Motivation Monday - Birthday Reflections!

Hello all, and happy Motivation Monday! Today is my seventeenth birthday, and this occasion has provoked me to reflect on the passage of time and what I hope to achieve in the next chapter of my life. To me, birthdays are a time to celebrate a year’s worth of lessons learned, goals achieved, and cherished memories made. They are also a time to prepare for the next 365 days of laughter, mistakes, experiences, and challenges to come. Today, I invite you to think back over your the past year with me. What were the highest points for you, and the most devastating lows? How did you overcome adversity and demonstrate resilience? What have you spent your time doing, and was it beneficial for you? What have you learned? Are you living life to the fullest? Are you excited or wearied by the prospect of a year to come? Are you the healthiest, most positive, and best version of yourself?

This week, I challenge you to identify a problem in your life and take the initiative to change it. Use this week as a fresh beginning and implement early New Year’s resolutions! The problem can be as big or small as you want it to be. For instance, I often struggle with procrastination, and have decided to implement the one-minute rule this week. This rule states that anything that takes sixty seconds or less should be done right away. I hope that this will increase my productivity and simplify my life! If you struggle with excessive stress, try to abide by the 5 by 5 rule this week! This rule states that if something will not matter in five years, one should not spend more than five minutes being stressed about it. I hope that you take this challenge to heart and are motivated to make small changes this week that will lead to a better lifestyle! This Motivation Monday, look forward to a week full of warmth, family, and love. I hope you are all having an excellent start to Thanksgiving week

By: Jessica Hutt

Instagram: Jessica.hutt

Twitter: Jessicahutt3

Come to our Queer Kids Kickoff!

The Queer Kids Kickoff in collaboration with Tangible Movement will take place on Sunday, November 18 from 1-3 pm. The event, hosted by Tangible Movement, will serve as a casting call for LGBTQ+ youth who would like to be showcased in their local communities. Join us for drinks, snacks, and fun as we take photos for our LA series trading cards. The event is free (though donations are appreciated) and will take place at Onepiece Work (631 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401). RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/queer-kids-kickoff-open-call-day-party-tickets-51902826752?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing#tickets! We look forward to seeing you there! 

By: Jessica Hutt

Instagram: @jessica.hutt

Come to our Stage and Table Event!

On Saturday, November 17, from 8:30pm-12:30am, Stage + Table will host a Wine & Cheese Pairing Competition. All proceeds from this event will go toward Tangible Movement. The contest will feature wine and cheese pairings from over 12 teams for attendees to sample and judge. After the conclusion of the competition, guests are welcome to stay and mix, mingle, and enjoy gourmet late night treats! REGISTER NOW at https://stageandtable.com/event/18-11-17-fr

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Tazeen Shaikh’s Debut Novel “The Fire You Don’t See”

Tazeen Shaikh is a twenty-one year old author who suffers from depression, anxiety, and panic attack disorder. Shaikh has always loved writing, and when nothing helped her issues, she decided to get help through her own words. She recently published her debut novel “The Fire You Don’t See”. The story revolves around two young women who suffer from complications that are close to Shaikh’s heart - mental illness and bullying. The two main characters are Indian and Korean. Shaikh says that the reason she incorporated a multicultural dimension into her work is that she wanted “to show that no matter what race we are and what geographic location we belong to, we all share the same common need to love and to be loved. We all feel pain. Both the lead characters support each other through the storm and find friendship in the chaos.” Shaikh wants to inspire others and heal alongside them. Although the story is fictitious, it is inspired by Shaikh’s ongoing fight with mental illness and the scars that remain from being bullied in the past. A synopsis of the book and purchase link can be found below:

A twenty-one year old Indian girl, Eira, is trying her best to get through life in Dubai as a regular college student. But her deteriorating mental health, along with the loss of her roommate and best-friend, has ignited a ceaseless fire within her. However, her life suddenly begins to change by the entry of Aehyun, a transfer student from South Korea who has a struggle of her own. These young women of two different countries yet similar spirits, brought together by fate, find friendship in the midst of chaos. Will this friendship sweep the ashes from their past? Or will it bury the two under them forever?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1726643735/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1541501100&sr=1-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=the+fire+you+don%E2%80%99t+see&dpPl=1&dpID=41VWXIR25kL&ref=plSrch

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Support Tazeen Shaikh on social media:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tazeen__shaikh/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tazeen_shaikh14

Snapchat: tazeen.shaikh

By: Jessica Hutt

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessica.hutt/

How to Provide Aid to Those Affected by the California Wildfires

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1. Donate to or apply to volunteer with Caring Choices (http://www.caring-choices.org/home.html) to provide medical care to the victims of the fires and/or provide a home for displaced animals.

2. Donate to the Humane Society of Ventura County (https://www.hsvc.org/donate) to help provide shelter to domestic animals and livestock that have been displaced by the fires.

3. Donate to Enloe Medical Center (https://www.enloe.org/enloe-foundation/enloe-foundation) or text “CampFireRelief” to 91999 to help provide shelter to families who have been displaced due to the Camp Fire.

