This week, freelance writer Alex Quayle shares her story with She Is Fierce! on love and tackling the ups and downs of long distance dating.
When I was finally hired as an English teacher in South Korea, it was bittersweet. Finally, after planning for this moment for years (six to be exact) I had achieved one of my biggest dreams — a trip of a lifetime. I had longed to live in South Korea since I was 16 years old and my new place of work was in a great location just outside of Seoul, known for its beautiful azaleas.
Admittedly, after accepting my job offer, I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of grief. Along the journey towards one of my most sought-after goals, I met the one person who I really, really didn’t want to leave behind. Every relationship has its challenges; however, long-distance relationships present a whole different set of obstacles to overcome together.
I consider myself extremely lucky as my partner was able to join me for a few months throughout my stay in South Korea. Nevertheless, there was still plenty of time apart — not just apart, but in completely different time zones (I was almost always a day ahead of him). This narrowed down the amount of time we could actually speak to each other. This limited time was shortened even further because I was working throughout the day, and working very, very hard. This meant I had little time to check my phone during the few hours we were both awake.
Considering that communication is an essential part of any healthy relationship, I found myself angry, upset, and lonely. Of course I was enjoying my time in South Korea (see pictures below), but the part of me that missed my partner weighed heavily on my mind, and soon I found myself carrying around a toxic, gloomy monster with me each day. Now, a year later, I wished I’d had someone around to tell me it gets better during those painful moments apart. While everyone’s relationship is different, I think having more conversations about what happens when you’re hemispheres apart could really benefit the way we handle this kind of challenge.
Let’s get this on the table right now: You’re going to fight. That statement isn’t meant to scare you but hopefully give you assurance that fighting is pretty normal when working through a long-distance relationship. For me, the fighting often happened after I’d had a rather draining day at work, and I would attempt to call my partner, only to find that he was too busy enjoying drinks with our friends or something of the sort. Of course he would try to answer, but I would get flustered every time someone interrupted us (which was a lot) or the music got too loud.
In hindsight, I was jealous of my partner and clearly overwhelmed by all the changes. He was hanging out with our friends, at our favorite bars and restaurants, except I was on the other side of the world and couldn’t even get him to focus long enough to have a worthwhile conversation. At the time though, I felt completely left out, like my partner didn’t care about me. Social media didn’t help either, making me feel forgotten by my friends as well. Did they ask about me? Did they miss me? My partner and friends were enjoying everything I missed about home without me — I felt invisible.
I hope you haven’t rolled your eyes too hard at me yet. In my defense my emotions were definitely off-kilter during those first several weeks in Korea. While I was beyond thrilled to be teaching my precious kindergarten classes and enjoying so many new experiences — amazing food, new music, breathtaking sites — part of me felt as though my partner didn’t care. When you’re miles apart, often the little things can quickly become big things. Things I wouldn’t normally get upset about when we were in the same city suddenly became fighting points, especially if I had had a bad day. I also think I was feeling particularly solemn because I couldn’t share any of these amazing experiences with my partner.
Moreover, communication is significantly different when using technology like Skype and instant messaging, and when you’re forced to use it exclusively to “see” each other, things get complicated. The biggest issue for me was that my partner could no longer quickly notice when I was agitated, which lead to me thinking he wasn’t paying attention, and then I’d clam up. After I would shut down, it was nearly impossible to have a deep conversation, and because of that we were growing apart — emotionally and physically.
Starve The Monster
When you find it difficult to describe to your partner how you’re feeling or it seems impossible to resolve any sort of conflict, it’s as if an insatiable monster arrives, and you end up handing it its next meal every time you get on the phone. However, as experts at My Florida Law aptly explain, “Resolving conflict requires that both partners are honest, willing to communicate, and willing to consider their partner’s perspective, even when they don’t understand it.”
Reflecting back, my unwillingness to tell my partner exactly what I was feeling during those first weeks was the root of our problems. It wasn’t until we were pulled so thin and a breakup seemed almost inevitable, I finally told him: “When I call and you’re out with friends or at the store, it makes me feel like you don’t care to make time for us.” I remember feeling the monster shrink a few sizes that day as my partner finally understood what was hurting me so badly.
