Surviving a Friendship Breakup

Breakups are hard. It’s even harder when it’s you and your best friend that are cutting ties. Whether it was a fight or you guys drifted apart because your interests changed, losing friends is a part of life. Of course, it’s a sad part that no one likes. But you will survive and figure a lot out about yourself along the way. If you and your BFF are no longer friends forever, there are things you can do to start to feel better again. Latinitas Girls and Latina leaders

Realize That it’s Normal

It may not make it hurt any less to know, but drifting away from friends is a normal part of life. You are at a point in your life when you are figuring out who you are. You are exploring your interests and different things are important to you now. Maybe you guys don’t have a lot in common anymore, and that is okay. Realizing that friendship breakups are normal is the first step to feeling better. You don’t have to blame yourself or wonder what went wrong.

Stay Away from Blame

Your first instinct might be to blame your friend or blame yourself. Don’t do that. Nothing will be accomplished by sulking over a fight or saying mean things about your friend. If you were in the wrong, apologize and mean it. If she doesn’t forgive you, then don’t keep beating yourself up over it. Know that you tried your best to make it right and now it is time to let it go and hope for the best. If she did something to you, accept her apology. It is up to you to decide if the friendship is worth continuing. Don’t keep blaming her. It won’t make the mistake reverse in time and not happen. Let it go or let her go. Of course everyone deserves some time to feel hurt, but realizing where you are both coming from keeps you from hating her or hating yourself.

Find What is Important to You

If you and your BFF stop talking, that doesn’t mean you will never have another best friend. Instead try joining a club of something that really interests you. If you like running, take up track. If you’ve always imagined yourself on Broadway or in movies, try out for the school play. Even if it isn’t the coolest thing, as long as you enjoy it you’ll enjoy hanging out with the people that you meet. You might have a lot in common and you’ll be on your way to being great friends. If you and your friend drifted apart because you became interested in different things, then make the most of the bad situation. You don’t have to have everything in common with your BFF, but exploring things that you like is a good way to meet people you like.

Losing a friend is always hard, but blaming yourself and playing it over and over in your head won’t make you feel any better. Give yourself time to feel sad and forgive yourself and your friend. Once you begin to move on and focus on you, you will be able to look back on the friendship a little more clearly.

Instagram & Your Self-Esteem

Is Instagram destroying girls’ self-esteem? Instagram, the newest social media to take the world by storm, is nothing but photos, with over 60 million new images uploaded everyday. Its popularity has ushered the era of the “selfie” into a whole new level of perfectionism. Before taking a selfie many girls spend a long time perfecting their hair, makeup and outfit. Then, they take dozens of photos of their own face, experimenting with different angles and lighting until they find an image to their liking. Then, they browse Instagram filters until deciding on the one that best flatters their features.

And those are just the regular girls. The Instagram “pros” as some call them take this art to a whole new level. Many are professional makeup artists who often utilize filters and airbrushing effects from apps outside of Instagram that will perfect skin and features even more. In fact, there are even apps out there that can change anything: eye color, size of eyes or nose, shape of cheekbones. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner are widely suspected of using such techniques to radically change their physical appearance in photos.

The “pros” that aren’t makeup artists are often professional fitness trainers, and they specialize in showing off their bodies. They too use body makeup and filters and the poses and lighting that most flatter their figure. Outside of Instagram most spend hours every day in the gym, and much of the rest of their time planning meals and eating accordingly.

Between the makeup artists and the professional gym rats it’s virtually impossible for a regular girl to emerge from the depths of Instagram feeling secure about her own appearance. After speaking to teenage girls about how Instagram affects their own self-esteem, the negative results are obvious. Most girls log off Instagram feeling discouraged about their own bodies, agonizing over perceived flaws and wondering how to ‘fix’ themselves, so that they can feel as beautiful as the Instagram “pros” with their hoards of fawning fans.

In fact, a study from University of Michigan that collected data about social media users found that those who spent more time browsing the virtual world were less happy than those who limited their exposure to social media. A similar study published in the research journal Cyberpsychology found that women who regularly post photos of themselves online feel the urge to compete for attention based on physical appearance. As a result, lack of ‘likes’ or comments on a photo causes self-esteem to plummet instantly.

