Healthy Dating

Dating someone can be lots of fun. They take you out, and you get butterflies in your stomach when you see them, and slowly but surely you start developing feelings for that special person. They have a way of making you smile and making you feel special. It’s a wonderful feeling to explore a romantic relationship with someone, as long as you check your safety first. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 youth are involved in an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes the person in an unhealthy relationship does not even notice. Do you know if you are in a healthy or unhealthy relationship? There are signs to look out for and evaluate the relationship you’re in, or maybe a close friend is in a relationship and you’re not sure whether or not it’s a healthy one.

 

Signs of a healthy relationship:

 

– Both you and your partner feel respected, supported, and valued

When you are in a relationship you become close and comfortable with your partner over time. This, however, does not mean that you can disrespect or be disrespected. You want to be with someone who values you enough as a person to always treat you with respect whether things are good or bad.

 

– Both have friends and interests outside of the relationship

It can be easy to get sucked in to your relationship. You may want to be with your partner at every possible moment and you might think this is not a bad thing, but it is. It is important that you do not lose yourself in your relationship. You may be in a relationship, but that does not transform you into one individual. You are still two separate individuals with beautiful qualities and differences, and its those qualities and differences that you each fell for. Do not cut off your friendships or stop doing the things you love. It’s important to hold on to these things so that you do not lose who you are, and trust me, it’s okay to do things without one another. It will be fine, I promise.

 

– Disagreements are dealt with through open and honest communication

This goes back to being respected. Disagreements do not need to be settled violently or with raising voices. In any relationship there will be times that you may disagree, it’s inevitable, but how you handle it is up to you. The best way to settle disagreements is to listen and to be heard. We sometimes feel like we have to automatically become defensive when we feel that our point of view is being attacked. Instead, why not listen to your partner, ask questions to understand where they are coming from, and do not interrupt them. This does not mean that you have to agree with them, but it tells your partner, “I hear you”. Moving forward when both parties feel heard then becomes easier and there is a lot less hurt.

 

Signs of an unhealthy relationship:

 

– One person tries to change the other

There are instances where you try and change your partner for the better, and because you see their value and potential and encourage them to push into the amazing person they are, and that is great; but there is also a flip side to that. If one tries to change the other for their own selfish benefit, this is where it becomes a bad thing. It is not about them caring about who you are, but about what they want and what best fits them.

 

– One person makes most or all of the decisions

Relationships are about working together and discussing with one another about decisions that need to be made. If only one person in the relationship is the one who makes all the decisions, it is an unhealthy relationship. One person is not getting their voice heard. There should be equal power in a relationship where both parties are heard and taken into consideration.

 

– One or both people drop friends and interests outside of the relationship

Friendships are very important to hold onto. A relationship should be something that you want to share with your close friends and family, not something that pulls you away and sever the close relationships you already have. It is not healthy because it isolates you from those you love and cherish. It makes it so that you are dependent and feel like you only have your partner to rely on. If things were to not work out, you may feel alone. Interests are also another thing that you should not give up. Do not let go of the things that make you you.

 

– One or both people yell, threaten, hit, or throw things during arguments

No matter what the argument or how mad someone feels, violent outbursts are not the way to handle the situation. If either party is in any physical danger, it is a sign that it is an unhealthy relationship. Do not hesitate to call 911 if you are scared for your safety.

 

– One person makes fun of the other’s opinions or interests

Some jokes and poking fun are okay from time to time, but there is a limit. If one person feels like their opinions or interests are always made fun of or joked about, they may feel embarrassed to share in the future. This can then lead to them not feeling like they can be themselves or share with their partner without the fear of being put down, even if it is in a “joking manner.” Relationships are about supporting one another.

 

– No trust

If one or the other is constantly looking through the other’s phone calls, text messages, facebook, email, etc. because they do not trust their partner, it is a warning sign. There should be trust in a relationship, especially if neither has done anything to make the other not trust them.

 

These are a few of the signs of healthy vs. unhealthy relationships.. Take them to heart and pay attention. Even if you are not in a relationship, it is important that you know the signs so that you are aware the day you do start getting into a relationship. Relationships are meant to be fun and a growing experience. So, make it a HEALTHY, fun and growing experience.

~Kat

 

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Put Down the Phone

Phones seem to be taking over our lives… I know that I, too, am guilty of this. We live in a day and age where cellphones seems to grab the majority of our attention. We constantly check our phones for text messages, Facebook notifications, instagram pictures, etc. We seem to invest more time in the lives that are behind our cell phone screen than the ones that are right in front of us.

