Tips for Dealing with Anxiety

I’ve suffered with anxiety for several years now, but significantly more so over the past five years. I’ll save my complete and comprehensive anxiety tale for another post and another day. For now, I want to share some of the things I have found helpful in my recent battles with anxiety.

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that people suffer from anxiety at different levels. When my anxiety attacks are at their worst, I feel short of breath, paralyzed, and panicked. I feel as though my heart is going to beat out of my chest. If I’m alone, I’ll typically have crying spells that feel like they start out of nowhere. As I’ve learned (and am still learning) to cope with my anxiety, I want to emphasize that these coping methods work for me at different times. These are relatively simple and quick exercises that help ground me, but they are by no means a type of medical treatment. The best thing I did to learn how to cope was to seek out a professional therapist/psychologist. But more on that below.


Yes, I know there is a lot of hype over meditation and mindfulness right now, but I’m here to say that I completely stand behind it. Ha! In no way, shape, or form am I a skilled meditator (is that even a thing?) nor even a consistent one. But, you don’t have to be to reap the benefits of this magical little exercise. I first came across meditation techniques when I was studying for my bar exam in 2017. Bar prep was one of the most fun times of my life…NOT! It was miserable and I hated every minute of it. It was, in fact, the saddest and most difficult time of my life thus far. During this time, my nerves and my anxiety were full blown out of control and I was willing to try anything to just get my breathing and thoughts under control. Enter the Calm app.

The Calm app offers free guided meditations for everything you’re feeling, from anxiety to procrastination to low self-esteem. I prefer guided meditations because A). I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, B). I need someone’s voice to lead me back to the meditation when my thoughts are wandering off, and C). I will likely fall asleep if I don’t hear someone’s voice while I have my eyes closed. Of course, they offer non-guided meditations. The best part of the app is that you can choose timed meditations, starting with one or two minutes. During bar prep time when every single second felt precious to me, these two-minute exercises cleared my mind and slowed down my breathing. It was also very soothing and I really began to look forward to these little gems of relaxation  time before starting my day or during study breaks.


Again, during bar prep (I can’t emphasize enough how great this time was for me, y’all) I discovered how beautiful and helpful yoga was for me. I had tried yoga several times before and loved it, but it wasn’t until this period in my life that I also discovered how beneficial yoga was for my anxiety. There are several different types of yoga classes, but I recommend a beginner vinyasa class in a chill studio. I say chill because there are yoga studios and yoga classes that are more focused on fitness and stamina (and they are amazing!), but for someone like me, a full-out endurance type athletic event kind of yoga class will do the opposite of helping me relax.

At the time, I attended yoga with a very close friend of mine who is a yoga instructor and ran her own studio. And it was the chillest, y’all. It was typically in a little house with little candles everywhere and open windows and relaxing scents everywhere around sunset. THE BEST. But since everyone can’t meet at this little house for yoga with my friend (especially since she moved to Bali. Yes. Bali! I want her life!) there is an alternative: Yoga with Adriene.

Yoga with Adriene is a YouTube channel you can access for free and practice in the convenience of your home. Her videos range from just a few minutes to about an hour and you can pick and choose what you feel like doing. Because you’re at home, nobody will judge your yoga skills and you can make your little yoga area as chill as you please. I recommend candles and dim lights! Also, Adriene is the coolest.

Walk or Jog or Just Go Outside 

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I’m here to tell you that I am not the most athletically inclined person you may come across. Exercising makes me feel good because I feel like I’m taking care of my body and showing myself some love. However, I am NOT the kind of person that’s like, “I’m going to do some cross-fit and then run seven miles to clear my head.” Um, hard pass. It takes a lot less than that for me to clear my head. More power to you if you are that type of person! I kind of wish I were that way sometimes, but pushing myself that hard makes the voices in my head louder as opposed to shushing them. For the rest of us, simply getting up and moving or just sitting outside is pretty relaxing in itself.

Take A Bath!

