Self-Care is NOT Optional

Once you’ve lost yourself, it’s incredibly difficult to be found.

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It’s too easy to let life take over and to let go of the progress you’ve made with yourself. While most people would not actively choose to forgo caring for themselves, shit happens. I’ve spent the entire year focusing on improvement and learning to love myself while making positive changes; that shit isn’t easy and it’s a long, difficult path to take, but a worthwhile one nonetheless.

Lately, I’ve been overburdened with two jobs, school, sick family members, stress, lack of a support system, and baby kittens; I’ve felt myself crumble under the impossible weight of these responsibilities and let go of one responsibility that should be my top priority:

Self-Care. 

If you’re struggling to care for yourself and you can feel yourself slipping into a downward spiral, take heart.

Things won’t get easier when you don’t care for yourself. You might feel as though you simply don’t have time to do things that make you feel better; I’ve been there, I get it. You cannot expect yourself to be able to handle everything that comes your way when you’re already feeling rather broken. It just won’t happen, or if by some miracle, you’re able to, you’ll end up in an even worse spot than where you started.

If you don’t make it a priority, no one else will. They won’t feel badly about adding more to your already full plate, because you’re not speaking out and telling them. Don’t expect the people in your life to be mind readers (even the best of them can’t know what you’re thinking), so tell them. Are you scared? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Are you nearing the point of no return? If that means an assignment goes in late or you have to call in; do it. You have to care for yourself. 

There’s no shame in taking a mental health day. So just take it. This is something I still struggle with; I feel as though I absolutely cannot call into work or take a day off from coursework, but I’m working on it. I choose to go to the gym to relieve stress before I feel like I’m losing myself instead of when I’m in the midst of it all.

The best kind of self-care is preventative care. Don’t wait until you’re already on the verge. Don’t wait until you’re so stressed out you feel like crying. Take an hour to yourself; whether you can only take a hot shower, paint your nails, sit in silence, whatever, just do it! You need it and your soul will thank you for it.

It’s not easy to find time to care for yourself, but it’s damn worth it. Write. Read. Take a long bath. Go for a walk. Find your inner peace in whatever way you can. Make time for it, even if that means you have to schedule “me time” for yourself each week. Do it and don’t feel guilty about it. You’re worth it.

-LP

 

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Life Update: LPA Got a Face Lift!

It’s been a while since I did an update on what’s going on in the life of Little Peb.

Let’s just say, things are getting crazy.

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Classes are in full-swing! And boy, am I swamped. I’ll be sharing some of the short stories that we’ve been reading throughout the course, so keep an eye out because there have been some amazing  authors I have had the pleasure of being introduced to and I just cannot keep their amazing pieces to myself. I have also encountered some absolutely mind blowing poetry in another course that will definitely be gracing the pages of LPA. It’s amazing how work that you wouldn’t have normally thought you’d find yourself interested in becomes so… life changing.

I’m going to Georgia! This gal, you know, the one who has never flown before, gets to head down south for 3 days of extensive training for work. I’m super excited to take my first flight and it’ll give me a bit of an idea in terms of what to expect when I take the long awaited flight to Finland. I’ll be down there to get some great insight on how to properly handle emergent cases and what truly qualifies as an emergency in the eyes of veterinary care. I’m super pumped for it.

Little Pebble’s Adventures got a facelift! I. AM. IN. LOVE. I cannot say enough good things about the amazing artist that was behind this work. If you guys are in need of any sort of branding, check out Krysten’s site by clicking here. Not only does Krysten create amazing, one of a kind, illustrative and design pieces, she is also an ethical taxidermist who creates adorable ensembles and truly gives these perished animals a new life of their own. All in all, she is an amazing artist and an absolute pleasure to work with; Krysten truly brings your ideas to life while adding her own, amazing, spin to it. So please, go check her out. You won’t be disappointed.

As I said, guys, life is getting crazy, but I’ll be trying to stay on top of it all while still posting weekly posts, so fret not. LP isn’t going anywhere!

