Wake Up and Kick Your Anxiety’s Ass With This Under-10-Minute Morning Routine

Mental health and well being is very close to our hearts, and while we truly aim to have an always-on approach to covering all aspects of mental health, we have chosen to shine an extra bright light on #WorldMentalHealth today, and for the rest of January.

We bring you The Big Burn Out — a content series made up of honest personal essays, expert advice and practical recommendations.

When your mornings feel like this on a consistent basis, managing anxiety can feel like an uphill battle. My solution? Create a routine — and not just any routine, but one that’s specifically tailored to quell stress.

My morning routine has changed a little bit here and there over the years, but a few core things have stayed the same. Here are the pieces that I’ve put together that help the most with my anxiety management.

  • Step 0: Have a grab-n-go breakfast in the fridge. Surprise! This part of my morning takes place the night before. The aforementioned negative five minutes to cook breakfast is often all too true, despite my best efforts. Chia pudding, protein muffins, and overnight oats are some of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts to throw in my bag on the way to the train. One fewer thing to worry about!
  • Step 1: Use a better alarm. Like many of you, I used to have that science-lab mayday alarm (I think it’s literally called “Alarm” on iPhones) because I thought that would be the best way to kick me out of bed and ensure I’m on time to things. I realized the error of my ways — a gentle alarm that builds in volume and intuitively knows the right time (within a 10- to 30-minute window) to wake me up has actually made mornings so much less stressful and startling. I use Sleep Cycle, but there are similar apps you can try in the app store to find one that suits your style.
  • Step 2: *Don’t* check your emails! This one is still hard for me, but resist the urge to check your emails and messages right away. Give your brain a chance to wake up and focus on the present moment. Be still. Be calm. Absorb the silence around you and try to give yourself a chance to appreciate even a few moments of peace before you inundate yourself with obligations.
  • Step 3: Queue up the aromatherapy. I keep some essential oils by my bedside for my evening and morning routine. In the a.m., I opt for energizing, uplifting, happy scents like grapefruit, lemon, wild sweet orange, and sometimes geranium or peppermint.
  • Step 4: Meditate — even for two minutes. I tried creating a morning meditation routine of just 10 minutes a day. It sounds simple, right? Well . . . even that got away from me. Then I became stressed and anxious that I was failing on my anti-anxiety routine, and it all kind of spiraled. Sound familiar? I cut it down to two minutes. If you have more time, you can always tack on more, but two minutes was much more doable, and it has helped me feel like I’m more capable and empowered.

 

  • Step 5: Do your skincare routine. Like in my night time routine, I use washing (and exfoliating . . . and toning, serum-ing, moisturizing, etc.) my face as a form of meditation, self-care, and focus before I take on the rest of my day’s obligations. I think about nothing but the task at hand — and have the added bonus of making my skin look and feel great.
  • Step 6: Make the bed. Tidying up has become a part of my anti-anxiety routine, regardless of the time of day. One of my favorite trainers at Barry’s Bootcamp read an excerpt from Admiral William H. McRaven’s book, aptly titled Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life . . . And Maybe the World, and referenced that even if everything goes wrong in your day, at least you can say you made the bed. It might sound silly, but that really resonated with my anxious brain. So not only does this set you up for a clean, tidy, organized house (anxiety reducing!), but it also gives you a mini victory to focus on (anxiety reducing!). Hooray!

While this might look like a long list, it takes very little time. The two minutes of meditation, five minutes of skin care, and maybe one or two minutes of making the bed (because remember, steps 0, 1, 2, 3, and 6 take either zero time or 30 seconds) total up to less than 10 minutes total. That’s it! Carving out this small amount of time and space to take care of yourself first thing in the morning can lead to a happier day, better well-being, and a calmer, more peaceful life.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly       Twitter: @phicklephilly

How to Get Women to Approach You

Since #MeToo a lot of men have asked me how they’re supposed to flirt with women when every first move might be interpreted as harassment. I tell them to sit tight. Men should be nervous about approaching women, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make them feel more comfortable approaching you by looking as normal and inoffensive as possible.

Like my friend Rob (not his real name).

As soon as we walk into a bar—or a Sweetgreen, or an elevator, or a CVS—the attention of the women in the room shifts, subtly, to Rob. Eyes leave conversations to dart his way. Hair is tossed. Bodies twist ever so slightly toward him in their chairs, like sunflowers. It’s like the moment in World War Z before all the zombies start climbing one another to get over the wall to where the humans are hiding. I usually lose him in a CGI anthill of women after about half an hour. But he hardly has to do anything at all.

Rob is attractive—in a down-the-middle way, like the grown-up version of the most popular guy in high school if he hadn’t let himself go in college—but more than that, he’s extremely approachable. He manages to convey that he’s single, straight, and friendly through what he wears, how he acts, and even how he stands. I studied Rob for months until I had cataloged his charms. Then I called a summit of women to help me assemble a guide to approachability. These are our findings.

