My Experience Getting My First Tattoo!

Hey friends!

Sooooooo, it finally happened! I went out last weekend and got my first tattoo. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I haven’t until now — so this is a pretty big deal for me.

Getting a tattoo has been something I’ve wanted to do since high school, but due to my indecisive nature I often got tired of designs before I could even get them done. As I’ve gotten older I’ve had a couple of ideas for what I’d like that I knew I’d love long-term, but I never really had the motivation to find an artist or book an appointment.

Now, while I don’t believe that tattoos need to have meaning — I’m a huge fan of tattoos just because they’re art, or of things you love — in this case, it was a great motivator for finally just going for it. I’m really glad I did, too — I love my tattoo and honestly? Getting it was no where near as bad as I thought it would be.

Getting a tattoo in the middle of a pandemic was certainly a little interesting — not only were all of the “consultation” aspects done online or via email, but when I showed up I had to remain in a mask the entire time and I wasn’t allowed to bring anyone with me. It was a little nerve-wracking having to go alone, but it ultimately ended ip being totally fine. While it probably would have cooled my nerves leading up to the appointment if I had a friend with me, honestly, getting it done wasn’t all too bad either way.

I wanted to share a little about my experience so that those of you considering getting a tattoo in the future know what to expect! Honestly, the scariest part of getting it all done was simply not knowing what the whole experience was going to be like. Once I was there and we had gotten started, all of my fears washed away pretty quickly and I adjusted to the whole process pretty quickly.

My tattoo artist, Vanessa (for those of you in Vancouver — she was amazing, so be sure to check her out!), had drawn up my tattoo in advance. She printed out a couple of size options for me and held them up to approximately where I wanted my tattoo to be, on the left side of my ribcage. After we got it all lined up, and the outline imprinted on my skin, she gave me a little test line so I knew what getting the tattoo was going to feel like — which I really appreciated, because not knowing how it would feel was the source of most of my nerves.

All in all, the whole thing only took about an hour — including aligning the design, doing the outline, and colouring in the shading. However, I’m sure the part most of you are interested in hearing is how much it hurt. Ribcage tattoos are notorious for being one of the most painful, and all of my tattooed friends (and even my tattoo artist) warned me that it was going to be pretty tough to sit through. To be completely honest, though — I don’t know if it was how much everyone hyped up the pain of the process, that I got lucky and have anatomy that makes my ribs less sensitive, or if I simply have a high pain tolerance, but I honestly didn’t really find the process to be painful. There was occasional moments where it did feel pretty painful, but overall I’d compare it to the pain of plucking you’re eyebrows. Some moments were worse, some weren’t as bad, but it wasn’t something that brought tears to my eyes, made me consider leaving partway through or would deter me from getting another tattoo. Basically — it isn’t fun, but it certainly isn’t anything bad enough to stop you.

All in all, I’m so happy I finally took the leap and got a tattoo and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I love the idea of being able to decorate my body with artwork and being able to personalize myself with drawings, memories, or whatever it is I feel like. It really looks amazing, too, and since it means so much to me it felt like a good place to start. (Start because I’m probably going to get more in the future …………. Mom if you’re reading this ………….. sorry! Love you.).

If any of you have any other questions about what the whole process was like, I’d be more than happy to answer any questions. The scariest part about getting a tattoo is not knowing, so while nothing can change that fundamentally I’d love to clear up as many questions or concerns as possible! It’s really not that bad, and it’s only for a few hours at most — which when you consider that tattoos are for life, seems like a pretty great deal.

I hope everyone’s doing well! I feel like we may be about to head back into lockdown in BC, so I’ve just been preparing for that mentally. But whatever, if we can do it once we can do it again! Just remember to stay safe out there and try to follow guidelines as best you can — this will end one day, it isn’t forever. Let’s just power through it so going back to real life will be that much more exciting when we make it to the other side.

Much love,

Meredith

How To Cope With Writers Block In Lockdown

Hey everyone!

Soooo, I’m back with a little how-to on something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately — something, I’m sure, we’re all familiar with. Writers block has plagued everyone at some point or another. Even if you’re not a writer, you know the exact feeling I’m talking about from being stuck on ideas when you need to come up with something new but just cannot seem to find the inspiration you usually do.