-LP

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One Day I’ll Learn

Things I’ve Learned as of Late

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Sometimes I learn things and more often than not they’re confirming things I’ve known to be true but would rather ignore. The last few weeks, I learned some wonderful things. Take a peek:

  1. Sharing is essential. Sure, we’ve all been told “sharing is caring;” I have to say that it was much easier to share my toys as a child than it is to share my feelings now. Maybe it’s from years of attempting to pretend that I can handle it all, or maybe it’s because I’m just attempting to be stronger than I am; regardless, it’s no longer something that comes naturally. That being said, it’s more important now than it ever has been. When you’re in a relationship, it’s easy to try to brush things under the rug and attempt to put on a smiling face, but ultimately that will fail and leave you feeling less than stellar. Share what you’re feeling; share your thoughts and listen to your partner as they share theirs.
  2. Cats are cutest. Okay, okay, I might have known this all along, but my little kitty is currently snuggled up on my lap and I just can’t focus on anything else. I mean… he’s basically the cutest little snuggle buddy around. His ears are so cute, oh my goodness and don’t even get me started on his little paws!
  3. People show they care in different ways. For instance, I show I care by doing random little things; some people don’t appreciate that, some do. It’s not always easy to know what it is you need from someone, but until you can figure that out, no one can give that to you. It’s easy to feel disappointed in a relationship that feels less than perfect, but remember that no one is perfect and ultimately, your partner will learn and grow with you, if you let them.
  4. Michigan winters will always be my fav. As much as the place I call “home” may change, Michigan will always be my favorite place. Who can beat these winters? What other place will ever feel as much like home as the mitten? I guess we’ll see. Regardless of where I call home, Michigan will always hold a special piece of my heart. C’mon guys, my state is literally waving at you!
  5. Self care is important. It’s so damn easy to allow yourself to fall on the back burner when things get crazy, but don’t let it happen! I’ve spent the majority of the last few weeks stressing out over work, school, my relationship, and other things that are beyond my control; it’s been taking its toll on me and I’ve finally decided to just let my worries go. I don’t know how it is that you relax, but for me it’s face masks, wine, and The Office. Who doesn’t want some Michael Gary Scott in their life?!

What have you guys been learning lately?

-LP

Life Update: Breathing is Necessary

Even if you can’t smell the roses, you should still stop.

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I figured it was time to give you all an update on what’s happening in this crazy life of mine! Stick with me ’til the end.

  1. Homegirl’s got a cold like somethin’ fierce. I’ve been hit by the funk and this train ain’t stoppin’ for nobody. But really though, I’m not quite sure what it is, but everyone at the office has come down with one bug or another. I’m not a fan. I’ve been downing water and taking vitamin C like it’s my job, but I think it’s time to call in for some back up; gotta get those meds on board, because, you know, breathing is necessary.
  2. Little Pebble’s Adventures is going to be getting a facelift! There are a few projects in the works and I’m so damn excited to share them with you. You folks are gonna love them, so stay tuned!
  3. My cat is going to the vet on Tuesday! Any of you fellow cat owners out there know that when you bring out the carrier, those buggers magically become octopuses and do everything within their power to avoid being shut in said carrier. We’re going to see how this goes down. Hopefully it’s not too crazy.
  4. Classes start on March 13th! I have been so damn excited for my classes to start up again, but that means that I’ve got a lot of crap to get done so I can stick with this dandy blog we’ve got here. Keep me in your thoughts, folks; If this cold isn’t gone by then I don’t know how I’m going to handle working full time, a full load of courses, and blogging. We’ll see how it goes! Fingers crossed.
  5. Shane Koyczan released some new, amazing poetry! Anyone who knows me at all, knows that SK’s got a hold on this heart of mine. I finally had a chance to listen to his entire Crush album. I love each and every piece on there and I think you guys will love them too. I love the sweet innocence in “Crush,” take a listen and tell me what you think.

