Wrinkles, Hair Loss, and Night Guards … Oh My

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Hello, World!

Today I am here with that I think is a funny post. I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day, and I was listing out things I know use daily that I never thought I would need until I’m much older. I suppose law school stress has affected the chemical makeup of my body or changed me in ways I can no longer reverse without a little help. One of my best college friends, who is in law school in California, sent me a meme one day about how sometimes you look in the mirror and think “wow I look tired,” and then all the sudden you find yourself looking into the mirror, almost daily, and think “oh, this is just my face now.”

At the beginning of my second year of law school, I noticed that my forehead was starting to have lines… wrinkles if you will. I thought maybe it was from sleeping… but then I realized I don’t sleep on my face. So, I ordered an anti-wrinkle serum to apply nightly. I followed a recommendation of another blogger and ordered the Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. I apply it nightly before bed, along with a moisturizer. It’s helping reduce the appearance of the lines, but they remain. Honestly, at 23, I never thought anti-wrinkle anything would be part of my beauty routine.

Then, the last time my sister did my hair, she commented on its thickness… or should I say thinness? She described it as almost menopausal, as I’d lost more than half my thickness. I’d noticed that my hair was falling out, but thought it was just stress and moved on. But then my sister encouraged me to ask my doctor because the level of loss was really abnormal. We still don’t know the exact cause of my hair loss, but I’ve started a daily multi-vitamin with biotin to help foster hair growth. I also loaded up on various hair thickening products. I’ve always been a bit unhappy with the thickness of my hair, but this reached a new level. I have these baby hairs around my face I never had two years ago, and I feel like my hair looks so thin when I try to style it. It’s something I’m very insecure about and makes me hate styling my hair because I just don’t feel good about it. I’m also trying to get back to eating healthier and living a healthier lifestyle, as when I was eating really well my hair looked the best it ever did. Still, I never thought hair loss would be something I was dealing with at 23.

When I visited my dentist last, he mentioned that I’m grinding my teeth. This I knew. I could feel it in my jaw after sleeping and knew my teeth were getting more and more sensitive. So, he fitted me for a night guard. Both my parents have night guards, but I never really thought I would need one this young. I guess grinding teeth is more stress related than age-specific, but still… add it to the list of things I never thought I’d need at 23.

Something I’ve often alluded to in blog posts was my struggle to adjust to living in Virginia and the stress of law school. I had health issues for months when I first moved. I never felt good, I often felt like I had the flu, and my stomach hurt every time I ate. So, I didn’t really eat anything but soup. Then I went to a gastrointestinal specialist, who said he thought I either had Chron’s or something else and said we could start with medication and go from there. So, two years later, I’m on a stomach medication that I take with meals. I don’t love taking medication, I’m the person who stubbornly avoids cold medicine and allergy medication. But, without my stomach medication, I have severe cramping when I eat. I love to eat, so obviously, this isn’t ideal. Did I think, two years ago when I was doing great and feeling great, that I’d need daily stomach medication? No. Has it become normal to me? Yes. This might be TMI, sharing this, but I think sometimes we struggle with things alone that other people may also be dealing with. I also think it’s easy to only share the positives, and ignore the negatives, which creates a distorted picture of who we are.

I’ve always struggled with anxiety. While I’m not overly vocal about it on my blog, I think I’ve been transparent that I’m an anxious person. One of my friends, who also has a lot of anxieties, recently said “we have a lot of the same anxieties. I thought I was the only one.” Having anxiety is really hard and can feel so isolating. Some people don’t have the patience or simply don’t know how to handle people with anxiety, and that can feel like they don’t care about you enough to try. One of the reasons I started reading Carly the Prepster was because she voiced so many truths about anxiety that resonated with me. I didn’t feel so alone about it. Even when we feel alone, we often aren’t, which we would realize if we’re brave enough to talk about our struggles with others.

So, I wanted to share that I use or have issues with all of this simply because some of you might be dealing with similar problems or similar stresses and thinking your body is reacting abnormally. If you read this and thought, “wow she’s got problems,” you’re not wrong, but I hope this post shed light that we all deal with things that aren’t visible on the surface and that people are good at hiding when they want to, so have empathy and don’t make assumptions!

Truly,
Callie leigh

The Art of Doing Nothing: Free Time Blues

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Hello, World.

As young professionals, we are used to going and going and going and rarely taking breaks. I recently finished my second year of law school and I have a bit of time between finishing the academic year and relocating for my summer internship. I am going home to California in August, so while many of my friends are traveling, I’m currently in my law school’s town just … hanging out. I was lamenting my boredom and lack of activities to my roommate and best law school friend, and she responded “you should do a blog post about this. How hard it is to go from being so overwhelmed with work to just doing nothing and how hard the transition is.” I couldn’t agree with her more, so here I am!

