What to Do When You’ve Had Enough of This Semester

semester

I am generally known as a positive and happy person.  I firmly believe that positivity is a choice and we always have the option to see the best in things.

Well, recently I have been failing at this.  I mean F-A-I-L-I-N-G.

I’m honestly shocked at myself.  I am usually the first person to brush things off and choose to see the good in every situation.  But the end of this semester has brought out the pessimist in me.  Now, everything seems to be getting on my nerves and I am just ready to be DONE.

Consider this post to be a manifestation of my decision to choose positivity!  I’m sure I am not the only one who is fed-up with this semester, but it is never too late to look on the bright side.  If you are over this semester, just listen these ideas on making a comeback to the bright side.  Keep in mind that I have recently been failing at all of theses things, but all this negativity ends today!  Today I choose to see the better side of things.

1. Recognize that you have a choice

It is one of my core beliefs that we get to choose how our character evolves.  Being pessimistic and negative is the easier path to choose, but it says something about your character when you choose to see things in a way that will help you in the long run.  You will be happier when you choose positivity, but you will also be learning discipline to make the right choices.

2. Get over yourself

Sorry to sound harsh, but when you complain about everything it’s just another way to channel your selfishness.  Complaining about your lot in life is really just a method of fitting self-righteousness into your day.  Get over yourself.  You are better than all of this.  Move on and devote your energies to more important things.  Sorry.

Ooh!  Let’s freak some people out on Twitter!

Get over yourself. Choose to see the bright side! Click To Tweet

3. Turn to gratitude

Chances are that you are attending college because you or someone in your family has the financial ability to support you while you are at college.  Even if you are taking out loans or have been granted scholarships, going to college means that somebody is spending money on you.  Take a moment to appreciate the investment that is being made in your education and your future.

What about this?  You live in and age and a country that allows you to go to college regardless of your race, gender, or background.  Not everybody in the world is as lucky as we are.  College students need to find some appreciation for those who have fought to make education available for us throughout our lives.  We are truly fortunate to have this opportunity.

4. Try to learn something new

We have all come to college to learn something, however our main goal most of the time is to simply pass our classes.  Keep your mind engaged in these last few weeks and actually try to learn something new.  Take an interest in your classes and really try to learn something for the sake of learning.  You can always learn things outside your classrooms too (I’m learning how to be a blogger, and let me tell you, it is fascinating!)

5. Take care of yourself

“We must take care of ourselves before we can show compassion to others.”  So take care of yourself!  You know the drill: get enough sleep, drink water, eat healthy, exercise, watch Netflix.  Try to not commit yourself to too many tasks.  (I am looking at you fellow bloggers!)  Make a clear distinction between work-time and play-time. 🙂

6. Remember, You will definitely feel like this again

I’ve had it up to my neck with this semester, but chances are all my problems won’t be solved with the ending of the term.  There will always be something out there that gets under our skin and stresses us out, so why submit to a bad attitude?  Take this as an opportunity to train yourself to get through hard times.  When it is all over, make sure you are proud of how well you handled this semester. 🙂

Even from writing this post, I already feel better about making it through the semester.  I hope that you will join me in choosing to see the bright side of things.  Don’t waste a minute that you have on this earth because you want the semester to be over.  Even though summer is coming, good things are happening right now- embrace it!

Am I right?  Are you feeling kind of bleh at this point in the semester too?  Let me know in the comments!  What are you doing to turn things around?

The Art of Not Caring what People Think About You

the art of not caring what people think about you

I don’t really care what people think about me.

JK, I actually do.

Well, generally I think I am pretty good at being indifferent to the opinions of others, but I know that I fall short more often than I should.  I believe everybody has some concern over what others think about them, don’t you?  Haven’t you ever had to throw away something in class, but you refuse to get up and go to the trash because you don’t want people to look at you?  Precisely.  I would be willing to bet this happens to us all more that we realize, but of course there are those moments when you really don’t care.  For example: 14 year old me would never let me get away with this, but now I’ll go out in sweats and a t-shirt that are both grey!  Scandal!  I may think about it for a minute, but it doesn’t stop me from going out.

I have a totally different reaction about my reputation and past successes in theatre.  As this school year has gone on, I have become more and more self-conscious about my accomplishments.  I’ve even told people my acting resume is the most embarrassing thing about my life!  I try to take this with a bit of perspective, but it’s hard to go easy on yourself when you go to a school where it seems like everybody has played several lead roles and worked in professional theatres.