 

Anyway, you’re all bombtastic and I thought I’d give you a little info on what’s going on in the life of good old Lil Peb and a taste of the awesomeness that is Shane Koyczan’s new album. Take some time this weekend to kick back, relax, and enjoy life around you; I know I will.

Have a great weekend!

-LP

Things I Learned This Week 1.2

Sometimes I learn things.

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For instance; this week I learned:

  1. Some people won’t take ‘NO’ for an answer. And quite frankly, it’s up to you to make them. I’ve learned that backing down only allows them to think that they can continue to bully their way through life and get whatever they want. It’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to those who encounter them, so when someone sassily tries to get you to bend to their will, stand tall!
  2. We’re basically a dream team. My guy and I are super awesome. Have I told you that yet? No? We’re buds in the best way possible. We both manage to think of the exact same abstract jokes, we’re both pretty snazzy, at least he is, and let’s just say he’s the coolest cat I know, so I can be cool through association. He has the ability to make me feel joy even on the hard days; I hope I can do that for him, too. Having a person you love as a pal is a glorious thing. Also, he’s basically bombtastic at dealing with me and all of my emotions when I’m PMSing. Way to go, babe!
  3. Sometimes the simplest thing can make a hurting person hurt less. On Tuesday, we had a client come in who found out his kitty was in the late stages of congestive heart failure and there was nothing we could do. It’s not easy to lose a beloved pet, so I sat beside him, held his hand and told him it would be okay while he sat staring blankly ahead as his companion passed. The next day, we got a call from him, thanking me by name. It really touched my heart in ways I had never experienced before. Although it cost me nothing more than my time, it meant a lot to him and that’s all that really matters.
  4. Some cats are more affectionate than dogs. I know, you probably think that this is like super, hella false, but it’s not! And if you should believe anyone, it would be the gal who works with cats LITERALLY all day long for about 45+ hours a week. Some kitties need lots of love and attention, some want to bite your face off; it’s all about balance.
  5. The saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” is accurate! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’ve got doubts floating around in this noggin’ of mine. I tell myself that there’s no way I can complete a project on time, or handle the credits I’m taking, or work full-time, write a blog, and somehow magically ace my classes (fingers crossed that the last one actually happens); but you know what?! Doubting yourself doesn’t make it any easier to succeed; if anything, it makes it easier to fail! So instead of saying I can’t do something I’m going to get real with myself while standing in front of the mirror each morning and giving myself a bit of a pep talk; give it a try if you’re feeling doubtful:

    “You can do this if you want to do it. You are capable if you are willing.”

    I’ve found that having a bit of faith in yourself is enough to make it through the busiest, most hectic days.

 

What did you guys learn this week? Leave a comment and let me know!

-LP

Things I Learned this Week 1.1

This week has been quite the adventure!

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I’m grateful that I get to live a life in which every day gives me something to reflect upon and this past week has been no exception. So, here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. I learned that sometimes when you think your day is going to be crazy and stressful; it’s really not. It’s a wonderful surprise that you welcome with open arms. This week was looking like it would be crazy and filled with stress, but it wasn’t!
  2. Sometimes your friends kind of suck and sometimes they’re great. It’s so important to have a solid support system as you try to make your way though this crazy life. I’m lucky enough to have one gal pal who I can call at a moment’s notice and know she will always be there, or at the very least attempt to be. We make plans and we put our friendship first because it’s important to us. I mean… who else am I going to watch Grey’s Anatomy with while eating Taco Bell and drinking wine?!? I’ve got another friend who flakes out constantly. We’ve been friends for years, but lately it’s seemed like regardless of how much effort I put in, our friendship falls to the wayside. I guess that’s part of growing up?
  3. Bears are the most adorable creatures to ever exist. The boyf sent me like 6 pictures of little snuggly bears before work one day. It brightened my entire day!
  4. I’m not a good person to come to if you want sympathy for procrastinating. I’ve got a simple solution; don’t do it! I’ve got to learn to be a bit more chill about it, especially with the boyf. He’s a bit of a procrastinator. Don’t deny it, you are!! But I love him anyway, so it is what it is. He’s still the babest babe of all babes.
  5. I love listening to oldies and calming tunes while I’m writing. I need the noise and when I can’t make it out to a cafe or something to get some writing done, music helps. You know what else helps?! Writing crap down on random scrap pieces of paper while I’m working. I came up with some awesome ideas in the middle of the work day, so I scribbled them down and… well… they ended up in the wash so it didn’t really help much that time, but I’m sure it will someday!

