being miserable. Focus on what you enjoy in your life and make a strong effort to replace time-wasting activities with activities and hobbies that make you smile or lose track of time.

DO: Try drawing in a sketchpad, painting on a canvas, reading a good book, hand-writing in a pretty journal, taking pictures with a real camera (not your iphone), going outside and laying in the grass. What makes you happy? Munching on chips probably makes you (temporarily) happy, but choose a more spiritually rewarding or creative task. The key is to replace a negative aspect of your life (what is harming some aspect of your life in any way, big or small, literally, morally, spiritually, or mentally), with something constructive and positive.

STOP: Get rid of mindless web surfing, bad television show-watching, sitting on the couch, sleeping in, toxic friends, smoking, over-consumption of alcohol or indulging in high-caloric food, social media….and anything else that bring no worth to your pleasure or career, things that give you anxiety or are tedious, and things that are not critical to your life and have no sense being in it.

Consciously remove yourself from that negative situation (caught yourself in front of daytime TV again?). If you cannot leave the room or environment (you hate your job, but you need to pay bills? See number two), use some quick relaxation exercises to calm yourself down and bring yourself in the present moment mentally. Stop shutting out your emotions and realize what behaviors or feelings are bringing you to desire this harmful activity.

Example: I mindlessly surf Facebook when I am bored.
What is at the root of this activity? What am I feeling? Boredom.
Why do I feel bored? Because I have no one to talk to, and I feel lonely. Because I can’t sleep, so I’ve logged onto the computer to waste time and distract myself.
What am I distracting myself from? My current financial situation.

This example shows how to write out and get to the root of your stress/worries that is causing the negative behavior. Free-write uninterrupted until you hit the gold-mine.

The next step, of course, is to figure out proactive ways to solve your problems. But first:

  • Remove yourself from the situation.
  • Calm yourself down and get back in the present. Realize why you are doing this behavior.
  • Physically get up, change gears, and begin doing the activity you’d rather be doing — the one that brings you joy, is productive and creative, and more fulfilling to your life.
  • Keep consciously changing gears until you replace the bad habit completely.
  • Feel infinitely better and more creative.

2. Get a job you love – the smart way.

It is easy for self-help books and blogs to say, “if you don’t like your job, QUIT.” But seriously, we all need to pay the bills. Sometimes the only job out there is one that is mind-numbing, below your pay rate or skill levels, or has a horrible and stressful work environment or co-workers. The smart way to do this is to look for your dream job — on the side. Keep your job for the necessities in life: utilities, rent/mortgage payments, car payments, gas, food, clothes, and insurance. But when you’re out of work, fill an hour or so per week hunting down that job. Update your resume, make an account on Linked In or SnagaJob, search Indeed or Monster for open positions, practice job interview questions. Glassdoor is a great resource for getting the inside scoop on job interviews, salary levels, and workplace satisfaction. Discover companies in your area and contact them.

Make a deadline for when you would like to quit. If you find it hard to work without pressure, type your letter of resignation now, and seal it in an envelope addressed to your manager. Bring it to your manager in the two weeks before your previously chosen last day.

Note: you may be tempted to find a job and rush in there, tell off your boss and stick up the middle finger and waltz out the door. DON’T. Remain professional and civil, and you will keep a reference for your future jobs. Also, most managers will not provide a positive reference to your employers if you do not provide the two-weeks-notice or more; please see your employee handbook for specific information for your job. Do not lose out on your reference, especially if you’ve been at the job for more than six months. Consider this a stepping stone to your true job.

If your employment relationship includes either an explicit or implied contract that says you must give two weeks notice of resignation and you don’t, your employer might have the right to take punitive action. For example, your employer might legally have the right to deny you termination benefits, such as accrued vacation pay. (source)

You may consider taking this hour or so every week to contribute your time to starting the business you’ve always dreamed of (see youngentrepreneur.com), starting a website to monetize/sell products/blog, or advertise for handy man work or cleaning positions on your local Craigslist. These side endeavors, with some hard work, and time/money investments (dependent on the nature of the project), will lead to a decent side income or may even a replacement to your paid-per-hour or salary job position. (See SmartPassiveIncome.com)

3. Be a constant learner.

A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.
~Chinese Proverb

One of the greatest joys of life is that there is much to be learned — everyday. Seek out opportunities to learn something. Whether it’s a new word (like this one), a new language (great list of free language learning tools and sites), a program (like Photoshop), or something extremely out of your element (for me, it’s politics), the most fulfilling life is one that is full of constant learning. Here are just a few amazing online free resources.