In all of the apartments and houses I lived in throughout the years, none of them had a bath tub until this past year. And now I can’t get out of the fucking bath tub. I LOVE being in there! If you are gloriously blessed with a bath tub, start taking baths immediately. I know you’re thinking, “Taking a bath is so basic and that is not going to make me feel any better.” I agree – that’s why you have to be super extra when you take a bath. I recommend lots of candles, dim lights, music,  bubbles, a book if you’re into reading, and bath bombs from Lush. These are the only bath bombs that I’ve found to be fully effective and invigorating and just plain fun to throw in the bathtub. They smell so good and look so pretty! I swear sometimes I’ve felt like I’m high just listening to “dreamy vibes” on Spotify and watching all the colors and glitter swirl together. Take a bath, like yesterday.

Find Professional Help

I know that there is still a stigma around seeking the help of therapist. However, sometimes I forget because I’m so open about the fact that I see a therapist. And I love it! I’ve seen my fair share of therapists and counselors and tried a range of treatments from hypnotism to cupping to acupuncture. If that makes me sound “crazy”, so be it. At the different times of these treatments, they were all helpful to me. They helped me find methods to cope and they calmed my nerves. Except acupuncture. I’m not sure if it helped me or not, but I just did not like it. And that’s okay! Different things work for different people.

The thing about having experimented with different counselors and treatments, which is not a good or bad thing, is that I was never consistent for more than a few months. Again, I sought what was available to me at the time and I think approaching the treatments with an open mind helped their effectiveness. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

If you are ready to commit to actually talking it out or seeing someone, I recommend searching on Psychology Today. This is where I found my current therapist, and she is amazing! I’ve actually stayed consistent with her.

A couple things about seeking professional help:

First, it is not going to be an easy process.

I think simply arriving at the decision of wanting to seek professional help is a HUGE step. It’s not easy deciding you may give talking to a complete stranger about your deep-seeded issues a try. Like, what the hell, right? You don’t even know this person! But, this is their job. They listen to strangers and they help them cope. They went to school for that. And we all have bat-shit issues. It’s not that big a deal.

However, once you do take the step of seeking out a professional, be advised that it may not be a match made in therapy heaven on your first try. Even though all of these therapists are willing to help you, you will not have that “chemistry” with just anyone you sit down with. If you choose to make an appointment, and then that appointment turns out to be complete shit and your therapist is a full on weirdo, TRY AGAIN. Do not give up just because it wasn’t everything you hoped for the first time. I know people are vulnerable and delicate during this time of their lives when they feel they need professional help, so it is easy to get scared away. But don’t. Keep looking until you find someone you are comfortable with.

Second, emphasize PROCESS.

Once you do find someone you’re comfortable opening up to, do not think that you’re going to attend one session and be cured of all your mental ailments. Let’s get real. You didn’t develop your issues overnight, so why would you expect to be rid of them overnight? Calm down, crazy! (Just kidding. We’re all a little crazy. Who cares?) It’s a slow process. Even after you’ve attended for a while and you’ve learned to recognize your problem areas, you are still going to have days when you throw everything you’ve learned out the window and mess up. It will feel like you are right back at square one, but trust me, you aren’t. Don’t give up on yourself or your process.

Pray It Out, Write It Out, Cry It Out

To end on a less intense note, just remember to pray it out, write it out, or cry it out. What that means is to essentially do anything your body feels like doing when you’re facing anxiety. For me, sometimes that means praying. Whether you pray to the Universe, to God, to Jesus, to Buddha, to Lady Gaga, or to Santa Claus, just pray if it makes you feel better. I like to think that God is looking out for me and I’m never completely alone. And that makes me feel safe.

Sometimes I have to write it out. (Hey, what’s up, that’s why I even started this blog). Writing is an outlet for me. Sometimes I have full on stories and poems just waiting to fall onto the page. Sometimes I just look up positives quotes on Pinterest and write those over and over so my brain can start to believe them. Maybe for you it is drawing or painting or singing. Whatever it is, get it off your chest and put it on something tangible. (Or sing really loud, since you know, singing isn’t tangible).

