10 Self-Affirmations to Make Your Day

10 Self-Affirmations to Make Your Day

Have you ever had those days where you just feel as if you aren’t enough? Like everything you do – no matter how well you do it – isn’t right?

Recently I received some news that made me question who I am. While it wasn’t exactly terrible news, it still caused me to doubt in my abilities and in my identity. I soon started to spiral down into a dark place where I was believing lies about myself that I knew weren’t true.

I have long said that being in your 20s is like being in the middle school of adulthood. We all are all in different stages. You have 25 years old who are still in school, who are out of school, who are married and unmarried, who have 1-2 kids and who don’t have children.

I recognize that we each have our own journeys, and our timetables vary. But some days it can still feel as if you’ve been left behind.

So what do you do?

You can sulk and have a pity party, or you can encourage yourself. I often use to wait until my mom or my husband would talk some sense into me, but the other day I realized (because Pai wasn’t texting me back) that there are just those days where you have to talk sense into yourself. So I grabbed my favorite pens and a piece of paper and wrote down things I knew were true:

I am a strong woman.

I am a confident woman.

I am a great wife.

I am competent.

There is a pastor from Bethel Church in Redding, California who says, “Your words build worlds.”

I used to not put much weight in what I had to say, but the older I get, the more I realize that the words I say not only reflect my situation, but speak life into my situation.

Even if something is the pits, I don’t have to say, “This is the pits.” Instead I can flip the situation on its head and say, “Even though this really sucks, it did give me the realization that I do ____ really well and that is going to help me in the future.”

After I wrote down my self-affirmations, I realized that the lies that were in my head didn’t measure up to the truth I had to tell myself. I was then able to go about my day confident in myself and in my abilities.

If I’m being honest, I never put much stock into self-affirmations. But it seems as if the older I get, the more I realize I don’t have it all together and I need that much more encouragement to make it through on those tough days.

10 Self-Affirmations to Make Your Day

If you’ve noticed, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted on a Monday. And that’s becauuuuse I’ve been working on soemthing that has been on my to-do list for months.

An email list!

I really pushed off the idea of having an email list for a long while, but I realized that if I want to get serious about this passion and hobby of mine, that this is the definite next step. So I am excited to introduce to you the Hugs & Lattes newsletter!

And to celebrate, I have 10 self-affirmations to make your day go right to download for you today.

What are  your favorite ways to pick yourself up on the down days?

10 Things to do When Feeling Overwhelmed

What To Do When You're Overwhelmed

Sunday afternoon either brings about two emotions: The first being, “Ahh, I got SO much done this weekend; I’m ready to relax before I jump into this work week.” The second being, “AGH I got NOTHING done this weekend” and then it spirals down into a vortex of stress and overwhelming anxiety of all the things I need to do before the work week starts.

Yesterday I experienced the latter, and as a result, so did my husband. It’s in these moments of whirlwind and panic that I am so thankful I have a rock for a husband. When I get overwhelmed, I turn into an uglier version of myself. I snap at people, I have a meltdown, and I practically get nothing done.

Being overwhelmed often leaves us unproductive and stressed. And stress makes us look old. No one wants that. So here are 10 things you can do right now if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

What to Do When You're Overwhelmed

Brain Dump

Doing a brain dump is SO effective. Take a few minutes to just write down everything stream of consciousness style. Yesterday’s brain dump looked like: Things I have to do this afternoon, Reasons I’m Stressed, and Chores I Need to Complete. After you complete your brain dump, you have mental space to make a list or jump into action.

Take 5 Deep Breaths

Why is that we forget to breathe when we are stressed or doing a heavy work out? Taking 5 deep breaths will lower our blood pressure, thus ease the sense of being overwhelmed, which will help jumpstart our brain back into making sense of everything.

Pour Yourself a Cup of Coffee

Or tea. . . or 8 glasses of water. . . Find something little that brings you joy and indulge in that for a few minutes. Sometimes I have an afternoon cup of comfort coffee, just for the flavor and the warmth.

