By Zen Habits
“A little trick I like to use to make my days much more pleasant is to find little, simple pleasures and sprinkle them throughout my day. They’re not big things, but they each simple pleasure can translate to a great day if you use them right. So in the morning, I might have a cup of coffee, and sip it slowly to enjoy it fully. I might read a gripping novel, and revel in the world of fiction. I might watch the sun come up, and marvel at the world in pastel hues.”
“I was talking to my younger brother the other day, and he made a comment about how much I had changed – that he still remembered the girl I was only a few years ago, obsessed with designer labels and completely addicted to shopping retail. And he was right. I was constantly running in the world’s hamster wheel, and it forced me to always want more. More shoes. More money. More clothes. More bags. More labels. I realized at one point that this need for excess was fueled by my desire to be happy, but the funny thing is, none of it was actually making me happy. It’s crazy to think about how much, fast forward a few months, I’ve transformed by being on the road.”
By Free People
“This may sound simple, but it’s easier said than done. We are always on the go, moving from one place to the next, rarely stopping to really enjoy the present moment and the little things in life that make those moments so special. It’s easy to forget the small things when we have so many larger things on our plates; but just as we sometimes want to focus on the big picture, and not sweat the small stuff, it’s important sometimes to remember and cherish those little moments”
Getting a handle on your finances is an important aspect of living a financially free life. Most often, the emphasis is usually on cutting back expenses in order to make ends meet, but what if I told you there was another way? Yes, cutting back on expenses is a great place to start. But, adding more money to your bottom line will not only give you the financial freedom you seek, it will also allow you the freedom to maintain your current lifestyle. The following are 15 creative ways to make extra money:
Craigslist is a great place to exchange goods and services and, for the most part, it is usually done for money. However, a little known fact is that craigslist is also a great place to get freebies. Whether someone is getting rid of something because they no longer have room for it or they have to abruptly leave their home, city, or state; there are some rare gems that you can resell for a decent return. The key is to look for free stuff on Craigslist that is currently selling on Craigslist or elsewhere. Some items will be in great shape but if not, spruce it up and resell either on Craigslist, a flea market, or a garage sale.
Do you have a keen eye? Are your photos museum-worthy? Well, if you answered yes or no to any of those questions then you can sell your photos to stock photo agencies like Shutterstock, iStock, Adobe and other similar companies. It really doesn’t matter if you are a professional or novice; you still have the opportunity to make some money. Most work on a per download basis where you get paid a percentage every time someone downloads your picture.
If you have a spare room in your living space and want to generate some side income, consider renting it out. Use Airbnb to put your home to work for you, whether you wish to rent out your entire home or a single room. Think about this…If you’ll be traveling a lot this year, rent out your home to make some money while you’re away that can help pay for all of those adventures. That sounds like a great way to make some extra cash and travel for near free, if you ask me. And don’t worry, there are security protections in place that help make this option less terrifying than most would think.
Do you have a voice that Simon Cowell would pay a compliment to? Are you a talented graphic designer that can take any concept and bring it to life? Are you an artist who can give Michelangelo a run for his money? If so, sites like Task Rabbit and Thumbtack are great platforms to sell your skills. These aren’t only limited to those with creative skills; you can sell editing services, research services, typesetting, and the list goes on.
Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned professional, there is something that you are good at! I am stating this as fact because even if it’s something you have never gotten credit for, chances are you have a skill that others may find valuable. Using this skill to make some extra income is possible thanks to platforms like SkillShare, Udemy and Teachable.com. Many top experts use this as a lucrative way to earn passive income but you don’t have to be a top expert to take advantage of this option.
You may think I’m talking about the FBI, but I am actually talking about the Field Agent app. You simply sign up for an account and do small tasks around town for different clients. Your task can range from checking prices at the local supermarket to conducting surveys. You get paid based on the assignment and you get to choose which you want to participate in.
If you have a great memory, can pay attention to details, and report on what you see and experience, then making money as a secret shopper will be a cinch for you. Becoming a secret shopper is as simple as you registering with a company that provides that service, then going undercover to different stores and reporting your experience as a customer. You are paid for your insight and while you are at it you can enjoy some free meals, traveling and shopping. Not only are you earning money and perks but you are also helping to set the tone for how real clients should be treated.
Babysitting may seem like an obvious place to start when wanting to make some extra money and you may be thinking that you are not cut out to babysit, but here’s the twist. Look for moms and dads who are busy professionals who have small children under five. They will most likely tell you that they don’t remember the last time they were able to enjoy a quiet night out. Offering your services to this niche population will not only be a lucrative undertaking, but an easy job to do as well because chances are you will be simply house-sitting as the children sleep. If you have extensive experience in child care, consider signing up for sites like Care.com where you can set your schedule of availability.
