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“Business Woman Waiting” by Nicole de Khors through Burst through StockUp

Relationships are a complex mess of balance, communication, and care. But you know you’re in a good place when it doesn’t always feel like work.

However, working too hard to communicate might be one sign that you’re in a less-than-good place.

In May 2019, I met a man — we’ll call him Jake. What made talking to him particularly magical was that we met during my brief summer break, when I wasn’t teaching. That meant that I could stay up until the wee hours of the morning chatting with him while he worked his night shift job.

Toward the end…


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“Woman Meditating Thailand” by Jessica Devnani from Burst through StockUp

I’ve written about how we shouldn’t compete with others before — how it’s not good for your mental health, and just not a good way to live life. But there was one thing that I didn’t mention in that article, mostly because it deserves its own space to shine: always be gentle with yourself.

Some people are harder on themselves than others and for different reasons. But pushing ourselves doesn’t just mean pushing to do better, but also pushing to do more.

Look, it’s common knowledge that daily life comes with a thousand hustles. How many of those hustles we…


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“Woman Typing on an Old Typewriter” Photo from Karolina Grabowska from Kaboom Pics, from StockUp

It might seem counterproductive for a relatively new freelancer to give advice on how to do it. But I’ve been at it long enough to know what has worked for me since this crazy journey of researching, free commons photo searching, project jumbling, and deadline meeting began.

To be clear, freelancing is not my only job, which can sometimes make this job even more difficult. But if I’m still here three months after first being hired as a freelancer, then something can be said for my endurance so far.

Organize your sources

I’m often jumbling more than one project at a time, which…


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Photo from FreeNatureStock through StockUp

There’s something magical about staying awake: when the blissful quiet of your solitary existence wraps warmly around you.

The trouble is that if I stayed up until 1 a.m. watching Netflix, writing, or otherwise playing around every night like in college, then I would be dead the next day. I could stay up past midnight because my classes started late, and my responsibilities were limited to pretty much just classwork.

College was almost five years ago. Classwork has since been replaced by grading, hustling for freelance jobs, paying bills, planning lessons, sending emails, the list goes on. There is a…


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“Motivation” by Viktor Hanacek, from Picjumbo, through StockUp

It’s no secret our modern world runs a million miles an hour, with dozens of daily grinds to balance. It’s also no secret that time runs just as fast. You can sit at your computer to either write a crop of emails or watch your favorite Netflix show, and hours can pass without you even thinking about it.

But nearly every hard-working person on this planet has one goal: accomplishment.

Whether you win a long-wanted promotion, or just make your bed really well, accomplishment makes us feel like every day has been worth something. But accomplishment is subjective. …


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“Laughing Woman in Snowy Urban Park” by Nicole de Khors, from Burst

Sometimes, the response to boosting self-esteem is to tell yourself you’re special. But I’m not going to tell you you’re special, because our problems and daily grinds are not that different.

What I can tell you, though, is that no one else shares your life — your memories, your hobbies, your interests. So how are those an advantage in building self-esteem?

Learn to Laugh at Little Embarrassments

There is an infamous home video from my childhood, where it’s just me — maybe three years old — and my mom, mucking around with a camera. My mom is making the usual…


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Photo by Ryan Bruce from Burst

Anxiety comes at different times and at different volumes, so we must have an arsenal on hand to combat it. Me…I combat it by playing pretend. I write stories. I journal about the random nonsense in my imagination. Sometimes even, I play with makeup and costumes and temporarily turn myself into someone else.

Combatting anxiety begins by being aware of the present moment. But often, for me, the present moment of breathing in and out is unexciting. Noticing your thoughts and letting them go is a productive method, I will concede to that, but I prefer to steer those thoughts…


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Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

You go one of three routes when you graduate from an MFA program: you pursue writing full-time, you return to your old job now declaring you can write, or you become a teacher.

By August 2018, reality had cooled me and my friends’ idealistic post grad dreams. We still wrote from time to time, but now we had to make some kind of living. I made mine by teaching English at a community college.

I had previous experience as a teaching fellow — a job made incredibly fun by a great mentor and a crop of amazing students. …


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Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Everyone’s looking for love, and we seem to look for it younger and younger all the time. That’s not to say that relationships are beginning between, say, five-year-olds. But certainly, at five years old, we are already priming ourselves for meeting tall handsome strangers and falling in love.

Don’t worry, this isn’t another article bashing the Disney Princesses, nor the little girls wanting to be Disney Princesses. I’m just saying that this romance-addicted wallflower didn’t have a real relationship until her mid-twenties.

I’d always wanted a relationship, but I never really looked for one. I think I only started actually…


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Photo by Eric Saczuk, from Snapwire Snaps, through StockUp

Walks are, not surprisingly, pretty awesome. After all, they’re not very physically strenuous, and you get to slow down and enjoy your favorite sights. I myself happen to live by a scenic bike trail that winds not only through a quaint forest, but also my favorite part of town. So you can bet, when the trees turn all the shades of the earthy rainbow, I’m pulling out my floppy beanie and strolling through those trees and breathing that crisp fall air.

That said, there are ways to get the best for your boot, if you catch my drift. You can…

Stephanie N. Anderson

Stories — about mindfulness, business, the arts — are my jam. Book blogger at “The Library Key”, English teacher, and freelance writer by day.

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