Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: lists

Don’t do this when you visit the beach

This is the final guest post in my series of guest posts. Thanks to Steph, Nadine, Kristen, and Kerry, as well as today’s guest poster, Kelli (who writes about living at the beach, takes AMAZING pictures (you should follow her Picture Practice), and is just one of the nicest people I know), for covering for me while I was away. I love you ladies and I appreciate you so much! Thanks for all the fantastic posts! 

 Hi there! My name is Kelli and I blog over at Just Beachy, and about a year and a half ago I decided to follow my dream of living by the beach. Since then I’ve learned a lot about beach life including what you should and should not do when visiting the beach.

Today I’m going to share with you some of the don’t’s when it comes to visiting the beach. I know beach season is over for this year but if you’re like me you’re already looking forward to your first visit next summer.

// Don’t fee the seagulls, seriously, don’t. I think of seagulls as the cockroaches of the beach. No it’s not a pretty picture but neither are the 100’s of seagulls that show up for 3 crackers. I don’t know about you but my ideal beach trip does not include bird shit falling on my head.

// If there’s lots of empty space on the beach don’t pick a spot less than 5 feet from my spot. I come to the beach to relax and enjoy some peace and solitude. If I can hear your voice or your music over the sound of the waves you’re to close.

// On the same note, don’t set your umbrellas and chairs up directly in front of anyone if at all possible. Not only do I like to see the ocean I like to be able to see my kid playing in the ocean from the comfort of my chair/towel.

// Buy a bathing suit that fits, I’m all for body confidence and wearing what makes you happy. With that being said please make sure all your “important” parts are covered. At no time should I have to see the crack of your ass peeking out from your bathing suit bottoms. (Jana’s note: or anything else. Please, cover that shit up. There are children present)

// Where black socks with your sandals. If you absolutely have to wear socks on the beach (although I don’t understand why) please make them white. It’s silly enough to wear socks on the beach why draw attention to the fact by wearing black?

// Don’t set your stuff up below the tide line and head back to your rental house for a nap. Unwritten beach rules say, “If it’s not yours don’t touch it”, therefore I will not be moving your stuff back when the tide starts to attack it.

// Last but most important stay out of the water at sunrise and sunset, especially within a few hundred feet of a pier. No one wants to end up shark food.

Want a dose of beach life on a regular basis? You can find me over at Just Beachy or you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Hope to see you there!


5 reasons to enjoy Mondays

In an effort to rewire the way I approach parts of my life, and taking a cue from some of the suggestions in my cousin’s book, I have decided to stop hating Mondays. Well, fine, if I’m being honest, I don’t know that it’s entirely possible to fully stop hating Monday, but I’m also choosing to think about the parts of Monday that don’t suck.

It’s not a perfect system but it seems to be working thus far. 

I’ll also admit that at first, I struggled with coming up with what I enjoy about Mondays since it’s so ingrained not to like the day but as I sat and contemplated, and started writing a few ideas down, the rest followed fairly quickly. 

Here are my top 5.



  1. It’s back to a routine. Because of my anxiety issues, I function better with a schedule. I’m not a very spontaneous person, I never have been, and I like my routines. Weekends throw those all off, especially when cheer is involved. With the return of Monday, I can fall back into my regularly scheduled programming and it comforts me. I feel relieved. I can get shit done.
  2. It’s a time to reflect on the fruits of my weekend labor. For instance, I try to do as much cleaning and laundry and cooking as possible on the weekends since the weekdays don’t leave tons of room for those necessary activities. When Monday rolls around and I don’t have to do them, I can fully appreciate taking and making the time on the weekend to do it.
  3. It’s a reset for my weekly goals. Every Sunday night, I sit down and process how I did on my goals from the week before. If there were a couple I didn’t rock, Monday means a fresh start and a chance to work even harder to accomplish them. It also means I establishing new goals for the upcoming week, which is always great and keeps me focused.
  4. It’s less time to things I look forward to. Like new episodes of Sons of Anarchy. Or my mastermind calls. Or payday. And, although I don’t watch it, Monday Night Football, because my husband does watch it and it’s a chance to all asleep before he even gets in bed. Or thinks about getting in bed.
  5. It’s a chance to rejoin the world. Since we spend so much time on football fields and in gyms on the weekends, or traveling to visit family, I don’t get much time to check in with friends and blogs or social media or even the news that CNN doesn’t deliver to my phone in headline form. When Monday rolls around, it’s a chance to catch up and get reconnected.

