Best 10 minute guided meditations on YouTube

Looking for the perfect summer meal?

Avocado Turkey Burgers are here for the summer!!

These came together so fast and, as a huge avocado fan, I think the flavor was amazing! It is so good that I would eat this bun-less with some fresh tomatoes on the side. Nice and light for summer without giving up on good flavors. Not that bacon wouldn’t ALSO be delicious on top of these.

A fabulous, lighter burger to grill this summer - Avocado Turkey Burgers! |The Love Nerds

AVOCADO TURKEY BURGERS
A fabulous, lighter burger to grill this summer – Avocado Turkey Burgers!
Author: Maggie @ The Love Nerds
Recipe type: Main
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large ripe avocado – cut into chunks or gently mashed
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ⅓ cup bread crumbs if patties are extra moist and having trouble staying together
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add all your ingredients (minus the bread crumbs) to a large bowl and gently mix together. If patties seem really moist and won’t form together well for you, add ⅓ cup bread crumbs.
  2. Shape into patties and grill, making sure to cook the turkey meat completely. I use a meat thermometer to check.

 

15 Leftover Turkey Recipes!

Gimme Some Oven

15 LEFTOVER TURKEY RECIPES

A delicious collection of 15 Leftover Turkey Recipes that will put that Thanksgiving surplus to good use! | gimmesomeoven.com

Sooooo, pretty sure I’m one of those girls who looks forward to turkey leftovers more than the actual bird on Thanksgiving itself.

Anyone with me?!?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to plain ol’ turkey and gravy.  I’ll gladly help myself to a small portion on T-Day when it’s fresh out of the oven.  But once the meal is over and everyone starts divvying up the leftovers, I’m first in line with my tupperware ready to go.  Because in my book, the leftover turkey recipes are where it’s at.

Usually I just sub turkey into all of my favorite chicken recipes.  But after taking a quick spin around the blogosphere checking out actual leftover turkey recipes, there were so many good ones that we had to do a roundup and share them with you today.  Because with recipes for everything from turkey frittatas, to turkey enchiladas, to turkey tikka masala, to turkey pho, to turkey pot pie, to turkey pizza — I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to call dibs on those leftovers too.  In fact, you might even consider bringing home a bigger bird just to have extras.  😉

So best wishes to all of you for a happy and delicious Thanksgiving, with even more deliciousness to come afterwards!

Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potato Frittata | skinnytaste.com

Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potato Frittata | Skinny Taste

Turkey Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Cranberry Mustard | feastingathome.com

Turkey Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Cranberry Mustard | Feasting at Home

Light Turkey (or Chicken) & Corn Chowder | cookincanuck.com

Light Turkey (or Chicken) & Corn Chowder | Cookin’ Canuck

Leftover Turkey Tika Masala with Cilantro Basmati Rice | thedeliciouscook.com

Leftover Turkey Tika Masala with Cilantro Basmati Rice | The Delicious Cook

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust | justataste.com

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust | Just a Taste

Turkey Enchiladas | gimmesomeoven.com

Turkey Enchiladas | Gimme Some Oven

Turkey-Cranberry Strudel with Maple Roasted Butternut Squash | recipegirl.com

Turkey-Cranberry Strudel with Maple Roasted Butternut Squash | Recipe Girl

Leftover Turkey Pho | cookthestory.com

Leftover Turkey Pho | Cook the Story

Turkey Tetrazzini | shewearsmanyhats.com

Turkey Tetrazzini | She Wears Many Hats

Leftover Turkey Hash | creolecontessa.com

Leftover Turkey Hash | Creole Contessa

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup | backtoherroots.com

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup | Back to Her Roots

Roasted Butternut Squash & Turkey Tacos | marlameridith.com

Roasted Butternut Squash & Turkey Tacos | Marla Meridith

Turkey Pot Pie Soup with Buttermilk Biscuit "Croutons" | cookingandbeer.com

Turkey Pot Pie Soup with Buttermilk Biscuit “Croutons” | Cooking and Beer

Turkey and Cranberry Monte Cristo | rachelschultz.com

Turkey and Cranberry Monte Cristo | Rachel Schultz

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pizza | bakedbyrachel.com

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pizza | Baked by Rachel

more by Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven »

HAYLEY @ GIMME SOME OVEN

Hayley Putnam lives to eat, and loves writing, particularly about food! She contributes to Foodie Crush, and also bakes and blogs for her own little nook of the food blogosphere, Tiptoes in the KitchenShe lives in Greensboro, N.C., with her husband Jay and their four-legged furry daughter, Luma.  You can also find Hayley on Pinterest and Instagram.