STEP 1: Dress Down—But Not Casual

When I suggested to Rob that he dresses “for women,” he agreed, with one qualification: “I dress to be comfortable,” he told me. I’d argue that dressing for comfort and dressing for women are the same thing. So would my friends.

I studied Rob for months until I had cataloged his charms. Then I called a summit of women.

“I’d also probably feel more confident walking up to a guy who’s dressed more casually. Fancy businessmen can be intimidating,” said Kaila, 29. “I’ve also used an interesting piece of clothing as a means of hitting on guys. It’s an easy conversation starter.” Break out those novelty tees, gentlemen.

Shannon, 29, suggested that men’s clothes should be “comfortable but also fresh” and pointed to comedian Hasan Minhaj as a reference. I’d never investigated Minhaj’s sartorial choices, but a quick Google search revealed some spooky similarities to Rob’s (cue X-Files theme). Both men dress down, but upscale down: They often wear white sneakers, but the sneaks are very clean; they generally wear jeans, with a T-shirt or sweater, but everything fits well and is in good condition—no wrinkles, stains, or holes. Their clothes are unintimidating, but not frumpy.

STEP 2: Bring a Buddy . . .

Having a friend or two around also makes you look less like a murderer. (Although, Shannon pointed out, a man who is “comfortably alone,” reading or somehow occupying himself, is very approachable.)

“If a guy is around a bunch of guys, it’s a good sign that he has friends and isn’t just prowling around a bar like a weirdo,” said Sophia, 26, adding that she’ll usually wait for a guy to separate from the herd—by taking a solo trip to the bar, for example—before she approaches. “I’m not going to talk to four guys when I just want to talk to one.”

The smaller your group, the more approachable you’ll be. “If it’s just him and a buddy, I’d probably be more likely to chat him up than if he’s in a large group of guys,” Eliza, 32, agreed, “especially if there are women in the group.”

STEP 3: . . . But Not a Lady Buddy

Rolling with female friends definitely makes other men jealous, but it also makes women less likely to approach you: We have no way of knowing whether that beautiful woman to your left is your friend or your girlfriend, and we’re not going to risk her wrath by shooting our shot.

STEP 4: Make Yourself Physically Available

As a little woman, if I’m going to approach a man, I have to see a clear path to him. My worst fear is that I’ll try to break into a phalanx of men to talk to one and none of them will hear me, so I’ll have to say “hey” progressively louder until I shout “hey” so loudly that the whole bar goes quiet and looks at me.

Nobody wants to talk to the brooding bad boy in a bar.

“I don’t want to have to come up from behind and awkwardly tap someone on the shoulder,” Kaila said. It can feel like “Hello, it’s me. Short lady. Down here. I swear I’m an adult.” Leave some space between you and your friends, and only sit down if there’s an open seat next to yours.

STEP 5: Don’t Be Sad

Women like the brooding bad boy onscreen (call me, Marlon Brando circa 1951), but nobody wants to talk to the brooding bad boy in a bar. Almost every woman polled in my grand summit of babes said she would not approach a man unless he was smiling a lot and having a good time—unless, in other words, he looked friendly and easily charmed.

Observe Rob: He begins to disseminate friendliness as soon as he walks into a bar. He jokes with the bouncer, he smiles at the bartender, and then he just sort of cases the room, beaming, for a minute. It puts everyone at ease. “I’m not approaching a guy who isn’t smiling. It just feels too dangerous to talk to a man who is serious, quiet, and trying to be cool,” Sophia said. “I’m not trying to get murdered.”

STEP 6: Remain Alert . . .

Use your friends to look less broody, but don’t get totally caught up in their chat. “One thing that has kept me from approaching a man is the feeling that I will be interrupting a conversation, or his enjoyment of whatever game he’s watching on the bar TV,” said Ashley, 29. “When I’ve approached men, it’s usually when they’re participating in a conversation but not engrossed in it, or when they’re watching something but also frequently checking in with what’s happening elsewhere in the room.”

“It just feels too dangerous to talk to a man who is serious, quiet, and trying to be cool.”

Women are very skilled at half participating: I’ve had many long, wonderful conversations with my female friends in which we all half-assedly throw in contributions every couple seconds while scoping the room. We may have arrived at a solution to world hunger during one of these discussions. We’ll never know. Nobody was paying attention.

STEP 7: . . . But Chill

While you’re having your half-assed but very enjoyable (smile!) conversation with your small group of wingfriends, be sure not to get too loud. In middle school, being loud and boisterous was a great way to signal confidence and get girls’ attention. In adulthood, being loud and boisterous suggests immaturity. It also suggests that you’re drunk. One of the cruel contradictions of flirting is that alcohol, which makes you feel comfortable approaching someone, also makes women less likely to approach you. So order a soda with bitters and sit tight. If you create the right impression (that you’re a nonmurderer with fun friends and clean clothes), the women will come.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly       Twitter: @phicklephilly

Cherie – Chapter 60 – I’ll Wait – Part 2

We get back to my house and she sits on the bed. I sit next to her. Cherie crosses her arms across her waist. I’ve been in sales my whole life. I’m a master of body language.

