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This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support.

I’m THRILLED to bring you all today’s post. It’s a topic SO near and dear to my heart… and one that has SO much conflicting information out there!!

Congratulations! You’ve decided to step up your self care practice and want to get into meditation! I’m thrilled you’re exploring it! Meditation has been linked to everything from helping with anxiety and depression, to helping with IBS and insomnia, and even may help with overall heart healthiness! With so many benefits, it’s no wonder more and more people are becoming interested.

I started meditating regularly back in 2008. Over the years I’ve heard so many different ideas about meditation. Seriously – there are SO many contradictory ideas out there like, Meditation is…

          Only sitting crossed legged, with your palms facing up, eyes closed, breathing deeply, with zero thoughts running through your head

          Cooking / cleaning / being in nature,

          Entering a deep state of consciousness which can only be achieved after years and years of practicing stillness…

…and so on. Honestly, it’s no wonder so many people feel anxious when they begin meditating! Sometimes, the people you’ll come across in the wellness community may place a lot of rules on how it “should” be done that it can stress anyone out!

Before we jump in I want to make one point very clear:

There are no rules.

When it comes to meditation there are no rules. There is no set way of 'right' or 'wrong.' There is only a journey of exploration. So have fun, laugh a little, and lighten up!Click To Tweet

Meditation, as defined by dictionary.com, is that state of thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.

Notice there’s nothing in there about being in complete stillness or totally silencing the mind? So right away, I want you to let go of the Buddhist monk sitting in blissful stillness and zero thoughts as your end goal.

Since this is the beginner’s guide to meditation, I want to chat a little bit about mindfulness.

Mindfulness is defined as: the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something in the present moment

All forms of mindfulness are meditation, but not all forms of meditation are mindfulness.

In other words, mindfulness is focusing deeply in the here and now. The present moment. And meditation is that too… but with meditation you may find yourself accessing a higher state of consciousness (spirituality). This is where you hear people have talked to spirits or tapped into the akashic records (the data stored in the stars about all there is and all there ever was!), and so many more juicy adventures!

Where can you start with your meditation practice?

I know I just said there are no rules and you can literally start anywhere, but I also know, most of us like step-by-step guides when exploring something new. So I’m going to give you a few guidelines to create a starting point for your meditation practice. I highly encourage you to use this as a jumping off point, and then make it your own! Follow your intuition and have fun!

Step 1: Find what comes most naturally to you.

Remember mindfulness/meditation is about the deep focus. Find something that allows you to do this easily. Typically this will be in the wheelhouse of mindfulness.

For instance, if you’re a runner, when starting your meditation practice it’ll probably be easier to do a running or walking meditation where you focus on the present moment. No music, no technology, simply feeling the heel of your foot on the earth and how it rolls to the ball with each step. Noticing the sounds, smells, and colors around you.

If you are an artist who loves painting, start with paint, pastels, or even crayons to bring you into the present. Noticing the feel of your tools on your canvas, the sounds, the smells.

If you’re over here thinking, “uhhh great, I don’t have any hobbies,” don’t worry! Try mindful eating! For beginners, I love to do this with a citrus since it has so many qualities your mind can anchor into. Feeling the skin, peeling the skin, all of the different textures, smells, and tastes. OH MY! It’s coming to life for me as I write this!

Notice with each of these suggestions, I’m have you notice how your different senses engage and anchor into the practice. In other words, whatever practice you choose to do, simply acknowledge what is happening for each of your senses. Don’t judge it, don’t stress, just observe what is happening for you in that moment.

Step 2: Create space

This is only a suggestion, because truthfully you can meditate anywhere! Even in the middle of a concert or crowded subway platform! Ideally, you’ll put away your cellphone (or at least turn off notifications), to limit the number of external distractions you’ll come in contact with. Next, you’ll want to think about the practice you’ll want to do that day and create space for it.

For example, if you want to try a mindful walk, maybe visit a private beach or a nature preserve nearby. You can 100% do this around your block or in a busy city street; I just find it more enjoyable when you find a location that feels a little more private and mystical.

If you’re looking to do it at home, maybe create an altar, with candles, tarot or oracle cards, crystals, and colors that light you up. My friends at Hancock Regional Hospital also created some videos to bring the ocean, a stream, or a waterfall into your space.

Step 3: Breathe

The breath is a powerful tool in meditation. In fact, some meditations will solely focus on the breath. For some people, this can feel a bit overwhelming when starting out, which is why I suggested finding something that comes naturally to you when starting out and the branching out to other forms. Whatever you choose to do for your practice, remember to breathe deeply.

As always there are no set rules on how to breathe, but here are some suggestions or things to explore:

  • Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth at whatever pace is comfortable for you
  • Dirga Pranayama: Inhaling in three parts: 1) into the belly feeling it rise, 2) into the ribs feeling them expand, 3) into the chest feeling it lift; then Exhaling in three parts first letting go of the chest, drawing the ribs in, and then exhaling from the belly. For this practice you may choose to put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest to feel the breath moving through you.
  • With movement: inhaling our arms up, exhaling them down; inhaling your foot forward, and exhaling your other foot forward, etc.

The key here is to keep breathing, and become more aware of your breath. As someone who used to struggle with panic attacks this was a game changer. I discovered that I spent most of my time either holding my breath or hyperventilating, there was no little in between for me.

For more tips on breathing meditations check out this post from my friends at Hancock Regional Hospital.

Step 4: Roll with distractions

They will come up, if not your first time eventually. You’ll start thinking about your next meal, an email you have to return, laundry, basically anything. That’s all totally normal! The key is to not engage the thoughts. Let them scroll through your head like the stock market ticker at the bottom of a tv screen.