Keep learnin’

-LP

Find Your Voice

How cliché is that title?

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Pretty damn cliché, I know, but I’ve been spending the last month or so trying to write in a way that is marketable and not in a way that is genuine to myself. I’ve been editing myself down into this lackluster form instead of allowing this snazzy personality to shine. I’ve been wondering why I haven’t felt motivated to write, so I went to Youtube. I mean, who doesn’t like Youtube? (My mom, but that’s beside the point) I spent the last few hours watching people talk about their successes and failures, plus what you have to have in order to make it as a blogger. Every single one mentioned passion; so I found myself sitting here wondering why I feel like I have absolutely no passion to write, right now?

I know why.

I’ve been trying to sound more professional than like myself. Can’t I be sassy and fun while being a writer worth reading? I think so and if you don’t well… I guess that’s cool, too. You should still stick around and read what I have to say though!

In the last 1.5 months of writing on this little blog of mine, several hours of watching videos on blogging, and lots and lots of inspiration hunting, I’ve learned a few things:

  1. If you’re bored with what you’re writing about, don’t write about it. Pretty damn obvious, right? You’d think so, but when you’re trying to find content, you’ll write about anything! Or, you’ll end up not writing because you don’t know what to say or how to say it. I’ve been using the short story I’ve been working on as an excuse, but in all reality, I just haven’t had much to say lately. It’s been difficult because I have this innate desire to write, to share my thoughts, but trying to change into this strange form of myself has made me feel like an alien at the keyboard. I don’t know how to say what I want to discuss anymore because it feels so… unnatural. No more! I’m going to say what I want when I want and, by golly, you folks are just gonna have to like it. (Please don’t hate me! I’ve just got some sassy attitude brewing beneath the surface today.)
  2. Writing is hard work, even on the days you’re feeling super gung-ho and those fingers are itching to write; it’s still hard! It’s okay for it to feel difficult. It’s okay to feel have doubts and wonder if anyone is actually interested in what you have to say. If you’re not wondering then either you’re a super snazzy, hella popular blogger who just doesn’t give an eff, or you must not really be all that interested in what kind of affect you’re having (and if that’s the case, why are you writing at all?). It’s scary putting your thoughts out there for all of the inter webs to peruse through, believe me, I get it. But buck up, buddy, you can do it and you can do it well!
  3. Believe in yo’ self, foo! Don’t doubt that you can do it. Don’t think that just because you’re currently struggling, that you will struggle forever. You won’t! I promise. Stick with it; see it through. You’ll end up surprising yourself. If you’re willing to put in the hours of hard work, if you can push through this wall that you’re standing in front of; you will be rewarded! You’ll feel pretty damn great about yourself at the end of a hard day of writing. Genius takes time. We weren’t born able to walk let alone run, so why do we just expect to be amazing at any given skill the moment we put our mind to it? Because we’re impatient, imperfect creatures. It’s true, but writing takes practice and revision, then rewriting and some more revision. It’s part of that “romantic” process we all grew up thinking that writing was, but really… actually it isn’t all that romantic, after all.

All in all, be yourself. Use your voice; no one has the exact same view as you or lives the same life as you. You are so damn unique so embrace it and let that shine through in everything you do.

Keep fighting, we’ll make it!

-LP

P.S. Don’t worry, this might be a post about things I’ve learned, but you’re still getting the weekly blog post of “Things I Learned This Week” tomorrow!

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I Crave the Breeze

I’ve noticed as we grow, we try to tame the wild parts of ourselves.

