It’s Gonna Be May – Mental Health Awareness Month

Hello everyone! This post is going to be a little different than my usual travel and lifestyle posts.

But really, what is lifestyle if you don’t actually share things about your real life?

So here I am, vulnerable AF, sharing with you all.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

For me, this is important for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I have a generalized anxiety disorder. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Lora, doesn’t everyone deal with anxiety?” and you would be correct. However, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is more than just experiencing anxiety sometimes. It’s more like: constant and unreasonable concern and worry about multiple things, sometimes for a valid reason, and sometimes for no reason. This concern and worry is difficult to control more often than not and is more extreme than the anxiety most people experience. For me, this means that to cope, I constantly have to be busy to distract myself from my anxiety. This can manifest itself in being super active on my campus, making to do lists constantly, or always being involved with my friends’ lives. However, because I tend to channel my anxiety into doing (mostly) productive things, it can seem like I don’t have GAD. But I do and millions of others do too, or are dealing with other problems and mental health issues. Everyone is on their own journey and will deal with it differently.

As well, I’m the newly elected President of a student organization on my campus called Come Out of the Dark (COTD). COTD has been a passion project of mine for the past two and a half years and I’m so excited to see what this next year holds for us. Anxiety and depression are extremely widespread at universities and the University of South Florida is no exception. COTD’s mission is to create a conversation about mental health that will destigmatize those with mental health issues, create a community where people can feel comfortable seeking help, and to help create positive change on our campus. The one thing I’m most proud of with COTD is that we have partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for two years to hold an Out of the Darkness Walk on USF’s campus and I know that not only are our organization members changed for the better because of this experience, but so are those who participated in the walk, and those who we ultimately helped by raising money for ASFP. I’m extremely passionate about creating a positive environment on our college campus for students to feel safe talking about mental health.

I could keep going on, but instead, I want to talk to you all quickly about what you can do in the month of May (and the rest of the year) to help raise awareness about Mental Health and help destigmatize it in your own community.

  1. Learn: understand the facts. What is true about mental health? What’s a myth? Who is affected? How are they affected? Knowledge is power.
  2. Discuss: now that you are equipped with the knowledge you need, discuss with others. Spread that knowledge. Challenge stereotypes. Revise problematic viewpoints. Empower people to think differently.
  3. Share: if you are impacted by mental health issues in any way, share your story. Help be a role model to those who need one. Give a voice to those too scared to speak up.

This May, I challenge you to do one of those three things. Then, do it again every month.

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Why I Took a Break From Instagram + Why I Came Back

On January 7th, I decided to to tell my Instagram account, “It’s not me… it’s you.” and began my Instagram break, not knowing if or when I was going to come back. But I’m back now and ready to be vulnerable and open with you all.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would return. I also wasn’t sure if I should share what pushed me to take the break in the first place. I’m hoping that by sharing how I felt, I can confirm to others that they aren’t alone and their feelings are valid.

Insecurity

The main reason I took a social media (specificially Instagram) break is because my insecurities were beginning to eat me alive. I couldn’t stop comparing myself to all of the beautiful womxn that I follow. I’ve struggled with my weight for almost four years now and I rarely see people with my body type represented on social media. I couldn’t help but feel crushed by doubts about myself and how my followers and others saw me. It led me to ultimately avoid posting photos of myself frequently. Any photos I posted were done with fear. Fear of there not being enough comments and likes to validate me like other people are all the time. Fear that people would unfollow me because they thought I was too chubby or not good looking enough. These fears often prevented me from sharing photos of myself.

However, one of my favorite Instagram content creators, Aisha Hatter, has inspired me to share future photos of myself, not despite my body size, but in spite of the beauty standards pushed on me. Who cares if my jaw line isn’t razor sharp? If I don’t have super nice cheek bones? If I have a little bit of a double chin? I feel fine with my body and if my followers don’t like that, then they can leave because I’m not here to exist for them.

Authenticity

I also want to be more authentic on my Instagram feed. I’m a college student and honestly, my life isn’t perfectly Instagrammable 85% of the time. I want to feel free to post long-winded, anxiety driven rants on my Instagram story. I felt so disconnected from my Instagram friends and followers because I felt that I was being so fake all the time and that no one knew the real me.

Stress + The Numbers Game

As well, stress from the numbers and the algorithm game got to me. I had very little growth over a period of a few months. My followers were remaining stagnant and so were my likes. But, I need to remember – everyone goes through times like that. It’s unrealistic to expect growth all the time. If I produce good content, the engagement will come eventually.

I’m coming back today. However, I’m not going to let Instagram consume me in the way it did before. I’m gonna post what I want, when I want. I’m not gonna worry so much about how I look compared to others. I’m not gonna get upset about a post if it doesn’t “do well”. I’m not going to let myself get anxious about my feed. I’m going to be honest about my life and everything I have going on. I’m gonna be in control of my feed and posts because this is my life and my account. I hope that if any of you that are reading this have felt similar to me, that you know now, you’re not alone. ♥️

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New Year, Better Me feat. Jay from HelloTampaArt

Hey everyone, my name’s Lora and if you don’t already follow me, I’m a photographer, blogger, and content creator in Tampa, Florida. You can find me at my Instagram!

