Facing the prospects of a long distance relationship, I read articles upon articles about “surviving the distance” and “how to make it work”. There’re the obvious things like planning time to visit, having an end date for the distance, and Skype dates (and when I say dates, I mean time set aside like you would for a date). But, after a not so successful attempt and a recent successful month of long distance, the one thing that none of these articles tell you is that those cutesy apps and things won’t hold your relationship together. You have to put in the effort and believe that it’ll work.
No one is that secure that they have no doubts. But you should be able to look your SO in the eyes and see that love there. Maybe it’s a romantic idea, but I’m a fantasy writer. If doubt is creeping into your mind daily and skewing your perceptions, you should be able to talk to your SO about it. Don’t be accusatory. Just let your SO know your concerns. Basically, he/she will reassure you. Though it’s ultimately your responsibility to remind yourself of this reassurance, communication is the most important thing in any relationship.
What it means when you don’t make the effort
If you’ve stopped making the effort, you already know what I’m going to say; you’re just reading this for confirmation. It’s time to break-up. If you wanted to talk to your SO, you would. Maybe you thought you could handle long distance or maybe you knew this was coming. Either way, you and your SO deserve to be happy and if you’re not putting in the effort, it means you’d be happier apart.
If your relationship is rotting when you’re together, distance will kill it. Even if you put in every effort and buy every long distance app, it won’t make a difference. Some things look good on paper, but that doesn’t mean they’re good in real life. If you’re questioning whether you should do long distance, ask yourself if the relationship is worth it. What’s holding you back? If you love that person, wouldn’t you make the effort?
If any of this describes you or you’re currently in a long distance relationship or you’re in a relationship that went through a time of long distance, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
It can happen when you have no ideas, your mind a buzzing blank screen. It can happen when you have all of the ideas, but they filter through, none of them sticking or developing. I’m dealing with the latter. So, what do you do?
Step one: admit you have writers block. No one wants to get stuck in the denial stage.
Step two: move around. Getting the blood flowing can work wonders.
Step three: just start writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s garbage as long as there are words on the page. Thinking about writing right now is the equivalent to hitting your head against the wall. The most important thing is to move through the block. Sure, you’ll have to go back and rewrite that entire section, but the only way to move forward is to actually move.
And now that I’ve written something, maybe the beast has been tamed. Fingers crossed.
Before college, I had a list of things that I didn’t believe that I could do.
- Make silly faces (It just didn’t look right when I did it, wasn’t my personality)
- Start conversations with anyone
- Be a leader
All of these things seemed unobtainable. I was a set person in a set niche of the social order and doing any of these things would break that order. Everyone would doubt me. I would doubt me. But what I didn’t know then was that only my own doubt was stopping me.
The reason so many people give up on dreams is because they don’t believe it can happen. That simple state of mind changes everything for them. They hold back rather than charging forward.
Going away to school was the opportunity I needed to break out of my shell. I went where no one would know me and started over being more open and more myself than I had ever been. Now I feel comfortable making silly faces and talking to anyone. And this fall I’ll be taking on a leadership position welcoming freshmen to my college.
My mentality went from being as small as possible to speaking up and being present. For anyone shy: you are allowed to exist, to take up space, to talk loudly. It took me awhile to incorporate this idea in my life, so I hope that by sharing it, other people can begin to believe in this truth and begin to abolish doubt. Because anything is possible.
When there seems to be nothing good in your life, here are a few easy steps to refocus and get yourself back on track.
- Take a full deep breath. It’s amazing how often we forget to breathe deeply. And a full deep breath is something to be grateful for. Your body is working, living, and fighting. It hasn’t given up on you yet. Even if you’re homeless and starving, you have life and air in your lungs. The game isn’t over yet.
- The food in front of you is a blessing. For the longest time, I didn’t understand why people said grace over their meals. I took it for granted that food would always be provided for me or that I would always find food. This isn’t the case for some people. Be grateful for your food because one day you might not have it.
- Embrace boredom and use it as a time to think. Being bored is a luxury. It means you feel safe and don’t have any work to do. Embrace this time to think about life or yourself or others or even to daydream. You only have so much time on Earth, use it.
- No time? Not True. In your car on the way to work, you can think about anything you want to. Use that time away from people and responsibilities to try and relax. In bed trying to fall asleep, you have the ability to close your eyes and be anywhere you want with anyone you want doing anything you want. Visualize yourself doing the things that you don’t necessarily have time for.
