Claudia Graziano is the fashion and lifestyle blogger behind Human Hanger. Based in Los Angeles, she's always on the lookout for the next wellness treatments and habits to try, and her style is the epitome of California cool. Her biggest love in life is a good pair of shoes. "[We] thought you were going to take [us] to the toy section, but we ended up in shoes," her parents remind her. "You picked up a pair and said, 'Aren't these darling?' You were 6." We can definitely relate. Scroll through to hear more about how she stays healthy while leading the busy life of a fashion blogger.
My last few weeks have been a series of unfortunate events. Between trying to find a new apartment, struggling with the emotional weight of a never-ending long-distance relationship, and having my car, phone, and laptop all die at once, I’ve had my hands full. Oh, and did I mention my blog got hacked?! Yeah… that too. Each of these obstacles would be frustrating individually, but when they all happen at once, it’s hard not to get discouraged. (I’m seriously one Genius Bar visit away from becoming this lady.)
After concluding my pity party, I did the inevitable when things go wrong, and I called my mom. Once we hung up, I started reflecting on all the great advice she’s given me over the years. Maybe it’s because she’s a psychologist or maybe it’s because she’s the coolest mom ever (she’s going to roll her eyes here), but she has always had the ability to really put herself in other people’s shoes. The older I get, the more I appreciate and respect my parents’ wisdom. (Seriously… they have been right way more times than I have given them credit for.) Without further adieu, I give you Mama Tomarelli’s advice for staying positive even when things aren’t going your way.
Start from the top.
Without fail, after calming me down, my mom always asks if I’ve had coffee and eaten. Yes, it’s a classic parent question, but the reality of the situation is that the world is a much more stressful and intimidating place if you haven’t started your day on the right foot. I won’t pretend coffee and food are the answer to all your problems, but they’ll give you the clear head you need to tackle whatever it is you have to face.
This is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling shitty, but we all know it helps. It’s incredible what 35 minutes of cardio (or more, if you’re feeling ambitious) can do for your mental health. Even if everything else in my day goes wrong, if I work out, I can say, “well … at least I went to the gym today.” As Elle Woods so eloquently said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.” You get the point.
One of the biggest lessons my mom shared that has stuck with me is the power of being grateful. If you’re in a bad mood, take a step back and make a mental list of all the things in your life you’re thankful for. This doesn’t sound all that noteworthy, but when you stop and focus on the positive rather than the negative, your mood will improve almost immediately. I try to do this once a day while I’m stuck in traffic, waiting at the post office, or doing an otherwise tedious task. I usually end up texting a friend that I’m happy to have them in my life or calling my Babcha (my grandma) to tell her that I love her. Not only will you feel better, but so will they.
Clean up and get organized.
I realize that not everyone is a total slob kabob like I am, but one thing that makes an immediate difference in my anxiety level is cleaning up the clutter. Whether it be that chair covered with clothes that were tried on and never hung back up or just making the bed, having a clutter-free space will make you feel a lot better. This goes for getting organized as well. I live and die by my planner, and I stay sane by making lists. If you’re in a rut or just have a lot to tackle, writing it all down is the best place to start. If I don’t make a list, I will, with 100% certainty, forget something. Visualizing what I need to do, and then figuring out the steps I need to take to accomplish the task at hand is key. A clean, organized environment will change the game—I promise.
It's okay to ask for help.
This is a hard one for me. I like to think that I am a strong, independent woman, so asking for help can be frustrating. I’ve always thought I wanted to prove to everyone else that I could do “it” on my own (whatever the “it” of the moment is), but in reality, I was just trying to prove it to myself. I want to build a career and life for myself that I’m proud of, but it’s important to remember that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather than be discouraged that I have to borrow money from my parents to buy a new laptop, I’m trying to focus on the positive by being thankful that they are able and willing to help. Rather than be discouraged that I can’t afford to buy a new laptop on my own, I’m trying to be grateful that I have an amazing mentor who I can go to to ask for help with finding new freelance clients. (Drea, I love you!) As both my mom and Drea pointed out, they have been in my shoes before. No matter what career path you have chosen, starting out on your own is scary. Whether it be financial support or moral support, having someone to give you the helping hand you need from time to time is important, and there’s no shame in accepting it. Just don’t forget to pay it forward.
This piece was originally published by Claudia Graziano at HumanHanger.com.