If you find yourself engaging with the thought, that’s okay too, just notice it and then return to your practice. I remember when I was starting out and would hear the phrase “notice the thought and let it go” a lot! If that’s something you struggle with, try envisioning the thought floating into a bubble, then the bubble floating away. Do not beat yourself up, scold yourself, or get anxious when these thoughts come up. Just breathe and imagine with every exhale you push them further away.

Step 5: Journal

Again, this step is optional, just like step 2. As a writer, I like to jot down any visions or messages that may have come up for me. It’s pretty common for me to come out of a meditation with a strong drive to build a fort, call someone, or do something out of my day-to-day.

As a beginner, it can be helpful to evaluate what was working for you and what wasn’t. For example, my back muscles became pretty weak for a while, so doing a sitting meditation for more than five minutes often resulted in me thinking about the pain and feeling frustrated. Instead of forcing myself to keep going back to that place day after day, I began lying down for my meditations. Use this journaling time to jot down what you’d like to explore next time or how you can personalize the practice.

Remember…

There are no rules. No standards. No time constraints. Some people like to measure their practice by asking “did I relax?” – and honestly, even if you didn’t relax that’s still a beautiful experience to explore and grow from. There is no judgment when it comes to meditation.

I do like using the “relaxation” metric because obviously obsessing over house hold chores while “meditating” is in fact not meditating. But then I have an opportunity to check in with myself and explore why I chose to obsess over chores rather than meditate. Usually it’s because something is coming up in my day-to-day life I haven’t been willing to look at, so my mind gave me all the distractions during my practice to continue not looking at it. If you find yourself constantly distracted by mundane tasks while meditating, ask yourself out loud, “what do I need to explore, that I haven’t been willing to look at until this moment.”

But what if…

I know I’ve written a lot about rolling with distractions in this post, but I want to talk about a different struggle that comes up a lot: total stillness.

When my husband sits down to meditate, his mind empties out. Nothing happens, it’s totally dark and still for him. He would hear about my..

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*Guest Post*

When your life falls apart you learn some $h!t. In 2016, I walked away from a seemingly perfect relationship one month before my wedding. For years, I’d struggled with low self-esteem and it was the bravest thing I’d ever done. I no longer pinned my worth on another person. Building confidence and self love was a slow process, and I learned a few tough lessons along the way but I’m grateful for it all. As a results, my connections with friends and loved ones are healthier and stronger than they were two years ago. Until that point, I didn’t realize how my lack of self-esteem was toxic in all my relationships.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned that confidence leads to self worth. Both are necessary for a healthy relationship. Jumping two feet into loving yourself may seem a little scary, so today, I want to share with your three simples ways you can build confidence in yourself so you can start having better relationships all around.

3 Ways To Build Confidence & Have Better Relationships As A Result 1. Know what you want

Do you remember the egg scene from Runaway Bride? (If you’ve never seen Runaway Bride please do yourself a favor and watch it here ASAP). Maggie (Julia Roberts) doesn’t know what kind of eggs she likes because she always had whatever eggs her partner ordered. After my engagement ended, “finding what kind of eggs I like” was a metaphor for my entire life.

How can you enter a any relationship without knowing what you want out of it? It’s like renting an apartment without looking at it – oh this is an apartment, yes I need one of those, I’ll take it!  – That sounds crazy because it is. After opening up about my relationship struggles, I realized that most people spend very little time thinking about what they actually want. If you know yourself and what you want, you have a much better chance of getting into the right kind of relationship, at the right time, with the right person.

2. Communicate Effectively

Knowing what you want isn’t helpful if you can’t communicate it with others. I didn’t speak openly about my feelings before developing self-confidence because it takes guts to say how you feel. So many women that I know struggle with this. I used to think my emotions were a burden to other people, but I learned that communication is necessary for real connection. In particular, talking about things that are sensitive or difficult strengthens relationships the most because being open is how people show vulnerability.

Being vulnerable is hard but necessary for real connection. I hear so much about the importance of being true to yourself, but few people talk about how painful it can be to open up. There’s no quick fix for being authentic. It takes hard work, introspection, and a lot of difficult conversations, but what you’ll find on the other side is 100% worth it. Opening up has added depth to all of my relationships in a way that I never could’ve imagined.

3. Stop people pleasing

I’m a recovering people pleaser. The common misconception about always trying to please others is that it means you’re a nice person. But guess what? Lying to people isn’t nice – to be brutally honest, it’s manipulative. What if you found out that your best friend had been lying to you for years about liking country music, just to make you happy? You made countless memories singing in the car and going to concerts, but she wasn’t really into it?

People pleasing hurts BOTH parties. So stop doing it! #selfloveClick To Tweet

That example might sound innocent enough, but people pleasing can quickly become toxic. Imagine staying in the wrong relationship for months or even years? It happens all the time and it causes so much unnecessary pain. You tell yourself that you’re lying to protect the other person from pain, but deep down you know your causing both of yourselves MORE pain! You’re trying to protect yourself from the guilt. Let me assure you, based on personal experience, that you can’t protect yourself forever. If a relationship isn’t built on a foundation of truth it will crumble.

Stop worrying about everyone else. Start focusing on putting yourself first in all areas of your life. Have confidence in who you are and your choices. Start small if that’s comfortable. For instance, if your partner makes all of the decisions, be the one to pick out a movie or a place to eat this weekend. Self-love is a long journey, but it is one that’s worth starting.