4. Donate to the North Valley Community Foundation’s Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund to support the operations of organizations that are sheltering evacuees of the Camp Fire.

5. Donate to the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund (https://www.calfund.org/wildfire-relief-fund/) to sponsor medical treatment for victims, rebuild homes, and more.

6. Donate to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Music for Relief Fund (https://secure.eifoundation.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app367a?df_id=4520&mfc_pref=T&4520.donation=form1&NONCE_TOKEN=BD586CAC59FBAE663577626DA737EA87.) to help firefighters and first responders. Specific projects include providing hydration backpacks and night vision goggles for helicopter pilots and providing meals for workers and displaced families in shelters.

7. Crowdfund through Google (https://www.google.com/search?ei=8v7lW635Aofc8AOTqbfYBA&q=donate+southern+california+wildfires&oq=donate+southern+california+wildfires) and GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/cause/californiafires).

Thank you for your generosity and support during these difficult times!  

By: Jessica Hutt

Instagram: @jessica.hutt

Twitter: @jessicahutt3

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Fun Friday - Movie Reccomendation!

Hello all! For this Fun Friday, I wanted to reccomend a movie that I recently enjoyed. I wrote up a review of this film and strongly suggest that you see it this weekend! Movies are a great way to have fun sober, and “The Hate U Give” is an interesting and culturally important choice! 

The cultural relevance of “The Hate U Give” betrays the superficial nature of its genre and allows the film to serve as a catalyst for important conversations about race and systematic injustice across the globe. The film adaptation of Angie Thomas’ avant-garde novel, which remained on The New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List for fifty weeks after its release in 2017, has lived up to the book’s legendary fiscal success. However, the triumph of the film extends further than its ticket sales and rave reviews - “The Hate U Give” provides a national platform for the experience of blackness in America to be projected on a level that cannot be ignored.

“The Hate U Give” opens with a powerful scene that demonstrates the simultaneous honor and burden of being black. Maverick (played by Russell Hornsby) presents his family with the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Program and instills in them the understanding that their black identities merit great pride. He tells his children that it is imperative that they never “forget that being black is an honor, because we come from greatness." In a voice-over, Starr (played by Amandla Stenberg) refers to this conversation as “The Talk”, a discussion that takes a dark turn as Maverick advises his family on how to navigate a biased and unjust world with their minority identities. In a lesson that will soon become painfully relevant, he teaches his children exactly how to act if approached by law enforcement, emphasizing the importance of their complete compliance with officer commands.

Starr is an ever-shifting character who adapts her persona to her surroundings, never fully fitting into either. In Garden Heights, the lower-income neighborhood in which her family resides, Starr is uncomfortable and out-of-place at parties. In Williamson Prep, the wealthy private school she attends in pursuit of a higher quality education, Starr holds her tongue. The dichotomy between her and her classmates, Starr notes, is that while AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) makes them cool, “slang makes me ‘hood’”. Starr hides her relationship with her white boyfriend (played by K.J. Apa) from her father, and hides her home life from her peers at Williamson.

The driving force of the film is the shooting death of Starr’s friend Khalil (played by Algee Smith) in an act of racially charged police violence. This tragedy suddenly plunges Starr into the intimidating world of activism. As members of her community try to silence her, Starr comes to speak on behalf of Khalil, and in so doing, finds her own voice. The movie hyper-realistically depicts the experience of police brutality in America not only in the physical shooting of Khalil, but in the aftermath of the incident. The film showcases the privileged and ignorant commentary of Hailey (played by Sabrina Carpenter), a Williamson friend of Starr. It also portrays the media response, in which Khalil is scrutinized rather than his killer.

In the era of the Black Lives Matter movement, a film like “The Hate U Give” is more vital than ever. Conversations about ingrained prejudice and a society that lacks empathy and understanding are arising all across the nation. This film serves as a platform for the black community to collectively raise their voice. The whole world is listening.

Sources:

https://www.indiewire.com/2018/10/the-hate-u-give-amandla-stenberg-russell-hornsby-blacklivesmatter-1202010171/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/03/movies/the-hate-u-give-review-amandla-stenberg.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2018/10/02/review-why-hate-u-give-teen-movie-ever

ybody-needs-watch/1494820002/

Therapy Thursday - How to Have a Positive Conversation about Mental Health!

For today’s Therapy Thursday post, I would like to showcase the work of Emily Rabinowitz. A valued member of the Tangible Movement team, Emily serves as the nurse practitioner for Tangible Movement. She recently wrote an incredible article on how to initiate positive conversations about difficult topics such as depression and suicide. This is an extremely important topic and a well thought-out piece! Check it out here:

 https://medium.com/@nursepractitioneremily/how-to-have-a-positive-conversation-about-depression-and-suicide-bd40219706b2

Tip Tuesday!