Writers block can hit anywhere, at anytime, but after the first few months of being in lockdown, it has become insidious. For a while, I thought maybe my trouble with creating new blog content was low motivation (which has certainly played a role), but I’m starting to realize that it’s nearly impossible to write blog posts about my life and experiences when all I’m doing my best to spend most of my time at home.

After a certain point in lockdown, I started to feel I had written out almost everything I had to say about the current situation, how I was reacting to it, and how to cope with it all. However, it’s hard to transition back to normal content when I’ve yet to transition back to normal life. I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to come up with new ideas, until I realized how mundane lockdown life is compared to how life was before — even though my life was already rather repetitive with work and school. I still had other experiences; travelling, going home, balancing a busy schedule, trying new things — all things that are no longer really a part of my life. Back when I had more going on in my life, I had more to share.

Now, I know that none of these tips really do anything to help with the current situation in particular — they’re just my personal tips on dealing with writer’s block. However, hopefully you can use this experience to learn how to deal with feeling stuck creatively in the future, practice your craft, and become a stronger writer for it!

Daily Free Writes

This was a tip suggested to me in many of my classes in university that I always kind of brushed off as useless until I properly gave them a chance. I know this is likely different for everyone, but most of my best writing ideas do not strike me randomly, in fact, most of them come to me WHILE I am writing. Inspiration can come from anywhere, obviously, but when your brain is focused fully on writing it will actively generate ideas more frequently.

I’m sure I can’t be the only person who understands the feeling of getting a wave of inspiration while writing, that leads to another, that leads to a domino effect of ideas that I almost feel I cannot write out quickly enough to keep up with. If you know the feeling, just remember you never get there unless you are writing first. Inspiration is a lot less likely to strike out of nowhere, and you can’t just sit around forever until it does. Take matters into your own hands and just go for it! Whatever you start off with in your free writes will likely be nothing special (or even downright terrible), but as you get into it inspiration will start to flow more freely. Give into it and let it take you wherever it will!

Make A Cute Writing Set-Up

Next up, create a space for you to practice writing in that you love. Ideally, wherever you’re going to work should be comfortable, well-lit, and quiet. Past that, your workspace should be somewhere you love spending time in and should inspire you to spend more time there — because the more time you spend there, the more time you spend writing! Finally, your writing set up should be decorated in a way that makes you happy — whatever it is that helps to create the right vibes for you. So hit up Pinterest, save a bunch of workspace ideas that you just can’t get enough of, and work some of that inspo into a space of your very own!

Take Breaks

This piece of advice kind of goes against most of what I’ve already said, however, if you’re feeling burnt out, there’s no point in trying to force yourself to write when you really just can’t. Take some time off, whether its half an hour, or a night, or a whole week — it’s really up to you. Whatever you need to feel refreshed and ready to tackle your latest project with everything you’ve got.

Write More, Cut More

If you’re feeling stuck, you’re better off putting down absolutely idea you have than trying to edit yourself as you go. This is kind of the same idea as practicing with free writes, but if you’re too worried in the moment about whether or not what you’re writing is engaging, exciting, or even making sense, you’ll only be holding yourself back. Instead, just write it all out and refine it down to the best bits later — you’ll be able to tailor it into a great piece with enough editing. However, there’ll be nothing to edit if you never start — so just go for it and figure the rest out later.

Keep An Idea List

While most of my inspiration does hit me either while I’m actively writing or thinking about what I want to blog about, we all know that feeling where inspiration hits you out of absolutely nowhere. For when moments like these strike me, I like to keep a little list at the ready in my iPhone Notes app to jot it down as quickly as possible, before the idea gets away from me. My worst habit is coming up with ideas and just believing that I’ll remember them — because how could I ever forget such a great idea? And yet, time and time again, if I don’t write it down I don’t remember it when it comes time to write out a new post. It’s frustrating, but if I have my list at the ready in my phone I’m much more likely to write it down and remember it. And don’t just write down the good ideas — try to write down EVERY idea. Just like I said above, just because your idea isn’t quite there yet doesn’t mean it can’t be workshopped into an amazing post idea.

Read More & Get Inspired!

