Funkbusters: 5 ways to get out of a bad mood

This morning I woke up with a huge cloud over my head. One of those bright-white, reflective, migraine-inducing clouds. I was in a funk. A real funky funk. The kind that like to stick around as if they have no one else to go and bother. You know the kind of mood I’m talking about?

I took to Instagram to get some new ideas on how to break free from this prison of blah and these are a few takeaways.

5 funkbusters to get you out of a bad mood:

1. Dig in. I do not mean dig into a bag of TJs sweet potato chips. Food hangovers suck. I mean dig into what you’re feeling. Grab a pen and paper and write down all the thoughts that come to mind. Don’t think before you write. Just write. Let the word vomit flow. When you’re all out of thoughts, read what you’ve jotted down and connect the dots. Get to the bottom of what is actually bothering you.

2. Sweat it out. On the other hand, give yourself the gift of not thinking. That’s what happens when I exercise. There simply isn’t time to think about anything else other than what I’m doing…or I’ll get hurt. Seriously. I mean, have you ever tried reformer pilates and dared thinking about anything else? Hell no. You’ll fly right off that carriage. Besides avoiding injury, having some time to not think gives your big bad brain a moment to chill out and take in the endorphins that are pumping through your system. In the wise words of Elle Woods, “Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t just shoot their husbands.”

3. Give a hug, get a hug. In a time where we spend more time in front of screens than real people, we lose out on the big wins of physical touch. Physical touch (and that doesn’t mean getting frisky) reduces cortisol (stress hormones) levels in the body. Real talk. Fight the funk with a hug. Don’t be afraid to ask for one if you need it. Everyone likes a good hug 🙂

4. Clean up. A cluttered life is a cluttered mind. I find serious stress relief in organizing, decluttering and a good old fashion clean up. In my house, I call them Power 20’s. Pick a spot in your room or home that you’re going to dedicate 20 minutes to and get after it. Pull out a few things you don’t need, rearrange the spices, dust under the TV. Whatever it might be, give your physical environment a visual boost. By the time you’re done, you’ll not only have cleaned house, you’ll have given your mood a boost, too.

5. Let it be. Sometimes the best way to funkbust is to just let it be. We don’t always need to fight the funk and there’s nothing wrong with sitting with whatever it is we’re feeling. Just remember that everything is temporary and even the worst of moods won’t stick around forever.

Do you have any funkbusting tips to add to the list? I’d love to know! Comment below!

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Do something you love…everyday.

It’s Tuesday.
I woke up in my bed with a steady flow of droplets of water landing on my forehead.
At 6am.
After 4 hours of sleep.
Because my whole home was literally clanking and shaking.
And this is supposed to be paradise?

As you know, I live on a sailboat. What you might not know is that mornings like this are (unfortunately) not so uncommon. Leaky windows, ocean swell, sleepless nights…some mornings work to put you in a foul mood. But boat or no boat, you know what I’m talking about. Those days that just don’t start off on the right foot. The thing that gets me through those mornings? Knowing that I am going to do something that I love before the day is over.

We spent the majority of our waking hours doing things we’d rather not be doing. Working, studying, running errands, sitting in traffic. Yeah, life has to-do lists and those things aren’t always fun. But life also has love-to-do lists…and those are maybe more important.

Make time, even a teeny tiny little bit of time, to do something, just one thing, you love every single day. Maybe it’s knitting, reading in bed, practicing photography or, in my case, going to the market (yes, I love, love, love shopping for food!). When most of your day is dedicated to getting s**t done for someone/something else, don’t you think you deserve a bit of time to enjoy the day for YOURSELF?

Today’s action item for a feel good life: next to your to-do list, make a love-to-do list with 7 things you love to do.

Note: This does not mean scrolling through Instagram or finding a dress online for that party. Think bigger and smaller. Think about what big, and little, things you love to do. And do them!

 

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Loving what you’ve got.

