Don’t let your hatred of exercise get in the way of your health.

I hate exercise for the sake of exercise.

However, I know physical activity is an essential part of healthy living. So I suck it up and exercise anyway. But that doesn’t mean I always follow a prescribed method of exercise that involves going to the gym or moving to a workout video.

Do something fun.

The fact that I don’t like exercise doesn’t mean that I refuse physical activity. Quite the opposite. I love being active. I enjoy riding my bike and hiking. I prefer walking to driving. I love swimming and playing tennis. I recently started fencing with my son and learning how to use a punching bag.

Your exercise time doesn’t have to include a boring routine that you hate. It doesn’t feel like exercise when I’m in the pool or sparring with my son. It’s exhilarating and enjoyable. I get a workout, and it doesn’t feel like a chore.

Find something active that you enjoy and use that as your primary method of exercise. It’s easier to stay motivated when it’s something you like, and you’re more likely to stick with it.

Break it up.

Sometimes you need to work on different aspects of your physical fitness. Most of my preferred activities involve cardio, and not much in the way of strength training. This means I need to devote some of my exercise time to strength training, even though it’s not my favorite.

I find yoga soothing, so I usually start with that. Many of the poses promote strength training using your body weight. If I start the day with five to 10 minutes of yoga, I feel good mentally and it is good for my body.

Throughout the day, though, I look for other ways to boost my strength training. Maybe it’s a few reps with the hand weights or a set of squats. Because I belong to a gym for the pool access, there are days I just suck it up and work out with the weight machines for strength training. But I do it in broken up doses so I don’t end up stuck doing something I hate for what feels like FOREVER.

You can do the same. Break your exercise into 10-minute chunks. Even if you are doing something you hate, you are more likely to stick with a regimen if you don’t have to block it all out and devote a whole half hour at a time to it.

Do something else at the same time.

Distract your mind by engaging in another activity at the same time you exercise. After I broke my wrist, I couldn’t engage in many of my preferred activities. Instead, I had to walk on the treadmill for most of my cardio. I hate that.

To take my mind off that fact, I listened to podcasts or brought my Kindle so I could read. Having my mind engaged allowed me to exercise without really registering how much I hated it. Some days I even answered email while on the treadmill.

I have friends who use a stationary bike while watching TV. They are distracted by the TV, but still get the exercise in. Use this technique to trick yourself into moving forward with exercise — even if you don’t normally like exercise.

Find a buddy.

Working out with a friend can feel like fun, instead of a chore. I don’t usually workout with someone, but there was a time when I had a walking buddy. He and I had similar fitness goals and we met twice a week to walk the track at the university.

Your workout buddy can also help you turn exercise into a game. Look for ways to reward yourselves for improved performance. You can even compete with each other, as long as you keep it friendly.

Don’t let your hatred of exercise keep you from developing a healthy habit. Trick yourself into exercise and you might be surprised at how much you can accomplish — and how much better you feel.

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Do you have a true concept of what is “real” about money after college?

I had plenty of money in college. I was rolling in it. My parents had given me a credit card so I could charge anything I needed, like groceries, utility bills, oil changes, and more. They paid my rent and didn’t ask questions when I spent more than $250 a month on food.

I worked during college, too – sometimes two jobs at once. Those jobs helped me buy what I wanted (which was a lot). If you’ve ever been to a college town, you know that there’s a plethora of shopping options nearby. Within a five-minute walk, I could access boutiques, vintage shops, and record stores.

If I wanted food, I could get anything delivered. Even if I had a fridge full of groceries, I’d get pizza, pad thai, or fried chicken delivered to my house. In a given month, I’d spend more than $100 on eating out.

I never told myself “no.”

That is, until I graduated.

Welcome to the real world.

The summer following graduation, I had an unpaid internship and a part-time job. For the first time, money was tight. I was paying my own rent that summer and commuting an hour one way (this is back when gas was close to $4 a gallon).