“Instagram causes me a lot of anxiety sometimes,” Viridiana, age 15, says. “I’m always comparing myself to other girls wondering why they look so much better than me. Wishing I were more in shape. Or sad that I don’t have enough money to dress cooler.”

Laura, 17, echoes a similar sentiment. “Mostly I just wonder: why can’t I look like her?!”

Clearly unhappiness caused by social media is a common occurrence. So what’s a girl to do in a world dominated by social networks?

Follow people that you admire for their character.
There are three ways to keep self-esteem intact in an online world where people are presenting ‘perfected’ versions of themselves. One way is to limit time on social media and unfollow accounts that cause you to feel depressed or insecure. Instead of following accounts that make you doubt your self-worth look for those that inspire you to become the best version of yourself. Follow people that you admire for their character instead of their pretty face or fashionable clothes.

Remember no one looks as good in real life as they do online.
The second way to ward off self-esteem attacks is to keep in mind that no one looks as good in real life as they do online. At the end of the day no matter how much money we have or are how good we are with a makeup brush, we are all imperfect humans with skin problems and bad-hair days. The images on social media and in magazines are art, not reality.

Don’t just focus on outer beauty and focus on the importance of inner beauty.
Lastly, remember that appearance is but one aspect of who we are as humans. There are many ways to be beautiful. A toned stomach is attractive, but intelligence and kindness and passion are more so. The most beautiful people are able to endure and overcome hardship, and are compassionate towards others. While looks fade with age, those qualities will never lose their beauty. Laura says that when she starts to feel discouraged by images online or in a magazine, “I count my blessings and remember that I am surrounded by loving family and friends. I try hard every day to be a good person and work towards my dreams.” Now that’s beautiful!

True Story: Confessions of an Ex-Shoplifter

Clothing Fashion - LatinitasWhen I started my freshman year of high school, I began to surround myself with the wrong crowd. It was not until I had a brush with law enforcement that I really learned my lesson and the consequences that came with hanging out with the wrong people. I was not like the majority of the crowd I hung out with because most of my friends saw me as a “nerd” and made it seem as if it was a bad thing. Some of them would even poke fun at the fact that I was doing my work in class. None of this ever convinced me to give up being a “nerd,” but I did allow them to change me in some ways.

I remember thinking that I was having more fun with the girls that always got into trouble and I was not missing out. The fact of the matter is though, that I was. In high school, students that were late to class were directed to the attendance office to receive a detention card for that day. I would often times find myself with these friends of mine in detention because we would go out to eat for lunch, they did not share my urgency to get to class on time, so we would be tardy to class. I wasted my time in detention. I missed getting involved in clubs and extracurricular activities during most of high school, and it is something that I really regret.

A girl I started hanging out with would always talk about stealing clothes from the mall, and one day she took me along with her. I was so nervous. I knew that what she was doing was not right. I gave into peer pressure eventually and ended up shoplifting as well. I think that a part of me did this because I wanted to be “cool” and maybe lose the label of “nerd.” I kept shoplifting until one day a couple of my best friends and I had decided to take a trip to the mall. We made a promise to each other that we were going to stop shoplifting once and for all. We decided it was going to be the last time we would shoplift. It definitely was the last time, but the day did not go as planned because we were caught.

There was an undercover cop inside the store that caught us and escorted us into a store office. In the office, we met a man who began to ask us questions as he emptied out our bags of stolen merchandise. The store managers came into the room my friends and I were in and expressed their anger with us for trying to steal. This man then told us that what we tried to steal was worth more than $100. Therefore, we could not just walk away with a simple fine, but they would have to call the cops on us. As soon as I heard this news, my heart immediately started beating very rapidly because I was so scared.

I quickly began to regret ever befriending the girl that had gotten me into shoplifting. More importantly, I was very angry with myself for falling for peer pressure. I also began to think that nerd is not even a bad word because it just shows you care about your work. I would rather be called a nerd than a criminal any day. Policemen then escorted my friends and I outside the mall in handcuffs at fourteen years old. It was the most embarrassing moment of my entire life, and it made me regret ever even thinking about shoplifting. We then had to spend the night in juvenile hall, and I will never forget that.