In the not so distant past, I wouldn’t have ever posted this picture. Instead, my head would’ve gone here: I haven’t worked out, I just ate lunch and my baguette is making an appearance just below my belly button. I would’ve thought a million thoughts that would have deterred me from showing my body in a way I thought was less than perfect.

But then something magic happened. I learned to love. I learned to love what I’ve got because it’s all I’ve got. It’s mine and always will be. I started learning to love what I’ve been given and began truly appreciating all the things this body has done for me, does for me and, if I’m lucky, will keep doing for me.

In the past 30 years, I have climbed mountains, danced for hours on my tip toes, swam to the bottom of the sea and fallen more times than is probably normal. This body has been there for me. In the past 30 years, I have eaten more than my fair share of ice cream (if there is such thing as too much ice cream) and I’ve certainly enjoyed bottomless mimosa brunches. This body has been there for me. She’s got my back and I owe it to her to give her a little more credit.

At the end of last year I decided I wanted to start teaching barre fitness classes. I had been a dancer for ten years and used barre as part of my 3 year rehabilitation after a bad injury. Barre made moving my body fun again. It made it laugh again. It made it okay for me to laugh at myself again. Teaching meant giving that gift to other women just like myself. After getting my certification, I started teaching and got hooked.

The motivation, the drive and the full on #girlbossness my students gave in each class made me take a second look at how I viewed myself. There I was encouraging them to treat their bodies with respect and motivating them to love themselves for their strength, but was I doing the same thing? I left each class feeling empowered not by the words coming out of my own mouth but at seeing the reactions to what I had to say. My lady bosses squatted deeper and pushed harder than they thought they could. I would ask them to look in the mirror, give me their all…and then give 20% more. They left an hour later exhausted, with sweat dripping down their face and smiles that spanned ear to ear. They gave me a deeper squat but they gave themselves a big dose of love.

Writing this now, I am on my boat far from the magic of those studio walls. I don’t have my lady bosses around me and I don’t have a room full of women to motivate. What I do have, however, is me. Me and the little body I call my own. So I am going to start practicing a bit more of what I preach. I’m going to love what I’ve got, be thankful for how hard I push her and be thankful she’s there for me even when I don’t give her the attention she needs.

 

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What would you do if you could do anything?

This question often solicits more eye rolls than answers. It sucks, really. It’s got that huge two letter word that seems to be the barrier between day dreams and reality. IF.

To give my own eyeballs a break, I prefer to reframe the question like this: with the cards in my hands, what can I do that will elicit the most happiness? Happiness, of course, is up for interpretation. Define as you will!

Reframing the question and removing the big IF in the room makes the gap between dreams and reality much, much smaller. You’re working, instead, with what you already have and opening yourself up to achievements within your reach.

After writing my last post, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my own ability to accomplish goals and dreams. Reassessing where I’m at, where I want to be and what it’s going to take me to get there. 2017 has been a year of immense growth and I’m pretty convinced the momentum is stopping anytime soon. With the remaining six months of the year, I’ve got a hodgepodge list of things I want to accomplish that I’m confident will contribute to my feel good life:

  • Be my own boss. More on that soon…
  • Learn to surf well enough that I can catch all my own waves…
  • Cut loose some of the excess baggage of my emotional life (it’s okay to admit it, we’ve all got it!)…
  • Master a headstand!

However big or small, there’s nothing quite like the confidence we build when we accomplish something we’ve set out to do. I’m motivated to play the cards I have in hand, see what works, what doesn’t, and close the gap between my dreams and my realities.

What’s on your list for 2017?

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6 things I learned traveling solo.

After one year and 10,000 nautical miles, I decided to leave the sailboat behind for a solo adventure. Though I had acquired quite a few stamps in my passport, I never created the opportunity to explore a foreign country on my own. I enjoy sharing experiences with someone special and, hey, there is safety in numbers. Yet, as my sailing adventure hit the year mark, a desire arose to strike out on my own and test my limits in a new way. So, after trembling through my nerves and conducting next to no research on my destination, I took off for Indonesia.

Little did I know, I was embarking on the biggest growth spurt of my life. 

