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My Minimalism Challenges: Getting Started & Making Progress

Minimalism is a way of life that I look up to. I love the freedom that comes with the simpler lifestyle but changing my lifestyle comes with a set of challenges. I’ve been working towards minimalism going on almost a year now and maybe I tried to take on too much change at one time. Learning not to expect too much from myself at one time has been a process. I have to recognize where I am in my life right now, my current environment and make adequate steps into the right direction, not expect it to all happen at one time. 

I’ve decided to start with three challenges:

Challenge #1 – Clothes.

When I was young, I dreamed of being a fashion designer and of owning a clothing store, I love clothes. I prefer not to wear the same outfit twice…this department is a toughie for me but I’m working on it! I go through my clothes at the beginning of every season now and focus on thinning out each time and only purchasing items that are classics or that I’m in love with. This past weekend, I bit the grit and posted items that I haven’t worn or rarely wear onto Poshmark (want to sell your own stuff – visit Poshmark to sign up and use referral code @gingergoose – I made $100 this weekend!). So here’s my thought process – some of the clothes I listed are still hanging in my closet – like the J Crew jean jacket I had to have two years ago and still have yet to wear – if they sell then they’re gone, if I wear it and decide to keep it then I pull it down from Poshmark. This helps push me into a ‘let it go’ thought process. 

 Challenge #2 – Building minimalist thought patterns and slowing down to focus on one thing at a time.

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of minimalist thinking folks around me so the influence is limited for me. It is up to me to change my thought patterns to see the world from a less materialistic point of view. I spent much of my life with the ideas that paying more for convenience was the daily norm and that having a gadget for all your needs was the way to go but I yearn for a simpler life. I find that I think and function better in a less cluttered space. I have the passion and desire to live a ‘less stuff’ lifestyle but I find myself challenged in how to go about it. I challenge myself to become more educated about the beliefs and the practices of minimalism. I challenge myself to listen to Podcasts weekly. I also challenge myself to sit and watch The Minimalist documentary without multitasking.

Challenge #3 – Focus on adding more experiences and less stuff to my life.

It has become a habit to spend money every day. I want to break this habit. The next couple of months I want to focus on highlighting experiences and less on stuff. I want to go to an event without coming home with souvenirs and learn to choose to take a walk instead of buying something online…habit change.

Physical Goals for the Month:

  1. De-clutter one area per week.
  2. Dispose of or donate at least five items that I don’t use per week.
  3. Listen to at least one minimalism podcast or read one minimalism article/post per week.

 

Thinking about minimalism for yourself? This is a great post to get started: What is Minimalism?

 

All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate or referral links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page.
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A Very Thankful First Week

So for this month, I’ve decided to pull together a little list series to share what I’m thankful for each week. I find that when I spend more time thinking about the things I’m grateful for and less time dwelling on things that are not in my life, my heart feels lighter and I am more satisfied in the place that I am right now in my life. I wanted to spend this month highlighting some of my gratefulness that I have for the people, the things, and the experiences that I have in my life.

What am I thankful for this week?

1.) I am thankful for my mother helping me get some tasks done on a very busy week. My planner was full of things to get completed this week. I came home after a very long and busy day to find that my mom had prepared my broccoli, cheese dish for my work potluck tomorrow for me and had dinner cooking. Because of her help, I was able to sit down and have a nice dinner with her while we watched our current show ‘Grace and Frankie’ and talked about our days before heading to bunker up in my room and finish up painting my skateboard deck for next weekend’s local charity art show, Decked Out. I felt valued and it took an amazing amount of stress off my shoulders tonight. Thank you Mom!

2.) I am thankful that my idea came together and to life in my artwork tonight. I found relaxation in painting tonight and am feeling accomplished and proud of my artwork…considering I was cutting it really close with the painting due to the gallery tomorrow! It is such a great opportunity (and feeling) to be able to participate in such a great local event and be a part of a wonderful, artistic community.

3.) I’m thankful to be greeted at the door by such loving pups! The excitement and happiness that they have to see me every single day just fills me with joy!