I remember sitting in a cell with my friends, and all of us felt as if the world was ending. We all could only imagine the kind of trouble we were in, but we would have rather been getting lectured by our parents then in this very cold cell with no sweater. I felt  claustrophobic because the small cell we were in had a glass wall that made it look like no air was coming in. I kept looking at the clock and watching the hours pass very slowly until it was around one o’clock in the morning, and a guard let us know that we would have to spend the night. My heart sank. She then went on to tell us that we were all going to shower one after the other and change into the uniform. While showering and using the restroom, it is standard that a woman guard watch over you as you do this and she search you at this vulnerable state to make sure that you are not entering the facility with any items. I remember her telling me, “You do not belong here, let this be the last time I see you in here.” I could not imagine having someone watch over me while I showered or used the restroom. I definitely did not ever want to see her again either. After showering, we were then escorted to our personal stalls that had a bed like bench with a thin padding, no pillow, and a thin blanket. I was unable to sleep at all that night. It was very uncomfortable, and the light was on the entire time. I remember thinking, “Wow, what am I doing here. I don’t belong here.”

The next morning we had to eat breakfast at tables with the other girls in the ward. I was unable to bring myself to eat the food, so I just listened in to what the other girls at the tables were talking about. It seemed that a lot of the girls had been there before and were in for much more serious crimes. All of the girls seemed to be confiding in the guard and at one point they all began to bash on their parents. This is something that none of my friends, or I could ever bring ourselves to do. All of us were raised by single mothers who had always treated us right and were very kind.I just wanted to get out of there, and shortly after I did. This moment in my life made me want to change how I made friends. From then on, I have believed in the saying, “Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.” The saying translates into tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are. This is a great reminder to pick your friends wisely.

Want VS Need

MoneyWritten by Priscilla Moctezuma

Have you ever walked into your favorite clothing store and wanted to buy every single item? I know I have, and it is extremely tempting. The real question you should ask yourself is:“Do I want it or do I need it?” Teaching yourself not to buy certain things will not be easy, but worth it. It begins with identifying the differences between want vs. need. When you want something it is because you desire it, everyone has it, so now I want one. On the other hand, when you need something it is because you cannot survive without it.In contrast, another way to look at differences is by observing how we eat. For example, needing something to eat vs. wanting to go out to a nice restaurant.

When you are of age to start working, getting a job will help create the boundaries between want vs need. In the mean time, volunteer! Volunteering looks amazing on your college application, and it will help you recognize the differences between your wants and needs.”What you want” will no longer matter because you will surround yourself with people who are less fortunate than you are and it will help you recognize that wanting the new iPhone will no longer be an importance to purchase since it’s something you don’t necessarily need at the moment. Doing so, will put everything into perspective and helps them realize “the new outfit mom bought was not a big deal anymore”.

Amelia*, a high school junior, says she loves to help her community. “It  teaches me that I can change a person’s life by a simple smile or a conversation. Volunteering helped me set aside my wants and focus on the things I already had. So, should you volunteer ? Absolutely! It really change my perspective on life.”

When you are ready to start working in high school, a job and creating a budget will help determine your wants vs needs. Balancing your money is super important.  A job can teach you the value of the dollar by working hours to get more money.  Once you have received your money, set it aside.  Cash can be very easy to spend, so I recommend storing it away. This method can allow your savings to increase and can create the opportunity to spend on something you truly need.

“One thing I have learned about getting a job is that’s it not easy, but totally worth the paycheck. Sure, you have urges to spend, but once you realize how much a meal is at Chick-fil-a that price helps you establish a budget. Especially, if you have the responsibility of paying for your cellphone bill now, like me since I am about to be considered an adult, my parents say. My advice is budget yourself. Once that is done, you can then separate what you need and want,” says Marianne, high school senior.

I know it’s hard to not buy that cute dress at the mall, but other young girls do not have that option. So, next time just think to yourself, “do I really need it? If the answer no, walk away.

*Name has been changed. 

Dealing with Stress

Both at home and school, different things cause you stress. Stress can be a lot to handle! There are many different ways to de-stress, and figuring out which way works for you can help you to cool off, relax, and concentrate better.

Here are some tips to de-stress from fellow Latinitas that you can use when you find yourself in a stressful situation!

