Learn from my mistakes

“I never knew love could make me go to such extreme lengths,” I wrote in my journal when I was fifteen. “It makes me go crazy. It’s like I don’t even care about anything else. I just need him. His presence is the only thing that makes me happy.”

It was the second time I fell in love, and there was nothing different about how unhealthy my infatuation was.

I wanted love and attention. Validation. Stability. Tenderness. I was hungry for what I couldn’t get from my father, and I decided that another boy would solve everything.

He was my angel. My saviour. The only representation of male kindness I had encountered so far. I looked forward to seeing him every week, and those few hours spent with him were the only thing worth living for.

“It’s like I fall asleep each time I leave him,” I wrote. “Only to come back alive the next time he’s next to me.”

The thing is, we barely spoke. He occasionally laughed at my jokes and sometimes we were in a group together to work on a project as a part of our theatre class. That was it.

There was also a little detail I chose to ignore — he was in love with someone else.

That didn’t stop me from developing a super unhealthy crush on him for half a year and staring at him lovingly for such a long time that when his initial relationship didn’t work out, he opted for me. And spent the next two years with me.

I’d like to think I was more than a back-up. And maybe I was. I guess we’ll never know, and that’s okay.

What bothers me much more is how easily obsessed I got with both of my former boyfriends, a thing that’s quite understandable at such a young age, yet a big mistake to definitely learn from.

Here are 7 things I’ve done for boys I will never do ever again. And you shouldn’t, either.


My first boyfriend was a bully.

I have never been overweight, quite the opposite, but he always used to say my hips were “too wide.”

“They’re bones,” I replied when he brought it up the first time. “How am I supposed to make my hips smaller?”


So, I did. I hated exercising with passion until I was about eighteen, so you can probably imagine how miserable I was at fourteen, doing a home workout every single day for a month, panting and crying with a red face.

I cried because I knew I wasn’t doing this for me.

I cried because I knew I was going through something I detested, just to make myself good enough for him.

And I cried because, in his eyes, I wasn’t pretty enough the way I was.

I gave up after 2 months.

And after 3 unsuccessful breakups, the fourth one worked out. I haven’t seen him since, and I hope he’s a better man today.

Exercising is a wonderful thing when you do it for the right reasons. Make your body stronger because you care for it and want to give yourself some love. Don’t do it to win someone else’s validation.

If they make you feel like you have to change the way you look for them to love you, their love isn’t genuine. They’re not worth the effort.

Shaved obsessively

Apart from telling me that I was too fat, my first boyfriend also liked pointing out my body hair.

I had a very bad relationship with my body hair for most of my life, and the main reason this came to be was my involvement with him.

He laughed at me when I didn’t shave my legs properly, he kept checking the area above my lip for a moustache (“You missed some hair here,” I remember him saying after I tried really hard to shave all signs of a moustache just for him), and he called me a bear in a mocking voice on various occasions, all of which made me feel like the ugliest girl in the world.

He also told all our friends I couldn’t shave properly after our first breakup. I became the meme for hairy girls, and I carried this humiliation within me for years to come.

What’s puzzling to me is the fact that I still got back with him three times after that.

Well, I learned eventually.

When I asked my current boyfriend about body hair, he told me: “I honestly don’t care about any amount of body hair. Do whatever you want.”

That’s a man who knows how to appreciate a woman in her rawness.

Everyone has preferences, but make sure that you don’t shave just because you feel inadequate for your partner in your natural state.

If you choose to shave, do it for yourself and your own comfort. No man is worth changing your body for.

Had sex when I didn’t want to

It was a common occurrence with my first boyfriend that when I didn’t want to make out, he called me frigid and a prude.

Luckily, this didn’t happen with my second boyfriend as he was actually kind and loving, but sometimes, I still had sex with him even when I didn’t want to.

Why did I do it then?

To get affection.

The longer we were together, the more disconnected and alienated we were from each other. Sex seemed to be the only way to keep something resembling love still alive.

It didn’t work and it only made me feel emptier.

If you don’t want to have sex, you should say so. It won’t solve your problems and the feeling of being loved is fleeting if genuine love isn’t actually there.

Have sex when you want to have sex. That’s the only good reason to do it. A good and mature partner will understand that.

Didn’t stand up for my sister

When my first boyfriend laughed at my sister for her speech impediment, I didn’t say anything.

When he mocked her and insulted her, I didn’t say anything.

I continued dating someone who routinely hurt my younger sister with his words, something I’m ashamed of until this day.

My sister and I had a problematic relationship growing up — we felt lots of hate for each other for multiple reasons, one of them being the fact that we had to share a bedroom and our personalities and lifestyles did not match at all.

Despite this, she always stood up for me.

I rarely did for her.

Anyone who’s mean or even impolite to your family isn’t worth your love. It’s a big red flag.

My current boyfriend chats with my sister regularly and is very kind to her.

And I’m ready to stand up for her anytime.

Dulled my fashion sense

I’ve always been very particular about my fashion sense — as in, most people would say it’s bad. I mismatch colours and patterns, and I love wearing colourful clothes and big skirts.

I used to tone my fashion sense down for boys because I didn’t want them to think I was a freak.

I even wore whatever they told me to wear a few times.

Not anymore.

No man should ever feel entitled to the point where they demand of you to wear a certain type of clothes that you don’t want to wear. And you should never dull your fashion sense or change it just to make him happy.

Whatever you choose to wear, it’s beautiful as long as it makes you comfortable and you feel like it expresses you. If he can’t deal with who you are, he can pack his bags and leave.

There’s no space for a partner who doesn’t love you as you are.

Didn’t spend time with friends

In the past, every time I got a boyfriend, my friendships diminished a little.

I prioritised my partner over anyone else and I let my infatuation rule the world.

This caused a lot of struggles in my friendship with my former best friend. She felt like each time I got a boyfriend, I ditched her for him. She wasn’t wrong.

It led to building up so much resentment and expectations based on our past experience that when I did finally get a boyfriend in my twenties after 4 years of being single, she automatically expected me to cut ties with her.

I didn’t feel like she supported my new-found love and I also felt a lot of pressure to show her I had changed. This was one of the many reasons why our friendship eventually ended.