Put Your Phone Down for 5 Minutes

I find that when I’m overwhelmed, I just sit in a stupor and distract myself with social media. By the time I snap out of it, I find I’m more overwhelmed than I was before! Next time you feel overwhelmed, set your phone down for 5 minutes. Look outside, stare at a wall. It will help you think through what you’re feeling overwhelmed about and then you can make an action plan!

What to do When You're Overwhelmed

Meditate for 10 Minutes

I’m not into the yogi practice of clearing your mind, however, I do believe spending 10 minutes of positive affirmations and meditation on Scripture goes a long way in overcoming overwhelming moments.

Do One Small Thing

If you’re a list maker, make a to do list and find one small thing you can check off your list. It will get the momentum going for you to do other things that will help you to feel less overwhelmed!

Eat Something

OK I’m not advocating for stress eating here, but I have noticed that if I haven’t eaten anything in a while, crunching on a protein bar may solve the problem. So if you are feeling overwhelmed, check your hunger levels. If your hangryness could be cause for overwhelm, find a healthy snack.

Related: 5 Strategies for When You’re Overwhelmed

Take a Bubble Bath

This is always my go-to for when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I pour in some bubbles, Epsom salt, grab a hydrating drink and light some candles. 45 minutes later, I’ve emerged a nicer, cleaner, more relaxed version of myself.

Work Out

Honestly, I can’t believe I’m saying that. But #NewYearNewMe and I’ve discovered work out classes are my jam. I had a fantastic sweat sesh on Saturday at a hip hop dance work out class. So now my new favorite thing to do when I’m stressed is to go for a short run, attend a work out class, or spend some quality time with the elliptical. The endorphin’s are definitely a boost to the mood.

What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

PS – please fill out this blog reader survey! 

Three Keys to Living Life on Purpose

New Year's Resolutions

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017. Looking back over this past year, I am amazed we are standing alive and well in 2018. Thanks to a Youtube video I glimpsed at in 2015, I really thought the world was going to die last year, which is why I made sure to get married in December of 2016, so I at least got a solid three weeks of married bliss. And this, my friends, is why I generally don’t watch apocalyptic movies.

But for real, I’m excited for this new year, and I am so thankful to be in this season of life Mr. M and I are in right now. Last year was a season of adventure. My word for the 2017 was Be Brave, and I believe I did put that into practice – whether that was going wakeboarding at the lake, enduring a tough summer, or learning how to gently confront someone who kept calling me Tina. I stepped out and discovered that wakeboarding is really fun and terrifying, I can do all things with Christ’s strength, and people respond graciously when you gently ask them to call you Christina instead of Tina.

When thinking about my word of the year for 2018, the first thing that came to mind was actually a phrase: Live Life on Purpose.

Living Life on Purpose

For the past few years, I feel like life has been living me rather than me living life. In 2015, I had just graduated and started a new job, so there was graciousness in that as I was trying to figure out the work/life balance. Midway through 2016 I got engaged and planned a wedding and that was an all-consuming endeavor. And 2017 brought about the navigation of newlywed life. Now here we are in 2018. A little battered, bruised, exhausted, and full of hope for this new year.

When deciding that I wanted to Live Life on Purpose this year, I knew there were three things that I had to do.

New Year's Resolutions

Turn off the TV

Mr. M and I have a really healthy coping mechanism when we are exhausted and it is called “Binge watch Empire.” When we finally caught up to season 4, we turned it off, vowed never to return, and said we needed to check ourselves because we watch WAY too much TV. In reality, we are doing something almost every single night of the week, so when we have a moment to rest and relax, TV it is. But it’s like when you decide to eat a whole bag of Doritos. It’s super tasty and fun in the moment, but then afterwards you feel sluggish and icky.

If you are wanting to live your life on purpose and more intentionally this year, what is one thing you do now that you can do less of? Find that thing, and turn it off – whether it is the TV, your phone, or unhealthy relationships.