4.) I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with my boss (she’s leaving for another opportunity…she will be missed greatly). I’ve learned so much about the business and about myself from working with her. She was a wonderful manager and brought the best out of me by helping me learn to play up my strengths and manage my challenges.

5.) I’m thankful for my friends for supporting and cheering me on in all of endeavors. They are the ones that motivate me to push towards my dreams and they’re also there to help me get up if I fall.

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How Participating in the 30 Day Blogging Challenge Changed Me

Well I’ve reached the end of the challenge. I didn’t do too shabby…missed some days…but learned a lot in the process.

1.) I burnt out a bit. – I started out the month ahead of the game. I had my editorial calendar all planned out and I had a few posts written ahead of time but I slid and lost control of my time management. I found myself staying up late to write a blog post for the day and eventually it caught up to me. I am looking forward to going back to 3-4 posts a week in November. I love being able to create so much content but with my busy schedule it’s hard to keep up with a daily post.

2.) I diversified my content. – With having so many days to write for back to back, it pushed me to expand my content. I loved that. I found new ways to look at things and to write about. I think this also helped to expand my audience. That’s the benefit of being a lifestyle blogger because life incorporates so many topics.

3.) I learned more about affiliate marketing in this challenge. – A portion of this challenge was affiliate pins on Pinterest. I learned how to create them and how to market them within my Pinterest boards. Through this process I also built the confidence and more knowledge to market more in general, both myself and my affiliates. This will be a larger focus in my November goals.

4.) I learned more about life balance.I was burning out because I gave too much at the beginning. I was working all day at the office and then coming home and sitting in front of the computer more into the night. Sitting in front of a computer that long can suck the life right out of you. I was staying up late to get posts written, I was working in blog sharing into my lunch breaks – I wasn’t taking a break from it. I know I  have to put in the extra time to reach my goals but I still have to keep my work-play balance in line so that I can recharge.

5.) I didn’t beat myself up so much. – Hey I got 22 posts out of 30 up…that’s 73%. That’s like a C right? Okay, so yeah I prefer A’s but I did this while working a high-demanding full time job, working on some paintings for upcoming art shows, spending quality time with my son and my mom and scheduled activities with my friends, started cleaning out my closet, and while starting a fairly involved fitness training program, so heck yeah I’m feeling good about where I landed at the end of the challenge.

Lesson 5 was my biggest take away from this. I can be so hard on myself but I was able to see my progress instead of my pitfalls in this challenge, I was able to accept that even though I was missing a couple of days I came out of this with some great lessons and discoveries.

Through this experience I’ve come up with a little schedule plan to try out in November:

2 Days Blogging – one day to write up posts for the week, one day to build marketing images and schedule

5 days working out per week, 2 rest days – 3 days running, 2 days weight training, 1-2 days yoga practice – this will vary depending on the week with class schedules, also some of those are combined (I know that added up to more than 5 – i.e.: run and do arms kind of thing)

2 Days Class/Labs for Health Coaching Certification

3 Days for activities/relaxing/time with friends and family

My goal is to build a routine that allows flexibility. A schedule that allows me to work towards my goals and to keep me on track but still allows me to live my life while I’m at it and to also put an end to the burn out cycle! 

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Goals Check In – Fitness & Blogging

Only seven days left in the 30 days of blogging challenge…missed four days. Not too shabby for such a challenge. I’m discovering a lot about myself and about my blog through this challenge. I’m learning my limits. I’m learning to okay with my limits. I’m proud of myself for what I am doing and I’m learning a little bit more about my style and I’m expanding my topics some this month which has been creative and fun.

Progress Report:

Let’s start with how I’ve been doing with my fitness goals. I think I’ve been making good progress, even though a couple of the weeks I’ve felt like all I’ve done is exercise but it’s felt good…some days sore but overall good. I’ve made it to every one of my personal training appointments and an extra day for the independent arm workout he gave me to do each week. I am back up to running almost two miles consistently. Discovered my asthma is resurfacing a bit but picked up an inhaler to keep on hand this week – I’m not letting anything hold me back! I’ve been exercising consistently three times a week this month. Even went with a friend to check out a local yoga studio last week…heading back this Sunday for a family class (getting the kiddo involved!) It feels amazing getting back to regular exercising. Not only is it getting my body in shape and giving me more energy but it’s proving to be great quality time with some of my friends too – working out with a pal is always more fun!

