9 Self-Care Ideas For Stress (That Are Totally Free!)

At DiveThru, we’re alllll about self-care. We’re also all about honesty. And let’s be honest, most of us can’t afford a weekend getaway to the mountains, complete with massages and facials, pedicures and personal chefs. So, we’re always on the hunt for new (and free) self-care ideas for stress. Because if we’re still being honest, we’re all stressed. All the time. All of us.

Andddd, our search lead us to discovering many different ways to practice self-care that don’t cost a dime! Since sharing is caring, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite free self-care ideas.

Here are 9 easy peasy ways to practice self-care every dang day. These suggestions come from every category of self-care: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.  

1. Go To The Park With (Or Without) Your Friends

This one almost has too many benefits to list. Almost.

For starters, to get to the park, you’ll probably have to walk at least a little bit. That’s physical self-care. Next, you’ll be outside, surrounded by beautiful green things, which is definitely good for your mental health. If you meet up with a friend, you’ll also be getting a nice dose of social self-care by interacting with other humans in person.

And lucky for you, hanging out at the park with your friends is Covid-19 friendly, too. Bring your mask, your own snacks, and a blanket to sit on. Just like that, you’re set for a socially-distanced date. 

2. Journal

Journaling is the ultimate form of self-care. Easy, attainable, and free, it incorporates almost every category of self-care. If you don’t believe us, you’ve probably never had a cramp in your hand from writing too much too fast. That counts as a workout, right?

Jokes aside, journaling is one of the best ways to practice self-care out there. It allows you to organize your thoughts and gives you a confidential, judgement-free space to express what you’re going through. Listening to how you’re feeling is crucial to taking good care of yourself.

But what if you don’t even know how you’re feeling? What if your thoughts are just a jumbled mess up there? You can probably guess where we’re going with this. Psst… JOURNALING. 

If you’re looking for a way to start journaling, our DiveThru app has over 1000 free journaling exercises on a wide range of super relevant, everyday topics. Stressed about work or school? We got you. Feeling anxious about the Covid-19 pandemic? We got you. Need help getting over a breakup? We got you. Whatever you’re going through, we got you. Download the DiveThru app for free to get started today. 

3. Stretch

Ok. Hear us out. Stretching is soooo underrated. It’s the perfect way to pause and check in on yourself before, during, or after a busy day. Stretching allows you to release some of the tension you’ve been holding in and gives you a chance to slow down, even if it’s just for a few minutes. And that’s something we could all use a little bit more of.

We highly recommend incorporating stretching into your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it can be a quick morning wake-up stretch or time set aside to release tension and calm nerves before you go to bed. Take 5 minutes to try it out and get ready to see this mental, physical, and emotional self-care practice in action. 

4. Read

After you’ve had a tough day, sometimes all you want to do is escape for a while. Reading is the perfect escape because it allows you to go anywhere without leaving the comfort of your couch.

Maybe you’re being whisked away to a magical world, maybe you’re trying to wrap your head around a complex mystery, or maybe you’re learning new and amazing things. No matter what genre of book you’re reading though, you’re practicing some serious self-care. So, grab your book, get cozy, and get lost.  

5. Take Care Of Your Plants

We are firm believers in the benefits of plants. In case you missed it, we have an entire blog post dedicated to the emotional, physical, and mental health benefits of plants. Here’s what you need to know: plants improve air quality, productivity, and healing. Research shows that they reduce stress when compared to computer-focused tasks, too. So, by caring for your plants, you’re also caring for yourself. 

6. Draw And Maintain Boundaries

No, we are not talking about the kind you use to establish your foothold in Catan. 

Actually, wait, we sort of are! Just as you use boundaries to establish your territory in Catan, you use boundaries to tune into your own needs in real life.

When we establish boundaries and learn to communicate them, it builds our self worth as well as reciprocity in healthy relationships. If we can ask for what we need, we are honouring ourselves rather than putting the needs of others first. This way we also avoid depleting ourselves in the process of pleasing others first.

So, whether it’s accompanied by a face mask or not, take a beat to think through your boundaries. Make note of the ones you’re actively maintaining and those that have become muddled over time.

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Why does this need to be said? Well because the way we react to our own everyday struggles is harsher than the way we react to our friends having the same struggles. 

Here’s what we mean by that. We’re awful and mean to ourselves when we stumble and fall down. We tell ourselves we’ve failed, and that we shouldn’t even be trying because let’s face it we’re not good enough anyways. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? 

But it’s also accurate, isn’t it? Would you ever catch yourself speaking that way to your best friend?

Self-compassion stops that train in its tracks. Being as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend is how you break that pattern. Learn to build a curious and gentle inner voice. We promise you this will change how you perceive yourself and those around you for the better.

And if you’re not sure about how you treat yourself right now, take Dr. Kristin Neff’s test to measure your self-compassion.

8. Challenge Negative Self Talk

We know what it’s like to live with this insatiable inner critic that your brain has created to constantly bash your efforts. Please don’t listen to that sh*tty voice. The world is mean enough as it is and this inner critic makes it much harder to navigate it.

Challenge self deprecating thoughts with a more neutral response (or positive if you can). Recognize that you have to be patient with yourself because it takes a lot of time to learn a new task, start a new habit or understand present barriers. 

Work to unpack the feelings that are behind the negative self talk. This way, you can understand the roots of your feelings of unworthiness, rather than believing and accepting it as truth. Look to people who have a healthy relationship with themselves and seek answers as to how they built their sense of self.

9. Create Affirmations

Here’s the thing about affirmations – they work best when they actually resonate with you. Which is why we want you to write your own! No more endless scrolling through Pinterest quotes to find the right one.

To create a self affirmation, connect with the insecurity you are experiencing. Then, think of what you might say to a loved one if they had the same insecurity. Write that thought down.

It doesn’t need to be “perfect” and it probably won’t feel “comfortable” but trust us on this.

Another option is to read lyrics or poetry (check out Morgan Harper Nichols for her amazing art + words) and pull out quotes that resonate with you. 

There’s one more thing you can do! Keep note of positive statements others share with you, about you. Turn those into affirmations! It may be more comfortable than creating your own because you know with certainty someone else believes those things about you.

How To Turn Your Self-Care Ideas Into Practice

Now that you have some fresh (and free!) self-care ideas, it’s time to look at ways we can make the new practice stick. These are the strategies behind self-care, if you will. 

They have been shared by psychologists and mental health professionals alike and will help you design a self-care practice that meets your needs. These 5 strategies will make sure you’re getting the most out of your self-care, because you deserve it. 

1. Schedule It

You know the expression, “I can’t tell you how important _____ is”? Well, unlike whoever said that, we can tell you how important this is. And we will.

It’s SUPER DUPER important to schedule time for self-care. 

We’re all so busy that chances are, if it’s not in the planner, it’s not gonna happen. Do yourself a favour and put self-care in your planner. Try to let go of the notion that self-care comes last. Self-care should be prioritized just as much as anything else in your life. The better you care for yourself, the better you can care for others. 

Thank you for coming to our TED talk. 

2. Multitask (If Needed)

If you’re looking at that schedule and thinking, “there’s just no way I can fit in self-care today”, look a little closer. What about during your commute? If you take the bus, instead of scrolling social media, what if you took those minutes to practice breathing deeply? If you drive, what about having a one-person karaoke dance party in your car (safely, of course)?

These are all different types of self-care that don’t eat up a huge chunk of your schedule. By multitasking, you may be able to fit in more self-care than you thought. 

3. Ask For Help 

Although self-care is about yourself, it doesn’t mean that others can’t help. Here’s what we mean. It might be something as simple as asking for 10 minutes of alone time, or asking your partner to hold you accountable for your weekly bike ride.

As psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D. explains, asking for help can also save you time and energy in the long run, which contributes to a healthier you. He used an example from his personal life of asking for help with PowerPoint. By simply asking people he knew, he not only saved time, but gained some useful experience for the future, too.

4. Care For Every Aspect Of Yourself

Despite what social media might tell you, self-care is not just putting on a face mask. It can be part of it, sure. But to properly care for yourself you have to care for your whole self — that means physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually

Your self-care practices should include a variety of activities because your life includes a variety of activities. Do the face mask. Stretch before bed. Journal through your thoughts. Write your affirmations. Get the sleep your body needs. Get the nutrition your body needs. Feed your soul with its spiritual needs. Understand the emotions you feel.

It’s all part of the big picture we call “wellbeing.”

5. Do What Works For You

As always, it will take some time to figure out the self-care routine that works for you. Don’t think that you have to practice self-care the same way that everyone else does. Because you don’t. 

Be willing to put in the time and effort to find out how to care for yourself.

Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it shouldn’t be. These easy strategies and suggestions are here to remind you that the little things go a long way when it comes to taking care of yourself. 

And give yourself a big pat on the back because you might have just found your new favourite self-care strategy reading this!

 

5 Ways To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed At Work

You’re so overwhelmed with work that you can’t even think straight. There are so many things on your to-do list that it’s become a to-do scroll. Unfortunately, it’s the kind that unfolds all the way around the block. And it’s really f**king stressful.  So, you’re here and wondering what things you can do to stop feeling overwhelmed at work.

Here’s how you can use your journaling practice (or start a journaling practice) to help you when you’re overwhelmed at work for what seems like the 840th day in a row:

1. What tasks do I need to do? What tasks can I delegate to others?

A lot of times we think we have to do everything ourselves. It’s part of the reason we get so overwhelmed. This is especially true for perfectionists. Perfectionists worry that if they don’t do the task themselves, it will be done wrong or not up to standard. 

Remember: not everything has to be done perfectly to be done.

Go through your to-do list (or to-do scroll) and make a secondary list of things that you absolutely, positively, have to do yourself. Then, take the rest of the items on the list and see if you can delegate them to other co-workers.

Of course, make sure they’re willing to accept them before just handing them off. Pawning stuff off without asking is how these cycles of overwhelm start happening in the first place. If they’re willing to take the task, great. If not, simply push it back to make room for the tasks that have top priority. 

2. What drew you to your job in the first place?

When you’re in a super busy season of work and everything is piling up, it’s hard to remember there are actually good things about your job too. Take a minute to go back and think about why, out of all the jobs out there, you chose this one? There must have been a reason.

What makes you happy to work here, what are you passionate about, and what, at the end of the day, gives you fulfillment? Refocusing on why you’re there will help you get through the rough times and come out the other side stronger and more certain of your job. 

3. How can you separate your work life and your personal life?

A lot of problems with overwhelm stem from the inability to separate work and personal life. Before you know it, it’s 9:00pm and you’re still at the office and you’ve missed family dinner for the third time this week. Shit.

Yes, work is important, but it is not everything.

How can you create boundaries between your work life and your personal life? And how can you stick to them when you start pushing these boundaries again? 

Envision the rewards for creating and sticking to your boundaries. You’ll get to see your daughter’s hockey game for the first time in a month. You’ll get to go on a walk with your partner. Your son will come up to you shyly and ask if you want to watch Paw Patrol with him.

Your work days will become easier because you’ll always have something to look forward to when you get home. 

4. Do your co-workers know you’re overwhelmed? 

We often think that we have to deal with everything on our own. We think that no one can know we’re struggling to meet deadlines or keep up with emails.

It’s actually the complete opposite.

Telling your co-workers you’re overwhelmed will let them know that they may be putting too much on your plate. It will also give them a chance to step in and lend a helping hand.

If they do know you’re overwhelmed, how has that impacted your work life and relationships with your co-workers? And if they don’t know you’re overwhelmed, why haven’t you told them?

If you think they will be angry or judgemental, that might be exposing another issue that needs to be dealt with. Co-workers should be there to support you, not reprimand you for being unable to keep up with insurmountable tasks. 

5. What do you need in this moment?

This could be anything from a cry to a career change. Don’t hold anything back. Write honestly about how you’re feeling and don’t be afraid to explore thoughts you’ve pushed aside in the past. 

Do you need to scream, cry, or eat a bowl of ice cream? Do you need to talk to your friend, your therapist, or your boss? Or do you need to change your job or change your career

Here’s the bottom line: your work is a significant aspect of your life, but it can’t get to the point where it’s negatively affecting every aspect of your life. If you’ve reached that point already, it might be time to do some thinking. 

 

 

For even more prompts on workplace stress, check out our DiveThru app. We have an entire section dedicated to working life, including a dive that’s literally titled, “overwhelmed with work?”.

Sounds like a perfect match if you ask us.

On top of that, there are also dives titled, “stressful workday” and “tackle your to-do list”. Plus, it’s free to download, so rest assured that won’t be adding any stress to your life. 

You have to go to work every day, but you shouldn’t have to be overwhelmed every day. When working through these journaling prompts, the most important thing is to be honest with yourself and to listen to yourself. You deserve to be happy with the work you’re doing and with the person who’s doing it, too.

 

10 Ways To Help A Friend Experiencing Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in the world. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States every year. That’s nearly the entire population of California! This prevalence means that you’ll probably have some friends experiencing anxiety at some point in your life. Maybe you even have them now. And, as the loving friend you are, you’re wanting to know how you can help your friend who’s experiencing anxiety. Well, we’re happy you’re here.

To offer some insight on how to help a friend dealing with anxiety, we’ve consulted our in-house mental health professional, Natalie Asayag

This is what you can do!

1. Ask How You Can Help Them With Their Anxiety

No two people are the same. And, no two people deal with anxiety in the same way. AND, of course, no two people need support in the same way. Your friend is the expert on their anxiety. Ask them what works best. 

They may need someone to talk to, they may need someone to sit with, or they may need to be alone. Even the best intentions may not help if you don’t know what your friend needs. If you need more clarification on how to help, try to talk to them at a neutral time, not in the middle of an anxiety attack.

2. Normalize Anxiety

Remind your friend that they are not alone in their anxiety, ESPECIALLY during the Covid-19 pandemic. Remind them that their anxiety is not a burden and that it won’t change your friendship. 

Encourage them to seek treatment if it would be beneficial, and if they’re nervous to go alone, you could even offer to go along with them. Lastly, remind them that you love them just the way they are and that you’ll be there for them no matter what.

3. Educate Yourself On Anxiety

If you have no experience with anxiety or how it feels, try to do some research. It can be difficult to offer support if you don’t know what feelings you’re supporting. There are tons of celebrities who’ve opened up about their mental health and so many free resources available online! 

Don’t know where to start? No problem, we’ve got your back. Will an ultimate guide to mental health help?

4. Monitor Your Own Feelings

Another important consideration for helping a friend with anxiety is whether or not you have the capacity to help, in that moment. 

Your mental health is important too. If you’re not in the position to offer support, ask if you can hit pause (respond to the text or call later) and address your own feelings first. This will prevent anger, irritability, and resentment from building up while your friend shares their worries with you.

5. Know What Not To Say About Anxiety

Knowing what not to say is just as important as knowing what to say. It will be different for each person but at least one thing will likely remain the same: never dismiss your friend’s anxiety as trivial or not important. 

Saying things like “don’t panic” or “stop worrying” may sound ok in theory but are actually really hurtful and counterproductive. Chances are, if your friend could just magically stop worrying, they would. It’s not that easy. 

