depression

Self-Care is Important When You Suffer From Depression

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

I have suffered from depression for over 15 years. Part of the catch-22 of Major Depressive Disorder is feeling a lot of guilt. You may feel guilt over what you think you’re putting family through, guilt that your friends might not want to spend time with someone who is a major buzz kill, and most of all, guilt that there are so many people who seem to have it worse, yet you’re completely miserable.

This guilt, in turn, can just feed into your depression, making you feel worse and worse until you’re in this downward spiral that’s extremely hard to pull yourself out of it. But what can you learn from this experience and guilty feeling? When you are going through a battle in life, such as you are with mental illness, you are what is the most important. You can love yourself when you’re going through depression — and you need to. Be proactive over this, and these little tips may help. They helped me!

 

Talk to a therapist
It’s hard talking to people who don’t understand. By talking to a therapist, you are talking with a professional who knows what she’s doing, and wants to help you. My therapist taught me that my depression was not my fault, but a result of my brain chemistry and genetics. Once I stopped blaming myself, I was able to focus on the things that I needed to do to help myself. Yes, it does take a lot of courage to get yourself there, and a therapist does in a way have to break you down to build you back up, but once you do, you will be much stronger for it.

See a Psychiatrist
This one may be a bit controversial, I get it. But, I would not be who I am today without finding the psychiatrist that finally understood my brain chemistry and found the right medication for me to be on. I do not abuse my medication, and I stick with my prescribed dosage. But, my medication changed an imbalance in my brain that would not have fixed myself otherwise. If you do not abuse it, you are responsible with it, and you go through the right channels, medication can certainly put you on the path to wellness. However, medication isn’t for everyone, and psychiatrists can also give you psychotherapy treatment and in some cases, light therapy, to name a few other options.

Take up a new, creative hobby
A creative hobby that you learn to love can give you something to be proud of, and it slowly can bring you back to who you were before. Find a creative project that does this for you, to give you something to concentrate on so you don’t become your own worst enemy, and you can focus on something other than your depression. When you have a final product, you’ll have something that you’ve created, with no copy, that is impossible to replicate exactly. Find whatever is healing for you — whether it is sewing, adult coloring (a great one), jewelry making, even something like painting or building something from wood.

Do what you love, and have always loved
This can be anything that releases negative energy for you and has always made you happy no matter what — and can be a complete release of sadness, grief, anger, and shame. Maybe you love sports. Maybe you love to write. It can even be as simple as playing with your pet or spending time with your friends. But it is so important to have a reason to get out of bed.

Be kind to yourself
Did you have that extra donut? That’s okay. Were you not able to leave the house today? That’s okay, too. You are going through a fierce war within yourself right now, and it’s alright if you lose the occasional battle. Sometimes, all you will be able to do for the day is just take a shower. Sometimes, just making the effort to text a friend and have a minimum of social contact is a huge win, and you should be proud of yourself for it. Be proud of yourself for accomplishing the small, little things. It’s all of those little things combined that will lead up to those big milestones. By just making a small effort, you are taking a big step towards believing that it will get better. It’s about the small steps that add up to a huge leap.

 

Pain is different for everyone. Yes, there are those less fortunate who have been dealt some terrible cards in life, and you should feel for those people. But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t in pain, and it doesn’t make your pain less important. Be kind to yourself, and you will make yourself better to help others.

Travel Secrets for Millennials: A Chat With a Travel Industry Expert

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

Millennials, we love to travel, right? Whether it’s for work, for vacation, for a break from work, or to find new adventures, the ability to travel is important to us.

With traveling comes making travel plans, and sometimes, there’s a lot of money and red tape involved. Well, we want to help make that a bit easier. We chatted with Deborah Orgel-Gordon, a travel professional and owner of Extravagant Travel, Inc.,  and asked her for some of her trade secrets.