Suddenly, I had to reign in my spending. I said no to going out and shopping. I read blogs about couponing, cooking cheap meals, and getting free stuff.

That summer was a wake-up call. I couldn’t keep spending the same way. When I finally got a full-time job and started being totally responsible for all my bills, I realized how important it was to budget. I was only making about $28,000 a year, and after bills and student loan payments, there was hardly anything left.

Even though my budget was cramped, I decided I wanted to pay off my student loans early. I started tracking every dollar religiously. I was now saving money with the same intensity that I had spent money in college.

I found freebies, coupons, and special deals. I shopped at Aldi — my favorite discount grocery store — and stocked up on the essentials. I avoided eating out and always brought my lunch to work, even when it was Chef Boyardee ravioli.

In 2012, I created my blog to chronicle my debt payoff progress. I wanted to see if I could actually pay off my debt in three years. I thought my blog could serve as inspiration to anyone else trying to do the same thing.

A year after I started my first job after graduation, I got a new job and a small pay raise. When my rent went down, I put the difference toward my loans. Any time my expenses decreased, I just added that money toward my debt.

When my then-boyfriend and I moved with another friend, my rent was cut in half. Again, I put the amount I was saving toward paying down my student loans. That year, half of my paycheck went toward my debt. In November 2014, I made my last student loan payment.

Friends and family members started asking how I paid off my loans so quickly. I directed them to my blog, where I had written about my debt payoff journey. But soon I decided that I wanted to create one simple place where people could go and learn how to pay off their own student loans.

That’s why I created the Student Loan Knockout: A 20-Day Journey to Debt Freedom, my self-paced online course where you can learn the steps I took to become debt free. There are action items for each module and basic steps you can follow. This is not a course for finance experts. It’s for people like you feeling overwhelmed by your student loans and wondering where to turn.

In the real world of money after college, you need to make tough choices and get serious about your budget. Even though the road to debt freedom was filled with sacrifice, being debt free feels sweeter than any shopping spree or take-out meal.

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Do you want to make the most of today’s money for tomorrow? Make it rain for your future self.

One of the best times to set aside money for the future is now, while you’re young and compound interest can work longer in your favor.

Even if you think you don’t have enough money to invest, the truth is that you probably do. And one of the best things about using accounts that offer tax-free investment growth when your young is that you pay taxes at a lower rate.

If you want to make it rain later, the right planning now is the way to go.

Roth IRA

The Roth IRA is a solid choice when you have your first job. (There is also a Roth 401(k), so if your company offers a retirement plan, ask if there is a Roth version.)

With a Roth account, you make your contribution after taxes are taken out of your paycheck. However, this isn’t such a bad thing when you consider that right now you’re probably making very little anyway. Your taxes are lower than they might be later on.

A Roth account is all about the tax-free investment growth. When you withdraw money, you don’t have to pay taxes on it like you do with a “regular” retirement account. The longer you invest in a Roth IRA, and the longer the money grows, the bigger your benefit later on because you have the potential for more gains the longer you grow your account.

It’s a huge deal to not have to worry about paying taxes when you withdraw from your account.

Health Savings Account

If you want to level up your tax-free investment growth, consider opening a Health Savings Account (HSA) and contributing regularly.

The HSA offers a unique chance to invest because your contributions are made before taxes, so you get a tax deduction. Later, if you withdraw the money for qualified expenses, you don’t have to pay taxes on that money, either. Money in the HSA is truly tax-free — as long as you use it for qualified health care costs.

You can’t immediately invest the money in the HSA, though. Most of the time, you can only invest after your account balance exceeds $2,000. If you make regular contributions, you will get to that point and be able to enjoy tax-free growth.

In order to qualify, you need to have a high-deductible health care plan. As long as you don’t have really high health care costs, this type of plan can be great. It’s usually less expensive than other plans, and you can put your savings in the HSA.

I like to think of my HSA as a health care retirement account. I don’t actually use it now. Instead, when I am older, I’ll withdraw from my Roth IRA for income, and use the HSA to pay for medial co-pays and other medical costs. It will all be done with money that I won’t have to pay taxes on.

