All posts by lindseytradup

5 Types of Friends and Why You Need Them All

My mom used to tell me that I needed different types of friends to fulfill different needs, and it hasn’t been until recently that I fully understood what she meant. 

Growing up we tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to us. However, as we reach the cusp of young adulthood, our lives have changed and taken many different turns, and we drift away from those people. It’s a sad experience, but it happens often, and we need to start looking at it as an opportunity to fill that space with new friendships. 

Throughout my short life of 30 years I’ve had a handful of friends. Some I still contact; others I don’t. Not necessarily because we don’t get along anymore, but because we’re at different places in our lives and our common interests have changed, and that’s OK, because the people that I need are still there. These are the 5 general types of friends that I believe stand the test of time. 

THE CHILDHOOD FRIEND 

This is the friendship that has literally stood the test of time. E and I have been friends since we were in the womb. Our moms met each other through work when they were both pregnant. Needless to say, we’ve spent almost every birthday and holiday together for nearly our entire lives. There have been years that have passed and we’ve only spoken a few times, but every time we get together it’s like picking up where we left off. As an only child, E is the closest thing to a sister that I’ve ever had and that will never change. 

WHY YOU NEED THEM 

They know everything about you. They know your family history, your strengths and your flaws. They’ve watched you grow, and they remember who you were before you became the person you are today. Sometimes we don’t want to remember the person that we once were, but it’s important to remember where we came from, and this person won’t let you forget that. 

THE TWIN 

M and I met in Kindergarten. My first memory of her was on the first day of school. We were sitting at our tables being told what this “school” business was all about. I remember M raising her hand from the back of the class. When it was her turn, she matter-of-factly informed the teacher that her glue had exploded. I thought it was odd that she used those choice of words, but I’ve since come to realize that even as an adult she has the unique ability to tell it like it is. 

It wasn’t until Parent day that we actually spoke. Her mom invited me to play games with them (because my single mother was working). M and I were inseparable ever since. It was obvious to us that we were twins switched at birth. I mean, how many times in Kindergarden do you meet someone who is the same height, has the same light brown hair color with the same short, blunt haircut and brown eyes? (Never mind that 90% of the 5-year old population had the same haircut at that time (it must have been popular—or easy), and brown hair and brown eyes are dominant traits.) We were twins, and we capitalized on that when Lindsay Lohan came out with the Parent Trap. Oh, and we were the Olson twins. In case you were wondering; I was Ashley. 

WHY YOU NEED THEM 

I digress. The Twin is the friend that you can relate with the most. You probably have the most physical similarities, and probably a bunch of mental and emotional similarities as well. When you need someone to understand how you’re feeling or where you’re coming from, this person will understand. 

Be careful, this may be the person that you argue with the most. You’d think that it would be the other way around, but humans tend to butt heads with people that they’re most alike. There’s truth to the saying, opposites attract. 

THE MOM 

J and K have kind of taken over the role as “the wiser one” because they have my best interests in mind and they’re not afraid to tell me when I’m making a mistake. I can talk to them about my problems and they give me advice based off of their own experiences. Of course when we get together it’s an atypical mother-daughter relationship because we definitely like to party, but these are the two who will be the first ones to voice their opinion; regardless of the outcome. 

WHY YOU NEED THEM 

We all make mistakes, and we need friends who aren’t afraid to tell us. These are the people who keep us on track when we fall off course. 

THE ADVENTURER 

Were you waiting for this one? We all need that friend who is going to push us to do and try things that we haven’t done before. I met N two years ago and since then we’ve gone snow tubing, ice skating, tried spray tanning, gotten drunk tubing down the river, danced front and center of the DJ while watching 4th of July fireworks and hosted too many holiday parties and game nights to count. We always have fun, and she always has great ideas of new things to try. 

WHY YOU NEED THEM 

Whether it’s trying a new restaurant or zip lining, this friend always has something up their sleeve. They say that good things happen naturally when you’re with the right people and having fun. 

THE WORKOUT BUDDY 

B and I reconnected after my mom passed away. We were best friends in school for many years; until we grew apart the last year or so of high school. She was the adventurer friend for me back in the day because her family was always taking me with them on trips. Wisconsin Dells, North Dakota, South Dakota, Florida, camping… I’m so grateful to have had her family back then. 

When my mom and I went through our legal battle, I lived with B’s family. My dad lived on the other side of the city, and I didn’t want to switch schools. Her family took me in like I was one of their own and made sure that I had my own space. I attribute the normalcy I experienced through these difficult years to them. As well as the other J’s family, who took me in for an extended period and made sure I had a room to call my own. 

B and I didn’t talk for several years after high school. She was in college and I was living in Florida. When my mom died, she contacted me, and I broke down. I had been wanting to rekindle our friendship for many years. It was ironic that something I had wanted so badly had come as a result of my mother’s death. B invited me to Jazzercise with her, and I was skeptical at first. But I made the drive to the first class, and blindly threw myself into a setting that was completely foreign and downright scary. 

I’m so glad that I did. Jazzercise is the best thing that could have happened to me at that time. It’s a fun workout that works, and I enjoy it.  B and I usually see each other on Saturdays for a weekly class, and we try to get together afterwards every once in awhile to catch up. 

WHY YOU NEED THEM 

It’s so much easier to stay on track with your health when you have someone that is doing it with you. Knowing that she is going to be there too is sometimes motivation enough for me to get my butt out of bed and get to class. After all, it’s easier to do things that are difficult when we know that we’re not the only one, or if we have someone there to hold us accountable. 

Simple Daily Habits That Will Ignite Your Passion For Better Health

How’s your relationship with your health? 

(Yeah, mine too.) 

Everyone strives to be healthy. But it’s hard to be passionate about sweating until your clothes off or passing up that BBQ bacon cheeseburger at lunch for the healthier spinach salad. 

Trust me, I get it. Better health is a long-term commitment. But long term is daunting. I mean really, if someone told me I shouldn’t eat ice cream anymore, I’d rebel too. 

The point is, you can make simple changes in your everyday lifestyle that will not only keep you on track but will make you want to keep going. It’s not about restriction, it’s about balance. 

EVALUATE YOUR SLEEP

Sleep is an essential part of our daily lives, but most of us aren’t getting enough of it. Besides feeling tired and exhausted, a lack of sleep restricts blood flow to the brain which can reduce your productivity all day long.

TRY THIS:

Download a sleep tracker app to see just how much sleep you’re actually getting. It can be very eye-opening to see the raw data. You can then use this to adjust your sleep times to fit your schedule. Most people need between 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Keep making small changes to find what works best for you, and the stick with it.

WALK MORE

Have you ever noticed how much time we spend trying to get good parking? Sometimes my fiance will drive by an open spot three or four times looking for something closer. But why?!? We’re human beings and naturally want to make everything as easy as possible, which sometimes means cutting corners. DON’T CUT CORNERS ON YOUR HEALTH. If you were to count the number of additional steps you took each day by parking farther away from your destination, you’d be surprised how much extra exercise you can get. Plus, walking gets your blood flowing and heart pumping, which is great for an extra boost of energy–and who couldn’t use that?  

TRY THIS: 

Take a walk around your building on your lunch hour. I usually hit a wall around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and I feel like I could just crawl under my desk and take a nap. On the days that I’m able to take a stroll on my break I feel much more alert and prepared to take on my tasks. 

FIND AN ACTIVITY YOU ENJOY

My mom used to preach this. If you don’t feel like running, go for a walk. We all have those days, and you have to want to do it. Go biking, find a yoga class, read a book, play at the park with your kids. Do something. You’ll love yourself for it.

Good health needs to be a commitment, and there needs to be a healthy balance. (Healthy lifestyles can take a turn to the worst if you’re not careful and in tune with your body. I’m in recovery; I have been now for 12 years. I’m at a place in my life where I’m happy with myself as a mother, partner and student, but it wasn’t always like that. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing disordered eating, don’t wait to get help. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of disordered eating, call this hotline for ways you can help: 1-800-931-2237 or visit nationaleatingdisorders.org.

Dirty Little Secrets of Depression and Anxiety

As I’m writing this it’s April 2nd, and I feel like I’m having a mental breakdown in my life’s structure. Mood is currently overwhelmed. And sad. Really, really sad. I don’t know how this happened. I feel like ever since my mom died everything took a turn for the worse. 

On the outside everything looks great. People think everything is perfect. Literally. But on the inside, we’re all struggling. How do you find the strength to be strong when you feel like you’re drowning inside? 

REMEMBER, YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO HURTS

Here’s the thing. Shit happens. All the time. To everyone. Some days are better than others. Some years are hard to remember because we so badly want to forget. 2020 was that year for me. I tried so hard to be strong. But the harder I tried, the more I felt like breaking. 

Many times, I just want to cry. I want to sob into my pillow until I can taste the salt from my tears. I’m hurting, and there’s a million reasons why but I can’t figure out where to begin. 

Depression is not just being depressed. It’s not knowing how to do the things that everyone else can do without having to think about it. Anxiety is not just being anxious. It’s having to think everything through a million times before actually being able to do it. Little things–like eating and getting dressed–which seem like trivial feats. 

Sometimes people need help, but they don’t know how to ask for it. I don’t think the asking part has ever been my problem–It’s admitting that I need the help in the first place. 

ASKING FOR HELP IS NOT ADMITTING THAT YOU ARE WEAK

In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. When you ask for help, you’re not only showing that you’re strong enough to admit that you’re struggling, but you’re taking the next step and going forth with action. 

Half the battle of depression is accepting that you have it. The next step is learning how to get up in the morning, how to get in the car, go to work, buy the groceries, pay the bills… how to care for someone else when you’re not even sure how to care for yourself. 

DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY NEVER REALLY GO AWAY. 

Recovery is eternal. There are times when it will affect you more than others. 

I was first diagnosed with Depression in 2004 when I was 14 and in the midst of my struggle with Anorexia. I was given medication. First Zoloft. I hated Zoloft because I had heard that it made people gain weight. So I asked them to change it to Wellbutrin, which had the opposite affect of making people lose weight. Only I didn’t lose weight, and my depression got worse. I tried Cymbalta in 2006 and I loved it. It was the first time I remember having my first real gut-wrenching laugh. The kind that makes your stomach hurt and takes your breath away. Unfortunately, my insurance wouldn’t cover the cost. So in 2007 I was switched again. This time to good ol’ Prozac. 

Prozac worked for me. Until I weaned myself off (unintentionally) when I moved to Florida. I ran out of my prescription and didn’t have insurance, so I did what you should never do and stopped taking the meds. 

IT’S OK TO BE ON MEDICATION

From 2011 to 2013 I was unmedicated and honestly, I did well without them for that time. Until we moved back home. 

After staying home with Zoey for the first year, our finances were slim to none. We made the difficult decision to move back to Minnesota so that we would have more support from our family. 

I think my depression and anxiety manifested itself this particular time as a combination of feeling like I was useless for not working, and not really knowing how to get back into the working life. 

After talking with my doctor, he put me back on Prozac, and I’ve been taking it ever since. Proudly, because I’d rather be medicated than bat shit crazy. 

IT AFFECTS THE PEOPLE CLOSE TO YOU JUST AS MUCH AS YOURSELF

You may think your depression is only hurting you. You’re wrong. It affects every single person in your life, especially the ones closest to you. 

It’s easy to take things out on the people you see every day. Most of the time we do it without even realizing what we’re doing. Be honest with yourself. If you’re having a rough day, tell them. They’ll appreciate the forewarning and might actually be able to sit down and talk you through it. 