Should millennials use a travel agent rather than booking online? Why?
When I book a hotel for my clients, that is not the end of it. I’ve then reached out to the managers of hotels to make sure they know my client is coming and to “VIP them.” My agency has over 1,000 hotels all over the world on our “Hotel Collection” program.  If one of these hotels are booked, even more benefits come like possible upgrades, amenities to the room, possible early and late check outs and many times, extra food and beverage credits or more. What millennials need to understand is travel professionals have connections to many of the destinations they go to. In a world where life is so busy, and everyone works longer hours to survive, why not use the professional who will go the extra mile to book restaurant reservations, transfers, tours, tickets to shows, and more?  The key is: that not all travel professionals are created equal just like other professions like attorney, accountant and doctor.  You need to find the right one by recommendations and possibly one that specializes in the destinations where you like to travel.

Are millennials better off with the booking process in person or through the internet?
I suggest finding a travel professional in person, rather than booking though the internet, to book vacations. Interview your travel professional like you would if you were looking for an attorney or accountant. Find someone from recommendations other friends and family have used. Travel professionals with years of experience have the knowledge of properties and destinations. Mistakes are easily made when booking on your own, and then really difficult to fix.  If you are booking airfare and want to skip the travel professional, I always recommend booking directly with the airline you choose so if there are changes or delays you go right to the source. I find many millennials are turning back to using a travel professional, especially for honeymoons. They want to make sure they are in good hands. A good travel professional can make sure you possible get an upgrade on a room, or extras of being treated special at a hotel or resort.

What are the perks to using a travel agent?
Travel professionals have the connections to many places traveled to. Most have relationships with hotels and airlines. For instance, as an example, I booked a honeymoon couple on Delta Vacations package to Italy for a honeymoon and they made a deposit on — air and hotels — and I always watch carefully all my bookings to see if a price drops before final payment. In this case, it dropped $700.00.  I contacted my sales rep and they honored the drop in price and I saved them the $700!

What do you think is a great low-budget option for a weekend trip?
Traveling off-season to a destination can get you some better low-budget vacations. I have planned some low-budget trips to Dominican Republic off-season for quick three-night getaways. Also some shorter cruises can sometimes over very low prices for three-night sailings.

Based on your clientele, where are millennials traveling?
The top destination I book for millennials is Italy.

Where can you find the best deals?
Stick with a travel professional. Do your homework on the internet, and many times, the travel agent can get you these same deals.

Depending on where you’re going, is it worth it to join a tour group?
If you are the type that wants to make new friends, or be with others, then it is worth considering a tour group. Not everyone is set up to be their own tour guide, and tour groups hit all the highlights that one would see at a destination. Not everyone likes to travel this way, so if you are more adventurous type or like to be more flexible when traveling, I would not recommend a tour group.

What’s the best month to travel?
That is based on the destination that is picked. For instance, if you’d like to go to Europe, the high season is summer, and low season would be winter. Spring and fall would be called “Shoulder Season,” which sometimes offers good deals. With the Caribbean, from September to mid-December, you can usually grab great deals. So, it all depends on the destination.

Is “booking a flight at 5 p.m. on a Tuesday night” really the cheapest? 
Sometimes, but if you have your heart set on a specific flight and exact date, and there are limited seats on those flights because they are popular, “booking on a Tuesday,” as they say, would not matter.

Do you think travel agency is a dying business?
Definitely not. I am very busy and my company that I am an Independent Contractor (IC) specialist for has thousands of agents all over the world. They actually started a travel school to now train the millennial generation in the travel industry because there was a need for it. The millennial generation likes services, and once they try a great travel agent they are very loyal and recommend that agent to other millennials. If you want a quick Florida flight or one night somewhere, sure, use an app or a website, but when you want to go away and know you will be in good hands from A to Z, seek out that recommended travel professional. I have no doubt everyone would become a loyal client.

 

Deborah Orgel-Gordon is the proud owner of Extravagant Travel Corp., a boutique travel agency in Glen Head, NY, committed to offering standout, customized service. As a successful travel consultant/agent for over 17 years, Deborah has enjoyed traveling the globe, jetting to destinations around the world. She specializes in booking travel to Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, as well as honeymoons, senior travel, family travel, inter-generational travel, cruises, and escorted tours. Extravagant Travel offers customized concierge services for personal leisure travel needs including spas, restaurants, theater/concert tickets, golf vacations, limousines, personal jets, meetings, and more. Deborah is also a certified IC specialist with a reputable international travel company. 