Are you feeling blah? Want a fast pick-me-up?
- Background Music: Why are movie lives so awesome? Background music. They set the mood and make everything more dramatic. Put your headphones in wherever you’re going and play film scores or your favorite happy songs.
- Your Favorite Snack: My favorite snack is chocolate. If you need to turn your day around, motivate yourself with your favorite snack or T.V. show or movie or anything you’ve really been wanting to do.
- Escape: If you’re at work, take a quick bathroom break to refresh yourself. If you’re at home having a blue weekend, go for a walk or get behind the wheel and drive with all of the windows down. If it’s winter or you absolutely can’t leave the house/building, read a bit of a book.
Chew on this: everything likes to happen at once. All of the customers flood the store. Everything that can go wrong with the house, does. So many frustrating things happen that you can’t help but laugh at your misfortune.
So, what can we do? Smile. Brace yourself. And go to bed early because the earlier you go to bed, the sooner the day ends.
Dread can overwhelm you and ruin a whole day or multiple days if you’re like me. It can exhaust your mind and your body if you aren’t careful.
How to control it
- Write out the worst possible outcomes: This is a technique most counselors suggest for people with anxiety. By writing out the worst outcomes, you can get them out of your head and reexamine them. This gives you a chance to step back and realize that these outcomes are probably unlikely.
- Minimize: The fastest and easiest way to relieve dread or guilt or any other negative emotion is to “zoom out”. Instead of focusing in on one bad experience, picture your whole life spread out in front of you. This event that you’re dreading is relatively small compared to your whole life. Will you remember this event when you’re seventy? Maybe, but probably not.
- Replace the dread with excitement: Dread focuses all your attention on one negative event. You could flip the emotion associated with the event or you could focus in on something in the near future that you’re excited about (even making something up to be excited about). Instead of dreading the event, focus on moving past the event. Become excited to get the event over with rather than dreading being in the middle of it. OR focus on something that you’re genuinely excited to do after the event. If you heighten the excitement enough, you can bury the dread. OR if there’s nothing you’re excited about, make something to be excited about. Plan to go out for ice cream after the dreaded event to take your mind off of it.
- If you’re religious, pray: That probably goes without saying for the religious people, but asking and believing it will go smoothly will help you relax.
If you’re single, let me know if anyone comes to mind when you read these.
If you’re in a relationship, I speak for everyone when I say, don’t do these in front of other people.
- Baby talk- I would list this five times and it still wouldn’t be enough to express how annoying it is. You aren’t five. Baby talk in private all you want, but no one else wants to listen to it.
- Being clingy- This counts physically and emotionally. Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you lose your identity. You don’t need to hold hands and cuddle every second you are together, especially in public. No one appreciates PDA.
- Ditching friends for your SO- Your SO can’t replace your friends. One day you’ll look up and wonder where your friends are. If you hang out with your SO more than your friends, what happens when you and your SO break-up? You realize how much time you could’ve been spending with friends instead.
- Using social media to express your love- Relationships are supposed to be private. That’s why celebrity relationships are strained and end fairly quickly. Remember, if you post a bunch of lovey photos on social media, you’ll have to do something about them if you guys break-up. Is it worth it? Absolutely not.
- Getting engaged in high school or early college- I never considered teenagers getting engaged so early until I came to Kentucky. You’ve barely seen the world; how can you know that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone? If you go from living with family to living with a spouse, you’ve never been independent. What happens if your spouse passes away or you can’t work out your differences and get divorced? You’ll be alone for the first time in your life. Learn to walk on your own before you walk with someone else.
Spring break has ended, and now it’s the mad dash through the end of the semester. Papers pile up. Tests fall back to back. Projects overwhelm most of your time.
How to survive:
- Plan out your homework.
- Stick to the plan most of the time, but have one cheat day.
- Focus on one thing at a time. The plan is essential to you focusing on one thing without having to worry about forgetting everything else.
- Do not forget to eat. Eat and study. Eat and write. Eat and walk. But do not forget to eat.
- All-nighters aren’t effective. Yes, things will get done, but they won’t be polished enough to turn in without a serious edit.
- When you complete a paper or test, reward yourself. You deserve it.