Ahh summer-time. The (arguably) enjoyable weather brings about endless possibilities for outings, adventure, and quality time with friends and family. For many, the summer months indicate vacation and travel arrangements to sunny, tropical destinations. As appealing and worthwhile as a good getaway may be, these plans can also lead to uninterrupted thoughts about what to pack, what needs to get done, what to budget, feelings of guilt for leaving behind responsibilities, and an endless list of anticipated items. However, what many of us don’t think of packing is our well-being. Ensuring you are feeling your best self and are preparing in a way that will care for your mental health is just as essential as any other travel equipment.Continue reading
By: Diana Cruz
Being diagnosed with a medical condition, especially at a young age, can take on an unfathomable toll. Physical, mental, and emotional aspects of yourself that haven’t even fully developed are now forcibly taking on the additional role of simultaneously fighting, healing, and growing. As someone who was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder as a child, and displayed symptoms even earlier on in life, it was difficult for me to understand what was going on with my body. The non-stop infections, the continuous weakness that increased with weekly blood tests and frequent operations, and the never-ending dizziness at an age where I was supposed to be the most energetic left me feeling inexplicably different than the kids around me.Continue reading
By: Diana Cruz
It is officially spring which means warm weather steadily approaching, flowers blossoming, and new outdoor activities. Although the blooming season presents many physically beautiful attributes, it introduces us to several internally mesmerizing properties as well. Spring represents a number of rebirths and reawakenings – be they physical, emotional, or spiritual. This time of year yields the perfect opportunity to restart and refresh your mind, soul, and body through the cleansing of old habits, mindsets, or practices and the addition of new, nurturing ones.Continue reading
By: Diana Cruz
Motivation is a gift that many people overlook. When motivation is lost, the momentum once encompassed to achieve your goals and accomplishments typically decreases. Loss of motivation and momentum can easily be viewed as laziness or lack of desire to truly go after what you want; however, it is much easier to judge from the outside looking in.
Remaining motivated to complete the goals you have set for yourself, even daily tasks, can be daunting when factors out of your control come into play. Having an impairment or sickness can take a toll like no other – one that can make you feel scared, unmotivated, and alone. It can feel like the universe is out to get you. As someone with an autoimmune disorder, experiencing flare-ups with my health can affect every aspect of my life. It becomes an impairment physically, mentally, and emotionally – making completing tasks and remaining motivated nearly impossible some days.
When my disorder gets the best of me, I tend to remind myself of three things:
- It is not only okay to take time to rest – it is necessary. Your body cannot do its best if it is in “Go” mode all the time. If your body needs time to recover, listen to it and respect that. You may find that taking time off will benefit your mind and body in an impactful way.
- Doing your best looks different every day. Completing day-to-day tasks, regardless of how minor, are still accomplishments. It is unrealistic to always tackle the world.
- Your weaknesses are your strengths. Nobody knows what it takes to be you, and that is your greatest superpower. Your ability to push through even your toughest of days is admirable and inspiring. Be proud of yourself.
Rather than judging the positions of others, praise those who are consistently putting in effort despite their circumstances. Be kind – you do not know everyone’s story. And lastly, please remember to eat, drink water, take care of yourself, and do your best – whatever that may look like today. Keep your support system close and remember that asking for help does not make you weak, it makes you resourceful.
By Diana Cruz
It’s the start of a new year; a fresh new calendar with 12 empty months waiting to be filled with the dates of all your dream vacations and the goals that are itching to be accomplished. Although it is a great time to kick start your journey of new beginnings and aspirations, it is not necessary to associate the new year with restarting.
If you are in the midst of figuring out what you want out of life, it is okay to take your time in continuing to do so. Enjoying the journey of trial and error is what allows for a more positive experience and long-lasting results. I encourage you to take your time in pursuing your dreams and being patient in figuring out what that looks like for you.Continue reading
By Diana Cruz
They say as you get older, the holidays tend to feel less special. There is more pressure to give the perfect gift, more work to be done to host guests, and less magic in waking up to presents under the tree. As much as I can understand the added pressures around the holidays as an adult, I can also say that there is so much more to be grateful for as I become more aware every year of what truly matters.
This year, I can say I feel blessed enough to travel home to a family that means the world to me. The people, food, and shelter that I had become accustomed to and overlooked as gifts in themselves are now what makes my heart feel full. Seeing the happiness in my niece and nephew’s eyes as they rip apart wrapping paper (even on gifts that aren’t theirs) are moments that I will always hold on to. The love that my family encompasses is one like no other, and that is something that can never be gift-wrapped. Despite the hiccups and miscommunications that we experience, as I’m sure many others do, I can never thank them enough for the support and love that they unconditionally provide. That is what makes our home warm even on the coldest of days. The holidays for me this year remind me of all the simple things that we typically take for granted, but I know I would be lost without.Continue reading
By Diana Cruz
I’m someone you would call an “extroverted introvert,” or as Google so kindly put it, an ambivert. Spending time with my family and friends, and even getting out of my comfort zone to meet new people, brings me excitement and a sense of fulfillment. Yet, I’ve noticed that these feelings only bring me a positive experience when there is also a balance of “me time.” I’ve found that time alone to prepare prior to an event, as well as afterward to recharge is ideal, personally. However, as someone who comes from a big Dominican family, finding this time alone can sometimes be difficult, especially during the holidays.Continue reading
Fall is undoubtedly my all-time favorite season. There is something so tranquil about feeling my favorite flannel brush against the cool breeze. The sight of beautiful vibrant leaves falling upon the jack-o-lantern on my doorstep brings color to my world. The scent of freshly baked cookies being carried throughout the house warms me as I watch classic horror movie reruns on the TV. But for a multitude of reasons, autumn this year resonates with me on a deeper, more existential level. It is the season of change, both externally and internally. As we come to adjust our surroundings and habits to correlate with our altering environment, we may begin to reflect inward.Continue reading