And if you say something wrong, it’s ok. If they are truly your friend, they’ll know you didn’t mean for it to be harmful. Just apologize and learn from it so it doesn’t happen again. 

6. Offer Helpful Distractions

We’re not saying you should substitute real conversations about anxiety with 42 cat videos on YouTube. But sometimes 1 or 2 cute videos can be useful distractions during difficult times. 

Gather a bunch of videos that make your friend smile or memes that make them laugh. Then, when they’re having a rough day, pull them out as a little light-hearted distraction. Something that seems so small can make a big difference. 

 

7. Offer Reassurance And Point Out The Facts

Natalie reminds us that, “Feelings are both valid and real, but they are not always factual.” If your friend’s worries are irrational, try to gently counter their irrational thoughts with more factual ones. Facts may not make everything better immediately, but they can slowly start to put things into perspective. 

8. Ask Questions About Their Anxiety

Asking questions can help clarify the root cause of your friend’s anxiety. As Natalie explains, “Exposing the underlying fears to light doesn’t allow them to grow in the darkness anymore.”

If you’re not comfortable asking your friend questions about their anxiety, encourage them to keep a journal about their anxiety instead. Journaling will help them sort through their overwhelming feelings and lead to a better understanding of their anxiety in general. 

An excellent resource for journaling is our DiveThru app. It’s completely free to download and has lots of guided journaling exercises to help with anxiety. Try a quick dive like “Quieting Test Anxiety” or take a deep dive into “Navigating Your Coronavirus Anxiety”. All you need to start journaling is a pen and a piece of paper – it’s that easy. Despite its simplicity, there are sooo many benefits associated with journaling including decreased stress and improved decision making. Give it a try!

9. Check In

8.2 seconds. That’s how long it takes to send a text with a heart emoji. You’re doubting us. Don’t. We timed it. And it’ll be even faster when the heart emoji is in your recently used section – which it will be as soon as you finish reading this paragraph, riiight?

Sometimes one simple text is all you need to let someone know you’re thinking about them. Other alternatives include leaving an encouraging post-it note on their desk or giving them a call after a long day. Checking in on others is a simple way to let them know you’re there for them and invested in their mental health. 

10. Encourage Them To Take Action

Encouraging friends to take action and confront their anxiety is great progress, even if each action seems small. According to Natalie, “If we lean into the uncomfortable feelings, rather than avoid, this helps us to feel in control instead of powerless”. 

Just be conscious that you’re never forcing your friend to do anything. Always work at their pace and let them decide what they want to tackle that day.  

You could also work alongside your friend by holding a weekly/monthly Power Hour. The Power Hour is a time to ‘power through’ any tasks that you both may be putting off due to feeling anxious or overwhelmed. You’ll be able to work through the tasks with the support of one another, which makes them more manageable. And when you conquer them, we recommend celebrating with ice cream or cookies. Or both. 

Living with anxiety is hard. It’s often a daily battle and the majority of it goes unnoticed. With that being said, having a good support system can make all the difference in the world. 

So from us to you, thank you for taking the time to read this. We know that, with these suggestions, you’ll be able to better support a friend dealing with anxiety. We know your friend will thank you, too.

 

8 Benefits Of House Plants Helping Your Mental Health

As you look around at your house plants, you may have two questions. What are the mental health benefits of house plants? And, how many plants are too many?

You’re right! You can have a fern, 7 succulents, a couple of African violets, some ivy, a snake plant – the more the merrier! The limit does not exist when the benefits of plants are so plentiful.

Everyone knows you take care of your plant babies. I mean, you talk about them 24/7, you post pictures of them on your Instagram story, and you talk to them more often than you talk to your friends (cough cough, Covid-19).

But did you know that your plants also take care of you? Oh yeah. Prepare your bank account because we have a feeling you might be adding a few members to your ever-growing plant family.

Say aloe to this list of emotional, physical, and mental health benefits that plants can bring to your life.

1. Plants Increase Your Productivity

Even if this was the only thing on the list, we’d still buy 742 plants. Productivity can be hard to come by these days, thanks in large part to the Covid-19 pandemic. Working from home, our desks have never looked less appealing. 

Enter: plants.

Plants can spruce up any workspace (pun intended) and give it a fresh new look. Redecorating your workspace can provide the boost of motivation you need to crush your to-do list. You’ll look forward to sitting down just so you can be in the company of your adorable plant, which will lead to more time spent working. That’s a win-win. 

The presence of plants has also been linked to longer attention spans. According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, “indoor plants in an office can prevent fatigue during attention demanding work”. 

Say no more. 

2. Plants Reduce Your Stress

As we mention in our Ultimate Stress Management List, taking a break is a great way to clear your mind and reduce stress. Since your break should be spent doing something unrelated to work, what better time to take care of your plants?? Caring for your plants is the perfect way to get your mind off of your exam or project deadline, while still benefiting your health. The better you take care of your plant, the better it can take care of you. Being around plants also mimics being outside in nature, which can make you feel more calm and less stressed.

In case you need more convincing, a 2015 study examined the physiological responses to two common tasks – working on a word document and tending to a plant – and found vast differences. While working with plants, people felt comfortable, soothed, and natural as opposed to uncomfortable, awakened, and unnatural after the computing task. The takeaway?

“[The] results suggest that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work. This is accomplished through suppression of sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure and promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings.” – Min-sun Lee, Juyoung Lee, Bum-Jin Park, and Yoshifumi Miyazaki

3. Plants Increase Air Quality

Even though you probably weren’t paying much attention in middle school science, you probably know that plants produce oxygen. If you were really a keener, you probably know that they also take in the carbon dioxide that we just won’t stop producing

But did you know that they take in benzene, formaldehyde, and other harmful toxins, too? These toxins are present in many interior spaces, which is slightly concerning considering we spend the majority of our time inside. Ok plants, we see you.  

So, next time someone is complaining that you have too many plants, what they should really be saying is “thank you”. Your selfless little plant babies are providing cleaner air for them to breathe, which has, you know, a few health benefits. No big deal. 

4. Plants Provide A Sense Of Accomplishment

Your Fiddle Leaf Fig is THRIVING, and you could not be more proud. She’s shining in the golden sunlight and after admiring her for a minute, you grab your phone to snap some pictures. Your Instagram followers will be amazed. All the worried google searches and sleepless nights were worth it. Your baby is all grown up. You’re so happy you could cry.

What a beautiful moment. But seriously, taking care of plants is hard work. You’ll feel such a sense of pride knowing your dedication, knowledge, and care, is paying off. Every time you walk by your plant, it will be a reminder of how all your hard work has led to a happy, healthy plant. That makes a happy, healthy person.  

5. Plants Improve Your Mental Health

Plants have so many benefits for mental health that we might not even be able to name them all.

Let’s try. 

According to Susan McQuillan of Psychology Today, plants reduce symptoms of depression, PTSD, ADD, ADHD, and dementia. If that wasn’t enough, they also improve self-esteem, creativity, memory retention, and overall quality of life. Plants remind us of nature, which can create a beneficial calming effect as well. Basically, plants can do everything. 

Plants also make the perfect journaling companions. They’re supportive, non-judgemental, and they provide clean air that powers your brain and body. Whether you’re celebrating an accomplishment or working through a rough day, journaling is just way more fun with the company of your plant babies. 

Journaling is also more fun with the help of DiveThru – a guided journaling app that helps you dive thru what you go thru. Created with the help of mental health professionals, DiveThru has over 1000 journaling exercises on a range of topics including relationships, personal development, and the coronavirus pandemic. Oh yeah, it’s also free to download.