Reevaluate My Life

Mr. M and I are both dreamers – he more so than I, but I’m learning. My problem is I have so many dreams that I never implement because I always feel too overwhelmed by the busyness and clutter in my life. Almost every night of the week, Mr. M and I have something going on – whether it’s leading our respective small groups, a church function, or spending intentional time with friends. We love our life, and we love the busyness of it.

But being a goal oriented person who is not accomplishing my dreams, it’s easy for me to be hard on myself.

And so I asked myself why. It’s because I lack discipline.

When I ran a half marathon in 2014, I trained for three months and only took 3 days off. Even when it was 15 degrees outside, I was out running. When a friend asked me why I was so crazy, I told him the truth: I’m truly a really really lazy person, so I have to be incredibly disciplined. Where did that disciplined girl go?

Into a swimming pool of queso. That’s where she went.

I’m tired of dreaming and never seeing those dreams come to fruition. I’m tired of making goals and only making it halfway there.

So it’s time to buckle down and start living life by becoming more disciplined.

When you look over your life, what is keeping you from accomplishing your goals? Spend some time reflecting on what is stopping you, and what you can incorporate into your life to be more intentionally focused towards your goals this year.

New Year's Resolutions

 Become Disciplined 

This year, I’m not necessarily making goals. Instead, I’m practicing a 12 disciplines – a discipline for each month. I haven’t quite fleshed out all my disciplines yet, but I know that I want to focus on my mind, body, and soul. I want to flourish in my spiritual walk, in my health, and in my thought life. When I am healthy in all three areas, I have the capacity to fulfill my dreams.

Over the next year, I’ll be sharing my journey with you as I walk through each discipline (for accountability.) You won’t see an military styled discipline guru over here (because I’m too emotionally weak for that), but each month I will share an update on the discipline I practiced for the month and how I measured up.

And while I’m definitely not a deacon or deaconness, I take heed to Titus 1:8: “Rather, [s]he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.”

I want to be someone who loves what is good, who has self-control, who is upright and holy, and most of all – disciplined.

So I’m saying NO to being a couch potato and YES to productivity and moving towards my dreams.

Where can you become more disciplined in your life? Think about those areas, write it down, and commit to spending a certain amount of time practicing discipline in that area of your life.

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In line with the New Year, I’m looking to make some exciting adjustments for 2018 on Hugs & Lattes. I would love your input and advice! Please fill out this survey; if you put your name and email address at the bottom, you will be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card!

Reclaiming Joy During the Holiday Season

Reclaiming Joy During the Holiday Season

Over the weekend I watched he same Best Buy Christmas commercial 87 times. Not on purpose, Hulu just likes to repeat the commercials. By the 900th time seeing the same commercial, my inner scrooge came out. The commercial was so materialistic. Everyone was opening expensive and fancy presents. The narrator stressed the importance of last minute gift buying.

I get it, I’ve still got some last minute stocking stuffers to buy, too. And with gift giving being my love language, I’m all about this holiday season. Mr. M usually has to hold me back because I want to buy Christmas presents for EVERYONE. And our budget only supports our close family – and those are even Secret Santa gift exchanges. (We have nine siblings between the two of us!)

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the hustle and bustle; I love the Christmas music, the holiday parties, and the joy.

But in the stress of gift buying, scheduling life around holiday parties and family functions, it’s easy to lose sight of our joy.

For the first time in my life, I found myself sitting on the couch, staring at our Christmas tree, and only seeing the presents cluttered around. I dreamed of putting away the Christmas tree and putting a book case in its place. This is a very different attitude from the girl who was sad about taking down the tree before she had even put it up. Granted, Mr. M and I have spent (and will spend) all but one night out doing something until New Year’s Eve Weekend.

The busyness of the holiday season can take a toll on our minds and our bodies. So this week, I’m reclaiming joy.

