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Inside the Mulegirl t-shirt design process

Mulegirls are cooler than cowgirls t-shirt

Get a peek inside the design process of this t-shirt designed for a real mule girl!

I got asked to make a design that would be just right for a mule owner because the designs available on the market mostly don’t accurately represent mules.

Read more about the brief I got and what considerations specific to mules I made during the design – as well as how I gave it a nod to that Wild West feel while still keeping it modern.

I’ve gathered my initial sketches and step-by-step pictures of how the design progressed and explain the twists and turns this design took before ending up as the final design that I approved for sale.

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Why it’s important to protect your energy as an empath + 14 easy ways to do it

How to protect yourself from getting overwhelmed by other people

Being an empath means being highly sensitive to the energies around you. People, places, objects, events and environments all have a profound effect on how you feel.

Being open to so much information all the time can easily send you on an emotional rollercoaster. Not in the least because very few people truly understand how deeply affected you can be.

Commuting to work used to be my hellfire. Being on the underground in the press of morning rush hour made me feel claustrophobic, and on the rare occasion I wasn’t shielded by my big headphones, reading a book or playing games on my phone, I was talking myself down from a panic attack.

But if the sunlight happened to reflect in a particular way off of the tall buildings surrounding the station as I got out, I could easily be captivated and stop to admire it, being transported away from the stress and anxiety for a moment.

Until the bag of someone who was running late would clip me and their irritation would wash over me. My brow set in a scowl I’d get to work, yank on my uniform and furiously chew gum until I got up to my floor where I put on that final porcelain mask and gritted my teeth, ready to start my shift.

Back then I didn’t know how to protect myself from all the impulses and information the world was throwing at me. And that’s one of the most important things you need to learn if you want to live a life where you aren’t constantly overwhelmed and exhausted.

Here I’ve listed 14 things you can easily incorporate into your daily routine and use whenever you need to feel more secure in yourself.

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Why it matters that you show your love – 10 ways to say “I love you”

Did you know that sharing your love will lower your stress hormones, cholesterol and blood pressure as well as boost your immune system?

To get all these benefits, though, you need to express your love, not just feel it. You can say “I love you”, write a note or send a text to say “I’m thinking about you”. Hugging, listening and offering to help with chores are all ways of showing your love too.

Just being in the presence of someone who greets you with a smile and is glad to see you, can lower your levels of adrenaline and cortisol, when you’re having one of those days when everything’s going wrong, and create a greater state of neurochemical balance – meaning you’ll feel better both physically and mentally.

Did you also know that when you feel secure in yourself and in your relationships, your stress levels go down?

Making it a habit to share your love and be compassionate towards others (as well as yourself) will even protect you against the effects of stress as people with more affection in their lives produce more oxytocin when they’re stressed than their counterparts.

Basically, the more affectionate you are, the less stressed you’ll even be able to get.

When you’re generous with your affection, your body will produce much less cortisol and your blood pressure won’t spike as high as if you’re more withheld. Funny how Mother Nature do dat!

Read this article to get some ideas on how you can spread the love! 🥰

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How to create more headspace in your everyday life with these 4 simple writing exercises

Forget trying to become a writer and just write because it’s one of the best ways to declutter your mind.

Writing on paper (rather than on a computer or tab) forces your brain to really slow down and think – that’s why I prefer printable templates that I can write on myself.

Of course, you can write in any way that is convenient for you – but you should be writing!

This is one of the easiest forms of self-expression that will allow you to gain perspective on your thoughts and feelings.

Especially, when you process things deeply and tend to mull over stuff for a long time, doing these types of simple writing exercises regularly can drastically improve your quality of life.

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5 things I wish people knew about me as a highly sensitive empath & introvert

Being highly sensitive means being misunderstood quite a lot.

Having a particularly sensitive nervous system means that you process everything – and I mean everything: thoughts, feelings, temperature, sensations, smells – more deeply.

Your experience of the world is different and your sensitivity can feel like an annoyance or burden to other people.

I know that my sensitivity has created many misunderstandings, especially with family members who insist that my sensitivity is just “all in my head”. 

While not everyone who’s sensitive is the same, we do share many experiences – and it can be very stressful when the people we care about don’t “get” us.

This one is for you curling up on the couch with the cat and a book on a Saturday night.

For you pep-talking yourself in the supermarket car park to just go in and get it over with already.

For when you’re wondering why you’re the “only one” who wants to stay home this (and every other) weekend.

If you’re struggling to be like everybody else – I know exactly what you’re talking about because I did that too!

Here’s what I wish other people knew about me as an empath, introvert and highly sensitive person.

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How to approach the rage cleaning woman and survive

This house was clean yesterday we're sorry you missed it

I used to think that when the house got too dirty, my husband would take one look at it and decide that instead of cleaning it himself, now was the perfect time to royally piss me off.

Because boy can I clean in a rage.

As my temper explodes like Mount Vesuvius, violently spewing forth a deadly cloud of super-heated gases high into the sky, ejecting molten rock, pulverized pumice and hot ash at 1.5 million tons per second, the tiniest thing out of place becomes a target.

I clean the kitchen with loud determination. I wipe surfaces clean of dust with forceful intent. I aggressively vacuum carpets to within an inch of their lives.

