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 May Bullet Journal!

Hey everyone!

We’re getting close to the end of the month, which means it’s time to start up my bullet journal for the next month! I started bullet journaling at the beginning of this year, and it’s been a great way to keep track of my goals, to-do lists, and habits. This year has been an absolute roller coaster for me, and while I haven’t always kept up with it regularly, I’ve found it to be an invaluable tool for keeping myself sane during Social Distancing. Since I’ve been finding it so helpful, I figured I’d share some of my favourite ways to bullet journal so they can help you stay on track for the month of May, no matter what it throws at you!

Right now, everything in life is pretty uncertain for all of us — it can be hard to find a balance between staying on top of your goals and responsibilities, taking time to de-stress and taking care of your mental health. I’ve found that bullet journalling is a great way to do this — you can use it in so many different ways, and it gives you a little more freedom and creativity than a regular agenda (which, TBH, I haven’t used once since this all started in mid-March). I’ve included all the pages, lists and trackers I’ve created so far for May, but if you’re already an avid bullet journal user and you have any other ideas that you’ve included for the month, drop a comment and tell me about it! I’m always interesting in finding new ways to expand my journal and it’s many uses.

My Mood Tracker

This one has been my favourite, and so far, my most important use for my bullet journal lately. It’s a lot easier to check in with yourself when you can actually visualize how you’ve been doing. I keep track of my mood with a colour-coded list of 7 possible moods ranging on a scale from really amazing to downright terrible, as well as an “unsure” for when I really just don’t know how I’m feeling. Every night, I fill in each day with how I feel about the day overall right before I go to bed. As time goes on, the chart helps give you a visual of how your mood has been over the month — good or bad, it’s important to know so you can best take care of yourself.

My Habit Tracker

First of all — I don’t own a ruler and didn’t really consider it “essential” to go out and buy one with the current world situation, so I know the lines are super messy — I had to make do! I’ve been getting in to habit tracking lately and it’s really helping my stay on track of things I’m hoping to do every day (or almost every day). A lot of these are things that I aim to do every night, so when I go to fill in my tracker it helps me to remember if I haven’t done them yet. As well, for blogging and working out, it really helps to to visualize if I’m keeping up with my goal or not — especially since it’s so hard to keep track of days lately. This way, there’s no way I can go a week without working out and not even notice it — I’ll be able to see it in my tracker!

My Goal Tracker

I’m trying to keep my goals pretty small for this upcoming month to help me unwind after the year I’ve had. Yes, I could try to jam-pack this time off with as many goals and plans as possible — but I’m starting to realize more and more lately how much I need to give myself a proper break. A lot of my goals for this month are also hobbies of mine, so it’ll help to keep me busy and productive without pushing me too hard. Plus, hopefully after Social Distancing I’ll be caught up on all the little goals I’ve been putting off for a while (like decorating) so I can properly catch up on my blogging!

My To-Do List

I’m hoping to use the month of May to catch up on all the little things around the house I was putting off while being so busy last year. A lot of my to-do list is just decorating and little fixes, but I want to be sure I get it all done by the end of the month, especially before I start my next job. With this handy little list, I’ll be able to keep track of everything I need to do, and have it all in one place so I don’t forget it. Plus, I’ll be able to visualize how many tasks I have to complete as the month goes on!

My Blog Tracker + Brainstorm Page

In the front few pages of my bullet journal, I have a year-long plan of all the blog posts I’m going to make. I have this page so I can brainstorm ideas of what I may post over the next month, and once I’ve solidified my plans I add them to the year-long calendar! This way, I won’t end up writing stuff down there that’s just a possibility that I don’t end up using, and I can keep track of all the ideas (both good and bad) that I have — which can be handy to reference even in later months.

My Boredom-Cure Brainstorm Page

Social Distancing really is a weird time. While I kind of desperately needed a break from life, it’s not all that relaxing to spend every day lying in bed scrolling through my phone. As well, I know myself, and that I have to be careful about falling into the trap of slipping into a depression when I have nothing to do — once I fall into it, it’s hard to get back out. I’m keeping this list of little things I want to keep myself busy with over the next month, so that when I feel like I have nothing to do, I can check up on my options! A lot of these are past hobbies that I haven’t had time for over the last year, so I’m really excited to be able to pick them back up. As well, I intend to add to this list over the next months with any new ideas I have, so I never run out of activities! (Also, yes, I did buy a Nintendo Switch just to play Animal Crossing. I’m a little obsessed — it was my favourite game as a child. If you wanna visit my island, HMU!).