Reclaiming Joy During the Holiday Season

Find Silence 

While I was watching said Best Buy commercial, I got increasingly annoyed by the materialistic chaos. There were flashing lights, there were cats on robots. There was countdown, wrestling music. (I don’t know if it was truly wrestling music, but I imagine it’s what the UFC fighters listen to to pump up.) Instead, I’m going to cherish the few moments of silence we get.

I was thinking about the song, “Silent Night.” All is calm, all is bright. Christmas doesn’t have to be chaotic. It is as chaotic as we allow ourselves to be. Even in the midst of chaos, we can find a moment to center ourselves around peace.

Enjoy Presence

Like I said before, gifts are my love language. I feel the most loved when my husband brings home one of my favorite foods, or when a friend buys me a cup of coffee. So when Christmas rolls around, I’m all about the gift giving and gift receiving. But gifts are not the purpose of the holidays. This is a time to love on people you don’t always see. This weekend Mr. M and I are holing ourselves up in a cabin with 30 people (and this is just his family) and then next week we’re settling into my parents mountain home (it looks like a log cabin on the inside and I just love it) with 20-30 more people (and that’s just my family!)

As an adult, I am of course excited about the presents, but I’m more excited about the presence of family members I only get to see once or twice a year.

Remembering Reverence

I love evening Christmas Eve services: the air is filled with music, it is  holy, worshipful, and there is a reverence in the air. Because I am such a fanatic about all things commercially Christmas: the movies, Santa, the trees, it’s important to me that I also take a moment each day to remember why we celebrate Christmas. I love following along with She Reads Truth’s Advent Study. It is a time I get to take each day to quiet down, settle my soul, and focus on my Savior who came in the form of a baby to eventually die and be resurrected for our sins.

What are some ways you take care of yourself during the holidays?

Reclaiming JOY During the Holiday Season

Check out my calm, quiet Christmas playlist that has been on repeat this season!

Living in Limbo [Creating Space]

Creating Space

Creating Space is a 5 part series that will be featured on Hugs & Lattes every Wednesday through the month of November. This is the 4th installment. To view last three posts, see here and here and here. Please note that the interviewee’s experiences are their own; they cannot speak for anyone and everyone in their circumstances. While stories may be similar, each individual has their own perspective. 

I have no idea how I first came to follow Divya’s blog, but as I noticed her posting pictures on her Facebook page, I realized that a lot of the background scenery looked eerily familiar – like – she was living where I grew up. Let me tell you, friends, coming from small town East Tennessee, you never expect to find someone on the Internet who lives where you are from. I reached out to her about a year ago and we compared notes about life in rural East Tennessee. I have loved following Diya’s blog; she has so many wise observations about the world, self-care, and life. My all-time favorite post is one of her most recent posts where she recaps her sister’s wedding in Cancun. And now I am determined to somehow be invited and/or crash an Indian wedding one day because oh. my. word. They know how to party! I’m glad that I have the opportunity to introduce you guys to an amazing blogger who is sharing her experiences growing up in America and transplanting to East Tennessee. (Which, let’s be real, is like being in a whole ‘nother country for some of y’all.)

Creating Space

Tell me About You

Tell me a little about yourself, your family, where you grew up, etc. 

I spent 30 years of my life as a resident of California. (Seriously. Moving day was ON my 30th birthday). I grew up in Southern California, attended UCLA for college, and then, after I completed my Masters and credentialing program I moved up to the Bay Area to begin teaching up there. I’m a special education teacher and I absolutely adore spending my day figuring out how to connect with little ones and identifying how to best meet their needs.

What has it been like to move from California to a small town in East Tennessee with a small minority population?

In June of 2016, I moved across country to rural Tennessee so my husband could pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. From spending most of my life in a big city or the surrounding suburbs, I went through quite a bit of culture shock when I moved out here. Not to mention, I look a whole lot different than the average resident.