Comparison is the ultimate downfall to relieving yourself of others opinions.  I am super guilty of playing the comparison game, and that’s just not fair to myself.  Nevermind all the crazy standards portrayed in the media and movies; I know some really stellar people in real life that I wish I could be more like!  Being surrounded by people who embody all the characteristics you wish you had is pretty intimidating, how can you not compare yourself to people like that?

The key to overcoming comparison is to strive to be the best version of yourself.  Chances are the people you admire aren’t amazing because they are a carbon copy of one of their role models.  They are amazing because they are the only ones that play their part perfectly.  You can do the same!

Everything is so much easier when you aren’t concerned about what people are thinking about you.  Have you ever been on a trip away from home, and you just don’t care about how you look or act because you will probably never see any of these people again?  Well, it’s possible to live like that all the time.

The most important thing to remember is that you have something to offer this world.  Wherever you go and whatever you are doing, just be prepared to live your life honestly and play your character right.  You are smart, you know things, and that’s what people want to see.

Why is it so hard for us to let go of what others think about us?  Because not all opinions people bestow on us are bad ones.  Approval from others can be a very addictive thing to pursue, but being dependent on positive opinions of others doesn’t just work one way; you are ultimately affected by the bad ones too.

To avoid this dependency, we have to find our value in something much more stable.  In the grand scheme of things, no one is qualified to pass judgement on anyone else, so don’t worry about it!  We also have to accept that everyone is an individual and we are all on our own walks of life.  Overcoming the opinions of others isn’t easy, but it can really save you some stress.  Don’t you have enough things to worry about?

I am calling this practice of overcoming the opinions of others an “art” instead of a “how to guide”.  Art is something that can always be improved and is never really finished.  Learning to let go of other people’s opinions of you is something to work on constantly.  We are likely to fail many times, but there is also great joy to be found in this practice.  Therefore, it is an art. 🙂

The thing is this: no one ever got anywhere by playing it safe.  We should not be afraid to embrace our individuality just because others who are equally as flawed call us out on it.  Our world would lack so much color if everyone lived in fear of other’s opinions.  Nearly everyone who has made a name for themselves had to ignore some haters at one point in time.

Do you know what the real secret is to being successful as an actor?  You have to be yourself.  Offering the world of theatre something that they have never seen before is the best way to get noticed, and ultimately someone will appreciate your individuality.  However, this goes for every single thing that we face as humans.  The secret to success is being yourself, and that’s what your are automatically best at.

I hope these few words were encouraging to you.  If this is something you struggle with, just remember that it’s perfectly natural, and perfectly in your control.  🙂

10 Ways to be More Productive Right Now

productive

You know, there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes.  Or is there?  Personally, I am super busy this semester, and on top of all the things I have to do, there are plenty of things I want to do like watch Netflix and run this blog.  Whether you are a college student like me, or you live a completely different life, there are always ways to increase your productivity so you can get to the things you actually want to do.  What’s that saying?  You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé. 🙂

Without further ado, here are 10 ways to be more productive right now!

Write a list

Literally, anybody will tell you this is the first thing you need to do if you want to accomplish more, and that’s because it works!  Humans are very visual creatures, and seeing something in writing makes more of an impression on us.  Not only that, it always feels good to cross something off of your to-do list.

Small Victories

Small victories fuel larger victories.  Whether or not you realize it, little accomplishments boost your moral!  Just take one minute right now to clean up something or throw something out.  Boom.  Victory.  You are that much closer to conquering the day!

Listen to Music

Personally, I can barely breathe unless I’m listening to music.  Not only does music provide motivation and boost productivity, it drowns out distracting noises.  Music can help you focus too.  In fact, the only time I’m not listening to music while working is when I’m proof-reading something; otherwise, I would be bored out of my skull.  Plus, I can have mini dance sessions to break up my study time. 🙂

Find a Sanctuary

If you have some serious work to do, you might want to consider removing yourself from your natural habitat.  It’s likely that your home or usual hangout will have a lot of distractions that are particularly compelling to you.  Also, seeking a new environment to do your work is a specific action dedicated to your productivity: it changes the way you think and makes you more focused.  So try going to a park, library, or coffee shop to really get some work done.

Inspire Yourself

Chances are you are reading this because you needed a little inspiration to get stuff done.  Who doesn’t?  However, you are just as capable of inspiring yourself as anyone else.  You are a powerhouse!  You owe it to yourself to work hard and accomplish your goals, so look at yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself that you’ve got this!