Communication is vital for any healthy, successful relationship, but it becomes even more essential to have in your pocket when you’re in a long-distance situation. I also realized that I was being unfair to my partner by not explaining to him what I needed. I didn’t give him or myself a chance to succeed with this whole Skype and messaging system. I had the right tools in front of me, but I was failing to utilize them. The monster between us continued shrinking as I began working harder to appreciate this shift in our dynamic relationship. I also had to learn how to forgive him when he couldn’t answer the phone or was busy during our scheduled meeting time. When my partner was finally able to join me for a bit in South Korea, instead of spending time trying to mend our relationship, we effortlessly found our stride again. I was able to show him the place I had called home for the past few months.
A Love That Can Last
There was also a surprise at the end of our time together in South Korea, which might have never happened if we hadn’t pushed through the hardest trial our relationship had ever experienced:
When my partner had to return back to the States once again and I stayed to finish out my year in South Korea, there was a remarkable difference with how we endured the distance. I had a better understanding of myself, him, and our relationship. Ultimately, for us, although the distance was at times unbearable, we were able to bloom into something better.
While not everyone needs to experience a long-distance relationship to strengthen their connection, it’s important for me to express how the love I have for my partner is more vibrant than ever before because he could have easily thrown in the towel before I even got on the plane. Instead, through all the bickering, and perhaps too many tears, he remained steadfast and grew with me, which eventually defeated that ugly monster between us, and in its place, he gave me all the proof I needed to see that we could survive anything together.
Alex Quayle currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her partner, cat, and dwarf hamster. She can never say no to coffee, doughnuts, and good conversation. Follow her on Twitter @alexquayle33 for more articles and pictures of her cute, little family.
Looking for the magic pill to achieve ”work-life balance?” Unfortunately, there is no such magical thing, but by incorporating some of these strategies into your own life, you’ll find it is possible to maintain a healthy relationship with family while finding time to pursue your passions and business goals.
Every entrepreneur struggles to find a balance and being a parent makes that struggle ten times more difficult. Working moms are amazing jugglers who execute multiple roles. You have to acknowledge all you’ve accomplished. The spirit of doing all the things and doing it every day is the driving force that keeps you running on the road to successful work-life balance.
Manage your time and learn to say no
Time management is one of the biggest challenges working moms face. Focus on the essential tasks first. Learn to say no to least important tasks and simplify your work. Using a calendar broken into categories of task importance to manage both professional and personal priorities will be helpful. Split it up into four groups: Urgent/important, urgent/not important, not urgent/important and not urgent/not important. Get it the habit of jotting down a to-do as it comes up and prioritizing its importance early on.
Have a Plan
All mompreneurs use planners to balance their work and family life. Some use paper organizers and some prefer apps and software. The good news is that you can keep both personal and work appointments on the same calendar to avoid a clash. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different systems. Play around with apps like Asana or Trello and see what best works for you, what makes you more efficient and organized. Toggl is another helpful tool that allows you to keep track of hours to maximize productivity and efficiency. It allows you to see break down your schedule according to specific tasks and projects and then provides you with weekly and monthly summaries.
Business startups can be challenging, so you need to remain optimistic while facing failure. You will encounter a plethora of difficulties balancing your work and family simultaneously, but do not fall into despair. Remind yourself that you have the potential and you can do it. A positive mindset will help you visualize your goals. A positive attitude is priceless.
Replace the word “perfect” with “good enough”
Most moms want to be the perfect mother, perfect wife, and a perfect entrepreneur – all at the same time, but chasing this perfectionism takes the joy out of motherhood. While making your work life perfect, you somehow lack in making your family life perfect, so isn’t it better to balance both with “good enough” rather than “perfect”?
Make time for family
Family time can relieve stress, develop positive behavior and help you lead a healthy lifestyle. All these things will be beneficial in the startup world when you are struggling to remain positive. Organize family camping trips, game nights, walks to the park, and build a quality relationship with your family. These are little things that are worth your valuable time and you will never regret it.