Don’t sacrifice your friendships for a new relationship. As happy as your partner makes you, friends are essential to your happiness as well.

Underestimating the power of friendships can seriously damage them.

Threw my identity out of the window

Last but definitely not least, I centred my world around my ex-boyfriends.

I became obsessed with the love and devotion I had for them, I was addicted to our intimacy, and I forgot who I was in the process.

I stopped reading books as much, something I consider essential to my personality. Every activity I participated in didn’t feel as good when they weren’t there. Every time I was without them, all I could think about was what they were doing — mind you, this wasn’t after a week of dating, but after months and months. The infatuation period should have ended by then.

But it didn’t for me.

It took me years to heal from my last heartbreak and to find myself again.

Presently, I’m more grounded in myself, I have a higher sense of independence and I know that breakups aren’t the end of the world, even when they feel like one.

It’s easy for relationships to consume you if you’re not paying attention.

So, do. Do focus on how your partner makes you feel and how you value the time you spend on your own.

Building my universe around someone else to the point of self-destruction has been one of the major mistakes I’ve made in a relationship. I won’t repeat that ever again.

Nor should you.

We do crazy things when we’re in love, especially in our teenage years.

It’s okay to make mistakes. How else would you learn and progress?

However, it’s important to pay attention to what mistakes you’ve made, what led you to make them and how you can improve in the future.

Self-reflection is the holy grail of self-improvement.

And the willingness to become a better version of yourself is one of the key steps to building a solid foundation for a happy and long-lasting relationship.

Source : Medium

The problem isn’t your relationship status, it’s your mindset.

From the time I was sixteen, I dated one person after another. I didn’t take a break from finding love for over a decade, and it took two crappy breakups for me to finally realize I had a problem with being single.

I thought that with singledom came the possibility I’d never find love. I bought into the notion that not being in a relationship meant something was wrong with me. And when it came down to it, being by myself terrified me; I didn’t know what I liked doing during a night alone in my apartment.

It wasn’t until I intentionally took a year off from dating that I started to change my mind about being single. I realized that my need to be in a relationship and inability to be alone said a lot more about me than just my views on love.

And while I think there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship (it’s a human need, can’t deny that), there’s room to love being single along the way. Whether you’re like me, a newly single serial monogamist, or someone who hates going to sleep alone every night, hopefully, this information will help you work towards loving your single life.

Realize that unhappily single is simply a mindset.

Not everyone is single and hating their life. In fact, the people in the happiest relationships were pretty ok and didn’t mind when they were single before. That’s because the whole notion of “unhappily single” is just a mindset. It’s the same concept of how being alone isn’t a feeling, it’s a state. You can either see it as solitude or lonely, that choice is up to you.

Here are some ideas for you to consider to help shift your mind about being single:

  • Finding love isn’t something to be rushed. Finding someone to spend your life with isn’t something you can force. Love comes in its own time, and rushing things will only cause yourself to feel shitty along the way.
  • There’s more to life than being in a relationship. There’s one thing we have a limited amount of in our lives: time. Refuse to waste yours being unhappy while you try to find someone to spend yours with.
  • When you’re happy, you’re less likely to settle. Insecure people will accept whatever love comes their way. But people who have a life they love to fall back on won’t be scared to draw boundaries and wait for a love that feels right.
  • Being happily single and wanting a relationship can coincide. You can value your alone time while still trying to date. You can learn to love your life without another person, while still trying to find someone to spend it with. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

Use this time wisely.

Having all your time to yourself when you’re single is unmatched. You can stay in and re-watch every season of Breaking Bad if you wantInstead of planning your weekend around someone else’s schedule, try out new hobbies and figure out what your interests are.

Or, if you want to focus on the bigger picture, start the business you’ve been dreaming of creating. Make a plan to pivot into a new career. Accomplish whatever goal you’ve had on your list for years now. With all this free time, you get to choose what to do with it. And when time is precious, how can having all of yours to yourself be a bad thing?

Strengthen the other relationships in your life.

Your best tool for navigating the dating field will be strong relationships outside of any romantic one. Your friends and family are great resources for when you’re going through a hard time. They’re also the people who know you the best. Sometimes, relationships get in the way of maintaining them. Use your time while single to see the people that matter most to you.

During my year off from dating, I planned two trips to see my friends that lived out of state. Traveling while single and seeing my friends at the same time had to be one of the best experiences I’d had in a long time.

Get off social media when it overwhelms you.

Social media is damaging to your psyche, especially if you feel bad about your single life. People only post the highlight reel of their relationships; never the arguments and hurt feelings. Any person can easily fall victim to feeling like their love life lacks in comparison.

Part of my single life journey was unfollowing anyone’s profile that made me feel bad. I don’t want it to seem like I think those people did it intentionally. Of course, they didn’t. But limiting that kind of content I saw helped me stay focused on bettering my life in a way that felt fulfilling.

Delete the apps, at least for now.

Dating apps are designed to be addictive; they want you to swipe without even having to think. If being constantly bombarded by profiles and hoping for something more makes you feel awful, delete your apps. There’s no need to be on them.

Instead, focus back on those newly-found activities you love to do. Go out into the world and be someone who loves their life. I promise, that kind of energy will still attract people, even when you’re not meaning to. But at the very least, you’re not wasting hours swiping on a dating app that leaves you feeling worse than when you first got on.

Create love when you feel like you need it.

If you feel desperate for someone to date when you’re single, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re quick to fill that void with whoever will give you the attention, I’d caution you to think differently. By looking for love elsewhere, you’re not filling the void that you feel inside you. Instead of trying to take love from someone, try creating some; it feels a whole lot better.

When I was single, I did more drawing and hiking and volunteering at the animal shelter, and I took up drum lessons. I did activities I loved, rather than trying to make it happen with another person. During that time, I felt so much more fulfillment from my life than dating ever gave me.

Being single isn’t this plagued part of a person’s life. You have all the power to make your life into one you love, regardless of having a romantic partner.

That way, when you do find someone, you’re the best version of yourself. That way, when love comes into your life, it’s simply the cherry on top.