Music to Ease Your Troubles

Music can help us relax and take some time to ourselves. “The way I de-stress is to go to my room and put on my favorite music…I mostly listen to 5 Seconds of Summer and One Direction,” says Ariana, 13.  Listening to some of your favorite tunes, whatever kind of music that might be, can relieve stress and will usually brighten your mood, too!

Pets Can Make Amazing Pals!

The love and friendship of a pet can be the perfect thing to take away some stress. You can hang out with them, relax and pet them, or you can take them for a walk! Plus, they’re great listeners and fun company!  Alexis, 11, shares, “What I do to de-stress is play with my dogs. I love playing with my dogs because they relieve stress. Just looking at them makes me happy.”

Get up, Get Active!

stressGetting exercise can be very calming and take your mind off of what is stressing you out. Daniella, 11, suggests to “go outside and ride your bike”, and Celeste, 10, says, “Another tip is to go to your room and do yoga.”  Playing your favorite sport, taking a walk, or going outside for some fresh air are all different ways that getting active can calm you down.

Battle of the Siblings 

Do you fight with your siblings?  Disagreeing with a brother or sister can be very stressful, and is something a lot of us with siblings go through! Nyla, 11, offers this helpful advice for dealing with sibling arguments: “Just don’t talk about things you don’t agree on. If you start a fight then walk away.”

Drowning in Schoolwork?
 When homework and schoolwork pile up on you, it can be stressful trying to finish it all! “You can hurry and do the work and be done with it,” Hayle, 10, suggests, if you struggle with procrastination. Keeping track of all your assignments and making time to get work done early can help you avoid dealing with the stress of having to finish it all at the last minute!

Troubles in the Classroom?
If classmates are bothering you or distracting you from work, it can be stressful trying to focus in class. To deal with this and take away that stress, Desiree, 10, advises you to “try talking to the person and try to make friends with them. Maybe you don’t know her/him very well.” Talking out what’s bothering you can help to relieve the stress of keeping it all inside!

Stress can be difficult to deal with, and can come from so many different sources, but with these tips to help you out, you can make healthy steps towards becoming a less-stressed, happier, and healthier chica!

Living La Vida Healthy

Water - healthy optionHealthy chicas share their top tips to staying healthy.

1. Focus on the Whole You

-”You not only have to focus on being physically healthy or good eating habits, but also being mentally healthy, emotionally healthy and physically.” -Ariana

-”Being healthy by staying active and eating well will give you energy and it improves your emotional and physical being.”-Lesly

-”Keep your body healthy both mentally and physically.” – Elizabeth

 

2. Stay Active

-”Stay fit so that you can feel good about yourself.” -Victoria.

-”Exercising is healthy like volleyball, basketball, track, tennis and dancing.” – Ydaliz

-”Go outside and get active for 60 minutes or more.” – Alyssa

-”Exercise to keep your body healthy.” -Kiara

-”Be more active to keep your body healthy.” – Ashley

-”Exercise by doing zumba, yoga or even belly dancing.” – Abigail

 

3. Eat Healthy Foods

-”Eat healthy like veggies and fruit. Eat breakfast every day.  -Ashley

-”Eat vegetables and fruits.  It is not good to eat junk food all the time, but it is okay to eat a little bit for it sometimes.” -Alyssa

-”You should eat a lot of green vegetables and eat lots of colorful fruits to stay strong and safe.” – Natalie

-”We should eat more healthy stuff then junk food.” – Kiara

-You have to stay healthy and don’t eat a lot of junk food.” -Senorina

 

4. Be Confident & Take Care of Your Mental Health

-”Don’t listen to what others think or say to you.” -Elizabeth

-”You should also not compare yourself to other people and never give up on yourself.” – Victoria

-”I’ve been struggling with my self-esteem for a while, but I learned how to stay healthy mentally and physically. I know that I’ll eventually learn how to be content with me and my body.” -Ariana

-”You shouldn’t criticize yourself or compare yourself to other people.” – Senorina

-”Don’t think negative about yourself and love who you are.” -Elizabeth

5. Make Healthy Choices

-”Don’t do drugs like alcohol or smoking.” – Ydaliz

-”Smoking can cause a lot of bad stuff like it can cause cancer and it will cause a lot of problems.” – Kiara

-”Don’t smoke. It can cause lung cancer.” – Avery

-”Don’t drink alcohol. Too much beer can give you brain damage.” -Daniella

Tips to a Stress Free Holiday

christmas-gift1The joyful holiday season can sometimes feel like one of the most stressful times of the year. Between shopping, entertaining and parties, we tend to forget what the holidays are about: happiness. Here are some tips in order to avoid letting the stress take over and bring down your joy.