With DiveThru and your plants by your side, you’ll be unstoppable. 

6. Plants Improve Your Office Space 

Plants are helpful in all interior spaces, but they are particularly helpful in office spaces, which have a tendency to resemble concrete boxes. They provide a sliver of privacy so, although your boss is looking over your shoulder figuratively, they won’t actually be looking over your shoulder all day.

They also reduce office noise, including that of Linda and Joan, who are always chit-chatting away (much to the dismay of everyone else in the building). Plants are not the heroes we deserve, but the heroes we need. 

Honestly, plants also just make it much more enjoyable to come to work. Instead of staring at a blank grey wall every day, you get to watch your orchid as it grows a little baby flower. You can then proceed to take photos and post them on Instagram and brag about Sheila the Orchid in the lunchroom.   

7. Plants Promote Healing

A study out of Kansas State University found that flowering plants speed post-surgery recovery. According to the research, hospital patients with plants in their rooms demonstrated lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as fewer instances of anxiety and fatigue. So not only do plants improve mental health, but they can have legitimate benefits for physical health and healing, too. 

8. Plants Remind Us To Take Care Of Ourselves

When you’re feeling good, chances are you’re taking good care of your plants. But if you notice your plants starting to look a little wilted, it could be an indication that you’re feeling run-down, too. 

According to Mandi Em, freelance writer, humorist and blogger, our plant babies can act as a mirror, reminding us to take care of ourselves. Check out Mandi’s self-care tips for plants AND humans:

Looks like we’re not so different from our plants after all. We’re both out here living our best lives, doing what we can to survive each day. We rely on each other and become stronger together. 

Just think, if your plant can bring you that much happiness, you have the ability to do the same for the plants and the people in your life.

 

What To Do (And Not Do) After A Breakup

Breaking up sucks. It’s a known fact. The sun sets in the west, there are 31 days in January, Taylor Swift is the queen of everything and breaking up sucks. And you’re here, left wondering what to do after a breakup, and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about.

Nothing we can say will make it all better. But guaranteed we’re gonna try anyway. We’re stubborn like that. So, we’ve put together our best tips – the dos and don’ts – for getting through a breakup. They won’t fix everything immediately, but hopefully they’ll at least give you a place to start. 

Baby steps, right? You’ve got this. 

9 Things To Do After A Breakup

The idea of moving on seems impossible right now, we know. So we won’t focus on that! Because if we’re being honest, trying to envision filling that “void” of the future is not even helpful. 

What we’re going to do instead is focus on you and the brilliance within you. We want you to turn your attention inward because that’s where you’ll find the strength. It’s already a part of you. Here’s how we access it.

1. Lean On Your Support System

Your partner was your go-to. The first person you wanted to talk to after the best day or the worst one. After your breakup, you may feel like you’ve lost your support system. 

But you haven’t. That’s the thing about a support system. It’s a system. It’s not just composed of one individual. Lean on the other people in your life: your friends, your family, your co-workers. Each of them is also part of your support system. 

Vent, cry, scream, laugh, and remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Whether you need a girl’s night, a hug from your mom, or just a listening ear, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when you need it. These people are your support system for a reason. They are there for you.

2. Invest In Relationships You May Have Neglected

It happens to the best of us. We fall in love, spend all of our time with our significant other, and, unintentionally, neglect many of the other relationships in our lives. We often have the idea that romantic relationships are the be-all-end-all of life, but they’re not. Each relationship in your life has value. Take the time now to invest in all of the other relationships that you may have pushed to the side. Reconnect with friends, family members, mentors, and co-workers and appreciate what each relationship brings to your life. 

3. Say Yes To New Opportunities

After a breakup, it’s very tempting to lock yourself in your room and watch Disney +. And that’s ok — to an extent. At some point, you’ve got to get back out there. A great way to help the process along is to say yes. Do you want to go to a movie? Yes. Do you want to come to the grocery store with me? Yes. Do you want to grab a coffee? You guessed it. Yes.

Venturing out alone after a breakup is hard. But saying yes to invitations and social outings means you’ll never have to go alone. You’ll always have people to go along with you. Saying yes to invitations and opportunities will also help you rediscover yourself and who you are without your partner. Which, if we may, is pretty freaking amazing. 

Note: Always listen to yourself. It’s great to get out and be surrounded by friends, but if you’re feeling run-down and need a night to yourself, take it. Do what works for you. Always. 

4. Pick Up A New Hobby

Keeping busy will help keep your mind off of the cloud looming over your head. Pick up a hobby you may have put aside while spending time with your significant other. Even if you can’t keep your mind off of them, at least you’ll be doing something fun rather than sitting on your bed. 

Double bonus points if your hobby is a group activity. Spending time with others and making new friends is a great way to build new relationships. You can never have too many close friends. Triple bonus points if your group activity is volunteering. You’ll be able to give back to your community while reaping the many health benefits of volunteering

5. Practice Gratitude

Ok so obviously you’re not going to be jumping for joy at the moment. We’re not expecting you to be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be grateful. Focusing on the good will help you realize that your relationship was not the only thing that brought you happiness. 

There are plenty of other things in your life to be grateful for every single day: your support system, Brooklyn 99, the smell of the rain, your dog. The list goes on and on. Go out into the world and admire everything beautiful about it. When you search for the good, you’ll find that you see it in everything.

6. Re-evaluate Your Needs

One reason your relationship may have ended is because your needs were no longer being met (or were never met in the first place). If that’s the case, now’s the perfect time to re-evaluate those needs

Recognize where your boundaries may have been crossed in the past and how you can re-establish them for future relationships. Healthy, successful relationships are built on understanding and respect for one another’s needs.

7. Seek Support If Coming Out Of An Unhealthy Or Abusive Relationship

Coming out of any relationship is difficult. But coming out of an unhealthy or abusive relationship is a whole other story. After an unhealthy relationship, take the time you need to heal. 

When you’re ready, it’s also important to reflect on what you learned and experienced throughout the course of that relationship. Think about how you may be able to take those experiences and grow from them. 

If you were in an abusive relationship, ensure you’re taking the proper steps to protect yourself and reach out for professional support. You don’t have to go through that alone. 

8. Journal

We feel a lot on any given day. So, how much do we feel post-breakup? A LOT A LOT. 

Sad, scared, angry, confused, shocked, lonely, and shattered. We have feelings coming out the wazoo. The best way to deal with those feelings is to write about them

Journaling allows you to process your emotions in a healthy way and can help you reflect on different aspects of your relationship. Elle Huerta, founder of the breakup app, Mend, explains that journaling allows people to “release the thoughts and emotions that have built up during a breakup”. She also adds that a regular journaling practice can help you redefine your sense of self. 

The good news: Our DiveThru app has an entire section dedicated to relationships, including a deep dive on “working through a breakup.”  

The better news: It’s free to download!

So, grab your favourite journal, get comfy, and start diving thru today. 

9. Be Kind To Yourself. It’ll Take Time.

Read this again. We saved the most important for last.

Whether it was weeks, months, years, or decades, your partner was a significant part of your life. They weren’t called a “significant other” for nothing. And as much as you may want things to get better overnight, they won’t. Healing takes time. It’s going to hurt. 

But no matter what happens, be kind to yourself. You’re going through a lot and you’re doing your best. Take it day by day and treat yourself with the same kindness you would your best friend. You deserve it. 

8 Things To Avoid Doing After A Breakup

The truth is…you’re not thinking clearly when you’re being crushed by pain. 

And it’s usually when you’re tired (and perhaps slightly inebriated??) that you feel the need to ease that pain the quickest way you know how…by reaching out to your ex. 13/10 not recommended.