6 ways to Practice Self-Love

Six Ways to Practice Self-Love

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February 26, 2015
The idea of “self-love” can be a pretty foreign concept for people even though we talk about love all the time. We do so much for others we love, and we even sing songs about how “all you need is love.” Yet we bristle at the the thought of taking care of ourselves before others because it sometimes has a misperceived selfishness attached to it .

What if the act of taking care of you helped you to be better able to be present to the ones you love in your life? What if you could do simple things that could help you feel happier and more grounded in your life?

This is one beautiful piece of what self-love is all about: simple moves that invite in more joy.

There are many ways to practice self-love, and here are six ideas to get your started:

photo by Liz Lamoreux
photo by Liz Lamoreux

Schedule in Rest

I’m putting rest at the top of this list because I think just doing this much can change your life. Big time.

When I say schedule in rest, I mean literally looking at what your planner says for today or even this week and writing in where you can take a few moments of rest. From a nap to simply sitting outside to going to bed early, give yourself the gift of truly letting your body, mind, and heart take a break from your to-do list and rest.

When I watch how freely my four-year-old daughter expresses her crabbiness when she’s tired, I sometimes think about how so many of us feel the same way because we’re going through our lives exhausted. But we don’t express what we need because unlike my four year old, we just keep going and ignore it. Or we take it out on others and don’t even realize it. Try to notice when you’re own crabbiness flares and see if you can rest for even just a couple of minutes to give yourself (and those around you) a break.

And remember, rest isn’t being lazy or not getting enough done or being selfish. Rest is giving your body and mind what you need so you can be fully present in the other moments of your life.

photo by Vanessa Simpson | Focus in Photography
photo by Vanessa Simpson | Focus in Photography

Put Down Your Phone

This isn’t a guilt trip because here’s what I really believe – smart phones make our lives better. We can look up recipes and get to where we’re going and find the nearest gas station and deeply connect with loved ones and so many other things on a device we carry in our pockets. It is amazing.

But it can also really distract of us from the beautiful world around us, from “in-person” living.

This week, practice self-love by putting down your phone and being present to the life around you. Schedule in breaks where you even put your phone in a drawer or another room. Let people know that you won’t always be available on their timeline. Even if you only do this for five minutes at a time. Try it.

photo by Liz Lamoreux
photo by Liz Lamoreux

Buy Yourself Flowers

So this one can be one of those cliches, but it is also such a  fun thing to do. Fresh flowers that you get from even just the supermarket can bring much needed color into your world. I love putting a few in simple jars and vintage bottles . One bouquet of daises can give you delightful spots of happy throughout your home.

You can also let someone in your life know that you’d love it if they would sometimes buy you flowers. Asking for what you really want, instead of expecting your loved one to read your mind, becomes another act of self-love.

photo by Vanessa Simpson | Focus in Photography
photo by Vanessa Simpson | Focus in Photography

Wear Your Favorite Clothes

There is something about the simple joy of wearing clothes that you feel good in. When you next go shopping, find a colorful scarf or hat or pair of shoes that just make you happy. You can even go shopping in your own closet. My blue cowboy boots were a big act of self-love for me. They literally make me feel so joyful. Blue is my favorite color and wearing them gets me right out of a bad mood. Saving up the money to buy something you want just for you can become an investment in your own joy.
photo by Liz Lamoreux
photo by Liz Lamoreux

Take a Selfie (Yes, a Selfie!)

A self-care practice I turn to again and again is self-portraiture. The act of seeing yourself, your beauty, through your own eyes is a powerful act of self-love.  Our internal dialogue can be so negative, but through taking self-portraits, I’ve learned to look at myself with a softness, with more love.

Try it. Maybe even try it right now. And if you really enjoy taking them, you might even want to get a selfie stick for your phone or a remote for your DSLR camera.

photo by Liz Lamoreux
photo by Liz Lamoreux

Do Something Your Really Love

Make a list of 10 things you really love to do. Just get out a simple notebook and jot them down. Then choose one. I love to read poetry and write in the bathtub. It sounds oh so romantic, but I seldom do it. I mostly love the idea of taking a bath, but I like the quickness of a shower. Yet every single time I take a book of favorite poems (usually Mary Oliver) into the tub with a notebook, I end up writing my heart out and it makes me feel so good.

What do you love to do? Walk around a bookstore? Get a pedicure? Watch The West Wing?  Knit? Bake cookies? Schedule in some of your favorite things and boost your joy.