So down to the blogging progress:

I’ve posted 18 posts in the 22 days so far.

My blog website has had 1,989 blog views and 1,069 visitors. Looks like I’m going to be down from my goal in blog views for the month based on daily averages but still happy with my progress.

Exceeded my goal in Facebook Page Likes – at 1,516 as of today which is up 247 from the end of last month.

Grew my Instagram Followers so far by 148, and my Twitter followers by 129.

Launched a blog Instagram Account and built my Facebook Page for my coming boutique.

I got three sponsorship opportunities. They were on trade but it’s still a start!

I still have seven days to go and I’m really excited to see how I wrap up the month. Good things are coming! “Focus on what is important to you and everything else will fall into place.”

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6 Lessons I Learned in Parenting a Teenager

Getting into the teenage years with my son has been a bit of a roller coaster so far. It is soooo much different than his younger years. We’ve seen ups and downs on a daily basis and the mouth on this kid can bring on a fair share of frustrating moments. Don’t get me wrong, I know I wasn’t perfect as a teenager (especially being the super independent and quite outspoken type) but it just feels like this generation is different…all parents have probably said that, right? He about pushed us over our limits this past week. They say it takes a village to raise a kid and I’ll tell you, some days I truly wished I had a village to chip in. I am very blessed to have the relationship I have with his stepmom (yup, little shout out here – I am like super blessed because I know it doesn’t always round up this way with the ex and family). I had a nice, long chat with his stepmom this week about the struggles he’s brought to our tables. How does a kid end up with nine incomplete assignments in only about a week?!

I don’t want to sit and bash my child because that isn’t the point of all of this at all but I am going to be real here. We have all had these moments and we should be able to talk about them. Major Disclosure: My son is my pride and joy and I think he has a beautiful heart and a wonderful mind but lately some of the things that he does and the words that come out of his mouth just blow my mind, they don’t fit up with the vision I have of him. The negativity and some of the resentment this kid carries – like really, where did he get this from? Is this what it’s like having a teenager?

Tonight I wanted to share some of the lessons I’m picking up parenting a teenager. It’s different for all of us, for each parent and for each kid but this is what I’ve picked up so far along the way:

  1. Don’t be afraid of nit-picking too much. I nit-picked a whole bunch this weekend. Like down to totally calling him out for flaking off chocolate all over his hands – um, seriously you are just about thirteen years old and now you have chocolate mushed all over your hands like a toddler while we are at a darn theater. What the heck?! Go wash your hands boy and stop eating like you are a darn hamster! At first, I felt like I was being a little obsessive but we’re making some progress and there was less pouting about it than I thought there was going to be. He ate his dinners with his silverware this weekend – that’s a win for me! (Yes, I know, you don’t have to say it.)
  2. Call them out immediately on crappy attitudes and disrespectful talk. I don’t care where you are or who you are in front of. Call them out. Tell me I’m stupid one more time and you will sit and stare at the wall next weekend. I am your Mother and I am over it.
  3. Take their phone, take their gaming system – Ignore the whining. This one can be tough I know, that whining, geez, but I’m telling you, you have to hold fast. My trick to this part is planning some family activities. I know that seems a little counter-productive to the grounding theory but it got him more involved with the family again, doing more activities, and less whining…and it’s building that bond again.
  4. Telling them you’re cracking down because you love them. Yeah they’ll probably argue this one and say you’re just being mean but that’s okay because you are doing it because you love them and you just have to stick to it. No matter how upset or frustrated you are, tell them that you love them. This helps them understand that your love for them is unconditional. This is important. Even if that means saying, “I am upset with your behavior right now but I love you.” They need to hear that you care about them, this is an opportunity for them to see that you are upset because you care.
  5. Scold, correct, state punishment and then move on. The longer you dwell on being upset, the longer they will. Take that control away. Example: The other weekend he had a nasty attitude with me, it pissed me off. I yelled at him, turned off the video games and told him that he lost them for the day and then I walked away. I came back in a little bit later and asked him nicely if he was hungry and he said yes and I made him a sandwich and we had a decent day the rest of the day. I know that seems a little mood-swingish but I dealt with the situation in the moment and then I moved on from it and continued our day. This didn’t give him the opportunity to argue about it and the pouting time was much shorter because I walked away instead of reacting to his pout. I took control.
  6. Make them do it. – If they throw trash on the counter instead of in the trash can, make them go back and pick up the trash and put it in the trash can. If they don’t put their things away, make them come back and put them away. This is sometimes tough for me, because I am a “I’ll just do it myself, it’s easier” type of person most of the time but this doesn’t build the habit for them.