How to Take Care of Yourself, When You Feel Like You Don’t Deserve to

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

There’s no doubt about it, millennials — self-care is important.

We all live busy lives. From our full-time jobs to our side hustles to friendships and dating and relationships and just the everyday business of being an adult… it’s difficult to make time for ourselves. We’re on call a lot — for our jobs, for our friends, for our families. Even when it seems as though you just might get to take time for yourself, your “you time” that you so cleverly scheduled out gets pushed to the side in favor of something that is just more urgent.

But what happens when you can’t get out of your head? You know you need a break and you just can’t allow yourself the opportunity… why? Why does this happen?

You’re afraid something bad is going to happen
For those who are highly sensitive or experience anxiety, it’s the norm to feel as though the sky is falling on a semi-constant basis, and to feel as though you’re the only one who can stop it from falling. Everything seems to be a crisis. You’re scared to unplug, because if you unplug, that could be the moment when everything falls down. And what if you’re blamed for it?

You compare yourself to others
“So-and-so works more hours than I do and he/she doesn’t ever get a break. What a wuss I am that I feel like I need a break.”

“So-and-so takes care of this and that outside of work. Who am I to feel overwhelmed?” 

Does this sound like you? Thought so. Everyone’s threshold for stress is different, depending on life circumstances past and present. If you need a break, you’re allowed to need it in spite of the fact that your mother/father/significant other/brother/sister/best friend isn’t getting one anytime soon.

You lack time management skills
Part of taking a break is knowing when you can take one. Sometimes it’s just not possible, and sometimes that urgent work call will come and you just can’t ignore it. But if you plan for your break, you’ll be able to give those who depend on you fair warning. And especially if you’re one of those “sky is falling” types, you’ll feel better and enjoy the time away even more knowing that someone else has your back.

So, how can you take a break, even when you feel like you just can’t/don’t/won’t (but desperately need one)?

Book a vacation
We have PTO for a reason, millennials. Get away. Change your scenery. Go somewhere you’ve never visited before, or head back to an old standby where you know you’ll feel at home — even though you’re away from home. It’s important to get away from the real world sometimes, and to go somewhere you can just relax or explore — whichever makes you happiest.

Unplug
Yes, you’re allowed to do this! Unless you’re in very specified professions or in the middle of an important project, you can put that phone away at 10 p.m. It will do you a world of good to just turn it off. As much as in today’s day and age it may feel like it, you don’t need to be plugged in 24/7. Whatever you miss, it probably won’t be that important that it can’t wait a little bit.

Go for a ride
Don’t have anywhere specific in mind. Just get behind the wheel, and go. Even if it’s just for a short while, sometimes, there’s no sanctuary quite like the car. You’re on your own, you can take those turns at slightly faster paces than you would normally, and basically — you’re in control of your destiny when you’re just not going anywhere. Not to mention those solo car concerts you can have are often the most fun.

Remind yourself it’s okay… or, have a trusted friend or family member remind you
Even if you have to write it out 100 times. Even if you just need to go to someone you trust to have that person remind you that it’s okay. Even if you have to distract yourself from the thoughts that tell you that it’s not okay. Even if you need to talk it out with someone for an extended period of time.

And remind yourself that…
… there is no reason to feel as though you’re either indispensable, or that you can’t possibly take a break because it wouldn’t be fair to so-and-so who is more overwhelmed than you are. Your need for self-care is your own, and no one else’s. It’s not dictated by your family, friends, colleagues, or even those people you don’t particularly care for. Your need is real, and you deserve to take care of yourself.

Sweet Summertime Fun

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

Let’s face it: summer weather isn’t for everyone. There are some who live for days at the beach, while there are others who live for central air conditioning. But there are some ways to enjoy the spirit of summer, even on the hottest day.

Summer is the perfect time to relax, experience new things, and make lasting memories. Let’s get to it!

Go for a hike
Looking at all the different shades of colors, waterfalls, cliffs, and maybe even an animal or two, can really have a calming effect. Even listening to the gentle rustling of the leaves, the babbling of the brooks, and the calls of the birds is quite serene. The tall trees provide shade as you move amongst dappled leaves. Hiking is great any time of the year, but summer means longer days and later sunsets. It also means you won’t be shivering! Plus, summer nature truly can be a beauty.