RELATED READS

How To Respond With Love To Toxic Communication

6 Ways To Practice Self Care During Chaotic Times Of The Year

Harmful Communication Tactics To Drop Today

5 Things To Do When Feeling Defeated & Depleted

Want more self love? Grab TCM’s positive self talk worksheets!

The post 3 Ways To Build Confidence & Have Better Relationships appeared first on The Confused Millennial.

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Before we jump into this, I realize most people Googling “heart-broken” or “heart-break” have probably recently left a romantic relationship… so for the examples, I’ll be writing about romantic relationships. However, with that said, I also want to acknowledge that heart break can also be associated with relationships that aren’t romantic, for instance some people may have felt heart break from a parent or friend.

You see, I’ve never been heart broken from a romantic relationships (despite being in relationships for the better part of the last 14 years and always being the one who was dumped). In case you’re wondering, yes I was in love before my husband and no, I’m not some cold hearted mutant who doesn’t feel things. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I feel things very deeply, but from the heart level.

With each of the break ups, I was disappointed, upset, even angry. But underneath the tears and smashing of objects… I was relieved. My heart was singing. I was free from something that I knew wasn’t serving me.

… and I thought I was heart broken from my parents for many years… but it turns out I wasn’t.

Because the heart doesn’t break, our egos do. The heart only wants to be free, to let love in, and to give love unconditionally. But our minds and ego clog it up with conflicting messages around conditional love, tally counts on give and take, and so much more that’ll be clearer as you go through this practice.

So next time you find yourself dumped or thinking you’re heart broken, go through these 5 steps: 1) Write

Write down all the negative feelings you’re experiencing and WHY you’re experiencing them. Cry it out as you do it. Feel all the words on the paper.

Example: Pissed because mothaf*ck@ drained my bank out!

Tank top (c/o) | Salt Lamp | Glass Box | Crystals | Table | Notebook (c/0)

2) Laugh

As you’re writing all of these things down, laugh at yourself. I bet some of the things you’ll find on your list will sound like:

 Pissed because the person still has my stuff

 Angry because I wasted so much time on someone who didn’t deserve me

 Hurt because I put myself out there and it wasn’t reciprocated

 Unloved because the person couldn’t love me

I know it might be hard to laugh at some of the things, but stick with me here. Notice that all of these have to do with your ego, not your heart. Your heart wants what’s best for you. It wants pure love, joy and light. Your ego on the other hand, believes in right or wrong, good or bad, and is probably pissed as all hell you’ve been wasting it’s precious time and not having all your goodness reciprocated back to you. It keeps tally. Your heart does not. And I bet it’ll be pretty funny when you realize how much B.S. you tolerated with this other person or how much you’ve been looking outside of yourself for validation when it’s been within you all along.

It's pretty funny to think how much B.S. we tolerate in order to feel loved. How much we look outside ourselves for it...when the power, validation, and love is within us all alongClick To Tweet 3) Check in with your heart

Sit quietly, comfortably, and press your hands to your chest in whatever way is comfortable for you (e.g. prayer or palms to chest). Turning your focus towards your heart.

It might help you to envision pink or white light in this area or to hold some rose quartz while doing this. As you breathe deeply into this space, notice how it feels.

It might feel sad – but ask it why it’s sad… chances are it’s because it knows how great you are and is sad you don’t see it too. It may say relieved because it’s finally free. Just continue to breathe into this space, letting the feelings roll through. When you feel ready to finish, imagine a bright white or pink light washing through every nerve of your body, cleansing out any energy that isn’t yours and doesn’t serve your highest good.

Tank top (c/o) | Leggings |  Salt Lamp | Glass Box | Crystals | Table

4) Reflect

With an open heart, look back at your list, notice how everything you’re feeling has some sort of condition placed upon it. Something that you aren’t giving yourself yet. Feel free to chuckle at yourself, as your realize it’s pretty funny to think anyone could mirror something back to you and you’d actually feel it if you don’t believe it for yourself first.

Let’s go a little deeper and do some reflecting. Here are a few ideas on what to ask yourself (feel free to create your own questions!):

Why did I call this relationship into my life?

What agitated me about it and how I am treating myself like that?

– Ok that might sound a little odd, so let me explain… we are all mirrors of one another. You’ve probably heard people “projecting” their baggage onto others etc. and this is the same concept. So by figuring out what agitated you about the person, it’ll tell you a lot about what you haven’t embraced and accepted in yourself yet.

What did it teach me about myself?

How have I grown and what’s the lesson I’m internalizing from this experience?

5) Celebrate

Anytime anything in our life changes or comes to a close it’s an opportunities to celebrate the lessons we’ve learned and our growth. It’s a beautiful time to rise up from the ashes with a new nugget of self awareness and wisdom. So celebrate it! Dance it out, take yourself out on a date, sing, move, reward yourself with that new purse now that your money isn’t going to pay for your ex’s rent!

Voila! You may be “ego broken” or “ego bruised” in the future, but say good-bye to heartbreak (because LBH, it doesn’t exist)! Because your heart, only wants whats best for you. It only wants to feel love and give love freely. It wants harmony and balance and love for you.

Live in harmony by embracing every part of yourselfClick To Tweet

RELATED READS:

How To Respond With Love To Negativity

WTF Is This Woo Woo Stuff & How Does It Fit In?

How to Cope with Anxiety In Real Life

Advice To My 18 Year Old Self

How To Manifest Anything You Desire

Grab TCM’s Positive Self Talk Worksheet

The post Heart Broken? 5 Steps To Let It Go + Never Experience It Again appeared first on The Confused Millennial.

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This post is in partnership with Deserve. Thank you for supporting brands who support TCM!

Rewards credit cards.