The six most important things I learned while traveling solo:

1. I am capable. Don’t get me wrong, I am a tough cookie. Life has thrown me lots of lemons and with them, I have made a shitload of lemonade. But when it came to taking off into a world unknown, alone, I was nervous that maybe, just maybe, I couldn’t do it. Turns out, I can. I can carry my own bag, I can find my way around town, I can barter, I can achieve my goals.

2. My wants are important, too. Traveling with others requires obvious compromises. Usually, it’s a plus. You get to experience things you might not otherwise have sought out on your own. I’ve come to realize, however, that I am a people pleaser and I tend to let my own wants get pushed way down the list. Alone, I was empowered to make my own choices. One month, I spent every single day practicing yoga and meditation, fasting or eating “weird” health foods. The next month, I drove jungle roads to surf at sunrise and drank homemade rice wine with locals at sunset. I finally got to dictate how and where I spent my day…and in the end, I spent them smiling.

3. Alone and lonely aren’t the same thing. I genuinely enjoy the company of others and can talk to just about anyone (or anything), but during this trip, I chose to pass on finding “fillers” for all my extra hours. I needed to learn to enjoy my own company, to sit with my own thoughts and just be in my own skin.

4. The weight of the world is about 50 pounds. I was so proud when I left the boat that I had downsized my life into one 40L backpack and one small daypack. Two days later I was the crazy girl talking to herself, “You really had to bring 5 shirts didn’t you?!” Okay, so really, I didn’t pack all that much, but it was still more than I needed. Every travel list will tell you that you need less than you think, but really, you. need. less. than. you. think.

5. Change is something that happens on the inside. Every single day during this solo adventure I felt myself evolve. I allowed myself to explore thoughts and ideas I hadn’t give time to before. As if I was on the outside looking in, I could see myself grow. That is a radical feeling. However, in coming home, I realized that this “new me” was wearing an invisibility cloak to everyone else around me. No one seemed to notice the profound changes I had experienced. But that’s the thing about change. It’s got to come from you…for you

6. No one can be your everything. When it comes to companionship, I feel like we’re often misguided in believing that there is someone who can be our everything. No single person can check off all of your boxes, and honestly, we can’t expect them to. That’s a huge responsibility. That job is up to you. You have to be enough for yourself and traveling alone taught me that. I needed to learn to be my own shoulder to cry on, my own cheerleader. I needed to learn that I was enough for me.

 

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How traveling made me want to become a morning person.

Gina and morning person do not often find each other in the same sentence. Unless that sentence reads: Gina is not a morning person.

There is not a single early riser in my family. Minus my grandmother. She used to get up before the sun came out, silently sipping her black coffee in the dark kitchen. We all thought she was nuts. Like, who actually wants to be awake that early? It turns out she was onto something…

On a boat, the two best parts of the day are directly connected to the sun: when it rises and when it sets. Twice a day, if you’re lucky enough to see both, the sun commands your attention. Hey you, yeah you, pause. Enjoy. (Insert a sort of diva face here).

On the road, I realized that there are a multitude of reasons as to why cultures have always governed themselves around the sun and I, an avowed night owl, have started sipping the Kool-aid. Many of the places I visited in the past year were extremely remote. When there were inhabitants on these islands, many of them did not have electricity. Work needs to get done and life needs to be lived during the hours of daylight. Makes sense. One point for practicality! My grandmother, however, had electricity and I think her allure to the morning hours was more inline with mine…

Allow me to digress.

Unlike other kinds of travel, sailing requires that someone always be awake during the night. We organize our “watches” in three hour shifts starting after sunset, ending after sunrise. Watching the sun come up after 10 hours of blanketed darkness is like seeing the finish line at the end of a marathon. It couldn’t come sooner. Yet, in that transition to the “end” there is a new beginning. A new notch in your belt, another day accomplished, the intrigue of what you can accomplish next. What lies in store for me now? It happens quickly, that transition, but to an active mind, it can also feel really slow. It’s a time to pause, to set the tone for what’s about to come. When you get to the finish line, are you going to complain about your achy muscles? Or are you going to ride a runners high? What tone are you going to set? The rest of the day is indeed governed by the intentions you make at sunrise.