Finally, one of the biggest ways to get inspired as a writer is to actively be keeping up with what others in your niche are writing. (Or, honestly, even those not in your niche. It’s important to be taking in inspiration from all kinds of sources to help broaden your perspective and scope!). Reading other’s blogs should bring you excitement and shouldn’t be solely for reaping ideas — the point of this isn’t to simply plagiarize other’s blog posts. However, reading what others have to say will help to give you ideas for similar posts, get your creative juices flowing, and inform your opinion of what’s currently being discussed in your blog niche to help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Not that you need to be — your blog is all about what YOU have to say, after all. However, it’s always important to know what’s popular amongst what people are creating, reading and sharing. Plus, it might just inspire your new greatest post! Always try to keep an open mind and take in as much as possible, so that your craft as a writer is always growing and moving forward.

Hopefully, after reading through this list, you’re all feeling a little more inspired than you were before. The takeaway of this post, I hope, is that there’s really no way around writer’s block — the only way is through. While pushing yourself too much will leave you tired and frustrated, you won’t get anything done if you don’t try. Inspiration always hits us when we least expect it — and often, it comes randomly while we are actively writing. With a little effort, time, and luck, even with life’s current circumstances, you should be back on track before you know it.

If you’ve been feeling frustrated with writing lately, or have some other personal tips for getting past writers block, drop a comment below! I’d love to hear any advice you guys have. While I’m working on it, I’m still struggling a lot with new ideas for content and I’d be more than happy to try anything you guys have to suggest.

Happy Sunday everyone, hopefully you all have a great week planned out! And just remember — while it feels like our current reality will last forever, it won’t. One day in the future, things will be different and right now will be nothing but a memory. Keep going.

Much love,

Meredith

How To: Have a Productive Self-Care Day!

Hey y’all!

As usual, I hope everyone’s been feeling their best and being productive lately, but if not — then this is the post for you! Even though things have been returning to semi-normal lately with COVID-19 (at least, they are here in Vancouver), I’ve personally been finding myself feeling stuck and super unmotivated. This whole year has been strange, and while I did kind of appreciate having the months of free time to relax after the crazy year I’ve had, suddenly, tasks have been piling up and I’ve been feeling stressed all over again. And frankly, I know I’m not alone in feeling like this.

As weird as it was transitioning to lockdowns, it’s been even weirder transitioning back. At this point, sitting around the house feels normal, and going out and being busy feels weird. However, not transitioning back quickly makes me feel as though I’m falling behind — even though there’s only so much I can do right now, if I don’t spend all my time getting things done, it feels as though I’m failing somehow.

If you’ve been feeling the same, its okay — it’s hard to accept, but with how weird the world is right now it’s okay to be feeling lost or unmotivated (which is something I’m trying to be okay with myself). However, you do have to do your best to push through it and get back on track. It’s hard to find balance between not being too hard on yourself and not letting your life fall apart, but I think I’ve found a little solution I’d like to share with you all that helped me feel a little better.

I’ve posted many, many times before about the importance of self-care, but I’m also aware of how challenging it can feel to put time aside when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, when your anxiety is getting the better of you, it can feel downright impossible to take any time off for yourself at all — but it really is vital to your health and well-being. However, I’ve made a plan for those of you who aren’t feeling up to taking a full break — and you get to take a whole day off for self-care while still getting stuff done!

If this sounds like the kind of think you’ve been needing, then plan out a day this weekend (or whenever you have a day off) to dedicate the whole day to this productive self-care plan — and try not to schedule anything else and overwhelm yourself. Of course, you can totally alter the plan to fit your needs best, but don’t push yourself — the whole point is to take it a little easy!

Step One: Sleep In A Little!

First things first — it’s important to get some rest. Whenever it is that you usually wake up, try setting your alarm half an hour to an hour later. You want to ensure you wake up feeling well rested, so you don’t want to forgo the alarm completely — I personally always feel like when I just let myself wake up naturally I always feel groggy and out of it the rest of the day. How you decide to do this is really up to you, but I generally just like to set my alarm about an hour later than I would get up usually — so I get to sleep in without getting carried away.

Step Two: Make a Healthy, Special Breakfast

My favourite way to start out my days off is by making a nice breakfast from scratch. I try to go for something healthy, but tasty — not something I’m just eating for the sake of eating healthy. My normal everyday breakfast, while still delicious (I eat yoghurt, fruit, almonds and granola literally every day), can become a little boring if I don’t switch it up every so often. On special days, I like to go for avo toast with poached eggs and veggies, but this one is really up to you! Take time to treat yourself and make your fave breakfast from scratch.

Step Three: Yoga/Stretch/Meditate

Okay, so this is something I do everyday — but if you don’t, give it a try. If you’re not down for a whole yoga session, just take some time to stretch out a little and try to tune in with your body. As for at-home yoga practices, Yoga With Adriene is always my go-to! From there, I’d recommend following up with a guided meditation — which can be anywhere from a few short minutes to much longer, depending on how you’re feeling and how familiar you are with meditating. I usually go for about 15-20 minutes personally, but depending on whatever you’re down for you can find any number of guided meditations through apps or (my personal go-to) on YouTube!

Step Four: Clean and Organize!

Next up, you’re going to want to dedicate some time towards deep cleaning and/or organizing. The key to having this still be self-care is not pushing yourself to complete it all in one day, but rather to simply get a little bit done so you can feel a little better about your space by the end of the day. Depending on what the state of your space is, I’d recommend getting little handiwork tasks done, Marie-Kondoing all the things that no longer serve you out of your life, or just a good old-fashioned deep clean. Don’t rush it, and try to make it as enjoyable as possible! Put on some music, either a pump-up playlist if you need an energy boost or some meditation music if you need to relax, and do whatever it is that’ll make you feel a little more at ease in your home.

Step Five: Work on Your Hobbies/Passion Projects

After you’ve finished up with cleaning, take some time to either dedicate towards your hobbies or passion projects. For instance, this is the time that I’d personally dedicate towards my blog, so I can get ahead on my posts. However, if you don’t really have a passion project or anything to catch up on, spend a little time on your hobbies! Another thing I would consider dedicating this time to is sketching. Just make sure its something enjoyable, relaxing, and involves active participation!

Step Six: Take Out Dinner

Treat yourself and order some Take Out or Delivery — why not? Take a night off from making dinner and just go for whatever your heart desires. And I’m not just talking ordering whatever it is you always get when you don’t have the time or energy to cook — get something you’ve really been craving and go all out!

Step Seven: Netflix & Chill

These next two steps are really sort of interchangeable, depending on what you enjoy and what you’re feeling by the end of the day. However, after a day full of relaxing-yet-productive activities, it’s also good to take some time to unwind completely. If you’re into it, take a few hours to binge some Netflix — either put on that movie you’ve been meaning to watch forever, or catch up on that TV show you’ve been watching — whatever you’re feeling!

Step Eight: Regular Self-Care

Finally, either during, after, or in lieu of Netflix, take some time to do some good old-fashioned self-care. This step is really the most up to you — maybe you want to light a candle and do a face mask, maybe you want to participate in a nighttime meditation, maybe you’re really in the mood for a long warm bath, or maybe you’re down for something else entirely. Your choice! Just take a little time to pamper yourself and try to let go of any residual stress you’re still holding on to before the day is up.

Hopefully, after taking this day off to yourself, you’ll be rested, relaxed, and ready to take on all the tasks you’ve been needing to complete. Personally, since doing this for myself I’ve been feeling a little more motivated — it’s weird, but I feel like the stress of this year (even though we’ve all been stuck at home) has left me burnt out, and it helps to take time off intentionally to get back on track.

Happy Sunday, everyone, and hopefully you’ve all got a nice, manageable week ahead! It’s finally starting to feel like summer here in Vancouver, which is both a blessing and a curse — summer is my favourite season, but also I don’t have air conditioning in my apartment (so you can see my dilemma here). Anyways, I hope you’re all doing your best to make the most of this summer, regardless of the circumstances! Get a little fresh air and sunshine, since we’ll all be back to fall before we know it.

Much love,

Meredith

My June Bullet Journal!

Hey y’all!

A lot has changed in the world since I shared my May Bullet Journal last month. I talked all about how during lockdown, while I had absolutely nothing to keep me on track, my little journal was invaluable to keeping my routines, mental health and goals in check.

While I’ve used and loved bullet journalling before, the way it helped me stay on track over the last month has been incredible. I’ve kept up with old and new daily routines nearly every day without fail, gotten a lot of tasks I’ve been meaning to complete forever finished, and being able to visualize my mood over the last month has helped me check in on myself during a time when it really is the most important.