You’ve probably heard about them before, in fact you may have even read my post on why you need a rewards credit card. Basically they allow you to earn rewards for your spending. But often times it’s hard to know which type is right for you – or if there are even any available to you based on your credit score! So today let’s tackle what to look for in a rewards credit card so you can start getting something back for all that hard earned money you’re spending!

First things first, what credit score do you need to qualify for a rewards credit card?

Every rewards card is going to have a different requirement, so always make sure you read the fine print before applying! According to NerdWallet, typically you’ll need to be at least in the “good range” in order to qualify for a rewards card. Meaning a credit score no lower than 690 to start enjoying the perks.

My friends at Deserve are focused on helping millennials and Gen Z gain financial independence through access to fair credit products. Where traditional lenders see risk, Deserve sees potential. They offer everything from student credit cards (Deserve Edu available to those in the “average” range at 650 or higher to be exact), and their Deserve Pro rewards card is available to those with a 700 score or higher.

Remember though, hold off on applying for a rewards credit card until you know you can meet the minimum credit score requirements, otherwise that’ll count as a hard inquiry and drop your score a little lower without any actual gain.

What types of rewards credit cards are out there? General reward points:

Basically you accumulate points that can be traded into the cards marketplace either for credit or goods. Each cards marketplace will vary, but typically you’ll see options to apply the points to your credit card bill, trade them in for gift cards, or an actual item like a watch.

Co-branded cards:

This is when a big brand, co-creates a card with a credit card company. You typically see this with hotels, airlines, retail stores, and gas. Basically if you’re a brand loyalist it’s great since you’ll be getting extra perks at that specific place.

General gas or airline cards:

Okay, I know I just listed gas and airline cards in the previous co-branded card section, but sometimes these cards aren’t branded to a specific chain, and you can earn points or rebates when you use them at any place in their respective categories. Meaning if you have a general airline card, you can earn points on any airline, or a general gas card will earn points at any gas station.

Cash Back:

Exactly what it sounds, cash back for your purchases. Typically, these cards allow you to earn 1% back on your purchases.

Okay, great to know what’s out there but…

What should I look for when choosing a rewards credit card?!? Annual Fee:

Most rewards credit cards are going to charge you anywhere from $0-500! So always make sure you know what you’re signing up for in advance! If a card has an annual fee, you’ll want to make sure the rewards you’re earning will surpass the fee!

Deserve Pro is great it has NO annual fee!

Redemption Threshold:

Always, always, always read the fine print! It’s SO important to know what you’re getting yourself into! Seriously, credit cards and bank accounts are only “hard” if you’re not sure what you’re signing up for.

A lot of rewards cards will require you to meet a certain threshold before you can actually get the reward! So for instance, say you have a card that requires you to earn 200,000 points before you can trade it in, but you won’t see anything until then! That’s SUPER annoying, and if you’re having to pay an annual fee on top of that, the card may end up costing you more! So before signing up, make sure the threshold is something easy to reach, like Deserve Pro’s, which gives you the cash back as a credit to your statement in $25 increments. Easy peasy. 

Type of reward:

Alright, so above I broke down the types of reward cards you’ll come in contact with. Now it’s time to think about your spending.

Personally, I’ve never cared for co-branded cards because I’m not a brand loyalist. I go wherever the deal is. In addition, I’ve had credit cards that use general points, but I always find that “trading in the points” process to be annoying or that the value of my points is so much LESS than I’d like it to be. For instance, 10,000 points equals a $25 gift card?!? No thank you! And then I find myself racing the clock to use the dang points before they expire!

Which leads me to cold hard cash back! Something to note: cash back is typically a credit applied to your statement, not a deposit in your checking account. BUT, even with that said, it’s still cash back in the sense you aren’t taking that money out of your accounts and it’s free to be invested or even put in a high yield savings account where it’s working for you rather than “The Man, ” or being tied up in depleting points, ugh.

If I’m not into investing or moving money into my high yield savings account, it’s still a win since I’ll be able to spend more on the credit card (because we only charge what we can pay off that month people! #adulting), and in turn earn more cash back!

Another reason I love Deserve: unlike most cash back cards who only give you 1% back on all qualifying purchases, Deserve Pro uses a 3-2-1 cash back model.

Deserve Pro Mastercard 3-2-1 Benefits:

They offer 3% cash back on travel and entertainment. Yes, that’ll include your Uber and Lyft rides – like I said they’re millennial friendly, and a lot of other credit card companies only include airlines and rental cars in their “travel” category. Also in line with understanding millennials, entertainment includes your Netflix subscription, Live Nation purchases, and movie tickets.

They offer 2% cash back on restaurants. Taco tuesdays never tasted so good!

Lastly, they offer 1% cash back on all other purchases.

>>> Apply for Deserve Pro here <<<


Remember, credit cards are not something to be feared. They are a tool that can work in your favor, as long as you’re clear on what you’re signing up. Only charge what you can pay off each month, and make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table by switching to a rewards card!

What do you look for in a credit card? Do you have a rewards card? If not, why? RELATED READS:

Millennials, This Is How You Start Repairing Your Credit

This Is Why You Need A Rewards Credit Card

The Confused Millennial’s 31 Day Adulting Challenge

6 Money Lessons To Learn Before 30

6 Lies You Tell Yourself About Saving Money

Grab TCM’s checklist for saving on a budget!

The post What To Look For In A Rewards Credit Card appeared first on The Confused Millennial.

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If you are looking for some creative and unique Valentine’s Day Date Ideas then you’ve come to the right place! Say good-bye to cliche romantic dinners at your local steakhouse and check out these creative, cost-effective, ways to celebrate Valentine’s day.

