My Workout Playlist

workout-playlist

Cardio is the worst. But it’s also the best. Except it’s mostly the worst. Sometimes. But having a good workout playlist can make an absolute nightmare actually sort of fun. Especially if you’re fighting the urge to dance your pants off and not fall off the treadmill.

If you agreed with any of the above statement then my favorite workout playlist is for you. It’s appropriately named “WERK OUT” as these are all songs that make me want to move; a total bonus when you’re trying to actually motivate yourself to move.

When it comes to a workout playlist, I have a few requirements. My exercise jamz need to be high energy, fun, bouncy, and easy to sing along to (in my head). Bonus points if the song makes me feel like I’m dancing at a club, but without the heavy make-up and hair sticking to my sweaty neck.

(Sidenote: Does anyone else ever feel sexiest when they’re working out? I feel powerful, I’m usually in tight pants that make my legs look amazing, and am buzzing with endorphins. And I’m usually staring at myself in a mirror. Am I alone in this? Please tell me I’m not alone in this.)

Follow this playlist on Spotify and download it in time for your next workout— or shall I say werk out. If you use it make sure to tweet me and let me know! Do you have a go-to workout playlist? Share it in the comments!
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21 Self-Care Activities for When the World Feels Like It’s Falling Apart

Self-care activities and ideas. / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Recently I had a popular tweet– well, popular for me at least. It was a moment of panic and feeling totally helpless that seemed to resonate with other people too.

Self-care activities / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

If you struggle with your mental health– or hell, even if you don’t– what is going on in the United States seems super scary. At the time I tweeted this (and many times after) I felt frozen in my own anxiety thanks to the direction or government is taking. And the only thing that has been able to pull me outta those feelings is a little self-care.

For some, self-care can seem daunting and overcomplicated. But it definitely doesn’t have to be. There are many different ways to self-care so I thought I’d share some easy ones. If you ever feel like the world is falling down, stop and give yourself a little love with some of these self-care activities.

21 Simple Self-Care Activities:

  1. Exercise. Stress or anxiety can manifest itself into physical tension that can easily be released through exercise. If you’re a gym buff, then get there and burn off some steam. If you want something more stationary, try yoga videos on Youtube. Anything to help you move your body and momentarily distract your mind. Plus the post workout endorphins aren’t bad.
  2. Listen to a podcast. 
  3. Take a really long shower. Turn your bathroom into your personal music video and go nuts. Plus that hot water feels good.
  4. Laugh. Netflix comedy specials are fantastic, as are old standby sitcoms like Will & Grace, Friends, and Modern Family. Also never underestimate the power of Youtube (can you tell I love Youtube?) for even older shows like Who’s Line is it Anyway? or content creators like Grace Helbig, Caspar Lee, or other comedians.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Deep breathing. If the idea of meditating is too overwhelming then just focus on breathing. Take three deep breaths, inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 8. Feel your lungs fill with air, and then slowly express it. If it feels good then do 3 more.
  7. Read a book.
  8. Wash your sheets and then lay in your bed. Fresh, cozy sheets FTW.
  9. Help someone. Doing an act of good can make you feel good. Donate $5 to an organization that is important to you. Send a loved one a nice message. Write a nice message on a post-it note and stick it in a place others will see it. Let your mind wander with ideas for how to make someone else feel great.
  10. Read a book. Immerse yourself into a book you love and forget about the rest of the world.
  11. Cook something delicious.
  12. Eat something delicious.
  13. Unplug. Turn off all your electronics and step away from the news. Do whatever you want to that isn’t related to social media, the TV, our computer, iPad, or anything else electronic.
  14. Clean your home. 
  15. Write in a journal. Better yet, start a compliment journal by writing down 3 good things about yourself per day. Use this time to focus on your positive attributes and what you think you excel at. This is a double-whammy activity because it’s a great self-esteem booster as well.
  16. Craft, or do a DIY project.
  17. Pamper yourself. Do a face mask, paint your nails, do your hair, play with your make-up or go get a massage. Just do something to make yourself feel good.
  18. Have sex. Or masturbate. (Sorry not sorry, but I had to say it. It’s not just for dudes!)
  19. Dance it out. The Girl Power playlist on Spotify is BOMB.COM.
  20. Have a glass of wine.
  21. Call a friend and just chat. Tell them what’s bothering you or just talk about nothing in particular.