Source : Medium

How to show love to those who need more than words.

The way you show affection to your partner matters.

For me, I thrive off Words of Affirmation. And if you’re at all familiar, you can tell I’m a fan of the theory of Love languages.

But whether you believe in the theory is neither here nor there. The fact is, people receive love in different ways. For some partners, telling them you love them is not enough.

If you know that physical touch means the world to your partner, you may be stuck on how to express love physically. Sure, there’s sex. But if sex is the only way you show your partner love, you’re basically friends with benefits.

My partner is a physical touch kind of guy. And while he’s never told me he feels a shortage of love, I wondered about other ways to express it physically — other than sex.

And after some thinking, observing, and straight-up asking my boyfriend, I found a few ways for people to express love physically in a non-sexual way:

Hold Their Hand

Don’t automatically knock this idea because it seems juvenile. Plenty of fully-grown adults hold hands in public.

study by Forevermark revealed that holding hands makes a relationship stronger. Couples that hold hands see their relationships as lasting longer than those who don’t.

While it might not be your jam, consider holding your partner’s hand in public as something you could warm up to. Start by doing it while out at dinner. Maybe clasp your hands while taking a walk through your neighborhood.

The simple act will show your partner you love them enough to let other people know.

Take an Extra Ten Minutes to Cuddle

When you get into a routine, it’s easy to overlook things like holding your partner in the morning.

If you’re the type to instantly jump out of bed, set your alarm for ten minutes earlier. Instead of getting out of bed once your alarm rings, spending some time holding your partner and showing them you care.

Or maybe pull your partner close to you at night before you separate for your slumber.

Cuddling feels fantastic and is a chance to be very close to your partner. Never take this act for granted.

Take a Dance Class Together

Feel like your life lacks excitement AND want to show your partner some love? Go and take a dance class together.

It doesn’t matter if you have two left feet or are rhythmically challenged; everyone has to start somewhere. Being goofy and trying something new with your partner is only going to strengthen your bond.

And all the hand-holding, waisting grabbing moves you’ll be doing means you’ll be getting physical, too.

Plus, you might even find out you love dancing.

A Massage Without an Ulterior Motive

This one goes out to all the guys: a massage doesn’t have to be just about sex! It’s possible to initiate one too, you know, make your partner’s achy body feel better.

Giving your partner a massage without any expectations is the ultimate act of physical love. You’re focusing your attention on them and rubbing your hands all over their body.

If a massage normally leads to sex, let your partner know they can simply relax. You’re not looking for anything other than letting your partner know you love them.

Kiss and Hug Each Other Goodbye

It took some awareness for me to realize that I kiss my boyfriend hello/bye, but I basically never add in a hug to the mix.

But kisses and hugs are intimate. Embracing your partner each time you see them again or before they leave reminds them how much they mean to you.

No matter how long you’ve dated, a kiss and hug never get old.

Netflix & Head Scratch

Every couple has their show. The one they only watch together (or at least promise they will).

When you and your boo are lying down to watch TV, offer them your lap to lay their head-on. Then give them a gentle head massage or scratch. It’s going to feel amazing for them.

Plus, it’s not something you have yo give much thought to when you’re already watching a show.

Squeeze their butt

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t my favorite form of physical touch.

There’s nothing better than being out and about, doing errands, and giving my boyfriend’s butt a firm squeeze. He has a great butt; not only do I want him to know that, but I also enjoy feeling it for myself.

But you don’t have to squeeze your partner’s butt in public. Maybe you’re more comfortable doing it at home when they’re making dinner.

A nice butt grab is out of the ordinary. It’s a little gesture to say, “Hey, don’t forget I love and want you.”

Physical touch is more than just sex; it’s subtle acts that can show your partner how much you appreciate them.

Everyone receives love in different ways. If your partners is physical touch, then these simple acts will go a long way.

Source : Medium

On non-monogamy, commitment, and freedom.

I’ve seen more people than ever stating that they’re looking for a “non-monogamous” relationship. In dating app bios, general conversation, and on actual dates, I’m amazed at how many men I’ve encountered over the past year who specify this. They say that they’re fine with long-term just not exclusive relationships. And though I appreciate the honesty, it’s not the norm to which we’ve grown accustomed, so it seems odd.

What’s happening? Is this the new normal?

Even megastars Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith recently let it be known that they don’t consider themselves married anymore, but . For them, this means that they’ve committed to supporting one another until the end of their days and neither will have to want for anything as long as the other is alive. The couple didn’t say explicitly that they’re nonexclusive, and even denounced the idea of an open marriage — but they made it clear that romantic fidelity is not the basis of their union.

I suppose our perspective depends on where we place the greatest emphasis. There are many more heartbreaks and betrayals that can be inflicted upon us by a partner than cheating. But traditionally, monogamy has been a foundation of committed relationships, and especially marriage.

Certainly, many additional factors go into the declining marriage  and increasing cohabitation rate in the United States than wanting to sleep with other people. However, the idea of non-monogamy, and more importantly, the recent boldness in pursuing it must be an element. Expressing a desire to have multiple sex partners used to be frowned upon and reduced to being nasty or a whore. It still carries a negative connotation with some, but the perception overall has softened.

To some, non-monogamy is about freedom and autonomy.

One guy explained to me that he’s no longer interested in exclusivity because he feels it creates, for him, unrealistic demands and expectations. He sees being forthcoming with himself and others about his wants as integrous.

Younger generations seem less interested in avowing to one person for eternity. In fact, speaking of the Smiths, Will and Jada’s daughter Willow said that she views this as ownership — which to her is unappealing.

“Monogamy, I feel — this is just personally, just for me — I feel actually inhibits you from learning those skills of evolving past those feelings of insecurity,” Willow said.

The youngest Smith views monogamy as “too restricting,” but is careful to point out that it’s not because she’s constantly seeking new sexual experiences. She craves emotional connection but doesn’t want the anxiety and jealousy that often come with viewing someone as “your person.”

Willow isn’t alone.  suggests that more people than ever in the United States are or have been engaged in consensually non-monogamous relationships.

