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Black Lives Matter

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Racial Justice is of paramount importance and it is something we can work for together. It is not an “ask” or “request” but it a need and it needs to happen now.

Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

If you’re like me, you may be grappling with how to witness, how to help, how to show support, and ensure that bigotry does not continue to thrive. This is a learning curve for me and I understand I won’t always get it right and it won’t always be comfortable.

My voice does not need to be heard in all spaces so I’m learning when my voice is needed and when to elevate others’ voices (or just be quiet). I can only work to become an ally. What is most important, however, is that all people are treated with dignity and fairness. That we all get to live in a country where our rights are protected and our lives are not threatened.

If you’d like to step forward, join the movement, please consider reading this article and taking action:

99 Things White People Can do for Racial Justice by Corinne Shutak *It is “99” things as of this publishing, the list is growing

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Put Down the Dough

Tonight I have a stomach ache. As a grown woman, a yoga teacher, and human being who knows better – I should not have this particular discomfort. There’s a part of me that feels shame and disappointment in myself for being reckless with my body today. My typical discipline tossed out the window in one right turn into the cookie dough store (yes, there’s a cookie dough store). Why didn’t I go straight to my house with my broccoli and my soup?

You see, today I decided to eat the moon. More specifically, 4 heaping scoops of cookie dough in one sitting. In my defense, the dough place is amazing. Still, though, I have goals – like living past 60 without diabetes and not passing out at 2pm from crap-food overload.

Why do we stress eat?

In this scenario, my family had a stressful “event.” Unfortunately, this event called to mind an even more stressful, previous event in my life. Upon reflection, I’m learning that I have a very specific trigger. When faced with the potential loss of a family member, I’m learning now I have a little PTSD from my own loss.

So today, before I knew it, I was eating my feelings. Gorging on what felt indulgent, eating anything that I thought would make me feel better. Clearly, for me, that includes anything with high-carb and high-sugar content.

Think back to a time you ate too much junk

Days like today remind me that when I’m stressed, I eat. Stress includes sadness, fear, and anxiety – and when I’m feeling these things, it’s so easy to turn to something I think will be an immediate, often-inexpensive comfort.

Even though I didn’t recognize what was happening at the time – I love my body. I can reflect on the day, scold myself a little, and remember to forgive myself. Of course, I also need to figure out how to stop those days from happening. The “I’ve had a stressful day, I deserve to eat pizza, french fries, and a burrito for lunch” days.

It’s like I think: Fill the unhappiness and worry with a donut and it will all be okay. Upon reflection, it feels like a sort of self-sabotage – or a lack of self-love. Definitely a stuffing down of feelings.

“Sometimes the strongest food cravings hit when you’re at your weakest point emotionally.”

Okay, now really, put it down.

There are plenty of ways to stop emotional/stress-eating. If you’re like me, maybe reading an article like this will help you remember to practice self-care.

  1. Find healthier stress reducers. This is probably the most salient suggestion for me. When I’m consistently in a yoga class or a gym, I’m not eating garbage. My heart and head are way better off this way.
  2. LOVE yourself more. Seriously. Check out this article.
  3. Sleep more. Drink more water.  I should write this one twice.
  4. Cultivate awareness around food. So much of the time when we binge-eat, we aren’t thinking about what we’re doing. Try mindful eating, breathing exercises, and sticking to normal eating routines (some experts recommend journal – that gives me anxiety).
  5. Less Hulu, more gardening. Or something. Lean into what brings you joy. Anything but peppermint Christmas patties from the back of the pantry because you don’t want to process feelings.
  6. Seek professional opinions. For some of us, food challenges are much bigger than a day or two of poor eating. We may do it more often and struggle with deeper emotional wounds. In this case, seek out support. Talk to your doctor and see your next best help.

About the Author:

Brianna is a business person with a passion for social science and healthy living. The three seem to always intersect and come together in Indie.  If you’d like to know more, check this out! If you like this article, please subscribe & check out Indie for more. Thanks, as always, for reading! If you have a story to share, please share it below! 


Dim Sum for One?

Next month I’ll be traveling to a city I’ve always wanted to see – San Francisco. By a fluke glitch that came out of nowhere, I currently have a paid-for hotel stay in the city for two nights.

The glitch? My boyfriend and I broke up.

Now, I either forfeit my non-refundable hotel or I make the best of it and travel alone. It’s cool. I can travel by myself, won’t be the first time – sadly, it probably won’t be the last either.

Wanderlust, as a single person, can really blow chunks. 

Reading all these travel blogs lately I see women travelers exploring the world solo. They show great shots of them prancing down the Golden Gate Bridge with their Instagram-bought-and-paid-for sponsored outfits and wonder – who took that photo?

Maybe she set up her phone on a crowded bridge and threw caution to the wind as she twirled hundreds of feet away with not a care that her $700 iPhone life and some connection to this world just chilled on its own. Unsupervised.

I’m just not buying what they’re selling.

Well, maybe I am but only just a little.

So, I can do it too. As a grown woman and an experienced traveler, this should be a very relaxing trip. Filled with art museums and fun adventures.

But I’m admittedly a little perplexed by one particular bucket item:

How the hell am I going to eat Dim Sum by myself?