I was fortunate and found a teaching job almost immediately and spent the months between August-March teaching as a 4th grade inclusion teacher at a local elementary school. In March, I decided to quit. It was really difficult to be an outsider coming in and suggesting changes being made to a pretty cemented system. I figured I could be a better advocate for my students if I wasn’t an employee of the county. Now, I’m temporarily working an administrative job at the university my husband attends school at.

Tell me about your faith and why it is important to you. 

My faith. Oh, my faith. It’s a tricky thing to explain to people. I grew up in a divided household. Both of my parents were born Hindus. My mom continues to practice her faith and my dad identifies as being somewhere between Atheist and Agnostic. Because Hinduism is so much more than a religion – it’s got a bit of culture tied into everything – I grew up practicing a lot of the traditions and participating in the prayers because it all blended together. It’s hard to really categorize each holiday or celebration as being “religious” or not.

My mom has a mandir (a shrine with statues and images of all the gods and goddesses) both upstairs and downstairs in my childhood home. And – from the day I popped out of her womb – she has been committed to praying once in the morning and once in the evening. She would make us stand at the mandir before an exam or before a big presentation. And she would make sure we repeated the Gayatri Mantra (a sacred chant) before we were allowed to open our eyes and step away from the mandir.

My father, on the other hand, believes that religion is so much more than standing in front of a deity and praying. He believes religion is in your day to day conduct. Your behavior. Your ability to stand in front of a mirror and say, “Was I the best possible person I could possibly be today?”

My father grew up in India at a time when the Muslim/Hindu riots were at a really high, stressful point. He was just a child, but he can still vividly remember homes being burned down, people dying, and horrible things happening. Because of religion. So, needless to say, he hasn’t been a big fan of the whole religion thing.

So, it’s hard to really know what MY faith is when I grew up in a divided, confusing household. I feel fortunate that neither one of my parents pushed anything on me or my sister. They gave us room to figure it out on our own.

Today, I identify as being a Hindu. And in the Hindu religion, we have many gods and goddesses. It is an all-inclusive religion. Hindus believe there is a single eternal path, but do not believe that any one religion is the only valid religion. The “eternal path” is seen reflected in all religions. And that kind of acceptance and love for all is what draws me to identifying with being a Hindu.

Creating Space

On Identity

How has growing up in America shaped your identity?

I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood and was one of the few minority kids at my elementary school and high school. I, naturally, gravitated toward the other Asian kids. But despite my friend group, I still felt as though I stuck out. Sure, the color of my skin. But in other ways that were a little less obvious. When my friends came over, I would apologize that my house smelled like masala. When it was lunch time at school, I shamefully kept my sandwich inside my brown bag as I tore up piece by piece so my friends didn’t have to see that my mom had thrown in the Indian leftovers in between two pieces of toast. When my grandparents called on my cell phone, I would step away from the crowd I was with so they didn’t have to hear me speak in Hindi. It was a really challenging time to grow up in a place where you felt so different. I didn’t quite feel 100% Indian. But I didn’t quite feel 100% American. I was in limbo. And it was really, really confusing for my young brain.

Do you have any pivotal memories growing up that strengthened or weakened your perception and identity of who you are?

When I went to college and met other people who looked like me, grew up like me, celebrated the same traditions as me, I started embracing my culture. Surprisingly, I didn’t gravitate toward the Indian crowd the way other Indians tend to do in college. It was nice to know that they were there. But I just sort of observed them from a distance while I found a good group of friends through the organizations I was involved in. Because there was SO much diversity in college, I felt way more comfortable talking about my culture, sharing my Indian food that I brought from home after the weekends, etc.

What do you love about your culture?

Something I love about the Indian culture is the community. I spent my entire life calling random strangers “Aunty” and “Uncle” and, when I was younger, I genuinely thought I was related to every single person that came over to my house. But, turns out, that’s just what we do. It feels like family when I come across someone who is Indian because we know the same language, we eat the same foods, we celebrate the same holidays. And we’re loud and rambunctious and obnoxious. But when you’re in the midst of all the chaos, it just feels good to look around and feel at home.