Elisabeth A. Sheff, Ph.D., said:

While it seems highly unlikely that CNM will replace serial monogamy any time soon, it certainly has taken a place alongside singleness, monogamy, and cheating in the menu of possible relationship options.

My life experience and exploration support this theory.

Perhaps we’re actually trying to be better partners by declaring intent upfront instead of attempting to meet a relationship ideal with which we struggle or don’t wish to live up to. I’d much rather someone say from the beginning that they’re not interested in monogamy and allow me to make an informed decision when the alternative is deception.

So, I don’t have an issue with this evolving trend of men I’ve witnessed specifying a desire for non-monogamy. The concept doesn’t interest me but to each his/her own. I respect the transparency.

I’m in favor of consenting adults doing what makes them happy. Also, “life partner” is a fitting term for those who simply don’t wish to, or can’t marry. It isn’t synonymous with non-monogamy. Yet, I wonder if the idea is replacing the institution of marriage.

Love remains the #1 reason people decide to wed.

There are several logical  many may decide not to tie the knot. Among them are a reluctance to enter a legally-binding union and concerns over finances. Others just consider it an outdated, obsolete tradition.

Opting out of marriage doesn’t mean that there is no commitment. Just as we all know that husbands and wives commit adultery all the time. These are only titles. It’s up to us to give them meaning. The growing popularity of non-monogamy and life-partnerships just speaks to our changing relationship landscape. I don’t know that “change” in this case is synonymous with erosion, however.

Some associate a desire for non-monogamy with a lack of self-control or values. Some equate marriage with love, and if a partner doesn’t want this, think it means they don’t care for them enough. But I can’t say that monogamy or marriage is inherently better than the opposite. I’ve just noticed a shift — in the way that we present ourselves to dating prospects and the comfort with embracing concepts that the majority may consider unsavory.

In essence, perhaps the process has become more authentic.

Source : Medium

In, out. Deep, slow. Calm, ease. Smile, release.

In2015, I fell on hard times. I was in a downward spiral; the worse things got, the more I obsessed over prior misfortunes. Eckhart Tolle calls this phenomenon “the pain-body”: a state of compulsively seeking turmoil, even if it means hurting others. Your pain-body thrives on conflict and misery, so it demands that you experience anger, shame, and hopelessness as viscerally as possible.

Tolle has explained the pain-body as follows:

It has two modes of being: dormant and active. A pain-body may be dormant 90 percent of the time; in a deeply unhappy person, though, it may be active up to 100 percent of the time. Some people live almost entirely through their pain-body, while others may experience it only in certain situations, such as intimate relationships, or situations linked with past loss or abandonment, physical or emotional hurt, and so on.

Anything can trigger it, particularly if it resonates with a pain pattern from your past. When it is ready to awaken from its dormant stage, even a thought or an innocent remark made by someone close to you can activate it.

When my pain-body took over, I began to relive painful memories.

This “intrusive re-experiencing” was excruciating.

I thought about the worst moments of my life hundreds of times every day.

Therapy and exercise helped, but I needed something else.

So, five years ago, I read You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment.

It’s kind of like a manual for day-to-day living, written by a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh.

It helped, and I highly recommend it.

You can buy it online for $6.

What I want to highlight today is a meditation Hanh prescribes for people feeling overwhelmed. Some call it a “meditation poem.”

It’s very short:

In, out.

Deep, slow.

Calm, ease.

Smile, release.

Per Hanh’s instructions, I practiced reciting the poem in my mind while I breathed. As I inhaled, I would focus on the word “In.” As I exhaled, “Out.” Inhale, “Deep.” Exhale, “Slow.” You get the idea.

You don’t even have to worry about modulating your breathing.

In fact, Buddhist practice is generally to let your breath do what it wants to do during meditation.

But you will find that the mere act of monitoring your breath causes you to breathe gently.

When my thoughts were chaotic and unmanageable, Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem really helped me soothe my mind. I would sometimes imagine that I was inhaling cool air directly into my brain. I could relax, I could focus, and I could sleep better.

And you can breathe into any other source of tension in the body. Whatever ails you — your back, your joints, your stomach — try to inhale directly into the pain or discomfort.

You’ll find that you can manage the sensation, even if you still need medical care to treat the underlying cause.

Hanh’s meditation poem is the most portable life-enhancing tool I’ve ever encountered. It’s easy to memorize, and it’s very effective. You can incorporate it into your daily life without setting aside time for meditation, and I hope you will. My mind has been a calmer place since I did so.

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Source : Medium

Monday through Friday isn’t for everyone

With many physical offices closed for the foreseeable future, the regular workweek has seldom seemed like a more artificial construct for office workers. Commutes have been replaced by a short amble to the desk, if you aren’t just tapping away on your laptop from the heights of Mount Duvet. And the “weekend,” especially for those without children, has become a rather abstract concept.

With the world in flux, it’s not surprising that the shape of the workweek is shifting too. It wouldn’t be the first time. After the French Revolution, the government implemented a radical calendar: From 1793 to 1805, French workers operated on a 10-day week with one full day and one half day off. Stalin tried something similar: For 11 years, the Soviet Union had no weekends, working a five-day “continuous week” with staggered days off.

Obviously neither of those systems had staying power, and few would welcome similar state-mandated shifts in the workweek today. But there’s also no need for us to be so universally wedded to the five-days-on, two-days-off workweek. It’s a vestige of early 20th-century industrial labor, a far cry from the realities of the modern connected workplace. Technology has allowed us to be productive on our own time, yet somehow we’re still committed to that structure of a 40-hour week.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Remote work has given us more options for flexibility than ever before — and many are learning that one size doesn’t fit all. Now is a great time to consider whether the Monday-through-Friday workweek is truly right for you, or whether another structure works better for your needs and rhythms. Here are some options.

1. The four-day workweek

It sounds like a fantasy: full pay, full work output, and 80% as much time chained to your computer. It’s a relatively new concept, but the little data that exists on the four-day week is very promising. In early 2018, a New Zealand company called Perpetual Guardian ran an eight-week experiment with its 240 employees. Workers would set out to accomplish the same work for the same pay — with three days off rather than two.

