I have learned a few life lessons that I definitely ignored in my early 20's and wish I would have listened:
Communicate: As women we are known for over communicating but I still encounter many women in my life who have troubles expressing their needs and are even passive aggressive at times (I used to be one of them myself). We are so worried how others may perceive us or hurting those around us that we forget to put our needs first. I have found that communication is the one of the most valuable skills you can have in life. It’s fairly simple, the more I communicate my feelings in my relationship, friendships, in the work place or with family, the happier I am.
Listen to your body: I used to think “mind over matter” when pushing myself to do things like an intense work out, staying up to study all night or depriving yourself from whatever I was craving. The truth of the matter is, your body is giving you signals for a reason! I’ve found that when I give in to what my body is telling me it needs, it always rewards me later.
Take smaller steps: When something seems overwhelming or just too far-fetched to achieve, I have to remind myself to take smaller steps. When you’re in the midst of a daunting task or ultimate goal it’s easy to lose sight of your original determination. For me, I need to make a to-do list with all of the steps I must take in order to reach my destination. I then just focus on the one ahead of me and slowly cross each one off.
Find your own therapy: Everyone needs some sort of a release; physically, mentally and even spiritually. Yoga accomplishes this for my body and heart. Mentally, I surround myself with people I can open up to and seek out for advice. I also have my wonderful therapist who is a non-biased party that always helps to give me perspective and lends valuable words of encouragement.
Ignore other people’s expectations: This realization didn’t happen until my freshman year in college; I realized I was living for other people and not myself (trying to please everyone else around me). I started asking myself “What will make me most happy today?” and allowed myself to do just that. I began asking myself this very question when faced with other options, what will make me the most happy, choice A or choice B? Stop worrying about everyone else.
Find balance in moderation: I used to roll my eyes when people used the phrase “everything is good in moderation”. How can you have pizza or chocolate chip cookies in moderation? With a type A personality moderation wasn’t naturally occurring in my vocabulary. It took a lot of trial and error to realize I don’t need to deprive myself of the things that I want, but I can have them in small doses (whatever it may be).
Build your own network: Connecting with people is where I find my greatest day-to-day joys from life. Everyone is busy, you need to be the one to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to people (I am always so appreciative when I am on the receiving end of this). Build a network of friends at work, outside of work, and through your interests & hobbies. Experiences are really that much better when you have wonderful people to share them with. There are hopefully a few more lessons I forgot to mention but would love to hear yours (so maybe I won’t have to learn it the hard way!).