A current popular saying is ” Do what you love. Love what you do.” Yet, we are a society that can be a bit obsessed with being busy and forgetting to actually enjoy ourselves. What if the “doing” was actually more about creating space and nurturing ourselves so that the actual living is full of more love?  Try to invite in more self-love into your life today and notice what changes happen.

If you need a few more ideas, check out my Self-Care Tools collection and these other guides:

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lizlamoreux
Liz Lamoreux is an author and artist who invites you to slow down and soak up the simple beauty of your everyday life (even when it rains). Read stories of her adventures at www.lizlamoreux.com and connect on Instagram at @lizelayne.

Body Positivity Week!

Welcome To Body Positivity Week

Your body, your self.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Body Positivity Week is a week of content devoted to exploring and celebrating bodies and our often complicated relationships with them. Over the course of the week, BuzzFeed will cover topics such as illness and disability, fitness, body dysmorphia and eating disorders, self-expression through physical means, and media representations of and misconceptions about bodies.

In addition to BuzzFeed staff, Body Positivity Week essays, lists, videos, and photo projects feature the voices of brilliant contributing writers, everyday models who have generously shared their images and personal experiences, and BuzzFeed community members who’ve volunteered their own incredible stories.

By amplifying so many diverse voices, we hope to represent people often left out of mainstream media narratives, and to provide resources for readers as they move through their respective body image journeys.

To see all of our great Body Positivity Week content click here.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month April 2016

Statewide Events are available!! 

Check out IowaCASA’s Website. www.iowacasa.org

Don’t see your SAAM event listed? Let us know.

 

 April 1 – April 30 sponsored by RVAP

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Activities

Visit https://rvap.uiowa.edu/take-action/events for event details. For a full calendar of activities sponsored by Rape Victim Advocacy Program in Johnson county, click here. For additional events sponsored by Rape Victim Advocacy Program in Des Moines, Henry, Lee, Washington and Van Buren counties, click here.

 April 5 – April 27

2016 SAAM Events Sponsored by Family Resources and SafePath Survivor Resources

Events include The Hunting Ground Screening, a speaking engagement by Judy Ferraro, a bystander intervention student event, a Denim Day on April 27, and more. Contact Melody at mwilliams@famres.org to receive dates and more information.

 Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 1:00 – 7:00PM

Writing on the Wall

Music Man Square, Mason City

Writing on the Wall is a free event that enables survivors of violence and/or their family and supporters a chance to design and display messages they feel must be spoken about abuse. Click here for more information.

 Thursday, April 7, 5:30 – 7:30PM

Take Back the Night (Des Moines)

100 Locust Street at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

TBTN is a night where those who have been silenced by sexual violence are given a forum to share experiences and bring awareness to the prevalence of sexual violence in our community.

 Thursday, April 7, from 10:00AM – 1:00PM

Start by Believing Campaign at Waldorf College

Waldorf College in the Atrium.

This is a public awareness campaign designed by End Violence Against Women International to change the way we respond to rape and sexual assault in our communities. For more information about this event, email theresa@cishelps.org.

 Thursday, April 7, 7:30 – 10:30PM

Take Back the Night (Dubuque)

Mary Josita Hall Cafeteria at Clarke University.

Take back the night is a night where those who have been silenced by sexual assault are given a forum to share their experiences and to bring awareness to the prevalence of sexual assault in our community. It is a night for allies of survivors to show their support. Fore more information, contact sflynn@dbq.edu. For a flyer of this event, click here.

Friday, April 8, 11:30AM – 1:00PM

The Clothesline Project

Ellsworth College at the Gentle Student Center.

The Clothesline Project is for anyone who has experienced sexual violence or intimate partner violence. For more information about this event, email theresa@cishelps.org.

 April 12 – 25

The Clothesline Project

Riverview Center’s Manchester office will be displaying the Clothesline Project on the campus at Upper Iowa University in Fayette. Anyone who has experience sexual violence or intimate partner violence is encouraged to design a shirt. For more information, contact joy@riverviewcenter.org.

 Wednesday, April 13

Together. In Teal.

Join Crisis Intervention Service by wearing something teal to show your support for victims of sexual violence and for those working to end violence in our homes, communities, and nation. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, April 13, at 12:00PM

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes (Osage)

Contact theresa@cishelps.org for more information.

 Friday, April 15 at 7:30PM

1BlueString Awareness Concert

Maintenance Shop, ISU Memorial Union.

1BlueString asks guitarists to replace one of their six strings with a blue string to symbolize and support the 1 in 6 men sexually abused in childhood. Come join Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support (ACCESS), KURE 88.5, and Theta Chi Fraternity – Iowa State for a night of great music to raise support and awareness for the 1 in 6 men impacted by sexual violence. For more information, click here.