I will say this: it is easier for me to love Mondays since I left a job that was poisoning me. Make no mistake, I had a great boss and coworkers, had lots of autonomy, and didn’t have a huge commute. I was grateful for the employment. However. The subject matter became unbearable and I simply couldn’t do it anymore. And I’d rather live on a tight budget than have a toxic job.

funny monday

Putting this positive spin on Mondays has definitely adjusted my attitude and my thinking towards the day and rather than dreading it, I now embrace it.

Which is kind of weird.

But I like it.


10 strategies to improve self-esteem, part 2

If you missed part 1, you can read it here

I am constantly working on improving my self-esteem. It’s not something that comes easily to me. At all. Most of the time, I’ll say something nice to myself and follow it up with a dig or a “but”. Which kind of doesn’t make sense. Why give myself a compliment only to follow it up with an insult?

I don’t know. It’s just how I’ve worked for so many years that it’s almost impossible NOT to do. But when I insult myself, I give others the freedom to do the same. I really don’t like that. Being insulted hurts and further damages my already damaged thought processes. Also, the insults make me feel like the negative voices are right. And they can’t be right all the time. Right?


So every day, I battle to make them wrong. I do it following these steps:

post quote6. Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is dangerous. Comparison to others is probably the worst possible thing you can do to yourself if you’re trying to improve your self-esteem. Because there will always–ALWAYS–be someone who, on the surface, seems perfect. Perfect looking, perfect job, family, social life and OMG, look at how much money they have! But you never know what’s going on beneath the surface. Maybe that person inherited that huge house because both of her parents are dead. Maybe that person with the seemingly perfect family had to work really, really hard at conceiving her children. Maybe that fancy vacation and all those parties they attend are sponsored by work on you’re only seeing pictures from her one night off. You never know what the true story is. So don’t compare yourself because what you’re comparing might not be real at all. If you find this hard to do, take a Facebook break. Because Facebook is the worst place to go if you’re working through this step. And it’s also the source.

7. Acknowledge your talent and skills. It is my belief that every single person has some sort of talent, even if it’s small or weird (like eating spaghetti with your feet). If you’re anything like me, you don’t recognize or admit what you’re good at because for some reason, it makes you feel like you’re showing off or bragging. Guess what? You’re not. If you’re good at something it’s because you were blessed with a talent and then you worked hard to get better at it. You put in time, practice, effort, and you deserve to be proud of what you can do. There is no absolute no reason to hide your talents or to let them wither away. Acknowledge them. Use them. Embrace them. Share then with the world. Or at least your family and friends. It’ll be hard at first but as you get more comfortable with sharing, you’ll gain more confidence and realize that yes, you can do this! You ARE good at (fill in the blank). And there’s no shame in being talented. post quote 2

8. Rebut the argument in your head. Anyone who knows me well knows that maybe, every now and then, I like a good argument. Actually, I’ll only get into an argument or debate if I know I’m right or if I passionately believe in something. Which is why this is the hardest part of the 10 steps for me. When I’m feeling particularly down, I do my best to go all Lincoln-Douglas on myself and usually, I just wind up in a draw. It’s hard sometimes to convince myself that I’m better than I think. I’m assuming it’s hard for some of you, too. But that’s when we need to do it most. When you tell yourself something negative, you need to combat it with a positive. Or reframe the statement in a positive light. Or just stop saying negative things to yourself (it’s hard for me, too). Negative self-talk is probably the most damaging, hurtful you can say, and if you say it to yourself to make sure that no one else says it first than we’re more alike than you know. But we need to stop saying those words. (more…)

10 strategies to improve self-esteem, part 1

It’s probably no secret around here that I have fairly low self-esteem. Self-confidence, feeling good about myself, believing in my talents and abilities are all rare forms of currency in these parts.