The results were striking: Workers were more productive, more efficient, and happier. Two years on, the company has a permanent option of a four-day workweek (though the company retains the right to “withdraw” the extra day off if employees aren’t getting their work done). Since then, founder Andrew Barnes reports, revenue has increased by 6% and profitability by 12.5%. “This is a work revolution whose time has come,” Barnes wrote in Marker.

If you think that it could be the right option for you, try pitching it to your boss, but make sure you’ve given some careful thought ahead of time to exactly how it would work. First, consider who else it could affect and how your new schedule might affect everybody else on your time. Then, be prepared for tricky questions.

2. The early start

If you’re at your sharpest while the sun is still low in the sky, go with that instinct. Working from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. could be a fantastic way to maximize productivity and make the most of your early-bird body clock. While the rest of the world wakes up, you’ll have the quiet you need to focus and get a head start on the day’s tasks without interruptions from chatty colleagues or demanding clients. By the time your first morning Zoom calls starts, you’ll be prepared and hopefully in the right headspace.

There are other advantages: According to researchers from the University of Washington, managers often display a bias toward early birds. Even when total work hours were the same, employees who began earlier were consistently rated as better performers and more conscientious.

Working a slightly different schedule could give you more time to spend with nonworking members of your family. And outside of a pandemic, it’s also a sure-fire way of escaping rush hour traffic.

3. The 21-hour week

You probably can’t just march into your boss’s office and ask them to halve your hours. But if you’re considering going part-time and are able to take a pay cut, the benefits are huge: Voluntary part-time workers are often happier and feel better able to take care of themselves and their families.

In heterosexual couples, there’s a strong feminist argument for both partners to work part-time, if it’s financially feasible, in order to engage more equally in the emotional and physical labor of running a household and shared life. Women in the U.K. spend an average of 16.8 hours a week in paid work and 29.75 hours in unpaid work according to data from Eurostat. For men, the numbers are reversed at 29.16 hours of paid work and 16.1 hours unpaid. Balancing out the discrepancy could lead to a more equal sharing of childcare and other responsibilities, making it easier for women to succeed.

It’s one reason why the think tank New Economics Foundation has proposed a 21-hour week as the standard for the 21st century. They argue that it’s best for everyone: As well as creating more gender equality, it would help countries to decarbonize by cutting down on commutes, spread labor and resources more evenly, and make workers happier and more productive.

4. The five-hour workday

If you’re able to manage your own time, there’s no reason to be “on” for the standard eight-hour day. Digital marketer Felicia Sullivan advocates for working smarter rather than harder or longer. By gut-renovating her own workweek, she has managed to maintain a cool five-hour workday, five days a week. “I don’t get less done,” she writes. “I just do it in less time, freeing myself up for the things that matter.”

Her own strategies involve confining phone calls to Thursday and Tuesdays, mapping out blocks of time on her calendar, and avoiding task-switching at all costs. Sullivan also automates as many processes as possible.

One nonnegotiable part of her workday is a morning walk, Sullivan writes: “I take my walks in silence, free of distraction, because I know the rest of my day will be filled with noise. That lone hour gets my body moving, my head ready, and my heart anxious to dive into the work I absolutely love — in healthy moderation.”

5. The seven-day workweek

It sounds terrible, but hear me out: For some people, working a few hours every day can solve the conundrum of the pandemic weekend.

“When the world was put on lockdown, weekends quickly started to feel exactly like weekdays, only with less work and stimuli,” wrote Stephen Moore in Forge. “And I started feeling off. I was anxious, unsatisfied, bored.”

For Moore, waking up early on Saturday and Sunday to get in a few hours of work before lunch put a stop to 48 hours of “Netflix and doomscrolling,” he said. And it has done wonders for his mental health: “Working on the weekends actually helps me relax — when my workday is over, I can be fully off, knowing that I spent my morning being productive.”

This could work for some people even during non-pandemic times. More than 70% of American workers check their work email outside of office hours. If you’re already working far beyond your office hours, why not embrace it? That might mean working 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and then slotting in eight hours of work spread over the weekend.

6. The 30-hour workweek

It’s easier to make the case for a 30-hour workweek than you might anticipate. That’s the lesson from one long-ranging Swedish study, where nurses at a Swedish retirement home were put on six-hour shifts with an eight-hour salary.

On the face of it, nursing seems like one of the professions least suited to a shorter workday. Patients often need support around the clock, and medical care can’t generally be rushed. But the retirement home found that its bottom line was barely affected, even after taking on more nurses to cover the extra hours. Over a year, nurses on the new schedule took half as much sick time and were almost three times less likely to take time off in a given two-week period. More than that, they were happier and more focused.

Those are the points to lead with if you’re considering proposing it to your employer: that with this new schedule, you’ll be a more productive, more satisfied employee. That’s a change that’s as helpful for them as it is for you.

7. The classic five and two

Love working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday? Great! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Source : Medium

You don’t feel like yourself but you can’t walk away

When you’re on the other side of a toxic relationship it can be so easy to look back and identify all of the red flags and signs that you missed.

However, when you are in the relationship it’s not nearly as easy. Normally we don’t go into a situation analyzing every single part of our partner’s behavior.

No, because instead we are getting excited when they call us and jumping at every chance to see them. We aren’t keeping a list of all the times we are putting forth effort while they reap the benefits because we like them. We aren’t keeping score.

The reality is that normally when you are in a relationship with a narcissist you aren’t going to realize it until you have a moment of clarity and start doing your own research.

However, if you aren’t sure, here are five signs that you are in a relationship with a narcissist.

Something within you hesitates to make future plans

When my narcissistic ex mentioned getting an apartment together I remember a flood of emotions and thoughts that came into my mind but the main one that I could identify was fear.

My partner never followed through on our plans and his promises. He claimed that moving in together would change things but I knew in my gut that moving in together was not going to make it better.

A narcissist doesn’t want to make plans because they want to be in full control. You can’t plan for a future unless you give up what you want because otherwise, it’s not going to happen.

Remember, when you are in a healthy relationship you will be excited to make future plans with your partner.