Hello, all! For today’s Tip Tuesday post, I have decided to compile a list of smartphone applications that may be helpful for victims of domestic violence and for those who are struggling with mental illness. Please keep in mind that these virtual tools are not substitutes for real-life help. If you are struggling with mental illness or are being abused, please reach out to a therapist or find a safe space immediately. The national domestic violence hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

1. R3

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The name “R3” refers to the 3 R’s of domestic abuse: Recognize, Respond, and Refer. This app, which is free for both Apple and Android users, helps to identify whether or not a person is being abused by asking a 4-question questionnaire. This assessment is based on the HITS logarithm, which stands for Hurt, Insult, Threaten, and Scream. The app is well-received by physicians, particularly because there are resources available for professionals. Another feature of R3 is that it provides tips for safe and discreet usage. Overall, this application is extremely thorough and can be a helpful tool in determining whether an individual is a victim of partner violence.

2. SafeNight

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SafeNight is a great resource for donors to support victims of abuse. The app will notify users when local shelters are full and allow them to sponsor a survivor’s stay in a hotel. SafeNight will request donations from a verified domestic violence organization of the user’s choosing. SafeNight is free on Apple, Android, and Windows.

3. Calm

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Calm is the perfect introduction to meditation! This tool, which was named Apple’s “App of the Year” in 2017, is intended to help users reduce anxiety, improve length and quality of sleep, and feel happier and more satisfied overall. Calm has four sections - meditation, sleep, breath, and relaxation. A great feature of the app is that meditation sessions are customizable in length, and are available from 3 to 25 minutes. It can be fit into the most strict of schedules!

4. Moodpath

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Moodpath is a technological support system for smartphone users with depression and/or anxiety. The app, which is free on the Android and iPhone, screens for symptoms of mental illness. After two weeks, it provides users with a technical document that can be shared with a mental health professional. Moodpath also features an extensive collection of videos and resources intended to understand and improve mental wellbeing.

5. SuperBetter

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SuperBetter is a game designed to promote strength, optimism, and motivation amongst users with depression, anxiety, chronic illness, and/or PTSD. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania concluded that “when people played SuperBetter for 30 days, their mood improved, symptoms of anxiety and depression decreased, and self-belief to achieve goals increased”. SuperBetter is available for free on both Android and iPhone.

6. 7 Cups

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7 Cups is a smartphone app dedicated to providing emotional support and online therapy to smartphone users with anxiety and/or depression. The app, which is free on both the Android and the iPhone, features a lineup of over 160,000 trained listeners and/or licensed therapists. The service is completely anonymous and available at any time. 7 Cups is a discrete, affordable, and accessible alternative to traditional therapy.

By: Jessica Hutt

Instagram: @jessica.hutt

Twitter: @jessicahutt3

Motivation Monday! FAITH

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  How will your story be told? Will it be a tale of persistence through the darkest of times, or a tragedy that warns of what happens when a person loses hope? For this Motivation Monday, I would like to talk about faith, and why it is imperative that you hold it close during the most difficult points of your life.

Faith can be simply defined as a strong belief. It is not necessarily a religious word, though it can be. Faith comes in different forms to different people, but the outcome remains the same - a rejuvenated sense of self through adverse times. When things are going well, it is easy to hold faith close. You have no reason to doubt that there is a better future ahead when there is nothing to strip you of your hope and strength. However, keeping faith becomes far more challenging in the periods of our lives when it seems there is nothing to keep us going. It is then that faith becomes our greatest power, a shining light in the darkness.

We can have faith in different things that keep us going. I, for instance, have faith that there is a brighter future in front of me, and I just have to get there. Keeping this sentiment in mind helps me keep pushing forward in times when my life seems bleak and hopeless. It’s not easy to hold faith, but it is unquestionably worth it. As long as your faith is with you, you can never be alone.

This week, I challenge each of you to reexamine the role of faith in your life. If you choose not to engage in religion and dismissed faith as a religious quality, redefine it within the context of your life. I’m sure many of you have kept faith without even knowing it! If life throws you for a loop this week, a rekindled sense of faith will help guide you through the sorrow. You are strong, you are brave, and you are going to be okay. Have a great week!

by: Jessica Hutt  

Sober Fun Friday!!

Hello all, and welcome to Fun Friday! I hope you’re as excited for the weekend as I am. For this week’s Fun Friday, I have decided to share an article that I recently came across. Written by Holly Glenn Whitaker, a sobriety coach, writer, and yoga instructor, this blog post perfectly encapsulates sober living and debunks the myth that sobriety is boring and that substances are needed to have a good time. Whitaker is a humorous and relatable narrator who is raw and real about her experiences - she is not one to romanticize. I hope that you enjoy this piece and keep it in mind going into the weekend! Hope you have a great one.

http://www.hipsobriety.com/home/2015/11/1/what-i-do-for-sober-fun

 

by: Jessica Hutt 

Wellness Wednesday- Delicious + Healthy Pre-Workout Snacks!

The correlation between physical activity and mental health is unquestionable. It has been proven that exercise releases endorphins (a natural mood booster), improves sleep, increases confidence, and promotes a positive body image. The food you eat becomes the energy that fuels your workout, so the choices that you make are important. For this Wellness Wednesday, I am going to share my five favorite healthy pre-workout breakfasts, that provide nutrition without sacrificing great taste.

1. Peanut Butter, Granola, & Banana Roll-Up

  Photo courtesy of Ready, Set, Eat!

 Photo courtesy of Ready, Set, Eat!

This is not your traditional peanut butter sandwich! This wrap combines fresh bananas with sweet honey, crunchy granola, and creamy peanut butter for a delicious protein-filled meal. This recipe is for two servings. Each serving has about 262 calories and 6.5 grams of protein.

Ingredients

2 bananas

2 whole wheat flour tortillas

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup low-fat granola

STEP ONE
Spread peanut butter evenly over each tortilla. Drizzle honey on top of peanut butter; sprinkle with granola.

STEP TWO
Place a banana in center of each tortilla. Fold in opposite sides; roll up burrito-style. Cut in half to serve.

Recipe courtesy of Ready Set Eat!

 

2.  High-Protein Oatmeal with Berries

  Photo courtesy of Lovely Little Kitchen

 Photo courtesy of Lovely Little Kitchen

This recipe from Men’s Journal includes almond butter and chia seeds to fuel longer gym sessions. Amino acids found in the protein powder and Greek yogurt support muscles. Each serving has 495 calories and 45 grams of protein. Reduce the portion size if desired.

Ingredients

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp all-natural almond butter
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 scoop protein powder
2 packets sugar-free sweetener
Dash of cinnamon


Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 3 to 4 hours.

Recipe courtesy of Men’s Journal

 

3. Toasted Wheat Bread with Almond Butter

  Photo courtesy of Self

 Photo courtesy of Self

This recipe from Self elevates the classic pre-workout meal of almond butter on toast by adding chia seeds and cinnamon. Comforting, delicious, and filling - this snack has it all! Each serving has 215 calories and 8 grams of protein.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 slice whole wheat bread, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 pinch cinnamon

Spread almond butter over bread. Sprinkle with chia seeds and cinnamon.

Recipe courtesy of Self

 

4. Green Smoothie

Photo    courtesy of Simple Green Smoothies

Photo  courtesy of Simple Green Smoothies

Green smoothies are a great pre-workout choice because they are rich in nutrients. This recipe is high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. These help keep you full for an extended period of time and provide energy for your workout. This recipe provides two servings.

Ingredients

2 cups fresh spinach

2 cups almond milk (unsweetened) 

1 apple

1 banana

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Blend spinach and almond milk until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Simple Green Smoothies

5. Apple Almond-Butter Bites

Photo  courtesy of Paleo Leap

Photo courtesy of Paleo Leap

These apple slivers are easy to prepare and delicious to eat! The sliced shape provides a perfect surface to be slathered with almond butter and sprinkled with the toppings of your choice. Top the apple wedges with granola, dark chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or any other garnishes to add crunch. This recipe serves 1-2 people and has about 274 calories and 8 grams of protein.

Ingredients

1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
Almond butter
Pecans, chopped (optional)
Almonds, sliced (optional)
Roasted coconut shreds (optional)
Dark chocolate chips (optional)
Dried cranberries (optional)

Spread the almond butter over one side of each apple slice.

Top each apple slice with your choice and amount of toppings.

Recipe courtesy of Paleo Leap

Tip Tuesday - Mantras to Calm Anxiety

Last week, for the first Tip Tuesday, I compiled a list of ways to combat stress. This post was intended to educate readers on how to relieve the symptoms of a short-term, flight-or-fight reaction caused by day-to-day complications. This Tuesday, I would like to create a list of mantras that help to calm anxiety. The difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is a short term reaction to a trigger, while anxiety is a sustained mental health disorder. Both of these conditions affect mental and physical well-being, and it is essential to begin the trial-and-error process of building your stress-reduction skills as soon as possible. It is vital to understand your stress, because letting it go unmanaged can lead to long-term problems, such as depression or anxiety. It should go without saying that these mantras are not intended to cure anxiety, and that those who are struggling should immediately reach out for help. If you are in need of support, please text “HOME” to 741-741 to talk to a crisis counselor, or find a therapist near you through the American Association of Anxiety and Depression’s website (https://members.adaa.org/page/FATMain).

One of the best ways to calm an oncoming anxiety attack is to think of a phrase that rings true to you. Doing so will help keep you in a calm state of mind, and keep you focused on the values that are important to you. For some, repeating this mantra over and over again out loud is beneficial. Some helpful mantras are:

  1. “If I can get through this 10 seconds, I can get through the next 10 seconds.” (FUN FACT: this mantra comes from Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!)

  2. “Do not go in your mind where your body is not.” (This mantra calms anxiety by reminding chronic worriers that they are not yet in the situation that is distressing them, and that the only thing that worrying will do is make them miserable.)

  3. “Look at how far I have come.” (This phrase helps encourage one to keep moving forth on their journey by reminding them of their accomplishments rather than their minor setbacks.)

  4. I am breathing in, I am breathing out.” (This mantra helps focus one on their breathing, which has a calming effect. It also helps keep one grounded by reminding them that they are constantly keeping themselves alive.)

  5. “I am enough.” (Many people with anxiety are constantly plagued by a fear of beings  unworthy. This mantra helps one remember that they do not need to achieve great things to be “enough”, rather, they are sufficient just as they are.)

I hope that these mantras will help keep you calm in stressful situations. If none of these work for you, find your own! Having mantras on-hand might prove valuable one day. Thank you for reading!

By: Jessica Hutt

Insta: @jessica.hutt

Twitter: @jessicahutt3

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Motivation Monday!!

Hello all, and happy Motivation Monday! Today, I was feeling particularly introspective, and asked of myself  “do you think you are brave?”. Often when I imagine “bravery”, I envision the extreme, like fearless soldiers marching into battle or dauntless skydivers soaring through the clouds. It is rare, however, that the word “brave” enters my mind when I witness the mundane, like a person going about their daily life. It is for this reason that I would like to use this Motivation Monday to remind you of the ways that you embody bravery everyday.

I believe that we are all brave in our own unique ways. What is easy for one person can be a real struggle for another, and it is because of this that bravery can go unnoticed. It is impossible to predict what demons our peers face behind closed doors, and we often fail to realize that an act as small as getting out of the house may be an instance of bravery in another person’s life. Bravery is a concept that is hard to define, but I believe it is a quality that applies to each and every one of us. Today, I encourage you all to reflect on the ways that you have been brave this week. Instead of diminishing your accomplishments to “doing what you are supposed to do”, take time and commend yourself - you’re doing a great job! Being clean is brave. Having a job is brave. Going to a therapist is brave. I am so proud of all of you, and know that you are going to have an amazing week! Appreciate all you have done for yourself, and keep on being brave!

by: Jessica Hutt  

Insta: @jessica.hutt

Twitter: @jessicahutt3

National Coming Out Day!

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October 11 is National Coming Out Day! This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first National Coming Out Day, which was set on October 11 in honor of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Today (and everyday!) is a time to celebrate those who have come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer!

In honor of this special day, I have decided to write two support guides. For LGBT+ readers, I have compiled a brief resource guide to coming out. However, I also wanted to include resources for straight allies like myself. Stay tuned to the end to read about how allies can aid and support the LGBT+ community!

Please keep in mind that coming out is a lifelong process, and that there is no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is to come at in a way and at a time that is right for you.

Accepting your Identity

Being open and honest with yourself about your identity is the first step to coming out. Accepting the fact that you may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, opposes society’s heterosexual mold, and shows that you are able to forge your own path. Coming to terms with your sexual orientation or gender identity can be scary or confusing, especially if you are uneducated on such matters. It is completely normal to feel vulnerable, unsure, and afraid throughout the coming out process. However, this is what makes coming out such an empowering, liberating, and affirming experience!

Making the Choice

There are both risks and benefits to coming out. Hiding an integral part of who you are is exhausting, and coming out reduces the stress of keeping your identity a secret. Living openly allows you to enjoy a more fulfilling life and form more genuine relationships. Making the choice to come out helps to eradicate stigma that has kept LGBT+ youth in the closet before and dispel myths about LGBT+ life. It is affirming to be respected and admired for who you truly are, which improves self-esteem.

However, the reactions of friends and family are impossible to predict. Some people may not be accepting, and may turn hostile. LGBT+ youth are at-risk for being kicked out of their homes or losing financial support from their parents. Coming out may be a safety concern, as members of the LGBT+ community are more likely to face discrimination and harassment.

When weighing the pros and cons of coming out, it is essential to remember that you are in charge. You can decide who to confide in, when, and how. Although your sexual orientation and gender identity are important pieces of yourself, they do not define you. You have the power to refrain from coming out under circumstances when doing so would make you uncomfortable.

Forming a Plan

Once you have made the decision to come out, you will be tasked with preparing for the occasion. Try to predict the reactions that you will receive by considering the things you have previously heard your peers say about the LGBT+ community. Make sure that you are well-versed on LGBT+ issues and are able to answer any questions with ease. If you are faced with a negative reaction, knowing your facts will help disprove misinformation and accurately portray the LGBT+ experience.

Then, prepare what you are going to say. There is no right or wrong way to go about this. It is best to find a quiet place to talk, and make sure that you have sufficient time to have an in-depth conversation. Sometimes, light humor will help diffuse tension. The most important thing is to be honest and make it clear that you are open to questions. Offering resources on how to learn more is a great way to educate friends and family!

The Aftermath

The responses that you receive may be varied and surprising. However, once you have come out, the journey is far from over. There is still a transition to be made from “coming out” to “living openly”. This change should operate on your own terms and timeline. Coming out will get easier over time with each person you tell. It is essential to remember that being openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, does not mean that you are defined by your sexuality. Rather, your orientation is a piece of the puzzle that makes up you!

I hope that this guide is a helpful tool! I wish all of you the best of luck on your coming out journeys, and commend you for your bravery. Coming out can be a frightening, and at times, risky, experience but it is also incredibly rewarding.

Finally, I would like to share some resources for straight allies like myself. As an ally, there are a number of ways you can support and benefit the LGBT+ community. High school students can let their LGBT+ friends know that they are not alone by starting a gay-straight group in their school. To learn more, check out the Gay-Straight Alliance Network: https://gsanetwork.org/. College students can show support by creating a safe space on campus. Campus Pride is a great resource for “building future leaders and safer, more lgbtq-friendly colleges and universities”: https://www.campuspride.org/. Allies can also make a huge impact by sharing necessary resources with struggling LGBT+ peers. The Trevor Project (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/#sm.00008thsielxnfojpqt2fqupcnj71) offers a 24-hour helpline for LGBT+ teens struggling with depression and suicidal ideation. They can be called toll-free at any time at 866-488-7386. Finally, the most important thing an ally can be is a friend. Written by The Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG National, this guide “outlines the right and wrong things to do when a person comes out to them, dispels some common myths about LGBTQ people held by the general public, and outlines some simply ways to show support.” : https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/Supporter_Guide_April_2014.pdf?_ga=2.118644044.495952894.1539221697-1606349853.1539221697.

Thank you all so much for reading. I hope that National Coming Out Day was meaningful for you, no matter how you identify.

By: Jessica Hutt

Insta: @jessica.hutt

Twitter: @jessicahutt3

Wellness Wednesday - Intro to Wellness!

Good morning everyone, and welcome to Tangible Movement’s first ever Wellness Wednesday! Wellness is one of the topics I am most excited to write about, as it is rich both in content and in universal importance. According to the World Health Organization, the term ‘wellness’ refers to “...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. In other words, wellness is an ongoing journey that affects all areas of an individual. Because today marks the premiere of Wellness Wednesday, I thought it would be beneficial to provide an introduction to the wellness - specifically, its eight different dimensions. Each of these categories are related and of equal importance. By gaining an understanding of each of the eight dimensions, one can achieve peak wellness.

1. EMOTIONAL WELLNESS

Emotional wellness is concerned with gaining an understanding of one’s feelings. A person with a high level of emotional wellness will be able to successfully handle change, disappointment, and hard times. Some topics within the realm of emotional wellness are self-care, setting priorities, getting quality sleep, building relationships, and coping with grief. According to the National Institutes of Health, people who are emotionally well “have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster.” They are also “able to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times”.

2. ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESS

Environmental wellness considers living a life in harmony with nature. It encourages us to be respectful of our surroundings and to take actions to protect them. The best way to improve environmental wellness is simply to become more aware! Some steps to take to increase your environmental wellness are to volunteer, compost, conserve water and energy, recycle, and research! Environmental wellness is important because it leads to a more balanced lifestyle and makes real change in the world. A great way to get started on this journey is to calculate your current impact on the environment, and try to reduce it!

This site will tell you how many Earths we would need if everyone had the same lifestyle as you, and what your personal “overshoot day” (the point at which resource consumption exceeds resource regeneration) is:  http://www.footprintcalculator.org/.

3. FINANCIAL WELLNESS

Financial wellness is the ability to successfully manage expenses and avoid excessive money-related anxiety. According to the 2017 Stress in America Survey, 62% of Americans have reported that money is a significant source of stress in their lives. Having strong financial wellness helps decrease this economic stress, which improves health. Financial wellness initiatives include debt management, retirement preparedness, budgeting, and more! Financial Finesse describes financial wellness as “a state of well-being where an individual has achieved minimal financial stress, established a strong financial foundation, and created an ongoing plan to help reach future financial goals”. The goal of a financially well America is to create a generation of stable individuals who have the capacity to withstand any economic changes in the country.

4. INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS

The term “intellectual wellness” refers to being constantly challenged and stimulated mentally. Having a high level of intellectual wellness is important because it motivates and inspires an individual to develop an understanding of themself and the relationship they have to their surroundings. Ways to improve intellectual wellness include becoming academically and culturally involved, finding and partaking in hobbies, being active in one’s community, traveling, and exploring the arts! People who are very intellectually well are more likely to have stronger problem solving, critical thinking, logical, and creative skills!

5. OCCUPATIONAL WELLNESS

Occupational wellness delves into the relationship that one has with their work. Having a higher level of occupational wellness increases personal satisfaction by improving the attitude that one has towards their career. In 2013, Forbes magazine reported that “work is more often a source of frustration than fulfillment for nearly 90% of the world’s workers.” Finding a career that suits you is vital because working takes up the majority of your time during the week, so the way that you feel about it will contribute to your overall well-being. Some suggestions to begin the journey towards occupational wellness are to reflect on your skillset and what you enjoy, set realistic career goals, and use volunteering and interning as an opportunity to explore different career choices in the professional world.

6. PHYSICAL WELLNESS

Physical wellness is focused on keeping the body in top condition so that it can function as effectively as possible. Elements of physical wellness include nutrition, activity, and overall healthy lifestyle. Steps to take on the path towards physical wellness include engaging in daily exercise, practicing portion control, consuming healthy meals, and getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Someone who has a high level of physical wellness will have a decreased risk of illness, a nutrient-rich diet, an active lifestyle, and a nurtured body. The benefits of physical wellness include enhanced self-esteem and self-control in addition to sharpened thinking and learning abilities. It is important to note that there is a direct relationship between physical and mental health.

7. SOCIAL WELLNESS

Social wellness deals with the relationships and connections that exist in our personal lives. Having a strong sense of social wellness is essential because it improves emotional resilience, provides a strong support system, encourages boundaries and communication, and develops trust and conflict management skills. In order to increase social wellness, one can make an effort to keep in touch with close friends and family, become more active in clubs and community, and learn to balance the demands of a social life with other parts of life. A person with higher social wellness will be well-adjusted, comfortable in social situations, assertive, and able to form meaningful connections.

8. SPIRITUAL WELLNESS

The eighth and final dimension of wellness is spiritual wellness. Spiritual wellness is the journey of finding meaning in one’s life and purpose in one’s existence. This is the most complex layer, as there are many ways to achieve spiritual wellness - religion is not the only way to get in touch with the spiritual self. Because spiritual wellness can only come from within and differs greatly between individuals, there is not a singular right way to achieve it. However, to start on the journey towards spiritual wellness, one can practice meditation and acceptance, reflect on life-changing events, seek a religious faith if desired, and consider who they are and why. A person with heightened spiritual wellness will appreciate their lives, find meaning in their experiences, and strike a balance between the inner self and the outer world.


I hope that this introduction was helpful, and wish you all the best of luck in your individual wellness journeys! By enforcing small changes in lifestyle, you can make a huge impact!

 

By: Jessica Hutt

insta: @jessica.hutt

twitter: @jessicahutt3  

Tip Tuesday - 5 ways to manage stress levels!

Stress is one of the most common conditions of today. It can be triggered by anything, from a heavy workload in the office to issues in one’s personal life. Over 70% of US adults feel stressed or anxious daily, and 82% of students at UK universities suffer from these same complications each day. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to relieve stress and achieve a more productive and enjoyable lifestyle. The first Tip Tuesday will outline my top five favorite ways to soothe daily stress.

Please keep in mind that I am not an expert, and the ‘stress’ to which I am referring is short-term. If the stress or anxiety you are experiencing is serious or overwhelming, please seek help immediately. Crisis Call Center: 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863

1) EXERCISE

Exercise is one of the most common solutions to stress for one simple reason - it works! When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which naturally improve mood. Working out also improves the length and quality of sleep, and increases confidence and body-image. Being active on a regular basis combats many of the symptoms of stress, and contributes to a healthier lifestyle. A great way to encourage yourself to exercise more is to find an activity you truly enjoy. You’ll feel much more motivated to rock climb or dance through a lively zumba class than lift at your local gym!

2)  WRITE

Oftentimes when we feel stress, we bottle up our emotions in fear of burdening others with our problems. Holding on to pent-up feelings is dangerous and unhealthy, and it is essential to find a release. Writing is an excellent way to get out your thoughts while preserving your privacy. There are a number of ways to use writing as a technique to soothe stress. A personal practice of mine is writing down a list of things I am grateful for each night. As cheesy as it may sound, doing this allows me to remember what is important and appreciate my privileges. I can place emphasis on the positivity that exists in my life and will continue to be in my life long-term rather than focusing on the fleeting stress. Alternatively, you can journal the stressors in your life. As counter-intuitive as it may seem to focus on the negative, I find it very satisfying to let my pen fly over the paper as I let everything out. This is also effective for me because oftentimes, my problems seem much smaller on paper. I am able to physically see the issues in a logical way rather than emotionally in my head.

3) SAY NO

As simple as this solution may seem, it is sometimes difficult to turn things down because of the innate desire to “people-please”. Making a conscious effort to decline invitations, requests, etc. that cause you stress will help you avoid letting more stressors into your life. It can be very hard to handle a number of endeavors at one time, so being selective about who or what you chose to say ‘yes’ to will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. If you need to take time for yourself, do not feel bad about saying no to plans - your friends will understand (and if they don’t - drop them!). Self-care is important, and there is nothing wrong with skipping a night out for a one-person-party complete with blankets and Netflix!

4) BREATHE

When you are stressed, your body responds with an evolved survival mechanism - the“fight-or-flight” response. As stress hormones are released, the heartbeat becomes more rapid, breathing becomes quicker, and the hands and feet become colder and more sweaty. Luckily, deep breathing exercises can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn, controls the relaxation response. These exercises vary, and include abdominal breathing, paced respiration, and diaphragmatic breathing. When deep breathing, you focus on your breath. Slowing your breath slows the heart rate, which helps relieve stress with a calmer feeling.