Creating Space

Racism in America 

What are some microaggressions you have experienced in the US?

Most of the microaggressions have been due to a lack of understanding and (hopefully) not malevolent. I’ve been called Mexican quite a few times. Anytime we had a substitute teacher, I would cringe when I heard the sigh and then the lack of effort as they started to spell out the name. Since moving to the small town in Tennessee, I’ve had a number of people ask me why I’m here. Because I stand out. Again, none of these situations have made me feel unsafe. It was just me coming across people who were confused and/or curious.

What has been your response? 

Before this year, if anyone made a comment or a general judgment about Indian people, I could feel my blood boiling. I got really defensive and angry and wanted to throw it right back in their face. I remember – so vividly – an interaction with someone who was born and brought up in rural Tennessee. We were celebrating a co-worker’s birthday and he popped his head into the room and said, “Do they celebrate birthdays in India?” I was so taken aback by the question that I immediately fired back, “No. We’re all monkeys out there. We don’t really understand the concept of a birthday.” Everyone around me laughed. Most of them realized I was joking. And this man joined in on the laughter, but I could tell he felt a little uneasy. Like maybe he wasn’t sure if I was telling the truth. Like maybe he couldn’t tell if he offended me. It wasn’t until I went home later that evening that I realized that he probably didn’t know. He was asking a question. An honest question. And, instead of using it as an opportunity to share things about my culture, I just shot him down. I was pissed at his ignorance. But I didn’t offer a way out of that ignorance. I could have very easily opened up the channels to communicate about our different cultures, but because I was so defensive and uncomfortable at being viewed as different than the majority here, I just got angry.

How do you reconcile your faith in your religion/faith in humanity with the racial tension we have witnessed this past year?

I’m learning. Living here has been one of the greatest opportunities I have been given. Because it’s forcing me out of my California bubble. It’s forcing me to feel uncomfortable and move in closer to people who may have never met an Indian person in their entire life. It’s teaching me that I don’t have to blend in. That I can stand out. Even if it makes me feel awkward and unusual.

What is one thing you wish the white community could understand when it comes to race and racism in America?

I’m finding that I am living in fear more than anything else. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of feeling disconnected. Fear of criticism and judgment. Fear of thinking that people will be threatened by the color of my skin. And, with the current climate of our country, I worry that someone is going to view me as a terrorist. I don’t think this is something that is in the forefront of my mind all the time. I don’t fear walking into our local grocery store. I don’t fear going out to dinner. It’s just this dull fear that lives in me. All the time. That forces me to assimilate and acclimate to the culture around me so people don’t think that I’m any different. I notice myself doing it when I’m at the airport. When I’m sitting in the exit row in an airplane, I think to myself, “Make sure you give a verbal “Yes” with eye contact and a friendly smile so they don’t think you’re going to take this plane down.”

It’s small things like that. Where I alter my behavior so that I don’t even give someone the opportunity to question me.

Creating Spcae

Unity

What does unity look like to you?

I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s, ‘Braving the Wilderness’ and it’s shining light on all the things that we, as a society, are doing to make us more and more divisive over time.

This quote speaks to me. So much. And I’m hoping that, with time, this stuff comes to me naturally. But I’m so grateful for the opportunity – today, tomorrow, and the next day – to keep showing up and trying.

“True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. If we are going to change what is happening in a meaningful way we’re going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We’re going to have to sign up and join, and take a seat at the table. We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness.” – Brene Brown

Divya Mathur is the blogger behind Eat Teach Blog. A recent transplant to rural Tennessee from sunny California, she is currently struggling with how to dress herself when the temperatures drop below 65 degrees. She experienced her first snowfall in January of this year and she is loving this new adventure in Tennessee as her husband pursues his dream of becoming a doctor. She loves reading, experimenting in the kitchen, and going on long hikes. She’s also a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur and – if calories didn’t count – would live off of french fries and froyo!
You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook