Self-Sabotage: What Is It & How Do We Stop Doing It?

If you’ve ever seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’ve probably heard him use the term “inner saboteur,” aka self-sabotage. When Ru observed the queens getting in their own way during rehearsal, he would tell them that they were sabotaging their greatness.

We have so many goals and dreams that we want to achieve, but self-doubt sometimes muddles our thoughts and we end up giving up before even taking the first step. According to Clinical Social Worker Natalie Asayag, “just about all of us fall victim to self-sabotage at one point or another whether it’s in a relationship, at work or school, or in recovery.”

So let’s DiveThru what exactly self-sabotage is and how to overcome it! 

What Is Self-Sabotaging? 

To sabotage something is to deliberately take action that stops it from succeeding. In turn, self-sabotage is when you (intentionally or not) do something that prevents you from achieving the goals that you actually WANT to achieve. 

Signs of Self-Sabotage

You might be involved in self-defeating your ambitions and/or relationships without ever recognizing it. 

It can often take the form of that little voice in your head, telling you that you don’t deserve success or aren’t worthy of what you get. That can lead you to stop trying to improve, because you feel like you’re not good enough. For example, you might not bother applying for your dream job because you’re “not going to get it anyway so why bother?” That lack of effort can manifest itself in a number of ways, like procrastination, imposter syndrome, and a lack of organization. 

Self-sabotage can also affect your relationships with your partner or friends—if you genuinely believe your partner is going to leave you anyway or your friends would rather not hang out with you, then any effort feels unnecessary. We’re here to tell you that’s NOT the case!! 

Self-sabotage can also take the form of a pessimistic outlook on life—because you expect bad things for yourself, you’re always looking out for the next bad thing that will happen to you… and forgetting to notice and appreciate all the good things that happen. 

It can be tough to break the cycle of self-destructive behaviour. You might start to feel guilty for feeling bad, because “others have it worse” so you feel like you’re being negative about nothing… aaaaaand now you feel worse. Great. 

Why Do People Self-Sabotage? 

We all want things in life, from small goals like getting a good grade on a paper to big life-changing goals, like moving to a new city or buying a house. But we can also be tempted to sabotage ourselves because our goals feel far-fetched or scary, so it’s easier to think we never had a chance than to try and possibly fail. 

Things that can trigger self-sabotage: 

  • Childhood trauma
  • Toxic relationship patterns 
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • A lack of boundaries 

Ways to Stop Self-Sabotaging 

Self-sabotaging behaviour can prevent us from living the life we desire, so let’s dig into strategies to stop self-sabotaging before we start.

1. Find an Accountability Partner

Think of this like a positive way to use peer pressure. Basically, it’s a friend who is allowed to call you out when you start to get off track. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, then adding a lil’ external pressure can help get things moving. 

For example, if you have a big project due in a couple weeks and you’re worried about procrastinating (aren’t we all?), your accountability partner can check in with you every so often to check in on your progress. Or maybe you want to take more evening walks, so you ask a friend to walk with you so that you’re accountable to them and not just yourself. 

Definitely set boundaries with this person though, because you don’t want to cause your friendship to be affected by feeling like you’re constantly supervising each other. 

2. Set Realistic Goals 

Do you ever feel like you have too much to do—to the point it causes you to not be able to get anything done? Like, if you can’t do everything then why do anything? You can help yourself by being honest about setting more realistic goals for yourself, and planning ahead to prioritize goals and pace yourself. 

Here are some ways to set and achieve realistic goals for yourself: 

  • Ask yourself what you want to do.
  • Write down steps to accomplish that goal. These should be accomplishable actions that you can do.
  • Be honest about how long each step will take.
  • Work your way through the list and add up the times to give yourself a reasonable timetable for the goal.
  • Write down checkpoints through the process, to give yourself mini deadlines. These checkpoints can help you be accountable, either to yourself or your accountability partner.

3. Journaling for Self-Awareness

If only we could recall everything. We have SO MANY feelings and thoughts, but they’re not always simple to address or even easy to remember. Journaling is a terrific approach to figure out what’s going on in your life and how you’re feeling about certain events or thoughts. 

Journaling with self-awareness in mind can help you identify particular things that irritate or agitate you. It can also help you get a new perspective on how you think and act in different settings, that you might not have been aware of. Journaling is an excellent way to divert your attention to what you can concentrate on.

When you have an idea of what to write, whether you feel strongly about particular emotions or how you respond to significant events in your life, it can also help you identify your habits, especially when it comes to self-sabotage. It may provide you with a window where you can go back and see what instances you have self-sabotaged, and it may give you insight on how to be more self-aware when sabotage wants to take over.

4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparison is the thief of joy. We are bombarded with comparison virtually every day, whether on Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn. It’s always in our faces, and comparison may sap your joy when you’re always seeing what others are doing instead of focusing on what you want for yourself. If you only see people posting vacation pics or sharing their promotion at work, it can be easy to compare yourself and feel like you’re not doing enough. 

Take social media with a grain of salt. If you judge others by their highlight reel and judge yourself by every single moment, it can make you more prone to self-sabotage by giving you the idea that you’re not as good or deserving as others, so you shouldn’t even try. That’s definitely not the case! 

5. Talk to a Therapist 

Self-sabotage behaviours can be highly harmful because they prevent you from doing things that you are capable of doing. It builds a cloud of self-doubt, and working with a mental health professional is a good way to shoo that cloud away. They can also provide you with techniques for coping and dealing with self-sabotaging tendencies.Self-sabotage is a tricky little monster that can prevent you from doing what you know you can do. But that doesn’t mean you’re a failure! Keep these strategies in mind to help yourself remember that you’re capable of achieving your goals, even if you sometimes forget that. You deserve to be happy, so don’t let that rude little voice in the back of your head get in the way!


6 Relaxing Video Games That Calm Your Anxiety

Are you looking for some relaxing video games that won’t spike your anxiety?? We’ve got you covered!

We understand that sometimes you want to play a nice, chill game without the pressure of a first person shooter (or kids online yelling about how bad you are… not speaking from personal experience or anything…). Gaming can be a great way to unwind and have fun, but some games might stress you out even further! A 2009 study found that playing casual video games — NOT violent and aggressive ones — can have a positive impact on stress levels. 

So, what are some chill games for anxiety-filled and less-than-ideal days? Let’s dive thru gaming in this list!

1. Stardew Valley

There are soooo many great things to say about this game.

You play a character that leaves their stressful, big city life to move to their grandfather’s old farm. Hallmark movie goals, honestly. How you play is up to you! There’s farming, ranching, mining, scavenging, and fishing, and basically any combination of those can allow you to progress in the game. Plus, there’s an online mode where you can play with a friend!

One of the best parts of Stardew Valley is the characters. The village is full of interesting characters that you get to know a little better as you go along, and you really get invested in each of their stories. As far as relaxing games go, Stardew Valley is one of the best.

Stardew Valley is available to play on all gaming platforms.

2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Remember the year 2020? It truly feels like a lifetime ago, but that was when Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released. Our entire social media feed for a good month or so was everyone’s cute and colourful villages.

Animal Crossing is a fantastic game for anxiety because the whole point is to just live. You make friends with other villagers, build your village as you see fit, plant flowers, style your villager, and mostly hang out in a cute, peaceful environment.

There’s satisfying reward systems, but definitely no combat or zombies or anything to spike anxiety. It runs on the same 24 hour time system as real life and rewards players coming back each day, so it’s a great way to spend a couple hours to relax after you’ve done all your normal life stuff. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a Nintendo Switch exclusive.

3. Minecraft

You’d have to have been cryogenically frozen for the past ten years to have never heard of Minecraft. But, just in case you haven’t, or the name rings a bell but you don’t know what it is, we’ll explain it for you! 

Minecraft is an exploration game where you mine and craft. Okay that miiight have been obvious from the title. But one of the best parts of the game is that, if you want, that’s all you need to do. There is a combat aspect that can honestly be stressful at times, but if you make sure your character sleeps at night and watch out when you’re underground, the rest of the experience is so soothing. And the music?? Add it to your wind-down routine, because it is tranquil AF.

There is no right or wrong way to play Minecraft. If you want to build a cute house, farm some animals, and watch the sunset from your crafted home, that’s totally your choice! If you want to gear up and go spelunking for the more valuable materials, that’s all good, too. Minecraft is one of the top tier chill games because you can do whatever you want with it.

Minecraft is available on all gaming platforms. 

4. The Sims

Have you ever wanted to take a break from your regular life to live someone else’s, but still do all the stuff you’d normally do in a day? The Sims has you covered!

That’s mostly a joke, but also kinda true. The Sims is relaxing because there’s no real way to play it wrong. The game is a life simulator, meaning you make your character, build/buy their house, get them a job, make sure they’re fulfilled, and give them some sort of social life. From there, what you do is totally up to you. There are goals and objectives you can try to reach, but if your personal goal is to make the most aesthetically pleasing house possible, that’s totally an option. The Sims world is your oyster! 

The Sims is available on all gaming platforms.

5. Townscaper

If you spent hours as a kid building stuff out of blocks, Townscaper will be a great stress relief game for you.

This is another one of those games with no objective, but to take it further, this game has no plot or characters. The game is literally just building a town, and letting the game’s AI add cute little details into it. If you play your fave relaxing playlist in the background, then you’ve got a really calming experience.

The game has zero barriers to entry. Even if you’ve never played a video game in your entire life, Townscaper is easy enough to pick up. You play at your own pace, build whatever town or city you want, and watch your creation grow. It’s pretty, customizable, and a great experience to help you chill.

Townscaper is available on all gaming platforms.

6. Journey

There’s something really special about Journey.

First of all, the aesthetics. This is such a gorgeous game. The vibrant colours, simple and unique art style, and varied landscapes really make the game gorgeous. But more important than the look of the game is the experience. 

You play a character that isn’t named. The goal of the game is to follow the path to a beacon at the top of a mountain, finding glyphs to allow your character to fly higher and farther than they could before. The gameplay mechanics are super simple, and are honestly just a vessel for the emotional experience. 

But the most beautiful part of Journey is when you find another player. Unlike other online games, there’s no voice chat, name labels, or online lobbies. You simply stumble upon another player in the world, and then continue together, or part ways. The strange thing is that even though you can’t verbally or textually communicate, players almost always stick together, and even wait for each other if the other player falls behind or needs help. 

Journey brings players together in such a meaningful way that shows a deep and human understanding of connection, considering that it’s just a video game. There are no words needed to understand this adventure that you’re both on, and you will often stick with other people until the very end of the game, even when there’s no real necessity for it.

We won’t spoil the end of the game. You need to play it. It’s definitely a stress-relieving game that leaves you feeling so moved and fulfilled by the short yet powerful experience.

Journey is available on all gaming platforms.

With this list in mind, grab your comfiest loungewear, get that lo-fi playlist going, and calm your anxiety with these fun and relaxing video games!

How to Deal With Family Members That Disrespect You

Unfortunately, most people can relate to having that family member. You know, the one you avoid at family gatherings because pretty much every conversation leaves you fuming or fighting back tears. Maybe they’re dishonest, controlling, have problematic beliefs, or are just plain old rude. It’s hard to know exactly how to deal with family members that disrespect you, because it’s not something that should happen in an ideal world. 

Dealing with conflict of any kind is tough, and being related to someone doesn’t make it any easier. So while there’s no one-size fits all way to handle toxic relatives, we do have some tips to help you get through those conversations. Let’s dive in!

1. Keep Your Distance  

Just because you’re at the same family gathering or event, doesn’t mean you have to sit and chat with them. And if you do find yourself in a conversation with someone you’d rather avoid, politely excuse yourself as soon as you want to. There’s no rule for how long you have to talk to someone! 

If the family gathering is one where it’d be impossible to avoid them, remember you’re under no obligation to attend if it’s going to have a negative effect on your mental health. 

And for those times you run into each other at the grocery store, don’t feel like you have to stand and chat in the cereal aisle. You might just be heading home to watch Netflix with your dog, but they don’t know that… so you can always excuse yourself because you have somewhere to be. 

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to avoid or cut short interactions with toxic relatives.

2. Be Direct 

When dealing with disrespectful family members, it’s best to be direct (if you’re comfortable and safe doing so). While awkwardly laughing off a comment or other passive-aggressive tactics can send the message that someone’s words or actions are unwanted, being direct is a clear way to communicate your feelings. 