 Saturday, April 16 at 5:00PM

DSAOC’s 21st Annual Cake Auction

Iowa Central East Campus, 2031 Quail Avenue, Fort Dodge.

Doors open at 5:00PM, live auction starts at 6:00PM. Event to benefit Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center. Click here for postcard.

April 19, 12:00 – 1:00PM

Bilingual Twitter Chat: #YoSoySAAM

Join ALAS members, @ArteSana_org, and co-hosts @endsxlviolence, @TAASA, and @IowaCASA in #YoSoySAAM, a bilingual Twitter chat on April 19 to discuss culturally responsive efforts for addressing and preventing sexual violence against Latinos. Vamos a twittear sobre esfuerzos culturalmente sensibles para tratar y prevenir la #ViolenciaSexual contra Latinos.

Hahtag/Almohadilla: #YoSoySAAM

 Wednesday, April 20, 1:00 – 7:00PM

The Clothesline Project

Music Man Square, Mason City.

Crisis Intervention Service is proud to host this event to honor women survivors and victims of intimate violence. Any woman who has experienced such violence, at any time in her life, is encouraged to design a shirt. Victim’s families and friends are also invited to participate. Click here for more information.

 Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 7:00 – 7:30PM

Take Back the Night Walk

Music Man Square, Mason City.

Unite with other community members in support of survivors of sexual violence with a short walk around the mall, escorted by local law enforcement. Help shed light on the darkness of sexual abuse. Glow sticks and candles provided.

 Thursday, April 21, at 5:00PM

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes (Algona)

Contact theresa@cishelps.org for more information about this event.

 Friday, April 22, 1:00 – 5:00pm

Guarded Photo Series sponsored by L.U.N.A.

Marshalltown Public Library, 105 W Boone Street.

The event will consist of an open gallery featuring photographs followed by an artist talk and photo shoot for women/female identifying people to pose with what they use to protect themselves from sexual violence. For more information, click here.

Saturday, Arpil 23, at 10:00AM

Sexual Assault Awareness 5k

Circle Park in Storm Lake near the BVU Football Field. For questions contactjenny@caasaonline.org.

All proceeds will benefit CAASA, Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault, a nonprofit organizations which helps victims in the surrounding areas to combat sexual abuse, abuse, and violence. For more information, click here.

 Saturday, April 30, 7:00AM-10:00AM

Biscuits and Gravy Fundraiser

Crisis Intervention Services of Oskaloosa is hosting a Biscuits and Gravy Fundraiser. The event will be held in Pella, IA, on the Central College Campus in the Maytag Student Center in the Boat, Moore, and Weller (BMW) rooms. Everyone invited to attend. For more information, contact carolynl@stopdvsa.org.

 Saturday, April 30, at 10:00AM

Stand Up to Sexual Violence 5K in Charles City

In an effort to raise awareness in Floyd County the Floyd County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is hosting the 2nd Annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month 5K. For more information about this event, click here.

This information was provided by http://www.iowacasa.org/#!saam-events/c1b1d

Issues in our Tissues

11 Seriously Wonderful Self-Massage Tips That Will Make You Feel Amazing

Go ahead, rub one out.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Everyone deals with aches and pains, but not everyone has the time or cash for a professional massage. Here are 11 massages you can do to yourself that will leave you feeling so good.

BuzzFeed Life spoke to Sulyn Silbar, ACSM-certified personal trainer and founder ofBody + Mind NYC, and Luke Bongiorno, physical therapy director of NY SportsMed & Physical Therapy, who recommended these simple self-massages. You can do some with your hands only, while others require the aid of a tennis ball or foam roller — but all are super easy and only take a few minutes, no professional required.

1. If your feet are killing you:

11 Seriously Wonderful Self-Massage Tips That Will Make You Feel Amazing
Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

The best part about this move is you can do it under your desk without interrupting whatever you’re doing. You can use a regular tennis ball, but Silbar recommends a spiked ball like this one, which will leave you feeling airy on your feet.

Here’s how to do it:
1. While sitting, step on the ball with a bare or socked foot and roll back and forth from heel to toe with firm pressure — but don’t try to flatten the ball completely.
2. If anywhere feels particularly painful or tender, work those knots out by rolling in small circles.

If you need more pressure: Do while standing instead of sitting.