The first few days after a semester, I have a decompression period. I do very little “work” and tend to just lounge and sleep and recharge my batteries. This is normal and I do this at home with my family — everyone knows my first few days home are for rest and easy outings. Then, after my recharge period, we start doing more and I start getting back to “work” related things, whether that’s reading, blogging, etc. or starting an internship. This year, however, is my first May where I am not in California for my rest period or my post-rest period fun. Do I wish I was in California right now with my family? Absolutely. But financially and logistically, it wasn’t a good decision for me to go home. So, I’m in Virginia truly on my own with nothing to do (most my friends are visiting home or have relocated for the summer). It’s an odd feeling to wake up and know that you have to entertain yourself because there isn’t law school work to do (though this is coming, as I am on an executive board for a law journal and we have to grade competition entries for next years staff members). I’ve been reading a lot, which is great, and I’ve been planning out blog content, which is nice, but it’s hard to embrace the free time when roughly two weeks ago I was so overwhelmed and felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day to complete all that I needed to. It’s kind of funny because when I’m in school I have so many things I’d rather be doing or could think of doing. And yet… once the free time comes, I’m at a loss of how to handle it.

So, why do we have such a hard time adjusting to having free time? For starters, I think we are so used to feeling short on time that it’s almost more overwhelming to have so much time. When you’re a high-achieving person, you’re used to the “go” and don’t know how to embrace the “slow.” More and more I’m seeing self-proclaimed Type-A personalities taking a step back, trying to enjoy the quiet, and trying to take time to do things that bring them joy. When you’re in school full-time, while you can take time for those things, you still have a rigorous schedule you follow and deadlines and responsibilities that keep coming for you, even when you try to avoid them. When those things disappear, even for a brief two weeks before it all starts again, the reset button feels so foreign and jolting it’s hard to respond. But, the thing is, we should respond by reaching out, grabbing the free time, and embracing it like a long lost lover because the truth is, resetting is so so important.

Personally, I put so much pressure on myself and push myself so hard, that I often feel burned out and exhausted by the end of an academic year. Over the last two years, the burn out often results in me questioning if I’ve made a massive mistake with my life’s course. I don’t say this to imply I don’t want to be a lawyer. I do. But this is the thing: burn out makes you question things you wouldn’t otherwise question. It makes you feel like you’re making a mistake in some facet of your life when really you just need a nap. The way to avoid burn out? Revel in the moments where you can relax, where you can read a great novel, listen to a new album, watch that movie that makes you laugh. One of the reasons I didn’t want to go back to California now is because it’s a long trek, and I’m busy the whole time, and then I come back a bit jet-lagged in need of a vacation from my vacation. So, when my dad and I talked about it, we decided I’d go home in August and use this time to relax and get ready for my internship. Maybe that makes me sound weak, needing time for myself to recharge, but I think allowing yourself moments of calm brings more joy and less overwhelm (thank you, Hilary Rushford, for that tagline).

Outside of our persona of being young professionals, we’re all dealing with stuff. Whether it’s relationships, friendships, balance, body image issues, finding out someone you love isn’t well, trying to make time for people, trying to find yourself, etc., we’re all dealing with a lot that has absolutely nothing to do with our careers. That adds a layer of pressure and stress that makes being focused on a career that much harder. It also makes burn out more likely and it makes it more likely we will change our minds about certain things. Maybe that gym membership we thought we had time for, we don’t. Maybe that new relationship is not right for us. Maybe that friend who only seems to take and never seems to give needs to go. I don’t mean to say alone time, resetting time will bring you huge life changes, rather I mean the more you take breaks, allow yourself recharge periods, and the more you embrace the free time you have, the more you decrease the chances of burning out, of feeling overwhelmed, of feeling inadequate. For me, the more overwhelmed I am, the more I feel like it’s me that’s doing something wrong. Sure, this is something a therapist would likely have a field day with, but over the years I’ve learned that to avoid this feeling, I have to take time to myself. So, I take time to myself and I’m usually good at having alone time, but the last few weeks were a struggle. Maybe it’s too much alone time that was the change or knowing that I could be with my family instead of being here, but I think ultimately, this time is good for the soul.

I’m not sure if this post offered any advice, but I will say that I think there is a very real struggle when young professionals go from their “go” time to their “slow” time and I think it’s okay to recognize that free time is hard to adjust to. However, I think rather than fighting it or trying to occupy that time with work, it’s completely okay to embrace the slow. Go get your coffee and stroll downtown. Go shopping by yourself (this is oddly therapeutic, let me tell you!). Go read in the park. Watch the movie that’s been on your list for months. Buy yourself a bottle of wine and drink it on your porch in the sunshine. Being good at being alone is a hard thing, but the more you take time for yourself, the more you will have to offer others.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Overcoming Self Doubt

Overcoming Self Doubt

Hello, World.