 

 

On and off the boat, I started making new morning routines to get me excited about being Gina the Day Chaser. I began to enjoy the calm silence of the early morning left to me by the other night owls of the world. Alone, I drank my tea, jotted down my intention for the day – who did I want to be, what energy did I want to give off -, had a look at the to-do list I made the night before and usually took off for a bit of exercise. There is really nothing like kayaking around a blue lagoon at sunrise, doing yoga to the sound of chirping tropical birds or running the streets of Paris as the smell of butter seeps from bakeries opening their doors. Cliche? Yes. Seriously f’ing awesome? Double yes.

I am still a work in progress and have yet to permanently cancel my membership to the Night Owl’s Association, but I am making the transition. For a type-A, tornado-like thinker such as myself, there is immeasurable value in having time to stop…pause…and just be. The good news is, sunrises and early mornings aren’t just for when you’re away. They’re for when you’re awake. Learning to love the mornings has given me an edge on finding joy, finding adventure and finding that feel good, travel happy high right here at home. 

 

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Life changing magic of not driving.

Turning 16 was supposed to be the ultimate. The key to freedom was just on the other side of 16. My 16th birthday was the day I would have the right to go where I wanted, when I wanted, without having to ask. I envisioned long, lazy drives with my girlfriends, singing Britney Spears with the wind in our hair…I dreamt of stretches of land without a car in sight…I imagined Disneyland, always within my reach! Hey, I was a kid after all 😉

What I didn’t conjure up in my mind was the day to day of getting from place to place, the traffic, the chores, the responsibilities and the stress. Now, this is not a plea against driving, because truth be told, I absolutely love driving. It can be relaxing, therapeutic almost. But something big happened when I decided to use my own two legs instead.

After that fateful 16th birthday, I got a car and along with it the freedom I had imagined. I could go anywhere (sort of) and do anything (sort of). What happened? I tried. I over-committed, I said yes to everything, no to nothing, and I tried to fit in all my errands in impractical amounts of time. Because why? Because I could get around faster!

Fast forward a few years later, I got a scooter to zip around San Francisco. No more wasting time looking for parking, no traffic…now I could really do everything! Plus, what isn’t awesome about a cute little scoot?! What happened? I over-committed even more, I made several plans within an hour, thinking I could do it all because, hey, I thought I could! I was late all the time. That’s the irony, right? I knew it would only take me 5 minutes to drive to spin class so I left 6 minutes before it started. This might sound dramatic, but I sucked as a friend because of my desire to fit it all in. I was late for this party, then late for that dinner, then a no-show at that concert because I was too late to the dinner to leave right away! Even though I genuinely wanted to make everyone happy by being a YES friend, I made no one happy by being a flaky friend.

Then, I went sailing. For a year, I traveled at a max speed of 5 miles an hour. I moved slow and there was nothing I could do to go any faster. I had to learn to appreciate slowing down. Seeing as how most places I visited were the definition of remote, my own two legs were the only method of transportation…and I loved it. I explored, I experienced, I felt like I was part of my environment. Now that, my friends, was the ultimate.

Readjusting to life in San Francisco, I have decided to take a slower approach to the fast pace of city living. I walk. Everywhere. With the hills of San Francisco being as steep as they are famous, the temptation of hopping in a $4 Lyft can be pretty strong, but I have realized that in forcing myself to slow down, I am actually a lot happier…and my friends are, too.

When I commit to less, I can really give and get the most out of what I do decide to do. I can be present. My mind isn’t stressed about the next thing or feeling guilty about the last. I take new routes to familiar places, I see the details in the streets that used to be a blur as I zipped by. I get to soak in this city as if I were a visitor. And if you know anything about San Francisco, you know that there is always a sight to see.