Get your list done early:  Buying and wrapping gifts takes a while. It is a good idea to get a head start by buying things early when there is more of a selection. If you’re baking something, buying the ingredients days before the actual party will take off a lot of pressure. Also don’t do everything by yourself; cleaning the house and decorating is a job for more than one person. If for whatever reason you end up doing it all, start early one spot at a time. Asking people what they want relieves us from the constant wondering of if they’re going to like what we got them.

Go tech- free: “My mom always taught my sister and me to not use any technology at the table, and it’s a custom we also use on holidays. The whole family goes tech-free because once we’re all together we don’t need anything else,” said Diana Palma, age 15

Avoid expensive gifts: Almost nobody is at the top of the mountain when we’re talking about economic situation, and sometimes the holidays just make us resent it even more. It is not easy to buy gifts for every single member of the family especially in Hispanic families because we tend to be very large. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars in gifts, search for alternatives. DIY gifts are always a good optional. There are dozens of websites with great ideas to copy. If you’re not a crafty person, you can always look for coupons or start a family gift exchange. The American Psychological Association recommends being open with family if money is an issue.

Focus on the season of giving: Helping others can five us a warm feeling. Volunteering to aid those in need also helps us appreciate what we have. “Every year my family gets involved in some kind of volunteering. We are picky and try to do just one or two volunteer projects together,” shared Claudia Escobedo, age 16

Learn to say no: You’re only one person and can’t always attend to every single party you’re invited to. You may think that it is rude to say no, but it’s not. Besides what is the point of being at a party that you’re clearly not enjoying? People will appreciate your presence more when you are stress free and in a good mood.

Connect with Family: After not seeing your relatives for a long time, holidays are the perfect time to reconnect with them. According to the American Psychological Association, being with those who care about you can help alleviate stress. With this purpose in mind, you can organize get-togethers where each member of the family brings something to the reunion, so the load is not only on one person.

Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Latina Girl Writing - LatinitasKeeping a journal or diary is often painted in a poor light. It has probably had a bad wrap as the chore assigned to you in elementary school, and it sounds like a cheesy thing to do, but it can actually be very helpful and beneficial. If you are shy at the thought of really owning the concept, know that this does not have to be a public item. It does not have to be advertised to your peers that you reflect on paper, it can be a secret, and a happy one at that!

A journal or diary, whichever you prefer to call it, can bring personal comfort during times when you wish to meditate on things in a constructive manner. Consider this mental exercise where you can rid yourself of bad thoughts and stress. When you see your words on paper, it helps put things in perspective when you have pressing things on your mind. If you are preparing for a speech or difficult conversation, writing it down can help you be more articulate in your argument.  As they say, “practice makes perfect.” In this sense, writing anything down, even for fun and/or personal use, helps with articulating yourself in other non-journal writing.

Reflecting in your journal clears your mental clutter so that you can have a healthier head space. Writing down your thoughts, or anything you wish to keep in your journal helps as a cathartic release for pent up thoughts or emotions. Writing after an upsetting event can help you process your feelings and better understand how your thoughts and emotions connect. Outside of being a release, it can help with your mood by lifting your spirits. When you are feeling low, write down the things that you like the most about yourself. They can be anything from physical traits, to personality, or other things that you think you excel at.

With a documentation on your thoughts, wishes, dreams, daily life, or whatever you choose to write about, you can track your progress regarding goals that you might have. For example, writing about your goals in school and how you are making it every step of the way will help you in the long run when you see your steps laid down on paper in front of you. A journal is super helpful once you start planning your road to college!

The beautiful thing about keeping a personal journal is that you can do this whichever way and however often you like. Some will find that writing on a daily basis is very rewarding exercise and might choose to make it a part of their lives that often. Others might find that reflecting every couple of days, once a week, or even once a month is the best for them.