2. If you suffer from tension headaches:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

This will relieve tension in your neck and head often caused by crappy posture — like when you crane your neck while texting or push your head forward when slumping at a desk.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Lie on your back with your legs bent.
3. Holding a tennis ball in each hand between your thumb and forefinger, rest your hands behind your head so the tennis balls are on either side of the base of your skull.
4. Alternate between shaking your head from side to side, then tucking and lifting your chin.

3. If PMS is making your lower back hurt:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

This will help the tenderness and pain you get in your lower back before and during your period due to inflammation.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet firmly planted on the ground.
2. Place two tennis balls under your lower back around where your sacrum — the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine — meets your hip bone.
3. Raise and lower your hips, kneading the area with the tennis balls.

4. If you have a tight, painful jaw in the morning:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

Clenching when you’re stressed can give you a headache and a sore jaw. Do this right when you wake up or when you’re feeling anxious.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Using the pads of your fingertips, press up under your cheekbones, starting at the apples of your cheeks.
2. Open and close your mouth as you press up into your cheekbones.
3. Do this all the way back, following an imaginary beard line.
4. When you reach your sideburns, press your thumb under your jawbone and pull your fingertips down the side of your face.
5. Repeat movement along your jaw, moving toward your chin.
6. Finally, grab chin and pull the skin down between your thumbs and fingertips.

5. If your knees get sore from sitting at a desk all day:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

This will work out the bound connective tissue fibers called fascia — aka what you probably think of as knots — that form when your legs are bent for too long.

Here’s how to do it:
1. While sitting, unbend your leg and let it rest so the muscles in your quad are soft.
2. Press into where it hurts with a fingertip or a knuckle and massage in a star shape for 10 seconds.
3. Bend and straighten your knee twice.
4. Repeat 2–3 times for each place it hurts.

6. If your butt is sore from all that sitting:

11 Seriously Wonderful Self-Massage Tips That Will Make You Feel Amazing
Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

Or if you just want to massage your butt because it feels good.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Sit on the ground with your legs bent, your hands resting on the ground behind you, and a tennis ball under your butt cheek.
2. Lift your leg off the ground and roll around on the ball, working into the places you feel most tension.
3. Repeat on your other side.

7. If your forearms are sore:

11 Seriously Wonderful Self-Massage Tips That Will Make You Feel Amazing
Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

This move feels good pain or no pain, but if you work with your hands a lot, whether typing all day at a computer or doing manual labor, it’s a lifesaver.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Hold your arm out, palm up, and cup it just under the elbow with your opposite hand.
2. Flip your arm within you grip so your palm faces the ground.
3. Repeat all down your arm until you reach your wrist.

Don’t squeeze too hard. Per Silbar: “We’re just taking the casing of a sausage and twisting. We’re not squeezing the meat out of it.”

8. If your legs and knees hurt after walking, running, or scaling stairs:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

If you’re on the move a lot, you probably experience tightness in your IT band, the tissue that runs from the side of your hip all of the way down past your knee. Instead of rolling directly on your side, which can be painful, come at it from an angle instead.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Lie on your side with your foam roller under your hip.
2. Using your hands to brace you, slowly roll down from your hip to your knee, rotating your body toward the ground as you go.
3. Roll back into the starting position.

9. If your neck and shoulders hurt:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

Attempting to give yourself a neck or shoulder massage with your hands actually leads to more tension, even if it feels good at the time. Try this instead.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Stand with a tennis ball between the wall and your shoulder.
2. Raise your arm above your head and shift your head from side to side.
3. Experiment with the ball in different positions along your neck and shoulders.

10. If you ache from slouching in front of your computer:

11 Seriously Wonderful Self-Massage Tips That Will Make You Feel Amazing
Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

You should feel this in your mid-back, where your muscles pull tight and get sore when you slouch.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Lie face up with feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor.
2. Center the foam roller on your mid-back, beneath your shoulder blades so it’s perpendicular to your body.
3. Rock your body toward and away from your feet over the foam roller.

11. If you just want a head massage that feels so. good.

11 Seriously Wonderful Self-Massage Tips That Will Make You Feel Amazing
Anna Borges / BuzzFeed Life

This is great for headaches, but it also just feels good. A good head and scalp massage is pretty much the best part of going to the hairdresser, you know?

Here’s how to do it:
1. Draw circles with your fingertips at your temples, increasing the size and pressure of your circles as you move toward your scalp.

6 Life Lessons on Embracing Change

6 Life Lessons on Embracing Change

By

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Karen Kaiser Clark

Life can be a persistent teacher.

When we fail to learn life’s lessons the first time around, life has a way of repeating them to foster understanding.