When you were a child, you might remember your parents telling you to “mind your own business,” but as an adult taking heed to this advice can cost you. This is because you can get paid to mind other people’s business. There are companies that will pay you to participate in focus groups, phone surveys, online surveys, and even product trials.
Companies like Avon and Mary Kay have stood the test of time and they allow you to start your own business for very low money. Becoming a sales rep for a direct selling company is one of the easiest ways to earn some money, especially if you’re selling something you use and/or love.
You can really make a decent living becoming a driver for either Lyft or Uber. If a living isn’t what you are after, driving people around can still give you that needed boost in your finances by only working part-time.
If you love music, you’ll love this gig. Simply head over to Slicethepie.comand start reviewing unsigned artists and bands to earn some extra cash. Your payment per review is based on the quality of the reviews you turn out on the site, so it may take a little time to build up your reputation. But according to Slicethepie, “The better your review, the bigger the bonus payment.” The site also offers a referral program where if any of your friends sign up using your referral code and write reviews, then you’ll receive bonus payments for every review they submit.
We've all stepped up to the conisgnment store counter to find out that the sweater from J Crew we never had the chance to wear is only worth $3. Womp. By selling your excess or used clothing on apps like Poshmark, you have the freedom to set your price and wait. Poshmark even provides the shipping label for you. If it doesn't work out, you can always head back to your local consignment store or put the items on Craigslist.
Sign up with sites like Rover.com or Wag! to walk dogs or care for pets and earn some extra cash. Sign on at your convenience and help out local pooches whose owners are stuck at work or out of town on business. If the apps don't service your area, contact local grooming and boarding to let them know you are available for pet sitting or dog walking.
One of our most essential needs as human beings is to love and be loved. Since we are wired for relationships from the moment we enter the world, one would think it would be easy to pick partners that suit us well. But the truth is, many people repeatedly pick the wrong partner and end up feeling unhappy (and perhaps utterly pained) in their relationship. For some, it’s easy to walk away from a relationship when it’s not right but for others, not so easy. Many people stay in relationships and are even aware of their unhappiness as they know deep down that their partner is not the right one.
In my psychotherapy practice two of the most common themes I hear among my clients when discussing romantic partnerships are: “Why do I keep choosing the wrong partner?” and “Why do I stay in relationships that make me unhappy?” These are important and complex questions that can only be answered when we take a hard look at ourselves. There are multiple reasons that motivate how we choose our partners and why we stay in dead end relationships—some of these reasons are conscious while others are unconscious. In order to understand what motivates our choices we have to be willing to work on ourselves and build awareness around our patterns.
I want to address some of the factors that may lead us into unhappy partnerships, and what keeps us in them. Once we have a sense of why we choose the way we do, we put ourselves in a better position to make conscious choices and to shift our negative patterns. This will help us get on the trajectory of finding a healthy whole relationship.
We can all relate to making choices out of fear: deciding whether or not to ask your boss for a raise, confronting someone we feel angry at, and, very commonly, staying in a relationship we know (on some level) is not right for us. Fear is one of the worst decision makers when it comes to choosing a partner. As instant gratification seekers, we thrive on the fantasy of the sparkly life experiences —the grand engagement, wedding, a house, and babies; we just figure we’ll deal with the rest (ie. our relationship struggles) later.
Fear tells us that we better lock a partner down fast or we may be alone forever. It causes us to obsess and sends us the message that it’s too late to break up and start over. In our culture no one wants to be the last single friend, or the really old parent, or be judged for still being single. However, what we should fear most is spending the rest of our lives unhappily with the wrong person. One solution to working with fear is to lean into it, as uncomfortable as it might be, and be real with ourselves about how we feel in our relationship right now. If you are aware that you are with your partner because you are afraid to leave (for whatever reason), try to be aware to the fact that you are choosing to be unhappy now because you are afraid to be unhappy later.
THERE COMES A POINT WHERE WE NEED TO MAKE A CHOICE: WE EITHER CHOOSE TO VALUE OUR OWN WORTH OR WE DON’T. YOUR PARTNER CANNOT FILL THIS VOID.
We all go through periods of feeling high and low. I think it’s helpful to think of self-esteem as existing on a continuum that fluctuates over the course of our lives. However, in relationships nothing interferes with the ability to have an authentic, reciprocal partnership like chronic low self-esteem. It can cause you to sabotage relationships or settle for a relationship in which you’re treated poorly, which ultimately matches your beliefs about yourself. There are so many valid reasons we do this.
Yet there comes a point where we need to make a choice: We either choose to value our own worth or we don’t. Your partner cannot fill this void. No relationship with someone else can ever compensate for secretly believing you don’t deserve it. Depending on your life circumstances, the concept of valuing yourself may feel impossible. I get it—but it is also possible. It’s about starting small and making a commitment to practice being kind to ourselves and recognizing we are valuable, even when we think we don’t deserve it. It’s a process, it will take time, and it will change your life.
Lets just say it: Society gives us terrible advice around our decision making for choosing a partner. We are told things like rely on fate, go with your gut, and hope for the best. We’re bombarded with images on social media that make us feel behind in life. We are indoctrinated with the belief that we have to find a life partner before we are “too old,” which depending on where you live, could be anywhere from ages 21-35. This pressure leads many to settle for partners they know in the long run are wrong for them.
While it's true that pressure is abundant, remember, this is your life we are talking about. As the writer Tim Urban profoundly stated, “When you choose a life partner, you’re choosing a lot of things, including your parenting partner and someone who will deeply influence your children, your eating companion for about 20,000 meals, your travel companion for about 100 vacations, your primary leisure time and retirement friend, your career therapist, and someone whose day you’ll hear about 18,000 times.” Enough said.
There is a huge mistake that many people make when looking for a partner. It is the belief that a romantic relationship is the key to being happy. It’s not true. In fact, this mindset may actually be sabotaging your experience of finding a partner. Here's why: Other people can feel it when you have anxiety about finding love. When you approach a relationship from a sense of emptiness inside, the people you’re dating will sense it and it won't feel good to them. When you’re confident, the energy you give off will convey that being in a relationship is your choice, not a dire need. When you have that underlying feeling of needing to find a relationship out of fear, your entire vibe can change from calm and collected to insecure and riddled with self-doubt.
The truth is that only you can complete you, and by that I mean the job of healing one’s own emptiness cannot be handed over to our partners. This is personal work that if left undone will follow you from one relationship to the next.
MANY OF US PICK PARTNERS WHO HELP US STAY WITHIN OUR COMFORT ZONE, EVEN IF THAT ZONE TURNS OUT TO BE LESS THAN DESIRABLE.
As human beings, we are drawn on an unconscious level toward the familiar. The experiences that make us who we are also influence whom we choose as a partner. Many of us pick partners who help us stay within our comfort zone, even if that zone turns out to be less than desirable. For example, if our past was filled with feelings of rejection or inadequacy, we will be drawn to scenarios in which we feel the same way as adults. Imagine this scenario: You may be initially attracted to someone whose attention makes you feel good about yourself, but eventually, you start to notice that your partner is resistant to getting close and can be dismissive. This will in turn trigger your fear of rejection, validate that you feel inadequate, and trigger anxiety.
Let me be clear that your fear of inadequacy being validated does not mean you are inadequate. What it actually means is that you are being put in the position to confront this belief and to act from a place of self-worth. I want to challenge you to respond differently the next time you feel rejected in your relationship. Notice if there is a familiarity of the situation and ask yourself, “Am I OK with this? Is this what I want in my relationship?” If the answer is no, it is time to act. If you feel you can’t act on your own, it is time to reach out for help.
Are you attracted to people that you want to fix? Are you drawn to the “project” aspect of a relationship where you get to help your partner change for the better? If you answered yes, you may be choosing partners from your “wounded self." The wounded self is the part of you that feels incomplete or damaged; it is the part that makes you question your worth or makes you think you are flawed in some way, always wondering if you are worth loving. When you put your energy into helping your partner heal from their issues it is a way of unconsciously acting out how you wish to be treated.
The patience, love, support you provide to your partner is an unconscious desire of what you craved in your early relationships. It gets unconsciously framed in the psyche as “if I can get “x” to change, then I am worth it, I am loveable.” For some people it is easier to put their focus and attention on how their partner needs to change because it allows them to avoid having to look at their own “stuff.” There is much healing to be done when we are choosing our partners from an unhealthy part of us. When we show up this way in our relationship we are actually abandoning ourselves and avoiding our deeper needs. This is a recipe for unhappiness.
EACH RELATIONSHIP YOU ENCOUNTER IN YOUR LIFE COMES WITH LESSONS FOR YOU TO LEARN AND WHAT YOU NEED TO EVOLVE.