The possibilities for self-care activities are really endless but these are my favorite. The key to self-care is just doing something you enjoy, or that gives you an pleasant feeling. Just make sure you are taking time for yourself.

Got other self-care activities you love? Share them in the comments!

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Things That Happen When You See A Therapist

A few unexpected things that will happen when you start seeing a therapist. // CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I’ve been seeing a therapist for a few months now.  I felt like I was no longer effectively managing my anxiety on my own, and needed help– so I got it. I’ve been seeing her weekly, and so far it has been really great. And despite the fact that there is no leather chaise lounge for me to lay on while we talk, I have relatively few complaints. (Though her black leather sofa is super cute and comfy.)

I’ve seen a therapist before, but this was my first time seeing someone consistently. And although I had some expectations for how it would go when I started, I had no idea how much seeing a therapist would affect areas of my life outside of just my anxiety coping skills.

For example:

Talking about yourself will get easier

I don’t like talking about myself unless it’s to make someone laugh. Talking about “bad” things has always been kind of hard for me. At my very first session I really struggled with effectively explaining myself, and repeatedly second guessing myself when I spoke. Now I am much more comfortable with it.  I don’t always feel like the most effective communicator in general, but I feel like I am greatly improving on that just by spending an hour a week trying to properly articulate my feelings.

You look at your everyday habits differently

I talk a lot about my social anxiety with my therapist, and we focus a lot on how I behave and feel in social situations. Becoming aware of those behaviors has made me aware of other things I do in my life.  I’ve made the revelation that I prefer the bus to the train because of my anxiety, and am constantly diverting attention from myself when I’m in a new situation. I am starting to understand my preferences and actions in other situations, even though those never get talked about in my actual sessions. Without meaning to, I am taking the tools I am learning from my sessions into other areas of my life.

You will gain confidence

Hearing that my anxiety is validated felt like a huge weight off my shoulders.  I had already been diagnosed several years ago, but regularly being told by a professional that I am not just “worrying”, and that “snapping out of it” is not an option makes me feel better. My thoughts, and feelings are real, and being told that feels liberating. I feel less and less conscious about my anxiety as time progresses.

You will LOVE having a space to focus only on yourself

Having one hour completely devoted to ME without guilt is fantastic. It is a space to talk through the overwhelming internal monologue that builds up every week with another person, and I always leave feeling more relaxed and refreshed having done so. It’s almost like getting a mental massage. If for no other reason, I would recommend everyone to try therapy at least once just to experience the relief of the release.

You will struggle with how to refer to your therapist in regular conversation

His/her impact on your life doesn’t stop when you leave the office, and sometimes you have to refer to them to others who may not know the details of your situation. I have made professional connections through my therapist, and had to think fast about how to answer the “So how do you know ___?” question. (Hint: “I know her through her work” is a good way to stop that question cold and illicit a somewhat embarrassed reaction from the other person. I don’t recommend it.) Relaying a restaurant recommendation, or funny story from a session has been replaced with “My friend” instead of “My therapist” just to avoid having to have that awkward conversation.

Obviously, these revelations won’t fit every single person, but they are things that have become very true for me. The tools I am taking with me from each session are wonderful, and have improved my life very much, for my anxiety and for just life in general. If you’re at all on the fence about seeing someone, please just take the plunge.  Finding the therapist you connect most with won’t be immediate — it honestly felt a little like trying on jeans: feeling upset and let down until you find your perfect fit– but it is so worth it when you do find it.

By the way, I have another post planned on how I went about finding a therapist (It’s here!). BUT if you have questions, please feel free to comment or reach out to me in another way and ask! I already have gone through the process of finding one, so that post is not for my benefit, it’s yours! Help me make sure I’m helping you!

Got any questions? Have you ever seen a therapist and have some noticed some unexpected changes in your life? Share them!

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10 Ways To Fight Blogger’s Block

Don't get discouraged when you have no original thoughts. Here are 10 super simple ways to right the dreaded blogger's block. // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I’ve had blogger’s block for months, and fighting it is starting to get reallllll tiring.

The mind is a mysterious thing. Creativity is a muscle*, and it can tire just like a regular muscle. Use it too much, it gets sore, and won’t give you the results you want.  Use it too little, it will atrophy and it still won’t give you the results you want.  If you ask me, creativity is a finicky little motherf*cker.