Using “I” statements centers your comments on your own feelings instead of attacking them. Even if you really want to fire back at a rude comment with your own attack, that’s only going to escalate things

“I feel disrespected when you make jokes about _____.” 

People don’t always express their emotions in healthy ways. Sometimes that relative who makes snarky comments is trying to bond with you, and isn’t sure how to communicate with you. Sometimes. Friendly banter, like boxing, is a two-party consent kind of thing; if one person didn’t consent to take part, the other person is doing something wrong! 

Be direct and tell them you don’t appreciate their comments. By making it clear that targeted jokes aren’t how you want to bond, you can pave the way for more honest and vulnerable communication in the future. If there was no ill intent on their part, they should be able to understand without getting defensive. 

On the other hand, if the disrespect isn’t coming from failed attempts to bond, and is just someone being an asshole—then being direct makes it clear that you do not appreciate their comments and leaves no space for misinterpretation. Insults or other personal attacks aren’t “just a joke,” and you are totally valid in being upset by them, regardless of what your disrespectful relative says. 

3. Keep Your Emotions in Check 

If someone is being insulting or preaching problematic beliefs, change the subject calmly without taking the bait. 

“Glad to hear you’re keeping up on the news, Jim. Hey Sasha, I saw you just went hiking! How was it?” 

It’s totally understandable if part of you wants to fire off an angry stream of filthy words then storm off. But that’s not going to help diffuse the situation. Keeping your emotions in check doesn’t mean you’re not sending a strong message, though. Think back to your teenage years—being yelled at by your parents was nothing compared to a calm “I’m disappointed in you.” 

Not taking disrespectful comments personally goes a long way toward keeping your emotions in check. Okay, yeah, we know that’s waaaaaaay easier said than done… but think of it this way. Their words and actions say a lot more about the quality of their character than they do about yours. 

4. Sobriety 

If the family member dishing out the disrespectful behaviours is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, it can cause conflicting emotions. You’re still angry and hurt, but you also know there’s a reason for their aggression. Intoxication is not an excuse for bad behaviour; people are still responsible for their actions under the influence. However, if it’s a regular occurrence, it can be a sign of a substance use disorder

There are a couple indirect ways to handle an addiction in the family. Planning dry events removes the accelerant for the problematic behaviours from the equation. It’s not treating the underlying cause, but it does reduce the chance of problematic behaviours. At events where people are consuming substances, staying sober yourself can help prevent conflicts from escalating. 

If you are comfortable with taking more direct actions, you could work with other family members who are aware of the addiction to have an intervention. Prepare ahead of time by writing out your feelings and concerns for their well-being. Depending on the kind of behaviour, record a video of the person while they are under the influence. Even if the person knows they have a problem on some level, it can be jarring to actually see it. 

Facing the consequences of addiction is hard for everyone involved. Give yourself space to process your emotions. 

5. Set and Enforce Boundaries 

Setting boundaries isn’t about telling someone else how to act. You can only control your actions, so setting a boundary is essentially telling someone what the consequence of their actions will be. Remember earlier, how we talked about being direct? That’s key when it comes to setting boundaries. 

“I feel upset when you joke about my appearance. If you continue to make comments about my body then I am going to leave.” 

By setting a boundary like that, you’re telling them how you feel about the situation and what the consequence is for future comments. 

Just as important as setting a clear boundary is keeping it. That means being thoughtful about consequences, because you have to be willing and able to enforce them. 

6. It’s Not Your Responsibility to “Fix” Them

Not everybody has the same beliefs, and that’s okay. Agreeing to disagree with someone else’s opinion is totally fine. If a relative has a different favourite restaurant, cool! Go to one place this time and the other next time. No big deal!

BUT there are certain things that just aren’t opinions. If your relative is making xenophobic jokes, sharing conspiracy theories about the COVID vaccine, or being abusive—that is not a difference of opinion. Do your best in the moment but pls remember it’s not your responsibility to fix them.

7. Cut Ties   

At a certain point, all you can do is enforce your boundaries. It sucks, because you never want to feel like you need to choose between a family member and your own mental health. But family is a privilege, not a right. Just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean there’s no consequences for disrespectful behaviour. 