I definitely did a bunch of nit-picking and statement making this weekend and at first I thought this was going to be a rough weekend, especially since he had lost video games and his phone at both houses but this weekend was a good weekend. We did a bunch of activities together this weekend and he showed more appreciation and affection toward me as his mother. We’re still working on some of the words that come out of his mouth (he just doesn’t seem to process that some things are not funny but just smart-mouthed but we’re working on it). We watched a movie together, we had nice family dinners this weekend, we carved pumpkins, we went and saw Frankenstein at a local theater, it was a nice family weekend. Maybe some of it was because I didn’t have to compete with the video games and YouTube videos he is constantly watching (I know that was a bit snide but seriously). Oh and the missing assignments at school – his stepmom had this great idea that he go and talk to his teacher and take responsibility for it – and he brought up taking responsibility a couple of times this weekend so those are steps in the right direction! My son is a wonderful boy, he truly is…we just have to break these rough habits he’s picked up recently…with each new chapter in parenting, there are lots of new lessons to be learned!

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My Travel Bucket List – 70 and Counting!

I sat down this morning to take some time to explore my personal life values and the desires I have for my life. I really took the time to dig deep, creating a super long list of all the values that are important to me. Narrowing them down to a handful and I discovered that there are some things I really want in my life, that I talk about all the time, but I haven’t been making as many actionable steps towards them that I should be making:

1. Adventure

2. Exploration

3. Discovery

In my younger years I didn’t really take the opportunity to explore the world as much as I would have liked to. When I look back at some of my happiest moments it was when I was traveling and exploring new places…like Maine, like North Carolina, Canada…my list is kind of short…but if you look at my Bucket List it is filled with places to visit and adventures to be had. This past year, after watching an interesting Netflix show called No Tomorrow, I bought a little black book and got to work really nailing down some bucket list essential stuff…even though I’ve been crossing some goodies off of it, I’ve only knocked one travel goal off of it – visit New Orleans. I got distracted from building my dream of travel and this morning during my self-discovery and reflection sess I was reminded of it…which let me honest, some of the adventures are pretty specific…oh and it’s a bit long too…but hopefully it’ll give you some ideas too! 