Don’t push people away. You need them, so let them know. It’s all about love, baby. 

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this it’s that you are not alone and that there is always someone out there. Whether you need to talk, vent or a shoulder to cry on, there is SOMEONE. 

You are not alone. 

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Sleep. Some of us love it and some of us hate it. Usually only because it escapes them too quickly.

Have you ever gone to bed at a decent hour and woken up feeling like you barely slept at all? There’s clearly something that needs to be addressed, and the best way to start is by analyzing your sleep. You might be surprised at what you find.

Last year when Minnesota went under lockdown, I made a point to continue waking up early and moving my body so that I didn’t get into a bad habit of sleeping in and getting lazy. I downloaded a sleep tracker app called Sleep Cycle that I turn on every night and it tracks my sleep.

I know that sounds crazy, and I don’t know how to explain exactly how the technology works, but I can testify that it works. And if nothing else, it lends some insight on the quality of my sleep which helps me make changes that will improve it long-term.

How much sleep do you really need?

The average person has five sleep cycles of about 90 minutes each. 90 minutes x five sleep cycles = 450 minutes of sleep total. To figure out the ideal number of hours of sleep you need, take 450/60 = 7.5 hours of sleep. Count backwards from the time you want to wake up to figure out when you should go to bed.

For example, if you wake up at 7:00 am and have five sleep cycles per night, then you should go to bed at 11:30 pm. But if you’re like most people and don’t fall asleep right away you should probably give yourself some wiggle room and shoot for 11:00 pm.)

But what if you don’t have five sleep cycles every night, or what if they last longer than 90 minutes?

This is where the Sleep Cycle app comes in handy. Track your sleep for a week and then go back and look at the data and you can see exactly how many sleep cycles you went through each night and how long they lasted.

Take this information and plug it into the formula above to figure out exactly how many hours of sleep you need. Count backward from your desired wakeup time to figure out what time you should go to bed.

Sleep Cycle has a cool feature that allows you to make notes about things you did throughout the day such as exercising, drinking coffee, experiencing stress, being sick, drinking alcohol etc. It’s helpful to see how these different factors affect the quality of your sleep.

My biggest takeaway in using this app was how sleeping with background noise affected the quality of my sleep.

I don’t normally fall asleep with anything on, but my daughter was having a sleepover in my room one night, and she likes to sleep with a meditation on.

When I woke up in the morning, I felt like I had been hit by a train. I felt like I could barely open my eyes and I was exhausted despite sleeping for seven hours. When I looked at my Sleep Cycle app, I was shocked.

The screenshot on the left is a normal night of sleep for me. About five sleep cycles of about 90-120 minutes. On the right was the night I fell asleep with the meditation playing.

Only once around 7:00 am (when I normally wake up) did I reach full REM (deep) sleep.

I slept in on this day.

The point is, sleep is important because if you don’t have energy to sustain yourself throughout the day than your productivity levels are severely impacted. Getting enough sleep makes you feel better and work more efficiently so you can do more work in less amount of time.

And yes, I snore. Thank you, Sleep Cycle, for ending countless nights of arguments between my fiancé and I.

The Parenting Power Struggle With Technology & Learning How To Manage It

Technology has given us way more than just a more connected world. 

People Are Losing Themselves Every Day To The Internet

On March 26, 2021, a young 28-year old woman left home without her car, keys, wallet, ID, or cell phone. She was found dead, presumably having jumped in front of an Amtrak train after battling with years of depression.

She had 82,000 followers on Instagram and traveled the world as an influencer, a career millions of teens dream of.

This kind of thing happens every day.

We just don’t hear about it because it doesn’t always happen to people who are in the spotlight.

This is a problem. 

Technology & Media Are All-Consuming

COVID-19 literally forced our kids to be dependent on their devices. From the moment they wake up in the morning and turn on the TV to enjoy some cartoons with their breakfast, to the minute they sign on to their Zoom meeting, and then when it’s time to take a break, they’re switching over to a game on their devices.  