Cutting ties with a toxic person isn’t anything to feel guilty about (even though we know it’s hard—more on that in the next section). It’s the toxic person who ought to feel ashamed of their actions, even if they clearly don’t. We’re not saying that people can’t grow or don’t deserve second chances. BUT they need to show receipts to earn your trust back.  

If you want to maintain relationships with other relatives in the same extended family, tell them you’re not interested in attending any events with that person. Depending on how overtly toxic/ disrespectful the person is, your other relatives may or may not be aware of the situation. Once again, setting a clear boundary is important. Make it clear that this is not up for debate to avoid anyone trying to guilt you into changing your mind. There may be hard feelings, but you can’t control how others will react to your boundaries. Your mental health deserves to be prioritized. 

8. Give Yourself Permission to Grieve 

It’s important to give yourself space to grieve the relationship. Even if you don’t choose to formally cut ties with them, you will feel a sense of loss. Maybe it wasn’t always like this, and you’re grieving the person your relative used to be. Or maybe it has always been like this, and you’re grieving the innocence and belonging that you never felt. 

Talking through your emotions with a loved one or therapist can help. Some therapists specialize in grief or family issues, so keep an eye for those specializations when looking

Figuring out how to deal with family members that disrespect you is hard work, but you deserve love and respect. Just because you’re related to someone does not mean that there are no consequences for toxic behaviour. Remember, family is a privilege, not a right.


6 Ways To Take Care of Yourself While Working Night Shifts

Maybe you like working night shifts or maybe you dread them. Either way, if they’re part of your job, you need to get through them. And that’s where we come in!

We do have a whole article on fixing your sleep schedule but let’s dig into the night-shift specific stuff.

You’re probably well aware that your brain uses cues like light to know when to make melatonin! You’ve also likely heard that you should avoid screens and the sun…and that advice is gold. It will help you get that sweet, sweet REM sleep. 

If you haven’t already done so, make your bedroom nice and dark with blackout curtains or by hanging a blanket over top of your curtains. If you feel physically tired and it’s pitch black in your room, your body won’t fight you on falling asleep, no matter what time of day it is. 

It can also help to wear sunglasses on your commute home. Not only will you limit your exposure to the sunrise, but you’ll also look cool. So that’s two helpful tips for the price of one — you’re welcome! Let’s get into a few more tips.

1. Keep a Sleep Schedule  

Set a schedule for sleeping, and keep to it, regardless of whether or not you’re working. Share that schedule with your roommate, partner, or family who will be in the same space as you during the day and designate a quiet area where everyone knows to stay quiet to allow you to sleep without interruptions. Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help your body by avoiding a painful adjustment between the days of the week when you’re working and your days off.

As far as how to transition from day shift to night shift (and vice versa), it’s a process of trial and error to find what works best for you. Maybe you stay up late the night before so you can sleep in and shift your sleep schedule by a few hours beforehand, or maybe you just take an afternoon nap a few hours before your first night shift on the rotation. There’s no one best-solution for shift workers; you know your body best, so do what feels right for you.

2. Create a Sleep Routine

It might sound like strange advice, but don’t go straight to bed when you get home. Allow yourself time to unwind your mind before you actually try to sleep. Instead of heading straight for your bed, take an epsom salt bath, listen to your favourite podcast or some chill music, call your mom for a little chat, and THEN get into bed. A sleep routine will not only help you get a sound sleep, but it’ll help reduce burnout by making it feel less like working + sleeping is all you do. 

It’s so important to take care of yourself and get enough sleep. If your circadian rhythm gets messed up it can lead to all kinds of problems, including a chronic condition called Shift Work Sleep Disorder. It can present similar symptoms as sleep apnea and narcolepsy, so if you’re a night shift worker who has a bad relationship with sleep, talk to your doctor because SWSD is treatable. Somewhere between 10 and 40 percent of shift workers experience SWSD, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

3. Eat Well — and Regularly 

Just like sleep — it’s important to keep your meals on a schedule too. Depending on your shift time, it can vary, but you’re going to want to eat your biggest meal of the day in the evening, a few hours before your shift. That, plus some light snacking on healthy foods during your shift, should keep you sustained. The idea is to avoid eating a big meal at 3 a.m., because your stomach bacteria are sleeping (lucky them!) and consistently eating while your body isn’t expecting it can cause issues like chronic gut issues or increase the risk of type two diabetes. 