Experience has taught us there are a few other ways you’ll try to numb that pain. We put them all in a list and we’re hoping you reach for it every time you feel the need to check yourself. 

Without further ado, do NOT…

1. Ignore Your Emotions

You just broke up with your partner. You’re allowed to feel whatever you’re feeling. We know you’re probably trying to do everything you can to push down your negative emotions and, honestly, we don’t blame you. 

But it’s hella important to let yourself feel those negative emotions, too. Just don’t become consumed by them. 

Managing negative emotions is more about embracing the fact that we are feeling them, determining why we are feeling this way, and allowing ourselves to receive the messages that they are sending us before we release them and move forward. -Elizabeth Scott, MS

You’re human. And breakups are sad. Remember that. 

2. Compare Your Timeline To Others’

You’re a month post-breakup and you’re feeling alright. You pop on Instagram for your hourly check-in and wait… WHAT? You feel like the wind has been knocked out of your body. There’s your partner. With a new date. Of course, it’s the first photo on your feed. “Are you kidding me?” you think. “How did they move on so fast?” 

“What am I doing wrong?”

Stop. Red light. There is absolutely nothing you are doing wrong. Working through a breakup is not a race. There is no timeline or scientific formula for getting over your ex. (Although that would be handy, wouldn’t it?) Trust that you are moving at your own pace and do not ever compare your healing process to that of someone else’s. You do you. 

3. Rush Into Another Relationship

It’s emotionally exhausting to deal with a breakup. And it’s really important to take time for yourself before you dive into another relationship. If you’re not ready to date again, it’s not fair to you or your new partner to pretend you are.

4. Call Or Text Your Ex

It’s 1:37am and your eyes are swollen from crying. You’re lonely and shattered and all you want to do is hit send.

Don’t. 

Reaching out to your ex will only reopen the wounds that you’re working so hard to close. According to Breakup Coach Nancy Deen, the solution to this problem is to appoint a “breakup accountability buddy”. It works exactly like you think it does: whenever you want to call or text your ex, you call them instead. Nancy has created a list of questions for your breakup accountability buddy to ask you every time you call:

Where are you? What were you just doing? How are you feeling about texting them (or their text to you)? What would you want to say to them?

The call should only take about 5 minutes but will make you feel sooo much better afterwards. 

Understand there is space between your thoughts, and your actions. Sometimes it’s tough to realize that just because you have a thought or craving, doesn’t mean you must act on it. -Nancy Deen

5. Stalk Their Social Media

Remember that little Instagram anecdote from a couple points ago? Yeah, we don’t want that happening to you. So, you know what you’re gonna do? You’re gonna go onto all of your social media right now and block your ex.

Yep. This is a big step and believe us, it’s not easy. But the mindless monitoring and constant exposure to their life is no good for the healing process. You need to give yourself time and space to properly move on. And you can’t very well do that if you’re seeing their (suddenly annoying) daily posts on Instagram.

6. Create Unhealthy Habits

Crushing an entire tub of ice cream by yourself is ok if that’s what you need in the moment. Just be conscious that it doesn’t turn into a habit. Hiding in your bed watching Netflix all day is ok if that’s what you need in the moment. Just be conscious that it doesn’t turn into a habit. 

Going through a breakup is a big transition period in your life. And transitions have a tendency to upset your routine. When you’re ready, try to find your new routine. Going through a breakup is emotionally exhausting but taking care of yourself physically can help you get back on track.

7. Think The Relationship Was A Waste

It may seem bad now, but it doesn’t mean the entire relationship was bad. There were good moments too. Maybe they were your first love. Maybe you grew together. Look for the good. And, in the unlikely event that there are no other positives, at least you learned something from them. Maybe you learned how to stand up for yourself. Maybe you learned how to say “no”. There’s always something to take away. Find it. 

8. Keep The Door Open

If the possibility of getting back together is still on the table, there is no way you’ll be able to move on. You’ll keep the thought in the back of your mind for weeks or months, which is definitely not a healthy part of the healing process. It’s not fair to either one of you to keep that door open. As much as it hurts, it’s better not to drag it out. You deserve closure.

Remember, even though it feels like your entire world just came crashing down, you will survive. Lean on your support system, talk it out, and do what you need to do to feel better. It will take some time, but you will be ok. You will find yourself again and you will be happy again. Trust yourself (and us). 

 

6 Ways To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Is there a voice in your head that’s telling you day in and day out that you’re not qualified? Or maybe that voice is telling you people will finally “find you out” as if you’ve been living some sort of lie. Or maybe your perfectionism is getting harder to live with each day. Whatever your reason, you’re here and interested in learning to overcome imposter syndrome. We’re glad. 

Take a moment, then think of the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase imposter syndrome. For us, it’s this. 

Fear of failure, fear of not being able to do your job properly, fear of not being good enough. Sound familiar?

This helpful (and v cute) TED-Ed video explains the basics.

Psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes noticed that many undergraduate students had high grades but still felt like they didn’t deserve their spots at the university. Thus, imposter syndrome was born.

According to Gill Corkindale of the Harvard Business Review, imposter syndrome is a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. People who suffer from imposter syndrome fear that they will be found out as a fraud and that their accomplishments are the result of pure luck.

It’s estimated that 70% of people will experience an episode of imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. It’s not just you; it has affected people like Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein, too. So, while you may think you’re alone in these feelings, you’re definitely not. Funny how that seems to be the case for a lot of things… 

Imposter feelings will likely vary from person to person, but there are some common characteristics of imposter syndrome.

characteristics of imposter syndrome include self doubt, attributing your success to external factors, berating your own performance, an inability to realistically assess your skills, and fear that you won't live up to expectations

Dr. Valerie Young is an internationally recognized expert on imposter syndrome. We bet you’ll never guess what spurred her doctoral research. Just kidding, you totally will. She realized she was suffering from imposter syndrome too. 

Here are Dr. Young’s five different subgroups of imposter syndrome:

The Perfectionist

Not surprisingly, imposter syndrome and perfectionism are quite similar. In both cases, the bar is set extremely high. If their (unrealistic) standards are not met, individuals in this category believe that they are simply not good enough, and therefore, not deserving of their achievements.   

Tip: remind yourself that mistakes are normal and part of life. They do not define you. 

The Superhero

Superheroes, as you may have guessed, are people who push themselves to work harder and harder just to measure up to their other colleagues. Those who fall into the Superhero category often rely on external validation, which can be damaging. 

Tip: instead of relying on validation from work or other people, try to prioritize validation from yourself and yourself only.

The Natural Genius

This one is pretty self-explanatory: natural geniuses believe they should be, well, natural geniuses. They believe they should be able to pick up new skills immediately, and if they can’t they believe they are a failure. 

“These types of imposters set their internal bar impossibly high, just like perfectionists. But natural genius types don’t just judge themselves based on ridiculous expectations, they also judge themselves based on getting things right on the first try.” – Melody Wilding 

Tip: focus on specific areas of improvement rather than believing you’ve failed all together. Also be patient. No one is expecting you to master a skill on your first try. And if they are, that’s another issue. 

The Soloist

Soloists believe they should be able to do everything on their own. People in this category think that asking for help will make them frauds and prove their inadequacy. 

Tip: it’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to ask for help. IT’S OK TO ASK FOR HELP. No one will think less of you for asking a question. 

The Expert

People in this category believe that they will never know enough. As a result, they feel completely unknowledgeable. 

Tip: you’re not expected to know everything at all times. Instead, learn things as you need them. Plus, remember what we just talked about? Don’t be afraid to ask others for help on topics you’re not as familiar with.

