Drowning & How to Stay Afloat

Hello Beauties, I’ve missed you all so much and I know this blog post is coming to you late and I’m sorry about that. I am entering (well almost done with) my sixth week of my graduate school fellowship!

Connection

About two weeks ago on Tuesday, I became extremely overwhelmed about the upcoming application season, my research project for the fellowship, and all my “adult” responsibilities. I’m not sure why but application season this time has become an extreme source of fear and anxiety. I really want to get into a specific PhD program – like more than anything. And as the time to apply gets closer and closer – I was just feeling so scared. I literally feel like I was drowning in my own created stress.

But I realized that it’s because I am trying to handle too much all at once. I am not superwoman and I don’t know why I try to be either. Its truly baffling. But I came out of that week of stress and figurative drowning knowing a lot more about myself and who I want to be. I realized that as I get older and more advanced in my career that the stress is just going to increase. Also, the way that I am handling the stress now will influence how I handle the future, more intense stress that is bound to show up.

What I need to do is stopping letting these stressors and fears get the best of me. First of all, I refuse to let these stressors and fears cripple or stop me from achieving my goals. Sure, they might cause me to pause for a hot second, but it wont hinder me from getting everything I need to get done, done.

So here are some new ways I am conquering my stress levels especially within the world of academia and I hope that they will help you conquer yours as well.

  1. Get the stress out of your head. This is actually something my mentor suggested here at school. She said, “instead of having all that stress in your head, write it all down. Every little thing that is stressing you out on to the paper. Once its all out of your mind, take a few moments and reflect on the items. Are these things you can change? If they are, change them. If they are tasks, finish them quickly so you won’t have to worry about them any longer.”
  2. Prioritize. One of the main things that helps get my stress when I have a lot to do in check is if I put tasks that need to be done into categories. I normally do three categories: urgent, can wait, postpone. Urgent means the task needs to be done first or within 24 hours. The Can wait category is for things within that week that need to be done, and postpone is for things that can be put off until the following week.
  3. Take breaks. I was told once that for every 55 minutes of work you do, you should take a 10 minute break. I really try to follow this unless I am on a roll in a project. During my breaks, I often go outside to walk my dog or sometimes I’ll watch an episode of my favorite show or just sit there with my eyes closed (just be careful not to fall asleep!). Also with taking breaks, whenever I feel like my stress is bubbling up out of control – I literally stop everything I’m doing and take a few moments just to breathe and relax. This stress is not the end of the world.
  4. Consider the stressors from your past. Thus far, you’ve conquered every stressor and problem thrown your way. You’ve survived every bad day, every bad situation that you thought you would never get out of, every negative interaction – you have conquered them all. I try to always remember that I have overcome a lot of stress and obstacles in the past so this one before me is not going to ruin my record!
  5. Talk it out. Take caution with this tip, but I’ve heard that talking about your stress to someone often helps. However, for me, sometimes when I tell people about my stress I feel like they diminish my problems and that stresses me out more. Find people in your life that you can go to about these stressors and that can help. For example, my grad and faculty mentors at school have been great sounding boards for my stress, but my friends not so much…

I strongly believe that stress is a necessary part of life but that it doesn’t always have to be a negative experience. Sometimes, at least for myself, stress propels me forward into success that I didn’t even imagine before.

You are a strong, stress handling boss and I believe in you! Share below some of your stress handling tips!

Until Next Time,

Tanesha

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Tanesha’s Guide To Back To School (Tips & Tricks)

plan the perfect

I don’t know about you, but I am super excited for this new school year! Not only am I in an amazing grad program, I am able to get back to my first true love: learning (in school)! For some, I know a new school year causes a lot of anxiety because you want to be organized and want to start the new year off on the right foot! I would like to say that I am generally a SUPER organized person, at least when it comes to school work. I am going to share some of my best tips and tricks!