Competition

A little friendly competition never hurt anybody, right?  If you are studying for a class, talk to your classmates about it and encourage them to work hard too.  Being around other people who are focused on the same task can increase your motivation for doing well.  If no one else is sharing your workload, then be competitive with yourself!  See if you can’t be faster, more detailed, more organized, and more productive than you’ve been in the past.

Reward Yourself

I’m not kidding about taking dance breaks.  That’s often my reward for completing another paragraph on whatever essay I’m working on.  Food is always good too, just try to be healthy.  Sometimes I allow myself to go on Pinterest or Facebook for a few minutes, although it is easy to get carried away on social media, so be careful.

Plan Mini-Plans

Usually, I know exactly what order I’m going to get ready in the morning before I even get out of bed.  I also know what to wear based on my schedule, the weather, and any physical activity I have that day.  Being strategic with your schedule can save you loads of time, not to mention reduce stress.  I plan out my routes to class early and I know exactly what I’m going to do during my breaks in order to be more efficient.  Blocking out an hour between classes to accomplish several small tasks can do wonders to increase your productivity.

Eliminate Distractions

When ignoring distractions isn’t enough, get rid of them.  Put your phone on airplane mode if you have to, or turn it off completely.  Put your cat or dog in a different room for a little while if they are really distracting you (#me).  Clear off your desk to hide your distracting do-dads.  This is why finding a sanctuary is effective, it automatically gets you away from those distractions.

Strategic Procrastination

If you absolutely have to procrastinate on something, why not do something productive?  Read up on something educational, clean up your room, stretch or go for a run, answer some emails, or hey, read about ways that you can be more productive!

I hope that these tips were helpful for you and that you will find it easier to get business done now.  The best part of increasing your productivity is all the free time you get at the end of it all!  So, even though not all the work we have to do is very fun, you will hopefully get done faster and feel better about your accomplishments.  How do you stay productive?  Let me know!

Let’s get stuff done!

You Can Still Learn When You’re Tired

This week has been the most exhausting week of my college career thus far.  So far, I’ve been handling my first 18 credit semester pretty well; all I can do is take it one day at a time.  However, yesterday I woke up with no energy to make it through the day, on top of that, Fridays are my busiest day by far.  At the end of my four classes yesterday I went to my voice lesson of the week, where I learned some very valuable things that may help us all.

You can still learn whe you're tired- laughswithoutfear.com

Shout out to my cat for being today’s model.

I’ve been taking private voice lessons for about 4 years now.  Even if you are not trying to make a career out of singing, voice lessons are a good way to learn about yourself and have fun.  Even professional actors with thriving careers still get vocal coaching, there is always something to learn.

To those of you who aren’t singers, it may surprise you to learn that singing requires your entire body.  Likewise, whatever state your body is in will affect how you sing.  So you can imagine that at the end of an exhausting week, I wouldn’t have much energy left within me to belt out some show tunes.  Of course my voice teacher recognized this right away, and luckily she knew just how to use my exhaustion as a learning experience.

I like to push myself in all areas of my life.  This is a big no, no when it comes to singing.  That is a sure way to damage your voice.  Actually, I suppose that can go for many things…  During my voice lesson I really took the time to slow down and listen to my voice.  Was it damaged?  Was it dry?  Was it just tired?  Then I realized that I hadn’t been listening to my voice at all recently (I mean, this this is supposed to be my money-maker!).  I guess being aware of my voice is one good thing that came from being tired.

Point 1

-Being tired can force you to listen to yourself.  How are you doing?

Well, I thought I sounded awful.  But at least I stopped to listen.  However, I couldn’t find the energy within me to produce the sound I knew I could.  So, my voice instructor told me to understate everything I sang.  You know, not everything can a huge Broadway-belt moment.  It just can’t.  That’s where a lot of the story in every song is: in the quiet moments.

Point 2

-There is good in the quiet moments.  We need quiet to process our thoughts.

So I sang through a song.  If you really want to know, it was “Fly, Fly Away” from Catch Me If You Can.  I sang it horribly, of course.  I didn’t really sound like myself.  I knew this sound wasn’t anything I could present to the faculty at the end of the term.  I didn’t sweat it though, and I certainly didn’t push myself to sound better.

Point 3

-You can’t produce your best work when you’re tired, so don’t put that pressure of yourself.