I deposit trash by the front door with a fury and purpose that would make Lyssa, the ancient Greek goddess for mad rage, envious.

The house becomes a scene from a disaster movie, with children and spouses running barely ahead of the impending doom, squealing in terror and picking up favourite toys and clothes before they’re sucked into the cleaning tornado never to be seen again.

And oh the humanity, the socks. 🙉

Socks EVERYWHERE.

Balled up in the couch. Shoved into bookshelves. Left on top of shoes. Lounging casually on stairs. Reposing under the kitchen table. Thrown over the armrest of the easy chair. And very rarely in pairs, like they were never meant to have mates.

I think a messy kitchen and dishes left all over the house are my biggest triggers these days.

That, and stepping on Legos. There’s nothing like a Lego underfoot to make the rage travel instantly from that pointy sonofabitch up your body until the top of you head blows off like a cartoon.

What about you? What makes you scrub the house like the whole damn thing needs to be sent to its room and think about what it did?

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Why is losing a pet especially hard for sensitive people?

Why losing a pet is especially hard for sensitive people

Earlier this year, we had to say goodbye to our old buddy. He was 19 when he died, which is quite an accomplishment for a cat with several serious conditions.

Losing him was very difficult because he was a part of our lives for so long.

When I got an SMS from the vet, that Oscar’s urn was ready to be picked up, I read the beginning of the message in the notifications before swiping it right back up where it came from and put my phone down.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to rush out and go pick it up right away or just ignore it altogether. Oscar’s absence was still so palpable around the house that I didn’t want to admit that he wasn’t coming back.

When I finally did go, I had such a hard time wrapping my head around how Oscar, my fluffy, raggedy, grumpy old boy, was in this tiny little box now. He was supposed to be fuzzy and warm and constantly trying to sit on me to the point of annoyance.

As I was driving home the song on the radio was almost exclusively made up of the words “and you never come back” set to a repetitive electro-dance beat and that was a very long 5 minutes that I struggled to keep it together.

I made it home clenching my jaw and staring intently at the road. I felt numb when I took the paper bag with the urn out of the car and walked home thinking how ironic it was that the bag had a picture of the cutest, fluffiest little blue-eyed kitten on it.

And inside was my… yeah. Still can’t finish that thought.

I went in, grabbed the basement keys and gently placed the bag on top of his carry box that sat immediately inside the rickety little basement cubby door. Putting him in the basement felt odd but I simply couldn’t imagine having this box in the house – this box that both was and was not him.

I kept thinking, how could such a small box hold such a huge part of my life? It felt like a part of me had died with him.

This whole ordeal got me thinking that, though the loss of a pet is hard for anyone, especially sensitive people and empaths can experience that loss more deeply.

We may also take longer to recover from it, and having people say to you “it was just a cat” doesn’t make the grieving process go any faster for us.

Learning how to cope with loss and allowing yourself to grieve is the only way you can move through the sorrow and continue that cherished relationship in your heart.

In order to find some stillness underneath all the emotional turmoil, you need to learn how to sit with scary and uncomfortable emotions because you experience them so deeply.

Here I put together some thoughts about why losing a pet is especially challenging for sensitive people and some tips on what you can do to cope with this kind of loss.

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How bringing empathy to work can be the greatest thing you ever do as a boss

Have you ever felt like some people at work weren’t hugged enough as children?

Like the time I called in sick ahead of a Saturday 6 am shift and a total harpy picked up the phone. I had a fever, I hadn’t slept and I was super nervous about talking on the phone with a stranger.

On the verge of tears and hands shaking, I piped up, “I’m sick and I can’t make it to work today”.

The crone on the other end said: “You don’t sound sick.”

I fought to keep my voice even as my eyes filled with tears and a rage-mixed-panic was rising up in me. I mean, would it really take that much from you to bring a little empathy to work?!

I was the one who was losing pay for the shifts I was going to miss and her implying that I was just skipping work because I partied too hard the night before – if you call reading a book in a blanket cave partying hard – was just downright offensive.

Ever since then, I’ve wondered what would it look like if we were allowed to have our feelings. At work. In the world. In life.

I mean, what if no matter where you went, you felt seen and heard? Felt like your distress was recognised? Felt like what you’ve endured was acknowledged?

It’s that lack of empathy, that “Well, at least you bothered to call in and tell us you’re not coming to work,” way of treating each other that drives disconnection.

We need so much more empathy because that’s our way back to each other, our gateway to healing as a group, a community, a nation and a people.

But in order to wield your empathy wisely, you need to train yourself to better recognise and manage emotions – yours and other people’s.

Only when you add more tools to your emotional toolkit can you guide others and help them see that pain is temporary. That they’re not stuck in that difficult situation forever. That they’re not alone and that they have the power to take action.

After all, how much do a few kind words really cost you?

If I had to do that phone call all over again, I’d dress that bitch down.

But not in a nasty way, just point out that her behaviour isn’t acceptable for a superior at work and that she needs to reconsider her vocabulary.

Even if you’re not a boss, you can still be the hero that brought empathy to work. 💪

Let’s start a kind and compassionate revolution to eradicate all harpies from work. Cuz we all got shit 💩 to deal with and we don’t need to jump through hoops on top of that.

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