  1. Time Management is the MAJOR KEY to success! I attribute all my success in undergrad at Hampton University to having great time management! I wrote about time management before on the blog (click here). But I wanted to recap and add some other things I’ve learned since this post.
    1. Set A Schedule (and stick with it!). There is literally no point in putting together the perfect schedule if you don’t follow it or if you don’t put everything in it. I personally like to use my iPhone calendar because it syncs across all platforms. I have multiple calendars going at once. For example some of my calendars include: Tanesha’s Calendar (for events), Pittsburgh things (for school), Family Calendar, Ladies&Co Calendar, Renae’s Calendar Schedule, and even one for birthdays!
    2. USE A PLANNER. It really doesn’t matter if your planner is digital or an old-fashioned handwritten one. It helps to have a planner so you don’t forget assignments. No matter how amazing you say your memory is, be sure to write down assignments and things you need to do. Not only will this keep your organized but it will help to physically see all the things you need to do. I used to put my assignments in my phone calendar but it began to get to cluttered, which is why I switched to this system. However what I will do is schedule time to study/do homework on the calendar which would be based on my assignments/things to do in my planner. Get it?
    3. Self-care and Rest are apart of your schedule! You cannot run on empty you must set aside time to just relax and get yourself together. If you are running at 100% all the time, your body will literally give out on you. Trust me, mine has done it before. Your body giving out might be you getting sick a lot more, headaches or fatigue. Everyone is different – some people need just one day a week, while others need a little time everyday. Listen and care for your body! Just be sure to have a good balance of being productive and taking care of yourself. Also, during this self-care time – be sure to set aside time to work on the things you’re interested in. Work on knitting, video games, blogging, vlogging, etc.
  2. Take Effective Notes! For me, I like to take physical notes in class and then as a study method I go back and TYPE my notes on Microsoft Word or Microsoft OneNote. When I type my notes, I use the textbooks to supplement my notes and fill in any gaps or things that I wasn’t understanding. When I am writing my handwritten notes in the margin I often write questions and if I don’t ask the teacher, I will use my textbook/google to find the answer and put it in my TYPED notes. But I suggest you use a note system that works for you! For me, Microsoft OneNote has literally become my lifeline! I absolutely love that I can use it across multiple platforms: my MacBook, my iPad, and my iPhone. Especially if I want to study on the go or on the bus, I don’t have to whip out the huge laptop. Just a little tip tho, make sure you are paying attention in class and taking really great notes! This will make studying a breeze!
  3. Make an assignment check sheet. What I do when I first get all my syllabi, I like to write down all my assignments in Microsoft Excel (or Microsoft Word) and sort them by due date order. So I normally make a table with Assignment Name, Course, Points (or the percentage it’s worth), and Due dates. I then print out the list and put it in my planner and remember to makeGo thru your syllabi and write down all your assignments in excel, then sort by date! Mark off as you go so you can see your accomplishments!

I think that is it! If you have any questions or even have some tips of your own – Share below in the comments! I would love to see your tips too!

XOXO,

– Tanesha Renae

Growth.

Growth.

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The crazy thing about growth is that it is almost inevitable. There are very few things in life that stay exactly the same from birth till death and most of them aren’t even alive. August it’s the eighth month and I’ve heard that means it’s the month of new beginnings. I’ve seen so many posts about I’m ready to grow, this month is going to be all about growth, growing and glowing, etc.

However, I haven’t seen very many posts about people being ready to be stretched in in unimaginable ways or being uncomfortable for seasons (not just one but for multiple seasons). In your season of growth you may have to let go of some things that you have been holding onto you so that you’ll be able to grow. These are things such as friendships, relationships, outdated goals and even your comfort zone. Holding onto a negative relationship or friendship stunts your growth. You won’t be able to grow in the way that you need to by holding onto what you want – you need both hands to be open to accept this newfound growth.

I think about a flower, if the flower is in a bad environment it won’t bloom. This is the same for you if you’re in a bad environment or surrounded by bad things or people you won’t be able to bloom to your fullest potential . Sure you might grow a little but it’ll never be as much as you could’ve. The conditions have to be just right for that flower to bloom, and even then the little seed is stretched and expanding in ways that were previously unforeseen. You could even think about a little caterpillar in the same way.

I have personally just came out of what I believe to be a tremendous season of growth. Growth seemed cool until I was actually going through it. I’m not gonna lie and say that my season of growth was perfect. I was praying for God to grow me in “tremendous ways,” but when I was actually being stretched and growing – I was low-key miserable. I was upset and I felt like things were not getting better and that my situation was actually getting worse. But as soon as I accepted the fact that this was a type of growing pain, things started to change for me. My outlook on the situation changed immensely. I started looking for things to push me more outside of my comfort zone than I already was. I figured since I’m already out of this box I might as well keep going.