My blog has been almost silent for months.  Words just weren’t coming to me, and it stressed me out to try to produce content that made me proud.  Eventually I just stopped, because it was making me anxious to try to worry about it.

But then today (after a conversation with my therapist, of all things) I decided to just lean into the blogger’s block. Why not write about that? How many other bloggers get blogger’s block? It’s a universal thing. Everyone can relate, so everyone will get this post. How can that possibly go wrong?

Bingo. So here is a post you definitely didn’t ask for.

10 Fool-Proof Tips To Fight Blogger’s Block

  1. Throw your computer out the window. It may not help you write a post, but at least it will give you an excuse as to why you don’t have a post. The dog ate my homework. My laptop is in a pile on the asphalt. Whatever.
  2. Write about what you ate for breakfast. Who doesn’t want to read a 500 word essay about your Cheerios? I know I’d be riveted. Extra points if there’s bacon.
  3. Interview your cat. I’m sure he/she has great ideas. When the cat is no help, interview the dog.
  4. Spin around in a circle with your laptop clutched to your chest until the words just come to you. It especially helps if you have Bloglovin’ open on the screen while you do it.
  5. Copy and paste another blogger’s post. Copy their pictures too. Make sure to remove the watermark, it’ll be fine. Nobody will notice that you blatantly ripped off someone else’s material.
  6. Look up those super helpful blog posts about needing blog post ideas. Reading about writing about your worst nightmare, or everyday make-up routine for the 40th time is definitely bound to spark some creativity. It’s like flicking a switch. Brain go ON!
  7. Cry in the shower.
  8. Organize your house. Then quit halfway though and think of a great idea to blog about as a procrastination tool while you avoid the mess you’ve made while organizing your house.  You can’t find your cat, or your child (if you have one) but who cares because now you have MOTIVATION.
  9. Listen to Lemonade and feel Beyoncé’s words move you. Becky with the good hair is bound to spark some ideas.
  10. Have a glass of wine. Or six. Totally forget about how you can’t think of a story, and just enjoy your night. Motivation is for losers anyway.

Or, you can just take a break, realize that it’s not that big of a deal, and just write what seems to flow out of you. And I’m only sort of kidding on #10. Sometimes the glass of wine really does help. Just be careful not to take it to an extreme, or you’ll end up completing #1.

Do you have blogger’s block? How have you combated it? Share your tips — real or silly– in the comments!

*Alright, scientist. No it’s not a real muscle, it’s a metaphor. Get off my back. Gosh.

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Christmas Count-Down: 4 Easy Ways to Pay it Forward this Holiday Season

4 Ways to Pay It Forward This Holiday Season
As I’m getting older, I’m getting more and more into the “Giving” side of the holiday season.  I like receiving gifts as much as the next gal, but I really love watching someone’s face light up when they get something unexpected, or they get something they really need.
And because of that, I thought it’d be fun to share some super easy Pay It Forward ideas for this holiday season.  It really doesn’t take much to make someone else’s day, so in honor of 4 days until Christmas (!!!!!) I thought I’d share FOUR ways to Pay It Forward:

1. Be someone’s lay-a-way angel, or pay for someone’s dinner.  Stop in at a major store near you that does law-a-way, and ask if you can make a small payment on someone’s account, or pay off the whole thing if you can.  Or, you can pick up someone else’s check at a restaurant. I witnessed this last year while working at Applebee’s and it made me cry.  The looks on the kids’ faces when they realized someone took care of it was wonderful.  Everyone loves being surprised!

2. Give your leftovers to someone in need.  I always take my leftovers home with me, no matter what is left.  I used to just leave them in the fridge, but now I like to give them to someone in need on the street.  Despite what they are doing or how they got there, everyone needs to eat, and it must be terrifying not knowing how or where you will get your next meal.

3.  Give a big tip to a waiter, waitress, or other service industry worker.  I got a $200 tip this weekend catering a home-party and it was the best surprise ever.  Happy Holidays indeed!

4. Leave a holiday card as a surprise for someone.  If you’re able, maybe sneak in a small gift card or something nice into it as well.  Imagine some’s surprise when they come home from work and find a card with a $5.00 Starbucks card attached from a kind stranger.

Have any other ideas? Leave them in the comments, or please let me know any other stories of Paying It Forward.  I’m a sucker for a good heart-warming story!

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