  • Khan Academy – online courses/videos.
  • W3Schools – learn HTML, Javascript, CSS, ASP, PHP, etc.
  • Codecademy – interactive code-learning program for beginners.
  • Reddit.com – millions of amazing subreddits with opportunities to learn everyday with user-uploaded content and interesting debates like r/psychology, r/science, or this question/answer format r/IAmA (posters claim they are some interesting person, prove it, and answer reader’s questions). You can literally search anything and they will most likely have a reddit for it.
  • Tell me why? – random tidbits of knowledge and facts in a blog format.
  • DumbLittleMan has this great list of free online resources for learning something new everyday.
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5 Small Ways to Save Money And Eat Healthy

rice

At 3 cents per ounce, rice is a serious money-saver.

Hopefully this article will help many of you dealing with trying to cut back this year while also eating healthy. I’m committed to doing both, because eating healthy foods does not and should not be expensive. I have actually saved money by not eating out and by following the tips I’m going to share with you today. I’ve come up with a brief list of ways you can save money while still being healthy.

  1. Brew your own coffee, don’t buy coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Buying a can of coffee can cost about the same as one large specialty coffee drink, but it can last weeks to a month (depending on your frequency). Plus you can relax at home while making breakfast, rather than getting in your car early and waiting in line, which is a waste of time. You still save even if you buy a more gourmet type of coffee, but I usually stick to the cheapest on-sale brand. Make sure to look at the unit price/ounces too, a $3 can is not a deal if it is only half the size of the $4 can.
    • Better yet, drink tea. A box of simple black or green tea has about 100 packets and is a couple of dollars. That makes tea about as cheap as rice when you look at the unit price. Also, tea is easier to drink plain (without added sugar or cream) because it is not bitter like black coffee, saving even more money.
  2. Eat the same breakfast everyday.It is easier to stick to healthy habits if the meal preparation doesn’t take much thought. What easier way to do that than having the same breakfast everyday? Wake up. Coffee or tea. Oatmeal. Banana. It’s easy, and requires no thought, no rushing around seeing what you have and what to make. A box of oatmeal is a couple of dollars and has 8-10 packets, a box of cereal is $3-4 and lasts weeks.
    • Getting bored? Write down 2-3 breakfast choices that are easy to make, quick and balanced. Keep them handy such as on the fridge so you can look at it and decide which one you want each morning, and get to work half-asleep. You can reap the benefits while also have more than one simple choices to vary it up. For example: day one: oatmeal, fruit, coffee. Day two: cereal, fruit, coffee. Day three: 2 egg whites, fruit, coffee. Shopping will be a breeze since you’ll know exactly which items to purchase.
  3. Buy in bulk and do the work yourself. People pay more for convenient foods: individual packets of oatmeal, prewashed salad mix, pre-cut fruit pieces, canned beans. Usually buying in bulk will mean bigger savings for you. Look at the unit price of the items when shopping, and you will notice a savings of say, about 50% just for buying the canister of steel cut oats than the 10 packets of oatmeal in a box, plus you’ll be getting more for your money so it will last longer. And don’t even think about buying those “express” versions of single servings in a bowl. That can be over 50% MORE expensive than buying the box of packets. Same goes for buying meat — buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself, buy lettuce heads and wash and cut it up yourself. It really won’t take up much of your time, but it sure will make a difference in your wallet.
  4. Eat meat less. While we’re sticking to the grocery bill, try to cut out 1 or 2 nights a week where you and your family do not eat meat. Instead, have a dinner focused on protein alternatives. Try a mexican style night with beans. You can also do pasta night or pizza night without any meat/meat alternatives. With most meats running at least $1/lb (for chicken on sale) to over $10 (for good quality steak), you could shave off a good percent of your food bill if you focus on say, the vegetables one or two nights, than the meat. This is a great time to experiment with recipes from other countries where meat is not a staple or even present in most meals. Asian countries have rice as a staple, which is extremely cheap. Remember to follow tip #3 and buy the rice in bulk, where it can run as cheap as a mere few cents per ounce (for example, a 20 lb bag of rice is less than $10.)
  5. Eat more salad.Ever notice most of the packaged/processed food basics we buy are carbs? Mashed potato flakes. Pasta. Bread and bread products. This means that the food is generally more expensive. I say generally because pasta is a serious go-to staple to keep for cheap dinners, especially ramen. At least a couple times per week to start, have a meal that lets veggies be the star, not carbs or protein, and by that I mean, eat a salad. Fill a bowl or plate with various vegetables (doesn’t have to be fancy — most of my salads are just lettuce and tomatoes), pick a light salad dressing, maybe sprinkle some cheese on there (I love my cheese…sadly dairy products are also pretty expensive).
    • Another cheap food item many people don’t take advantage of are eggs. Don’t save eggs for breakfast. These are a great way for getting in lots of protein and vitamins. Simply hardboil them and cut them into slices and top off your salad with filling protein.