Over the last few years, my life was shaken up by dramatic circumstances. I resisted the impermanence of these events in my life and struggled with embracing change. When I resisted the lessons that change brought, a roller coaster of changes continued to materialize.

When I was seventeen years old, my immigrant parents’ small import-export business failed.  From a comfortable life in Northern California, they uprooted themselves and my two younger brothers and moved back to Asia.

The move was sudden and unexpected, catching us all by surprise. I was in my last months of high school, so I remained in California with a family friend to finish my degree.

I spent the summer abroad with my family, and then relocated to Southern California to start college upon my return. Alone in a new environment, I found myself without many friends or family members close by.

Life was moving much faster than I was able to handle, and I was shell-shocked by my family’s sudden move, my new surroundings, and college. Their relocation and college brought dramatic changes, along with fear, loneliness, and anxiety.

I felt overwhelmed by my new university campus and its vastness; alone, even though I sat in classes of 300 students; and challenged by the responsibilities of independence and adulthood.

Everything I had known had changed in a very short period of time. I tried to cope the best I could, but I resisted the changes by isolating myself even more from my new university and surroundings. It was the first and only time in my life I had contemplated suicide.

Several years after college, having achieved my career goals in the legal field, I started a legal services business. I helped immigrants, refugees, and people escaping persecution who’d come to the U.S. to navigate the hurdles to residency and citizenship.

I invested money, time, and my being into my law office. Not only was I preoccupied with the dire legal situations of my clients, but I also confronted the ups and downs of running a business.

Starting and running a new company is not easy, and mine was losing more money every month. While I found the nearly three-year venture immensely gratifying because of the lives I was able to help, it was time for me to move on.

It was a difficult decision, because I thought I’d found my career path. My life became engulfed with changes once again as I tried to close the doors to my office, close my clients’ cases, pay off my debt, and seek employment.

In between university and my business venture, I married a beautiful, gifted girl in India after an international romance. We were married for ten years and endured many of life’s personal and professional ups and downs together. Despite our problems, we both struggled to keep our marriage together.

When the tears dried, the counseling sessions did more harm than good, and our communication ended, we separated and then divorced last year. The ending of our marriage felt like the shattering of an exquisite glass vase into a million pieces.

I met the closure of our marriage first with strong resistance and then with profound sadness and loss. How could something that I valued so much and believed to be forever, cease to exist?

As much as I fought back and resisted each of these events in my life, I’ve since learned to embrace the impermanency of my life and the changes that come my way.

Here are 6 lessons life has taught me on embracing change:

1. Reduce expectations.

In each of my life’s circumstances, I had high expectations for my family, my business, and my marriage. I had expected each to remain constant and to last forever. But I’ve learned that nothing lasts forever. Nothing.

You can have reasonable expectations of how you’d like something to turn out, but you can’t marry yourself to that result. Reducing or having no expectations about a relationship, a business, or a situation can help you accept whatever may come from it.

When you set reasonable expectations, and don’t expect or demand a particular outcome, you’re better able to manage any changes that do come your way. Unreasonable expectations of life, however, will likely be met with loss, disappointment, and pain.

2. Acknowledge change.

For the longest time, I refused to believe that change was in the realm of possibility in a situation. I’ve since learned that change can happen quickly and at any point.

Be aware that change can happen in your life. This means understanding that things can and will be different from how they are now. Acknowledging change is allowing it to happen when it unfolds instead of approaching change from a place of denial and resistance.

3. Accept change.

I desperately tried to prevent and stop change from happening in my business and marriage by trying to forge ahead even in futile situations.

Instead of resisting, allow change to unfold and try to understand what’s transforming and why.

Circumstances will not turn out the way you want them to, and it’s perfectly all right. Embracing the situation can help you deal with the change effectively, make the necessary shifts in your life to embrace the change, and help you move forward after the event.

4. Learn from the experience.

If you accept and embrace change, you will start looking for and finding lessons in it.

When dramatic changes were happening in my life, I refused to acknowledge them at first, so change left me distraught and without meaning. Once I reflected back and finally accepted the changes, the lessons I started absorbing were profound.

Change becomes your greatest teacher, but only if you give yourself permission to learn from it.

5. Recognize you’re growing stronger.

When you accept, embrace, and learn from change, you inevitably grow stronger. The ability to continuously accept change allows you to become as solid as a rock in the midst of violent storms all around you—even if you feel afraid.

6. Embrace the wisdom.

The more I permitted change and impermanence in my life, the more I grew as a person. Embracing change has brought newfound strength into my life and surprisingly, more inner peace.