It’s not that phones and social media are all bad, and that we should completely get rid of them. But it can definitely become a bad thing without the proper boundaries. We take pictures of our destinations before actually seeing where we are, and send a picture of our meal to our friends before even tasting it. There seems to be this need to put the electronic world first before our present  world.

I realized that when I was walking back home from work by myself, I could not just be present; I found myself taking out my phone and checking Facebook and Instagram while I walked to keep myself entertained. Gone are the days where we walk through town with our eyes up, looking around and taking in our surroundings and the people we pass along the street. Instead, our faces are turned down towards our screens answering the last text or checking up with whats new on Facebook and Instagram. I’ve also noticed that when I wake up I check my phone right away. How sad is that?

I have made it a point to recognizing those moments when my eyes are glued to my phone when it really was not necessary. When I walk home now, I put away my phone and actually enjoy my walk and look at what is around me. Every morning, I turn off my alarm and make it a point to wait at least 30 minutes before having any sort of interaction with my phone or laptop. I make myself some coffee, enjoy my breakfast without any distraction, have a conversation with my roommate, or simply take some time to myself by maybe reading a book I like. What I have noticed from these small changes is that I truly enjoy the moment that I am in. You only get to live each moment once. You may have similar experiences in life, but they will all be different in some way. Take the time to be aware of what is going on in your life now and put down the phone for just a moment. Take in your surroundings, savor the food you eat, and delight in the conversations you have with loved ones.

So, do not miss out on the great moments of your life. You only really go through things once. Put down the phone!

~Kat

FUN in the SUN with friends!

Interested in finding some neat new activities to have a little summer fun with your friends? Well here’s a few I found that I know I definitely want to try!

First, I began thinking about the joy that a classic board game can bring friends. Well, how about doing one in the sun? And instead of just bringing a board out and plopping it on a table, what about THIS nifty idea? Yard Twister!

I also came across this idea earlier in the spring, but didn’t get a chance to try it. Who’s ever been a part of a paint war? Cause it looks SO fun! And here are tons of different ideas on how to do it!

You can put paint in squirt guns!

Or in water balloons!

Or you know what, you can just do it however you like! But one tip from me at least… Wear a plain white shirt. Make’s it so much more fun!

But if you just want to cool off from the sun, AND still get a little creative, try a paint Slip n’ Slide!

The last idea I found may very well bring you back to your childhood. I don’t know about you, but I LOVED (well, let’s be real, I STILL love) making a good fort with blankets and sheets. You’d stack up the chairs, hang the corners on book shelves or bed frames, and viola. Nothing tops that… Except maybe a fort OUTSIDE. Sure, it might take a bit more improvising, but maybe with a little string, some clothes lines, whatever you got… Just MAYBE, can you make something spectacular.

I hope these ideas help add a little more fun in the sun for you and your friends! If nothing else, I hope they encourage you to get creative, and find some joy. Cause honestly, I don’t think you’re ever too old to go play in the rays.

~Jaynani

QUESTION of the Day

I was asked the question the other day… “What are you doing right now that is requiring faith?” But don’t just immediately write this one off because of what the religious background (or lack of) that you come from is. Get this: IT DOESN’T MATTER. The question stays the same.

Google’s definition of faith is this: the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction

The question can simply be, “Where in your life do you have to find strength and courage to persevere?” Or even, “Where in your life do you have to truly trust in a friend or a family member, or even your own abilities?” “Where in your life do you have to BELIEVE that something good will happen, or something good will come out of these trying times?”

After some thought, my answer was, “I’m trying to let go of the things I can’t change With that answer, it broke down to three different sub-groupings: past, present, and future things. Certain things on my heart; certain things I felt like I couldn’t do alone; certain people I knew I couldn’t reach out to every day like I’d want to; certain UNcertainties that had to do with my future; and certain memories I knew I just couldn’t change. Those were the things in my life that were requiring faith.

So, I’m keeping this rather short, or at least more to the point. WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW THAT IS REQUIRING FAITH? Right now. At this moment. Dig deeper for this one. Look somewhere in your heart or in your mind that you’ve been avoiding to look at in a while, to confront. Because here’s the deal: When you answer this question, this is the real answer you are giving: I AM STRONG BECAUSE... Think of the harder things. By doing that what you’re truly saying is, “I am strong because I have dealt with this in my past,” or “I am strong because although I don’t know how to go about this situation, I AM STILL GOING…” That’s the key. Still going: A process. You’re not supposed to have some concrete answer. You’re supposed to wrestle with it. You’re SUPPOSED to see how strong you are…

If this question is easy for you, then I challenge you to go even deeper; to try and see even clearer; to try and be even STRONGER.