I hope you found these ideas useful and show that you can eat pretty healthy while saving money off your grocery bill. If you take away one thing from this article, it’s this: pay attention to the Unit Price of items, and watch your bill shrink.

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Learn to Type Faster and Stand Out to Employers

One of the best ways to appear useful to employers is to increase your typing skills, so here are some fun resources online to learn touch typing (typing without looking at the keyboard to find the keys) and to increase your speed.

Go to this site (sense-lang.org) and take their typing test. This is your starting point. Write down your words per minute (wpm) and note your percentage of accuracy. I have a fairly quick typing speed (around 70-80%) and a nearly perfect accuracy (95-100%). this means I type fast and with little mistakes, making my typing very efficient for writing and desk jobs. If you want to get to my level, then you have to first find out what your starting point is – so take that test. Also, you’ll want to define what your goals are — do you want to be extremely fast? Do you want always 100% accuracy? Or a good mix of both? I don’t mind having lower accuracy for the speed because I back up my mistakes as fast as I can type them – so it doesn’t really slow me down.

Next, begin practicing as much as you can. Try doing it everyday for 10-30 minutes. It is better to do it everyday for 10 minute than once a week for an hour, because it is daily habits that work best for increasing a certain skill. Try these websites for fun games and lessons:

Do this for at least a month, then retake the test. See how much you improved!
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If Your Life Sucks, Do Something About It

SadYou know when you get in one of those moods, and you start to feel pretty frustrated with your life? Maybe even depressed? I was feeling it a couple of nights ago, and fueling the fire with more and more pitying thoughts. After a while, I started to get sick of it. I forced myself to stop the lonely pity party and do something about my problems. I’ll make it easy and even provide some suggestions so that the next time you’re feeling this way, you’ll be able to stop yourself and attack it at the source.

The only way to get yourself to stop feeling like your life sucks is to be proactive about your problems and find solutions.

The “Do Something About It” Template
you can use this template to really think about your goals. What part of your life can you not stand the most? Which area is the most pressing? Your health? Your job? Your wife or husband? It’s time to align your life with your priorities. It starts with defining exactly what it is that upsets you or stresses you out the most, and then finding a model (ie: a person to look up to) so you know what it should look like. I strongly recommend that you write this down; fill in the blanks on a piece of paper or online journal:

  • Something you dislike about yourself:  ___ (choose one each time for simplicity)
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10=most), how much do you dislike this? ___
  • Why does this part about your life suck?
  • How did you end up in your current situation?
  • Whose life (or facet of life) do you look up to or wish to be?
  • How do you think you can emulate this person’s life so you can improve your own?
  • What tools or resources will you need to have? What will you have to learn or buy?
  • Define your goal for this change: ___
  • Now make steps for working towards this goal, of changing what you dislike about your life.
  • What can you do this year? This month? Today?

Examples to get you thinking and on the path to change.
Here are some ideas of common life suckers and how to change them. I can’t give all the answers, and I wouldn’t know them anyways (since there are many paths to the right choice), so I’m going to lay out all the options I thought of for each of the scenarios and it’s up to you to put them to the test and see which change will work.