I don’t know that I’m going to be making a habit of sharing my journals each month, as I do feel that would be awfully repetitive. However, the world has changed completely, once again, over the last month — which poses new challenges and goals to keep track of. In Vancouver, restrictions are slowly being lifted — restaurants are slowly reopening, beaches are open to the public, and we’re all allowed to hang out with up to six people in person. It’s a slow start, but the world (for the time being) is starting to feel a little more normal.

As such, I have totally different goals for the next month — while I want to ensure I keep up the good habits I’ve formed over the last little while, I also need to start applying to new jobs, making more of a point to get outside and create new content, and hopefully even incorporate workout classes into my schedule. The point being — this month, while still not even all that close to being normal, is going to be crazy different from the last. It’s still just as important as ever for me to be keeping track of my goals and checking in with myself, so I wanted to share how I plan on doing that for others who are a little nervous for what June may hold!

Mood Tracker

I’ve already shared this one with you before, but this was my first time using a mood tracker for an entire month and actually sticking with it every day. I had started one just before May when I shared the tracker I’ve been using over the past month, but it was only for the second half of April and I wasn’t great about filling it in every day. This month, I’m taking my mood tracking a step further by adding a wider range of categories to help me determine my mood for the day more accurately.

New And Improved Habit Tracker

This habit tracker has been unparalleled in terms of being a useful tool to ensure that I stick to habits I’m hoping to create. Not only does it hold me accountable and increase the likelihood of me sticking to habits even on days when I have low motivation — it allows me to visualize how successful I’ve been at incorporating these habits into my life. As well, in terms of things such as skincare and taking my medications, it serves as a reminder to do these before bed if I haven’t already. This month, I’m adding a few mew categories — I’m breaking up workouts into yoga and workouts, as I intend to maintain my daily yoga routine while incorporating spin classes, running or HIIT into my days as well (but not every day — I know what I can handle!). As well, I’m breaking down medications into meds and vitamins, so I can hopefully have an easier time remembering to take the daily vitamins that I need, which I’m still not great about. I’ve added one to remind me to practice my Japanese on Duolingo (why? no reason — it’s something I tried a year ago and I love the idea of being able to speak three languages). As well, I left one blank — just in case!

Job Hunt Schedule

This one is a new one for this month — I’ve been working on creating a plan for applying to jobs to ensure I can be as efficient and successful with it as possible. Since this will be my first post-grad job and the job market is definitely a little weird right now, I want to make sure I’m staying on track and making daily progress.

June Goals

This one is pretty standard — I make a checklist of everything I want to accomplish before the end of the month to help me visualize and remember all of my goals. It makes it a lot easier to keep track of what I’ve done and what still needs doing — and even if they’re things that can’t be checked off until the end of the month, it still serves and an important reminder every time I check in to see the progress I’m making. This list is more for month long goals, rather than tasks, so this list more helps to remind me of things I should be constantly working towards.

June To-Do List

This list, on the other hand, is all the tasks I need to complete by the end of the month. Unlike the goal list, these are just things I need to get done and out of the way. I guess an easy way to think of it is that my goal list is for long-term tasks and activities, whereas this is for short-term — and once I complete a task it’s over and done with. This list helps me keep track of everything that I need to just finish up and get out of the way, and it feels great every time I’m able to check one off the list.

June Brainstorm & Blog Tracker

This month I’m taking my blog brainstorming a little further to really help me flesh out all my ideas, so that I can be free to be as creative as possible and work through all my ideas — whether they work or not, or just need to be saved for later on. As well, I’ll be including those blogging, Twitter and Instagram trackers I mentioned earlier, to help me visualize how frequently I’m creating content and utilizing social media.

June Chore Schedule

Since over this next month, it’s likely I’m going to be spending more time being out and about and a being a lot busier than I was thing month, I’m creating a chore schedule for the whole month to ensure I keep up with everything and keep my home clean and organized. I’m scheduling everything from weekly cleans to monthly deep-cleans and reorganizing, so I can be sure to complete them in a timely and appropriate manner to keep any of these tasks from being pushed aside for too long. Hopefully this will help bring balance to my life when it starts to get a little busier and keep me from getting overwhelmed with tasks, as I’ll know when to do stuff and whether or not it is done.