You are putting in 100% effort and getting nothing in return

Let me ask you if this sounds familiar.

You drive to their house

You are a slave to their schedule

You always apologizing and taking any blame

You are the only one fighting for the relationship

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist you will realize that your needs are never acknowledged or met and you have will be putting them first. Yet, the less they acknowledge you, the more you will do to try to get their attention and “love” again.

Your body is telling you something is wrong

Every day I would wake up sick to my stomach. My anxiety was so high I constantly felt like I was on high alert.

Although I was telling myself in my head that I had met the love of my life and I was so happy, my body was reacting completely differently.

Our bodies often tell us what we don’t want to face.

My gut told me that we wouldn’t have much time together and that I needed to get out. I just didn’t want to listen to it right away.

You don’t feel like yourself but you can’t walk away

In a healthy relationship, your partner will want to encourage you to be your best self.

When I was in a relationship with a narcissist it was the complete opposite. I didn’t feel supported. He constantly encouraged toxic behavior and would get frustrated when I didn’t want to party every night. At work, he would tell me that I would never get a promotion.

I felt like my heart was tearing in two every day that I woke up. It was easy to admit that I wasn’t happy and at one point I walked away, but quickly let the narcissist back into my life for a second chance, and then a third.

I didn’t realize at the time that I was in a trauma bond and that is why I was struggling so hard to let go.

What can you do if you are in this situation?

Having a relationship with someone who had narcissistic personality disorder affected my mental state for years after. The gaslighting and manipulation left me with PTSD and trauma that I am still working through to this very day.

If you are in this situation you have to get out. The more time that you spend with them the harder it is going to be to break out of the cycle and reclaim your life.

Once you end the relationship and identify that you were in an unhealthy and often abusive situation there are steps that you can take to start healing.

It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to take a lot of working on your sense of self, but I promise you that it’s so much better on the other side.

So don’t fool yourself into thinking you can.

young woman told me she didn’t like her partner’s dress sense.

But when we explored her thoughts the problem was not his clothes — it was his behaviour on social occasions.

He could be opinionated and “rough around the edges” and that didn’t fit with the image she presented and wanted others to have of them as a couple.

“Am I being unfair?” she asked. “I know you’re supposed to let people be who they are. I just think he could try a little harder to rein it in.”

It was an interesting niggle, which often crops up when two people start to get serious about their relationship. They desperately want “their people” to like their partner so they become more conscious — even critical — of his or her appearance and behaviour.

But it’s not about being fair. It’s about being honest about what matters to you — for whatever reason. And it’s about seeing your partner clearly, accepting (and loving) who they are and recognising what you can change and what you can’t — and shouldn’t — touch.

Here’s a guide to help.

6 Things You’ll Never Change in a Partner

“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” ― Deborah Reber

1. Their history.

We all bring “baggage” into our relationships. Not just through our previous experiences with partners, but all the drama, wounds and scars we’ve picked from the cradle onwards.

While our histories shouldn’t be life-defining, they are hugely influential in who we are now. They affect our psychological health, our emotional capacity, our communication and conflict styles and the ways we’ve learned to love (or not). And then there’s our people. Our families, for better or worse, our old friends and the way those groups operate. So look (hard) before you sign on the dotted line. And be honest about your partner’s relationship with their people. Is it estranged, close, too close, enmeshed? Can you live with that?

2. The stuff (and people) they’re drawn to.

We all have our own quirks and (sometimes weird) interests. We know who we like to hang out with. People will often say they don’t like their partner’s friends — which is fair enough, but you need to be wary of the consequences if you try to separate them, even if your motivation is sound.

I recall a young woman who hated rugby who wanted her sports-mad partner to quit watching it so they could spend more time together. He tried, but the loss of both his passion, and the time that gave him with his mates, caused resentment. The moral of the story? You can’t control what and who someone else is drawn to, at least not without kickback. The best you can hope for is that they’re open to other things as well.

3. Their addictions.

Drugs, alcohol, porn, food, cigarettes…if your partner has an addictive problem, it’s theirs to own and theirs to decide what to do with. You can provide encouragement and support, but if they’re not up for working on it, you’ve already lost the race.

4. Their choices and regrets.

The choices people make and the things they have (or haven’t) done with their lives often stay with them for many years — and can be a source of angst between couples.

You can help to make it up to them (e.g. if your partner regrets never having travelled, you can plan a trip.) But you can’t change their choices or the way they feel about them. You can’t free them of guilt or shame or loss. Those things are for them to explore, accept and overcome.

5. Their capacity for love

Some people have seemingly unlimited capacity for love. Others have very little, which is often the fallout of their difficult or traumatic history. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle — we do our best, but we’re flawed: we don’t always get it right.

I’ve seen decent, well-meaning people have their hearts broken by people who struggle to love — because they’ve kept hoping, kept believing if they love them consistently enough, they will change. People can learn to love if they’re up for it: if they’re open to understanding what has made them this way and getting help for it. But, when they can’t do that (or refuse to try), you need to understand this is the way they are, and either decide to live with it or step away.

6. Their brand of crazy

We’re all a little crazy. We truly are. We all have complexities (even if we try to hide or bury them), unhelpful beliefs; dysfunctional ties that bind; negative, recurring thoughts; things that tap our vulnerabilities and trip us up.

Here’s the cool thing, though. The fact that we are all crazy doesn’t matter at all. It’s our ability to “get” each other, to tolerate and forgive, and to love in spite of it, that makes all the difference.

Source : Medium

That you can easily learn to join their club.

Charming people. They always have an exciting story to tell, and they have that seemingly innate ability to make you feel at ease in their company.

It seems some people were simply born like that.

When they enter a room, everyone notices their presence. They are like magnets, and when they talk, everyone hangs on every single word coming out of their mouth.

Many of us often wonder how those people can have such a magnetic personality. Is there a secret formula? How did they become how they are? Were they just born like that?

The answer is, we are all capable of engaging with others and igniting their interest in us.

There’s no secret formula to it. It all boils down to certain habits charming people have in common, that you can easily and effectively learn.

1. Charming People Give You Their Undivided Attention

Stop for a moment and think about two or three likable people you know.