It’s officially 2018 and my friend Jay and I have decided to share our New Year’s resolutions with you all. Now, before you roll your eye’s, hear me out. To me, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to set goals for yourself and give yourself a timeline on when to achieve them. It’s nice to look back at your year and see all that you have accomplished (or even not accomplished). It provides you some guidance for what you’re hoping to achieve. I’m a planner and having long term goals keeps me motivated!

To get a more business and art related perspective on New Year’s resolutions,  continue reading after mine end!

Last year I wrote my New Year’s Resolutions down in my planner and had them organized into categories such as, “Fitness”, “School”, etc. I find this to be a nice way to keep them organized and it’s important to keep your goals well rounded. I decide to do the same for this year and I’m going to share those categories and goals with you here!

Health:

  • Lose 15 pounds and reach a healthy BMI
  • Run a 5k in 40 minutes
  • Become more plant based / consume less meat and dairy in general
  • Become stronger in general

Blog / Instagram:

  • Increase blog newsletter subscribers
  • Increase unique monthly visitors on blog
  • Reach 3K followers on Instagram
  • Maintain 10-15% engagement rate on Instagram

School:

  • Raise GPA above a 3.6
  • Join a club unrelated to my major

Life:

  • Go on a solo trip
  • Appreciate myself more
  • Practice what I preach

I have more specific number goals for my Blog and Instagram, but don’t want to share them here for personal reasons.

I would recommend sitting down and thinking about what’s important to you. Do you wanna get stronger? Mentally? Physically? What do you need to be doing to reach your long term goals with your job? Your education? Where do you want to see yourself in one year and what can you do to get there?

My 2017 goals included: study abroad, lose 15 pounds, run a mile in less than 10 minutes, join a sorority, raise GPA to a 3.6. Some of these I reached like losing 20 pounds, being able to run that mile in 10 minutes, and studying abroad. However, I didn’t join a sorority and in hindsight, I’m thankful! As well, I did not raise my GPA to a 3.6, but I did get on the Dean’s list twice, so I’m still proud of myself. By having these goals to look back at now, I am able to see how much I accomplished in 2017.

I hope you all have a great and productive 2018 and I would love to hear some of your goals in the comments.

You can read Jay’s New Year’s Resolutions down below!

Who I am

Hello hello, I’m J from Hello Tampa Art – my Instagram / blog where I share my day-to-day of running an art business!  I’m a part-time painter, making custom paintings of scenery, landscapes, and logos for the Tampa area & beyond!  It’s a lot of balancing, so writing out New Year’s Resolutions and goals is important to me for planning!

Why You Shouldn’t Be Against New Year’s Resolutions

A lot of people I know are really against New Year’s Resolutions this year.  I believe in New Year’s Resolutions because I want to learn from my past year and act on those lessons by making changes in the next year.  Not only that but sometimes you need to call out the bigger picture before you make a smaller goal.  For example, last year my resolution was to start my shop, which needs to be called out because it’s made up of smaller goals

… if that makes sense.  But part of me is exhausted by it, can’t I just be me still?  But me is self-development obsessed.  

I believe in is taking action on anything to get things in motion.  So a good way that I heard it phrased is “What do you want from 2018?”  I don’t really think there should be a numbered end state to New Year’s Resolutions – like lose 10 pounds or make x amount of money.  It’s just like.. What do you want to do this time?  

Main resolution tip: Make your phone background a phrase or mantra that you want to keep in mind.  I made a couple of my favorite mantras as backgrounds – if you want to get them, you can find them here!

What I Want From 2018

  • Creativity
  • More learning
  • More reach & engagement

Fun things I want to do in 2018

Creative

  • Do a mural
  • Create more art for myself
  • Be more creative on social media & do more cool stuff

Business-wise

  • Do more blogger collaborations
  • Do markets regularly… when I’m ready

Work

  • Learn a lot more in my full-time job & figure out a path.
  • Don’t work too hard.  Or find a new passion there.

Personal

  • Be more lowkey
  • Be a better and more loving person
  • Open my heart up and be more truthful to myself / others

Follow me on Instagram at @hellotampaart and let me know what your resolution / vibe for 2018 is!  I’d love to know 🙂

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First Post + Giveaway!

Well, I did it! It took me three weeks of crying and tearing my hair out but this blog is finally up.

I put “Start a blog” on my New Year’s Resolutions and am so excited to check it off. This has been something I’ve been thinking about doing for almost a year now.

Honestly if it weren’t for my internship with CollegeFashionista and all of the inspiring women I’ve met because of it, I don’t know if I ever would have done this. But my internship gave me the resources to interact with so many smart women bloggers who inspired me to finally do it.

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