6 Ways To Overcome Imposter Syndrome & Keep It In Check

Identifying which subgroup of imposter syndrome you belong to can provide insight into the best way to combat those feelings. But wait, there’s more! We’ve compiled another list of tips for keeping imposter syndrome in check. These are more general and work for everyone, no matter which subgroup you fall into.

They’ll work for you, your boss, your neighbour, your teacher, your daughter, your dog. Everyone. 

1. Acknowledge And Explore Your Feelings

Maybe you’ve never even heard of the term before. Once you have your lightbulb moment, the next step is to acknowledge your imposter feelings when they pop up. Make note of circumstances where you feel imposter syndrome creeping in and explore how those feelings impact your day. 

As always, we recommend journaling. Journaling is an easy, yet powerful way to sort through your feelings and did we mention, it’s free? DiveThru can help your journaling practice by offering guided exercises on two areas of life that are often closely related to imposter syndrome: work and school. Download the DiveThru app to get started today and did we mention, it’s free?

2. Talk About Your Imposter Feelings

You may be worried that talking about your imposter feelings will just out you as an imposter… But what is actually going to happen is that talking with others will probably remind you that you’re perfectly capable and qualified. If nothing else, talking about your imposter feelings will likely prove that others feel the same way as you. Remember, 70% of people feel imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. 

3. Assess Your Skills

Since imposter syndrome makes you feel like you’re not qualified for the job, prove it wrong. Write down a list of your skills, certifications, and achievements and compare the list to your impostor feelings. You probably have a pretty good idea of what you’ll find. You’ll see that, contrary to those negging feelings, you are completely 100% qualified to do your job.

You can even take your assessment one step further if you’re up for it. Instead of thinking that you need to be better at every single area of your life, write down two or three areas that could actually, realistically use some improvement. By doing this, you have somewhere to focus your energy and attention rather than trying to focus on improving every single thing.

4. Change Your Self Talk

When you feel negative or imposter feelings creeping in, do your best to shift them into more realistic, positive thoughts. Be patient. This will be a gradual process, but an important one. It takes time to break down patterns of thought that have been ingrained in your brain for months, years, and maybe even decades. With persistence though, you can do it. 

5. Visualize Success, Not Disaster

We’ve all been there. The night before a big presentation and we’re thinking absolute worst-case scenario. “What if my hands start shaking and my paper starts fluttering and I can’t read my notes and I say something completely wrong? What if I put the wrong statistic up on the screen and then everyone will know that I have no idea what I’m doing?” 

Instead of visualizing all the things that could go wrong, try to visualize all the things that could go right. “What if I present my research findings and people are fascinated by them? What if I deliver my presentation flawlessly and everyone in the audience gives me a standing ovation?” Give it a try next time and see the difference for yourself!

6. Celebrate Every Achievement, No Matter How Small 

With imposter syndrome, you often believe you don’t deserve your achievements. You do. Making a point to celebrate each victory, no matter how small, will reinforce your achievements and break the cycle of imposter thoughts.

Spoke up in a meeting? Treat yourself to a coffee.

Talked to a co-worker about your imposter feelings? Hellooo pedicure!

Gave a presentation at your company’s annual convention? Take a day off and enjoy the sunshine!

The best reward of all? Being kind to yourself. You’re trying your best. 

There you have it! With these tools, you now know how to overcome imposter syndrome. You’ll be well on your way to recognizing and combating these feelings starting literally right now. Instead of a neighbourhood superhero fighting crime, you’ll be a neighbourhood superhero fighting imposter syndrome.

Just as impressive if you ask us.

 

10 Easy Steps To Adjust To Online Classes

Depending on where you are in the world, your exact timeline of events may be a little different. But for the most part we can assume that the beginning of 2020, specifically March, hit us like a freight train. One minute we were walking the hallways with our friends, whispering about our cute classmate, and then all of a sudden, we weren’t. Somehow along the way we landed here, wondering how we can adjust to online classes.

Morning commutes, heavy backpacks, group presentations, and every sense of normalcy disappeared. We were left with a single email, a makeshift home desk, and a whole lot of worries.

 With school set to start up again soon, many of us will be diving (back) into the world of online learning. Although the tips here are geared towards college students, they can easily be applied to any sort of virtual work whether it be a career, internship, or community position. 

Without further ado, 10 actionable tips to help you adjust to online classes and transition to virtual learning!

1. Make A Schedule For Class Time AND Homework Time

This is the one, folks. It’s first on the list for a reason. Despite the obvious differences, the more you can keep your online classes like normal classes, the better. 

Make a schedule that incorporates your lectures, assignments, study time, and free time. Plan out your days, weeks, and months and stick to them as closely as you can. This will give you a nice routine and a sense of normalcy (although what even is normal anymore?). 

There are tons of different scheduling methods out there: handwritten agendas, electronic calendars, block scheduling, apps, you name it. Test them all out until you find one that works for you. Then follow it like a duckling to its mama. 

2. Eliminate Distractions

And we thought it was hard to focus during live lectures. Oh boy. 

Whether it’s a busy household or a busy cell phone, it’s 42849 times easier to be distracted while working at home. Speaking from experience, of course. Even if you can’t get rid of all of the distractions, try to find a way to at least minimize them. 

Share a copy of your class schedule with your family so they know when to keep the volume down (if that’s possible). Hide the TV remote in another room and, while you’re at it, leave your phone there too. Taking these proactive steps will help you stay more focused and keep your schoolwork on track. 

3. Have A Dedicated Workspace

When you’re spending so much time at home, it’s important to have designated spaces within that home. As appealing as it may be to work from your bed, it can get old pretty quickly and the lines of your schedule may start blurring a bit. 

You may find yourself working when you’re supposed to be relaxing and relaxing when you’re supposed to be working. Instead, create a welcoming study space so you know that when you’re there, you work. When you’re not, you don’t. 

Soon, that one flight of stairs to your desk will feel like your old bus ride to school. But hopefully it won’t take 30 minutes.  

4. Adjust How You Communicate Online

As if talking to profs wasn’t hard enough already, now we’re expected to talk to them without ever meeting them? Can they sense our fear through the little chat box in Zoom? Online communication adds an extra layer of difficulty because it’s so easy for messages to get misinterpreted. If you haven’t emailed a prof in a while, brush up on how to write a proper email as well as their expectations for responding.

Pro Tip: Don’t start your email with “hey” when reaching out to a prof and for the love of all things good, don’t talk about your new Netflix obsession on the Zoom chat. There’s a time and place, my friends. And this is not it.

5. Ask Questions In Class

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before: “If you have a question, chances are someone else has the exact same question.” 

Because it’s true. Especially now. If you’re worried it’s going to look like you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t be worried. 

Honestly, do any of us really know what we’re doing with all of this new technology? We’re all in the same boat and trying to figure things out as we go. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor for help with aggregate supply and demand or ask a classmate for clarification on the paper guidelines. 

6. Use Your Resources

Believe us when we say that there are so many resources out there for online learning and working. Use them. Plus, most schools even have their own online learning resources that are specific to the technology and procedures they use. Start there and expand to the rest of the world wide web as needed.

7. Be Wary Of Zoom Fatigue

There’s a reason you feel absolutely exhausted after your fourth Zoom meeting in four hours. And it’s called Zoom fatigue. Yep. It’s a thing. 

According to experts Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy, video calls “force us to focus more intently on conversations in order to absorb information.” There are no non-verbal cues or stimulus breaks, and we spend a lot of time starting at our own faces, trying to make them look invested in the conversation. 

This explains why video meetings are so mentally and physically draining. A couple of ways to ease Zoom fatigue are to avoid multitasking, and switch to plain old phone calls when possible.  