Now is the perfect time to start putting your money to work for you. Your taxes are likely the lowest they will ever be, and you can keep your expenses small, too. Focus on tax-free investment growth today, and you’ll be more likely to enjoy financial freedom later.

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How does your credit score relate to your credit report? Here’s what you need to know.

There are various stages of adulting.

Putting on real pants every day and having something green in the fridge is generally considered Level 1. At some point, you graduate to Advanced Adulting and start thinking about things like getting a credit card and maybe even buying a house. That’s when the concept of credit becomes part of your life.

That’s when the concept of credit becomes part of your life.

Your credit profile – a history of your behavior borrowing and repaying money – will impact you in pretty much every way. From getting loans and credit cards to finding a place to live, the health of your credit is really important.

In all honesty, the credit system is rigged. You are expected to go into debt in order to prove you’re financially responsible. Who made up these rules, anyway? But whether you like it or not, understanding how your credit is tracked and measured – primarily via your credit reports and scores – will help you play the game right and save as much money as possible.

Without finding yourself drowning in debt.

Let’s start with your credit report.

A credit report is the documentation of your history as a borrower, prepared by a credit bureau and supplied to lenders. It tracks all your personal and financial data, such as where you’ve lived and worked, your Social Security number, your financial accounts, payment history, credit inquiries, accounts sent to collections, bankruptcies, and more.

Generally, the bad stuff on your credit report will stay on it for about seven years. Bankruptcy will remain for about 10. After that, it falls off your report. You can’t control what shows up on your credit report as long as it’s accurate, but you can request that any errors be fixed.

That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on all your credit reports (yes, you have multiple). The best way to monitor your credit reports for errors or fraud is to visit the ONLY website approved to provide credit reports at absolutely no cost. Annualcreditreport.com allows you to access your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion – once per year for free.

Like I mentioned, it’s a good idea to review these reports regularly. The process is not going to be enjoyable (it’s a report, after all) and you’re going to try really hard to put it off.

Please, just do it. Spotting an error or fraudulent account could make all the difference in whether you’re approved for that next card or get a good rate on a mortgage.

Ok, so then what is a credit score?

Credit reports contain a ton of information. You have to spend time reading through what’s there in order to get a sense of the overall health of your credit.

But if you’re a lender dealing with thousands of applications every day, you don’t have time for that. So the credit score was invented in order to give a quick snapshot of a borrower’s creditworthiness.

You actually have dozens of credit scores, all calculated according to different models. However, they all pretty much take into account the same things, even if the algorithms are slightly different.

FICO is the most common credit score lenders look at. The possibilities range from 300 to 850. Here’s how it’s calculated:

  • Payment history (whether you pay your bills on time): 35%
  • Credit utilization (the amount of debt you owe in comparison to available credit): 30%
  • Length of credit history (how long you’ve been using credit): 15%
  • Credit mix (how diversified your credit accounts are): 10%
  • New credit (how often you’re applying for new accounts): 10%

Your credit scores float up and down depending on your credit activity, which is normal. Over time, however, you want to have scores as high as possible.

It’s important to note that, while you can check your credit reports every year for free, your reports do not include your scores. There are paid services you can use to see your credit scores from the major bureaus, as well as receive credit monitoring and fraud protection services.

You can also use sites like Credit KarmaCredit Sesame, and Quizzle to see your scores for free. However, you’ll generally get your “D-list” credit scores here and not your more “official” FICO score. My credit score sometimes shows a difference of nearly 100 points, depending on what source I use.

Use these sites to gauge your overall credit health, but take them with a grain of salt. No two scores will ever be the same, anyway.

The world of credit is definitely confusing, but you don’t have to stress about it too much. As long as you borrow responsibly, always pay your bills, and keep an eye out for errors and fraud, you should be just fine.

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If you MUST lend money to friends and family, try to keep these 7 essential tips in mind.