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I realized this fact, yet again, as I was looking at myself in the mirror this morning, running my fingers through the halo of messy brown hair framing my bare face. At 15, I let the curls do their thing, but now I wake up early to smooth them into a more respectable form; I spend 10 minutes applying makeup to this face in order to “accentuate my features.” I spend a majority of my morning trying to transform into a version of myself that I’ve somehow grown into.

Why is it that as we age we feel the need to be tame? Is that just me? Surely, I cannot be the only one who feels like I’ve let go the colorful and crazy pieces of themselves. I was so eager to grow up; I wanted to have the freedom that came along with adulthood, but I didn’t realize how much would change and how quickly. I can’t stay up on the phone until 6 am and roll out of bed at 7 for work without looking and feeling like a zombie. It’s no longer “appropriate” to wear bright blue nail polish and 5 friendship bracelets on one wrist. I can’t even remember the last time I spent an entire day dancing around and eating chips by the handful without a care in the world. When did I last run for fun and not exercise? When’s the last time I spent the entire day in bed with a book and didn’t feel guilty about it? I still remember illegally piercing my cartilage at 15 and hiding it from my mother; over a year ago, I removed that little token of defiance. I think it’s time to put it back in.

But, now I actually separate my wash into lights and darks. I know how to properly iron a pair of trousers and tie the perfect Windsor knot (thanks dad!). I have to file taxes and pay bills. I realize how expensive gas is and why people complain about utilities; I can hold my own in debates about politics, religion, and culture, but truth is, I still know more about Harry Potter than I’d like to admit. I still toy with the idea of painting my toenails blue and when I’m feeling extra saucy I wear an anklet in the summer. Crazy, I know. I just wish I had realized how quickly life goes by; my dad always said that once you leave high school, time flies by. I always laughed at the thought, but as I walked across the stage at my high school commencements, I realized that I was closing another chapter and moving to the next.

On thanksgiving morning, I looked at myself in the mirror before walking out the door. I turned my head from left to right, pushed a strand of perfectly straightened, short, brown hair behind my ear, and looked into my spectacle framed eyes. I sighed when I realized that I’m no longer seventeen. Now let me explain; I don’t feel old, but I just caught a glimpse at myself and I look so different. I have faint wrinkles around my eyes when I smile and I wear diamond studs, glasses, and I do my hair and makeup each day. I don’t recognize myself. When I think about what I look like, I still imagine myself at seventeen. I still imagine the long wavy brown hair and the young, innocent chocolate eyes I once had. I don’t know when life morphed into this entirely new chapter, but the page turned so quickly, I must not have had the chance to notice this time.

-LP

Welcome Home

I dream of the simple life.

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When you ask someone about their dream home, generally they’ll tell you how many bedrooms and bathrooms they want. They’ll tell you how they want their bathroom to be dripping with marble; they want walk in closets and cathedral ceilings. Now this isn’t true of everyone, but so many focus on the structure of the home instead of what you feel upon entering. Ask my mother, she could go on for hours about the number of bedrooms and every little design aspect.

Don’t get me wrong, I have some aesthetics in mind; I want a fireplace to curl up in front of in the living room and a window over the kitchen sink to peek out of while the children play outside. I have plenty of little desires when it comes to our home. I’ve always dreamed of a lush peony bush on the side of our cozy home and a front porch to sit on after the sun has gone down. I’ve got those plans, you know, the ones that you’ve secretly been storing away for “someday.” Plans that make your heart smile and you hope are more than wishes; maybe, just maybe, they are premonitions. At least I hope so.

It’s essential to create a home and not simply live in a house. Create a safe haven. Make your home somewhere you want to spend your days in. If you love paintings, hang them. If you can’t spend a single day without listening to music, play it loudly and dance around to it. Do what makes you happy and make your house into a home for yourself. Believe me, we will have Motown playing on Sundays; we’ll have pictures on the wall and fluffy rugs on the floor. You’ll be able to look around and see that the place you just entered is more than someone’s house; it’s a home.