BONUS: Since these are a little more unique than dinner and a movie, you probably won’t hit up as many crowds either *YAY*

Go Skating. Okay, so this is probably the most cliche on the list so let’s get it out of the way. People seriously forget about skating! Whether it’s roller skating, ice skating, or rollerblading, just get out there and have fun! Nothing screams romance like the cheesy music and video montage worthy cuteness.

My dress is from Free People & Sold Out, but here are a few current faves (affiliate links):

Lini Babydoll  |  Be My Baby Maxi  | Embroidered Mini

A Themed Dinner Night In. Instead of just Netflix & chilling, bring the fantasy from your TV screen into your home with either a festive meal, decking out your apartment, playing dress up, or a sexy role play.


Recreate a favorite memory. Go back to where you had your first date or your absolute favorite park where you first realized you “loved” the person. Take a little walk down memory lane to give you all the feels.


Bust Out The Bucket List. We all have those things we *dream* of doing some day. Bust out your bucket lists and look at what you guys could check off together on Valentine’s Day. Maybe renting a sports car for the day? Making the world’s largest pizza? Be in two places at once?

Choreograph a dance routine or make a music video.

Okay, so this is an old video I never thought I would post on the internet. We were prepping for a dance battle (this was not the final version) — I would suggest starting it at the 25-second mark:

Dance Party - YouTube
 

Bring your favorite rom-com scenes into reality. To this day, one of my biggest wishes is to make the paintball scene from 10 Things I Hate About You a reality. I have no idea where you can do paintball like this, but I want to find it and do it!


Set up a scavenger hunt. Whether you theme it for your relationship milestones or based on romantic spots around your town, a scavenger hunt is always a good idea.


Set up a spa in the home. Schedule masseuse’s to come over. Dim the lights, get some relaxing music playing and throw some essential oils in the diffuser. Top it all off with at home face masks, a bubble bath, and a special dessert.

You can always add to this list and make your own date night jar!

What are some of your favorite creative date night ideas? Drop me a comment!
OR share your favorite valentine’s day memory! RELATED READS:

8 Unique Summer Date Ideas For Any Budget

Patience & Stalking: A Millennial Love Story

5 Ways My Wedding Was Different Than I Imagined

Millennials, 5 Conversations To Have Before You Get Engaged

Want to reach your relationship #goals? Grab TCM’s Goal Setting Guide & Make ANYTHING Happen In Your Life!

The post 8 Unique Valentine’s Date Night Ideas appeared first on The Confused Millennial.

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This post is brought to you on behalf of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning in support of the “I am a CFP® Pro” campaign. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of CFP  Board and its Center for Financial Planning.

I get a lot of questions from career-focused, confused millennials. They usually go something like this:

“I have this degree and no idea what to do with it. I started working in this one industry, but hate it. I have no idea what to do with my life. SOS!”

Listen, I get it. I can’t even tell you how many times I thought my career was heading in one direction, only for it to pull a complete 180. In the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with tons of women who are killing it in their careers, and no matter which industry they work in, they all need to have one thing: a strong grasp on financial literacy and planning. Which got me thinking, why aren’t more women CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professionals?

5 Reasons Why Becoming a CFP® Pro is Your Next Career Move: Bright Outlook

There’s a lot of room for growth in the financial planning profession. Currently, there are more CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professionals over the age of 70 than there are under the age of 30. In fact, nearly 20 percent of CFP® pros are approaching retirement. At the same time, more Americans are opting to work with financial planners, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a rate of job growth for financial advisors that is four times higher than the growth rate of other occupations! That’s a double whammy!

It’s Rewarding

Raise your hand if you want a rewarding career:

Okay, since all of us except Gretchen Weiner (but what doe she know), can agree on that, becoming a CFP® pro is probably your best next move! It literally meets all of the main criteria most millennials look for in a career:

– Good work-life balance 

– Financial compensation that will cover bills, pay down student debt, travel, and start planning for retirement 

– Helping others in a positive and meaningful way 

– Flexibility in schedule 

The best part: you can choose the type of work environment that will support your flexibility and work-life balance goals. While you may start off working at a larger company, you can move from a corporate environment to self-employment like Brittney Castro, CFP®, if that’s what you desire. Both options will give you the opportunity to make a great living and positively impact others.

You don’t need a finance or business degree

It’s a common misconception that CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professionals have to study finance or business during undergrad. While a background in these subjects definitely help, you can actually become a CFP® pro with any bachelor’s degree! The process of becoming a CFP® is an entirely different program which you can learn more about here. You see, being a CFP® pro is about more than just math – it’s about looking at the “big picture” and using creative problem solving, relationship building, and communication skills to help their clients reach their goals.

Find your tribe

Growing up, each of us received different messages about money depending on our culture, socio-economic status, region, and race. Unless you’re an upper-middle class white man over the age of 35, you probably haven’t found your tribe when it comes to discussing finances. You haven’t found that person who can really dig in and help you see your big picture and understand it. Why? Right now, women make up just 23 percent of current CFP® professionals and people of color are even less represented. So why not build a client base you feel connected with and become that person for others?

[RELATED] I Am A CFP Pro – Here Stories of Women and Minorities Who Are Working As CFP’s

An education that will always serve you

The idea of a “forever” career can feel a little scary. Most millennials will have multiple careers in their lifetime, but it’s important to think about the long-term value of the career and educational choices you make. Becoming a CFP means you can serve others, but it also means you can serve yourself by actively building your wealth and empowering other women to do the same. As a CFP® pro you’ll gain an understanding of concepts that will continue to pay you back in dividends, contribute to your financial health, and empower you and your clients to truly be in control of your financial lives.