And finally, if you feel like crying, just. fucking. cry. I was a long time believer of the school of thought that preached that you have to hold tears in and never show weakness. And you know what happened when I did that? I ended up in therapy crying my ass off with needles sticking out of every inch of my body (acupuncture, remember?). There is no weakness in crying. Crying is a release. The more I would fight it, the more it would build up. Now, once I cry it out, I feel so much better afterwards. I can move on because all of those emotions are released. I don’t mean go cry at work or by yourself in a coffee shop like a weirdo. Just find a private place and let those tears out and don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s just an emotion and it is not indicative of the kind of human being that you are.

As cliche as it is, remember that tomorrow is another day so just take care of yourself as best as you can for now.

Kill Them With Kindness – Or Not.

There exists a stigma that to be kind is to be weak. There is an illusion that the tough guys and mean girls of high school, the work place, and society in general are cool for being impenetrable and cold and impervious to the emotions or feelings of those around them. I can somewhat see the appeal of this. I can see that said “strong” individual gives the appearance that she or he does not care what others think and is therefore completely comfortable with themselves. On the other hand, I don’t understand this facade they put on. Why does being mean or tough automatically mean strength?
I have struggled with this mentality over the past few years. I don’t think I understood it at first or I was simply not self-aware enough to care. But as I’ve (slowly) matured (ha!) little by little, I’ve encountered resistance when someone has trouble accepting the fact that I’m a “nice” or “sweet” person. No, I am not saying I am such a nice girl or overly polite or whatever. In fact, I’m pretty socially awkward and introverted, which sometimes does not even translate as “nice.” All I’m saying is I’m not a dick. I know that much about myself. I have, however, ended up in relationships (both romantic and friendly) in which someone has made me question my “nice-ness.” They do this by playing games – beating around the bush when they want to talk shit to you, joking in rude ways, or just being aloof. I don’t understand the necessity of this, but I have stopped to question whether I should be rude back or play stupid games in return.The answer, for me, is always no because I’m a grown ass woman and not a child. There are books out there named, “Why Men Love Bitches” and “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office.” I haven’t read these books (well I almost got halfway through “Nice Girls” but I became disinterested) and I’m sure the information they offer is valuable, but at the end of the day, it just isn’t me. And I feel fake pretending I’m some tough bitch who will put you in your place. I’m not this person, but why does that automatically mean that because I’m not tough, I’m weak?
It doesn’t seem fair. Why should I feel weak because I have made myself vulnerable to love or vulnerable to others? I think it takes more strength to put yourself out there than to roll your eyes and sit back dismissing everything and everyone. If I view this mentality as a win/lose situation, I feel like I hardly ever win. As a naturally competitive person, I have been afraid of losing for a long time. I have been in situations where I kept fighting for something I couldn’t have because it’s in my nature to – to keep going so that I simply don’t lose. But in all of that fighting and tugging and holding on to win, I lost myself. And that felt even worse. Not being able to recognize myself when I looked in the mirror is the lowest feeling I have ever experienced. My eyes didn’t have any light behind them. My overall appearance was just different. I have always struggled with self-esteem, but on some level, throughout my entire life, even if it didn’t seem like it at times, I did like myself. Until I didn’t. And for me, that was nearing rock bottom.
I know now that I’m not the only person who has experienced this. There are people out there who will shit on you and make you feel like a loser or pathetic or unworthy or all of the above because you are kind. Sometimes, we stay in these situations or relationships because it is in our nature to keep trying. Hearing the names I had been called echoing in my head every time I looked in the mirror made me feel weak. I could not feel proud of myself in any way. And I’m still trying to figure out why that is. Why should I feel weak for being kind? My therapist suggested to me during a session that I read about narcissism and its symptoms. One of those symptoms is that narcissistic people hate signs of weakness-both in themselves and in others. They hate it so much that they actually view “nice” people as being genetically inferior, stupid, feeble, etc. Thus, they hate nice people because they hate themselves for ever feeling that they could need someone like that and are unwilling to face those feelings. These “tough” people are actually operating out of fear.
And that’s why I’ve decided that I will not let anyone take advantage of my vulnerability. Vulnerability is not gullibility. It is not naivete. It’s a choice. It’s making the choice to try again because my heart is full of compassion and forgiveness. I know I am risking being hurt again, but I’m willing to risk it – not because I am stupid, but because I have a big heart. And because I have a big heart, I understand that if someone hurts me, I’m entirely capable of coming out, head up high, on the other side. I will have bruises and scars. I will cry myself to sleep until I feel I can’t breathe. But rest assured that I am falling asleep loving myself and knowing that I will wake up to a new day in which my grieving will have ended and my power to love will be as strong as ever. My heart will heal because it is that tough. Because its pieces find each other again and it grows and flourishes like fresh green ivy. Its roots may die, but they are reborn. We – the “nice” ones – are constantly reborn. It’s not that we are too weak to stand up for ourselves. It’s that our hearts are too big and too heavy for people who are not strong enough to accept it. Not only are they not strong enough to do the heavy lifting, they are extremely afraid to even try.