P.S. For adorable and completely relatable workplace illustrations like the one below, check out @lizandmollie on Instagram. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Liz and Mollie (@lizandmollie) on

8. Take Breaks In Between Classes

We used to be able to walk around campus, grab a coffee, or chat with friends between classes. Now we’re stuck in the same place for the majority of the day. 

In the spirit of treating online classes like the good old days, try getting up and taking a break every once in a while. Do something you love, get some exercise, or write in your journal. Step away from your screen for a few minutes and recharge (while your computer also recharges because, you know, Zoom).

9. Acknowledge How You’re Really Feeling

Changing everything you know is hard. Anyone who says it’s not is lying. It’s important to check in with yourself and monitor how you’re feeling. As always, we recommend turning to journaling to sort through your emotions. 

The DiveThru app has an entire section dedicated to students including quick dives like ‘getting focused’ and ‘quieting test anxiety’. Try them out for free today by downloading the DiveThru app!

10. Be Patient. Everyone’s Learning.

This is a weird time for everyone. There isn’t a single person who can say they’ve experienced this before and are a pro at handling it. Everyone is trying to adjust at rapid speeds and there’s bound to be a few hiccups. Whether it’s with your school, your instructor, your group member, or yourself, be patient. Everyone’s trying their best to adjust to online classes.

 

7 Reasons To Volunteer & How To Choose Your Cause

You pass a colourful booth in the lobby of your office building, at the mall or in the hallway at school. They’re looking for volunteers for a local shelter. Your heart is drawn to the cause immediately. The people are smiling and laughing – they look like they’re having a great time. You think about the reasons to volunteer… and the reasons why you can’t.

You want to walk over, but you just can’t. How can I possibly manage a volunteer position on top of my school, work, family, and (already lacking) social life? There’s no way. You put your head down and keep walking, but the image of the booth stays in your mind for the rest of the afternoon. 

We know exactly how you feel because we’ve been there too. 

The truth is, volunteering may seem like a huge commitment, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t get us wrong, if you have the time to put in, you can. But you don’t need to put in 15 hours a week if that’s not realistic for you. 

With the right fit, volunteering for as little as a few hours per week/month can result in tangible benefits that last a lifetime. Pretty good trade-off if you ask us! 

We know you’re intrigued… keep reading to hear about all the benefits of volunteering and how you can start today!

7 Reasons To Volunteer Your Time

That is, 7 reasons to volunteer besides the very obvious one of making a significant impact in your community! Turns out when you volunteer, you help yourself as much as you’re helping the people around you. How??, you ask? Keep reading!

1. Connect With Others

Is it just us, or is meeting new people the hardest thing in the world?? One of the best things about volunteering is that it brings people together who share common interests, which makes it so much easier to build friendships. You’ll skip the awkward getting-to-know-you stage because you’ll already know their interests and values. Insta-friends! (not Instagram friends, instant friends)

Volunteering is especially helpful if you’ve recently moved to a new area or new city. You’ll get acquainted with members of the community all while helping your new community thrive. Sounds like a win-win!

2. Improve Your Physical Health

Besides just getting out of the house, volunteering has loads of other benefits for physical health. Research has shown that people who volunteer are less stressed, less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have fewer symptoms of chronic pain. If that’s not enough, there is also evidence of a lower mortality rate in those who volunteer. Get out there, people!

3. Improve Your Mental Health

At DiveThru, we’re all about promoting mental wellbeing, and volunteering is just one more strategy to add to the list. Research shows that the act of giving back can counteract stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. There is also evidence that volunteering makes you happier over time, whether you start out with high levels of wellbeing or not. 

Volunteering can help increase your self-confidence too, which leads to a sense of accomplishment and pride. Not to mention, all the benefits that come with social interaction and connecting with others in a meaningful way. 

4. Learn New Skills

It’s never a bad idea to learn something new. What’s that they say? Learn something new every day? We’re not saying you have to volunteer every day, but even once a week/month is a sure-fire way to pick up some new life skills. 

If you’re thinking about making a career change, volunteering is also a great way to get your foot in the door and learn the basics. After a couple months, you’ll have a solid knowledge of the topic, plus some tangible experience to add to your resume. Can you say double yay?

Honestly, we were already sold in the first 3 reasons to volunteer but let’s see what else there is.

5. Practice Your Existing Skills

If you’re looking for a little more meaning beyond your 9-5 job, consider using your skills in a volunteer role. You’ll be able to put your professional skills to good use in a role that makes a difference in your community. 

Similar to how volunteering can be used to switch your career, it can also be used to advance your career. Putting in extra time shows your dedication to your profession or organization and can be used to bolster your resume for your dream job. 

6. Find Your Purpose

Giving back to your community creates a sense of belonging and purpose in your work. You’ll feel like your work or organization is truly making a difference in the lives of others, which is a dang good feeling if you ask us. You’ll find out pretty quickly that, although you’re technically there to help others, you end up helping yourself just as much. 

7. Have Fun

Just to recap: you get to do something you love with new friends who also share the same passions. What could be more fun?

 

4 Journaling Prompts To Help You Choose A Cause

Sure, volunteering is good no matter where you do it, but it will be more impactful if it’s with an organization that you’re passionate about — if the cause means something to you. In order to find the perfect fit, take some time, sit down with your journal, and try to answer these prompts:

What do you hope to get out of the experience?

Do you hope to meet new people, make a difference, advance your career, or simply find a way to spend free time? There’s no right or wrong answer. And the answer can easily be all of the above. 

Write down your hobbies, interests, passions, and values. 

You’re going to want to spend your time doing things you care about. Having a tangible list of interests will help you find the best fit with an organization that shares your values.

Think about experiences that have shaped you.

Write about how fortunate you were to have those experiences and how different your life would be without them. Now explore how you could facilitate those same experiences in others?

What type of environment do you need to succeed?

Get into the specifics. Do you prefer working alone or with others? How much time can you realistically commit to the position? Sorting out these logistics will help you narrow down your options and find the perfect fit!

Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for and what you need, it’ll be easier to find a volunteer opportunity that works for you! Check out these sites to find more information on opportunities in your area or involving your skillset:

VolunteerMatch

Just type in your location and VolunteerMatch will provide a list of opportunities separated into a variety of categories (e.g. Animals, Health & Medicine, Seniors, etc.).

Catchafire

Catchafire matches volunteers with nonprofit organizations looking for help on specific projects. Projects range from marketing to animation creation to finance. To make it even easier, you can search by cause, skill, or time commitment. 

Cool Note: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are lots of exciting volunteer opportunities emerging for remote work! Reach out and see how you can help, even from the comfort of your own home. 

There’s One More Step After You Volunteer…

You did it! You volunteered. YAY. First of all, congrats!!! 

Now that your volunteer work is done for the day, we want you to take it a step further. 

As you know, at DiveThru, we’re all about self-awareness in your approach to mental wellbeing. So, in the spirit of self-awareness, we want you to reflect on what your volunteering experience meant to you. This tiny moment of reflection will significantly enrich your experience as a whole.

Take out your journal and put some time aside to process the emotions you’re feeling. They could range from happiness to frustration to complete relief at finally finding a sense of purpose. 

And remember, any emotion you’re feeling is ok. Judgement-free zone. 

If you’re struggling to find a place to start, we’ve got you. Just ask yourself these 3 simple questions:

What am I feeling right now?

How do I feel about my volunteering experience today?

What’s stressing me out about my volunteering experience today?

Voila!

You can also get started on our 6 Day Check-In Challenge by downloading the DiveThru app for free today!!