The common advice about lending money to friends and family is pretty straightforward: don’t do it. It’s generally said that if you’re going to give away money to the people you care about, it should be in the form of a gift. The expectation of repayment can lead to resentment, guilt and the general dissolution of relationships — so why expect anything at all?

But unfortunately, real life isn’t always so straightforward. Sometimes a friend or family member desperately needs financial assistance, and the amount they need is just too much to part with permanently. It may not be an ideal situation, but it’s common enough to warrant discussion.

So how do you go through the fire of money lending and come out the other side with your relationships still intact?

1. Don’t let it affect your credit. It’s one thing to loan your sister $500, but it’s another to cosign on her car loan. Cosigning means you could become responsible for her debt if she fails to pay it. No matter how much you trust someone, this is a huge risk to take — especially if you can’t afford to pay off a $20,000 Toyota. Your credit score can also take a hit if they fail to make their payments in a timely fashion.

2. Write it down. Miscommunication can turn a friendly loan into a relationship killer. What your brother considers to be timely repayment could be completely different from the time frame you’re expecting to wait. That’s why it helps to write the details out, so everyone is clear about the terms of the loan. You can also set up late fees so they have incentive to pay you back on time instead of a few days after the fact.

3. Keep a record of the repayment. If your friend or family member sets up a repayment schedule with you, find an online method to track how they’re paying you back. Splitwise is a great option, but there are plenty of other sharing and debt tracking services. This way, there’s concrete proof that each payment has been made. This is easier than getting separate checks in the mail or random amounts of cash.

4. Find out what the loan is for. Just like a bank wouldn’t loan you money without a stated purpose, don’t give your loved one money just because they ask for it. Maybe they want money to invest in what seems like a scam or a legitimate business venture – you won’t know until you find out. Plus, if they have to explain their reason to you, it may help them come to a better understanding of how reasonable their request is.

5. Discuss it with your partner. If you share finances with someone else, you should get their approval before you lend someone else money. Being on the same page will ensure that you don’t ruin your relationship with them as well as the person you’re lending money to.

6. Let them know they can talk to you. If you set a hard deadline and your friend can’t come up with the money by then, they may feel too embarrassed to talk to you about it. Don’t be a pushover, but let them know you’ll be flexible. This can make it easier to preserve your relationship, and your friend or family member won’t feel the need to give you the silent treatment out of embarrassment or fear.

7. Don’t turn the loan into a gift. While there are exceptions to this rule, you generally don’t want to change the nature of the transaction after the details are set. It may be preferable to give a gift rather than a loan, but voiding your right to repayment after the loan has been given can make you look like a pushover — and could lead to you resenting the person you’re giving the money to. No matter what you do, make sure your decision isn’t heavily influenced by a pushy friend or relative.

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Are you ready to buy a sweet ride?

Are you excited to cruise around in the first car you buy for yourself? There’s something about having your own ride. Independence. Flexibility. A sense of accomplishment.

Even though you might use public transit for most of your daily commuting needs, having your own car can be a much-needed upgrade, especially if you plan to do more independent travel (road trip, maybe?)

The ins and outs of buying your first car can be intimidating, so it helps to know how to approach the process. Know what to expect, and you can purchase the ride you want — without being taken for a ride.

Once you have your first ride, though, it’s important to make sure that you are caring for it properly. If you don’t take good care of your car, you’ll end up paying for it in the long run.

Concepts

  • When to consider buying a car.
  • Can you really afford a car?
  • How to avoid falling for pricey sales tactics.
  • Tips for negotiating as you buy your first car.
  • Essential maintenance for your first car.
  • Strategies for lengthening the life of your car.

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Resources

cars.comAuto loan and affordability calculators
J.D. Power and AssociatesTrends in car buying
EdmundsGuide to buying a new car
Kelley Blue BookGuide to buying a used car

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You’ve got time in your 20s to figure all of this out. Make some mistakes, but find some answers by 30.

Turning 30 is often treated as one of life’s great tragedies — the end of youth and a step closer to death. Morbid, I know.