But I’m working on it.

When I was in therapy, my counselor and I talked about ways to undo the “maps” in my brain that automatically took me to the places where I feel worthless. We went over the whole “would you say that stuff to a friend or family member so why do you say it to yourself?” business. We discussed methods for acknowledging achievements, accepting praise and compliments, and all the other things that people with healthy doses of self-confidence do regularly and without having to think to hard about it.

She didn’t do a very good job of helping me because our sessions usually made me feel worse. It’s only now, about a year after I fired her and stopped attending therapy completely, that I’m able to truly work on building myself up after tearing myself down for so many years. I don’t know if it’s because now I’m actually at a point where I can fully commit to working on it or if the changes I’ve put in place since I’ve let her go are finally bearing fruit or something else that I can’t explain or maybe some combination of all of the above.

I do know that I took the first step to changing a few months ago when I decided I would just stop hating myself. It’s hard–and maybe too painful–to discuss why exactly I have such hard feelings towards myself but it might have something to do with impossible standards that I expect myself to achieve. In fact, I typically set standards too high, knowing that I’ll never achieve them in the limited and ridiculously short time frame I give myself so that when I inevitably fail because I’ve created a situation where it’s almost impossible to succeed, I can admonish myself failing.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I don’t recommend doing that. It doesn’t work. Actually, it makes things worse.

Because I recognize that what I’d been doing wasn’t working, I realized a few months ago that I really need to change my strategy and my thinking, if for no other reason than I needed to think about the example I was setting for my daughter. How could I encourage her to have high self-esteem and think she can conquer anything when I couldn’t do that for myself? I need to live the example I was setting as words are meaningless without action.

So I started implementing 10 strategies. I’m still working on them, and I encourage you, if you’re in a similar situation, to start doing the same. We can be a team, even.

  1. Forgiveness. Forgive the people who’ve hurt you, forgive yourself for making mistakes, forgive yourself for not living up to the standards you or someone else has set for you, forgive past behaviors and mistakes. Something I’ve had to learn is that forgiving does not equal forgetting but when you forgive, it makes it so those behaviors and choices aren’t eating away at your heart and soul, and it makes it easier to move on. forgiveness quote
  2. Eliminate negative influences. We all have people in our lives who drag us down. They constantly make mean spirited comments, put us and our choices down, and go out of their way to make us feel worthless and unimportant. They’re unsupportive, condescending, and rude. And they need to go. Admittedly, this is harder to do with family than with friends but if you have friends like this in your life, they’re not really friends. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk but friends also don’t make friends feel like shit. It’s hard to feel better about yourself when someone else is making you feel bad.
  3. Have a mantra. Remember the old Stuart Smalley skit on SNL? The one where he would look into a mirror and say “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me”? It’s that concept. While it’s funny to think about, having a mantra is essential. Having those inspirational words to repeat to yourself in moments of self-doubt does wonders to combat the creeping negative feelings. A mantra doesn’t have to be a self-affirming statement, either. It can be a quote, a movie line, a song (these work best for me). Anything that you can say to yourself that makes you feel better. (If you’re stuck, you can follow my quotes and sayings board on Pinterest as a starting point)
  4. Accept flaws, quirks, and imperfections. It’s okay to be weird and have quirks. I have plenty of them. Instead of feeling bad or embarrassed by them, embrace them. Instead of apologizing for them, wear them proudly like a badge or medal. The flaws, quirks, and imperfections are what make you uniquely you. They help give you perspective and also maybe make you fun at parties. Trying to be whatever “normal” is doesn’t work for everyone and feeling bad about the fact that you’re different is pointless. Don’t be like everyone else. You are great the way you are. Even Billy Joel thinks so.

5. Do something every day that makes you happy. I had to work on this–and still have to work on this–every day to help combat my depression. Taking a few minutes out of every single day, even if it’s only 5 minutes, to do something that’s just for me, that put the emphasis on me, reminds me that I, too, am important. We live in a culture that praises selfless acts and condemns perceived selfishness, and thinking about others is really important. It’s crucial, in fact. But taking a few minutes every day to do something just for you makes it so that you are more able to care for others. When you’re happy, it’s easier for you to project that onto the world. And using 5 or 10 minutes a day to do that is okay.

That’s the beginning of my 10 point strategy to feel better about myself. It’s working so far and while I’m far from the most confident person in the world, I’m no longer the LEAST confident person in the world.

Which is a huge, monumental step.


Jana’s rules for Zumba

It’s not a secret around here that if I’m going to exercise, it’s most likely going to take the shape of Zumba. It’s my preferred method of working out for a variety of reasons (the least of which is that it doesn’t bore me to tears) and it’s the only one I haven’t quit on in a few months time. And after over a year of doing it at least 3 times per week, I’ve noticed some things (of course I have. It’s what I do).

And because I’m amazingly helpful, I’ve assembled all I’ve noticed into a helpful list of rules so that if (and when) you decide to try it, you know how to act accordingly (oh, men? This goes for you, too. There are men who take Zumba and they look totally fine doing it. Plus, if you’re single, it’s a great way to meet women. Automatic conversation starter! See how helpful I am?).

So. Jana’s rules for Zumba. You can thank me later:

  1. Arrive on time. In fact, arrive a few minutes early and secure your spot. There is nothing worse than a straggler who pushes her way into the spot she wants 10 minutes after class has started.zumba time
  2. Respect the space of others. We move around a lot. Like A LOT. Don’t stand so close to someone else that they run the risk of smacking you accidentally on purpose as a warning. Or asking you to move or giving you nasty “let’s fight” looks. Not that I have done any of these.
  3. Wear a bra for the boobs you have not the boobs you want. Support the girls. They’ll thank you for it. Also, no one wants to see your goodies. (This also applies to workout gear. Wear something that fits and covers places that should be covered. A quick glance in a mirror before you leave the house should help).
  4. Know your place. Okay, that sounds rude. But if you’re new or can’t follow routines, please don’t stand in the front row. Your unfamiliarity with what the instructor is doing, or possess an inability to pick up on moves quickly (like me), is distracting. You can move up front as you become more familiar with the routines (note: quality of dancing is irrelevant. You can be a terrible dancer but still know the moves. In other words, me).
  5. Keep moving. We all screw up. Even the instructors. But when you screw up and just STOP, you throw everyone around you off and you might cause someone to fall or get hurt, particularly if they bump into you. And if you don’t like a song and don’t want to dance to it, step off to the side. Take a break. Don’t just stand there. Zumba dancing
  6. Along the same lines as #5. MOVE. YOUR. BODY. If you’re not going to move at all, why go through the trouble of going to the gym? You can accomplish the same thing staying at home with way less effort. Note: Unless you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re up front, the rest of us don’t care what you look like. We just want you to move.
  7. Wear deodorant. It makes me sad that I had to write that.
  8. Don’t be a space stealer. If someone leaves in the middle of song or to get a drink, don’t sneak into her spot. More than likely, she will return. Taking a break is not permission to sneak into someone’s spot. If you wanted a better spot, refer to rule #1. Zumba spot
  9. Prepare to sweat. I don’t care if you’re in the best shape ever, this is a shitload of fast paced cardio. It’s fucking hard and you will sweat. Don’t complain about it. We’re all sweating because we’re supposed to. So bring a towel and suck it up. Zumba sweat

Follow these rules and you’ll be an A student. Nothing is worse than going to a class and having an asshole with poor Zumba class etiquette ruin your experience. Don’t be that asshole.