My List Of Shows To Watch

Something I’ve been finding lately is that as soon as I finish a show, I feel like I’m at a loss for what I want to watch next — which is silly, really, as I have so many shows and movies I’ve been meaning to watch forever. However, when one show ends, it can be kind of overwhelming and annoying to scroll through endless titles — so I end up picking something at random and forget about everything I’ve been meaning to watch. I’ve started this list to keep track of what I want to watch next, so that from now on I never have that problem! Plus, I’m super excited to catch up on a lot of these shows — many of them are my favourites. The best part about this is that as I see things I want to watch, or remember even more TV shows or movies I’ve forgotten, I can just add it to the list!

Chores and Meal Lists

This little page is just for me to remember both recipes I’ve been wanting to make when I don’t know what I feel like eating, as well as my chore list for cleaning days so I don’t miss anything. I’ve seen a couple of bullet journals where people write down their favourite recipes, which is something I’m probably going to do in the future, too. This page is really a work in progress and new to me this month, but I’m hoping to have a more solid list and use for it by the end of May.

Little Daily Schedules

This one probably won’t be super important this month, but on days that I actually have a whole list of things I want to do, I’ll write them down here the night before to ensure that I don’t forget anything. I’m always the worst about just “remembering my lists”, thinking it’ll be fine. However, my list always ends up a little scattered in my mind, or I forget something. Or — especially with all my free time — I decide it can be put off to another day, as nothing right now is really set in stone. I’m hoping with this little page, I’ll be able to solidify daily plans when I need them so I can feel more motivated to get all my tasks done by the end of the month!

And that’s what I have so far for this month! This little journal is always a work in progress for me — I’m hoping to find more practical uses for it over the next month to ensure I use it every day. If you’ve been using a bullet journal to help stay on top of things this year, I’d love to see your ideas! Taking the time to write things out is more helpful than I ever realized before I started this journal, plus it really is fun to design and decorate it. (While it may not be perfect or beautiful, I have plenty of time to practice over the next month!). As well, if after these tips you find you’re still struggling with Social Distancing, you can always check out my fifteen tips to survive Social Distancing to help you through this next month or so.

Love you all, and happy last week of April!

Xo,

Meredith

How To: Plan The Perfect Fall Self-Care Night!

Hey y’all! Happy Sunday!

Fall is in full swing now, which certainly has its ups and downs. I personally love fall, because it means cute clothes, cozy vibes, my birthday and the holidays. However, it certainly has some rough patches too — cold weather (and rain, for my fellow PNW readers), work and school stress, seasonal depression, and cold and flu season.

The best way to make fall as easy going and enjoyable as possible is to ensure you’re taking care of yourself. And the best way to do that is to plan out a self-care night! Even with my crazy-busy schedule, I try to plan out a night for self-care every week or two. Especially with stressful times, it’s important to take some time to unwind and rejuvenate yourself — while it may seem worthwhile in the moment to spend all your time constantly working and pushing towards your goals, it can lead you to become tired, sick, and slow you down in the future.

Step One: Clean Your Space!

I’ve definitely gone over this one before, but it’s really just not possible to fully relax in a messy space — it’s uncomfortable and you’ll be worrying about having to clean it in the future. Start off your night by taking the time to tidy up, clean your sheets and towels, take out the garbage, and take a shower (or a bath, even!). Make sure to take care of all the little tasks stressing you out in this time as well — if it takes half an hour or less but has been causing you a lot of stress lately, just get it done! It’ll help to get you into a space where you can fully unwind and enjoy yourself.

Step Two: Pick Out A Fall Scent!

One of the best ways to eliminate negative vibes in your space and let go of the week’s stress is to light up a scented candle or use a diffuser. If you don’t already, try to go out and pick some fall scents to help you get into the seasonal spirit! Once you’ve cleaned up your space, this is the next step in fully reviving good vibes in your space and life. If you’re not a fan of scents, I find using a regular, unscented candle still has the same effect.

Step Three: Get Cozy!

For this step, you’re going to want to get into your comfiest clothes and do whatever you can to make your space as cozy as possible. Layer up on blankets, get some ambient lighting going, adjust your thermostat, play some music/ambient noise, whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and at ease.

Step Four: Make Some Fall Snacks!

This next step is to pick out a fall food and drink of your choice. One of my favourite snacks for a self-care night is this edible cookie dough recipe, but you can choose whatever you want — Pillsbury cookies, pumpkin flavoured snacks, even just popcorn, whatever it is your craving! Then, you’re going to want to choose a drink as well — maybe it’s just me, but I find that this is a huge aspect of self care nights. I’m personally a HUGE fan of tea, so I’d usually go for that (and make one of David’s Tea’s special fall flavours, just to make it festive)! However, you can pick anything you want — apple cider, chai tea latte, pumpkin spiced latte (or even just a nice glass of wine!).