Volunteering is at the heart of our communities and is a driving force for positive change worldwide. It is a great way to make a difference in the lives of others, plus you’ll discover some pretty amazing benefits in your own life while you’re at it! 

Those are just a few reasons to volunteer, but you’ll also have the opportunity to find your place, your people, and your purpose.

 

6 Awesome Ways To Spend Time With Yourself

Hi. Hello. Welcome! This is a dedication to self-care. Whose self-care? Your self-care! And one of the ways to do that is to learn how to spend time with yourself.

When was the last time you were alone?

Not lonely, or isolated, or missing someone. But alone, happily, by choice?

If you’re still thinking, it’s been too long. 

The reason it’s been so long is probably because, in today’s world, we are never truly alone. We always have a notification popping up on our screen, our work phone ringing at 10pm, or our Instagram feed waiting to be consumed. We crave connection with others and, as a result, never have time to connect with ourselves. 

Another reason we dismiss alone time is because there’s such a negative stigma around ‘being alone’. Just so we’re clear, being alone is not the same thing as being lonely. There are some incredible benefits to having time alone, but we simply never hear about them. 

Well. Fasten your seatbelts because you’re gonna hear about ‘em now.

Why You Should Spend Time With Yourself

What better way to convince you to spend time with yourself than to show you the countless benefits!

**the introverts are nodding along as the extroverts are screaming internally…

Don’t fret, don’t fret. We’re not taking away any of your social time, because that’s important too.

Keep reading to find out why spending time alone is good for you.

1. Discover Who You Are

Dr. Angela Grice, a speech language pathologist, has done extensive research on neuroscience and neurocognition. She explains how spending time alone can help you re-discover yourself:

“Cultivating this sense of being alone and making the choice to be alone can help you to develop who you are, your sense of self, and what your true interests are.”

Alone time will give you the opportunity to look within and uncover things that may have been forced into hiding due to the busyness of your life. 

2. Care For Your Physical And Mental Wellbeing

Spending time alone provides much-needed time to take care of yourself. If you’re anything like us, you’re go-go-go from the minute you wake up to the minute you (eventually) fall asleep. 

Our busy lifestyles often neglect time for self-care, which can ultimately backfire in the end. Alone time gives your mind and body time to rest and recharge, which it desperately needs.


3. Increase Your Productivity And Creativity

This one is pretty simple. When you’re alone, there are no distractions. No kids asking you where their socks are, no tri-tone text notification demanding your attention, no partner showing you hilarious (but untimely) memes. Just you and your work. When you designate time and space for work, your creative juices start flowing without interruption. You’re in the zone. 

4. Reduce Your Stress

The combination of all of these benefits ultimately leads to decreased stress. When you are alone, you don’t have to worry about anything but yourself. You don’t have to worry about what other people are doing or thinking. You don’t have to worry about maintaining social interactions. There is no pressure. It’s just you, yourself, and you. 

5. Improve Relationships

Understanding yourself will help you better understand the relationships in your life. Through a bit of reflection, you’ll realize which relationships are meaningful and add to your life, and which ones are harmful or simply there to fill a space. You’ll recognize the value in your positive relationships and will likely become even more invested in them.  

 

 

But…What Is There To Do When You’re Spending Time Alone?

Ok ok, you’re all on board. But how do you actually spend time with yourself? Is there more to it than just sitting in silence with no distractions? You bet! Here are a few other recommendations that might inspire you.

1. Pick Up An Old Hobby Or Try A New One

What better way to pass the time than by doing something you love? Maybe it’s something that you did as a teenager. Or maybe it’s something that you’ve always wanted to do but your partner hates. 

News flash: you don’t need anyone else! You can do it by yourself. Using your alone time to do something that makes you happy will never feel like a chore. 

2. Journal Through Your Thoughts

Grab your pen and paper and have a heart-to-heart with your journal. Journaling has so many benefits for mental health, which makes it an excellent way to spend your coveted alone time. 

Check out our DiveThru app, which has over 1000 journaling exercises created by mental health professionals. The app can be used to target and explore specific areas of your life such as relationships, personal development, and work life. Download it for free to get started today!

3. Try Your Hand At Coloring

Sure, it was super easy when you were a kid! And it will still be easy now, which is what makes this awesome little hobby so relaxing. Throw on some good tunes in the background, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee and let your mind relax as you fill in the most intricate designs. No seriously, some of the designs are sooo intricate!

Head to the Google machine and find yourself a mesmerizing colouring book. There are so many enchanting options to choose from!

4. Make A Self-Care Basket

Whether you’re doing this for yourself or for someone you love, we guaranteeeeee it’ll bring a smile! It’ll take you a few hours to gather everything, which is perfect. This is when you dedicate the time to yourself and allow yourself to be super engaged in the activity!

Don’t know what to throw in the basket? Focus on things that help you (or your loved one) take charge of your mental health! Think favourite treats, calming tea, scented candles, relaxing skin care like a nice soothing lotion, a book, a journal, maybe a new agenda. Try to really personalize the basket with what you need, which might be super different than any of the stuff we just listed.

5. Print Pictures & Frame Them

Take some time to browse through your pictures and pick 5-10 you’d love to have framed. Print these off at your local drugstore and then go pick a few cute frames!

If you’re not an overly crafty person (ya same here), this is the perfect way to get a little creative. Best part? You’ll get to see your loved ones’ faces even more often. Win-win.

6. Do Nothing

Sometimes it’s really powerful to just sit and do nothing. Let your mind wander and be reassured knowing there’s absolutely nothing you have to do except be there in the moment. 

Best Tips To Actually Make Your Time Alone Happen

We know our intentions don’t always line up with our schedules and our priorities! If you’re thinking “Yeah this is great but how am I actually gonna find the time for it??” then take a look at the tips below. We got you.

1. Schedule It 

Schedule your alone time in a calendar, agenda, reminder, or even write it on your forehead if you feel so inclined. The point is, plan it into your day and don’t back out of it. Don’t think that you’re being selfish by taking time to take care of yourself. You’re not.

Scheduling time for yourself also helps to maintain a healthy balance of social time and alone time. Think of it as a spectrum. We depend on social interactions to build connections and relationships, but too much social time can be overwhelming. 

Likewise, we need alone time to recharge, but too much alone time can be isolating. Try to utilize your schedule in order to find a happy medium. 

2. Eliminate Distractions

It might be uncomfortable, at first, to be alone without the constant companionship of your phone or your family. But silencing distractions is truly the only way to get value out of your alone time. 

Let the other people in your household know that you’re unavailable and leave your phone in another room. Don’t take it with you and pretend you won’t use it because we all know you will (we know because we do it too).

3. Shift Your Mindset

If you think that alone time is going to be a waste of time, you’re probably right. That’s the power of the good, old self-fulfilling prophecy. Try to avoid going in with a negative mindset and be open to the benefits of spending some time with yourself. 

We pretty much guarantee you’ll find value in it. Give it a chance. 

4. Get Started! Do It Once And Go From There

If you’re a little hesitant to spend time alone with yourself, try just starting once. Spend 3 intentional minutes alone with no distractions. If you’re able to do that, congratulate yourself! Then move up to 5 minutes. 

Making time for yourself is not a competition or a contest. In fact, that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Work at your own pace and you’ll start to feel more comfortable before you know it. Practice makes perfect. 

Now that you’re a pro on why and how you should spend time alone, we 10/10 recommend you try it out for yourself. You can even start right now. Pretend it took you 15 minutes to read this instead of the 5 that it actually took. 

Ooh would you look at that, 10 minutes to spend by yourself journaling or colouring or just breathing.

Don’t worry, we won’t tell. Your secret’s safe with us.