I’ve never had any belt training.  (You know, that big Broadway sound?  I have no idea how people do that…)  So I asked my teacher how on earth singers achieve that.  With some technical work, I was soon belting out a wave of sound that I had never experienced before!  I got shivers, like I just had a huge breakthrough in my education.

Point 4

-Just because you’re tired doesn’t mean you’re useless.

The most amazing thing I learned was that you can still learn when you’re tired.  It’s just a matter of learning how to learn when you’re tired.  Because, let’s face it: we are going to be tired for most of the time we’re in college.  Let’s not let that time go to waste. 🙂

Little Ways to Cut Negativity Out of Your Life

Little Ways To Cut Negativity Out Of Your Life

What people don’t typically realize is that we have a lot more control over our outlook on life than we may think.  We make decisions every day about how we look at and feel about things, in fact, this may be our own personal superpower that we sorely under use.  Sure, there may be things that get us down no matter what, but lingering in that negativity is completely our choice.  Getting into habits that help you let go of negativity can really help your outlook on life in the long run.

The inspiration for this post came to me at a moment when I was feeling especially sorry for myself, which I’m sure happens to everyone.  I was just unhappy with the whole first-year-of-college experience.  Dorm life, lack of personal space, the dining hall, and loud noises were just getting to me.  Then a thought suddenly struck me: what would I tell someone who was in the same situation as me?

Here are some little ways that you can cut negativity out of your life. 🙂

1)  Clean up your space

I hate looking at a mess, and organizing is actually pretty therapeutic for me.  Spending just a few minutes to make your bed or clear off your desk can do wonders to improve your mood.  After coming home from a long day, it’s nice to have a clean space to look at.

2)  Check what you watch, read, and listen to.

I have been in denial about this subject on several occasions, but the truth is that these things really do affect you.  You may not always realize the effects right away, but I promise they do happen.  There have been several times where I’ve finished a novel, or watched a movie that made me slightly more irritable for days after.  Other times, it just takes your mind to a dark place (example: the Twilight era, now do you believe me?).  Remember, just because you don’t notice a change in your demeanor, doesn’t mean others won’t.

3)  Check who you follow on social media

Omigosh!  This is a big one!  I’m sure we all have those friends on Facebook that drag everyone into their issues, and your energy is better spent elsewhere!  I often go through and unfollow people that have nothing good to say, or even those who I’ve fallen apart from.  The same goes for other platforms of social media.  I’m sure we all like a good joke now and then, but that’s a prime way that negativity seeps into newsfeeds: through humor.  When going through your feed, ask yourself if those who you are following are really uplifting, or if your life would be just as complete without them.

4)  Don’t invest in friends that don’t really care for you

Do you relate to this?  You hang out with the people you happen to be around, even though they may not be your genuine friends.  I certainly do.  I’m not saying to cut these people out of your life completely, after all, we should treat everyone with the type of love that Christ extends to us.  Just don’t invest in a relationship that brings you down.  I listen to people complain about their lives and bash about other people everyday, and acting like that may seem like an easy way to fit in, but participating in this type of attitude is a choice.

5)  Be kind to strangers

Typically, being kind isn’t exactly the priority of most people when they are out and about.  In fact, I’m sure most of us have encountered some very rude people in public.  Nevermind that, just make it your goal to be kind to everyone when you are out.  I like to think of this as a little shield of positivity you can take with you everywhere you go. 🙂  This way, you can guard yourself against negativity and brighten someone else’s day at the same time.

6)  Practice letting things go

This is something you can do all hours of the day.  Of the thousands and thousands of thoughts we have in a day, roughly 80% are negative ones.  When you catch a negative thought entering your head, just let it go.  You won’t gain anything by hanging on to these thoughts, so move on with your life.  Sometimes, my life is just moving too fast for me to manage my thoughts like this, but when I’m in the shower, trying to sleep, on car rides, or even in class I can practice letting go of the negative thoughts that are occupying my brain.  Honestly, this is such a good way to relieve stress and concentrate on the tasks ahead of you.  Sure it takes practice, but it’s worth it!

Did you know that people, actually everybody, is automatically drawn towards negativity?  In fact, that’s what most of the media is built off of.  (Why do you think the Kardashians and Donald Trump are so famous?  Negativity)  Even you love to think negative thoughts, though you may not realize it.  The good news is that you have more control over the negativity in you life than you may realize.  I hope these tips were helpful to you!  Best of luck!