For the past year and a half, I have been pretty transparent about my battle with self-doubt and confusion about whether I’m where I should be and doing what I should be doing. For most of my life, I’ve been known as confident, firm in my convictions, and moving toward a specific goal. While the goal sometimes changes, I remain steadfast in my pursuit of it. However, leaving California and moving to a new state, struggling to find friends, and having some other personal issues at play, I’ve never felt more displaced. At the end of this post, I will link to posts that I think expand on the feelings I’ve had, which I encourage you to read if you haven’t already. Anyway, I think a large part of my self-doubt is rooted in the feeling of displacement that was so present during my first year of law school. I never felt smart enough to be here, I consistently felt like my tribe was nowhere to be found (and sobbed just thinking about my college friends), and I generally felt like I made some massive mistake. However, I took specific steps to overcome self-doubt and they really improved my confidence and I slowly felt the feelings of self-doubt being replaced with feelings of confidence or at least contentedness.

First, I was selective about where I invested my time. I was so involved in college, but in law school I decided to be more selective and focus heavily on my classes, adding things to my schedule only when I was really passionate about them. The selectiveness made me feel in control – a feeling I was missing.

Second, if I felt like someone was taking away from my happiness, I minimized interactions with them. I recently visited my college with one of my law school friends and when relaying the details of our visit to my family she said, “those are Callie’s people.” I laughed, knowing it was completely true. When I first got to law school, I wasn’t finding my people. People I was spending time with operated very differently than I did and I felt so drained after spending time with them. That may seem harsh, but in all honesty, they’re fine people, just not my people. So, I asked people I did enjoy spending time with to go for coffee and made a more pointed effort to see them more.

Third, fake it ’til you make it with daily reminders. Something people may not know is, when I was really struggling, I started meditating and I would meditate on confidence or self-doubt. I would try to meditate and clear my head, reminding myself that I am good enough, that I got into this law school for a reason, and that just being me was enough. Small reminders and pointed thinking helped me tremendously.

Fourth, take time to do the things you know you enjoy and are good at doing. Do you enjoy running? Are you good at playing the guitar? Do you enjoy coffee? Do you enjoy reading a book before bed? When you’re feeling displaced or confused or overwhelmed with doubt, ground yourself in the things that make you, you. I started reading before bed, and it’s changed my life. I feel so much happier going to bed and I sleep better, which makes my day better. I listen to music and stretch. I go for walks around my town, getting sunshine and fresh air, and I feel so much better afterward. When you’re struggling, I think it’s helpful to return to your passions and the things you know you’re good at in order to feel like a more confident you. I left college feeling so capable, sure, and motivated. That all faded at an alarming pace and returning to small things that I loved (e.g., reading novels before bed) made all the difference.

Fifth, when small changes won’t do, make big changes. Sometimes what is making your unhappy or unsure about yourself is more rooted in your daily life. This was true for me. I felt like when you’re trying to high five a person and you just keeping missing hands, unable to meet the other person where they are or maybe they’re unable to meet you where you are and you just do not mesh. If this is the case, make a major change. Figure out what is best for you, and take the plunge. While it can be scary and may cause drama, know that making the decision is a heightened version of self-care that we could all use more of in this life.

Sixth, establish a support system. Reach out to mentors, talk to your family, express your feelings to your friends (your real friends, not acquaintances or selfish people). I feel like a bit of a broken record when I talk about support systems, but if the last year has taught me anything, it’s that support systems are invaluable and you want to make sure you have a support system that will last a while. There’s nothing sadder, in my opinion, of seeing people throw away people who care in favor of people who care right now.

Posts you might like if you enjoyed this post:

Read this when … you’re scared to take the risk

When You Can’t Find Your Place, Create It 

Read this when … someone massively disappoints you

1L In Review

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care Effectively

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Hello, World.

Self-care is one of those things I had never heard of before college. Then I got to college and everyone was preaching self-care. Self-care can look different for different people, but I think self-care is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. I feel like everything in my life improves when I take time for myself and do things that make me feel like my best self. So, today I’m sharing my top five tips for practicing self-care.