Make sure you’re also awarding yourself some “me” time. Challenge yourself to work a little bit more the night before so you can reserve the following day for extra long naps, a movie marathon, trying out a new recipe, a much deserved shopping trip, or whatever it is that leaves you feeling recharged.
Don’t let mommy guilt destroy your morale
When receiving unwanted parental advice whether it’s direct or passive, pay no attention. Do what works for you. Internalizing the “shoulds” and “should nots” in your life can create unnecessary hurdles in your success.
In today’s fast-paced society, it’s difficult to find time to be alone. When you are struggling to balance your work and family, it’s important to keep reminding yourself that you can manage everything. Things will get better with time. Find some self-reflection time for yourself.
It is possible to balance motherhood and a successful, exciting career. It takes dedication, passion, patience, and self-love.
To all the mothers tackling their own businesses or juggling a high-power career with kiddos, keep inspiring!
Judy Robinson is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. She loves to write on healthy lifestyle, fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Follow @judyrobinson for more updates.
Powerful Keys to Growth Mindset Success
You’ve heard about the benefits of a growth mindset, but how does someone change their mindset? Research on brain plasticity has shown that neural connections can change with experience. That means there are things you can do to change the way you think. Here are five keys to encourage growth mindset success.
Growth mindset versus fixed mindset
A mindset has a major impact on the trajectory of a person’s life. Someone with a fixed mindset will base their life around what they consider their inborn strengths, while shunning unfamiliar situations. People with fixed mindsets often give up on a task that proves challenging, since if their attributes cannot accomplish their goal, then it seems unlikely they will succeed.
Alex Ferguson, a psychologist writing for UK top writers, explains, “A growth mindset is the opposite of a fixed mindset. If you have a fixed mindset, then you believe your personality, emotions, level of intelligence, and other characteristics are predetermined and not something you can change.”
So, on the other hand, a person possessing a growth mindset approaches life with the belief that they determine whether they succeed or fail at something. These people approach failure as a learning experience, an opportunity to improve themselves.
Open your mind to new experiences
Be open to new experiences. Carol Dweck, a pioneer in growth mindset theory, asked participants, possessing either a fixed or growth mindset, a group of difficult questions. She then examined her subjects’ brain activity while they were informed on how well they had done.
What Dweck discovered was that those with a fixed mindset showed interest while hearing that they had answered correctly. Their brains were much less active when hearing information about questions they had answered incorrectly. Dweck concluded from this exercise that a fixed mindset is a barrier to someone learning.
Sandra Wheeler, writer at Best Australian Writers, advises, “The participants with growth mindsets experienced a high level of brain activity throughout the process and learned more from the exercise than those with the fixed mindset. Approach life with a growth mindset if you value continuous learning.”
Your words and their impact
What you say and don’t say can have a major effect on the people around you. Does your growth mindset carry over to the way you approach relationships? Do you find yourself encouraging others to grow and develop their talents and abilities? Or do you sometimes forget that everyone has the capacity to improve themselves if they adopt a growth mindset? If this is the case, try and think of some ways you can improve and encourage a growth mindset in the people around you.
Consider organizing your thoughts on paper. Maybe you communicate better this way; try writing a letter or a note to someone, encouraging them to think about adopting a growth mindset or express your thoughts in a poem, essay, or even a book by using writing guides such as Via Writing and Grammarix. Also, according to study, writing is a key to improved mood, well-being, it reduces stress and improves creativity.
Maintain a good attitude
Your attitude is so important, guard it carefully against negativity. Watch out for negative comments, don’t let them distract you. Listen to the voice inside you, rather than obsessing over criticism, if you think it is coming from a place of growth mindset. Be compassionate with yourself; don’t be any harder or more negative than you would be when speaking to a friend or family member. If you can get into the habit of keeping a positive outlook, then you will also be able to harness the power of envisioning a positive outcome.