The post Millennial Women, This Is Why You Need to Consider Becoming a CFP® Pro appeared first on The Confused Millennial.

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One month of 2018 is officially in the books and DAY-UM, what a month! I spent this month in shaman bootcamp, followed by shaman school, and feel like I’m doing more things in a given day than ever before, yet have more time than ever before? It’s beautiful and energizing and freeing! I hope your start to 2018 has felt similar! Either way, let me know how 2018 is treating you so far in the comments!

Now, 10 Things I Loved In January Shaman Durek

If you caught this post with my 3 big announcements of 2018, you know that I’ve been really excited to jump into shamanism this year! In January E and I had the opportunity to work with Shaman Durek one-on-one and study with him at shaman bootcamp. It was truly one of the most magnificent experiences of my life (and E’s too). We both have felt so empowered, clear, and rooted in love and compassion in a way that I don’t think either of us have really felt before. It’s been like kicking off the dust of your favorite long lost item. He does Insta-lives almost every day where he shares his gift with you all if you’re interested in learning more!

Exploring Wellness Trends

I kicked off the year exploring SO many wellness trends! I’m still loving my crystals from Energy Muse, shop them here (and grab their book about crystals here). Particularly the amethyst necklace I’ve been wearing. I’ve programmed it to help strengthen my energy field so other people’s energy can’t get into me like it has in the past and increase my connection to my highest good. I’ve gotten a lot of questions on cleansing and charging crystals (which I’ll be doing a full post on in the future – so keep sending them!) but a quick guide for you guys here:

To cleanse (not necessary for all crystals): most crystals you’ll want to plant in the earth for 24 hours, or lay on top of the earth if it’s delicate like a necklace or bracelet. Next you’ll charge it in the sun for 4-6 hours or under a full moon for a night. Then sage it.

To charge: Some crystals don’t need to be charged, but most love to spend the night on a block of selenite (selenite is one of those stones that doesn’t need to be cleansed or charged – it’s what I’m holding to my forehead below).

Woo-woo magic

Alright, shamanism? Crystals? If you’re thinking, “WTF is going on?!!?” it’s totally cool, you’re probably not alone. Which is why I wrote a post about what the heck all this woo-woo stuff is and how it fits into my life + how it can all apply to your too (and no, it’s not religious). You can read more about what this woo-woo stuff is and how it applies here.

Letting Love In

I think I’ve talked about this in the past, but letting love in used to be a great fear of mine. In fact, at shaman bootcamp to “introduce ourselves” we had to go up to a stranger say our name and one of our fears and that was mine. But I’ve realized recently that love was already in, it was just flipped upside down on it’s head. I’ve been learning a lot about how channel love in a healthy way for myself, others, and the world and one of the ways is through language in conversations. Last month I shared one simple sentence you can say in any situation that feels negative or depleting (find out what it is here).

Shop this dress here

To-Do list hack

We all have full lives between work, family, friends, and self care. Which is why I loved sharing this simple hack to get more done on your to-do list’s every day.

Adulting

We all know that checking things off that to-do list feels great! So as your implementing the new to-do list strategy check in with my 31 Day Adulting Challenge and make sure your cleaning house across the board! Seriously, the challenge covers everything from your finances, home and organization, relationships, and more! Make sure to tag me when you share your progress or for some added accountability!

Debt Repayment Strategies

Obvi couldn’t leave you hanging in the adulting challenge without some added resources! If repaying debt is one of the things you need to tackle, then definitely check out these two debt repayment strategies to get the ball rolling! After all, it’s a lot easier to tackle financial goals when you have a plan!

Launching my Pinterest course

AHHH I’m thrilled to have launched my Pinterest course last month! The student’s who have already taken it have been sharing the GREATEST results! Everything from doubling and even tripling their traffic from Pinterest!! Click here to buy now!

Reducing Waste

Waste reduction is close to my heart. By 2050 there’s supposed to be more plastic in our oceans than fish!! That’s CRAZY! So obvi cutting out single use plastic is a topic close to my heart. I carry my own cup (or bottle) and reusable straw with me everywhere. But even more than cups in straws, I’ve been looking for natural and eco-friendly menstrual solutions! I found five that I shared on the blog last month, which you can read here.

Playing!

And I mean really playing. So at shaman bootcamp we all went around the room and said how we played — everything from dancing on a street corner to walking a dog came up. Only… is walking your dog really playing? No. You see so many of us get caught up in the adult experience, that we forget what it’s like to actually be a kid and simply PLAY when we feel called to it. I asked in this Instagram photo how people play and was actually really surprised by the response (or lack there of) which made me realize I need to encourage you all to actually PLAY. Like go fly a kite, slide down some slides, build a fort, play video games, make the food on your plate talk to each other. PLAY. Walking your dog, going to a yoga class, and any other thing you picked up after the age of 9 doesn’t count (well it could count, but for the purposes of this exercise, let’s let it not count so you can actually challenge yourself to play like you did as a kid!).

The post 10 Things I Loved In January appeared first on The Confused Millennial.

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This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support.

About a year ago, I wrote an article on harmful communication tactics to stop using. In the post I talk about common toxic communication styles, like assuming feelings and shifting blame, and how you can replace them from your language. As I re-read the post, I realized that my thoughts about toxic communication have grown and I had more to say on the topic.