  • You hate your job. Start by finding out what it is that you hate: your boss, your coworkers, the industry you’re in. You may have to switch departments, location, or even find a new career that you love. The first two reasons will mostly consist of finding out how to do those things, and interviewing at a new branch. You may want to brush up on job interview skills and update your resume. If you choose the last option, your goals will also include perhaps going to community college or new training. Research what you want to do and see what schools will allow you to get a job with a degree or certification. What brings you the most joy?
  • You don’t like something about yourself – clothes, weight, hair. Physical appearances are relatively simple to change. If you don’t like your clothes, find out why and start learning about how to have style. Buy a fashion/style magazines (girls, go to Allure or Glamour; men, try GQ) and go online for ideas. Try some retail therapy. Depending on your budget, go to stores like Macy’s Kohl’s, etc. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money: try thrift stores, Savers, Goodwill. Or, swap clothes with friends and ask them for advice. If you dislike your hair, do the same thing, but look at hair magazines and consider a totally new change like cutting your very long hair or straightening your curly hair. A good color change and hair cut will do wonders for self esteem. Weight is a different animal. This requires learning new nutrition and fitness information and implementing better habits daily. Start exercising every morning and eat more vegetables to start. Read a fitness-minded magazine like Fitness or Shape and go online to find a good exercise equipment, video, or gym membership plan. Make sure you also tackle the bigger issues here – emotional eating, large portions, or even depression. Seek professional help when necessary, even if it’s just one session with a personal trainer.
  • You hate where you live – your room, your apartment, maybe even your state. Make sure you define clearly what it is you dislike before doing anything drastic. What bothers you the most about where you live, and what answer do you think will make you happier? Look around for different apartments in the area and find a better floor plan, more space, less money. Tackle roommate issues head on, even if it means you moving out. If it’s your area bothering you, start exploring new cities around you or in a different corner of the state. This could be hard if you live in a large state. Ask around in forums or craigslist for information on other cities and towns in your state for better living areas. If you dislike your state, find out why (the snow, the harsh summers?) and choose states to visit first that don’t have what you dislike. If you hate snow, consider moving south or west where the snow barely hits. If you hate summer, move up north. If you like all the seasons, go towards the northeast. Search online for places to visit and that would interest you – make lists of the perks they would offer – excellent schools? low crime rates? cheap rent? nicer people? no hills? culture-rich city? quiet rural area? commuter friendly? Consider what is important for you. Visit places first and if you like a place, look for jobs and apartments/houses to move there. Make sure you consider all risks and costs involved with this step, especially the further away you move. Make sure it is something you really want.
  • You don’t have many friends, or the ones you do have suck. Look in the mirror first. Are you a bad friend too? Consider working on your weaknesses like being bossy or avoiding calls to hang out first. Then consider what bothers you about your friends. Are they sketchy? Do you feel like you’re being used? Do they never call but hang out with their other friends? Do they lie? Are some of them downright abusive or manipulative? Get rid of toxic friends first. This is an awkward situation, so end it as clean as you can. Be straightforward and end all ties that are holding you down or making you feel awful. If you’re feeling lonely, find out if depression isn’t making you avoid your friends and/or interests. Then force yourself out of your comfort zone and find ways to make new friends — at parties, clubs/bars, libraries, gyms, school, the bus station, the park. Be friendly and don’t be afraid to ask people for their number or email address. Make plans to hang out with people and have fun with new activities. Pretty soon you will introduce him/her to your own circle of friends (and your new friend will introduce you to his/her’s) and your friendships will expand, giving you more opportunities to meet new people.
  • You feel like crap, and you want to eat and live more healthfully. This usually goes hand-in-hand with being overweight. Figure out what your bad habits are and why you do these things. Make an active effort to learn more about healthy eating (magazines, library books, youtube) and start buying more fruits and vegetables. Start small and replace unhealthy versions with better ones that offer more nutritional value and lower calories. And if you eat out a lot, learn to cook a few healthy staples — you will lose weight, eat more vitamins, and save money, too.
  • Your life is a bore, and waking up feels like a chore. If you have the following symptoms: lack of appetite or increase, insomnia or sleeping too much, not interested in things you used to love, isolating yourself from friends and family, feeling down, sad, or irritable, and thinking about suicide or death, you may have depression. If this has been going on consistently for more than 2 months, please make an appointment to see a therapist. It may be hard to take that first step, but it is worth it. Depression may underlie many of the symptoms listed here as hating your life, and may manifest itself into eating too much (or not at all), avoiding friends, hating your job, or not feeling pretty or worthy of affection. If you feel like your life is never good enough, and it is a struggle to do even simple everyday tasks like take a shower, eat, or get out of the bed, then you need to seek help immediately. Search for a psychologist in your area A.S.A.P.
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