So sure, maybe it takes me an hour to walk to a Sunday picnic, maybe I have to leave the house earlier or just wait to go to the post office tomorrow. So what? I do less but I experience more. That, my friends, is what travel happy is all about.

I dare you to give it a go! Even for a week. Enjoy your own two legs, take your time and explore a place you think you already know.

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Send someone your good vibes.

It has been a long time since I’ve felt a real Monday morning. The dreaded, please don’t make me leave my bed, Monday morning. But here we are…and I’m running late.

While I must admit that I never had a case of the Monday’s during my two months in Indonesia, there were some days that demanded a lot more of my mental (and physical) energy than others. On these very days, as if reading my mind, my meditation teacher would ask us to dedicate our practice to someone else. If you’ve ever done yoga or taken a meditation class, you are familiar with setting your intentions for your practice. Why are you there? What motivates you to get in the zone today? Typically, intention setting is about YOU. Or in my case, me. But something awesome happened when I dedicated my effort to someone else: I worked a lot…happier.

I smiled more, I had more positive thoughts and I worked harder to send that person my good vibes. Of course, your recipient doesn’t know they’re on your mind, and quite frankly, that might be the best part about it. Giving is about the act of giving, not the validation of your gift. It feels good to devote your energy to someone or something else, even if you get nothing in return. But in case you’re worried, don’t. Karma is real 😉

To pull me out of bed and through the front door, I’m channeling my intentions outward instead of inward. Look out, good vibes might just be on your way!

 

 

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Quotes don’t work if you don’t.

This morning, while getting lost in the Instagram rabbit hole, I came across a page of motivational quotes and saw one that was not like the others: Quotes Don’t Work If You Don’t. 

Huh. Well, that’s a little different…but isn’t that the truth?

I believe in luck and I believe that we’re not all born under the same lucky stars. Now, that might come across as quite contradictory to any sort of “chase your dreams” motivation but I do believe that there are certain elements outside of our control. As for the rest of it, like 92% of it, I know that luck isn’t everything. We all have dreams, goals, things to cross off our bucket list but they won’t happen unless you make them happen.

So, how do you get there? Start small!

  1. Identify the goal. Is it to sail around the world? Hike the PCT? Do a solo road trip?
  2. Create a deadline. I don’t know about you, but I work best under pressure. Without a deadline, I can honestly say the project may never start.
  3. Make a list of the things you need to obtain your goal. Do your research and formulate concrete needs, i.e.: not “I need money”, instead “I need $2,000 for a one month road trip down the West Coast”.
  4. Break down those needs into sustainable micro changes. Okay, so you need to save up for a big trip? Take a look at your expenses and see where you have room to cut back. Sure, canceling your calendar of social events will certainly save you some moolah, but do you really want to live like a hermit crab? Probably not. When I was saving to go sailing, I made micro changes that added up in a big way: I made coffee at home instead of going out for $5.50 almond milk lattes, I started shopping at BevMo and inviting my girlfriends over for wine night instead of going out for $14 glasses of champagne in San Francisco bars. You’d be surprised how these small things add up to huge savings and how fun it can be to get to know your city without breaking the bank.
  5. Apply a change a week. Again, completely modifying your life to meet a goal could certainly work to get what you want, but it could also remove some of the joy of getting there. At least it does for me. But I’m a “want my cake and eat it, too” kind of girl. Picking one micro goal each week makes me feel more in control of my end goal because I’ve already proven to myself that I can stick  to a goal. At the end of the week, add on a new one and congratulate yourself for getting one step closer : )
  6. Write it down. I find that documenting every step of the way keeps me accountable, if even only to myself. Congratulate yourself on the small steps your making, no matter how silly or insignificant they might seem at first, because each one of these small steps is your way of putting your dreams first. There is nothing small or insignificant about that!
  7. Stick with it! Don’t forget that the work you’re putting in is for you. Change is hard, but regretting not living a dream is even harder.

Quotes don’t work if you don’t, so get to work! You’ll be so glad you did!

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A sailor’s worst nightmare (almost) come true.