Watch this video to enjoy three minutes of guided breathing exercises:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEfs5TJZ6Nk

5) LOL

As many times as you’ve heard it before, there is truth to the cliche “laughter is the best medicine”. In this case, letting out a laugh lowers cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. Doing so also releases endorphins, which, as previously stated, significantly improves mood. Turn on your favorite comedy, go out with your most hilarious friend, or read a comic! No matter how you chose to stimulate your sense of humor, I promise you won’t be thinking about your stress as you release a big belly laugh! 

At the end of the day, life can be overwhelming and intense. It is completely normal to experience stress at one point or another. Hopefully, the next time it comes your way, you will be able to diminish the symptoms with these tips in combination with a positive attitude. Remember to look at your problems with a big-picture lens - if it won’t affect you in the long run, it’s not worth torturing yourself over. There is nothing bad enough in the world to overshadow the great things in life, and this is something to always keep in mind.

Again, if your stress becomes chronic and uncontrollable, this post does not apply to you. Please seek professional help as soon as possible.

By: Jessica Hutt 

insta: @jessica.hutt 

twitter: @Jessicahutt3 

Motivation Monday!

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For the first ever Motivation Monday, I want to discuss failure. In our fast-paced world, we are surrounded by constant pressure to achieve perfection. Our peers fear failure more than anything, and project those anxieties onto everyone around them. However, I believe that failure is a vital part of life, and essential to success.

Failure gets a bad rap because it is associated with feelings of inadequacy, regret, and disappointment. But what about the first-hand experience we gain when we fail, or the resilience we build? Michael Jordan, who is widely acknowledged as one of the best NBA players of all time, summarized this mentality when he said:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Failure is life’s teacher. It is a part of the journey towards success, and encourages us to keep pushing forth and striving to achieve greater things.

When we fail, it is so easy to give up. To pour another drink, or slash another cut. To tell ourselves that we’ve already broken our promises, and might as well keep going. This, of course, is a slippery slope.

The best way to cope with failure is to acknowledge it head-on. To be honest and tell ourselves that we have made a mistake, but can overcome it by continuing on the right path. A lapse in willpower or judgement does not define us, rather, it is another step on our path to becoming the best people we can be.

This Monday, I challenge you to redefine failure in a positive light. No matter what comes your way this week, make sure to just keep pushing. Know that failure is inevitable, and that it does not devalue you. Remember that you are capable of overcoming anything, and that who you are is defined not by how often you fail, but by how you respond when you do.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the day off. We can make it through this short week!

by: Jessica Hutt  

insta: @jessica.hutt  

twitter: @jessicahutt3

Announcing New Awesome Weekly Content for the Blog!!

Hello, everyone! My name is Jessica Hutt, and I am the new content creator for  Tangible Movements blog. I am so excited to join the team and provide posts for you all!

I am a sixteen-year-old writer based in New Jersey, and have partnered with Tangible Movement to help provide aid to young adults struggling with substance abuse, depression, identity issues, and more. Tangible Movement is an incredible non-profit organization that I encourage each reader to get involved with if possible. Please make sure to keep an eye on the blog, as I will be pumping out a bunch of exciting, fun, and motivational pieces for you all in the near future!

I would now like to introduce the new format of the blog. I have created five daily themes to help keep you inspired and on-track. These are:

#MotivationMonday

#TipTuesday

#WellnessWednesday

#TherapyThursday

#FunFriday

Motivation Monday posts are designed to keep you on the grind through the toughest of Monday moods. You can expect to see a burst of positivity and encouragement on the Tangible Movement blog every Monday!

insta: @jessica.hutt

twitter: @jessicahutt3

 

A little bit about our NEW Editor in Chief, Jessica Hutt!

Jessica Hutt  

Jessica Hutt  

Jessica Hutt is a sixteen-year-old writer and blogger from New Jersey. She is the assistant editor of her school’s current events magazine, and has a personal blog entitled Jess for Success. Jessica also writes for Pressing the Future, an online publication dedicated to sharing the stories of young reporters across the globe, and founded its first local chapter. In addition, Jessica has been trained as a writer by the School of the New York Times and New York University Pre College. She enjoys writing for online magazines Balter Monthly and Redefy, a for-teens, by-teens nonprofit fighting stereotypes and promoting positive perspectives.

Frustrated by the stigma surrounding mental illness and the lack of available resources for struggling youth, Jessica became involved with Tangible Movement. She is the editor in chief of Tangible Movement, and creates content for the blog. With the help of  Tangible Movement, Jessica hopes to be the generation to erase the taboo of mental illness, and to provide aid to young adults struggling with substance abuse, depression, identity issues, and more.  

Instagram: @jessica.hutt

twitter: @jessicahutt3