Well I’m going to be 30 next month. Before you begin offering your condolences, though, let me assure you that I’m perfectly okay with it. In fact, this milestone has made me reflect a lot on how far I’ve come in the last 10 years.

I might not have all the answers, but I’ve learned a lot of important lessons that have helped me to embrace this new older, allegedly wiser me. Whether you’re still living up your 20s or are nearing the big 3-0, consider these important realizations you’ll undoubtedly have along the way.

1. Family is really important.

Families come in many sizes with varying levels of dysfunction. And family doesn’t always mean your biological relatives. They’re the people who annoy the hell out of you but you love unconditionally. And the older you get, the more real-life shit you’ll encounter that makes you appreciate the fact they’re in your life.

2. Your body has flaws and it’s not that big of a deal.

For most of my 20s, I agonized over every little perceived defect I could find about myself — so much so that I never really appreciated how awesome I actually was.

Now, I might not be 100 percent happy with my body (who really is) but I am much more accepting of it. And I can say with certainty that life is way more fun when you stop caring so much about whether you have a flat stomach or flawless skin.

3. Happiness can’t depend on someone else.

Whether it’s the approval of a parent or the love of a partner, you’ll find that chasing validation from others will never make you happy, no matter how hard you try. You can’t change the people in your life. Instead, find your passion and learn to derive happiness from what you can control: your own actions and accomplishments.

4. You can’t party like a 20-year-old.

When I was in my early 20s, I didn’t get hangovers. Now a hard night out leaves me feeling near-death for at least 48 hours. Sometimes a quiet night in with Netflix and a beer is much more appealing than going bar crawling or clubbing. And that doesn’t make you any less cool (that’s what I tell myself, anyway).

5. There are no more excuses for poor money management.

Debt is bad. Saving money is good. You spent your 20s learning these two basic principles of personal finance — likely through trial and error — so there’s really no excuse for neglecting your 401(k) or relying on your credit cards anymore. Get it together.

6. You’ve figured out what you want to be when you grow up.

Important Lessons You Must Learn By 30

In your 20s, you had jobs. In your 30s, you have a career. Years of boring, unfulfilling, or otherwise soul-sucking work helped to teach you what it is, in fact, you want to do with your life. You know what you’re good at, what gives you a sense of purpose, and you’re ready to pursue your professional goals head-on.

7. It really doesn’t matter what others think of you.

Maybe you lead an unconventional lifestyle, or have made choices your friends and family disagree with. Maybe you go grocery shopping in worn out yoga pants and no makeup.

You will always be judged by others for what you do, what you look like — for who you are. That will never change. The most liberating realization you will have right around age 30, however, is that it doesn’t fucking matter.

8. You need to make your health a priority.

Okay, so you’re more accepting of your body and care less about what other people think, but let’s not go overboard. You want to make it to your 40th birthday.

Every year of your life past the age of 25 makes it exponentially more difficult to maintain your health. I can look at a piece of pizza and gain five pounds and it takes me a couple more minutes to run a mile these days. I make it a goal to eat clean and exercise regularly — for the most part — because I know it will only get harder from here.

9. Sex gets way better.

I’ll just leave it at that. I might be a few days shy of 30, but I’m still worried my mom might be reading this.

10. Toxic relationships aren’t worth your time or energy.

The older you become, the fewer fucks you will have left to give. In fact, you probably gave out way too many in your 20s and now have to be super conservative with the rest. If a relationship costs you your emotional health, peace of mind, or values, you can’t afford to keep it.

Your 30s should be some of your best years. You’re too old to keep making the same stupid mistakes, but too young to be completely jaded. Find joy in the fact that you’ll someday get over your naïve 20-something phase and finally be — almost — comfortable in your own skin. I know I do.

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You can learn many lessons about being an adult from a teenager. This teen may even be a better adult than you are.

What makes an adult?

According to society and government, once you reach age 18 you are considered an adult. You can make your own decisions and sign legal documents. But just because you are a certain age, does that make you an adult?