When you proactively embrace change and learn to accept it as a part of life, you are filled with more calmness, peace, and courage. When life fails to shake you up with its twists and turns, you realize that changes can’t break you.

You’ve reached a level of understanding in life that some might even call wisdom.

While by no means have I reached that place called wisdom, I’m working through my aversions to change. I now openly welcome and embrace it.

When we can accept change, learn from it, and become all the better for experiencing it, change is no longer our enemy. It becomes our teacher.

Photo by amslerPIX

Activist Burnout

I had a conversation the other day with a friend who told me that all she wanted was a small house by the beach, a job she loved, and a sense of peace.

But that sense of peacefulness, despite how ideal it sounds, sometimes feels out of reach for activists.

I, for one, am in a constant state of chaos.

I’m disheartened at the response of sexual assault on campus. I’m angry that people are being murdered and experiencing police violence because of racism, homophobia, and transphobia. I’m frustrated that we live in a system where women are paid less then men (and that Black and Latina women are paid even less than white women), and that there are still arguments about the validity of that statement.

I’m disheartened that I’m a part of all these systems, contributing to them while simultaneously working against them, taking two steps back with every struggled step forward.

And in addition to trying to navigate these social and political injustices, activists are trying to cope with their own everyday struggles that come with being alive.

And those are the days when I don’t think I can sustain the energy and passion that I feel.

I have spent years trying to figure out how to harness my caring in a way that feels inspiring instead of disappointing; yet, with the things that do and don’t flood my newsfeed, it’s hard to imagine that burnout won’t creep up every now and then.

We’ve talked about burnout at Everyday Feminism before – that old feeling of pessimism and physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion that comes with advocacy and helping work.

Sometimes what we experience as burnout might just be a bad fit – leading the rallies when you don’t thrive in large groups of people, doing behind-the-scenes work when you actually love being around people, or not being in a space that appreciates your experiences and perspective.

You can distinguish burnout from bad days and bad fits if you find that a) it’s persistent over time, b) you experience it in more than one situation, and/or c) if it’s a change from how you used to feel in similar situations.

We here at Everyday Feminism know the feelings of burnout all too well, so we’ve compiled some tips below for how to move through your burnout and reconnect with yourself:
1. Figure Out What Burnout Feels Like for You

Burnout isn’t something that you either have or you don’t. Rather, think of it like a thermometer.

In order to gauge where you are on this scale, ask yourself some simple reflective questions: What are you feeling? How intense is it? How well are you able to manage those feelings?

There are many feelings associated with the ways in which activists like yourself might experience burnout:

Anxiety
Guilt
Isolation
Irritability
Anger
Sadness
Pessimism
Disappointment
Numbness
Fatigue/Insomnia
Lack of motivation
Physical pain/Sickness

You may feel one, all, or none of these. You may gravitate towards one or two in one time of your life, and experience it differently during other times of your life.

But know that what you’re feeling is normal and that other activists experience similar emotions.

Many times, we can even experience secondary emotions along with our burnout – things like guilt, shame, embarrassment, or frustration. This can come from our own judgments about our feelings and unrealistic expectations from those within our movements.

Try to avoid judging your experiences. Instead, make note of the different ways you are affected by the difficult and valuable work that you’re doing.

Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

A slight twist on this sentiment is, “Do the best you can until you can do more. Then when you can do more, do more.”

We have limited time, energy, and resources. Do what you can with what you have, maintaining the social support, hobbies, and self-care that replenish you and move you forward.
2. Start Building Up Your ‘Coping Bank’

After you identify how you’re experiencing burnout, the next step is to identify how you’re currently managing those feelings. Ask yourself: Are you able to identify behaviors, activities, and ways of coping? And are those still working for you?

It’s never too early or too late to begin adding ideas to your “coping bank.”

A coping bank is your go-to list of activities and behaviors that give you a sense of fulfillment, relief, and replenishment when you’re feeling burnout.

It can be very simple, like a list on your computer or phone, or more creative, like a jar full of ideas that you can literally draw from.

Fill your coping bank with things that you’ve tried and that have worked, and things that you haven’t tried yet that might work. Sometimes we need to switch up our responses, so don’t get discouraged if usually taking a long hike rejuvenates you, and today it doesn’t. Be prepared to experiment and have some fun trying different, new things.

Here are some general start points to start brainstorming coping techniques:

Join a club or a meet-up in your area (something separate from your activist interests)
Reconnect with your body
Learn a new skill
Attend community events
Take a hot shower or bath
Listen to music
Revisit to your favorite book (or blog, website, article) unrelated to activism
Re-engage in an old pastime
Meet up with a friend

The more specific you can get based on your own needs and resources, the better.