~Jaynani

Am I Ugly or Pretty?

The newest trend that is appearing on Youtube lately are videos of teen girls asking one simple question, but a question that could cause them a lot of pain if viewers decide to not be so nice. “Am I Ugly or Am I Pretty?” Girls between the ages 9-17 are posting these videos and asking the world whether they’re physically attractive or not, sometimes followed by an explanation as to why they want the unknown public’s answer. Either their friends tell them they are pretty, but others opinions differ or they are asking the question as a result of a recent break-up. Whatever the case may be, it opens up a door of complete vulnerability that is placed into the hands of unknown viewers. Although some comments may be nice and uplifting, encouraging the girls to see their worth, there are also those comments that are not so nice.

There is usually a more negative response, and sometimes even predatory comments. These girls don’t realize that they are creating an opportunity for themselves to be cyberbullied. Some comments even say things like how the poster deserves to die.

We have seen the effects of cyber bullying in the past and it is not something we want anyone to fall victim to. Some may say that these young girls asked for it, but the reality is that no one deserves this kind of treatment no matter what. We want to inform you girls that this is happening, and  that the wrong person could come across these videos and say something extremely hurtful. If you have posted one of these videos or thought about it, please take it down and do not take part in this new social media craze. If you feel unable to find your own self worth, you will not find it with anyone else, especially strangers. Do not set yourself up for insults and hurt that can easily be avoided. If you have a friend or know anyone else who has put up one of these videos, we encourage you to tell an adult. This takes courage and may be hard, but you will end up helping that person and showing them that you care in a way that they may not realize right away. Let’s try and do our part to put an end to these videos.

~Kat

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Halloween Par-tay!!

October seems to be slipping right through our fingers, and Halloween is already right around the corner! I, for one, have no idea what I want to do for Halloween besides have a little fun dressing up. Maybe you are in the same boat. We hear everyone else talking about their plans, but what about you? Maybe you don’t have plans or maybe you want to celebrate Halloween, but aren’t really in the mood to go out. Whatever the case may be, why not throw your own party? Yes it does take some time and work, but the process can definitely be super fun! Grab a few of your best buds and create a masterpiece together. Coming up with your own party does not need to be difficult and complicated, and ideas can be easy to find. Here are the essential things you need in order to throw your super, awesome party:

–          Decorations and Invites

–          Food and drinks

–          Games

–          Friends

–          And of course, sugary goodness

We sometimes feel that decorations and invitations need to be fancy and elaborate, even though sometimes the more simple ones are the best. A few examples are down below.

This cute and simple invitation even has its own link for the printouts! All you have to do is hit print!

http://asubtlerevelry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Ghost-Halloween-Invitations.pdf

This is only one example of an invitation and you can even come up with your very own. Decorations can be just as simple as the invitation. Sometimes all you need is some construction paper and you can have super cute decorations that everybody will love! This site has some great, easy ideas:

http://spoonful.com/halloween/top-10-diy-halloween-party-decorations#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=10

Have some orange, Halloween-looking bowls around different areas and you solve both decorations and the sugary goodness need of the party.

What about food and drinks? An easy solution to food would be to have everyone pitch in a little for pizza. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a delicious slice of pizza, or two, or more. There is no need to keep count. Finally, we get to the good part, the games! Go ahead and whip out those board games, have a costume contest, bob for apples and for the rest of the night just chat with your friends, laugh together and make memories. Yes it’s true that for parties there is food, drinks, decorations, invitations, games and sugary goodness, but the most important part are those friends you share the moment with. So throw together a party, don’t stress about it and remember to have fun. Happy Halloween!

 

~Kat

Be Who You Are!

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School is fast approaching and while some may be excited to see friends and start a new year “fresh”, it is often hard to break from what is expected of you. Expectations of what you do, who you hang out with or even what you enjoy doing can make you feel like you are putting a mask on for others to see.

However, when we do this, when we hide behind our masks and who we really are, we deny the world to see what wonderful things we can do.
So many times we get scared to share who we really are because we don’t know how people will respond. Will your friend like you? Will everyone stare when you step out and do something different? Will people make fun of you?You have so much to bring into the world. You have an artistic talent, show it! You like to create something out of an old t-shirt, create it and share it with your friends! You like to write? Write words and stories that bring life to other people! Can you sing? Share that talent with others! Be creative and find your place in this world!