Choose Wisely: How the Media Thrives From Our Reactions

On July 18, 2018, twenty-year-old college student Mollie Tibbetts went out for a jog in her small town in Iowa. Her body was found one week later and soon after, the police arrested and charged Christhian Bahena Rivera with her murder. Rivera is an undocumented immigrant. Since then, her unfortunate death has been exploited to fuel the debate on immigration issues in the U.S. Mollie’s family came forward soon after these political debates took off and asked that her death not be used for anyone’s political agenda. Mollie’s father also came to the defense of the Latinx community.

It is not the obvious defense of immigrants that I have often been vocal of that I want to address. It feels wrong to use this young woman’s death for political discourse. Quite frankly, it is disgusting. Rather, experiencing how this news has been communicated to the general public makes me consider how to approach these attacks from the media.

To begin, I want to reflect on my own personal reaction when I read the first article I came across. The headline did not mention anything regarding immigration. It simply stated that a young woman’s body was found after she was reported missing. In all honesty, the picture of this woman who looked so happy grabbed my attention more than anything else. I clicked on the online article and I am disappointed to report that as I began reading, I quickly fell victim to this media outlet’s traps. I felt several emotions. First, I was saddened to read about this tragedy and tears rimmed my eyes when I saw the picture of this young woman smiling at the camera. Then, I was enraged to see that the perpetrator’s immigration status had to be mentioned. But after I stopped seeing red, I also realized that I was instantly angry at Mollie Tibbetts’ family because I believed that it was her family that probably preferred to have the perpetrator’s immigration status mentioned. Nothing in the article pointed to this, but I unintentionally jumped to this conclusion on my own. Why? Because Mollie Tibbetts was white. I don’t know this for a fact. Again, the article does not mention this. My only basis for this assumption is that her skin was white and her last name is white. I sighed, felt annoyed, and closed the window on my computer with the article. Then I moved on with my day.

A few days later, a friend of mine sent me a screenshot of Mollie’s family member’s statement to the media to stop exploiting her murder and the link to an article discussing how Mollie’s family was defending the Latinx community. I remember I instantly felt ashamed of myself. I had done what I want so badly for people to stop doing. I judged this young woman and her family based on the color of their skin and on their last name. I almost cried reading about how aggressively Mollie’s family stood up for her and for others. And it is so sad that seeing people of different races defend one another is so surprising to me these days.

I hate that when I read an article, I know what this reporter wants me to feel. I know they want to bring this hatred out of me and their poisonous words are click bait. They want me to talk about how angry these articles make me and share their stories because at the end of the day all publicity is good publicity. Then I think, “I’ll just keep my mouth shut and I win because I do not give them what they want.” But then, how will we ever get anywhere if we sit silently and watch? It’s a catch-22.

The only logical plan to me is to unite as a common group of people-as members of humanity-who will not discuss malignant reports from the media; to recognize that their bullshit is click-bait; to stay silent as a choice because we are aware that these assholes want a hateful reaction from us. But this “logical” solution is not feasible. Even if not one single person fell victim to the media’s click-bait and even if not one single comment were uttered, their ideas are still circulated. These insults will still be published. It’s like when Melania Trump wore the infamous jacket that stated, “I really don’t care, do you?” to visit the detention centers on the Texas-Mexico border. It was a publicity stunt. When people voiced their anger, they were immediately attacked and disregarded as hypocrites who were only concerned with fashion choices instead of the wonderful decision the First Lady made to see these children who had been separated from their parents. If not one person had commented on her stupid jacket, then perhaps neither the Trump administration nor the media would have gotten what they wanted. But to stay silent also feels like being walked all over. Staying silent means swallowing your pride and your anger and losing the fight.