It’s terrifying how dependent our children have become. 

We Don’t Know What To Do Without It

Without even realizing it, we as parents have become addicted to our devices. So much that when we lose or misplace them, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. 

I’ve heard it many times before. I don’t know what I’d do without my phone. And when we do, we feel out of touch—out of sorts. Like we’re missing everything that’s going on in the world.

It’s dangerous really, because we’re giving these inanimate objects complete control over how we function in our daily lives. And it’s only going to get worse. 

This is a learned behavior that we’re passing onto our children.  

The Power Struggle With Tech Needs To Stop

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But it’s starting to interfere with the way some people parent. And I’ll be the first person to admit it. 

I, too, used to hand my phone off to my daughter when she was throwing a temper tantrum because it was easier than actually addressing the reason behind the tantrum. Pure laziness, which is why the millennial generation is earning such a bad reputation. 

We need to start being more attentive.

We need to stop letting technology influence our children.

We need to address these issues head on. 

Our children are learning that instead of coping with their emotions, they can just tune in to something else and forget the problem altogether. But this is helpful for no one. 

Children desperately need to be able to feel, and we need to give them a chance to do so. We’re not helping anybody by letting these moments get swept under the rug.

It’s absolutely the reason we hear more and more parents complain about their kid’s behavior and increase in gaming addictions. But we can’t blame them because we’ve never taught our child how to use tech responsibly because we’re still learning how to do it on our own.

We Have To Find A Balance

It starts with us. The parents. I don’t ever want my daughter to think that anything on a device is more important than her, as I’m sure most parents would agree.

We need to teach our children when it’s OK to use technology and when it’s time to step back, and more importantly, recognizing when and why they need to do so.

Helpful Tips: 

  1. Have a conversation with your family about technology and the role that it plays in their lives. This is a great time to explain the pros and cons, and to let everyone voice their opinion. There is no right or wrong, the point is to get everything out in the open before laying down the ground rules. 
  1. Set specific times that children can be online. Before dinner is a great place to start because it gives you the quiet time you need to get everything on the table, and it usually doesn’t take more than an hour or so, which is plenty of time for kids to be watching TV or using the Internet. Use the time after dinner to do something together as a family that DOES NOT involve technology. Play a game, read a book, do a craft, take a walk… the possibilities are endless. 
  1. Be consistent. I need to start taking my own advice on this one, but it’s pretty much the icing on top of the cake. Once you’ve put your plan in place you must stick to it. Kids need to know that what you say is going to happen is actually going to happen, or else they start to take advantage of it. And that my friend, is a much larger problem with a much longer road to recovery that you DO NOT want to embark on.  

Kids will remember the effort whether they like it now or not. In the end, it will help them become a much more enjoyable human being to be around, and they’ll thank you someday. 

The GameStop Effect

I’m not much of an investor, but I can’t say I was shocked when I found out what happened to GameStop stock (GME) this past Thursday. My fiancé actually told me, and my first thought was that it was genius and good for those people who figured it out.

Then I started reading more about it and I realized that it was really just a short term inflation hack for smaller investors to force the stock market to redistribute its wealth. But it actually worked—for now. From what I’ve read, the stock is going to fall just as soon as it spiked, but I’m sure there’s a lot of people who don’t understand how stocks work that are going to jump on the bandwagon and invest and end up losing a lot of money.

That’s because they jumped in too late and won’t be able to sell before the price of the stock drops. Former CEO of Chewy, Ryan Cohen, was one of many Reddit users who collectively won millions. Their strategic buyout resulted in an 800% increase in GME shares, which is now being coined as The GameStop effect.

If you’re like me and still trying to sort this whole fiasco out, check out the 2015 film, The Big Short, which depicts an eerily similar scenario.

Was this master plan by Redditors to hike the GME stock a genius idea, or was it cheating? Should there be legal ramifications for people who manipulate the stock market?