Do they constantly check their phone while you are talking to them? Do they continually redirect conversations to themselves so they can become the center of attention?

Probably not.

In fact, something these people have in common is they usually give you their undivided attention and make the conversation about you. They ask you intelligent questions and show a true interest in what’s going on in your life. They remember what you told them the last time you met.

Most importantly, you feel they genuinely like you.

They focus on being “interested” rather than appearing “interesting.”

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Always make an effort to give your undivided attention to people. Put away your phone, make eye contact, and let them be the main subject of any conversation.

2. They Show You Genuine Admiration

“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”
― Dale Carnegie

Years ago, I signed up for a course to study for a Business English certificate. Before signing up, I took a test and had an interview with one of the native-English-speaking teachers to assess my language level.

I remember I walked out of that school feeling particularly self-confident and motivated, though, at first, I didn’t quite understand why.

Then I thought about it for a while and realized what triggered that feeling.

During the interview, this teacher told me she had lived for more than ten years in Spain and never managed to become fluent in Spanish.

Then, she told me she admired how fluent I was in English, despite never having lived in an English-speaking country. She also asked me how I achieved such a level of fluency.

There was no trick. I was not some kind of genius. My mother had always spoken to me in English since I was a toddler.

However, that conversation made me feel good about myself anyway. She made me see something good about me.

See, people like that teacher make any interaction engaging and exciting because they remind us of some of our strengths, those things that we tend to forget or often take for granted.

Some people have this ability to open our eyes and show us that we are more than we think we are. They make us feel good about ourselves.

This automatically makes us want to spend more time talking with them and to know more about them too.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Don’t focus on convincing others of “How cool you are.” Be genuinely interested in others, and stop for a moment to appreciate their strengths. Learn to praise sincerely.

3. They Talk About Themselves Only When Asked To

Charming people usually speak about themselves only when asked to, or when they have something relevant to say they know will be of interest to you, without overwhelming you with too many details.

When they talk about themselves they never give you boring or shallow answers. They will always surprise you with something new. Something out of the ordinary.

They might mention their last trip to Thailand, or talk about the Japanese course they’re attending at the university, but only if prompted to.

Charming people talk about their passions and walk you through their experience almost bewitching you. Their passion for what they do is contagious and anytime you talk to them you feel that same ingrained motivation to pursue your dreams as they do.

If you ask their opinion, they will happily share their point of view, which is never shallow.

As a result, you feel they care about the interaction they’re having with you, and usually, they will give you a thoughtful answer which keeps the conversation engaging.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Get rid of the need to talk about yourself all the time. When answering a question about yourself, share something interesting and, most importantly, relevant to the conversation. When asked to share your opinion, don’t be glib, give a thoughtful and detailed answer.

4. They Follow Through

One common trait of genuinely charming people is they always stick to their word. They are not “all words and no action.”

Average people often say “Let me know if you need any help,” just to sound good and convey the impression they are kind. However, when it comes to the crunch and you turn to them for help, the answer will often be “I’d really love to help, but…”

There’s always a “but.”

You won’t find this with a charming person. If they say they will help, they will.

If they say: “We should go for a meal sometime,” you can bet that within a week or so, they will have contacted you to suggest when. Their words are not just empty gestures.

And this trait is almost contagious. By realizing just how lovely it is for someone to be “true to their word,” you will likely want to be the same, in turn, with others.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. It’s simple. And it’s attractive.

5. They Are Not Afraid to Share Their Vulnerabilities

“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are.”

— Brené Brown

Vulnerability is emotional exposure. It’s scary, I get it.

However, it’s also true that exposing our vulnerabilities creates intimacy and trust in our relationships. I guess you appreciate others more when they show their imperfect side or admit their mistakes.

It makes them more human somehow.

Likable people are not afraid to reveal their imperfections or how they have dealt with hard times. They don’t hide behind a mask. They learned to appreciate and embrace their authentic self and their imperfections, and there’s nothing more beautiful than that.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Exposing our vulnerabilities is scary. But it’s what lets us truly connect with people and makes us authentic. You can apply this by simply admitting a past mistake, sharing some of your biggest fears, or revealing one of your imperfections no one else knows about.

6. They Are Curious About You, More Than You Expected

As Thomas Oppong mentioned in one of his recent articles, one habit likable people have in common is they are curious about you and probably more than you expected.

If you think about it, curiosity is the main ingredient that keeps engaging conversations going.

Let’s be honest for a moment: when someone is curious about our job, passions, and goals — or whatever makes us tick — it makes them more likable to us. It usually makes us want to talk and spend more time with them.

It’s nice when others ask us open-ended questions about things we care about, like our career or our relationships.

People who show enthusiasm for your story, your passions, and most importantly, for what drives you, are interesting. It’s enjoyable to be in their company.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

To show genuine curiosity, ask thoughtful questions to others. Understand what their passions are and go ahead with interesting, open-ended questions.

7. They Take Real Pleasure in Proactively Helping Others

Not long ago, a friend of mine — he is an architect — told me about a time he was driving and stopped to help a woman change the tire on her car. She offered to give him some money for his time and help, but he politely refused.

However, while he was changing the tire, the woman asked a few questions about him and where he worked. To him, it was just a normal conversation.

Two weeks later, he met a new client for the first time, who wanted him to design a new office block for his company. At the end of the meeting, the client shook his hand and told him, “My sister was right. You really are a charming man; it has been a pleasure to meet you and I feel in very safe hands.”

He then went on to explain to me that this man was the brother of the woman he had helped.

Charming people don’t preach or tell you how to do things, and they certainly don’t brag about their own lives and successes.

They take real pleasure in proactively helping you instead, without expecting anything in return. And they will likely refuse any “reward” offered.

And they are the ones helping you even if you don’t ask for it.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Helping others simply feels good. Try to do things for others without expecting anything in return. Believe me, life becomes much easier.

Giving their undivided attention, showing admiration, talking about themselves only when asked to, following through, sharing their vulnerabilities, being curious about others and offering their help, are all habits charming people usually have in common.

And it all comes down to this: they won’t directly tell you they are inherently good people. They will always let their actions talk for them instead.