Step Five: Choose A Self-Care Activity!

Now you’ve just got to pick out whatever activity (or activities) you want to spend your night on. If you want to get into the festive spirit, you can pick out a fall/Halloween movie or show — lately I’ve been watching Buzzfeed Unsolved Supernatural because it’s got the spooky Halloween vibes I’m looking for, without being actually scary. Otherwise, this is pretty much up to you — watch a movie, read a book, do a hobby, listen to some music, dance it out — whatever your heart desires!

Step Six: Unwind!

This step is just to ensure you’re completely relaxed before the end of the night, and ensuring you reap all the benefits of taking this night off for yourself. This can be done in any number of ways; you can meditate, stretch, listen to relaxing music, watch some relaxing ASMR — just be sure to end the night on a calming note to relieve any residual stress you may still be holding before bed.

Step Seven: Get Some Sleep!

For this final step, you’re going to go to bed early and get some rest. There’s no point in doing all this work to relax if you’re just going to wake up feeling exhausted tomorrow! On top of that, staying up late and pushing your body too hard makes it a lot easier to get sick, so as nice as it is to enjoy this time to yourself — get to bed early, rest up, and try to make time for yourself again soon.

And there you have it! Seven easy steps to the ultimate fall self-care night. I hope all of your October’s are going well so far, and you’re all out there working hard, achieving goals, taking care of yourselves and hopefully avoiding flu season! If not, I hope you get to put this list to good use soon.

Much love,

Meredith

How To Cope With Feeling Overwhelmed

Hey y’all! Happy Sunday!

This week’s posts has to do with a topic that currently has a lot of relevance to my life. This last month, as many of you may have noticed, has been incredibly overwhelming for me. Just one month ago, I began the process of moving into my new apartment — which has been incredibly challenging in itself, because although I’ve been living in Vancouver for five years now, I essentially had to start from scratch. Four months prior, I sold all my furniture and therefore moved into my place without even a bed frame or a mattress. On top of that, I legitimately had to move all my belonging via buses and cabs as I don’t have a drivers licence (and for my fellow Vancouverites, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how painful relying on cabs for absolutely anything is — yet alone moving across town).

However, that was just the beginning of my crazy month. Around the same time, I began a new job as a hostess at a bar — right in time for their “busy season”. As such, my job has been incredibly time consuming and exhausting — I do love the environment and my coworkers, however I also work on my feet in a busy, high-stress environment 6 out of 7 days of the week, leaving me with little energy to complete other tasks when I arrive home.

On top of that, I actually have one more class I’m taking currently — Biopsychology — as well as trying to maintain my blogging schedule, errands and appointments, and of course, a social life.

For a while my stress consumed me entirely — I was hardly able to function. However, I took a step back, reevaluated, and have since began to manage my life a little better. My hope is to be able to share what I’ve learned with you, so that if you’re feeling a little in over your head with life right now, this advice just may help you stay afloat.

Take One Night Off Per Week

Self care is important. If you’ve been following me since I started my blog, you KNOW how big of an advocate I am for taking time off for yourself. If you have a busy schedule, taking a whole day or weekend to spend on yourself may be unrealistic. However, I truly believe everyone should learn to prioritize one night to yourself. Not only does taking a self-care night help you destress and put your upcoming week in perspective, but it helps to refresh you in the way that a night of going out, socializing, or procrastinating never could.

The key here is that you’ll have to learn to manage your time to do this — but trust me, it is WAY more important in the long run to have time to yourself. If you feel like you spend all your time procrastinating on your work and don’t have time, take the self-care night first. Trust me — you’ll have time to do your work after (and you’ll get it done in a much more efficient manner!). I’ve met so many people who claim they don’t have time to take a night to themselves, but really — you do. No matter what, you can always find a few hours to yourself. If it really seems too daunting, just try half an hour a night! It’s still beneficial to feeling refreshed in the long run.

When you take your night off, make sure to clean and tidy up first — maybe it’s just me, but mess gives me anxiety, so I can’t fully relax in an untidy space. Clean up, light a candle, make a tea or drink of your choice and choose a relaxing activity to spend your night on. You’ll feel so much better the next day, trust me.