My Travel Bucket List

  1. Ride The Great Wheel in Seattle
  2. Visit Boliva’s Witches’ Market
  3. Cape May, New Jersey
  4. Visit Ulrich’s (that’s my maiden name so that’s why it’s super appealing to me) Biergarten in Germany
  5. See the Cherry Blossoms in Washington D.C.
  6. Get a picture on the steps from ‘The Exorcism’ in Georgetown
  7. Visit Kauai – go on a helicopter waterfall tour & hike, go mountain tubing in Waihai Stream, go on a Napali Coast raft tour, see the Open Ceiling Cave
  8. Go to the Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival at Looe Key Reef
  9. Float in the Dead Sea in Israel, Jordan, Palestine
  10. Visit Lego Land (they happened to build one in Philadelphia which is a bit closer to my home!)
  11. Visit a rainforest
  12. See the Northern Lights – and sleep in a glass igloo
  13. Go ice skating in Central Park, NYC
  14. See Light City in Baltimore, MD
  15. Visit Thailand (this is an ultimate item for me!) – visit an elephants sanctuary, volunteer and help the elephants, visit a temple
  16. Go to a Pittsburgh Penguins game
  17. Salem, Massachussetts – tour and learn more about the witch trials
  18. The Fiji Islands
  19. Venice, Italy – ride a water taxi, visit Aqualandia waterpark, walk inside St. Mark’s Basilica, see The Bridge of Sighs, eat a gelato, climb the Campanile
  20. Attend Solistice in Times Square, NYC
  21. Go to the Envision Festival in Uvita, Costa Rica
  22. Camp on the beach
  23. Drink tea in England
  24. Egypt
  25. Sleep in an overwater bungalow
  26. Swim with manta rays
  27. Visit a monastery
  28. Swim with pigs at Pig Island in Exuma, Bahamas
  29. Visit a castle
  30. Go on a Disney Cruise
  31. Go to Disney World (can you believe that I’m in my thirties and I’ve never been!)
  32. Go back and see my hometown – Norfolk, VA
  33. Hike the Inca Trail
  34. Visit California (I have lots of stuff I want to do here!) – wine tasting in Napa, ride a trolley in San Francisco, hug a redwood, visit Mont`ana de Oro State Park, visit Chinatown, Jake (L.A.), visit Catalina Island, visit The Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, visit The Point Reyes Lighthouse, walk under The Cypress Tree Tunnel, visit Yosemite National Park, visit Victoria’s Beach historic pirate tower in Laguna Beach, visit Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, hike to the Hollywood sign, see The Golden Gate Bridge, visit Griffith Observatory, visit the Santa Monica Pier
  35. The Baltimore Zoo (I live so close yet I’ve never been!)
  36. Africa
  37. See a bullfight in Spain (kinda hate how these can be a bit inhumane but I did a big study on them when I was a kid so I’ve always been curious to see an official one)
  38. Visit a volcano
  39. Punalu`u Beach in Hawaii – a black sand beach
  40. Visit a pink sand beach
  41. Attend Firefly Music Festival in Delaware
  42. Visit The Niagara Falls
  43. Japan – visit the bamboo forest in Arashiyama
  44. Ireland
  45. Visit Colorado (this is another ultimate item!) – visit the Four Corners (where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet), visit Crystal Mills, The Garden of Gods, see a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater, go hiking in Colorado, visit Pagosa Hot Springs, Rocky Mountain National Park
  46. Take my son to Dylan’s Candy Store in NYC (his name is Dylan, wink wink)
  47. Visit Antelope Canyon in Arizona
  48. Go to Seawitch Festival in Rehoboth Beach, DE
  49. Run in the Surf City (Half) Marathon in Huntington Beach, California
  50. Attend Sloth Sleepover at The Zoological Wildlife Conservation in Rainer, Oregon
  51. Go to The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama
  52. Visit The Artic Circle
  53. Take cooking classes at Ill Fontanano in Umbria, Italy
  54. Take a luxury train ride on the Belmond Royal Scotsman
  55. See the tulips at Keukenhof Park, Holland
  56. See the dragon’s blood trees in Socotra, Yemen
  57. Visit The Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach in Queensland, Australia
  58. Visit the Glowworm Caves (The Waitomo Caves) in New Zealand
  59. New Hope, PA
  60. Visit The Betty and Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria in Austin, Texas
  61. Visit Puma Punku
  62. Stay at The Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos
  63. Bethlehem, PA
  64. Visit the Catacombs in Paris
  65. See The Great Smoky Mountains
  66. Go to a seahorse farm in Hawaii
  67. Shenandoah National Park
  68. Visit Cathedrals Beach in Galacia, Spain
  69. Go to a Titanic Museum
  70. Stay at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lair in Tribeca, NYC

I’m at seventy for my travel bucket and wish list and the list keeps growing! What’s on your travel bucket list? Share your ideas. I want to go out of this world with a book full of adventures! 

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The Power of Hope

The idea of hope came up in a conversation today. I spent part of my hour drive home thinking about it.

Hope. noun – the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. verb – to feel that something desired may happen; to believe, desire, or trust.