One of the most profound and challenging aspects of being in a relationship is that it provides us with the opportunity for personal growth, if we allow it. Each relationship you encounter in your life comes with lessons to learn and what you need to evolve. But you have to want to evolve. And until you do, you will continue to face the same issues with each relationship moving forward. If we can think of each relationship as an opportunity to examine where we get stuck or triggered and aim to work on those parts of ourselves then we put ourselves in a better position to choose healthy, whole relationships.
Do you ever feel like a prisoner in your own mind? Do you constantly replay or obsess over negative situations? If you answered yes, then we are here to help. Obsessive thinking, also known as rumination, is like a hamster wheel or a broken record that plays the same bad song over and over again.
For anxious folks, even when life is going well, we tend to hyper-focus on the negative. It’s as if our brains work to hold on to the negative experiences and release the positive. Rumination can be a problem because it rarely offers new insights or solutions on how to handle a situation. Instead it emotionally hijacks us and intensifies our negative feelings.
So, how can we free ourselves from ruminating? Consider these tools for a less anxious you:
1. Increase Awareness
The first step in changing any behavior is becoming conscious of it when it arises. We have to recognize our patterns before we can change them. Often when we are stuck in a cognitive loop, we engage in a well-established habit. It’s similar to biting nails or checking social media every few minutes—it happens unconsciously. The next time you catch yourself ruminating, think: “Stop!” (Say it out loud to break the loop.) I also have my clients practice visualization: imagine taking a current thought and putting it in a trashcan. I had one client put a rubber band around her wrist and snap it every time she ruminated to remind her to stop.
2. Name It
When we are caught in the cycle of rumination, generally there is an underlying fear that something bad is going to happen. You might be obsessing over a mistake at work, an unfinished conversation with your partner, a fight with a friend, or not living the life you envisioned for yourself. Whatever the reason, try to sum up your rumination into one single sentence: “I am scared that I may lose my job” or “I’m angry at my friend for the way she treated me.” You gain control by being able to address the real situation. If you can identify your greatest worry/fear, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen? Can I handle that?” Most likely, the answer is yes. You’ll deal with it in the moment just like you’ve always dealt with any hardship.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on your present moment experience. We spend so much time dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about future events that we spend very little time in the here and now. The practice of mindfulness can help us reduce our “thinking” selves and increase our “sensing” selves. A good example: any time you find yourself in “auto-pilot." For instance, the next time you are eating lunch, try not giving into the impulse to check your emails (or other social media). Instead focus on what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. This can help ground you in the present moment. When you catch your attention wandering into the past or future, gently guide yourself back to the present moment and remember: The future does not exist anywhere but in your mind.
Take a moment and think about the source of your anxieties. I imagine a lot of them have to do with future projections or past hurts, mistakes, or regrets. Do your best to accept your situation as it is right now. I know how hard this can be, and I also know that pain and suffering gets worse depending on how we think about it. Try to lean into your feelings and take them for what they are. We often feel sad because we feel sad, are angry because we feel angry, and so on. Accept your current state as it is. Stop wanting things to be different. When you find yourself obsessing about the past or worrying about the future, ask yourself the following question: “Can I do anything about this right now?” If the answer is no, do your best to accept what is. Take a breath and do something that brings you joy. If the answer is yes, identify what you can do and do it.
5. Schedule a Worry Break
My clients often report how hard it is for them to fall asleep at night because they can’t quiet their minds. I can really relate to this. For me, for a long time, falling asleep was like a rumination carnival. I would feel fine all day and at bedtime my thoughts bounced all over the place—relationships, body image, career, finances, the future, and what I was going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was exhausting and it kept me awake and anxious. After trial and error, I found that allowing myself a short period of time to worry (about 15 to 30 minutes) helped me have better boundaries. During the "worry time" I write down what’s on my mind. At night when my thoughts keep me awake, I say to myself, “Nothing is going to get solved right now, it’s time to sleep. You can think about it tomorrow.”
Working on yourself in this way can be exhausting, I know. Honestly, it’s not easy; the concepts themselves are easy. But enacting them? That’s another story. Like any new skill, it takes practice, repetition, and self-love. Be compassionate with yourself and remember you don’t have to do it all at once—don’t feel like you’ve failed if you have a fearful or anxious thought. This is not a linear process and frankly, a certain amount of fear and anxiety is normal. However, if ruminative thoughts are interfering with living the life you want to live, consider reaching out for help. Therapy is a great way to learn how to use these techniques with the help and guidance of a professional.