Then when you get home, have a light “breakfast” — something like yogurt or fruit. Nothing too big, though, because digestion can affect your ability to get REM sleep. Plus, if you have loved ones who aren’t on the same schedule, sharing a meal together can be a time to bond and get some quality time together before you hit the hay, and they start their day. 

It should go without saying, but if you have a physical or mental health condition like diabetes or you’re recovering from an eating disorder where you need to eat more frequently, DO NOT skip out on that. 

4. Don’t Overindulge on Coffee

For people worried about staying awake on the night shift, the temptation to CHUG coffee (or caffeinated pop/soda) all night long will be there. But like most things, moderation is key. 

You’ll want to avoid drinking more than four cups of coffee in a 24 hour period. And that’s just in general, not specific to night shift workers. The side effects of too much caffeine can include anxiety, insomnia, dehydration, and heart palpitations. Sooooo yeah coffee is pretty great but it’s not always the answer. 

A good alternative is drinking water. Water keeps you hydrated; dehydration can cause things like lethargy and headaches, and those would NOT help you working night shifts. Make your reusable water bottle your new best friend and keep it by your side. And if water starts to get boring, you can try sprucing it up a bit by adding some lemon or mint for a little extra flavour. Or make tea!

Some night shift workers swear by “the coffee nap.” When your break starts, you drink coffee and then try to take a quick 15-minute nap immediately after. That’s about how long it takes for caffeine to start affecting your body, so you’re getting a double-boost of sleep and caffeine in the middle of your shift. Of course, this only works if you have access to a break room couch or something else, and if you have the willpower to actually limit your nap to 15 minutes. 

However, you should avoid drinking coffee too close to bedtime. Experts generally say to avoid caffeine for six hours before you’re going to bed. So plan accordingly, because there’s few things worse than lying in bed, exhausted, but unable to sleep because you just haaad to have that last cuppa coffee. 

5. Keep Moving  

Any kind of stimulation, either through physical activity or a conversation, will keep you alert. Going for a short walk gets the blood flowing and keeps you from getting sleepy. It can also help to talk with your coworkers—either about your job or just chit-chat. 

Also, as tempting as it might be to skip out on physical activity when you’re not at work, doing some kind of movement at least a few times a week has health and mental benefits. We’re not about that toxic fitness culture (body diversity and body acceptance is more our vibe), so we’re talking about moving in a way that makes you happy and excited to come back to that activity whenever you want a little boost! 

While it’s supes unlikely that you’ll feel like doing anything active after work, that’s actually a good thing. Like we said two paragraphs ago, activity wakes you up… so while it’s a good thing to do in the middle of your shift to perk yourself up, it’s not the best idea right before bed. Instead, try going for a walk or doing some other kind of activity when you wake up in the evening, with a big smile on [your] face — oh darn did we start singing All-American Rejects again?? Sorry about that… 

6. Take Care of Your Mental Health 

It can be pretty easy to dwell on the fact that you’re at work in the middle of the freaking night, but don’t forget about the benefits. Depending on what you value in a job, working night shifts can actually be nicer. 

Working during non-peak hours can also sometimes mean a less stressful shift. Night shifts have less public interaction and more of a focus on sustaining momentum and maintaining progress from day-to-day. To be clear, we’re not saying night shifts are easy or diminishing the work in any way. Imagine a world where all the nurses, firefighters, security guards, and air traffic controllers clocked out at 5 p.m.—yikes!! 

Working nights or weekends might not be everyone’s first choice, but that can create a sort of bond between you and your coworkers. You might even start each shift singing “We’re All In this Together” from High School Musical! No? Yeah totally us neither. 

Night shift depression is real. It can feel like you have seasonal depression year-round when you don’t see the sun enough. Whether it’s by talking with loved ones or coworkers, light therapy, antidepressants, or seeing a therapist, don’t neglect your mental health. Remember to take care of yourself — because you’re worth taking care of.