Picturing myself walking into a Chinese restaurant, requesting Dim Sum for one makes my heart sink. Who goes to a hyper-social gathering by themselves? Like going alone to prom. Dinner at a nice restaurant, and arriving at the dance wearing a beautiful dress in an empty hummer limo? Honestly, it’s hard to flex when you’re the only one looking. 

Then I think, I’m a strong, independent, Millennial woman. I can do meals alone, it’ll be a life experience. I’ve got this! Right?

But really, how does this actually work? I sit at a table FULL of food. Nibble until I’m full, sitting straight-backed avoiding my phone so as to look purposefully alone, and then take 75% of it home in a doggie bag? Feels weird. 

Maybe I’ll do some stomach exercises. Power eat some lettuce to expand my eating power? That’s what those hot dog eaters do. 

Honestly, sometimes, it sucks to be lonely. We’ve all felt it and we all quickly forget it once we don’t have to feel it anymore. This trip, though, feels intensely so.  That is to say, I think the wandering soul heals from simply getting out of town? Here’s hoping the fun and excitement of new experiences overwhelm that feeling and confirm that theory. 


Love the Job You Have

Previously, on this site, I’ve shared that I didn’t come to this place in my career easily. Nor did I come into it intentionally, not exactly.

If you were to ask me ten years ago where I’d be today I would say something about working for the State Department, doing peacebuilding work. Or I would have said a PhD-edified field researcher, helping people to recover from war. My plans were to run away from the trappings of financial stability and throw myself into the arms of danger to save the world.

I love that part of myself. That younger me had little responsibility and little understanding of what makes life complete (for me it’s having a home, a family, financial stability). So, with that said, it’s pretty obvious what I have to say next: I don’t work for the State Department. Also, I’m pretty sure I don’t and have never saved lives, much less all of humanity. No, I don’t do either of those things. Today, I sell houses.

Finding a Path

Here’s the deal, I get so much joy out of my work, I’m happy and fulfilled. Now, I’m a dreamer and a builder, I’ll never truly be satisfied with where I am in my life or career, but I can find happiness and enjoy the moment.

Loving my work is a credit to two things – good planning and good looking out.

In 2012, when I moved home at almost 30-years-old, I was jobless and without direction.

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Build Company Culture – Guerilla Style

Build company culture like you would a grassroots movement – guerilla-style.

Now hear me out; Building company culture, to a degree, is up to the employees. It is more of a grassroots effort than most of us believe.

A quick Google search shows articles rife with recommendations for leaders to help build up their people. CEO’s value is partially built on their ability to establish and maintain “company culture.” Millennial employees, rapidly entering an filling the workspace, are looking for good pay, ample time off, a sense of doing good for their world, and a great company culture at work. Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

Overall pay, benefits, hours, work safety, etc. fall solidly to the dictation of the C-suite and other leaders. However, employees control much of the mood and overall culture than the CEO herself.

Every single person in a company affects work culture.

The overall picture of a healthy workspace is as much about the guidelines and tone set by leadership as it is the values and engagement of the employees who show up to work each day.

Setting aside the conversation about the toxic nature of negativity in the workplace (it’s been scientifically proven to be contagious). Let’s talk for a second about the difference you can make in your workplace. Certainly, you don’t mean me, Miss Author?  Yep. You, middle-manager, salesperson, or part-time intern.

Companies with strong work culture are successful.

Here are some easy things you can do:

  1. Show up to company events. Even if you’re awkward in groups like so many of us are (I’m raising my hand). The company spent time and money on this event for you – be there. Have fun.
  2. Make it fun. HR-appropriate, fun, of course – but be silly. I have a coworker who took out a stock photo from a picture frame in one of our models and replaced it with one of her. It took me weeks before I noticed and then I burst out laughing when I noticed! It was a goofy little prank and it made my day.Photo by Canva Studio from Pexels
  3. Support and build up your coworkers. Create an atmosphere of plenty. Thank the people who help you and refer them to other people in need. Justin in IT knows how to save all your emails from the 1-year purge? Let others know, tell your boss, build him up for being helpful. Look for people doing good things and highlight them.
  4. Highlight the good. If your company does something you really like, for example matching a higher 401k amount, talk about it with your coworkers, on social media, and with your family. Express gratitude in a way that creates room for more gratitude.
  5. Act like a CEO. Think about whether your actions are in the best interest of the company. If what you’re doing furthers the mission of your organization, BINGO! you’re on the right track. If not, then you’re off the rails, come back, come baaaaaaack!

Empower Yourself

Strong company culture is about individuals within the organization – and that includes you.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from PexelsNow, this is not to say every company culture is healthy. By no means does this article wish to shift accountability to employees who are in a company whose structural integrity is unsound. Recognizing not all people can easily pivot from one role or one organization to another.

The hope here is to show all employees, regardless of current company culture or individual stanging, how you can take control of your own experience.

If these options are not working for you, it may be time to consider speaking with your leadership or looking for another job.

In short, the stronger your culture, the stronger your company. In turn, increasing the number of talented applicants wanting to work at your organization. Consequently contributing to your overall job satisfaction and the longevity of your position. In other words, you’re contributing to your own job security.

Now that’s something we can all get behind.