For instance, your list might look like this:

Take a moment to reconnect with your breath.
Make a cup of tea and sit still until the cup is empty.
Go for a short walk around the neighborhood.
Try an arts and crafts exercise like drawing a picture or making someone a card.
Call someone who you know will affirm, validate, and inspire you.

Sometimes when we’re feeling burned out, it can be difficult to get the motivation to try something. The less guesswork you have to do in the moment, the easier it will be.
3. Find a Community (No Matter How Small) That You Can Confide In

Sharing your experiences demystifies burnout and can provide vital support while you’re moving through it. This can be a group of people or simply a close friend.

It can be easy to isolate ourselves when we feel alone and misunderstood. Building a community is a conscious effort to remind ourselves “I am not alone in this.”

Adrienne Rich said, “The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.”

This goes for any marginalized group.

When we are given spaces to share our experiences, we can shed light on the ways in which our individual experiences align with others. It’s through these connections that we can better understand these shared experiences, what they mean to us, and where we have power and agency.

Communities, then, can give us a collective voice when our own may be faltering. They can be the extra boost we need to push through or the sensible reminder for self-care and redirection.

Sometimes we’re not in environments where we feel comfortable or safe connecting in our local communities. In that case, finding online communities through blogs, forums, and other websites can help you create the support that might not be readily accessible where you are.

Sometimes our coping bank and support systems aren’t working or aren’t available to us. And in those situations, it might be a good time to reach out for extra support.

Finding a counselor or therapist to help you move through burnout can be a really helpful and sometimes necessary step in helping us reconnect.
4. And, Sometimes, We May Just Need a Break from What We’re Doing

I don’t believe that taking a break needs to be your first line of action, but there are definitely times when we know this just isn’t working for us right now.

And that’s okay.

In those situations, taking time to rediscover or find new passions and interests can be the most difficult and most transforming thing we can do for both ourselves and for our movements.

It can be difficult for activists to admit to themselves and to those around them that they might need a break.

There are stigmas both within and outside activist communities that contribute to the shame and guilt many feel when prioritizing their own mental and physical wellbeing.

Activists often experience burnout because of the demands put forth by their own activist communities – expecting martyrdom and perfectionism.

Additionally, many of relationships, careers, and hobbies are related to our activist work. It can be scary and intimidating to shift away from something that is such a prominent part of someone’s life.

And yet, it’s common for activists throughout their lifespan to shift, grow, and change course.

Many people become activists because they care about certain issues and how they affect people’s lives. By the time we reach the point of needing a break, we may be suffering from compassion fatigue (a temporary decreased capacity for compassion). This can be a confusing, jarring experience for individuals who entered this community because of their caring and concern.

If we are depriving ourselves of our own needs, eventually our time, energy, and caring for others will also deplete.

Sometimes the best way to treat our compassion fatigue is by taking a break.

By internally practicing and building our self-compassion, we can begin to extend that compassion again towards others.

As Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”

Admitting that you need a change of pace is an incredibly brave and courageous thing to do.

In addition to potentially being a painful experience, it can also be a really empowering experience. It can ignite a new passion for you, and it can make room for others to carry forward your activist work.

Come back to yourself. Identify what you need. Listen to the feedback that others give you. Talk or learn about activists who might have also experienced burnout. And finally, tap into the parts of yourself that know when something fits and when something doesn’t fit.

***

Maya Angelou also said, “I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

That is, as we extend help, compassion, and care to others, we should be willing to extend and accept those same things for ourselves.

Self-compassion is definitely less practiced than it is discussed. Yet, we can’t sustain ourselves if we are constantly giving and never replenishing.

For specific ways to build your coping bank, check out these awesome comics:

50 Ways to Take a Break by Karen Horneffer-Ginter
Self-Care Things by Sad Teen Queer
A Brief Guide to Self-Care by E.J. Landsman
Self-Care Tips by Virginia Paine and More Self-Care Tips by Virginia Paine

To read more Everyday Feminism articles about self-care, check out these links:

Burnout Prevention and Intervention
Top 3 Signs You May Need a Break from the Feminist Blogosphere
Self-Care 101: What It Is and How to Start
5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself Today
Self-Care for Type A Productivity Monsters Like Myself

Share on Facebook and Twitter how you experience burnout and how you cope!

Aliya Khan is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism and identifies as a feminist, activist, and life-long learner. She provided crisis support to survivors of abuse at the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and is currently studying Counseling Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon. Aliya is also a co-founder of Empowertainment, a blog focused on gender, media, and mental health.

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