All I can think of doing is being aware of the irresponsible way media outlets report their news and then carefully choosing our reactions. I can learn to differentiate between which reactions and comments are productive and which ones are destructive. I am not sure what the solution is. But I know that I can learn from this and from Mollie’s life. I can learn that I have my own biases and premature opinions and I can be cruel with them. I can learn to sit back and reflect on the fact that I need to mean what I say and understand all humans, not just those that share the color of my skin because it is comfortable for me to do so. I can learn that I should not always attack first. I can learn that while I always have my guard up, I do not have to jump to my own race’s defense when no shots have been fired by another race. They are pitting us against each other, and we need to be smart enough to recognize that.

Date Night


Top: Petite Confidante

Jeans: Lucky Brand

Shoes: Marc Fisher vía Nordstrom

Earrings: La Casa Frida

I have a tendency to shop local & I especially love to buy products from fierce mujeres I’m friends or acquainted with or that I just admire because they’re doing their business thing & killing it. This first post is a few weeks old (note the longer & darker hair) but it was the first outfit I loved enough to make a blog post out of. I am absolutely obsessed with this “Papillon Top” from my friend Zayda’s beautifully curated online boutique, Petite Confidante. It is so comfy & cute & sits just right. My tassel earrings are from La Casa Frida in San Antonio. I haven’t had a chance to visit the location, but I do want every single thing on their website. If I’m not wearing hoops for a night out, these are the only appropriate substitute.

Why We Love Our Tias

I wanted to begin this post by stating the actual number of Tias* that I have. Two seconds later I abandoned that attempt because math is not my strong suit nor is remembering exactly how many Tias I have. My mother has five sisters and my father has four. But, as a good Mexican daughter and niece, I cannot say I only have nine Tias because Mexicans live forever and I have great-Tias and great-grand Tias and people that probably are not actually related to us but I’m still required to call them Tias. My abuelito‘s sister just celebrated her 100th birthday a few months ago! I think that makes her my grandaunt. I did some very lazy research and by research I mean that I googled, “What do you call my grandfather’s sister?” The short but possibly incorrect answer is that the proper title is “grandaunt” but people commonly mistake this title for “greataunt.” The point is, I have a whole lot of aunts. Many of which I probably haven’t met or do not remember and I can assure you the Tias I am close to me van a regañar por no acordarme. (They’re going to tell me off for not knowing every extensive branch of my huge family tree, for those of you who do not speak Spanish).

Having a multitude of Tias I am close to is a wonderful thing. It’s like having extra mothers who are also your friend and your sister and your grandmother. By no means am I diminishing my own relationship with my mother. Sara will always be World’s Best Mami to me. But the relationship we have with our Tias has its own magic. My father, who is a Chatty Cathy and the friendliest man on the planet (seriously, he cannot go into any supermarket or business around town without knowing somebody) loves to tell his sisters almost every detail of my life. He especially likes to do this when I’m going through a difficult time and have confided in him about it. Next thing I know, my Tias are calling or sending me texts to tell me things will be okay or to say a little prayer for me or just to ground me and say calm the hell down, you’re being exagerada and life is good. Ponte a limpiar. You would think that this would bother me, but I actually love it. They’re my support system and they will never miss a chance to come to my rescue – even when I don’t ask them to.