While you might technically be an adult, the actual act of adulting is a little bit harder. Functioning as a successful adult requires more than just turning 18.

In fact, as I look at some of the things so-called adults do (or don’t do), I realize that there is a lot that 21-year-olds can learn from my 13-year-old son. Hell, there are probably some days that my son is actually a better adult than I am.

Here are some of the life skills that my 13-year-old excels at, and will help him when he becomes an actual adult.

Time management.

If you want to be a better adult and more successful in life, time management is key. We all have days when we don’t want to get something done wrong we have a hard time getting a handle on the clock. The idea, though, is to do our best to plan ahead so that we can manage our obligations.

A couple weeks ago, my son and I were talking about our after-school day. I reminded him that I had a meeting to go to and that he would be on his own after dinner. He mentioned that he knew that he would need help with his homework and suggested that we tackle the homework first, before he practiced saxophone. Rather then springing the homework on me after I returned from my meeting, he thought ahead to all of what he needed to do that afternoon and took the initiative to make sure he had time for all of his obligations.

Sometimes we just run out of that time and we have to choose between different activities. That’s just life. Adulting is recognizing that sometimes you do have control over your time, and making sure you prioritize what is most important.

Do you have to be told what needs to be done?

My 13-Year-Old Is a Better Adult Than You Are

We only need direction sometimes, especially when we’re learning something new. However, if you want to be a better an adult you need to recognize that sometimes you just need to do what needs to be done without being told.

My son comes home from school and knows he needs to take care of certain things. He has music practice, fencing practice, and homework. I don’t need to tell him to get started on these things; even on days he doesn’t necessarily want to get going, you still getting started even if I’m not home too tell him to do so.

After I broke my wrist my son really stepped up, keeping track of when he needed to start the laundry and paying attention to what time to start dinner. In many cases, he saw would need to be done and went ahead and did it.

Eat healthy meals.

We all like junk food. I’d rather eat cake than make a salad. However, I know that macaroni and cheese for dinner every day and over processed foods aren’t good for me. So I don’t make them very often.

My son is learning how to be a better adult by making better food choices. When he make dinner, he includes a fruit and vegetable in addition to whatever the entrée is. He helps with cooking, and is capable of reading a recipe. Thanks to Blue Apron, it’s possible for him to see you what we plan to have and get step-by-step instructions on making a nutritious dinner.

Track your spending.

Maybe it’s because I write about money, but my son is already learning habits that many 20-somethings I know don’t have down. I recently got him a debit card, and he is very good about tracking his spending.

He also takes the time to think about what he wants to buy with his money. He almost most never makes an impulse purchase because he had a clear idea of what he hopes to use his money for, and the knowledge that if he uses his money on something today he won’t be able to buy something else tomorrow.

He’s also learning to give money to charity and set aside money for the future. He follows the stock market because he is investing in an index fund with his long-term savings money.

Finally, he’s constantly thinking of other ways to make money. He works hard and his 4-H projects so that he can earn ribbon money, and he helps out with administrative duties in my home office. He also has big plans for a YouTube channel and other online ventures. We’ll see if he follows through with any of them.

Obviously my 13-year-old is not ready for many of the responsibilities associated with being an adult. But he’s got a pretty good handle on things.

What do you think makes an adult? Are there some things that you see so-called adults doing that aren’t very adult-like at all? How are you trying to be a better adult?

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Anxiety still carries plenty of stigma. Have you ever wondered what anxiety feels like? Here’s what might help.

Editor’s note: Whether you have anxiety or you have a close friend who has anxiety, it’s good to understand what other people may be experiencing. Part of successful adulting is communication and empathy, and reading or hearing what someone may be going through is helpful in that respect, and will help grow stronger relationships.

In the old days, the days of your parents, they just called you nervous. If you were on edge, it was your nerves. If you had a particularly bad episode, they would say you had a nervous breakdown. People went their entire lives without knowing the actual cause of that nervousness: anxiety.