The hardest part was actually realizing that this season of growth was not going to kill me. As much as it hurt, as uncomfortable I was, as unhappy I was – THIS WAS NOT GOING TO KILL ME. I think once I realized that I wasn’t going to die things started to turn around for me. I really had to realize that some of the best things are born of the struggle. And honestly if I had been given them, the first time I even asked for them – I wouldn’t have been appreciative of it. I would have just looked at it just another thing.

Basically to summarize, if you are looking to grow, be prepared for the growing pains that come with them.

Are there some areas in your life that you are looking to grow in?? What are they? Share below in the comments! I would love to hear about them!

XOXO,

– Tanesha Renae

SoapBox: Don’t Take It Personally.

Dealing With A Loss-2

People sometimes suck. Being the kind-hearted person I am, I am always expecting people to treat me the way I treat them. But that’s not always the case. People will hurt you, slander your name and not even think twice about it. Which is so strange to me because in school growing up we were always taught – “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

But maybe that’s how they pull it off – the people who treat you poorly, never expect to be treated badly or are ever actually treated badly. When people don’t treat you with the same decency, respect or kindness that you have shown them, you could get super angry, irritated and upset. OR you could not take it personally. The way people treat others has everything to do with them, and hardly anything to do with the people receiving the actions. For example, if my friend Sally treats me terribly, that says more about Sally than it does about me – especially if I know that I’ve continually treated her kindly or with respect.

At least that’s how I look at it. So continue to treat people kindly and with love – it’s honestly the only way to live with a clear conscious and also it just feels better. 🙂

Love you all bunches,

– Tanesha J.

 

 

I’m Dealing With Loss…

TW: SuicideDealing With A Loss

 

So recently, about two weeks ago on Wednesday (On May 17), my dearest and most beloved friend took his own life. Literally to know this young man was to love him. He sort of had this magnetic pull about him, where as soon as you met him – you just wanted to be around him more and more. That’s exactly how I felt in high school when I first met him – and even to a week or so before he died and I saw him at the gas station. The feeling never goes away. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never felt the pull of him.

The days following when I found out, I literally stayed up until four am crying and almost hysterical. Why is my friend gone? Why couldn’t he stay here on earth with me? Why couldn’t I save my friend? Why wasn’t my love enough to reach him? Questions that have no answers – the only person who could possibly answer them is now gone.

My Heart was and is very broken over this. I was so fond of this young man, and as were so many other people. At 24 years old, he was/is so loved. Every day, multiple times a day – I find myself wandering back to his Facebook page and reading through every single post that has been made. “RIP my battle buddy” “I cannot believe my friend is gone.” “You were such a great friend, and definitely gone too soon“ “You were so loved…” etc.

After my “hysteria” of losing my friend, I’ve since calmed down and attended both his funeral and wake. But deep down, I’m still hoping that this is some bad dream that I am about to wake up from. As I looked at what used to be the body that housed the most beautiful soul, I felt sort of at peace. The young man in the casket was not my friend, it was just a body… A body that used to hold the spirit and soul of the most amazing person. Everything that made my friend who he was, was gone and what was left was this body. The body didn’t hold the love I felt from this young man, or the happiness he gave other people – it was just a body.

The sun lived in his smile – so I’m often wondering where do I go now without his sun anymore. Grief is a crazy thing. It’s made me lash out at people I care about, become closed off and emotionless and even feeling like my life is meaningless without him. But I know that’s not true, and more importantly, my friend would have been so hurt by that fact. My heart is slowly but surely healing and I know that God has a plan for my life. And within that plan, that this experience was necessary.

If you know someone who is experiencing deep hurt – make sure you are absolutely there for that person. Even if you feel like your efforts are going unnoticed or unhelpful – trust me your efforts are valued. Especially if that person is grieving a loss of a loved one. It means so much to me that so many people have reached out (called and texted), prayed for me, and just had me in their thoughts over the loss of my beloved friend.

If you know someone or if you are suicidal – please reach out to someone. Suicide is not the answer. If you are or someone you know is struggling with depression – Reach out to me, someone you trust or love or call the suicide hotline they are so very helpful and are there 24/7. The number is 1-800-273-8255. They handle both suicide and depression. If you don’t want to talk on the phone try the crisis text line – just text this number 741741.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 NIV. 

Love Always,

– Tanesha J.