First…

Toxic communication patterns apply to how you speak to yourself too

Often times, especially as women, our internal dialogue can actually be the biggest “Negative Nancy” we come in contact with each day. Don’t get me wrong, men can have a negative internal dialogue too, but as women, we tend to feel a global responsibility for everyone and everything around us. People pleasing and keeping the peace are often the ultimate guide when it comes to our interactions with ourselves and others.

In order to keep the peace, what do most of us do?

We rationalize our feelings, shift blame onto others or ourselves, and allow our ego to deny and justify. But all of that keeps us stuck. When we allow ourselves to use any of harmful communication patterns in our internal dialogue, it keeps us feeling less than, not good enough, and trapped in the perpetuating cycle of self-doubt (or self hate).

And how does all of that self loathing manifest?

Typically we turn that anger inward, becoming depressed and anxious. Mental health is one of the biggest women’s health issues that simply isn’t talked about enough. Emotional stress can also lead to high blood pressure and greater chances of becoming ill and abusing substances (more on emotional stress here).

Instead, imagine if you could own your choices, behaviors, and mistakes – how would that feel?!
LIBERATING!

Why? Because we don’t have to hide. We can move into the light, let go of guilt and shame, take ownership of our lives, and feel love for who we truly are. In doing this, we can stop harming ourselves, and the people around us. When we honor and respect what we tell ourselves, we honor and respect everyone we come in contact with.

When we honor and respect what we tell ourselves, we honor and respect everyone we come in contact with. Click To Tweet

How To Respond To Harmful Communication Tactics: With Love

Keep in mind, this is how you can respond when certain things come up with OTHER people, but also when they come up WITHIN ourselves!

When you come into contact with anything that feels toxic or harmful simply respond with love.

When someone comes up to you (or when you say to yourself) anything negative or hurtful, respond simply by saying “I love (the opposite of what is happening) about you.” For example, say someone (or you) start shifting blame, “can you believe so-and-so didn’t do that? He totally screwed me over!”

Before the person (or your mind) can keep feeding into this story of blame, shame, and guilt — pause and respond with: “I love how you can see everyone’s role in a situation, including your own, and know exactly how to move forward.”

All of the sudden, instead of adding to the problem, we are moving towards a solution rooted in love and light.

You see, when we are doing something “negative” it means we have the capacity for the “positive.” If we notice anger coming up, it means we have the ability to give humor, compassion, and healing.

Here are a few more examples of how to respond with love, based on some of the most common toxic communication habits: Assuming feelings: When you hear:

“You need to relax”

Spread love with your response:

Option 1: “I love how you can be so serene, like a tranquil lake”

Option 2: “I love how you ask for clarity about others feelings and what’s truly going on.”

Shifting Blame: When you hear:

“Well what do you want me to say? It wasn’t my fault I couldn’t be there, I had the to do this other thing”

Spread love with your response:

“I love when you take ownership for your time and communicate your needs with others.”

Denial or “playing dumb”: When you hear:

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. That never happened. I didn’t do that.”

Spread love with your response:

Option 1: “I love how you can take responsibility for your actions and own your mistakes. It’s a really beautiful quality of yours.”

Option 2: “I love how even when we have different perspectives of what happened we can support each other.”

Uhh… this sounds lovely… but also sarcastic AF. What do I do if someone gets more angry at me for saying this stuff?

Ahhh, I’m glad you asked! First, you’ll notice as you’re doing this, you’ll actually mean what you’re saying. Even if you start out saying it as just a silly exercise, as the world leave your mouth, notice how a shift has happened within you and you see the love and beauty in the situation. All of the sudden, the statement is coming from a place of unconditional love. It’s said with integrity.

When you’re actually coming from a place of unconditional love, the other person will feel it. Maybe not right away, maybe they will think it’s an act, maybe they will even get angrier… but when you come from a place of unconditional love, whatever they throw at you next, will simply be from that exact same place of love.

You are an unwavering stream of love in every interactionClick To Tweet

If you’re coming from a place of unconditional love, remember, you are now helping the person manifest this quality in themselves. By responding with love, you’ve changed the course of your relationship for the better. You’ve given them a gift instead of feeding into their toxicity and reminded them of what they are capable of.

Okay, great. But what if I don’t feel unconditional love towards the person?

You have to ask yourself “why?” Typically, in my experience, if I struggle with finding love for a person it’s because something inside of them is a quality inside of myself I haven’t fully embraced yet. For example, if you’ve been a reader of the blog for a long time, you know that my mom and I have had a strained relationship for the better part of my 20s. Our conversations would typically go like this:

Mom: You beat a dead horse, you can’t leave things in the past. You think I’m just a terrible mother!

Me: You won’t acknowledge any of the feelings or things that happened, you won’t forgive me or yourself, you hate me.

Here’s the reality though:

I actually admired my mom’s quality of leaving things in the past. As a little girl, I struggled to understand emotions. I watched people hide them, bury them, and cover them up. So I ran towards them and sat in them. All in an attempt to try to understand them, I wouldn’t let them go. I wouldn’t stop playing with them, even when they were super heavy and making me depressed.

My mom was 100% right that I beat a dead horse and couldn’t leave things in the past alone. I was stuck in the past. And I admired that she could look at a situation, say “well this happened, let’s go” and move on. The truth was that I hated myself and just wanted her to acknowledge things happened for external validation that she truly saw me and accepted me. But even if she had done that it wouldn’t have helped since I didn’t love myself. I kept looking to her to give me the acceptance and answers, when they were within me all along.

The Takeaway:

If you don’t have unconditional love for someone, it’s because you don’t embrace that part of yourself yet.