Thankfully anxiety is better understood today, and for good reason: it’s one of the most common mental health disorders on the planet. According to The New York Times, it’s now more common among college students than depression. No matter who you are, you or someone close to you has probably been affected by anxiety.

But despite its ubiquity, anxiety is still misrepresented and misunderstood. It’s a difficult disorder to describe, and as such you’ll still hear it referred to as “nerves” or “stress.” Those terms aren’t completely off the mark, but they lack the nuance to truly explain just what it actually feels like to have anxiety.

How does it feel?

I didn’t realize I had anxiety until my senior year of college. I was often stressed and anxious, but so was every Type A student managing a full course load and extracurricular activities. I’d known since high school that I frequently got stomach problems if I started getting nervous or upset, mostly due to my irritable bowel syndrome, but I never considered that the nervousness itself was a symptom.

When I heard someone describe the symptoms of anxiety, I recognized them immediately. Anxiety is about feeling overly nervous or worried with no reason to be. It’s about perceiving every minor slight or incident and worrying about it incessantly.

Living with anxiety is like having the most pessimistic devil on your shoulder. When I lose a client, anxiety tells me that I’m not cut out to be a freelance writer. When I forget a friend’s birthday, anxiety tells me that this is why I struggle to keep friends. Anxiety is a straight-up bitch.

I spent years with different therapists learning about cognitive behavioral therapy and how, even though I couldn’t cure my anxiety, I could learn how to recognize when it was affecting me.

What helps?

One of the best strategies my therapist taught me was how to challenge the anxious thoughts in my head. There are many ways anxiety can manifest itself, but thankfully there are just as many ways to combat it.

She gave me this worksheet where I could list the anxious thoughts I was having, why I was having them, and a more rational scenario. For example, if I was anxious about not hearing back from an editor and assuming that he didn’t like my latest article, the worksheet could help me realize that he likely hadn’t taken the time to read it yet.

What helped even more was taking medication, a solution I resisted for years. It’s one thing to go to therapy, but I was convinced pills were only for people who were “broken.” Even when my equally prescription-dubious husband suggested it, I resisted. I was worried I wouldn’t feel like me anymore. I was also worried that if my anxiety did improve, it would be because of the pills and not anything I accomplished

After consulting with a good friend who takes anxiety medication, I finally talked to my doctor. After one day’s dose, I felt significantly better. Suddenly I wasn’t as anxious on a regular basis, and when I was, I could handle it.

I compare anxiety to driving on the highway in the dark with traffic cones everywhere. Anxiety medication can remove the cones and make it easier to drive, but you’re still in charge of the car.

I know there’s plenty of stigma about anxiety and medication. When I texted my mom that I was getting a prescription, she left two voicemails. I told my dad in person, and he got very quiet — a rare feat, if you know my father. Society is still coming around to mental health medication, but to me it’s like taking medication for high blood pressure or cholesterol.

The more I talk about it openly, the more I find out how many people I know that are medicated. Like anything, the more we share, the more we realize how similar we are.

Do you have anxiety? Does a close friend? Share your experiences — you might help someone.

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The last one living wins.

Do you have a dream of getting fit? Exercise comes with the number of benefits. You can improve your mood, boost your energy, look better, and even live longer.

The good news is that exercise doesn’t have to mean beasting it up at the gym all the time.
You can start getting fit by doing things that you like to do, and by engaging in small amounts of exercise at a time.

Don’t sit around all the time feeling low energy and disappointed. I’m getting fit, you can change your outlook on life and be healthier.

Concepts

  • Many of the benefits that come from exercise.
  • How exercise can lead to a longer life.
  • Excuses we used to avoid getting fit.
  • Ideas for helping you overcome your reluctance to exercise.
  • Tips for more effective exercise.

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Resources

Mayo clinicBenefits of physical activity
NIHWalking can lengthen your lifespan
BuzzFeedTotal body workouts
WedMDBeginners guide to fitness

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