(This post is sort of all over the place – but that’s exactly how I feel, all over the place. I slowly but surely I’m getting back into the swing of things.)

if you are interested in hearing more about my friend, I posted a video on my youtube channel. Click here.

 

3 Tips On Spring Cleaning Your Life!!

3 Tips On Spring Cleaning Your Life!!

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Spring time is a time to start new! Flowers are blooming, new little animals are being born, pollen is everywhere in the air and it just such a happy time. Many people (including my mother) love this time of year because it means spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is not just for the physical things but you can also use it as a time to clean up some of the non-physical things in your life. Here are three quick tips on spring cleaning your life!

#1 – Evaluate friendships. Now, this doesn’t mean get rid of every single person in your circle – but rather evaluate the people you’re calling friends. Consider the following questions: Does this person have my best interest at heart? Do I have their best interests at heart? Does this person tell me the truth or comfort me with lies? Do we encourage each other to do the right thing? Do I trust this person without hesitation?

#2 – Declutter your social media/spaces. I personally love to change my phone background as a way of “freshening” up my phone. Lately, I have been into bright and airy photos for my phone background. I also would suggest clearing out old apps that you no longer use, or just cleaning up how apps appear on your phone/iPad/whatever device you use. I would also suggest clearing out some of your old things on social media, such as that old photo album you created on Facebook when you were 16, old tweets about a fling, or even IG pictures that are more than three years old. Take time to also purge your Facebook friends list – I hardly ever do this, but this year I am really going to evaluate the people that are coming up on my timeline and decide if I really still want/need them around.

#3 – Physically clean up! For me, this not only means to clean up your surroundings such as getting rid of old clothes and junk but also for me to clean up my act. Maybe you’re perfect, but I know that I am not and there are areas of my life that I want to clean up. Such as I want to stop allowing so many things to trigger my emotions as well as I want to love people the way that God loves me. So in order to do that I have to intentionally focus and work on changing these aspects of my life.

What are some ways you are going to spring clean your life this year? Share below in the comments because I would love to hear other ideas!

Love always, XO

–  Tanesha

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: Strong Heartedness

There has to be something to be said about the strong hearted folks out there. When I think about some of the strongest people I know, they are some of the most sensitive and kind-hearted people. No matter how much they are hurt or discouraged, they manage to keep a smile on their face, positivity in their hearts. Which isn’t easy – especially when the world is so set on being negative.

Despite all of the heartbreak, my feelings being trampled, people treating me worse than a stranger, I am strong. You are strong. Despite everything, you are still standing, still surviving and still moving forward. You have literally survived every single bad day, every single situation that you thought would take you out, every single failure – you are a survivor! And that is something to be celebrated.

Stay strong even when it’s hard

XOXO,

Tanesha

Sunday Soapbox: Don’t Live In Fear

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Even if the fear is illogical or nonexistent – it still so causes distress on your body. Our bodies are naturally to equip to handle day to day stressors and fears but perpetual fear and stress causes wear and tear on our bodies.

Fear can even cause you not to do things you once enjoyed. I feel like I live in a constant state of fear – I’m afraid of not getting into grad school, letting people who believe in me down, someone hurting me or my brother (or any family for that matter), afraid of hurting someone’s feelings and the list goes on. And it sucks. I feel like always having to push past that fear becomes so overwhelming that it drowns out the other positive feelings in my life.

But as I am living with this fear and learning how to deal with it – I often find that the fears are mostly in my own head – thought up from an overactive imagination. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this fear won’t kill me – it might hurt a little, worry me a lot, and physically cause me to be uncomfortable but I won’t die.

I saw on Pinterest once that you must “starve your fears,” which I didn’t fully understand until now. One of the main ways not to feed your fears, is to do whatever it is that scares you. For me, it’s applying for different programs or asking former professors for letters of recommendations or even going to Walmart alone. For you, it might be conquering your fear of heights or standing up for yourself when you’re not being treated respectfully – Whatever it is – do it anyway.

Another way is to purposefully counteract the fearful thoughts with more confident, strong ones. Sometimes you’ll have to go to a person with a strong, confident voice to counteract your fearful thoughts. My go-to person is my mother because she’s almost too straightforward and is practically fearless. Whenever I start to have fearful thoughts, I think about my mother telling me, “what’s the worst thing that will happen?”

Don’t let your fears control your life. You are the captain of your fate. 

What ways do you conquer your fears? Share below in the comments. 

XOXO,

-Tanesha