The comment made to me was “All we can hold onto is hope.” He was right. We are meant to hold onto hope. Isn’t hope the motivator of so many things that we do in our lives? We buy a lottery ticket because we hope we win. We go to the job interview because we are hoping to get the job. We go on dates hoping to find someone we connect with. We take the medicine hoping to get better. Hope is a big part of our existence. It is why we wake up every morning. It is not an empty thought that we hold onto, it drives us to keep trying every day, to keep at it in our lives.

Isn’t it when we give up hope that we give up? How would we fulfill our lives and our destines without hope? What would drive us to go after our desires and our goals? 

I have a tattoo on my foot that I read to myself quite often, “Faith is hope on fire”. I got the tattoo when I was having a rough time in life. I got it to remind myself to believe; to have faith, to hope, to trust that the best is coming and that everything will work out. Hope is what drives me to work through tough times. It reminds me that things will get better, that rough times are temporary.

In today’s world troubles can be often. Ups and downs are constant in our lives. Hope, faith, and trust will get you through. We must believe in the power of hope. The power that awakens us each morning.

Never give up hope.

 

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5 Easy Ways to Promote your Blog

Ready to get your blog out in front of more people? Here’s five ways that I’ve tried and are true to help grow your audience and increase your blog traffic.

  1. Promote on Social Media
    • Build a Facebook Page to share your content with. By sharing my content consistently I was able to grow my Facebook Page from 174 followers to 1313 followers in less than a year.
    • Don’t be afraid to share some of your work on your personal Facebook Page too.
    • Share on Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Instagram. 28% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest, 17% comes from StumbleUpon, and 13% comes from Facebook. I just started promoting my blog on my Instagram account but I know several other bloggers that have had great success with Instagram.
  2. Join Share Groups – This is a great way to connect with other bloggers and to promote your content. These groups work as a share program – you share their work and they share yours. I have founds some wonderful groups on Facebook and Pinterest.
  3. Guest post on another blog – Building relationships with other bloggers is a wonderful way to expand your following and audience. Partner up with like-minded bloggers and swap guest posts. The key to this is to promote both blog posts (yours and theirs).
  4. Promote your posts through an e-newsletter – This helps build more loyalty with your readers, keeps them coming back. It creates an easy way for your subscribers to connect with your blog and see new posts.
  5. Host a giveaway – Creating a giveaway is a wonderful engagement tip. People love to win stuff. Use this to collect new email subscribers and drive people to your blog and Social Media accounts. I grew my email subscriber list from 19 to 180 subscribers with the help of a giveaway.

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A Fall Hike & My Sunday Self-Care Routine

There’s something so healing and soothing about being surrounded by nature. 

Today I got to head out on a hike for a work event…sometimes my job can be so fun! We headed up to Chickies Rock in Columbia. A nice walk through the woods, down the path to a beautiful overlook above the Susquehanna River. We were in the perfect moment of the day between rain and the leaves had just fallen coating the ground with oranges, greens, and reds. There was a group of about eight of us, some of us meeting for the first time. The diversity of conversation as we stood at the overlook and peered at the river rocks was great, filled with chats about movies to kids to more hiking stories.

Prepare for your week by doing something relaxing, enlightening and releasing on Sunday.

Sundays are my favorite day of the week. They’re my day to recharge and prepare for the week.

My #SelfCareSunday Routine:

  1. Go for a hike, do yoga in the park, go for a walk in your neighborhood – Get outside and breathe.
  2. Laundry day.
  3. Facial – a quick at home treatment to refresh for the upcoming week. My favorite right now is Triple Threat Detox Mask from Kalos. I received it in my Summer CauseBox this year and it is amazing!
  4. Paint your nails.
  5. Review your planner and schedule – this helps me prep for the week. I also plan out my exercise routine and blogging schedule for the week.
  6. Journal or Art Journal – this is a great way to release stress, thoughts and emotions from the previous week so you can start a new week with a clear mind.
  7. Pick up clutter and clean up the kitchen – this makes such a difference for me on a Monday morning.
  8. Call your Mom (or a friend) – I love a good chat with my mom. It’s a great way to go through all the “adventures” from the previous week.
  9. Netflix and Chill – I won’t lie, I totally spend part of my day Netflix binging and it chills me out for the upcoming week. My current obsession is Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.
  10. Have a cup of hot tea – I end every night with a cup of tea…okay actually I drink tea all the time but I always have one in the evening while I’m winding down.