  1. Listen to yourself. Seems straightforward enough, right? Well, it’s not always easy to stop and just ask yourself, “what do I want?” and allow whatever comes to mind to control. I used to ignore what I wanted and put what everyone else wanted first. Now, I ask myself, “do you want to do x?” and if the answer is no, I don’t do it. Whether its a social gathering, the gym, a movie, a function, if it’s not what I want to do, I don’t do it. Now, obviously, we have to do things we don’t want to do occasionally. Still, if you can control something, and it’s not what you want, you have the power to say no.
  2. Make time for your hobby. Whether its yoga, the gym, hiking, reading for pleasure, getting coffee and reading The Post, find time for it. The best thing you can do for yourself is really stressful seasons of life is take time to enjoy something you love. For me, I take time to read from “for fun” novels or nonfiction. I miss reading novels and talking about books, so I try to bring a daily reading practice into my routine.
  3. Let go of failures. Did you get a low grade? Did you get turned down for that job? Did you get blown off for a networking call? All of that sucks and can easily cause all types of self-doubt and annoyances. However, a way to practice self-care is to let it go. Don’t let those things, that seem so major right now, define you. You can be successful, and you will be successful, but you have to let the things that don’t work out go.
  4. Quick Spa Night. When I’m feeling really stressed, I will put on a face mask, paint my nails, light some candles, and relax. It may seem too easy, but it can rejuvenate me and give me the extra motivation I need to check more items off my to-do list.
  5. Take a Walk. I go to school near Colonial Williamsburg, and when I’m really stressed or just need a break, I go for a walk around the area by myself. It’s great to get outside, get fresh air, gain some perspective, and just walk around. Taking a walk can give you distance from something that’s stressing you or will allow you to think clearly as you walk around. Taking walks is vastly underrated, in my opinion!

How do you practice self-care?

Truly,

Callie leigh

Creating Your Place In the World: Thoughts on Finding Your Tribe and Building Your Empire

Creating Your Place In the World: Thoughts on Finding Your Tribe and Building Your Empire

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Hello, World.

I recently participated in Hilary Rushford’s How to Make the Right Dreams Happen in 2018, which was a workshop she put together designed to empower people to work hard and reach intentional goals in 2018. I also came across a post on Carly the Prepster where she talked about the beginning of her blog and the somewhat wonky road she took to become who she is today. After participating in the workshop and reading the post, I was thinking a lot about the uncertainty that is all too familiar in the life of a student. Being a student is difficult because a lot of life seems temporary and unclear. For example, I chose to go to law school in Virginia. This was a choice that I made. Yet, after one and a half years in Virginia, I know I don’t want to build a life here long-term. I would say I don’t have anything against the state, but I miss the west coast and I’ve realized I prefer the northeast (hello, New York!). Still, I know that this chapter of my life is so important.

But… uncertainty remains. It’s hard to know what’s going to last and what’s relevant right now but may be less relevant in a month, six months, a year, five years. I read a book recently that said something along the lines of, “you tell yourself it’s temporary. But then you get a job, and you meet people, and you love where you are, and you become a regular at the coffee shop down the street and know the names of the cashier at the grocery, and suddenly your life is here. It’s not there.” As a student, life is often up in the air. So, how do we create a firm place for ourselves in a pliable world? Well, we create it.

You may then ask: how do we create our place? I believe that finding your place happens when you feel secure, confident, and comfortable in your life. So, this involves the people you surround yourself with, the places you live, and the way you approach the day. When I got to law school, I felt really lost. I’ve discussed this at length previously, but essentially I was not one of the people who immediately fell into a rhythm and felt like I fit perfectly in the environment. So, I took steps to figure out why. I realized part of the issue was I wasn’t finding my tribe (this is ironic, since my school’s mascot is, literally, the tribe). I started being strategic and selective about who I surrounded myself with, which meant finding people who built others up, who supported me, who made me laugh, and who I felt a connection to. It took time but I finally felt fulfilled when I hung out with people and not sad or drained.

So, how do we find our tribe? Hilary Rushford’s brand is built on community and the idea of finding your tribe. I love that concept and I think it’s so important that we find people who complete our lives by adding value to it. I’ve had many friends over the year who were fine, but never really added to my life. That’s not to say they weren’t great people, but I think it shows why they ended up being temporary. My closest friends are the ones who I can text or call and it’s easy and we’re there for each other and we support each other and we laugh and feel like something is missing when we haven’t heard from them in a while.

Creating your place can look different for different people, but I think the crux of it all comes in the form of being strategic, selective, and confident. If you know the person you are and who you want to be, and you feel out of place in certain contexts, that implies a lack of fit. That’s not your place, so don’t get discouraged because there’s another one waiting for you. Finding your place in life is similar to finding a good college. You need to feel it in your very being that it’s right for you. Some campuses are pretty and offer good opportunities but don’t feel right for you. If you can’t find your perfect place at the present time you can focus on yourself. Read novels, go to yoga classes, run outside, work on yourself. Work on being happy and confident in yourself. The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to recognize the people, places, and things that complement you.

Truly,

Callie leigh