I don’t know about you all, but I’m both incredibly excited and nervous for what the next month is going to hold. On one hand, I’ll be able to see a few friends, maybe go for a meal out, and hopefully spend some time outside without worrying as much about everything going on. On the other hand, I’m really nervous that I’ve become too adjusted to my stay-at-home life, and that I’m going to have trouble finding the energy and motivation to stay busy and away from home all day, as well as putting in the effort to look put-together and maintaining my newfound routines. Having this journal ready to go for the next month at least has me feeling a little hopeful I’ll be able to use it to stay on track and make June a success.

I hope you’re all adjusting well back to normal life, whatever that means for where you live! It’s strange how some places in the world are now completely back to normal, whereas some still have full restrictions — whatever lies ahead for the next month, it sure will be interesting. I’m sending positive vibes out your way, and hoping that you’re all able to stay safe and have a successful June and achieve all your goals, whatever that may mean for you! (And if you want to share those goals, or your own methods for keeping track of them — drop a comment below! I’d love to hear all about it).

Stay safe out there, and happy end of May! No matter what you’ve been through this month, it’s finally almost over. We’ve almost made it through.

Much love,

Meredith

May Self-Care Ideas!

Hey everyone!

Often times when it comes to self-care, I’ve heard people repeat the concept that self-care is self-discipline. While I personally believe self-care can be so much more than that, I’ve really come to understand what people mean when they say this about self-care the last few months. While I still believe that concepts such as spa nights, taking baths and face masks are an important part of taking care of yourself and helping you stay relaxed — discipline is needed to take care of yourself of a daily basis.

During stay-at-home, while I have absolutely nothing but my own willpower to keep my life on track, I’ve really began to see the value in the idea of self-discipline as self care. The best way I can think of to explain is that good things are only good in moderation. For instance, as much as I love the idea of eating pizza and Chinese takeout every day — it would be expensive and wildly unhealthy. And as much as I really do love sleeping — if I don’t set alarms in the morning, I oversleep, leaving me feeling tired for the rest of whatever’s left of the day. As well, when it comes time to sleep the next night, I have trouble falling asleep — causing me stress and ruining my sleep schedule. And of course, as I explained a little in my stay-at-home routine blog, as much as it sounds like a great idea to sit around watching Netflix 24/7, it means I won’t complete any of my tasks, I’ll stay in bed all day, and I’ll eventually get extra-bored when I run out of shows to watch. I think you’re probably getting the point — while a lot of these things are great every once in a while, it’s the concept of moderation that keeps them from having a negative effect on my health, mental well-being and stress levels.

As such, I’ve kind of decided to take this self-care list in a bit of a different direction for this spring — and I’m sharing my favourite ways to maintain self-discipline in the face of having absolutely no responsibilities and nothing tying you down to your routine. If we can take the time to master these now, imagine how much more productive, relaxed, and happy we’ll all be with our new habits when we’re back to normal life!

Keeping A Routine

Okay, yes, I know I just went over this. But it’s really been crazy helpful in terms of holding it together. I think something that’s important when you’re trying to settle into a schedule is to remember you don’t have to have it down perfectly from the get-go. It’s hard! Trust me, it won’t happen overnight. It took me WEEKS to really get my schedule and wake up times to regulate — and then they ended up falling apart shortly thereafter. But even when you’re just starting out, having the routine will help you do everything you’ve been meaning to do, stay organized, have your own free time, and seriously help reduce stress. Plus, even when it’s not perfect, it’s still better than nothing.

Meditating 

This gets thrown around a lot on people’s lists, but I feel like it rarely gets taken to heart. I think a lot of people either mean to incorporate it into their life and forget, or don’t see how it will benefit them. If you have trouble remembering to meditate, but have been meaning to, start small! Try practicing every other night, or even just once a week. As well, with habits I’m trying to incorporate into my daily routine, I find it helps to do them first thing in the morning or right before bed — whichever you prefer. For those of those who don’t understand how meditating will help — that’s fair! But when was the last time you intentionally took a break, or checked in with yourself? Put aside all your responsibilities intentionally, and took a moment to relax? I’d suggest trying it once — there’s no harm, and if it doesn’t work out then it’s no biggie!