Fun Ways to Be Fit

While it may not be the thing that many of us look forward to doing, exercise is very important for living healthily. Being fit has countless benefits that assist in living well. Beyond getting some endorphins flowing and toning your body, exercise gives your muscles and bones better longevity when it comes to bodily wear and tear. Exercising regularly also helps with relieving stress and lifting a bad mood. The following are some ways to make fitness a fun and enjoyable habit:

1. Zumba

The hype surrounding this is here for a reason. These latin-dance inspired fitness classes offer fun and invigorating ways to be fit. Check your local dance studios and/or gyms to see if they offer classes. If you like dancing, these are the fitness classes for you.

2. At Home Workouts

For a workout without leaving the comfort of your home, look into YouTube for everything from yoga tutorials to weight training, and more. Find a fitness video for whatever you seek to do whether it be toning your core, or simply a new cardio workout. You can search for videos to work with equipment of your own, or find videos on tutorials for equipment-free workouts. Best of all, this is free!

3. Exercise With Friends

Pair up with a friend who will pledge to workout with you. Knowing that someone else expects you to take time to exercise with them is an incentive to keep doing it. It also helps if you share your goals with others. When you know that someone expect you to be held accountable for progress, it is more motivating than doing it alone.

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4. FitSugar

FitSugar is a site dedicated to keeping up with the best trends in fashion, cooking, lifestyle and fitness, of course. Find a variety of fitness videos for any kind of workout you wish. This is a fun site for a quick and easy selection of fun workout tutorials. The tutorials range from ten to forty-five minutes, and the routines are exciting and challenging. Within each video there are modified instructions for beginners, as well as more challenging routine instructions for those with more advanced fitness levels. If you have a pinterest account, you can find pins with links to the variety of fitness tutorials, or you can follow the board for constant updates.

Essentially, you can be fit on any budget and with any schedule. No matter how busy you get with school and other stressors, make sure you make time to be fit. You will find that it is one of the best things you can do for your body, it will help you stay healthy and happy and it is never too late to start.

Advice: Dealing with la Familia

hispanicfamily

Family is family,  but every family is different. Some families were raised with two parents, some families might have none. Some families might have no brothers and sisters, and some families might not have a lot of money. And that’s ok.

Every family relationship is different. There is not one way in which a family should be. However, there are certain things that can be done to improve a family dynamic and make the family the best it can be.

One of the things a family can do to make sure the family structure is healthy is to have family dinners together with no television or cell phones. Nowadays, families that still gather around the family table tend to do it while watching television while having one hand on their cellphones and the other hand in their food. Make it a priority to have your parents stop what they are doing, or your younger siblings from playing video games, to gather around the dinner table and bond. This should be done at least once a week, but if possible, should be done once every day.

Another thing a family can do is to have family game nights. Whatever it maybe, have an activity your family can do together. It does not have to be movies! This can be trivia night, or Youtube video watching night, or fishing night. The possibilities are endless! Just find something that all of your family can have fun doing!

 If you find that your family might be going through some problems, it is not out of the ordinary. Do not be afraid to bring your concerns to the attention of your parents or guardians. If you think your family is not spending enough time together, tell your family that! If you feel as if your parents have been too busy with work, let them know.

If this does not work for you, do not be afraid to reach out to an adult. It is ok for your family not to be ok. Do not be afraid to talk to a counselor, teacher, or any other person about issues that your family might be going through.

This is especially true when it comes to your friends. While it might seem like your friends will not understand what you are going through, they will certainly try to make the effort to do so. Sometimes, your friends might be like a source of therapy for you. They will always be someone who is willing to listen. Sure, writing in a journal, or keeping your feelings to yourself is a bit more private, but your friends are people who are just like your family – they will love you no matter what.

 However, if you truly feel like this might not be something you can do, evoke your emotions into a story or poetry. Sometimes letting all your emotions out bring out a new set of emotions that can result in the creation of a beautiful painting or an amazing new song. If this feels uncomfortable to you though, sports are another source of therapy. Being around a group of people who are all passionate about something can provide an even bigger place for you to let out all your emotions.

Whatever the case may be, know that you are not alone. Your family is someone who will always love you, no matter how hard that might be to believe at times. Do not take advantage of them and try to work through all the kinks in your family relationship because when you are finally able to do so, your family relationship will be incredible.

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