Have a s’mores night
Who doesn’t love a good campfire and s’mores? There is something about the sounds of the crackling bonfire, the sweet smell of toasting marshmallows, and the melting chocolate that makes me relive all of the great times enjoying the night outside with friends, and eating every morsel of that sweet summer dessert.

Go for a drive
Sometimes, there is just nothing like driving to a great beach town with the windows down, blasting music and singing at the top of your lungs. There is something very freeing about having the wind blowing in your hair and feeling that summer breeze, your voices hoarse from singing so loudly. Everyone should have this experience at least once in his or her life.

Explore a city you haven’t seen before
It is rather exciting to step out of your comfort zone and explore an area where you’ve never been. It awakens all of your senses, with the smells, the sights, and the symphony of noises. Each city takes on a completely different feel and energy. Who knows what you’ll meet, or what you’ll experience. Summer is a great time to explore and travel, and you can do it on a budget, too. Be sure to take advantage of different places to eat while you’re there — you never know how different cities do bottomless brunch. It could surprise you!

Stargazing
Warm nights are the perfect time to just lay outside and look up at the sky. Grab a blanket and a pillow, and start making out different images in the stars. It’s a great way to clear your mind as well, and re-focus.

Have a beach day
For those who do prefer the heat of the summer, use one of your vacation days and head to a local beach for the day, even if you make it a solo trip. Grab a book, bring some headphones, whatever you need to help you relax — it’s a perfect way to make time for self-care!

Get some water
If you’re not a beach person but still want to enjoy spending time outside, make the most of your area pools and water parks. Both are fun ways to cool off, either alone or with a group. Local pools won’t break the bank, and many water parks offer season passes and packages.

Plan a gathering
Whether it’s a BBQ in your backyard or a pool party, who doesn’t love a good party during the summer? Bring your group together. Be the organizer — there’s truly no better time to make memories than the summer, even if you do have to wait for the weekend to do it!

Time Management Tips and Tricks

Adulting, Author: Michelle Ioannou

But how am I supposed to work full-time, work on my side hustle, spend time with family, date, and have a social life?

It seems impossible, I know. But that’s why as we get older, time management is more and more important.

I hate to break it to ya, but we’re not as young as we used to be. Our bodies and minds can no longer function as well as they once did at 3 a.m. when we were up writing that 10-page paper. Things usually need to be done now when it’s still light out.

But, there are only so many hours in a day. I know that, too. And that’s why time management is critical.

Make lists
Write everything down. Write down what you want to get accomplished for the day or the week. I promise you that you’ll get a sense of satisfaction upon completing a task and crossing it out. Having everything that you need to do written in one place will allow you to visualize everything, see what you still need to do, and take pride in all that you have already gotten done.

Schedule
You get countless calendar invites at work for meetings and conference calls, don’t you? Why not mimic that in other aspects of your life? Buy an agenda, and write everything down in it. Or utilize the calendar in your phone. You’ll see what you need to do, and what time you’re free to do it.

Do things when you have spare time
Some of you probably laughed at reading “spare time” but even just five minutes of downtime can result in emails getting answered or a blog post being drafted. Take advantage of unexpected free time. If you have the time to get work done, why not? Of course, this is not to imply that you should stop having “me” time — we all know the importance of self-care. This is for when you finish a task early, something gets cancelled, etc; take advantage. It’s all about having and finding your balance.

Have a buddy
Sometimes, we’re just better at staying on track with things when we have a friend checking in on us. Ask a friend to be your buddy. Tell them your plans and goals for the week, and have them check in as frequently as you want — whether that be midday everyday to see what progress you’ve made so far, or at the end of every other day.

Utilize your phone reminders
“Shoot, I forgot I needed to get that done.” We’ve all said it. And unfortunately, sometimes writing it down isn’t enough. But now, our phones are here to help. Set reminders or alarms in your phone to go off at the time you were planning on doing something. Yes, you can still “snooze” the alarm, but at least you’ll be reminded of what you need to get done.