In October 2015, I left San Francisco with the enormous ambition of sailing around the world with my boyfriend…or at least as far around as we could go. I wanted to step foot on the most remote places in the world, to meet people from all walks of life and I really, really wanted to see the underwater worlds that, up until then, had only existed in Planet Earth. In embarking on this adventure, there was also something much deeper I wanted to accomplish: I wanted to know what I was really made of, with the world as my backdrop. 

We have these ideas of who we think we are, what we like, what we don’t, what values are important to us, and often times, we are wrong. I’m sure at one point or another, our teenage-selves retorted to our parents, “You have no idea who I am!” Well, the funny part is, we, as in you, me, many of us, really have no idea either. That is not to say that we’re roaming around the world lost. I simply mean that moments that test our true character are rare.

Nearly sinking your sailboat is one of those rare moments.

Yeah.

That almost happened.

After an ultra-rushed sail through crappy weather from San Francisco to San Diego (and when I say rushed, I mean it took us 6 days…yeah, for context, we move about 5 miles an hour), we made our way to Baja California. We would be spending the next 4 or 5 months in Mexico waiting for the storms to pass in the South Pacific so we could cross the big blue to French Polynesia. During this time, we had really no idea what to expect. The only Mexico we knew were the party capitals of Cabo and Cancun and the vague memories of Spring Break’s of yesteryear. That was certainly not what we were after now.

The Mexico that welcomed us this time, however, was so far from what we remembered.

We spent that winter exploring ghost towns along the Sea of Cortez, hiking mountain tops that maybe no one had touched before and swimming with sea lions and whale sharks in the open water. We had found magic in Mexico. But I’ll tell you alllll about that another time.

After a sunny Christmas on Isla Coronado, eating fresh clams and watching humpback whales breach from our boat, the weather changed and a nasty storm was brewing. It was time to move on and find a safe shelter. Unfortunately for us, the safest spot was 3 hours away…straight into the storm. Now, let me take a moment to go over the last few sentences I just wrote. Clams, whales, safe shelter? These are most certainly not a string of words I had used prior to this event in my life.

On we went, severely hungover from a margarita Christmas, and freezing cold in the changing climate. We had made it about 45 minutes towards our destination when we realized that the bathroom was filling up with water. Then the bedroom. Then, like a scene from Titanic, the water flowed from under the bedroom door to the living room (or saloon, in sailor-speak). Within a matter of ten minutes the floorboards were floating around, all of my dry clothes along with them, in knee-high water.

HOLY FUCK.

This is the number one worst nightmare of any sailor. Sinking your ship. And we found ourselves living, no longer the dream, but the nightmare.

As man-friend starts preparing our emergency life raft in a full-fledged panic, I distinctly remember myself pausing, looking around at the pure hell I was in, and deciding that this was not the way I was going to end any part of my life. I realized that, though in matters at sea, I revert to him as captain, sometimes everyone needs someone else to be boss. My name had been called.

I put my big girl pants on and decided that we were not going down without a fight. When all three pumps we had failed, we got down in the thick of it and bailed out the water by hand, using little buckets and my favorite mixing bowls. Mind you, shit is going crazy outside. Let’s not forget we are headed towards a storm.

We finally made it to safety, anchored, and stopped to actually take awareness of the situation we had just faced. At this point, we still didn’t know why the boat was filling up with water and we had no idea if it was done filling up with water. What we did know was that we needed to put our two, or four, feet on land and breathe.

I hiked up the steep, slippery mountainside to see my little home from a different point of view. That little home that had already carried me through so many miles, so many adventures, that made me feel safe…until it didn’t.

I stood there, between a towering, proud cactus and the mighty, powerful waves that could have killed me, and I became acutely aware of the strength that lived in each of us. I started to cry, tears of pride, that I had not gone down so quickly, but that, instead, I fought. I fought for what I loved, what I cherished, and for the first time in a long time, I fought for myself.

In this moment, I learned the undeniable strength of things greater than myself, and I learned the greatness within myself. 

 

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