We are all connected, loving mirrors of one another. If someone agitates you, run towards them and offer them love because it means you'll be offering the gift of love to yourself. Click To Tweet

Since I realized how I’ve processed emotions against my personal grain (we all have different capabilities in processing emotions, and what works for one person isn’t necessarily the answer the next), I’ve been able to let a lot of things go. I’ve been able to embrace myself in a totally new and beautiful way because I’m not getting mixed into other people’s drama.

As always, if you’re struggling with mental health, know you’re not alone (read about my mental health journey here). Hancock Regional put together a helpful articles on where to turn for mental health help here and here. And for more tips on creating your best life, check out Hancock Regional’s Women’s site, and this article on juggling the demands of work and home.

RELATED READS

6 Ways To Practice Self Care During Chaotic Times Of The Year

WTF Is This Woo Woo Stuff & How Does It Fit In?

How to Cope with Anxiety In Real Life

Advice To My 18 Year Old Self

Grab TCM’s Positive Self Talk Worksheet

The post How To Respond With Love To Toxic Communication appeared first on The Confused Millennial.

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This post is in partnership with Lexington Law, thank you for supporting brands who support TCM.

Ahh debt… that super annoying pesky little thing that you can’t seem to get rid of. Every month goes by and you seem to pay it off, but somehow pick up more at the same time?! You know repaying debt and getting your credit score up are essential, because if you don’t it can seriously affect so many areas of your life, but where do you start?!?

Well today I wanted to answer a highly requested reader Q:

How the heck do you pay off debt? What’s the best way to tackle debt repayment? Where the F should you start when getting rid of your debt?
Today we are going to tackle two debt repayment methods: The Snowball Method and The Debt Avalanche Method Debt Avalanche Method: You list out all of your debts by highest interest rate to lowest:

Store #2 credit card $300 — 25% interest rate
Different regular credit card $2,000 — 18% interest rate
Store #1 credit card $225 — 20% interest rate
Regular credit card $1,800 — 15% interest rate
Student loans $20,000 — 5% interest rate
Dentist $25 — No interest rate, just pay before it hits collections!

Again, you’re going to look at the monthly minimum payment on all of these accounts and that amount becomes a fixed expense in your budget. From there, you may want to put any excess money from your paycheck to the debt with the highest interest. This allows you to get to the principal (original debt) quicker rather than throwing money at interest – meaning you’ll pay less money over time. Sound great, right?

Well the issue with the Debt Avalanche Method is that it doesn’t take into account our emotions and motivation levels as human beings!

Stick with me – have you ever been to the gym for two weeks and felt great… but then you weren’t really seeing the results you thought you should? And people weren’t noticing like you hoped? So you start skipping the gym… and before you know it you’re not going at all!
Yeah – that tends to happen with the Debt Avalanche Method. Which is why so many people have flocked to The Snowball Method.

The Snowball Method:

Coined by Dave Ramsey, basically it has you list out you debts in order of smallest outstanding balance to largest. This does not take into account interest fees, type of credit (different types of credit have different impacts on your credit score) or anything else other than the total outstanding dollar amount.

List your debts from smallest balance to largest:

Dentist $25
Store #1 credit card $225
Store #2 credit card $300
Regular credit card $1,800
Different regular credit card $2,000
Student loans $20,000

So the pros of this method mean that you will be able to start crossing things off this list fairly quickly. Meaning you’ll see your progress, and in turn the internal rewards system (you know the one, like when you go to the gym and someone tells you you look amaze so you want to keep going to the gym) keeps you motivated to keep on going with your debt repayment! The biggest con is that you will pay more money over time.

It should also be noted with this method, that the minimum payment due on any of the above accounts is a fixed cost non-negotiable. Meaning we don’t ignore the minimum monthly payment of the regular credit cards in order to pay off Store #1 just because it’s higher on the list.

Which do I recommend?

Well, I’m not a financial advisor (here’s some insight from Lexington Law on Credit Card Payoff Strategies), and every person has a different financial situation, so what I typically tell people who ask me this, is to be really honest with yourself and your spending habits. If you’re someone who can easily stick to a long term goal without seeing progress, then the Avalanche method 100%. If you’re someone who tends to splurge on a new pair of shoes when you’re having a bad day, probably do The Snowball Method.

If you’re feeling up for it – and it isn’t too complicated for you – you can always try a hybrid! For example, start with your smallest outstanding balance first (Snowball) then jump to your highest interest rate (Avalanche) then maybe you tackle two of your smallest payments (Snowball), and then your next highest interest rate. Again, try to keep it simple and just know what works for you. Ultimately you’ll pay less overtime with the Avalanche method, but you may loose motivation along the since it may take a little longer to finally cross one of your debts off the list (which is why people love the Debt Snowball, they can cross things off faster). If you’re still feeling stuck, talk to a financial professional like my friends over at Lexington Law who specialize in credit repair!

Final Note on Debt Repayment:

Alright, so like I mentioned above, the monthly minimum payment for each of your outstanding debts should be a fixed cost in your budget. From there, you’ll also want to automate those minimum payments so you never miss one!

These are just two debt repayment strategies. If you’re looking for more tips on eliminating credit card debt, check out this article from Lexington Law. And remember, as scary as it is to get started repairing your financial situation, paying off debt feels good!

Looking for more ways to up your money game? Grab TCM’s Saving On A Budget Tips NOW!

RELATED READS:

Millennials, This Is How To Start Repairing Your Credit

The Confused Millennial’s 31 Day Adulting Challenge

Millennials, This Is Why You Need A Rewards Credit Card

6 Lies You Tell Yourself About Saving Money

The post How To Repay Debt [2 Strategies To Change The Game] appeared first on The Confused Millennial.

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