I want that little home; I want it to be filled with love and happiness. I want to decorate the walls with pictures of the happy family that resides within and cover the fridge with drawings that flowed from precious little hands and notes from the one I love. There will undeniably be stacks of books on the coffee table and piles of blankets in little wooden baskets by the sofa we snuggle on. I long to have the kind of home that shows a family lives there. I wish for it to be filled with smiles that broke into laughter, hugs, and bedtime stories. I want soft moments to be a daily experience and for disagreements to be things that bring us together instead of tear us apart. Sure, maybe it’s childish to have these dreams, but I promise you, I’m not walking through life with my eyes closed.

I know life will be hard and days won’t always be as sunny and cheerful as I’d like. I can accept that, but I’ve always had a bit of a childlike side to myself, so I’m going to walk into the future with these dreams and pray they become reality. I’ll get that peony bush one day, I swear.

-LP

You Get Good at What You Do, Not What You Dream of Doing

Stop dreaming your life away.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a day dreamer. I always have been and I’m certain that I always will be. I find myself zoning out in the middle of the day thinking about random scenarios that pop into my head. I’ve always been filled with ideas and pipe dreams. I’ve dreamt of publishing poetry and stories for so long that I truly thought it could only ever be just a dream. But you know what? I’m done with wishful thinking.

I want something come out of these dreams that I have, but in order for that to happen I have to start doing something about it, and so do you! When you’ve got something in your mind, something that you just truly cannot shake; something that is constantly in your thoughts, take a  step back and figure out why you’re still just dreaming about it? We don’t need to keep up with the fantasy, we need to actually put our plans into action and make those dreams a reality.

If we want to see a change in our lives, we have to make that change. We have to determine what we want our lives to look like. Do you want to be old and frail, thinking about the dreams you had that you could have actually experienced, but instead you just kept envisioning them? No. No one wants that. You want to be able to look back on this life of yours and feel proud of what you’ve done, so make yourself proud!

If you want to become an amazing artist, musician, writer, literally anything, then you have to work at it. Each day will be hard work, but when you’re working on pursuing your passion it doesn’t feel like work. Each day is exciting and enjoyable. Each day you learn something new or you challenge yourself to be better. Who is truly content being mediocre? Not me, that’s for sure. I want to be more than just “okay” at something. I want to be great. I want to make myself and those I love proud of me, so as crazy as it seems, I’m going to work hard. I’m going to stay up late and slave over the things I love. My passions will become more than just day dreams; more than just hobbies; they’re going to become my life.

If you’ve got an ounce of determination, you can do it. If you’ve got something that you love; if you have something that you keep thinking about doing… DO IT! If you want to paint, paint! If you want to be an amazing musician, be one! If you want to quit your job and dedicate your life to your children, your passion, your family, or to whatever, do it! Don’t let fear, worry, or laziness hold you back from your goals in life. Don’t let your dreams stay dreams. Work hard at making your life something worth living. Something worth being proud of.

I’m not sure why, but the song Grow Old with Me by Tom Odell just really makes me think about this; I’m currently listening to it and it is just filling my heart with excitement.

Grow old with me
Let us share what we see
And oh the best it could be
Just you and I

Maybe it’s because the boyf and I are both pretty passionate people who want to pursue our dreams of becoming something wonderful both as individuals and as a team, but this song really just makes me think about the future. I can’t help but imagine working beside him on my latest post, short story, or poem and looking over to him as he strums away at his guitar. His brow furrowed in concentration and fingers dancing across the chords. That life… man, that life in which we both get to do what we love… it seems far-fetched doesn’t it? It might be, but I’m going to work my hardest to make it a reality. I want to live a life I love even if it is the road less traveled, I’m gonna make my way down that path and never look back.

I know you’ve got dreams, now it’s time to turn them into something great. It’s going to be hard work, but when you are living that life and enjoying the crap out of it… well, simply put, it’s gonna be great.

-LP

P.S. If you want to own Grow Old with Me by Tom Odell, and believe me, you do, click the link below to get that cool cat’s tunes into those ears of yours while supporting this sassy, cat loving, baby blogger.