Wednesday, November 27, 2013

'Tis the Season: Libby Russell of The Sugars

In the spirit of this week, I am so very thankful for friends like Libby Russell. Libby and I met while working as tour guides in Elon University's Admissions office. We spent afternoons convincing prospective students why Elon is a fantastic school, and during this time, I found that Libby had a natural way of reminding people of the fantastic parts of life. Her sense of humor, wit, and contagious enthusiasm are just a few of the traits that this woman brings to the table.

So, this week, I invited Libby to contribute a piece on gratitude. Libby's blog, The Sugars, speaks to women in their 20's - particularly diabetic women - and empowers them to appreciate the adventures of everyday life, face challenges with a sense of humor, and remember that life can be very sweet. 
Chances are, you have looked in the mirror and muttered some pretty rude things to yourself a few times lately. Understandable. The holidays are an insane time of year. It’s impossible not to fall behind at work, spend every penny you have, gain a single pound, or piss off your family for being drunk in front of your grandmother while pulling on your perfect party pants on every day of the week.

Our bodies are put through the junk food and hangover trenches from October through January. There are adorable little cookies everywhere. We have to eat them – it’s mandatory. Apparently, alcohol is bad for you (or so I’m told). Sleeping for 8 hours is at the bottom of our to-do lists…and to be honest, aint nobody got time for that. There are turkeys to be cooked and center pieces to be assembled. And, if anyone thinks we’re walking outside in the freezing cold to an establishment that qualifies as a “fitness facility” they’re drunk.

Clearly, it’s a serious challenge to feel pulled together enough to keep up with Santa’s list of demands. Newsflash: baby girl, sometimes you just cannot. Driving yourself bonkers trying to make it to every Friendsgiving, Thanksgivukkah, and Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl is a recipe for disaster. We so easily forget, due to the Christmas lights that have been projectile vomited over every tangible surface, what this time of year is truly about. Unfortunately, it takes a little bit of work to slow down and realize this. I have developed a practice that keeps me energized and in a good emotional space during a time where it feels like every move I make is to make someone else happy. So what is this magical gem of a life trick? Finding something about my mind, body, or spirit to be thankful for as often as possible and making a verbal or mental note of it.

We tend to drink a lot of “personal haterade” during stressful or overwhelming times. Sadly, it’s often because we don’t believe in ourselves and our ability to be impressive among the impressers. It’s not an easy task, but I challenge you to take moment to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and just say to yourself, “Girlfriend…you’re doing better than you think you are. Thank you for all that you do for me every day.” I especially challenge you to make this something you appreciate about your physical self.

Thank your booty for looking stunning at the holiday party in your new LBD. Thank your hair for cooperating during your big presentation so that you could focus on kicking the content’s ass and being a baller in front of your boss. Thank your tendonitis- ridden knees for being strong enough to take you that extra mile. Or how about your arms for being buff enough to open copious bottles of wine on a weekly basis? Don’t kid yourself; you’ve had many necessary bottles recently. You’re practically a body builder. Take a minute and look at your smile in the mirror – let yourself appreciate how quirky, charismatic, and radiant it is. Remind yourself just how many people feel goofy little warm fuzzies every time you flash that bad boy. 

See how good this feels? Trust me sister, this is not vanity, this is empowerment. It’s confidence and confidence is sexy. 

Tis the season for giving thanks. Yes, it’s always incredibly important to vocalize your appreciation for your friends, family, and privileges you’ve been lucky enough to have. But let’s not forget to thank ourselves. Courage, strength, and love start from within, and if you feel it for yourself, it’ll make the holidays that much brighter when you share it with others.

Libby Russell works at a consumer collaboration agency in the city of champions, Titletown, USA (ok, fine. She lives in Boston). When Libby is not tracking email marketing metrics and geeking out over infographics at work, she can be found in downward dog at her local yoga studio, pretending she’s not looking for Tom Brady while going on runs throughout the city, escaping to Maine where she grew up, and tinkering her diabetes insulin pump, Derek. 

Libby frequently cozies up with a large glass of Malbec while she writes for her blog, The Sugars. Inspired by an SNL skit about Paula Deen, Libby’s pieces speak to women in their 20’s – especially diabetic women – and empowers her readers to be ridiculous, bring a sense of humor to new challenges, and be grateful for every ounce of awesome they encounter in their daily adventures.

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