If we were all wired that way, we would probably live in an easier world.

We would all join the charming people club.

Source : Medium

I didn’t even break a sweat

Like many, I struggled off and on with my weight throughout my life. It’s something I felt insecure about since middle school. Over the years, my weight has fluctuated up and down as I tried adding a regular physical activity or blending green smoothies, but then struggling in turn with depression, ultimately gaining all the weight back.

Most recently, I finally felt like I was getting my weight loss goal back on track as I signed up for fitness classes at Equinox. But after awhile progress slowed.

Until San Francisco announced the stay-at-home order.

On March 16th, San Francisco announced a “shelter-in-place” order. Everyone was advised to stay at home and only leave for essential needs like food and medication. As I learned how to slow down and adjust to the new routine at home, I found that I actually was more successful than ever at achieving my weight loss goals as I developed these seven habits.

Even though I just called this a rule, I don’t mean to say you need to stick to this every single day. I try to live by the 80/20 rule. I went into this phase admitting I’m human. The only way to make lasting change is to understand this is not a diet, this is your life. Make small, incremental changes you can sustain for life instead of dramatic changes you’ll give up on in a few days.

How did I decide on a calorie limit?

I follow Jordan Syatt online, he has an insightful video on YouTube to help you calculate how many calories you should eat for fat loss. I encourage you to watch the full video but here’s the short answer so you can start now.

Take your goal body weight in pounds and multiple it by 12. Example: 150 lbs x 12 = 1800 calories a day.

For your protein intake, he recommends you take your goal body weight and multiply it by 1. Example: 150 lbs x 1 = 150g of protein per day. I rarely ever met this amount yet still achieved progress.

Track everything you eat and stick to your calorie limit 80–90% of the time for 30 days and you will see a difference on the scale and in your clothes.

It’s important to include foods you enjoy within your calorie limit. For example, I find a way to include french fries (specifically the Alexia brand) or a protein cookie nearly every day as a treat. The main reason most diets fail is people go to the extreme and eliminate every “bad food.” This might work for a while but eventually, your self-discipline will run out. This is a lifestyle, so find ways to incorporate foods you enjoy and you will find success.

All restaurants were closed. The only option for food was the grocery store. Not only did this save money, but it naturally encouraged good nutritional habits. While everyone was panicking and stocking up like crazy on canned foods, I shopped the abundant produce aisle.

And I mean everything. I used the free app Lose It! to scan and input every bite of food I consumed.

Tip for tracking: Buy a food scale. The only way to be exact with what you’re putting in your body is to measure. Measuring cups can be misleading, use weight in grams instead.

Most people have no clue how much they’re overeating. Simply by tracking what you eat for a week will help you lose weight. Once you realize how much a serving size actually is, you’ll start choosing healthier options.

Before the shelter-in-place order, I went to the gym 5–6 times a week, focusing primarily on strength training and reached 10,000 steps most days. During shelter-in-place, my activity dwindled to almost nothing. Rather than beating myself up about this, I chose to focus on one thing at a time. Physical activity was never a problem for me. Instead, I narrowed in on the most difficult part of weight loss: Food habits and the mindset behind them.

Spending all my time home alone, except for my cat, meant I had a lot of time to think. The motivation behind choosing unhealthy food vs a healthy one became obvious to me. I used a sweet treat or salty snack to ignore a stressful situation at work or feel better after a bad day. I allowed food to soothe my anxiety and depression. By working with a therapist, I learned better ways to cope with my stress and anxiety that didn’t involve food.

Despite the fact there is a world pandemic going on, I actually found more peace at home. I focused on my mental health, investing in myself, and making better decisions, all actions I know will lead to lifelong change including weight loss.

I believe in working with experts especially if you want to reach a new level. I knew I needed guidance so I searched a few nutritionists in my area, called and made an appointment.

The first nutritionist I met offered a few nuggets of wisdom, such as adding more protein into breakfast by drinking a protein shake. She also educated me about the plate method.

The plate method is based on a 9-in diameter plate to help you keep portions sizes in check. Fill 1/2 your plate with non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 with grain and starchy vegetables, and the last 1/4 is your lean protein. I’ll admit I’m still working on getting to this ideal plate but as I said before I aim for the 80/20 rule, not perfection.

Especially while we’re stuck in a rut at home, getting an informed outside opinion on your eating habits can give you exactly the perspective shift to change your eating habits.

I weigh myself every morning. Not because I expect to lose weight every day but because I like to look at the data. In quarantine, you’re the only accountability partner you have. It also helped me realize how and why weight fluctuates. For example, if I consumed more carbs one day the scale might go up a pound the following morning but eventually, it would go back down in a day or two.

I also highly recommend you take before and after progress measurements. The scale isn’t the full story. You may notice the scale doesn’t budge but you lose inches in your thighs and waist.

If you focus on food and psychology first, you will notice a difference in your clothes. Remember this isn’t temporary, it’s a lifestyle. Focus on small, attainable changes and give yourself time to see results.

You’ll lose the most in the first 2 months then less the following. I lost 15 pounds in the first 6 weeks, 2 pounds in May, and 3 pounds in June. You might feel disappointed with slow progress but it’s still progress.

If you take into account that your life will be throwing you off — especially in a pandemic — an average 2-pound weight loss per month actually is the average. Setting attainable expectations will keep you going. It doesn’t matter if you lose 30 pounds in the first month if you gain it back the next when you lose motivation — by setting attainable goals, you can continue to make small changes you can live with.

The Pandemic Was the Perfect Time to Reach My Weight Loss Goals.

In conclusion, after struggling with weight loss motivation, depression, fluctuation for years, it turned out that the shelter-in-place orders were just what I needed to develop these 7 sustainably healthy habits.

If you’re feeling unmotivated but still want to lose weight, you don’t need to go for all seven at once. The first habit I suggest you start with is tracking. Buy a food scale, download a food tracking app like Lose It! and track everything you eat for one week.

That’s it. Start with this one habit and you will learn so much about yourself. You’ll notice connections between what you eat and how you feel. You will make healthier choices and it only gets better from there.

Source : Medium