Before you accomplish a goal, you must visualize yourself doing it. Think about what success means to you and then picture yourself achieving that success. Think about how great you will feel when you master this new skill, doing this will help you focus on accomplishing it. Perhaps your goal is to establish your own business. The good example is BoomEssays, which was founded by person, who changed his mindset to a growth mindset and reaped the rewards.
Celebrate when you succeed
When you experience success, take a moment to celebrate it. More importantly, take stock of why you succeeded. Think of the hard work that allowed you to learn the skill that led to your success. Focus on what you’ve done to achieve, rather than accept it as a result of your inborn talents. Think about how your growth mindset has played a role in helping you succeed. Some people find it helpful to keep a journal about these things. If you want a helping hand getting started, check out resources such as Revieweal.
Change your mindset and you will change your life. You can encourage a growth mindset by keeping an open mind towards new experiences, being mindful of your words and their impact, maintaining a good attitude, and celebrating your successes. Changing your mindset sounds difficult, but if you are mindful and follow these keys, it is within your grasp.
Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years of experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs at Oxessays. Also, Brenda is a part-time educator and Editor in Chief at Essayroo. She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. You can visit her personal blog at Letsgoandlearn.com
How to Make Empowering Fashion Choices
The boldest of styles made themselves known on the catwalk this year with everything from neon lavender powersuits to sculptural evening gowns. All the runways from both F/W and SS fashion shows have provided us with enough of these bold choices to last us not a season, but perhaps a decade. Now, in the age of female empowerment, it would simply be a waste not to show your attitude with your clothing. While some of these will be obvious choices, others might surprise you, so let’s dive in and see how we can make you as fierce and powerful on the outside as you are on the inside.
Let’s start with the corporate world
Even though the corporate dress code is starting to ‘loosen up’ a bit, there are still certain unwritten rules as to what constitutes professional work attire. According to psychologist Karen Pine, one of the key pillars of success in the workplace, and even one that can put you on a fast track to a promotion, is dressing in a way similar to your boss. So, if your boss is all about the suit and tie, this is the perfect opportunity to reclaim the suit from the boys’ club and use it to your own advantage. Thanks to the grand comeback of the power suit, you now have as many options and types of suits, from oversized to fitted, single-color, checkered and even floral so, take your place and make your presence known with a powerful suit. You’ll walk the fine line between masculine and feminine, and trust us, you will love it.
Enough with the torture
We have been pigeonholed for most of our lives, with people telling us that we look more polished and chic -even more feminine – when wearing a pretty pair of pumps. If you’re tired of coming back home with sore feet because you’re trying to blend in, just stop. There was a very powerful moment when Miranda Bailey from Grey’s Anatomy ditches her pumps and takes her old hospital crocs out of the drawer. There are tons of incredibly fashionable, feet-friendly choices out there, such as loafers, ballerina flats, and even Birkenstock sandals, which have yet again made a huge comeback to mainstream fashion.
Send a message
When it comes to graphic tees, fast-fashion retailers in the past few years have been mostly whimsical, designing tops with phrases such as ‘shopping is my cardio’ or simply ‘donuts’. However recently in this age of empowerment, designers have taken it upon themselves to make a simple T-shirt way more impactful and meaningful. Don’t be afraid of showing your fierce side by wearing shirts that say something along the line of ‘the future is female’ or ‘we should all be feminists’.
The piece that has a life of its own
The right choice of bag is always important, especially when you wish to exude power and look like you’re on top of things and owning the game (which you are). Try to invest in high-quality pieces in this department, as your choice of bag speaks volumes of just how fierce you are. There are tons of incredible, practical and chic options, so just choose the one that speaks not only to your style persona but also one that allows you to be practical and go about your day not worrying whether you left something behind.
Supporting your fellow (wo)man
Regardless of what your style preferences are, supporting small brands for which one of the main goals is to empower women is always a kind and helpful thing to do for fellow females across the globe. There are brands such as Raven and Lily, whose goal is to alleviate poverty among women in countries such as Pakistan, Malaysia, Guatemala, the USA and Haiti. They employ at-risk female artisans, use eco-friendly and sustainable practices in their materials and design processes and donate funds for their artisan communities’ healthcare and educational needs. They also make incredible minimalist pieces. Other brands with similar goals and practices include Soko, Sudara and VETTA Capsule Collection, and aside from these brands being ethical, they make killer clothes that flatter women of all shapes and sizes and definitely deserve your support for more reasons than one.