The answer: Maybe.

They may. They may not like you. They may stare. They may think you are weird.

Or they may not.

They may accept who you truly are and secretly wish they would have the courage to do the same in their own lives.

They may ask how they can join you.

Think about it, as you jump past the status quo and do what you are passionate about, you actually give others permission to be who they are and step out of the mold that they have somehow been pushed into during their middle school and high school years. For those who do think you are weird, won’t like you or treat you poorly, maybe they really weren’t you true friends after all. True friends support and encourage you to be who you really are and celebrate the beauty that is created when you step out! Those friends are keepers! Hang on tight to them.

You have so many wonderful things to contribute to the world and we want to see it! So step out, take a risk, and be yourself! The world needs you to be unique and lovely!

Let us know what you have done! How have you step outside of the status quo and shown your true self to others? How did it go? How do you feel now? Your story could inspire someone else, so please share!

Ditched Best Friend

Dear Abbey,

I have known my best friend, Katie, since seventh grade. We have been there for each other through thick and thin and have had some great times! Six months ago, Katie met her first boyfriend. At first everything was so exciting and we always talked about their relationship! It was something that she had wanted for a long time. After a while, I saw less and less of Katie.  I have tried to get together with her but she ditches me for her boyfriend almost every time. The rare times that we do hang out, she won’t stop talking about him. I miss my best friend, but I am also really hurt how she has treated me. I want to talk to her about how I feel but I don’t know how to approach it. Any advice?

-Ditched BFF

First of all, I want to tell you that this isn’t the only ‘ditched BFF’ letter I have received. Many girls your age have faced this same problem and it really is a part of growing up. It’s hard being replaced and it is easy to become bitter if you just soak in the hurt feelings. It is great to hear that you want to talk it out with your friend! Open and clear communication is the key to all relationships. Many girls will ignore and give the silent treatment to a friend they have been hurt by. This doesn’t do any good for either of you!  First, you should find a time for you and your friend to be together, just the two of you. You don’t want to start by accusing her of being a horrible friend, but rather just express to her how you have been feeling. Make sure she understands how much you care about her friendship and that you would appreciate spending more time with her. Keep it at a calm level and if things start getting heated, take a break and come back to the discussion later. Also, be sure to listen to her side of the story also. There may be some things that you are unaware of and she will need to be heard out. Make sure you leave the conversation somewhat resolved, where both of you feel understood and reassured in the friendship! Hope this helps!

-Abbey

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Be You!

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I recently discovered this quote by Lady Gaga and found it to be very inspiring. In a world that is constantly trying to change us into something we are not, it is good to be reminded that we have the right to be who we are. There are plenty of pressures from all kinds of people that encourage us to fit into a certain mold. If we choose not to conform, we are typically faced with many obstacles including bullying or discrimination. It’s easy to give up and assume the roles that society expects of us. But why not stay strong? What do you have to lose if you were to just be yourself? Maybe a few shallow friends that didn’t really care about you in the first place. You see, twenty years from now no one is going to remember the clothes you wore or the weird things that you did. You probably won’t remember most of it either. So choose to be who you are today! Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t belong or that you’re not good enough. Don’t ever be ashamed of being you!

What to Do With a Mason Jar?

A mason jar is something you typically see holding canned fruits of vegetables. Yet, this container has many other practical purposes that it doesn’t get credit for! These jars probably cost less than a dollar at any thrift store and make a great afternoon craft.

Try making it into a vase! Paint a beautiful design or paper mache it. Put some flowers in for the finishing touch.Image

Mason jars also make great candle holders. You can melt wax and pour it in the jar with a wick in the middle or you can just set a candle on the bottom. Either way, it makes for a very hipster atmosphere.

They can also be turned into a mug quite easily! You can cut a hole in the lid to make room for a straw. Make sure to sand down the sides the hole so it isn’t too sharp.

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You can save money by turning your jar into a soap dispenser. Cut the hole in the top and insert an old soap pump. You can super glue it in place if it wiggles around.

Try a cake in a jar! Just get a cake mix and prepare it as the box instructs. Pour it into a mason jar and place it in the oven for about 25 minutes. It will make a great gift!

Those are just a few simple ideas of what to create with a mason jar! They are fun crafts, so go try it out!

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