Morning Workouts

This is something I had always wanted to get into, but didn’t have the motivation to start before now. One of my biggest challenges with working out daily was the inconvenience of finding the right time — waking up early to do it was challenging (but otherwise the perfect time), the middle of the day really eats up a lot of time and leaves you feeling kinda gross and sweaty all day after. Early evenings after class ended up too close to dinner time (however I can see how after a 9-5 could be very convenient), and late night I just hated for so many reasons. I’m taking this time now to add in a little morning workout to my routine in hopes that I’ll stick with it once we’re back to normal. It’ll definitely be a challenge to keep it up every day in the future, but for right now, I love how refreshed it helps me feel, as well as how it’s trickier to put off and helps me get a good start on my day.

Positive Affirmations

This aspect of self-care is something I’ve really been trying to incorporate into my days lately. The way we speak to ourselves MATTERS. If nothing else, remember that “faking it ’til you make it” often works. If you don’t feel confident? Fake it. Saying positive things about yourself every day feels wrong? Fake it. There’s absolutely no downside to practicing positive affirmations, but so much to be gained. So go ahead, try it! Speak some good things into existence and try hyping yourself up every once in a while.

Eating Healthy 

Yes, this is another really obvious one — but it’s vital to feeling your best. It’s hard to get into the habit of eating healthy every day, but once you start it’s not hard to keep it up. The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to maintain balance — it’s next to impossible to never eat an unhealthy snack or meal EVER. I usually go for one unhealthy snack or meal per day, but the rest should ideally be healthy. As well, when you’re busy it’s almost impossible to maintain a healthy diet without prep — I always ensure to meal prep and have three breakfast/lunch ideas planned out and ready to make so I can switch it up when they get repetitive. I’ve found it really easy with my stay-at-home lifestyle to make all my food myself — with all my newfound time and energy, it’s actually a lot less stressful than ordering takeout — and the way it has me feeling is AMAZING.

Doing Things That Make You Feel Good About Yourself

This one is really anything you want it to be. Does doing your makeup every so often make you feel better about yourself? Maybe dressing up nice, or doing your hair, makes you feel a little more put together and normal during this absolute not-normal time? Who knows! It could be a face mask, or a hair cut, or whatever it’ll take to make you feel a little happier with your appearance. It’ll help you feel happier and more confident — which is important to maintaining good mental health right now.

Going Outside

This is extra important right now — get some fresh air! It doesn’t have to be anything huge — it can literally just be sitting on your front lawn, at a local park, or whatever your heart desires. Getting in some sunshine and getting out of our inside spaces is so important — it really will do your mental health a world of good. I’ve even been thinking of adding a little walk to my daily schedule to help me spend more time outside and to ensure I get a little fresh air every day.

Staying Organized

As someone who was formerly super-messy, totally unorganized and completely winging it in every situation, I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much being organized reduces your stress. Even though I was a highly-functioning hot mess (never missed assignments, meetings or social activities, never lost or damaged items in my messy living space, never really felt my life was out of control), just knowing that everything is written down, planned out, or cleaned up just takes an extra load of worry off and frees up extra space in your brain. I know it’s all pretty obvious in theory, but you don’t really realize how helpful it is until you try it for yourself. No matter how organized you already are, take a day or two to deep-clean and re-organize all of your things, organize all your important deadlines and to-do lists, and schedule out everything you need to do. Not just once — doing this once a month will really help you keep everything under control and keep you stress-free.

+ Regular Self Care!

Don’t forget about taking time out of your schedule to treat yourself and unwind — it’s still important! Self-discipline isn’t the only kind of self-care out there. Plan a little spa night, take a day off to watch Netflix in bed, take a bath — whatever it is you love doing for self care most! This one’s really up to you, so feel free to free-style! (Plus, if you need any ideas, you can always check out my previous posts on self care.).

I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy, especially with everything beginning to re-open around the world. I’ve personally been finding re-opening weirder than quarantine — it’s strange having life at a different new-normal, and it’s hard to tell what’s actually safe or not. As such, I’ve kind of been leaning into my routines and habits even more lately — no matter what’s happening in the outside world, they remain consistent. As for what’s up in my life — I’m about to begin the job hunt for my first post-grad job! Getting started (especially with the world right now) is definitely a little daunting (but also incredibly exciting) — wish me luck!

Xo,

Meredith