Claire Hastings is a wanderer and a writer. She has written for as long as she can remember. She is very passionate about fashion, running, other cultures, and her cat.
7 Valuable Ways You Need To Invest in Yourself
Even though it’s always wise to maintain a thrifty mindset, some aspects of your life are worth all the time and money in this world. Since we already spend the majority of our time working, no matter how rewarding and wonderful your career may be, you truly deserve to invest in yourself. After all, when we don’t learn how to practice self-care, chances are we will not lead fulfilled, happy lives in which we can do good for others to our full potential.
To help your mind and your body thrive, there are several key ways in which you can invest in yourself. Some of them will instantly impact your life, while others will take time to show their influence, as they predominantly rely on building healthy habits for your long-term well-being!
Read a chapter a day
Or even just a page a day, it doesn’t really matter as long as you strive to invest more time in reading. It’s a simple, yet powerful way to widen your horizons, open your mind to new ideas, let your imagination run free, and on a more practical note, enrich your vocabulary. Try various genres, look for books of substance, but also the ones that will do great for a relaxing Sunday afternoon with their humor and light-hearted stories.
No matter how old you are and what sort of education you’ve had, it’s never too early or too late to rekindle your love for mastering new skills and perfecting your knowledge.
There are so many online courses you can take free of charge to learn more about the world, but you can also take classes, from dancing, cooking, sewing, all the way to subscribing to YouTube channels with fun tutorials.
Follow the travel bug
There’s nothing quite like globe-trotting that teaches us to appreciate the world so much, embrace new and different cultures, and expand our views.
Whether you’re a fan of solo traveling, you prefer to look for exciting offers by various cruise lines, or you’re a spontaneous soul with a preference for road trips, consider the world your oyster. The more people you meet and the more places you see, the richer your life becomes.
Create a healthy routine
If you’re not a morning person, then perhaps a healthy, uplifting ritual when you rise and shine could help you associate the time of day with a wonderful experience – and add to your wellbeing!
For example, a cup of tea of different flavors for (almost) every day, meditation to fill your mind with positive thoughts, followed by a morning exercise routine to instantly elevate your mood. Whatever helps you lead a healthy life and makes you feel good in your own skin, do it!
Grow your confidence
Through moments of pure gratitude, conversations with yourself, or through an empowering activity that makes you feel on top of the world, you should begin to celebrate the fact that you and your life have value.
Start expressing gratitude for your virtues, and for the challenges that help you become a stronger, better person. All the friends and family in your life, everything you’ve accomplished, remember that you’ve earned it and worked for it. It will put your life in perspective, so that you can truly feel that you matter.
Less digital, more social
Even though it’s wonderful to stay in touch with your loved ones from abroad, social media platforms are no excuse to stay stuck staring at a screen and not really connecting with people. Make a weekly date with your friends, where all phones are off, or at least you’ll promise only to respond to emergencies.
Make it your goal to spend more time offline and truly bond with the people who matter in your life, as opposed to looking through Instagram photos of puppies. As cute as they may be, what gives meaning to your life are the people who make you happy!
Set your goals
While we’re on the subject of goals, setting them helps you get a firmer grip on whatever dreams you may have, as it puts them in a realistic timeframe. Make them attainable and measurable, and you can even divide them into milestones for daily tasks that let you get closer to the most important goals in your life.
No matter in what stage of life you currently are, there are always incredible methods to improve and better your existence through consistent investing in yourself. Make it your number one priority to “fund” your health and well-being, and the quality of your life will soar!
Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
Lower The Risk Of Cancer With Cancer Prevention Diet
While there is no magic diet or foods that can guarantee to prevent or cure cancer, lifestyle factors which include your diet can make a huge difference in lowering your risk to develop the disease. And if you are battling cancer at present, by adopting the right diet you can maintain your strength and boost your overall emotional well being as you undergo treatment. By eating the foods that support your immune system and avoiding cancer-causing foods, you can better protect your health and boost your ability to fight cancer and other diseases.
The Link Between Cancer And Your Diet
Though some of the risk factors for cancer such as genetics and environment are uncontrollable, about 70 % of the cancer risk is within your power to change including diet. Limiting alcohol, avoiding cigarettes, reaching a healthy weight, healthy diet and getting regular exercise are great steps to prevent cancer. There are certain dietary factors that can have a major influence on your risk. For example, eating a traditional Mediterranean diet which is rich in vegetables, fruits and healthy fats like olive oil lowers your risk for a variety of common cancers. If you have a family history of cancer, just by making small changes to your diet and behaviors you can make a big difference to your health.
Building Your Cancer-Prevention Diet
To lower the risk of cancer, you must include antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, beans, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats in your diet. You must also try to limit the amount of fried and processed foods, sugars, unhealthy fats and refined carbs you consume.
Lowering the risk with antioxidants
Antioxidants are found in plant-based foods and these are known to boost your immune system and protect against cancer cells. Fruit rich diets lower the risk of stomach and lung cancer. Vegetable containing carotenoids – carrots, squash, and Brussels sprouts reduce the risk of mouth, lung, larynx and pharynx cancer.
Non-starchy vegetables like spinach, beans and broccoli help protect against esophageal and stomach cancer. Oranges, peas, berries, bell peppers, dark leafy greens protect from esophageal cancer. Foods containing lycopene, like tomatoes, watermelon, and guava may lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Add more veggies and fruits to your diet
It is recommended to have a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. In breakfast, you can add fresh fruit, seeds, nuts to a whole grain, low-sugar breakfast cereal like oatmeal. For lunch, you can have salad filled with your favorite peas and beans or other veggies like tomato, lettuce, or avocado.
For snacks grab an apple or banana. Dip celery, carrots, peppers, cucumbers in hummus. Keep a trail mix made of nuts and dried fruits handy. Add fresh veggies to your favorite rice or pasta dish. Top a baked potato with sautéed veggies, broccoli or salsa. In dessert choose fruits instead of sugary desserts.
Fill up with fiber and choose healthy fats
Fiber also known as roughage is found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and plays a major role in keeping your digestive system healthy and clean. It helps keep the carcinogenic compounds moving through the digestive tracts before they can cause harm. High fiber diet can help prevent colorectal cancer and common digestive system cancers of stomach, mouth, and pharynx.
Avoid unhealthy or Trans fats found in cookies, muffins, cakes, pizza dough, French fries, etc. Also, limit saturated fat from dairy and red meat to less than 10 % of your daily calories. Add more unsaturated fats from olive oil, fish, nuts, avocados. The omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna, salmon, and flaxseeds can fight inflammation and support heart and brain health.
Other Lifestyle Tips To Prevent Cancer
Though your diet is central in preventing cancer, other healthy habits can also lower your risk further. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight. This is because obesity increases the risk of a number of cancers, like breast, bowel, pancreatic, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney and ovarian.
Be active for at least 30 minutes every day as it reduces the risk of endometrial, colon and postmenopausal breast cancer. Healthcare product development has resulted in several innovative medical devices that can help you keep track of your activity and help plan your diet.
Limit the consumption of alcoholic drinks to no more than two drinks a day for men and one a day for women. Post-treatment, the cancer survivors must follow the recommendations for diet, physical activity and healthy weight from a trained professional or your doctor.
Shuchi Sankhyayan is a Mumbai based Content Specialist who has spent 15+ years romping around the healthcare, medical device, manufacturing, content and software industries. She is currently a Content Specialist at Technosoft Innovations, Inc. where she documents and presents the latest researches and innovations of the company in medical devices industry. She holds a graduate degree in Science and Post-Graduation degree in HR. In her spare time she is an avid reader, hobbyist and enjoys sharing medical product development knowledge and experience via her posts and articles.