When I graduated high school, I could NOT wait to leave for college in San Antonio. I actually wanted to attend New York University, but my dad said hell no. San Antonio is far enough. For reference, I am a Valley girl through and through. That means I live on the Texas-Mexico border and San Antonio is a mere four hours north of my hometown. Anyway, I rolled my eyes and counted the days till move-in day for my college dorm. But as the day got closer, the more I realized how much I was going to miss sitting around with my Tias in their backyards and sitting around the dinner table laughing so hard until two in the morning. And I knew that I would DEFINITELY miss playing loteria with them for hours on end. And thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that my dad kept me close because I was beyond home sick the first year and a half I was away. I came home every other weekend and spent the weekends in between also driving halfway down south to stay with my cousin who was also in college at Texas A&M Kingsville at the time. I may as well have attended Texas A&M Kingsville for my freshman year of college because I was attached at the hip to my cousin. I didn’t know how to be away from my family! And as funny as it sounds now, at the time I grew increasingly depressed. I was attending all of my classes and doing well academically, but crying myself to sleep in my dorm because I missed being home so much. At the height of my depression, I even went so far as to go to class in the morning, drive four hours home just for that day, drive four hours back the next morning, and go to my afternoon classes. What I was most afraid of was telling my family I wanted to come back to the Valley and study at the local university. Even though it is a great school, for me it was the feeling of attempting something and failing that I couldn’t make peace with. What would they all think? Of course, my dad eventually told my Tias I was having a hard time. And, OF COURSE, they told me I could go to any damn school I well pleased and they didn’t give a shit where it was so long as I was happy. That’s putting it in a nutshell, but after lots of “therapy sessions” with my Tias, I found the strength to keep trying. They gave me the permission to fail. To come home. To try again. And it was that permission and knowing that I actually had that option that kept me from submitting my application to transfer schools at the end of every semester. I kept telling myself to just try one more semester. And after three semesters, I finally found my place and comfort away from home and learned to love San Antonio.

The same thing happened when I moved back to my hometown from Boston after moving away after college graduation. And the same thing again during the time I took my bar exam last summer. They encouraged and supported me, but most importantly, they gave me permission to fail after trying my hardest. And then just try again! Who gives a shit?!

When I left to Boston for my first year of law school, one Tia secretly helped me pay for my rent. She did it secretly because she wanted my mother (her sister) to keep hustling her ass off to help me with my bills because she didn’t want anyone in our family slacking off. (See?! Always keeping it real. They take no shit.) When I secluded myself to study for my bar exam, another Tia made homecooked meals for me, like mole and arroz and fideo. She packed it all up so I could eat for days and not waste time picking up food. (Also, my mouth is now watering thinking of her food because Tias are the best cooks). I could make this a devotional love letter to each of my Tias for the individual goodness they have given me, but I would spend my 100th birthday still typing this post. So I’ll end with this:

Our Tias are the women that are telling us to stop drinking ese mugrero de Estarbucks con puro azucar because it’s going to make you fat, but here, eat six more tamales por que estan bien ricos y acaban de salir.

Our Tias are proud as hell of the work that we do, but they’re also going to keep it real and tell us we can’t ever stop working hard and earn our own way.

We love our Tias because they each have a little bit of our mothers and our grandmothers in them. They are strong. They are resilient. They grew up in a generation that didn’t exactly support them. They grew up without the resources they give us so generously. They grew up with significantly less opportunities in a culture that assured their subservience. They had to teach themselves to speak another language or find their way in a world that didn’t speak theirs. But they pushed through. They found a way. And here they are. Educators. Business owners. Bakers. Nurses. Housekeepers. Lawyers. Artists. Writers. Doctors. Babysitters. Cooks. And the hardest job of all – Mothers. Salieron adelante and they brought us with them. A veces a chingasos, but here we are nonetheless.

*Yes. I am going to capitalize “Tia” or “Tias” out of respect, although I do not think it is grammatically correct. It just feels wrong if I don’t.

November Second

I hear her quiet laughter echoing through the carnation-pink walls of her room, always brief and barely audible. I notice it because it is rare to see the curving lines of a smile extend slowly across her round, weary face. Her face was never smooth porcelain skin. It was wrinkled like the rest of her plump body. I feel her arms wrapped around my shoulders, protecting me, and my fingers slowly graze the velvety, excess skin above her elbows. And as the hot breeze blows through the marigold petals surrounding her grave, I hear my own voice, booming and desperate for air as it transcends through the thick, multi-colored walls of her house on that humid summer afternoon. The last afternoon I spoke to her and said, “I wish you were dead.” Fear makes me say things I don’t understand, and on that day, I feared I would lose her loving, wrinkled protection once she saw the growing frail roundness under my shirt, where I had once proudly bared a slender waist.