Make Time To Socialize, But Control Your FOMO

This one was a big learning curve for me. Back when I was in University full time, it felt like I could always make time to socialize — I never once missed a major event for anything. However, especially with work, I’ve had to learn to be okay with missing social events. It doesn’t do you any good to stress about missing out — there will always be another social event. That being said, you should try to make time to see friends a few times a week — it doesn’t have to be anything big! I often grab dinner with my coworkers during my break, and I try to see my friends from University at least once a week.

However, you shouldn’t prioritize your social life over your real life. It can be daunting to learn, and it can make you feel like you’re missing out on events or being left out. If you don’t have time in the week to complete all your tasks, such as work, school, or basic tasks such as showering/cleaning/eating/etc., it may be time to admit you prioritize your social life a little too much. Take a step back and remember your friends aren’t going to forget about you if you can’t attend every party! There’s always going to be another one, so if attending is a detriment to keeping your real life maintained, it may be best to skip out for once.

Learn Prioritizing Over Time Management

Okay, I know prioritizing and time management may kind of sound like the same thing, but hear me out! For those of you who are already fantastic at time management, you may have already gotten this one down. But if you don’t, and feel like you have more going on if your life than you have to fit into your schedule, learn to prioritize the important things first.

For me, my top priorities are school and my job. After that comes keeping a clean room and regular schedule (which I’ll be discussing next!). Unfortunately, next comes blogging — while I wish I could make it more of a priority, making sure I complete my class and show up on time for work are more important. Next is scheduling appointments — personally, I know getting my eyes checked and attaining my drivers licence is more important, unfortunately, than my current dire need for a hair cut. Next comes other things, such as seeing friends and decorating my apartment, for example.

Everyone has their own priorities, but I’ve learned to accept that while I may have to wait a few weeks to have time available to get my eyes tested or buy furniture, I will get there eventually (and I can get by in the meantime). Time management, for me, has become more than just scheduling my daily activities — it’s learning what has to be done RIGHT NOW, versus this week, versus sometime this month or even year. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it could be a good practice to try this out — it can help you from feeling in over your head with all your responsibilities.

Keep A Clean Room And Regular Schedule

Part of feeling overwhelmed may be your environment or lifestyle. For me, my life feels 100% less complicated when I have a clean room, am showered and put together, and have had 8 hours of sleep the night before. With my job’s unusual and ever-changing hours, it’s not always possible to plan out going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. But I’m always sure to get at least 7 hours, shower before I leave, and not let my personal space get too messy.

So many people love to brag about how they were up until 5 am last night completing tasks, and are running on a mere 3 hours of sleep — but that’s super unhealthy and deep down we all know it. Plus honestly, it’s often unnecessary to live life that way. If you can just maintain these three basic things, it will help you feel like you have your life under control.

I’ve discovered maintaining sleep and my space has had a huge impact on my overall health as well — a few years back, I was the QUEEN of all-nighters and pulling off tasks at the last possible minute. However, I spent years feeling crappy and tired and my immune system was almost non-existent — seriously, it felt like I was always sick. In the last two months, even with how crazy busy I’ve been, I’ve yet to stay up late completing tasks and have managed to look at least a little put together whenever I leave my house. So far, I’ve managed to avoid getting sick — fingers crossed I keep it up!

Take A Breather

Sometimes you need to stop, take a minute, and realize that everything is going to be okay. It may feel like everything happening now is the end of the world (over the last few years, I’ve dealt with this feeling more times that I could ever count). However, no matter what you have going on right now, you will survive this. Plus, probably won’t even remember it in a month’s time. As long as you keep moving forward, everything is going to be okay.

The only thing that can hurt you, really, is not moving forward with your tasks. Odds are, you’ll push through whatever’s ahead just fine. But, let’s say you don’t. You fail a test, maybe, or crazy, worst-case scenario — you get fired. It’s going to be okay. It happens to so many people who are able to move on to great things afterwards. Just keep moving forward, remember that whatever’s happening probably isn’t as life-ending as it feels in this moment, and everything will be fine eventually.

And that’s my advice to you all this week! Maybe this doesn’t work for everyone, but personally, I’ve found it all to be life-changing. Two weeks ago, I couldn’t cope with everything I had going on — but now I feel like my life is back on track. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up with blogging a little better, too — I’ve had so many many things recently I’ve been dying to share with you all! So stay tuned for a couple of super-delayed posts in the next few weeks, and remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed — just take a step back and reevaluate. It’s going to be okay.

If you have any advice relating to this topic, feel free to share! I’m still learning myself and would love to hear it.

Stay tuned this Tuesday for my upcoming Favourites post — for real, this week! I promise!

Lots of love, and take care of yourself this week!

Meredith