Sundays are a great day for a little pampering, a lot of self care and some self love to prepare yourself for the upcoming week. Make sure to make a little time for you! 

All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page
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Why I’m Putting Myself First

Earlier this week I wrote about the anxiety I was feeling and how much it had been kicking my butt and overwhelming my brain. This week I made it a goal to focus on myself and my goals, after all it is a new month and for me that always presents itself as a new beginning. It has made a huge difference in my thought patterns with putting myself back in focus.

So this week I made it all about me. It was tough at first because I felt selfish and it felt out of character for me a little. The challenge is finding the balance. I can get so wrapped up in doing things for everyone else that I end up leaving myself in the dust. I needed this week to find myself again. Putting myself first didn’t mean I was neglecting everyone else but it did mean I had to say no to some things that weren’t what I needed that moment and it meant that I said no to negativity and it meant that I needed to make time for the things I wanted to do and needed to do. I still spent time with family and friends this week but I also made it a priority for “me” time. I made the time to have a counseling appointment so I can work through my thoughts. I made time to go to the gym. I spent the time with my friends walking instead of drinking a beer and eating all that yummy not-so-good for you food. I made it a priority to blog each evening – which I did at the kitchen table with my mom so we could chat too. I said no to eating out last weekend so I could be home where I wanted to be…and I cooked which was relaxing.

I just got home from the gym from my first personal training appointment. Fitness is something that I know is important for me to have in everyone of my weeks yet so many times I push it aside to make time for other things. But because this week was all about me, I was able to commit to something that I needed to commit to and it feels awesome. I feel more energized, my mind is clearer and I’m motivated to do more. This week I started a new fitness journey with my personal training and I’m really excited about it. Although I do have the physical goal of toning up a bit, my real goals are to build strength, endurance and energy. I learned this morning that I’ll be learning to do RDLs and Deadlifts – who would have thought a couple years back that I’ll be weight-lift training?! 

See here’s the thing. We as a society want to do so much for everyone else which is amazing and we should but what we many times don’t learn is that we have to take care of ourselves too. Putting yourself first isn’t selfish if you do it the right way. Self-Care and Self-Love are not narcissistic, they’re part of a healthy life and routine. In truth if you are truly loving and taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to do so much more for everyone else and you’ll be able to do it for the right reasons.  Spend time with loved ones because you want to not because you feel obligated. Go to the gym because you want to better yourself not because you want to fit in. Eat healthy because you want to fuel your body not because it’s the trendy thing to do. See where I’m going with this? Let the love you build for yourself energize your day and your actions. Be nice to people because you want to be a nice person. We spend so much time looking outside of ourselves for motivation, strength and hope but really it’s all inside of us.

What I found out this week is that a lot, well most, of my anxiety was stemming because I had fallen off track, off my track, my path. I had stopped thinking about me, or I was thinking about me in all the wrong ways. I got stuck thinking about what mistakes I had made instead of looking forward to what I was working on. When I looked back I saw things I did wrong instead of the lessons I had learned and how far I had come. 

My “Me” Goals:

Exercising several times during the week. Being active daily.

Journaling – whether it be writing or art-journaling, something to relieve thoughts and emotions from my mind.

Choosing to eat healthier because I feel better when I do – minus the McDonalds I indulged in yesterday!

Stop focusing on what everyone else thinks and just be myself. The only standards that really matter are the ones I set for myself. 

Work towards my goals and dreams every day, no matter how little or how big of a step I make forward, to do something everyday. 

When I focus on taking care of myself, everything else falls into place. 

My advice for the week: Go look at yourself in the mirror and say this: “I am beautiful. I am strong. I will overcome this and anything else that comes my way. Pain and troubles are temporary. Today may be hard but another day will come and I will beat it.”