Cherie’s feeling a little conservative and insecure. I feel this and make sure I’m careful with my girl.

I pull her hair back and kiss her neck. She doesn’t resist. But Cherie never resists me. As strong as she is as a woman she’s always so passive to me. I continue to kiss her neck.

There’s nothing like kissing a woman’s neck. Warm, intimate and supple. They all respond the same as long as it’s welcomed.

Today it is.

I continue to kiss her cheeks and then her ripe lips. My kisses are received and she opens her mouth. Our lips swirl and I feel the heat between us.

As the man I need to melt whatever wall is between us in this moment.

“My stomach hurts.”

“I’m sorry, honey.”

I withdraw my advances. Baby’s hurting.

We cuddle on the bed. At this point I just want my girlfriend to feel better. I don’t even care about sex at this point. I love Cherie. If she’s not feeling well I’m cool with nothing happening. I’m just happy to be in the same room with her.

I mean that. Most men would be upset that they couldn’t fuck their girlfriend on the rare occasion they got to see her, but our relationship isn’t like anybody else’s.

I’m a patient cat and if baby can’t go I’ll respect that and let her go.

“I’m sorry about my stomach.”

“Cher… It’s okay. I’m just happy to be with you today.” (I actually mean that instead of my usual bold faced lies)

“Maybe I could just please you.”

“Cher, you don’t have to do anything. I’m just happy you’re here with me today.” (bold-faced lie)

Cherie goes on to give me an amazing oral performance that would rival Mia Khalifa. (How does my love have no gag reflex? (Best girlfriend ever!)

Cherie with her tummy troubles gives me an amazing blowjob that is loving and glorious. Not a BJ to get you off but one that says, I love you. So much attention to detail. The BJ you want to last forever. The Cleopatra blowjob. There’s a difference and you know that guys. That’s the chick you marry

Cherie’s in a place where she’s worried about our intimacy and yet devours me with perfect vigor. I don’t need that, but at this point of the day, it’s welcomed as affection and loving.

She tells me she’s having some fear about sex because of her stomach problems. I understand because I’ve had tummy troubles my whole life. I tell her if she’d like, she can turn away from me, and I can spoon her with some sex and she won’t have to move.

I pull off Cherie’s jeans and black lace panties. I struggle to get them over her feet like every man on earth. Away they go and I place them on top of the bureau. Cher is on her back. I’m worried about her stomach but I think she wants what we’re about to do.

I try to do a familiar move from the side so she can just relax on her back and I figure out a little thing I developed a few years ago called “Scissor Fight”

Things are beginning to ignite and Cherie returns and says the four magic words that unlock the puzzle that’s been our distant relationship over the last few months.

“Get on top of me.”

Cherie is back.

There are moments in a man’s life when he need not speak, but simply act. And act I did. I knew just what to do. I’ve been in a loving highly charged sexual relationship with this beautiful baby for over a year and a half.

It was T minus One and we need to reach escape velocity on a fountain of fire and not burn up in re-entry.

It was glorious.

Her stomach pain was replaced by thundering ecstasy of orgasm after orgasm. It’s not me. I just deliver the goods, but I know how to please Cherie. Whatever I’m doing always magically works for Cherie.

She tells me that it’s never been like this with another man.

I fucked her back to the stone age and that’s exactly where we wanted to go.

When Cher is beneath me I hold her close and stay focused, because with every woman I’ve ever been with her pleasure is always first. I really don’t care about my finish. I can cum anytime I want. But I’ve always believed if a girl liked me enough to bring me into her bed, It was always about pleasing her. I never cared about me. The opposite of most men. But that’s why I’m surrounded by women friends and phicklephilly exists.

Of course I finished in an elegant way we both never saw coming (Pun) But after some rocky time apart we were diamond hard as a couple again and I loved that.

For my nympho girlfriend to close herself off from me and withdrawal was troubling. But to spend time with my love over an elegant date and celebrate our love was amazing.

But the love we made on top of my light blue comforter in the afternoon light of a warm February afternoon meant so much to me.

I feel so close to her again and I’m so happy we’ve reconnected. Please see me in two weeks for more fun and love.

I miss you honey.

On the walk back to her car, she was back to the lively, wonderful woman I’ve grown to love. I literally just needed to break the seal of who we are by really connecting with her on our most animal level. We both love each other deeply, but sometimes just a glorious fuck between lovers can fix everything.

Come what may.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly       Twitter: @phicklephilly

I Know You’re All Looking For Jazmin, But She’ll Be Back Next Tuesday!

I realize we’re right in the middle of something here, but I just had so many stories to tell this week I had to continue her series next week. (I’m sorry!) I promise I’ll have the next chapter of our little saga next week. You won’t be disappointed!

Thank you all for your patience!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly       Twitter: @phicklephilly